Ultimate Guide – Best Rowing Machines

Rowing machines are indoor devices which mimic the action of water rowing on solid ground. By doing this, the user can stimulate and train mainly big muscular groups – such as arms, shoulders, back, and legs – while recreating the movements he or she would do while water rowing. A user would work out its cardiovascular system in one of the best ways someone couldMachines

Best Rowing Machines

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

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This model has accomplished to be recognized as the one of the most affordable rowing machines in the world, as its effectiveness and structure gives comfort, joy and most importantly, results. The model D has a body that can last almost forever, as this company puts a lot of effort into finding the proper materials as much as assembling the machine. This model comes in two colors, either gray or black, and has some features that make this one stand from other rowing machines, even from the same company.

The Concept2 Model D is 96 x 24 x 44.5 inches and weighs 57 pounds. The model comes with the performance monitor 5, fanciest one so far from this company. This advanced monitor will grant the most precise and accurate data in every row routine, like distance, pace, speed, burned calories, watts and heart rate if you connect it wirelessly. Its screen lights up when turned on, and it is compatible with USB flash drives, in order to transfer and store workout information from the rowing machine to any other device with a USB port. Another key feature about this Concept2 rowing machine is the comfortable flywheel and damper, that will allow you to personalize your routine anyway you want it. You can totally adjust the airflow for you to personalize the resistance and difficultness of the exercise.


  • It is a little cheaper than Model E
  • This monitor offers massive compatibility
  • It is lighter than other models


  • Its monorail is closer to the ground than other models like the E version
  • The sound of the airflow might be a dislike

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

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The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 offer the most complete total-body workout on the market, not only exercising the cardiovascular resistance but also tighten up almost every beach-body muscle. One of the best things to be combined is quality and price, and Stamina knows that. Considered as the best cheap rowing machine of this company, Stamina offers to its audience the chance to be healthier and to look better while using an endurable rowing machine that is also easy to store

This Stamina rowing machine is 50 x 12 x 10 inches and 37 pounds, it is made from aluminum and it is able to resist 250 lbs. in human weight. The Stamina’s rowing machine has an impressive adjustable hydraulic resistance that will let you decide how much effort you want to put into your routine. Specifically, you can adjust the resistance between 12 levels for the owner to build up a nice routine. When it comes to showing the exercise’s information, its workout monitor will detail specific and important data such as the number of rows performed, the time, and the calories burned. Compared to other stamina’s rowing machines, the Trac Glider is known for its easy storage thanks to its metal frame construction and the almost inexpensive cost is the key feature of many to make the decision to buy it and start exercising


  • The 12 levels of resistance
  • The Aluminum frame construction offers a lighter machine
  • Quality with incredibly low price it is available with.
  • The hydraulic system is smooth.


  • The foot straps do not hold feet tight enough depending on the user.
  • The pivoting mechanism used under the machine has plastic bushings that might wear out.
  • Some friction while working out with high levels of resistance.

Sunny & Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

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Quality, commitment and excellence is what Sunny & Health & Fitness always offer to their clients, and they do manage to accomplish it. They have made the best rowing machine in the market, the SF-RW5515. All at-home fitness and exercise is what this model grant by bringing to the users the ability doing cardio and workout muscle. The key features of this rowing machine is its magnetic tension system and the LCD console display.

The SF-RW5515 is 82 x 19 x 23 inches and 59 pounds, not as light as other models and it needs two A batteries that are included with the product. The magnetic system has 8 levels of re-adjustable resistance, for users who want to start doing exercise as well as hardcore trainers. With the LCD display, you can track the progress of your routine and achieve your goals by displaying information like the number of rows plus the total number, the time spent and calories burned. Another great feature of this rowing machine is its large, textured pedals with an equally great foot straps. They managed to solve the legendary problem of feet-holding, no matter the intensity of the workout. The last feature of this rowing machine is its comfortable cushion that will surely free the user of annoying friction and pain while having a high resistance routine. The magnetic system is again the protagonist when it comes to a quiet workout, being as smooth as ever. In addition, its structure offers a quick assembling as much as quick unfolding after the workout is done.


