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Thinking of getting one rowing machine for your home or office? Look no further as we have researched and reviewed some of the best home rowing machines for your environment.
There are so many of these machines that you do not know which one will be the best ones for you? If you go to each gym center or department stores or searching online you will get confused with all kinds of machines which are out there. They vary by price, types, and size. Everyone you ask will give you different opinions.
Then there are the air, water, hydraulic, magnetic and other rovers which are more confusing. But which one you decide will give you the same beautiful workout results. Did you know that all gym equipment simulate what we do in nature if you are running or walking it is the treadmill, if you are hiking, mountain climbing it is the steppers or elliptical cross trainers and rowing machines as the name goes is when you row a boat and goes on for other machines.
Some will say why not get a treadmill or an elliptical cross trainer, which are the common fitness equipment, but rowing machines are one of the best ones not only for cardio but a total muscular body workout too. This, in turn, results in higher calorie burned in a shorter period.
If you are initially starting out with a rowing machine, your whole body will be aching and you will feel wonderful. From the upper body to the back and lower body including all the joints in our body especially the knee joints. Those with knee pain will find over time the pain disappearing.
And comparing going to the gym and having one at home makes a hell lot of difference in getting regular exercise. Sometimes due to little reasons, we tend to give excuses not going to the gym but if the machine is sitting right in front of you, at least you will get a quick workout. And maybe a house member will get interested too.
Buyers guide – Features to consider when getting a rowing machine
Space – The most critical factor to consider is the place or area you are considering placing the equipment. The rowing machines vary in size especially the length from 3 ft to 7 ft. The width is about 2 to 3 ft. Always remember to give about 2ft on either side of the machine for body movement. The front and back about 6 inches are beautiful.
Types of the rowing machine, the technology behind the machine in giving various rowing resistance
There are four main types,
- Hydraulic provides resistance by fluid flow inside the piston,
- Air/Flywheel by adjusting the dampers going against the air,
- Magnetic by magnetic resistance and
- Water by dampers going against the water inside the tank and this method mimics the exact rowing sound when you row a boat.
But no matter what technology is used it all gives you the same incredible required workout.
Budget- Saying goes the higher the price the better the quality. But I beg to differ. There are good machines which due to reasons are cheaper than you think and the price ranges from about 100 dollars to 1500.
Below there will be Three main Categories by cost (Under 600 dollars, under 1000 dollars, and above 1000 dollars.
Inside each category will be the Model, Dimension, Type of machine and additional relevant information. We also provide comments on the advantages and disadvantages of that rowing machine. Hope this will be of significant help.
Rowing Models Reviews Under 600 dollars
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
Dimensions : 58.25 x 42.5 x 18.125
Advantages: For the results, it can produce, this machine is dirt cheap. When you first receive it, you will be overwhelmed by how you are going to assemble it. It comes with all the tools needed and instructions for easy assembly.
You will feel like you are rowing a boat.
This model has 12 resistance adjustable level so it is suitable for beginners and advance rowers, tall or short, light or heavy people
It is easy to store and any visitors to your home will peep at this machine. Some kind of robotic look.
The trackers’ screen is user-friendly and it has the usual timer, rowing counts, calorie burnt, etc.
Disadvantages: As this is a hydraulic machine, when you start using the machine for some time the piston will start getting hot, you will get the heat smell and the resistance might vary a bit. But you can adjust the resistance as you are rowing to suit your rowing. This is normal for any hydraulic machine and once it cools down it is back to normal.
The machine after some time will start having some noise mainly coming from the joints/bolts. This can be easily solved by loosening the nuts and putting some machine oil.
Overall for the price, we pay this machine is one good buy and it will be part of you for a long time.
*There is an upgraded version of this model i.e. 1060. It has a slightly better seat and screen.
Below is a video on the use of the machine.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine Rower w/ Digital Monitor
Dimensions : 53L x 20W x 22H inches
Type : Hydraulic
Advantages: This is another model which is within budget but gives all the features a rower can give. And the value is unbeatable. Easy to assemble with all tools and instructions given.
