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The Best Rowing Machines

Where Can You Find the Best Rowing Machines?

Maybe you got a taste at a HIIT class like Eat the Frog or Orangetheory, you're a CrossFit devotee, or you just get in a rowing session when you hit Planet Fitness or another gym. Many people have a love-hate relationship with this particular piece of fitness equipment, so we applaud you if you're looking for a quality machine to add to your home gym!

You probably know all of the reasons to love rowing machines: few cardio workouts give you the total body focus that's achieved while rowing. Generally speaking, a rowing routine uses 65-75% legs and 25-35% of the upper body - strengthening legs, arms, and abs all at the same time. That's efficient!

Monday, November 30th

2020 Rowing Machine Reviews

Xterra Review TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating

Xterra

5 Star Rating TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Xterra Fitness offers one-stop shopping for almost every style of rower you could want. With 6 different models to choose from, free shipping on all of them, and no rowing machine priced above $900, this is the perfect place to shop for an affordable rower. Plus, promotions like $50 discounts and free fitness accessories are worth looking for when you visit the site. Xterra Fitness earns our highest recommendation for rowing machines.

Concept2 Review 4.5 Star Rating

Concept2

4.5 Star Rating

If you've ever used a rowing machine at a gym or rowing studio, chances are good that you were on a Concept2. These rowers are so well-respected that they're used for competitions around the world and for time standards in recruiting athletes! But don't let that intimidate you: all 3 of Concept2's rowing machines are quick to assemble and easy for even the most beginner users to figure out. And, if you're motivated by tracking your stats and competing virtually with people around the globe, you'll get that and much more. Concept2 is one of our favorite options for rowing machines.

NordicTrack Review 4 Star Rating

NordicTrack

4 Star Rating

Do you want a Peloton-type experience with a rowing machine? NordicTrack has you covered. Between on-demand workouts and live sessions with automatically-controlled resistance, you'll never get bored with your rower. The only question to answer is "how big do you want the screen to be?" NordicTrack offers a decent warranty and return policy, and customers have very positive things to say about the rowers and workouts. NordicTrack isn't your cheapest option, but it may be the most effective if you need some input from an actual trainer to stay motivated.

Pro Form Review 3.5 Star Rating

Pro Form

3.5 Star Rating

Would you like a top-notch rower for free? ProForm has you covered - but you'll have to pay for an iFIT membership for 3 years (at $39/month) to qualify. That's no deal breaker if you want options for watching rowing videos timed to your workout or, even better, live instructor-led classes that automatically adjust your rower's resistance to match the pace of the class. This company has gotten its fair share of complaints from customers, especially when trying to get warranty service, but the BBB still gives this retailer an "A+".

Lifespan Fitness Review 3.5 Star Rating

Lifespan Fitness

3.5 Star Rating

LifeSpan offers two rowers for home use: a basic model for under $500 and a gym-level design for about $1,200. You'll get free shipping on either one, and this retailer has a great reputation for providing responsive service if problems arise. LifeSpan gives you 30 days to return your rower if needed - just expect a 15% restocking fee.

Water Rower Review 3 Star Rating

Water Rower

3 Star Rating

WaterRower offers a series of 10 rowing machines that have a luxury aesthetic compared with the average equipment on the market. Handcrafted in the USA with premium materials, these rowers are often spotted at OTF studios and other boutique rowing gyms around the world. However, a higher price tag and lack of a return policy keep WaterRower from a better ranking among its rivals.

Life Fitness Review 3 Star Rating

Life Fitness

3 Star Rating

If you can use it for a workout, chances are good that LifeFitness makes and sells it - from cardio machines to weight systems and beyond. With only two rowers in their inventory, both priced well over $1,000, they may not have something for every customer. Plus, their machines are missing a lot of the bells and whistles shoppers would expect for that kind of money.

Sole Fitness Review 3 Star Rating

Sole Fitness

3 Star Rating

Sole Fitness started out as a manufacturer of fitness equipment for hotel fitness centers, but their machines are now available for home users. They only carry one rower, which provides a combination of air-magnetic resistance across 16 difficulty levels. Sole's return policy is almost unmatched in the industry, but their reputation with the BBB leaves much to be desired.

Net 2 Fitness Review 2.5 Star Rating

Net 2 Fitness

2.5 Star Rating

Net2Fitness sells just about anything you could need to outfit your home gym, from weights to cardio machines. Their selection of rowers includes 7 models from different manufacturers, but most of the machines are fairly low-tech. This store's return policy isn't as good as many of their competitors, and as a dealer for several brands, they don't offer any warranty coverage on their rowers - leaving you to fend for yourself if you need service. Because of that and having virtually no customer feedback, Net2Fitness lands near the bottom of our rankings.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Another huge reason to take advantage of rowing is its low-impact style. There's no pounding on already-sensitive joints while using a rowing machine, just a push and a pull that glides back and forth with whatever amount of effort you choose to use.

What style of rowing machine is best? That largely depends on preference. Resistance comes in four ways: air (flywheel), magnetic, pistons or cylinders, and water. If you've used a machine at a fitness center, you're probably familiar with flywheel and water rowers already. Those styles also do the best job of imitating the feel (and the sound, for tank-base systems) of rowing in open water.

So, how can you tell which rowing machine is the right one for your home gym? Here are several criteria to keep in mind as you shop for a rower:

  • Price. Rowing machines can range from ultra-affordable (less than $300) to top-of-the-line (over $2,500). While spending more usually puts more features and cutting-edge technology in your hands, you don't have to break the bank to get a rower that delivers a terrific workout.
  • Features. Make a list of the must-haves for your rower. Does it need to fold easily for storage? Do you want the capability of following a live class, Peloton-style? Should your rowing machine have a certain look to match your other home gym equipment?
  • Returns and Warranty. What if your rowing machine doesn't fit the space you had planned out? Or you realize that you'd actually prefer the resistance of a water rower instead of a flywheel system? Most retailers of rowers allow returns, but watch out for restocking fees and return shipping fees. What kind of warranty coverage does the company give you for the frame, mechanical components, and any electronics?
  • Reputation. What do other shoppers say about the company? Can you expect good service if something goes wrong during shipping, installation, or day-to-day use? A rowing machine can be a significant investment, so you want to know that your purchase is from a business that has your back.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best rowing machines available today. We hope this information helps you pick the right rower to meet all your health and fitness goals!

The Best Rowing Machines Compare Rowing Machines Compare Rowing Machine Reviews What are the best Rowing Machines Best Rowing Machine Reviews

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.

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