WaterRower S1 Stainless Steel Rowing Machine

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WaterRower S1

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1,000 lbs143 lbsWaterS4

The WaterRower S1 rowing machine features a similar design to the WaterRower Natural or the WaterRower Oxbridge models. However, it has an all-steel frame construction built to last a lifetime. It’s equipped with the S4 rowing monitor and pretty much offers all the features of a top-class rowing machine.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 82.2L x 24W x 28H inches (211L x 61W x 71H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 143 lbs (65 kg) (with water)
  • Supported weight: 1,000 lbs (453 kg)
  • Frame: Brushed stainless steel
  • Footrests: Size-adjustable, with straps
  • Resistance type: Water
  • Performance monitor: S4
  • Warranty: Frame 5 years / Parts 3 years

Frame construction

The WaterRower S1 features a heavy-duty frame made of brushed stainless steel. This not only means that it has a super weight capacity of 1,000 lbs (453 kg), it also means that all the metallic frame parts are highly resistant to corrosion. As we’ve mentioned above, the machine’s design is quite similar to several other rowers with a wooden frame. Also, it’s important to mention that this particular model doesn’t have a HiRise, like the WaterRower Gronk M1 that we’ve already covered here.

The fully assembled rower is fairly large, especially lengthwise. It is 82.2″ (209 cm) long, and 24″ (61 cm) wide. Therefore, it may not fit to well into a small room considering that you should also leave at least two feet of clearance on each side and at the rear.

The unit’s dual-rail system adds stability to the seat. The two rails provide approx. 40″ (101 cm) of travel for the seat. Therefore, the machine can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm) with no problem, allowing a complete leg extension.

It is important to mention that the side rail covers are not metallic. They’re made of durable polypropylene material. Not only that they’re meant to reduce noise, but they also protect the top of the rails. They can also be easily replaced in case they wear out. Nonetheless, they’re pretty durable, rated for commercial use.

Since it’s an all-steel rower, it weighs quite a bit more than the wooden models. With the tank filled to the top level, it weighs approx. 143 lbs (61 kg). However, its front base is equipped with transport wheels which considerably ease its relocation if needed.

The rower’s frame does not fold. However, the unit can be stored vertically, resting on its front wheels, and on the small bumper at the front top. Water can remain in the tank when the machine is stored vertically.

Last but not least, the machine rests on four large rubberized stabilizers. They’re non-adjustable but definitely provide a superior grip to the floor.

Seat and other parts

The WaterRower S1 is equipped with a seat designed for optimal comfort. Its top is cushioned and contoured for extra breathability. The base of the seat is made of the same brushed steel as the rest of the machine.

The seat features eight wheels; four of them slide on top of the rails, while the other four slide on the inner side of the rails for extra stability. The wheels integrate sealed, industrial-grade ball bearings for a smooth seat motion. Also, their outer covers are rubberized to reduce noise.

The seat is a bit taller than for other rowing machines. Even though the S1 doesn’t have a HiRise feature, its seat stands at approx. 22″ (56 cm) above floor level. This can be quite a plus for users with certain disabilities as it considerably improves entry and exit.

The S1 rower is equipped with a set of two large footrests. They are attached via screws to a metallic plate set at an angle of approx. 45°. This being said, they do not pivot on their axis.

The footrests are made of flexible plastic material. They are large enough to accommodate athletic footwear of all sizes. They are also size-adjustable, they have adjustable straps, and heel guard for maximum foot stability.

The machine’s pulling handle is a short straight bar with rubberized grips. Its length is approx. 15.5″ (40 cm). It does not integrate pulse sensors or other controls like for other machines, but the rower’s exercise meter does have a pulse reading function. The pulling handle is attached to a heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant nylon strap. Since it’s not a chain, it eliminates the need for periodic lubrication.

Water tank and resistance system

Similar to most other WaterRower machines, the S1 model is a water resistance rower. It is equipped with a large polycarbonate tank with a capacity of approx. 4.5 gal (17 liters). It is a single-chamber tank, so it does not have a water level adjustment system like the First Degree Fitness models. The tank is transparent, featuring a gray hue, but you can always use a colorant for the water.

