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10 Best Rowing Machines Compared & Reviewed

last updated Nov 02, 2019
Running is not the only cardio you can get in, and many runners love to opt for rowing on their off days. The best rowing machines on our list are a perfect option for those of you looking for a cardio machine that will help you build your stamina and endurance.

Rowing is an effective cardiovascular workout for all athletes—not just runners. It forces you to use several muscle groups and challenges your endurance with each and every pull and, just like treadmills, you can choose your level of intensity.

If you’ve never used a rower before, check one out at your local gym before you buy one. On the other hand, if you are an experienced rower you will want to get one of the 10 best rowing machines featured on our list below.

Take a look!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research

icon
Concept2 Model D
93/100 our score
Power Source
95
Comfort
95
Size
90
Ride
95
Value
90
Concept2 Model D
Why is it better?

Built to last

Sophisticated PM5 monitor for data tracking

Compatible with RowPro Software

Easily separates for storage

Consistent and challenging full body workout

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Concept2 Model D
Test Winner: Concept2 Model D
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
3
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.7K
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
9
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Giselle Killebrew:

Check out the top rowers currently available below and get to training. We have updated each of our product reviews and promise that there is something on here for all levels—so, no matter where you are, you will find a rower that will fit your current skill level. Make sure you check out the buying guide as well to learn everything you need to know.

Sorting Options
Power Source Comfort Size Ride Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Power Source
95 %
Comfort
95 %
Size
90 %
Ride
95 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$945.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Power Source
99 %
Comfort
98 %
Size
82 %
Ride
97 %
Value
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$1,160.00
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
Power Source
93 %
Comfort
85 %
Size
95 %
Ride
81 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$299.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.6
Power Source
80 %
Comfort
86 %
Size
90 %
Ride
87 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$1,299.00
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Power Source
95 %
Comfort
90 %
Size
80 %
Ride
85 %
Value
75 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$899.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.6
Power Source
80 %
Comfort
90 %
Size
79 %
Ride
86 %
Value
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$599.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Power Source
75 %
Comfort
77 %
Size
85 %
Ride
73 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$216.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.6
Power Source
70 %
Comfort
77 %
Size
90 %
Ride
75 %
Value
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$249.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.6
Power Source
69 %
Comfort
73 %
Size
87 %
Ride
70 %
Value
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$64.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74
Power Source
75 %
Comfort
74 %
Size
89 %
Ride
72 %
Value
60 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$599.97

Top 10 Picks

1. Concept2 Model D

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Concept2 Model D
Concept2 Model D
Concept2 Model D
Concept2 Model D
Concept2 Model D
Amazon Link
Power Source
95
Comfort
95
Size
90
Ride
95
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$945.00
Pros:

Built to last

Sophisticated PM5 monitor for data tracking

Compatible with RowPro Software

Easily separates for storage

Consistent and challenging full body workout

Cons:

Expensive

Takes up a lot of space

The Concept2 rower consistently tops the list of best home rowing machines and is the rower most commonly used by elite athletes. The sophisticated computer is compatible with RowPro Software that will keep you motivated through this killer full body workout. It may seem pricey, but all users agree it is built to last a lifetime.

Read more

Power Source

A backlit display and adjustable arm make this monitor easy to read throughout your workout. This rower features the sophisticated Performance Monitor 5 (PM5) that accurately tracks comparable data for each row. It is compatible with USB flash drives to help you easily track data over time and to set and meet long-term fitness goals.

For an additional cost, you can also download RowPro Software to keep you motivated during these challenging workouts.

Comfort

The seat is firm but is not uncomfortable. Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handles make this rower comfortable and easy to use. The air resistance and flywheel design allow for smooth movement that becomes more challenging as you push yourself. Users love the consistent challenge and full range of motion provided by this machine.

Size

This rower does take up a bit of space at 96in x 24in x 14in but it is solidly built and can support users up to 500lbs. A quick-release frame lock mechanism allows the machine to easily separate into two pieces with wheels on the front for easy storage.

