The 7 most effective rowing machines for a full-body workout

Rowing machines combine calorie-burning, full-body workouts with low-impact cardio to create a truly unique fitness experience that almost anyone, regardless of age or fitness level, can enjoy.

Rowers are becoming increasingly popular in the modern home gym as a result of their effectiveness. A rower is the next best thing to running on a treadmill or saddling up to a stationary bike if you don’t like them. For some, they’re even better.

I agree; there’s something about a 45-minute rowing workout that feels quite different from a treadmill run or a Peloton session. Those two are intense exercises, but I never leave a rowing lesson without noticing the full-body benefits.

Although most rowers provide similar advantages, they differ in design, and some of these distinctions are crucial in selecting which are best for your workout type. To identify the best, I tested rowers for practically every application and compiled a list of my top seven picks below. At the bottom of this guide, I’ve provided answers to a few frequently asked questions, as well as details on how I tested each model.

Finest rowing machine general

person using an at-home rowing machine -- best rowing machines
Amazon

The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine brings the gymnasium to your property with its sturdy construct, smooth gliding motion, snug design, and excellent high quality.

Value: $1,228.55

  • Rigidity system: Air-resistance flywheel
  • Dimensions (size x width): eight ft. x 2 ft.
  • Weight capability: 500 lbs.
  • Digital monitor: Backlit LCD show
  • Good options: Wi-fi Bluetooth and ANT+ compatibility, in addition to time, distance, and interval exercises

Pros: Easy gliding operation, ease of meeting, giant dimension to accommodate tall individuals

Cons: Dear and requires a tiny area (9 toes by Four toes); however, the value it.

The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine options stable aluminum entrance legs, metal rear legs, a flywheel with air resistance, and the most person maximum for executing highly effective and uninterrupted strokes, the Model D’s flywheel has a damper for adjusting its air resistance, granting you complete management of the resistance your self. The more brutal and sooner you row, the extra wind the flywheel generates and the extra drag you will feel.

You’d expect some noise from an air resistance rowing machine, but the Model D is rather quiet. It’s quiet enough for rowers to listen to music or watch TV at a normal volume during workouts, while it’s not fully silent.

The PM5 (Performance Monitor 5) keeps track of stroke rate, calories burned, distance, pace, and watts. It comes with many customizable programs and activities to keep you motivated during your workout. The rower is very simple to put together and disassemble, and it can be dismantled and rolled for storage.

The Model D isn’t cheap, but it’s a good investment in your health, and it comes with limited five- and two-year warranties.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The most OK finances rowing machine

a rowing machine sitting in a room -- best rowing machines
Walmart

At a cheap worth, the Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine gives a flexible exercise with its independently shifting arms and {smooth} hydraulic resistance for steady rowing motion.

  • Value: $150
  • Rigidity system: Hydraulic cylinder resistance
  • Dimensions (size x width): 4.eight ft. x 3.5 ft.
  • Weight capability: 250 lbs.
  • Digital monitor: Fundamental digital monitor
  • Good options: N/A

Pros: Low worth, impartial arms for a full vary of motion, and ease of meeting and folding

Cons: Resistance declines as piston heat up throughout lengthy rowing classes; brief guarantee (90 days for components/one 12 months for the body) 

The Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine is small however mighty — and an excellent worth at $120. Though workout and quiet, this hydraulic resistance rowing machine supplies an enormous exercise with a smooth-gliding padded seat and separate arms for a full-body movement.

This means you may row forward or backward, rotate your arms in circular motions, bring the handles close together for a traditional stroke, or separate the grips to work different arm, shoulder, and upper back muscles. Because the arms work independently of one another, you may tailor a workout to each arm separately.

The BodyTrac Glider is sturdy, with a steel frame and aluminum center beam that can support up to 250 pounds. It’s simple to put together and rolls up for storage. A manual control dial is used to modify the single hydraulic piston/cylinder placed under the machine.

For about 30 minutes of vigorous rowing, the machine can sustain a variety of constant degrees of resistance. The fluid in the hydraulic piston heats up, as it does in most hydraulic rowers, reducing resistance. You’ll need to pause and increase the resistance setting if this happens. Make sure you’re turning the control dial, not the heated piston or cylinder. Another disadvantage of hydraulic resistance types is the possibility of oil leakage from the piston.

The BodyTrac Glider also comes with a basic and easy-to-use monitor with more functionality than you’d think on a machine this cheap.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The finestRegatta interactive rowing machine

person using an ergatta rowing machine -- best rowing machines
Ergatta

The Regatta Connected Rower combines the push of online game racing with the health advantages of a full-body train to ship some of the interactive rowing machines out there. 

