Water Rowing Machine and Alternatives Reviews 2019

updated January 1, 2019

The goal of a home rowing machine is to as perfectly imitate the real, on the water rowing experience as possible. Nothing does this better than a waterrower. The waterrower isn’t like rowing with water - it is rowing with water. That means that you get the smoothest, most fluid and natural row short of being on the lake. In this article we provide and in depth review of the waterrower rowing machine range.

Our Waterrower Review

water rower natural rowing machine

The Waterrower company manufacture and market 9 home rowers, including the waterrower classic, the waterrower Oxbridge and the Waterrower a1. In this article we will zoom in on the Waterrower natural rowing machine. This model stores upright when not being used, taking up as much room as a dining chair! The polished wooden styling of the waterrower compliments any decor.

The unique flywheel design of the waterrower combines the tranquility of moving water with the power of water resistance to perfectly simulate open water rowing. The unique patented flywheel design more perfectly simulates the dynamics of on-water rowing than anything else on the market. The Waterrower is manufactured in the USA under the most exacting conditions to ensure that every rower is a piece of art!

The polycarbonate tank of the waterrower makes it one of the toughest plastic tanks on the market. The rest of the unit is made from wood. This provides the advantages of strength, sound absorption, vibration and imperviousness to moisture and sweat. The use of a sprag clutch rather than an index clutch provides zero backlash and smoother action.

The Waterrower has been ergonomically designed for both comfort and performance. The handles are foam coated and contoured to allow for a natural, firm grip. The drive strap is made from military grade polyester strapping. It is super strong, corrosion resistant and requires no lubrication. All of this adds up to a very stylish, functional rower that gives you an amazingly realistic and comfortable rowing experience.​


  • Most realistic rowing simulation of any rower
  • Stylish wooden design
  • Strong polycarbonate tank
  • Ergonomically designed handles and seat
  • Great for weight loss
  • Easy waterrower assembly


  • Sloshing water noise
  • Polyester rather than chain strap

We give the Waterrower a rating of 8.75 out of 10.

Waterrowers, though a great workout option, are not for everyone. For those who prefer a more fluid air rower motion, the Concept 2 rower is a great option. People who are looking for a top quality bargain rower would be better of with the Stamina-X Air rower. And those who prefer a magnetic rower can’t go past the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5612. In the following section we review these Waterrower alternatives.​

Waterrower Alternatives

Concept 2 Model D

Concept 2 Model D

The Concept 2 has established itself as the most popular home rower on the market, with the model D being the top seller. This is clearly due to the strength of the frame and the unrivalled performance of the flywheel mechanism of this air rower. Though not as natural as water resistance, it provides a more fluid motion with no stuttering. It also has a quieter operation than the Waterrower.

The Concept 2 features an outstanding onboard calculator. As well as providing readouts of all vital training data, it can give you animations of proper rowing form and gives you motivating exercise games to play. When comparing the waterrower vs concept 2 on price, the concept 2 comes in at a couple hundred dollars less than the waterrower.​


  • Excellent flywheel operation
  • Great onboard calculator
  • Very strong frame


  • Takes up quite a bit of space
  • Noisy

Want more information on the Concept 2, the world’s most popular rowing machine? Check out our comprehensive Concept 2 Rowing Machines Review break-down to discover the facts.

Stamina-X Air Rower

Stamina X Air Rower

The Stamina-X air rower is a very sturdy, rugged and functional air rower that comes in at well less than half the price of the Concept 2. Though lacking such high specs as the onboard computer and quality chain drive motion of the C2, it still provides what you need to get in a quality rowing workout from home.

The Stamina-X is very compact, making it ideal for constrained spaces. It is foldable and has roller wheels for ease of transport. The seat, handles and foot pads are ergonomically designed for comfort and function. The Stamina-x has a sturdy steel frame that can take the knocks. The monitor is basic, but still provides the data that you need.​


  • Very strong frame
  • Ergonomic design
  • Compact


  • Noisy
  • Nylon strap

Water rowers are just one option when it comes to choosing a rowing machine. Check out all the options with our Best Rowing Machines 2019 article - it’s got the market covered!

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5612

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5612.

The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5612 is a magnetic rowing machine. This dual function machine provides 8 levels of magnetic adjustable resistance. Unlike many competitors, the SF-RW5612 gives a smooth jerk free motion that allows for a fluid rowing motion. The seat provides a comfortable, ergonomically aligned positioning that allows for ideal body alignment and minimal lower back stress. A brightly displayed LCD monitor provides readouts of time, count, calories, total count and scan.

​The Sunny SF-RW5612 doubles as a resistance training machine. The adjustable foot plates allow for security as you perform such exercises with the rowing cord as biceps curls, upright rows and triceps extensions against a resistance. The maximum user weight on this machine is 300 pounds.


  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Smooth jerk free motion
  • Can be used for resistance exercise


  • Noisy

Exercising with the waterrower allows you to use the cleanest technique possible, perfectly simulating an on the water row. Watch this cool clip to fine tune your performance on your new waterrower . . .

If you’re searching for a great budget rowing machine, you absolutely must read out our breakdown of the best 11 affordable rowing machines that won’t break the bank - don’t make a purchase until you’ve checked it out!


The Waterrower provides the most realistic simulation of on the water rowing that you are likely to find. It is also the most stylish rower that you will encounter, being finished in polished timber with a high spec polycarbonate water tank. The waterrower has an ergonomic design and level of seat, handle and foot comfort that makes the rowing more bearable. The waterrower is a great machine for those wanting a realistic, functional rowing experience.

The best waterrower alternatives are the Concept 2 air rower, which is more fluid and quieter. The Stamina-X air rower is a great choice for those after an air rower on a budget. It’s not as high spec as the Concept 2, but provides a quality, basic rowing experience. The best magnetic rower alternative to the watertower is the Sunny SF-RW5612, which doubles as a resistance exerciser for the upper body.​

Waterrower natural rowing machine.

Our #1. Recommendation

​Waterrower natural rowing machine.

jim roose

My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.