8 Best Rowing Machines – Do NOT buy before reading this

Last updated: December 1st 2016. Trying to find a rowing machine to buy? Clueless about how to go about selecting it? Just like there are products that cater to multiple needs of multiple users, rowing machines are available in different kinds to suit the user in best possible way. It is nothing less than smart to think through what exactly you are looking for and then researching the hundreds of options available before you make your choice.

After a full analysis of every serious rowing machine out this year, Concept2 Model D is the overall winner undoubtedly. Used by Olympic-level athletes, this is the obvious choice if you want to push yourself to the max.

A deserving winner of our value award is the Stamina Air Rower. This is a very capable machine that gets you the most bang-for-your-buck and can help you to reach your fitness goal with ease.

TOP END ROWING MACHINE REVIEWS – BEST ROWERS COMPARED

If you are confused with selecting the best rowing machine, let us help you and make your job easier. We have made an extensive research and found the best rowing machines based on the cost to performance ratio, along with the features of individual rowing machine available in the market. So let’s take a look at the best rowing machines available in the market:

TOP RECOMMENDATION – Concept 2 Indoor Rower Model D

 

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The model is developed by Concept2 which has earned a great name and reputation for manufacturing fitness equipments worldwide. The company is responsible for manufacturing a wide range of rowing devices depending on the needs and suitability of the user.

 

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A design of the Machine

It is a high-end rowing machine for indoor training with an overall length of 96 inches and width of 24 inches designed with massive durability. The leg support has front legs made of aluminum with rear ones made of steel. The power generation process is simplified where during the workout sessions, the monitor tends to collect power from the spinning flywheel and give extended battery. Assembly of Concept2 is pretty simple and anyone can do it without any assistance.

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Performance Monitor

The training device consists of advanced monitor called PM5 which is user-friendly, accurate and easy to operate. This digital monitor gives accurate data about the activities being performed on this machine and there are ergonomic buttons for setting-up the device. The monitor is equipped with powerful backlight that enhances the visibility and has an adjustable frame to adjust the monitor according to your convenience. The monitor is compatible with USB flash device for storing your performance data and is also able to monitor your heart rate wirelessly.

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Comfort and Resistance

This is one of the integral parts of the machine as the entire movement depends on it. The flywheel and damper are designed and assembled in a way that you are in control of your exertion and resistance while working out on the machine. The airflow to the flywheel is adjusted by the spiral dampers and using this you can change the level of stroke during the effort put in. The flywheel gives a smooth move without much noise which is the best part about this rowing machine model.

TOP BUDGET RECOMMENDATION – Stamina Air Power

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After checking for multiple options for a low budget rowing machines, we found that STAMINA AIR POWER is an effective yet budget machine which comes with incredible features, positive feedback from existing users and low-budget. This indoor rowing machine is completely value for money as it offers maximum performance at the minimum price and gives real feeling same as that of outdoor rowing. It is manufactured by a company name Stamina established in 1987 which is into designing of fitness equipment within budget.

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A design of the Machine

This rowing machine is designed to provide a smooth, solid and comfortable workout at the convenience of home. It is a low impact machine offering complete body workout. The wind resistance machine is equipped with oversized upholstered seats with an inclusion of seat rail and foot plates for a comfort of work out. The machine has smooth sliding seat for ease of movement with comfortable padding and is backed by the secure grip.

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Performance Monitor

It is an integral part of the rowing machine and especially in indoor ones as you workout without any assistance. It has an electronic performance monitor that display information related to speed, distance traveled, time and calories burnt. It has multi-function but can be operated using a single button making it user-friendly. The data can be accessed or viewed one at a time using the mode button.

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Comfort and Resistance

It is light in weight weighing only 250 lbs which are less than many other machines and thus is convenient for use. It can carry maximum user weight of around 250 pounds. The machine is designed for top class comfort with padded seats that easily slides up and down on the rail during the workout sessions. The seat can be used for people with height even more that 6ft, the ergonomic handle gives a good grip to te floor.

