Rowing machines are for everyone. Both beginners and professionals use them. And with good reason. These machines simulate the action of rowing, which is an effective way to burn calories, improve your cardio fitness, and strengthen many of your major muscles.
There’s absolutely no reason not to get a rowing machine. They’re easy to use and also very convenient. Rowing machines are rather cheap, but of course, there are expensive ones on the market. It’s, however, possible to find a decent one for around $200, that will suit your needs. However, we recommend having a budget of at least $500-$1000, which is the price range where you get the most bang for your buck.
With various brands and price tags, you might find the selection process a little overwhelming. Don’t worry, as this guide will help you find the best rowing machine for your needs. First, we’ll present you with reviews of the top rowing machines, and afterwards, we’ll tell you about some of the things you should look for in a rowing machine.
After reading this guide, we’re 100% confident that you’ll be able to find a rowing that will suit your needs without breaking your budget.
The Best Rowing Machines of 2017
|MODEL||TYPE||WEIGHT CAPACITY||USER RATING||PRICE|
|Concept2 Model D||Air||500 lbs||4.9/5||$$$$
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|WaterRower Natural Rowing Ash S4||Water||1,000 lbs||4.8/5||$$$$$
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|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515||Magnetic||250 lbs||4.7/5||$$
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|Stamina Avari||Magnetic||275 lbs||4.6/5||$$$
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|Stamina Air Rower 35-1399||Air||250 lbs||4.3/5||$$
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|Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050||Hydraulic||250 lbs||4.1||$
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Our Top Pick – Highly Recommended
As one of the best-selling rowing machines of all time, this rowing machine is a complete beast. This machine weighs a total of 68 pounds and costs around $900. It’s the rowing machine that we always recommend you to choose. It’s neither cheap or expensive. It’s in the middle. But this machine is unmatched by the other products within this price range, as this high-quality product is the best bang for the buck.
It’s used by competitive rowers for training, it has over 1200 reviews, and a star rating of around 4.9/5 on Amazon, which is a guarantee that this product will not let you down. It features the PM3 Performance Monitor that tracks your distance, speed, pace, calories, and watts. It also comes with an easily-operated menu with presets that allows you to save your favorite workouts. The monitor also comes with multiple languages.
This top-of-the-line fitness machine is not just for athletes. It’s also great for everyone caring for their health. Its parts are extremely durable, ensuring that it will last for years without problems. And even in the unfortunate event that something breaks, you’re covered by a 2-year warranty. This 2-year warranty is a lot longer than the ones that the other brands provide.
Not only is it durable, but also easily customizable, and comfortable to use. When you’re using it you can feel that you’re operating with a quality product. Its foldability also makes it great. When folded it doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it’s fairly portable.
We’ve never had problems with this rowing machine, but we’ve heard from some users, that the seat and pedals can get uncomfortable under workouts. The pedal support can feel hard and uncomfortable for some users if they’re using the machine barefooted, but it’s from very few users that we’ve heard these complaints, so don’t think too much about it.
Every product has its pros and cons, but the pros truly outweigh the cons for this machine. Its overall quality, price, durability, and warranty are unmatched by any other rowing machine, which is why we highly recommended this one.
The Top Rowing Machines Within Different Price Ranges
Looking for a great rowing machine for the money? Then read on. With an unlimited budget, you can opt for the best and most expensive one available. The selection journey won’t be a problem if you have lots of dollars to spend, but it’s discouraging to buy a certain item if you know you have a restricted budget. Choices will be narrowed down, and you may have this mentality that you can’t get a great rowing machine with your $150. But with rowing machines, you will be surprised. Because a rowing machine can be bought without causing your pockets and bank account to shed tears. Trust me, we have done the extensive research for you and we have highlighted the best rowing machines within the different price ranges.
Low Price Range
This sturdy rowing machine made from steel is the best budget rowing machine out there. It has a compact footprint, an adjustable gas-shock resistance, and a monitor that shows the time, stroke count, and the calories you’ve burned. Because it’s foldable, this budget fitness machine will allow you to exercise anywhere and whenever you want.
For under $150, you’ll get a rowing machine that’s compact, easy-to-use, well-built, has a comfortable seat, has a realistic rowing motion, and is fine for beginners. The downside of having this one, though, is its noise. It’s usually a bit loud until it’s warmed up. Other drawbacks include problems with the piston and the foot rests. If you have small feet, you might need to strap them back often because they’ll easily slip. The monitor doesn’t have preset programs as well and you can’t save your progress.
