Fitness

The 7 Best Home Rowing Machines – [2020 Reviews]

Cardiovascular exercise has an innumerable amount of benefits for both the mind and the body. There is a common misconception that to perform cardio exercise, you have to be on your feet (running, elliptical, etc.).

Sure, you could go swimming, but what about the days when you don’t want to leave your house? We have the perfect solution for you: a rowing machine. We’ve spent over the past month reviewing and testing several  models to bring you the best rowing machines available today!

Best Home Rowing Machines

 Stamina ATS Air Rower – Rowing MachineConcept2 Model D Indoor Rowing MachineStamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower
Resistance MethodAir ResistanceAir ResistanceMagnetic
Dimensions6.5 x 1.5 feet9 x 2 feet7 x 2.5 feet
FoldingYesYesYes
Customer Ratings3.8 / 5.0 Stars4.9 / 5.0 Stars3.9 / 5.0 Stars

Also see: Best Rowing Machine Comparison Table


Quick Answer: The 7 Best-Rated Home Rowing Machines

  1. Stamina ATS Air Rower – Rowing Machine
  2. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
  3. Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower
  4. Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
  5. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood
  6. Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine
  7. XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower

Home Rowing Machine Reviews

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Stamina ATS Air Rower – Rowing Machine at a Glance:

  • Resistance method: air
  • Dimensions: 6.5’ x 1.5’
  • Folds up for storage
  • Weight: 50 lbs
  • Weight limit: 250 lbs
  • Built-in workout monitor
  • LCD display screen 
  • Pivoting foot plates
  • Adjustable nylon straps
  • Built-in wheels

Up first on our list of recommendations is this all-around incredible air resistance rowing machine from Stamina. This is the Stamina ATS Air Rower and it is packed with great features and benefits. This air rowing machine uses dynamic air resistance to give you an easily adjustable workout. 

Rather than manually adjusting a setting to determine how much resistance you are getting, you simply row harder or softer to get your desired resistance. This can be a great feature since it means the resistance always matches your pace. A multi-functioning workout monitor features an easy-to-read LCD display screen. 

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The monitor tracks things like your speed, your distance, and the calories you’ve burned throughout your workout. The Stamina ATS Air Rower is designed for comfort too. The padded handle grip reduces hand strain and potential slipping. The padded seat slides up and down the frame with ease. 

The foot plates are sturdy with easily adjustable nylon straps. They also pivot freely to help keep your feet and body in a comfortable and ergonomic position as you row.

A durable nylon strap connected to the handle of the air rower provides a very smooth and steady rowing stroke. The body of the Stamina ATS Rower folds up for easier storage. 

It even includes wheels built into one end that allow you to easily push it into a closet or just the corner of a room or wherever you want it when its not in use. A weight limit of 250 lbs works for many users, but heavier users should consider another option.

This rower is most ideal for users between 4’9” and 6’4” in height. This is a great rower for most users and even comes at a super affordable price as one of the few rowers within our recommendations that comes in under $300. 

The Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 is a cool little machine that may not look like that much at first, but definitely delivers results.

If you’re on a tight budget or aren’t quite sure yet if you’ll enjoy rowing, then this should grab your attention. Through use of wind-resistance, you’ll get a low-impact yet effective workout each time.

Despite being so incredibly affordable, the model comes with everything you need to burn some calories and get your heart rate going.

The built-in LCD monitor comes with various functions so you’re able to easily track your progress and performance: time spent, calories burned, speed, and distance traveled are all displayed.

For longer sessions, you’ll love the upholstered, padded seat which will keep you feeling comfy from beginning to end.

The adjustable footplates and padded rowing handle only add onto this, ensuring you’re always in the ideal position and blister-free. The seat rail is nice and smooth so you can adjust your seat height, too.

Finally, to help save space, you can simply fold it up and stow it away in a closet or behind a door when you’re not using it! To help facilitate transport, there are built-in wheels and floor protectors to keep your floors in pristine shape.


Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine at a Glance:

  • Resistance method: air 
  • Dimensions: 8’ x 2’
  • Separates into 2 pieces for storage
  • Weight: 70 lbs
  • Weight limit: 500 lbs
  • Built-in workout monitor
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Works with Concept2 mobile app
  • Built-in workouts including games
  • Built-in caster wheels

Here is another excellent rowing machine that uses air resistance. It is a good bit different than the previous air rower, however. First off, it’s a little bigger and heavier than the Stamina ATS rowing machine. The larger size is due to greater versatility and high durability with excellent materials throughout. 

