Rowing is a great exercise to be fit and lose some weight in less time. In general, rowing is done on the water on a rowing boat but these days you can also find rowing machines that let you reap the benefits of this amazing workout from the comfort of indoors. No matter where you do this exercise, indoors or outdoors it leaves a positive impact on your body and mind.
The benefits of rowing can further be enhanced if you can track your workouts. Therefore in this article, I bring you a list of the best smartwatches and fitness trackers for rowing that can effectively track your indoor and outdoor rowing activities. So without wasting any further time, let’s get started.
- Smartwatch & Fitness Tracker For Rowing Comparison Table
- Video On Rowing Smartwatch & Fitness Tracker
- Best Smartwatches And Fitness Trackers For Rowing
- Buying Guide: Select The Best Indoor & Outdoor Rowing Watch
Smartwatch & Fitness Tracker For Rowing Comparison Table
VIEW ON AMAZON
Best Garmin Watch For Indoor & Outdoor Rowing
Garmin Fenix 7
Best Samsung Watch For Rowing
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Best Apple Rowing Smartwatch
Apple Watch Series 8
Best Fitness Tracker For Rowing
Fitbit Charge 5
Video On Rowing Smartwatch & Fitness Tracker
Best Smartwatches And Fitness Trackers For Rowing
1) Garmin Fenix 7
Garmin Fenix 7 is one of the best watches for rowing. It is a premium multisport smartwatch from Garmin that can track almost every sport that is played on the land or the water like surfing, swimming, etc. It has all the features required to track your indoor as well as outdoor rowing activities.
Starting off with the heart rate sensor, during my usage, I have found that this Garmin watch for rowing features one of the most accurate heartbeat trackers out there.
This ensured that I could effectively and accurately monitor my heartbeat during an intense rowing session. Besides that, it also showed my VO2 max readings. If you do not know then let me tell you, VO2 max reading tells how well you are consuming oxygen while working out at your best. The higher your readings the fitter you are. So with this watch, I was able to know my VO2 max reading and worked harder to improve it.
Besides all this, while exploring it, I discovered that Garmin Fenix 7 also has a set of great navigational sensors including GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. These sensors helped me closely track my outdoor rowing adventure irrespective of whether I was rowing in a pond, lake, sea, or ocean. Also, there is a built-in compass on this smartwatch which helped me in finding direction when I was rowing in uncharted territories.
Most importantly the smartwatch is waterproof up to 100 meters which makes it ideal for water sports such as rowing, swimming, surfing, etc. It is very important that the smartwatch must be waterproof if you are buying it for outdoor rowing for obvious reasons.
The battery life is also decent on this rowing watch and it lasted for two weeks on a single charge for me.
The watch also supports Garmin’s rowing app which tells you about your stroke frequency, recovery time, stroke length, and more. Put simply, the app helps you track your rowing better. Overall, if budget is not an issue for you then go with this smartwatch with full confidence, it is the best Garmin rowing watch, period!
2) Amazfit GTR 4
Amazfit GTR 4 is one of the cheapest watches for rowing. Like Garmin Fenix 7, GTR 4 could also track my indoor as well as outdoor rowing sessions.
In fact, it has two sports modes, one for indoor rowing and another for outdoor rowing.
While I was using this watch for rowing, I found its health tracking like heart rate, VO2, and SpO2 to be quite accurate. You can check my heart rate accuracy test video of Amazfit GTR 4 below. In this video, I have compared the heart rate measurement of GTR 4 with a professional oximeter.
As a result, I had exact data on how I performed my rowing sessions. Like me, if you mainly do indoor rowing then you will love this rowing smartwatch because it can detect indoor rowing automatically.
To track my rowing machine sessions, all I had to do was wear the watch on my wrist and jump right into the exercise. I was actually surprised that GTR 3 managed to automatically track my indoor rowing sessions every time. To be very frank I did not expect this from an affordable smartwatch.
If you do other exercises as well then you can track them too with GTR 3. As it can track more than 150 sports modes, which is just mind-boggling.
This smartwatch has built-in Alexa, as a result, I was able to use my voice to control things on this smartwatch for rowing. I found this feature to be really helpful when I had occupied hands or wet hands. Talking about the wet conditions, GTR 3 comes with a water-resistant rating of 50M. Therefore I never had to worry about it when I was rowing outside in the water.
Moreover, this watch has an AMOLED display, which makes it very easy to read in the dark as well as in bright sunlight.
The only drawback of this rowing smartwatch I could find is its battery life. It lasted for around a week for me on a single charge. However, the claimed battery life of this watch by the company is 21 days, so I was expecting a lot.
Overall if you’re running short on budget and want an affordable smartwatch for indoor rowing then Amazfit GTR 4 is the best rowing smartwatch for you. You can watch my review of the Amazfit GTR 4 below, which I have made after using the watch for more than a month.
