Rowing Machines Water Vs Air Vs Magnetic

Rowing Machines Water Vs Air Vs Magnetic

Rowing is a popular type of exercise that is gaining popularity because of its health advantages. It might be difficult to pick which rowing machine is right for you if you’re considering buying one.

We’ll go through the differences and similarities between water, air, and magnetic rowers in this article also which indoor rower is ideal for you depending on a variety of variables.

The sensation, resistance mechanisms, design, and cost of water, air, and magnetic rowing machines are all different.

Water rowers are the most realistic rowing machines, air rowers are the most difficult, and magnetic rowers will offer you the quietest rowing experience.

Water Rower

When selecting which rowing machine is ideal for you, water rowers appear to be the most intuitive. After all, the majority of those who are interested in them are most likely preparing for the real thing, which is rowing in a huge body of water.

So, a water rower will give you the most realistic rowing experience with an increased impact on your body.

A water rower is a rowing machine that uses water to produce resistance and simulate the feeling of rowing on water. A seat, handlebars, footrests, a water tank, paddles, and a chain make up the structure of a water rower.

At the front of the machine, there is a water drum beneath the footrests. When you pull on the handles, the paddle moves in the tank, push water and creates the weight or resistance thus makes the rowing tougher.

Magnetic Rowing Machine

Magnetic rowing machines, like air rowing machines, are fast becoming a popular rowing option for people who want to row at home. Although it does not replicate the sensation of rowing on water, it will nonetheless provide a challenging exercise.

A magnetic resistance rowing machine, which uses a powerful magnet to produce resistance, is the contemporary approach to the sport. By changing the distance between the magnet and the spinning flywheel, the gadget can change the level of generated resistance.

Unlike water and air, this magnetic mechanism remains constant during the pull, regardless of how quickly or leisurely you row.

Buying Guide

We’ll go through the important elements to consider when deciding which rowing machine is appropriate for you now that you know a little more about each type of rowing machine available.

We’ve also put together a simple summary chart that lists the benefits and drawbacks of each option:

Water Rower:


  • More realistic stoke
  • Wooden fashionable design
  • Relatively quieter


  • Large in size
  • Inaccurate metrics
  • Expensive

Price: From £350 ($500)

Air Rower:


  • Effective Workout
  • Realistic feel
  • Precise metrics


  • Loud

Price: From £215($300)

Magnetic Rower


  • Compact
  • Almost Silent
  • Affordable
  • Precise metrics


  • Unrealistic feel

Price: From £110($150)

Stroke Experience

The sensation of the stroke differs depending on whether you’re using water, air, or a magnetic indoor rowing machine.

The most natural stroke sensation comes from water rowing machines. A water rowing machine works similarly to a genuine rowing machine in that you paddle through water to move it.

While you are not moving on the machine, you are moving the water in the water tank and giving the impression of travelling through the water.

Air rowing machines are popular for their smooth strokes that closely resemble rowing on water. Air smoothly glides through the flywheel, creating a smooth rowing sensation similar to that of a water rower. The air rowing machine is your best chance for a water-like sensation among waterless equipment.

The magnets in a magnetic rowing machine, while efficient at producing resistance, do not replicate the sensation of rowing through the water.

The quicker you row on water or air rowing machine, the more resistance you generate. The magnetic rowing machine lacks this capability, and regardless of how fast or slow you row, the stroke remains constant.

Workout Intensity and Resistance

Each rowing machine has variable resistance, allowing you to get a variety of exercises.

You can determine the resistance level by raising or reducing the amount of water in the water tank of a water rowing machine.

The more water in the drum, the more difficult it will be to row. Moreover, when you row faster, the resistance will rise as well and remove some water and row slower if you want a lesser intensity.

You can control the resistance with the speed of your rowing and the damper settings on an air rowing machine. The amount of air that passes through the flywheel determines the resistance and intensity.

The higher the settings, the more air is let in, making rowing more difficult. You can lower the damper settings via a monitor or manually and row slowly for a more comfortable rowing workout.

The distance of the metal flywheel and the magnets determines the resistance level on the magnetic rowing machine. It is more difficult to row when the magnet is near and you can change the resistance level with the monitor or manually.

The Best Rower for Using at Home

You’ll need to consider how much noise the rowing machine produces also how much room it takes up while using it at home. No matter what, an indoor rower will occupy much space but there are variances in size among the rowers.

The air rowing machine is by far the loudest in terms of noise levels. Although you can hear the water splashing in the tank, the water rowing machine is pretty silent.

The quietest rowing machine is a magnetic rowing machine, which makes very little to no noise as you row. You should also think about where you’re going to put the machine because wooden flooring generates greater vibrations and noise, but a carpet or mat absorbs the sound.

Air and magnetic rowing devices are often smaller in size than water rowing machines. Magnetic rowing machines are the smallest and lightest of rowing equipment.

So, if you’re looking for a tiny and quiet rowing machine, the magnetic rowing machine will be the most suitable for you.

Features and Technology

Rowing machines can be basic and straightforward or sophisticated and highly complex.

From a technological standpoint, water rowing machines are often on the basic side, with only a metrics display. However, because this display is frequently incorrect, you should take anything it says with a grain of salt.

On the other hand, air and magnetic rowing machines are frequently more sophisticated, with features such as a built-in screen, tablet holder, pre-programmed exercises, and more.

The Echelon Rowing machine and the NordicTrack RW-900 are two of the smart linked rowers that may offer you an immersive training experience.


There are many various styles of rowing machines and materials to select from nowadays. Usually, the material of the water rower is wood that gives it a stylish, timeless look that will well with any decor.

The air rower and magnetic rower, which are usually black or silver, have a more sleek and futuristic appearance.

Maintenance and Durability

Generally, rowing machines do not necessitate a lot of maintenance. If you go for a water rowing machine, you’ll have to replace the water now and again, and that’s all. Most rowers will survive a long period if you care and do maintenance properly.

Wiping down the rowing machine after each use, positioning the machine on top of a mat, and occasionally verifying that all nuts and screws are in proper position are some preventative and care methods used to maintain your rowing machine in good form.


Rowing machines are less expensive than other training devices. You’ll hardly ever have to spend more than £1,000 ($1,400) on a good rowing machine.

The most expensive are water rowing machines; however, the price of lower-tier water rowers is as lower as £350 ($500). Magnetic rowing machines are the most cost-effective, with entry-level models starting at £110 ($150). Air rowing machines are available for as little as £215 ($300).

Overall, if you want the most authentic and traditional rowing experience, the water rower is the way to go. An air rower is a good option if you don’t mind the loud noise and are serious about rowing as a sport.

Finally, if you’re searching for a smaller and quieter at-home rower, the magnetic rower is the appropriate one. So, the final choice will be yours as per your requirements, budget and feasibility.

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