Guide to the Best Rowing Machines for Home Gym & TOP 10 Reviewed 2018

Guide to the Best Rowing Machines for Home Gym & TOP 10 Reviewed 2018
5 (100%) 11 votes

So you’re looking to elevate your workout experience to the next level?

A rowing machine could be just the thing you need! But buying a rowing machine can be a struggle if you don’t know a lot about them.

Don’t you worry, we got the answers right here.

Two young sportsmen training on rowing machines

Follow our guide and we promise you, not only will you find the perfect rowing machine, but once you start using it, you will crush all of your fitness goals in no time.

  • WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

  • Water Resistance

  • Stability10/10

  • Comfort9/10

  • Value9/10

  • Handcrafted water resistance machine. What more can you ask for when looking for high quality equipment.

  • Our Rating

    4.5 Stars
  • WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine

  • Water Resistance

  • Stability10/10

  • Comfort9/10

  • Value9/10

  • Another handcrafted, high-quality piece of equipment that is all you need for good everyday workout and real rowing feel.

  • Our Rating

    4.5 Stars
TOP
  • WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

  • Water Resistance

  • Stability10/10

  • Comfort10/10

  • Value10/10

  • A water resistance rowing machine that is basically a piece of art.

  • Our Rating

    5 Stars
We also like
  • BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower

  • Air and Magnetic Resistance

  • Stability10/10

  • Comfort10/10

  • Value10/10

  • A hybrid of air and magnetic resistance that is without a doubt one of the best rowing machines available.

  • Our Rating

    5 Stars
  • Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

  • Air Resistance

  • Stability8/10

  • Comfort9/10

  • Value8/10

  • A small and simple machine with airresistance that is praised by trainers and athletes.

  • Our Rating

    4.25 Stars

 

Rowing machines are certainly among the unique pieces of exercise equipment on the commercial market.

They’re strange looking and seemingly complicated, yet so many personal trainers are quick to sing enthusiastic praises about the power of the rowing machine.

AND THERE IS A GOOD REASON FOR THAT!

As it turns out, the best rowing machine deserves all the praise it can get.

It’s one of the quickest, most thorough full-body workouts you can get – all in a single machine.

The only issue with rowing machines is that, since they’re so complicated, it can be hard to decide what kind of rower you should get.

rowing machine

The kind of machine you choose really does make a difference, and it would be a shame to invest so much money into a piece of workout equipment that isn’t going to work for you.

Consider this your ultimate shopping guide for the best rowing machine for home.

Why Buy a Rowing Machine?

Investing in a rowing machine is more economical that it appears to be on the surface. When you’re workout on a rower, you’re engaging your upper body, lower body, and core simultaneously.

This makes for a really quick workout that hits every key zone. Rather than buying multiple pieces of separate equipment and trying to get in a few separate sessions, the rower can do it all in one.

This machine exists to mimic the act of rowing. Rowing is one of the best forms of exercise you can get, but it’s not very practical to do.

NOW STOP AND THINK ABOUT THIS…

How often do you have access to a canoe and a lake, and how often would it take you to prepare for an actual rowing trip?

rowers rowing machine workout

That’s a lot of work, and owning a rower drastically simplifies the process.

Best rowing machines also provide a relatively gentle workout, which is surprising when you consider the intensity they bring to the table.

There’s virtually no impact on your joints when you row. You’re building muscle and even shedding pounds in the process, all without the risk of impact-related injury.

These are a great option for people with small home gyms who may not have room to accommodate a ton of equipment. This machine alone replaces several, maximizing your investment.

NO! IT DOES NOT TAKE A LOT OF SPACE.

Many rowing machines are designed to fold up when they aren’t in use, making their use of space even better. A rowing machine is practical, powerful, and useful.

Many people build their workouts around their rowing machines for this reason.

What Muscles Does a Rowing Machine Target?

  • Back: Your back is targeted the most when working out with a rowing machine.
  • Arms: With the motion of the upper body, most of the arms muscles are activated with each pull.
  • Core: Your abdominal muscles are put to work throughout the whole workout with a rowing machine. Plus, to complete the flowing motion your upper and lower body is coordinated to work together.
  • Legs: While executing the pulling motions your quadriceps and hamstring muscles are put to work.

Which is Better, Treadmill or Rowing Machine?

