Best Rowing Machine Reviews
Updated January 2018 - after comparing a further 5 promising models we think we still have the best models recommended and our 'Best Pick', for a second year running has remained the same withe the Concept 2 model D.
Rowing machines are favourite among the sporty kind of people. This tidy piece of machinery can provide your muscles with a good workout. This piece of equipment can be used by off season rowers to keep in shape as they wait for another competition. Differing in shape, price and size, rowing machines have become quintessential in many commercial gyms and homes.
The current market as it is flooded by a multitude of brands each doing their best to sell their products. As a smart shopper, you have to ignore all the marketing noise and actually look at the product. Analyse the specifics to be certain that you have selected the best rowing machine. If you are unsure, you can ask your supplier questions or look online. We prefer looking online for reviews since people share their honest remarks about the product.
To be sure when purchasing, here are a few characteristics to keep in mind. These characteristics guide you as to what to look for in a unit. Continue reading below to understand what we are talking about.
After many hours of research and much debate, we came to the conclusion that that the Concept 2 Model D Rower should be the winner of our 'Best Pick' as its probably the best choice for most people due to the advanced features such as data transfer capabilities, damper, clear 5inch monitor and fantastic build quality.
Rowing Machine Buyers Guide
Buying rowing machine does not have to be a complicated process. You have to identify the different kinds of rowing machines available. Once you have noted the different types, now you can narrow down your search according to the other features. Do not be fooled by the price of an item, look at the resistance levels, seat/weight capacity and adjustable features. Let us look more into these characteristics.
Types of rowing machines
In the current market, there are normally 4 types of rowing machines to be found. The categorization of these machines is determined by the resistance method that is employed. These four categories are as follows:
- Magnetic based machines: These models are known to work similar to elliptical cross trainers. How this works is that the machine is equipped with resistance levels that can be adjusted. Once a preferred level is selected, the electromagnets move into position creating the required field of resistance. Located near the flywheel, the two component create the perfect cardiovascular workout. You will find many adjustable features built into this machines. This is to provide you with options. The noise level produced is low. You have no risk or running into unhappy neighbours.
- Water-based machines: As the title suggests, these rowing machines depend on water to create resistance. The intention is to simulate the outdoor feel. Considered among the more expensive types, these machines are top of the line. The paddles are pushed to create a force against the water unit to create resistance. They are rather bulky, therefore, you need some assistance to assemble. They take up a lot of space too so make enough room.
- Hydraulic piston based machines: Hydraulic piston based rowers are very pocket-friendly machines that take up little space. Hydraulic pistons are built into each handle. Resistance is therefore facilitated by the action of pulling/ pushing against the pressure in the cylinders. The hydraulics can depend on air or fluid to create the required resistance. You can adjust the resistance through your console and enjoy a good arm workout.
- Air based machines: How these machines work is by creating airflow resistance? You find that the harder and faster you move the more resistance you facilitate. These are perfect for those who need an intensive work out without having to purchase a water-based rowing machine. The fly wheel fashioned to like a fan continue to create more airflow. As a user, you are set to appreciate the smoothness of this machine. The high-quality models will fetch a tidy sum. If you are working on a small budget, you can find dependable models within that price range.
What are the weight and size limitations?
They say variety is the spice of life. And as the human race, we are quite spicy. Our height and weight differences can limit us in some areas. When you are in search of a rowing machine, be careful to look at the recommended weight per person. This will eliminate the purchase of products that do not fit the intended function. If you lie on the larger side of life and you need some exercise, look for models that have a large weight capacity. If you blessed with height, seek models with a larger foot area and longer seat rail.
Do you have enough space?
As we lightly mentioned before, air based and water based resistance machines can be quite large. The heavier the model, the more likely that it will take up much space. Measure out the dimensions of the space that you have and compare with the dimensions of the rowing machine. If you are limited in terms of space, seek foldable rowing machines. If you are looking for commercial machines, make sure that your flooring is protected from the weight of the machine.
