Best Rowing Machine

With over 700 reviews we have found that the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine to be the best suited rowing machine for home use.

Rowing machines are a great way to increase your exercise regime by burning calories and building muscle with low impact. Over the years indoor or at home rowing machines have evolved, having a sleeker design, easier storage solutions and features to suit a variety of fitness needs and levels. Whether its to get fit, build muscle, maximize your endurance or practice your off water rowing skills, you no longer need a gym membership just so you can row your calories away. Now you can buy your own rowing machine and have the convenience of rowing when you want.

Choosing a rowing machine can seem daunting as there are an abundance to choose from. Therefore, we have created this article with extensive information to help you make the right decision when choosing your rowing machine.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Jen’s Top Pick: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine will be your go-to exercise equipment. It will deliver you with a smooth and powerful totally body workout. Choose from a variety of different work out programs that suit your needs. From calorie burning work outs to building muscle and stamina, the Concept2 rowing machine provides it all and is the ideal at home rowing machine.

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood provides a smooth, silent, self-regulated resistance and imitates an actual rowing feeling. The WaterRower rowing machine tracks your work out intensity, stroke rate, heart rate and more. Constructed from solid ash and stained with honey oak, making this rowing machine a sleek design.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine provides you with twelve different levels of hydraulic resistance, an electronic monitor which displays time, total count and calories burned. An amazing rowing machine for beginners and intermediate users.

Table of Contents

The Benefits of a Rowing Machine

Although rowing is considered a low impact work out, it can be just as challenging as a higher impact workout. The benefit of a low impact work out is that you will not damage your joints, because your feet and hands remain on the pads and handles. As a result, their will be little to no impact on your knees, shoulders, ankles or hips. This being said, one must maintain proper form during their work outs to avoid any injury or discomfort.

In addition to a low impact work out, rowing delivers you with an amazing cardiovascular fitness. Whenever you increase our heart rate and breath capacity you are a working on your cardiovascular fitness, which means your heart needs to pump more blood to your muscle tissues. As a result, your cells receive more nutrients and by-products like carbon dioxide and lactic acid get minimized.

As if these two benefits weren’t enough motivation to get you rowing, there is yet another benefit to using a rowing machine. Third, but not last, a rowing machine targets major muscles groups in your body, increasing your muscular strength and endurance. Due to the repetition of pulling and pushing, your muscles respond by adapting and becoming stronger. As time passes and you increase your level of resistance, your muscles will continue to become stronger, while your endurance increases.

Rowing is the best core and overall total body work out fitness equipment. From your legs, back, core and upper body, rowing is the one piece of fitness machine that you can achieve your health goals and whole health without having to use five other fitness machines.

Types of Rowing Machines

There are four different designs of rowing machines. Each rowing machine is based of the functional design and set apart by the way they generate resistance and intensity of resistance.
Here is a breakdown of the four different types of rowing machines.

1. Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine

Magnetic rowers are the most inexpensive option, light and simple to operate. These are ideal for a light workout and individual who are not looking for a high intensity muscle building experience. The reason why these types of rowing machines do not offer you with high intensity resistance workouts is due to the fact that these types of rowers use electromagnets to build resistance. As a result, you will not achieve serious muscle build up or toning.

2. Hydraulic/Piston Resistance Rowing Machine

Hydraulic (or Piston) resistance rowing machines are generally in the low-end category of its market. These types of rowers use pistons to generate resistance. When exercising on these types of rowers, you will pull back on the handlebars, as a result, you will feel the resistance of the fluid or air and will have to work against it.

Hydraulic rowing machines are ideal for the beginner and those on a budget. These rowers will provide a decent cardiovascular workout, but don’t expect a very high cardiovascular fitness. In addition to a low impact cardiovascular workout, the hydraulic rowers primarily work on your upper body toning.

