Whether you’re doing cardio, or you’re a professional rower, the best rowing machine is a great addition to your home gym. For professional rowers, this machine is a must have, as you will probably need to prepare for the next competition. And what better way to prepare than to have an actual device that faithfully copies all the conditions of rowing, and a device that requires you to use proper technique to use it.
For casual rowers, or simply for those who want to use the machine for a workout, a rowing machine is a great choice, as rowing burns a lot of calories and works out many of your muscle groups, increasing strength as well as building up your endurance.
So whatever you decide to use the machine for, if you’re seeking one, this is the right place. We’ve gone ahead and made a list of the top ten best rowing machines on the market. These are the best of the best, and we sure hope to see you using one of these beauties in the near future.
10 Best Rowing Machine Reviews & Analysis
Here are top 10 rowing machine reviews which cover pros and cons for all the products.
10. Rowing Machine With Cheapest Price
And our final product is a magnetic type rower from Sunny Health & Fitness. In case you’ve forgotten how a magnetic rower works, here’s a quick reminder. A magnetic rower has a powerful magnet mounted inside the drum that acts as a brake, thus creating the resistance you need to overcome. These are the quietest of all the rower types, and require little to none maintenance. This rower is no different – it is a top notch device, sturdy, light and reliable. It even has built in wheels that let you transport the machine with ease.
This rower comes with plenty of levels and features for a comprehensive workout. It has 8 different levels and modes you can try out, allowing you to customize your regimen the way you want to, and to the level most suitable to your skills. It operates very smoothly and silently, making it great for indoor use and personal use.
The machine has a great, soft and sturdy seat that is mounted on a monorail that moves up and down very easily, removing additional, unnecessary strain on your lower back, avoiding, thus, potential injury. It also features large footpads with adjustable straps that fit all but the largest of feet. The handlebar is lined with an awesome anti-slip grip.
And finally, the machine has been outfitted with a great all-purpose LCD monitor. It is made to be easy to read, as all the numbers displayed are of substantial size. It displays all the vital information, like calories burned, distance, stroke count, and, if you wish to know, total stroke count across all sessions. All in all, this is a very well built machine that will serve you well and, hopefully, bring about a much desired change in your life.
9. Best Multi Workout Exercise Machine
Coming in at number nine is another Stamina product. However, this time it comes as a hydraulic piston operated machine, and with an outrigger layout. This machine, due to the type, is perfect for professional athlete rowers as it near perfectly simulates real-life rowing. The outrigger layout has arms placed on the side of the machine, and not in front, that simulate real oars being tugged. Naturally, this is a machine of great value even to non-professional rowers and regular people, as it will provide you with an excellent workout.
The machine is piston operated, and the pistons have adjustable difficulty levels, so you can customize the intensity level you work out at. It features a heavily padded seat that is very soft and sturdy, and provides a lot of support to your buttocks, preventing soreness after a long period of sitting. The rower has a pair of footpads with straps so you can secure your foot well while you work out, so you can really get the feeling you’re in a real boat. They also pivot, and are fully adjustable, so you can set them to any size and position you want.
The machine is fitted with a superb single-button monitor. This monitor will display, at the touch of a button, all the major parameters that you need to know when you’re working out. These include calories, stroke speed, stroke count, strokes per minute, distance traveled, etc. which is especially helpful to professional rowers preparing for the race.
The machine will require some assembly one you’ve received it. This mainly refers to pistons, although they are mounted easily enough. You also get a three year warranty on the frame and a 90-day warranty on the parts.
8. Best Hydraulic Piston Rowing Machine
Another Kettler product, this machine is yet another hydraulic piston operated rower. Not only that, but it retained a similar outrigger design. In case you’ve forgotten what an outrigger design is, it is a special type of rower that, instead of having a handlebar attached to a chain or a nylon rope, this machine features two oar-like handlebars that you are required to stroke to your sides. This helps facilitate an authentic experience of real-life rowing, along with all the exercise that comes with it. The pistons provide a constant strain on your arms and body, allowing a greatly intensive workout that will get you in shape in no time.
The seat of the machine is made especially comfortable because of the nature of the machine itself. Since you will be doing less sliding, sitting for a long time can get very uncomfortable, so the seat is made ergonomic and very soft.
The handles too have been lined with a great gripping tape to disallow discomfort when using the machine for a long period of time. It also prevents slipping, and enables you to grip the handles firmly in order to execute proper technique, which is vital if you seek to avoid injury.
The machine also features an excellent monitor that keeps track of your vitals and other useful parameters. Those include the heart rate, calories, stroke speed and count, and distance traveled. All of these parameter have been displayed in oversized, easy-to-read numbers for convenience, so you can track your progress as you work out. It also features a great number of visual and audio cues that allow for even easier reading and keeping track of important measurements.
