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Top 7 Best Rowing Machines for CrossFit – Read Before You Buy

The CrossFit training regime is a series of physical exercises and activities designed with a higher level of resistance and strength focus.

The whole routine consists of an array of core exercises that focus on building strength and condition the body and muscles involved.

Meanwhile, the routine also focuses on exciting and out of the box approach for exercises that are inspired by regular activities.

These exercises have sports or strenuous work routines at their heart to develop core strength.

One such important and effective exercise regime is to utilize the rowing machine and develop your upper core.

The rowing machines, utilizing variable operation modes, help CrossFit aspirant to achieve this.

Moreover, the activity is medium-intensity and low-impact in nature, which makes it easier to comprehend.

Here are our top 7 picks of the best rowing machines for Crossfit, you can see the overviews, pros & cons below.

What Is a CrossFit Rowing Machine?

The traditional approach of rowing is to utilize human strength to move a water-craft or boat over water.

The activity is strength-sapping and also involves the utilization of core strength from the rowers.

Utilizing this, a CrossFit rowing machine uses the same movement principle to reproduce a replica of the activity.

The rowing machine does so by using various methods to develop the same resistance against which the activity is performed.

The resistance is developed through the flywheel that utilizes opposing force through variable modes, depending upon the design.

Due to a large number of muscles and the greater core section involved, the CrossFit rowing machines become indispensable in the CrossFit background and one of the best total body workout machines.

What to Consider When Buying a Rower for CrossFit?

There are several factors to reckon with while choosing from the options for the best rowing machine for CrossFit.

#1. Type of Resistance

Air Resistance

These CrossFit rowers utilize the ability of air to resist the free motion and hence regulate tension.

It is done through controlled movement of dampers, which in-turn decide the air resistance on the flywheel.

Hence, the traction created is used to regulate the movement and the resistance to work against.

Hydraulic Resistance

The hydraulic resistance utilizes the typical hydraulic leverage to provide responsive motion.

The main idea is to reduce the size of the machine, but it also becomes a touch costly.

These need less maintenance but are often subjected to breakdown due to poor handling.

Water Resistance

The water resistance models are rare, but closest to actual rowing tasks. Highly professional CrossFit outlets have this design, but they need a lot of maintenance power too.

These are suitable only for CrossFit outlets because they also take up significant floor space.

Magnetic Resistance

Along with air, magnetic resistance is the most common form that is used for the purpose.

A simple dial or front panel can be used to regulate the traction through magnetic leverage. These are budget-friendly and easy to buy.

#2. Ergometer

A basic level ergometer records small details such as the number of calories burnt, time spent exercising, etc.

The commonly available CrossFit rowing machines have these attached to regulate and record the details for the ease of the trainee.

To choose a rowing machine for CrossFit would also involve checking these as per the personal estimate of budget and necessities.

#3. Handle Length

The handle length is another important consideration and needs a careful look. Too long handles can be tedious, while too short ones do not have a range of motion.

Hence, it is necessary to select a machine with a moderate size of rowing handle. Certain ones have changing attachments and can be preferred too.

#4. Mobility

If the CrossFit rowing machine is for professional outlets, bulky ones are good for the choice. However, for regular users, the light ones are preferred to be installed at home.

Certain rowing machines have movable frames attached at the bottom for the ease of sliding.

#5. Footing

The footing for rowing machines is often an understated part of the selection. Enough treads for foot grip and the broadness of the frame are highly important.

Hence, the buyer should also focus on the design of the footing frame to ensure the good quality of the workout.

Top 7 Best Rowing Machines for CrossFit

A lot of common choices are available for the choice of CrossFit rowing machines. Prior consideration of the budget and the buying parameters would trim down the list to a select few.

Concept 2 Model D Indoor Air Rower

The Model D RowErg from the Concept 2 design has identified itself among the bestsellers for indoor rowers.

The company utilizes state of the art design technology and ergonomics to develop the latest models to suit the buyers.

Meanwhile, the product is designed in a way that it can prove handy for the professional as well as the amateur level users.

Aesthetic design and easy movability features, the product is a winner in terms of user-friendliness.

  • Flywheel and Damper: The flywheel is designed in a way that it cuts down any possible chances of noise. Moreover, the dampers are easily and manually adjustable to ensure the right amount of resistance and feel to the user.
  • Changing Stride Length: The footing is easy to change spot, and hence the design provides a feature to change the stride length. This means the product is suitable for people of various height and sizes.
  • Connectivity: High amount of connection flexibility through the PM5 monitor is useful for regular users. The model provides both the options, Bluetooth, and network connectivity per se. These are highly useful for goal and activity tracking.
  • Movable: The product is in the 25kg to 30kg range, which makes it suitable for single person handling. Hence, the design is easy to fit the tight corners and restricted spaces too.


