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      September 29, 2020

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Sole Fitness vs PreCor

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