  • No squeaking noises and durability.
  • The pedals and foot straps are incredibly effective in holding the feet in the proper place.
  • It assembles in less than 30 minutes if the instruction guide is followed correctly.


  •  Poor LDC display.
  • This rowing machine can only reach a level 8 of resistance, while others accomplish to reach 12 levels.

Stamina ATS Air Rower

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Some people prefer rowing machines with an air resistance mechanism, and Stamina has a model for them that will surely work. One of the best rowing machines out there is the Stamina ATS Air Power, a model that has given a lot of good talk between rowing lovers. The ability to use air as a resistance maker for building up cardiovascular and muscular strength is a remarkable achievement for this rowing machine. For the cheap price of this one, you might even try it and prove the excellence the stamina company accomplishes in each machine they build.

The Stamina ATS Air Rower is 77 x 18.75 x 22 inches, 54 pounds and it comes in black, chromed black and red color. The Dynamic Air Resistance does an amazing work at increasing the impact on the exercise. There is no way to adjust a level of resistance more than pedaling faster to have a harder exercise. This method assures the low-impact exercise that rowing is, but that does not mean is not going to be physically demanding. It is easily stored and it has large enough foot straps and a paddled upholstered seat for more comfort. As every other Stamina rowing machine, this one has the multi-function monitor for displaying distance, time, calories burned and speed. The limit of weight the ATS Air Rower can stand is 250 lbs. and its structure enables a quick assembling and storage. One thing to have in consideration is that the airflow can make enough sound to be heard in other rooms of the house, a sound similarly described as a light snoring.


  • The air flow will transport the user to the actual feel of rowing in the water.
  • It has enough space for leg extension, and despite it is long, it is also very easy to store.
  • Assembling it will not take more than 30 minutes.


  • There is no airflow resistance adjusting.
  • The fan is louder than other models.
  • The digital interface of the monitor is basic

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

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Another incredible model of the excellent brand Stamina is the 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine which has features that will catch any rowing lover. If you want to stay on the solid ground but experience a similar feel of rowing on the water, this is your pick. The cardiovascular and muscular exercise of rowing machines can boost your total health and satisfaction in life. With the unique 1205 Orbital, you will use one of the best cheap rowing machines with an innovative ball-bearing roller system plus hydraulic resistance.

The 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine is 49 x 32.5 x 27.5 inches and 47 pounds, a very good size for such an easy-carrying machine made of aluminum. The dual piston hydraulic resistance offers a wide range of resistance adjusting by pushing or pulling harder each handle, whether you want a higher or softer impact workout. The moves of this rowing machine are soft and quiet and the free motion arms will bring up satisfaction when doing exercise, by varying the position during the pushing and pulling. The overall body may be a problem for some, as it does not have much options for manipulating the seat and it also may be too low for some users that could find harder than usual the task of getting out of the machine. The seat itself is not comfortable enough and rear pain is common when doing a high impact routine. Continuing, this rowing machine has a workout monitor that will show the basic information needed, and the weight limit endurable is 250 lbs.


  • The free arm motion gives comfort to the overall feel of exercising in this rowing machine
  • The hydraulic resistance system offers a lot of customization to the workout.
  • The deluxe ball roller system is simply unique in the rowing machine field of work, being an attractive feature.
  • It is easily folded, as the arms are made for it.


  • The closeness to the floor might be a problem for some users
  • The handlebars are hard to pull, as the tension is constantly strong.
  • The user might feel pain because of the paddle and there is no locking system for the seat.
  • The roller wheels located under the seats are plastic-made.

