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The Best Rowing Machines

Where Can You Find the Best Rowing Machines?

Rowing machines, or "rowers," have swiftly sailed into the mainstream fitness world, gaining traction as a one-stop solution for a comprehensive workout. They're not just about the sport of rowing anymore; they're about sculpting your body, boosting your cardio, and getting fit in a fun way. Rowing machines provide an all-in-one workout, working the legs, back, arms, and core.

So it should come as no surprise that rowing machines have become so popular. With rowing, you can elevate your heart rate and improve endurance without stepping outside. What's more, rowing is gentle on your knees and joints, thanks to the smooth motion and the seated position. The resistance can be adjusted to tailor the session - amp up the intensity for a challenge or keep it light and steady.

Wednesday, June 19th

2024 Rowing Machine Reviews

Concept2 Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating

Concept2 is a well-known brand in the indoor rowing industry, having been around since 1981. They provide indoor rowing machines that are popular with athletes across various disciplines because of their comprehensive workout. Concept2's RowErg Finder allows you to try their machines before you buy by inputting your location and discovering nearby Concept2 equipment. They offer three models of air resistance rowing machines that you can adjust the airflow by using the damper on the side of the flywheel. Concept2's Performance Monitor provides real-time feedback on your performance and accumulates data over multiple sessions. The ErgData app by Concept2 is a comprehensive training and analysis tool that allows users to dive deep into their performance. Concept2's return policy is very reasonable and they offer a 5-year warranty on frames and 2 years on parts. Overall, Concept2 has solidified its place as the #1 choice in the world of indoor rowing, thanks to their long history and diverse machine options.

Hydrow Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating

Hydrow is a connected rowing machine brand with a rich legacy that has gained popularity in the fitness market due to its modern design and expert-led videos. The company offers two models, the Hydrow and the Hydrow Wave, and provides a 30-day trial with free standard shipping. The cost of the machine does not include access to Hydrow's extensive video library, which requires a monthly membership fee of $44. The membership offers access to 4,000+ workouts, live rowing sessions, and progress incentives. Hydrow offers financing, a 30-day return policy, and a 5-year warranty on the frame and 1-year warranty on the components. Overall, Hydrow is known for its quality and impressive features, though its membership fee may add up over time.

NordicTrack Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

NordicTrack, a fitness equipment company in business since 1975, offers a range of fitness equipment including treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipticals, and rowers. Their rower product line includes three options ranging from $899 to $1,999, all powered by silent magnetic resistance technology with iFIT workout programs and Bluetooth compatibility. iFIT offers personalized workouts, virtual classes led by trainers, and even simulated real-world runs, rows, or bike rides. NordicTrack's rowers have Automatic Trainer Control and stat tracking, and SmartAdjust™ technology. Customers have a 30-day return policy and a Manufacturer Warranty of 10 years for the frame, 2 years for parts, and 1 year for labor. NordicTrack has an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau and their rowers are highly recommended by us.

Xterra Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating

Xterra Fitness is a brand under the parent company Spirit Fitness, which has sold over 1.2 million fitness equipment pieces in 50 countries. Xterra offers a versatile lineup of rowing machines at various price points, with seven models covering all preferences. Their top-of-the-line ERG700 Air & Magnetic Rower, priced at $899.99, is a fan favorite that showcases a combination of air and magnetic resistance. The budget-friendly ERG160 Magnetic Rower, available for $299.99, is praised for its construction but comes with a warranty for parts of only 90 days. Customers should also be aware of Xterra's less-than-generous return policy and potential customer service issues. Overall, Xterra Fitness is a very good option for those looking for quality and affordability.

Water Rower Review 3.5 Star Rating

Water Rower

3.5 Star Rating

WaterRower is a luxury brand that offers rowing machines with water as the resistance mechanism. They have 15 different models, ranging in price from $999 to $2,999, and offer financing. While their return policy is restrictive, customers are overwhelmingly happy with their purchases and appreciate the easy setup, smooth ride and intense workout. The machines are not foldable, but can be stored upright. Shipping costs vary depending on the model and location. WaterRower machines stand out in terms of looks and sophistication, and while they only sell one resistance type, they have a committed customer base and offer more choices than other retailers.

ProForm Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating

ProForm's business model is centered around its iFIT membership, which is required to purchase the "free" Pro R10 Rower. Without the no-cost plan, the rowers here are priced between $699 and $1,403, and come with a remote-controlled resistance system that automatically adjusts to the tempo of your workout. There are two models available: the Pro 750R with a basic LED display, and the Pro R10 with a 10-inch touch screen display. ProForm's Better Business Bureau page has received mixed reviews, with customers expressing frustration about warranty issues. However, the company's instructor-led sessions and affordable pricing may make their rowing machines a good choice for home workout enthusiasts.

Sunny Health & Fitness Review 3 Star Rating

Sunny Health & Fitness

3 Star Rating

Sunny Health & Fitness is a budget-friendly brand known for providing quality exercise equipment, including 30 different types of rowing machines. Their rowers come in various resistance types, from magnetic to combination fan/air. Their most popular magnetic rowing machine costs only $249.98 and has eight dial-adjustable resistance levels and an LCD monitor. Sunny Health & Fitness also offers a versatile workout app, SunnyFit, which has over a thousand workouts. The brand is accredited by the BBB and has earned an "A+" rating. Overall, Sunny Health & Fitness is a decent choice for novice rowers looking for affordable cardio machines for their home gym.

