Rowing Machines – Air vs Magnetic vs Water

In search of a new rower but not sure where to start?

We get it, with a wide range of kit on offer it can be difficult to find the best rower for you.

The choice between air, magnetic, and water rowers depends on your personal preferences, each type of rowing machine has its own set of pros and cons. So we’ve put it all in one place to guide you.


Air Rower

Air rowers provide resistance by blowing air through a flywheel. The harder you pull, the faster the fans will spin, and the resistance will increase.


Air rowers typically come with adjustable resistance levels. By varying the intensity, users can tailor their workouts.

Air rowers are generally more compact than some other exercise equipment, making them suitable for home use. They can be folded or stored upright when not in use.


Air rowers are notorious for being loud cardio machines and may become disruptive in shared living spaces.

Interested in an air rower? Check out the JLL Ventus Pro Air Rower

Magnetic Rower

With magnetic rowers, the resistance is altered by the distance between two strong magnets and the flywheel that is attached to the handles via a chain.


Compared to air rowers, magnetic rowers tend to operate more quietly. This can be advantageous for users who want to exercise without creating much noise, making them suitable for home use.

Magnetic resistance provides a smooth and consistent rowing motion. The resistance remains steady throughout the entire rowing stroke, offering a more predictable and controlled workout experience.

Magnetic rowers generally have fewer moving parts than air rowers, reducing the need for regular maintenance. The magnetic resistance mechanism is less prone to wear and tear, contributing to a lower maintenance requirement.


Magnetic rowers, particularly high-quality models with advanced features, can be relatively expensive compared to other types of rowing machines. The cost might be a factor for individuals on a budget.

Magnetic rowers typically have a heavier flywheel compared to air rowers. While this contributes to the smooth and consistent resistance, it can also make the rowing machine heavier and less portable.

Find our *BESTSELLER* – the JLL R200 Rowing Machine


Fancy a combination of air and magnetic?  we’ve got 2 on offer – check out the JLL Ventus 2 Air Rower + JLL Ventus 3 Air Rower

Water Rower

The want for a water rower is currently on the rise, with many boasting sleek designs, appealing to those after exercise accessories that complement the interior.

 Water rowers use water and paddles within the resistance system. When the user pulls back on the handles, the paddles rotate in the water. The moving water creates a drag against the pedals, triggering resistance.


Water rowers provide a more natural and realistic rowing experience, simulating the feel of rowing on water. The sound and sight of water splashing in the tank contribute to a calming and immersive workout.

Water rowers are known for their smooth and fluid rowing motion. The combination of water resistance and the design of the rowing machine results in a seamless and enjoyable exercise experience.


Water rowers tend to be heavier and bulkier than some other types of rowing machines, making them less portable and potentially more challenging to move or store, especially in smaller living spaces.

While water rowers generally require minimal maintenance, there is still some upkeep involved. Users need to periodically change the water in the tank and may also need to add water purification tablets to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Sounds like the rower for you? meet the JLL AQUA 1 Water Rower

Ultimately, the best rower for you will depend on your personal preferences, fitness objectives, and any specific considerations you may have, such as budget or space limitations. If possible, we recommended testing different types of rowers to help you find your match.

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Lucie Croke

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