rowing machine

Choosing the best rowing machine is hard. And choosing the right one that fits in to your specific needs is even harder. Then, what to do? How to select the best rower for myself? Don’t worry! We’ve compiled the 11 best rowing machines to help you navigate this process easily.

Rowers have come a long way and now there are several models available in the market that has sleek design and highly refined exercise equipment ready to get your cardio health on the upswing. Having a rower right in your home is all that you want to get started in the workout journey.

It also lets you workout your muscle group in a challenging yet comfortable way. Also, rowers can provide an outstanding way to increase your fitness level and gives you a safe environment to your strength building.

There are various types and features that you can consider before buying new exercise equipment. And remember, you should always opt for the one that satisfies your body condition.

Now we’ve given you an overview of rowing, it is time for us to move in to the top 11 best rowing machines review. Check the Best spin bikes here.

Before we go, this is what this review guide will cover.

  1. What is a rowing machine? And What are the benefits of having one for yourself?
  2. What are the features to look for in a rowing machine?
  3. Top 11 best rowing machines.
  4. Advantages and disadvantages of each brand.
  5. Final points to remember.

Without much ado, here’s the review for you!

What is a rowing machine? What are the benefits of having one for yourself?

A rowing machine is an equipment that is specifically used in a gym for a full-body workout. Unlike an elliptical, you should have to use your entire body to complete a rowing stroke. Your muscles get stronger when you start working out regularly in a rowing machine. It also provides the ultimate Cardiovascular Exercises and helps your body to better utilize the oxygen.

The rowing machines stimulate and strengthen your heart and lungs. Rowing is a perfect gym activity to easily burn calories and unwanted fat from your body. It also includes HIIT “high intensity interval training” workouts which are anaerobic exercises that a rower can include in their routine. You can complete both aerobic and anaerobic exercises with rowing machines. That’s the key reason why people love using rowing machines!

The modern rowing machines come with adjustable and variable resistance which helps the machines to switch between aerobic and anaerobic workouts. Also, rowing is done while you sit down. This is particularly good because it helps you to feel comfortable. Rowing is ideal for everyone including people who have weak joints or people who are rehabilitating after a surgery. Also, rowing is not a weight baring exercise which will be comfortable for so many people who have limited mobility

What are the features to look for in a rowing machine?

Now that you understood the importance of rowing machines, their benefits, and its functionalities, you should know the features that you need to take a careful look at before investing in getting a rower for yourself. Here’s a complete list of features to your consideration!

  • Resistance: although rowers are similar in design, they can be differentiated through their form of providing resistance. Various types of resistance include:
  1. Water resistance.
  2. Air resistance.
  3. Magnetic resistance.
  4. Hydraulic resistance.
  • Comfort and adjustability: good rowers include comfortable seat, great foot pads, and excellent adjustability.
  • Noise level: Some rowing machines are noisier than the others. So, consider this before choosing one for yourself.
  • Workout space: you need some amount of floor space to place your machine. Almost all rowers have large footprints. So, dedicate some space in your home before buying a rowing machine.
  • Rower price: as with most exercise equipments, the price varies widely between brands. High end row machines can last a long time, while budget based machines can provide instant solution for your workout needs.
  • Maximum user weight: usually, rowing machines can handle higher weight than other exercise equipments.
  • Row computers: most good rowers are equipped with a handy computer. This computer gives you information regarding the distance, your workout time, and calories burned. Make sure that the rower you are looking for has these features.
  • The ease of assembly: make sure that your rowing machine can be assembled easily before buying one for yourself.
  • Warranty: make sure that you have a decent warranty that can cover the entire equipment.

The 11 best rowing machines:

1. Stamina Air Rower:

Stamina Air Rower

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Are you looking for an affordable yet high quality rowing machine? Then you have to invariably think about the stamina air rower. This air rower is useful for users at any level. Also known as the stamina ATS air rower 1399, it employs wind resistance through a fan to create a smooth workout experience. In fact, the air resistance is what makes it an excellent fitness equipment that you must have it in your home.

This stamina rower features a steel frame, a sliding seat, and a big footpads. The seating is surprisingly comfortable and the big footpads can accommodate any user’s shoe size. Its computer monitor gives you a detailed data regarding your workout performance such as speed, covered distance, calories burned, and workout time. The stamina ATS rower 1399 is built to last long and designed for comfort.

  • Excellent wind Resistance.
  • Upholstered sliding Seat.
  • It has a steel Frame.
  • Large Foot Pads
  • LCD Display
  • Maximum User Weight is 250lbs.
  • The noise level is higher than its competitors.

2. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor:

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor

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Do you want to tone your physique? Or do you want to improve your fitness level? We got you covered!

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine provides you everything from providing an excellent workout experience to helping you achieve great results. It comes with a variety of preset programs that you can utilize in meeting any of your training needs. Comparing with the veteran and beginner rowing machines, it has the design, durability, and features that can keep you fit for decades to come.

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is one of its kind for various reasons. First of all, it is handcrafted from a beautiful and solid ash tree, which makes it more elegant than your regular rowing machines. The Honey Oat stain and finish in Danish oil gives it plenty enough style for it to be a beautiful addition to your home decor.

You can enjoy a quieter and smoother workout because of the material’s aesthetic options. The WaterRower’s WaterFlyWheel delivers a dynamic resistance and letting the user to select the desired level of intensity for their workout. Also, this model promises safety, stability, and smooth operations during training sessions.

On top of all the great features, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine features the S4 Performance Monitor, an excellent user friendly equipment that provides accurate and detailed data while you row. This is particularly helpful in tracking and optimizing your performance.

  • Consists of American Ash Wood Frame.
  • Honey Oak Stain finished in Danish Oil.
  • Dual Rail Design
  • It has ergonomic Handle.
  • Maximum User Weight: 350kg.
  • Like most other exercise equipments, this rowing machine is too pricy.

3. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

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The Concept2 Model D is the topmost air rower brand that’s been used in almost every gym. Its features and design makes it a must’ve rower in your home if you decide to get one. Also, it is the best indoor home rowers you can buy simply because of the following features.

  • The Concept2 Model D is specifically built for air rowing.
  • It is ergonomically unequaled which helps the rower row smoothly.
  • This rowing machine employs air baffles to create resistance.
  • Includes an excellent PM5 monitor that provides your workout data in a couple of forms.
  • The PM5 monitor also calculates drag factors.

Now, let’s look at the Concept 2 Model D’s features with a bit more explanation.

Its ergonomic design creates a comfortable environment while rowing. Also, it is the go to brand when it comes to having a rower which is reliable and durable.

The Concept 2 Model D comes from a brand known for building solid workout equipment which lasts longer. This makes it a greatest rowing machine that you can safely and confidently invest your money in.

The PM5 monitor keeps you updated with regards to your workout performance. This monitor provides your workout data in a time and data form and in a split screen form. The split screen display of workout data is particularly useful for tracking your performance level. Featuring a 14-inch seat and nickel-plated chain, it is ideal for an intense cardio and toning workout.

  • Dependable Performance and Design.
  • Has a PM5 Monitor.
  • Gives you an intense full-body workout.
  • The Concept 2 Model D is pricy.

4. Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower:

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

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The Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 Magnetic Rower is the best magnetic resistance rower you can find on the market. With its Drum Magnetic Control System and electronic tension control, you can adjust resistance to the level you desire. The Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower provides you smooth, comfortable, and intense workout experience whether you are a pro-rower or you just want to discover the benefits of using a rowing machine for your exercise. Among the many advantages of having this rower, it’s easy to read LCD screen and the several preset training programs make it a standout from the crowd. Its polyurethane molded saddle and anodized aluminum beam with rectangular tubing support are bound to deliver comfortable and stable performance.

  • DMC (Drum Magnetic Control) System for adjustable magnetic resistance.
  • Electronic Tension Control to give you smooth and comfortable workout.
  • Heart Rate Monitor with Chest Strap.
  • Polyurethane Molded Saddle.
  • Anodized Aluminum Beam & Rectangular Tubing Support.
  • Maximum User Weight is 275lbs.
  • Warranty is unpredictable.
  • Average customer support.

5. Stamina 15-9003 Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent bike/rower:

Stamina 15-9003 Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent bike/rower

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This best rowing machine serves a couple of purposes. You can switch between biking and rowing and you can do a full body workout as well.

The top handle retracts to perform upper body exercises like bicep curls and tricep kickbacks. The machine also comes with a resistance cord that you can attach under your seat to do leg presses. It has an LCD display that provides a complete detail regarding your calories burn rate, distance covered during the workout time, and much more. You’ll love the fact that it is easy to setup and the movements are quiet while you workout.

  • You can experience the joy of biking and rowing in one machine.
  • It has a multi-function monitor.
  • Has a comfortable padded seat, rowing handle, pivoting footplates, and textured bike pedals.
  • You can use this bike/rower for both cardiovascular fitness exercises and strength building.
  • Utilizes all muscle groups of the body.
  • You can use it for low-impact aerobic exercises to increase your metabolism.
  • Anyone with size 14 or greater shoe size may have an issue with the bike pedals.