What of ease of use and quality?
The display is a feature that can be found missing in some models. They are tools of interaction between the user and the machine. You can find electrical consoles in top range brands as they are more attractive than the LCD ones. The LCD types will be found in most rowing machines. You will find those with adjustable displays more convenient for short people. The display’s purpose is to inform you of the different statistical data that is being recorded. This includes time, distance, speed, pulse and calories burnt.
The general construction should be of good quality. This is because good quality makes repairs and maintenance an occasional thing. Most models are made of steel or some alloy. Rust resistance is important as it protects the integrity of the machine. A stable machine is advantageous for those pushing themselves extra hard.
Consider the budget and warranty
A budget is essential as it narrows down a product according to price range. Low range models can cost £500 and less. Mid-range can cost up to £1000 and more. If you want the top of the range, you will have to settle close your eyes and hand over your wallet. Consider the features offered and the price to determine a value for money.
Warranties are handy things to have access to. Most manufacturers will offer warranties for the frame and the parts. Take advantage of these warranties just in case you find something wrong with the machine. There those who offer home service but be sure to confer with the warranties terms and conditions. That way you can know when you or the manufacturer is liable.
Never buy junk again.
Sign up for our newsletter to get new reviews each week.
Opt out or contact us at any time.
Our Top 8 Rowing Machine Reviews
Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor Review
OUR BEST PICK
The Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor is impressive and dependable. Made from aluminium and steel components, this model comes with a 5-year warranty on the frame. This easy to clean and low maintenance rowing machine can deliver good service. The maximum weight that can be supported by this machine is 227kgs. This indicated that a wide range of people can access this tool. Considering that it weighs 26kgs, this is unbelievable.
The rowing machine is equipped with an adjustable monitor handle. For tall or short people, you have the option to adjust your area of view. Unless you do not require this feature, it is very convenient. The LCD display is there to show you the distance, time, speed, pulse, foot curve and other information. The screen is backlit so you can use this machine in dimly lit areas. It has simple buttons and a readable font.
For resistance, the machine has a damper and a 4.5kg flywheel. In most cases the heavier the flywheel the smoother the rowing action. The faster you go; the more resistance is created. This model will provide both your lower and upper body exercise. The product is built with a footprint estimated at 274 cm x 122 cm. look at the space that you have available and make sure it can contain this unit.
For those who require a certain fit to properly exercise, the model is equipped with adjustable footrest. The adjustable footrest will benefit those with a bit of injury or who are too short or tall to reach the pedals.
For storage and mobility, the unit is fitted with a one-time fold mechanism. The folding mechanism fixes the structure into two folded parts. The caster wheels are durable and stable enough to facilitate the stable transportation of this mode. You can be sure the seat rail can accommodate people over 6 foot. The seat width is adequate enough to contain those who are blessed with curves.
- Good value for money.
- Large weight capacity.
- Stable and foldable construction.
- No need for resistance levels. The resistance is set by the user’s effort.
- Quiet operation.
- The USB feature may be incompatible with some devices.
- May not fold as compactly as you may prefer.
Thoughts and Recommendation
The Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor is dependable. We love the capacity that it can support since most of the larger sized people can now get their rowing on. The fact that you do not need to plug it in means you can use it whether you have power or not. The display is a decent size which makes reading information easy. The price is high but the features and the quality of construction are worth it. The assembly is easy due to the manual and non-time consuming in the least.
The more effort you put into this machine, the more resistance is produced. This eliminates the need for resistance levels that are magnetically engineered. If you intend on accessing or transferring information on this model, make sure your device is compatible. If you are looking to do some serious indoor rowing, this unit can be your silent partner.
