Rowing is one of the top exercises to maintain a stable Core, lumbar spine strength, proper postural dynamics in a technology-based world and of course Cardiovascular fitness. I have rowed for years and was able to start out with the Concept 2, step up to the Water Rower Club and then demo the Life Fitness Row GX trainer at a local fitness club.
Each rower is quite different in its features, costs, resistance levels and true to Water feel. The Concept 2 Model D has a nickel-plated steel chain with an air flywheel that has 10 levels of controlled resistance. The Console computer is the PM5 model and is both Bluetooth enabled for heart rate and multiple App compatibility for live viewing performance dynamics and competition with other rowers. The Concept 2 is highly durable due to the aluminum/steel frame and has the ergonomic handle and has a very aggressive rowing feel that is fairly close to true water dynamics. The Water Rower Club was one of my Top Products of 2017 and uses a self-regulating water control resistance with a nylon pulley and S4 performance monitor. This S4 monitor is Bluetooth heart rate compatible and does require the Smart Rower upgrade at $275 to be iOS App compatible. The frame is natural Ash which is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity, reduced vibration, dimensional stability and classic look. The nylon pulley is attached with a durable handle that is not as ergonomic as it could be. I was able to demo the Life Fitness Row GX trainer at a local Planet Fitness in my area. The resistance is water controlled with the additional 16 levels of added resistance to your workout. The pulley is nylon with a slightly angled ergonomic handle. The console computer is Bluetooth enabled for heart rate monitoring but lacks the App compatibility. These units are extremely durable due to this model that is used high traffic fitness gyms and are known for long-term use and durability. There is a true water type feel with the addition of added resistance levels but the tank would feel more realistic with a bigger tank. I feel that the combination of water and variable resistance should be either or because the combination isn’t as good as the Concept or Water Rower themselves.
The lightest weight version is the Concept 2 at 57 lbs. with the Water Club at 103 lbs. and the Life Fitness trainer being 135 lbs. As for price the Concept 2 and Water Rower are very close in proximity with the exception of the Smart Rower upgrade for App compatibility. The Water Rower is still my favorite based upon durability, true water resistance and highly crafted professional natural look. As for the Life Fitness Row GX trainer is well over double the cost of the other two, which even though it has the 16 levels of resistance, I don’t feel that it is worth the additional price especially since it does not have the app compatibility or more natural feel.