Water Vs Air Rower ? (Design, Resistance, Pros & Cons)

The main difference between air and water rowing machines is that the water rowing machine has a water tank that provides resistance to it, as the exercising body increases the rowing intensity then the resistance changes. On the other hand, the rowing machine has a flywheel that functions in generating the resistance, and you can also control the intensity of the workout

When it comes to air vs water rowers the other difference between air and water rowing machines is that the water rowing machine is somewhat more expensive than the air rowing machine. In addition to this, the water rower is a very quiet exercising machine and the air rower makes noise. So if you are concerned with the noise level then a water rower is the preferred choice

Rowing machines are very important and they are very commonly used by people who are unable to attend the gym or who don’t have time for exercising outdoors like jogging or running. So in this case, if they want to maintain their fitness then rowing machines are the most preferred option. They are very effective because they help to increase your heart rate,  help you to reduce your body fat, and build endurance.

You need to know that when it comes to these machines they are very amazing for intense and aerobic workouts and they target all the main muscles of the body at a time they are very useful to keep a body in shape. In addition to this rowing machines are an amazing option for people of all ages and can be used by people of all fitness levels. The two main types of rowing machines are the air rower and water rowing machines.

Most of the time people get confused between these two and they don’t understand which machine they are supposed to choose for themselves. If you are also one of those people then read this article till the end to understand the main differences between these two machines and after that, you can choose anyone for yourself which suits your needs.


Water Rowing Machines

Our Pick


  • Item Weight: 84 pounds
  • Resistance: Water
  • Max Weight: 350 pounds
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 76x22x19 inches
  • Batteries: 2 AAA
  • Material: Solid black walnut wood
  • Color: Black

Is a water rowing machine better than an air rower and how does the water rower work? You might be having some questions like these in your mind. When it comes to producing a quiet and strong resistance then these machines are an amazing option.  Water rowing machines are equipped with a large water tank at the front and also have a seat trail. This tank also helps the rower to gain some stability and the main reason behind this is the position of the tank.

In many cases, it is observed that people prefer water rowing machines because they help in creating a pleasant effect and a good workout experience. They are very quiet and would make no noise as compared to the air rower because this machine has a realistic kind of water-sloshing sound.

In addition to this when it comes to the resistance workout then you need to know that it is much more realistic than the other type because you can adjust the resistance with the stroke.  In many cases, people tend to choose this machine for exercise in their homes and the main reason behind this is it gives a more realistic form of rowing.

Impressive Design

The wooden rowers of this machine would never fail to impress you, and that is the most prominent feature and the beauty of this machine. They are handmade and are made from the best wood from choice cuts and that is why it makes the water rower look stunning.

It is very common that when people think about any machine like a water rower then the first thing that clicks their minds is the traditional rowers in a wooden finish. But you need to know that if you are not liking the wooden rowers or want any change in them. Ior more simply if you want to replace it with cheaper alternatives then in that case you can go for a metal tube design. In this way, if you are not dead set on the wooden water rowing machine then you can just save money simply.

The rowers manufactured in this way will also finely do the same job but the material would just be different. But in case you prefer to keep a more natural look and can easily afford them, then, in this case, there is no better option than the wooden rowers for this machine


The resistance in the case of this machine is provided by the water-based rowers. You need to know that in the case of this machine there are pedals that are suspended in the tank of water which is located at the front part of this machine. And for doing any movement you are supposed to pull the handles that are attached to the rowing strap which spins the pedals which are present inside the water tank.

The resistance is created due to the movement of water and the movement of water is due to the spinning motion of pedals. As the exercising body moves faster than simultaneously the pedal also moves with the same speed and as a result, more resistance is generated.  This simply means that you can say that the faster the exercising body is rowing the more resistance is generated and to overcome that resistance exercise and the body is supposed to apply more force.

You can also say that this is very similar to the rule of cubes which says that if you want to double the speed of a boat then you will be needing to increase the resistance upto eight times. This simply means that in the case of this machine you can experience an infinite amount of resistance levels and it cannot be limited to a specific number. It can be ideal stated that machines based on this kind of resistance do not contain any settings related to the resistance so this simply means that the fastest exercising body is rowing  the more amount of resistance it will experience

The Monitors

You need to know that monitors are the most important part of a rowing machine and if you think that you would get a rowing machine without monitors then it would be of no use because they are very necessary in this case. It is very unfortunate to mention over here that the water rowing machines are manufactured with somewhat less than ideal monitors especially when the monitors are compared with those of the air rowing machines.

It is to inform you that if you get a more expensive water rower then the accuracy of the monitor also increases which simply means that your monitor’s precision and accuracy are entirely dependent on the price of the equipment that you are purchasing from the market.  The same is the case with the wooden rowers,  if you get a more expensive water rolling machine then the wooden rowers will also be of high quality. 

No matter how much you increase the price in this case, the accuracy and precision of a monitor installed on the water rowing machine cannot match those installed on the air rower. In addition to this, you need to know that the series 4 is considered the best monitor that you can find on a water rower. When it comes to the monitor of this machine then they can give you many statistical readings such as distance,  500 m split, watts, time, heart rate  and has many other cool features

Water Level

As mentioned earlier in this article, this machine is manufactured with a water tank located at the front of the machine and the quantity of water can be increased and reduced also.  You need to know that the level of water affects the rowing stroke.  The machine comes with some specific instructions which are related to the filling of the water tank and the instructions also contain the mentioned level that you need to fill it up to. 

