The “WaterRower GX” – finally a WaterRower that rivals the price of the Concept2 Model D!
A lot of people have wanted to purchase a WaterRower but the cost was just too damn high!
This WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine review will showcase how WaterRower was able to make a more affordable model while still providing one of the most eloquent, well built rowers on the market.
*Update* As of November 2017, WaterRower will no longer manufacture the GX. All excess inventory will be sold with full warranty & replacement parts available.
**Great News** The WaterRower A1 is back at an even lower cost! The A1 is almost exactly the same as the GX. Read the box below for full details about the WaterRower A1 vs. GX.
Jump to my WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine Review here.
As of November 2017, the GX is no longer available from WaterRower. The GX was an A1 with a slightly different monitor and the “WaterRower GX” branding on the front. The GX was part of a joint venture between WaterRower and a third party that no longer exists. The A1 that is available now is the same as what WaterRower offered prior to the GX and has continued to offer in the international markets.
The GX Rower is made in the U.S. and handcrafted using sustainably sourced premium Ash hardwood from the Appalachian Mountains.
Each rower is left unstained and finished in Danish oil to keep the natural luster and warmth of the hardwood.
Featuring an aluminum, monorail design and the GX patented quick start monitor, this WaterRower is designed perfectly for at home use.
Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)
1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
As most of you could have guessed, the WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine is a water based resistance rowing machine. This means the rower uses paddles spinning in a tank (also known as a “water flywheel”) to create the resistance.
There are 4 different resistance types- Water, Air, Magnetic, and Hydraulic Piston.
You can learn more about how each of them work by visiting my post here.
Water based resistance operates very similar to air resistance rowers. The amount of resistance the user will experience is caused by the intensity at which they row.
To feel a stronger resistance, the rower must row at a higher intensity and for a weaker resistance the rower just has to row slower. Common sense right! :)
Going a bit deeper, the increase in speed leads to an increase in resistance based off the “Rule of Cubes”. Meaning that a doubling in speed, requires an 8 fold increase in power!
The main differences of water resistance vs. air resistance are:
- Water resistance makes a lot less noise compared to the air resistance flywheel
- Water resistance rowers provide an overall smoother rowing motion
More Resistance Benefits
WaterRower has taken the “water flywheel” design a step further by providing their own uniquely formed paddle to “cup the moving water” and provide a more even, smooth row.
This smooth, fluid row reduces any jarring and jerkiness which can cause injury and eliminates any mechanical feeling the rower may have.
It also provides a more even and complete workout of the entire body, leading to higher calories burned.
I couldn’t believe how many users commented on how smooth and comfortable the rowing stroke is on the GX Rower!
A water resistance design is perfect for beginners or highly experienced rowers because it technically has an infinite amount of resistance levels. A beginner can start off slow and easy, then they can work their way up to higher experience levels.
As mentioned in my resistance article above, the resistance of the WaterRower GX Rower can be further modified by adding or subtracting water from the tank.
For example, to start off easy you can fill the tank halfway with water and work your way up to a higher intensity. Once you are comfortable at this level, you can then increase the amount of water in the tank and increase your resistance level.
Another reason users love the WaterRower GX is because of how quiet it is. Many buyers opt to pass on the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower because air resistance rowers are just too loud and they need something a little less noisy.
The WaterRower GX can be used while watching TV at a normal volume and most users say they actually enjoy the soothing sound of the whooshing water.
Check out the video below to see and hear a WaterRower in action.
There are not many complaints about the WateRower resistance and most people absolutely love it!
The only downside is for tracking, recording, and comparing data using water resistance. People looking to record race times and compare themselves to rowers from around the world will be better off using air resistance rowing machines.
While water resistance can accurately track data, all indoor rowing competitions and word record attempts are done on air rowing machines (Concept2 Rowers).
So if you are into competing and tracking time, an air rower will be a better option.
The water resistance and tank on the WaterRower GX Home Rower is amazing and has almost zero complaints!
You can actually say there are probably no complaints about the resistance and only complaints about not being able to use the recorded times for indoor rowing competitions and world records.
The WaterRower GX comes with the patented quick-start GX monitor. The monitor is a simplified version of the S4 monitor, which is what WaterRower uses on their higher end models.
The monitor is one of the components that was downgraded to allow for a more affordable rowing machine. Overall, the monitor provides everything a rower needs to have a fantastic workout and only lacks in some of the more advanced features of the S4.
