Getting the best rowing machine for home is not an easy task considering that there are a lot of models out there. But on this page, you will get all the information you need to choose the most suitable machine for you that will suit your needs. You will find reviews and comparison of the best machines and a detailed buying guide.
I hope this guide will help you to find the best rower since this type of workout has so many benefits like no other fitness equipment out there. Hence, having one at home can help you a lot to get fitter and healthier.
Quick Overview of the Top Rated Rowing Machines
Home Rowing Machine Reviews
1. Concept2 Model D – The winner & Popular
Concept2 model D indoor rowing machine offers a full body-workout and that too with little or no noise at all. The most appealing feature is that it’s the one which is utilized effectively by Olympic Rowers. You might find them placed in individual homes and gyms too.
Another great feature of Concept2 model D is that it is equipped with a performance monitor. That allows you to control your body workout while operating it. The screen will begin working the moment you start rowing, and your performance will be tracked eventually. The LCD monitor will reflect your speed, calories burned, the distance along with pace while monitoring your pulse as well.
An exciting attributes is that Concept2 model D has the capability to recharge the batteries while you are rowing. You can even play games while you are rowing, fun isn’t it? Games entice us more than anything else, and that’s an amazing thing to increase motivation among people.
Another incredible thing about Concept 2 rowing machine is that it offers a detachable LogCard. It is great for storing and keeping track of your training. The ultimate benefit of LogCard is that it isn’t confined to one person’s use only. Instead, it allows you to store data for 5 different users.
Furthermore, the adjustable damper lets you change how the strokes handle your presence. If you switch to higher settings you might feel like as if you are rowing a really tough and heavy boat. However, if you move to lower settings you will feel much easier. These alterations are ideal for an intense training.
- Entails the Performance Monitor 5 (PM5) which provides you with accurate and genuine data for each row you do.
- Professional flywheel resistance.
- Stainless steel track for durability.
- Easy to assemble and folding for storage purpose.
- Adjustable footrests – suitable for any feet size.
- Nickel plated chain for smooth driving and durability.
- Ergonomic handle for comfortable grip.
- 2-year warranty on the moving parts and LCD display.
- 5-year warranty on the framework.
- Grey and black colors – Concept goes with every room.
- Realistic rowing motion and stroke count.
- Comfortable thickly padded seat.
- Easy to use
- Realistic rowing
- Extremely durable
- Because of the flywheel, it’s not quiet.
You will witness a number of happy customers and positive reviews about this incredible indoor rower.
There are numerous features that make Concept 2 with PM5 such a phenomenal item that would last a lifetime. Though Model D is somewhat expensive but offers great value. Moreover, for carrying out an efficient and powerful workout. It is equipped with a brilliant performance monitor to keep track of what you are up to.
Instead of enrolling yourself in the gym and obtaining gym memberships, you can make an investment in this professional and realistic indoor rowing machine and work out in the privacy and comfort of your home.
Concept2 model D is the bestselling rower on the market recommended by fitness experts and reviewers.
2. WaterRower – Real Rowing Feel
WaterRower is adeptly crafted equipment for exercise. Made with solid Ash wood, enhanced with a very strong rosewood and finished with Danish oil. This machine is a beauty.
It is not only great looking but also built with a superior quality material. It’s specially designed to avoid scuff marks. Ash wood helps absorb sound and vibrations while you are working out. Hence, this water rowing machine primarily designed for high-traffic areas.
Replicating the dynamics of a boat in the water. You have a feeling as if you were rowing on the water. It is assembled with two paddles known as ‘water flywheel’, which give a very smooth and natural rowing experience. Flywheel paddles move through the water enclosed in the tank. This helps create self-regulated resistance and add to the sense of the ergonomic training.
The Water Rower provides workout performance and feedback by S4 monitor. The monitor functions in various languages. It shows miles per hour, meter per second, time per 500 meters, and time per 2 kilometers and calories per hour. It also displays heart rate, and it can be linked to a computer to integrate it with other workout software.
The club’s S4 monitor allows its user to maintain data of the last nine sessions. It also tracks the equipment’s lifetime distance. The S4 screen is packed with some other useful features. For example, it has six preset workout programs which allow the trainee to design personalized sessions based on your training goals.
- Weight: 66.5 lbs (30.2 kg).
- Rower with full water tank: 103.5 lbs (47 kg).
- Comfortable seat and footrests for relaxation and steadiness.
- Very durable Polycarbonate water tank.
- Maximum User Weight that machine can bear: 1,000 lbs (454 kg).
- QuickStart/ QuickSelect options in a single button of S4 monitor allows the trainee to start training quickly.
- AutoPreview and AutoStore options that keep the last nine workouts record.
- ZoneBar features help with setting intensity, heart rate, and stroke rate. It also lets users know when they are outside or inside their zones.
