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      September 19, 2020

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Water Rower vs PreCor

To help you find the Best Rowing Machines, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Water Rower and PreCor.

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Buy Your Rowing Machine with Xterra Today! Where can you find the best rowing machines? Maybe you got a taste at a HIIT class like Eat the Frog or Orangetheory, you're a CrossFit devotee, or you just get in a rowing session when you hit Planet Fitness or another gym. Many people have a love-hate relationship with this particular piece of fitness equipment, so we applaud you if you're looking for a quality machine to add to your home gym!

You probably know all of the reasons to love rowing machines: few cardio workouts give you the total body focus that's achieved while rowing. Generally speaking, a rowing routine uses 65-75% legs and 25-35% of the upper body - strengthening legs, arms, and abs all at the same time. That's efficient!

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Best Reviews

2020

Rowing Machine Reviews

3 stars
Water Rower

WATER ROWER

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Cost:

From $895 to $2,500

Over the last 30+ years, WaterRower has delivered handmade-in-the-USA craftsmanship in their rowing machines. Manufactured in Rhode Island and distributed to health clubs, boutique fitness studios and luxury hotels worldwide, these rowers not only work well but look amazing in your home.

Not just a pretty face

As you'd guess from the name, all of WaterRower's machines use water for resistance. For many users, this provides a smoother, more even rowing experience - and the aesthetic appeal of the water sound in the tank closely mimics outdoor rowing.

Equipment overview:

  • Rower Type: Water
  • Price Range: $895 - $2,500
  • Different Models: 10
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Return Policy: None
  • Warranty: Frame - 5 years, Components - 3 years, Electronics - 1 year
  • Shipping: $69.95 to $134.95

10 rowing machines to choose from

You'll have 10 different models to consider with WaterRower. At the lowest end of the price spectrum is the A1 at $895. This rower has a single-rail design, a simplified performance monitor, and an ash hardwood frame. On the other end of the range is the S1, priced at $2,500. A limited edition model, this rowing machine has a brushed stainless steel frame, an upgraded S4 performance monitor, and dual rail design.

Best Rowing Machines

Same as the studio

Are you coming to WaterRower as an Orangetheory Fitness addict wanting to replicate your run-to-row at home? You're looking for the M1 HiRise. No, you can't get it in OTF orange - you'll have to settle for silver - but everything else from the foot straps to the monitor is the exact same as what you've used at the studio.

Can't be folded

None of the rowing machines in this product line can be folded or disconnected in the middle for easy storage. But, they can be tipped on their end and stored upright (water tank end down). You'll need about 88" of room while in use (and that means 88" for upright storage), and a depth of just under 28" while stored.

No easy resistance change

You also don't have an easy way to change the resistance on a WaterRower machine. Yes, you could add or take away water from the tank, but that's definitely not something to be done mid-workout.

Shipping costs vary

What you spend on shipping depends on whether you choose a wooden or metal model and where you live. WaterRower does ship to Hawaii and Alaska, but you'll have to enter your zip code to find out your costs. Otherwise, for states east of the Mississippi, you'll pay either $69.95 (wooden) or $124.95 (metal), and for states west of the river you'll pay $79.95 or $134.95.

Returns allowed only if defective

The biggest drawback to buying a WaterRower is the lack of a return policy. Except for defective machines and warranty purposes, you're stuck with your rowing machine once it's been delivered. So, you'd better be absolutely certain that you prefer water-based resistance and that your machine is going to fit in the space you have in mind.

Customers are thrilled

On a positive note, customers who've taken the chance on these no-return rowers are almost uniformly thrilled with their purchase. People say that assembly is fairly basic, and the user experience is fantastic: quiet, smooth, and a killer workout. It doesn't hurt that these machines look great too - much more sleek and stylish than the average rower.

Pretty, but worth it?

Although we'd like to see an enhanced return policy, WaterRower still earns a decent rating for providing a wider range of options than many retailers of rowing machines. The company has an extremely loyal following, particularly with exercisers who fell in love with the rowers at the studio or gym and jumped at the chance to have one at home. But, higher prices for both the machines and the shipping could put WaterRower out of range for customers who don't have a particular affinity for the brand.