6. First Degree Fitness Newport AR Water rower:

First Degree Fitness Newport AR Water rower

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This is a hydraulic rower which makes you feel like rowing in a favorite water body of yours, without actually dipping your toes into the water. With its adjustable fluid resistance, the First Degree can adapt to your desired level of high intensity or low-impact activity. This model is actually designed with the help of professional rowers to capture real life experience. It also has an ergonomic handles to prevent strain on the arms, wrists, and hands. The limited user weight on this machine is 300-pounds.

  • Replicates the feel, sight, and sound of real water-rowing.
  • Adjustable fluid resistance.
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • The rower is pricier than its competitors.

7. Concept2 Model E indoor rowing machine:

Concept2 Model E indoor rowing machine

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The Concept2 Model E is the latest version of model D and it has some key changes to be aware of. One among them is that this machine sits higher up, making it an excellent choice for people with mobility issues. Rowing aims to provide a low-impact workout experience for everybody, so the concept2 model E is the best choice for the people of any age. It has eight levels of magnetic resistance to help you personalize your workouts along with easy to reach tension control. The electronic monitor gives you instant feedback on time, distance, strokes per minutes, speed, intervals, etc. this rower has a weight capacity of 500-pounds.

  • Durability is beyond expectations.
  • Comfortable design and sleek model.
  • Has a performance monitor 5.
  • The model E is smooth and quiet in use.
  • The led panel has lesser features for the people who have specific health needs.
  • The assembly instructions are mostly based on pictures making it a challenge for people who have trouble in interpreting pictures.

8. Sunny Health and Fitness Full Motion Rower:

Sunny Health and Fitness Full Motion Rower

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This is the most economical rower that you can find in the market. It is also a beginner friendly and it is helpful for anyone on a budget. The Sunny Health Rower lets you use the full motion of your arms. The most attractive part of this rower is that the ability to change resistance comes with a turn of a knob. The LCD monitor provides all the basic data to track your workout performance, stroke count, and calorie burn rate. It has a comfortable seat and weight capacity is 350-pounds. This is one of the best rowing machine for home usage.

  • Lets you use the full motion of your arms.
  • Increasing or decreasing the workout intensity is made simple with a turn of a knob.
  • Has an LCD display.
  • Fully padded seat and non-slip grip handlebars provides optimal comfort and support.
  • Large anti-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps for secure footing.
  • At first, it can be hard on the knees.

9. Stamina 1215 Orbital rower:

great rowing machine for weight loss

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The Orbital Rower is compact and portable making it a great machine to work up a tremendous amount of sweat in a small space. It allows you to use a full range of your arms during the workout. The actual rowing does mimic that of being on the water with its hydraulic resistance. Pivoting foot plates and a thick, padded seat make for ease of mobility and let you enjoy your time in the rower. This rower is equipped with a LCD monitor that tracks the basics such as speed, time, distance, and calorie burn rate. The weight capacity of this rower is 250-pounds.

  • Has an excellent hydraulic resistance.
  • It has an LCD monitor.
  • Pivoting foot plates and a thick, padded seat make for ease of mobility.
  • Too heavy and it is hard to assemble.
  • Does not stand properly since the frame is oval shape.

10. Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower:

best rowing machine review

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If you are the one who’d like to workout during early morning or after your kids went to their bed, you’ll be pleased to have this whisper quiet machine in your home. This best rower comes with a 12 preset workout styles for the people who’d like to switch up, or for the people who’d like to have the option of customizing their own. With its magnetic resistance, this rowing machine helps you to get in shape immediately. The LCD monitor keeps you updated with all the necessary data to track your performance. The weight capacity of this rower is 275-pounds.

  • Has an LCD monitored.
  • Magnetic resistance.
  • Comes with 12 preset workout styles.
  • features Drum Magnetic Control (DRM) and electronic tension control.
  • ergonomically designed.
  • Average customer support.
  • The rower’s size is too large.

11. Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower:

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower

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We highly recommend the Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower not only for its features but for its design and various other things. It has a programmable multi-function fitness monitor that helps you to track your entire workout. Starting from speed, time, distance, and stroke count, to heart rate, improving your heart’s health, and you can do much more with this versatile rower. Also, this monitor has a backlit InTouch feature which helps you to read the display even in a darker environment.

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower has a 4 custom user programs and 1 heart rate program that adjust the magnetic tension according to the heart rate directed by the chest strap. This rower has some great comfort features to match your needs. The foam-padded rowing handle gives you an excellent grip with each stroke. Molded, ergonomic seat keeps you comfortable while you row. The Textured foot plates and straps stabilize your body during workouts.

