Best Rowing Machine

Best Rowing Machines 2018

Anyone who has stepped foot inside a gym will have noticed the large and strange looking machine that seems to always be available for use. This elusive machine is known as an indoor rower or more commonly as a rowing machine. Despite its unpopularity with many gym rats, this exercise machine is actually one of the best machines to use if you want a quick and effective full body workout session.

Looking at the machine intimidates many people because it looks complicated and difficult to use. Although it may time some training to fully master the rowing machine, it is worth it.

If sheer curiosity isn’t enough to persuade you to try the rowing machine, these benefits might. Read on to understand the different benefits of using a rowing machine and which brands are the best among those available in the market.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Rowing Machine?

All-In-One Workout

Perhaps the biggest advantage of using a rowing machine is the kind of workout it provides. The way the machine is built and its intended purpose is to work out all the important muscles in the body.

Everything from your heart to the upper and lower body benefits from a session with an indoor rower. This means you can cut your workout session in half because you address all the main concerns using just one machine.

From the continuous use of a rowing machine you get to raise your heart rate, improving metabolism, you work at toning all the important upper and lower muscles, and you build your strength and stamina. All of which are important when you want to maintain or reach your fitness goals.

Less Strain And Zero Impact

It is a sad fact that as we grow older our bodies become fragile. This is why many older people tend to forego their physical fitness.

With the help of a rowing machine, gym time doesn’t have to cause any strain or impact on the tender joints of senior citizens. The rowing machine is designed to provide a full and intensive work out without causing pain on the joints, a big advantage for people who constantly struggle with joint issues and yet still want to remain active.

Keep Track Of Progress Easily

Even the most basic and cheapest rowing machine will have a monitor display that allows users to track their daily progress. Everything from time, speed, calories burned, number of strokes, and other details are displayed to make tracking easier and more convenient for the user.

What Are The Types Of Rowing Machines?

Knowing that there are a lot of benefits to using an indoor rower, finding the best rowing machine type for your needs and your home gym is the next step.

Here are the three most common and popular types of rowing machines on the market:

Hydraulic Rowers

The hydraulic rower is the most affordable and compact type of rowing machine available. These machines work by creating tension through the amount of compressed air or fluid from a cylinder or piston.

The amount of tension and resistance in these machines are adjustable but they are known for being noisy.

Magnetic Rowers

The magnetic indoor rower is another kind of home rower that is very popular with many home gym setups. These rowers use a magnetic force as the resistance, which is also adjustable.

One of the best qualities of a magnetic rower is its near silence. There is hardly any friction created when magnetic resistance is used for drag, which allows this type of indoor rower to be virtually silent.

Water Rowers

A very good choice of rower type is the water rower because it closely mimics the actual drag and experience of real life rowing on water. These machines use water contained inside a small tank to create drag and resistance.

The amount of resistance can also be adjusted by simply adding or taking out water from the tank. Indoor water rowers are very popular with many people because it is as authentic to rowing as you can get without going near a body of water.

Plus, the noise it produces is a nice swishing of water during every rowing motion, not the harsh sounds a hydraulic rower makes.

Best Rowing Machines 2018

See our comparison chart for the best rowing machines in 2018.