JLL R200 Luxury Home rowing machine 2017 Model Review
PERFECT FOR HOME USE
The JLL R200 Luxury Home rowing machine 2017 Model depends on electromagnets to operate. This lightweight rowing machine is designed with 10 levels of resistance.as indicated before, magnetically based machines rely on constant communication between the magnets and the computer. When you select a preferred resistance level, the computer signals the magnets to move accordingly. This model is equipped with a belting system that facilitates rapid engagement.
This model that only weighs a few kilogrammes and it is capable of supporting a maximum weight of 100kgs. Those below this recommended weight, the seating capacity will be adequate. You can enjoy long workout sessions without feeling the exhaustion. The dimensions of this model are as follows; 180 x 52 x 49 cm.
The small frame can be effectively stored away. This is made possible by its folding feature. It will definitely occupy less space and make it easy on your back during transportation. The wheels have been installed to encourage easy mobility. If you are pressed for space, this rowing machine will save you some headaches.
As always, a screen is a quintessential piece of equipment. The display lets you analyse and interpret how much work you have put in. Fitness fanatics especially have daily targets that need to be met. They cannot do this without visual assistance. The display on this model can be summed up as compact and well placed. The LCD light will be of service whether day or night.
- Affordable price.
- Incorporated resistance levels.
- Foldable and transferable.
- Works quietly
- ROHS CE compliant
- Low resistance levels.
- Limited to basic use
Thoughts and Recommendations
The JLL R200 Luxury Home rowing machine is a basic machine. This model represents the dependable quality you can get from low range magnetic rowing machines. The features are basic but well presented. We love the aesthetics and the fact that they have provided a range of resistance. It is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and would blend in with most homes.
This rowing machine is perfect for those seeking minor workout sessions. For those seeking professional rowing machines for a more rigorous workout, we suggest you find a larger model. The rowing is silent therefore there are no unnecessary disturbances. For a small apartment, this would blend in splendidly.
Body Sculpture Rower and Gym Review
GREAT MULTI ROWER
The Body Sculpture Rower and Gym depend on rubber tension to create resistance. This rowing machine and gym comes at an affordable price. Adaptable to home installations, this model comes with an easy to assemble construction. It will only take you a few minutes. This lightweight machine makes for easy use and easy storage.
Equipped with resistance adjustment mechanisms, this machine can offer some form of resistance. The three levels allow the user to adjust whenever necessary. The rowing machine can support up to 110kgs. The capacity is a little larger than some models in the similar range offer.
Training or burning away some calories is already a form of discomfort. There is no reason to add any more discomfort by choosing to work with uncomfortable handles. The handles on this unit are ergonomically designed to suit your needs. The two pairs of the handle can be used for the gym or rowing function. The gym function can be accessed from whichever standing point. Your biceps will be supplied with enough exercise.
The pivot plates have been enlarged to give your feet enough room to work comfortably. A Velcro strap has been attached to secure your foot as you wow. A monitor has been installed for you to keep track of your data. The small display is simple for multiple users to access. The dimensions of an assembled unit are 185 x 43.5 x 65cm and 94 x 43.5 x 128cm when folded. Little room is required to store this piece of equipment. The well-placed wheels will make manoeuvring to storage an easy process.
- Low price range.
- Comes with tools for easy assembly.
- Durable construction.
- Satisfies two functions at once
- For lightweight functions only.
- Low resistance offered.
- Small for people over 6 foot
Thoughts and Recommendations
The Body Sculpture Rower and Gym offers two functions for the price of one. You have the gym function and the rowing function. As expected, this model is a lightweight. It can, however, sustain more weight capacity than the Body Fit Rowing Machine Rower. What it loses on is the resistance level offered. This model only has three levels which put a limitation on the amount of exercise you can get. The assembly is easy to manage but after a while, the construction becomes shaky. Especially when engaging the rowing function.
Although quiet, this machine is suitable for occasional cardio. You can purchase our best pick to start training like an athlete. Tall people should avoid this model as it is constricting.