Ride

The air resistance on this rower is comparable to the noise of a loud fan. Users note it is quiet enough to still watch television and not disturb neighbors or kids. This rower utilizes air resistance that you can set up prior to your workout by adjusting the spiral damper to control airflow.

Value

It is on the more expensive side but owners of this rower have no buyer’s remorse. They say the price is easy to justify for this solid piece of machinery that they expect to last their lifetime.

2. Incline Fit WaterRower

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
WaterRower
WaterRower
WaterRower
WaterRower
WaterRower
Amazon Link
Power Source
99
Comfort
98
Size
82
Ride
97
Value
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$1,160.00
Pros:

Attractive ash wood frame

Pleasant water sound

Natural water resistance

Flips up for easy upright storage

Sturdy seat

6 Window monitor

Cons:

Expensive

This water rower has been gaining popularity after its appearance on House of Cards. The luxury ash wood design and water tank are beautiful and functional as they replicate the movement of rowing through water. The monitor is not as sophisticated but many users prefer the smooth water resistance to the more mechanical motion of fan and magnetic rowers.

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Power Source

The signature “water flywheel” consists of 2 paddles that rotate in an enclosed tank of water. As you row, the paddles are met with resistance from the water. Just as in a regular boat, the faster you stroke the more difficult it will be to pull your paddle through the water. This allows you to control the level of resistance at your own speed.

The Series 4 Performance Monitor includes 6 windows with 6 QuickSelection and 3 navigation buttons to display motivational programming and workout data including intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, zone bar, duration and distance.

Comfort

The sturdy design and 4 corner wheels make you feel secure and comfortable as you move through your workout. If you keep your proper form, you will also stay nice and comfortable throughout your entire ride, so make sure you focus on your form when you row on this rower.

Size

The WaterRower measures 84in x 21in x 22in and weighs 117 lbs. The frame is designed to flip up easily for upright storage that will require just 2 square feet of floor space. The very sturdy design can support users up to 1000 lbs.

Ride

Unlike most rowers, this Natural Rower has 2 tracks and 4 corner wheels for the seat for added stability. The water resistance creates a smooth and fluid resistance that mimics the natural rowing movement. With complete extension and contraction, the company estimates you engage 84% of your muscle mass.

Most users find the quiet, watery sound of the paddles spinning in the tank satisfying and pleasant. The solid ash frame was designed to absorb sound and vibration for very quiet operation.

Value

The WaterRower is certainly an investment but the sturdy build and oak-stained ash make the added cost well worth the money. So, even though this rower is pricey, you will find it is well worth the cost if it fits your budget.

3. Stamina ATS

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
Stamina ATS
Stamina ATS
Stamina ATS
Stamina ATS
Stamina ATS
Amazon Link
Power Source
93
Comfort
85
Size
95
Ride
81
Value
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$299.00
Pros:

Affordable

Foldable and portable

Basic data monitoring

Inclined seat rail for easy return

Cons:

Not as durable

Less natural movement

Loud fan noise

This wind resistance rower is the best bargain option at a fraction of the price of the top of the line models. It is a simple but sturdy rower that provides a constant and progressive challenge along with basic data monitoring.

Read more

Power Source

Simplistic monitor displays speed, distance (in miles), time and calories burned. Air resistance fan provides a constant challenge as you row. This rower also needs a battery for its display screen, but it lasts a long time so you don't have to worry about switching it out too often.

Comfort

Wide, padded seat and large footplates make this rower comfortable for users of any size. The seat rail is angled slightly to provide an easier return as your contract. Many users like the added leg workout as you push up the incline on extension but some seasoned rowers feel that the movement is less natural and prefer the standard flat rail.

Size

The rower is 77 in x 18in x 22in and is fairly lightweight at just 54 lbs. It folds easily and has wheels on the front for easy storage. If you want a rower you can easily store and that works for most heights, you will love this one.

