Rowing is a great all round exercise It develops firstly and most importantly the heart and lungs, it works on the legs, bum, arms, shoulders, back and specifically targets the stomach area. Correct technique is essential – which we are very happy to demonstrate and this is important when purchasing a rower, to maximise the benefits for you! Many rowers are now designed as air-roweres which means the resistance is determined by how much effort you put into each stroke.
Best rowing machine reviews and buying guide
So you want to get back in shape fast but don’t have the time to have a full workout down at the gym? Many practitioners suggest that a perfect solution for that matter is getting the best rowing machine for the money. Well, I can’t agree more but the problem is there are so many rowing machines out there and this thing is just too hefty an investment for trial and error. If you’ve been hesitant about which rowing machine is the best in the market, this comprehensive guide and review should help you out. You’ll be learning about a few types of rowing machines together with their benefits and shortcomings.
Top Rowing Machine Reviews
The popularity of Concept2 Model D among fitness enthusiasts is out of the question. Even a number of professional rowing athletes use it too. That just goes on to say how great this tool actually is. The main feature that draws most people’s attention is the Flywheel which allows it to run without making almost any noise at all. There’s a spiral damper that you can use to adjust the air resistance on the flywheel. My take on this is always start low so you won’t get any stiff or sore muscle. Sliding seat is kept at 14-inch high from the ground and it’s firmly attached to the machine using a sturdy nickel-plated chain. To help you find out how well you’re doing with the machine, a highly advanced PM3 monitor is put into it using adjustable arms. The only thing you should note is that, although it can be disassembled quickly into two main parts, this machine takes quite a large space.
- Only Weights 57 LBS (Easy to move)
- 5 Year Frame Warranty
- Easy Assembly
- Supports People Up to 500 LBS
- Solid Construction
- Performance Monitor Tracks Everything
- Relatively Compact (Especially When Broken Down)
- A Bit Pricey
The MaxKare Magnetic Rower is a compact, highly reviewed rowing machine that is great for home use. It offers 16 adjustable resistance levels and supports users up to 243 LBS. Adjust the resistance with the turn of a knob. This rower is among the lowest priced rowing machines on the market while still maintaining highly positive reviews overall. It offers a low impact workout that will target a range of muscles – for a fraction of what you would pay for a gym membership. The best part – you’re in the comfort of your own home.
Here are a few reasons why the MaxKare Magnetic Rower is a great choice for home use. It’s extremely quiet for a rower. If you have used a typical loud rowing machine in the past, you’ll be amazed at how quiet this one is. This rower comes with a small storage basket just below the adjustment knob which provides quick access to a drink during workouts. It’s also very portable, weighing only 64 LBS to begin with – but also has roller wheels on the heavier side to make it a breeze to move by picking up the lighter end and simply rolling it wherever you want. The only real gripe people seem to have with this rower is that the LCD tracks reps instead of distance – but it does still track calories, time, reps per minute and total repetitions.
- Extremely Quiet
- Assembles Easily (Under 25 Mins)
- Very Smooth Operation
- 16 Resistance Levels
- Easy to Move
- Small LCD
- Does Not Track Distance
If you are looking to re-create the organic sound and feel of rowing on a lake, in your living room – the MaxKare Water Resistance Rowing Machine might be the one for you. This rower tries to recreate the feeling of rowing on water. The rower offers a “competition mode” for an additional challenge. Enjoy the sounds and feeling of cutting through water with every stroke. This rower operates smoothly and is very sturdy, providing a stable exercise experience for users up to 264 LBS. Exercising on the MaxKare Water Resistance Rower at home is a truly therapeutic experience that adds much needed joy to your workout.
This rower assembles easily with most people completing assembly in under 30 minutes. The LCD screen is fairly large and tracks everything you would want including distance, strokes per minute, time, calories, pulse and total strokes. The buttons are large and the readout is easily understandable. For people that want to feel like they are on water from the comfort of their home, it’s hard to beat this rower. This rower has rollers on the water tank side for easy portability and also stores vertically if you need to make additional space (but be sure not to overfill the tank, or it will leak when stored vertically).
- Competitively Priced
- Mimics the Sound and Feel of Rowing on Water
- Operates Smoothly
- Is Very Stable
- Seat Is Comfortable
- Can Be Stored Vertically
- If Overfilled, Tank Will Leak When Stored Vertically
The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rower is a bargain priced magnetic rower that offers the majority of bells and whistles of a more expensive machine at a fraction of the price. There are 8 levels of magnetic adjustment, giving you the ability to intensify your workout as needed. The machine supports users up to 250 LBS and the extra long (48 inch) slide rail accommodates rowers of nearly any height.
