MaxKare Water Rowing Machine Review

MaxKare Water Rowing Machine ReviewThe MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is the newest addition to the lineup of budget water rowers.

5 years ago, the cheapest water rowing machine was around $800. Now there are multiple options under $500!

That’s great for consumers but it’s getting harder and harder to choose the best option!

Luckily, the MaxKare Water Rower is an excellent water resistance rowing machine with great build quality, a smooth rowing stroke, and a good (not great) monitor.

Users who are looking to get the amazing full-body benefits of a rowing machine but not wanting to break the bank will love this model!

Obviously, there are always some downsides and the chance that other options could be better.

I’ll help outline all the pros and cons below in my full MaxKare Water Rowing Machine review so you can make the right decision!

Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price
13. Overall Review

Resistance Type

The MaxKare Water Rower is of course – a water resistance rowing machine.

This means the resistance is created by fan blades submerged in a tank of water.

As a user begins to row and pulls the handle, this starts to spin the fan blades in the water tank.

The fan blades need to displace the water in front of them, which is how the resistance is created.

As a user rows faster, the fan must move more and more water in the tank, which creates more and more resistance.

Due to the resistance increasing or decreasing based on the rowing speed, we call this “variable” resistance.

This is different from “adjustable” resistance (magnetic rowers) where you just spin a dial on the console and the resistance changes, no matter how fast or slow you row.

You can read about all of the different resistance types here.

Resistance Benefits

Water rowing machines have a ton of benefits over other resistance types and some resistance benefits specific to the MaxKare Rowing Machine.

Firstly, water resistance offers a super smooth rowing stroke and the actual feeling of rowing on water!

Users love the sounds created by the water tank and it’s actually quite meditative. The sounds is much quieter than an air rower but does make more noise than a magnetic rowing machine.

If you visit this link you can hear the sounds created while rowing on a MaxKare Water Rower. The person is not rowing at full speed so the noise level will be much higher when rowing faster but you will get the idea.

MaxKare Water Rower Resistance

The tank is made from very durable polycarbonate plastic and is clear. It holds about 3-4 gallons of water and has different “fill” lines.

The higher you fill the tank, the heavier the resistance will feel, because the fan blades have to move more water!

As I mentioned earlier, you can create more resistance by rowing faster or you can add/subtract water from the tank.

Most users felt the resistance was adequate and strong enough for any user. Some users mentioned that when filled to the highest level (6), the resistance was slightly less than a Concept2 Rower at a medium damper setting.

Resistance Overall

Overall, there were very few complaints about the resistance. It’s smooth, strong, and quiet – just like a water rower should be!

In comparison to other rowing machines in this price range I would say the resistance is comparable.

Monitor/Control Panel

The MaxKare Water Rower monitor is decent. It’s not advanced but it’s also not basic.

It comes equipped with a large LCD monitor that is not backlit and will track the following data:

  • Time
  • SPM (stroke per minute)
  • Strokes
  • 500m Split Time
  • Distance
  • Calories
  • Watts
  • Pulse
  • Race Mode

As you can see from the photo below, the data is easy to read and separated into different compartments.

MaxKare Water Rower Monitor

There’s not much to the monitor and it’s very intuitive to use and operate.

One cool feature is the ‘Race Mode’ where you can set the pace of a boat and try to maintain that speed or beat it! Your progress is tracked on the main center square of the monitor.

You can also set the monitor to countdown from different metrics such as a 5000m workout or 15 minute workout (monitor will countdown to 0).

Users can purchase a wireless heart rate monitor to track their pulse onscreen but one is not included. Any ANT+ heart rate technology or any 5.3 kHz HR chest strap transmitter should work.

You can view some top selling models here.

Monitor Downsides

There were very few downsides mentioned on this monitor because how can a consumer complain about a lack of technology on a rower in this price range!

Some people disliked the monitor not being backlit because it made it difficult to read. I do not feel this is an issue and 99% of the people can see it fine.

Another issue is the data accuracy. This monitor will not accurately record distance, watts, etc. – so you cannot rely on the “distance” times to be accurate.

A lot of calculations go into how far a rower travels during a stroke such as stroke length, power of the stroke, stroke rate, etc. No monitor in this price range is going to record this information accurately, so it’s not necessarily a downside to this model but all models in the price range.

If you want a more accurate monitor, you will need to spend around $800 – $1,000.

Monitor Overall

As you can see, the monitor is fairly basic, straightforward, and easy to use.

