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Wondering what is the rowing machine good for and what muscles does rowing work? You will be surprised to know that rowing machine provides a full body workout. It is a highly effective aerobic exercise that helps in reducing weight, increasing stamina, improving posture, reduction in back pain, toning of leg muscles, increasing endurance and much more. Due to its low-impact activity, rowing is a great exercise for people of all ages and all fitness levels.
If you are looking for the best rowing machine for your home, you will come across many different varieties such as hydraulic water rowing machine, magnetic rowing machine, and many more. To make things easier for you, we have created a list of top rated rowing machines that you may consider for your home. Towards the end of the article, we have also listed a few factors that you must consider while buying a home rowing machine.
So, let’s start rowing!
Rowing exercise machines under $500 are the basic ones. You cannot expect them to be too durable and sturdy but there are a lot of good options available. Many of them come with long warranties too. They are good for beginners as well as for intermediates. Here are our top picks for best home rowing machine under $500.
Please note: Modern indoor rowers are often known as ergometers, i.e. erg machine or ergo.
What a great rowing machine for an apt dweller. Folds up nicely to a standing position and tucks into your closet. Easy-breezy to assemble and to move around in between usage - even if you are petite. Very quiet and the insect-like arms are an added benefit.
With hydraulic cylinder system and a plethora of features such as a digital LCD console and durable rails, this Harvil hydraulic rowing machine can be safely counted among the best rowing machines 2018. Built to last, it is made with a 35.4-inch long steel frame and has an assembled weight of 34 lbs. It is highly durable and can bear 265 lbs of user weight. Being a folding rowing machine, it is perfect for small homes where it can be safely kept under the bed. This rower utilizes hydraulic resistance that can be adjusted manually using the control knob. The company claims that this machine has enough resistance to provide you with a total-body cardiovascular rowing machine workout.
Despite being a low-cost rowing machine for sale, it is designed to provide you optimum comfort. It has a black molded seat and large pivoting footplates. The footplates have safety straps to keep your feet secure. There are two strap positions that can be used to secure feet of any size. The easy-to-read LCD monitor will help you track your workout data. The monitor operates on batteries.
This rowing machine is the bees knees of home exercise equipment. The quality of the machine for the price is pretty amazing.
With more than 850 reviews and 4.3 star rating on Amazon, Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is definitely one of the best rowing machines for cardiovascular workouts at home. It is a magnetic rowing machine form and it provides eight levels of resistance through a tension knob. By simply twisting the knob, you will be able to increase or decrease the resistance to suit your workout needs. The magnetic resistance is very quiet, which is another great USP of this erg rowing machine.
Sunny Health and Fitness is a renowned brand and therefore, you can expect this magnetic rowing machine to be durable and stable, even during high-intensity workouts. The footprint is approximately 7 feet, which means it can easily accommodate users of all heights. The footpads are large, textured, and come with safety straps to prevent slippages. The cushioned seat with an LCD monitor will keep you comfortable as well as entertained. The monitor is a very basic one displaying time, strokes, and calories burnt. This compact rowing machine has a weight bearing capacity of 250 lbs and the company is offering 90-days warranty on frame and parts too.
This is an excellent rower, especially at this price point. It is second only to the Concept2, which is much more expensive and has a far larger footprint.
It is a high-quality yet affordable rowing machine. It uses wind-resistance via a fan to provide you with a smooth workout experience. Not many indoor rowing machines in this price range offer wind resistance, which is why it is counted among the best rowing machines under $500. Air-based flywheels provide variable resistance levels. The harder you work, the more resistance is built. Further, most air rowing machines under $500 come with nylon pulls. However, this one has a metal drive chain, which definitely lasts longer than the nylon ones.
The steel frame with a sliding seat and big footpads with adjustable straps make it suitable for beginners, intermediates, as well as for advanced users. This indoor rowing machine is foldable and lightweight; however, the manufacturer claims that it is highly durable. It has floor protectors to keep the floor safe as well as prevent skidding. It has a weight bearing capacity of 250 lbs and the manufacturer claims that it can be safely used by people up to 6’5. To accommodate people with limited mobility, Stamina ATS air rower is has a raised profile. It is more like a chair, so you can comfortably ride it on and off. The company is offering 3-year warranty on the frame and 90 days warranty on parts.
No noise from the wheel, only from the sit! Easy to assemble, does not take a lot of room.
