Best Rowing Machines in 2018: Rowers Complete Reviews with Comparison

The best rowing machines date back to the 4th Century BC when Chabrias introduced the first machine to the world. Since then, rowing machines have evolved from gadgets that were used to train inexperienced oarsmen to commercial and home gym equipment that fitness aficionados cannot live without.

The first rowing machine wasn’t as advanced as what we have now. Clearly, we have come a long way. Today, we are living in a time where different fitness brands manufacturer sleek rowing machines, thanks to the advancement in technology.

Today, the market is crowded with rowing machines. So it is hard to determine the best machine to spend money on. That’s why we wrote this guide. The purpose of this guide is to help you learn more about different rowing machines, including what makes them good and bad. This guide should help you make an informed purchase decision.

In Summary: Our Top 3 Picks of the Best Rowers

1) SF-RW5623 Rowing Machine is a top rated, budget-friendly air rowing machine. Featuring a digital monitor, a fully padded seat, non-slip handles, and anti-slip foot pedals, this feature-packed rowing machine has everything you need for a comfortable row throughout your workout session. 

2) Stamina 35-1215 Orbital is a perfect choice for people who are limited on space. Some of the coolest features of this rowing machine are support for 2560 lbs weight capacity, a data monitor, and comfortable seat. Also, it is one of the rowing machines whose hydraulic resistance is quite smooth.

3) If you are looking for a cheap, yet up to par, magnetic rowing machine, we recommend that you try Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515. No more spending more than $500 on a rowing machine, because this one is a high quality, pocket-friendly option that you can grab on the go.

In Reviews: The Best Rowing Machines to buy this year

Best Air Rowing Machine

1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Rowing Machine Rower w/ LCD Monitor

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor
  • Belt tension system with 8 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Air rower provides additional resistance from the integrated fan creating a dynamic response with every pull
  • Fully padded seat and non-slip grip handlebars provide optimal comfort and support
  • Large anti-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps for secure footing
  • Digital computer displays: time, count, calories, total count, and scan

Sunny Health & Fitness is a brand you already know too well by now. It is known to design high quality fitness equipment, the SF-RW5623 Rowing Machine being one of them. This machine is feature-packed, from a digital computer and fully padded seat to large anti-slip foot pedal and non-slip handlebar, there is a lot to admire about this product.


This air-rowing machine features 8 different levels of adjustable magnetic resistance. During adjustment, you will feel a smooth, strong tension, without any instance of a lag. The resistance is quite easy to adjust. All you need to do is to turn the tension knob on the center of the computer console.

The Control Panel

This rowing machine has a monitor that you can use to track your fitness data. The data motivates you to not only keep rowing, but also workout extra hard. The information displayed on the screen include the total time spent rowing the machine, the scan rotation between data, total count of stroke of all time, as well as the total number of calories burned.

The biggest drawback of the console is that it does not show the distance covered. So, it is somewhat difficult to measure your workout progress. In other words you won’t know the total distance covered within a given time. This, though, shouldn’t be a problem for people who don’t care about knowing the distance covered.

Why SF-RW5623 is So Great

The SF-RW5623 supports 8 different levels of adjustable magnetic resistance. In addition, it is an affordable rowing machine, a good option for people on budget. What’s quite surprising is the fact that you don’t expect a budget machine to have great smoothness. Yet the one for SF-RW5623 rower is almost close to perfect. This rowing machine even has an air fan that is designed to cool your body when rowing. More importantly, we love the angled beam because it makes more challenging workout possible.

A Couple of Things We Didn’t Like

The display monitor is somewhat smaller. Also, there is no pulse rate monitor. Keep in mind that the warranty of this product is short, hence a little bit intimidating

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

Concept2 Model D with PM5 Performance Monitor Indoor Rower Rowing Machine Black
  • Low impact workout that engages all major muscle groups; work legs, core and arms with a smooth, high calorie-burning motion
  • Track your progress with real-time reliable data; the Performance Monitor 5 (included) self-calibrates for comparable results; connect wirelessly to heart rate belts and apps (not included)
  • Designed to fit most users: 14-inch seat height, adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
  • Separates easily into two pieces for storage; caster wheels make it mobile; easy to assemble with only eight screws
  • Space recommended for use is 9 x 4 feet; 500-pound user capacity; 5-year frame warranty included.Seat Height:14 inches

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine is a good option for beginners who want to add additional equipment to their home gym. This machine is feature-packed, which means it has everything you need for a powerful body workout. Besides being space-friendly, it also comes with a variety of workout programs to make workout more interesting.