  • It is durable and as mentioned by few of the users it remains in good shape and quality even after three years of rigorous use.
  • It assists one in performing lower impact workouts and is a thumb up for total body workout which helps in weight loss, body and muscle toning and builds stamina.
  • It is user-friendly, easy to operate, gives performance details and is a great value for the money. Most of the customers are highly satisfied with the budget equipment.
  • It is easy to store the machine by compacting it or rolling it up and movement is also easy via the inbuilt wheels.

CONTENDER ROWING MACHINE REVIEWS – LAB TESTED

Contender #1 – Kettler 7978-900 Favorit Rowing Machine

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The machine is designed and manufactured by Kettler and is one of the toughest and affordable rowing machine. The machine is designed in a way that it can be used by both professionals and beginners.

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A design of the Machine

The machine is equipped with two hydraulic cylinders that offer continuous resistance to maximize the workout output and helps in performance intense exercise. The machine has an anti-slip base that prevents the machine from skidding on a floor. It has a comfortable ergonomic seat that smoothly runs on the rail. The handles are padded to prevent blistering and maintain a strong grip.

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Performance Monitor

The best part of the monitor is you can customize your workout session by setting time, stroke rate and distance to be covered and on completion of the target you be alerted. The monitor gives you audio and video signal on completion of your fitness target. The monitor is compatible with a plug-in ear clip that monitors and closely checks heart rate using a wrist monitor and chest strap.

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Comfort and Resistance

The resistance level of the machine is self-adjustable and it can be done by resetting or repositioning the knurl marks on each rowers which can be set between 50 knurls or more. The machine has moving foot plates along with straps that can be adjusted according to foot size and the force can be continuously adjusted with the folding oars. The machine supports weight up to 250 pounds or under only which is one of the cons of the machine.

  • It can be used for intense workout session as it is equipped with hydraulic drive system which offers great resistance and is perfect for workout.
  • It gives a balanced form of training that works on all the muscle groups, burns calories, builds stamina and stimulated metabolism by raising the content of oxygen.
  • The machine has been recommended by many old people who find to easy to workout using the machine and stay fit.

Contentder #2 – Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine

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The machine is manufactured by LifeCore Fitness and is known for its robust, durable and affordable products. The manufacturers have produced versatile fitness equipments for both personal use and commercial grade.

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A design of the Machine

It is undoubtedly a great machine designed with an inclusion of Electronic Brake System Technology and offers air and magnetic resistance. It is used by athletes and is more of a commercial machine which enables smooth operation and is perfect for both personal and commercial use. The machine is designed with ergonomic handles for strong grip and the footrest is compatible with multiple shoe size which is angled with pivoting heel support. It has a strong and sturdy body with black semi-gloss paint coating and is supported by an aluminum frame with solid steel support.

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Performance Monitor

The monitor is in form of large LCD with blue backlit computer display which offers 15 challenging preset programs. The display monitor is also able to store data for 4 users. There are 16 levels of magnetic resistance along with 4 heart rate control program. Using the monitor and its settings the user can conveniently choose the workout plan according to their needs. The monitor display information like total strokes, strokes per minute, watts, time, pulse rate, calories burnt, distance, meters mowed etc.

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Comfort and Resistance

The resistance types can be set according to the type of workout session required. It has ergonomically designed seat that adds to the comfort of the user and adjustable cooling air vent keeps your session relaxed. Although it has a silent drive system for minimum noise creation but at times due to intense workout there might be slight noise due to high resistance level offered. The nylon straps or foot straps helps one to keep the feet in position and handles gives a good grip. It undoubtedly is one of the most user compatible machine as it can handle weight up to 600 pounds and height of up to 1.92 m(6.4”).

  • It can store data of up to 4 users and has many pre-set programs which can be used to customise your workout sessions.
  • It offers non-impact; full body workout and the level of resistance required can be adjusted as per one’s personal needs.

Contender #3 – Pro Rower H20 RX-740 Home Series Rowing Machine

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The machine is manufactured by H20 fitness which is known for some of its innovative and great fitness equipments. The machine is made based on realistic dynamics that makes the whole experience of using the rowing machine more authentic and effective.

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A design of the Machine

The machine is built strong and durable which uses the innovative Hydro – Power Drive system and it mimics the realistic dynamics of actual rowing. The machine consists of polycarbonate water tank along with an internal paddle system which integrates realistic motion of rowing a boat. It is a water resistance machine with a durable and strong frame that is manufactured for professional as well as commercial and personal usage. It is foldable and the frame measures less than 20 to 21 inch on storing it upright.

