THE 10 BEST ROWING MACHINES OF 2019 REVIEWED

Rowing machines are a great option to lose weight and keep fit. If you are thinking about investing on a rowing machine for your home, here are the ten best rowing machines that will help narrow down your search.

Indoor rowing machines are what’s trending on the health world right now. We all want to lose weight but most of us do not have the time to hit the gym. In fact, statistically most gym memberships go unused. Therefore, why not bring the gym to our homes?

Obviously the reason that seems like an unrealistic idea is the lack of space. But if you invest on an indoor rowing machine, you can bring the gym right to your home and will not need to buy other equipment.

A rowing machine provides a full body workout and also improves cardiovascular fitness. It can really motivate you to work on your muscles in a challenging and but comfortable way.

There are actually many great reasons for purchasing a rowing machine as we will discuss below. But if you are going to invest on something that you will use regularly, it is important to buy the best rowing machines based on your needs.

This review lists ten best rowing machines in the market right now and we have provided a great amount of information on them so you can make a well-informed choice. This list contains the product detail, their advantages and disadvantages and a final verdict of the rowing machine.

But first, let’s look at why investing on an indoor rowing machine is a great idea.

 

Why do you need a rowing machine?

Rowing provides a great cardiovascular exercise and helps strengthen the important muscles in our body. But how many of us have the opportunity to go rowing on a daily basis. The alternative is simple and now also affordable: indoor rowing machines.

You have seen them in gyms and health clubs but some rowing machines are designed in a way that is best suited for home use. However, before starting any fitness routine, be sure to check with your physician.

Below are a few great reasons to buy a rowing machine.

  • Helps lose weight: When coupled with the right diet, rowing machines really help to get rid of some extra pounds. You can burn around 600 calories per hour on a rowing machine. Weight loss is very important to get relief from back pain.
  • Provides a full body workout: Rowing is a full body exercise that uses muscles from your arms, legs and other places. It provides a great upper body exercise that will help you build your biceps, pecs, trapezii, rhomboids and abs. In the lower body, it works on your quads, calves and glutes. If you are looking for a comfortable way to strengthen your core, this is your answer. Additionally, you will also get to improve your posture.
  • Helps to stay fit: The main advantage you get from rowing is improving your cardiovascular fitness. This increases your overall stamina. Rowing machines are capable of providing a very intense workout whose benefit will resonate long after your workout has ended. During rowing your body works so hard that it contributes to burn calories even after you are done rowing.
  • Rowing machine HIIT: HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a fitness routine that burns fat, improves cardiovascular systems and tones muscles all at the same time. Since the resistance of rowing machines are adjustable, these machines are perfect for HIIT workouts.
  • Provides a low-impact workout: Low-impact workouts for ideal for elderly as it does not put a lot of pressure on the knees and ankles. It is also ideal for someone recovering from any kind of injury.

Rowing machines vs other fitness equipment: Rowing machines are better and more efficient at burning calories than stationary bikes. These bikes focus on the lower body only, while rowing utilizes muscles from every part of the body. Furthermore, rowing machines are far affordable than treadmills, elliptical trainers, or stationary bikes. You can get a decent rowing machine in under $500.

 

What to look out for when buying a rowing machine?

Nowadays there are a large number of rowing machines that are available in the market. This makes it very difficult for customers to choose the best rowing machines that will be a perfect fit for them.

But if you are not fully acquainted with the basic features and specifications of rowing machines and how much they can vary, it will be impossible to know your preferences. This is why we have listed down all the critical features of rowing machines you need to familiarize yourself with.

  • Resistance:

Rowing machines mainly have four types of resistance: hydraulic, magnetic, water and air. They all have their individual benefits and drawbacks. Resistance is the main criteria you need to consider when buying a rowing machine because it controls the intensity of the workout and determines whether the machine is suitable for professionals or beginners.

Resistance can either be adjustable or variable. Adjustable resistance, in the case of magnetic and hydraulic resistance rowers, provides different levels of resistance that you can choose. The resistance will then be set at your preferred level and will remain constant throughout the workout. Variable resistance, on the other hand, are available in air and water resistance rowers. The resistance level on these rowers are dependent on how hard or fast you are rowing yourself.

  • Noise level:

While this should not be a very big factor when buying a rowing machine, it still might be a deal breaker for some customers. Some indoor rowing machines tend to be noisier than others. Air rowers have a whooshing sound that is quite loud. But magnetic and hydraulic resistance rowers have virtually no sound.

If you do not want to disturb your housemates or neighbours, you should purchase a rowing machine that is quiet. It will also allow you to enjoy your music or watch television while you row.

But a noisy rowing machine might be great too. Some users have said that as the noise increases, they know they are working harder and this motivates them to work out more.

  • Price:

Price is an important factor when purchasing any product. But a higher priced model does not mean that it is one of the best rowing machines out there. There are many lower priced models that fare better than some higher priced ones.

If your budget is limited, this will help narrow down your search quite a bit. But we have found that the lower priced rowing machines are best suited for beginner rowers as the resistance is not strong enough for the expert users.

  • Computer features:

Rowing machines nowadays come with an electronic monitor that can keep track of your workout data while you are rowing.

The lower priced rowing machines have a basic monitor that can track information such as time, distance, calories burned, etc. But the information recorded by such monitors are not an accurate representation of your workout session but rather an estimation. Basically, it helps you to compare your different workout sessions. If you burned 600 calories in your current workout session and 500 calories in your last workout session, it means that the current workout was more strenuous.

The higher priced rowing machines have monitors that can do more than just record your workout data. Of course, the data recording is more accurate for these monitors and they also have features that will help you transfer your workout data to your computer so you further analyse it. This enables users to compare their fitness regime with other athletes worldwide.

These advanced monitors also have the ability to track your heart rate with an additional heart rate receiver.

If you want to keep your rowing machine in a dimmer area, make sure that the screen is backlit.

  • Build:

The build quality determines the weight capacity of the rowing machine. If you weigh over 250 pounds, this will be a very important factor for you. Your rowing machine has to be sturdy enough to support that weight.

The construction also determines the height range that it can accommodate. While most rowing machines do not have a limit for the lower height range, the problem arises with taller people. If you are over 6 feet 6 inches, your options are more limited. But remember that it is the leg inseam that determines whether you will fit in the rower and not the overall height.

  • Dimensions:

The size of the rowing machine is a very crucial aspect for people living a small apartment. Don’t worry, there are many great rowing machines that are compact and have a small footprint.

  • Storage:

If you have a particular place in mind where you want to keep your rowing machine when it is not in use, this will actually help narrow down your search. Not all rowing machines are foldable or have the ability to stand upright.

If you want to keep your rowing machine under the bed, make sure it is foldable and if you want to stow it away in the closet or keep it in the corner of the room, make sure it can stand upright. And if your storage space is far from your workout space, make sure it comes with wheels or is at least light enough to carry.

  • Comfort:

If your rowing machine is not comfortable, it will not motivate you to row every day. So before purchasing, make sure that the seat, handles and foot pedals are to your liking.

If you are prone to getting blisters, a well padded handlebar is a must for you. And if your butt tends to get sore easily, there should be no issues with the seat.

  • Assembly:

Even though you will only be assembling the rowing machine once, this is an important factor, especially for people who are not as mechanically inclined as others.

The best rowing machines should also include a helpful instruction manual that can guide you through the assembly process easily and without any issues. The rowing machines we have reviewed here all included the extra parts and tools that were required in the assembly process. But some rowing machines tend to have missing parts so go through the customer reviews before finalizing your purchase.

A good rowing machine should not have too many loose parts that have to be put together and it should have an assembly time of less than 30 minutes.

  • Warranty:

The last factor you need to consider is the warranty. For any kind of equipment, there should be a warranty and a supportive customer service.

Rowing machines that are more affordable are likely to have a shorter warranty period but they are also more likely to need replacement parts sooner. In such cases, the company should have a reliable and friendly customer service that can respond to your requests quickly.

 

Best Rowing Machines Comparison Chart:

Before finally diving into the reviews of the ten best rowing machines, here is a comparison chart that summarizes all the crucial features of the rowers. It will also give you an idea of how your rowing machine fares with others.