  • Value: $2,199
  • Rigidity system: Water flywheel
  • Dimensions (size x width): 7.1 ft. x 1.9 ft.
  • Weight capability: 500 lbs.
  • Digital monitor: 17.3-inch HD touchscreen
  • Good options: Contains a library of interactive exercises and out there health metrics

Pros: Motivating video game-inspired exercise platform, lovely design, incorporates a folding design for simple stowing

Cons: Costly 

The Ergatta Connected Rower, like similar smart fitness equipment from manufacturers like Peloton or NordicTrack, uses a large onboard screen to offer on-demand programs and activities. Unlike its high-energy counterparts, though, the workouts aren’t guided by an instructor who belts out the next movement or exercise, but rather by a series of video game-inspired routines that are just as compelling.

This means that the Connected Rower pits you against the machine for its goal-based plans and interval exercises, as well as allowing you to compete in virtual races against other Ergatta users. Regardless of the situation, the software provides an addicting experience that motivates you to keep improving. The Connected Rower follows in the footsteps of fitness trackers in gamifying daily fitness.

The physical rower is also a work of art. Ergatta clearly meant for the rower to be more than simply a way of becoming fit — it wanted the rower to also appeal in terms of look and feel. It was made of Cherry wood and had a typical water rowing mechanism. The calming swoosh of water from the water rowers adds to an already delightful encounter.

One disadvantage is that the rower is not inexpensive. This isn’t totally surprising, given how few interactive fitness machines there are. There is a regular $27 subscription for access to the library of on-demand classes after the computer is purchased for $2,199 (plus $199 shipping) (which is also par for the smart workout machine course).

Overall, the Ergatta Connected Rower provides a full-body exercise disguised as an interactive game experience, and it’s one of the most fun we’ve tried.

The finest good rowing machine

person using a hydrow rowing machine -- best rowing machines
Courtesy of Hydrow

The Hydrow Rowing Machine goals to be the Peloton of at-home rowers with an immersive content material expertise that delivers an entire, full-body exercise.

  • Value: $2,245
  • Rigidity system: Electromagnetic resistance
  • Dimensions (size x width): 7.1 ft. x 2.1 ft.
  • Weight capability: 375 lbs.
  • Digital monitor: 22-inch HD touchscreen
  • Good options: Reside and on-demand interactive courses, ANT+, WiFi, and Bluetooth capabilities.

Pros: Intensive library of motivating courses and rowing occasions, delivers a full-body exercise, options quiet, electromagnetic resistance

Cons: Costly

Connected workout equipment is becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. It not only provides an engaging way to stay in shape, but the classes and streamed content provide as great motivation to keep going. Hydrow and its aptly called rower, the Hydrow Rowing Machine, are one of the best in the rowing space for delivering the kind of connected content fans of NordicTrack and Peloton have grown to adore.

The Hydrow is a tough and sturdy rower with an aluminum and steel frame on a flat, anthracite polymer body. An HD touchscreen on the front of the machine allows you to browse the equipment’s library of interactive workouts. On-demand routines, open swim-style free rows, whole-body-specific workouts, and live classes are among the programs available.

The machine also has a whisper-quiet electromagnetic resistance and the ability to read your heart rate via an integrated monitor. Hydrow does a good job of not just providing classes that push you to complete a row, but also of creating a competitive environment where you can see how you stack up against other worldwide users or anyone else who uses your system.

It’s not cheap, with a sticker price of $2,245 and a monthly cost of $38 for access to the sessions, but few connected workout machines of this grade are. It’s a wise investment.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The finest digital-resistance rowing machine

person using a NordicTrack rowing machine -- best rowing machines
NordicTrack

NordicTrack’s RW900 combines the stimulation of instructor-led programs with the flexibility of each air and digital resistance to supply top-of-the-line at-home rowing experiences. 

  • Value: $1,700
  • Rigidity system: Computerized digital resistance
  • Dimensions (size x width): 4.2 ft. x 1.eight ft.
  • Weight capability: 250 lbs.
  • Digital monitor: 22-inch HD touchscreen
  • Good options: Entry to iFit’s library of dwell and on-demand interactive courses, built-in Bluetooth audio

Pros: Interactive exercises, simply folds up, makes use of a twin resistance design

Cons: Costly, iFit membership prices $39 per thirty days (after the primary free 12 months)

Though NordicTrack is best known for their stationary bikes and treadmills, the business has long supplied high-quality rowing machines, with the RW900 being the crown jewel. This rower is well worth the $1,699 price tag, with a 22-inch HD touchscreen display, a library of interactive exercise programs conducted by real trainers, and a fold-up design.

