10 Best Home Rowing Machines Reviewed

Who has time to go to the gym these days?

While we wait patiently for the “New Year, New Me” mood to kick in, the gym membership card faithfully gathers dust at home.

It’s not always that people lack motivation, but sometimes heading off to the gym after a long, exhausting day of work is just not possible.

Even if you are a morning person, the very thought of getting ready and driving 10 miles the gym can be enough de-motivation.

Best Rowing Machine

But we aren’t here to sulk about the problems; we are here to find a solution. And perhaps you need to check out one among our ten best rowing machines for home use to find it.

Top rated rowing machines are great for a full body workout and do not come with excessive installation hoops to pass through.

But how do you pick the right one? I’ll tell you all about it in this guide.

​Air, Hybrid and Water Rower ​ Reviews

We tested many different rowing machines available at different level of prices. However, only ten has made the cut and proved to be ideal for home use. They’re efficient, affordable, and operate at minimum noise level. What are they? Let’s find out.

1.Concept2 Model D with PM5 Performance Monitor Indoor Rower Rowing Machine

With over 40 years of designing and manufacturing innovation, Concept2 brings you a very motivational rowing machine in the form of their ModelD.

For athletic, competitive training or for just a domestic cardiovascular routine the ModelD will fit all your goals and budget. Offering low impact exercise accessible to anyone and of any age.

  • ​Measure your progress with a backlit LCD display, with the help of reliable and comparable data with ANT+ and heart rate monitoring.
  • ​Air resistance flywheels make it easier to control your workout
  • ​Presence of 8 screws and caster wheels makes it easier to assemble, move and store.

What do we like?

When it came to the ModelD, what left us impressed was Concept2’s use of air resistance and not magnet resistance. What makes air resistance better will become evident when you start to row. As you begin to row stroke with one level of force, the momentum will slowly build up making it progressively easier to pull at the flywheel. As a result, your arms will sore a lot less.

Additionally, the ease of assembling and storing it makes it very user-friendly. It hardly takes a moment to separate it into two pieces and then to roll it back up again into the storeroom.

But one or two cons we noticed, which barely qualify as a negative perk, is that for the pickier customer, the rowing seat might feel a bit too hard. And the chain attached to the air resistance fan a bit too loud when pulled.

Rowing Benefits - Tip #1

Rowing can be an excellent cardiovascular workout despite being a low-impact exercise. Using the proper technique, you can gain strength in most muscle groups in your body. Just be sure not to bend too much as it might lead to back injury.

​2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower

As one of the fastest growing companies in the field of fitness equipment industries, Sunny Health knows all the tricks to get your sweat flowing.

With their Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine, you will be able to maximize your workout by targeting the exercise to all your major muscle groups.

  • ​You can switch up the intensity of the workout by conveniently twisting the tension knobs.
  • ​Large textured pedals with safety straps that offer an excellent slip-proof surface for your feet.
  • ​Cushioned sit that maximizes your comfort and lets you work longer.
  • ​A simple tracker on the display monitor lets you follow your progress.

What do we like?

When trying out Sunny Health's SF-RW5515 what we immediately noticed was how incredibly quiet and seamless rowing on it was. Making it perfect for a home full of light sleepers who hate unnecessary noise.

With minimal footprint, it hardly takes up any space. You can either keep it unfolded or keep its square footage to a minimum.

The conveniently placed tension knobs will help bring variations to your workout while you are still rowing. Level 3-4 being standard it is ideal for short, serious sessions, as in just 10 minutes you will feel significantly more moist and sweaty than any other standard rower.

If any negatives come to mind (again a subjective view), one of them would be, that the rower does not track your progress in meters. The other being that it does not support a virtual 3D glass option.

Rowing Benefits - Tip #2

​Aside from boosting cardiovascular fitness, rowing will help you build muscles and lose weight at the same time. These machines are excellent stationary bikes when it comes to burning calories. However, they also exert more pressure on the joints and lower body.

​3. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

A veteran in everything fitness and sweat, Stamina Body has a unique range of products, varying from the ball-bearing hydraulic resistance 1215 Orbital Rower to the wind resistance ATS Air Rower 1405.

But today we will take a look at one of their more compact models, the Body Trac Glider 1050 which is designed for convenience.

  • ​Full-range-motion rowing makes you feel like you are in the water yourself.
  • ​For a smooth rowing experience, the adjustable hydraulic cylinder resistance gives your muscles the perfect toning.
  • ​The unique foldable arms make for very compact storage, which helps you to pack it into any space you choose.

