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Saturday, March 2nd
Echelon Fitness, started in 2017, is a company that makes smart fitness equipment, including rowing machines. They offer interactive video-based classes like some of the more expensive brands but claim to keep their prices more affordable. This places Echelon in an interesting niche - they're trying to offer a mix of quality and value, appealing to those who might not want to spend top dollar but still want a tech-driven workout. Echelon makes 3 magnetic resistance rowers ranging in price from $699.99 to $2,199.
Row: tablet required
The most basic Echelon model, the Row, has a whopping 32 resistance levels and an aluminum and steel frame that can accommodate users up to 300 lbs. It can be folded up for storage. There isn't a built-in screen (or any kind of display), but there's a rotating device holder for your phone or tablet. We love that the handlebar includes resistance controls, so you don't have to break your row flow to amp up the intensity.
It's quiet, but you need the App
Users say it's quiet, delivers a satisfying and smooth workout, and doesn't take up much space. However, one reviewer noted that there's no "Just Row" mode available - you have to power up the app and select a workout. There's also no heart rate monitor in the handle, so the calorie count on the app is bound to be inaccurate. For $699.99, we think it's a little silly not to be able to use your rower unless you've also purchased a tablet (because no one wants to try to follow along with a workout on a tiny smartphone screen).
Row-s: built-in touchscreen, but not much else
This model has a 22" HD touchscreen that can be pivoted 180 degrees to follow along with other kinds of workouts, like yoga. There's a resistance control in the handle, 2 water bottle holders in case you're a beast and work up that much of a thirst during your workouts, and it can be folded away for storage when not in use. This rower also has 32 resistance levels and can accommodate users up to 300 lbs. Most reviews are positive, but a common complaint is that parts of the rower came incorrectly built - in one instance, the handlebars were mounted upside down. That's not great for a machine that costs $1,599.
Row-7s: an even bigger screen... but still not much besides
This is the most deluxe model offered by Echelon. It comes with a 24" screen, but that's a bit of overkill considering some of their rowing videos seem to be grainy and they aren't filmed in picturesque settings. So you get to feel like you're really there... but "there" is in a small, nondescript workout studio. You might as well just go to the gym yourself. The screen does have the flexibility to rotate 180 degrees, which comes in handy for the yoga videos available in Echelon's library. In terms of functionality, this model includes resistance controls in the handlebar, built-in Bluetooth audio speakers, and retains the 32 resistance levels consistent with other models. When you break it down, the standout feature of this machine, compared to its more budget-friendly counterparts, really is that expansive screen. And for that "premium" touch, the price tag sits at $2,199.
Your machine is useless without the app
Without the app, your Echelon rowing machine isn't much more than a fancy piece of decor - you can't just hop on and row freely; you've got to follow a class. One reviewer, who generally had a positive experience with Echelon Fitness, particularly appreciated the variety of classes and the quality of instructors. However, they couldn't award the company a perfect score. Why? Well, they ran into occasional glitches with the machine. For instance, they had to exit a class and restart it a few times because the resistance controls weren't responding properly. Plus, they noted that the machine would sometimes freeze for a frustrating 10-15 seconds right in the middle of a workout session.
Expensive monthly membership absolutely required
So, wondering about the cost to access that must-have app for your machine? It'll set you back $39.99 a month for Echelon's Premier membership. With this, you can dive into daily live classes and over 15,000 on-demand ones, covering both Echelon equipment workouts and those that don't need any gear. And while the membership does come with some perks like member-only discounts, beginner to expert programs, and integration with apps like Strava and Spotify, one user pointed out that live classes wrap up by 9 pm.
No scenic routes
Now, if you're picturing rowing past serene beaches or through lush jungles with these classes, think again. Echelon's offerings seem to be more on the lines of a solitary instructor in a pretty basic studio, captured by a not-so-crisp camera - no sailing down the coastline of a tropical island for Echelon members. And here's the kicker: Echelon's Premier Membership monthly fee is on par with brands that deliver more visually appealing content. So much for that promise of value-for-money.
Warranty, shipping, and return policy are all great
Echelon's at least got your back when it comes to equipment protection. They offer a full year of worry-free coverage for all their products, and if you're a Premier member, you're covered for a total of 5 years. Plus, shipping on all rowers is on them. And if you aren't completely satisfied with your purchase, no worries - they have a 30-day return policy with no fees and they'll even refund your shipping costs as long as everything is returned in brand new condition with all original packaging and accessories. We're confident they keep their promises because their Better Business Bureau rating is an "A+" .
Echelon fails to deliver
We think it's pretty ridiculous that your rower won't work unless you pay gym membership fees every month. We think it's even more ridiculous that Echelon positions itself as an affordable option - maybe for other fitness products, but not its rowers. You can find products of higher quality for the same or lower price from other brands we've reviewed. Echelon has a great satisfaction guarantee and a good reputation with the BBB, but that's not enough to save them from ranking low on our list.
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.
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.
Are you seeking the ideal rowing machine for your personal gym space? Here's what you should consider as you shop:
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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