The machine has a relatively small footprint overall, and most purchasers said the assembly was straight-forward, taking less than 30 minutes from unboxing to rowing. While the digital monitor isn’t as fancy as some of the more expensive rowing machines, it does still track strokes, time and calories.
The rower does make noise when in use – but as far as rowing machines are concerned, it’s still one of the quieter ones. This is a fantastic entry level rowing machine for your home. It does also come with roller wheels, so you can move it out of the way if you have company over or just need the extra space. Additionally, it does fold up for better storage – an option that isn’t available on many rowers.
- Moderately Quiet
- Comfortable Seat
- 8 Levels of Adjustment
- Folds Up for Better Storage
- Does Not Track Distance
The best air rowing machine Model D by Concept2 is great, except for the price. Now if you don’t feel like investing that high for a rowing machine, Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 is the ideal choice for you. It’s reasonably priced but has all the features you need to get a good workout experience at home. For starter, you’re going to like how silent it is. Furthermore, despite being a magnetic rowing machine, it allows you to increase the resistance up to 8 levels higher from the starting point. The monitor is not as advanced as Concept2’s machine, but it does enable you to monitor your heart rate precisely. Simply wear the chest strap and you’re good to go. If you want to compete on a marathon run, this machine should be a great companion to increase your cardio strength. Lastly, thanks to its foldable design, you can make the most out of your space.
For those of you living in a small apartment, Stamina 1215i should be an appealing option for you. This hydraulic rowing machine offers a nice compact yet sturdy design that won’t take too much space. The best thing about it, however, it allows you to perform full-range-motion rowing just like how you would row a canoe. Even many high-end machines don’t have this. Most just give you a handheld with retractable cord that you can only pull backward. Did I say that the price is just a half of an air rowing machine too? Anyway, the hydraulic resistance can be adjusted easily and if you thing the highest setting is still too easy for you, you can set the beam to incline higher. For added comfort, the footrests are designed with pivoting joint. Also, the seat has that comfy thick padding. For a last note, some people do report about its built being not too sturdy and durable but you get a 5-year warranty to cover that.
Stamina Air Rower is still from the same manufacturer as the previous machine but instead of featuring a hydraulic mechanism, it creates the resistance by applying a good deal of air pressure. While the rower and sliding seat are very smooth in motion, the machine makes quite some noise while you use it. It’s nothing like it’s going to break or something, though. In fact, I think the construction seems to be pretty solid. Anyway, for a fully-loaded air rowing machine, it is a bit on the small side. So, I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a quite big body.
- Low price-point for an air-resistance rower (higher-end models cost 3x more)
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- Great resistance
- Basic but good quality monitor
- Folds up in seconds for easy storage
- Wheels make it easy to move around when needed
- Comfortable upholstered seat
- Monitor units not in metric
- A little noisier than higher-end air-rowing machines
Remember when I warn you about most water rowing machines being quite hefty in price? Well, ProRower H2O RX-750 is an exception. It does cost higher than the two machines we have looked at so far but not too much. Even then, you still get the lifetime warranty as an exchange. Most manufacturers only provide 5-year warranty, mind you. Anyway, the thing with water rowing machine like this one is you can’t really set the resistance using a button or a switch. You adjust it with your effort. I mean the resistance will get higher on itself if you row hard and fast. Similarly, it will become mildly low if you row slowly and just want to enjoy experience. Now if you think you have pushed all your muscle into it yet the resistance is still not as high as you expect, simply add more water to the reservoir. There’s a display to show your rowing data but it seems to be pretty basic.
Light yellow Mr Rudolf Water Rowing Machine is designed to look like a ship and will offer you a real rowing experience with the sound of water. It is the perfect cardiovascular fitness rower for burning calories and fat and getting in shape. And you can use it comfortably at home whenever you want.
There is a large ergonomic seat for a comfy workout, large footplates with straps to keep your feet in place and that are adjustable for height and the active recoil system.
Mr Rudolf comes with the very visual display panel that shows your distance traveled, time exercised, calories burned per hour, watts, 500M split time and strokes per minute. You can achieve your fitness goals quicker than normal and stay motivated. You can move it conveniently and easily on its transport wheels and lift it on its end and store it away in your closet or against a wall.
This Rowing Machine weighs 58.5 pounds, has a maximum total user weight capacity of 320 pounds and measures 82L x 22W x 20H inches. The main pieces are made of oak solid wood with a nice finish and has the metal hardware or parts. So with the sturdy oak wood and double rails you can feel safe and stable and have a peace of mind. If you feel discomfort on your butt and hands over longer rowing sessions you may consider purchasing a rower seat cushion and gloves.
