Top 5 Best Quiet, Foldable, and Compact Rowing Machines for Apartments

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Using a rowing machine is the best way to burn ample calories and build muscles in a safe way that’s exciting and challenging at the same time.

Choosing a rowing machine for apartments is confusing. You need to consider various points: resistance types, key features, space, and so on, but most importantly, noise level because you don’t want your neighbors to complain to you about noise-related things.

We picked the best rowing machines and offered a completed buyer guide for you.

In a hurry? Here go with our top 5 picks of best quiet rowing machines for apartments:

See the overview, pros & cons below.

How to Choose a Perfect Rowing Machine for Your Apartments?

Certain important specifications must be met to brand the rower as a first-class product that’s good for us. These include resistance types, spaces, workout goals, monitor control, key features, and the brand.

#1. Resistance Types

There are four main resistance types found in rowers: air resistance, water resistance, hydraulic resistance, and magnetic resistance. Each having its advantages.

Air resistance rowers are most suitable for gyms, and water rowers mimic a real-life rowing experience. Magnetic rowers are extremely smooth, and hydraulic rowing machines are budget-friendly and occupy less storage space.

But our focus is on personal use, for which I would recommend using the water rowers as it mimics the natural rowing action and is also reasonably priced.

#2. Space Consideration

As rowers are longer than most exercise equipment, it is ideal to consider the available space in the home gym before deciding.

Besides measuring the dimensions of the available space and matching it with your choice of rower, it is also recommended that you have some extra space for easy hand movement.

Tall people should go for machines with longer seat rails which might occupy more space.

#3. Workout Goals

What is your ultimate fitness goal? Are you planning to purchase a rower for CrossFit, weight loss, muscle building, or overall fitness?

The answer you give plays an integral role in choosing equipment. If muscle building is important, it is ideal to choose hydraulic rowers as these offer varied resistance levels.

If weight loss is your priority, most rowers are designed to fulfill this requirement.

#4. Monitor Control

Most rowers have monitors. The only difference is that it might be basic (displays time, distance, speed) or an advanced (heart rate monitoring, calorie counter, preset programs besides basic features) one, and choosing either is entirely dependent on you.

Rowing machines with advanced monitors are expensive and are recommended only if you know how to use the features available in them.

#5. Key Features

The comfort and durability of certain key features such as seats, handlebars, and footplates can make or break your exercise experience in a rower.

Padded seats and handlebars are suggested, and the seat’s height is also important, particularly if you have a tall stature.

The equipment should also be easy to fold and move, for which wheels provided with the equipment are a great addition that can’t be ignored while making a purchase.

#6. Recognized Brands

Famous brands such as Concept2, Stamina, and WaterRower exist in the market for a long time, and brand value isn’t the only criterion that could help you decide.

Ensure that whichever brand rower you pick has all your required features and specifications that meet your needs besides fitting the space and being comfortable to use.

How to Make Rowing Machine Quieter?

Most rowing machines produce noise, and it’s only the degree of noise that varies. Adding accessories and following few tips could bring down the noise level greatly.

#1. Using Mats/Carpets

Using the rower on hardwood flooring causes vibrations that increase noise production. Use a thicker floor mat (1 inch) and made of foam.

If you have a carpeted floor, you can use 0.5-inch interlocking mats to avoid damage to the carpets.

#2. Turn on the TV/Music

 Switching on the TV might help you drown the rower’s noise-making neighbors feel that someone is simply watching a program.

But if the TV volume is too high that it is heard above the rowing machine’s noise, it could be a disturbance to others in your house or neighborhood.

#3. Distance and Space

Always keep the rower at the far end of the room that’s away from the person who likes to be undisturbed.

If the room is empty, it can increase the noise heard. Store some things and add furniture that would absorb noise from the rower.

#4. Workout Time

Finish your workout at acceptable hours or when other people are not at home. You can even plan your loud workouts at acceptable hours, and quiet workouts are done early in the morning or late in the night.

If it is a holiday, then stick to doing workouts when people are busy with their work.

Top 5 Best Quiet Rowing Machine for the Apartments

The five best rowing machines that satisfy all factors required for buying a good-quality rower for home use are discussed below.

1. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine - PM5 Monitor, Device Holder,
Model D is a piece of all-in-one equipment that could fit commercial and home gym use being budget-friendly and helping users of all age groups with a low-impact exercise experience.

The machine helps exercising your core, leg, arm, and all major muscle groups helping in weight loss and muscle building.

The equipment comes with a backlit LCD, is compatible with Bluetooth, and could be connected with multiple fitness apps helping you enjoy exercising.

The machine is ergonomically designed with comfortably placed handles, adjustable footrests, and an ideal seat height of 14 inches.

The machine helps in tracking progress with precise data on every stroke. Aluminum and steel used in frame and construction are top in class, making the rower durable.


  • Minimal noise generation
  • Smooth to operate
  • Ideal for both short and tall users
  • Maximum user weight of 500 pounds
  • Easy to assemble and comfortable to use


  • Occupies larger footprint
  • Expensive

2. Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine PM5

Concept2 Model E with PM5 Performance Monitor Indoor Rower Rowing

The commercial-grade Concept2 Model E rower has a sturdy design with a good-looking glossy paint finish, and a fixed monitor arm made of aluminum boasts of high performance.

