WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine Review

WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing MachineThis WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine review shows the truly stunning nature of this rower!

Coming from WaterRower’s premium level ‘Designer Series’, it is a perfect mix of style and functionality.

Handcrafted from solid cherry wood with a danish oil finish and made with premium materials, this rower is truly a work of art.

The WaterRower Oxbridge provides one of the most realistic rowing experiences you will ever experience outside of a boat on water.

You might have a tough time deciding if you just want to stare at it or use it for exercise – it looks that darn good!

It’s sturdy, easy to store, perfect for users of all sizes and fitness levels and it’s made by one of the most trusted names in the industry!

Users unanimously love it – and for plenty of good reasons! Check out the full review below for all the pros and cons

Check Reviews & Prices

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

Resistance Type

The WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor is a water resistance rower.

Meaning, it uses a “water flywheel” or paddles suspended in a tank of water to provide resistance.

When a rower pulls the handle on the Oxbridge, it causes the paddles in the water tank to spin. The paddles must displace the water in front of them, thus causing resistance.

To find out more about how water resistance works in greater detail (in addition to the other resistance types), click here.

As mentioned in the ‘rowing machine resistance types’ article, resistance level on the Oxbridge is determined by the user’s rowing intensity, which is much different (and more realistic) than how resistance is determined on hydraulic piston and magnetic rowers.

The resistance on the WaterRower functions very similarly to resistance on an air rower. Resistance level is determined by the rower’s rowing intensity level.

So to gain more resistance, all a user has to do is row harder. For an easier resistance, just row slower. It’s that easy!

You can read more about air and water resistance and how they operate by clicking this link here.

Resistance Benefits

There are a ton of benefits associated with water resistance. One being that they are ‘variable’ resistance. Meaning, the faster you row, the more resistance you feel.

To be a little more scientific, we call this the ‘Rule of Cubes’. Meaning, a doubling of the speed of the boat will require an eight-fold increase in resistance. So to row a little faster requires A LOT more power.

WaterRower Oxbridge Resistance

Air and water rowers are both variable resistance and main differences between them are:

  • Obviously one uses water rather than air
  • Noise level is much less on water rowers
  • Some people consider water rowers to be smoother

Out of all the 4 resistance types, air and water are the noisiest but users praised the noise level on the WaterRower Oxbridge. Most people felt they could row and watch TV at a normal volume level or slightly higher.

Some people find the sound to be meditative and enjoy rowing and listening to the sounds of splashing water!

It’s also quiet enough to use in an apartment where people may live above or below you.

Resistance Levels

The resistance can be adjusted 2 ways. One by rowing faster or slower. The other by adding or subtracting water from the tank.

By adding more water to the tank you can make the rowing stroke feel heavier like rowing a boat with more people.

Users commented the resistance is suitable for all fitness levels and it feels extremely smooth!

There were almost no negatives about the resistance of the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine. The only downside is having to fill the tank but this only has to be done once!

Resistance Overall

Overall, the resistance on the Oxbridge is excellent and is the same as all the other WaterRower models.

This is one of the most popular rowing brands in the industry, so you know the resistance will be great!

Monitor/Control Panel

The WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine comes with a S4 (series 4) multifunctional performance monitor.

The monitor tracks the following fitness data:

  • Workout Intensity
  • Stroke Rate
  • Heart Rate
  • Duration
  • Target Fitness Zone
  • Distance

All of the tracked fitness data can be seen on the home screen of the monitor simultaneously in separate “windows”.

WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine S4 Monitor

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in each window on the main screen:

Intensity window:

  • Displays rowing speed in meters per second, miles per hour, minutes per 500 meters, and minutes per 2 kilometers
  • Also displays power and calories burnt per hour

Stroke rate window:

  • Displays number of strokes per minute

Heart rate window:

  • *Option is available when optional heart rate monitoring equipment (Cardio Sport ANT Digital) is used with the fitness monitor (not included)
  • Displays beats per minute

Target zone [bar] window:

  • Displays target zone readings for intensity, heart rate, and stroke rate

Duration window:

  • Displays time rowed in hours, minutes, seconds, and decimal seconds
  • Can also display time remaining in current workout (if a predetermined time for workout has been established)

Distance window:

  • Displays distance rowed in meters, miles, kilometers, or strokes
  • Can also display distance remaining in current workout (if a predetermined distance for workout has been established)

Program window:

  • This window is used to help the user navigate through the monitor’s advanced functions
Monitor Benefits

There are 9 total buttons on the face of the monitor, 6 shortcut buttons and 3 navigation buttons.  It’s not backlit so you will need some light to see the workout data while you’re working out.  It’s powered by 4 AA batteries, which are included.

