The Xterra Water Rower is one of the cheapest water rowers out there, and that isnt because this thing is cheaply built; quite the opposite, its an 85lb study rower, but because the frame is made from steel rather than labor-intensive wood, we save ourselves a ton of cash which is always a good thing.

Xterra a Company With Years of Experience.

Xterra are one of the only companies I trust, along with Sunny Health and Fitness, to deliver high qulaity cardio gear in this price range. There have years of experience and great customer service. I’ve reviewed many of their products, and they never fail to impress and by the looks of it, their low-cost water rower, the ERG600W, is no exception.

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Easily Rivals The Best In the Pirce Range

The ERG600 water rower has a long rail that can accommodate users up to 6’2″, a smooth rowing stroke thanks to its dynamic resistance system, a whisper-quiet belt drive system, and an advanced monitor that includes workout programs. This is a water rower that can rival the best in the price range, and I’ll be comparing it with the best seller at the end of the review, the Sunny Obsidian Surge Water Rower.

First a quick look at the Xterra ERG600W Water Rower specs!

Product Specifications


Product dimensions – 80.7 x 22 x 33 inches


Weight – 83lb


Resistance type –  water


Max user height – 6’4″


Storage – vertical


LCD multi-function monitor – time, distance, strokes, strokes/min, room temp, clock, pulse


Weight capacity – 3000lb


Frame – alloy steel

Why Do We Like The Xterra Water Rower?

This rower comes with many impressive features, but surely its best feature is its water-resistance system.

Dynamic resistance systems such as water mimic the feel of outdoor rowing more closely than any other type of resistance system. The faster you row on the ERG600W rower, the stronger the resistance you feel from the rowing handle, just as you would if rowing on actual water.

Suitable For Any Fitness Level

And because water resistance is dynamic, it’s suitable for any fitness level from a complete beginner to a seasoned pro. The number of resistance levels is limitless.

The primary way to control resistance strength is through your workout pace. However, the water tank on most water rowers is marked with resistance levels. The Xterra tank is marked with six levels. You need to think of these water levels as people in a boat with you. Level 1 is like rowing in a boat on your own, and level 6 is the same as rowing in a boat full of people.

I find filling the water tank just under half full gives a smooth, strong resistance at a medium stroke rate, perfect for a 30-minute cardio session.

Build Quality – Heavy Duty Frame

Something else that impresses me about these steel-framed water rowers is just how heavy they are. This thing weighs close to 85lb, and thats without the water in the tank. Thats surprisingly heavy for a low-cost rower, and it’s a telling sign of the quality of materials used in the build.


Also, that extra weight is really going to help keep this rower planted to the floor. It’s not going to feel like some cheaply built unstable rower; it’s a study machine, and thats just what you want from a home rower.

Another stability feature I was happy to see was the adjustable levelers built into the rear stabilizer bars. Adjustable levelers are a handy feature because you can adjust them independently to keep the rowing machine stable on uneven surfaces.

And lastly, it’s good to see these guys thought about the seat design because so many companies seem to forget this vital feature. Xterra has designed the seat perfectly to prevent slips in the push phase of the rowing stroke.

Also, the seat is made from high-density foam, and this is the good stuff; it’s not too soft to cause stability issues or too hard to be off-putting, it’s just right—overall, a heavy, sturdy budget rower with all the necessary stability features.

xterra water rower erg600 monitor lcd

Decent Monitor For Price Range

You won’t find advanced monitors with HD color screens and tons of features in this price bracket, but the ERG600W monitor is impressive for a $600 rower.

It tracks all the vital workout stats such as distance, time, stroke per minute, etc. What’s best is the monitor is heart rate chest strap compatible, perfect for those who love to workout in your chosen heart rate zone, and it includes a recovery button so you can monitor how quickly your rate returns to normal.

The downside: you’ll need to purchase an HR chest strap or watch separately. You can get hold of a good one for around $30, so not too expensive.

The monitor screen is large, so it’s nice and easy to read, and it’s height-adjustable, so no matter your height, you can adjust the monitor to the perfect height to suit you. And lastly, this is the only monitor in the price range to include six workout programs. You can race against the computer and set workout goals based on distance, time, and strokes.

xterra water rower 600 folding system

Other Features Worth a Mention

Something worth mentioning is how this rower can be stored. This water rower has been designed to be stored vertically, taking up less space than a folding rowing machine, just 0.20 square meters when stored against a wall. 

We also have a smooth gliding seat thanks to the six high-grade rollers, which allow the seat to glide effortlessly and quietly across the rail.

Easy Assembly – 40 minutes

The water tank, steel frame, and drive system already come pre-assembled. All you’ll need to do is:

  1. Connect the rear stabilizer to the seat rail
  2. Connect the front stabilizer to the frame with end-caps
  3. Assembly the seat onto the seat rail and connect the rail to the mainframe
  4. Attach the console
  5. Fill the water tank

Illustrated instructions tools for the job and batteries for the monitor are included.

The Good

Sturday build can handle up to 300lb

Dynamic resistance system – suitable for any fitness level, mimics the feel of outdoor rowing

Quiet belt drive system

Smooth rowing stroke

Good length rail accommodates uers up to 6’2″

Great warranty

Decent monitor for price range includes pre-set programs & pulse monitoring

Takes up little space when stored vertically

Easy to assemble

The Bad

The monitor isnt backlit making it hard to read in low light conditions

Poor footrest quality – a common issue with low-cost rowers

No interactive training



obsidian surge water rower in showroom

Sunny Obsidian Surge Water Rower

Sunny Health & Fitness has been around for over two decades. These guys specialize in low-quality cardio gear, and their rowers are some of the best out there.

Their Obsidian Surge Water rower is their flagship low-cost water rower its very similar to the Xterra in that both use the same 16 blade water-resistance system, both include belt drive systems, both have decent rail lengths, and both boast heavy-duty frames, the Sunny weighing an impressive 91lb.

The only difference between these two rowers is the monitors. The Xterra monitor is slightly more advanced as it includes six workout programs and the pulse feature, whereas the Sunny has just two workouts programs.

However, the Sunny Obsidian is $100 less than the Xterra. There are no other noticeable differences. Build qulaity is right up there or even better than the Xterra, plus its rail is slightly longer. Hence, it’s a better choice for larger uses.

The Obsidian is the most popular water rower for a reason, and that reason is it offers everything a water rower like the Xterra does at a lower price; if you can live without a few workout programs, I’d recommend you give the Sunny a closer look. It’s my current favorite water rower for around $500.

Update: Obsidian Surge Monitor is now compatible with ANT+ heart rate technology, such as heart rate belts or watches. 


To Sum Up

When the Xterra ERG600W first appeared on the market, it was easily the best low-cost water rower around. The alternatives cost nearly twice as much and didn’t really offer anything more apart from a wood finish. Fast forward a couple of years, and while the Xterra is still an excellent buy if you can get hold of it for $600, there are alternatives such as the Obsidian Surge and Snode water rowers that offer the same for less.