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Best Rowers 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2018
Best Rowers of 2018
Simply review and buy them. Following is the list of top three rowers of 2018.
I have taken the initiative to educate you on the top three best rowers that you can buy this year. If you’re scouring the market for the best rowers, you’d better have the right info before spending your money.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – Little Moppet Rower
Why did this rowers win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
Why did this rowers come in second place?
I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this rowers take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great!
Rowers Buyer’s Guide
Folding vs. Fixed
There are two types of rowing machines for home use; one is folding type and other is fixed type. Folding type rowing machines occupy less space while fixed machines are space consuming. According to user experience fixed machines are more durable but for indoor use folding machine are usually preferred. So, predefine which type of rowing machine you want to buy fixed or folding.
Water Rowing Machine
In water rowing machine water pressure is used to provide resistance. These rowing machines are very smooth in action and provide excellent resistance. However, these are heavier than normal machines and need more maintenance as the water present in cylinders need to be changed after regular intervals.
Magnetic Rowing Machine
Magnets are used in magnetic rowing machines for offering adjustable resistance. These machines are noise efficient and light in weight. It offers adjustable resistance system that makes rowing operation more effective. If you are looking for high quality product that provides you excellent resistance then magnetic rowing machine is best option for you.
All above mentioned are the basic types of rowing machines. Select the type with which you are comfortable.
How To Choose Your Perfect Rower
You will be hard pressed to find another piece of fitness equipment that can give you the full body workout that you will get from using a rower. You can use a rower to engage all your major muscle groups and work both your upper and lower body at the same time. It’s no wonder that more people like you and me are looking around the Internet trying to find a suitable rower to buy. There are so many things to consider when buying a rower and so many different models of rowers to choose from that it can sometimes be confusing. I have put together this handy little buying guide to point out all the important things you need to look at when shopping around for a rowing machine. I really hope that it helps you to find your perfect rower.
Your Workout Goals
You should carefully examine the fitness goals that you want to achieve with your rower before you buy one. Some rowers are better suited to help with certain fitness goals than others will be. For example, if you want to tone your muscles and make them bulkier, you will be better off with a hydraulic rower as this type will let you choose different levels of resistance. If your goal is to lose weight most rowers will be able to help you. There are also rowers with preset programs that can be helpful in setting and reaching new fitness goals.
Another thing to consider here is how many people will be using the rower. Some rowers are not strong enough to handle heavy-duty use. The weight of the people who will be using the rower is also a factor. Make sure that everyone who will use the rower falls within the manufacturers recommended weight range. Failing to do so could result in your warranty becoming void and nobody likes that.
Most rowers will come with a monitor but some will be more advanced than others. Whether you should get a rower with a high performance monitor or just a basic one is purely a personal preference. A basic rower monitor will display workout data like your distance, time and speed. More advanced models will include features like heart rate monitoring, a calorie counter, racing games and/or preset programs. Unless you know that you will actually use the additional features, I would not suggest that you make them a top priority when choosing a rower. There is no sense in buying a rower based on the bells and whistles that is has only to leave them unused. Besides the fact that rowers with more advanced monitor features usually cost more, a rower will generally give you a good full body workout regardless of the information on the display. For more detailed information about rower monitors see my article here.
There are some other key features that I recommend you check for on a rower that you are considering to buy. Any features that can make the rower more comfortable (or uncomfortable) such as the seat, the handlebar and the footplates should not be overlooked. The seat and handle should preferably be padded and the footplates should ideally pivot to make them more comfortable.
You will also want to look at things like the height of the seat, especially if you are tall or have mobility issues, as a low seat may be more challenging for you to sit down on. The ease with which you can fold a rower and move it for storage is also important. If you choose a heavier model be sure to get one that also has wheels so that you don’t risk hurting your back while moving it.
There are a few easily recognized rower brands that may be tempting to buy just because of their long-standing reputations. If you are familiar with rowing you may also be familiar with brand names like Concept2, Stamina and WaterRower. There are always new brands emerging that bring new technologies and innovation to the rower market. Don’t be tempted to choose a rower just because of its brand name. You still need it to be able to meet your fitness needs. Check all the features and dimensions to make sure that it will actually work for you. And checking the fine print on the manufacturers warranty is also something I would suggest that you do.
Categories of Rowing Machines
We mentioned earlier that rowing machines can use four different methods to generate the resistance against which you exercise. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and of course, comes in at a different price level.
Hydraulic Piston Rowers: Two hydraulic pistons are attached to the arms of these rowing machines. As you pull on the handles, resistance is generated by the pull of the pistons against the fluid or air that’s inside the cylinders. You can adjust the amount of resistance just by changing settings on the machine (and you can set different resistance levels on each arm). This doesn’t replicate an actual rowing experience particularly well, and will give more of a workout to the arms than the legs (since the user’s arms are doing most of the work). Hydraulic rowers are the most common and least expensive types of machines, and are normally smaller (often collapsible) and less expensive than machines in the other categories.