ImageProduct NameResistance Type Build Max User WeightMax user heightProduct weightPrice
Stamina 1050 Single hydraulic piston Steel frame with aluminium centre beam250 lbs6’6’’39 lbsCheck Price
Stamina 1205 Hydraulic pistonSteel frame with precision extruded aluminium beam 250 lbsLess than 6’0’’47 lbsCheck Price
Stamina InMotion Hydraulic pistonLightweight, solid steel structure250 lbsLess than 6’0’’29.1 lbsCheck Price
Stamina ATS Air Air resistanceOversized chrome seat rail and metal rowing chain 250 lbs6’5’’53 lbsCheck Price
Sunny SF-RW5515 Magnetic Resistance Heavy duty, steel mainframe250 lbsLess than 6’7’’59 lbsCheck Price
Sunny SF-RW5639 Hydraulic pistonSolid steel frame350 lbs6’3’’33 lbsCheck Price
Sunny SF-RW1205 Hydraulic pistonSturdy steel frame 220 lbsLess than 6’2’’24 lbsCheck Price
Concept2 Indoor Air resistance Commercial grade steel with aluminium I-beam monorail and front500 lbsOver 6’8’’57 lbs
Check Price
Water Rower Water resistanceSolid ash wood 1000 lbsLess than 6’6’’117 lbsCheck Price
Velocity Exercise Magnetic resistance Sturdy and lightweight aluminium 275 lbs6’4’’75 lbsCheck Price

1. Stamina 1050 Rowing Machine

Stamina 1050

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Features at a glance:

  • Resistance is provided via a hydraulic cylinder for smooth rowing that feels like you are on the water
  • Comes with a multi-functional electric monitor that shows the speed, distance covered, workout duration, strokes rate and calories burned
  • The moulded seat ensures comfort
  • Foot hold comes with textured footplates with straps for security
  • The hand grips are covered with foam
  • The build is made of a strong, steel frame and aluminiumcentre beam
  • Maximum user weight is 250 pounds
  • The arms are foldable for space saving storage
  • Comes with a one year frame warranty and ninety days parts warranty

 

Product Description

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines available in the market for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is one of the most affordable rowing machines but do not let that make you doubt its quality.

It is dependable and even though it is small in size, it can produce satisfying results just like other best rowing machines. Its solid construction will make your workout routine as efficient as rowing machines that are more expensive.

Below is a more detailed description of the features of the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine.

  • Resistance:

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 provides resistance via hydraulic cylinders that are placed under the seat. The resistance level is adjustable to 12 different levels of intensity. If you are just starting out, you can begin with level 1 and gradually build your way up to level 12.

The knob that controls the resistance is also located under the seat, which means that you do not have to get up from the rowing machine to make adjustments like some rowing machines require.

The noise level of the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is also quite low, which means you will not be getting any complaints from your roommates or neighbours as you work out. You can even listen to music or the television while rowing.

However, please note that for the more expert users who are looking for a more challenging routine, hydraulic piston resistance might not be the best one to choose. Another issue that can arise is that the piston might start leaking oil and is also prone to getting hot as the rowing machine starts getting older.

But for the price this rowing machine comes in, the resistance is still pretty impressive.

  • Build:

Another strong suit that makes the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 one of the best rowing machines out there is its superior build quality. The steel frame and the aluminiumcentre beam are both sturdy and yet only weight 40 pounds. The lightweight machine can thus be easily transported and moved around when you want to store it away.

  • Capacity:

The maximum user weight that this rowing machine can support is the standard 250 pounds. But it has a long gliding track and the foot pedals are also large enough to accommodate users who are over six feet tall. However, if you are less than five feet, your feet might occasionally slip out of the foot pedals but users did not complain about any facing any difficulty with the rowing action itself.

  • Comfort:

If the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 was not a comfortable, it would not have made it in the list for the best rowing machines. As we have mentioned before though, that this rowing machine is more suited for novice users, so keeping that in mind, it is very comfortable to use for 15-20 minute session. If you want to work out longer, we’d suggest you take a look at the other rowing machines in this list.

The seat is made of moulded plastic that can be made more comfortable if you place a towel over it. The benefit of having a plastic seat rather than a foam padded one is that it will not tear after prolonged use.

The handlebars have padded grips that allow a full range of motion. Handlebars that allow such movement are better as you can move in a circular motion and not just to and from your body. They can be a little rough on your hands but you can prevent that easily by wearing rowing machine workout gloves.

As the footrests are too large, users with relatively smaller feet have faced problems with their feet sliding out during the workout session. This compromises security when working out. One solution to this is to set up U-bolts under the foot pedals.

  • Computer features:

Like most best rowing machines, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 also includes an electronic monitor that records your workout duration, number of strokes and calories burned. It also has a scan mode where the data keeps cycling every six seconds automatically. This battery powered monitor is also smart enough to turn itself off after a few minutes of inactivity to help extend the battery life.

Considering that the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is at the lower spectrum of the price range, it comes with a basic console. And thus, it faces two major drawbacks. Firstly, the display is not backlit which makes it difficult to read the screen and the calorie counter is not the most accurate and only provides an estimated data.

  • Assembly:

Assembling this rowing machine will not give you any trouble at all. The rowing machine already comes with the required tools and you can have your equipment ready for use in less than half an hour. You basically have to assemble the seat, foot pedals and arms. Be sure to read the instruction manual thoroughly for easy assembly.

  • Storage:

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is small in size, which means it can easily fit inside a closet. To make storage more space saving and convenient, the arms are foldable. In order to fold the arms, you simply have to unscrew two knobs, which should not take you more than a minute. Lock the arms in place by screwing back the knobs and you can leave the machine to stand upright in a corner.

However, this rowing machine lacks wheels so moving it is not as easy as a model with wheels. In storage mode, the rowing machine measures 23.5 by 46 inches.

Pros
  • Solid steel construction that is also lightweight
  • Foldable arms makes storing the unit easy
  • Resistance level can be adjusted for different workout routines
  • Full range of motion dual handles that mimics rowing on water
  • Assembling the unit will not be trouble
  • The gliding track is long enough to support users as tall as 6’6”
  • Affordable rowing machine that does not compromise on quality
  • Compact design makes it easy to handle, transport and store
Cons
  • Can be uncomfortable for lengthy workout sessions
  • The display is boring
  • The calorie counter is the most accurate
  • Hydraulic piston has been reported to leak
  • Resistance level can weaken if the shock get hot
  • The foot strap makes it difficult to keep feet in place during workouts

Final Remark:

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines for people who are just beginning to row. For such a demographic, it would be better to try it out first in more affordable equipment before moving on to the more sophisticated machines. Sure you don’t get an advanced console and the machine is not the most comfortable for very long workout sessions. But for a light workout session, this dependable and sturdy rowing machine will not let you down.

The main criteria for rowing machines is the resistance and this rowing machine offers great resistance that is also customizable. As an added bonus, it does not make a lot of noise.

Perfect for beginner rowers looking for a rowing machine within a budget.

 

2. Stamina 1205 Precision Rower Machine

Stamina 1205 Precision

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Features at a glance:

  • Precision rowing machine comes with premium ball bearing rolling system
  • Resistance is provided via smooth hydraulic piston that can be adjusted according to the user’s preference
  • Comes with a multi function fitness display that shows the speed, distance, strokes rate, time, calories burned, row count, miles rowed and scan feature that toggle between these features
  • Foot plates is hinged for extra comfort
  • The seat has a thick cover of foam
  • Build is made of a strong steel frame and precision extruded aluminium beam
  • Maximum user weight capacity is 250 pounds
  • Comes with a five years frame warranty and 90 days parts warranty

 

Product Description

Stamina is a well known and trustworthy brand when it comes to rowing machines. The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is not the first Stamina product featured in our list of the best rowing machines and it won’t be the last either.

Similar to the Stamina Body Trac Glider Rowing Machine, the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is also a budget model with a solid build. But it only weighs 50 pounds so you can move it around easily.

This rowing machine has some really great features but it also needs some minor adjustments. So here’s a more detailed description about its features to help you decide if this is the best rowing machines for you.

  • Resistance:

This is another hydraulic piston rowing machine like the Stamina Body Trac Glider. The resistance level in the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is adjustable and the noise level is low. You can adjust the resistance level to 5 different intensities by simply sliding and locking the tension adjusters on the handles. You can slowly build up your strength to level 5 and you do not even have to get up from the rower when changing the levels.

The dual handles are each connected to an adjustable piston so you can have different levels of resistance on each arm. This is great for people who have unbalanced strength on their right and left side. Please note that for this rowing machine, level 1 provides the hardest resistance and level 5 the easiest. This can be confusing for a lot of users.

However, as it is a low priced rowing machine, there are a few drawbacks to the hydraulic system. The shock tends to get hot after a while and the rowing motion is not super smooth. If you are looking for a rowing machine that mimics actual rowing really well, this is not the machine for you. The pistons also tends to wear out after a while and you will have to replace it yourself if it is past the 90 days warranty period. The hydraulic cylinders can leak oil so make sure you place a mat below the machine to protect your floors.