- S4 Monitor displays intensity in a number of measurements including stroke rate, heart rate, distance, duration, etc.
- Looks beautiful
- Provides smooth operation, self-regulated adjustable resistance levels
- Absorbs vibration
- 1000 lbs weight capacity
- Not quiet
- It requires workout space.
Water Rower Club Rowing Machine has a very positive reputation among fitness fans. Customers love the resistance on this rower and the actual rowing sensation. An excellent choice for commercial and light commercial fitness rooms.
It is famous for its low impact since it helps removes weight from knees, hips and ankles. For around $1,000, you are getting a very durable machine and considerable quality for the money.
Water Rower is around 82 inches long which makes it makes it larger than the regular fitness machine. However, it’s easy to store since the frame flips upright. It is very simple to use and very comfortable. With a very high user weight capacity and advanced features, it is a must-buy.
It’s not only a comfortable and powerful machine, but its design stands out from the other indoor rowing machines.
3. Stamina Avari Magnetic Exercise Rower – Quiet
The Stamina Avari is among the best indoor rowing machine that includes the total body when working out. From back, to legs, to arms, abs and the hips. This machine will challenge all muscle groups. An added advantage is the fact that it speeds up the metabolism by providing low impact aerobic exercises. Thus, you can burn calories all day long without affecting your joints adversely.
It not only helps you work out but also to monitor it. Having your workouts tracked will push you to work out even harder the next day. Very motivating indeed!
The programmable features twelve programs that can be simply tracked on the backlit LCD Screen. During the training, the chest straps can be used. This is highly impressive when using the heart rate program as a target. Moreover, seven preset plans automatically control the magnetic tension. That will help boost your cardio workout making it even more efficient.
- Muscles targeted: arms, abs, hips, back, glutes, hamstring, shoulders and quads.
- Workout profiles: 12. 6 profiles for cardio, 1 profile for pulse rate, 4 custom profiles and 1 manual profile.
- Fitness monitor: Monitors count, time, distance pulse, watt and strokes per minute. Also, adjusts magnetic resistance and workout time.
- The product includes Backlit LCD screen and aluminum rowing beam.
- Many inbuilt programs / programmable
- Easy to storage and compact
- Smooth resistance and switch
- The resistance isn’t suitable for advanced athletes.
- Lack of strong resistance.
Stamina Avari has been customers favorite! Customers claim it to be heavy, but its strength is what makes it durable. It comes in three parts hence assembling it is easy. Adjust the parts and you are all set to work out. The built is such that no excessive pressure is built on any part of the body hence making it extremely safe too.
Due to its space saver design, people in small living spaces have also enjoyed working out on it. A great machine that proves to be very effective workout recommended by many. An investment that cannot go wrong.
The most efficient magnetic rowing machine with inbuilt workouts. Perfect for intermediate level athletes.
4. Lifecore R100 – Commercial Quality
Lifecore R100 is a commercial grade indoor rower with some high-quality, exciting features that makes it perfect for both, home and gym users. The first impression one gets when looking at the Lifecore R100 is that it is pretty stable. The company claims that it can carry weight up to 600 lbs.
There is no doubt that the machine is well built and is firm because of the solid steel support and aluminum frame. It also has a very comfortable padded seat even if you have been rowing on it for 30 minutes.
It comes with a computer + monitor. The monitor is attractive, has an LCD display and dual color that makes your workout data easy to read even if the room is darkened. The computer is battery powered. Or you can even plug it in via the AC adaptor.
The monitor is adjustable and can be set at any position for users of any height to read easily. The user can choose among the 16 different levels of resistant and 11 pre-programmed workouts that are adjusted on the monitor screen. The computer also automatically adjusts your resistance type according to the heart level while using the Lifecore R100 commercial rowing machine.
- Silent drive system.
- Solid steel fan.
- Large economically designed seat for added comfort.
- Folds for storage.
- Large LCD computer display.
- 16 levels of resistance.
- 11 challenging pre-set workouts.
- Adjustable cooling air vent.
- Stores data for up to 4 users.
- Workouts that adjust based on pulse rate.
- Solid steel support and extruded aluminum frame.
- Many resistance levels
- Programmable/many inbuilt programs
- Ergonomic design
- Sturdy structure
- The heart rate monitor isn’t very accurate.
When you look at the price tag, yes, of course, that is a lot to pay for a machine. However, when you consider one that is built like the Lifecore R100 with all its features and benefits, it does give you a good value for your money. It is definitely not a bad return on your investment considering the fact that it will keep you in shape for years to come.
Many reviewers have to say that a complete package for those who are willing to invest in this machine because of its features and results. The rower is comfortable, quiet and the computer controlled workout system options are excellent.
Gym quality machine with adjustable resistance and useful preset programs.