The GX monitor is designed to fit the Indo-Row group rowing class, which is nice because it is 1 of the 2 free DVDs that comes with the rower (more on these below). It has quick-start technology, which allows a user to begin a workout at the touch of a button.
What the GX Monitor Provides (3 Windows):
- Total time
- Distance (total meters)
- Total calories burnt
- Stroke rate
- Speed (mile per hour)
- /500m (split timer per 500m)
- Setting of time or distance for race
- Quick restart of race
What the GX Monitor Lacks:
- No heart rate monitor
- Cannot connect to PC
- No advanced functions
- See comparison of GX Monitor vs. S4
As you can see the monitor provides everything needed to get a great rowing workout.
Included DVD Set
Ok, now back to those DVDs. The WaterRower GX may not have the most advanced monitor but they try to make up for it by providing the Indo-Row and Shockwave workout DVDs.
The DVDs provide complete training information on technique, warm-ups, workouts, and games that are specifically designed to work with the GX monitor.
**NOTE** Other reviews on the internet say you can upgrade the GX monitor to an S4 for $150 and receive a $75 rebate. This is not true. A lot of review sites do not do the actual research and just copy from other sites!
I spoke with a WaterRower representative about upgrades and they informed me that the only upgrade option is for an S3 monitor to an S4. They do not provide a GX to S4 upgrade kit or rebate, but a user can purchase and install the S4 monitor separately for $250.
If you think you want the upgraded S4 monitor, then it makes more sense to buy the WaterRower Natural or WaterRower Club (see full reviews below). You will be getting a better rowing machine for less than the cost of the upgrade.
I feel the WaterRower GX monitor is perfect for people who are not interested in all the advanced features and just want to exercise.
It is more basic than other monitors in this price range, but it does allow the price to be reduced.
“Made in the USA” has long been the symbol of high quality, durable goods and the WaterRower GX is no different. Using sustainably sourced hardwood, this rower is solid as a rock and built to last a lifetime.
Due to it being made of wood, WaterRower had to make sure the rower fit together seamlessly and strong to avoid any creaking or vibration.
Luckily, they pulled it off and produced a rower that actually absorbs sound and vibrations, which makes it even quieter and smoother!
It incorporates an aluminum monorail design that some rowers prefer because it accumulates less dust and requires less maintenance due to the concave design.
The polycarbonate water tank is virtually indestructible, so no need to worry about having a tank full of water spilling all over your living room floor.
Users had nothing negative to say about the quality of this machine and some even consider it the highest quality item they have purchased.
The WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine comes with the same “maximum” seat comfortability as the higher priced ‘Original’ models but was downgraded to a “medium” level seat/slide smoothness.
I believe WaterRower makes this distinction to differentiate between the WaterRower GX monorail design and the higher end dual-rail design.
However, there were no complaints about any discomfort during the rowing stroke.
The GX comes equipped with a comfortable 17″ handle that quietly pulls the belt operating the water flywheel. As mentioned before, the flywheel is surprisingly quiet and vibration free due to the strong build quality.
One difference on the GX Home Rower is the space separation between the users feet. The ‘Original’ models have the feet separated approximately 5.5″ (14cm) apart, while the WaterRower GX has them separated at 8.0″ (20.5cm) apart.
The reason for this is because in a boat (shell) the rowers feet are 5.5″ apart, which WaterRower was trying to mimic on the ‘Original’ models.
However, for the average “at home” rower (females especially) this distance was uncomfortable. WaterRower changed this distance for the GX Home model to a more comfortable 8.0″ apart. This also allowed for a better “monorail” design to go in-between the footrests.
Storing the WaterRower GX is extremely simple. Due to the design, the only way to store it is by standing it upright.
Luckily, it is very easy and even though it may look heavy it can be done using one hand (although I recommend 2! ).
Storing the rower upright saves a lot of floor space and it can easily be tucked into any corner. The dual caster wheels makes moving the GX Rower as simple as pushing a stroller or wheelbarrow.
There is no need to empty the water out of the tank before storing, just lift and push.
The stored dimensions are: Depth: 20.0″, Width: 22.25″, Height: 83.5″.
So the floor space is about the size of a chair, but the height can make it difficult to store in a small closet.
One benefit of the WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine is that it can fit just about any user.