This magnetic rowing machine by Merax has 8 levels of marked resistance that you can adjust using the tension knob. Not many rowing machines for sale under $500 offer marked resistance, which makes this rower popular among people who are looking for challenging cardiovascular rowing machine workouts at the convenience of their home. It is designed to provide complete movement of the arms, thereby helping you burn more calories. The seat rails are inclined at 15 degrees. This tilt is necessary for making your workouts even more challenging and effective. No wonder why it is rated as one of the best rowing machines. The company claims that this machine is perfect for all users irrespective of their rowing skills.
Since it uses magnetic resistance, it has a very quiet operation. The seat is generously padded and the footplates are large and have strapping to prevent your feet from slipping. There is a large LCD display to monitor your time, calories, total count, etc. This machine has a folding design for easy storage. It also comes with built-in wheels so that you can easily move it around your home. This rowing machine can bear a maximum weight of 264 lbs.
Very good item! Easy to use, smooth and wasn’t hard to put together.
This is probably one of the cheapest portable rowing machines from Sunny Health and Fitness. Although being a low-cost rower, it is strong and durable, which is why it has earned 4.1-star rating and more than 160 reviews on Amazon. It has full motion rowing arms, which help you burn more calories and get a full body rowing machine workout while enjoying a realistic outdoor rowing experience. It uses hydraulic resistance and there are 12 levels of resistance settings that you can adjust using the tension knob. The resistance is sufficient for beginners as well as intermediates but it isn’t going to be enough for advanced trainers.
For your comfort, the seat of this low-cost rowing exercise machine comes with extra padding, which helps relieve pressure from the tailbone during extended rowing sessions. The textured non-slip foot pedals are designed to accommodate feet of all sizes. The textured pattern also ensures a solid grip during the workout. There are foot straps too to keep your foot secure. There is an LCD monitor to display vital workout stats such as time, count, calories, and total count. It has a maximum weight bearing capacity of 220 lbs. The company is offering 1-year warranty on the frame and 90 days on the parts.
Great machine for the price. I too had the problem with my shoes slipping out of the foot straps. The back rim isn't tall enough.
This is another amazing product from Stamina, a popular brand in the fitness equipment industry. It features a steel frame and aluminum center beam. It is very compact in size, weighs less than 40 pounds and can be folded for convenient storage. This back row machine uses single-hydraulic piston resistance system and offers 12 different levels of resistance. You can adjust the resistance using the dial located just below the seat. Hydraulic resistance is good for beginners, as it lets you row slowly at higher resistance settings, unlike air and water where you need to row fast. Further hydraulic resistance is generally very quiet and therefore, it is suitable for homes.
Since it is a very low-cost rowing ergometer, the seat is made of molded plastic. So, it may not be very comfortable for long rowing sessions. The handles are covered with padded grips and that’s why they feel lot more comfortable than the cheap rowing machines that have foam grips. Having a long gliding track and big foot pedals, this equipment is perfect for rowing machine cardio workouts for tall users. The company claims that users between 5.0’ and 6.6’ can comfortably use it. The foot plates are adjustable too, so comfort won’t be an issue with this equipment.
Rowing machines between $500 and $1000 are obviously better in quality than the cheap rowing machines under $500 but they are still far away from the quality of the gym-grade equipment. These machines have heavier flywheels and therefore, they provide smoother rowing machine workouts. They are good for beginners as well as for intermediate level trainers. Here are 6 top rated rowing machines between $500 and $1000:
After much research I bought the Concept2 Model D rower. Now I am very glad I did.
Popular for its durable body, unlimited resistance, and engaging full-body workouts, Concept 2 Model D is one of the top-selling rowing machines on Amazon. It has more than 1700 reviews and an unbeatable 4.9 star rating. No wonder why it is the best rowing machine that you could ever consider for your home. It uses air resistance and therefore, the noise produced is very low as compared to hydraulic and magnetic resistance. The best part about air resistance is that it gets automatically adjusted according to your speed. The faster you row, the more resistance is generated.
Designed ergonomically for providing you absolute comfort, this seated cable row machine comes with 14-inch seat and nickel-plated chain. This model of rowing machine from Concept 2 focuses on distributing the workout force throughout all major muscle groups in order to provide you a full body workout. The PM5 performance monitor has a pulse meter that shows you vital workout stats such as strokes per minute, heart rate, calorie burnt, etc. Plus it includes games, workouts, and feedback. With online connectivity, you can transfer your workout data for future reference. The company is offering 5 years warranty on this home as well as gym rowing machine.