5. Stamina Air Rower
Why spend thousands on your gym membership when you can keep something similar for yourself at home? This is the best budget rowing machine which gives you the same full body training that you get from the rowers at your fitness club for which you are paying a fortune. It has a solid steel casing with comfortable padded seat and multi-function monitor that is half the price of the indoor rowers you see at the gym.
It is best for those who don’t really have enough space to keep large rowing machines at their home. It easily folds up and reduces the workout space by almost 50% once folded. So when you are done using the machine, you can fold it up and put it in the corner. It is known to be one of those machines that have the feature of storage as well as portability.
If you want to store, all you have to do is remove a bolt, fold it upwards and then put the bolt back in the frame.
If you want to move it somewhere else, the machine has caster wheels that make the machine easier to move anywhere you want. All you have to do is lift up the opposite end of where the fan is and push.
- Use at home as a cardiovascular machine and strengthen entire body.
- Nylon pull and foot straps.
- Steel frame.
- Wind resistance.
- Upholstered seat, comfortable padded.
- Floor protectors prevent skidding.
- Folds for storage.
What we like
- Folding / transportation wheels
- Easy to use
- Easy assembly
What we don’t
- Not the most comfortable
- Limited weight capacity
This Stamina air resistance rowing machine is an exceptionally designed inexpensive machine. It has a comfortable seating, seamless rowing, and an accurate monitor. One can definitely say that they have found a complete package getting all of that in one machine. Consider you have yourself a winner once you have purchased it.
What users like the most about it is the portability, storage and mainly the price factor. They also found the comfortable padded seat. Mostly people who have no time to go to the gym or can’t afford to pay for it. They buy this air rower as it is pocket-friendly as compared to the gym machines. The users also say that it may not be the gym level type and does not have fancy programs, but it does its job pretty good as being a home user machine.
Reviewers don’t care about the noise level, although a fair amount of noise is expected from any air rower.
Even if this model cheaper than the others, it provides solid and smooth rowing workout at home.
How to buy an indoor rowing machine
What to Look for?
There are a lot of different models out there today for those that want to add one of these machines to their home. It isn’t like purchasing a new weight bench or squat rack which are pretty much “one-size-fits-all” pieces of exercise equipment.
By arming yourself with all knowledge, we have to offer you in this quick guide you can make quick work of the indoor rowing machine purchasing process. Just use the tips and tricks we are able to share with you below and you’ll be off to the races in no time at all!
How much space do you need?
Before you even start to look for any rowers – and even before building a budget – you have to do a little bit of digging regarding the workout room. That, if you have available space in your home for your new machine.
There are quite a few compact and portable rowing machines out there worth investing in that won’t eat up a lot of your valuable real estate or floorspace. However, the majority of best home rowing machines are slightly larger and need a bit extra space. Make sure you have it available.
Figure out your budget
The second thing you need to think about is how much money you’re ready to spend on a piece of exercise equipment.
There are products available at nearly every price point imaginable (even right around the $100 price point). But, the top quality machines that you’ll want to spend your time seriously considering are going to be right around $500 or more.
High-quality models – “best in the business” – command price tags near $1000 or more. These are specifically for really serious fitness and busiest. Those that are dedicated to making the rowing workout a part of their daily life.
Different types of resistance
There are hundreds of different models for sale right now, the bulk of these products can all be segmented into four types rowing machines based on resistance. We highlight them below.
These devices are very compact and incredibly stable. Although, they do not produce the kind of traditional range of motion you’re expecting from an indoor rower.
Using two smooth hydraulic cylinder attached to two arms, you can control the resistance that comes out of this type. but you’re not going to have the same sort of movement or freedom that you would with a more traditional setup.
Stamina 1250 Orbital
Relatively inexpensive, these are designed for folks that might not have a lot of space or a big budget going forward. For example, typical compact rowing machines have hydraulic cylinder resistance.
Magnetic resistance rowing machines
Magnetic rowing machines work on the same kinds of mechanical basis and principles as elliptical trainers. That is, all resistance generated by the activity of electromagnets that have been located close to the flywheel system.
Incredibly compact and super minimalist, these are very valuable for those that have small spaces to work out in. You can row with the full range of motion you’re expecting. Although, you might not be able to increase the magnetic resistance to the maximum levels you’re hoping to.
The harder and the faster you throw with this kind of machine the more resistance you’re going to get as a feedback. These fan blade style models are going to work fantastic for those that are interested in building endurance and cardio. However, they aren’t going to be quite as useful for those that want to develop a lot of strength or lose weight in a hurry.
Water resistance rowing machine
This type is the highest end of the indoor rowers. It is the kind of fitness equipment that almost everyone hopes to own even if they don’t have the budget to do so.
