Water Rower Review – Exercise machine or meditation device?

Today, I’d like to review the Water Rower exercise machine. I purchased mine in 2004 with the sole intention of using it to strengthen my legs and core. Not sure if I would call it a machine or a work of art. It is a beautiful piece of equipment that functions well and has other added benefits. Read on to see what they are.

About WaterRower Inc.

WaterRower was designed in the mid ’80’s by Yale and US National Team Rower John Duke who formed WaterRower Inc. in 1988 in Warren, Rhode Island. It is a world-wide marketed brand and today WaterRower has over 250 staff in 15 global offices while manufacturing all of their products in Rhode Island. They are very active in supporting local community events, such as, The Ronald McDonald House/Providence, Boys & Girls Clubs, Community String Project and Save the Bay.

American Made

Hand made in the U.S.A. is a nice label to see on any product. For 30 years, WaterRower has continued to combine stylish design, handcrafted workmanship, their one of a kind WaterFlywheel resistance and “Green” sourced materials to create the world’s finest rowing simulator. WaterRower’s wooden models are handcrafted from a selection of the world’s finest sustainable hardwoods. All the hardwoods used are sourced from the Applalachian Mountain region of the eastern United States. This area comprises 65.4 million acres and provides a variety of hardwoods such as, Oak, Maple, Cherry, Poplar, Walnut, Ash, Beech, Birch, Hickory and Basswood.

  • Crafted in the United States from premium materials, including select replenishable American hardwoods.
  • Uniquely designed waterflywheel silently simulates the dynamics of a competitive rowing boat.
  • User-friendly, ergodynamic features – including adjustable footrests, a comfortable seat and a soft, easy-grip handle.
  • Built with non-marking dolly wheels to transport with ease and stores upright when not in use.

My Personal Experience

Back in the ’90’s I owned a small sailboat that I kept in Narragansett Bay. I would get out of work at midnight, drive over to the marina and row my dinghy out into Greenwich Cove and lie down and stare at the stars in the evening sky. The sound of water lapping at the sides of the boat and of my oars dipping in and out of the water as I moved about the cove was incredibly soothing to me, especially after a stressful night of work. One day while at my gym, I noticed a new piece of equipment being set up and walked over to chat with the owner about it. It was a WaterRower and it was a beautiful thing to look at. It was solid, functional and art all rolled up into one. I was the first person to try it there and as I pulled on the handle and heard the water gurgling inside the drum, I was immediately transported to my nightly forays out into the cove in my dinghy. I became my favorite piece of equipment in the gym. Eventually, I decided that I had to have one so that I could experience that feeling in the privacy of my home.

It was packaged very nicely and only took about 40 minutes to assemble. One 5mm Allen wrench that is provided, is all that is required for assembly. Fill the tank to the proper level and off you go. One of the nicest things about the WaterRower is the small footprint it takes up in my studio when stored in the upright position. To use it is simply a matter of rolling it into place and lowering it down to the floor. It’s not heavy and is very maneuverable. There is a nice Danish Oil finish to the wood, so it looks great and the smooth movement of the seat and firm pull of the handle reinforce the idea that this is one well-thought-out creation.

I love using it in the morning after my coffee. It is a nice, easy way to wake up your body. The sound of the water is soothing and conjures up pleasant memories for me. After 20-30 minutes I can feel the effects on my legs, arms and back and my mind is in its happy place. A great way to start the day.

A bit more about meditation…

Whether you work out in a gym or at home, your goal is to create a healthier you. Anytime I can combine a healthy workout for my body and my mind, then I feel that I’m using my precious time effectively. Practicing Yoga and using my water rower provide me with a healthy balance between body and mind.

Meditation for stress relief for me is whenever I can focus on my internal life as opposed to my external life. Meditation does not have to be sitting in lotus position and focusing on my navel. I do walking meditations where I will focus on my senses. What do I smell? What colors do I notice? The sound of my feet on the gravel or of a dry leaf skittering across the tarmac. When I use the water rower, the sound send me off into orbit. The physical effort is minimal and becomes locked into my muscle memory. I no longer have to think about how to do. Just do and listen. Before I know it, a half hour has clicked by and my body and mind feel ready to face the challenges of the day. This is why I love my WaterRower and recommend it to all my clients. It’s a piece of equipment that will last a lifetime.


Fourteen years into ownership of my WaterRower and I noticed a puddle on the floor. My tank had cracked. Being local to Rhode Island, I called the company and set-up an appointment to pick up a new tank. The building is a beautiful as the product they make. Their staff was helpful and knowledgeable and I was back on the road in fifteen minutes. It took me about 30 minutes to swap out the old tank for the new (video provided) and add a fresh coat of oil to the wood. Fourteen years of service with no problems is an indicator of the durability of the materials and quality of the design. Kudos to Becky for the exemplary follow-up support. She was there with me all the way from purchase of the new tank to making sure everything went back together correctly. WaterRower Inc gets a well-earned 5 star rating from this lifetime customer. Feel free to comment on this article.






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