Remember that hydraulic piston rowing machines are lowest priced resistance option so that being said, the resistance of the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is pretty good. And the option to alter the resistance levels is also a bonus. Hydraulic piston systems does have one big advantage over other types of resistance systems: it is the quietest.

  • Build:

This sturdy yet lightweight model is made of a solid steel frame with an aluminium beam. This makes the rowing machine durable and also easy to move around. The joints, shocks or wheels might be squeaky at first but you can take care of that by spraying WD-40.

  • Capacity:

The maximum weight capacity of this rowing machine is the standard 250 pounds. Most rowing machines in this price range support up to 250 pounds. The rowing machine should not be a misfit for shorter users but the gliding track is only long enough to accommodate users who are a little over 6 feet.

  • Comfort:

The thick padding of the seat makes the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower very comfortable and suitable for rowing for a long time. Padded seats tend to harden over time but users of this rowing machine did not face any such issue. Unlike the Stamina Body Trac Glider, the handles provide an easy grip, smooth grip and the foot pedal is secure so your feet will not slide out (unless you are barefoot).

But this rowing machine does not allow full range of motion. Instead of being able to move both in a circular motion and back and forth, it only does the latter. But don’t worry, this does not diminish the effectiveness of the workout.

  • Computer features:

The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower has a pretty impressive console given its price. It keeps track of all the relevant data that you would need to know from your workout session, like the time, distance, speed, calories burned and stroke count. The scan function automatically cycles through these information every 4 seconds or you can also go through them manually.

The interface is easy to use with just a single button. The battery powered monitor switches itself off after four minutes of inactivity. But the calorie counter does not give an exact value of how many calories you burned but rather an estimate of how many calories an average person would burn in that given time. Regardless, it helps you compare between workout sessions and keep track of your progress.

  • Assembly:

It is not that difficult to assemble this rowing machine. The instruction manual advises two people to do the job but you can do it by yourself as well. The only difference is that if you are doing it by yourself, you would require an hour, as opposed to twenty minutes with another person. The main problem with the assembly process, however, is that the instruction manual contradicts itself so it can be very confusing.

  • Storage:

As this rowing machine only weighs 50 pounds and is compact, it makes up for the lack of wheels. You can easily slide this under your bed or rest it against the wall when not in use. The Stamina Precision Rower is not foldable.

Pros
  • Heavy duty, sturdy frame
  • Frame warranty extends to five years
  • Compact design makes the rowing machine fit in smaller rooms
  • Ultra space saving storage as it can be tucked under the bed or propped against a wall
  • The seat and handles are comfortable
  • The handles have a customizable piston to adjust the resistance level on each side
  • The monitor shows all the relevant data

The scan mode of the monitor toggles between different workout data

Cons
  • The piston is not the best
  • Lacks wheels so rowing might be harder for some people
  • Instruction manual could be clearer
  • After prolonged use, the unit tends to make squeaky noises
  • The rail is quite short which lowers the maximum height capacity to just 5’9”

Final Remark:

The best rowing machines should have great resistance, a strong, sturdy construction and a reliable console that keeps track of all the necessary work out details. We are happy to announce that the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower has impressed us in all these criteria and many more. For the price it comes in, this is a great bargain.

The biggest issue we faced the confusing instruction manual. Plus the storage options were not the best either.

 

3. Stamina InMotion Rower Machine

Stamina InMotion Rower

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Features at a glance:

  • The build is made of solid and durable steel
  • The rowing machine offers five different levels of hydraulic resistance with varying intensity
  • The monitor is easy to operate with a single button and InTouch feature
  • The multi function monitor displays your distance, workout duration, strokes per minute and calories burned
  • Scan function cycles between the above mentioned data every six seconds
  • The maximum user weight is 250 pounds
  • The hinged foot plates are also adjustable
  • Foot plates come with straps for your safety
  • The seat has padded and upholstered layers for comfort
  • Storage is easy, thanks to the standing frame
  • Comes with a one year frame and ninety days parts warranty

 

Product Description:

We have already established that Stamina Rowing Machines are quite popular and reliable but did you know that they are also make the best rowing machines under a budget? In fact, the Stamina InMotion Rower is available in under $100.

But price alone cannot make this one of the best rowing machines obviously. It also offers smooth, strong resistance that makes the leastamount of noise. So let’s find out more about this economically great rowing machine.

 

  • Resistance:

The Stamina InMotion Rower, like the previous Stamina rowing machines we reviewed, also features hydraulic resistance system. But unlike the previous ones, this machine has a single centre piston. This is the main reason why the machine costs so less.

The single piston makes this rowing machine even smoother and allows for even rowing strokes. Users often face two different levels of resistance on two sides because of the two pistons but with a single piston, you will have the same resistance level throughout.

The resistance level is also adjustable to five different levels of intensity for a more personalized workout session. The maximum resistance level is strong enough for novice users and elderly users but is not the most suitable for advanced users who are looking for a more strenuous workout.

In order to change the resistance level, you will have to take a break from rowing and get off the machine to make the adjustments, which can be a drag for your workout flow. And like all hydraulic system rowing machines, this one is also prone to heating up and leaking oil, so be sure to place a mat under the machine to protect your floor.

One way to get around these drawbacks is to use to your advantage. You can row for 15 minutes on one level and then as it starts heating up, you can take a break to change the resistance level and also wait for it to cool down.

  • Build:

The Stamina InMotion Rower has a solid build with a steel structure with a compact and lightweight design. But do not think that the decrease in weight means it is unstable. It is lighter than other rowing machines as it only has one piston. The single piston also significantly lowers the noise level to almost zero so you can watch television and never get any complaints from your neighbours or roommates.

As the centre beam is a little inclined, you have to work against gravity to push yourself up. This gives a nice leg work out too. Additionally, the rower comes with anti-slip flood protectors to make the machine more stable and absorb shock. But the rowing machine might be too low, which makes it difficult for people with knee issues to get on and off the rower.

  • Capacity:

The weight and height capacity maintain the standard allowance. It supports weight up to 250 pounds and the height range is between 4’9” and 6.0′. But this does not mean it is a complete no-no for people with height out of this range. As people’s bodies are proportionally different, the same rowing machine can be perfect for a user who is over six feet tall and also not fit another user of the same height.

  • Comfort:

The Stamina InMotion Rower has comfortable, stitched seat that will let you row away for a long time without facing discomfort. The foam handlebars provide a good grip but can be rough for people who are not used to doing a lot of physical activities with their hands. Wearing workout gloves can solve this problem.

The foot plates rotate and they have adjustable Velcro straps for your security and comfort.

  • Computer features:

The InTouch Fitness Monitor provides all the relevant information you need regarding your workout. It keeps track of the time, calories burned, total number of strokes and strokes rate per minute. The scan function automatically displays this information in a cycle every 6 seconds.

The monitor is placed on the rower arm instead of the flywheel which makes it easier to read. When you want to read the data, you have to stop rowing while you are in the catch position when your knees are bent and your arms are extended. This catch position pause can be confusing at first but once you get the hang of it, you will not face any issues.

  • Assembly:

The instruction manual is illustrated and very easy to understand so assembling the Stamina InMotion Rower should not take more than 30 minutes. The rower already includes the required tools: two 6mm Allen wrenches and one 13mm wrench. All you need to purchase is one AA battery for the monitor.

  • Storage:

Being a lightweight and compact model, this rowing machine can be moved around easily. It weighs only 30 pounds so you can move it by yourself. However, this machine does not fold and it is too tall to fit under a bed. You can place it upright in the corner of the room or stow it away in the closet.

Pros
  • Rowing machine is not noisy when in use
  • Comes with a fitness monitor that displays all the relevant information
  • Best suited rowing machine for beginners
  • Comes with 5 different levels of resistance
  • Assembly is easy
  • Affordably priced rowing machine
  • Reliable and durable construction
  • Compact design does not use up a lot of space

Storage is easy due to its light weight and standing frame

Cons
  • Not suitable for tall users over 5’11”
  • The low machine is also not suited for people with bad knees
  • Light weight makes the machine a little unstable
  • Shifting between the resistance levels is not smooth
  • The screen is hard to view when using the rowing machine

Final Remark:

The Stamina InMotion Rower is one of the best rowing machines because of its very low price and smooth resistance. It does have a few drawbacks but none that are major deal breakers. The construction is reliable and the seat is comfortable. With use, you will also get used to the handlebars and the monitor that is placed on the rower arm instead of the flywheel.

This rowing machine is perfect for beginners who are looking for a nice and moderately light workout. The lightweight also makes it suitable for people who live alone as they can move it around themselves and assembly is also a one man job.