Magnetic Rowers: Similar to the way most elliptical trainers work, resistance is created through the effect of electromagnets in close proximity to a flywheel. The force applied by the user determines the power flowing through the magnets, and therefore, the resistance. There are adjustments which can be made by the user to increase or decrease the range of resistance. Unlike hydraulic rowers, magnetic machines usually have adjustable arms and movable seats, providing a more enjoyable and customizable full-body workout. These rowers are quiet and the rowing is smooth, although not with the same feel as if you were in a rowboat. They’re larger than some hydraulic machines but smaller than air or water ones, can’t be folded up, and are usually in the “low-to-moderate” price range.
Air Resistance Rowers: Air-powered machines generate resistance by the actions of the user. The harder and faster you row, the more resistance you’ll experience. The way it works is by means of a flywheel which looks a lot like the blades of a fan; the faster the user rows, the faster the flywheel spins and the greater the air flow resistance that’s created. These machines are noisy, but the experience is smooth and is the closest you’ll come to the feeling you have when rowing on water – unless you’re using a water rower, of course. Most air resistance machines also allow full range of motion, are easy to maintain and tend to be large and expensive, although you can find some rather flimsy cheap ones available.
Water Rowers: The Rolls-Royce of rowing machines, water rowers require a lot of space, are quite heavy, and cost a lot of money. They also best simulate the action of rowing on a lake or pond for an obvious reason: the resistance is created by paddles pushing against water contained in an enclosed tank. You don’t use actual oars; the handlebars of a water rower drive paddles inside the tank. Resistance levels are changed by adding or removing water, so adjustments are less convenient than on rowers just requiring the turn of a knob. There’s some noise created by a water rowing machine, but many users feel that it’s “good noise” because it sounds much like what you’d hear when navigating a rowboat.
Important Features of Rowing Machines
Since there are four very different types of rowers, it’s difficult to generalize about many of the features you should look for. The size of a water rower’s tank, needless to say, won’t be a concern if you’re purchasing an air rower, while the range of resistance levels possible on a magnetic rower can’t be used to compare them to air rowers which create resistance solely by the exertion of the user.
Size, portability, noise and price will normally dominate the decision process, along with the comfort and feel of a rower (if you’re able to actually try them out before buying). But here are a few other considerations and features to keep in mind as you narrow down your choices.
Look into Things The Rower Offers You
In other words, look at the specifications of the rower. For example, different rowers offer you different types of resistances.
The resistances all have their individual perks. For example, the hydraulic resistance is easy to change around. The air resistance is great too but it is noisy.
On the other hand, the magnetic resistance system is quieter than the two and yet, is powerful.
The Physical Construction of the Rower Matters
Many of the customers ignore the fact but the construction of a rower is very much important.
Everyone wants durable rowing machines with steel frames which would last long.
Some of the rowers in the market use an aluminum-steel alloy that would make them lightweight and durable at the same time.
It is definitely a plus when you are looking to store the rower in a convenient place. Seats and handlebars need to be great as well.
People, who are suffering from back pains, can use a good seat which is cushioned to ensure comfort.
An ideal rower must have textured handlebars. There are various rowers which are offered for cheap and have handlebars that can cause blisters to your hands.
Be sure to buy a rowing machine which is comfortable for you and protects your hands from any threat of injuries.
The footrests should be a concern to all the buyers of the rowing machines. Always try to find out which type of straps the footrests are using.
Some of the footrests use nylon straps and some use Velcro straps. The straps can loosen up with time. So, choose the brand which has greater longevity in terms of foot straps.
Monitor is a Vital Equipment to Have
When you are all set to buy a rowing machine, look into the monitor. It is the vital part which will show you the crucial data that you want to see.
Some of the alpha level monitors show you only time, stroke count and calorie you have burnt.
The higher ranged rowers like Kettler Kadett Rowing machine will show the additional distance data and time vs. distance graph. S some of the high-end rollers will give you the option to check your heartbeat as well. So, when you buy one, you will have to check which positives you are getting from it in terms of the monitor and statistics.
Air Resistance Rowing Machines
Fan resistance, sometimes known as air resistance is created by a flywheel which houses a fan with large blades (driven by the chain or belt) which create wind resistance as they rotate. The level of resistance is determined by the exertion on the flywheel, more force results in more resistance, however some models do allow adjustments to the flywheel that have an impact on level of resistance.
Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machines
Magnetic resistance operates quite similarly to the flywheel on most upright and recumbent exercise bikes. It involves a magnets being placed close to the spinning flywheel to create drag. The amount of drag and therefore the resistance can sometimes be controlled by a lever or electronic system which moves the magnets closer or further away from the flywheel.
Water Resistance Rowing Machines
Water resistance is fundamentally the most realistic, as the drag is created by forcing the rotating blades of the flywheel to move through a tank of water. A physicist will tell you that due to the ‘rule of cubes’, water resistance (like fan resistance) is increased or decreased by the rower exerting more force during the stroke. WaterRower tanks are positioned horizontally, but some other manufacturers’ tanks are not. This means that at the beginning/end of a stroke water in an upright or sloped tank is slowed for a moment, creating lag which can disrupt the user’s rhythm.
So which type is best? That depends on what factors are most important to you, the top end models within each category are all great machines and compete with the others across areas. However, if you’re looking for a quiet machine that makes little noise, a magnetic rower is probably your best option. That said, the sound of the blades cutting through real water is often cited as one of the benefits of a water resistance machine, being both realistic and even therapeutic.