Ride

The noise level is comparable to that of a large fan. Some users also note a clicking noise with the chain but this seems to be resolved with a little oil.

Value

This functional rower provides an excellent full-body workout at a fraction of the cost of the higher-end models. Most users note a solid build and surprisingly good quality for the price but a handful of rowers do have some premature breakage of the return spring.

4. Lifecore R100

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.6
Lifecore R100
Lifecore R100
Lifecore R100
Lifecore R100
Lifecore R100
Amazon Link
Power Source
80
Comfort
86
Size
90
Ride
87
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$1,299.00
Pros:

Sophisticated monitor with 15 preset programs

Included heart rate monitor for heart rate-dependent programming

Data storage for up to 4 users

16 levels of magnetic resistance

Foldable

Cons:

Price

Heavy

This unique rower utilizes a combination of air and magnetic resistance to offer a smooth rowing motion and 16 levels of resistance. It has a sophisticated computer display and data tracking that allows for up to 4 users. So, if you want a rower the whole family can use, you will love this one since it will let four of you track your progress as well.

Read more

Power Source

This rower combines air resistance with 16 levels of magnetic resistance to offer unique preset programs with varied resistance. The air resistance will make some fan noise but the drive belt that replaces the standard chain in this machine operates silently.

Comfort

Adjustable footrests accommodate a wide variety of shoe sizes to provide you with a solid platform to press off. The ergonomic handle features a 10-degree bend for a natural arm and hand positioning. Additionally, this machine aims some of the fan air at you to keep you cool through your workout.

Size

This machine is a bit larger at 92 x 19 x 36 inches and 96 lbs but it folds to the size of 52 x 19 x 67 inches and can support users up to 600 lbs. The large blue backlit LCD display is easy to use during your row. It includes 15 preset pacer and watt dependent motivational programs and will store data for up to 4 users. It also comes with a heart rate monitor that is compatible with 4 polar heart rate control programs.

Ride

This solid rower has a sturdy build and smooth operation that is easy to use for both beginners and experienced rowers. Many users report it provides a smooth and comfortable ride that doesn't leave them with ay discomfort--even after longer rowing sessions.

Value

This sophisticated machine is more expensive but offers customizable resistance and a wide variety of preset programs. So, if this rower fits your budget you will find that it is worth every penny given the amazing features it has to offer.

5. First Degree Fitness Newport AR

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
First Degree Fitness Newport AR
First Degree Fitness Newport AR
First Degree Fitness Newport AR
First Degree Fitness Newport AR
First Degree Fitness Newport AR
Amazon Link
Power Source
95
Comfort
90
Size
80
Ride
85
Value
75
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$899.00
Pros:

Natural water resistance

Upright storage

Interval training programs

Data monitoring

Cons:

Rower moves a bit with intense workouts

This water resistance rower offers a smooth stroke that replicates the natural rowing motion. It is less expensive than the top of the line WaterRower and offers a nice computer display and solid build.

Read more

Power Source

Water-resistance becomes more difficult with speed and can be adjusted through the volume of water added to the tank. The tri-blade propeller spins through the water tank for a smooth and natural-feeling resistance. The seat glides smoothly on the track but some users note the machine sliding backward or lifting up slightly in the front when completing sprint workouts on this machine.

Comfort

Computer displays time, distance, 500m split time, strokes per minute, calories per hour, watts and has programming for interval training and heart rate reception. This rower is fairly quiet with a pleasant water sound from the propeller in the tank.

Size

This rower is 78in x 21in x 20in and weight 68 lbs. It is designed with front wheels for easy upright storage and can support users up to 300 lbs.

Ride

This water rower provides you with a smooth ride that rowers love. It offers a great workout and really delivers the smooth feel of being on the water so you can really feel like you are on the water.

Value

This machine is much less expensive than the high-end WaterRower but is still not considered a budget option. Users are pleased with the sturdy build and feel the natural water resistance is worth the investment.