It has 12 easily adjustable resistance levels and sizeable anti-slip footplates with adjustable straps for secure footing. You can easily exercise lightly or actively.
With its easy to read, convenient LCD monitor that displays your Time, Count, Total Count, Calories, and Scan, you can set and monitor your goals quickly.
The pulling handles are smooth and the seats are comfortable for long rowing.
It is suitable for beginners and advanced rowers, tall or short, light or heavy people and the outcome is good results are achieved the same as you would get with an expensive set.
This machine is easy to store and will not take up much space, you can even store it in a closet. Very convenient for those who stay in a small space like an apartment and it will not disturb the neighbors while you are rowing as it is quiet.
Some disadvantages: As this is a hydraulic machine, when you start using the machine for some time (about 15 mins) the piston will start getting hot and the resistance might vary a bit. But you can adjust the resistance as you are rowing to suit your rowing but once it cools down it is back to normal.
Overall the manual which comes with the machine is quite complete just that it is not clear on the part of the LCD monitor settings. Initially, you might find it difficult to set the monitor but as you start using it, it will become apparent.
Overall this model SF-RW1205 is value for money.
Below is a video on the use of the machine.
Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399
Dimensions : 77 x 19 x 22 inches
Type : Air
Advantages: It is one of the top budget air resistant rowing machines. The harder or faster you row the higher the pulling resistance and it actually simulates the wind blowing on to you when you are actually rowing a boat.
This air type of machine does not have the resistance knob you find in other machines. It is called a dynamic type machine and it varies according to the way you row i.e. the resistance changes accordingly to your flow of rowing.
And the best part is this rover is maintenance-free and it will be with you for a long time to come.
Tall and heavy people can use it. It monitors all the essential readings especially the speed, distance, time and calories burned.
The seat is padded and is comfortable, large footplates for any size user and angled seat rail for smooth sliding.
The machine is easily folded able for easy storage and has wheels for portability, like pushing a wheelbarrow.
Disadvantages: Actually when you first receive the box, you will be overwhelmed by how you are going to assemble the parts. But all the tools are given and just following the step by step instruction is more than enough. It is precisely like doing a jigsaw puzzle.
The air noise coming from the machine is quite loud and for some will take this as an advantage because the harder you row the more the wind and sound it produces and it could be kind of a challenge to row harder.
The distance is given in mph so in a way you got to row longer to get the same kilometer distance numbers. Just joking.
And there are upgraded models Stamina 35-1402 ATS Air Rower, Stamina ATS Air Rower 1405 and Stamina Air Rower Fitness Rowing Machine, Black (35-1412).
But the functionality of all these models is the same. In the end, what we are looking for is feeling and looking good after a good workout. These are the results we are looking for.
Below is a short review of this model.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor by SF-RW5515
Dimensions : 82L x 19W x 23H inches
Type : Magnetic
Advantages: This is one of the best models in the magnetic resistance type at a reasonable low price. If you have used any other rowing machine before you will find this machine to be so quiet and smooth. If you are staying in a small condo or sharing areas with others and you prefer not to disturb others then this is a machine you want.
It has a large digital monitor to monitor your personal fitness goals. It keeps track of time, rowing count, calories, total rowing count. Nice to see improvements over time.
And this machine comes with 8 variable resistance knob. You can easily switch up the intensity of your workout or just lower it to warm down later. Over time, you will find that you have become fitter once you realize that you are using higher resistance to work on.
You can set up a program yourself, say you will row for 5 minutes to warm up at a low resistance, increase the resistance and row for maybe 1 0 minutes, reduce the resistance back and row for 5 minutes, raise the resistance row for 10 minutes, etc.
This model comes with large sturdy pivoting foot pedals with safety straps. There is no chance of slippage and injuring yourself no matter how intense the performance level is.
The seats are fully padded and are comfortable for you to paddle longer without any discomfort. The non-slip handlebars provide a stable, smooth, quiet and nice feel rowing pull.
If for any reason you want to store after each use the machine comes with transportation wheels for easy portability. Just tilt and roll out. All this comes with clear instructions.
