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      September 25, 2020

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  1. Concept 2
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  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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Pro Form vs Sole Fitness

To help you find the Best Rowing Machines, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Pro Form 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

3.5 stars
Pro-Form

PRO-FORM

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Cost:

From $349 to $1,403

ProForm carries a wide range of in-home cardio equipment: treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, and even HIIT trainers. When it comes to rowers, they offer two options: the 440R and 750R.

Equipment overview:

  • Rower Type: Digital or Magnetic
  • Price Range: $349 - $1,403
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 30 days, restocking fee of 10% and return shipping fee of $250
  • Warranty: Frame - 5 or 10 years, Parts/Labor -90 days or 1 year
  • Shipping: Free

3-year term

We thought it felt a little gimmicky that ProForm was advertising their 750R rower as being "free". Yes, but only technically: you'll have to pay a $39/month iFIT membership fee to get it. If you do the math, that means that the rower is actually about $1,403 (and the iFIT membership is free for the 3-year term). But really, if you like trainer-led workouts, that combo of rower + iFIT could feel like a bargain.

Best Rowing Machines

Resistance controlled remotely

The crazy part about an iFIT workout is that your resistance is controlled remotely to match the pace of the session. Plus, you can stream videos to "see the world while you row", or join a live studio class and row together. If you're the kind of person who wants some external motivation to get the most out of your workout, this is definitely worth considering.

24 levels of resistance

Other benefits of the 750R are the ability to access 24 levels of resistance, a space-saving "lift-and-fold" design, and a secure tablet holder if you want to follow your trainer-led workout on your iPad instead of your TV or other screen. Be aware that the weight capacity for the rower is only 250 pounds (while some competitors' machines have a capacity of 300-500 lbs.).

Entry level rower

The 440R is much more basic in comparison. Don't expect any of the electronic bells and whistles, but you'll still get 8 resistance levels, expanded strength training options with the ability to use the rower handle as a low pulley station, and an LCD monitor for watching your distance/time/calories/total strokes/strokes per minute. This model can also be easily folded and moved when not in use, and also has the 250 lb. weight limit.

Warranty issues

ProForm (also known as ICON Fitness) has some mixed results when it comes to customer experiences. While the retailer had an "A+" rating from the BBB at the time of our most recent visit, we weren't thrilled to see that they had more than 500 complaints over the last 12 months - and over 1,200 closed in the last 3 years. The biggest source of frustration for customers seems to be warranty issues: getting replacement parts, refunds for defective equipment, etc. Their warranty is decent overall (5-10 years on the frame, up to a year on labor and parts), but that's not helpful if customers can't actually get service.

Expensive to return

On the other hand, getting a cutting-edge workout for $39/month (for 3 years, no interest fees) could be pretty attractive, especially when looking at other retailers who offer less at a higher cost. You can return your rower within 30 days if you wind up not liking it, though you'll pay shipping fees of $250 to send it back and lose 10% of your refund as a restocking fee. After seeing that, you may determine that it's not worth it to return it.

Could be right

ProForm gets our attention with their trainer-led classes, which are gaining steam across a variety of cardio machines on the market today. And spending under $40 per month could be a lot more affordable than what you're paying for that gym membership you aren't using. We recommend keeping an eye on things if you need customer service, but this retailer's flawless rating from the BBB means that they're doing fine despite the complaints they've received. ProForm could be the right rowing machine choice for many home fitness enthusiasts.

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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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