6. Stamina Avari

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.6
Stamina Avari
Stamina Avari
Stamina Avari
Stamina Avari
Stamina Avari
Amazon Link
Power Source
80
Comfort
90
Size
79
Ride
86
Value
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$599.00
Pros:

Quiet operation

Less expensive

Sophisticated data monitoring

12 workout programs

Cons:

Uncomfortable seat

Movement feels a bit mechanical

Despite the slightly mechanical feel, this rower has a smooth rowing motion and sophisticated programming and data monitoring for about half the price of the higher-end Concept2 and LifeCORE R100. So, if you like the pricier options but don't have the budget for it then you will want to check this one out.

Read more

Power Source

Magnetic resistance can be adjusted during your workout with simple buttons on the InTouch Fitness Monitor. The magnetic resistance feels a bit more mechanical but is easier to fine-tune than rowers that utilize air or water resistance.

Comfort

The machine feels sturdy during workouts but some users feel the seat is very uncomfortable and stiff after 15-20 minutes of rowing. The LCD backlit fitness monitor tracks time, count, distance, calories, strokes per minute, pulse and watts. It also offers 12 workout programs including 4 custom user programs and 1 heart rate program.

Size

This rower is 81in x 20in x 24.5in and can support a maximum user weight of 275 lbs. It folds easily and is easy to store when not in use. The magnetic resistance and nylon chain makes for the silent operation of this rower.

Ride

As far as the ride goes, this rower can be compared to that of the higher-end models as well. It delivers a smooth ride that isn't too bumpy and that keeps you nice and comfortable even when you want to row for long periods of time.

Value

At around half the cost of the higher-end rowers, this machine is a great option for those looking to save a bit of money. It offers similar data monitoring and personalized programming of the more expensive machines but utilizes a less expensive and more mechanical magnetic resistance.`

7. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515
Amazon Link
Power Source
75
Comfort
77
Size
85
Ride
73
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$216.99
Pros:

Budget option

Smooth and silent operation

Foldable and portable

8 levels of resistance

Cons:

No distance monitoring

Not ideal for sprint workouts

This basic rower is a great bargain for beginners and casual rowers. The magnetic resistance provides smooth and silent operation with 8 levels of resistance. If you are on a budget and looking for a simple rower to workout with--but not to train extensively on for professional competitions--this may be the right model or you.

Read more

Power Source

This rower utilizes a magnetic tension system with 8 levels of adjustable resistance. The movement of this magnetic resistance rower is very smooth but some users note the machine catching when they move too quickly through their stroke. Those planning for intense sprint workouts may consider a water or air rower instead.

Comfort

Padded seat and non-slip handlebars are reasonably comfortable for long workouts. The foot pedals do pivot which is positive for some but tends to be uncomfortable for more experienced rowers. The magnetic resistance operates in near silence.

Size

This rower is 82in x 19in x 23 in and supports users up to 250 lbs. With a little effort, it can be folded into a more compact size. Additionally, front wheels make for easy portability and storage. Large and simple LCD display monitors time, count, total count, calories and scan.

Ride

When it comes to the ride, this rower is designed to provide you with a smooth ride that you will enjoy, even when you are on the rower for extensive periods of time.

Value

At a fraction of the price of the more complicated rowers, this machine is certainly a budget option. It is ideal for beginners and casual rowers that cannot justify the additional cost of all the bells and whistles associated with the higher end rowers. Users note it is well made for the price but may require some maintenance over.

8. Stamina 1215

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.6
Stamina 1215
Stamina 1215
Stamina 1215
Stamina 1215
Stamina 1215
Amazon Link
Power Source
70
Comfort
77
Size
90
Ride
75
Value
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$249.99
Pros:

Compact and portable

Free motion arms provide a great upper body workout

Quiet operation

Cons:

Single button display

Resistance may be inconsistent

Difficult for shorter people to use

This compact and affordable rowing machine is ideal for those with little space in their home. It has free motion arms that provide an additional challenge for the upper body. The resistance is somewhat inconsistent so this machine may be best used for occasional cross training rather than regular rowing.