Well, the truth is, it depends on what your fitness goals are and what are you looking for in a workout. And we can say that both are great for a good cardiovascular workout that has many different benefits!

Keep in mind that running is more likely to cause injury in joints etc,

On the other hand, treadmills and running are better for burning calories. However, if you use your rowing machine for HIIT type of training you’ll be able to burn a ton of calories without a doubt.

Also, a rowing machine is amazing for recovery training.

How Good is a Rowing Machine for Weight Loss?

To lose weight, you have to burn calories. And you have to burn more than you take in!

The great thing about a rowing machine is that you can build your own workout with resistance that works best for you. This means you can use a rowing machine to exercise with a HIIT type of workout. And as we know these are amazing for burning calories and losing some of that extra weight.

How Much Does a Rowing Machine Cost?

The cost of a rowing machine depends on what you are looking for and how much you are ready to invest. There are different quality rowing machines in all price categories which means you can simply follow our recommendations to find the one that fits you and the size of your wallet.

Garage gym concept

REMEMBER! QUALITY COMES FOR A CERTAIN PRICE.

We have tried out different rowing machines in the price range from a couple of hundred USD to well over a thousand USD. And yes, there are good and bad models throughout the whole spectrum.

What Rowing Machine Should I get?

Before making the decision you should consider a couple of things:

  • How often you will use the rowing machine
  • What is your desired price range
  • How serious you are about working out
  • How many people will be using it
  • Do you want to track your progress
  • Do you need instructions for better workouts

Finding answers to these questions should allow you to find the best rowing machine for home.

How to find the Best Rowing Machine

Picking the right rowing machine may seem tricky at first, but the process becomes a lot easier when you know what you’re looking for. Some rowing machines are made with a quick workout in mind.

They’re great for cardio, and a little bit of muscle toning.

Other rowing machines are heavy duty, and the resistance will provide you with intense muscle building. If you’re looking for a rowing machine that can do it all, it may be worth spending a little more on a premium model.

When you think about the other equipment you won’t have to buy, the investment practically pays for itself.

THINK THIS: WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU!

Most likely, you are looking for some additional equipment to your home gym or you are about to get the first piece of equipment for your home. This means you have to be thinking about one thing only and ask the following.

What is the Best Indoor Rower?

The rowing machine you are looking for can be relatively simple. The best indoor rowers do not have to be the same quality as the ones built for public gyms. However, if you are ready to make the investment, you should be looking for the kind of quality that lasts a lifetime.

fitness guy

And of course, you have to know understand the differences between specific types of rowing machines!

Keep in mind that some or designed as CrossFit rowing machines, for example.

What is the Best Rowing Machine to Buy?

The best rowing machine for home is the one that you can afford and brings good value from the investment.

However, if you want to be really specific, here are a couple we would suggest as some of the best ones on the market right now:

  • WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

  • Water Resistance

  • Stability10/10

  • Comfort10/10

  • Value10/10

  • A water resistance rowing machine that is basically a piece of art.

  • Our Rating

    5 Stars
  • BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower

  • Air and Magnetic Resistance

  • Stability10/10

  • Comfort10/10

  • Value10/10

  • A hybrid of air and magnetic resistance that is without a doubt one of the best rowing machines available.

  • Our Rating

    5 Stars

 

What Are The Different Kinds of Rowing Machines?

What is the difference between an air, hydraulic, magnetic and water rower?

Every variation of the rowing machine is used for a different purpose, though they all provide a similar experience.

Machines with fixed handles will generally cost you less money, but your experience in using these machines won’t be as versatile. While the workout will be similar to real-life rowing, the handles prevent it from being exactly as engaging.

READ CAREFULLY AND LEARN THE DIFFERENCES.

What are the different types of rowing machines?

The four different types of rowing machines are:

  • Water resistance rowing machine
  • Air resistance rowing machine
  • Hydraulic resistance rowing machine
  • Magnetic resistance rowing machine

Once you understand how the different types of rowing machines work and where their resistance comes from, it will be easy to select the machine that will provide you with the experience you desire.

Water Flywheel Rowing Machines

Water rowing machines provide you the most authentic experience any rowing machine can give you. The handles are attached to paddles suspended in a tank of water.

Adjusting the amount of water in the tank can help you customize your resistance. Much like real rowing, the resistance will naturally become higher as you row faster.