What do we like?

Who doesn't like convenience and comfort? Stamina Body had just that in mind when making their rowing exercise machines especially the Trac Glider 1050.

The ball-bearing roller system and adjustable hydraulic cylinder resistance arms allow for smooth, low impact movements that mimic rowing on the water. We also noticed that the added combination of a padded, molded seat and steel frame with aluminum center beams offer a very comfortable experience.

To make the most out of the limited time, you spend in working out; the Trac Glider 1050 is equipped with a variety of full range rowing motions to train your quads, hamstrings, glutes, back effectively, shoulders and arms.

If we look for the negatives, there isn't much that pop up, perhaps other than Stamina Body's choice of using plastic bushings. Which can adversely affect its durability if you plan on using it on high resistance over an extended period of times.

Rowing Benefits - Tip #3

​The rowing machine is known for the “after-burn effect” it creates, meaning your body burning calories for a while even after you’ve stopped exercising. There is nothing better than an intense full body workout that shows results even after it’s done.

​4. Stamina ATS Air Rower

If you are looking for a rower for rigorous and intense workouts, the Stamina ATS will fit you like a glove. Known for its superior durable build, no matter how fast or how hard you row the machine will follow and motivate you with its multifunctional monitor as you row away.

  • ​Wind resistance provides for a smoother stroke as compared to the magnetic counterparts.
  • ​The adjustable upholstered seat and foot plates make it more user-friendly than your average rower.
  • ​Folded dimensions of 48 x 18 x 28 inches make it highly portable.
  • ​Weight Capacity of 250 lbs makes it suitable for people of all ages and sizes.

What do we like?

What attracted us most about the Stamina ATS Air Rower, was how impressively user-friendly it was. By virtue of its limited folded size and its carrying capacity, it appealed to the majority of the customer base. Without a doubt, it was highly portable and could carry the weight of users of varying sizes.

The oversized seat rail solidly supports the smooth-sliding seat which is made to accommodate any body type, and help you reach your fitness goals much sooner.

With automatic resistance responses, all you have to do is focus on your workout. If you go faster or slower, the rower will automatically sense the speed of your rowing strokes and adjust the proper resistance accordingly. If you go slower, the resistance will be reduced, and if you chose to go faster, the resistance would be amped up for an intense training session.

Rowing Benefits - Tip #4

​Did you know you can burn up to an average of 800 cals in one hour by rowing heavy? Compare this to jogging on the treadmill for 30 minutes where you’ll probably lose 250 cals and put more pressure on your joints all the while. 

​5. Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine Rower - Obsidian SF-RW5713

Sunny Health’s Obsidian SF-RW5713 is another fantastic product from one of the world's leaders in fitness machines. With this water resistance rower, you will now be able to effectively work out 85 percent of the body’s muscular system, it’s dynamic build of steel fan blades, and R2 Fitness Meter gives you a real-life indoor rowing experience.

  • ​The R2 fitness meter is uniquely designed to track all your essential workout history and detail accurately.
  • ​The steel fan blades provide numerous levels of resistance and work in symbiosis with the water.
  • ​High-density rubber wheels make it easy to transport and portable.

What do we like?

One of the more cost-effective rowers on the list, the Obsidian SF-RW5713 comes with an assembly manual with clear cut easy to follow directions that will help you set up the rower in a matter of minutes.

What was noteworthy about this model by Sunny Health, is that if ever your resistance dial breaks and you are out of the warranty period and don't want the hassle of paying extra for service. You can always manually add or remove water from the rower which adjusts the resistance accordingly. It might be a slow, time-consuming process, but it effectively gets the job done either way.

 The added bonus of the rubber wheels lets you move the rower around and let you store it wherever and whenever possible. Now you can exercise anytime you get some respite from the busy schedule.

Rowing Benefits - Tip 5

​You can use the HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) technique to lose weight and build muscle fast. This is where a rowing machine will let you get the most out of your time and reach an optimum level of fitness within 20 to 30 minutes.

​6. Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine

Harvil, an exclusive brand owned by Dazadi, design their products with the thought of health and family in mind. From home game rooms to rec rooms and home gyms, they cater to the vast millennial customer base who live in apartments but want healthy alternatives for staying fit. The Hydraulic rowing machine is one such innovative alternative.

  • ​The steel frame construction makes it highly durable with a maximum carrying capacity of 255 lbs.
  • ​Easy to read LCD monitor helps you to easily customize your workout and help you reach your daily goals.
  • ​Hydraulic resistance and full-range-motion rowing, give your body the perfect even toning.