It gets the job done and is fine for most at-home users who are not looking to break records or compare their times to other rowers.

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Build Quality

The MaxKare Water Rower has great build quality for the price and is constructed with steal tubing and an aluminum frame.

Many users were pleasantly surprised by the quality they received for the price and felt that it would withstand the test of time.

The rower feels very sturdy due to there being 4 large bolts that secure the seat rail to the main frame, although this means it cannot fold in half for storage.

MaxKare Water Rowing Machine

Each corner has a stabilizer so you can adjust the level on an uneven surface and the rower will not wobble. The stabilizers are plastic so you may need a large rowing machine floor mat to prevent the rower from moving on hard surfaces.

Users felt the handle, seat, and footrest were made of high quality material and the rowing machine felt sturdy while using (more on the seat in my ‘Consumer Review section). The bearings and seat rollers also felt very smooth and durable.

Many people loved the footrest platform because it was not a pivoting footrest design like other budget rowers. Meaning, a user places their feet on a “fixed board” at a 45 degree angle instead of having their feet in footrest that pivot as you row.

Most people find the “fixed” footrests allow for a more powerful drive, however, a fixed footrest means your heels will come off the board if you do not have good ankle flexibility.

The only downside I heard was from users who said the seat rail is painted with a “steal” paint that began to chip away but did not affect the rowing stroke.

I feel the overall build quality of the MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is excellent for the price range.

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Comfort can definitely be a concern on lower priced rowing machines. Often times, companies will cut corners to make a cheaper rower, which leads to less comfortable features or a less than ideal rowing stroke.

Luckily, the MaxKare Water Rower doesn’t seem to have cut any corners and the comfort is in-line with other water rowing machines in this price range.

As I mentioned previously, the footrest are fixed which is great for people wanting this feature (bad if you want pivoting footrests). This feature is really a personal preference. The footrests do adjust easily and comfortably hold almost any shoe size.

Users felt the handle had a soft, foam grip that is extra-wide to allow for more variability in the grip. It’s also attached to a “strap” (similar to seatbelt material) rather than a chain, which does help to reduce the noise.

MaxKare Water Rower Comfort

There is a water bottle holder, which seems like a cool feature but it’s a bit pointless in my opinion. You basically have to stop rowing to drink water and it’s no different to just have the water bottle sitting next to the rower.

I guess we can say at least they were trying to create a better user experience!

MaxKare Water Rower Seat

The seat is one area of concern due to there being conflicting information on the web.

Firstly, the seat does sit ~16.0″ above the ground, which is a nice level in my opinion. It’s not as high as some other options but it’s higher than most low-cost rowers. A taller seat does help people with bad knees get on/off the rower more easily.

However, the issue is what type of seat will actually show up at your house!

The photos online show a more squared, contoured rowing seat. Some users posted a picture of a heart-shaped seat when unboxing.

Now I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with either (although I would prefer the square, contoured seat). I believe the square seats are the “current” seats being shipped out.

Below are photos of each seat:

“Heart Shaped” Seat

MaxKare Heart Seat

Square Seat

MaxKare Seat

I’m not sure why the seats where changed but this is something I wanted you to be aware of before purchasing.

Comfort Overall

In general, users felt the rowing stroke is smooth and quiet. They also love the sound of water over other resistance types!

Plus, the handle can travel well in-front of a users feet, meaning they can complete a full rowing stroke. This is sometimes an issue on lower cost rowers where the handle cannot go very far past a users feet, which limits the rowing stroke.

Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price
13. Overall Review


Storing the MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is super easy and takes seconds. However, there are some key things you should know.

First off, the rower can only store vertically and does not fold in half like some rowing machines.

To store vertically, all you have to do is tip the rower forward and stand it on the front-end. There is a small rubber stopper on the front of the rower that will sit on the floor to stabilize it.

When stored vertically, the footprint becomes approx. 30″D x 20″W x 80″H

MaxKare Water Rowing Machine Storage

One very important note is to make sure the rubber plug to the water tank is tightly secured before storing and that the water level is not above the max level.

Not following these instructions could mean the tank will leak, which we obviously don’t want!

The rowing machine does have built-in front caster wheels to easily move the rower around.

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Usually when looking at the capacity of a rower you need to reach out to tall users to see if they were able to complete a full rowing stroke. Very often some good info can be found in the reviews.

When browsing reviews, a user who was 6’5″ and had a 37″ inseam said they were able to use this rower. MaxKare also confirmed that a user who is 6’4″ would be fine on this model.