Read more

Power Source

Hydraulic resistance can be adjusted with a knob at the front of the machine. The ball-bearing system does take some time to warm up and will feel more difficult at the start of your workout. Single-button monitor allows you to view speed, distance, time, row count, calories burned and miles rowed.

Comfort

Like many home rowers, the seat is quite hard and may be a bit uncomfortable after long workouts. This rower operates very quietly and is ideal for using while watching television or listening to music.

Size

This ultra-compact rower has a footprint of just 32.5 x 48 inches and is portable at just 47 lbs. Users as tall as 6’3’’ report using this machine effectively. The manufacturer recommends a maximum weight of 250 lbs.

Ride

This machine features free moving orbital arms rather than the standard handle attached to a cable. This provides more range of motion for the shoulders but some users have difficulty getting a challenging ab and leg workout on this machine. Some users also note some issues with the knob that controls the resistance loosening as they row.

Value

This machine is on the less expensive end of the price range for rowers. Those of you on a budget will love this one and if you have less space in your home for the rower then this may be a great options as well.

9. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1205

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.6
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1205
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1205
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1205
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1205
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1205
Amazon Link
Power Source
69
Comfort
73
Size
87
Ride
70
Value
84
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$64.99
Pros:

Very inexpensive

Light and compact

12 resistance settings

Comfortable foam handles

Cons:

Best suited for beginners

Resistance tube becomes hot

Here we have another Sunny Health lower brand that comes at a great price and is an awesome option for anyone on a budget. It features a hydraulic resistant and is a perfect option for those of you just starting out. It is portable, small, and compact so you can easily store it in your home and get it out of the way when you need to.

Read more

Power Source

Hydraulic resistance that comes with 12 resistance settings. Without a fan or chain, this rower operates fairly quietly. The LCD monitor displays time, count, total count, calories and scan.

Comfort

The seat is cushioned but many users note it wears down quickly and does not provide that much-added comfort. So, you won't have to worry about your bottom getting sore if you stay on it for more than five minutes.

Size

As far as size goes, this rower is designed to be small and compact. It is easy to store out of the way if you need to and is easy to move around whenever you need to.

Ride

This machine works really well for those learning to row and those who are completing shorter workouts. More experienced rowers feel that the range of motion is a bit constricted, especially if you are outside of the average height range. Additionally, a few users note the resistance chamber has a tendency to heat up after some time so this may not be the best machine for longer workouts.

Value

This is certainly a budget option and is one of the least expensive rowers on the market. Most users are pleasantly surprised by the sturdy build and smooth operation but if you are looking for a machine that can take some punishment you would be advised to look elsewhere.

This rower is really ideal for the casual or beginner rower but those with more experience would recommend investing quite a bit more in a more sophisticated machine.

10. Velocity Exercise CHR 2001

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74
Velocity Exercise CHR 2001
Velocity Exercise CHR 2001
Velocity Exercise CHR 2001
Velocity Exercise CHR 2001
Velocity Exercise CHR 2001
Amazon Link
Power Source
75
Comfort
74
Size
89
Ride
72
Value
60
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$599.97
Pros:

Less expensive

Built-in heart rate monitor

Quiet operation

Motivational programs

Foldable

Cons:

Not the most durable machine

Uncomfortable seat

Not a favorite among experienced rowers

This magnetic rower offers smooth resistance and sophisticated display for less than half the price of the top of the line. The silent operation and foldable, portable design make this a good option for small living spaces.

Read more

Power Source

Magnetic Resistance, This rower offers smooth magnetic resistance with a seat that glides smoothly. It seems to work well for beginning rowers but some experienced rowers complain that the front of the stroke does not allow them to move far enough forward and even the highest resistance setting leaves something to be desired.