Disadvantages: For an average user the 8 resistance level is more than enough for a long time but for the advanced or heavy users it is not enough. They will find it light and not of a challenge.
And there is no tracking of how many meters you have rowed.
Like any other machine, there is no machine which comes with a perfect specification. This rower offers all the necessities for an intense yet enjoyable rowing workout in the comfort of your own home.
The SF-RW5515 and the SF-RW5623 are similar in many aspects but there is one distinct difference, the SF-RW5623 includes a unique dual resistance system that uses both a belt and an integrated fan to create resistance. So if you like to have more resistance with some air sound and wind you can opt-in for the later model.
Check out the video on the SF-RW5515 model review below.
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Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine w/LCD Monitor – Obsidian SF-RW5713
Dimensions : 78.7 x 22 x 33.5 inches
Type : Water
Advantages: The Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rower is one top quality machine under $600 for a water resistance type. Normally you will find the water type to be expensive but this beautiful low priced machine has all the qualities for a complete workout and will keep you excited and motivated.
When you are using this machine to row, the feeling of rowing in the water in the comfort of your house is lovely. With every stroke, the resistance is given by the flywheel and the steel fan blades inside the big water tank. And this is a dynamic resistance type, meaning there is no resistance knob to turn. But you can increase or decrease the resistance by adding or removing water with the siphon provided. You will do this for the first time when you set up the machine. Later you can monitor and adjust accordingly.
After that you can choose how you want to row, slow rowing gives low resistance and harder and faster you row the higher the resistance you will encounter and with the pleasant sound of water splashing, the harmonious soothing feeling is felt.
The LCD Digital Fitness Monitor is well designed to track all the essential primary workout metrics and also it allows the user to come out with his personalized workout or use the built-in programmed features. Usually, the programmed program is for the advanced rowers. And this model comes with a wireless compatible heart rate strap to monitor the heartbeat.
The machine comes with a comfortable adjustable seat and is about 17 inches from the ground, which allows a user to get on and off the seat without bending and straining the back. It also has the non-slip foot pads with nylon straps for extra stability and comfort. It has handles that provide a smooth feel.
It has foot levelers so that the model is correctly leveled with the floor. This is to ensure that the machine remains level with the floor without wobbling. It comes with front transport wheels for easy moving and storage.
Disadvantages: The foot pedal could be uncomfortable for some. It is recommended to use shoes.
Overall with the low price for a water model is worth it. The rowing is very smooth and the water drive is pretty quiet, even though not silent but the noise is pleasant.
Check out the video on the Obsidian SF-RW5713 model review below.
Rowing Models Reviews Under 1000 dollars
Stamina Conversion II® Recumbent Bike/Rower SKU15-9003B
Dimensions : 75.5″L x 20″W x 27″H inches
Type : Magnetic Rover and Recumbent Bike
Advantages: This model doubles as a recumbent bike and a rower. So in addition to rowing, you can opt to have the same machine like a bike. Two in one.
It is easy to assemble with the well-written instructions, clear easy to follow illustrations and the complete set of tools given.
On top of the best all-around benefits you get for all the muscles and cardiovascular fitness which you get while you are rowing, you can also enhance further by strengthening exercises which include bicep curls, triceps, forearm curls and leg presses on the recumbent bike.
So if you get bored with rowing you can switch between the two. Switching between the rower and bike and vice versa is easy. Now you can burn more fats and better metabolism without much impact on your joints.
It comes with 8 levels of smooth, quiet magnetic resistance. Both the bike and the rower use the same tension dial. The multi-function electronic monitor looks cool and keeps you motivated by tracking speed, distance, time, calories burned and pulse check.
It has a comfortable padded seat and a seatback, rotating rowing pedals, foot straps on all pedals to hold the feet securely and wheels for easy portability and storage.
Both the rover and bike is smooth and the motion feels natural.
Disadvantages: Short people might find it difficult to reach the pedals of the recumbent bike.
This model does not have the simulation of the airflow or the water splashing sound. So you might want to use a fan or air conditioning for air circulation.
It is a straightforward dial the resistance and rowing or cycling. It does not have the programs build in. You can set up separately a program on your own as you progress.