3. Water Resistance Rowing Machine

Water resistance rowing machines are most popular amongst the fitness professionals, as they are designed with athletes and professional competitors in mind. That being said, these rowing machines are not off limits for the novice or intermediate user, just keep in mind to start on a lower resistant and increase as you see fit.

WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine

Best Water Resistance Rowing Machine: WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine

In addition to the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood, you can check out the WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine which offers similar features to our runner-up pick. Either of these picks would be the perfect rowing machine for the individual looking for a realistic feeling of water rowing and a high intensity workout.

4. Air Resistance Rowing Machine

The air resistance rowing machine is most likely the machine you will end up, as it is probably the best technology in its market. These type of rowers will bring forth a realistic rowing feeling, which makes these air rowing machines ideal for professionals and novice rowers alike. Individuals not only use these machines for an overall body workout, but also when someone has to practice their rowing skills.

Our top pick the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine is the ideal rowing machine in this category.

Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine
Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine

However, the Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine is a great contender to the Concept2. The Stamina is a wind-resistant rowing machine, with a monitor which displays speed, calories burned, time and distance. It will give you a total body workout, increasing your endurance, cardiovascular fitness and muscle build.

Each type of rowing machine will have its own benefits and feel. Therefore, you should take into consideration what type of experience of fitness you are aiming for before purchasing your rowing machine.

Features to Consider

When purchasing a rowing machine, you should consider the different features which each type of rower can offer. For instance, the best rowers will provide comfortable seats, some adjustability and good foot pads. These are not crucial features but desired features so that you may have a pleasant experience during your fitness regiment and prevent any injuries.
In addition to the comfortability and adjustability, another feature you might want to consider is the monitor/computer on the rower. This feature is all about providing you with information such as, how many calories burned, time and distance during your rowing session. Most good rowing machines will offer this feature. Another feature you may desire is a rower which offers availability to connect to an app so that you can upload your data and track your progress. One of the best free apps available is the ErgData app, available for IOS and Android.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

Another feature you need think about is the storage feature. Some rowing machines like the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine are foldable, which is easy for storage and portability.

A few other features you may want to consider is the warranty, ease of assembly, noise level and types of rowing machines based on the level of resistance it provides.

Rowing Machine Tips and Techniques

When entering the world of rowing it can be intimidating, however, once you gain the handle of it, rowing can be the best form of fitness. Once you have overcome the fear of rowing, you must learn a few techniques to avoid injuries and advance your level of rowing experience.

Formfitting clothes is extremely important when you are rowing, so that you avoid any loose clothes of getting caught on the rowing machine. Another important tip is not to set your resistance to high when you first begin rowing. If you try to start at a high level of resistance you are prone to injury of many joints and may be deterred from continuing rowing.

Besides the above tips, the technique of rowing is just as important. When you first begin, set your feet on the foot pads, set the resistance to a manageable level (such as 2 for beginners) and bring your knees up sliding yourself to the handle bars. Take hold of the handle bars lightly. Keeping your knees slightly bent and your legs straight, slide the back while pulling on the handles. Keep the hands at your chest while leaning back. This is your starting position. More rowing videos and techniques.

When starting any fitness regime, proper form and clothing should always be considered, so that you can avoid injury and experience the best workout.

How We Picked

Besides providing a great performance resistance rowing workout, a great rowing machine should have some desirable features. Here are some of the criteria we researched when composing our recommendations. A rowing machine should be constructed for durability, ease of storage, resistance levels and performance tracker.

A rower which in the lesser price point of the market, will not offer you the resistance levels required to achieve a total body workout, however, it will provide a decent cardiovascular workout. It does not mean that these rowers are of not great value, it still provides a great workout and enhances your level of rowing, especially if you are a beginner. Therefore, it was important for us to consider a budget friendly rowing machine that still provides you with a fitness workout that will give you results without breaking your bank.

We also, look at features like performance monitors/computers which will track and showcase your progress. There is nothing like watching the number of calories burned rise as you pull and slide on your rower. In addition, a performance tracker should provide you with the time and your distance.