Even so, if you want a particularly compact option, this might not be the best choice. It does come apart into two pieces and includes built-in caster wheels for more convenient storage, though. A weight limit of 500 lbs is twice the limit of the Stamina ATS. This means it works safely for a wider variety of users. 

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What really makes this rowing machine special is the built-in workout monitor and Bluetooth compatibility. The workout monitor tracks things like your distance, speed, calories burned, and more. It also allows you to choose from a variety of built-in workout programs including even some games to make working out more fun. 

You can also choose to just free row when you prefer. You can download the Concept2 mobile app and connect your rowing machine directly to your phone through Bluetooth for on-the-go workout tracking and interactive features that help you stay on track with your fitness. 

Of course, this option is one of the most expensive rowers of all of our recommendations coming in at more than 3 times the cost of the Stamina ATS rowing machine. It is a really valuable choice, but simply won’t fit well within everyone’s budget. 

If you have no problem with spending more to receive top quality, then give the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine a good look. The price isn’t for nothing either – it’s actually the same model used by pro athletes to train for huge events – even the Olympics! Needless to say, if you are serious about your results, this is the best option.

Coming in either Light Gray or Black, both look sleek and top quality, going with any other equipment you may already have in your home gym. A 14-inch seat height and adjustable footrests mean that it will work well for most users while the ergonomic handle reduces the chances of hand cramps and discomfort.

Made with aluminum and steel, it’s relatively lightweight yet incredibly durable. The 500-pound user weight capacity and 5-year frame warranty speaks to that. If you ever need to transport it, it easily splits up into 2 pieces for easy storage, though caster wheels make it mobile in seconds.

The unique flywheel on the Concept2 lets you have full control over the resistance, choose between 10 different damper levels, all while experiencing minimal noise. Smooth operation lets you focus on your performance instead of any bumps along the way.

Thanks to a beautiful, easy-to-read display and cutting-edge technology, you’ll have fun measuring your progress. The reliable workout data shows time, distance, intervals and more. The backlit LCD display is always crystal clear, no matter the lighting conditions of your home.

Thanks to wireless Bluetooth and ANT+ compatibility, you can easily sync it to heart rate monitors, apps, and much more. In fact, you can even save your workouts to a USB drive! With an array of fun games included, you’ll never be lacking motivation.


Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower at a Glance:

  • Resistance method: Magnetic
  • Dimensions: 7’ x 2.5’
  • Folds up for storage
  • Weight: 75 lbs
  • Built-in workout monitor
  • LCD display screen
  • Built-in workouts
  • Built-in caster wheels 
  • Pivoting foot plates

This next rowing machine is another great pick from Stamina. This is the Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower. While it is the same brand as our first pick, the two rowing machines don’t share many common features. The biggest difference is the resistance type, of course. 

The Avari is a magnetic rower as opposed to the air resistance that the ATS uses. This means it is quieter and that you manually adjust the resistance level rather than the resistance simply increasing the harder you row.

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The footprint of this magnetic rower machine falls right between that of the first two picks – just a little more compact than the Connect2 rower and a little bigger than the first Stamina model. 

As can be expected with magnetic rowers, this one is heavier than either of the air rowers we talked about above. Still, it folds up and features built-in wheels to help make storage as easy as possible.

A built-in workout monitor features an LCD display screen for convenient workout monitoring and like the Concept2 rower, this monitor features built-in workouts as well. 

A nice padded seat and pivoting foot plates help keep you in a comfortable position throughout your workout. When it comes to cost, this is a nice medium-priced rowing machine.

It is about double the cost of the first Stamina model on our list, but still a good bit less experience expensive than our priciest picks!

The Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower is unique from most others out there, due to the fact that it is programmable (which you probably realized from the name).

Coming pre-set with 6 different cardio options, 1 heartrate setting, and a manual option, you have full control over resistance and time.

If that doesn’t suit you, you can also create 4 custom workouts for yourself and save them so they’re always available for you.

Coming in either Black/Silver or White/Silver, both look sleek and fit in well with already-existing home gyms/workout areas.

To change up your workout program, use the backlit InTouch Fitness LCD monitor, which is one of the easiest to read currently. Simply press the up or down arrows to adjust the settings to your liking.

