Best Rowing Machine
Indoor rowers have multiple uses as they can be used by avid rowers to train in the off season or by regular Joes looking to build muscle and cardio strength at the same time. When you are looking for the perfect rower, you should be aware of both your budget and space issues in your home. While indoor rowers are a great form of exercise, they can take up a lot of room inside your home. By comparing these rowers and their unique features you are sure to find the machine that fits your needs perfectly. Be sure to check out our rowing machine buyer's guide below which outlines all the essentials you need to know about these classic pieces of workout equipment.
Best Rowing Machine Overall:
Rowers are spectacular pieces of machinery which offer a total body and cardiovascular workout at the same time. While all rowers exhibit the same practical motion there is a huge difference between your bargain hydraulic model and your top of the line water resistance rower. These rowers were chosen as the best of the best because of their solid frame which can withstand weights of 300 pounds and up, the natural feel of their air, magnetic, and water resistance, and intricate displays which show all of your key metrics at a glance and are easy to read and navigate while you are moving.
It does not matter if you are looking to exercise or train for a rowing competition, this is the rower for you. It uses water resistance to mimic the exact feel of rowing out on the water and is built to last for generations. The impressive S4 monitor proves that this rower is just as much exercise machine as it is rowing trainer. Read Full Review
The Kettler Coach E is definitely one of the best from the ground up. It has one of the best screens available and offers consistent magnetic resistance. This rower can even be upgraded to perform additional exercises. Read Full Review
The Concept2 is a work of art in its own right. It is built to last and perfect for saving space. The display monitor is one of the greatest on the market with a perfect display window and special features. Read Full Review
This rower is everything but ordinary with a unique folding design and smooth air resistance. It boasts an easy to navigate screen and a warranty that will give you peace of mind. Most importantly it has the ability to link with other rowers to better simulate a crew rowing experience. Read Full Review
Best Budget Rowing Machine:
Anyone will tell you that rowing machines are one of the best pieces of cardio equipment that you will ever use. They are almost a hybrid machine because they work the upper and lower body as much as they do the cardiovascular system. The two biggest concerns with rowing machines is their size and high price. Luckily there are a handful of companies who address these issues head on and deliver a quality, effective product at an affordable price.
These budget rowing machines were chosen as the best because they are built small enough to fit into most home gym spaces, but function just as well as a full sized rack. These picks also offer smooth and consistent performance thanks modern systems which rely on air, magnetic, or hydraulic resistance types, and each are equipped with display screens which are both easy to read and navigate, essential for reading and navigating your key metrics while maintaining a consistent back and forth movement.
It's impossible to be disappointed by this machine, not only because of its quality, but because it does the work of 2 machines at one low price. Fairly sturdy and backed by a decent warranty which gives you some peace of mind, this rower is a real space saver with a middle of the line footprint and fold up design. Read Full Review
The Favorit is a masterpiece when it comes to budget models. It comes from one of the most well respected rowing manufacturers in the world and it shows in both style and reliability. This particular model comes with an optional ear-clip heart rate monitor which is rare for any rower, but especially a budget model. Read Full Review
The Stamina X Air Rower is a great example of a budget rower. It comes at a great price and offers nearly everything that you would want out of a rower. Though it may have its faults, its benefits far outweigh its less than desirable attributes. Read Full Review
Stamina is a great company offering high standard products at reasonable prices. This compact machine is compact and offers a fairly realistic feel for a budget machine. This rower is on the lower end of budget prices, but still earns a spot on our list for the potential variety it can add to your workout. Read Full Review
This is one of the most intriguing budget rowers on the market because it is one of the least expensive, but offers a few impressive features. It is almost as big as a full size rower and is compatible with a wireless heart rate monitor which is practically unheard of for budget rowers. Even its standard features like the LCD screen are surprisingly impressive. Read Full Review
Rowing Machine Buyer's Guide
If you’ve already started looking for a rowing machine, then you know how intimidating it can be. There are tons of parts and features to consider when making your rower purchase like size, fit, technology, warranty, and more resistance types than any other type of cardio equipment. This buyer’s guide will answer all the questions you may have and some that you hadn’t even thought about yet to help you pick out the perfect rowing machine.
Is a Rower for You?
The answer is a resounding yes; save for space considerations or injury a rowing machine is the best piece of cardio equipment out there. It combines strength and cardio for a killer workout every time and offer some real world applications. Almost anyone can benefit from a rower, now it is up to you to decide which rower will benefit your specific needs the most.
Air resistance rowers are a favorite among serious rowers because of their smooth and accurate simulation of actual rowing. These rowers offer resistance through friction caused by the air which means the harder you row, the more resistance there will be; however, unlike other cardio machines rowers offer a damper to adjust the resistance level. The one major downside to air resistance is it can get unbearably loud sometimes.
Magnetic resistance is popular in almost every form of cardio equipment because it offers a smooth and quiet resistance without breaking the bank. This type of resistance work by activating and deactivating different magnets on the flywheel in order to increase or decrease resistance. Magnetic resistance can be found in many mid-level and upper-level rowers.
This is definitely one of the most unique forms of resistance out there for cardio equipment and would be much more popular if it wasn’t so expensive. You will not find a more realistic rowing experience than with water resistance as you are literally pulling through water just like you would in an actual boat. Other than the price, the only real downside to this type of resistance is it can be a little noisy when you really get going with your workout.
Hydraulic resistance works when force is applied to an incompressible liquid, usually and oil, so that liquid is moved to another point creating resistance in the process. Hydraulic resistance is never a good idea unless you are strapped for space and cash. They’re usually under $400 and fold up when not in use, but the movement is a little jerky and certainly not as quiet as a magnetic rower.
Size is a major factor with a rowing machine as most of them take up a lot of space. Your rowing machine must not only fit in the space you have picked out for it, but it must also fit your height and weight capacity. Unfortunately people will often buy machines with smaller footprints only to find out it doesn’t support their body type.
It may not seem like it, but the console may be more important on a rowing machine than on any other piece of exercise equipment. Whether the console simply shows the key metrics or an advanced touch screen with built in workouts, it has to be big and clear enough so you can read it while moving further away, but not so big that it interferes with the natural rowing movement.
Rowing requires great form to get the maximum benefit which means your rower needs to be ergonomic. You want to make sure the seat is comfortable, offers decent support and is wide enough to disperse your weight evenly over the entire seat. You also want to make sure the handles aren’t too wide nor too thin with adequate padding; otherwise, your hands and forearms will tire out prematurely.
Rowers are pretty simple but some of the upper level models do come with a few extra features like downloadable workouts and progress trackers. With so many moving parts, you also want to make sure your new rowing machine includes a comprehensive and long-lasting manufacturer’s warranty.