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Performance Monitor

The performance monitor tracks details like exercise time, distance 500 – meter split time, strokes per minute, calories burned and heart rate which can be detected using heart rate receiver. The display screen is oversized making it easy to read. The monitor gives statistical figures individually or they can be scanned using the “scan” feature and the display screen can be adjusted in different viewing angles.

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Comfort and Resistance

The ergonomic handgrip gives maximum comfort. The water in the water tank acts as main resistance system and resistance is brought by the speed of rowing. Row faster for an intense workout which gives higher resistance and for a slow and steady workout, it is recommended to row slower. The machine is equipped with dual caster wheels and the machine can be stored easily. It is able to take maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.

  • It is manufactured using innovative hydraulic hydro-power drive system and hence it completely mimics the dynamics of real rowing. This leads to better and more efficient performance.
  • The resistance of the machine can be adjusted according to the intensity of the workout by altering the speed. It is best for home workout.
  • It is a total body workout machine which helps in burning calories, losing weight, building stamina and strengthening muscles.

Contender #4 – Stamina Avari Magnetic Power

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The machine is manufactured by Avari which focus on total body workout and help in building your stamina. The company is involved in production of fitness equipments including rower machines which are very helpful for users.

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A design of the Machine

The Avari Magnetic Rover has magnetic resistance systems that uses a smooth braking system, controlled levels of resistance and is known for its noiseless operation. The machine has a strong solid frame made of steel along with aluminum beam and the pulleys are made of durable nylon. The machine is easily foldable along with mobile wheels and thus it is easy to store them and ensure easy movement. The unique ball bearing roller and hydraulic resistance integrated into the machine gives smooth rowing experience.

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Performance Monitor

The programmable monitor of the machine features around 12 programs which can be displayed and viewed on LCD screen. The visibility is enhanced using the backlit in Touch Fitness monitor. The performance monitor has 7 preset programs which adjust the magnetic tension and enhance the cardiovascular workout. On connecting the chest strap to display you can also monitor heart rate and pulse rate. The panel gives information about time, distance, stroke rate, pulse rate, and calories burnt.

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Comfort and Resistance

The seats are molded with a comfortable cushion which reduces pressure and the Velcro strap on the footrests makes it easy for exercise. The handle is padded making it comfortable and promotes a good grip. It is a low impact workout machine and makes your workout session more comfortable. The padded handle reduces an occurrence of blisters. The machine can support a weight of up to 275 lbs and is comfortable for users as tall as 6 feet 4 inches.

  • The machine is a low impact and effective total body workout which exercises all the major muscles of your body including legs, hands, arms, abdominals etc and helps in toning.
  • The machine enhances the rate of metabolism, burns calorie more efficiently and doesn’t impact your joints.
  • It is compact, space saving and affordable which helps in increasing your stamina and strengthening muscles.

Contender #5 – Velocity Fitness Magnetic Power CHR-2001

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The machine is developed by Velocity Exercise which is designed based on Drum Magnetic Control. Velocity Exercise is a company that has so far manufactured various types of fitness equipment including versatile rowing machines.

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A design of the Machine

The machines in integrated with magnetic resistance system which is the exclusive feature of the design and is made of an aluminum frame. The frame extends towards the outer side and holds the ergonomically designed foam padded seat. Along with the inclusion of Drum Magnetic Control System, the device also supports electronic tension control and has transportation inbuilt wheels for easy movement. The machine is foldable and can be stored when not in use.

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Performance Monitor

The machine features a large LCD monitor to display all the important details about your performance. The monitor display information like time, count, stroke per minute, distance covered, calories burnt, pulse rate and watt. The display monitor offers 12 programs which include manual as well as 6 pre-set ones. There is a provision of connection the chest strap to monitor that detects the heart rate.

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Comfort and Resistance

The machine features great comfort with the molded saddle that brings maximum comfort and balance while working out is maintained via the non-slip foot pedals which are compatible with multiple shoe size. The pedals are oversized with Velcro strap for easy movement. The seats are frictionless due to padding and the handles are padded that prevent blistering while working out. The machine is able to support a weight of around 275lbs and height of around 6ft.