There is also a rubber “stop” on the bottom of the rower to prevent the seat from hitting the rear support. If you need to remove this stopper it would allow for another 1/2″ of seat travel.

MaxKare Rower Capacity

The maximum weight capacity is 264 lbs. You may be wondering why 264 lbs.? I believe this is due to MaxKare being a Chinese-based company and the weight limit being set to 120 kg or 264 lbs after conversion.

As I mentioned, a tall user will be able to complete a full rowing stroke with no limitations and there are also no limitations for shorter users. So anyone under 6’6″ and 264 lbs can use the MaxKare Water Rower with no issues!

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  • Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H):
    • 78.0″ x 20.0″ x 30.0″
  • Stored Dimensions (L x W x H)
    • 30.0″ x 20.0″ x 80.0″
  • Shipping Dimensions (L x W x H)
    • 48.0″ x 24.0″ x 24.0″
  • Assembled Weight (without water): 81 lbs.
  • Shipping Weight: 86 lbs.

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When you go to assemble this model, do not open the instructions and panic. A lot of consumers said the instructions seem more complicated than they actually are.

The instructions also say 2 people are required but plenty of consumers were able to assemble it by themselves.

On average, it took people around 30-45 minutes to complete. After you are finished with the assembly you will have to add water to the tank. The rower comes with a small pump that needs to be used with a bucket full of water (the pump can also siphon water out). You’ll need about 3-4 gallons of water.

After filling the tank, remember to add a chlorine tablet (included with the rower). This prevents any mold or mildew from forming in the tank. A chlorine tablet is needed every 4-6 months or more frequently if you add/subtract water often.

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Pros and Cons


  • Strong build quality
  • Affordable price
  • Non-pivoting footrests
  • Smooth, quiet resistance
  • Good customer service
  • Monitor in-line with competitors


  • Need to add/subtract water to change resistance
  • Slightly lower resistance than Concept2
  • Long assembly time
  • Lower amounts of information about the rower/company online

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Consumer Reviews

Overall, the consumer reviews on the MaxKare Water Rowing Machine were positive. They actually released the rower at the perfect time!

I believe it was first released in October 2019 right before the holiday season and then was available throughout the pandemic. When a lot of the other rowing machine companies went out of stock, the MaxKare Rowers were still available.

This led to a lot of happy consumers and a lot of great reviews!

Users were most pleased with the quality for the price. They felt it was a fairly inexpensive water rower but thought it was well-built enough to last for a few years.

Most of the pieces felt well-made and the rowing stroke was adequate to fit their needs!

There were a few complaints about the water tank leaking. Some people had to use glue or silicone to seal it. There were also quite a few complaints about missing pieces or parts being delivered broken, but customer support was able to get these things sorted.

Another major complaint was about the seat (which I previously mentioned). Some users just didn’t like the fact that a different looking rower showed up than the ones in the photo.

You can read more MaxKare Water Rower reviews here.

Average Rating: 4.5

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The warranty information is a bit hard to find because this model is not listed on the MaxKare website but the manufacturer did respond to some warranty questions.

They mentioned having a 30-day refund/replace policy if any items were broken during transportation.

They also offer a 2-Year warranty on the frame and all parts.

Many consumers said the customer service is great and to simply reach out to [email protected] if there are any issues.

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MaxKare Water Rowing Machine Price

A lot of people looking for water rowers want to check the price first. In the past, water rowing machines were the most expensive and it was impossible to find one around $500.

Now there are multiple options in this price range, which is great! Plus, MaxKare makes it a real easy decision because they only sell on one platform – Amazon!

So the link below will show you the current price of the rower. I think Amazon is a great place to buy a rowing machine because they offer free shipping on qualified order, great customer service, and a layer of protection between you and the consumer.

Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price
13. Overall Review

Overall Review

Overall, I feel the MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is a great purchase if you are in the market for a low-cost water rower.

There are two other options that offer similar quality and price. Please see the links below for their reviews:

  1. Xterra Erg600W Review
  2. Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge Review

If you want to go up in quality then I would suggest looking into the WaterRower brand. They have a lot of options that differ in price based on the type of wood they use for construction. They also have the WaterRower A1, which is slightly cheaper due to it being a monorail design.

Check out my rowing machine comparison chart here and look up the top Water Rowers.

I hope you enjoyed my MaxKare Water Rowing Machine review! Drop me a comment below if you have any questions!

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