The level of water is dependent on the age of the person who is exercising and their ability to exercise so there are different levels for everybody.  if you are thinking that adding an extra amount of water to the tank will increase resistance then you will be making a big mistake because this is not the right statement and you need to know that resistance is not related to the amount of water that you add in the tank but instead it is related to the speed that the exercising body is applying while it is moving. 

so this simply means that the fastest speed the greater the resistance is and to avoid the level of resistance you need to work hard.  you need to know that the level of water in this tank will only be the indication of the weight of the boat and the person who is sitting inside so this simply means that the level of water changes the weight of the user who is exercising and it has no specific effect on the resistance levels


When it comes to the disadvantages of this equipment then you need to know that the monitors are not very accurate or efficient as are installed in the concept two machines.  Moreover, the starting prices of this machine are very high and till now the users have not observed cheap water throwing machines so it can be slightly out of your affordable range.  the other thing is that the size of this machine is larger compared to the air rower machine so when the tank is filled with water especially when it is full then it is not an easy task to move the machine

Air Rowing Machines

Our Pick


  • Item Weight: 56.2 pounds
  • Resistance: Air
  • Max Weight: 117.93 kg
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 78×22.8×22.6 inches
  • Batteries: 1 AAA
  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Color: Silver

Air rowing machines are an amazing option when it comes to a good exercise or workout and the main reason behind this is that they offer you strong strokes and are manufactured in different price ranges which include high price,  medium price, and low price.  Just like the water rowing machines, these also mimic resistance which is felt when you are rowing on water. But you need to know that these machines can easily record the power speed and distance much more accurately as compared to the other one.

 They are also manufactured with advanced monitors and this is the reason that they are so popular in the fitness community. The main difference between both these machines is the resistance and how it can be increased.  In the case of this machine, there is the presence of a device called a damper which is used to control the amount of entry into the flywheel. 

If you set the device at a slower pace then, as a result, less air resistance is there and the stroke is easier on the other hand if the amount of air entering the flywheel is increased then, as a result, the air stroke becomes too hard or too tough.


You need to know that the monitors installed on the more advanced or higher air rowers for instance the concept 2 rowers are very famous among the fitness community.  So this simply means that the monitors which are installed on the expensive errors are more accurate and advanced compared to the monitors installed on the budget air rowers because they are somewhat basic and less accurate as compared to the advanced visions. 

But it is also very important to know that the monitors installed on the low-end air rowers are far better than the monitors installed on the low-end water rowers. If you want to know about the best monitors related to the air rowers then you need to know that at the present moment the best monitor in the whole market is the Concept 2 Model D PM5. This one can record the variables or statistics just like 500m split times, watts, distance, pace boat, and force curve.

Moreover, this one can calculate the deceleration of the flywheel when you are using the machine with every stroke performed by the exercising body and it can simply give you an idea of the amount of workout that you are doing. In addition to this, you need to know that some factors like humidity,  elevation, and accumulation of dust do not influence the data which is recorded and displayed by the monitor installed on the machine.  The monitor is like the one mentioned above and can compare race and time against each other also.  due to this reason, some major competitions make use of the air  rowing  machines such as indoor rowing competitions and the  Olympics too


In this form of rowing machine, The resistance is built by the action of air that is coming and the machine operates in a similar way to a water rower because both of them follow the laws of fluid dynamics and the fluid is either water or air. When it comes to the working principle, you need to know that it involves some user who pulls the handle which is attached to the fan flywheel and the user just spins the flywheel while they are performing a rowing stroke.

So this means that it moves the particles of air and causes resistance to develop against the fan and the user is supposed to force it to spin the flywheel.  It simply states that the fastest exercising body is moving or operating then more resistance is created and it proves that there is an exponential link between the speed and resistance of a machine.

Controlling Resistance

If you are thinking about how you will control the resistance of this machine then the resistance or the airflow to the flywheel of this machine is controlled with a device called a damper.  Damper Has some kind of settings that allow the quantity of air to enter or interact with the flywheel.  so this simply means that air is entering the flywheel and in another case, water was doing this role. 

You need to understand this that when the exercising body moves the setting of the damper to 1  then it would only allow a little amount of air to enter the flywheel for the spinning machine it simply means that a lesser amount of air is interacting with the flywheel and the body which is exercising will feel little strokes as a result.

 In addition to this if you set the settings of this device to number 10 then it would surely allow a large amount of air to interact with and enter the flywheel or the swimming machine and as a result, the body exercising on this machine will feel somewhat heavier strokes. You can simply say that the settings of the damper  are very similar to the bicycle gearing


No doubt that there are many advantages of this machine but along with that in any equipment you will also observe some drawbacks or disadvantages and the same is the case of this one.  Some disadvantages include that they are very noisy and you might have gained an idea about this fact If you have ever used this machine in a gym.  It produces a very annoying sound.  so this is the reason that it is always and recommended that if you are going to use the machine in a joint setup then it would irritate you


When it comes to the final thought about the comparison between these two machines then it is dependent on your own choice that which machine would be the most perfect choice for you when it comes to exercising.  If you are someone who lives alone and has no problem with loud noise then an air rower is your option otherwise if you are living in a joint setup or share a flat with a friend or you are concerned about your neighborhood then a water rowing machine is the most amazing choice for you because it won’t irritate you are the people around you.

 In addition to this if you are concerned about the weight and movement of these machines then an air rower is lighter as compared to the other one because it does not have any water tank and it can be moved easily so it is not heavier. When it comes to the price range then the air rower is more affordable as compared to the other option

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