Furthermore, we took into consideration the more experienced rower or those who need to practice their rowing skills off water. Therefore, we provided you with not one but two varieties of water rowers, which emulate the feeling of the real thing. Professional rowers generally like these types of rowers because they allow you to track your progress and give you that real rowing experience.
Keep in mind when you are deciding on the best rowing machine for yourself, consider the features mentioned, budget, space and your level of rowing skill.

Our Pick

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Jen’s Top Pick: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

This is not the cheapest rowing machine available, however, it is not the most expensive either. By spending a little more than the budget rower, you will be investing in a rower which not only provides the durability and performance, but also receive features that a lower cost model is lacking.

This rowing machine has been constructed by a known brand that pride themselves on durability and performance. It has a nickel-plated chain, which delivers you with a smooth performance and longevity of the product for years. It has a flywheel and spiral damper for adjustable resistance, ergonomic handle and flex foot footrest.

In addition, to the above features and design, the Concept rowing machine has a PM5 performance monitor for precise and full performance tracking. This feature will keep you on track in regards to reaching your training goals. Keep track of your heart rate, calories burned, distance covered, pulse meter and strokes per minute. The Concept2 is also compatible with the ErgData app, for additional performance statistics.

The Concept2 measures 24 inch in height, 94 inch in length and separates into two pieces for easy storage.
This is a well-balanced and durable rowing machine, that can handle years of demanding workouts and delivers on performance. If you are seeking for a fitness equipment that you achieve an intense workout right in your own home and is compact in size for easy storage or movability, then the Concept2 will be an investment you won’t regret.

Flaws but not Deal Breakers

Like any product it may contain some flaws. However, when researching the Concept2 we decided that the following flaws were worth mentioning but not deal breakers. The first flaw which seemed of concern to individuals, was that it tended to be a bit noisy. The reason for this is because of the air resistance, however, that being said, if the noise is a distraction, then simply put some music on in the background or on earphones.

Another flaw which was pointed out, is the length of this rowing machine. Although it is not as long as some rowers, it does measure approximately nine feet in length. So yes, you need the space length wise, however, keep in mind that this machine separates into two pieces or folds away for easy storage.

The Runner-Up

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood

It has been constructed with a “water flywheel ” which replicates a true rowing experience. Making this rowing machine ideal for individuals who both novice and professional rowers. The WaterRower provides you with an intense workout which will tone your physique and keep you fit.

Besides it being hand-crafted in a beautiful sold ash wood and stained in honey oat, the WaterRower rowing machine offers many features that are suitable and desirable for all users. For instance, rowers may choose what level of resistance to achieve the desired intensity of their workout. In addition, this rower features a user-friendly S4 Performance Monitor, providing you with accurate and detailed tracking progress.

You can feel safe with this rowing machine as it has an ergonomic seat and dual rails, which ensures for stability and a smooth operation during your rowing workout.

If you are seeking a perfect example of a top-grade, professional rowing machine, then the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine should be on your radar. It not only offers style, comfortability and durability. Furthermore, you will achieve a well balanced and total body work out while experiencing a true feel desired by professional rowers.

Although this is a pricier piece of fitness equipment and if you have the budget for it, than this is an amazing rowing machine. When you purchase the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine you are buying quality, durability and a complete piece of equipment with a top of the line performance monitor.

The Budget Pick

Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine

Although this is the cheapest rowing machine in its market, this rower is not one to be brushed off. It offers many features, sturdiness and stability. Just like the higher priced rowing machines the Sunny Health and Fitness rowing machine is designed to work on all your major muscle groups, in a low impact way.