Body Fit Rowing Machine Rower Review
BEST BUDGET ROWER
The Body Fit Rowing Machine Rower is hydraulic based. As we know, hydraulic rowers are inexpensive. That is why we are not surprised by the price. This machine comes with a basic construct with ergonomic handle. The handles are padded to provide you with comfort as you push and pull your weight around.
The maximum weight that can be potentially supported by this unit is at 100kgs. For such a small unit, this is an impressive capacity. The small display is centrally placed for easy reads. The display is small do those with eye problems should look for better displays. The easy to use monitor will tell you the time taken, distance travelled and more.
Fitted with 12 resistance levels that you can access. This model will provide you with a good arm workout. The resistance systems can be adjusted accordingly. You can adjust the settings from the display. Remember that the monitor uses batteries to function. Purchase 1 x AA battery if it is bit included in your package.
The pedals have enough room to contain any size of the foot. To make assembly easier for you, this model comes with assembly tools. You will not waste time or need help assembling this product. Adaptable to situations where the consumer is busy and has little or no time to work out every day. The price also makes it popular with people working on a strict budget.
- Pocket-friendly price.
- Easy to assemble.
- Doesn’t take up much space.
- Small display.
- Limited features
Thoughts and Recommendations
The Body Fit Rowing Machine Rower is designed for home use. The unit is of light weight and can be easily stored if need be. This model can be appreciated with those who dabble lightly in rowing exercise.
We like that there are resistance settings to make exercise a bit more challenging. With this model what you pay for is what you get. The maximum weight supported will limit many from using this machine. The construction is good for that price range.
It is a basic model so do not expect to get an intensive workout from this machine. If you do not mind the small kinks, then this is perfect for occasional use.
JTX Freedom Air Rower Review
OUR BEST HOME ROWING MACHINE
The JTX Freedom Air Rower: Foldable Superior Rowing Machine is one to watch. This lovely piece of machinery can be relied on to provide gym quality workouts for home applications. Considering that it depends or air resistance and electromagnets, the machine will respond to the efforts of the user. The more you press on, the more resistance will be created.
This 37kg machine can support a maximum of 130kgs. Slightly higher than the hydraulic models this machine can now be accessed with more people of size. The unit has dimensions of 225 x 58 x 86cm when assembled and 112 x 58 x 160cm when folded. Most storage space can contain this unit with ease.
The resistance levels applied in this machine are 16. This number of levels offers people a day to day challenge for two weeks straight. Convenient, don’t you think? The 16 resistance program works with 8 pre-set programmes. The programmes offer users the convenience of selecting from the few available than setting their own. The two features paired together make the machine more powerful.
The adjustable footrest supplies the user with comfort. Whether you are tall or short. This handy feature will aid you. The display on this machine is detailed. The backlit screen is visible at any given time of the day. The data displayed pertains to the amount of exercise you have been doing. They come with visual aids like bar graphs that can help you analyse your workout session. The screen has an added advantage of being adjustable to find a suitable area of view.
The handles are padded for an easy time rowing. The aluminium handle has been placed centrally to ensure you have adequate grip and stability. When you are done exercising, the machine can be folded and wheeled to storage. The product is supplied with a 2-year warranty. This warranty purposefully takes care of any mishaps that stem from the manufacturer's side. This is just to boost your confidence in the product.
- Offers two resistance systems combined into one.
- Affordable for a number of features provided.
- Supplied with tools for simple assembly.
- Delivered with a free chest strap.
- USB enabled.
- Poor assembly manual.
- Display may be too detailed for some to operate.
Thoughts and Recommendations
The JTX Freedom Air Rower: Foldable Superior Rowing Machine is impressive. We love the combination of two resistance system. This provides the home user with enough resistance for intensive workouts found in gym situations. The exercise programmes are a winner for those of us who are beginners and no nothing about workout routines.
The price is very affordable considering all the multiple features provided. We can consider this model the best home rowing machine. It can provide intensive workouts at a manageable weight. Although the manual will be useless to some, you can find online assembly tutorials. This machine is a real investment to those who need quality but cannot spend a fortune.
WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine Review
OUR BEST INTENSIVE ROWING MACHINE
The WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine is a sight to behold, created from black walnut wood, you are assured of durability. This dense wood is water and pest resistant. The density protects the wood from unwanted damage. This water resistant flywheel rowing machine imitates the feeling of rowing on actual water. The self-regulating water system will provide you with the required resistance.
This wooden water resistant machine is not foldable. This would make it limited to those who are pressed for space. To manage the machine into smaller spaces, you will have to store it upright leaning against a wall. The rowing machine is not foldable but it has been fitted with wheels for easy mobility.
The 30kg model can support a maximum weight of 350kgs per person. The leg room in full stride is 38 inches. The product dimensions are 211 x 40 x 54 cm. You can seek a bigger model in the case of height difference. This compact structure can support constant daily use without showing signs of wear and tear. It should not be left outside due to damage caused by the elements.
The LCD monitor is sizeable. You can comfortably read the information on the screen. It does not contain too many buttons as to confuse someone. The monitor will provide you with information taken from your pulse reader, the time taken, intensity and distance among other things. The monitor is easy to clean and so is the whole frame.
The pedals have been designed to house different foot sizes. You can adjust according to your preferences. The handles are ergonomically designed to promote smooth hands. No one wants to walk around with calluses caused by friction.
- Can satisfy home or commercial situations.
- Stable and strong construction.
- USB enabled.
- Imitate the natural rowing feel of outdoor water.
- Great value for money
- Quite heavy to assemble individually
Thoughts and Recommendations
The WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine is an example of an efficient water resistance rower. The machine, first of all, is made of wood. The wood selected is popular for its durable qualities. It does not get damaged by impact easily and is resistant to moisture damage. The fact that the frame is made of wood makes the price go up a notch. The nature simulating machine can be used in the gym or at home. The construction is basic but the performance is excellent. The construction material of the display looks rather flimsy.
For such a price we expect all the features to be up to standard. What you pay for this model is worth every dime. For enthusiasts who need a workout, look no further.
Bodymax Infiniti R100 Super Rowing Machine Review
The Bodymax Infiniti R100 Super Rowing Machine is another one to watch. This is because it combines two resistance systems into one. The combination of air and electromagnetic is ingenious. This is simply because it provides the user with a more intensified workout for both the upper and lower body. The 16 levels of resistance will surely keep you busy during your sessions.
What is amazing about this unit is the number of programmes that come with it. The wide selection of 42 programmes is bound to get you excited. For the price of this unit, we believe they went over and beyond to provide value for money. These programmes are computer controlled for accuracy. You can set the desired heart rate and the machine will automatically adjust.
The unit is foldable. Those who have less space or those who are no longer in need of it can put it to storage. It folds to a compact structure that can be wheeled away. The wheels are made to offer traction on different flooring materials. Tall people need not be worried when using this item. The exercise room provided fits most sizes. The dimensions as specified by the manufacturer are 237 x 50 x 91cm. The weight that can be accommodated is 150 kg per person. Not bad for such a machine.
Display wise, the size is acceptable. The adjustable display is backlit so you can use the machine in different lighting conditions. The display has quite a number of buttons, therefore, might prove problematic with the elderly. The centrally placed handles provide better stability while rowing. They are padded for protective functions so that your hands are kept soft. The footing is also spacious and has an adjustable setting, therefore, any foot size can adapt.
- Combines two resistance systems.
- Can accommodate a considerable capacity.
- You have access to 42 programmes.
- Pocket- friendly price.
- Assistance is needed in assembly due to the weight.
- You cannot export data.
- The motor performance is questionable
Thoughts and Recommendations
The Bodymax Infiniti R100 Super Rowing Machine is okay. It does offer value for money in terms of quantity of features provided. The machine is of good construction so we cannot fault it as such. The two resistance mechanisms will give your core a slight beating.