Comfort

This rower comes with a built-in heart rate sensor and has an LCD monitor that displays time, count, strokes per minute, distance, calories, watt, and pulse as well as 12 programs to help you motivate yourself through your rowing workout. Users note the seat is a bit uncomfortable after 20-30 minutes of use.

Size

This rower is foldable and has a relatively small frame at 80"L x 20"W x 29"H. It is suited for users up to 6’2’’ and has a maximum user weight of 275 lbs.

Ride

As far as the ride goes for this rower, you find this one is smooth at first but the longer you are on it the bumpier it will get. So, if you like long periods on the rower you may want to rethink this one.

Value

This rower is not the least expensive option but it is less than half the price of the luxury models. Magnetic resistance offers almost silent operation.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Power Source

Because these are in home rowers, they are not powered like your typical boat or canoe--so check out our reviews to see what you need to get your rower up and running (or should I say rowing?!)

In an actual boat, resistance is created when dragging the paddle through the water. Home rowing machines need to replicate this resistance in a small (and dry) space. They use a variety of mechanisms to do this and create the power needed to create resistance for your workout. -Air resistance is most common for professional rowing machines.

Similar to an exercise bike, these machines utilize a flywheel that is driven by pulling the chain during the rowing motion. As air flows through the fan it creates progressive resistance on the flywheel, so the faster you row the more resistance you are met with. This progressive resistance is smooth and replicates the sensation of rowing through water fairly well.

Many professional rowers prefer air rowers for training as there is a “flat spot” where the resistance drops during the recovery. This simulates the change in resistance as you lift your paddle from the water before your next stroke.

Water Resistance Rowers

Water resistance rowers have been growing in popularity. They use a propeller-like flywheel that spins in a small tank of water at the front of the rower. As the propeller speeds up it is met with more resistance from the water in the tank and also becomes progressively more difficult to pull.

Water rowers do not have the same “flat spot” as an air rower and instead present a consistent resistance during both contraction and extension.

Magnetic Resistance Rowers

Magnetic resistance is very popular for home rowers as it operates silently, requires very little maintenance and does not take up much space. This type of resistance employs strong magnets to create resistance on a metal flywheel. Magnetic resistance is easy to adjust during your workout and you will often see rowers with multiple levels of resistance.

These rowers offer a great full-body workout but do not simulate the resistance of rowing on the water as accurately.

Hydraulic Resistance Rowers

Hydraulic resistance rowers have been decreasing in popularity over the years. They do not require a flywheel and therefore can be much smaller, lighter, and quieter than other options. These machines have pistons in the handles that create resistance. This still provides a challenging workout but the movement is a bit more awkward and much less fluid.

Comfort

The rower you get should be comfortable and easy to use, so make sure to take a look at how the rower you consider stands up to your specific needs.

An effective rowing machine is a rowing machine you actually use. And a rowing machine you actually use is likely to be a comfortable one. There are four large factors when it comes to comfort for this type of equipment. The seat, the handles, the size, and the design. The seat and handles seem like obvious factors.

The seat needs to be well-designed, ergonomic, and possibly cushioned to ensure your comfort during use. It can be unpadded, so long as it's designed in a way that compliments the user's body. We recommend reading through some reviews before buying. You can often find some that are written by people with a similar body type to yours.

By seeing what their experience has been to help determine if the seat with be comfortable for you. The next thing to think about is the handles. All of the machines on our list have comfortable handles, but some more than others. We recommend looking for handles that are padded with materials that are soft and non-abrasive.

Again, reading through some reviews can help you get a handle, pun fully intended, on whether or not the product is right for you. We've considered over a thousand reviews in making this list and rated the comfort level of each machine, but don't take our word for it. An informed buyer is a happy buyer.

The size is important when it comes to comfort because depending on how tall or short you are a smaller or larger machine may not offer you the full range of motion you desire. In our research, we looked at all of these factors and assigned each product a score depending on how much comfort it offers the user.

If you're especially short or tall, however, we again recommend you read some reviews for the products you're considering and look for someone with a similar body type to yours to see what their experience has been like.