What do we like?

The sturdy and dependable Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine gives the optimum "oars on a boat" feel. With the help of the screw and foldable hand system the rower is conveniently foldable and can stand on its head for proper storage.

Its compact structure and easy to use construction make a very popular buy for a lot of fitness freaks or a whole family. It is quite easy to use with the reader-friendly LCD monitor and the inbuilt scan mode which automatically tracks your progress to help you meet your daily workout goals. 

But there are a few negatives which perhaps Harvil overlooked while designing this model. One of which is that the pedal restraints may feel flimsy as it may not adequately secure your foot in the footrest. And though the LCD reader may be easy to read, it does not provide much detailed information.

Rowing Benefits - Tip 6

​For the best rowing machine workout, trying to maintain a number of strokes to 30 or less per minute. Remember power, technique, consistency triumphs over speed every single time. Don’t tire yourself too quickly.

​7. WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

Handcrafted from solid Ash wood and finished with a black and rose stain and danish oil, the Water Rowing club rowing machine has been specially designed to be unsurpassed in its simulation of the physical and physiological benefits.

And unlike conventional rowing machines, which tend to be jerky and jarring, the WaterRower Club is remarkably smooth and fluid.

  • ​A fly-wheel sits in the water tank to provide smooth rowing actions.
  • ​Construction of solid Ash wood helps in absorbing sound and vibrations; you will not make a single noise as you work out.
  • ​Series 4 performance monitor that tracks more than just stroke rate and heart rate.

What do we like?

Who doesn't like a quiet exercise routine? That makes almost next to nothing noise to disturb the ones around? We all know the annoying loud machines our neighbors use everytime they wish to get their sweat on. But with  WaterRower Club rowing machine you will be remarkably silent.

The water resistance structure, unlike the air resistance ones makes almost no sound, to begin with. Additionally, the handcrafted Ash wood finish absorbs any sort of sound vibrations that can be emitted through motion giving you the most peaceful workout experience.

Adversely measuring water to set your resistance manually can be a tedious task indeed, as the water tank is not provided with any water level marks or stickers. The siphon may not be airtight so you may have to pump instead benefiting from a siphon manually.

Rowing Benefits - Tip 7

​Contrary to popular belief, the rowing machine is best suited to work on the legs rather than the arms. Always focus on your legs when pushing off. 60% of your concentration should be on the legs, 20% arms, and 20% core.

​8. Goplus Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine

Made of durable stainless steel the Goplus Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine come with 10 levels of adjustable tension and elastic cord resistance. If air, water, or hydraulic resistance is not your thing then, feel free to give this rower a try. The elastic cord resistance will fit in with our needs and its compact size, and foldable nature lets you store it away conveniently.

  • ​Appropriately sizeable anti-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps that focuses on comfort and will not let your feet slip off.
  • ​Built-in transportation wheels make it very portable. Moving it around for storage will not be a difficult task.
  • ​The aluminum beam grants the rower very high durability.

What do we like?

The Goplus Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine was all about durability in our eyes. The innovative implementation of combining stainless steel for the body and aluminum for the beam makes this rower have incredible longevity. It will not only serve you for years to come, but with high carrying capacity, it will be able to take on any user no matter what shape or size.

Even if you are in the habit of having long, intense workout sessions, no matter how fast you go or harder you pull, the Golpus Rowing Machine will be able to keep up.

The magnetic resistance lets you workout noiselessly. But on the other hand, the resistance it provides is exceedingly singular and does not keep the momentum real rowing experience in mind. Using it may feel a bit boring if you are at it continuously for too long.

Rowing Benefits - Tip 8

​Don’t forget to wear snug fitting clothes before using the rowing machine. That will ensure nothing gets caught in the device. Dress how you would normally for the gym or a CrossFit session.

​9. First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II Rowing Machine

Engineered with a steelhead frame, First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II Rowing Machine comes furnished with American Ash wood side rails to ensure hardcore workout sessions. Its rapid recoil system for rapid strokes makes it ideal for a full body workout.

  • ​Patented variable fluid resistance provides seamless progression that fits any level of fitness.
  • ​Constructed with a multi-level computer, the Apollo Pro II will be able to provide you with accurate recordings of distance, 500 meters split time, strokes per minute, calories burned per hour, watts, and heart rate.

What do we like?

Ordinary rowing machines tend more commonly to have a chain pull equipped, but the Apollo Pro II is provided with a fabric strap pull, which significantly lessens the noise when using the rower.