If the feeling and dynamics of the rowing motion are important in your decision making, a fan or water rowing machine is likely to provide the most appropriate choice.
Rower or Rowing Machine
Rowing machines offer a cardiovascular workout without high impact. This means your heart and lungs will work hard without causing a lot of unnecessary strain on your joints, as other exercises often do. When it comes to a total body workout, rowing machines offer just that. It has been reported by experts that only swimming offers a better total body workout. However, since not everyone can afford or find the space for a swimming pool, a rowing machine is often the most feasible choice. (Read:
It is important to consider who will be using the rower before making your purchase. Different types of users may have certain requirements. Tall users will require a rowing machine which has a long seat rail and possible even be higher off the ground whereas a shorter user would be more suited to a rower which has a small seat rail.
The seat of the exercise cycle should be comfortable and easily adjustable. In the case of recumbent exercise cycles, it should also provide solid back support. Similarly, the frame should feel sturdy and the handlebars should be easily adjustable.
There are three main types of resistance options in modern rowing machines: air, magnetic and water. (a) AIR ROWING MACHINE
Air flows over a flywheel to create water resistance. They are powered by the resistance of moving a fan against air. The resistance on some rowing machines can be altered by adjusting a damper, but on most other air rowing machines the intensity is increased by rowing faster, as you would if you were rowing on water.
Water rowers are designed to emulate the dynamics created by a boat in water.
If you row as part of a club or at competition level, then you may not always be able to train as often as you would like in the colder months.
Having a machine that can accurately emulate the feeling of rowing on water will help you maintain or even improve upon your conditioning and performance in time for the next competitive season.
Compliment an existing fitness routine
Even if you have a gym nearby, rowing from the comfort of your own home can be a great way to save time if you need a quick workout.
You may already have a collection of fitness equipment at home (elliptical, treadmill, exercise bike etc.), but want a new type of low impact, high intensity cardio, that targets all your major muscle groups.
Fixed vs. floating head ergometers
A study from the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports found the rowing technique of the floating head meant a RowPerfect rowing machine had a similar motion to on-water sculling.
Handle force, body position at the catch and finish of a stroke, and the stroke length itself were measured and compared. The results closely matched those of rowing on the water, and validated its efficiency for off-water training.
Improves Mental Wellbeing
Indoor rowing is one of the few forms of home exercise where you can become part of a global community. You can either compete in events like the Crash-B sprints, or join online forums and challenge each other to races from the opposite sides of the world (e.g. Concept2).
But there are also exciting advances in technology and app development for indoor rowers.
This idea of rowing against friends in different locations makes the indoor rowing experience much more social.
Live Rowing is a fitness app designed specifically for rowing machines. It encourages you to compete against other people on indoor rowers, and lets you create and send target-based workouts.
These help to keep your training varied, and provide a sense of achievement when you reach or exceed your goals.
Live Rowing also provides some interesting feedback during your workout, and a complete performance summary when your workout ends. This includes time, split time, average wattage, strokes per minute, and calories burned.
Some rowing machines rely on a system of water, paddles, and a tank to generate their resistance. They can be a more expensive option, but for most people they offer the most realistic indoor rowing experience.
If you want to increase the resistance, you need to increase the WaterFlywheel rotation speed. This is achieved by pulling the handle towards you, causing the paddle to rotate against the water inside the tank. You can also adjust the amount of water contained within the tank for a more substantial decrease/increase in workout intensity.
The combination of increased water in the tank and Rule of Cubes explains why the number of resistance levels in such a rowing machine is often considered exponential. This means the harder and faster you row, the more challenging your workout becomes.
WaterRower are one of the best known brands of water resistance rowing machines
WaterRower is one of the only companies to specialize in water resistance rowing machines. Their bestselling designs are made with natural wood frames that blend in with modern surroundings, making them a popular choice for home gyms.
But there are a number of other companies competing with the WaterRower machines.
WaterRower vs. First Degree Fitness vs. ProRower
First Degree Fitness (Newport model) and ProRower, with their RX-750 and RX-950 models, are two other companies using water resistance in their indoor rowers, to emulate rowing on the water.
The sound of water moving inside the tank varies by machine, but the volume is similar to air resistance rowers.
They’re slightly larger than most hydraulic rowing machines, but magnetic resistance rowers offer the same low noise level benefits.
Some of the top magnetic resistance rowers include the Stamina Avari, Velocity Exercise CHR-2001, and Kettler Stroker.
Display Console Features
More affordable home rowing machines are fitted with a single-screen monitor, which often only shows one piece of feedback.
That’s why it’s important to think about what you want to achieve from your indoor rowing.
Consoles vary from offering a simple scan function through to advanced performance tracking
Anyone that rows online via RowPro also has access to Oarbits, which is an online rowing club. With Oarbits you can view lists of upcoming rowing events, send messages to other members, and sign up for future rowing events you would like to compete in.
Overall, it acts as a great motivation boost, which can help you to maintain a new fitness routine. At the same time, you can also enjoy conversations with people that share a common interest in rowing.