With an optional monitor cable, the S4 can connect with your computer to upload workout data.  In addition, this option allows you to train and race against other WaterRower owners from around the world!

Popular S4 computer software includes We-Row (WaterRower’s own software), NetAthlon, UltraCoach, and Rowyo.

Here is a quick video displaying some of the monitor features:

The S4 monitor is simple to use, contrary to what you assume given it has 9 different buttons!  Users had nothing to say but good things about the S4 monitor on the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine.

However, I also reviewed another WaterRower Rowing Machine with the same S4 monitor and a small handful of users of that rowing machine model mentioned the monitor was great but lacked a few advanced features seen on other performance monitors in the same price range.

Regardless of the few gripes users mentioned about the monitor, the S4 monitor is still one of the best performance monitors on the market!

(Back to Top)

Build Quality

The WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine is handcrafted from solid cherry wood and finished with 3 coats of Danish oil.

WaterRower is really serious about taking care of the wood for its rowers. The Cherry wood pieces are kept away from the light to protect the pieces from shadowing until they’re needed to put together a sold rowing machine!

The wood is very durable and the frame is rock solid.

Water Rower Oxbridge Build Quality

I’m used to rowing machines made out of steel, so I was expecting the unit to be a little less durable, but that is not the case at all.  When I rowed on the Oxbridge, I tried my best to move the base by rowing as hard as I could, but the Oxbridge didn’t even budge!

The frame is extremely durable and no way it’s going to break – I don’t care what you do to it!

The wood is ideal for absorbing sound and vibration and besides the normal sounds you’d expect to hear while rowing (wheels on the seat gliding, water in the water tank), you don’t hear anything else such as creaking and other annoying noises often heard on cheaper rowing machines.

The water tank is made out of polycarbonate, which is a virtually indestructible plastic. You definitely will not have to worry about it breaking!

The WaterRower Oxbridge doesn’t have any moving parts that can wear out over time. Even the recoil belt and pulleys don’t require any lubrication or maintenance.

This is truly a well-built rowing machine that is easy to take care of and will last you a lifetime (literally)!

Check Lowest Pricing

(Back to Top)


The WaterRower Oxbridge’s molded seat is heavily padded and comes with dual rails with four corner wheels that keep the seat stable, not to mention it reduces sweat buildup.

Users praised how comfortable the seat is given the fact that the machine is designed to handle user weight up to 1,000 pounds (454 kg). The seat is built to provide comfort (while also taking a pounding).

WaterRower Oxbridge Comfort

The handle is light, durable, and is ergonomically shaped to fit comfortably in your hands. No complaints were made about the handles, which is a good thing!

The heel rests hold your heels firmly and the footboards can be adjusted in a matter of seconds to accommodate users with different shoe sizes. Nylon straps are used to secure users’ feet when they row. The footrests don’t pivot, but your feet are still able to move naturally as you row.  Overall, the footrests are comfortable.

The rowing motion on the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine is a thing of beauty.

  • The nylon strap doesn’t snag or feel ‘jerky’ when you pull the handle because of its sprag clutch
  • The seat glides up and down the dual rails effortlessly
  • The footrests allow your feet to move naturally as you row
  • The faint sound of water splashing in the water tank is soothing and not intrusive

It’s a wonderful experience rowing on this machine and it’s one of the Oxbridge’s biggest selling points in my opinion!

Below is a great video of a WaterRower in action (different wood type)

(Back to Top)


Even though the WaterRower Oxbridge rower has a fairly large footprint, it can be stood up easily in seconds to save plenty of floor space.

A combination of the water flywheel being close to the wheels, the light wooden frame, and some slick engineering make standing up the rower effortless (and this is no exaggeration).

WaterRower Oxbridge Storage

While in “storage mode”, the rower’s footprint is equivalent to a dining room chair!