Because of this, you won’t have to worry as much about adjusting your resistance – you’ll naturally learn to row harder and faster, making your workout more intense as you learn.

OK GREAT! BUT HOW DO I STORE IT?

These models are much heavier and a lot more difficult to store, but if you have enough space for one, these are top-of-the-line.

Air Flywheel Rowing Machines

If you are looking for the best air resistance rowing machine, this might just be it!

With an air flywheel, you’re basically powering a large fan. They can get a little loud, but the workout is great. Much like the water rowing machine, the air rower will offer you more resistance the faster you go.

Depending on the model you select, you may also be able to manually set the intensity by adjusting a valve that directs airflow to the wheel, but you might not need to do that. You’ll be able to naturally acclimate to the higher intensity simply by practicing.

The best type of rowing machine? ARGUABLY, YES!

Many professionals say that this is the best type of rowing machine there is, and even Olimpic athletes choose to work out with air resistance rowing machines.

Hydraulic Resistance Rowing Machines

These rowers are powered by hydraulic pistons, which are affixed to the handlebars. While hydraulic rowers may be adjustable, the way the pistons are attached makes the handlebars immovable.

For example this Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine with 50 resistance levels for a variety of options to choose from when working out on this machine that scores 8 out of then overall.

Because of this, hydraulic rowers are best for arm workouts – you won’t be able to do as much with your legs or your core.

These are generally less expensive, but they don’t offer as much versatility. If your main concern is building up your arms, however, you may find that a hydraulic rower is the one you’ve been looking for.

Magnetic Flywheel Rowing Machines

If you are looking for the best magnetic rowing machine, this one right here could very well be what you are looking for.

  • Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Rowing Machine

  • Stability9/10

  • Comfort8/10

  • Value7/10

  • Nothing fancy, but for the price you get a good workout maching that will do the thing.

  • Our Rating

    3.75 Stars
TOP
  • Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower

  • Stability9/10

  • Comfort8/10

  • Value8/10

  • Choose the resistance you want and set it up on the screen before using the rowing machine. Good value for the price.

  • Our Rating

    4 Stars
  • Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

  • Stability9/10

  • Comfort8/10

  • Value9/10

  • The compact desing makes this machine perfect even for small homes for a good price.

  • Our Rating

    4 Stars

 

These wheels use complex electromagnets in the flywheel to provide the resistance necessary for an intense workout. In most cases, the resistance is highly adjustable, so you can amp up the electromagnets as you gain experience using your rowing machine.

With less expensive magnetic rowers, the resistance is pre-set and cannot be changed. If you decide to opt for a magnetic rower, make sure the one you’re getting can be customized to suit your needs.

TOP 10 Best Rowing Machines Reviews 2018

So you know the differences between different types of rowing machines and you have set yourself a budget! Now it’s time to ask just one more question.

What is the best rowing machine?

To answer that, we have reviewed some of the most popular rowing machines in the market. And here’s a glimpse at the top ten best rowing machines. The full spectrum of the price range, quality and experience!

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

This is a great entry-level model. This compact magnetic rower folds up when you aren’t using it, helping you store it away.

You’re getting eight adjustable resistance levels, and a monitor console that will help you track your workout time and calories burned.

Pros

  • Foldable
  • Monitor console displays time, calories, total count and more

Cons

  • Noisy slide mechanism
  • Built quality good, but not excellent

Resistance: magnetic tensions system with eight adjustable resistance levels

Body and Foot Support: Large anti-slip foot pedals and a fully padded seat as well as non-slip grip handlebars;

Our take

Not the best quality built and nothing too fancy. But if you just want to get your workouts done, this machine might be perfect for you.

We like to think that this is one of the best affordable rowing machines out there. You get good quality for a good price and if you are not going absolutely crazy with it, should do the thing for a long time.

But if you are looking for the best value rowing machine, you might want to invest more and get yourself something, that won’t let you down.

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

This water rowing machine is as close to an actual rowing experience that you can get from the comfort of your own home.

This is a hefty model, weighing in at over 100 pounds. It’s sturdy and built to last. It comes with a comprehensive monitor that will allow you to track your heart rate and even your workout intensity.

