The ProRower H2O RX-750 Home Series Rowing Machine is one of the latest rowers to use water as part of the resistance system. It also joins the RX-850 and RX-950 in the H2O Fitness range of indoor rowing machines.
But can the RX-750 really create an effective home rowing experience?
To find out, we’ll make some important comparisons between the RX-750, the WaterRower Natural, and the ever-popular Concept2 Model D. This should help you decide on the best rowing machine for your own home workouts.
About the ProRower H2O collection
To cater for all body types and fitness abilities, H2O Fitness (a division of HealthCare International) have created 3 different rowing machine – the RX-750, RX-850, and RX-950.
Each machine has been designed and constructed to a commercial level of build quality, and offers a realistic rowing motion thanks to the use of their innovative Hydro-Power Drive System.
In terms of the overall design and resistance options, this doesn’t tend to vary a great deal between the different machines.
All three use a tank that has a 2.5 to 4.5 gal. capacity, highly durable Polycarbonate tank, and easy-tilt folding frame.
However, the weight capacity is one of the things that does change between models, with the RX-750 having a limit of 350 lbs, RX-850 has a limit of 450 lbs, and RX-950 supporting up to 550 lbs.
There are also subtle differences in the base frame, and seat design.
The RX-850 includes a protective shroud around the drive mechanism to reduce the amount of maintenance required, while the RX-950 also provides an optional lumbar support section and a heavy duty ‘sure grip’ foot plate.
RX-750 Design features
Whether you’re looking to supplement your existing outdoor rowing routine with some additional workouts during the colder months, or simply want the most realistic indoor rowing experience possible, the Hydro-Power Drive System used by the RX-750 is the ideal option.
Despite having a noise level that’s similar to conventional air resistance rowers, the sound produced by the paddles suspended in the tank is much more soothing and enhances the feeling of being out on the water.
Although the ergonomically designed seat doesn’t include the lumbar support that the RX-950 offers, this doesn’t take anything away from the comfort of the rowing position.
The handle has also been specially coated to help protect your hands when rowing, which is an important part of avoiding any damage to your hands which could have an effect on your workout schedule.
In terms of storage, the lightweight easy-tilt folding frame is a feature that really does come in useful, and further establishes itself as a competitor to the high-end WaterRower series.
With the frame folded away, the dimensions of the base mean that you only need a space measuring 21 inches square to be able to store the machine away between workouts.
Maintenance and frame strength
In a similar way to the WaterRower models, the amount of maintenance required for the ProRower H2O RX-750 is slightly more than normal rowing machines.
This is simply because of the requirement to keep the water clean and prevent any potential damage to the inside of the water tank.
All that’s requires is to drop a chlorine tablet into the tank filled with water every few months to ensure the resistance stays smooth and doesn’t start affecting the movement of the internal paddles.
One last feature worth mentioning is the strength of the frame and the impressive weight capacity that’s assigned to every one of the ProRower H2O RX rowing machines.
But as with any rowing machine at this price point, it’s difficult not to compare it with the popular Concept2 Model D.
Usually retailing for around $100 more than the RX-750, the Concept2 lists a 500 lb weight capacity – 150 lb more than the RX-750.
Although the ProRower collection does include a machine that supports the same amount of weight, this would be the RX-950 model, which usually retails for around $300 more than the Concept2. (Even this is still nowhere close to the 1,000 lb capacity offered by the WaterRower designs)
ProRower H2O RX-750 – Features Summary
- High-quality rowing machine with innovative Hydro-Power Drive system
- Polycarbonate water tank and internal paddle system mimics feel of actual rowing
- Easy-to-read, oversized display panel tracks time, distance, calories, and more
- Comfortable, ergonomically designed handgrip
- Easy-to-adjust, pivoting footrests
- Folds for storage
Adjusting the resistance
When it comes to adjusting the rowing resistance, most machines at this price point either use a damper to adjust the flow of air to the flywheel, or simply increase / decrease the amount of air that flows though vents in the fan casing.
This isn’t the case for the ProRower H2O RX-750, which uses a system called ‘natural adaptive resistance’. This basically means that the harder you pull on the handle, the higher the resistance level.
The same rule applies if you want a lower level of resistance, where you simply need to row at a slower pace.
Another way to influence the level of resistance is by adjusting the amount of water in the tank.
The user manual goes into much more detail about the process involved in filling and draining the tank, but with a maximum capacity of 17 litres, this should be more than enough to provide a challenging range of resistance levels
Display console functions
If you were to take a look at most other cardio equipment (treadmills, upright bikes, elliptical machines), you would generally notice that the quality of the display console increased as you started to look at some of the higher priced models.
Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case with the ProRower H2O RX-750, which only manages to provide basic feedback on your time, distance, 500m split time, strokes per minute, and calories burned.
You can also track your heart rate using the built in receiver, but this does require purchasing a Polar heart rate chest strap separately to provide accurate feedback.
That being said, there are some nice subtle features that we do like about it.
The display screen is large enough to read the information displayed clearly, even at the full extension of your rowing stroke.