Comfort Grip Handle Design
Whether you plan on rowing for 30 minutes each week, or an hour everyday, maintaining a comfortable grip on the handle is a top priority.
A relatively new concept, these are designed to slide over each end of the handle. This quickly changes its shape and potentially improves your rowing technique. If more than one person will be using the machine, you can slide them off again to suit personal preferences.
Rowing Handle Design
If you’ve only experienced rowing machines in commercial gyms and fitness centers, you would be forgiven for thinking that all rowing machine handles are created equal.
With a short handle and nickel-plated chain running to the internal flywheel, the pulling motion remains almost parallel with the floor.
In contrast, you have rowers with two separate handles that pivot around fixed points, such as the Kettler Favorit or outrigger style of the Kettler Kadett. These require much more coordination and recruit a wider variety of upper body muscle groups.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is one of the most affordable, highly rated, and bestselling home rowing machines. This also uses a pivoting hydraulic handle system, creating a range of motion that emulates rowing on the water.
Combination rowers are designed to support both muscle toning exercises and cardiovascular workouts.
They often require you to use the same handle and resistance system for the seated rowing and standing resistance exercises. This can include upright rows, bicep curls, and tricep kickbacks.
Combination trainers mix resistance training with one or more forms of cardio
Some of the designs we recommend are the ProForm 440R, Ultega Drafter 550, and Kettler Stroker Rower.
Fitness equipment companies have also been known to combine the rowing machine with other cardio equipment. One of the best examples is the Conversion II Rower/Recumbent bike from Avari.
Concepthave a near-flawless reputation for building some of the best home rowing machines in the industry.
Although Conceptrowing machines are more expensive than most, you’re paying for quality, and a best-in-class warranty. They’re also more affordable than many of the WaterRower machines, with less maintenance.
Kettler rowing machines are slightly more expensive than most Stamina rowers, and have a lower average review rating.
However, their collection of indoor rowers is designed to cater for all preferred rowing styles. From the pivoting arms of the Kettler Outrigger, to the built-in workout programs of the Coach E Rowing Machine.
As a company, Kettler were founded in 1949, in Ense-Parsit, Germany. Kettler now sells to more than 60 countries around the world.
Most Kettler fitness equipment is still manufactured in Germany, which includes workout benches and elliptical trainers, in addition to their rowing machines.
Sunny Health and Fitness
Sunny have a wide range of new and affordable magnetic, fan, and hydraulic resistance rowing machines.
If you prefer air resistance to a hydraulic piston, your best option will be the Sunny SF-RW551It’s their most affordable magnetic resistance rower, with an LCD monitor to track your workout performance.
Sunny also produce a home rowing machine with independent arms. The SF-RW561has a similar rowing motion to the Kettler Favorit, but at a fraction of the cost.
But their most unique design is the Sunny SF-RW140Sit Up Rowing Machine, which is even cheaper than the SF-RW1205.
Padded leg rollers and a back support mean it can be used for indoor rowing and ab workouts. But the constant leaning forward and restricted leg movement mean it’s not as comfortable as traditional designs.
The only company to use natural wood in the construction of their rowing machines. This is combined with a water resistance system, to create a rowing motion that closely emulates on-the-water rowing.
They’re stronger than the Concept2, with a higher weight capacity and seat that glides on dual runners. Although WaterRower machines can’t be folded, they can stand vertically when not in use to preserve space in your home.
If you need an indoor rowing machine that looks great and supports high-performance rowing workouts, choose WaterRower.
Their current collection includes the Natural, Club, Classic, Oxbridge, and Amachines. Each is constructed from natural wood, sourced sustainably.
In addition to the wooden rowing machines, you have the more expensive MLoRise commercial rowing machine, constructed from aluminium. The seat is a full 20cm lower than on the MHiRise model.
Xterra rowing machines are sold at a price that’s between Kettler and Sunny Health and Fitness. But they’ve struggled to gain popularity, and the review ratings for their most popular ERG400 Folding Rower are below average.
The features of their entry level ERG200 magnetic resistance rower are also fairly standard. Its 250 lb weight capacity can be found on all Stamina rowing machines, and the warranty is just year.
Indoor Racing and World Travel
This is perhaps the most exciting reason for buying a new rowing machine. It’s one we felt needed breaking out into its own section, because of how much information is available.
When you reach 2000m, you can record your time and divide by four to get your average 500m split time. This average pace can be used as a measure of your performance, and used to track your improvement.
Rowing Machine Competitions
Each participants is assigned to a category. These are segmented by weight class (Lightweight/Heavyweight), age, experience level, and gender. You also have team events, and races for visually impaired, physically disabled, and intellectually disabled rowers.
To participate in the next regatta, we recommend registering as soon as possible on the C.R.A.S.H.-B Sprints website.
Space: Full length rowers will require at least 2 meters of space. If you are over 6ft (180cms) in height then your ideal rower will be a full-length option (typically an air or water rower). If you have little space, or need to pack your rower up after use, then go for a folding rower.
Your height: If you are over 6ft you should go for a full length model.
Weight limit: Rowing machines come with a user weight limit. A good idea is to select a rower with a weight limit at least 10% more than your current body weight. This will account for the additional force your body creates during the rowing motion so that you do not overly stress the structure.
