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      October 21, 2020

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Life Fitness vs Sole Fitness

To help you find the Best Rowing Machines, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Life Fitness and Sole Fitness.

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Buy Your Rowing Machine with Xterra Today! 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!

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Best Reviews

2020

Rowing Machine Reviews

3 stars
Life Fitness

LIFE FITNESS

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Cost:

From $1,399 to $2,265.10

Starting out as the maker of the world's first electronic exercise bike, LifeFitness evolved into a global leader for cardio, strength and group training products. Designed to inspire healthier lives, products offered by this company can be spotted in public fitness facilities and home gyms around the world.

2 rowing machine options

LifeFitness has two rowing machines for private use: the Row HX and the Row GX.

Equipment overview:

  • Rower Type: Water
  • Price Range: $1,399 - $2,265.10
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: No
  • Return Policy: 30-day trial period on all products. A 25% restocking fee (up to a maximum of $500) is also charged on all returns
  • Warranty: Frame - 5 years, Tank and Seals - 3 years, Mechanical - 2 years, Console - 1 year, Labor - 1 year
  • Shipping: $199 - $214

Not inexpensive

The Row HX sits on the floor and has wood rails. Priced at $1,399, this is the less expensive of the two rowers sold by LifeFitness, but still a fairly hefty price tag compared with models sold by other retailers for under $1,000. You've got 4 resistance levels controlled by a dial, with no need to add or siphon water to access it. It can easily be stored upright for a smaller footprint. LifeFitness doesn't describe the information you'll get during your workout, but the image of the console makes it look like you can see your overall time, 500m split time, meters rowed, watts, calories burned, and a few other metrics.

Best Rowing Machines

Steep price tag

The Row GX is the upgrade, with a single center rail and a raised profile (making it easier for people to get on and off the machine, especially if they have bad knees or mobility challenges). You'd think with such a steep price tag ($2,265.10), the Row GX Trainer would provide a superior rowing workout experience. But, the handful of customer reviews were evenly split between love/hate. Especially when comparing this model to similar rowers on the market, the Row GX Trainer came up really short. This was the most obvious for the more competitive/experienced rowers, who said that the inability to track watts/splits/intervals was an absolute no-go for this machine. Looking at the images for the monitor, it seems to be the same as the Row HX, but LifeFitness didn't offer any details.

High shipping fees

Shipping fees for these two rowing machines are higher than almost every other retailer in our evaluation, at $199 to $214.

Nice warranty

How about the warranty and return policy? You'll have 30 days to decide if you're keeping your rower; you'll pay a restocking fee of 25% if you opt to send it back. Your warranty covers the rower frame for 5 years, the tank and seals for 3, mechanical for 2, and a year on the console and labor.

Few customer complaints

And on another high note, LifeFitness gets an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau,, with very few complaints registered there over the last 3 years.

Trustworthy, but expensive

At the end of the day, LifeFitness is a trustworthy choice for buying workout equipment across the spectrum. But, when it comes to rowers, their options are limited and expensive - and they don't provide significant advantages like better technology or superior construction when compared with similar rowing machines.

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3 stars
Sole Fitness

SOLE FITNESS

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Cost:

$999.99

Sole Fitness originally focused on hotel gyms for their fitness equipment, but their sales evolved into residential use as their machines grew in popularity.

Only 1 rowing machine

Sole Fitness has one rower model: the SR500, priced at $999.99. Resistance is delivered in an air/magnetic combination, giving you 16 levels to choose from. You'll need an outlet nearby, because unlike many rowing machines this one needs a 120V power source.

Equipment overview:

  • Rower Type: Air/magnetic combo
  • Price Range: $999.99
  • Different Models: 1
  • Financing Available: No
  • Return Policy: 30 days, no restocking fees, no return shipping fees
  • Warranty: Frame - lifetime, Parts - 3 years, In-Home Labor - 1 year
  • Shipping: Free

Folds for storage

The SR500 folds for easy storage, but plan on needing 94" of floor space when in use. Sole has an extraordinary return policy. You have 30 days to try out your rower and return it if you're unsatisfied for any reason. Unlike most of their competitors, Sole doesn't charge any restocking fees and they even cover your return shipping costs.

Reputation can be improved

Unfortunately, Sole's reputation leaves room for improvement. At the time of our most recent visit to the BBB website, Sole only had a "C+" rating. Some customers had a difficult time getting help from Sole representatives, especially when needing help or service with warranty claims.

Website issues

We also had a few minor issues when using the website, especially when we didn't have the screen maximized on our laptop: the images jiggled all over the page, making it hard to click to get more information on the rower.

Just so-so

For many reasons, Sole Fitness' rowing machine leaves us with an impression that's just "so-so". We love their fantastic return policy, but we wish there was a wider range of rowers to choose from. Plus, to move up in our rankings, we'd definitely need to see a better customer response. If you absolutely love the SR500, go for it - but we think most customers prefer a wider range of rowing machines when making their purchase decision.

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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!

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