  • It gives a total body workout from convenience of home and ensures balanced workout session that boasts the cardiovascular system and heart movement.
  • It offers whisper quiet which makes less sound while working workout and its smooth slide make the exercise session very easy.
  • It is sturdy, easy to assemble and has small footprint making it easy for storage when not in use.

Contender #6 – WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

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The rower machine is manufactured by Water Rower and is known for its patented WaterFlywheel design which mimics the realistic dynamics of boat moving through water and imparts the exclusive benefits obtained by rowing a boat.

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A design of the Machine

The major highlight of the rowing machine is its handcrafted body made of solid Ash Wood with a smooth finish of honey oak stain with Danish oil. The natural body of the machine makes it raw, durable and user efficient. The machine has patented WaterFlyWheel which has dynamics of a real boat. The water Flywheel consists of two paddles within enclosed water tank that provide natural resistance with a feeling of rowing in real water. The machine doesn’t require a motor since sufficient resistance is created by the flywheel and water tank. The machine can be compacted and stored.

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Performance Monitor

It is equipped with a Series 4 performance monitor which is user-friendly and technically sound. The monitor displays information about your performance and health which includes workout intensity, heart rate, zone bar, stroke rate, duration of workout and distance covered. The monitor is also compatible with heart rate chest strap and receiver that enables you to achieve your goals through optimized workout session. The monitor supports USB device via which you can download your performance data.

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Comfort and Resistance

Due to the use of solid ash wood, the device is able to absorb sound and vibration that increases the overall performance along with smooth operation. The wood makes the entire machine durable and for comfort the machine has dual rails with four corner wheels that enhance the stability of the seat. The seats slide smoothly across the wooden rails and the resistance completely depends on the speed of paddling. It doesn’t require much maintenance and oiling as it doesn’t contain parts that tend to wear out with time. It is light in weight and can support a weight of up to 700lbs.

  • It is a complete fitness machine and naturally works on 84% of the body muscle which helps in toning and strengthening them. The regular use of the machine aids in burning calories accompanied by weight loss.
  • It is a low impact machine which removes the load from ankles, knees, and hips and yet smoothly workouts the lower body through smooth sliding up and down the rail.
  • It is made of natural wood with realistic dynamics of rowing boat which makes it an exclusive and class-apart machine.

BENEFITS OF USING ROWING MACHINE

Rowing machines are great as they are based on the design of rowing boats and are trending these days as new age fitness equipment. They can be used at home or gym and doesn’t require any assistance or gym trainers. They put less strain on muscles, burn your calories and help you continue with your routine exercise at convenience of homes. There are huge benefits of rowing machines and was found to be very helpful for people suffering from injury to stay fit. Here are few reasons why you must immediately purchase a rowing machine.

  • Full Body Workout – If you have been looking for equipment that will help you with complete workout, your search is over with the rowing machine. The rowing machine involves workout of all lower and upper body muscles that helps in strengthening and toning of muscles. The machine can give you the perfect sculpted muscles with the complete body training.
    1. The machine works out your core and lower back as you sit tight while rowing and using your hands for the motion tones your arms.
    2. On rowing, it works out your quads and calves as push off with your legs and the position is also called “catch”.
    3. Next movement is called “drive” and as you straighten out your legs you straighten your back which works out your back.
    4. The next phase called “finish” works out your back and biceps as you pull the handle to lower chest.
    5. The last phase is called “recovery” and is also the return to catch position which exercise your chest, shoulders and triceps and as you pull yourself to the starting position you workout your hamstring.
  • Low Impact – The machine is known for its low impact and non-weight bearing feature and doesn’t stress you. The chances of injury, muscle tear; joint pain etc is very less. The low impact feature of rowing machine makes it ideal for use by senior citizens, injured athletes and for people recovering from surgery or injury. Running for a long time impacts you knee but this can be altered by using the low impact rowing machine.
  • Work at home – Most of us make promises to hit the gym or join a yoga class or aerobic session but lack of time stands as nebulous devil. The rowing machine can compensate for all as it offers total body workout and it can be done at the comfort of home without compromising on time. The machine offers efficient workout session and values your time.
  • Lose weight and burn calories – The rowing machine is a great aerobic workout and the intensity can be customised as per your requirement. It strengthens every muscle of your body and is known to aid rapid weight loss. It is a calorie burning machine and on using it intensely you can expect to burn around 600 to 1000+ calories per hour which is equivalent or more as compared to other gym equipments. It tones and tightens up your body and makes you tip top summer ready.
  • Enhance Metabolism and Cardiovascular – Rowing machine is known to enhance the rate of metabolism by increasing the flow of oxygen around the body. It also helps in improving cardiovascular system by enhancing heart functions, increased carbohydrate utilisation and improve blood circulation system for the heart.
  • Easy workout session – It is for sure that the machine aids in weight loss, toning and burning of calorie but along with that it can also reduce the level of stress. According to some reports it was found the rowing stimulates centres in your brain that triggers the release of endorphins. Relax and workout while listening to music or watching TV.

