Advanced Search

First Degree Fitness E316 Evolution Review

Quick Take

The First Degree Fitness E316 Evolution is one of the brand’s ‘Big Daddy’ rowers of sorts, built for commercial use and a lifetime of wear and tear. It has more variability in resistance than its competition (16 levels), and while it’s not delivering streaming programming like the NordicTrack RW900, its direct drive system is claimed to more accurately emulate a real-world rowing feel than other water rowers currently on the market. Its vertically positioned tank also helps keep the machine’s overall dimensions down—a perk for those with a little less available space for workout equipment. Lastly, First Degree Fitness has opted for Dyneema as a material for its drive cable, which is a very strong and resilient polymer based belt material that’s touted as being stronger than Kevlar. Though pricey, this is a great way to achieve the silence of a belt drive without the risks of premature failure.


Commercial Strength
Water Resistance
Easy to Move



Our Review

The E316 Evolution is a metal-framed water rower with preset variable resistance. It is the simplest rowing machine in the First Degree Fitness Evolution Series, having replaced the E216, yet it’s robust enough for commercial fitness centers. This rower is very low maintenance and is designed for longevity. Rowing machines from this brand have quiet belt drives and require little day-to-day maintenance.

This Evolution rower lets riders choose from 16 resistance settings, with the range being challenging for beginners and intermediate rowers. (The E520 offers more challenge for elite athletes.) Its computer monitor has a pacer and shows session feedback, plus it can interact with an external computer via its USB port. This lets trainees use the rower with First Degree Fitness apps for preset workouts, virtual boat races, and apps that make it easier to enjoy multimedia entertainment while rowing.

The E316 rower is available with a traditional rowing seat and with extra back support. The base price is $2299.



  • Commercial Strength: The E316 Evolution is designed to handle intense daily training and is sold with an international commercial warranty.
  • Water Resistance: Water resistance rowing machines are the type preferred by many competitive rowers for indoor training. The machines from First Degree Fitness are unique for having a two-chambered water flywheel system, which enables preset resistance levels. The E316 Evolution provides 16 levels of fluid resistance.
  • Data and Entertainment: The Interactive Performance Monitor is used on all First Degree Fitness rowers. It displays a helpful pacing tool and shows elapsed time, speed, distance, stroke rate, calories per hour, watts and the resistance level. It can also show heart rate if used with a compatible chest strap. Six workouts are saved for comparison and quick starts. For more advanced technology, the trainee can attach a tablet computer or other device to the USB port. This enables data exporting and also lets the machine interact with First Degree Fitness apps.
  • Heart Rate Monitor: The E316 rower has a wireless heart rate receiver. Chest straps are sold separately.
  • Comfortable Seating: The rower seat is set at office chair height (20″) and is available with lumbar support.
  • Easy to Move:  This model has attached wheels that make the machine easy to move.
  • High Capacity: The maximum user weight capacity is 330 pounds.
  • Good Warranty: The E316 Evolution Fluid Rower is backed by a 10-year frame warranty and a three-year warranty for the water tank and seals. The monitor and wear parts are under warranty for two years.


  • Price: Selling for more than $2,000, this is among the more expensive rowing machines on the market.
  • Larger Size: Compared with the more expensive E520 Evolution, the E316 has a large frame. It is about 85″ long and 32″ wide.

Our Conclusion

The E316 Evolution Fluid Rower is a durable water rower offering ample challenge for most trainees. It is a good alternative when the extra power and weight capacity of the E520 aren’t required. This model feels good to use, has a helpful computer with wireless pulse monitoring, and can be used with First Degree Fitness mobile apps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the First Degree Fitness E316 Evolution rower fold?
A: The E316 Evolution rower does not fold but it can be stored vertically and has transport wheels.
Q: What is the maximum user weight of the E316 Evolution rower?
A: The E316 Evolution rower can hold up to 330lbs.
Q: How large is the E316 Evolution rower?
A: The E316 Evolution rower is 83.5” L x 31.9” W x 40.2" H.

Rating: 85%

Resistance Type


Resistance Level


Dimensions (inches)

83.5" L x 31.9" W x 40.2" H



Maximum User Weight Capacity

330 lbs

View Full Specifications