Do you have the curiosity to know about The Best Watches For Rowing To buy in 2020?🤔
We got you covered in this buyer’s guide. 📗
Let’s get started.
The doctor would usually advise you to exercise for different reasons, all of which is to make your health better. Anyone who has tried exercising knows that at first, it is always tough.
Whether it is brisk walking, cycling, abs exercises, jogging or rowing, it is never easy at the start, however, it gets better with time. Each of these forms of exercise has one or more effects on certain physiological metrics of the body.
So as one gets better with time, it is only right that one would want to know the rate at which one is improving and the rate at which those physiological metrics are improving.
Thankfully, watches that measure these while one exercise is now widely available. These watches more accurately referred to as smartwatches have features that suit specific forms of exercises.
At the advent of smartwatches, there were no smartwatches that suited the metrics for rowing. Most of the smartwatches produced before were most suitable for running. However, in recent times, smartwatches with features suited for rowing have been made.
Generally, while rowing, a smartwatch that can measure the heart rate, stroke rate, time and stroke count is most suitable. When one rows outdoor, other metrics like total distance covered and distance covered per unit stroke are also measured.
In the subsequent paragraphs of this article, we examine some of the best watches in the market with functions tailored to suit rowing.
Best Watches For Rowing: Our Top Picks
1. Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch
The Polar M400 has a slim design, is quite light and is water-resistant. This design makes it easy and comfortable to wear.
While the Polar M400 does not measure specific rowing metrics like distance covered per unit stroke, stroke rate, and stroke count, it measures distance and heart rate quite well.
Most times, the Polar M400 comes with a wearable heart rate chest strap that enhances the accuracy of the heart rate measurement. The GPS has relatively high accuracy and has support for measuring split times.
It comes with a 128 x 128-pixel screen which although not extraordinary works just fine in normal light conditions. The screen also has a backlight for low light conditions so one can still use it in the evening.
Asides recording activity, the Polar M400 also notifies the device connected (your phone) to it about your inactive states. For instance, if you have been sitting for too long, it notifies you to get up and be active. It is also relatively cheap for the features offered.
The 5 navigation buttons are touch-proof which is good so one does not unknowingly set them off. Also, on the back of the watch, there is a USB port for charging.
The battery usually lasts between 🔋 8 – 24 hours depending on the functions used on it with GPS and Heart rate functions consuming the most battery power.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of the Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- Sleek design
- Accurate GPS tracking
- Relatively inexpensive
- Does not measure rowing-specific metrics
2. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
Unlike the Polar M400, the Garmin Fenix 5X does not have a sleek lightweight design. It is rather heavy and durable but still looks nice. The Garmin Fenix 5X measures data needed to monitor rowing exercises both indoors and outdoors.
It comes with uses the Garmin Elevate heart rate technology that measures heart rate with relatively higher precision from the wrist.
Asides the rowing-specific measurements, the Garmin Fenix 5X also measures the intensity of the exercise and the number of calories burned per activity.
The screen is a circular high resolution LED screen with full-color support and it comes with the Garmin Chroma Display. The Garmin Chroma Display makes it easy to read the screen in bright conditions like sunlight.
Also, the screen comes with backlighting allowing easy use in low light conditions. The screen is made to be rugged – it would not scratch easily – and the silicone strap is quite comfortable when worn.
One other advantage that comes with using the Garmin Fenix 5X is that it supports both Android and iOS thus it can be used with phones with either OS.
It comes with on-board maps which makes navigation easy. It also has a live track feature that allows real-time monitoring of your activity by relatives through the Garmin Connect app.
It monitors activity over long periods and evaluates the effectiveness and performance of the user – a feature called Training Status.