They’ve also thought to include a heart rate chest strap, so you can track your heart rate for the duration of your workout for the most efficient settings possible.

To ensure your comfort throughout your entire body, the rowing machine features a foam-padded handle to allow for excellent and secure grip, a molded, ergonomic seat, and foot plates with adjustable straps.

Overall, it’s perhaps the best magnetic resistance model we’ve had the pleasure of using.


Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine at a Glance:

  • Resistance method: magnetic
  • Dimensions: 6.8’ x 1.6’
  • Folds up for storage
  • Weight: 55 lbs
  • Weight limit: 250 lbs
  • Built-in workout monitor
  • 8 levels of resistance 
  • Built-in transportation wheels 
  • Knob for adjusting resistance 
  • Pivoting foot plates
  • Padded seat and handlebar

Here is another magnetic rowing machine from Sunny Health & Fitness. This magnetic rower is actually our least expensive pick and comes at an incredible value perfect for those on a tight budget.

It is more compact than the Stamina magnetic rowing machine and almost as small as the Stamina air rower in our top spot. 

It’s also 20 pounds lighter than the Stamina magnetic rower. The 250-lbs weight limit is on the lower side but still works fine for many users.

This model does fold up and include wheels for easier storing. Pivoting foot plates, a padded seat, and padded handlebar all help to increase your overall comfort while rowing. 

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You can easily adjust the magnetic resistance of this rower with a convenient knob that has 8 different levels of resistance. The built-in workout monitor on this one is a lot simpler than others and doesn’t feature any built-in workout options.

It does track calories burned, time rowing, and stroke count though. Considering the low price, the more simplistic monitor is a worthwhile trade-off for many. 

Sunny Health and Fitness is one of the most popular brands in the exercise equipment world, due to consistently producing quality yet keeping their products at an affordable price point.

Their Magnetic Rowing Machine is exemplary of that, improving your fitness while keeping your wallet padded. Let’s take a look at what else this machine offers.

With a magnetic tension system, you have up to 8 different levels of resistance to choose from. This allows you room to improve upon your physical fitness without reaching plateaus, while also working great for “hills” or interval workouts. Simply twist the dial and it will get harder or easier.

To track your progress, smack dab in the middle is a large LCD console which shows time passed, count, calories, total count, and scan so you never had to guess how your workout went.

Ensuring it works with just about any rower, the machine comes with an extra-long, 48-inch slide rail so no matter what your height is, you’ll be able to use it without any problems.

Non-slip foot pedals will ensure you have solid grip even during the most intense sessions, while the foot straps help keep them in place so you can focus on rowing and not anything else.

Foam grip handlebars also keep your hands wrapped tight around them without causing any discomfort.

Lastly, when you’re all done for the day, built-in wheels make it easy to roll it from one room to the next and lift it out of the way for storage.


WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood at a Glance:

  • Resistance Method: Water
  • Dimensions: 7 x 2 feet
  • Folding: No
  • Weight: 117 Pounds
  • Weight limit: 1000 lbs
  • Built-in workout monitor
  • LCD display screen 

Now this is a really impressive and interesting rowing machine. This incredible piece of equipment best recreates the feeling of real rowing with water resistance! It uses a specialized tank filled with water and blades within that to make it so that you’re actually rowing against water rather than simulating the feeling with air or magnets. 

Not only does it feel more realistic, but it sounds realistic with a soothing and invigorating rush of water with each stroke you take. This is the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine.

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Not only does it use water resistance, but it’s also made from beautifully stained natural wood. This gives it a jaw-dropping aesthetic while also adding to the natural feel of your rowing experience. 

Of course, this is a very heavy option at over 100 lbs. The footprint is similar to other rowers on our list but this water rower doesn’t fold up. Instead, it stores upright for greater convenience and space-saving.

An attractive LCD display screen shows built-in workout monitoring including heart rate tracking, workout intensity, calories burned, stroke rate, and more. 

Thanks to top-notch materials and durable design, a very high weight limit of 1000 lbs works for practically any user. The major downfall with this unbelievable piece of workout equipment is unsurprisingly the cost. It is over $1000 and by far the most expensive option of all our recommendations.

There is no doubt that you get what you pay for with this rower, though. So, if it’s in your budget and you’re really serious about your fitness, this is certainly the best pick for you. 