This is an air resistance rower, which means it works by the pull of a handle and the spinning of the flywheel. As the flywheel continues to spin, it displaces air in the front of it. The displacement of air is what causes the resistance. With Concept2 rowing machine, the level of resistance you get depends on how the speed at which you spin the flywheel. The faster you spin the flywheel, the faster the resistance. 

The Monitor

This rowing machine wouldn’t be complete without the display monitor. In fact, the console is a good option because it communicates to you one on one during your workout. With data you get from the monitor include stroke per minute, total distance covered, your heart rate, the total calories burned, as well as the pulse rate.

Heart Rate Monitor

This rowing machine uses a Bluetooth smart technology for advanced heart rate monitoring. But there is no guarantee that the data you will get will be accurate.  In fact, most of what you get with the help of this technology is an estimate of your heart rate.

Why the Machine is Good

The quality of the rowing machine, especially the overall build, is up to par. If you feel the seat of this machine, even before using it, you will notice that it’s quite comfortable. This rowing machine has unique integrated workout programs. And you even get a memory card that you can use to store your workout information

When it Doesn’t Cut It

Some people may find the air resistance mechanism somewhat noise. The seat won’t accommodate larger people. You may have to upgrade the seat

​3. Stamina ATS Air Rower

Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine
  • EFFECTIVE: Dynamic wind resistance provides an efficient smooth rowing stroke. Designed for rigorous use and the intensity of your workout is up to you. Simply row faster or harder and the machine will follow your lead and amp up the level of resistance. For less resistance, slow down. The air transfer system constantly adjusts to match your rowing speed. Track progress and adjust your routine accordingly using the multi-function monitor that displays speed, distance,time and calories burned.
  • COMFORT: The upholstered, padded, sliding seat makes rowing comfortable and sliding easy even during longer rowing routines. Oversized angled seat rail solidly supports the smooth-sliding seat for easy seat return. Oversized footplates for any size user, adjustable nylon foot straps and textured hand grips. Designed to keep hands and feet stable and comfortable throughout the catch, drive, finish and recovery phases of rowing.
  • RESULTS: Proven to provide a nearly unsurpassed aerobic workout without the relentless pounding to your joints. Quickly improve your fitness while drastically reducing injury risks. This low impact, full body workout targets all major muscle groups and pushes your heart rate to levels that increase your metabolism so you can burn calories and fat more efficiently. Supports all body types and frequent use. Feel secure & safe while rowing your way to a stronger, tighter, healthier body.
  • PORTABLE: For extra convenience, the Stamina 1403 Air Rower folds to a compact size for easy storage with built-in wheels. Floor protectors safeguard your workout area and prevent skidding. Assembled weight: 54 pounds / Packaged weight: 56 pounds. Assembled dimensions: 77 x 18 x 22 inches / Folded dimensions: 48 x 18 x 28 inches. Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.
  • WARRANTY INCLUDED: The Stamina 35-1403 air rower includes Three-year frame warranty, 90-day parts warranty. Guaranteed support for parts, repair or replacement at no cost. Customer satisfaction is our priority.

Stamina is not just known for offering high quality fitness products to its consumer base. It is also known for selling the equipment for cheap. Stamina ATS Air Rower is one of the top rated rowing machine that’s designed to give you the best rowing experience, and it is as durable as it can get.

The Computer Console

One of the features that make the ATS to stand out as an air rowing machine is the computer console. The monitor is a good integration for machine to human communication. Its primary goal is to help a user to know how much time they have rowed the machine, the total time they’ve spent on the workout, as well as the total amount of calories burned.

Product Assembly

Because the tools required to put the parts of this bike together are included in the package, it should be easy to assemble the product. In addition, you get an easy-to-read and follow, systematic setup instructions for assembly. As such, it should not take you more than an hour to assemble the product.

Ease of Storage

Stamina ATS Rower is quite compact, so it won’t take up a lot of space in your workout area. Given that it is foldable, you can always store it away easily after every workout. If you don’t have space constrains, you won’t not have to fold it away for storage anyway.

Three Reasons Why it’s worth the Money

First, the machine is easy to fold and store away after workoutSecond, it is quite an affordable rowing machine. And third, the computer console lets you quantify your workout metrics with ease

Where it fails

The noise created by this machine during rowing is the biggest drawback we found during research. This isn’t an issue for most people, though.