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

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One of the best rowing machines you will ever find is this one. WaterRower rowing machines work with a water flywheel that makes more realistic the task of working out as if you were in deep waters. It is 84 x 22 x 21 inches and it weighs 117 pounds, the heaviest on our list so far. It is handcrafted, and has been designed to mimic the movements you would do while real rowing, so you have here two paddles connected to the water flywheel which will provide you a lot of resistance while exercising. You will be able to develop mostly your upper muscles because of the movements you will do here. There are no levels of resistance with this model because – as real rowing is – it will depend on your strength, how fast you can row and your actual resistance. If you want a harder experience than the normal one, then fill the tank with more water than usual. You will be more than exhausted after working out like this.

It is made of Ash, an amazing type of wood which is very durable and resistant. It also eliminates vibrations and annoying sounds in a great way. What you will hear while working out will only be the sound of water inside the flywheel.The finish, stained honey oak, makes of it an aesthetic and durable option. Smooth and tranquility will be synonyms to work out with this rowing machine.It also has a Series 4 Performance Monitor where you can see interesting stats such as your heart rate and the workout intensity. Finally, even though it may seem a bit heavy, its storage is really simple and since its parts cannot wear out because of time, there is no need of doing any maintenance.


  • It does not need any type of maintenance.
  • Durability and quality at its best because of its material, Ash. The right one for you at home.
  • Maximum capacity of 1,000 pounds.
  • Storage is really simple.


  • The most expensive one in our list.
  • The heaviest one on our list.
  • The monitor is positioned a bit far. It is complicated to see your stats while working out.

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

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There are no big differences between this model and the previous one. Both have the same measures, and the weight of both is the same. With both models, you will get the same results as you will be able of doing the same exercises. Both are handcrafted, both have the same monitor where your stats while working out are shown.

The only difference is that this is the best rowing machine for areas with a lot of people who will use the machine, such as gyms and clinics. Because of this, designers have made this product more resistant to soiling than the model we just saw.


  • It is made of Ash, a very durable wood. It works perfectly in gyms and rehabilitation clinics.
  • More resistant to soiling than the previous model.
  • It needs no maintenance.
  • Just as the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine, its maximum capacity is about 1,000 pounds.


  • It is also the most expensive one.
  • Just as the previous model, it is the heaviest one on our list.
  • Again, the distance of the monitor makes hard the task of watching your stats while exercising.

LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine

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The eighth item on our list is the LifeSpan RW1000. This is one of the best cheap rowing machines you can find online this year, and it is because it offers you a complete workout for all your muscles. It will not be a hard workout which could harm your muscles, but one that will help you to build up resistance in your back, arms, shoulders and legs. Its measures are 90 x 18.5 x 23 inches. Its flywheel weighs 16.5 pounds, and in total it weighs 80 pounds. It has an LCD console, which shows important data you could use to know how much is your progress. For instance, calories, distance, strokes and strokes per minute are some of the stats this console shows off.

The system of the LifeSpan RW1000 is the Eddy-Current Drive System, a patented and very smooth one. This is something people love, mostly because it gives you the sensation of real rowing. It has a 5 level system that makes the difficulty of your exercises higher whenever you want to. Each level will develop more and more your resistance. This is a cheap rowing machine, and even though it does not offer the best features, it is still a really good one you can enjoy using.


  • Affordable.
  • Its console is simple and easy to use, and the data it provides is worthy.
  • No need an external power source.
  • Very smooth. You will not be bothered by uncomfortable noises.
  • Easy to store and does not require too much maintenance.
  • Offers 300 pounds of weight resistance.


  • Not very durable. Its pull chain can deteriorate very easily.
  • It could be good for people who are not looking for a daily exercise machine.
  • Foot straps often cannot keep feet in place, so you could often have to stop your training to adjust them once again.
  • It has a low seat, which can be uncomfortable to use for some users.
  • The console is a bit far from the user because it is on the flywheel.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1410 Rowing Machine Rower with Full Motion Arms and LCD Monitor

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There is nothing people love the most as the feeling of real rowing while working out with a rower machine, and the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1410 can totally provide you that. Each big group of muscles in your body will have a satisfactory workout with this machine. Its dimensions are 59 x 29 x 21.25 inches and it weighs 39.5 pounds and it counts with tons of amazing features. Its 12 level of resistance allows you to control how hard you want your exercising experience to be. This is a hydraulic rowing machine, and even though some people consider this type of devices a waste of money and time, we consider this device has everything people need for a good workout session.