Overall this model is one of the best purchases you can make if you are intending to exercise for a long time. You can work up a sweat and get a great workout without leaving your house and spending much more money and time at the gym.
Check out the video on the model review below.
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine PM5
Dimensions : 96L x 24W x 44.5H inches
Type : Air
Advantages: This is one superb model which is here for a long time since 2003 to current. Over time it has gone through improvements and upgrades and is one of the top models currently. It is used commercially and also in homes. Top athletes in all fields of sports have used this machine as part of their daily training before a competition.
What is this PM5 which the machine comes with? Well, it one of the most advanced Performance Monitors and the latest version 5. What it does is gives all the necessary workout data i.e. Stroke by stroke performance output on power, speed, stroke rate, elapsed time and distance.
Also, this monitor connects to many handheld and smartphone devices. It will store additional statistics results detailing your rowing performance which helps in your progress. It also connects wireless to heart rate belts and apps.
The workouts can be stored in memory and this gives the ability to call out an earlier program. And there are many apps related to this model that are easily downloaded and used. It is all fun and entertaining.
Like any other machine, this machine can be assembled easily when you first received it. Only 8 screws to be precise.
It is air resistance flywheel-based and you can control the airflow with a smooth change of the damper levels of 1 to 10. The smooth airflow noise is quiet and quite soothing to hear.
For storage or transport to another area, it is so easy. Just release the frame lock mechanism and it separates into two. It is all illustrated in the manual.
To further motivate yourself you can sign up online with Concept2 Workout of the Day where each they will send you a program to follow. Also, you can join an online challenge with fellow rowers and compare yourself.
Everything is right on this machine.
Disadvantages: There are so many things to learn especially the PM5 monitor. Need to get used to understanding the various settings and additional apps that you have to download and try out. But over time you will be an expert on the needed apps to get you active. No need to understand everyone out there.
One more item which might bother you is that there is another model i.e. Model E which is a newer version that is equally good and most of the specs are almost the same except the seat of the Model E is 20 inches from the ground compared to model D only 14 inches. So you might be contemplating to get the higher seat. Well if you find yourself having bad back or knees making it difficult to sit on the seat than the higher seat will be better.
Other than that the Model D is much more than enough to give one a satisfying workout for life.
Check out the video on the review below.
Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower A350-700
Dimensions : 81 x 20 x 24.5 inches
Advantages: The Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower comes with a LCD fitness monitor which houses 12 exercise programs specifically designed for various levels of total-body workout.
Of which 6 of the programs are preset cardio profiles so if you call any one of these programs you will have the challenge to complete the program.
Each program is programmed to automatically adjust to different resistance levels and no need for you to turn any knob. So take the challenge to complete the routine and this model comes with an electronic chest strap to monitor your heart rate. And each of the set programs will give different results on your heartbeat.
So in a way, you will get into shape faster and build more stamina.
The other six programs, four you can customize (set your programs) and one is a program that follows your set heartbeat. If your heartbeat goes up the machine automatically reduces the resistance to bring down your beat. And the last program is just a manual one. So much of choice.
The fitness monitor also keeps you motivated by tracking time, count, the distance you have rowed, calories, strokes per minute, pulse and watt. You will love the monitor and its content.
Rowing handles are foam-padded, seats are molded ergonomically and footplates with adjustable straps.
The machine is easy to assemble with the detailed instruction and tools provided.
Quiet, smooth, sturdy, fits in small space, conveniently and easily folds when not in use.
Disadvantages: Some may find the seats a little uncomfortable for long rowing.
Overall you will find this awesome machine an excellent gear for your training and keep fit for a long time to come. If you have been to gyms and tried out various rowers you will find the difference concerning performance and satisfaction.
Check out the video on the review below.
Incline Fit Wood Water Rowing Machine with Monitor 1411
Dimensions : 22 x 21.3 x 84.2 inches
Type : Water
Advantages: This is a new model which already got good reviews. The manufacturer is Inclinefit. If you are looking for a water type model and is below $1000 then this is the model you want to look at. And this is for the home and also fits a small place office. Also, this machine has all the features of the expensive water rower machines.