3) Garmin Forerunner 955
Garmin Forerunner 955 is one of the best Garmin watches for rowing. The Forerunner series from Garmin is dedicated to runners. However, the Forerunner 955 can also prove helpful in tracking your rowing adventures.
It has all the features that I need on a rowing watch like a heart rate tracker, and GPS sensor, and is also compatible with the Rowing app. Like Fenix 7, Forerunner 955 is not one of the affordable Garmin watches for indoor & outdoor rowing.
This wrist-based heart monitor on this Garmin watch is quite accurate when compared with other fitness trackers of the same price point.
You can wear this fitness tracker on your wrist before rowing and it will keep note of your heartbeat during the exercise. So that you know how your heart performed during the workout session.
The GPS on this rowing watch is also quite reliable and can be trusted to show you accurate tracking data. Besides that, this smartwatch also evaluates your training status i.e. it shows you whether you are overdoing or underdoing your workout. This is a great feature as it prevents you from injuries in case you are overdoing your workouts and also hints you to push a little more when you are underdoing it.
Talking about the build and durability of the watch, it has a quite sturdy design and is also waterproof up to 50 meters. The good build quality of this fitness tracker for the rowing machine allows you to take it for rowing without the fear of damaging it. Also, I found the watch is lightweight & weighs just 53 grams which makes it comfortable to wear all day long. Generally watches with good build quality weigh more but that’s not the case here.
Also, this fitness tracker is compatible with the rowing app developed by Garmin for its users. With this app, you can track your indoor or outdoor rowing activity very efficiently and effectively. Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 955 is a great multisport smartwatch that can be your next Garmin rowing fitness tracker.
4) Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is one of the best fitness trackers for indoor rowing for Android users. Like other watches on this list, the exercise list of the Galaxy Watch is quite long. And it can track both indoor and outdoor rowing sessions. Out of which it can automatically track rowing machine workouts.
While I was exploring Galaxy Watch 5, it successfully detected my indoor rowing workouts. However, I had to turn on the rowing workout mode if I wanted to track outdoor rowing sessions.
I have reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 on my channel so you can check my review video to know my views after using the watch for a month.
Moreover, this smartwatch for rowing has passed the military-grade test and comes with a 50M water-resistant rating. As a result, I never had to worry about it getting damaged due to water during rowing sessions.
This rowing watch has a built-in microphone and speaker, which you can either use to talk on calls or listen to your fav music. While I was using it, I was even able to connect my Bluetooth headphones to it and listen to music during rowing sessions.
Galaxy Watch 5 also comes with an AMOLED display which displays crisp text and bright colors. This smartwatch has NFC payment support as well, which I could use to make contactless payments.
However, the drawback of previous generation Galaxy Watches seems to have continued with Galaxy Watch 5 as well. It comes with a claimed battery life of a little over two days. But during my usage, it did not last more than a day and a half on a single charge.
If you own an Android cell phone and want a watch for rowing then Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the watch for you.
5) Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
There is no doubt that Garmin makes the best rowing smartwatches. However, if you don’t want to go for the Garmin smartwatch for some reason and are looking for a cheaper alternative then the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the perfect watch for you. It has everything that makes a Garmin watch best for rowing but it has something in addition that no Garmin smartwatch on this list has and that is the SIM facility.
On the cellular version of this smartwatch for rowing, you can use an LTE SIM to make calls and use the internet on the go without having to connect it to your smartphone. This is great as you can leave your phone at home the next time you go out rowing. Also, this smartwatch has an AMOLED display that is beautiful to look at.
Other than that, this rowing watch has an integrated heart rate monitor and a GPS chip which makes it easier for you to track your rowing activity. The accuracy of both the sensors is also quite reliable so no problem there as well.
Also, the smartwatch has the Samsung Health app preinstalled on it that allows you to track all your fitness and sports activities including running, cycling, and rowing. It can track both indoor and outdoor rowing activities. If you want to know more about the sports tracking performance then I will recommend watching my Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review below.
All in all, it is a great reasonably priced rowing smartwatch that comes with the latest Google Wear OS. So do check this rowing smartwatch out if your budget is tight.
6) Amazfit T-Rex 2
Another fitness tracker for rowing that I have for you is from the brand Amazfit as well. However, this watch is more focused on people that like to do outdoor rowing. As Amazfit T-Rex 2 has military-grade build quality and comes with a 100M water-resistant rating.
Like Amazfit GTR 4, this rowing watch can track 150+ sports modes and can track indoor and outdoor rowing separately.
It can automatically detect your rowing machine session and it did manage to track my session every time I did indoor rowing without any hiccups.
Compared to GTR 4’s Bio Tracker 4.0 sensor, Amazfit T-Rex 2 features a previous-gen Bio Tracker 3.0 sensor. Still, I have reviewed various Amazfit watches featuring this sensor & it performs phenomenally. If you want to confirm it yourself then I will recommend watching my T-Rex 2 GPS test below. I have compared the heart rate accuracy of T-Rex 2 during workouts with Garmin in that video.