But if you’re dead set on exercising and you have $150 in your wallet, this baby will definitely do the trick for you. It takes up little space, has 12 hydraulic cylinder resistance levels, and can accommodate users up to 250 lbs. It’s also easy to assemble, so you’ll quickly be set. Its one-year frame warranty and 90-day parts warranty are okay, but it could be better. To conclude, this machine is alright, but if you can afford a more expensive model, we highly recommend that you go that route.
Low-Mid Price Range
With eight levels of adjustable resistances, a fully padded seat and non-slip grip handlebars, large anti-slip foot pedals, and a magnetic tension system, this rowing machine is dubbed to be the best among others priced at around $250. The large LCD console of this machine displays time, total stroke count, and the calories burned. It has adjustable foot straps and the handlebars bring comfort to the user. It can accommodate users weighing up to 250 lbs. It’s easy to store and move since it can easily be folded and comes with wheels that make the transportation hassle-free.
This magnetic rower is smoother than a hydraulic and compared to an air machine, it’s quieter. However, that doesn’t apply to the seat that occasionally squeals. The seat is also guilty of causing awkward butt pains. Especially if you use it for longer workouts. But with a soft cushion, your problem can be solved.
On the other hand, you can’t actually expect this to be durable if you weigh more than 250 pounds. If you’re muscular and used to intense workouts, it may also disappoint you. There are no workout programs provided in this machine, too. Customers even reviewed that it has a dull appearance; thus, making it uninspiring to workout. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so that’s not a serious downside.
All in all, it’s a great rowing machine, especially with a limited budget. If you want a higher quality machine, you should honestly spend some more money.
Mid Price Range
If your budget is around $300, you should consider the Stamina Air Rower. It features a monitor that displays speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
This machine’s multi-function performance monitor is one of the most appreciated features. The texturized handgrips will also give comfort to the user. Plus, it has oversized footplates, so that it will suit almost all foot sizes. Because it’s foldable, it’s easy to store. The floor protectors are also a big help to prevent it from skidding.
However, even if it’s generally quiet, it can get loud when you row quickly. The upper body does most of the work during slow workouts, too.
With Air Rower being quiet, easy to assemble, and sturdy thanks to the steel-frame construction, you shouldn’t really mind the minor cons. For $300 you’ll definitely have a healthier body with the quality of this fitness machine. If you use it properly by following the instructions, this machine can last for a long time.
Mid-High Price Range
A perfect exercise tool for everyone, the Avari is one of the best machines on the market today. Priced at $700, it features an electronic fitness monitor that tracks your time, strokes, distance, calories, pulse, and watts. With 12 pre-programmed workouts, you’ll be able to exercise with no worries. Especially because there are seven preset programs that will automatically adjust the magnetic tension to maximize your cardiovascular exercise without any intervention. It comes with a chest strap heart monitor, a comfortable padded seat, a foam padded rowing handle, and adjustable foot straps. This foldable rowing machine is suitable for people weighing up to 275 lbs.
There are several pros of this Avari Rower. It operates smoothly and is easy to use thanks to the programs. The magnetic resistance can also be adjusted at any time using the electronic buttons, and your pulse rate can also be tracked using the provided chest strap monitor. Because it’s made of durable materials, this rowing machine will surely stand the test of time. You can even exercise at night in a dark room thanks to the backlit display.
The cons of this machine are minimal ones, such as the seat that may to some seem uncomfortable in the long run. But for most people, it won’t be something to worry about, and in the long run, you’ll get used to it. With the excellent performance monitoring capability of the Avari, I promise you won’t even remember that the seat should “hurt”.
High Price Range
If you have an unlimited budget, you should check out this 1,000-dollar rowing machine. It feels great when you don’t have to worry about the money, especially if you’ve already encountered this powerful, handcrafted fitness tool. It features a flywheel that sits in an enclosed water tank to provide smooth, quiet, and self-regulated resistance. It also has a Series 4 performance monitor that will keep track of your intensity in m/s, stroke rate, heart rate, distance covered, workout duration, and calories burned. It’s made of solid ash and its honey oak construction absorbs sound and vibration, which makes this high-quality machine as quiet as a mouse. This is simply the best water rowing machine on the market.
Weighing 117 pounds, this machine will take you to an awesome world of exercise. Investing in this machine will make a lot of sense. The flywheel assures dynamic resistance and you can also select the level of intensity so that it meets your training needs. What’s amazing about this machine is the main material used. It’s crafted from the finest Appalachian hardwoods that were sourced only from forests that can be replenished. It even comes with a three-year warranty for its parts and a five-year warranty for the frame. That being said, it’s unquestionably durable.