It is ergonomically designed from the placement of the footpads and straps to the firmness of the seats thus ensuring a long comfortable rowing experience.
It also comes with a monitor that keeps track of your essential statistics during your workout like Strokes Per Minute (SPM), Time spent rowing, Distance rowed, and Average Calories Burnt per hour.
The machine is made up of solid oak, which gives a solid beautiful look and helps to absorb most of the mechanical vibrations.
Assembling with the illustrations given is easy. But if you feel it is going to be difficult you can always opt for the assembly option for a small price.
This machine gives out a soothing water rowing sound like you are rowing a boat on the water. It can be stored and put to use in a few seconds.
Disadvantages: It is only shipped within the US only.
For this low price and is a solid wood water-based type this is one beauty you can get for your use. Remember using wood and water tank is just like another wooden boat on water inside your house.
Rowing Models Reviews Over 1000 dollars
Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor 100
Dimensions : 83 x 24 x 21 inches
Type : Water
Advantages: If you are a person who likes handcrafted wood in the house than this is the machine for you. It is made up of solid ash hardwood with honey oak finish. It brings life to your room you place the equipment in. The design is so refined and all WaterRower models come with its WaterFlywheel patented design which no other machine has in its category. It simulates a boat moving in water perfectly.
As I said it is built so refined from the pulling of the handle to the movement of the seat, the whole system as a whole as it is built with quality wood thus dampening all mechanical vibrations, you will love it but all these are reflected in the cost of the machine.
It is smooth and silent and as with rowing an actual boat, the faster you row the more the drag of the boat and this will be the equivalent intensity or resistance you get when using this rower.
Sorry to say if you are not well, having heart problems or mainly people with knee problems will see changes for the better when you row on this beauty. The reason is psychological and this will improve your health. Most important your breathing will improve and going to the toilet will be much better leading to age-long wellness.
It comes with Series 4 (S4) monitor which tracks workout intensity or speed, stroke rate, number of strokes taken, rowing time, distance, calories burnt, heart rate and much more.
Storage and transport are easy. It can be stored without draining the water. As with all water rowers you need to put in the water purification pills every six months so that the water stays fresh and bright. You can replace the water every year if you want to.
Disadvantages: Unfortunately it is not shipped outside the US. So for those who want this model will need to contact WaterRower directly who will advise who their nearest dealers of that country.
It does not have apps or good software like the Concept2 model.
In conclusion, get this fantastic Rower for cardio and all the muscles workout without fatigue and exhaustion which you usually get using other machines like the treadmill or the elliptical. Overall it is fantastic, gorgeous and you would not want to store it way. You will love the way visitors to your home will admire and give praise once they get their eyes on it.
“Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor” has Solid Ash wood frame with honey oak stain and finished in Danish Oil.
There are three other models and their differences between them are highlighted below. Every other specification is the same as the Natural Model.
They are made from different kinds of wood and finishing. Click on to get more reviews and the price.
“Water Rower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor” has a Solid Ash wood frame with black and rose stain.
“Water Rower Classic Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor” has Solid American Black Walnut wood frame finished in Danish oil.
“Water Rower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor” has Solid Cherry wood frame finished in Danish oil.
Check out the video below on the Natural Model.
First Degree Fitness Newport AR Rower Water Rower Exercise Machine FDE1029
Dimensions : 78 x 21 x 21 inches
Type : Water
Advantages: Water waves can be from a simple calm ripple to a raging ocean and this First Degree Fitness Newport AR Rower Water Rower Exercise Machine can simulate the condition of the water by adjusting the resistance on the machine. That means this rower can have a light or a heavy workout according to individual preference.
The harder you row the harder the resistance of the rowing and better the workout. Some like to have a light workout some heavy, so this machine suits both extremes. Perfect for people of all fitness levels.
It is constructed with a patented twin tough poly-carbonate water tank, triple-bladed impeller with 4 levels of patented variable fluid resistance technology which ensures no dead strokes during the entire rowing process.
A top seller in the home gym category and is easy to store or transport.