It is a well made rowing machine that is easy to assemble and use whenever you want. You can easily put the pieces together by yourself with the holes lining up nicely and please follow this instructions, use the tools provided and put pressure on the screws where necessary. But generally speaking it is reported to be quite easy and will be even easier if there is a second person helping you out.
If you have joint problems and need a lower impact workout unit then you can have a look at elliptical trainers and rowers and consider the costs and see what would be the best suited to your needs. The belt is aligned nicely and the rower seat moves quite smoothly on the dual tracks. It is nice to hear the sound of water when you’re rowing and the wooden boat that gives you a nice boating feeling. It is quite reasonably priced for the high quality and costs much less than the WaterRower brand.
What Is a Rowing Machine?
In a nutshell, a rowing machine is a fitness tool featuring a sliding seat designed to simulate rowing, as in rowing a canoe with an oar. Even though originally this machine is used to improve cardiovascular strength, it is later discovered that working out with a best rowing machine activates the whole muscles in our body. In other words, it’s similar to performing a full body workout with various tools and machines; burning more calories while doing only one power exercise, saving you both time and money. Most indoor rowers are equipped with an ergometer that calculates the amount of energy you’ve pushed into it. That way, you can figure out your progress during your program.
Types of the Best Rowing Machine
Currently, the market provides you with at least four types of rowing machines each of which is easily distinguished by how the resistance is set. Here they are:
- Hydraulic Rowing: Uses hydraulic tubes linked directly to the handles. The good thing about it is its affordable and very compact in size. The downside, however, is the seat is fixed so you can’t really train your leg muscles.
- Magnetic Rowing: Uses electromagnetic force to set the resistance. What I like about it is it almost makes no sound. Sadly, you can’t adjust how heavy the resistance is. You will end up with factory preset for the rest of your life.
- Air Rowing: Uses air pressure to create the resistance. It is the second best machine that delivers authentic rowing experience. It is slightly more expensive than the hydraulic and magnetic counterparts, though.
- Water Rowing: The most expensive yet most authentic rowing machine out there. It features an actual tank with water, complete with a real paddle. Basically, you don’t need it, unless you’re a professional Olympic athletes.
There is actually another type of rowing machine that combines hydraulic, magnetic and air resistance altogether. It is costly but not as much as the water rowing machine.
Why You Must Have a Rowing Machine
You got it all wrong if you think that a rowing machine is just another tool for cardio exercise like your old treadmills. It’s not even close to say that a rowing machine is only great for upper body workout. The thing with rowing machines is that they allow you to burn calories a whole lot more by involving the entire muscles on your body. Another benefit is, unlike other power exercise machines, rowing machines pose the least pressure on your joints and knees. You can tone and strengthen your muscles without worrying about getting injuries. In that regards, rowing machines also suit many people of different ages and fitness levels.
What to Look for When Choosing The Best Rowing Machine
First things first, you want to be sure of why you actually want an indoor rowing machine. Motivations can be different from one person to another. If you just need a great fitness tool to help you stay in shape or even lose weight, it’s good enough to just go with hydraulic or magnetic rowing machine. They are relatively inexpensive and serve the purpose just right. However, if it is the authentic rowing experience you’re looking for, perhaps you want to be a national athlete or something, you need to get at least the air rowing machine. If you can afford it, by all means, get the water counterpart. It’s worth every penny you spend. Furthermore, you must consider the available space in your house. Unlike treadmills, best rowing machines are huge in size. You need to have a reasonably large room to put a high-end air rowing machine. If you have issues with space, then get the hydraulic one. Several models even allow you to fold it and stash it on a tight corner. Lastly, if you intend to cover a highly intensive fitness program, you’d better pick out the one with great level of resistance. Thinking about all these things is vital, so you won’t end up buying the wrong rowing machine.
Rowing machines have increased in popularity over the last several years because people appreciate the low impact calorie burning experience they offer compared to other options that target the same muscle sets. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on gym memberships to get the results you desire. Consider saving the cash and spending it on a rowing machine for your home, where you can wear whatever you want – and you don’t have to deal with the gross feeling of settling into a machine soaked with a strangers sweat.
- Top Rowing Machine Reviews
- Concept2 Model D
- MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine
- MaxKare Water Resistance Rowing Machine
- Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine (SF-RW5515)
- Velocity Fitness CHR-2001
- Stamina 1215i Rowing Machine
- Stamina ATS Air Rower
- ProRower H2O RX-750 Rowing Machine
- Mr Rudolf Water Rowering Machine
- What Is a Rowing Machine?
- Types of the Best Rowing Machine
- Why You Must Have a Rowing Machine
- What to Look for When Choosing The Best Rowing Machine