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First Degree Fitness Full Commercial E-520 Fluid Rower

Full Commercial E-520
e520 commercial rower
Check today's discounted price
Water75 x 28 x 34165 lbs450 lbs10 years frame
3 years tank
2 years parts

Compare with other rowing machines

One of the highest quality rowers on the market, the First Degree Fitness E-520 presents a plethora of features designed to help you lose weight and tone up any problem areas. This model was intended for commercial use and thus, is considered a professional-grade fitness equipment for heavy-duty use. Indeed, with no less than 20 levels of resistance, this rower is very often present in gyms, healthy clubs and training bases.

e520 rowing

Full Commercial E-520

While it is a tad pricier than other models,this rower has been built to last for a lifetime with minimal maintenance and has even be shown to yield visible result within the space of a few months of continuous use. According to fitness gurus, rowing is a highly stimulating activity which normally burns up to 400 calories per hour on low difficulty and up to 800 on high, so this model with its wide range or resistance levels certainly offers space for growing.

This model is produced by First Degree Fitness, a company globally acclaimed for its use of Fluid Technology. Now to make this clear, as far as resistance is concerned, the use of water in gym equipment has been shown to provide a much better exercise session, because it gives the user total control of the workout’s intensity. However, water based rowers tend to be quite expensive, which can be a limiting factor for many users. Because of this, we also took the time to review this company’s Pacific Challenge AR, which is considerably cheaper than the E-520.

Product Specifications and Features

  • Product Footprint: 75 x 28”
  • Resistance Type: Water
  • Resistance levels: 20
  • Workout Memories: 6
  • Materials used: Anodized aluminum and steel
  • Rollers: Air glide
  • Maximum user capacity: 450lbs
  • Product weight: 165lbs

This rower is one of the most versatile machines in the health and fitness industry. It presents an impressive 20-level resistance system which makes it absolutely perfect for people of just about any fitness level. It also offers the highest resistance level on the market. Indeed, even experienced rowers initially had some trouble adjusting to the highest setting but their bodies gradually got used to it. It is also quite easy to switch between the 20 tension levels. Indeed, contrary to other water rowers where you have to manually adjust the water level to your needs; in this machine you can do it much easily through its siphon system.first degree fitness monitor

The E-520 is also equipped with an oversized performance monitor which displays a variety of information such as distance rowed, stroke count, stroke speed, calories burned, distance covered and time. In comparison with other regular rowers, this product even allows the user to hold virtual races with other athletes using an innovative program. The monitor features a USB port which you can use to transmit your fitness-related information to your computer. With this model can also access your previous six workout memories which will also help you keep a close eye on your overall progress.

Assembly and Parts

Because of the bulk and density of this machine, a couple of users initially had a hard time joining the separate pieces together. However, the instructions manual does provide fully illustrated instructions to facilitate the task. More importantly, the boxed packaging contains all the required tools and knobs for assembly, hence a bit of patience is everything you will need to put this rower together. Personally, it took me slightly over an hour to assemble the E-520.

Ease of Use and Comfort

Since the rowing machine has been built with comfort in mind, it features a height-adjustable pair of footplates designed to accommodate various shoes sizes. The footrests are equipped with an Advanced Heel Cradle footboard system to maximize your comfort while keeping cramps at bay during your workout. The footrests also come with a one-touch adjustment button.

first degree fitness seatThe thickly padded seat comes with an optional back support and has been positioned at an ‘office chair’ height, hence allowing the user to easily climb on and off the machine. Also, since the seat is positioned above the ground, it draws in more gravitational pull which enhances your workout intensity. Personally, I noticed that the ergonomically-shaped seat motivated me to push beyond my normal boundaries and put in more effort for a longer amount of time.

This particular product is also equipped with air-glide seat rollers which deliver smoother and much quieter rowing motions. In fact, the only noise that the machine emits is a soft and relaxing splashing noise, courtesy of the water tank. The tank is also made from polycarbonate, which is one of the most resistant materials on the market.

This rower is also extremely easy to maintain since it has a belt drive instead of a chain, which completely eliminates the need for lubrication or oiling.


A few users did report to having had problems with the assembly process, like needing two people to put the rower together, while some other didn’t know how to use the provided tools but this issue was cleared up thanks to the instructions manual. Now you have to consider that this is a big and heavy machine, thus if you can you should certainly use an extra pair of hands, and always look carefully at the manual.

Overall opinion

All in all, we consider the First Degree Fitness Full Commercial E-520 certainly worth its price, especially since it offers professional quality and a wide arrange of special features. Indeed, in spite of its minor drawbacks this rower an excellent investment for anyone who is serious about their workouts. Indeed, while most machines normally need to be replaced by a better, more innovative model after a few years, this particular item is already among the most efficient and innovative rower on the market, with unique features that can’t be found elsewhere.

The E-520 is protected by a solid warranty of 2 years for the Wearing Monitor and Components, 3 years for the Seals and Tanks and 10 years on the Frame.