Number of users: if it is more than just you that will be utilizing the rower, consider a more expensive option as these will usually be more durable.
Warranty: This should definitely be a factor in your decision and can help split closely matched rowers. Be sure to check the details of the warranty as heavily discounted rowers will sometimes have a massive price drop with a lesser warranty period as the trade-off and this may not necessarily be made explicitly clear.
Console: Rowing machines typically come with a display console to show you speed, distance, time and calories. Some models have other display options which can be of benefit.
Comfortable seat: You can’t avoid the seat so although rowing machines don’t usually come with a padded seat like a bike, just make sure that it is an adequate size and comparable (or better) to other alternatives in the price bracket you are looking for.
A word of caution: Do not spend on features you “might” use. If you have a history of stopping and starting exercise programs, the best advice is to be sensible and not pay for a top model with features that you may not use.
Safety: Given the moving parts, we strongly recommend that you keep your rower out of access from children. Whilst they are fine for children to exercise on, this should only be performed with an adult present.
Good luck finding your ideal rower, we hope to have helped you in your quest for a home indoor rowing machine. If you are not yet sure about whether a rowing machine is suitable for you, be sure to read through this article that explains the benefits of indoors rowing at home.
If you want smooth rowing motion with quiet work, this is the right type of you. It uses the magnetic braking system in order to create the resistance. But, you will not get enough resistance like you can get from other resistances.
The rower machines will provide you durable service. Moreover, they do not need much maintenance.
Definitely one of the best rowers: ConceptModel E Indoor Rowing Machine with PMor Read my review of ConceptModel E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5
With the magnetic machines the size of the flywheel plays a large effect on the quality and how quiet the rower will be. The common rule is the larger the flywheel the better the quality, this been said they don’t require as large a flywheel as bikes or cross trainers so anything above 4kg should be satisfactory.
Handle & Strap
The strap and handle are most prone to wear and tear, snapping straps are all too common amongst cheap rowers under £100.00 which is why we don’t stock them as they cause endless problems. More expensive models above this feature thicker, long lasting straps with comfortable foam grip handles for easier use.
This may not be to relevant for a lot of people but if you’re tall then it’s important to ensure that you have a rail length that’s long enough to allow your legs to fully extend. You also don’t want a thin and flimsy seat rail so try to make sure it’s quite a thick, tubular piece of steel framework as it’s going to take a lot of wear and tear.
Nobody wants a sore bottom after putting in some hard work on the rower; ideally the seat should be grooved or ergonomically designed instead of flat to conform to your body’s natural shape. It should also be foam for comfort, the glide roller wheels that the seat moves back and forth on are also better with bearings inside for a smooth motion and slow deterioration.
On some rowers foot pedals are fixed and on others they have a swivel design to release some pressure off your ankles, choosing between this is simply down to personal preference but it’s worth noting down. All machines have adjustable straps as a mandatory feature because they’re absolutely essential, expensive models will use larger foot pedals so will be more accommodating for taller users.
Rowing machines generally have basic console displays to provide simple workout feedback on time, distance, strokes, calories and rpm unlike other fitness equipment that heavily feature training programmes, unless you’re looking to spend a fair chunk on a rower this is all your console will provide.
Folding or Non-Folding
A lot of rowers due to their size do have a quick fold option which reduces their length almost in half; they normally work by releasing a spring loaded pin towards the centre that enables the rail to fold inward. The only real downside to having a foldable rower is that it can reduce the stability and integrity of the machine but this is only really relevant if it’s getting regular heavy use which is why commercial rowers don’t fold.
What to look for
Info Monitor – The best rowing machines typically have a small computer which shows your workout stats like distance covered, time spent and calories burned. Some can connect to phone apps or a USB drive so you can track your progress.
Adjustable Resistance – If you’re going to invest in an exercise machine you want one that will get you through several different levels of your fitness journey. The best machines have adjustable resistance levels suitable for different fitness levels. The user’s manual will be able to tell you what level is appropriate for your current fitness.
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine
The WaterRower won’t fold up to fit comfortably in a closet, but the wooden frame and water wheel make it far more attractive than other rowing machines. The types of wood used also work to reduce vibrations and sound, making this a quiet enough workout that you can comfortably watch a movie or listen to music.
It also comes equipped with a small monitor that tracks and displays detailed workout stats so you can see your progress in real time.
If you do a lot of real rowing in the summer and you’re willing to make a big investment in your fitness you will truly appreciate this class act of a rowing machine.
If you can’t afford the Concept 2, the JLL R200 provides an excellent workout for a much lower cost. It doesn’t have many advanced features, but the magnetic resistance provides a smooth workout that’s suitable for beginners or intermediates.
Concept Model D Indoor Rower (Best Home Rowing Machine)
Before you even start looking for a row machine, you should know how much you’re willing to spend. Rowing machines can range from £200 up to £2000+ for the most expensive water rowers, although the majority are in the £200-£1000 range.
To make finding a rower in your price range easier, we’ve divided our list of the best rowing machines into three categories – budget, mid-range and premium. While every model on this list provides great value, the mid-range and premium options have more advanced features.