If you love the feeling of real outdoor rowing and have been unable to find a machine that mimics that feel, then we understand. It’s actually quite challenging to find one that does, though the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine has you covered.

Instead of air or magnetic resistance, this beautiful model uses a water flywheel, so you have water resistance to work with even though you’re hanging out in the comfort of your own home.

Another huge selling point of the rowing machine is its looks. We were hard-pressed to find one that could even come close to matching this model’s visual aesthetics.

With an Ash Wood build that’s sanded and satin-finished, it’s complimented by a bright blue water tank down by the feet, which is fun to watch the water through.

The wood not only serves for looks, but also longevity while also absorbing the vibration of your rowing motions so you can work out at all hours of the day and night without disturbing anyone.

The resistance is quite a bit different from many other models, as it’s self-regulated instead of adjustable by a knob or settings on a screen. However, this also adds to that “natural” feel.

Not to fret, though, it does come with a Series 4 monitor to easily track your workout through heart rate states, your stroke rate, among others.


Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine at a Glance:

  • Resistance Method: Magnetic
  • Dimensions: 5” x 21.5” x 21.5”
  • Folding: Yes
  • Weight: 63 Pounds
  • Weight limit: 250 lbs
  • Built-in workout monitor
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Works with MyCloudFitness mobile app
  • 14 levels of resistance 
  • Front foot pads for additional standing exercises 
  • Built-in wheels 

From Fitness Reality, here is the third and final magnetic rowing machine on our list of top picks. This magnetic rower is very affordable at about the same cost as the Stamina ATS air rower.

It also has some really interesting and beneficial unique features that set it apart from other picks and really amp up the overall value. 

The main thing that makes this rower so different from other rowing machines is that it is designed for a variety of workouts rather than only being able to be used strictly for rowing.

On the front of the machine, you can see front foot pads. These provide you a stable place to plant your feet while doing standing exercises. 

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Unlike other rowers, the handlebar on this rowing machine is designed to be pulled in different directions. This allows you to complete a variety of standing exercises using the resistance of the handlebar such as curls, reverse grip curls, front and side raises, triceps extensions, and more. 

This allows for a more complete workout experience with just the one piece of equipment. It also has 14 resistance levels compared to just 8 that the Sunny Health & Fitness features.

Wheels and the ability to fold up make for easier storage. Like the Concept2 rower, this one is even Bluetooth compatible and works with the MyCloudFitness mobile app. It’s hard to find an option with more value packed in than this Fitness Reality magnetic rower.

The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine has earned the title of “Amazon’s Choice” for various reasons.

We’ve used countless rowing machines, but this one continues to be one of the most versatile machines. If you’re looking for a full-body workout, look no further.

The 77-pound model may not look very powerful but looks can be deceiving. With the ability to fold away easily, it’s also light enough to easily move from room-to-room.

While you can expect it to offer up your typical rowing motions, you can also perform a large selection of exercises. They’ve been clever and found a way to let you use the handlebars as a weighted workout machine.

Perform curls, upright rows, bent over rows, front raises, shrugs, triceps extensions, standing shoulder presses and more. If you decide to take advantage of these features, you’ll be able to address the length of your back, lats, traps, shoulders, biceps/triceps and more.

To ensure you’re comfortable during long rowing sessions or when handling heavier weights, the handlebar comes thickly padded with a cushy foam. It even forms to the individual shape of your palms and fingers to eliminate the risk of blisters.

Foot pedals are slip-resistant, including adjustable strap rings to help more efficiently place your bodyweight. As these rings pivot, you’ll always get a safe and natural movement and greater range of motion without worry of straining your muscles.

The seat is similar to the previous model as it’s large and contoured to work with the shape of your body.

As if that weren’t enough already, this model is also only Bluetooth rower on the market! Connect to the free My Cloud Fitness app to track your workout details and fitness goals all from the convenience of your smartphone or tablet.

The built-in smartphone holder will provide a clear view of the screen while keeping it safe and secure.


XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower at a Glance:

  • Resistance Method: Water
  • Dimensions: 9” x 20.7” x 31.5”
  • Folding: Yes
  • Weight: 77 Pounds
  • Weight limit: 300 lbs
  • Built-in workout monitor
  • LCD display screen
  • Built-in wheels 
  • 6 levels of resistance
  • Built-in workouts including games

Finally, our last pick is one more water rowing machine. This option, just like the WaterRower rowing machine, has a built-in water tank and flywheel that provides a more realistic feel and sound to your rowing experience. 

