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WaterRower Natural Rower Review

Quick Take

WaterRower is the biggest player in the water rower space, as the brand name implies, and the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine lands right in the middle of the brand’s well reviewed model range. Its water resistance is natural and smooth, as expected, though not adjustable. Its ash wood frame is well crafted, and overall the machine is a sleek addition to your workout space. Due to its low profile, it’s a better candidate than most air rowers if your intent is to watch TV or other devices while you’re rowing (your line of sight is mostly clear from seated). It’s also much quieter than an air rower, with its soft sloshing being more soothing than the mechanical whoosh of an air rower fan. You’ll have the occasional maintenance to do on the machine that you won’t experience with a metal frame/air resistance setup, but to many that minor headache is worth it.

Pros

Water Resistance
Data
Workout Programs

Cons

Large
Maintenance

Our Review

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is a wood-and-water rower intended for home use, but it’s built to a much higher standard than rowers found in the sub-$600 price range. It uses a two-rail glide system with a slightly raised seating position, though you’re still riding quite low to the ground overall. While working out on the Natural, you’ll truly feel like you’re rowing on water. WaterRower’s rowing machines feature a patented WaterFlywheel and the combination of feel and sound from a water rower do a great job of emulating that ‘on water’ training experience.

 

Workout guidance and data feedback are provided on the WaterRower’s S4 Monitor. The unit provides your standard metrics—time, stroke rate, distance, and intensity—and comes pre-loaded with a number of built-in workout programs. We often say that these aren’t really a dealbreaker in the category, they’re also a welcome addition for those wanting to change up their routine from time to time.

 

This rower is part of WaterRower’s Natural Series. The only other machine in the series is the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine. It’s quite similar in overall specification, though the Club is designed to meet the heavier demands of fitness clubs and physical therapy clinics.

 

Positives

  • Resistance: The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine uses water resistance to reproduce the sensation of rowing a boat. Its drive consists of two paddles in an enclosed tank of water. You can’t get more realistic than that! Most other brands use resistance systems based in air, magnetism. and mechanical friction.
  • Low impact yet powerful: The WaterRower Natural has been proven to work 84% of muscle mass. It can tone and strengthen muscles while burning calories far more efficiently than most other aerobic machines. The exercise is also low impact, relieving body weight pressure on the ankles, knees, and hips.
  • Data: This home rowing machine provides a nice amount of feedback. The backlit S4 Monitor is packed with useful features and can be connected to a PC for integration with other software. It displays calories-per-hour, meters-per-second, miles-per-hour, time-per-500 meters, and time-per-two-kilometers. A log is kept of a user’s total distance traveled and a precise watts readout is provided when you input the volume of water in the tank. With an optional wireless attachment, the monitor can show heart rate as well.
  • Workout programs:  The WaterRower Natural has six preset workouts and makes it easy to set up a workout based on a desired distance or duration. This indoor rower has an interval workout feature too, allowing users to program up to nine intervals separated by rest times. At the end of each session, users receive statistics about their workout including number of strokes taken and calories burned. The monitor saves the previous nine sessions for comparison and quick starts.
  • Advanced heart rate analysis: The WaterRower Natural can work with a wireless heart rate monitor (not included) to provide the following readouts: maximum heart rate achieved, time spent above desired heart rate zone, time spent in desired zone, and time spent below desired zone. A “Zone Feature” alert system helps you stay within your desired heart rate zone.
  • Comfortable: The ergonomic seat design and lightweight aluminum handles make working out a more enjoyable experience. 
  • Eco-minded: Built from sustainable wood and water, this fitness machine has a relatively light carbon footprint.
  • Hardwood: The WaterRower Natural is built from solid ash. The wood comes from Appalachia and for each tree harvested, 2.2 are planted. The ash is stained honey oak and is hand finished with Danish Oil for a deep lustre. The hardwood for this machine was especially chosen for its ability to absorb vibrations, supporting a quiet and smooth ride.
  • Long-lasting: The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is designed to endure. First, its ash is a premium hardwood with excellent longevity and dimensional stability. Second, the water resistance system means that there are no parts that can wear down.
  • Quick and easy assembly: All you need to get your WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine assembled is the included Allen key, and you’ll ready for your first workout in around 30 minutes.
  • Easy to store: The frame for this rower flips upright for easy storage, and the four corner casper wheels make it simple to move. 
  • Very high capacity: The WaterRower Natural has a maximum user weight capacity of 700 pounds.
  • Good warranty: This product automatically carries a one-year warranty for its frame and components. WaterRower will upgrade the warranty to five years on the frame and three years on the components if the owner submits a registration form.

 

Negatives

  • Larger size: The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine measures 82.25” long by 22.25” wide. So this is not an ideal machine for households with limited space.
  • Maintenance: Wood has a natural tendency to shrink and expand with temperature and humidity, so every 4 months or so you can expect to need to tighten the structural bolts on the WaterRower. It will also be necessary to throw a water purification tablet into the water tank every 6 to 12 months.
  • Console too basic: For the price tag, the console could use some upgraded features. 

 

Our Conclusion

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is a durable product for home gyms and could likely stand up well in light commercial settings too. Its patented water resistance system makes this one of the most natural feeling rowing machines on the market. Besides its longevity, attractive look, and satisfying feel, this rower has a helpful computer system and is backed by excellent customer service. All of which earns The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine our highest recommendation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does the WaterRower Natural weigh?
A: The WaterRower Natural weighs 66.5 lbs without water, or 103.5 lbs with 17l of water.
Q: What is the resistance on the WaterRower Natural rower?
A: The WaterRower Natural rower uses water resistance to mirror the sensation of rowing a boat.
Q: How long should I use the WaterRower Natural per day?
A: You could spend hours every week using your WaterRower Natural as long as your doctor doesn’t suggest otherwise. However, it’s important to keep in mind that long-term consistency trumps short-term enthusiasm. A realistic frequency for the average person would be at least a half-hour, 3-5 times weekly.
Q: How hard is the assembly of the WaterRower Natural rower?
A: Assembling the WaterRower Natural rower typically takes less than an hour, and the included 5 mm Allen key is all you need to get the job done. The unit only weighs 66.5 pounds, and it comes partially assembled in two boxes. The heavier of the two measures 29” x 24” x 23” while the lighter box is long and contains the two rails. Most people can assemble unassisted in as little as 30 minutes.
Q: What is the height of the WaterRower Natural when it’s folded upright?
A: When folded, the WaterRower Natural stands 82” high.
Q: What is the maximum user height that the WaterRower Natural accommodates?
A: The WaterRower Natural can accommodate users with an inseam (crotch of pants to end of leg opening) of 37”. The weight limit of this model is 700 pounds.

Rating: 85%

Resistance Type

Water

Programs

6

Dimensions (inches)

82.25" L x 22.25" W x 20" H

Folding

Yes

Maximum User Weight Capacity

700 lbs

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