Air Rower vs. Water Rowing Machines

Oct 17, 2018

Selecting the Right Rowing Machine for You

Rowing machines have gained popularity in the last few years. With the evolution of cross-fit, interval training, HIIT and other conditioning programs, rowing machines have become a must-have machine for many trainers. Rowers provide a full-body cardio and strength experience in minimal amount of time. They are a great addition for people who are short on time and want a full-body workout. For home fitness equipment, they are relatively inexpensive, compact and efficient. When people start researching rowers, it can become confusing. There are different types of machines and the prices for them can vary greatly. At XTERRA Fitness, we are going to focus on two popular options for comparison – the air rower and water rowing machine.

Air Rower

The air rower is the most common form of rower used as they have good resistance levels and have the most effective measuring techniques of speed, power, and distance. The monitors on air rowers are the feature that attracts the most people to high end versions because they are much more advanced and track statistics better than some water rowing machines. When it comes to how they operate, the air rower is known to feel a little more mechanical during the stroke and some say there is even a little lag at the beginning of the movement. The main difference between water and air rowers is the type of resistance and how you can increase it. On an air rower there is something called a damper, and it controls the amount of air going into the flywheel. A low damper setting creates less air resistance and an easier stroke, increase the amount of air, and the stroke becomes a lot harder.

Water Rowing Machine

People like water rowing machines because it creates a much more pleasant and soothing workout experience. Water rowing machines tend to be quieter than the air rower because it has realistic water swooshing sound. The resistance workout is much more realistic than air rowers because the resistance is all in your stroke. Each movement can dig a little deeper and each workout will feel like a new one because you can tailor it to you.  Many people choose the water rowing machines for their homes because it is a much more realistic form of rowing, considering rowing is done on water. For all you know, you can close your eyes and imagine you are rowing down a river and the exercise and movement will feel the same.

The Choice Is Yours

 Now that you understand the fundamental difference between air and water rowing machines you should consider the features that are most important to you. Each Rower has their pros and cons but there are some key differences between the two that could affect your decision.

  • Price: The biggest variable that everybody thinks about first is their wallet, water rowing machines tend to be more expensive. However, with the introduction of some newer models like the XTERRA ERG600 you can find affordable water rowing machines.
  • Noise: The noise is another feature people consider, especially when they are purchasing one for home. The water rowing machine is by far quieter, people have found that an air rower makes a loud sound that can make it difficult to watch TV or have conversations with other people.
  • Convenience: The other feature people think about is the weight and storage ease for those in apartments or small houses. Both are easy to store as they have different folding features but the water rowing machine is much heavier due to the water tank, this may not be ideal for people living in apartments up flights of stairs. And
  • Enjoyment: The final variable is comfort and ease of use, which the water rowing machine has the advantage because it is a much smoother exercise. The water rowing machine has the nice soothing movement and just overall simulates a much better workout.

When considering which machine to buy, it is always about what factors are important in your life and the reason you are buying it. Which fitness machine will help you reach your goals. Which one looks and feels better? What features do you need to accomplish your goals? If you can answer these questions, selecting the right model for you will become much easier.