     
Concept2 Model D
WaterRower Club
Nordictrack RW200
Stamina X Air
Concept2 Model DWaterRower ClubNordicTrack RW200Stamina X
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Type
Air-resistance flywheel
Water flywheel
Air-resistance flywheel
Air-resistance
Max User Weight (lbs)
500
1000
250
250
Workout Monitor
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Wireless connectivity
Yes
Yes
No
No
Foldable Frame
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Noise
Minimal noise
Quiet
Quiet
Some noise
Construction
Aluminum/steel
Solid Ash
Steel
Metal
Assemble
20-25 minutes
45 minutes
30-45 minutes
30-45 minutes
Dimensions (in.)
96 x 24 x 44.5
84 x 21 x 22
86.5 x 22 x 42.8
78.5 x 18 x 29
Machine Weight (lbs)
57
117
145
63
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Stamina 1215 Orbital
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
Marcy Turbine NS-6050RE
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050
Stamina 1215 OrbitalSunny Health Fitness SF-RW5515Marcy Turbine NS-6050REStamina BodyTrac Glider
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Type
Hydraulic cylinder resistance
Magnetic tension system
Air-resistance
Hydraulic cylinder resistance
Max User Weight (lbs)
250
250
300
250
Workout Monitor
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Wireless connectivity
No
No
No
No
Foldable Frame
No
Yes
Yes
No
Noise
Some noise
Quiet
Some noise
Minimal noise
Construction
Metal
Steel
Steel
Steel
Assemble
45 minutes
30 minutes
45-60 minutes
45-60 minutes
Dimensions (in.)
50 x 32.5 x 31
82 x 19 x 23
90.5 x 19 x 34.9
58.25 x 42.5 x 18.12
Machine Weight (lbs)
47
59
85
39
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First Degree Fitness Newport AR Stamina 1205Fitbill B607 SmartStamina 1399 ATS
First Degree FitnessStamina 1205 PrecisionFitbill B607Stamina 1399ATS
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Type
Water resistance
Hydraulic cylinder resistance
Magnetic tension system
Dynamic wind resistance
Max User Weight (lbs)
300
250
300
250
Workout Monitor
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Wireless connectivity
Yes
No
Yes
No
Foldable Frame
No
No
Yes
Yes
Noise
Quiet
Very little noise
Quiet
Some noise
Construction
Metal
Metal
Steel/Aluminum
Steel
Assemble
60 minutes
45-60 minutes
45 minutes
30 minutes
Dimensions (in.)
20.9 x 77.8 x 20.1
32.5 x 27.75 x 48
81.5 x 20 x 24
77 x 18 x 22
Machine Weight (lbs)
68
47
82.7
54
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Top 7 Home Rowing Machines

Seeing as there are many benefits to adding a rowing machine to your home gym and there are a few types to choose from, here are some great choices to check out while on your search for finding the best rowing machine that meets your needs and expectations.

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine – Best to buy in 2018

Concept2 Model D with PM5 Performance Monitor Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Black

The Concept2 Model D is a commercial-grade, space-efficient and feature-rich rowing machine that delivers a first-class workout. Additionally, it comes at an affordable price for what you get.

With its minimal footprint, this machine is a perfect choice for the home gym for those in search of an efficient way to get a full cardio and body strength workout. Its floor space isn’t excessive, the Concept2 Model D is smaller than an elliptical and gives a better body working compared to biking.

Features

  • Very effective at measuring progress which can be compared to past workouts
  • Useful LCD display to highlight the different workout options
  • Compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth for easy connection to fitness apps and heart rate monitoring devices
  • Easy to adjust damper (1-10 levels) to control your workout intensity
  • Smooth rowing action
  • Join online challenges
  • Quick and easy assemble
  • Fitted with caster wheels for ease in moving
  • 5-year frame warranty

Pros

  • Solid design in relation to use and setup
  • High weight capacity of 500 lbs
  • The LCD display is backlit with large numbers for ease in reading
  • Save past workouts to a USB flash drive
  • Assembly is simple with a single tool used (included)
  • Long rail to make it practical for all users
  • Durable chain-driven mechanism to give a smooth rowing action
  • Secure footrests in place
  • Option to program workouts for maximum efficiency

Cons

  • Seat isn’t the most comfortable, especially after rowing for 25+ minutes
  • A little long in length (9 feet by 3 feet)

Verdict

Worth every penny, the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine is likely to be the best rowing machine at this price range out there. The all-round quality of the machine is solid and has the potential to last for the long-term provided it receives basic maintenance such as cleaning the rail and lubing the chain. Simply use the Concept2 Model D in combination with a healthy diet to see very positive health benefits.