This would inform you whether your input is sufficient or not and if you need to put in more effort. The Fenix 5X lasts up to 12 days with normal mode and with GPS it lasts for about 20 hours.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- Rowing-specific measurements
- Attractive design
- Uses Wrist heart rate technology
3. Apple Watch Series 4
Unlike the earlier versions of the Apple Watch Series, the Apple Watch Series 4 has a larger screen with smaller bezels. The thinner design makes it sleek and lighter than the earlier versions also.
It comes with the usual features: GPS, barometer and heart rate monitor. It has an option specific for indoor rowing workouts which gives results on heart rate and amount of calories burned.
However, it does not measure rowing-specific data like stroke rate and distance covered per stroke. Good thing is that there are other applications supported by the iOS that give rowing-specific measurements. Some of these applications include PowerRow and Rowing SPM.
The health and fitness trackers, the GPS, the gyroscope have been improved in the Apple Watch Series 4 plus it has 2 heart sensors for measuring heart rate – an electrical heart sensor and an optical heart sensor.
The optical heart sensor uses light to monitor venous blood flow while the electrical heart sensor works using electrical information of the body.
With the presence of the electrical heart sensor, the electrical activity of the heart can be measured to reveal irregular heart rhythm. This allows you to be notified of any issue early enough to avoid complications.
The 40 x 44 mm screen runs on a unique OLED display technology called LTPO (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxid). The LTPO works to adjust battery consumption by varying frame rate – a way to save as much battery as possible.
The speaker on this version of the Apple Watch performs better than earlier versions making it suitable for a number of cellular functions like receiving and making calls. One drawback of the Apple Watch is that it only works on iOS as expected.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Apple Watch Series 4 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- Great Display
- Great battery life
- Only suitable for iOS
4. Garmin Fenix 5
Like the Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire, the Garmin Fenix 5 does not have a sleek lightweight design. It is rather heavy, durable and has a classic design. The Garmin Fenix 5 also measures rowing-specific measurements for both indoors and outdoors rowing.
The Garmin Elevate heart rate technology is common both Fenix 5 ad 5X. It is a feature that improves the precision of the measurement of heart rate from the wrist.
Asides the rowing-specific measurements, the Garmin Fenix 5 also measures the intensity of the exercise, the number of calories burned per activity and it supports sleep tracking. The Fenix 5 comes with a gyroscope to improve the precision of distance and direction measurements.
The screen is a circular high resolution 240 x 240 pixel LED screen with 64 colors support. This screen resolution is higher than that of the Fenix 5X which is 218 x 218 pixels.
The Garmin Chroma Display makes it easy to read the screen in bright conditions like sunlight while the backlight allows easy use in low light conditions.
The screen is made to be rugged but may scratch easily. The silicone strap is adjustable, quite comfortable when worn and can be changed easily.
The live track feature allows real-time monitoring of your activity by relatives and Garmin online community through the Garmin Connect app. It comes with on-board maps which makes navigation easy. The Ultratrac battery can last up to 60 hours depending on the mode and the measurement interval.
It also monitors activity over long periods and evaluates the effectiveness and performance of the user – a feature called Training Status. A feature that allows the modification of activity to improve outcomes.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin Fenix 5 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- Attractive design
- Great battery life
5. Garmin Fenix 3 HR
The Garmin Fenix 3 HR has a classic rugged design just like the Fenix 5 and the Fenix 5X. This watch supports the measurement of rowing metrics and it works for indoor and outdoor rowing.
Asides these, it also measures heart rate and distance covered like the other versions of the Garmin Fenix.
This version of the Garmin Fenix is compatible with 3 operating systems: Android, Windows OS, and iOS thus there is a broader range of devices that it would work with.
The Garmin Elevate wrist heart monitor technology is also present in the Fenix 3. It an optical heart sensor that works by monitoring venous blood flow to determine heart rate and it is always measuring as long as it is worn.
It uses a screen with a 218 x 218-pixel resolution like the Fenix 5X. The high-resolution display comes with Garmin Chroma Display for easy reading in brightly lit conditions and it also has a backlight for low light conditions. Basically, you can use it during the day and in the evening.
