Kettler Kadett – feels like being on the water


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The Kettler Kadett Rowing Machine is an outrigger rowing machine. An outrigger is a triangular support for an oarlock, projecting from the side of the shells gunwales. This feature gives the Kadett a realistic sculling motion and makes it different from most rowing machines.

Sculling is rowing on a small light racing boat for one, two, or four rowers, each using a pair of sculls. The sculling motion uses a port (left hand) and starboard (right hand) oar.

The rowing motion, starts at the catch, with the seat fully extended to the end of the slide, knees bent and hands on the oar handles, out and away. This simulates hands out over the gunwales, sides of the boat. The rowing motion pulls the oars toward

The rowing motion pulls the oars toward the stomach, driving the legs, until the seat is at the back of the slide, and hands are in the lap. Start the motion again by pushing the hands away and pulling the seat up with the feet and legs, until the hands are again over the gunwales.

The Kettler Kadett Rowing Machine is the second least expensive rowing machine Kettler makes. Kettler is a German leisure fitness company, which is known for making good quality products. It is smooth, comfortable and quite. It also folds up for storage. The only drawback is the quality of the footplates. There have been complaints about them moving while rowing and having a poor connection to the frame. is the second least expensive rowing machine Kettler makes. Kettler is a German leisure fitness company, which is known for making good quality products. It is smooth, comfortable and quite. It also folds up for storage. The only drawback is the quality of the footplates. There have been complaints about them moving while rowing and having a poor connection to the frame.

The Kadett is a hydraulic machine. This makes is affordable but the pistons can leak and require replacement.

If you are looking for a rowing machine that makes you feel like you are on the water, this is the rower for you. It is also perfect for taller users because it is adjustable.

Does the Kettler Kadett fit all height and weight ranges?

The Kettler Kadett weight capacity is 285 lbs as shown on Kettler’s website. The Kadett has adjustable footplates, which makes it fit both short and tall users. It does this by having the footboard on a center beam that slides inside the central housing. The beam adjusts so long legs can get a full extension without the seat hitting the end of the track. Users as tall as 6’6 were able to comfortably use this machine.

Is it easy to assemble?

The Kettler Kadett Rowing Machine is not fully assembled when you receive it. Some people have found it difficult to assemble. It comes with instructions that are picture based. The detailed images are easy to follow.

The directions are in different languages. English is one of them. I recommend highlighting the English parts so it’s easier to read. Look for pages marked GB (Great Britain) for English.

With some mechanical experience, a flat head and Phillips screwdriver, the assembly can take up to 2 hours. An Allen wrench is also needed for one small part. It is important to make sure all the parts are there for before starting the assembly.

You may find difficulty installing the rowing arms. Place the arms into place without installing them. You will quickly realize if you have them backward (the piston has to compress when you pull not extend).

Here is a link to the instruction manual.

What is the rowing motion?

The Kettler Kadett Rowing Machine is different from most rowing machines because it mimics sculling. It is very important to use the proper form while using this machine. Keep your arms higher as you pull back (imagine the oars dipping into the water) and then push your arms forward at waist level (oars out of the water) is the proper form. The proper form will benefit your core as well as your legs and arms.

I recommend watching some videos about sculling to understand the proper technique.

Take some time to slowly go through the movements to make sure it is right. You will feel smoothness the motion and the rower will react.

Many users have said that the best thing about the Kadett is that you feel like you are rowing a boat. They claim that when they close their eyes, they feel like they are in a boat on the water. This makes the workout more pleasant.

Does it simulate squaring/feathering of the oars?

Yes, it simulates squaring/feathering and is the most realistic machine for full-motion rowing simulation. The handles rotate independently of the metal oar bar. It will need a little lubricant if the rotation is stiff. The cylinders will take some time to get them fine-tuned to match resistance. You can see this motion in the video above.

What is the resistance type?

The Kettler Kadett Rowing Machine is a hydraulic rowing machine. The Pistons attached to each arm, allow you to adjust the resistance on each arm. It has 12 different resistance levels this makes it ideal for different fitness levels.

The resistance levels are from 12-1. 12 is the lowest resistance and 1 is the highest.

There have been some complaints about the pistons having unequal resistance or loss of resistance. This is common with hydraulic rowing machines. Pistons can wear out and warm up at different times.

When the pistons warm up the seal at the top loosens. It can help to make sure the piston arm connected entirely on the forward motion. That can restore the resistance.

Make sure the resistance is aligned the same on both arms. Line up the resistance level with the triangle sticker on the piston. Some users have complained about the shocks leaking. This is common with hydraulic rowing machines. Kettler sells replacement shocks on their website. The shocks are an expendable part. They are not covered under the Kettler Kadett warranty. It is best to buy an exercise mat to put under your machine to protect your floor.

How to adjust the resistance?

Users have had some difficulty setting the resistance. To set the resistance, line up the point of the triangle at the top of each hydraulic tube with the # on its collar. There is a number stamped on the pistons with a triangle background. The tip of the triangle points toward the resistance number. Make sure you look on the side where the triangle is located and match the resistance numbers. Do not look from the top.

Does it fold up, and it easy to store?