Pros

  • Handcrafted
  • Replicates actual rowing feel
  • Quiet
  • Series 4 performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and more

Cons

  • High price point
  • Non-regulating foot support

Resistance: smooth and self-regulated resistance.

Body and Foot Support: 15’’ ergonomic handle and ergonomic settle.

Our take

A handcrafted piece of art that has found its place in the gym. That’s the best way to describe this beautiful rowing machine that will get you in shape in no time.

The same goes for this WaterRower which is a piece of art when it comes to gym equipment.

WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine

This model is similar to the natural rowing machine made by the same brand, but it’s a little more budget friendly. Rather than being constructed entirely from wood, this model features a metal rail design.

Since the rail is aluminum, this rower offers a great workout without being as difficult to move around. Though you can’t fold it up, it’s easier to transport to a different location if you need to free up some floor space.

Pros

  • Patented WaterFlywheel
  • GX monitor that displays time, distance, total calories burnt, stroke rate, and more
  • Easy storage

Cons

  • High price point
  • Foot placement can’t be adjusted.

Resistance: adjustable resistance levels with water like rowing feel.

Body and foot support: real-life feel settle and ergonomic grip.

Our take

Hands down, one of the best products on the market. The feeling of rowing like in real life is amazing. This is the kind of investment you will never regret.

Ok, maybe water resistance isn’t your thing. How about one of the best air resistance, CrossFit rowing machines?

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

This air resistance rowing machine is an excellent choice for people who need to save space in their home gym.

You’re getting a quality rowing workout without the bulk and weight of a hefty machine. When you don’t need to use it, this model folds up compactly, and even comes with caster wheels so you can roll it away.

Pros

  • Flywheel design minimizes noise
  • Tracking monitor with an adjustable arm
  • Good quality built

Cons

  • High price point

Resistance: Adjustable resistance by changing airflow.

Body and foot support: 14-inch seat height with adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle.

Our take

A perfect rowing machine for your home if you don’t have too much space. Plus, not only is it compact, but it delivers as well. Great workouts are guaranteed.

This is without a doubt one of the best home rowing machines you can find.

And so is the next one!

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower

If you are on the market in search of a magnetic rower and you don’t want to settle for less, you’ll love what Avari has done with this design.

It features a fitness monitor that allows you to track your stats and progress, and it even comes preloaded with 12 workouts.

Pros

  • 12 workout programs including 6 cardio profiles.
  • Monitor tracking time, count, distance, calories, strokes per minute, pulse and watt.

Cons

  • Settle could be more comfortable

Resistance: Adjustable resistance by changing settings on monitor

Body and foot support: Large footplates and molded settle that could be more comfortable

Our take

If you want to follow a certain workout program and keep up with the results, this machine is made for you. It’s good quality and comes at a reasonable price.

You see, even technically not all rowing machines are the same. So here’s something a bit different for you to consider.

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine

Hydraulic rowers are very compact, and that’s part of what makes them so appealing. This rower features two hydraulic cylinders to provide adequate resistance and an ergonomically designed seat for your comfort.

It’s fully programmable and comes loaded with monitoring capabilities, so you’ll be able to see what you’ve accomplished as you’ve rowed.

Pros

  • Display tracks Time, Distance, Energy Consumed, Strokes, Pulse Rate and Frequency
  • Good price point
  • Quiet.

Cons

  • Problematic assembly
  • Lack of height versatility

Resistance: 50 resistance levels for a wide variety.

Body and foot support: comfortable settle and pivoting footrests.

Our take

The feedback on hydraulic rowing machines is mostly concerned with one thing. The lacking resistance. However, on this piece of equipment here, there are 50 resistance levels to choose from. So it is indeed a good machine!

This model is one of the best budget rowing machines for your home and there is no doubt that it brings good quality as well.

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

This rowing machine offers a drum magnetic control system, allowing you to better control the electronic tension with ease.

It’s foldable for when you need to put it away, and it’s made of lightweight, but durable anodized aluminum.

It comes with a heart monitor that straps to your chest, allowing you to accurately measure your caloric output

Pros

  • Electronic tension control
  • Good price point
  • Easy to store
  • Monitor for resistance and workout tracking

Cons

  • Uncomfortable settle
  • Footrests could be bigger

Resistance: adjustable resistance with DMC System.

Body and foot support: molded settle and ergonomic footrests.