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Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 – Best Budget

Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399

Sticking to a fitness routine is a challenge for many people. Not everyone has the determination and the discipline to keep a routine that involves different exercise that addresses cardio and muscle toning.

More often than not people only concentrate on their cardio workout and forget that muscle toning plays a big part in maintaining their figure.

To help people meet the needs of their body there are special exercise machines that cut the workout time without cutting the benefits. An indoor rower like the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 is often overlooked, but not today. Learn more about this machine and how it can benefit you here:

Features

  • Relies on wind resistance
  • Multi-functional monitor displays distance, speed, calories burned, and time per session
  • Padded and upholstered seats
  • Large footplates to accommodate all sizes
  • Smooth sliding due to over-sized angled seat rails
  • Compact and foldable
  • Portable due to built-in wheels
  • No damage or skidding due to attached floor protectors
  • Frame warrantied for 3 years
  • Parts warrantied for 90 days
  • Commercial quality
  • Rowing beam made of steel
  • Weight limit: 250 pounds
  • Adjusts based on speed and intensity of strokes

Pros:

  • Perfect size for home use
  • Very affordable
  • Easily stored and moved around the house
  • Easy to assemble
  • Versatile
  • Accommodates most rowers
  • Provides intense workouts
  • Low-impact on joints
  • Comfortable to use
  • High-quality rower
  • Strong and sturdy build

Cons:

  • Too loud to watch TV or listen to music without earphones
  • Lacks resistance setting
  • No building up to a higher resistance
  • Plastic parts are not very durable

Verdict

For an affordable but equally reliable rowing machine for casual rowers, the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 is a great choice. However, it might not be best for people who are training to build up their strength.

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NordicTrack RW200 Rower

The NordicTrack RW200 Rower is a very functional piece of exercise equipment that is perfect for the home gym. It is well built, very stable when rowing, and ergonomically designed for all-round comfort in use. Additionally, there are many user-friendly features like the built-in apps, sound system, and easy to read display.

Features

  • Adjustable air resistance
  • Easy to read backlit display
  • Central console adjusts to match your preferred viewing position
  • Nylon foot straps for increased comfort
  • Ergonomic molded seat
  • Soft Touch handlebar for long-term comfort while rowing
  • Instant access to distance, calories, time, strokes and watts
  • Foldable to create a space-saving design
  • Listen to music via the dual 2-inch speakers
  • 250 lbs user capacity
  • Built-in apps to help stay motivated to achieve the fitness goals
  • 5-year warranty

Pros:

  • Useful damper setting to adjust the amount of resistance
  • Well-designed and built
  • Built-in sound system
  • Relatively easy assembly
  • Very easy to move (includes wheels) and store when not in use
  • Rowing action is smooth and comfortable
  • Practical for tall users – up to 6-ft 6-inches (although this will depend on the users inseam length)
  • Useful low-impact exercise for all ages

Cons:

  • Does not offer the highest level of resistance
  • Monitor lacks certain info such as a heart rate function
  • Not the lightest rowing machine at 145 lbs

Verdict

Overall, the NordicTrack RW200 is a very acceptable rowing machine with the ability to deliver a reliable low-impact workout. It is built with most of the desired features such as the comfortable seat, easy access to workout data, and option to fold and store when not in use. Even though it doesn’t offer the most in-depth monitor or strongest resistance, it is still a great piece of machinery for its price range.

First Degree Fitness Newport AR Rower Water Rower

First Degree Fitness Fluid Rower - AR Newport

Finally reaching one’s fitness goal is a major achievement for anyone, but the challenge doesn’t end there. Those who want to maintain their current weight and stay fit need to put in a lot of effort to do so. This requires consistency in both a healthy diet and exercise.

Everyone knows that staying fit also means staying active, but what many forget that not all forms of exercises have the same benefits. In fact, there are areas of the body that benefit more from certain activities.