​Best Hydraulic Rowing Machine

1. Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms

Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms
  • Compact rowing machine with full range-of-motion rowing that mimics rowing on the water
  • Smooth hydraulic cylinder resistance; adjustable tension controls
  • Single button monitor shows speed, distance, time, row count, calories burned, and miles rowed
  • Thick, padded seat; pivoting foot plates;Assembled size: 48 inches long x 32.5 inches wide x 27.75 inches high
  • Some assembly required; 5-year warranty on frame, 90 days on parts

Not every fitness aficionado is lucky enough to have a large workout space in their garage or home. If you are one of those people who are limited on space, you can get yourself the Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing machine. That’s because it is does not take up a larger space in your workout area, and it isn’t too expensive.

A Data Monitor

One of the features that make this hydraulic row machine complete is the computer console. The monitor is not too advanced, but it still displays important data that you wouldn’t otherwise get from a rowing machine that doesn’t come with a console. The workout data include row count, the total distance rowed, speed, time, as well as an estimate of the calories burned.


We like the seat because it is thickly padded, hence quite comfortable for normal rowing sessions. Unfortunately, the seat is not comfortable for long hour rowing. Consider adding some additional padding if you are going to row for more than an hour. The handles have foam grips. So they are comfortable enough for everyday use.


This rowing machine can support a maximum weight of 250 lbs. In some cases, users who weigh not more than 300 pounds can use the machine without any problem. In my opinion, it is best to use this machine only if you weigh less than 250 lbs, as that is the maximum weight recommended by the manufacturer.

The Three Ps (Positives)

The tension controls of this rowing machine are easy to adjust. The seat is comfortable because it is thick and padded. And the hydraulic cylinder resistance is quite smooth

Where it Fails

This rowing machine is difficult to assemble. It can take more than an hour to put all the  different parts together.

​2. Stamina 1205 Precision Rower

Stamina 1205 Precision Rower
  • Precision rowing machine with deluxe ball-bearing rolling system
  • Smooth hydraulic cylinder action with adjustable tension controls
  • Multifunction fitness monitor tracks speed, distance, strokes, and more
  • Thick padded seat and pivoting footplates for maximum comfort
  • Measures 32.5 x 27.75 x 48 inches (W x H x D); weighs 47 pounds. Weight Capacity: Less than 250 pounds

Are you set for strength training and cardiovascular workout? It would be best to try a rowing, as it is regarded as one of the best technique for these two workouts. In particular, Stamina 1205 Precision Power is a good machine for low impact, lower and upper body workout. In fact, it was designed to target all the muscle groups. Although this machine is smaller, it works fine and it can last for a very long time.


This rowing machine fails with a thud when it comes to storage and transportation. It doesn’t have transportation wheel, which means you cannot move it easily from one point of the workout room to another. Also, this one does not fold away for storage. Because the footprint weighs only 50 pounds, you could push it underneath your bed for storage.

Machine’s Capacity

According to the manufacturer, the supported weight capacity of this rowing machine is 250 pounds. People who weight 300 lbs can use this rowing machine without a problem. However, it is always important to keep to the recommended weight capacity, so that the machine can serve you for the long haul.


According to the manufacturer, one should ask for a helping hand to put the different parts of this machine together. However, since it is easy to put together, thanks to the assembly instructions, you should be able to assemble the whole thing on your own. It should take you less than an hour to complete the job.

Does it Hits the Jackpot?

This hydraulic rowing machine is quite affordable, it is compact, and an owner can even store it upright. The seat of this machine is well padded to make a rower more comfortable, particularly when they row for a couple of hours. Plus, the display monitor is useful because you get workout data displayed immediately you start rowing.

The problem with this rowing machine is that it has a low rowing position, which may be uncomfortable for some people. Another downside of this rowing machine is that the console isn’t quite as advanced as for other rowers.

​3. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine Rower

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine Rower w/Digital Monitor
  • 12 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Comfortable, smooth running seat
  • Pivoting foot plates for added comfort
  • Adjustable foot straps
  • Electronic monitor displays time, count, total count, calories burned, scan

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 rowing machine can be used by anyone for workout, but it is more suitable for beginners who are looking for low impact exercises. This adjustable rowing machine is also a good option for the elderly persons. Overall, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 is good for warm –up before serious and strenuous exercises.