TYPES OF ROWING MACHINES

Rowing machines mimic the technique of rowing on water and this is useful for complete body workout that focuses on strengthening core, toning all muscles, improves cardiovascular system and is easy to master. It has a sliding seat along with oar like fixtures and you have to paddle them using the hands and legs. There are different types of rowing machines depending on your requirement.

  • Air Resistance Rowing Machines
  • Water Resistance Rowing Machines
  • Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machines
  • Piston Resistance Rowing Machines

All the machines are similar that is all use the sliding seats and oar mechanism that mimics the normal rowing activity but the only difference is with the type of resistance they offer. For intense and best workout session, magnetic resistance machines are found out to be the best.

MISTAKES TO AVOID DURING ROWING MACHINE WORKOUT

Although it in not a Herculean task to master the use of a rowing machine but there are some mistakes that needs to be avoided while using the machine for your workout session. It is important to prevent such mistakes so that you can maximum result without discomfort. Here are few mistakes that definitely need to be avoided.

  • Settings for Dampers – Damper is the little level which is present to the side of air resistant flywheels and it is important to adjust the same before starting with your workout session. It is very important for beginners to check the adjustment as high settings offers more resistance making it difficult to workout. In order to keep the workout session more effective gradually increase it and for newcomers the settings of 3 to 5 should be fine.
  • Follow the order – The rowing machine gives you result only when you work at certain pace. Don’t make things difficult for you by trying to synchronise hand and leg movement simultaneously as it will drain more energy and give less results. Try to learn the process of rowing gradually starting from pushing your legs, pivot back with hips where shoulders will pass your pelvis and followed by pulling your arms to the chest.
  • No hunching back – This is a strict rule to be followed where you are not supposed to hunch back at any point of time but keep your back straight. Hunching may lead to discomfort and affect your body while working out. Sit straight on the seat, tighten the belly or core muscles, and relax the shoulders and workout on the rowing movement.
  • Arm Movement – The rowing machine is not only about using your arm to complete the workout session but also equivalently use your legs. Don’t stress your arms to much by putting a pressure on it but the focus should to spend 60% power through leg push, 20% through cores and rest 20% using your arms.
  • No Jerky Motion and Stop Rushing – Try to master the rowing machine gradually and ensure that you don’t rush into the process. Mastering to control your body while sliding forward and back again is difficult but don’t rush into it. The first half involves the drive where you legs push and arms pull and second half is resuming the calm position. Don’t run through the session as if you push your legs too quickly, your butt might shoot ahead and create a jerking motion. The jerking may cause injury and in order to avoid this you need to keep a firm and controlled posture.

WRAP UP

Fitness should be the mantra in every individual’s life and with the rowing machines exercise and fitness has become more convenient and affordable. The above provides you comprehensive information about the rowing machines, their benefits and top machines that you can consider buying. It is not at all difficult to master the motion while on rowing machine but all you need to do it take it forward gradually. We have also listed the mistakes to be avoided hoping you will keep them aside while stepping for the first time on rowing machine. The rowing machine is a powerful beast that enables total body workout, stimulates metabolism, enhances stamina and makes your workout session a pleasurable one. If you choose one of the above mentioned rowing machine, we assure there will be not a second of regret and in no time you will be ready to flaunt your chiselled and sculpted body. Want to get back in shape, order one right now and get yourself working out at comfort of your home.