Getting a full fit figure requires a person to do cardio and other muscle toning exercises. All of this can be done by using a rowing machine like the First Degree Fitness Newport AR Rower Water Rower at home.

Learn more about this particular full body workout machine here:

Features

  • Fitness and endurance training machine
  • Polycarbonate tank stores water
  • Three-bladed steel paddle
  • 9 – 17-liter adjustable water volume
  • Computer monitors distance, time, number of strokes per minute, and calories burned per hour
  • Heart rate monitor also available
  • Handle is ergonomically designed
  • Does not cause strain on arms, wrists, or hands
  • Durable, smooth, and clean belt drive
  • Built to last
  • Adjustable intensity for the perfect resistance level
  • Quiet machine

Pros:

  • Perfect for any home gym
  • Offers excellent and adjustable resistance every session
  • Resistance meets all user’s needs and capabilities
  • Less strenuous on the back
  • Helps tone muscles and elevate heart rate
  • Easy to assemble
  • Other parts come pre-assembled
  • Tools included in assembly kit
  • Very strong and durable metal body
  • Allows for smooth and silent indoor rowing
  • Perfect for stamina and strength building
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to store away
  • Monitoring progress made easy

Cons:

  • No information about warranties provided
  • Difficult to contact manufacturer
  • Low weight limit capacity
  • Bucks when a heavier person uses the machine
  • May cause injuries when not weighed down properly

Verdict

Get the full rowing experience with the First Degree Fitness Newport AR Rower Water Rower, it won’t disappoint. It is the perfect machine for rowers who never want to miss a day of rowing, even when it rains.

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Macy Turbine NS-6050RE Magnetic Rowing Machine

Marcy Foldable Turbine Rowing Machine Rower with 8 Resistance Setting and Transport Wheels NS-6050RE

Sometimes being smart about your workout routine is better for your progress. Always exhausting your body with both cardio and other forms of body toning exercises can lead to someone giving up. This is understandable, seeing as engaging in separate exercise routines on a daily basis is overwhelming and maybe even a little impractical.

This is why many people forget the importance of muscle toning and instead just focus on getting their hearts pumping. Although this can increase your metabolism your muscles are being developed properly.

To address cardio plus your upper and lower body muscles with just one workout routine, investing in a home rowing machine like the Macy Turbine NS-6050RE Magnetic Rowing Machine is a great idea. Learn more about this equipment here:

Features

  • Adjustable 8 level resistance settings
  • Uses magnetic resistance
  • Great for easy to intense rowing sessions
  • Computer displays speed, time, calories, distance, and RPM
  • Ergonomically designed mold-injected seats
  • Adjustable foot straps
  • Comfortable and stable workout sessions
  • High-quality and durable materials
  • Solid steel frame
  • Designed for easy folding and storage
  • Portable
  • Comfortable non-slip handles provide a stable grip
  • Foam-padded seat
  • Smooth and flowing rowing
  • Best for strength and stamina building

Pros:

  • Holds up to 300 pounds
  • No bucking issues
  • Wonderfully designed for stability and durability
  • Does not cause any strain on the body
  • Works all the important muscles
  • Adjustable levels of resistance
  • Perfect for building stamina over time
  • Meets the needs and capabilities of every user
  • Low-impact exercise equipment
  • Foldable and portable
  • Easy to store
  • Perfect for small home gyms
  • Non-slip handles add safety and comfort
  • Provides an intense but smooth rowing experience

Cons:

  • Not very resistant
  • Level 8 is still easy to manage
  • Hardly any effort is exerted
  • Requires 3 AAA batteries that are not included
  • Loud rowing machine
  • Distracting when used while watching TV or listening to music

Verdict

For a reliable rowing machine that will last years with proper care and maintenance, the Macy Turbine NS-6050RE Magnetic Rowing Machine is a great choice. You can stay fit and healthy for years with just this one machine.

