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      September 27, 2020

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Rowing Machines

  1. Concept 2
  2. Nordictrack
  3. Pro Form
  4. Lifespan Fitness
  5. Water Rower
  6. Life Fitneess
  7. Sole Fitness
  8. Net 2 Fitness
  9. PreCor

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Lifespan Fitness vs PreCor

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

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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

3.5 stars
Lifespan Fitness

LIFESPAN FITNESS

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Cost:

From $499 to $1,199

LifeSpan has the spectrum of at-home fitness equipment covered, from treadmills and other cardio machines to stretching machines and even treadmill desks!

2 rowing machine options

LifeSpan carries two rowing machines: the RW1000 and the RW7000. At a price point of just under $500, the RW1000 is a basic, easy-to-use model for "simplified rowing". You'll get 5 levels of magnetic resistance, making the machine almost silent when compared with air resistance rowers. The electronic display offers you basic data of distance, time, calories, stroke count and strokes-per-minute, and it's battery operated. This model folds and moves easily for storage. Out of 51 customer reviews on the LifeSpan site, the RW1000 earned 4.4 out of 5 stars, with most users saying this machine is reliable and priced well for what it delivers.

Best Rowing Machines

Commercial grade

On the other hand, the RW7000 is a commercial model that delivers a workout similar to what you'd expect from equipment you find at a gym. You'll pay just under $1,200 for this model, which gives you a hybrid air/magnetic resistance system with 16 levels of difficulty. The console is much more advanced, with rowing modes that include manual, goal selection, race and HIIT workouts. The console is also blue backlit, so if you're rowing in low-light conditions you'll still be able to see your data. As far as we could tell, the black steel monorail of the RW7000 is not foldable or detachable for storage, so plan on a permanent location that gives you around 100" of floor space.

Equipment overview:

  • Rower Type: Magnetic or Air/Magnetic hybrid
  • Price Range: $499 - $1199
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 30 days, 15% restocking fee
  • Warranty: Frame - 5 years or lifetime, Parts - 2 or 5 years, Labor - 1 or 2 years
  • Shipping: Free

Free shipping

Most of LifeSpan's customer policies are solid. You can make returns within 30 days of delivery, but expect a restocking fee of 15%. Your warranty coverage depends on the model you select, with less coverage for the lower-priced rower: 5 years or lifetime on the frame, 2 or 5 years on parts, and 1-2 years on labor. You'll also get free shipping on either rowing machine.

Good track record

Overall, LifeSpan demonstrates a good track record of customer care. With over 25 years in operation, they have an "A+" and accreditation by the Better Business Bureau. And, over more than 450 independently-verified shopper reviews, LifeSpan earned an average of 4 out of 5 stars. We appreciated the responsiveness of their customer service team on those reviews that were less-than-satisfied; it's obvious that they don't sweep their customers' concerns under the rug.

Solid choice

You won't find lots of options for rowers at LifeSpan, but the two they offer are well-priced and come with a decent number of features for what you'll pay. Free shipping is a nice plus, and a reasonable return policy won't take too much cash from your pocket if you decide your rower needs to go back to the warehouse.

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2 stars
PreCor

PRECOR

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Cost:

$1,499

Precor was one of the first companies to bring fitness equipment to home users. As the creator of the world's first elliptical in 1995 and more than 30 years in the industry, Precor knows what it takes to create high-quality machines for cardio and strength workouts.

Planet Fitness supplier

You might also be familiar with Precor equipment if you've ever worked out at Planet Fitness. After a 3-year trial period, Precor was given an agreement with the gym making their full range of cardio and strength equipment available to all PF franchisees.

Only 1 rowing machine

Precor only carries one rowing machine for in-home use: the Assault AirRower Elite, priced at $1,499 (or $41.63/month for 36 months, if approved for 0% financing). This is a commercial-grade machine much like what you'll find at Planet Fitness or other gyms. Resistance is air-based with the fan in front, but the AirRower doesn't seem to have any means of adjusting that resistance. That makes for a much less customizable workout than most of the rowing machines we evaluated.

Equipment overview:

  • Rower Type: Air
  • Price Range: $1,499
  • Different Models: 1
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Return Policy: No returns allowed
  • Warranty: Frame/Welds - 5 years, Parts - 3 years, Console - 1 year, Labor - 1 year
  • Shipping: $79

Focus on muscle groups

The console allows you to connect via Bluetooth, and its onboard programming has 8 pre-configured workouts if you'd rather not just row-and-go. One novel aspect of this machine is that it has a multi-grip handle, making it possible to do single-handed exercises to focus on specific muscles/muscle groups.

Non-folding

This rower doesn't fold for storage, so make sure you've got a footprint of at least 70" in the space you plan on putting this equipment.

No return policy

Warranty coverage on this rowing machine is fairly standard, ranging from 1-5 years on the various components and labor costs. However, the return policy is the worst on the market: namely, there is none. If you get your Precor machine home and it's an absolute fail for whatever reason, you'd better hope you can sell it for close to cost because the company isn't taking it back for any reason.

Can't compete

Compared with other retailers of rowers, Precor comes up short. With only 1 higher-priced model available for purchase and zero return policy, they just don't compete with companies that offer a wide range of rowing machines - and that have return policies of at least 30 days. For those reasons, despite their well-established history in the industry, Precor winds up at the bottom of our rankings.

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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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