The 5 Best Rowing Machines of 2017
Rowing is an affordable and convenient workout for people of all ages and all fitness levels. Let our reviews help you find the best rowing machine for your personal gym or office.
Ah, the humble rowing machine. It’s one of the most under-utilized pieces of equipment in a gym but possibly one of the most effective. Rowing machines give you a complete workout of your upper body, back muscles, legs, arms, and core muscles. It’s affordable, convenient, and it’s even fun!
The benefits of rowing machines are endless. It’s one of the few pieces of equipment that gives you an excellent cardio workout without putting any pressure on your joints. People of all ages can use it including those recovering from injuries and pregnant women.
If you’re thinking of adding a rowing machine to your home gym, take a look at our top 5 picks.
|Concept 2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine||Flywheel
|WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine||Water
|Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower||Magnetic
|Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower||Magnetic
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine||Magnetic
Concept 2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine
The Concept 2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine is the No.1 choice for serious rowers. This particular model is the most expensive on our list. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive rowing machines around (but it’s worth every cent). The steel frame is made in the USA, and it uses air for resistance. Because the air resistance increases with the rower’s intensity, it’s suitable for all training levels, and the high seat position even allows people with limited mobility to use the rowing machine comfortably. The piece de resistance is the PM5 computer that shows distance traveled, pace, and calories burned. The data can be transferred to other devices wirelessly or with a flash drive.
- Includes the Performance Monitor 5 that tracks workout data and can be transferred via Bluetooth to another device
- Flywheel and damper system to accommodate all fitness levels
- Excellent quality rowing machine with a 5-year warranty
|PM5 monitor included|
|Considered to be the best on the market with a 5-year warranty|
|Wide range of motion with adaptable resistance|
|Takes up a lot of space|
|Fan can be very noisy|
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine
The WaterRower is a stunning piece of equipment and is guaranteed to provide an excellent workout. Like other top-quality rowing machines, you can choose the level of intensity for your workout. It includes the S4 Performance Monitor, which tracks your workout and provides you with all the necessary data to improve your sessions. The WaterRower has an ergonomically designed seat and dual rails for stability and safety. Not only is the wooden design aesthetically pleasing but it absorbs sound and vibration for a smoother workout.
- Flywheel housed in a water-filled tank which enables smooth and quiet operation
- S4 performance monitor to track heart rate, stroke rate, and workout intensity
- Can be stored upright against a wall
- 1-year warranty
|Aesthetically pleasing and compact design|
|Quiet and smooth motion while working out|
|Water resistance imitates actual rowing|
|S4 monitor is hard to read|
|Heel rests require wearing shoes|
|It’s one of the more expensive models|
Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower
The Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower suits most budgets and is a popular rower that provides a great upper and lower body workout. The rowing motion is very smooth, and you could be forgiven for thinking you’re rowing on real water! The Stamina rower comes with a ton of features including the In-Touch® Fitness Monitor, which provides 12 programmed workouts. The Avari is easy to assemble and to use, and it packs away for convenient storage.
- There are 12 programs to choose from for a workout and 7 preset programs for adjusting resistance as you go
- LCD backlit In-Touch® Fitness Monitor
- Adjust workouts with the press of a button
|Extremely quiet operation|
|Variable resistance options for uninterrupted exercise|
|Not too bulky|
|Some users have reported faulty monitors|
|The seat is uncomfortable|
|Limited warranty on parts|
Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
The Velocity magnetic rower is a rowing machine that operates with a magnet instead of a flywheel or water tank. Whether you’re just discovering the benefits of rowing or have experience with these machines, the Velocity Magnetic Rower will give you a comfortable but intense workout. This affordable rowing machine has an easy-to-read LCD screen with different training programs, and it can be folded away and stored easily.
- Drum Magnetic Control (DMC)System with electronic tension control
- Comes with a chest strap to monitor heart rate
- 12 programs to choose from and 6 presets
|Good quality product|
|Practically completely silent while working out|
|Wide range of resistance and programme options|
|Requires plugging in while working out to keep magnet running|
|Extra costs for power used|
|Maximum resistance is lower than most other pro machines|
Sunny Health and Fitness SF RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine
Not everyone has the budget or wants to spend a small fortune on a rowing machine. The Sunny Health and Fitness SF RW5515 is a magnetic rowing machine at an affordable price. This is a big deal because, in the past, your only options were to drop $500 or more on a decent magnetic machine or settle for a hydraulic-piston rower. This model has eight different resistance levels to keep your workouts challenging. The Sunny Magnetic Rowing Machine isn’t going to win any prizes for its looks, and it can’t handle multiple people using it for hours at a time, but if you want an affordable machine that’ll give you a good workout, then this is an excellent option.
- Does not require constant power for the magnet
- Ideal for beginners
- Has 8 levels of adjustable resistance as well as a large LCD screen that monitors time, count, calories, etc.
- Comes with built-in wheels for easy transport
|Affordable, entry-level machine with magnetic resistance for consistent performance|
|Easy to assemble, use and store|
|Easy-to-use display monitor|
|Low maximum user weight. Not ideal for those on the heavier side.|
|Seat becomes uncomfortable after some time|
There are loads of rowing machines available which range in price and functionality. Before you spend your hard-earned cash, it’s worth figuring out what you want and need from a rowing machine.
Let’s take a look at the most important features to consider when you’re choosing a rowing machine.
What is it used for?
A rowing machine is an excellent piece of equipment for a full-body workout. In fact, many of your muscles are put through their paces in a single session, including your arms, shoulders, back, legs, and your core muscles. There are very few other machines that provide such a comprehensive workout.
What are the special features?
There are different types of rowing machines available including a normal flywheel, a water rower, and a magnetic rower. Each of these has different features, and the more features, the higher the price tag. Do you need a monitor that tracks everything from your heart rate to the number of strokes and calories burned? If you just need the basics, then the state-of-the-art monitor and display screen aren’t going to be your biggest priority.
What are your resistance requirements?
Some machines have a wider range of resistance options than others. Some have six while others have 12. There are also rowing machines that have pre-set programs which adjust the resistance for you so you can work out uninterrupted.
What are your goals?
Before you buy a rower, you should have a fair idea of what your goals are. If, for example, you want to train for a rowing competition, your needs will be different from a beginner who’s trying to get a beach body. Decide on your goals and write down a few features that you definitely want in a rowing machine.
What can you afford?
Price is always an important consideration. The first two rowing machines featured on our list are quite pricey, but for serious rowers or people who don’t have to worry about a budget, they’re both excellent options. But, if you haven’t got $1000 or more to throw around or don’t need the most expensive rower, there are great entry-level machines that will still provide intense workouts. It’s important to remember that the most expensive machines aren’t necessarily the best.
How much space do you have?
Space can also be an important factor. If the space in your home is limited, you should choose a rowing machine that can be folded and stored easily. There are also machines available that can fit into bigger areas.
There you have it. Our top 5 rowing machines as well as a handy buying guide that’ll make your purchase stress-free. It’s a good idea to test one or two models out before you buy so you have an idea of what to expect.
This buyer’s guide combined with our top 5 model reviews should get you on the right track to buying the perfect rowing machine.
You’ll love using any one of our featured rowers. A rowing machine is a great way to get a full-body workout in a short span of time, and it works all your major muscles. It’s easy to use and suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, but most of all, you’ll have fun while you’re getting fit.