 

4. Stamina ATS Air Rower Machine

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Features at a glance:

  • Wind resistance rowing machine provides smooth strokes
  • Rowing chain is made of durable metal
  • The rail is long enough to accommodate all users
  • The foam padded seat slides over the ball bearing rollers and is comfortable
  • The footplates are also adjustable with the nylon straps so that it fits users of all sizes
  • Multi function electric monitor displays speed, time, distance and calories burned
  • Monitor has a large LED backlit screen
  • Maximum weight capacity is 250 pounds
  • Comes with wheels for easy transportation
  • The rowing machine has foldable parts for convenient storage
  • Comes with a three years warranty on frames and ninety days warranty on parts

 

Product Description

For those wondering if our list of the best rowing machines only comprises of Stamina rowing machines, don’t worry, the Stamina ATS Air Rower is the last one on this list. But this should tell you something about how great Stamina is in making rowing machines.

Rowing is a low impact full body workout that is very efficient in helping people lose weight. After working out for an hour, you can burn up to 800 calories. And the Stamina ATS Air Rower is a great rowing machine in helping you achieve that.

It is priced more than the other Stamina rowing machines we reviewed so far but still costs about half the price compared to the high end rowing machines. For those looking for an efficient and economical rowing machine, this is a recommended purchase. But like all low priced models, it does come with a few shortcomings.

  • Resistance:

The Stamina ATS Air Rower is an air resistance rowing machine as the name suggests. These rowing machines create resistance by spinning the flywheel, which then creates wind and the wind creates the resistance. Air resistance rowing machines are preferred by athletes as they are great for HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts.

Even though there are no knobs or buttons that can control the resistance of this machine, it does not mean that the resistance is not adjustable. The resistance level of air rowers depend entirely on how fast or hard you are rowing, thus providing a customized workout session for each user.

HIIT workouts require you to row at a high resistance then slow your pace so you can catch your breath. As the resistance is variable here, air rowers are the best suited for such workouts. You do not have to pause rowing to change the resistance level and this helps to keep your flow. In this regard, the Stamina ATS Air Rower mimics actual rowing really well.

You can row for a long time without having to take a break as there will be no issues of the rower getting hot. This is another advantage of air rowers over the hydraulic ones that tend to get hot easily.

As the seat rail is slightly inclined, it helps to get a leg work out too when you have to push your body weight up the incline. Even though this does not make a difference to the resistance, it does make the workout smoother.

But unlike the high end rowing machines, the Stamina ATS Air Rower does not have a damper which controls the amount of air in the flywheel. Air resistance rowers are also among the loud rowing machines. While it is not excessively loud, it can be a problem for your roommate or a sleeping child. Magnetic or hydraulic rowing machines make the least amount of noise.

The last two factors should not be a deal breaker. Lack of a damper will not affect the resistance. If you are looking to burn some calories and get fit, this is one of the best rowing machines in a budget to help you get there.

  • Build:

Like all Stamina products, the Stamina ATS Air Rower also has superior construction. The seat rail is made of oversized chrome and the metal rowing chain adds to its sturdiness and durability. The flywheel, made of heavy duty plastic, is enclosed in a metal cage.

Some rowing machines use nylon straps instead of metal chains which wears out easily. However, users have reported that the metal chain tends to fall off the sprocket. And in case your parts have some defects, Stamina customer service is very helpful and efficient in getting parts quickly.

  • Capacity:

According to the manufacturer, the maximum weight capacity of the Stamina ATS Air Rower is 250 pounds but people over 300 pounds have also used this rowing machine without any issues.

The maximum height capacity is up to 6’5” and it does not have a restriction the lower height range. This rowing machine can even accommodate children.

  • Comfort:

The foam padded seat is comfortable and it glides smoothly across the rail as you row. The seat is comfortable enough to allow you to row for a long time. The hand grips also have a foam covering that prevents your hands from tiring out easily but if you are not accustomed to working out, you can get workout gloves for extra comfort.

The foot pedals can be adjusted using the straps so your feet are securely held in place while you row.

  • Computer features:

The Stamina ATS Air Rower displays all the useful data such as strokes per minute, number of strokes, distance, time, speed and calories burned. It does not have the scan function as it displays two statistics at a time and you can change this with the mode button.

The monitor might be basic but it has all the necessary functions to keep track of your workout. Some of the data it displays is not the most accurate such as the calories burned and the distance. To know accurately how many calories you burned, you need to have a heart rate monitor that comes with the pricier models. This one merely represents these information so you can compare between your workout sessions.

  • Assembly:

The assembly process could not be easier as it already comes partially assembled. Only one person is sufficient to complete the task. Whatever tools you need to complete the task comes with the packaging. It also includes the 2 AA batteries for the monitor so you do not have to make any additional purchases before you can start using the rowing machine.

  • Storage:

Parts of this rowing machine is foldable for a more convenient storage option. The fan is foldable by taking off two pins, folding the fan and reattaching the pins. Folding the rower will reduce the space it occupies by two feet.

The Stamina ATS Air Rower comes with transport wheels and floor protectors so you can move it around easily and protect your floors from any damage while doing that.

However, this rowing machine does not have the ability to stand upright.

Pros
  • Air resistance is strong and smooth
  • Construction is sturdy and dependable
  • Affordable
  • Has foldable parts for convenient storage
  • Perfect for HIIT workouts
  • Wheels make it easy to move from place to place
  • Seat is large and comfortable to allow you to work out for a long time
  • Backlit display makes it easy to see what’s on the screen
  • The angled rail makes way for smooth return
Cons
  • Computer does not record a lot of useful information like heart rate, stroke rate, etc.
  • This rowing machine is quite noisy and makes it very hard to listen to the television or music without headphones
  • The chain has been reported to fall off sprocket
  • As the stroke rate is increased, the footplates can fail to accommodate you

Final Remark:

The Stamina ATS Air Rower is one of the best rowing machines that are moderately priced. If you are looking for an air resistance rower and do not wish to spend a ton of money on rowing machines like the Concept2 air resistance rower, this is the best one for you. The machine is smooth and helps to keep the flow of the workout. We also did not encounter a lot of users who complained about the comfort or the sturdiness of this model.

Overall, the Stamina ATS Air Rower is perfect for those looking for a wholesome cardio workout without the fancy upgrades and features of a high budget rowing machine.

 

5. Sunny SF-RW5515 Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor

Sunny SF-RW5515

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Features at a glance:

  • This rowing machine provides magnetic resistance that can be adjusted to 8 different levels of intensity
  • Large LCD console time, count, calories and total count
  • The display has a scan function that scans between the data every six seconds
  • Utmost comfort is provided via the fully padded seat and handlebars that are not slippery and have a good grip
  • The foot pedals are also not slippery
  • The foot pedals are large and adjustable to fit any user
  • Comes with built in wheels for easy transport
  • The maximum weight capacity is 250 pounds
  • The rowing machine is foldable for convenient storage
  • Comes with a ninety days frame warranty and ninety days parts warranty

 

Product Description

The next rowing machine in the list of the best rowing machines is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines because it is a magnetic rowing machine that is affordable. This is quite a rare combination.

Previously if you wanted a quiet rowing machine at a low price, you would have to settle for a hydraulic resistance one. But not anymore.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine has the benefits of being reasonably priced, quiet and with a smooth magnetic resistance. And the manufacturers did not compromise quality for affordability.

  • Resistance:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is a magnetic resonance rowing machine which means it has some benefits over other resistance options. A magnetic resistance rowing machine has a magnet inside the flywheel that creates resistance against a metal drum.

This rowing machine also has the option to adjust the level of resistance. Level 1 provides the easiest resistance and you dial the knob to the higher levels, more resistance is created as the magnet moves closer to the steel drum.

Having such a wide range of resistance options is great because it means that the rower is suitable for both beginner rowers and advanced rowers. The only drawback is that you have to stop rowing in order to change the resistance.

The greatest benefit of having a magnetic rower is that it is super quiet. You can enjoy your television show or music while getting a good workout. Your roommates or neighbours will have no complaint against it either.

People who have used the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine have praised how smooth the resistance is. Advanced rowers are also pleased with the strength of the rowing machine.

However if you are used to rowing on an air rower, the magnetic ones will feel different as the resistance level is constant based on what level you set it on. But this should not discourage you from purchasing the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine as you will get used to the magnetic resistance in no time.

The smooth and intense resistance alone is enough to recognize the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine as one of the best rowing machines but let’s take a look at its other features as well.