Size

If you plan on putting this rower in your home gym, make sure to take accurate measurements of your space and the rower before you make your purchase.

Size and portability are important for any home exercise machine. If your home is small or just full, every square foot counts so we looked for options that are streamlined and have features that make them easy to fold and store. What are your plans for this rowing machine in your home? Rowing machines vary widely in weight and portability.

Do not invest in a heavy-duty machine if you will need to move it regularly. Also, consider your available storage space. Do you have space to flip the rower upright and place it against the wall? Or will you need a foldable model that can fit in the closet? If you have a dedicated space and/or a home gym we recommend buying the best and biggest machine you can afford.

Rowing machines really are one of the best ways to exercise at home, offering you a full-body, non-impact workout that's highly versatile and effective. Even if you've never used one before we feel confident that you'll fall in love with it, so don't skimp and buy a cheap machine that won't last long.

Oftentimes the smaller machines are the cheap ones, so take this into consideration before buying. Another tip we wanted to offer you is to carefully measure the space where you intend to put the machine before you even start shopping. We recommend a minimum of 18" of open space on all sides of the machine.

This will allow you room for the exercise itself, as well as space, to easily perform routine maintenance and troubleshooting should something go wrong.

Ride

Much like a treadmill, your ride on the rower should be nice and smooth with minimal bumpiness--so you stay comfortable and can focus on your performance and endurance.

How the seat and your body rides on the machine as you move through your rowing movement makes a big difference in how effective and enjoyable your workout is. The fluidity of the movement is largely dependent on the machine's resistance type. However, it is also important that the seat glides easily over the tracks.

A solidly built machine that will not wobble or slide on the floor is the ideal of what you're looking for here. Likewise, a well-built and solid machine won't shake and wobble during use which can cause a lot of noise. The sound a rower makes is also dependent on the resistance type and quality of the machine, but a solid build goes a long way towards the quiet operation.

Many users love the pleasant whirring sound of the water-resistance while others are not bothered by the louder fan noise of the air resistance models and some are. Still, other people with thin walls may prefer the silent operation of hydraulic resistance. Another good tip is to buy a mat to put underneath your rowing machine.

This can further help to insulate it from the ground and any shaking and subsequent noise that may occur. Finally, regular simple maintenance of the machine will help it continue to ride smooth and quiet. This can be as easy and simple as keeping the track free and clear of debris, and well oiled. We recommend using the simple 3-in-1 oil that's available at any hardware store and that you may already have at home.

WD-40 is an excellent product, but it contains elements that actually stick to things permanently which leads you to have to use more and more of it over time. Bike lube is another product that works well and that many fitness enthusiasts may already have at home.

Value

Whether you are on a budget or have all of the money in the world, you need to make sure the rower you decide to get brings value to your life and doesn't just fit your budget.

Like anything else, when it comes to home rowing machines, you often get what you pay for. There are plenty of inexpensive options out there but they will have very basic monitors, a simple design, and may require maintenance or even replacement down the road--so make sure to take a look at all of the features the rower has to offer before you make your purchase!

This may not matter for those dabbling in rowing but people committed to making this part of their long-term fitness routine may consider investing more upfront for a high-quality machine that will last a long, long time. We always recommend that our readers buy the highest quality gear that they can afford.

As mentioned above, you get what you pay for, and saving a few bucks on the front end for low-quality things can actually cost you more in the long run because not only do cheap things typically break down and need to be replaced which costs you extra money, it also takes a lot of time and hassle to replace them, and we like to have as little hassle in our lives as possible and want the same thing for you, our valued readers.

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You get what you pay for

The computers on these machines often make the difference between a $1000 price tag and a $500 one. The most basic rowers display simple data such as time, distance and calories while you are rowing.

More sophisticated computers allow for more specific and accurate data tracking that can even be stored and monitored over time. The best computers will allow users to create profiles to track their long-term progress.