For the outdoor rowing, it is optimized with a 3-axis compass and a barometer to enhance the functions of the GPS – meaning increased accuracy in measuring distance and navigation.
With the Garmin Connect app and the live tracking feature, you can share your progress with an online community.
The watch also features a smart notification system for cellular functions. The silicone strap is tough, adjustable and comfortable to wear.
Training Status monitors your performance and output and evaluates the metrics. From the evaluation, you are given feedback on whether you are doing enough or doing too much.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin Fenix 3 HR that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- Attractive design
- Great battery life
6. Apple Watch Series 5
The Apple Watch Series 5 has a similar screen with the Apple Watch Series 4. The thin design makes it sleek and light. It features the usual GPS, barometer and heart rate monitor.
Like the Series 4, it also has an option specific for indoor rowing workouts without rowing-specific data but this can be solved using applications like PowerRow and Rowing SPM.
Unlike in series 4, the series 5 runs on the S5 processor which allows it to perform faster. The S5 processor also contributes to the improved frame rate refreshment.
The health and fitness trackers measure heart rate and the number of calories burned. The GPS is optimized with a gyroscope for better distance measurement and precise navigation.
Like the series 4, it uses 2 heart sensors: the electrical heart sensor and the optical heart sensor. The electrical heart sensor offers an extra feature of monitoring the electrical activity of the heart and measuring heart rhythm. This way, irregular heart rhythm like atrial fibrillation can be detected early and treated.
The 40 x 44 mm screen runs on a unique OLED display technology called LTPO (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxid). The LTPO works to adjust battery consumption refreshing the frame rate once every 60 seconds unlike in the Apple Watch Series 4.
The Apple Watch 5 comes in 4 material finishes: Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Titanium and Ceramic with Ceramic option come at the highest price followed by the Titanium option.
There is also a feature that notifies you when you are in an extremely noisy environment – a way to help avoid noise pollution. With the health app, you can do so much like menstrual cycle monitoring ad fertility monitoring.
The altimeter and compass used in Series 5 differ from earlier versions and they are actually quite accurate in measuring how high you go or how far you descend. One drawback of the Apple Watch is that it only works on iOS as expected.
The battery life is improved by the S5 processor and the improved screen refresh rate. The screen becomes very bright and faster when you raise your wrist but this drops when you drop your wrist.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Apple Watch Series 5 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- Great Display
- Great battery life
- Relatively large storage size
- Great design
- Electrical heart rate monitor
- Only suitable for iOS
7. Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch
The design of the Garmin Vivoactive HR is quite different from that of the Fenix versions. It has a sleek design and is lightweight. The Garmin Vivoactive HR supports Android and iOS.
Like the aforementioned Garmin smartwatches, the Vivoactive HR measures rowing-specific metrics for indoor and outdoor rowing.
It uses the Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, an optical heart rate sensor, for measuring heart rate. Also, the Vivoactive HR monitors heart activity all through the day.
Asides measuring heart rate, it measures the quantity of calories burned, floors climbed, pace and it has a sleep tracking feature. The GPS, accelerometer and the compass allow for easy navigation too.
It also features a high-resolution touchscreen display with reach colors that use the Garmin Chroma Display technology. With the Garmin Chroma Display, reading the screen in sunlight is made easier and with the backlight, reading in low light is also easy.
Also, the sensitivity of the touchscreen is high and can be operated even with gloves on. The screen is easy to read all day long.
As seen in the other Garmin watches, you can share updates of your activity with an online community through the Garmin Connect application. While running the GPS, the battery can last up to 12 hours but it lasts up to 8 days with normal usage.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- 24/7 activity monitoring
- Touchscreen is perhaps too sensitive
- The mobile app is not very easy to use
8. Garmin Vivoactive 3
The design of the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is very appealing. It has a unique circular design with a stainless steel bezel and corning gorilla glass. It is quite rugged and with the corning gorilla glass, it will not scratch easily.