  • Lower weight ratio with a higher tolerance for a variety of users
  • Lower resistance during the transition of the motion
  • Easy to configure with tracking devices
  • Advanced Ergometer for activity analysis


  • Air resistance is a basic method of operation
  • Manual adjustment for resistance variation

Concept 2 Model E Indoor Air Rower

The model E from the makers of the Concept 2 Rower is another variant which has client suitability at its origin.

The model has an adjustable air resistance setting through the prominent dampers.

Extendable footing platforms and stars provide for a security arrangement for foot grip.

The whole structure is of light-weight steel, and it makes the design easy to shift and move around.

The design also has both the inclined as well as vertical alignment setting for adjustment of the height of the seat.

  • Adjustable Seat Height: The Model E has an easy-adjust and locking feature for changing and managing seat height. This also provides ample back support to prevent loading the localized muscle group.
  • High-Quality Chain: The chain and linkages are nickel-plated, which makes them impossible to destroy. This provides easy storage for the product in moist conditions with no harm.
  • Multiple Modes: The attached monitor for performance analysis has preset workout routines. It also helps in evaluating and controlling the workout results through active tracking.
  • Mobility: Front wheels attached and low weight design makes it easy to move the product around. Hence, the design is suitable for tight corners and household usage as well as professional setup.
  • Assembly: The Concept2 Model E is one of the easiest designs when it comes to assembling by yourself. Quick guide through manual and tutorial provides for an easy setup and usage routine.


  • Lower dead weight and movable design
  • High-quality unbreakable chain and structure
  • Adjustment for stride length and seat height
  • Proper seating with good cushion quality
  • Bright display screen with digital features


  • Manual adjustment for resistance increase
  • Lesser modules of training

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

The WaterRower Club rowing machine design utilizes the traditional water resistance to give the user a real-time feel.

The traditional rowing technique is taken care of through this. The intricate settings for resistance provide various levels for people of different capacities.

The entire structure has an ergonomic design and has an ergometer to top the task.

The panel has simple functioning and variable modes for regulated rowing regime.

The entire product is specially handcrafted to give a personalized rowing experience to the user. Professional CrossFit outlets commonly adapt to the design.

  • Water Resistance Design: Provides the real feeling of rowing against the stream or flow. The casing is also flexible for easy removal and attachment.
  • Resistance Flywheel: The water resistance flywheel makes it easy for the operator to ensure the design is low on maintenance without any damage.
  • Portable: The product can be stored in a complete upright position as well as horizontal stride as per convenience.
  • Low Vibration: The product produces minimal or no vibration and needs no extra damping to absorb it either.
  • Complete Workout: Sufficient room to regulate body movement means that 80% of muscles are targeted. This provides a complete and thorough workout regime.


  • No vibrations despite water resistance design
  • Vertically upright storage feature
  • Large and clear display
  • Hand-made design with a soft inner core
  • Extendable footing for easy movement and usage


  • Heavy to be handled by a single person
  • Lesser resistance variation

WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine

The WaterRower Classis utilizes the traditional design of the flywheel, which has pulleys attached for translation motion.

The resistance blades provide the optimum setup for the user to work out their CrossFit training regime.

An attached monitor takes care of the performance analysis and set parameters during training.

Series 4 design provides integrated modules for direct usage.

Moreover, the product does not need a separate motor or energy source to energize and move the flywheel or any other parts. A simple battery-powered panel makes it low maintenance too.

The product is one of the traditional classics among the best rowing machine for CrossFit training.

  • Hand Made Design: The design for the WaterRower trademark product is handcrafted to eliminate loose edges.
  • Real Rowing Feeling: The water resistance design makes it feel like real rowing but with no vibration.
  • No Electrical Parts: The only powered unit is the small display and performance panel. The entire design is aesthetic and made to work without external power aid.
  • Vertical Storage: Lesser consumption of space and no headaches for storage with upright storage features.
  • Friendly Display: The performance meter is clear and precise for accurate workout analysis for dedicated users.