However, more traditional rowing machine materials like aluminum and steel keep the machine much lighter than the WaterRower and also allow it to have a much more affordable price at about half the cost of the wooden rowing machine from WaterRower. It’s on the smaller side in regard to the footprint and has a decent weight limit of 300 lbs. 

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Just like the other water resistance rower, this machine stands up for better storage. The 6 levels of resistance are adjustable by lowering or increasing the amount of water in the tank.

A workout monitor with a nice LCD display screen shows you comprehensive monitoring and built-in workouts that even include games. 

Last but certainly not least, is the XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower. Judging off looks alone, this model is clearly living somewhere in the future.

The cool-looking rowing machine isn’t just about appearances, though – it’s also consistently one of the highest-rated for an array of reasons.

As you can probably deduce from its title, it also uses water for resistance – much like the WaterRower Natural. Although you’re dealing with water, you still have a solid amount of control over resistance.

In fact, you can row at 6 different resistance levels, depending on how much water you’ve filled the container up with. If you’re living in an apartment or smaller space, then you’ll also enjoy how simple and quick it is to fold up and stow away when it’s not in use.

The large 5.5-inch LCD screen was one of our favorites, not only because of how clear the display is but because of how many stats it offers up.

Stats displayed include total time, 500M time, calories burned, distance traveled, strokes, strokes per minute, date, room temperature, and clock.

You’ll also get some motivating modes like Race Against Computer, Time Countdown, Distance Countdown, Strokes Countdown, and Calories Countdown. What more could you want?

We all know that if something is painful or uncomfortable, we’re simply not going to use it. This ultra-comfy machine features ergonomically designed rowing handles which are contoured and padded to offer a natural feel.

The seat is large and contoured, so you can move around without falling off while moving with more confidence and power. The numbered, flexing pedals offer a more natural movement of your body, fitting all sizes of users and keeping you in with large Velcro straps.


Home Rowing Machines Comparison Table

  PriceResistance MethodDimensionsFoldingCustomer Ratings
Stamina ATS Air Rower – Rowing Machine$379.00Air Resistance6.5 x 1.5 feetYes3.8 / 5.0 Stars
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine$2,198.76Air Resistance9 x 2 feetYes4.9 / 5.0 Stars
Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic RowerPrice not availableMagnetic7 x 2.5 feetYes3.9 / 5.0 Stars
Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine$246.95Magnetic6.75 x 1.5 feetYes4.2 / 5.0 Stars
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood$1,395.00Water7 x 2 feetNo4.5 / 5.0 Stars
Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine$319.00Magnetic5” x 21.5” x 21.5”Yes4.4 / 5.0 Stars
XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower$541.27Water9” x 20.7” x 31.5”Yes4.4 / 5.0 Stars

How to Choose the Best Rowing Machine

A home rowing machine is a great investment into your health and fitness. It has lots of benefits and is simple enough for almost anyone to master efficiently. The problem you may run into though, is which rowing machine is the best option for you specifically. 

Types of Rowing Machines

There are many varying features and specifications among home rowing machines. It is important to really consider your wants and needs versus the options available to find your perfect home rower.

We have broken down what you should be looking for in the best home rower based on your specific situation, needs, and wants when it comes to a rowing machine. 

Resistance Type

As you can tell from the machines we’ve covered, they all vary in terms of resistance types. Some use magnetic, some air, and some water. Let’s discuss each one so you can make an educated decision and start further narrowing your options down.

The first thing you really want to consider before you start shopping for a home rowing machine is which type of resistance is right for you. There are 4 kinds of rowing machines but we have chosen to include only 3 of the types within our recommendations and will go into detail about each type below. 

Air Resistance

Air is going to typically be the cheapest option and also the most lightweight. The downside here is that they’re usually the loudest as they utilize flywheels.

Rowers that use air resistance feature a flywheel that spins as you pull on the handlebar. This causes the fan blades to spin that must force air out of the way as they do so. This force creates the resistance of air rowing machines. 

One of the cool things about these is that they are dynamic. Basically, the harder you row, the more resistance you will get from the rower. These are relatively noisy and come in a wide variety of prices for almost any budget.

Magnetic Resistance

Magnetic machines are often the most convenient, as they weight a normal amount or are very lightweight and have a great amount of control over resistance levels.