7. Best Value for Money
Stamina Air Rower
And coming in at number seven is the Stamina Air Rower. This is yet another air operated rower, second on our list so far. As we have stated when we talked about Concept2 Model E, air operated rowers feature a fan that increases the resistance as you start stroking with more and more intensity. However, there are some drawbacks to his system. Mainly, the fan tends to be quite loud when it spins. Another drawback is, since your strokes determine the resistance, the difficulty settings are often redundant, as they do not add to the resistance at all. However, these machines are usually very light, and don’t require nearly as much maintenance as a water operated rower does, and it performs at the same level as a water rower.
As far as Stamina Air Rower goes, this is a sturdy and well-balanced machine that strives to provide the best possible experience and as comprehensive as possible. The rower has been fitted with a boat-like seat and features foot straps that are meant to resemble those found in a real boat.
This also serves the purpose of making you use the proper rowing technique in order to avoid injury of the lower back. The seat is set upon a monorail that allows for smooth sliding up and down to facilitate the unimpeded movement that can cause unnecessary strain, and, again, injure your back. Overall, the machine does a great job at offering an extensive training regimen that will help you get fit in no time.
As with the other machines on this list, this rower wouldn’t be complete without a proper monitor. This monitor on this device features a rather large LCD screen with big numbers that are easy to read, especially on the fly. It measures how much calories have you burned, the speed you’re traveling at and how much strokes you’ve made per minute, and many more vital parameters essential for your workout.
- Light and portable machine, foldable and with built in wheels.
- Offers an extensive training regimen with its air operated system that allows you to control the resistance with the intensity of your strokes.
- Very ergonomic and comfortable seat.
- The machine is built to mimic real rowing as closely as possible.
- Great monitor with a big screen is very easy to read.
- The difficulty levels may not influence resistance as much as you would like.
6. Best Outrigger Style Rower
Kettler Kadett Outrigger Style
Moving on to number six. Here we have a very unique rower, the Kettler Kadett Outrigger Style rower. This is a hydraulic piston type machine, where resistance is generated by the attached to the oars.
The outrigger style means that this machine does not have a single handlebar, attached to a rope or chain, but two fixed oar-like handlebars that you pull to your sides. This, in turn, simulates actual rowing very closely, because of the movement of your arms and the nature of the bars. The pistons have difficulty levels, so the resistance can be adjusted to your liking.
The rower has 12 difficulty levels that allow for a very extensive range when you’re setting up your own regimen. The pistons are very quiet, making this rower perfect for indoor and personal use. Not only that, but the rower is fully foldable so you will have no trouble putting it away somewhere where it won’t take up space and be in your way.
Furthermore, the machine is made of some very light material, allowing for great mobility of the device. To further simulate actual rowing experience, the rower has adjustable footpads that are much like the ones in a rowing boat. The seat is also made to closely resemble a rowing boat seat, and is made reasonably adjustable to suit your own height. The handlebar has been fitted with a nice rubber grip that will disallow it to slip from your fingers and potentially hurt yourself.
The rower is also fitted with a monitor that helps keep track of the physical condition of your body. It tracks very accurately your heart rate and calories burned, as well as the interval of your strokes, and displays the distance you have traveled on the machine. It also has numerous audio and visual signals that will help you keep track of particular parameters to help you customize your workout.
- Excellent piston operated machine, light and quiet, perfect for personal use.
- Fully foldable for easy and convenient storing.
- The outrigger style handles perfectly simulate oars in a real boat.
- Ergonomic and adjustable seat.
- Ergonomic handle to prevent slipping.
- Superb monitor that keeps track of many vital parameters.
- The straps on the footpads sometimes loosen when working out.
- Monitor mount can be wobbly at times.
5. Best Magnetic Power Rowing Machine
Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic
Next up is another magnetic rower. As we have mentioned before, these rower types are low maintenance and very easy to use with adjustable difficulty settings. It is no different with the Avari Magnetic Rower – a superb workout machine that will take your exercises to a whole new level.
The machine is state of the art, and modern in every sense of the word. It is made of lightweight aluminum, but is also strong and sturdy, and will very hardly break. The magnetic breaks demand no hustle over them, so you will be able to enjoy your machine without any extra costs once you’ve purchased it. Also, the machine being light, you will have no trouble setting it up.
The machine comes with a state of the art monitor. The monitor has a large LCD screen that easy to read. It also displays all the most important information that will allow you to track your conditioning as you work out. We have already mentioned that the rower has adjustable intensity workout regimens.