  • Build:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine has a sturdy construction thanks to the commercial grade steel mainframe. The build is actually comparable to the higher priced models and users have praised it for its durability and stability. Whether you place it on wooden floors or plush carpet, the machine will maintain its stability especially if you use a rowing machine exercise mat. The mat will also help protect your floor from any skid marks.

It does not make any whooshing, squeaking or clinking noise so you can row all you want while your spouse or children sleep peacefully.

The rowing handle is attached to the machine via reinforced nylon straps that will not fray so easily. The handlebars are also responsible for the smooth rowing.

  • Capacity:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine has the standard weight capacity of 250 pounds. Some users tend to experiment with the weight limit but that would be ill-advised with this rower.

The height capacity of this rowing machine will accommodate users as tall as 6’7”. Only one other rowing machine (the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine) could best the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine in terms of height. This rowing machine can also be used by children.

  • Comfort:

Regardless of how hard and fast you decide to row, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine remains stable and comfortable, thanks to the padded seat and non-slip handlebars that also provide an excellent grip.

The foot pedals have adjustable foot straps that can accommodate any feet size and helps to keep your feet secure while you row. We did not find users to complain about the comfort level of this rowing machine even after 30 minutes of use.

  • Computer features:

The LCD monitor displays the time, count, calories burned and total count. The scan function cycles through these information every few seconds. The monitor is battery powered so you do not have to be near any electrical outlets for it to work.

Being a mid range priced rowing machine, it is unreasonable to expect a fancier monitor. That being said, this monitor still lacks some features we found in lower priced rowing machines. It does not record some critical information such as the distance and speed. It is also not backlit which makes it hard to read the screen. The size of the screen also does not help.

Similar to other basic monitors in this price range, the console does not accurately record the amount of calories burned. The data represented is an estimate and it helps to compare your different workout sessions. If it says that you burned 600 calories as compared to your last workout session when you burned 700 calories, it simply means that this workout was less strenuous than the last workout.

  • Assembly:

With one of the easiest to understand instruction manuals, the assembly process of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine requires only one person and will only take up 30 minutes of your time.

The magnetic flywheel comes assembled with the rowing handle. The other parts such as the seat and the seat rail needs to be attached. Whatever tools you need to complete the assembly comes with the packaging. The tools and parts are packed in four labelled bags that correspond to the 4 assembly steps in the manual.

  • Storage:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine has transportation wheels and is foldable, both of these help to make storage a lot more convenient. As it is foldable, its size is reduced greatly and the wheels will help you move it to wherever you want to stow it away till your next workout session.

This rowing machine is not as light as the other ones we have reviewed so far so the transport wheels are a godsend.

In order to fold the machine, you have to unscrew a bolt, remove a pin, fold the rower and insert the pin back in place. This can be done in less than a minute. The folded machine can fit inside a closet or you can place it in the corner of a room.

Pros
  • Magnetic resistance is strong and smooth
  • Provides 8 varying levels of intensity for a more personalized workout session
  • The comfortable seat and handlebars allow you to work out for a long time
  • The noise level is low
  • Comes with wheels for easy transportation that boosts portability
  • It is foldable for convenient storage
  • Assembling this unit is easy
  • It is large enough to accommodate even the tallest users
Cons
  • The display console lacks a lot of vital information such as distance, heart rate, etc.
  • The machine is bulky when it is not in storage
  • The warranty period is too short
  • Lacks additional features that can be found in similar rowing machines in the same price range

Final Remark:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine has been a best seller in the market since it was introduced. As we said earlier, there are few rowing machines that have the unique combination of being low priced and having magnetic resistance. We have no complaints about the resistance, the construction or the comfort level of this rowing machine. Thus, adding the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine as one of the best rowing machines was a must.

The only thing that this rowing machines is a decent monitor but the monitor that comes with it is not half bad either as it records the most vital information.

This rowing machine is perfect for both novice and advanced users who want a quiet and smooth rowing machine within a budget.

 

6. Sunny SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine

Sunny SF-RW5639

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Features at a glance:

  • The build is out of solid steel frame
  • Maximum weight capacity is extended to 350 pounds
  • Hydraulic piston resistance is adjustable to 12 levels of intensity
  • The digital LCD shows the time, count, calories burned, total count and a scan function
  • Full range of motion arms makes rowing smooth and allows a wider range of motions
  • The fully padded seat makes rowing comfortable
  • The handlebars are not slippery and provide a good grip
  • The foot pedals are large to accommodate any user and is also adjustable with the foot straps for extra security
  • Comes with a three years frame warranty and 90 days parts warranty

 

Product Description

Sunny Health & Fitness has also made its mark in fitness equipment so for our next best rowing machines, we chose another one of their products. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine has a lot of strong points for which we had to consider it as one of the best rowing machines.

This is another low priced rowing machine with a reliable construction and rowing motions that can be compared to actual rowing. What sets this apart from the other rowing machines is that its weight capacity is higher at 350 pounds.

But it also does have its share of drawbacks like all low priced units. Being a hydraulic piston resistance rower, it faces the usual cons of such a system.

  • Resistance:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine is a hydraulic piston rowing machine that creates resistance from a single piston situated under the seat rail. The piston is connected to the two rowing arms. Pulling the arms forces the fluid through the piston and creates resistance.

The resistance level is adjustable. To set the level of resistance, you have to turn a knob to your preferred setting. As it has 12 levels of adjustable resistance, this rowing machine is suitable for both novice and advanced users alike. You also do not have to get off from the rowing machine to change the settings. Simply reaching under your seat will do.

Furthermore, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine offer a full range of motion of rowing, which means that you are free to move your arms at various angles and not just to and from your body. This free motion feature best mimics rowing.

Hydraulic resistance rowing machines also have the benefit of being very quiet, which is great news for your roommates and neighbours.

As you already know by now, hydraulic resistance rowing machines have their share of problems too with the oil leaking onto the floor and the piston getting hot. After only 20 minutes of rowing, you will be forced to take a break to allow the piston to cool down. During this time, the piston also loses its resistance so you have to set the resistance level higher before resuming your workout.

Some people have also complained that the resistance is not strong enough. This is not surprising for hydraulic piston rowing machines. For the expert users who are looking for an intense workout, we would recommend a different resistance type.

  • Build:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine has a sturdy build, no question about it! The solid steel frame is strong enough to withstand higher weight capacities than other rowing machines.

The seat, handles and foot pedals are also top quality and we did not find users who were not satisfied with the build.

  • Capacity:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine has a higher weight capacity than other rowing machines in this price range. It has a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds, which is rare for rowing machines under $500.

It can accommodate users as tall as 6’3” without any issue but problem arises for shorter people. People shorter than 5.0′ might find it difficult as the rowing arms might be too high for them. If the rowing arms reach above your chest level, the exercise can become uncomfortable.

  • Comfort:

Comfort is an important criteria when purchasing any fitness equipment. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine is fully aware of that and so it comes with soft padded seat and non-slip handles with a good and secure grip. It is important for handlebars to be non-slip, especially for people whose hands tend to sweat.

The pivoting foot pedals move according to the rhythm with which you row while the Velcro straps securely hold your feet in place.

The full range of motion option also adds to the user’s comfort level as you can move your arms however you please and work with different muscles.

  • Computer features:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine includes an LCD digital monitor that displays the time, number of strokes, total count and calories burned. The scan function cycles through this information every 6 seconds. The monitor is battery powered so you do not have to worry about any electrical sockets. The batteries come with the rowing machine.

Due to the price range, this is a very basic console but it does have one special feature that was absent in the rowing machines so far. It can countdown from a certain variable, such as time or calorie, and the monitor will alert you when that goal has been reached.

  • Assembly:

The assembly process will not be a hassle if you follow the instructions properly. With only four steps and after just 30 minutes, your rowing machine will be ready for use. All the required tools and batteries come with the packaging.

  • Storage:

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine is a compact model that is also low profile, which makes storing very convenient. You can place it upright against the wall in the corner of the room or stow it away in a closet. The arms are also foldable, which reduces its footprint.

The rowing machine does not come with transport wheels but that is not a big issue as it only weighs 33 pounds.

Pros
  • The resistance is adjustable to 12 different levels of intensity
  • Very affordably priced unit
  • Weight capacity is extended to 350 pounds
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • The foot pedals and seat is comfortable
Cons
  • The resistance might not be strong enough for expert users
  • The monitor is quite dull
  • The build quality could be better
  • The handles might be too long for a lot of users
  • The beam might not accommodate very tall users

Final Remark:

For a smooth, strong rowing experience that is also comfortable and quiet, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine is a great option to consider.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines because of its weight capacity and the full range of motion arms. These two features are not easily found on rowing machines that cost less than $150.