The higher your resistance levels the more exercise you will get in. It would adapt easily to home situations due to its foldability and accessible features. The construction is stable so shaky movements when exercising have been eliminated.
We would recommend that you look into the JTX Freedom Air Rower: Foldable Superior Rowing Machine and compare which serves you best.
Viavito Sumi Folding Rowing Machine Review
The Viavito Sumi Folding Rowing Machine is impressive for its price range. This electromagnetic based unit comes in an attractive colour that lures the eye. With this unit comes 10 resistance levels that you can employ to achieve the desired effect. The recommended weight that this machine is designed to hold is 120kgs. The machine in itself is not heavy, it only weighs a mere 28kgs.
As you have noticed, many rowing machines have folding capabilities. This model is no different as it can be wheeled away at a moment’s notice. The more pressed for space you are, the more advisable it is to seek brands like these. The wheels are stable and can hold their own on any kind of surface your home has. The dimensions provided are 178cm by53cm by48cm when fully assembled and 74cm by53cm by119cm when folded.
If you happen to be tall and you occupy more than 110cm of leg room, we advise you seek another model. This model can only give so much room. The handles are ergonomically designed to give you enough room. Different people will be different with different hand postures. The handles are padded for an agreeable fit as you row back and forth. The paddles have also been taken care of. The surface area is sufficient and adjustable to accommodate different sizes.
The size of the flywheel is capable of producing smooth motion with no sound. The weight of the flywheel is 7kgs. You are assured of continued motion even in high resistance sessions. The display is small but visible. The controls are easy to manage for anyone at whatever age.
- Purchased at an affordable price.
- Smooth performance.
- Sustainable construct.
- Does not read calories burnt or distance.
- Limits taller than average people
Thoughts and Recommendations
The Viavito Sumi Folding Rowing Machine is another for the home exercises. The price is manageable for those who want to get in some cardio. This is definitely not close to gym standards but it will do for occasional use. It is foldable indicating you get to save on space. It is not the strongest machine available in terms of resistance but it is workable.
We love the colour and design. We still prefer our best pick over this one but everyone has their preferences. For people who are taller than normal, please overlook this model. Medium height users have no limitations when it is time to exercise. This product can be depended on to provide excellent cardio but not for intensive workouts.
Our Final Conclusion
The benefits of the rower outweigh the small flaws that are delivered with this models. After all, we are human, we are likely to find fault in most things.
For rowing machines, we have established that the features may play a big role in the price you pay. Top range rowers are assured to give you gym/ professional features. If you need light exercise, purchase a low range unit with quality features.
Our Best Pick
After looking at the various brands presented and their features. We decided that the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor is the best. This is due to its large weight capacity ensuring that most people could access the unit.
The construction is solid and you have resistance managed. The LCD display is impressive compared to similar brands featured in this review. The construction is stable and will be in service for years if you take advantage of the warranty that has been provided.
Our Best Home Rowing Machine
After careful comparison and contemplation, we gave the title to the JTX Freedom Air Rower: Foldable Superior Rowing Machine. The air and magnet based rowing machine require no fuss to manoeuvre. The resistance levels provided give your upper and lower body a chance to tone. The price is not too bad either. This foldable machine is one to cherish especially for a home user. Since it is USB enabled you can transfer your data. Not so bad at the end of the day.
Our Best Intensive Rowing Machine
This title goes to the WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine. The heavy wooden construct provides a stable base for intensive rolling. Since it is a water resistant rowing machine, it gives off the natural feeling or rowing outdoors. The wood is moth and moisture resistant. With frequents, service and maintenance, this unit is built to last.
We hope that those nuggets of information will help you select the perfect rowing machine. With that said, happy shopping!
Our website supports our amazing readers with countless hours of research and testing to help you find the best product so you don't regret making a purchase. You support us through our independently chosen links, which earn us a small commission and cost you nothing but helps support our research.