Most folks ignore rowing machines when shopping for new home gym equipment. This can be attributed to their comparatively high prices. While they don’t come cheap, rowing machines are low impact and work 85 percent of body muscles. Rowing is a proven way to exercise without putting excessive strain on any of your joints. Rowers are also easy to use and collapsible for easy storage. But for that, you have to go with the best option.
So, what factors should you consider when purchasing one? Over the years, rowing machines have come a long way with their construction, design, ability and durability. The market is filled with a variety of sleek, highly-refined rowing machines with different styles and features ready to improve your cardio health. Having a rowing machine at home can turn out to be the push you really need to work out. It’s no secret that great quality comes at a price, but it doesn’t mean that there are no reliable rowers that are reasonably priced.
Best Rowing Machines for Smart Fitness
When buying a rowing machine, its vital to first consider its size. Most rowing machines are made to fit within small spaces. Check if it will comfortably fit into whatever space you’ve got. A good display to check your performance and progress is also vital. And finally, a lengthy warranty in case of malfunction. How often you’ll use it will also affect your decision. If, for instance, it’s just for a few casual sessions every now and then, it will make sense to go for a cheaper model instead of top-of-the-range models that cost hundreds of dollars.
We consulted fitness experts and gym owners to discover the best rowing machines for users of all descriptions. We considered performance, comfort and adjustability, construction, noise level, max user weight and price. Here is what we discovered:
Concept2 Model D
- Space Recommendations: Assembled: 8 ft x 2 ft (244 cm x 61 cm) With Clearance for Use: 9 ft x 4 ft (274 cm x 122 cm) For Storage: 25 in x 33 in x 54 in (63.5 cm x 83.8 cm x 137.2 cm)
- Designed to fit most users: 14-inch seat height, 500lb user capacity, adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle. Users with an inseam of 38 inches (96.5 cm) or more may require an extra-long monorail.
- Low impact workout that engages all major muscle groups; work legs, core and arms with a smooth, high calorie-burning motion.
- Track your progress with real-time reliable data; the Performance Monitor 5 (included) self-calibrates for comparable results; connect wirelessly to heart rate belts and apps (not included).
- Separates easily into two pieces for storage; caster wheels make it mobile; easy to assemble with only eight screws.
This professional-level indoor rowing machine is designed for a full-body workout and lets you exercise in a natural, relaxed manner without straining yourself. It’s one of the best-selling indoor rowing machines on Amazon for good reason. Whether you are a seasoned pro or just a beginner, you will find this machine solid, durable and well-balanced. The built-in Performance Monitor 5 allows you to track your progress in 2 ways. You can choose to see your workout as splits or in total distance and time. It also provides pinpoint monitoring and feedback. The machine can log your data and track your heart rate, strokes per minute, calories burned, pulse and distance covered. The padded seat lets you sit comfortably, and the footrests and monitor arm are adjustable. For easy transport and storage, you can separate it in 2 pieces. Assembly is also easy with only 8 screws. On purchase, you receive a 5-year frame warranty.
Stamina ATS Air Rower – Rowing Machine
- EFFECTIVE, PROVEN RESULTS: Provides a nearly unsurpassed aerobic workout without the relentless pounding to your joints. Quickly improve your fitness while drastically reducing injury risks. This low impact, full body workout targets all major muscle groups and pushes your heart rate to levels that increase your metabolism so you can burn calories and fat more efficiently. Supports all body types and frequent use. Feel secure and safe while rowing your way to a stronger, tighter, healthier body.
- DYNAMIC AIR RESISTANCE: One of the main benefits of air resistance is that it always matches your pace. Row harder if you desire more resistance and ease off if you want less. The air transfer system constantly adjusts to match your rowing speed. Designed for rigorous use, The Stamina 1403 provides an efficient, smooth rowing stroke and the intensity of your workout is up to you.
- LCD WORKOUT MONITOR: During your routine, track speed, distance, time and calories burned and adjust accordingly with the large, easy-to-read LCD display.
- EASY ASSEMBLY AND STORAGE: Once assembled the rower is 77” long x 18.75” wide x 22” tall. Folded dimensions are 48” x 18.75” x 28”. The Stamina 1403 Air Rower folds to a compact size with built-in wheels for easy storage. Assembled weight: 54 lbs. Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.
- WARRANTY INCLUDED: The Stamina 35-1403 air rower rowing machine comes with a 3-year frame warranty, 90-day parts warranty. Guaranteed support for parts, repair or replacement at no cost. Customer satisfaction is our priority.
If you’re low on budget, the Stamina ATS is unique regarding price and quality. It is equipped with lots of handy features that will help you in your fitness journey. Effective for both full body and cardiovascular exercise, the machine activates 85 percent of the body’s muscular system to burn fat and calories faster, improve heart health and build total-body strength. The dynamic air resistance matches your pace. The basic console records your progress and status. During your workout session, you can track distance, speed, time and calories burned. For added comfort, you get adjustable footplates, a padded seat and padded rowing handle. For a better fit, the straps are adjustable. You can store the rowing machine anywhere as it’s lightweight. Don’t let this fool you, it’s still strong for continued usage. On purchase, you receive a 3-year frame and 1-year parts warranty.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
- DIGITAL MONITOR: The large LCD console displays time, count, calories, total count, and scan. The convenient scan mode displays your progress to assist you in tracking all your fitness goals.