This budget friendly and popular rowing machine has 12 different levels of hydraulic resistance, so you can easily adjust the level of resistance to fit your level of fitness experience. The Sunny Health and Fitness is ideal for the beginner and intermediate rower, however, if your level of fitness is more advanced you might find that even the highest level of resistance is not sufficient enough.
Built to last years of our budget pick rowing machine can withstand up to 220lbs of weight, has pivoting foot plates and a smooth comfortable seat. Unlike other lower cost rowing machines the Sunny Health and Fitness running machine showcases an electronic monitor which tracks your progress. Although it is limited on certain tracking information, the electronic monitor tracks the calories burnt, total strokes and time.

The Sunny Health and Fitness rowing machine weighs 20lbs and due to its dimensions it can be easily moved so you can store either upright or in a closet when not in use.

At such a low cost anyone can afford this rowing machine and start getting fit. This no frills hydraulic machine is excellent for at home workouts, durable and great for all ages and fitness levels. Start training and building those major muscle groups today with this low budget rowing machine.

The Best Rowing Machine for Tall People

LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine
LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine

When researching for a rowing machine that would be suitable for tall people, we looked at which machines would accommodate a six-foot individual. Most models will provide ample leg room where as others lack in the leg distance available causing difficulty for taller people to gain the full benefits of a rowing machine.

While reading the reviews many stated that being as tall as 6’4 was no issue and leaving ample leg room.

This rowing machine has strong durability with its solid steel frame, a 16.5-pound flywheel and maximum user weight of 300 lbs. It also provides a three-LCD console so that you can track your distance, calories, strokes and stroke per minute. Also, the LifeSpan RW1000 folds up for easy storage when not in use.

So don’t let your height hinder your rowing experience or deter you from beginning this fabulous way of getting fit. There are rowers that are fit for your height, LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor rowing machine and our top pick Concept2 are ideal for the tall person.

The Contenders

Although we’ve mentioned our best picks, when it comes to rowing machines there are several close contenders to also be considered. Here are a few of the contenders.

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

This is a magnetic resistance rower with a Drum Magnetic Control System and electronic tension control. Due to control system and tension control option, you can adjust the level of resistance that best suits your needs.

Other features like the easy to read LCD screen, numerous training programs and designed to fold away for easy storage make this rower an attractive piece of machinery.

It is ideal for beginners or experienced rowers alike. The Velocity will provide you with an intense work out, comfort and stable performance.

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine
Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine

The Kettler Favorit (no “e ” at the end) is German engineered, has a wide comfortable seat and durable rails. It is designed to provide you a total body workout while maximising you muscle toning and fat loss through out the body.

In addition, this rowing machine offers a surplus of features, including a LCD digital display so you can track your progress during your workout. You can also track your heart rate and pulse if you so desire. It is ergonomic which makes for a comfortable rowing workout and allows to you to extend the time spent on your rower for the best experience.

This durable constructed rowing machine is quickly becoming recognized in its market. At this price, the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine is great buy.

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine
Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

This rowing machine has hydraulic cylinder resistance and adjustable tension control, allowing you to control the level of resistance and the tension for each workout. It designed with a thick padded seat and pivoting foot plates, providing you with comfort.

In addition, the Stamina 1215 Orbital rowing machine offers some attractive features, including full range-of-motion rowing which mimics the real experience of rowing on water. Also, it as a single button monitor that displays distance, time, row count, calories burned and your speed, perfect for tracking all your progress each work out session.

Wrapping it Up

Many health professionals and fitness gurus believe that rowing machines are the best form of workout possible. With all its benefits and features, a rowing machine can really target major muscle groups and keep you fit overall. With this type of fitness machinery there is no limit to your age, height or level of expertise. It is ideal for all people and all levels, what does limit you is which rowing machine you need, what is your budget and what are your wants.

Any of our suggested rowing machine picks, such as the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine, or the Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine, will deliver you with the desired health benefits and toned physique you crave.

We hope that this review has cleared up some of the overwhelming questions you had about rowing machines, and are now able to get out there and make the right choice. Furthermore, and more importantly, we hope you get out there and start rowing. Whether you choose a higher end or budget friendly rowing machine, your heart and muscles will appreciate it.

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