How to Choose the Best Home Rowing Machine
Rowing machines or rowers are designed to simulate the action of rowing a boat. They provide one of the best fat-burning and body-building workouts - they stress the biggest muscle groups in the body like the back and legs. Rowing machines provide low impact cardio workouts by putting minimal stress on hips, knees, and ankle joints.
On the other hand, rowers tend to emphasize pulling motions - something to consider in order to avoid imbalances.
When buying rowing machines, consider a few things:
- price - as usual with other exercise machines, price varies greatly from model to model. Pricier models often last longer, have more realistic rowing experience, have better control panels, etc. Read details and if you are satisfied with a cheaper model, why buy a more expensive one when you really don't need it.
- resistance system - air resistance, magnetic brake system, hydraulic brake system, water break system - each brake system has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, the magnetic brake system offers the best options for preset programs, while the water brake system offers the most realistic rowing experience.
- size - some models can be folded and stored away - just be careful, out of sight, out of mind; on the other hand, larger models do require much more space to store and use.
- control panel - provide information about rowed distance, time, calories burned, heart rate, rowing program (magnetic brake system), etc.
- features can be numerous like heart rate monitors, wireless, USB port, etc.
- warranty - for rowers or just part of them. More expensive rowers have longer warranties for most important parts or entire rower, cheaper rowers have shorter warranties, often only for some parts.
Of course, there are many other little details that one must consider when buying a new rower and those details are often very personal.
For more information about rowing and rowing machines, feel free to check our articles (links open in the new windows):
Rowers Reviews and Recommendations
Rowers reviews and recommendations provide you with information and our opinions about rowing machines. You can agree with us or not, but we have really tried to provide as objective reviews as possible - after all, opinions differ.
Each article has at least one Amazon link - it is fair to say that we participate in Amazon's affiliate program and if you do buy something on Amazon following our link, we get commission.
However, this doesn't influence our reviews, because the reasons why we might like a specific rower could be the reasons why you don't like it and vise versa :)
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 is a lightweight and simplistic hydraulic rowing machine with a full rowing motion, suitable for warmups and light cardio sessions at home.
When folded, Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 is a compact rower, not requiring much storage space. Nonetheless, it supports users up to 350 pounds (~158 kg) despite a rather affordable price.
Published: March 24, 2022.
The SereneLife SLRWMC18 Rowing Machine is designed for home use and is capable of offering a full-body workout.
Being a rowing machine, it offers an all-weather low-impact non-weight bearing workout, ideal for strength training as well as recovery training. It’s foldable and has magnetic and air resistance. Having a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs. it’s suitable for users of most sizes.
Published: October 30, 2021.
The Snode WR100 Water Rowing Machine is a promising rowing machine and offers a full-body workout without impacting joints. Since it involves a water-resistance system, it offers an adequate challenge to develop cardiac and overall strength and develop and tone muscles all over the body.
It has a great build quality for the price, and is an excellent machine for home use to keep oneself fit overall and during situations like snowfall and coronavirus pandemic when going outside of the home for a workout is impossible.
Published: October 9, 2021.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine is very affordable, entry level home rowing machine. Its resistance system is based on an elastic cord, providing very specific rowing experience. Although it doesn't 'feel' as rowing on the water, 'bungee cord' resistance system acts both ways, helping the user to burn even more calories than other resistance systems.
The WaterRower club rowing machine is a striking and effective handcrafted rowing machine by WaterRower, made from solid American ash wood and finished with black and rose stains with a Danish oil finish, giving it an attractive, natural and premium look. The solid ash wood construction doesn’t only make it look better, but more importantly, it absorbs almost all vibration and sound during the workout, giving the user a quiet and ultra-smooth exercise session and making itself as durable as a rowing machine can and should be.
Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine is very good home indoor rower that comes at great price. It provides good rowing exercise using hydraulic pistons resistance system. For hydraulic pistons rower it is little bit pricey, but it is very well built and it comes with several features that similar rowers don't have.
Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower is one of the best buy rowers. It doesn't have many features much more expensive rovers have, but it gets it's job done. Solid and durable, with aluminum beam, it is not too heavy nor it requires much space for storage.
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine is sturdy, compact, affordable home rower. Resistance system is based on adjustable gas-shock absorber - rower doesn't provide the most realistic rowing experience, but in this price range, it provides excellent workout for legs, back and arms. Since rowing is mostly pulling exercise, combine it with some push-ups and you will get great fully body workout. It is not gym class machine, but, for home use, it is one of the best buy entry-level rowers.
Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms is compact, durable and affordable home rowing machine. It provides smooth and quiet operation and when not in use, it is easily stored away. It has very good 5 year warranty on the frame, but warranty of 30 days on parts could be better.
LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine is solid home use only rowing exercise machine. It is well built, but it has some characteristics that some people don't like. It is much cheaper than some high-end rowers and it will provide you with great rowing exercise.
Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine is excellent entry-level, home rower that comes at acceptable price. It is lightweight, foldable rower which is stored easily due to transport wheels, not requiring much space. Maximum user weight of 250 lbs (113 kg) is very good for foldable rowers in this price range.
Concept2 Models D and E Indoor Rowing Machines are large, sturdy and expensive rowers. And they are worth every (euro)cent. They are suitable for both home and gym use. They can be folded for easier storage, but still, they are large pieces of exercise equipment. If you are serious about indoor rowing and want to increase your fitness level and tone your physique, you should consider these rowers.
ProForm Dual Trainer Bike/Rower is combination of recumbent bike and rower machine in a singe exercise machine. It is big, sturdy and rather heavy machine with excellent maximum user weight of 350 pounds and life time warranty on the frame itself.
ProForm Dual Trainer Bike/Rower is designed for home indoor use as both rower and recumbent bike. As such, it provides two different types of workouts which complement each other and help burn more calories and increase strength and stamina.
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine is entry level, home rowing machine. It is compact and lightweight rower, which comes at great price and provides the user with low impact aerobic exercise. However, with great price, comes limitations and few drawbacks.
Stamina X Air Rower is big and sturdy air rower which comes with nice list of features and acceptable price tag. Although rather large machine, it is relatively light for its size, but it also has relative low maximum user weight of 'only' 250 pounds (113 kg).
ProForm 440R Rower is good medium-range magnetic rower. It comes at not-so-cheap price and it lacks some features one might expect in $350-$400 range rowing machines, but it also has many useful features justifying its price.
Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower is mid-range, foldable, home rower. It comes with several preset and heart rate programs, chest strap for monitoring heart rate and the user manual. Although it is strong and robust, its maximum allowed user weight is somewhat low.
Stamina InMotion Rower is entry-level, most basic, home rowing machine. It is cheap, relatively strong and durable and provides a trainee an option for a rather good rowing exercise. If you like or need a good cardio exercise at home, but you don't need 'water-like' rowing exercise, don't need all the advanced features that larger and more expensive rowers have, consider Stamina InMotion Rower as your home rower.