Our take

A small and simple machine. Nothing too fancy about it, but do you really care? You just want to do your workout. This machine is perfect just for that!

Ok, you think you have the motivation to go all the way and you want to look at something truly special?

Here you go! One of the top machines out there.

BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower

This air rower is designed to be exactly like the ones you’ll find at upscale gyms. It incorporates 32 levels of magnetic resistance, making for a hybrid air and magnetic workout.

This commercial rower is ergonomically designed, making it easier to use for extended periods of time. It folds up and even features a child lock. This one is perfect for homes with children.

Pros

  • Excellent built quality
  • Black Mask LCD w/LED Backlit Display and Keys
  • Folds for storage in less than 3 seconds
  • Handlebar with 4 Button IR Remote Resistance Controls
  • Eser profiles

Cons

  • High price point
  • Relatively large
  • Nylon belt might wear out

Resistance: The resistance is smooth and easy to adjust. It’s electronically controlled and a hybrid of air and eddy current magnetic force.

Body and foot support: Deluxe Adjustable Heel Rest with Quick Adjust Foot Straps.

Our take

Yes, it’s not the cheapest machine you can find, but boy can it satisfy your workout needs. If you are looking for a long-time investment, this is it.

This right here could be the best indoor rowing machine there is.

But so is the next one which again is a high-quality water resistance piece of art!

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

With WaterRower’s rowing machines, you aren’t just working out – you’re actually learning to row effectively.

If you closed your eyes, you would swear you were in a boat. This machine comes with one of the highest-tech performance monitors on the market and is made of high-quality ash wood.

Pros

  • Handcrafted
  • Replicates actual rowing feel
  • Performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and more
  • Great built quality
  • Construction absorbs sound and vibration

Cons

  • Foot placement cant be adjusted
  • Relatively large in size.

Resistance: self-regulated resistance with water flywheel.

Body and foot support: ergonomically designed settle with sufficient padding; truly comfortable handle.

Our take

Have you ever been on a boat? Well, this water rower feels almost exactly the same. And it is just what you want for the best rowing machine workout.

This is also one of the best-rated and known as one of the best CrossFit rowing machines on the market which gives you the confidence to make the kind of investment!

But there is one more option to consider.

Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower

This rowing machine is a beast. It’s one of the most heavy duty air rowers you’ll find anywhere.
It’s lightweight, easy to move and even comes with floor protectors to prevent damage to your home gym floor.

The seat and glide track are both oversized, allowing anyone of any size to use this machine rower to its maximum potential.

Pros

  • Monitor displays speed, distance, time, and calories burned
  • Rowing motion is smooth

Cons

  • Foam padded molded could be more comfortable
  • Technically not adjustable

Resistance: resistance adjusts slightly with harder rowing motion.

Body and foot support: Large, adjustable footrests with straps; smooth glide on the rail gives more comfort.

Our take

A great heavy duty air rowing machine that is worth the investment. The company has taken into account all of the feedback and made it a high-end quality machine.

A rowing Machine for the Future

When choosing the kind of equipment as rowing machines are, you have to think about the future. In other words, understand that you are making a serious investment in your health and fitness. Therefore consider how the specific model will work in longterm and what is the actual value of the purchase.

How Easy or Hard is it to Maintain a Rowing Machine?

It mostly depends on the type of rowing machine you choose to use. For example, when using the water resistance rowing machine you might need to change or add some water from time to time.

The rolling and sliding parts of each rower should be oiled in order to keep them fresh and working well.

Everything else depends on how you use the machine. Use it right, and there should be no significant problems with any of the models we have reviewed!

Is There a Way to Reduce the Noise on My Rowing Machine?

Not really!

If you are looking for a quiet piece of equipment, you might want to consider a water resistance rowing machine. They are known to be making less noise than any other types of rowing machines.

The only thing you can do is try and reduce the vibration the machine creates by placing a thing and of course a stable piece of fabric under the legs of the rowing machine.

A Great Piece of Equipment

There’s simply no way to lose with a rowing machine.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

They’re powerful, versatile, and great for people of all fitness levels, with different fitness goals.

Almost everyone will be able to incorporate a rowing machine into their fitness routines and see real results in a short period of time.

Tell us about your experience with rowing machines in the comments or do it privately by contacting us!

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