Water Rowers Vs Air Rowers Which Will Be the Best for You?

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Read Our Guide to Find Out How to Choose a Rowing Machine in 2020

Should you buy a water rower, or an air rower? This is a question that most people ask when buying their first rowing machine, and the answer largely depends on two things: your goals and your budget.

Stamina Air Rower (Black

Our favorite Air Rower for 2020

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

A solid handcrafted rowing machine

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

Our favorite Water Rower for 2020

Water rowers are more expensive because they require a more rugged design, but air rowers can still come at a hefty price if they include advanced features and designs. And if your goal is to become an advanced rower, a water rowing machine is the absolute best option.

We’re going to share our reviews for some of the best water and air rowers on the market to help you decide which one is right for you. Here’s how to compare them:

  • Size: More important than performance and durability is the size of the machine. It doesn’t matter how well the rower is designed or how long it will last if it can’t fit in your workout space. Take a look at each rower’s dimensions to narrow down your list to the ones that will fit in your home.
  • Quality: Next, take a look at the quality of the rower, which is typically indicated by the materials used to construct the machine. Many of the models on our list are from WaterRower, which uses real wood in its frame design. Wood lasts longer and can accommodate more weight than other materials, but it also makes the machine much heavier. Other machines on our list might use aluminum, which is lighter, but won’t be able to accommodate as much weight.

Quality and size are two important factors to keep in mind when comparing the models below.

Top Air and Water Rowers Reviews for 2020

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine – WaterRower’s Natural Rowing Machine is constructed with ash wood and features the brand’s famous S4 monitor. Designed for serious rowers, this model is handcrafted for the utmost in quality.

The wood construction not only adds to the durability, but also absorbs vibration and sound, so you enjoy a peaceful workout.

The water flywheel simulates the real action of rowing on the open water – complete with natural water sounds. The flywheel sits in a water-filled tank, and delivers a smooth, quiet rowing experience. The water provides natural resistance, allowing you to challenge yourself no matter your current fitness level.

The included S4 monitor keeps track of your heart rate, stroke rate, intensity and more.

And when you’re done working out, this machine can be stored upright to save on space.

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine  – Another pick from WaterRower, the Club Rowing machine is similar to the previous model, but features a darker wood color and black wood accents. This model is hand-crafted as well for the highest possible quality.

The ash wood absorbs vibration and sound, while simulating the actual feeling of rowing on water.

The flywheel is encased in a water-filled tank for a smooth and quiet rowing experience. There’s no need for resistance levels as the water creates natural resistance to build strength.

The Club rower also comes with the S4 monitor, which allows you to keep track of intensity, heart rate, stroke rate and so much more.

This model also stores upright in between workouts to save on space.

WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine – The Oxbridge rower from WaterRower is the most luxourious-model on our list, but it’s solid construction and design make it one of the best rowers on the planet.

Hand-crafted with cherry wood, the machine’s water flywheel mimics the motion and feeling of rowing on open water. Each stroke is smooth and quiet, and the water provides natural resistance. The faster you row, the more difficult the workout becomes.

The Oxbridge also features the S4 monitor, so you can track your most important workout stats, including heart rate, stroke count and intensity.

This model can be stored upright, and weighs just 117 pounds.

Stamina Air Rower – If you prefer air rowers, the Stamina Air Rower is a great choice. This model maybe the most affordable one on our list, and it uses wind resistance to make your workouts more difficult.

The aluminum sliding rail allows for smooth, quiet movement, while the padded seat adds comfort. The footplates are oversized to accommodate users of all heights, and the seat is angled to promote natural movement.

When you’re finished rowing, you can fold the rower up for easy storage. The built-in wheels and floor protectors make it easy to store this rower away without damaging your floors – or straining your back.

Stamina 1402 – Our final pick also comes from Stamina. The 1402 features a sleek design and also uses wind resistance to deliver a smooth, natural rowing experience.

Built with a solid steel frame, this rower is highly durable and designed to give you years of use with proper care. And the foldable design allows you to store this machine away in between uses to save on space.

The upholstered, padded seat adds comfort, while the textured hand grips prevent slipping in the middle of your workout.

The multi-function monitor displays your total strokes, distance, strokes per minute and calories burned.

Oversized foot plates and an angled seat allow for the most natural movement possible with each stroke.

Buyer’s Guide –  Should You Go for Wet or Dry?

Which rower should you choose: water or air? Like we said earlier, your budget and goals will likely dictate which type you choose – although the budget will probably win out in the end.

Rowing machine

Water rowers, like the ones from the WaterRower brand, are arguably the best option – period. But one of the biggest WaterRower problems is that they cost so much. If you don’t have a large amount to spend, an air rower may be your only option.

But aside from price, there are other things you should consider when making your final decision:

  • Workout Goals: If you want the closest thing possible to rowing out on the water, a water rower is the best option. But if you’re only looking for a great workout, an air rower will more than suffice. That said, air rowers are limited in that they do not offer as much natural resistance as water, so keep that in mind – especially if you’re a higher fitness level.
  • Comfort: Another thing to consider is the machine’s comfort level. Is the seat padded and comfortable to sit on? Are the handles ergonomically designed? Are the foot plates large enough? A machine that’s comfortable to use will make it much easier to focus on your workout – not that pain in your wrist or your constantly-slipping feet.
  • Storage: When you’re done working out, can the machine be folded for easy storage? All of the models on our list offer this feature, but it’s important to keep in mind the weight of the machine. Water rowers are bit heavier than their air counterparts, so it may be more difficult for you to fold up and store on your own.