  • Has a chest strap that tracks your heart rate.
  • Molded, ergonomic seat keeps you comfortable while you row.
  • It has a foam-padded rowing handle.
  • The Textured foot plates and straps stabilize your body.
  • It has a programmable multi-function fitness monitor.
  • The rowing bar is too large for people with small hands.

Read also:

Buyers guide:

What is the overall best rowing machine?

This is a difficult question to answer simply because everyone wants a different set of qualities in a rowing machine. But if you want an excellent rower, watch out for these qualities and then decide for yourself.

  • Noise level.
  • Durability.
  • Resistance.
What is the proper rowing form and technique?

This question arises mostly for beginners. Knowing the correct form of rowing is the best step a beginner rower can take to avoid injury and get a full-body workout. You as a beginner rower should seek out expert advice when it comes to correct rowing form and technique before getting into a rower.

What is the best rowing machine for losing weight?

Rowing machine is the best piece of exercise equipment that you can invest to lose weight. But which one to choose? The answer to this question is that you have to select a rower that’s going to give you a complete workout and you enjoy rowing with the machine. If you buy a rowing machine that you don’t like, you won’t use it and obviously you won’t lose weight. So, what to do? Before buying a rowing machine, read the buyers guide and find out the one that fits you.

What is the best rowing workout routine for losing weight?

After getting your rowing machine, you’d have to know the best routine to get maximum effect while you row. There are two major routines that you can incorporate in to your exercise. They are steady state rowing and high intensity interval training HIIT. Both have great benefits for you.

How many calories does a rowing machine burn?

The calorie burn rate of a rower depends upon intensity of the workout it offers. Some estimation suggests that in an hour, a rower can burn up to 1000 calories.

Is a rowing machine good for building muscle and cardio?

Yes. A rowing machine is an excellent choice when it comes to building strong muscles. And yes, it builds lean muscles so you don’t have to worry about looking bulkier.

What resistance type should I buy?

Finding out a perfect rowing machine resistance type is a difficult task. The options are air, water, hydraulic, and magnetic. They all have their pros and cons, but you have to select one which fits your body condition.

What is the best rowing machine for tall people?

Some people have to look at the height limitations in a rower when they want to buy one for their workout needs. It’s unfortunate, but not all manufacturers provide the rowing machine’s rail length in their ads or their instructions manual. So if you are a tall person want to buy a rower, look for the rail length.

Is a rowing machine better than a treadmill, elliptical, bike, and step machine?

Every exercise equipment have their benefits and pitfalls. So how do you find out which one is the best?

If you are looking for cardio exercise, full-body workout, and strength building, the rowers are your best choice. Unlike any other exercise equipment, rowers work out your full-body which is beneficial to your entire health.

What’s an ergometer?

An ergometer is an instrument that measures your energy and your work. Rowers use ergs as a standardized method of measuring your athletic ability.

What’s a proper rowing technique?

Every stroke you row in a rower consists of 4 distinct stages. They are;

  • Catch: Back upright, knees bent, shins vertical, level arms
  • Drive: Extend legs, engage core, lever body back
  • Finish: Legs at full extension, shoulders slightly behind pelvis, hands at chest
  • Recovery: Slide back to initial position by reversing the steps above
How did indoor rowing start?

It all started with an Athenian military general. He invented wooden rowing simulators for his inexperienced oarsmen. This enabled them to learn technique and timing before stepping foot on actual water crafts.

Final points to remember:

Health professionals and fitness experts have all agreed that rowing machine provides best in clause workouts possible. Exercising on a best rowing machine allows you to target more muscle groups in your body. On the better rower models, you can track your progress and help yourself to improve your performance.

As we’ve discussed earlier, rowing machines not only provide cardio exercises, it helps you build your muscles and lose weight. Comparing with any other exercise equipment, rowing machines can work out your entire body. So get on a rowing machine and see the benefits for yourself.

We’ve compiled the best rowing machines that you can find in the market. We’ve reduced your countless hours of search in finding the best rower that fits both your body and your wallet. These 11 best rowers includes some of the top most brands and rowers for people with all sizes and ages.

More importantly, we have compiled an extensive list of frequently asked questions to help you with all the details before you start looking for a good rower. So, all my dear fitness loving friends, read this entire review, find a perfect rower for yourself, and GET FITTER! Happy rowing!

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Hari Vignesh
Hari, a freelance writer known for crafting exceptional guides, enjoys immersing himself in literature and music when he's not busy with his writing pursuits.


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