Rowers as tall as 6’5″ have used the rower with no problem and kids under 5.0′ (152 cm) have also rowed problem free.
The maximum weight capacity is 325 lbs (148 kg). This is significantly less than the 1,000 pound (454 kg) weight allowance of the higher end WaterRowers but the monorail design of the GX Rower cannot support this higher weight.
If you are over 325 lbs then the ‘Natural’ WaterRower or ‘Club’ WaterRower may be the next best option. These models also have the upgraded S4 monitor.
- Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 83.5″ (212 cm) x 22.25″ (57 cm) x 20.0″ (51 cm)
- Stored Dimensions (D x W x H):
- 20.0″ (51 cm) x 22.25″ (57 cm) x 83.5″ (212 cm)
- 61 lbs dry (28 kg)
- 98 lbs full (44.5 kg) (17 L of water)
- Shipping Weight: 80 lbs
The GX Home Rower is shipped in 2 separate boxes.
- Tank Box (L x W x H):
- 24.5″ (62.25 cm) x 28.5″ (72.5 cm) x 20.5″ (52 cm)
- Total Weight: 49 lbs (22 kg)
- Rail Box (L x W x H):
- 52.5″ (138.5 cm) x 10.5″ (26.5 cm) x 13.5″ (43.25 cm)
- Total Weight: 29 lbs (13 kg)
Assembling a rower can be a nightmare but luckily the WaterRower GX is pretty straight forward. The only tool you need is an allen wrench, which is provided, and some water to fill the tank.
Assembly can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour and only requires 1 person.
The hardest part of the assembly is filling the water tank but lucky this only has to be done once! A small hand pump comes with the rower to fill the tank and takes about 5-10 minutes. Finally, just add 1 of the provided chlorine tablets into the water to prevent molding and you’re done!
WaterRower was kind and smart enough to provide a video to make setup as easy as possible. The video says it is for the WaterRower A1 but it is the same assembly as the GX.
Comparing the WaterRower A1 vs. the WaterRower GX I found no differences and it seems to be a rebranding by WaterRower. If you order the rower, bookmark this site so you can refer back to the video for assembly.
Pros and Cons
- Provides smooth, fluid rowing stroke
- Strong resistance
- Beautiful design and superb build quality
- Capacity to fit almost any user
- Comfortable seat
- Easy assembly
- Excellent warranty and customer support
- Wider spaced footrests
- Two free workout DVDs
- Basic monitor with no advanced features
- Lower weight capacity than other WaterRower models
- No heart-rate monitor
Users love the WaterRower GX Rowing Machine and had a hard time saying anything negative in their reviews. Rowers love the smooth, fluid motion it supplies them and even enjoy the sound the water makes.
This rowing machine is aesthetically pleasing and is a big reason a lot of people choose to purchase it. Rather than having a hunk of metal in their living room, they can enjoy the natural look of a wooden WaterRower.
See the full consumer WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine Review here.
Average Rating: 4.8
WaterRower will replace or repair anything defective on your rower for 1 (ONE) year from the date of initial shipment. However, if you register your rower with WaterRower within the first year, you get an upgraded warranty to:
- 3-Years on all components
- 5-Years on all wooden components
So just remember to register your rower! Also remember the GX Rower is for Home-Use only and any other use will void the warranty.
WaterRower GX Price
While the WaterRower GX is one of the most expensive at-home rowers, it is the least expensive of the WaterRower machines. Given the excellent build quality and strong reputation of the WaterRower brand, the price can be justified.
It is also the only WaterRower that can compete with the Concept2 Model D price.
WaterRower does not sell through many vendors but they do sell through Amazon. I find Amazon to be very easy to order from, great return policy, a layer of consumer protection, and usually the most competitive prices.
The WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine is perfect for someone looking to buy a WaterRower but doesn’t need the S4 monitor or dual rail seat design.
It provides the same great resistance and workout as the higher priced WaterRower models, but cost a bit less.
If you feel you need the S4 monitor or dual rail design, then I recommend checking out the other WaterRower models. Every WaterRower will function exactly the same and only differs by the type of wood it is crafterd from, which changes the price.
See the full WaterRower lineup here.
If you think you are interested in racing and comparing times, then you may want to check out the Concept2 Model D. It is the #1 bestselling rowing machine and is used by all Olympic rowers and Crossfit gyms.
Check out my full Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine review here.
I hope you enjoyed my WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine review. If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below!