V-Fit Tornado Air Rower
The V-Fit Tornado is an air rower that provides excellent value. It’s not the most advanced rowing machine on the market, but provides an efficient workout and a durable design.
With a pure air resistance system, the V-Fit Tornado is able to provide an intense workout that will challenge rowers of any level. As you row faster, the resistance also increases, leading to a near-infinite difficulty that scales with your fitness. V-Fit calls it a “club-style” rower for this reason.
One thing to note about this type of air rower is that you can’t adjust the resistance manually. You get more resistance the harder you work, but there’s no way to change the resistance other than to row faster.
Despite being considerably cheaper than the JTX Freedom, the Tornado is built with a durable steel frame and aluminium rail. The rail itself is designed to provide a smooth action, while the large foot plates and toe straps help maintain an ergonomic rowing position. It does have a relatively basic computer though – only distance, calories, stroke and stroke rate modes are included.
The Tornado doesn’t provide the advanced features of more expensive models. But if you’re looking for a simple machine that can provide an effective workout for a fraction of the cost, it’s a great option.
Kettler Coach M Rower
The Kettler Coach M is a magnetic rowing machine that’s great for rowers of any fitness level. With its sturdy design and relatively advanced console, it can provide an effective cardiovascular workout that rivals rowers found in gyms.
With its level magnetic resistance system (via the 6kg flywheel), you can quickly adjust the difficulty of your workout. The highest level also provides plenty of scope for improvement and will challenge all but the most advanced rowers.
The on-board console is more advanced than those found on cheaper models. While it displays many of the same statistics, such as distance, oar strokes and energy consumption, it can also integrate with a Polar heart rate received (the chest strap needs to be bought separately). There are also target zone training modes and a pulse fitness test, along with an alarm if you hit your pulse limit.
If you’re looking for a magnetic rowing machine that doesn’t cost a huge amount of money, the Coach M is a great choice. It can challenge rowers of any fitness, while the on-board computer makes it easy to tailor your workout to your current level (although it doesn’t include advanced features such as a pace boat).
Weigh Your Own Priorities
Next, you will need to ask yourself what you need from a rowing machine. There is no one single best rowing machine; there are a number of great options (which we will share with you in just a bit) out there. Which one tops the list depends ultimately on your own priorities. Here are some questions to ask yourself when reading about the best rowing machines 2014:
When you use a rowing machine you’ll most probably be sitting in the machines adjustable seat whilst using your arms and legs to create the motion. This takes a lot of the pressure off your joints and muscles and, if you are using your rowing machine correctly, it is a lot less likely that you will sustain an injury using your rower.
As you are sitting down you don’t have to support your own weight in addition to the rowers weight and so if you already have bad joints or you just don’t want to risk getting them later on low impact exercise is a great way to stay fit whilst keeping yourself safe.
Cardiovascular exercise is a term that basically refers to any type of physical exercise which raises your heart rate and keeps it up for an extended period of time. This can cover anything from cycling, swimming running and (of course) rowing and it is really important because cardiovascular activity strengthens your heart and lungs and improves your bodies oxygen flow.
Rowing can be a great alternative to cardiovascular exercise if you are not comfortable with or you don’t enjoy jogging as it still offers the same benefits without the additional risk of injury.
Weight Loss and HIIT Training
Easy to Use and Low Impact
In the world of fitness, you can find a wide variety of fitness machines, including the tough ones. As a matter of fact, not many of those machines are completely easy to use. In most cases, you need the help of a well-trained professional to get started with the devices. The case of rowing machines is a bit different because they are perhaps the easiest to use fitness machines you’d find right now. The best part is that no matter which kind of exercise you are doing, these machines offer the best level of safety too.
Another point of concern is the impact a rowing machine has on your body. We already mentioned that the rowing exercises are best as far as effectiveness is concerned. It needs to be noted, however, that they don’t affect your joints. If you are looking for some rehabilitation purposes, rowing machine would be the superb companion, given the minimal impact. You can also get rid of back pain, it can be fixed by following a proper and healthy posture while rowing.
In addition to these common advantages, there are some specific too. For instance, some studies do show that the use of rowing machines causes the release of endorphins, which are hormones that make you so good. It’s pretty great, right? You are spending a lot of calories while making yourself feel less stressed.
Storage and Maintenance
One of the major benefits of having a rowing machine was its convenience of use and easy storage. So, just before you check out the product, make sure that it would fit in your bedroom — or wherever you are going to use for exercise. It’s best to keep the machine as small as possible, unless, of course, it interferes with the actual exercise acts.
You should also take into account the aspect of maintenance, which is surely something important. Indeed, you have many ways to keep the machine intact and powerful in the course of time. That having said, it’s an extra layer of safety if the machine comes with a notable warranty. All these are somewhat unnecessary if you are purchasing a rowing machine from a renowned brand.
Great for cardio and weight loss
Just like treadmills, spin bikes or elliptical machines, rowing machines can supply the user with a superior cardio workout. Needless to say, by working out daily on a rower, you will improve your cardiovascular health, as rowing will put your heart and lungs to the test. With increased lung and heart activity, more blood will be pumped into your muscle tissue, delivering nutrients and oxygen.
