WaterRower are known for producing some of the best rowers in the world. Everything on this rower has been designed with precision, and it even features a handcrafted design – no mass production flaws here.
Solid ash wood makes this rower heavy at 117 pounds, but it’s unmatched in terms of durability, and sound and vibration absorption.
While testing the WaterRower Club rower there were a lot of things we liked with this model. In fact, we may never look at another rowing machine the same way again. And the small quirks that we found are so minor, they’re barely worth noting but add to the overall experience.
- Handcrafted design
- True water rower
- Extremely quiet function
- 5-year warranty
- S4 performance monitor (a very good rowing machine monitor)
- Can be stored upright
- Very heavy
Assembly and Maintenance
Once you have the club rower you may need a hand to get it inside as it is fairly heavy rower thanks to all the hardwood that is used in the design.
The setup up process is straight-forward and only took me about 25 minutes to do, but I have put together the Natural rower model before which did speed the process up as they are almost identical.
The rower comes with the tools required to assemble the rower (just a 5 mm Allen key). The majority of parts come pre-assembled and all you have to do is follow these steps:
Step 1 – lie the rails on the ground and attach them using the rear spacer.
Step 2 – Place the seat on the rails ensuring it is the right way around. Then slot the guide wheels in-between the rails.
Step 3 – Place the pre-assembled tank on the rails
Step 4 – Connect the tank to the rails using the nuts and bolts provided.
Step 5 – Attach the footboard to the rails and to the tank mount.
Step 6 – insert the heel rests into the footboard.
Step 7 – Fix the dolley wheels to make it easy to move the rower about.
Step 8 – Stand the rower upright connect the recoil belt to the rear bungee through the D-ring.
Step 9 – Double Check that the recoil belt is positioned correctly on the pulleys.
Step 10 – Fill the water tank using municipal water (tap water) and insert a purification tablet.
Note: Make sure to clean any water you may have spilled on the rower as it can make the wood swell.
Keep an eye on the bolts over the first few weeks of using the rower as quite often some of the bolts will loosen as the hardwood adjusts to its new climate.
One of the biggest differences I like about this model is that they have coated the rails in a black stain. This reduces the chance of scuff marks showing up. This makes maintenance a little easier than that with the natural rower you could see any marks easily.
You may have noticed they specify to add municipal water to the tank, this is because tap water tends to have been treated already and reduces the chance of bacteria and algae forming.
It is recommended that you add another purification tablet every 6 months or if you feel like the tank needs one. The tablets react with sunlight therefore, if the rower is in a well-lit area it may need boosting with another tablet more often.
Designed to withstand up to 1,000 pounds of user weight, 99.9% of people will be able to use this rower without an issue. The flywheel is filled with water and has two enclosed paddles to provide smooth, quiet, true water resistance.
Clinically proven to work 84% of your muscle mass, the WaterRower Club can help you build muscle, burn fat and meet your fitness goals.
You may be wondering how you are meant to change the resistance? Well there is no way of changing the resistance as the water tank acts like a rowing boat would on water. The faster you paddle the greater the drag will be on the paddles generating the resistance.
This is great for high intensity interval training as you just row faster in the work phase and slower in the rest period and the resistance will adjust itself.
You may think that you could increase the resistance by filling the water tank with more water… However, this is just like rowing a heavier boat as you are moving a greater mass of water.
Limited on space? No problem. This rower can be stored upright and has Dolley wheels on the front that allow it to be moved from one room to another with ease. The only issue is that it does take quite a bit of strength to flip this rower into the vertical position – a consideration for older users.
You’ll be blown away at the attention to detail with this machine. Utilizing high-strength straps instead of a chain, you’ll notice that operation is extremely quiet.
If you have never rowed on a water rower before the first thing that you will notice is the swooshing noise that the tank makes while you row. It is almost therapeutic and makes the workout more enjoyable not having a loud fan and chain generating a ridiculous amount of noise waking the entire house.
The rower is almost sat on the ground and if you think that you may find it difficult getting up and down to the seat then it may be worth getting the Hi-Rise legs that raise the seat up to 28 inches off the ground.
Monitoring is a strong point of this rower thanks to the Series 4 monitoring system. This system allows for six information and programming windows, quick selection buttons, and displays:
- Stroke rate
- Zone bar – Helps you with your predefined work zones
- Heart rate – Beats per minute
This monitor is one of the most advanced on the market but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to use. The basic metrics are easy to cycle through and if you do want to make the most of the advanced features the instructions you get in the owner’s manual explain clearly how to use it.
You can set “zone workouts” in the advanced functions of the monitor. These workouts are where you set your desired upper and lower targets for metrics such as intensity, stroke rate and heart rate (if you get the optional chest strap).
For example, if you set your stroke rate to range from 24 – 30 strokes per minute. If you go below 24 or over 30 then the monitor will flash and make a sound indicating whether you need to row faster or slower.
There is an optional extra getting a chest strap to track your heart rate, this works well with the workout zones as it will make sure that you are getting the most out of your workout.
WaterRower Compared to the First Degree Fitness Newport AR
One of deciding factors that tends to put customers off of buying the WaterRower models is the price. Therefore, we are going to compare the Club rower to a cheaper model which is the First Degree Fitness Newport AR.
First of all, the First Degree model is about $300 cheaper, but are you sacrificing quality? You will notice the First Degree model uses a steel frame instead of the hardwood like with the water rower and it isn’t hand-made like the club rower. This does mean that the rower makes a little bit more noise from the seat while rowing but it is still quiet.
The maximum capacity of the Newport is 300 lbs whereas with the WaterRower the capacity is 1000 pounds. If you are over 300 lbs then it is worth going for the WaterRower.
The rowing motion feels slightly smoother with the Club Rower but it is very close!
The Newport is a tiny bit smaller than the Club, but they can both be stored in an upright position so doesn’t make much difference.
Overall I do think that WaterRower have created the better water rowing machine. WaterRower make arguably the best quality rowers on the market as they are all handmade and have the luxurious feel thanks to the hardwood frame. But if you are want to save a few dollars then the First Degree rower is well worth the money.
I loved the WaterRower Club’s cousin, the WaterRower natural rower and knew that I was in for a treat with the Club version. I think that the black stain on this model does eliminate the risk of leaving scuff marks on the hardwood.
The performance monitor is one of the best on the market and rivals the PM4 of the Concept2.
Smooth and reliable, the WaterRower is what professional rowers and athletes recommend. This is one of the best water-mimicking rowers on the planet. Period.
If you’re serious about your fitness goals or you’re an avid rower, there are not many rowing machines that can compare to the WaterRower.