Fantastic product. Brilliantly designed, great workout, takes up minimal floor space when not being used. Perfect for in-home use.
This is not a conventional rowing machine. With a water flywheel and a smooth concave aluminum monorail, it is designed to offer you a more realistic rowing experience. The frame is made of ash hardwood and has a rustic look. Wood helps absorb the sound and provide you a quiet environment for workout. Being a water rowing machine, it has paddles spinning in a tank. These paddles create resistance. Since water provides a smooth resistance, you won’t experience any jerks. The resistance is variable and depends on the intensity of your workout. The faster you row, the more will be the resistance and vice versa.
The tank is made of polycarbonate, so you can expect this rowing machine to be durable and quiet. The monitor comes with a patented QuickStart GX monitor. This technology allows you to begin your workout with just a single touch of the button. Ergonomically designed seat, handles, and footrests are some more features that can make your rowing machine cardio workouts comfortable. It is a full-size rowing machine but you can flip it vertically to save floor space. Counted among the best rowing machine 2018, it can conveniently accommodate 300 lbs weight.
First off, let me say that I am very impressed with this rower overall. I've had it for a month, and it's a superb machine.
First Degree Fitness is a renowned brand with many models of fluid-based rowing machines under its name. This Newport AR rower is one of their top selling rowing exercise machines that provide ‘on-the-water’ kind of experience. It not only provides a smooth stroke cycle but also lets you adjust the resistance using a dial located on the flywheel which is why it is considered to be the best rowing machine 2018. Other rowing machines in this range offer variable resistance, which means you will have row faster to experience more resistance. However, this AR back row machine lets you adjust your resistance setting instead of being dependent on the machine. You can select from light resistance to very powerful resistance depending on your strength and experience.
First Degree Fitness rowers make audible water splashing sound, which adds to the overall ambiance of the workout place. The splashing sound is pleasant and yet not too much. The advanced level console helps you set your distance goals using the buttons located on it. It is powered by your rowing energy. As soon as you start rowing, the console starts tracking data and it automatically shuts down after 5 minutes of inactivity. The seat rail is made of anodized aluminum. The pull cord, the foamed handlebars, the padded seat, etc. make this cable row machine comfortable as well as durable.
This is a nice machine for the money. Watch the price though, its 100 bucks more one day and 100 less the next.
It is a medium-range compact water rowing machine, perfect for small homes or small workout areas. It is equipped with a patented water flywheel and utilizes water to provide you with a more natural rowing experience. The machine also emits water gushing sound to make you feel as if you are rowing an actual boat. Most people wonder how to use a rowing machine with fluid resistance but thankfully, this machine is easy to operate and has its unique self-regulating resistance. Therefore, it is suitable for any user. If you need more resistance, you need to paddle faster and vice versa.
Built for home gyms, this fluid rowing machine form is made of beechwood dual rails and has a steel frame. It has a weight bearing capacity of 325 lbs and can accommodate users who height is below 36 inches inseam. Counted among the best rowing machines under $1000, it comes with a VR2 monitor that helps you track your progress. For your convenience, this rowing exercise machine comes with water purification tablets so you don’t have to change the water frequently. It comes with one-year limited warranty.
My wife and I got this a few months ago and love it. We did a lot of research and are more than happy that we settled on this.
With more than 120 reviews and 4.3 star rating, this is one of the best rowing machines by Stamina. It is a magnetic rowing machine with adjustable resistance and 12 pre-programmed workouts. The resistance can be adjusted through the buttons on the console. The pre-programmed workouts simulate various outdoor rowing situations such as rolling hills, valleys, ramps, mountains, etc. There are 4 customizable workouts too for your convenience. Heart rate monitoring, heart rate workouts, backlit LCD monitor, padded handles, oversized footrests with Velcro straps, and 275 lbs user weight capacity are some more Stamina Avari rowing machine benefits. It is highly recommended for total body workout and the smooth and quiet operation will make you feel as if you are actually rowing a boat.
