Most people are familiar with the buzzing sounds of a fan-powered rowing machine, but have yet to experience the pleasure of a rowing machine with water as its power source. No, you don't need special rowing machine water or a pool to use one--a water rowing machine comes with its own enclosed tank to simulate actual rowing. These fitness machines are low-maintenance, and the water flywheel design means that you can change the intensity of your workout just by changing your pace: row faster, and increased drag increases the resistance. Row slower, and the drag decreases, making it easier to row. You can get a full-body workout that also sounds like an ambient meditation soundtrack!
We tirelessly read water rower reviews and tested all of the latest models until we started having dreams about water row machines, searching for a comparable alternative to the best-selling WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine. The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is impressive and well-made but has a high price. We wanted to find a good alternative that would cost less while still having a quality build--and we found it in the Stamina 1445 Wave Water Rowing Machine. This water row machine has comparable specs to the WaterRower and can save you some money, too.
The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is handmade from stained ash wood, making it one of the few "all-natural" workout equipment designs out there. It can be stored vertically and moved around with built-in transport wheels, and its display is compatible with heart rate monitor chest straps and their receivers. If you like to track your heart rate or need to for medical reasons, the WaterRower rowing machine is a good option, although the upgraded version of our alternative pick (the Stamina 1450) comes with its own chest strap if that's something that tickles your fancy. The WaterRower has a low profile and a certain aesthetic appeal, but it comes at a pretty high price. The five-year warranty on the frame (if you register with the company) is respectable but similar to the Stamina 1445's 3-year frame warranty. Unless you are set on an all-wood design, take a look at the Stamina 1445 water rower, which costs less while providing many of the same benefits.
The Stamina 1445 Wave Water Rowing Machine is available at a low price without "feeling" like a low-price piece of equipment. All decked out in steel, this water rower also offers a display to help you keep track of your stats as you row, and for a little more of an investment you can upgrade to the Stamina 1450, which comes with a chest strap heart rate monitor that's compatible with the row machine's display. Like the WaterRower machine, you can store the Stamina 1445 vertically and cart it around on its transport wheels, but you can also fold the Stamina 1445 by lifting the rowing beam towards the water reservoir. This saves a little more space and can really make a difference when tucking your equipment away between uses. Our alternative pick also weighs less than the WaterRower machine, which is another advantage if you expect to be moving the machine around occasionally. All in all, the Stamina 1445 is a great choice for a water rower and easier on your budget, too.
The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine uses a tank of water to replicate the resistance of real-life rowing.
The Stamina 1445 rowing machine also uses a water tank, which is one of the reasons you're reading this review!
The WaterRower machine measures 84 by 22 inches and 21 inches high. It is similar in overall dimensions to the Stamina rower but has a somewhat lower profile, making it a little less visually intrusive.
The Stamina 1445 machine is 33 inches tall and 85.4 by 20 inches around. The height difference is partly due to the positioning of the LCD display screen, as well as the longer leg design of the 1445 machine.
A rowing machine with water resistance doesn't have specific resistance levels--as you push harder, you work harder. This means there are no moving parts that can wear out over time, and it's easy to vary your workouts.
Due to the nature of a water rowing machine, there are no set resistance levels besides your own efforts. Water rowers are a great way to stay in shape and in practice if you're a "real-life" rower or just a fitness buff.
The WaterRower machine weighs 117 pounds with a full tank of water, or 30 pounds more than the Stamina rowing machine. If you don't need to move the machine around very often, the extra weight won't be too much of a problem.
The Stamina rowing machine weighs 87 pounds with a full water tank. That makes the Stamina machine easier to move around and reposition than the WaterRower, whether you need to shove it in a closet or turn away from the sun.
The WaterRower machine has stationary angled footplates with adjustable straps. The footplates fit a range of shoe sizes, and the straps keep your feet in place as you work out.
The Stamina 1445 has pivoting footplates combined with adjustable straps. The pivoting design gives you a fuller range of motion than stationary footplates do.
The handle of the WaterRower machine is shaped like a slightly squashed cylinder and is padded, making it easy to grip. It didn't feel significantly different compared to the Stamina 1445 rower's handle.
The Stamina water rower also has a padded handle with a texturized surface, so you can hold on even when you're sweating buckets. Padding is important for preventing unnecessary strain and discomfort.
The WaterRower machine has a padded seat that is contoured for comfort and support. By curving to fit around your sitz bones and legs, you can stay comfortable even during a long workout.
The Stamina 1445 rower also has a contoured and padded seat with a similar "split" shape. This design keeps pressure off of your behind and your lower back so you can focus on rowing.
The display monitor on the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine shows the basics: your stroke rate, duration, and distance, as well as your workout intensity.
The Stamina 1445 rower displays distance, time, calories burned, stroke count, and strokes per minute. You can upgrade to the 1450 model if you want more stats displayed.
The WaterRower is compatible with chest straps and receivers for measuring your heart rate, which is handy if you already have one. If you aren't interested in monitoring your pulse, you may prefer the Stamina 1445 rower.
The Stamina 1445 is not compatible with heart rate monitors, which is fine for the average user and many fitness enthusiasts. The 1450 model comes with a chest strap heart monitor of its own for a small price increase.
The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine just sounds like rushing water when you use it--no irritating whirring or humming.
The Stamina 1445 water rowing machine also produces low noise. You'll just hear the water moving around in the tank as you row.
The WaterRower can hold up to 1,000 pounds, in part due to its low-to-the-floor design. This means that very heavy people can safely use the WaterRower, although this may be difficult due to its low seat.
The Stamina rower has a capacity of 300 pounds, which is enough for most people to use it, whether they are overweight or not. Many users can incorporate weights into their rowing safely at this capacity as well.
The WaterRower machine can be turned up on the tank end and moved around via attached transport wheels.
The Stamina 1445 rower has transport wheels and can also be folded for more compact upright storage.
The WaterRower machine has a one-year warranty on the frame and components, which can be upgraded to five years on the frame and three years on parts if you register the product. If you prefer the security of a longer warranty, you may prefer the WaterRower.
The Stamina 1445 water rower has a three-year warranty on the frame and a 90-day warranty on parts. The frame warranty is comparable to the WaterRower's and does not require registration, which can be a hassle. A shorter warranty period is often one of the tradeoffs of a lower product price.