Great for endurance and strength training
Evidently, just like running or cycling, rowing on a daily basis will help you build stamina. In fact, most professional rowers are required to use indoor rowing machines to maintain their overall stamina and muscle tone, for the off-season periods.
Many people who take rowing as their main cardio workout, find it soothing for their nerves. After a stressful day of work, an hour of rowing can be quite psychically relaxing, reminding of the rowing of an actual boat. Therefore, after your daily rowing session, you can actually be completely refreshed, mentally and physically.
Pulling strap vs chain
A pulling chain is highly durable, and can last a lifetime without breaking. But it requires greasing. Also, even if the chain is durable, the sprocket over which the chain moves in and out may wear out, causing the chain to skip. Along with that, erratic rowing motion can cause the chain to jump of the sprocket, which requires its adjustment. Of course, if used accordingly, none of these problem should occur. Maintenance is nonetheless required though.
Pivoting footrests on Kettler Favorit rower
On the other hand, certain rowing machines feature completely fixed footrests. In this case, even though the angle of the footrests was correctly selected after laborious research, some users may be unsatisfied or uncomfortable with it. However, improvising and placing something on each footplate to adjust the angle is always possible.
Most indoor rowing machines feature a console, or performance computer. The most basic units of this type provide information regarding time, distance, speed, and calories burned. Slightly more advanced consoles, also cover values such a strokes pe minute, pulse, and wattage. They also include preset workout programs, combining various values.
Ascertain your spending budget and adhere to it
Making decisions on how much you want to shell out on a rowing machine will help you trim down to a few models to pick from.
Adhering to your budget is also vital since it will prevent you from overspending on a unit you “fell in love with” since it has the most innovative and latest technology.
The rule of the game is, the better the quality, the higher the price, so keep this in mind when planning your budget.
Super tip: if you are still unsure on how much to spend on a rowing machine below is a dirty and quick rule of thumb:
Note that this is just a general rule of the thumb since there is superior quality equipment depending on what is perfect for your needs within the mid and low range categories. Finding those though will entail you doing further research.
Fixed or foldable
There are two kinds of rowing devices for home applications; one is fixed type, and the other one is folding type.
The folding type rowing equipment takes less space compared to fixed one that consumes a lot of space.
According to Consumer reports, the fixed ones are more long lasting.
But for home use the folding ones are normally preferred.
Therefore, predefine the type of rower you need to purchase; fixed or folding.
These gadgets are light in weight and noise efficient.
Magnetic resistance type supplies adjustable resistance mechanism which makes rowing activity more efficient.
If you`re searching for top quality machine that delivers fantastic resistance, then this kid resistance machine is the best choice for you
Rowing Machines and Weight Loss
Comparing the rowing machine to the stationary bike, the rowing machine is superior in terms of calories burned. Yet, it’s important to note that the stationary bike is also easy on the joints and only includes the lower body. So, if you have any upper body problems then the stationary bike will be a much better choice. In 30 minutes of cycling 12-1miles per hour, an 125lb individual will burn around 225-250 calories.
Rowing Machine HIIT
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great style of training to burn fat, build toned muscle, and improve cardiovascular systems as the same time. Challenging HIIT workouts help you get to that state of EPOC and take advantage of the after-burn effect. The ability to change the resistance of the rowing machine at will means that the equipment is ideal for this method of exercise.
The beauty of a rowing machine HIIT is it offers an optimal workout in a minimal amount of time. It may sound too good to be true but you can really make a huge difference to your overall fitness in just 20-30 minutes.
Give this rowing machine HIIT sprints workout a try if you’re looking for a good fat burning workout. Remember to start off every workout with a 5-minute warm up and cool down.
Magnetic Resistant Rowing Machine
A magnetic rowing machine has a magnetic brake system that provides the required resistance. They are the quietest of all types of rowers. The resistance is adjustable, and the rowing action is very smooth. They are typically less expensive than an Air Resistant rower. Most models come with digital displays that accurately show the distance covered, calories burned and other data. Magnetic rowers are great for a home gym and a solid workout.
Air Resistant Rowing Machine
Air resistant rowing machines are the most commonly used and preferred by those who want a quality rowing workout and also the chose type by professionals. Air resistant rowing machines are considered to be the most like actual rowing and are durable. Most models come with a digital display that shows workout data from heart beat to calories burnt.
Water Resistant Rowing Machine
The distinct feature in this type of rowing machine is an enclosed tank of water with paddles suspended inside. Most models are constructed with wooden frames which make them the most attractive models available. Water Resistant rowers are noisier than Magnetic Resistant type machines but not as noisy as Air Resistance rowing machines. They have longer seat rails compared to other types, resulting in bigger footprints. They are the premium rowing machine for both experience and look.
LifeSpan Fitness RW1000
The lifespan Fitness RW1000 is a sturdy magnetic rowing machine with various resistance settings. It is suitable for individuals of average fitness levels and features a useful fitness monitor to accurately measure the training statistics. It has quality features for overall workout requirements and is one of the more affordable rowing machine.