Stamina is renowned for manufacturing sturdy equipment and this Avari magnetic rower is no exception. Its aluminum rail has a low center of gravity, which means the machine will remain stable even during intense rowing machine workouts. The pulley system is made of durable nylon strap. Many buyers believe metal straps are better than nylon, which is true to some extent as metal is obviously more durable than nylon but metal straps make a lot of noise. It is a fully foldable rowing machine.
This is a great product and assembly was very easy took 20 minutes max.
Beautifully crafted from ash hardwood and aluminum, this high row machine is designed to make you feel as if you are actually rowing on water. The ash hardwood is left unstained and has been finished with Danish oil to give it a soothing look. Further, ash hardwood also helps absorb the sound of vibration of the machine, thereby providing you a pleasing workout environment. It is a water rowing machine that uses paddles suspended in water (i.e. the water flywheel) to create resistance. The resistance is variable and depends on your rowing intensity. The resistance can also be modified by adjusting the level of water inside the tank. This variable resistance makes it ideal for users of all fitness levels. Like the WaterRower GX model that we have described above, this one too has a polycarbonate water tank, which is virtually indestructible. So, sturdiness isn’t going to be an issue with this water rowing machine.
Unlike the other best rowing machines in this price range, this one has a single monorail and therefore, it can bear only 275 pounds weight. Its comfort features include a molded and padded seat, ergonomically designed handles, and adjustable footrests with nylon straps. There is an A1 multi-functional performance monitor that displays time, distance, intensity, strokes per minute, and stroke rate. The manufacturer is offering 5 years warranty on the frame and 3 years on parts.
Rowing machines above $1000 are usually not recommended for beginners or for casual exercisers unless you really want to buy a high-end rowing machine. These expensive exercise machines for sale are for advanced trainers and professional rowers who want to keep their skills updated right at the comfort of their home. Most of these are water rowing machine, as water provides fluidity and smoothness unlike air and magnetic resistance. Here are top 3 picks for this category:
This is the best investment that I've ever made in a piece of exercise equipment. It will literally last a lifetime.
Concept2 Model E is the advanced version of Model D (we have discussed it in under $1000 category). It is an air rowing machine with a well-designed flywheel that ensures a smooth and silent operation. You can adjust the inflow of the air using a damper and change its resistance according to your needs. The faster you row, the more resistance it will create. Like all models of Concept2, this machine can also be separated into two parts for easy mobility and storage. There is a quick-release frame-lock mechanism that lets you separate it into two sections easily.
The seat is 20 inches above the ground, which is equivalent to a chair and makes this machine accessible to people with limited mobility as well. The handle has a 10-degree bend to replicate natural arm position. The performance Monitor 5 (PM5) is Concept2’s unique feature that includes games and preloaded workouts. It tracks your workouts and provides you detailed session feedback. Further, it also lets you transfer your workout data to other apps and to your PC for future reference. Counted among the best rowing machines for professional use, the machine has a 500 pound weight bearing capacity and can be used by users as tall as 6.9’.
I purchased the WaterRower Natural (ash) about four months ago, and so far I am very, very happy with the decision.
It is one of the best performing and aesthetically pleasing water rowing machine made of solid ash wood and stained honey oak. The wood not only adds to its overall beauty but also absorbs the sound and vibration thereby, ensuring you a smooth and quiet workout. As its name suggests, it uses water resistance and therefore, it is recommended for advanced trainers and professional rowers. Like most other fluid-based rowing machines for sale, it also offers variable resistance, i.e. you need to row faster to experience more resistance.
The series 4 (S4) monitor lets you track your performance such as time, distance, intensity, strokes per minute, and heart rate. You can connect the monitor to your PC or television and transfer your rowing machine workout data to other fitness apps such as We-Row, NetAthon, and Rowyo. You can also participate in online rowing challenges. This handcrafted rowing machine has a weight bearing capacity of 1000 lbs. The seat is ergonomically designed, well-padded, and fairly long. It has a movement length of 43 cm, so it can easily accommodate users with height as tall as 6.6’. The company is offering 5 years warranty on the frame and 3 years on the parts.
Very happy that I purchased this rower. Easy to assemble. I look forward to using all the time. It's awesome.
