WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine Review

A cheaper cousin of the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor, the WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine comes with most of what the former has. Though it does lack some of the more advanced features, it has some interesting features of its own, which add value to the purchase for anyone who invests in this rowing machine. The analysis below will explain in detail why this device lives up to WaterRower’s reputation of providing world-class rowing machines.

Technical Specifications

  • Resistance Type: Water
  • Dimensions:  84 x 21 x 22 inches
  • Machine Weight:  117 pounds
  • Weight capacity: 275 pounds
  • Storage:  Stands upright
  • Warranty : 5- year on frame/ 3-year on parts

(Requires completion of registration form. Otherwise, warranty is only one year on both frame and parts).

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Ease of Assembly

Like water resistance rowing machines in general, the  WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine has few parts which need to be put together. Users commented that using an allen wrench, they could assemble the machine is less than half an hour, though some did mention that they found the directions in the user manual somewhat confusing.

Ease of Use

The  WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine uses water resistance, which has some special characteristics of its own. Most notable among them is that the resistance varies according to the intensity of the user’s workout. Hence, this machine is suitable for almost  every age group – children and elderly people can row slowly to produce less resistance, and adults with good physique can row faster, producing higher resistance and hence, a more rigorous workout. For the average person following the correct rowing procedure, this machine offers a huge range of resistances, which can be used to customize one’s workout in a hundred different ways.

A second notable feature is that the amount of water in the tank determines the amount of resistance to some extent – those looking for an easier workout would be advised to keep the water level low.


WaterRower is known for producing quality wooden frames for its rowing machines. Hence, while the Oxbridge Rowing Machine is made from Cherry wood, the cheaper  WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine comes with an Ash wood frame. It should be  noted that Ash wood, though cheaper than Cherry wood, is quite strong, and hence, the handcrafted frame is built to take some heavy abuse.

Though the machine comes with a single monorail as compared to two in the WaterRower Oxbridge Machine, the rail itself is very sturdy. The water tank is made of polycarbonate, which is virtually indestructible under normal conditions. Thus, although not meant for commercial use (as the name suggests), the machine can be used for rigorous workouts for years without there being any noticeable fall in quality of the product.

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The movement of the paddles, the seat on the monorail and the handles themselves are very smooth, with there being no lag whatsoever. Although some noise is produced by the splashing of water in the tank, unlike air resistance machines, this noise is generally considered soothing by users.

The comfort factor of the WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine is quite high thanks to the padded seat which is the same as that on costlier WaterRower machines. The handles are covered to ensure that beginners can hold them with ease. Footrests are large enough for most users, and the nylon bands for securing the feet are quite strong. However, the rowing machine lacks the benefits of a single button footrest size modification, which is available on higher end machines.


Unlike the S4 Monitor on WaterRower’s higher end models, the  WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine comes with an A1 monitor, which is basically a toned down version of the former. Hence, one doesn’t get heart rate monitoring features, connectivity with PC, etc., and target distance/duration settings. The number of buttons is limited to five, and the display is a pretty basic LCD one without backlighting, which means that you’ll need some external lighting to see the display clearly.

That said, the display does provide all the relevant information including total strokes, distance covered, stroke count and calories burnt. Indeed, users found the display quite convenient, with only a few complaining of the lack of more advanced features, which are anyway not staple even in high end machines from other manufacturers. The display runs on two AA batteries which are included in the package by WaterRower.


Like the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine, the  WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine is pretty large, and needs to be raised into a vertical position. This is done easily by anyone of medium strength with just one hand, in a matter of minutes.

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Who is the WaterRower A1 Home best for?

According to WaterRower, the machine can support up to 275 pounds, and in spite of its sturdy frame, one would be advised to use it only if they were within that limit. There appears to be no fixed limit on the height of the person however, since children as well as people above 6′ could use it with ease. However, people taller than 6’4” should verify their compatibility with the machine before buying it.


  • Very sturdy build ensures longevity even under heavy and regular workout regimes.
  • Smooth functioning with little noise beyond splashing of water.
  • Padded seat, covered handles and adjustable footrest ensure user comfort.


  • Control Panel is a downgrade from the S4 monitor, with many features missing.


Though the WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine is essentially a toned down version of the higher end WaterRower models, the combination of a sturdy frame, smooth functioning and sufficient provision for user comfort ensure that it is great when it comes to value for money. Considering that water resistance rowing machines generally don’t come cheap, this rowing machine can prove to be an excellent option for anyone who seeks a good one without shelling out an exhorbitant amount of money.

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