The viewing angle is also adjustable, so that you can find the level best suited to your height and range of motion. In terms of power, the console requires just 2 AA batteries, meaning that you aren’t restricted with where you place it.
Unfortunately this is really where the benefits end, as we simply can’t ignore the quality of the PM3 monitor that accompanies the Concept2 Model D.
Not only does this also offer an adjustable monitor arm for keeping important workout information in your eye line, but it also allows your workout data to be transferred from the LogCard in your performance monitor to your computer via a USB cable.
This can also be used with the PM4 monitor, and allows you to upload your workout data to an online logbook for further analysis of your performance and goal progress.
If the ProRower H2O RX-750 were to offer some form of workout tracking of its own – similar to how the SchwinnConnect system competes with ProForm’s iFit in exercise bike terms, then this would be a much closer comparison.
Ease of assembly
One of the great benefits of rowing machines like the ProRower H2O RX-750 is that they generally require very little assembly.
This is certainly true for this particular model, where the front base stabilizers, water tank, foot plates, and resistance system arrives already pre-assembled.
All that’s really left is to attach this to the seat rail, install the seat, and connect the display console.
With 90% of the rower already being pre-assembled when you unpack the parts, this results in a very fast assembly time of less than 20 minutes.
Because this is such a simple setup, the full list of assembly instructions occupies just a single page in the user manual.
The rest of the pages contain useful information on how to add and treat the water, proper rowing form, display console functions, and an entire section dedicated to troubleshooting issues like how to replace the rower belt and bungee/shock cord.
ProRower H2O RX-750 vs. WaterRower
Although we would usually try to compare the RX-750 to a rowing machine closer to the $750 price point, due to the similarity in resistance systems we wanted to see how well it measured up to one of the most popular designs from the WaterRower series – the WaterRower Natural.
But with so many differences, it’s actually difficult to find any similarities other than the fact that they both use water as resistance.
Usually available for around $400 more than the ProRower model, there are obviously going to be some benefits from being in a higher price category.
Not only does the WaterRower have a 550 lb weight limit advantage, it also uses a dual rail design for supporting the seat, whereby wheels are used to roll the seat along the top instead of letting the seat slide directly on the rail.
The handle design and resistance system are actually fairly similar, with the flywheel controlling the movement of paddles inside the tank, which in turn is powered by the movement of the belt attached to the handle.
In terms of storage space, the two machines are actually identical, each requiring a floor area of just 21″ (W) x 22″ (L).
Due to obvious differences in the materials used, the WaterRower weighs close to 90 lbs, while the ProRower design weighs just 65 lbs (without water).
As both models have transport wheels and carry the bulk of their weight near the water tank, this shouldn’t make much of a difference in terms of moving the rower between rooms.
Warranty coverage is also an important comparison to make, and one area where the RX-750 comes out on top, with lifetime coverage on the frame, 3 years on tank, and 2 years on components.
We feel that this just beats the WaterRower warranty, which covers just 5 years on the frame, but 3 years on components.
One last feature we wanted to compare was the functions available through the display consoles.
While we’ve already said that the Concept2 Model D offers much more than the ProRower, how does the ProRower stack up to the Series 4 performance monitor provided with the WaterRower models?
As we expected, the WaterRower console offers many more functions than the ProRower design, including a more advanced level of heart rate analysis, and the ability to input the volume of water in the tank for accurate calculation of power (watts).
Similar to the PM4 monitor supplied with the Concept2, you can also link the monitor to your PC and have access to a variety of open source software to monitor your improvements.
The WaterRower even offers a ‘Zone’ feature, where the screen prompts you to stay within your desired stroke rate, intensity, or heart rate range.
Despite there only being a $100 price difference between the ProRower H2O RX-750 and the Concept2 Model D, it has still managed to receive an impressive number of customer reviews, with an average rating of 90%.
In fact, around 95% of reviewers rated this rowing machine at 3 stars or higher.
When researching these reviews we found that not only did Amazon have the largest collection to read through, but they also had the best price.
After reading through each of these reviews ourselves, we were able to put together the following lists of pros and cons. The points in these lists were taken directly from real reviews, and included because they were mentioned multiple times.
- Good value for money
- Impressive warranty coverage
- Lightweight frame that’s easy to store when folded
- Smooth rowing motion thanks to the water resistance
- Excellent customer service
- Solid frame design doesn’t move around when in use, even with faster paced rowing
- Foot rests relieve pressure on your ankles and create a much more comfortable rowing experience
- Provides a full body workout
- Hydro-Power Drive system gives a realistic feeling of rowing on water
- Well packaged, with easy to follow instructions
- Low impact on your knee and hip joints
- Maintenance is slightly higher, with water purification (chlorine) tablets required to clean the water and tank every so often, similar to the WaterRower designs
- Limited display console functions
- Unable to store and compare workout information
- Accuracy of the calories burned feedback is questionable
- Bungee cord used to keep tension has been known to break after a few years of use. This is replaceable though, and the whole process is outline in the user manual
- Some reviewers would have liked to see a couple more levels of additional resistance
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Metal frame: lifetime
- Tank and seals: 3 years
- Mechanical components: 2 years