One of the features that makes the device one of the best rowing machines is its anti-slip handles as they were built with the intention of focusing the workout especially in your upper muscles. The pedals of this model are textured pivoting ones which will not let your feet loose while working out. It has an LCD monitor that shows important data for your personal control such as strokes per minute, the time, calories, and more.

We already talked about the Sunny Health & FitnessSF-RW5515, but there are some differences between these two models. The maximum capacity is a big difference – 220 pounds maximum, the lowest in our least! The SF-RW5515 is longer and taller than this model, but this one is wider. If we compare both, then this one could be easier to store. A final and important difference is that the SF-RW5515 has a soft magnetic tension, but this model has a hydraulic cylinder one.


  • It has 12 levels of resistance, 4 more than the SF-RW5515.
  • Anti-slip grips, perfect at the time of having sweaty hands.
  • Safe pivoting pedals. Your feet will not slip from them because of the texture of the pedals.
  • It is lighter than other rowing machines because it does not need a flywheel.
  • Padded non-uncomfortable seat. It improves the experience to another level.
  • Its storage is very easy. It needs almost no maintenance.


  • Its maximum capacity is only 220 pounds.
  • The LCD monitor is not as simple as others. It does not show all the stats at the same time.

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

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The first product on our list was the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine, and now it is time to talk about model E. This model weighs 65 pounds. The overall length is the same one as model D: 244 cm. In general, its dimensions are 96 x 24 x 20 inches. You can choose between a gray or black color. Both options make of this rowing machine an aesthetic and elegant indoor option for you to have. The flywheel of the Concept2 Model E is the same as the model D, which guarantees you the option of being the one who controls how difficult your exercises may be. This model has the same flywheel design, so it is almost noiseless – a great comfort feature. It also has the latest Performance Monitor 5, which calculates all the data you need to know at the time of doing your exercises. Finally, it has the same nickel-plated chain people loved from model D.

Even though model D and E have a lot of similarities, they still have some differences. Perhaps these differences will make you buy this model instead of the other. The seat of the Concept2 Model E is 6 inches higher than Model D – 20 inches instead of 14. A last new feature which makes this one of the best rowing machines ever made is its new finish, one which protects the machine against scratches and punches.


  • The seat is higher, which makes it more comfortable to get in and out of the rowing machine.
  • It has an almost noiseless flywheel.
  • The Performance Monitor 5 arm is larger than the one of the Concept2 Model D.
  • Just like the Concept2 Model D, its storage and maintenance is really simple and easy.
  • It is aesthetic, easy to use, and durable – now even more because of its finish against scratches.


  • It is heavier than Model D.
  • It is more expensive than the Concept2 Model D.
  • Only 250 pounds of weight resistance.

Our Pick: Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 integrates all the key features a rowing machine needs to accommodate to the tastes of people looking for both low and high impact workout routines. We agree that it should be a benchmark for other models when it comes to price and quality relation. The 12 levels of resistance ensure a wide range of possibilities while the monitor offers more than enough information for the rower to fully live the experience of rowing in solid ground, one of the best physical activities for people of all ages and conditions. Some cons can be spared as they are minor practical manners. The satisfaction of exercising in the comfort of one self’s house is boosted with the Body Trac Glider 1050, that will be your silent companion which will help you become a healthier person and also to get the ripped body you always wanted.

Types of Rowing Machines

These devices are enjoyed by people because they offer a low-impact training that will not wear out any muscle. They work in a very simple way: you just need to sit in a paddle, pull the handles that are attached to the flywheel, and depending on the type of rowing machine you can create different levels of resistance.

Creating more or less resistance depends on how fast you pull the handles, how much the machine enables you to handle and with what type of rowing machine you are training.

Constantly doing this enables you to create body endurance, something that is quite useful for everyday living. People of all ages can train with a rowing machine, so even if you are more than 60, this will provide you a safe workout session.