Not exactly the most compact model available. It is the one that most closely replicates and duplicates the resistance that you are going to get when actually out on the water rowing around. You can independently adjust almost infinite levels of resistance. You can enjoy a full range of motion, and get the best rowing exercise imaginable with this machine.
Hopefully, now you have a better idea about what the best rowing machine for you is and how to move forward from here.
What are the best brands?
- First Degree Fitness
- H2O Fitness
- Sunny Health & Fitness
What Are the Benefits of the Rowing Workout?
Rowing to lose weight and get strong | Credit: nrgfitnessgear.com
Trying to find an exercise machine that hits all of your key criteria can be a real uphill challenge. Especially, if you’re hoping to lose weight, build muscle, and improve your health all at the same time. The indoor rowing machine benefits are numerous.
That is of course unless you have already decided to move forward with quality fitness equipment. One that gives you best complete workouts you’ve ever had the opportunity to enjoy.
Of course, some people still aren’t sold on the idea of changing their regular training to a rowing machine workout program. Mostly because we’ve all been programmed to lift iron or pound mile after mile into a treadmill: we want to transform our bodies and our health.
If you’re still on the fence about switching to this machine check out all big benefits that we have to showcase for you below!
Get a World-Class Cardio Workout
Every single time you climb on top of your rowing machine you are going through one of the most intense and involved cardio workouts you’ve ever gone through.
With light resistance and high speed and intensity, you can blast through your aerobic barriers. With that you can squeeze out a lot more effective cardiovascular workouts on it than anything else.
You will be activating almost all muscle groups in your body as you grow. And all of that activity is going to force your body to burn fat, build muscle, and improve your aerobic health.
Transform Yourself Into a Fat Burning Furnace
It’s long been understood that working out with higher levels of resistance to really tax your muscles as much as possible is an effective way of melting fat. That’s exactly what this cardio equipment is going to help you do.
Spending just 30 minutes on it with moderate resistance levels can give you the same kind of exercise like a 90 minutes running on a treadmill would. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, for example if you do interval training instead.
Because your muscles have micro damage, your body is going to need to expend extra energy to repair and recover from your full body workout. You’ll burn fat all day long regardless of whether or not you are sitting on the couch after working out with an indoor rowing machine!
How to Use It Correctly
Rowing is a fantastic exercise for endurance and weight loss. It alone can help you to have toned arms, legs, and a stronger core. Rowing correctly will enhance your agility, increase your endurance and help you to lose weight.
But if you are not doing this exercise properly, then you would not only be deprived of the results but also get injured.
- When you sit, you must do so on your sitting bones. Keep your back straight. Do not lean back or slouch. Do not bend on either side. Be absolutely upright from your waist.
- Your legs will be folded at starting position. Make sure they are straight while being folded and that the knees are directly in line with your ankle and toes. Do not place your feet at slanted angles. Do not let your knees be tilted away from each other or towards each other. They should be absolutely straight with the hamstring and hence thighs, the calves, the ankle, and toes. When you place your foot in the straps, make sure you have a firm footing. Don’t allow your toes to be over the edges or placed at angles other than an upright position on the footboard.
- Hold the handles with your hands but don’t hold them tightly. Your thumbs should be underneath the handles and not at the sides or along your index fingers. Your hands should be exactly your shoulder width apart. Your arms should stretch out straight when you are in the reverse state, which we will talk about later.
- Now you are in position. Remember, don’t slouch or lean backward bending your spine when you row or when you release the pressure. At all times, your back must be straight. Your spine must not be bent by any means, and no pressure should be exerted on the backbone or the spine.
- Pull the handles and row. Don’t exert pressure using your wrists. Your body, including the core muscles, shoulders, back muscles and biceps/triceps must be used to row. Rowing is a cardio workout and not of a definite set of muscles. When you hold the handles too tightly, you would put enormous pressure on your wrists. Rowing is not about your wrists or hands pulling the handles. There wouldn’t be any added stress on your hands other than just gripping the handles, just like your feet would be for footing and not anything else.
- Pull the handles as your arms go sideways at your chest level and your hands must end up on the either side of your chest. As you release the pressure, allow your arms to extend fully before you start coming back to your original position. Only when the arms are stretched should you start bending your legs and bring the body back to its starting position. All the while ensuring that your backbone was straight.
I hope now you know which model you are going to buy. There is no question that a rowing machine is perfect cardio equipment for home that helps you to be fit and healthy. Considering the features I recommend Concept2. If you have any questions or need advice, feel free to ask below.
- Davoodi R, Andrews BJ, Wheeler GD, Lederer R. Development of an indoor rowing machine with manual FES controller for total body exercise. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. 2002;10(3):197-203. doi:10.1109/tnsre.2002.802880
- Europe PMC. Europe PMC. Europepmc.org. https://europepmc.org/article/med/3193864. Published 2016. Accessed December 7, 2019.