 

7. Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine

Sunny SF-RW1205

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Features at a glance:

  • Hydraulic piston provides 12 levels of adjustable resistance
  • The seat is comfortable and smooth, suitable for prolonged use
  • Comfort boosted by pivoting foot straps that are adjustable and non-slip, padded handlebars
  • The digital monitor displays the time, count, total count, calorie burned and a scan function
  • The build is made of sleek, solid steel frame
  • Easily folds flat for convenient storage
  • Maximum user weight capacity is 220 pounds
  • Comes with a one year warranty on frame and 90 days warranty on parts

 

Product Description

The Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines for various reasons. Priced at less than $100, this is one of the most affordable rowing machines that is perfect for beginners and elderly.

It provides a great low impact workout that can help you get rid of at least 600 calories after an hour of working out. This rowing machine will also help you warm up before a more strenuous workout.

  • Resistance:

The Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine is a hydraulic piston rowing machine but it differs from other hydraulic rowing machines in that it has a single centered piston instead of dual pistons on two sides. This is similar to the Stamina InMotion Rower.

The single piston makes this rowing machine even smoother and allows for even rowing strokes. Users often face two different levels of resistance on two sides because of the two pistons but with a single piston, you will have the same resistance level throughout.

Having a single piston, as opposed to dual pistons, has its fair share of benefits. It gets rid of the weight of an entire piston, making the machine weigh less as a whole and also reduces the price. Another problem with dual pistons is that one piston might wear out faster than the other, making the resistance uneven.

The Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine offers 12 levels of adjustable resistance which makes this rowing machine suitable for all kinds of users: novice and advanced. But it is most suited for a good cardio workout as the resistance level is still not strong enough for pro athletes. You do not have to get up from the machine to change the resistance level.

But the piston tends to get hot after 15 minutes or so, which will force you to take a break from rowing. The pistons take about 5-10 minutes to cool down and after that the resistance drops. So before resuming your workout session, remember to adjust the resistance to a higher level.

The resistance of this rowing machine is comparable to rowing machines that are in the higher end of the price spectrum. And like all the best rowing machines that have a hydraulic piston resistance, this is also very quiet.

Due to the inclined seat rail, there is an added level to the resistance. In the catch position, you will have to push your body against gravity to go up the slight incline. This provides a better workout that also focuses on your leg muscles.

  • Build:

The frame is made of sturdy steel that is of good quality. We did not find any user to complain about the build. The machine comes with rubber caps at the bottom to prevent skid marks on your floor and increase its robustness.

The only quality issue that was reported was the piston leaking oil. But Sunny Health & Fitness were quick to respond to these complains by replacing those parts.

The rowing machine is very quiet as it has one hydraulic piston to create resistance. Your roommates or neighbours will have no complain about this rowing machine. And you can also row away while your children and partner sleep peacefully.

  • Capacity:

The maximum weight capacity of the Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine is only 220 pounds and this is probably the main drawback of this rowing machine. While most rowing machines can support up to 250 pounds, this weight limitation is too low.

Being a compact machine, it might not be able to accommodate users who are too tall (over 6’2”) but that depends on your inseam. The good news is that there is no low end height restriction and one user who is 4’11” has reported that she can use the rowing machine without any issues.

  • Comfort:

The best rowing machines should be comfortable enough to allow users to row for a long time. The Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine is one such rowing machine that offers such a comfort level with padded seats and soft grip handle bars. You will not require any workout gloves to prevent blisters.

The foot pedals come with adjustable Velcro straps. The pivoting foot straps are large enough to accommodate every feet size and the straps add make your rowing exercise very secure.

  • Computer features:

The electronic monitor on the Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine is a very basic monitor that keeps track of the time, count, total count, calories burned and scan function that cycles through all the workout data.

The monitor has nothing fancy to offer, as is expected from a low priced rowing machine. But some users reported that the count was not accurate as the console added some extra strokes.

As with previous rowing machines, the calorie meter is not an accurate representation of how many calories you have lost but a tool to compare your different workout sessions.

The monitor is battery powered and the packaging already includes 2AA battery.

  • Assembly:

Of all the best rowing machines, assembling the Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine might be easiest. You will not even require the instruction manual and even if you are mechanically apt, you can complete the assembly process in 10 minutes.

  • Storage:

Unfortunately the Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine does not fold flat but that is not a big problem as it is very lightweight and can stand upright. You can place it in the corner of the room or keep it inside a closet when not in use.

Pros
  • Great rowing machine for novice users
  • Affordably priced
  • Assembly is easy
  • Does not make a lot of noise
  • Smooth operation
  • Build is sturdy and reliable
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Easily folds flat for convenient storage
  • You can choose between 12 levels of adjustable resistance to find a level that is best suited for you
Cons
  • The electric console does not keep track of all relevant information such as stroke rate, heart rate, etc.
  • The rail might be too small for very large users
  • The resistance is not adequate for expert users

Final Remark:

The Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines because it is very low priced, sturdy (yet lightweight) and can provide satisfying results.

Apart from the unavoidable issues with hydraulic piston rowing machines, the Sunny SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine offers strong and smooth resistance. Most users did not complain about the resistance level being very easy, which is a frequent complaint with low priced rowing machines.

Perfect for users who want to lose weight and keep in good shape but have a tight budget.

 

8. Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D

Concept2 Indoor Rower

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Features at a glance:

  • Build is made of aluminium rail capped with stainless steel track
  • Maximum user weight capacity is 500 pounds
  • 14 inch seat height can fit most users
  • The footrest is adjustable and the handle has a good grip
  • The Flywheel and Spiral Damper allows you to adjust the resistance
  • Comes with a noise reducing fan
  • Comes with real time Performance Monitor 5 that calibrates automatically and has a wireless connection to keep track of your heart rate
  • The PM5 comes with a LogCard and USB so it can connect to the computer
  • The console keeps track of the distance covered, strokes per minute, calories burned, pulse and heart rate
  • For convenient storage, the unit separates easily into two pieces
  • Comes with caster wheels for easy transport
  • Assembly is easy and only requires eight screws
  • Comes with a five years warranty on frame and two years warranty on parts

 

Product Description

And now for the rowing machine everyone has been talking about: the Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D. This rowing machine is considered as the best rowing machine by users as well as reviewers.

The only downside of this rowing machine is that it is a high priced model but after reading through its features and specifications, you will understand why. The price is actually very reasonable, given the quality and efficiency of this rowing machine.

So far in this review, we have pointed out that some of the rowing machines were not suitable for advanced users, but the Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D is the perfect machine for professionals and beginners alike. This commercial grade rower is one of the best rowing machines for your home, health club, gym or training facility.

  • Resistance:

The Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D is an air resistance rower that creates resistance by pulling the handle and spinning the fan flywheel. The faster you spin the flywheel, the more resistance you will feel. Basically, the faster you row, the more resistance you will feel.

This is different from magnetic or hydraulic resistance as the resistance level depends entirely upon how fast or hard you are rowing. This type of resistance is known as variable resistance and it mimics rowing on water more accurately.

Air and water resistance rowing machines are actually more preferred by professional athletes due to their smooth resistance and the way it feels so natural. Because you have the freedom to row at your own preferred pace, this type of rowing machine is perfect for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout.

You also do not have to stop to change any settings and there is also no such issue as the piston getting hot so you can continue rowing for as long as you like. The lack of a hydraulic or magnetic system also decreases the need for maintenance.

Even though there is no option to adjust the resistance level, it does have a damper setting option. The damper controls the amount of air allowed to go into the flywheel which in turn controls the feel of the rowing stroke. You can change the settings from level 1 to level 10. A higher level makes rowing feel like you are on a heavier and slower boat and a lower level represents a faster and lighter boat.

Unlike hydraulic or magnetic resistance rowing machines, air resistance rowers are not as quiet. They have a whooshing sound that is characteristic of such rowers. The faster you row, the louder the fan gets. This is one downside to having an air resistance rower. But many users have actually pointed this out as a good thing. As the sound gets louder, it indicates that they are working hard and this can be a great motivational tool.

Judging from its smooth and strong resistance, we can call the Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D as one of the best rowing machines and if you don’t believe us, perhaps you will be more convinced knowing that this is the rower that is chosen by Olympic athletes.

  • Build:

The Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D is a durable rowing machine without a doubt. It can truly take a beating and even after 10 years of use, it will feel as good as new. The commercial grade rower has no questionable plastic parts and the base is made of steel legs, aluminium front and has an aluminium I-beam monorail with a stainless steel seat track.