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Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine – Best Cheap Rower

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

If you have ever tried to meet any fitness goal you will know that consistency and discipline are a must. Failing to stick to a strict routine can lead to a snowball effect that will lead a person back to where they started.

No one wants to lose all the hard work they put into their bodies just because they get lazy. One way to maintain your health is to be smart about your exercise routine.

Instead of spending extra time to do different exercises that target different parts of the body, why not use a machine that can cut the workout time without cutting the benefits?

One machine that addresses all the areas of the body inside and out is the rowing machine. One such machine worth looking into is the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine.

Here is what the machine can offer to people who use them regularly:

Features

  • Specifically designed for home use
  • Compact, small, and easy to store
  • 23 x 46 inches in size
  • Gas-shock resistant
  • Monitors time, strokes, and calories burned
  • Sturdy and durable aluminum steel frame
  • Low-impact exercise machine
  • Commercial-quality
  • Adjustable hydraulic resistance
  • Manually adjustable resistance knob
  • One year frame warranty
  • 90-day parts warranty

Pros:

  • Best for small home gyms
  • Portable, easy to store and move around
  • Convenient and easy to use
  • 250-pound weight limit
  • Sturdy but lightweight
  • Easy to set up
  • 12 different resistance levels
  • Perfect for strength and stamina building
  • Allows for years of use with continued improvement on capabilities
  • Expect a full body workout every session
  • Mimics actual rowing experience
  • Excellent for rowing training
  • Quieter than other hydraulic rowers

Cons:

  • Foot straps and foot rests aren’t very secure
  • Feet tend to slip from the rests
  • Other parts are made of plastic
  • Easily shows wear and tear with excessive use
  • Must be used carefully
  • Intense and fast rowing should be avoided

Verdict

For people looking for a compact rowing machine that can fit at any home gym, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine is one of the best choices out there. It is an affordable option that will still provide a proper full body workout with proper use.

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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine LCD Monitor SF-RW5515

Living a healthy and active lifestyle takes a lot of effort and discipline. Eating a balanced diet and having a good workout routine that is easy to keep up with are the key ingredients to maintaining the lifestyle.

Many people tend to invest in a home gym to make working out easier and more accessible, but many haven’t figured out the secret.

It is very rare to find rowing machines at a home gym because people tend to concentrate on cardio rather than getting a full body workout during every session. Investing in a machine like Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine can change your entire routine and cut it short but still have the same benefits.

Learn more about this particular equipment and why you should consider investing in one here:

Features

  • 8 adjustable resistance levels
  • Uses a magnetic tension system
  • Large LCD screen displays stroke count, time, and calories burned
  • Fully padded seats
  • Secure non-slip handlebars
  • Large and accommodating anti-slip foot pedals
  • Adjustable foot straps
  • Portable and easy to store
  • 250-pound weight limit
  • Low-impact exercise machine
  • Tension knob is manually adjustable

Pros:

  • Virtually silent
  • Compact and small with a tiny footprint
  • Perfect for home gyms
  • Highly resistant and effective
  • Gives an intense workout even at a lower setting
  • Helps to build up strength and stamina over time
  • Easy to set up
  • Simple to use
  • Built and designed to last years
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Great manufacturer assistance

Cons:

  • Display screen is too small
  • Does not track distance only number of strokes
  • Manufacturing issues results in early breakage
  • Does not hold up well against aggressive and fast rowing

Verdict

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is a great affordable, compact, and reliable home rowing machine choice. It is perfect for getting a full body workout from just one machine.

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Conclusion

The best rowing machine will depend on your needs, budget, capacity, and your ability to withstand noise. When it comes to home rowing machines there is only one thing to remember: do not compare it to the machines at the gym.

Home rowers are designed to be compact and sturdy, but they do not have the same capacity or durability as those at the gym. Exercise with care and caution to benefit from the machine for years to come.