Movement

The fluidity of the movement is largely dependent on resistance type. However, it is also important to find a seat that glides easily over the tracks and a solidly built machine that will not wobble or slide on the floor.

Learn to row

Rowing is a very simple movement to learn. Nonetheless it will pay off in the long run if you invest a little bit of time in learning to do the movement correctly from the beginning.

This will lead to a more effective workout as well as minimize the risk of injury. Here is a link to a short video with athletes from the US Olympic rowing team showing you how to properly use a rowing machine.

Other Factors to Consider

Accessories

The computers on these machines often make the difference between a $1,000 price tag and a $500 one. The most basic rowers display simple data such as time, distance, and calories while you are rowing. More sophisticated computers allow for more specific and accurate data tracking that can even be stored and monitored over time.

The best computers will allow users to create profiles to track their long-term progress and they often feature or are compatible with preset programming to keep you working hard through your entire workout. This is a great and easy way if you want to be able to track your progress and continue pushing your endurance to the next level.

If you get really serious about your rowing game you may also want to invest in other accessories that will help you be as comfortable as possible. Those of you who use a rower to train for actual rowing competitions will really want to keep track of your times and hold your form, so make sure to use any accessories you need to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Besides a rowing machine, what else do I need to row at home?

a:

Not much is required for rowing at home. Many people choose to buy a mat to place under the rower to reduce noise and protect the floor. It is recommended to row with shoes on but any rubber-soled, closed-toed shoe should work just fine. Additionally, some rowers like to wear gloves to protect from blisters and calluses during long workouts.

q: What is proper rowing form?

a:

Proper rowing form consists of 4 stages:

    1. Begin in the “catch” position with the seat pushed forward. The back should be straight and the knees should be bent with arms extended to hold the bar or handles of the rower.
    2. The “drive” is the motion of pushing off the feet pads. Begin by powering through the heels to straighten the legs then pull the cable to the chest.
    3. The “finish” position ends with legs extended, shoulders back and arms pulled to your chest with the wrists straight.
    4. The “recovery” movement reverses the “drive” by first extending the arms and then bending the knees to return to the “catch” position.

Proper form is very important, so make sure to take time to watch some videos or work with a trainer when you are first starting out.

q: Why should I get my own rowing machine?

a:

There are many great benefits to rowing. To list a few:

  • It strengthens the whole body
  • Burns a lot of calories
  • A machine doesn’t take up a lot of space and is easy to move around
  • Improves overall fitness
  • Targets all the major muscle groups
  • Increases cardiovascular capacity

With a rowing machine, you will have the opportunity to strengthen your whole body with just one machine! This is a lot cheaper than going out and investing in different machines for different purposes. The machine does not take up a lot of space, which is another factor in why it is so good for training at home.

You will get in a lot better shape and rowing also great if you want to drop some quick pounds or strengthen all or your muscle groups.

q: Are rowing machines noisy?

a:

Whether you have kids at home or just like peace and quiet while you're working out, noise is a good thing to think about while you're shopping for a rowing machine. Yes, some machines are noisy. But not all of them. Magnetic rowers tend to be the quietest, with water rowers coming in a close second.

Unfortunately, some of the budget options on our list were reviewed as being somewhat noisy, but that's the nature of this kind of equipment.

q: What are the benefits of a rowing machine vs. another cardio machine?

a:

The biggest benefit of a rowing machine is the total body workout it can give you. Treadmills only work your legs, and even elliptical machines and stair climbers don't give your upper body nearly as much of a workout as your lower body. Rowing, however, is a near perfectly balanced exercise.

This will help you build and maintain strength throughout your entire body as well as fluidity and power throughout your kinetic movement. Check out the best rowing machines above to start getting a great cardio workout from the comfort of your own home.

Sources

  1. Palmer, Roy, Types Of Rowing Machine, Web Page
  2. Murphy, T.J., Why Runners Should be Rowers, Web Page
  3. Cooper, Ed, The Rower: The Best Piece of Kit You're Not Using, Web Page