WaterRower Original Series review: This customisable rower is a thing of beauty which blends form and function for a whole-body workout.

The WaterRower Original Series is an excellent addition to any home gym and provides a challenging and enjoyable workout for all abilities. Here’s how it performed when we tested the best rowing machines.

WaterRower Original Series


From $1,099 /£1,099, waterrower.co.uk


  • Unique, aesthetic design
  • Natural, fluid movement
  • Numerous upgrades available
  • Choice of types of wood
  • Easy storage


  • Low seat and steep angled foot position
  • High price with costly additions

Features: 3/5
Ease of use: 4/5
Home-gym friendly: 5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

The WaterRower is an unusual and beautifully designed take on the home rowing machine. It works your entire body in the same way a traditional rower would, but that is where the similarities end.

Rather than use air resistance, the WaterRower uses a unique water flywheel that mimics rowing on water. It’s remarkably realistic, too, and provides an immersive and enjoyable workout.

WaterRower features

The design of the WaterRower provides a smoother pull than other rowers, as it reduces the jerkiness from a regular chain. It uses two rails for the seat instead of the more common one, which adds to its smoothness and stability. The sound of the water moving also provides a relaxing effect for almost meditative sessions.

The WaterRower’s main frame is made from hardwood (you can choose between ash, oak, cherry and walnut). The oak and ash versions are the basic price, the Club version (rose and black stained ash) is £1,149, the cherry £1,249 and walnut £1,349. Each frame carries a five-year warranty and parts are also protected for three years.

At 2.09m long and 56cm wide, it’s easily storable in an upright position without taking up too much space. It weighs just over 30kg (66lb) without the water in the tub, and is comfortable to move around thanks to wheels at the heavy end.

The display screen of the wooden WaterRower

The included S4 performance monitor is fairly basic. You’ll need to upgrade to get Bluetooth connectivity

The WaterRower has a range of optional upgraded – including a 17in screen for games-based workouts, a power meter, Bluetooth connectivity and high-rise seat kit – but these are an additional cost.

Assembly is fairly simple, with the main components connected using a standard hex key. You simply have to add water to the tub and you’re good to row.

WaterRower disadvantages

The WaterRower design seats you very low to the ground, at just 30cm. That might make it difficult for people with limited mobility to get off the rower after exercising (though this can be improved with the high-rise seat kit). The angle of the foot straps is also quiet steep, meaning anyone with restriction around their knees or calves may feel added pressure.

The standard model doesn’t come with any interactive rowing experience, and only has a simple console. You can programme in distance and time goals, but both are fairly basic. The standard WaterRower is more than £1,000, but if you can easily spend hundreds more on upgrades.

Should you buy a WaterRower?

Not only does the WaterRower provide a unique and realistic rowing experience, it is also easier to store upright than most rowers. And in terms of ergonomics and design it blows all other rowing machines out of the water. In fact it almost looks too beautiful to use, but that means it can become the centrepiece of your exercise space rather than feeling the need to stow it away after every use.

Overall it’s an excellent piece of home gym equipment and provides a challenging and enjoyable workout for all abilities. Though the design and water flywheel are its main selling points, it’s otherwise quite a no-frills machine – although there are plenty of options to upgrade over time.