If you find manually adjusting the water tank to be a chore, First Degree Fitness has come up with a dual chamber water tank that allows continuously variable water levels between an upper and lower limit. It takes 2 seconds to adjust, and you will never have to open the water tank.

The ash side rails are finished to look like cherry which makes it look gorgeous. Look much better than the natural color ash that most water rowers use. And the paddles that provide resistance inside the water tank are heavy duty welded stainless steel rather than the plastic that average water rowers use.

Rowing Benefits - Tip 9

​It’s always best to not move too much when using the device as it might cause you to get the wrong posture. That, in turn, might lead to an effective workout or worse, an injury. Sit firmly as you operate using your legs and upper body.

​10. Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

Unlike the Model D, the Model E, on the other hand, has a 20-inch frame height, nickel-plated chain, and double powder coat with a glossy finish. If looked at practically, the higher frame will help in easier on-and-off for those with weak knees or mobility considerations.

  • ​The Model E is equipped with the most advanced Performance Monitor 5, which not only keep accurate track of your session records but also supports a USB flash drive, and wireless heart rate monitor.
  • ​A quick release framelock mechanism lets you separate the machine into two pieces for storage.
  • ​Caster wheels on the front foot allow you to roll the fully-assembled machine into position. 

What do we like?

21st-century apartments have an all so limited space, to begin with, and setting up a cardio instrument in that small space at times can be quite the challenge. When browsing over the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine, what we found was that it was highly compact with a small footprint, and hence can be easily stored away.

Additionally, the 20-inch seat height will help your sore legs get in and out of the rower with ease, without having to exert much on your tired muscles.

The spiral damper will allow you to quickly adjust the airflow to the flywheel so that you can change the feel of the stroke to suit your preference. The flywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel. 

​How to Buy the Best Rowing Machine

These devices might be pretty basic regarding construct and function, but finding the right one for your needs might be challenging. After the fitness boom in North America, companies offering home exercise equipment have popped up like mushrooms. And not all of them manufacture products keeping the consumer in mind.

The wrong purchase will not only cost you money, but might also lead to technical failure, accidents, and other physical hazards. Besides, there is no such thing as “one size fits all,” so you need an erg machine that suits you the most.

Here are some factors to keep in mind while buying a rowing machine for home:

​1. Resistance Type

Without going into too much detail, I’m just going to say that this factor will play a significant role in the whole rowing experience. From how rowing feels to what kind of results you get from regular use. The four types of resistance of home rowing machines are:

  • Air resistance: The most common type that uses a flywheel and a chain. Many fitness enthusiasts prefer air resistance as it seamlessly replicates the feeling of rowing through water.
  • Water resistance: These are considerably more challenging than rowing machines having air resistance. The user gets consistent resistance on both extension and contraction.
  • Magnetic resistance: The most silent of all rowing machines and also don’t require extensive maintenance. Offers greater adjustability, but not much ‘rowing feel.’
  • ​​Piston/hydraulic resistance: Can be folded up to an incredibly compact size and lets you have different levels of resistance due to its mechanism.
2. Comfort

The rowing machine you choose must be comfortable, with soft seats and non-abrasive handles. Rowing is grueling enough already, so is better to steer clear of any factor that might make things harder. The models we’ve reviewed in this guide have great comfort features with maximum amount of adjustability options for great user experience.

3. Display features

How serious are you about rowing and to what extent do you want your rowing machine to be advanced? Answer the questions, and you’ll likely narrow down on a budget. Obviously, the more expensive erg rowing models have sophisticated display units that track accurate data, using which you can monitor and measure your progress over time.

If you are starting out, a model having basic unit showing speed, distance, time, and calories will be enough.

4. Noise

The sound produced plays a huge role in determining home exercise equipment, and rowing machines are no exception. Ideally, you should buy a model that makes the least level of noise so that other people don’t get affected by your workout. Usually, it’s the magnetic resistance rowing machines that are the quietest.

5. Size

Last but not least, you must buy a rowing machine that doesn’t need you to transform into a professional to assemble. Easy to assemble Rowers are all the rage now, so it’s likely that you’ll end up buying a user-friendly model without even trying.

Final Words

It’s not necessary to spend thousands of dollars to buy a rowing machine of your choice. A little knowledge about what your desires and how much you can spend for it will go a long way in finding the best value for money product.

Hopefully, you have learned something from the rowing machine reviews and guide that you didn’t know before. Now go ahead and make your fitness goals come true.