The only downside is its price, but then again, if you have an unlimited budget, you don’t have to worry about the money.
Rowing Machine Buying Guide
Rowing machines are great for toning your muscles, losing weight, improving your upper-body and lower-body. It’s even ideal for those with joint problems. These machines are fun to use. You can exercise while watching your favorite movies and television series.
There are multiple factors to consider when purchasing a rowing machine. One factor would be the type you’re willing to get. Rowing machines have different types according to resistance. The most frequently used types are: hydraulic, water, air, and magnetic. Hydraulic machines have hydraulic cylinders that have static handlers. They will require you to be in one position only throughout your workout. Water rowing machines are one of the most effective. They help you exert effort depending on the amount of water in the tank. These are also recommended for youngsters and kids. Air rowing machines, on the other hand, are easy and comfortable to use. They are used by professionals, in training centers, and in gyms. Magnetic rowing machines work with electromagnetic waves. Because of that, they make no noise during the workout and they have constant pressure.
Once you decide on the type you want, you need to consider other factors, too. Read on to find out what you should look for in a rowing machine.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Rowing Machine
Below are the other factors to consider when choosing a rowing machine.
1. Price and Brand
- With a number of brands and price ranges on the market, it may be difficult to choose.
- First, identify your price range. (How much am I willing to spend?)
- If your budget is unlimited, skip to the price and get to know the top brands.
- The top brands in the industry are the following: Concept2, WaterRower, Stamina, Sunny Fitness, LifeCore Fitness, First Degree Fitness, Bodycraft, H2O Fitness, Proform, and Kettler.
- The model of the rowing machine can also be considered. New models are released all the time with new, improved features. Luckily our site covers all the newest models.
- Different brands use different materials.
- For you to find out if it’s durable, check the warranty.
- Usually, the longer the warranty, the higher the quality.
- They won’t offer three or five years of warranty if they don’t trust their product.
- Read reviews on how durable and sturdy the product is.
- Check the materials used. Wood can be durable depending on what type was used.
- Most rowing machines have a steel-frame construction.
- Water and air require users to exert more effort. These rowing machines are ideal for young people and for those who aren’t aged 60 and above.
- Hydraulic and magnetic machines require users to exert less effort. These machines are great for people who are 60 years old and above. They will help you exercise and at the same time consider your osteoporosis.
- If you’re lightweight, the capacity detail shouldn’t bother you.
- But if you weigh about 250 lbs. and up, you should check the maximum capacity of the machine you have your eyes on.
- Most machines can accommodate users weighing up to 250 lbs.
- Other high-quality rowing machines, however, can accommodate users weighing up to 275 lbs.
- This refers to the (unpleasant) sound the machine produces during your workout.
- If the noise helps you get going like a few users, then it won’t matter if the machine is a little squeaky.
- If you can’t concentrate with the noise being there, then you should look into the noise level of the model. Usually magnetic rowing machines are 100% silent.
- Consider a machine that can be used for long sessions without giving you a sore butt.
- The ideal rowing machine should be easy to use and should allow you to exercise with no interruptions. There’s nothing more annoying than constantly having to adjust your foot strap or your seat.
Rowing machines are one of the most effective ways to get in shape. They help you burn calories, train your cardio, and improve your muscle toning. They even help you endure and get energized for the rest of the day. They are affordable, portable, and fun to use. You may think that having a great rowing machine requires you to spend a lot of money. That is not the case with rowing machines. Because they are popular and commonly used, these machines come in various price ranges, meaning that you will always be able to find one suitable to your budget.
Rowing machines are easy to use. Especially those brands who include monitors with workout programs. But even if there are no preset programs, you’ll still be fine, as there are tons of tutorials on the internet, and some websites even provide videos for you to follow. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
Starting off with a low-priced rowing machine is not a problem, too. If you have a low budget, then don’t be ashamed of it and opt for a great one within your budget. If you have a higher budget, you can always buy one of higher quality. Take note that even some products considered to be of high-quality aren’t so comfortable to use. So focus on the comfort it can give. After all, you can’t exercise with a machine that gives discomfort as the days go by.
With different brands and price tags, choosing the best one for your needs can be difficult. But with proper guidance, it will be easier. There are a lot of things to consider. Everything from features and specifications down to noise and comfort is important, but if you choose our top pick you’re not going wrong. Hopefully, we’ve made it easier for you to make a decision.
If you’re new to rowing and have just purchased your first rowing machine, we highly recommend that you watch the video below. It’s very educational and will prevent you from making a lot of the typical, beginner mistakes.