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2 stars
PreCor

PRECOR

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Cost:

$1,499

Precor was one of the first companies to bring fitness equipment to home users. As the creator of the world's first elliptical in 1995 and more than 30 years in the industry, Precor knows what it takes to create high-quality machines for cardio and strength workouts.

Planet Fitness supplier

You might also be familiar with Precor equipment if you've ever worked out at Planet Fitness. After a 3-year trial period, Precor was given an agreement with the gym making their full range of cardio and strength equipment available to all PF franchisees.

Only 1 rowing machine

Precor only carries one rowing machine for in-home use: the Assault AirRower Elite, priced at $1,499 (or $41.63/month for 36 months, if approved for 0% financing). This is a commercial-grade machine much like what you'll find at Planet Fitness or other gyms. Resistance is air-based with the fan in front, but the AirRower doesn't seem to have any means of adjusting that resistance. That makes for a much less customizable workout than most of the rowing machines we evaluated.

Equipment overview:

  • Rower Type: Air
  • Price Range: $1,499
  • Different Models: 1
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Return Policy: No returns allowed
  • Warranty: Frame/Welds - 5 years, Parts - 3 years, Console - 1 year, Labor - 1 year
  • Shipping: $79

Focus on muscle groups

The console allows you to connect via Bluetooth, and its onboard programming has 8 pre-configured workouts if you'd rather not just row-and-go. One novel aspect of this machine is that it has a multi-grip handle, making it possible to do single-handed exercises to focus on specific muscles/muscle groups.

Non-folding

This rower doesn't fold for storage, so make sure you've got a footprint of at least 70" in the space you plan on putting this equipment.

No return policy

Warranty coverage on this rowing machine is fairly standard, ranging from 1-5 years on the various components and labor costs. However, the return policy is the worst on the market: namely, there is none. If you get your Precor machine home and it's an absolute fail for whatever reason, you'd better hope you can sell it for close to cost because the company isn't taking it back for any reason.

Can't compete

Compared with other retailers of rowers, Precor comes up short. With only 1 higher-priced model available for purchase and zero return policy, they just don't compete with companies that offer a wide range of rowing machines - and that have return policies of at least 30 days. For those reasons, despite their well-established history in the industry, Precor winds up at the bottom of our rankings.

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Continued from above

Another huge reason to take advantage of rowing is its low-impact style. There's no pounding on already-sensitive joints while using a rowing machine, just a push and a pull that glides back and forth with whatever amount of effort you choose to use.

What style of rowing machine is best? That largely depends on preference. Resistance comes in four ways: air (flywheel), magnetic, pistons or cylinders, and water. If you've used a machine at a fitness center, you're probably familiar with flywheel and water rowers already. Those styles also do the best job of imitating the feel (and the sound, for tank-base systems) of rowing in open water.

So, how can you tell which rowing machine is the right one for your home gym? Here are several criteria to keep in mind as you shop for a rower:

  • Price. Rowing machines can range from ultra-affordable (less than $300) to top-of-the-line (over $2,500). While spending more usually puts more features and cutting-edge technology in your hands, you don't have to break the bank to get a rower that delivers a terrific workout.
  • Features. Make a list of the must-haves for your rower. Does it need to fold easily for storage? Do you want the capability of following a live class, Peloton-style? Should your rowing machine have a certain look to match your other home gym equipment?
  • Returns and Warranty. What if your rowing machine doesn't fit the space you had planned out? Or you realize that you'd actually prefer the resistance of a water rower instead of a flywheel system? Most retailers of rowers allow returns, but watch out for restocking fees and return shipping fees. What kind of warranty coverage does the company give you for the frame, mechanical components, and any electronics?
  • Reputation. What do other shoppers say about the company? Can you expect good service if something goes wrong during shipping, installation, or day-to-day use? A rowing machine can be a significant investment, so you want to know that your purchase is from a business that has your back.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best rowing machines available today. We hope this information helps you pick the right rower to meet all your health and fitness goals!

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