The dual resistance of the rower is particularly striking. As a result, while you’re rowing in class, an instructor can digitally modify the resistance based on how they want you to row. However, you may manually change the air resistance if it’s either too much or you want to take your workout to the next level. The wheel has an easy-to-use air control that enables for rapid adjustments even between strokes.

The RW900, like any other training machine with a large display, impresses with the routines it provides through its iFit interactive platform. The alternatives are highly flexible, whether it’s in-studio exercises from its stable of iFit trainers or more soothing sessions in real settings across the world. There are even yoga and cross-training classes to add some variety to your workout.

The rower also has stat tracking, which shows how long you row each week, as well as calories burned and row wattage, and can accommodate up to four users on the same iFit profile. For at least the first year, all new purchases include a free year of iFit (which costs $468 a year or $39 per month), so you won’t have to worry about a monthly recurring price for access to the library of content.

Most delicate water resistance rowing machine

person using a water rower -- best rowing machines
WaterRower

The elegant WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine makes use of water resistance to make you’re feeling such as you’re rowing on the open water.

  • Value: $1,095
  • Rigidity system: Water flywheel
  • Dimensions (size x width): 6.eight ft. x 1.eight ft.
  • Weight capability: 700 lbs.
  • Digital monitor: S4 Efficiency Monitor
  • Good options: Time, distance, pace, and row depth displayed by way of the onboard monitor, appropriate with coronary heart fee displays (package bought individually)

Pros: Attractive look, meditative whooshing sounds, and simulation of open-water rowing sensations 

Cons: Costly, included monitor is ok however restricted

If the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine looks familiar, it’s because it’s Ergatta’s Connected Rower’s basic unit (our pick above for the best interactive row machine).

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine, which features a flywheel that pushes through water in a heavy-duty tank, is the closest indoor rowing machine to duplicating the sensation of true outside rowing. While rowing, it also produces smooth and calming swooshing noises of water.

You can increase resistance by adding water to the tank, in addition to controlling resistance with your strokes (the harder and quicker you row, the more drag the flywheel experiences). In other words, the more water there is, the more drag there is on the flywheel, and the more difficult your workout will be.

The machine is also simple to maintain. Simply use the provided siphon pump to fill the tank and add a chlorine tablet every six months. Even before storing the tank, there’s no need to empty it. Although the machine does not fold, it is simple to store upright, and the weight of the water helps to keep the erg upright.

The frame may be put together without the need of any tools, and the instructions are given on a DVD. Because wood expands and contracts in response to changes in the environment, you may need to tighten the bolts from time to time.

You’ll get a fantastic exercise with a comfortable, solid seat that rolls smoothly along dual rails while keeping track of distance, time, and calories burnt on the S4 monitor. The rower’s parts are covered by a three-year warranty, while the frame is covered by a five-year warranty.

Most delicate rowing machine for newbies

person using a rowing machine -- best rowing machines
Amazon

Quiet, smooth, and steady, the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine supplies various magnetic resistance ranges for a variety of exercises. 

  • Value: $250
  • Rigidity system: Magnetic rigidity (eight ranges of resistance)
  • Dimensions (size x width): 6.5 ft. x 1.6 ft.
  • Weight capability: 250 lbs.
  • Digital monitor: LCD monitor
  • Good options: Time, distance, pace, and calorie depend displayed by the LCD screen.

Pros: Economical with eight ranges of resistance, straightforward to fold, and retailer

Cons: Solely okay twine high quality, rail is perhaps too brief for tall individuals.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine is reasonably priced and comes with a number of useful features, including a comfortable, cushioned seat, anti-grip handles, an LCD monitor that tracks stroke counts, time, and calories burned, and eight levels of knob-adjustable magnetic resistance for various intensities.

Warm up on level two before moving on to levels three and four for a more intense workout. The greater the level, the more severe it is, making it ideal for extended cardio-building rowing sessions. Level seven is for endurance and full-throttle sprints, while level eight is the most difficult (and hardest workout).

Sunny’s Magnetic Rowing Machine boasts a 48-inch-long rail on which the padded seat rolls smoothly and quietly, supporting up to 250 pounds. The rower features built-in wheels and can conveniently fold up for storage. It’s simple to put together and store, taking up very little room when folded and very little square area when open.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

How do I put rowing machines to the test?