A Monitor

Like other Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machines, SF-RW1205 also has a monitor that displays important workout data. The display is easy to use. The data displayed include time spent rowing, calories burned, rows, and total rows. The data is available from the moment you start working out to the time you finish your workout session.

Variable Resistance

This rowing machine has 12 different levels of hydraulic resistance. The resistance levels are very easy to adjust. You can do so at the turn of a knob, adjust the resistance until to a level that’s more comfortable for you. The good news is that you can adjust the resistance as you continue to exercise. 

Comfortable Seat

Thanks to the well thought out design, the seat is comfortable for long hours of use. Generally, the seat is well padded with a durable artificial seat cover, so it should be comfortable enough for long-term rowing.

The Good and the Bad

This rowing machine is not just light; it is also easy to fold and store away. Also, this rowing machine is cheap; so it is a suitable option for people on budget, especially beginners to rowing machines. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 has a very smooth rowing motion, and the resistance level is easy to adjust.

Unfortunately, this machine does not feature a pulse rate monitor, and there is no guarantee for the accuracy of calories feedback. Overall, though, this is one of the best rowing machine in the category because it gives you the biggest bangs for your bucks.

​Magnetic Rowing Machine

1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower w/ LCD Monitor

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine LCD Monitor SF-RW5515
  • Magnetic tension System with (8) levels of adjustable resistance
  • Large LCD console displays time, count, calories, total count, Scan
  • Fully padded seat and non-slip grip handlebars for optimal comfort
  • Large anti-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps
  • Built in transportation wheels for easy portability; maximum user weight 250 lbs

Sunny Health & Fitness seemed to have understood the need to design an affordable magnetic rowing machine, and the SF-RW5515 was the result to meet the need of fitness maniacs on budget.  Now you do not have to spend over $500 for a rowing machine to add to your existing home gym.

The Computer Console

A common feature of all Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machine is the computer console. The SF-RW5515 magnetic rowing machine also has one, and it is positioned in the right place, so you can easily read it as you workout. The console shows you workout data such as stroke count, the total time spent rowing the machine, and an estimate of the calories burned.


Putting a rowing machine together should not be a hard task. At least, Sunny Health & Fitness makes it easier for you to assemble the parts of this one together in the shortest time possible. Even if you have never seen a rowing machine before, the assembly manual provided for you is good enough to enable you to assemble the machine within 45 minutes.


This machine features a high quality steel frame, making it more durable than most rowing machines that cost over $1000 on the market. Further, the handles feature nylon straps, so they provide a sturdy stoke. In addition, the straps also help to protect the handles from wear and tear.

Why SF-RW5515 is Good and Bad

The SF-RW5515 rowing machine stands out because it has 8 magnetic level resistance. Its ability to support a bigger user capacity also makes it one of the best machines to invest in. That’s not all. The display console is easy to navigate, the machine is foldable for storage after use, and the transportation wheels allow you to move the machine from one spot to another with ease.

On the negative side, this rowing machine’s beam does get noisy sometimes. The seat is hard, so you will need an additional cushion to use it. You may not like the product because of the short duration warranty.

​2. Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment: Coach E Rowing Machine

Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment: Coach E Rowing Machine
  • Users can select from a total of 12 programs, including programs with Heart Rate Control that automatically adjust resistance in order to maintain one's target heart rate
  • LCD high resolution display is easy to read and calibrated for maximum accuracy, providing workout data: Time, Distance, Energy Consumed, Strokes, Pulse Rate and Frequency
  • Our Brake System provides an extensive range of variable and frictionless electromagnetic resistance for a smooth and challenging workout; Resistance can be adjusted from 25 watts to 500 watts for a custom challenge
  • Thick padding on seat provides maximum comfort and combines with top grade rollers to yield exceptionally smooth performance along the chrome plated steel rails
  • Biomechanically correct footplates offer a natural pivoting action, providing a full longitudinal rowing motion; Frame is made of high carbon steel and powder coated and has a lifetime warranty against breakage

Kettler is the new name in the fitness world. And surprisingly its Home Rowing Machine is a high quality product that you can’t help but to have in your home gym. It is not that too old in the market, but it is proven to help people reach their cardiovascular goals and even train more efficiently.