You can indeed find several types of rowing machines and lots of brands to choose. We are here to explain what models are released to find in stores, which ones are the best and cheap rowing machines right now, and we will give you our personal pick.

There are mainly four types of rowing machines: air, magnetic, water and hydraulic machines. Each one offers a different type of creating the resistance you need to train, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages at the time of training, maintenance, storage, and prices. This is what you need to know about each type of rowing machine:

Air  Air rowing machines are the most common ones because they mimic quite nice the fact of rowing in real life. The resistance they produce is based on the air which flows through the flywheel where the handles are connected. If you row fast, the flywheel will spin faster, and more resistance will be produced in consequence.

They might be noisy, but are really easy to use, very smooth, and offer a lot of resistance, perhaps more than other types of rowing machines.

Magnetic – This is the most common type of rowing machine. They work by changing the distance between the spinning flywheel you will find on one side of the machine and the magnets it has inside.

Just like the previous one, the handles are attached to the spinning flywheel. You can adjust the resistance manually, and the levels of resistance you may find on a magnetic rowing machine may vary a lot. You could find 4, 8 and even 12 levels of resistance.

Water – These rowing machines use water flywheels connected to some handles in order to get the desired resistance while still having a similar feel of rowing on the ocean or a lake. The water gets revolved while you pull the handles. If you pull fast, you will move water fast, which creates quite a lot of resistance. It makes the sensation of rowing more realistic than any other type of rowing machines.

You can also determine how much resistance you want to create by how much water you put inside the tank of the water flywheel. Even though they are the most expensive ones in the market, they are great for anyone.

They almost need no maintenance, and they offer a high-quality experience at the time of working out. One major con is the fact that it would get messy and watery if you manage to break the water flywheel somehow.

Hydraulic – This is the cheapest and lighter type of rowing machine. They do not need a flywheel, but they create resistance with the help of pistons which move around enough to produce energy.

One advantage of this system is that it can be leveled. But, the main disadvantage of this type of rowing machine is that it does not create the same sensation of real-life rowing the other three types of rowing machines do create.

Finally, this is the type of rowing machine that requires the most maintenance, being the wrong pick for elderly people.

Buying Criteria

If you want to buy the affordable and high quality rowing machine, there is no perfect and ultimate guide for everyone to do so. It is crucial to find the model that matches completely with the requirements needed for the user to fulfill whatever the goals of this person could be. There are some key differences between one rowing machine to the other.

Noise Lever – The first one may not have an impact on the overall use of this device but it is still important: the sound produced by the rowing machine. Airflow systems may not be your pick if you want to enjoy some music or watch TV while doing exercise.

Resistance – The second criteria to have in mind is the level of resistance this machine may have for our routine to create higher or lower impact on the wellbeing of the user. This is important as older people may decide to purchase rowing machines that will not be hard to handle.

Size – A third consideration is the size and the ability to be properly stored. House sizes can vary from gigantic to minimal, and the rowing machine must accommodate to any place. Most of the rowing machine makers know this, but there are still some big differences between models.

Personalization – Finally, something crucial to considerate is the overall personalization and comfort of the seats, paddles, foot straps and the distance of the monorail in relation to the floor. If your rowing machine will make you feel more physical pain and awkwardness than entertainment and fulfillment, you will not want to exercise daily and obviously, you will not reach and achieve those desired goals and results.

Final words

Each rowing machines you encounter here will give you an amazing and unique experience. It is important to choose the best rowing machine that fits better with the specific requirements asked for. There are different systems that bring the actual resistance and impact to this exercise, and it would be a fallacy to say that one is better than the other. Each person can have totally different goals in life and even more when those goals are body related. Whatever your goals are, rowing will totally improve your overall cardiovascular and muscular strength, whether what you want is merely an escape from being sedentary. The rowing machines are the perfect solution for working out without having to spend considerable amounts of money in some gym. You can exercise in your home and now you know how doing it efficiently and having a lot of fun.


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