Additionally, noise is not an issue at all, making them perfect for home use at any time of day or night.

Magnetic resistance is another very common resistance method used for home rowing machines. These rowers feature a magnetic braking system that gives the machine the resistance needed for your workout. 

These are very smooth and quiet rowing machines. You set your resistance level manually rather than it simply increasing with the power of your rowing. These are also available in a wide variety of prices. 

Water Resistance

Water is obviously going to be the most “natural” or “authentic” rowing experience from your own home.

However, these machines are typically going to weigh more than the other types as you have to actually have water in the machine for it to work properly.

While not a rule, water resistance is oftentimes more difficult to regulate with precision in terms of different resistance levels.

Some rowing machines are made to simulate a natural rowing experience as close as possible.

These water rowing machines feature a flywheel like air resistance rowing machines – except instead of using air for resistance, they use water within an enclosed tank.

They feel and sound very natural. They also have a really nice aesthetic to them. These are the most expensive type of rower, however. 

Hydraulic Resistance

The 4th type of rowing machine is a hydraulic rower. These don’t really allow for natural stroke motion and therefore we don’t consider them a worthwhile option compared to other home rower types that are available.

Resistance Levels / Adjustability

Going along with the type of resistance you choose are the resistance levels or adjustability of your home rower. With air rowers, dynamic resistance that changes automatically as you row can be very beneficial. Some air rowers offer additional adjustability that basically allows you to change the range of resistance you are in. 

So, while they remain dynamic and increase resistance with increased force, they also start at a lower or higher resistance and then go up as you increase the force of your row. Water rowers are very similar to this because they also use a flywheel and therefore have that dynamic resistance to them where the harder you row, the higher the resistance is. 

You can also adjust the resistance range for this dynamic resistance by reducing or increasing the amount of water in the tank of the rower. This is where magnetic rowers differ more from other options. Their resistance is based off of magnetic force. So, it isn’t affected by your own force. Intead, you adjust it to your desired resistance. Different magnetic rowers have different ranges of adjustability here. 

Size

Depending on where you plan to use your home rower, the size of it can be pretty important. For many users, they have only a limited amount of space available for a home rowing machine.

The footprint of a rower can vary by a good few feet. So, it’s a really good idea to measure the space you want to place your home rower in and compare it to the dimensions of the options you’re considering before purchasing. 

There’s two things to take into consideration here: the size of your body and the available space you have in your home to use for your new rowing machine.

Rowing machines vary in length, so if you’re taller you should opt for one that will adjust to suit your height.

Also think about how much you weigh and make sure that the machine you have your eye on will be able to support it. Weight limits vary greatly, depending on the manufacturer and model.

Storage

Many rowing machines are designed for easier storage. This allows them to take up less space when not in use. Some options fold, some options come apart into more than one piece, and some simply stand upright when not in use. Think about what option may work best for your space. Also looking for options with built-in wheels can be very helpful for moving your rower in and out of storage as necessary. 

User Limits

It wouldn’t be very helpful or safe to have a rowing machine that you don’t meet the user specifications for. Each rowing machine has a weight limit of what that rower can safely support. Many rowers have weight limits of 250 lbs. This works great for lots of users, but if you are above the 250-lbs mark, don’t worry. 

Other rowing machines go up to 500-1000 lbs for the weight limit. This guarantees basically anyone can find a good rower that works for them. Some rowers also give recommended height ranges to show what heights they work best for. These are also worth considering if you aren’t pretty close to average height range. 

Display Screen/Workout Monitor

Most rowing machines feature some sort of display screen that displays workout monitoring. The complexity of workout monitoring varies a lot between different rower models. Some count only things like calories burned and time rowing. 

Others give you lots of information like speed, distance, stroke rate, heart rate, and more. The size of the screen can also vary quite a bit, so that is also worth your consideration as you are shopping for a home rowing machine.

While this doesn’t necessarily affect performance of the rowing machine, itself, it can affect how motivated you are. Stats are actually a huge part of staying motivated during cardio workouts.

Many people enjoy having accurate stats to track as they become more physically fit, as well as during their individual rowing sessions. Perhaps you want to only burn 200 calories and move on with your day.

If you don’t have a display screen, how will you know how many you’ve burned? Improving our body composition is a science, and real stats are needed to accurately track this.

However, not every screen is the same. Some are more dated-looking, grayscale screens which only show the very basics. Others are full-color LCD, backlit screens which most of us have become accustomed to in our day and age.