The Kettler Kadett folded: image from

Yes, it folds down. It weighs 66 lbs and doesn’t have wheels. It can be difficult to move. The arms collapse to make it more compact for storage under a bed or in a closet. When it is folded it measures 59” x 20” x 18”. To fold the machine for storage, loosen the knobs on the arms. Make sure the knobs on the arms are tight before use to prevent the arms from wobbling.

The rowing machine measures 59” x 67” x 18” while using it. You will need about 6 sq ft of space while the rower is in use. The outrigger design of the arms requires space to complete the rowing stroke.

What does the fitness monitor track and does it use a lot of power?

The Kettler Kadett Rowing Machine comes with a multifunctional fitness monitor. It tracks workout time, number and speed of strokes, distance, energy consumption, and pulse rate. The housing for the computer doesn’t attach securely to the main body. Users have attached a small piece of tape at the base to keep it locked into place.


Kettler fitness monitor: image from

Your pulse is monitored with the included ear clip or the optional Polar T34 chest strap heart rate monitor.

The data is all displayed in the metric system so you will need to convert the kilometers into miles to see how far you rowed. Also, the temperature is in Celsius, not Fahrenheit.

The display does not use a lot of power, and it uses AA batteries. It automatically turns on when you start rowing and turns off when you stop. It will also go into a dormant state to save battery life. Change the factory batteries with a good name brand, which should last for years.

Here are instructions to change the batteries:

  1. Just slide and lift the monitor off the frame and unplug it. It comes off easily.
  2. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the large screw in the center back of the unit. You do not need to remove the two smaller screws in the corners. The display will drop right out.
  3. On the back of the display is a rectangular battery door. Place your fingertip on the end of the small tab in the center then lightly press in and lift. This is not obvious so take your time. Do not use any tools to pry it open.
  4. Install a fresh pair of name brand AA batteries to increase the length of use.

Here is the instruction manual for the fitness monitor.

Is the rower comfortable to use?

The Kettler Kadett’s ergonomic seat is comfortable with a heavy-duty padded covering that will keep it from depleting over the years.

The seat is sturdy and does not wobble or make a lot of noise.

The handles are made of hard plastic and have ridges. Purchasing exercise gloves, wrapping the handles in sports tape, or buying handlebar grips can help with the discomfort.

Some people have complained about the straps and the footplates. The footplates are plastic but no too flimsy. The foot straps tend to loosen during a workout. Sewing Velcro into the straps can help. Make sure you are using the right straps. The thick velcro straps are for the foot rests and the skinny ones are for securing the arms for storage.

Users have been adamant about the rowing motion mimicking that of being on the water in a boat. The smooth motion is relaxing and makes workouts enjoyable.

Do you need to lubricate the cylinders?

A few drops of lubricating oil should put on the bearing sleeves of the hydraulic absorbers and the rowing levers. Make sure the oil does not drip on the floor! After long periods of disuse, the hydraulic absorbers may not work well. Before exercising or after a period of disuse, activate the absorbers by several pumping movements.

Is the durability comparable for the price?

The Kettler Kadett rowing machine is made in Germany, which is known for high-quality products. Kettler has put a lifetime warranty on the frame against breakage. Which proves their confidence in their product. The frame is steel and they use high-quality parts for durability. The roller wheels and the hydraulic pistons have had few complaints. Simple maintenance such as whipping it down after use should keep your machine in use for years. The main complaint was about the footplates. The footplates are not made as well as the rest of the machine. They also move while rowing and may become loose.

Where do you buy replacement parts?

Kettler carries many replacement parts. They only show two products on their website. Contact them directly to find out if they have the part you need. Kettler’s customer service is very helpful.



Phone: 866-804-0440

M-F 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST

What kind of warranty does the Kettler Kadett have?

The frame is high-carbon steel and is powder coated. The frame has a lifetime warranty against breakage and a 3-year residential warranty. However, the hydraulic system is not under warranty. Other rowing machines come with a 2-5 year warranty on the frame.

What is the Price?

Click here to see the price of the Kettler Kadett on Amazon. There are discounts but the price does not fluctuate that much. Make sure the Kadett is in stock before ordering. Check for free shipping. The price is lower, but with the shipping, it will be the same price. I recommend purchasing a mat to protect your floor.


The Kettler Kadett Rowing Machine has a realistic rowing motion that mimics sculling. Most people love the feel of being on the water. It would be best for users with some experience to understand the motion. But, it is easy enough to learn how to use it properly. It is a high-quality machine and up to Kettler’s standards. It is a compact machine and folds up for storage. The Kadett is perfect for taller people because it adjusts to fit your height.

Some people have had problems assembling the machine. The quality of the footrest is not good compared to the rest of the rower. The performance monitor gets loose and may need to be adhered with tape. There are no wheels for transportation and it is a bit heavy.

If the Kettler Kadett is right for you I recommend purchasing it from Amazon. Amazon is a reputable site and they have a 6-month financing offer with the store card. There is free shipping available. You can also get it assembled at home for an additional price, if you are mechanically challenged. Look under Amazon home service for more information. You can also get a 2-year protection plan, but I don’t think that is necessary. The “frequently bought together” section is helpful. Now they advertise an equipment mat you can buy to protect your floors.

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