The air-resistant flywheels, ergonomically designed handles, adjustable footrests, and good seat height of 20 inches make it a good choice for any kind of user.

The seat here is 6 inches off the ground than other models making it easy to use for individuals with mobility/flexibility issues such as joint/knee problems.

This 500 lbs capacity rowing machine is easy to assemble and also could be separated into two pieces for comfortable storage.

The machine is self-calibrated, producing real-time data and monitoring heart rate by connecting wirelessly to a heart rate strap besides being Bluetooth-compatible.


  • Monitor angle could be adjusted as per user convenience
  • Caster wheels provided helps in easy transportation
  • Five-year warranty on frame and two years on parts
  • Heavy-duty steel construction and glossy finish


  • It has a large footprint
  • Quite expensive

3. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine—SF-RW5515

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with 8-Level
The Sunny SF-RW5515 is a magnetic resistance rower meaning that it is extremely quiet to operate but promises a smooth operating performance in any of the eight tension adjustment levels.

This makes it ideal to use during any time of the day and experience challenging exercise goals.

The equipment has non-slip foot pedals that come with a foot strap for providing safety and balance to the user even while exercising at the highest resistance levels with vigor.

Handlebar design and comfort are important while exercising on a rower.

The manufacturer understands this very well, and hence, the model comes with foam grip handlebars that don’t let your grip slip away even when you sweat excessively.

The machine could be transported easily as it comes with built-in transportation wheels that make it comfortable to move the equipment around without suffering from back pain.


  • Extra-long slide rails make it compatible with any user
  • Eight different magnetic resistance levels
  • Foldable and easy to store
  • Padded seats, non-slip foot pedals and well-gripped handles
  • Affordable


  • Durability is an issue with prolonged use
  • Maximum user weight capacity is only 250 pounds
  • Doesn’t display distance

4. Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine—SF-RW1205

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine Rower with 12
If budget is your primary concern, it is suggested to choose this model. It is one of the most affordable rowing machines available in the market comparatively, especially coming from a good manufacturer.

It is a hydraulic rower that doesn’t occupy much space and is smaller in size, almost 50% smaller.

You have the choice to select from 12 different resistance levels with the twist of a knob.

The inclined design is beneficial in improving joint mobility and a great choice for a cardiovascular workout.

The seat is padded and comfortable to use, too, given the affordable pricing of the machine. The rower is lightweight (20 lbs) and compact, making it easy to move around but can withstand only up to 220 pounds of user weight.

It has a concrete frame construction made of steel. The machine comes with textured foot pedals that are pretty large and are provided with adjustable Velcro straps, too, for making rowing as easy as possible.

The footplate design helps keep the ankles in a comfortable position.

The rower comes with a simple monitor that can track basic metrics such as time, calories, total count, and row count.


  • Compact footprint
  • Easy to assemble
  • Three years warranty on frame and six months on parts
  • Foam padded handles offer good grip
  • Best choice in terms of comfort and ease of use for a surprisingly low price


  • Range of movement is fixed
  • Good only for smaller users weighing below 220 lbs
  • No predefined workout programs

5. Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms -

Rowers generally occupy more space, and if you are looking for one that could be ideal for smaller spaces, the Stamina 35-1215 should be your go-to choice as it has one of the smallest footprints.

But don’t be hesitant to purchase owing to the small size as the machine offers a complete range of movements similar to how you row a boat in the water.

This is a hydraulic piston resistance type rower with five different adjustable resistance levels that are easily changeable but challenging to accomplish, making it ideal for those looking for hardcore fitness.

The ‘Free Motion Arms’ of the rower helps the user move the arms to any desired angle, helping you add versatility to your exercises—this could even help each arm have its resistance level being beneficial to those who suffer from balance issues with their upper body.

The machine has a single-button display featuring basic metrics. The frame is made of steel and is sturdy, while the construction has an aluminum beam.


  • No noise generated
  • Compact, space-saving ideal for a smaller apartment
  • Easy to assemble
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Five-year warranty on frame and 90 days on other parts


  • Very basic monitor display
  • Wheels provided succumb to easy damage without maintenance

Which Model of Concept 2 Rowing Machine Is Quieter?

Concept2 rowers make no more noise than a dishwasher, dryer, or washer but if you are still looking for the quietest model, the two new Concept2 models, D, and E, make much lesser noise compared to their older models B and C. Among D and E, it is model D which is the quietest based on customers’ reviews.

Many individuals who use Concept2 rowers have not heard of any noise-related issues from their neighbors.

Differences Between Concept2 Model D and Model E

Final Thoughts

You need to have the perfect rowing machine to enjoy a versatile rowing experience, and this is not possible until you get the best model.

Don’t be in a hurry to purchase anything that’s available and fits the budget. Look closely at the specifications and your requirements before making a decision.

Ensure that the rower you pick fits your weight stats, height requirements, space available, and budget to enjoy a comfortable exercising routine in your home gym.

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