As an alternative or addition, there are some machines with capabilities, letting you can track all of your stats through a free app on your smartphone or even play games with others around the world!

Bluetooth Connectivity

Certain home rowers even feature Bluetooth connectivity. This means that the built-in workout monitor is able to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth to your phone. These rowers generally have a specific mobile app that they work with. This lets you compare workouts, see your progress, and just stay on top of your fitness even on the go. 

Built-In Workouts

Certain rowers with more complex workout monitors include built-in workout programs. Many users find this more motivating and beneficial than simply just rowing freely.

It can give you more specifics goals and help you stick to your fitness regime better. Some even include games to make working out more entertaining for you!

Materials

What your rower is made from is certainly worth taking into consideration before choosing which home rower is best for you. Most options are made of materials like aluminum and steel. They’re strong and relatively lightweight and inexpensive. 

However, some high-end rowing machines feature a wooden construction. This adds weight and definitely adds cost to your rower. Still though, they are highly durable and very strong. The fact that they look stunning is a worthwhile bonus for many. 

Comfort Features

You surely want a comfortable rowing experience, so choosing a rower with good comfort features is a must. Look for things like a nice cushioned seat and padded handlebar.

You also want to take into consideration things like pivoting foot plates that keep your full body in an ergonomic and comfortable position throughout each stroke. 

Versatility

Finally, choose how much versatility you want with your rowing machine. Most rowing machines are designed just for one simple workout – rowing. They don’t generally have a lot of versatility in this sense. 

However, there are options available that will assist you in working out in other ways. Our pick from Fitness Reality above actually features standing foot plates for a variety of exercises. This versatility really increases the overall value of the rower.

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to read through all of the best rowing machines on the market today, do you know which one you’ll be using in your home?

If not, then it’s important we take a look at the vital questions to ask yourself before you decide on a model. We know how difficult it can be, so we’ve decided to go ahead and write up the comprehensive buying guide, below.

By the time you’re done reading, there will be no doubt which is the one for you!

Connectivity

That kind of goes hand-in-hand with our last point. Some may not care much about the more “techy” features, though many people enjoy being able to connect their smart devices to their rowing machines.

While they’re going to cost some extra cash, it’s worth it in many ways. You’ll be able to track and see your workout results. There aren’t many models out there that come with Bluetooth, but it’s more than worth spending the extra money to get one for your home.

They allow you to connect to your smart devices to see your results in real time or track them whenever you feel like it. This makes for better goal setting and can also help to keep you accountable.

In addition, there are some which let you workout in other “worlds”, rowing alongside friends or strangers around the world!

Comfort

When it comes to working out, there’s always some discomfort involved. However, this discomfort should stem from your forcing your body to do work – not because the machine you’re using is causing it due to poor design or fit.

There are a few different points to consider in terms of comfort in rowing machines: the footplates, seat, and handlebar.

Footplate

These should always feature a non-slip surface and ideally grooves to keep your feet in place, no matter how grueling the workout is.

Additionally, they should be big enough to fit your feet on there without risking them falling or sliding off. There are some which pivot, which is ideal in terms of natural movement and motions.

Consequently, this will also reduce the chance of injury while allowing you to move easier to have better results.

Seat

The seat should be wide enough to provide the support you need while being able to move around without having to continuously adjust yourself or move to avoid slipping off or losing your balance.

Contoured seats will help to reduce soreness and keep you planted in place, working with the natural shape of your body.

Handlebars

As you’re going to be holding onto these the entire time, you don’t want them to cause sore spots or chafe your hands.

The best models will have handlebars covered in a thick, pliable foam material to protect your hands and fingers from the hard bar inside. Contoured bars help with this, too, and can help you grip onto the bar more securely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I decide which type of rowing machine is best for meeting my goals?

A: First, you need to establish what your actual goals and needs are. After you’ve planned this out, consider these points:

  1. How much control would you like to have ideally over particular settings?
  2. How smooth do you need the machine to be?
  3. How realistic do you want the motion to be?
  4. What kind of technology you need as far as the display/stats go.

Q: Which rowing machines are the quietest?

A: If you are going for quiet, then the magnetic resistance rowing machines are going to be the best or you. Even if someone is in the next room, they may not hear anything or realize you’re working out! Listen to music, watch Netflix, or even chat on the phone – the noise isn’t going to be loud enough to disrupt anything else that is going on.

