Life Fitness Row HX Trainer Review

Is it time to start thinking about getting yourself back into shape by starting an at-home workout routine? Well allow us to introduce to you the Life Fitness HX water rower. This premium home water rower is made of real, natural wood as well as a tempered steel frame that is as sturdy as they come in the home fitness industry. How sturdy is it? The Life Fitness HX row trainer can handle a maximum user weight capacity of up to 330 lbs, which puts it in competition with other wooden framed water rowers like the Battiffee home water rower and the HouseFit wooden water rower, which can both handle up to 350 lbs. One look at the Life Fitness HX row trainer is enough for you to realize that this particular model is designed and built with style and care, and the wooden frame gives it a nice touch of elegance as well. When you hear the sloshing of the water in the tank, you will see it is the closest thing you can get to being out rowing on a peaceful lake. Like with most wood framed water rowers, the Life Fitness HX row trainer is not foldable, so you will have to store the machine vertically if you need to use that space for something else.

Speaking of space, the Life Fitness HX row trainer definitely needs a lot of it. The footprint for this model is substantial, with the exact dimensions measuring in at 84”L x 20.5” W x 22” H, which means you will likely need an area of about eight feet to operate the rower safely. At 84” in length, the Life Fitness HX water rower is definitely on the longer side of the home water rower market. If space is an issue, take a look at some of the shorter steel-framed water rowers like the MaxKare home water rower or the Marcy Pro NS-6023RW, both of which are a good six inches shorter in length. If you really want the wooden frame, then unfortunately you are going to have to deal with the size, as most wooden frame rowers are similar in length and are generally not foldable. The Life Fitness HX Water Rower is slightly heavier than most other wooden frame rowers, as it weighs 87 lbs out of the box, but even more when the water tank is filled with water. If you want something a little lighter, the Battife home wooden water rower weighs only 60.8 lbs with an empty tank, which is nearly 30 lbs lighter than the Life Fitness HX row trainer.

The water resistance flywheel on the Life Fitness HX Water Rower uses the patented fluid Technology Resistance System from Life Fitness. This provides a smooth feel when rowing, and you can be sure you will get an equal amount of resistance with every stroke. In my opinion, the best part about Life Fitness’ fluid Technology Resistance System is that the Life Fitness HX row trainer comes with four manually adjustable resistance levels, which is rare for a water resistance rowing machine. Usually users have to either add or remove water from the tank in order to change resistance levels, but Life Fitness has included a handy dial that can jump between the four resistance levels at any time. Another thing I love about water rowers is the sound of the water splash with every stroke. Unlike air turbine rowers which can be loud, water resistance rowers provide the perfect amount of noise during a workout, and often it can feel like you are in an actual boat. Finally, as with most water resistance rowers, maintenance is minimal aside from adding a water cleaning tablet to the tank, and then actually replacing the water every few months.

One thing that is surprising, given the price of the Life Fitness HX row trainer, is that the machine comes with a serious lack of technology. There is no Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity, which means that the Life Fitness HX water rower is not compatible with any integrated fitness apps for your smartphone or tablet. The small digital monitor that comes with the machine is extremely limited, and only provides users with basic stats like the time, distance, strokes, pulse, and calories burned. In this day and age, technology is such an important part of our lives, that I feel any machine I get should have some sort of integration with my smartphone so I can keep track of how I am progressing. If you are like me, then I suggest checking out some Bluetooth wooden water rowers like the Mr. Captain Bluetooth water rower.

Luckily for users, the assembly of the Life Fitness HX row trainer is simple and straightforward, and should only take about 30-45 minutes to accomplish. A majority of the frame comes pre-assembled, and all the users need to do is attach a few parts and fill up the water tank. In terms of moving the rower around, make sure you have someone else there to help, even if Life Fitness added built in transport wheels. Life Fitness does have its own website, but at the time of this writing, the Life Fitness HX row trainer is only available on Amazon, which is probably the easiest site for fast and free delivery.

Finally, we come to the most important part of any home fitness machine: the price. I’ll be honest, the price isn’t ideal for the Life Fitness HX Row Trainer, and it’s one of the main turn offs for me, especially compared to some other quality rowing machines on the market at a cheaper price point. You can shop around, but the Life Fitness HX water rower generally costs about $1,499-$1,699, which definitely puts it on the higher end of the price range for home water rowers. Life Fitness does provide a nice warranty for users, which includes a 5-year warranty for the frame, 3-years for the tank and seal, 2-years for any mechanical issues and 1-year for both the console and labor.

Life Fitness HX Row Trainer Pros

  • Beautiful natural wood look with a sturdy steel frame
  • Convenient transport wheels
  • Manual adjustment for resistance levels is a great feature
  • Good warranty for customers
  • Unique fluid Technology Resistance System offers real resistance with every stroke
  • Easy assembly
  • Fast shipping and delivery from Amazon
  • Minimal maintenance

Life Fitness HX Row Trainer Cons

  • I just don’t like the price tag for this machine
  • No Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity
  • No fitness app integration for smartphones or tablets
  • Only four levels of resistance
  • Very limited monitor
  • Frame is not foldable
  • Large footprint makes storage awkward

My Final Verdict

The Life Fitness HX Row Trainer comes with everything you could want for a solid workout in the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, at this price, I can’t really recommend it as a good value compared to other indoor water rowing machines on the market. First, the Life Fitness HX row trainer does not come with any integrated technology, nor does it come with any premium features that would help justify the price. The wooden frame is solid and esthetically pleasing, and the manual adjustment for the water resistance levels is a nice feature, but at the end of the day, I don’t feel there is enough there to pay over $1,400 for. The WaterRower Blanc comes with real American Ash wood and is over $300 cheaper, and the Mr. Captain Bluetooth water rower gives you the technology as well as the wooden frame for half the price.

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny

Hi, my name is Sayed Hamed Hosseiny. I am a professional health and fitness trainer with nearly 20 years of experience using ellipticals, rowing machines, and spin bikes. I also have my own EU-based Rock Fitness Pro fitness brand where I design, import and sell exercise equipment such as rowing machines and spin bikes. I and writers on my team also often receive fitness equipment to review and evaluate their functionalities and performance from tens of different exercise machines manufacturers. Fitness equipment tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on this website are my opinion (and opinions of my fitness expert colleagues) based on tens of criteria. I never accept payment to write reviews of products or say positive things about fitness equipment products. If brands are interested to have me review their rowers, ellipticals, or spin bikes, they can get in touch with me via email provided on the contact page and send a sample of their product.