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WaterRower S1 Rower Review

Quick Take

Effectively at the top of the brand’s product offering, the WaterRower S1 Rower takes all of the performance and functionality of their wooden water rowers, and packs it into a beast of a stainless steel frame. The end result is a very industrial looking rig, but also one that will no doubt last a lifetime. The machine was built designed out of the firm’s German office, and in some ways it looks more like a giant kitchen appliance than a new piece of fitness kit. If overall durability is a primary concern the S1 rower is a bit of a win in some respects. On the maintenance side, wooden water rowers will occasionally need tightening due to the fact that wood expands and contracts with temperature/humidity. This is not the case with a steel frame, so for the most part your assembly process on this unit should really be a one-and-done scenario. Like other water rowers the S1 can be tipped upright for compact storage when not in use. The S1 weighs 125 lbs, with more of its mass at the tank end, so standing the machine up won’t be much of a strain. This overall mass is about 20 lbs heavier than its wood framed equivalent.


Variable Water Resistance
Easy Storage



Our Review

The S1 Rowing Machine is part of WaterRower’s Designer Series. This series features rowers made from premium materials. While the other Designer units are made from hardwood, the WaterRower S1 is made from brushed stainless steel. This is a limited edition product that costs more than the others. The S1 features WaterRower’s patented WaterFlywheel. A translucent water tank holds a pair of paddles, and resistance automatically increases with the rider’s effort. There’s no better way to simulate the outdoor rowing experience! The motion is smooth, quiet and physiologically sound.


This unit is topped with an S4 Monitor. This LCD computer arrives with six preset workouts and lets rowers set up customized routines based on duration, distance or interval training. Plenty of feedback about each interval and exercise session is provided, and nine consecutive workouts are saved for comparison and to let you quickly repeat a routine. For advanced tracking, online races and more, the S4 Monitor can interface with a PC.

Is this the best indoor rower for your fitness room? Here are lots of positives and a few possible drawbacks.


  • Appearance: The limited edition S1 is a gorgeous fitness machine. It is sleek and radiates high quality.
  • Resistance: WaterRowers use water resistance to reproduce the sensation of rowing a boat. A “water flywheel” housing two paddles provides smooth, quiet resistance. The resistance increases with the rower’s exertion level, so this machine can work with people at all skill levels. Other rowing machines have fixed resistance levels.
  • Low Impact: The WaterRower S1 can work an impressive 84% of your muscle mass! It’s more efficient than most other aerobic trainers, yet the exercise is low impact; rowing is gentle on the ankles, knees, and hips.
  • Data and Extras: The S4 Monitor is loaded with appealing features. For one thing, it can connect with your PC to show progress in a virtual boat, let you participate in online races, and track your workouts over the long term. It also displays intensity in m/s (meters per second), mph (mile per hour), /500m (time per 500 meters), /2km (time per 2 kilometers), watts and Kcalories per hour. The S4 Monitor is compatible with most wireless heart rate monitors too. Additional features are described on the WaterRower website.
  • Workout Programs: The S4 Monitor has six preset workouts and makes it easy to set up a workout based on a desired distance or duration. This rower has an interval workout feature too; you can set up to nine intervals separated by rest times. Statistics are provided for each interval and/or session.
  • Advanced Heart Rate Analysis: The WaterRower S1 can work with a wireless transmitter and receiver to help you stay in your desired heart rate zone. A “Zone Feature” alert system lets you know when you’re working too hard or need to put in more effort. Readouts provided include maximum heart rate achieved, time spent above desired heart rate zone, time spent in desired zone, and time spent below desired zone.
  • Long-Lasting:  The WaterRower S1 has a stainless steel frame, and its water resistance system can’t go bad. This indoor rower is built to last.
  • Easy to Store: The frame flips upright for easy storage. The stored dimensions are approximately 19” x 22” x 82”.
  • Very High Capacity: The WaterRower S1 Rowing Machine has a user weight capacity of 1,000 pounds.
  • Good Warranty: This purchase initially carries just a one-year warranty on the frame and components, but WaterRower will upgrade the warranty to five years on the frame and three years on the components with the completion of a registration form.


  • Price: This product is a limited edition. It is one of the more expensive rowers on the market.
  • Footrests: The footrests are placed too closely together for people who have thick legs.
  • Size: The WaterRower S1 Rowing Machine has a large footprint: 82.25″ x 22.25″.

Our Conclusion

Choosing between this WaterRower and others mostly comes down to budget and style preference. The WaterRower S1 Rowing Machine looks especially classy — and that’s what explains the extra cost. Other great-looking WaterRowers have the same resistance system and computer monitor but get lower prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the WaterRower S1 Rower made from?
A: The WaterRower S1 has a brushed stainless steel frame.
Q: What are the dimensions of the WaterRower S1?
A: The WaterRower S1 is 82.25” L x 22.25” W x 19.625” H.
Q: Does the WaterRower S1 Rower fold?
A: The WaterRower S1 rowing machine does not fold but it can be stored upright.

Rating: 70%

Resistance Type


Dimensions (inches)

82.25" L x 22.25" W x 19.625" H



Maximum User Weight Capacity

700 lbs

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