However, in the case of this machine, this is an understatement. The Avari Magnetic Rower offers a total of 12 regimens for you to choose from, each offering a different experience, so you can really customize the machine and adjust it to your liking. This also means that the rower offers an all-encompassing workout experience. It features 6 cardio profiles, 1 manual program, 1 heart rate program, and 4 custom programs where you can set up any regimen you want. You can also change the resistance on the fly by adjusting it via the up and down buttons on the monitor itself.
Of course, like with all other models before this one, the monitor can measure a number of vitals. These include heart rate and calories, as well as the number of strokes per minute, time elapsed and total distance traveled on the machine.
- Excellent magnetic rower, does not need any kind of maintenance.
- Superb durability.
- State of the art machine that offers an all-encompassing workout experience.
- Superb monitor that tracks all your vitals like calories burned and heart rate, as well as strokes per minute and distance traveled.
- You can change the resistance on the fly by pressing the up and down buttons.
- Offers 12 workout regimens – 6 cardio regimens, 1 manual, 1 heart rate program and 4 custom programs.
- It offers less resistance than water and air operated rowers.
4. Best For Complete Body Workout
Stamina 15-9003 Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent
Our number four pick is a neat combo workout machine. The Stamina 15-9003 Deluxe Recumbent/Rower is a combination of a rowing machine and a recumbent bike, thus allowing for an extensive and complete body workout. The machine is very ubiquitous, and allows for a half a dozen exercises to be performed on it to help you attain the endurance you need.
That is why this rower has a top mounted bar that allows you to perform exercises such as biceps curls and triceps kickbacks, exercises that are usually performed while standing up. The machine operates on a magnetic resistance principle, where a powerful magnet is acting as a break creating the resistance you need to overcome.
The best part about magnetic rowers is that there is virtually no maintenance required. This goes a long way in respect to your time and finances, as you need not waste either for upkeep. The rower is perfect just the way it is, you only need set it up and you can use it. Also, magnetic rowers are the quietest of all the types, and produce virtually no sound.
They also have adjustable levels of difficulty so you can set the intensity of your workout. This particular machine comes with 8 different levels of difficulty. It also comes with an ergonomic handlebar for better grip that, ultimately, allows for execution or proper rowing technique.
The rower is also outfitted with a superb monitor. It tracks heart rate, distance, stroke intervals, calories and all the things you need to know in order to have an all-encompassing exercise. You can also set the intensity level on it. The handlebar has a set of pulse sensors that feed the monitor with information about your body’s condition. The monitor features a very large LCD monitor for easy reading of the measurements while you’re working out on the machine.
- Excellent combination recumbent bike and rower machine.
- Allows for a full body workout.
- Superb ergonomic grip and adjustable seat.
- Excellent monitor that keeps track of all of your vitals.
- A silent magnetic rower.
- No maintenance needed.
- Magnetic rowers offer lower resistance and difficulty than air or water rowers.
3. Best Home Series Rowing Machine
ProRower H2O RX-750 Home Series
Introducing the ProRower H2O RX-750 rowing machine. Just like the Water Rower Natural rower, this is a water operated machine. Like we said, water operated rowers are excellent for those who are professional rowers, as the machine simulates boat and water conditions almost perfectly.
So, if you’re an athlete looking to prepare for the next season in the comfort of your own home, you can hardly do better than the RX-750 rowing machine. And even if you’re not, this baby will be very valuable to you, as it is great for cardio and endurance training, so if you wish to lose some pounds before bikini season starts, you’ve found a perfect machine for yourself.
The rower features a polycarbonate water tank that offers superb durability. This is very important, as it will save you a lot of time and money on constant maintenance, as this is the weakest link in water operated machines.
On the other hand, the water resistance will provide you with a unique and authentic feel of rowing in a real boat, and driving a real oar through the water. This will help you burn a ton of calories and build up your endurance. It will also influence greatly your back, arm, stomach and leg muscles, allowing for a complete body workout that greatly increases your strength and tones your body to perfection.
To facilitate the authentic rowing feeling, the machine features a great ergonomic seat, and a pair of foot rests that are easily adjustable to provide as much comfort as possible. The handle has been made as ergonomic as possible too to provide a firm grip in order for you to execute the perfect technique.
The rower also features a superb monitor that tracks your heart rate and stroke interval, as well as distance traveled. This will, in turn, allow you to set the pace of your rowing machine workouts, then adjust the intensity to your liking, so you will reap the most benefits of rowing machine.
Finally, the rower’s manufacturers offer you a lifetime warranty on the frame, which is greatly beneficial to you as a customer.
The rower is foldable for easy storage.
- Authentic rowing feel, unique for water rowing machines.
- Excellent ergonomic shape of the handle, seat and footrests
- Very durable water tank dampens the problem of constant maintenance.