With the second highest weight capacity in this list of the ten best rowing machines, the build had to be strong enough to support that weight. You will also not hear any creaks or squeaks while you row. The manufacturers have provided a long warranty period so in the off-chance that you do encounter any issues, they will replace the defective parts.

The only downside to the build is that this is not a compact rower. It is quite long compared to the other rowing machines. So if you are considering buying it for your home, make sure you have a large workout space.

To ensure the fluidity of the rowing machine, remember to keep the chain lubricated and clean the monorail in a regular basis.

  • Capacity:

The Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D has the second highest weight capacity on this list of the best rowing machines. It can accommodate up to 500 pounds without compromising the sturdiness of the machine.

There is no restriction on the height and the machine can also accommodate children. If you are too tall and don’t think the machine will fit you, Concept2 will extend the monorail by 5.0” at the additional price of $250. For 99% of users, there was no complain about the capacity.

  • Comfort:

The contoured and padded seat is quite comfortable but many users have reported that the seat tends to get hard over time. This is not a big problem as you can just place a towel or a removable seat pad over it. The seat is slightly inclined which helps maintain an upright posture.

The ergonomically designed handle has a layer of moulded rubber that provides excellent grip. For users who are not accustomed to working out often, workout gloves are advisable to prevent blisters.

The footrests are flexible and comfortable enough to row even barefoot. The unique design allows rowers to adjust their shins even if they don’t have flexible ankles.

  • Computer features:

The Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D comes with a PM5 (Performance Monitor 5), which is the best monitor you can expect from a rowing machine. It keeps track of the distance, speed, time, strokes per minute, watts, calories burned and also the heart rate. It also calculates the mean of all these variables.

To track your heart rate, there is a heart rate attachment and a compatible chest strap. The PM5 monitor is compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart that is apt for measuring the heart rate and blood-glucose levels. With this rowing machine, you can stay in target heart rate zones.

But the monitor does not only record these data. It is capable of so much more. It has five pre-set workouts to choose from but you can also customize your own workout routine. In case you are not familiar with the technique, the monitor will show you a brief animated lesson. Oh and you can also play a game on the monitor! What more can you ask from a rowing machine monitor?

The display is big enough and backlit so you have no problem reading it, even in low light. The monitor even has an USB drive that enables you to save and keep a log of your workout data. You can plug in the USB in different rowing machine in case your original rowing machine is occupied in your health club. To analyse your workout data further, Concept2 has an online logbook called “Concept Utility”. Inputting your training data here will manage your data and show graphical representations of your progress.

In case you are wondering if this technologically advanced needs a power outlet, don’t worry. The PM5 monitor is battery powered and the packaging includes 2 D batteries. A power generation feature also provides power to the battery while you are rowing, thus saving battery life.

  • Assembly:

The Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D is very easy to assemble. Follow the instructions and all the tools you will require already come with the packaging. Even if you are not mechanically apt, the assembly process will only take about 25 minutes max.

  • Storage:

Even though the Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D has a large footprint, the size is basically reduced to half when you store it on account of it being foldable. To fold the rowing machine, you have to separate the monorail and the flywheel. This might sound complicated but it will take only about 20 seconds and then another 20 seconds to put it back together.

To make moving it around easier, the rowing machine comes with caster wheels on the front. But even without the wheels it is easy to move as it only weighs 60 pounds. To save space when in storage, you can store it upright at the corner of a room.

Pros
  • Voted as the number one rowing machine on many review sites
  • Sturdy build will last for years and is suitable for commercial use
  • Does not require a lot of maintenance to keep it running smoothly
  • Rowing machine can fit users of any size
  • For convenient storage, the unit separates easily into two pieces
  • Comes with caster wheels for easy transport
  • Assembly is easy and only requires eight screws
  • The PM5 monitor keeps track of all the necessary data
  • Supportive online community can help you with your queries
  • Easy to find spare parts and service companies
Cons
  • This rowing machine takes up a lot of space as it is 8 feet long
  • The fan gets louder with faster rowing
  • The seat tends to get hard and uncomfortable over time
  • The handle is not very comfortable
  • High budget rowing machine

Final Remark:

The Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D is one of the best rowing machines for various reasons: its smooth resistance that is suitable for both professionals and beginners alike, the technologically advanced PM5 monitor that has more features than you could ever ask for, and the sturdy build that will last a lifetime.

This rowing machine is perfect for a workout that does not overstrain any muscles or pose any threat of injury. With the variable resistance, you get to control the level of resistance and decide the course of your workout.

We really cannot say enough good things about the Concept2 Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Model D. The price might be too high but this is a worthwhile purchase.

 

9. Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine

Water Rower

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Features at a glance

  • Water resistance rowing machine mimics rowing on the water
  • Handcrafted rowing machine is made of American Ash Wood frame that has a honey oak stain finished in Danish oil
  • Ergonomically designed handle and saddle
  • Wooden construction absorbs sound and vibrations
  • Water flywheel provides smooth resistance that you can control completely by yourself
  • Comes with series 4 performance monitor that keeps track of the workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, speed, calories burned, workout duration and distance covered
  • Maximum user weight capacity is 1000 pounds
  • Can stand upright when not in use for convenient storage
  • Comes with dual caster wheel for easy transport
  • Comes with a 5 years warranty on frame and 3 years warranty on parts

 

Product Description:

The Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor is one of the best rowing machines when it comes to performance as well as aesthetic. The construction is very different from all rowing machines as it is made of solid Ash wood with a honey oak construction.

The S4 performance monitor offers all the features you would expect from a technologically advanced monitor and much more.

Moreover it has the highest weight capacity from all the rowing machines we have reviewed. It is quiet and being a water resistance rower, it mimics rowing on the water in the best way.

  • Resistance:

The Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine is a water resistance rowing machine which is similar to an air resistance rowing machine as the resistance is variable in both. There is no knob or dial you can turn which will control the resistance. The resistance depends on how hard or fast you are rowing yourself.

This type of resistance system provides a full body workout. A water flywheel or paddle suspended in a tank of water creates resistance. As you pull the rowing handle, it spins the flywheel which in turn displaces the water to provide the resistance.

Being a water resistance rowing machine, the Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine has a lot of benefits. This type of resistance is found in the best rowing machines as it mimics the act of rowing perfectly.

Users have even said that the Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine induces a meditative state triggered by the splashing of the water in the tank and the rhythmic action of rowing. Water rowers are also known for being very quiet. It is loud enough for you to hear the splashes but not loud enough to reach the next room.

The level of resistance is dependent on two factors: firstly by how hard or fast you are rowing and secondly by the amount of water that is in the tank. Increasing the water level imitates a heavier boat and decreasing it mimics a lighter boat.

Users have praised the Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine for its smooth and strong resistance that did not lag at any point. This reflects on how well made and efficient the resistance system really is.

  • Build:

The construction of the Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine is very different from all the rowing machines in this list of the best rowing machines. Instead of steel and aluminium, this rowing machine is made of solid Ash wood that is hand finished and stained in Honey Oak to make the most aesthetic rower.

This construction is durable and sturdy and the wood absorbs the sound and vibration. You will not find this rowing machine creaking or squeaking while you row.

Even the water tank, which is made of polycarbonate, is very sturdy. The only thing that needs maintaining is the water itself. The manufacturers have thoughtfully included chlorine tablets that you can add to the water to maintain its clarity.

Even after years of use, you will find that the only thing that needs changing are the batteries in the monitor. Judging only from its resistance and build, you can already see why the Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines.

  • Capacity:

The Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine has a maximum weight capacity of 1000 pounds, which is the highest of all the rowing machines in this list of the best rowing machines. This weight capacity is more than anyone can ask for or even need.

The height capacity also accommodates users of every height, tall or short. Only if you are over 6’7”, we would advise you to check whether your inseam fits in the rower before purchasing the unit.

  • Comfort:

The Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine probably has the most comfortable and smooth rowing stroke on the market. The moulded seat has extra padding for extra comfort. This ergonomically designed seat has been voted as the most comfortable seat on a rowing machine by many users.

The aluminium handle has a tear drop shape that gives it a better grip and reduces any risk of wrist injury. The foot rests use nylon straps to secure the footing. The adjustable straps can accommodate any feet size and you can change the strap size within seconds.

However, for people with bad knees, the fact that the seat is too low on the ground might be bad news. The nylon straps also reportedly came loose in the middle of workout sessions. A few users also complained that the foot rests are too rough to row barefoot, so make sure you are wearing socks at least.

  • Computer features:

The Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine comes with a Series 4 multi-functional electric monitor that can keep track of the time, distance, intensity, stroke rate and heart rate. There is no Scan function because all the information is displayed on separate windows at the same time.