The tank’s main resistance-generating element is the “water flywheel” which consists of an impeller attached to a set of pulley and bungee cords. As you pull the handle, the impeller spins in the water inside the tank generating resistance.

All water resistance rowers generate a dynamic response during usage and the WaterRower S1 doesn’t make an exception. This means that the resistance depends on how fast you pull the handle. The faster you pull, the more resistance you will get.

As we’ve mentioned above, the tank doesn’t have a resistance adjustment system. However, you can increase or decrease the overall load, by adding or removing water from the tank. As a general idea, if the tank is filled up to the highest marking, the machine should generate the highest workout load possible.

Compared to full-magnetic rowing machines, the WaterRower S1 rower is not completely quiet. The spinning of the impeller inside the water tank does generate some noise, but the level is low. Also, the noise generated sounds like a soft water splash and most users have described it as comforting.

Performance monitor

The WaterRower S1 rowing machine includes the S4 performance monitor. This unit features a large LCD display divided into four sub-sections. It tracks an impressive number of workout metrics, including intensity (speed, watts, calories/hour), stroke rate, heart rate, duration of the workout, time/500m, watts, and distance. Intensity (or speed) can be set to miles per hour, or meters per second. The distance can be set to meters, kilometers, miles, or strokes. As for the heart rate monitoring function, the unit is telemetric. It can communicate with a wireless HR chest strap, but this accessory is not included.

The performance monitor unit has quite a few other functions. It offers target settings for speed, distance, time, and heart rate. It has an AutoStore function that automatically stores the last 9 historic workout program settings. It also has 9 advanced settings which offer the possibility of micro-calibration of the unit depending on the water level inside the tank for accurate read-outs, as well as prognostics at the end of the workout.

The S4 monitor also has a micro-USB port and can be connected to a PC or laptop via USB-microUSB cable. It can communicate with apps such as WaterRower Connect, or We-Row (Mac OS), or WaterCoach Fit. These allow you to monitor your workout history better, and even compete with other users online.

The S4 rowing computer requires 4 AA batteries as its power source. It has an On/Off/Reset button but it also automatically turns off if it doesn’t detect any activity on the machine for two minutes.

Assembly and Maintenance

The unit’s water tank comes pre-assembled and attached to the front frame section. However, the rest of the machine requires user assembly. You will have to connect the two main rails to the tank, the footrests, the seat, the top securing plate of the tank, the transport wheels, and then add water into the tank. This shouldn’t take more than an hour of your time. The manual provides step-by-step assembly instructions and attached diagrams for each step. A set of basic tools is also included.

For maintenance, it is recommended to treat the water in the tank with a chlorine pill ever 6 months. A pack of chlorine pills is included. Other than this, it is recommended to keep the machine clean, especially the rails, wipe any sweat droplets that may fall on the frame, and periodically check the integrity of the rower.

The Pros

  • Heavy-duty brushed stainless steel frame;
  • 1,000 lbs weight capacity;
  • Superior aesthetics;
  • Can be stored in a vertical position;
  • Easy to handle and transport;
  • Large, adjustable footrests with heel guards and straps;
  • Contoured, padded, and ergonomically designed seat;
  • Long rails – can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm) allowing a complete range of motion;
  • 22″ elevation from floor level, easy to mount and dismount;
  • Water resistance system, providing a dynamic response during rowing and a natural rowing feel;
  • S4 Series Performance Monitor included;
  • HR strap compatible;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Rowing machine for users of all levels;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Easy to assemble.

The Cons

  • The HR chest strap is not included;
  • No backlight on the exercise meter.


The WaterRower S1 is a commercial-grade rowing machine. It features a heavy-duty stainless steel frame with a capacity of 1,000 lbs, a water resistance system with a large polycarbonate tank, a comfortable seat, and the advanced S4 performance monitor. It’s a fitness machine designed for a full-body cardio workout, interval training, strength and stamina development, and weight loss. And finally, it’s not exactly an affordable rower, but definitely offers top-quality for the price.

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