- Excellent performance monitor that will help you track your progress and fine tune your rowing machine workout.
- Foldable for easy storage.
- Lifetime warranty on the frame.
- As with all the water rowers, they tend to be heavy.
2. Most Realistic Rowing Machine
Concept2 Model E Indoor
Next up it’s the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine. An excellent piece of equipment, this rower has found uses in many households and commercial gyms worldwide. This is all thanks to its durable but light design, and exceptional ease of use. This is an air operated type of rower, meaning it creates resistance through a fan that that lets you determine the intensity by your own rowing motion – the harder you stroke, the harder the machine will resist your strokes. Although these type of machines can be quite loud, this is a top class device and is made to be very quiet, making it perfect for personal use. On top of that, the machine is foldable, so it is very easy to store, and is very light too.
The machine features an ergonomic seat mounted on a monorail. The seat moves back and forth very smoothly and is virtually soundless. The chain is made of hard nickel and is almost indestructible – indeed, this machine is built to last a lifetime. The shape of the handle is also made to be very ergonomic and comfortable, allowing for firm grip and fine, regular strokes. Like we said, the machine is foldable, so moving it around is much more convenient, and it will take much less space, and be much more easily stored after use. It also features a wheels below the fan that will allow for more mobility.
The rower comes with a Performance Monitor 5 monitor that will allow you to track your exercises and overall improvement. These parameters include heart rate, calorie expenditure, distance traveled and the like, allowing you to fine tune your workout. It also features mini games that will help entertain you and keep you working hard as you compete against the computer. In addition, you can set the difficulty on the computer (1-10), but the ultimate difficulty of the training is determined by your own effort.
- A very light and mobile rower.
- Excellent air operated device that will allow you to fine tune your workout yourself by changing the intensity of your strokes.
- The device is very durable and easy to set up and put away.
- The fan is made to be virtually soundless.
- Excellent monitor will keep track of your workout.
- Air operated rowers can be loud, but this one is made as quiet as possible.
- The difficulty setting has no real value, and will not influence the intensity of your training.
1. Best Water Resistance Rower
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine
First up is the Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine. This is a water rower in a way that it uses actual water to create resistance and allow you to work out in the closest conditions possible to being in an actual boat.
The water in the tank acts as a weight all the while creating a very genuine feeling of pulling an oar through the water. This makes the machine highly desirable for professional rowers, as with it, they will never be too far from their boat. And to emphasize this genuine feel, the machine boasts foot braces and an ergonomic seat to recreate the feeling of being in an actual row boat.
As far as the design goes, the machine is made to be as light as possible, and as comfortable as possible to avoid any type of injury. Of course, to safeguard yourself from injury you will need to use proper technique, but the machine provides as much support as necessary to help you avoid unnecessary strain on your lower back (the part most commonly injured).
The machine features a standard water tank and a flywheel inside that is made very sturdy to avoid snapping of the cable, and thus a potential accident. The water, in addition to the genuine feel, provides a smooth and soundless resistance. Also, the honey oak and ash construction help absorb the noise, making the rowing motions even quieter.
And in order to track your vitals, the machine features an S4 monitor. Through this device you’ll be able to track how intense your training is, so you can adjust your regimen. On it you will be able to track your heart rate, stroke rate, distance and, best of all, calorie expenditure. This is most convenient for those who intend to use the machine for fitness purposes.
But of course, no machine is perfect. The main disadvantage of water rowing machines is weight and maintenance. The water tank must be regularly checked for leakages. Also, water machines are quite heavy and bulky. This machine is also fixed, so it will take up space, and will be difficult to move around once installed.
- Very authentic rowing feel.
- The machine is very comfortable and has a very ergonomic seat and foot braces.
- The water resistance on the flywheel offers a genuine feel, and is very smooth and quiet.
- Excellent S4 monitor will help you track your vitals with great precision.
- The water tank and the flywheel are made extra sturdy to avoid snapping or leakages.
- The machine is fixed, and cannot be folded.
- The machine is quite heavy, so moving it around once installed will be difficult.
And that’s it, folks! This is our top pick for the best rowers on the market. As we have mentioned, a rower is a superb machine for those who wish to improve their fitness through some quality cardio. Not only that, but a rower increases strength in many muscle groups all over your body. An alternative use for a rower is by a professional rower. This goes for water rowers especially, as they most faithfully mimic real-life rowing. They are ideal for athletes who wish to prepare for the upcoming season when the conditions are less than ideal.
All in all, there is no fault with you choosing any of these babies. The choice itself is up to you, to your needs and to your wallet. If you decide to go for a product off this list, we will be happy to have provided you with necessary information about a product that will serve you well for years to come.
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