The machine has a long seat rail but it can be easily folded and kept away when not working out. It also has wheels that make it easy to move the machine around. It is very easy and comfortable to operate. The handle is straight and padded, for easy grip and comfort. The rowing action is very smooth. The seat glides over the rail effortlessly. The LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 won the Gear Awards Seal of Excellence in 200for being quiet, ease of operation, smooth and comfortable (read more).
Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine
The Kettler Favorit rowing machine is an above average hydraulic rowing machine. It is manufactured by a reputed German Company and is a bit more expensive compared to other hydraulic rowers. It comes with a warranty period of – years. It includes a pulse rate monitor and high tech fitness monitor. The Kettler Favorit features adjustable resistance and foldable units.
The rower has two arms that can be set to different resistance level as per requirement. This can be easily done by adjusting the piston on the machine arms. The fitness monitor is fitted between the footrests. It shows the temperature of the room before and after workout. It also displays the distance covered, and the amount of calories burnt. The screen does not have backlit features; the exercise regimen must be carried out in a well-lighted room.
The frame is built with high quality carbon steel and is powder coated so it has a tough exterior. The seat is heavily padded, wide and contoured, so a user can sit and workout for a long time. The machine has a smooth gliding action and high quality rollers roll underneath the seat on the seat-rail. Additionally, the seat includes sealed ball bearings, hence, no lubrication is required. The handles have extra thickness on the handgrip to protect the hands against blisters.
Water Resistance Rowing Machines
Designed to imitate the experience of real rowing, intended for serious, experienced users. Using large water-filled tanks and internal paddles they create resistance as one rows. Draw backs include them being toward the noisier end of the spectrum as well as being expensive. However, there are often made of polished wood and can look more attractive and less functional than other models.
Rowing machines Vs. Other Exercise Equipment
By exercise equipment we are basically referring to other cardio machines that you would often expect to find at the gym. Such as exercise bikes, treadmills and step machines. This isn’t relevant if you have a specific goal or training purpose that you are focused on. For example if you are training to cycle across Europe then an exercise bike is obviously advantageous! Instead we are thinking about general fitness and health benefits.
The ConceptModel D is the standard among all rowers, from beginners to professional athletes. To be blunt, the Conceptis the only ergometer seen as acceptable by the entirety of the rowing community globally. You’ll find this in countless gyms and fitness centers. Engineered by a former Olympic rower, there is no comparison when it comes to the most widely recognized and used professional rowing machine in the entire world. Construction: Aluminum front & steel rear Resistance: Air Rowing Belt: Nickel Plated Steel Chain Display: Backlight, USB drive, distance, speed, pace, calories, watts, Bluetooth wireless heart rate monitoring Storage & Mobility: Separates into pieces. Caster wheels Max. User Weight: 500 lbs.
Very lightweight but extremely sturdy. This can be used hours a day by multiple people. The chain is not too loud. You may notice a little bit of noise from the air resistance fan, but it’s not loud enough to be an annoyance.
Cheaper exercise machines typically use magnetic resistance, but the ConceptModel D is air resistance only. The advantage air resistance has over magnetic resistance is that it allows you to begin your row stroke at one level of force. As you build momentum, you end your row stroke with the flywheel moving fast – this makes it easier to pull the last bit out of the flywheel (at this point, your arms would feel like they’re on fire and ready to give out due to magnetic resistance’s constant pressure). Air resistance gives you that feeling of accomplishment when you pull back all the way.
Magnetic Resistance Rowers
Magnetic rowing machines use Electro Magnetics which help to give you a smooth rowing a
The rowing stroke on Magnetic Resistance Rowers is full and fluid and the resistance is easily adjusted to simulate a softer or harder row.
Air Resistance Rowers
Air resistance rowing machines have their resistance controlled by how hard you row and by the pace you row at. You have a lot more control over your workout with an Air Resistance Rowing Machine and this makes it especially ideal for more serious rowers. Worth noting is that they can be quiet noisy machines, especially when compared with Magnetic Resistance Rowers and might not be suitable for shared and confined spaces. not actually control the resistance of these machines though, that is purely controlled by how hard you pull.
With the Concept Rowing Machine as an example, with the Damper set between levels 1-4, the indoor rower feels like a slick, small racing boat. As you increase the Damper Settings, the indoor rower starts to feel more like a slow and heavy rowing boat.
Good Air Resistance Rowing Machines tend to be the choice of professional boat rowers but can attract quite a high price.
Console & Workout Feedback
Your options for workout feedback are very much dependent on what your budget is.
At the more more modest end of the market, you can expect a basic LCD Console which displays speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
For most this will probably be enough, but if you want extra functionality then you need to consider some of the more mid-range or higher budget models.
Using the ConceptModel D as an example again, this rowing machine has a PMtype monitor which will display all the rowing performance data that you need. It also has Heart Rate Monitoring compatability, individual user settings, a log card which can be accessed by USB cable and some fun games which can add something a bit different to your workout!
Other higher end rowers have their own performance monitors which carry out similar functions but as general rule, you pay for this functionality.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Rowers wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Rowers
- №1 — Little Moppet Rower
- №2 — Soozier Adjustable Fitness Home Workout Rower Glider Machine
- №3 — Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5