Like the other Garmin watches mentioned so far, it measures rowing metrics and it is compatible with Android and iOS devices. It is well suited for indoor and outdoor activities too.
The GPS, accelerometer and the compass work together to give accurate distance measures and allows for easy navigation. It also has 50-meter waterproof feature that makes it suitable for outdoor rowing.
It measures heart rate, calorie loss, steps taken and other similar metrics measured by fitness smartwatches. The Vivoactive 3 comes with certain features absent in the Vivoactive HR. These features include stress monitoring, maximum oxygen uptake and fitness age estimation.
Common to the Garmin smartwatches brand, the Vivoactive 3 includes the live tracking feature and Garmin connect app through which you can share live updates with family, friends and an online community.
The heart rate measurement is facilitated by an optical heart sensor – the Garmin Elevate Technology – which is present in many models of Garmin watches.
The watch dons a customizable 240 x 240-pixel touchscreen display. The screen uses a trans-reflective LCD tech that allows the display become brighter and clearer with sunlight. In the dark, the screen lights up so you can easily read. It also uses the Garmin Chroma Display technology.
Unique to this model is the Garmin Pay which allows payment through contactless medium. The battery life is quite great with about 13 hours with GPS and 7 days with normal use.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin Vivoactive 3 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- Great display
- Great battery life
- Nice design
- Not too expensive
- Chest strap gives better heart rate measurements
9. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
Although it retains most of the features of its forebear, the Garmin Fenix 6 pro is an upgrade to the Garmin Fenix 5X.
It has a rugged classic design sleeker and lighter than the Fenix 5. It would not scratch easily and the Sapphire glass gives it an alluring outlook.
The easily adjustable and swappable silicone straps add to the comfort of the Fenix 6 Pro. It measures rowing metrics and it is compatible with Android and iOS devices. It is well suited for indoor and outdoor activities too.
It uses GALILEO, GPS and GLONASS navigation systems. The combination of these navigation systems, an altimeter, and a gyroscope eases navigation marginally when compared to other Garmin smartwatches.
GPS and GLONASS use up to an additional 24 satellites so the speed and accuracy of measuring distance and direction are not farfetched.
It is equipped with TOPO maps which have a database of about 2000 ski routes all over the world. It also has a 50-meter waterproof feature that makes it suitable for outdoor rowing.
The Fenix 6 Pro has a 1.3-inch display with a 240 x 240-pixel resolution – an upgrade from the 218 x 218 pixels of the Fenix 5X. The Fenix 6 Pro also comes with a new feature that measures energy levels of the body (Body Battery).
This feature is a way to monitor how your daily activities affect your energy levels. This large screen allows the possibility to display up to 6 fields.
It measures heart rate, calorie loss, cadence, time and other similar metrics measured by fitness smartwatches.
Like the Vivoactive 3, Fenix 6 Pro measures maximum oxygen uptake and oxygen saturation of the blood. It also supports the Garmin Coach that helps you train for 3 types of a marathon (half, 5K and 10K).
It also comes with the live tracking feature and Garmin connect app that allows you to share live updates with family, friends and an online community.
The heart rate measurement is facilitated by the Garmin Elevate Technology – same as in the Fenix 5X.
The storage size of the Fenix 6 pro is 32 GB (two times what is available in the Fenix 5X). The battery life is quite great with about 36 hours with GPS and 46 days with normal use – a very significant improvement from the Fenix 5X.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro that earned it a spot in our list of Best Watches For Rowing to get in 2020.
- Excellent design
- Quite accurate
- High-speed performance
- Understandably expensive
Generally, the Garmin brands offer the most functions for rowing and the Fenix 5X and Fenix 6 Pro have the most desirable specifications from the pack. As expected, because of the functions they perform, they are quite expensive. The price will be a factor in making your choice, however, there are other choices on this list with lower prices that would work well for you.