You get almost all the features that you get in Amazfit GTR 4, except the inbuilt speaker & microphone.
As a result, there is no Alexa voice assistant in T-Rex 2, which I really missed. However, this smartwatch can be controlled with buttons as well as with the touchscreen. So I did not face any problems in using the watch even if my hands were wet.
Another difference that I have noticed between the two watches is their battery life. Both the watches come with almost similar claimed battery life. However, T-Rex 2 lasted for 2 weeks on a single charge for me, whereas GTR 4 lasted for only a week.
Amazfit T-Rex 2 is a rugged rowing smartwatch that you can use to track your indoor and outdoor rowing sessions. Not only this but you can also take it on your hiking and trekking adventures. If you are looking for such a watch then T-Rex 2 is the one you should choose. Check out my Amazfit T-Rex 2 review video below to know more about its features.
7) Apple Watch Series 8
Next on the list, I have the all-new Apple Watch Series 8 smartwatch. This rowing smartwatch is for Apple fans who also love rowing. However, there is bad news for Android users, as this always-on display smartwatch only works with an iPhone.
So if you are an Android user then you have to satisfy yourself with the watches I have discussed above. But if you are an iPhone user then this can be the rowing smartwatch you have been looking for.
The reason I think it is one of the best smartwatches for indoor rowing is because of the accurate heart rate sensor that tracks pulse rate while you are rowing on a machine or outdoors on an actual boat.
Besides heart rate, it can also record your blood oxygen levels and also tell you about the amount of oxygen you consume while workouts.
Also, there are multiple navigational sensors on this rowing watch that keep track of where you are heading. You get built-in GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo sensors that help you track your outdoor rowing with ease. Using this sensor you can easily track how far you went, what was your rowing speed, and more. Also, it is a swim-proof watch so there should be no problem if you take it with you in water.
Besides outdoor rowing, this smartwatch is also compatible with indoor rowing machines. You can use the Apple Fintess+ app to track your indoor rowing activity with it or you can also use other third-party Apple Watch apps for rowing. Overall, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a great Apple rowing watch. It is also a good Garmin alternative for iPhone users who are looking for the best fitness watch for rowing other than Garmin.
8) Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit Charge 5 is one of the best fitness trackers for rowing. It is for people who are not fans of wearing big bulky smartwatches on their wrists and are looking for a slimmer and lighter rowing fitness tracker. This Fitbit rowing tracker offers a built-in GPS that is used to track your outdoor activities such as cycling, running, and more.
Also, the tracker has an integrated heart rate monitor that tracks your heartbeat 24/7. This sensor also tracks your elevated pulse rate during an exercise and calculates the number of calories burned during the workout. The tracker also supports Active Zone Minutes through which it notifies you when you reach your target heart rate zones by buzzing on your wrist. This motivates you to keep working hard and reach your fitness goals.
With these features, you can use this fitness tracker to track any of your workouts and activities. However, there is no dedicated function to track rowing on this fitness tracker. But you don’t have to worry because you can manually add rowing activity to Fitbit Charge 5 and track your rowing stats. To know more about how you can use Fitbit Charge 5 for rowing, you can read this thread on Reddit.
Also since the tracker is water-resistant to 50 meters you can use it to track your outdoor rowing as well. Overall, if you are looking for a fitness tracker for indoor rowing and not a smartwatch then Fitbit Charge 5 is the best option you can go for.
Buying Guide: Select The Best Indoor & Outdoor Rowing Watch
1. Heart Rate Tracker
The first thing that your smartwatch or tracker must have if you want to use it for rowing is a heart rate tracker. Without a heart rate monitor, you won’t be able to measure your heartbeat during rowing exercise and hence won’t know how well you are training.
A GPS is a must if you want to track your outdoor rowing activities. It helps you accurately track your speed and distance covered while rowing.
Since you are buying a watch for rowing, it is important that the watch must be waterproof so that the water does not damage the smartwatch when you are rowing outdoors.
4. Rowing App Support
Rowing apps are great as they help you measure critical rowing stats like stroke frequency, stroke length, and recovery time. So it would be better if your smartwatch supports such rowing apps.
Can Any Smartwatch Track Rowing?
No, not every fitness tracker is meant for rowing. A rowing watch or tracker must have some qualities like heart rate monitoring, GPS, waterproof body, and should support rowing apps.
Which Company Makes The Best Rowing Smartwatch?
Garmin smartwatch has the best features that a rowing smartwatch must-have. So you can go for Garmin.
Does Fitbit Count Steps On A Rowing Machine?
No, Fitbit step counts do not work on a rowing machine.
Does Apple Watch Track Rowing?
Yes, through third party rowing apps.