  • Lesser consumption of broad space makes it easy for tight corners
  • No noise during long CrossFit training routines
  • No corrosion or damage due to water or moisture
  • Complete adherence to the ground for good traction on the surface


  • Little heavy to be handled by a single user for moving around.
  • Seating arrangement little low on comfort

Stamina ATS Air Rower—Best Budget Air Crossfit Rower

Stamina ATS air rower is one of the sturdier designs machines that involve a higher work pace.

The perforated dampers on the flywheel casing utilize the effective air exchange cycle to develop resistance.

This means that the more a person rows, the higher the resistance goes with pace.

Hence, the design provides the right adaptability for beginners as well as professional users.

Moreover, the seating has a comfort cushion at the bottom to support the lower body for long durations.

Double strap arrangement through nylon binding means the handle is secure and perfect for usage.

The design is highly useful to setup quality CrossFit routine and environment right at home.

  • Adaptable Resistance: With the winged design, the more input you give, the higher resistance you reach. The unique feature provides a variable training setup.
  • Changing Height: The machine has variation in terms of setting up its height for usage. The option helps people to change foot grip and involve the entire body for the routine.
  • Fit for All: The flexible design makes it easy to be used for people of all ages. This makes for a quality and easy workout setup and CrossFit motivation.
  • Optimum Foot Plates: Larger and spacious footplate design provides the right amount of grip for the user to work with.


  • Easy to move around with lighter construction
  • Resistance nature depends on the intensity of training
  • No noise during high-intensity CrossFit routines too
  • Perfect damping to reduce vibrations to zero


  • Small ergometer screen
  • Feet strap not completely movable

First Degree Fitness Viking 2 Water Crossfit Rowing Machine

The Viking 2 Crossfit Rower has the dual tank feature for water resistance provided to generate resistance.

The flywheel design utilizes this to produce a real-life feel of resistance against the stream to make for an interesting CrossFit training routine.

Moreover, the product is extremely easy to assemble as well as to dismantle for easy transportation.

All the linkages and the chain are made up of high strength material to allow long-lasting working.

With ample cushioning and front-faced foot support, the whole structure has a brilliant aerodynamic appearance.

  • Adjustable Resistance: The product has a feature for adjustable resistance, which is a high-end quality in the given range.
  • Aesthetic Appearance: The design has an aesthetic appearance with the swirling motion for multiplying user interest. The whole product has a streamlined shape and an interesting outlook.
  • Side Ergometer: Highly efficient ergometer attached to the side of the structure provides a glance of the parameters. This can be used to monitor and regulate workout efficiency.
  • Footing Design: The design has a straight and streamlined appearance with front footing. This gives sufficient leg and lower-body movement to indulge the whole body for the CrossFit routine.


  • Front-wheel provision for moving the product easily.
  • Vertical storage provision for easy handling
  • Variable resistance without interfering in the exercise flow
  • Hand-made design to nullify any vibration or misalignment


  • Suitable up to intermediate CrossFit level
  • Not enough back support

MaxKare Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine—Best Magnetic Crossfit Rower

The MaxKare Magnetic Rower has the typical magnetic core at its heart to develop the necessary resistance for the workout.

This rowing machine has a large front foot spacing with strapping.

To generate more resistance, the user has to turn the knob so that the magnet can move into the proximity of the core.

The core, which is the flywheel, is responsible for the smooth translation of the motion. In comparison to the usual air resistance design, the number of resistance settings for such a model is higher.

The design is one of the most potent ones in the various CrossFit range of rowing machines.

Key Features

  • LCD Display: The front display is LCD type and has bright features and easy access keys for the user. Easy readings for tracking the workout and calorie count make the routine interesting and efficient.
  • Knob Turn: The resistance can be easily increased through the knob turn, which is an easy working feature in the given range.
  • Spacious Seating: The design has a large seating space that supports the lower body of even heavier and bulkier people.
  • Large Foot Space: The foot grip is wide for variable training, and also the stride length is adjustable for a quality workout.


  • Rigid design with a rugged structure that is damage-proof
  • Magnetic resistance design for robust CrossFit workout
  • Front design integrated with wheel structure for easy movement
  • Steel-integrated body to ensure a rigid and damage-proof structure


  • Bulky in appearance and moving around
  • Lesser back support


Depending on the user’s requirement and interpretation, each product finds a unique implementation.

Meanwhile, space and location restrictions play an important role too.

For professional outlets, CrossFit rowing machines with higher weight limits are preferred due to multiple users being involved.

With the changing technology, the ergometer requirements, resistance settings, and much more, the options are unlimited.

Each product stands close in terms of budget; however, the features and the utility are the decisive factors.