The display monitor is a multilevel computer with a USB port. It helps to monitor time, distance, split time, strokes per minute, calories burnt per hour, watts and heart rate.
Disadvantages: The heart rate monitor does not come with the machine and has to be purchased separately. It is okay if there is software included especially for monitoring statistics and games for motivation.
Overall the machine is constructed with the highest quality from the water tank, ergonomic handles, footpads, the frames and the whole system as a whole. You will not find a better combination of smoothness, beautiful design, value, strength, and performance. You will not regret getting this machine.
Check out the video below
BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower
Dimensions : 98.5 x 20 x 38.5 inches
Type : Combination of Air and Magnetic
Advantages: This model is by BodyCraft who has years of experience in the rowing machine industry who promises quality and standards. The VR500 is the top in its series and incorporates all the latest technology and consumer feedbacks and requests over the years which promises high performance.
It comes with a beautiful easy to read black mask LCD w/LED-backlit display and keys. It displays time, distance, calories, pulse, strokes per minute, watts, rowing level, and the profile used.
The resistance levels are easily controlled electronically on the comfortable handlebar. It has four buttons that control the resistance levels without wires (IR technology) with the press of buttons without stopping the rowing or bending forward to adjust on the screen.
It has 32 levels of this electronically controlled resistance out of which there are the manual mode (just sit and row), heart rate programs (you can choose according to your comfort zone) and you can also customize. You can also have goal programs ( you can set time, distance or watts you want to row). There is also a cooldown button which is very important. In any, sports we work on, we need to cool down.
So you can have so much fun with these training programs and never get demotivated.
The sound produced by the air is not so noisy and is soothing. And as it is belt driven and not chain driven. Usually, chain driver rowers are a bit noisier.
Comfortable seats (seat height is 19 inches, higher than most machines) and adjustable heel rest with quick-adjust straps to fit comfortably all feet.
Easily stored or transported within seconds.
Disadvantages: The assembly will be a bit difficult even though it comes with illustrations and tools. You can opt for the assembly option or get someone who loves to put things together.
The Polar T34 heart rate telemetry chest strap is an option and does not come together with the machine. But this is useful for some people who want to measure their heart rate when rowing.
The machine is slightly longer than most machines by a few inches. But this machine is built to take on any tall and heavy guys.
Overall, even though the machine is expensive but it comes with so many features that other machines do not have. Excellent, well-made product. This unit has a better seat, longer track, and bigger/brighter display than the others. And the beautiful programs to follow. But the best difference is the smoothness of the rowing mechanism, with the magnetic regulators. You will love the electronic controls in the handle.
Experience the difference when you row too difficult to put in words.
Check out the video below
The Must Have Correct Rowing Techniques
We would like to share with you three videos by Concept2 on the correct ways of rowing. It is important that you review all these three videos for the correct techniques in rowing. The videos takes you from the very basic for beginners to the advance stages for advanced rowers.
This first video highlights the importance of correct motion. The correct positioning of the head, wrist, body, back, and legs are shown. It explains the different phases of rowing. Please practice the step by step techniques shown. It is about 6 minutes only.
Video 2 (7 minutes) below reviews some of the standard errors we accidentally pick up during rowing. It shows us some of the bad practices we unintentionally use and how to row correctly. Examples like a wrist, arm, head, shoulders, back and leg positioning.
The video gives you some drills to improve also.
Video 3 (3 minutes) will give you a little bit of how the air resistance is produced and on how to row with higher intensity.
We hope that we have given an in-depth review of the rowing machines and find them helpful. Practice the correct technique well and with this, we hope you will always be fit.
Above are all the reviews on some of the Best Home Rowing Machines for 2019.
Every year more and more machines are introduced into the market but they are not necessarily the best. It is always good to go with machines that have been tested out and with excellent reviews. It is difficult to find the perfect one but hoping that the above reviews have helped you in a certain way to make an easy decision.
For posts on other equipment, you can click on the links below.
If you have any questions or any suggestions you would like to share please don’t hesitate to fill out your inputs below. We are all crazy for better health.