Each rower in this guide was put through rigorous testing to see how well it performed in four key areas: ease of use, experience, reliability, and value. Here’s how each criterion played a role in determining which rowers made the cut for this list.
Row machines have a naturally short learning curve because all you have to do is sit down and row. But we all know there’s more to it. Ease of use also refers to the procedure of installing the machine in your home, how simple it is to get started, whether a companion app is available, and whether the learning curve (however steep) has a significant impact on the next category: your experience.
Working out for fun may sound contradictory, but it’s crucial to enjoy at least some of the sweat you’re breaking. Because a row machine provides a full-body workout, you want one that doesn’t feel like a torturous tug of war. A good row machine should have smooth operation, a fun platform (whether it has digital feedback or is simply fluid to operate), and be comfortable to use.
Reliability: If the rowing machine you buy doesn’t last more than a few months, you’ll be hating whatever compulsion you had to get it in the first place. Simply put, at-home fitness equipment aren’t cheap, and the one you wind up spending a lot of money on should operate well and frequently.
Value: Value is a combination of the categories that came before it, as well as some consideration of the actual sticker price — although that doesn’t rule out more expensive models. It’s preferable to spend more money once on a machine that’s dependable, simple to operate, and provides a pleasurable workout than to fight with a new budget model every few months.


FAQs

Is rowing preferable to running?

According to a research by Dr. Cameron Nichol, a former Olympic rower, rowing utilizes more muscle areas than jogging.

Rowing strengthens your back, tones your arms, and benefits both your upper and lower body in addition to stimulating about 85 percent of your body’s muscles and upwards of nine separate muscle groups.

“Rowing is the right answer to [finding the most effective workout] because it’s incredibly accessible” to both beginners and advanced rowers, according to Ramon Castillon, owner of the boutique class Row House.

Is it possible for you to row every day?

Yes, in a word. However, as with any training plan, it’s critical not to overdo it or continuously push yourself past your limits. Irving Hyppolite, a personal trainer, told Insider that individuals often attempt to do too much and that there is a limit to how much your body can endure.

According to Hyppolite, a fair standard is to exercise for 45 minutes to an hour three to five days a week (including warm-up and cool-down). You’ll be investing the same amount of energy for more modest returns as you start doing more than that, he noted.

Bryan Goldberg, a personal trainer, previously told Insider that, no matter how good it may appear in the short term, too much exercise can stymie your progress.

Despite the fact that both Hyppolite and Goldberg mentioned exercise in general, this can be applied to rowing. It’s fine to jump on every day as long as you’re not rowing to exhaustion every day of the week. However, it’s probably more beneficial to take a few days off to rest.

Is it possible to lose weight through rowing?

Consistent exercise is only one part of being able to manage your weight, therefore it would be irresponsible to claim that a rower can help you lose weight on its own.

“It’s vital that you partner a strong and balanced diet with your training program,” Caley Crawford, NASM CPT and Director of Education for Row House, told Insider.

Crawford also mentioned that full-body strengthening (such as that provided by rowers) can help with fat loss. However, keep in mind that it isn’t the only issue you should be concerned about. Weight exercise, enough rest, and a well-balanced diet are also essential.

How crucial is excellent rowing technique?

The best method to get the most out of your exercises and avoid injury is to use proper rowing form, which consists of an initial driving phase followed by a recovery phase. Here’s how to put it into action:

To begin the drive, extend your legs first, then use your arms to draw the handle into your body after they are fully extended and your back is vertical. Your legs should be fully extended, the rower’s handle brought into your body, and your wrists in line with your forearms when you finish. You’ll then go to recuperation.

To begin your recovery, straighten your arms and pivot your body from your hips, avoiding hunching forward or leaning backward. Your legs will flex in this flowing manner until your shins are entirely upright.

Finally, don’t think of this as a competition. Concentrate on improving your form rather than how fast you can row.

I’m looking for a rowing machine, but I’m not sure what to look for.

Because there are so many various types of rowers, it’s crucial to look at each one to see which one best suits your needs and keeps you engaged and injury-free. You should think about things like:

Magnetic (electromagnets slow the erg’s metal flywheel), air (drag from the spinning flywheel), hydraulic (resistance is created by hydraulic fluid in a piston or two connected to the erg’s handles), and water (resistance is created by hydraulic fluid in a piston or two connected to the erg’s handles) are all examples of resistance (the flywheel pushes against water in a tank).

Size: The machine should be large enough for you to straighten your legs and maintain perfect rowing technique while still fitting into your training space.

Weight limit for the user: The weight capacity of models varies, but several can support 220 to 265 pounds or more.

Foldability: Some machines (often magnetic and hydraulic resistance) fold for convenient storage, whilst others (typically air and water resistance) do not.

While rowing, a monitor or computer records data such as distance, duration, speed, and/or calories burned.

The seat should be curved and spacious enough to keep your backside comfortable while maintaining appropriate form.


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