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Kettler Kadett Review

Quick Take

Once you get close to the $600 mark we tend to shy away from hydraulic resistance rowers altogether, but the Kettler Kadett rower is quite a well built machine in that category so we thought it would be worth it to take a closer look. The machine has 12 resistance settings—more than you get on some air rowers for the same price—and its steel frame (surprisingly) carries a lifetime warranty. The brand is more well known for their higher spec equipment; Kettler builds premium quality ellipticals, recumbent bikes, and other pieces of fitness equipment often selling for north of $2,000. How does this capability translate down into a budget-friendly hydraulic rower? Read on below to find out.


Heart-Rate Monitoring
Easy Folding


Hydraulic Resistance
Flimsy Foot Straps

Our Review

The Kettler Kadett Rower is a lower-priced fitness machine made in Germany. Its typical retail price is $599. The Kadett uses hydraulics, which is the cheapest of four main resistance types used on rowing machines. Although “hydraulics” might make you think of water, the system uses oil. Effectively these hydraulic oil-filled struts aren’t too different from the struts that make up part of your car’s suspension system. This relatively simple resistance system is paired with a sturdy steel frame that’s under lifetime warranty.

The Kettler Kadett Rower has a small LCD monitor displaying time, total oar strokes, current cadence, cumulative distance over a training session, heart rate and kilojoules. It can measure heart rate using an ear clip with infrared technology, and it also has a wireless heart rate receiver.

The Kadett rowing machine is compact and can easily be folded for narrow vertical storage. Wheels are attached to make moving the unit hassle-free. It only weighs 50 pounds but has a 250 pound capacity.


Here are some selling points for the Kettler Kadett Rower, including a strong frame and comfortable motion.

  • Cardio Wellness Feature: Improving your heart health is a main benefit of using a rowing machine. Kettler computer monitors have a recovery program that measures your pulse change after exercise. The Kadett can use infrared sensing or wireless monitoring to calculate a cardio wellness score of 1 to 6.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring: Two options are provided for pulse monitoring. The first is an ear clip that uses infrared technology to communicate with the Kadett’s computer. The second is a wireless receiver. The required chest strap for the latter is sold separately. Keep in mind though, riders have observed that the data readouts aren’t accurate.
  • Comfortable Design: This rowing machine has biomechanically correct footplates to support healthy motion for the lower body, and it lets your upper body use a full range of motion. Its seat is thickly padded.
  • Stores Upright: The Kettler Kadett Rower can be stored vertically. It measures just 59” x 67” x 18” when folded. Transport wheels make moving the machine easy and it only weighs 50 pounds.
  • Steel Frame: The frame is made of powder coated steel. It has a lifetime warranty.
  • Battery Powered: The console uses two AA batteries, so the Kadett Rower doesn’t need a power cord. However, you need to get out a screwdriver every time the batteries need changing.
  • Warranty: The parts warranty is for two years, which is appropriate for a $599 rowing machine like the Kadett.


What are some possible drawbacks of choosing this rower? The main problems relate to lower quality parts.

  • Instructions: The manual and the assembly instructions for the Kettler Kadett are only provided in German, even for the North American market.
  • Hydraulic Resistance: The Kadett Rower uses hydraulic resistance. This is the cheapest type in the industry, with preferred resistance options being water, air and magnets. Some customers have reported that the hydraulics are not under warranty and cost about $150 to replace.
  • Data Monitor: The Kadett Rower’s monitor isn’t known for accuracy, unlike monitors on some other Kettler products. Time, number of oar strokes, speed of strokes, distance covered during training session, total distance, energy consumption, and pulse rate are shown simultaneously. The data are shown with English and German labels. Energy consumption is shown in kilojoules instead of calories.
  • Flimsy Foot Straps: A common complaint about the Kettler Kadett Rower is that the footstraps fail to keep people’s feet secure.
  • Weight Limit: Kettler rowing machines have relatively light weight capacities. The Kadett’s weight limit is 250 pounds.

Our Conclusion

The Kettler Kadett Rower is lower quality than other Kettler rowing machines on our review site. The hydraulic system doesn’t have a great reputation for durability, and replacing the pistons can be expensive. This rower might be worth trying at half the price but is too much of a gamble at $699. The Kettler Favorit, on the other hand, only costs $399.

Choosing a cheap non-hydraulic rowing machine would be better. The Kettler Coach M and Coach E are much more reliable options that use different types of resistance. Outside of the Kettler brand, some better cheap alternatives come from BodyCraft.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does the Kettler Kadett Rower weigh?
A: The Kettler Kadett Rower weighs 51 lbs.
Q: Does the Kettler Kadett Rower fold?
A: The Kettler Kadett rowing machine folds for easy storage.
Q: How large is the Kettler Kadett Rower?
A: The Kettler Kadett rowing machine is 59" x 67" x 18".

Rating: 55%

Resistance Type


Resistance Level


Dimensions (inches)

59" L x 67" W x 18" H



Maximum User Weight Capacity

285 lbs

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