The dual caster wheels make it simple to move the rower, very similar to pushing a shopping cart or stroller. Plus, there is no need to empty the tank!

The only issue with storing the Oxbridge would be moving it up or down a set of stairs.

(Back to Top)


According to Amazon, the maximum weight capacity is 1,000 pounds (454 kg). I double-checked with WaterRower to confirm the number is correct!

If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you will know that I run into incorrect data sometimes!

The seat rail is fairly long, making it ideal for taller rowers. People as tall as 6’6″ have used this machine and were able to extend their legs with some room to spare.  If you’re taller than 6’6″, I would visit a local gym or fitness machine retailer to try out the rower first before buying.

I have seen videos of children using the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine so you shouldn’t have any concerns about being too short for this rower!

The Oxbridge has the largest weight capacity and can accommodate users’ short and tall. It can practically be used by anyone!

(Back to Top)


  • In-Use (L x W x H):
    • 83.0” x 24.0” x 21.0”
    •  211 cm x 61 cm x 53 cm
  • Storage Mode/ Standing (L x W x H):
    • 21.0” x 24.0” x 83.0”
    •  53 cm x 61 cm x 211 cm
    • About the footprint of a dining room chair
  • Weight:
    • 117 pounds [53 kg] (with full water tank)
    • 73 pounds [33 kg] (with an empty water tank)

(Back to Top)


Users unanimously agreed that assembling the rower was easy.  According to WaterRower, it shouldn’t take you longer than 30- 45 minutes with the provided allen wrench.

Just follow the detailed instructions and you’ll be setup and ready to row in no time!

There is even a cool video to show you the steps:

(Back to Top)

Pros and Cons


  • Beautiful cherry wood construction
  • Solidly built
  • Smooth and realistic rowing motion
  • Easy to assemble
  • Dual caster wheels
  • Easy “flip over” storage
  • Comfortable seat
  • Comfortable handle
  • Variable resistance adjustment determined by rowing intensity
  • Can further adjust rowing experience by adding/ subtracting water from the water tank
  • Can link S4 monitor to computer to race others, train, and upload workout data for further analysis


  • Performance monitor lacking advanced features
  • High price range

(Back to Top)

Consumer Reviews

Consumers couldn’t stop mentioning how beautiful the rower looks!  Pictures really don’t give it justice. You have to see one in person to understand what all the hype is about with the Oxbridge.

Owners really liked the solid build quality, realistic rowing motion, and were pleasantly surprised at the noise level of the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine. Another great feature is the smooth and strong resistance. Users really felt they could grow with the machine and that it would last a lifetime.

Click here to read the full WaterRower Oxbridge Rower reviews.

Average Rating: 4.8

(Back to Top)


  • Frame: 5 years*
  • Parts: 3 years*

*Requires completion of registration form. Otherwise, warranty is 1 year.

So don’t forget to register your rower after you buy it!

(Back to Top)

WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine Price

While the price of the WaterRower Oxbridge rowing machine is at the high-end of the spectrum, I feel the cost is warranted. It is made from the highest quality materials and is engineered to perform and last a lifetime.

You pay a premium for that type of craftsmanship!

The price can vary depending on where you buy it but Amazon tends to have the great prices and similar to any other retailer. WaterRower does not sell through many vendors so it is nice that they sell through such a trusted online marketplace. Amazon usually offers free shipping on qualified orders and acts as a layer of protection between the consumer and manufacturer.

Check lowest pricing

Final Review

As you can see, the WaterRower Oxbridge is an excellent choice if you are looking for a high-end rowing machine.

It offers top of the line resistance, amazing build quality, and it is one of the best looking rowing machines on the market!

If you like water resistance but feel the price tag is too high, then I suggest another WaterRower model. The WaterRower A1 has a monorail design and is a bit cheaper. You can check out my A1 review by clicking here.

If you are more interested in athletic performance and don’t mind a bit more noise, then I would look into the Concept2. This is the chosen rower by professional athletes, Crossfit gyms, and anyone looking to track their performance. It has the best monitor on the market. You can review my Concept2 review by clicking here.

I hope you enjoyed my WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine review! Drop me a comment with any questions and I’ll be glad to add my opinion or help find the answer!

(Back to Top)

Real Athletes Row