- EXTRA LONG SLIDE RAIL: At 48 inches in slide rail length, and 44 inches in inseam length, the SF-RW5515 can accommodate rowers nearly any size.
- ADJUSTABLE MAGNETIC RESISTANCE: With a simple twist, you can increase or decrease the 8 levels of magnetic resistance, so your workout can remain challenging and effective throughout your fitness journey.
- TRANSPORTATION WHEELS: Built-in transportation wheels for easy portability. Simply tilt and roll out for use or away for storage, no need for heavy lifting or muscle strain.
- NON-SLIP FOOT PEDALS: Textured non-slip foot pedals will ensure safe footing during the most demanding and vigorous workouts. Foot straps keep your feet saddled with so you can focus on the workout without feeling unbalanced.
This rowing machine offers all you need to perform a cardiovascular workout. It is near the bottom scale of the price range, making it a great choice if you are low on cash and still need a reliable machine. This unit uses a magnet inside the flywheel to deliver resistance against a spinning metal drum. This delivers a silent row and a smooth rowing motion, unlike hydraulic, air and water piston rowers. With this rowing machine, you get 8 resistance levels to switch up the intensity of your workout conveniently, non-slip foot pedals and built-in wheels for easy moves. Each of the 8 levels can be adjusted by turning the knob on the center panel. Level 8 provides a great workout for serious athletes while level 1 is the easiest and suitable for beginners. The rowing machine comes with a basic LCD monitor. The monitor tracks and displays time, calories, count (strokes) and total count. The monitor is battery operated meaning you don’t have to worry about not having an electrical outlet nearby. For ultimate comfort, the rower comes with non-slip grip handlebars and a padded seat. The pedals are textured with safety straps to give you a non-slip surface. The built-in transportation wheels allow for easy portability.
Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine
- Displays 6 functions simultaneously: Time, Distance, Energy Consumed, Strokes, Pulse Rate and Frequency; Includes a recovery feature which provides a cardio wellness grading indexed 1 to 6 to track improvement
- Two industrial strength hydraulic pistons provide resistance which can be adjusted by repositioning the piston's clamps to the various knurl marks on each rower oar
- Resistance levels can be set to any one of the 50 knurl marks on each oar to provide a wide and challenging range of resistance
- Biomechanically correct footplates offer a natural pivoting action providing a full longitudinal rowing motion; Thick, padded seat with sealed ball bearings glides smoothly along a steel track
- Includes an infrared earlobe clip sensor to measure pulse rate electronically; LCD display requires 2 "AA" batteries, has a weight capacity of 285 lbs.
If you’re in the market for a super-light rowing machine, you should seriously consider Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine. Designed for beginners and folks who want to maintain a fitness level they are at, it uses hydraulic resistance and can be conveniently adjusted by repositioning clamps on the pistons. You can set the resistance levels to any one of the 50 knurl marks. Don’t let the lightweight design fool you though. The steel frame is powder-coated for extra strength. It has a weight capacity of 285 lbs. The LCD monitor displays 6 functions simultaneously: energy consumed, distance, time, pulse rate, frequency and strokes. The recovery feature offers cardio wellness grading to accurately track improvement. It is indexed 1-6. Its quiet nature makes it suitable for indoor use. If you have limited space, you will love its compact design. For comfort, you get padded seat and footpads.
NordicTrack RW200 Rower
- Adjustable console angle, backlit display with watts meter, ipod-compatible sound System, 20 workout Apps
- Pedals that pivot, ergonomic seating, folds for storage
- Inertia-enhanced flywheel, Adjustable Air resistance, 20 workout Apps
- Oversized steel seat rail, soft touch ergonomic handle, Transport wheels
- 250 lb user capacity, 5 year frame Warranty, 1 year parts & Labor Warranty
NordicTrack is a trusted name in the exercise equipment field, and this rowing machine takes the number 5 spot on our list for good reason. It has all the bells and whistles a beginner or anyone on a tight budget could need. The rowing machine features amazing craftsmanship, extra features and durability to let you make the most out of your workout experience. Built for speed and comfort, this unit uses air resistance method. You get 10 different levels of intensity, and can conveniently adjust the resistance for an easier or more intense workout. The digital monitor screen keeps an eye on vital data like distance traveled, strokes per minute, calories burned, energy burned and speed as you work out. The 20 built-in workout programs will help you keep track of your goals. It has a 250 pounds user capacity. The pedals are big enough to accommodate individuals with large feet. For folks nursing injuries and those with mobility issues, they get a raised seat. On purchase, you receive a 5-year frame Warranty and 1-Year Parts & Labor Warranty.
Rowing is seen by many fitness experts as one of the most effective ways of keeping fit as it gives you a great, all-over workout. Rowing helps torch calories, build up aerobic fitness and sculpt hamstrings, back and glutes. We’re halfway through 2019, but if you’re still committed to sticking to your working out new year resolutions, a rowing machine may be exactly what you need.