Merax Water Rowing Machine

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Merax Fluid Rower

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330 lbs72 lbsWaterTime

If you’re looking for a more affordable water resistance rower alternative to a WaterRower or First Degree Fitness unit, the Merax model is definitely one to put on your list. In terms of specs and features, it can be compared to the Sunny Obsidian Surge SF-RW5713. However, its water tank is inclined, similar to the First Degree Fitness S6 Laguna. It does not have a resistance adjustment dial, though, like most of the FDF models. Adjustments can only be done by adding or removing water from the tank.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 78″L x 20″W x 25.5″H (198L x 51W x 64H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 72 lbs (32.6 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 330 lbs (150 kg)
  • Frame: Steel
  • Resistance type: Water
  • Console: Time, count, total count, calories, distance, pulse, race program

Frame construction

The Merax water rower features a durable steel frame with a sturdy and fairly long rail for the seat. Both the seat assembly and the rail should be able to support users up to 330 lbs (150 kg). Also, the rail is long enough to accommodate users up to 6’3″ (190 cm).

The fully assembled rower is fairly large. It takes approx. 78″L x 20″W (198 x 51 cm) of floor space, and on top of this, you have to add at least two feet of clearance on each side and at the rear, and at least one foot of clearance at the front, for safe usage and ease of access. This being said, it may not fit too well in a small room or apartment.

The rail of this rower does not fold like the rail of the Merax MS037153BAA magnetic rower. However, the machine can be stored vertically, resting on the front frame bars. This way, its footprint is reduced to approx. 25″L x 20″W (64 x 51 cm). Also, when stored vertically, the water can remain in the machine’s tank.

The unit’s net weight is approx. 72 lbs (32.6 kg). It’s not extremely heavy, but nonetheless, it’s heavy enough to provide excellent stability. Plus, its rear stabilizer features adjustable levelers with rubberized pads. The front base also rests on (non-adjustable) rubber pads. These provide a good grip to the floor, preventing the unit to slide or move if you engage in a more intense workout.

The front base of the unit features a set of silicone wheels. Therefore, once the unit is assembled, its relocation shouldn’t be a problem for only one person. By using these wheels, you won’t have to handle more than 20 lbs (9 kg).

The machine’s frame is coated with a corrosion-resistant and abrasion-resistant paint finish. The color used is black, this being the only color available for this model.

Seat and other parts

The Merax fluid rower is equipped with a fairly large seat. It is approx. 12.5″ (31.7 cm) wide, and 10″ (25.4 cm) long. It provides enough contact surface for a comfortable workout. It stands at approx. 16″ (40.6 cm) above floor level. Therefore, entry and exit shouldn’t be too difficult even for elderly users, or users with certain disabilities.

The top of the seat does not integrate any cushioning. It does have a contoured surface, though, in order to provide optimal comfort and adherence. It’s made of durable, fiberglass-reinforced ABS material, and as we’ve mentioned above, should be able to support users up to 330 lbs (150 kg).

The supporting frame of the seat is made of steel. It integrates three sets of rollers. Two are placed on top of the rail, the third is placed under the rail to maximize its stability. The rollers integrate ball bearings so they provide a smooth motion for the seat.

The machine’s footrests are not size-adjustable. However, they’re large enough to accommodate footwear of all sizes. They also have heel guards and adjustable straps with Velcro closure.

Just as the seat, the footrests are made of durable ABS material. They have a pivoting design, allowing a slight movement of the feet during every stroke. Therefore, you can put more focus on your calves by stretching your feet a bit forward. Also, their rear stoppers allow a maximum angle of approx. 50°.

The pulling handle is a simple, straight metallic bar, with rubberized grips for optimal comfort. It’s measures approx. 20″ (51 cm). It is attached to mesh strap which is highly resistant to abrasion. Evidently, since it’s not a commercial grade machine, the handle is not equipped with pulse sensors. In order to have your heart rate read, you will have to use an HR chest strap.

