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 from where you do this exercise from 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, we 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.
Quick links to specific parts of the article:
- Fitness Tracker For Rowing Comparison Table
- Best Smartwatches And Fitness Trackers For Rowing
- Buying Guide
Fitness Tracker For Rowing Comparison Table
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Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS
Best For Indoor Rowing
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Cheapest Among All
Fitbit Charge 4
Best Smartwatch And Fitness Tracker For Rowing In 20201
1. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
To start off our list we choose nothing but the best and therefore we have placed the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro in the first position. It is a premium multisport smartwatch from Garmin that can track almost every sport that is played on the land or the water. It has all the features required to track your indoor or outdoor rowing activities.
Starting off with the heart rate sensor, this smartwatch features one of the most accurate heartbeat trackers out there. This ensures that you can effectively and accurately monitor your heartbeat during an intense rowing session. Besides that, it also shows your VO2 Max readings which tell how well you are consuming oxygen while you are working out at your best. The higher your readings the fitter you are. So with this watch, you can know your VO2 Max reading and work harder to improve it.
Besides all this, the smartwatch also has a set of great navigational sensors including GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. These sensors help you closely track your outdoor rowing adventure irrespective of where you are rowing in a pond, lake, sea, or ocean. Also, there is a built-in compass on this smartwatch which helps in find direction when you are rowing in uncharted territories.
Most importantly the watch 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 watch so it won’t be dead in the middle of your rowing session.
The watch also supports Garmin’s rowing app that 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 one of the best smartwatches for rowing, period!
2. Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS
If your budget is limited and you cannot go for the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro due to its high price then you can rather settle for this Garmin Vivoactive smartwatch. It is not as accurate as the former but you are getting it for 1/3rd of its price so you get what you pay for. However, that doesn’t mean that the watch is not good for rowing, if it was so, we would have not added it to the list itself.
The first thing that made us recommend this watch for rowing is that it is compatible with Garmin’s rowing app. So you can effectively track your rowing activities with it. Moreover, it has a 24/7 heart rate tracker that will help your track your heartbeat not just while you’re in the action but also while you are asleep.
Also, you get a GPS on this watch that is helpful if you are rowing outside on the waters. It will track your location and keep you updated about your speed and distance covered. However, this watch is better suited for an indoor rowing machine because it is only waterproof up to 50 meters. If you happen to land in the water during rowing by accident then this watch will get damaged if water gets inside the watch.
The battery life is also quite decent on this watch and can last few days if you don’t use the GPS that often. Overall, if you are looking for a fitness tracker for indoor rowing that also works well for casual outdoor adventures then you can go for this one.
3. Garmin Forerunner 935
The Forerunner series from Garmin is dedicated to runners. However, the Forerunner 935 can also prove helpful in tracking your rowing adventures. It has all the features that you would need on a rowing watch like a heart rate tracker, GPS sensor and is also compatible with the Rowing app.
The wrist-based heart monitor on this 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 chip on this smartwatch 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 allows you to take it for rowing without the fear of damaging it. Also, the watch is lightweight at just 49 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 935 is a great multisport smartwatch that can be your next rowing fitness tracker.
Note: The watch model is not properly advertised on Amazon due to which most western users are ending up buying the Asian model of the watch. So beware and make sure you are buying the right version of the watch according to your location.
4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
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 an alternative then the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 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, 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.
Other than that, the 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 activity but we would not recommend it for water rowing since it is not entirely waterproof. So if you are looking for a smartwatch mostly for indoor rowing then this product can be a great option for you.
5. Apple Watch Series 6
Next on the list, we have the all-new Apple Watch Series 6 smartwatch on our list for the Apple Fans who also love rowing. This smartwatch only works with an iPhone so if you are an Android user then you have to satisfy yourself with the watches we have discussed above. But if you are an iPhone user then this can be the watch you have been looking for.
It has one of the most accurate heart rate trackers on a smartwatch that keeps you notified about your pulse rate while you are rowing on a machine or outdoor on an actual boat. Besides heart rate, it can also record your blood oxygen levels that tell you about the amount of oxygen you consume while workouts.
Also, there are multiple navigational sensors on this watch that keep track of where you 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 on-water rowing.
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 6 is a great Garmin alternative for iPhone users who were looking for a rowing watch other than Garmin.
6. Fitbit Charge 4
For people who are not fans of wearing big bulky smartwatches on their wrists and are looking for a slimmer and lighter alternative for rowing then we have the Fitbit Charge 4 for them. The fitness tracker from Fitbit 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 exercise to Fitbit Charge 4 and track your rowing stats. To know more about how you can use Fitbit Charge 4 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 rowing and not a smartwatch then Fitbit Charge 4 is the best option you can go for.
Buying Guide For Best Fitness Tracker And Smartwatch For Rowing
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 tacker 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.