Q: Are rowing machines meant to be portable enough for storage?

A: As most are made for at-home use, they’re going to take into consideration the possibility that you’ll need to stow it away when you’re not using it and lack a dedicated home gym or room to keep it in.

Just keep in mind that water resistance rowing machines typically do not offer this benefit as they’ll have a fixed wooden frame that cannot be folded up and do not have transport wheels.

Q: Will the budget-friendly model, Sunny Rowing Machine, accommodate a man that’s 6’2” tall?

A: Yes, it will – so long as he’s under the 250-pound weight limit and doesn’t have disproportionately long legs. In fact, he’ll even have a few inches to spare so he’s not cramped and can move naturally and without restriction.

Q: Will a rowing workout machine help me build my core strength?

A: Absolutely – in fact, rowing is one of the best machines to build up your balance and core strength. Your abdominals, obliques, and back muscles will all get toned up, while improving your cardiovascular health.

Q: Does a rowing machine provide a full workout?

Yes! A rowing machine gives you a nice full-body workout. It covers almost all of your muscles and does so while remaining very low-impact on your joints. 

Q: Are water rowing machines actually better than air or magnetic rowing machines?

Water resistance rowing machines are not necessarily better than other options. It depends a lot on personal preference.

Water rowers provide a more accurate feeling and sounding rowing experience, but you can still get an excellent rowing workout from other machines with different methods of resistance. 

Buying Tips

#1: Always keep your personal safety in mind before anything else.

Before starting any new exercise regime, make sure to consult your general physician if you’re pregnant or recently gave birth, if you’re recovering from an orthopedic injury, or muscle strain, etc.

If you have any doubts at all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry so consult your doctor if you have any questions!

#2: Make sure you absolutely have the required space available for your new machine.

Don’t just “eye” the area and estimate if you have the required room – this is going to be a hassle, a waste of money, and will possibly end up in injury or frustration.

Each one comes in a different size and weight, so always measure the area and make sure to take into consideration a few inches (minimum) of room for you to move backwards and have your arms moving properly.

#3: Take your budget into consideration

Rowing machines are going to typically cost quite a chunk of change – especially if you want one that’s made to last for many years to come. Even if you can’t afford the most expensive models, you’ll still get excellent results with the more budget-friendly choices.

There is really no question that a good home rowing machine is a perfect choice for an easy, low-impact, at-home, full-body workout. The question mostly just comes down to which rowing machine is the right choice for your specific needs and desires. 


We hope our guide has been helpful for you as you try to choose a home rower. It mostly comes down to choosing your preferred resistance type and making sure that you fit in the limits of the machine and that the machine will fit into the space you have for it. 

Things like workout monitoring capabilities, Bluetooth connectivity, and materials can also help you narrow down your choices.

Just don’t forget how important it is to choose a reputable retailer with excellent customer service and a great-priced selection of products – like Amazon, for example.

This helps guarantee you are fully satisfied with your purchase and can get started rowing your way to great fitness in no time!

Summary

Now that you are practically an expert in the world of rowing machines, do you know which one is perfect for your workout plans? If not, then there’s no need to worry.

No matter which model you choose from our guide, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting one of the best on the market today.

However, what’s most important is that you select one ideal for your fitness goals and your individual body type. We hope that our guide has helped you do exactly that. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you again soon. Happy rowing!

Notice:

HealthWellness365 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. HealthWellness365 earns fees from products sold through qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon.com. Amazon offers a commission on products sold through their affiliate links.

In March 2019 Amazon announced that Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts (HSA/FSA) would be accepted as new forms of payment for eligible product purchases. Using HSA/FSA funds to purchase on Amazon can be a great way to reduce taxes and reduce overall healthcare costs for items not covered under medical insurance. Users of such medical savings plans are issued a debit card by their provider, which can be added to their payment methods in their Amazon account.

Whether items sold on Amazon are deemed as eligible for HSA/FSA plans remains the responsibility of the buyer and their particular health plan provider. It’s ultimately up to the IRS and participating health plan providers to deem which medical and health products are considered eligible for the payment plans.

But the eligibility is quite broad and inclusive of thousands of products that are sold on Amazon and considered Health Savings and Flexible Spending Accounts plan-eligible. See this IRS document for more information about Health Savings and Flexible Spending Accounts: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf

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