Water tank and resistance system

The Merax water rowing machine is equipped with a solid polycarbonate water tank with an internal multi-blade impeller. As you pull the handle, the impeller spins into the water inside the tank, generating resistance.

The exact capacity of the tank is not specified, but it’s probably between three and four gallons (11-15 liters). The tank does not have a resistance adjustment dial like the First Degree Fitness E-520 for example, but you can still add or remove water from it if you want to increase or decrease the overall resistance. There are markings on the water tank which delimit 6 levels of resistance.

Like any other rower with fluid resistance, the Merax model delivers a dynamic response during rowing. This being said, the resistance is conditioned by the strength you put behind each stroke (the harder you pull the handle, the more resistance you will get). This creates a rowing feel similar to rowing a real boat through the water. Also, the fact that the water tank is inclined, results in a slightly higher resistance than for a rower with a horizontal tank of the same capacity.

The level of noise generated by the machine is very low. As a pointer, it won’t cover the sound of your TV set on one of the lowest sound settings. Also, the “woosh” sound generated with each stroke has been described by many users as relaxing.


The console unit included with the Merax rower features an LCD display divided into multiple sub-sections. It indicates time, time, SPM, strokes, distance, calories, and pulse. Distance is shown in meters. The machine doesn’t have any pulse sensors, so the unit can only read your pulse via a wireless chest strap. This accessory is not included.

The unit does not have any online connectivity, nor it is compatible with any fitness apps. However, it has two main programs, Manual and Race. The Manual Mode has two options. One, you can simply start rowing and the unit will simply count the values of your workout. And two, you can set up target values for time, distance, strokes, calories, and pulse, and the unit will countdown from there.

The Race mode, as its name suggests, gives you the possibility to compete against the computer to test your level of fitness. This program has multiple levels of difficulty. Each level has its own preset time/500m.

A Recovery function is also available on this rower meter unit. This program gives you the possibility to calculate your fitness level. Based on the heart rate at the end of the workout it will give you a fitness rating between F1 (Excellent) – F6 (Poor).

Apart from the workout metrics mentioned above, the machine’s console displays room temperature, clock, and calendar. It requires two AA batteries. It also has a sleep mode to which it will enter if there is no input on the machine for several minutes.

Assembly and Maintenance

Needless to say, the unit’s tank comes pre-assembled and attached to the front part of the unit. Therefore, you only need to attach the seat to the rail, attach the rail to the front part of the frame, add the rear stabilizers, the footrests, and the console. This shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes of your time. A basic toolkit with the tools needed for the assembly is included. Also, the manual provides clear assembly instructions.

For maintenance, it is recommended to periodically treat the water in the tank with the supplied chlorine pills. Other than this, the rail should be kept clean to prevent any damage to the seat rollers.

The Pros

  • Sturdy steel frame – can support users up to 330 lbs;
  • Can be stored vertically, and the water doesn’t require to be removed for storage;
  • Adjustable stabilizers on the rear base;
  • Transport wheels on the front base;
  • Durable, contoured seat;
  • The seat’s top is situated at 16″ above floor level for easy entry and exit;
  • Pivoting footrests with adjustable straps and heel guards;
  • Water resistance system which provides a dynamic response during rowing and natural feel;
  • Inclined water tank for extra resistance;
  • LCD console which shows time, distance, SPM, total strokes, calories, and pulse;
  • Two workout modes – Manual and Race;
  • Recovery function;
  • Clock, calendar and room temperature reading function on the meter;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Chlorine tablets for water purification are included;
  • Batteries for the console are included;
  • Tools for assembly are included;
  • Little maintenance required.
  • Easy to assemble.

The Cons

  • An HR chest strap is not included;
  • The console does not have integrated backlight.


The Merax water rowing machine features a durable steel frame, an inclined polycarbonate water tank with 6 delimited water levels, a fairly long rail, and a console with two main workout programs (Manual and Race). It’s a machine designed for home use, perfect for a full-body cardio workout, muscle toning, stamina improvement, and weight loss. And finally, even though it’s not exactly the cheapest rower, it’s definitely one of the most affordable machines with water resistance available at the moment.

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