Life Fitness Review 2.5 Star Rating

Life Fitness

2.5 Star Rating

Life Fitness produces fitness equipment for public facilities and home gyms, including 2 rowing machines. Customers love the Row HX Trainer for its user-friendly assembly, smooth rowing experience, and sturdiness. Life Fitness rowers are more expensive than some comparable options and don't offer advanced tech or enhanced build quality. While the company is reliable, their return policy includes a 20% restocking fee and return shipping costs. All combined, that brings Life Fitness' rowing machines down in our rankings.

Echelon Review 1.5 Star Rating


1.5 Star Rating

Echelon Fitness produces smart fitness equipment, including three models of magnetic resistance rowers priced from $699 to $2,199. The rowers require a tablet to function and are useless without the Echelon app, which costs $39.99 per month for a Premier membership. The rowers have received mixed reviews, with some users praising the quality of instructors and variety of classes while others have experienced glitches with the machines. Echelon positions itself as an affordable option, but higher quality rowers can be found for the same or lower price from other brands.

Sole Fitness Review 1 Star Rating

Sole Fitness

1 Star Rating

Sole Fitness is a company that claims to prioritize integrity in their business practices while providing strong and reliable equipment at reasonable prices. However we find their only rower, the SR550, to be unimpressive for its price of $1,599. Customers have complained about poor customer service and a lack of response to issues with their equipment, leading to Sole Fitness's "F" rating with the BBB. Though they have a great return policy, some customers have reported difficulty in processing the return within the 30-day window. The limited variety of rowers is another drawback. Overall, we suggest looking elsewhere for a rowing machine.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

What are the different styles of rowing machines? Rowers come equipped with a variety of resistance types, each offering a distinct rowing experience. Each type caters to different preferences in terms of workout dynamics, noise levels, and maintenance needs.

  • Air (flywheel) resistance uses a spinning fan, and the intensity grows as you row harder, although it can be a tad noisy.
  • Magnetic resistance, on the other hand, employs magnets, allowing for a quieter, smoother row where resistance is manually adjusted and stays consistent regardless of how fast you row.
  • Machines with pistons or hydraulic cylinders create resistance through air or fluid-filled components, making them more compact and often more affordable, but they might not mimic the traditional rowing feel as closely.
  • Finally, water resistance models, featuring paddles moving through a water tank, will give you an experience closest to actual rowing, including the calming sound of water, but they're typically heavier due to the water component.

Are you seeking the ideal rowing machine for your personal gym space? Here's what you should consider as you shop:

  • Budget. Rower prices span a broad spectrum. While the high-end models (exceeding $2,500) boast state-of-the-art features, you can snag a reliable machine for under $300. No need to splurge to ensure a solid workout session.
  • Features. Think about what you really want in a rower. Is space-saving important? Do you want the ability to join real-time classes, akin to Peloton? Or maybe the aesthetic matters, with the machine's look needing to mesh with your existing gym equipment?
  • Return policy and warranty. Be future-ready. If your chosen rower isn't the right fit for your space or if you end up wanting a different resistance type, can you send it back? Beware of potential hidden costs like restocking or return shipping charges. Moreover, get clarity on the warranty - what's covered, from the frame to electronics?
  • Company credibility. Dig into user feedback. What's the buzz about the brand? Will they step up if challenges arise during shipment, setup, or regular use? Given that a rowing machine isn't a trivial expense, you want to ensure you're placing your trust in the right hands.

If you're looking for a comprehensive breakdown of the top machines on the market, Top Consumer Reviews is the right place to be. We hope these ranked reviews will help steer you toward a rowing machine that aligns with your fitness aspirations!

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Rowing Machine FAQ

There are four basic types, all classified by the type of resistance they provide. The rowers you may have seen at your local gym, CrossFit box or Orangetheory studio probably used flywheel or water resistance. Other rowing machines use magnetic or piston/cylinder resistance mechanisms.
Absolutely! Rowing machines use up to 85% of your body, from the effort it takes to push backwards to the core strength needed to go back and forth and, of course, all of the upper body in the pull. Like any new exercise routine, you may find there's a learning curve to developing proper form, but it's one of the best low-impact workouts you can get.
Yes! There are many workouts designed for all levels of fitness, including yours. You can also find communities that share rowing challenges -even worldwide! This is especially true if you use a Concept2 rower, which is considered as the "gold standard" when entering competitive times for races and recruiting.
Sometimes, depending on the model you select and how many features it offers. You'll see rowers ranging from under $300 to over $2500. You might be able to get low-interest financing from the retailer of the rowing machine you select.
Most styles will have a certain minimum floor space when in use: you're pushing yourself back and forth along a track, so think about how long your legs extend from a bent position to a fully-extended one. However, if space is an issue, there are rowing machines that can be folded up when not in use (usually by placing the track in a vertical position).
Most retailers of Rowing Machines offer a return period of at least 30 days. But, keep in mind that you're usually going to be on the hook for return shipping fees, which can get expensive.
Some rowers are delivered for free. Don't be surprised to see shipping costs upwards of $130, though: rowing machines are oversized and heavy.
Generally speaking, you'll be the one setting up your rower. A few retailers might be able to connect you with a local professional who can do it for you, but you might want to try it yourself first. These machines are typically straightforward to get up and rowing.
The Best Reviews of Rowing Machines