The intensity window displays the rowing speed, the calories burned and the power. The target window displays your target zone for the intensity, heart rate and stroke rate. The heart rate window is available upon purchase of the additional heart rate monitor. Additionally, there are also separate windows for the distance, duration and stroke rate.

The monitor can also be connected to your computer via a monitor cable to analyse your workout data. Software that can analyse this data include WeRow, NetAthlon, etc.

The monitor is battery powered and the packaging includes 4 AA batteries. However the display cannot be seen properly in low light as it is not backlit.

The S4 monitor of the Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine may not be as advanced as the PM5 monitor of the Concept2 Model D but it is more than capable of keeping track of your workout data at home. If you are still looking for consoles that can compare your workout information with Olympic rowers, we would recommend the Concept2 Model D.

  • Assembly:

The instruction guide comes with detailed description and illustrations about the assembly process. Even if you are not used to putting things together, you will face any trouble while assembling this unit and the task will be complete in less than half an hour.

  • Storage:

The Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine is quite bulky and not foldable. Neither of these are good news when it comes to storing a rowing machine but the silver lining is that the rowing machine has dual caster wheels and can stand upright. This makes it easier to move it around and even though the unit is heavy, it will not require a lot of strength on your part to make it stand on its base.

Pros
  • Sturdy build provides smooth rowing motions and a rowing machine that can last a lifetime
  • Water resistance mimics rowing the most compared other types of rowing machines
  • Rowing intensity can adjust the resistance
  • Ash wood and honey oak finish gives it a great look
  • Comes with dual caster wheel for easy transport
  • Can stand upright when not in use for convenient storage
  • Assembly is easy
  • The seat and handle are both ergonomically designed for user’s utmost comfort
  • The series 4 performance monitor can connect to the computer to log your data
  • Very quiet
  • The display is large enough to read even from a distance
  • Manufacturer provides a long warranty period
Cons
  • High budget rowing machine
  • The monitor is not within hand reach
  • The foot rests are not comfortable for tall users

Final Remark:

The best rowing machines should have a smooth and strong resistance, the seat should be comfortable enough to allow you to row for a long time and the build should not be flimsy. We are happy to report that the Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine has impressed in all of these fronts and many more.

The electric monitor gives fairly accurate information about your workout’s progress. The rowing motion is smooth and provides a meditation like trance because of the pleasant sound of the splashing water against the paddle. The only major drawback would be the price, especially for people looking to buy a less pricey rowing machine.

This rowing machine is perfect for both beginner and advanced rowers who are looking for the best suited rowing machine in the gym or at home.

 

10. Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower Machine

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

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Features at a glance:

  • Magnetic resistance rowing machine
  • DMC (Drum Magnetic Control) system makes the resistance level adjustable
  • Comes with 8 different levels of resistance
  • Comes with electronic tension control
  • The console keeps track of the rowing time, strokes per minute, distance covered, calories burned, heart rate and pulse meter
  • The computer features 12 programs of which six are pre-set and one is manual
  • The beam is made of anodized aluminium profile with a rectangular tubing support
  • Comes with a heart rate monitor chest strap for an intense cardio workout
  • Foldable design for easy storage
  • Maximum weight capacity is 275 pounds
  • Polyurethane moulded saddle is comfortable
  • Comes with a 5 year warranty on frame, 90 days warranty on monitor and 30 days warranty on the other parts

 

Product Description

The next rowing machine we reviewed is the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower. This magnetic rowing machine is one of the best rowing machines within a mid price range.

Unlike the lower priced rowing machines with a very basic monitor, the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower has an advanced performance monitor to keep track of all your relevant workout data. Moreover, it is one of the least expensive rowing machines that includes a heart rate monitor.

With tons of great features, the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower also a few shortcomings. So let’s take a more detailed look at the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower.

  • Resistance:

The Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower is a magnetic rowing machine that comes with a drum magnetic control system or DMC for short. Pulling the rowing handle makes the metal flywheel spin. The magnet situated inside a metal housing then moves closer or farther away from the metal flywheel. When the magnet is close to the flywheel, the resistance increases and decreases when it is away from the flywheel.

This rowing machine comes with 8 levels of adjustable resistance, making it suitable for use among different people. Various people in your household can benefit from this rowing machine by simply adjusting the resistance level to their liking. The monitor has buttons that controls the resistance level.

As we have mentioned before, the great benefit of having a magnetic rowing machine is that it is super quiet. You can even workout early in the morning or late at night without disturbing anyone. The Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower also has no surface to surface friction, which decreases the chances of any wear and tear.

Even though the resistance of this rowing machine is smooth, it does not mimic the resistance felt on water as closely as air or water resistance rowing machines. But this is the case with every adjustable resistance rowers, so it should not discourage you from purchasing the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower.

The big issue, however, is that since the monitor controls the resistance, it requires an electrical outlet. If the controls malfunction, the resistance will no longer be adjustable and will be in need of servicing.

  • Build:

Every part of the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower is made of durable and quality material. The frame and rowing beam are both made of aluminium that makes the rower sturdy but also light weight. The anodized aluminium beam comes with rectangular tubing for extra durability. It has double bearings which reduces the wearing of the bearing over time.

The construction is very reliable for a home use rowing machine and you will not find it creaking or squeaking while you row. This rowing machine also comes in black.

  • Capacity:

The Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower has a maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds and the seat rail is long enough to accommodate users of any size.

There is no lower end height limit and it should be more than accommodating for users less than 6’2”. Once again, let us remind you that the leg inseam is the determining factor of whether you will fit in a rowing machine and not the height.

  • Comfort:

The well padded seat is large enough to accommodate any user and is made of polyurethane leather. It operates smoothly by gliding up and down the rail.

The handles also have a padded layer which adds to the comfort level of the user and gives it an excellent grip. It is soft so you will not require any workout gloves to prevent blisters.

The large footrests are made of a non-slip material and come with Velcro straps that are adjustable. No users have complained about the comfort, size or security of the footrests.

  • Computer features:

The Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower has a very advanced fitness monitor that can do more than just track your workout data. Placed in a convenient location, it gives you easy access to change the settings while you row.

The multi function fitness monitor can track the time, count, distance, calories, and strokes per minute, watts and pulse. The screen is large enough to display all these information at the same time so there is no need for a Scan function. You can set your target time, distance, calories or count so when the target is complete, the monitor will beep to alert you. Users have said that this was a more motivational to work out.

The screen is also backlit so can be seen clearly even in low light. It comes with a motion sensor that detects your rowing motion and displays in a graphical format on the screen.

The monitor also includes a heart rate receiver and a chest belt. This displays the heart rate and also allows you to check the pulse recovery rate after completing your workout. The lesser time you need to recover, the better your fitness level is.

The monitor has 12 programs of which 6 are pre programmed, 1 is a target heart rate program, 4 open slots that will let you customize your workout as you please and one manual program that lets you row without any limitations.

The only downside to this multi functional monitor is that it is not battery powered and instead requires an electrical outlet. The rowing machine will not work unless it is plugged in as the monitor controls the resistance levels and workout programs. Many users have also complained about the monitor malfunctioning.

However, this is still the best monitor you will find on a rowing machine in this price range. Even some higher priced rowing machines do not come with a heart rate receiver.

  • Assembly:

For people who are not used to putting things together, you need not worry as the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower does not have a lot of loose things that need to be put together.

All the tools you will need have been included with the packaging and the instruction manual is very helpful. To have your rowing machine assembled and ready to use, you will only need about 30 minutes.

  • Storage:

The Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower is foldable. By removing a knob, you can fold the seat rail upright and then just replace the knob in place. This can be done in just a few seconds.

Moving it is easy, thanks to the built in wheels and when folded the footprint is reduced to the size of a vacuum.

Pros
  • The build is durable and of quality material
  • Rowing motion is smooth and quiet
  • All the parts (seat, handles and footrests) are comfortable so you can continue rowing for a long time
  • Comes with 8 different levels of resistance
  • The LCD display is backlit, making it easy to read
  • The computer ha 12 workout program options
  • Equipped with a built in heart rate receiver with chest strap
  • Assembling this unit will not be cumbersome
  • Foldable to save space when in storage
  • Comes with built in wheels for easy transport
Cons
  • Warranty on parts other than the frame is not long enough
  • The electrical components are prone to misbehave
  • Not the most comfortable seat
  • Not suitable for users over 6’2”

Final Remark:

The Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower is one of the best rowing machines mainly due to its smooth and adjustable resistance, as well as the advanced monitor. We did not find any user to question the build quality and no one complained about the comfort level either.

This rowing machine is definitely worth the buck and it is perfect for intense home use.

 

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