The VR500 rowing machine from BodyCraft is a top rated rowing machine built with great features such as powerful air and magnetic resistance, safety child lock, 12 program profiles, heart rate control programs, and much more. If you want to start a commercial rowing gym or have one at your home, this could be a great choice for you. As mentioned above, this is both air and magnetic rowing machine form. This combination creates a powerful and wider resistance system and therefore, this rowing exercise machine is capable of offering you 32 levels of resistance. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced rower, you will definitely take time to outgrow this machine. The resistance settings are inbuilt in the handlebars, so you won’t have to wonder how to use a rowing machine with such advanced features.
For your convenience, BodyCraft has added 12 pre-programmed workouts in it, which includes four target heart zone workouts, two interval training, and four racing programs. Being a commercial grade high row machine, it has a well-designed structure with 3” aluminum monorail frame. The company is offering lifetime warranty on the frame and 5 years on the parts. It can accommodate 350 lbs weight.
There are 4 different types of rowing machines and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages that we have listed below. Before you buy rowing machine, consider all their features so you don’t end up feeling disappointed.
These machines use water to provide resistance. They have a paddle suspended in a tank of water and when you pull the handle the paddle runs and provides you a realistic experience. Water provides a smooth resistance, which is why water rowing machines are very popular among beginners as well as advanced rowers. These machines, however, are heavier than normal rowers and require regular maintenance. You need to change the water of the tank regularly to maintain its hygiene.
These machines derive their resistance from flywheels that rotate when you pull the handle. When the flywheel rotates, it generates wing, which creates resistance. So, the faster you row, the more resistance you will be able to create. Some air rowing machines have a damper that lets you control the air flow and in turn control the resistance, however, most machines provide variable resistance depending on your rowing speed. Air rowing machines do not require as much maintenance as the water rowing machines, but they are a bit noisy and the noise level increases as you start rowing faster.
Magnetic rowing machines work with a flywheel and a magnet. You can adjust the distance between the magnet and the flywheel to increase or decrease the resistance. These machines are smaller in size and therefore, they are compact and can be slipped under the bed. Further, they do not require any maintenance and do not produce any noise. Magnetic rowing machines provide fixed resistance, so if you are a novice and want to row slowly and still experience high resistance, you can expect this from this rowing machine form. The only problem with them is that they do not provide you a realistic rowing experience just like the water-based ones do.
Hydraulic machines use fluid instead of water. So, they are easy to maintain, as you don’t have to change the liquid. The resistance can be adjusted through clamps. Hydraulic rowing machines are very simple and compact in size, which is why they are quite affordable too. Unfortunately, they do not provide smooth and natural rowing motion.
Before you buy rowing machine, make sure you check its weight bearing capacity and length of the rail. Do this especially if you or any other member of your family who is going to use it is overweight or have a tall, well-built body. Low budget home rowing machines usually have less weight bearing capacity such as 250-275 pounds, whereas the top-end machines can easily accommodate 1000 pounds. High weight bearing capacity indicates that the machine is sturdy and strong enough to last for years. If your weight is too close to the weight bearing capacity of the machine, do not buy it. Rather, prefer a model whose weight bearing capacity is significantly higher than your weight.
Similarly, before ordering your erg rowing machine, check the length of its rail to see if it can conveniently accommodate you. If you are a tall person and the rail is not long enough to accommodate your legs, you won’t be able to extend your feet completely. Always prefer rowing machines with extendable rails. Low-priced models do not have this feature but they are good if you have an average height.
Unlike treadmills and recumbent bikes, rowers are not equipped with any inbuilt audio systems, iPod docks, or video screens. Further, rowing machines do make some noise. The water rowing machines make splashing water sound (which is quite pleasant), whereas the air rowing machines make noise just like an exhaust fan. You will have to set a slighter higher volume level for your stereo or TV so you can hear them properly. Further, your family members may also get disturbed by the sound of the machine. If you need quiet working machine, prefer the magnetic ones, which are very less noisy as compared to other rowing machine forms. However, if you want to enjoy a realistic rowing experience, buy water rowing machines.
We hope now you have a clear idea about purchasing rowing machines. While rowing is a highly effective indoor exercise, it is often not enough to keep your body in a good shape. We, therefore, strongly recommend that you must combine it with some other forms of exercises such as jogging, walking, or maybe cycling. You can either go for outdoor workouts or buy home equipment to add some variety to your routine. Here is our blog on top treadmills to consider for 2018. We also have listed down some top selling elliptical and recumbent bikes for your convenience. Good luck and stay in shape!