The Computer Display

Kettler has a computer display, so it is not so much different from other magnetic rowing machines as far as the display monitor is concerned. Note that the monitor is well laid, so you can see everything clearly as you workout. More importantly, the display monitor features 12 preset workout programs that make working out easier and fun.

Smooth Resistance

This is a magnetic rowing machine, so the resistance type is pretty straightforward. The resistance is quite easy to adjust. You do this by manually adjusting the indexed setting. You can adjust the resistance between 1 and 8 depending on how intense you want the exercise to be. This machine also supports infinite adjustments between the lowest and the highest level.

A Wellness Feature

This rowing machine can help you to improve your cardiovascular fitness, thanks to the preset programs that helps you to improve your workout. The machine even has a recovery program, which determines the change in your pulse rate after exercise, helping you to get a well score of 1 to 6 to enable you to keep an eye on your fitness. 

The Hits and Misses

Kettler Home Coach E Rowing Machine is quiet, the build is great, and the warranty duration is quite long. The rowing machine is easy to move and takes few minutes to store away when not in use. It has a large and clear LCD monitor, and it comes with a number of preset workout programs, which are designed to take your workout routine to the next level.

Unfortunately, this rowing machine can break the bank because it is quite expensive. Another problem with this rowing machine is that the seat is quite low; this explains why some people struggle to get on and off it.

​3. Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower

Avari Stamina A350-700 Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower, Black/Silver
  • 12 workout programs including 6 cardio Profiles, 1 Manual, 4 Custom user programs and 1 Heart rate program
  • Fitness monitor keeps you motivated by tracking time, count, distance, calories, strokes per minute, pulse and watt
  • Use the up and down arrows on the In Touch Fitness Monitor to adjust workout time and resistance on the fly
  • LCD backlit fitness monitor
  • Extruded aluminum rowing beam

When you can’t break the bank for a rowing machine, you can get Stamina Avari Programmable machine at a pocket-friendly price.  This machine is perfect for upper and lower body workout. Featuring 12 preset workout programs, this is the machine you need to take your workout with a rowing machine to the next level.

The Display Monitor

The display monitor has a lot going on.  This large, easy-to-read screen presents you all the workout stats that you need to quantify your fitness goals. The computer features include 8 workout mode, 12 preset workout programs, and four user defined modes. Also, the monitor lets you in on time, distance, watts, as well as an estimate of calories burned.

Heart Rate Monitor

This rowing machine has a wireless chest strap, which helps to monitor your heart rate. This is an important technology that monitors your pulse during workout, helping you to determine the health of your heart as well as enabling you to stick to the heart rate zone.

Comfortable Seat

The best thing about this rowing machine as far as the seat is concerned is how it is molded to provide back support. The seat glides smoothly and quietly. In fact, this seat is quite comfortable than those of many rowing machines.

Why it’s Good and Bad

The rowing machine is easy to assemble, it has a heart rate monitor, and it comes with 12 preset workout programs that you can use for an advanced workout routine. Overall, this machine is sturdy, folds away easily, and it is durable.

On the other hand, the moving parts have very short warranty. The design is isn’t even kind of like modern. So, if you are looking for a rowing machine that looks appealing and inspiring, this is definitely not the oneThe comfort of the seat won’t last long; a time will come when it will be necessary that you further pad the seat.

​Water Rowing Machine

1. Stamina 1445 Wave Water Rowing Machine

Stamina Wave Water Rowing Machine
  • Wave water resistance feels and sounds like rowing on the water; water resistance provides a dynamic rowing stroke with Infinite resistance levels
  • Siphon included for filling and removing water from reservoir; wide, molded seat for comfort; ball-bearing rollers for smooth seat gliding
  • Multi-function monitor provides instant feedback on your workout
  • Padded, textured rowing handle for better grip; pivoting footplates with adjustable strap to secure feet; folding frame for storage
  • Wheels for Transport; steel rowing beam; leveling endcaps with Dial to ensure stability

If you are looking for an affordable water rowing machine, you should settle for Stamina 1445 Water Rowing Machine. It is dynamic and it has the best natural water resistance than many water rowing machines out there. And according to most people, Stamina 445 is the most pocket-friendly equipment out there.


Stamina 1445 water rower has a very smooth resistance. There aren’t lags in the resistance. Moreover, the resistance remains strong and smooth from the time you start rowing to the time you finish your workout. With water splashing inside the tank, you would expect this machine to be noisy. Well, that’s not so. Even with water splashing inside the tank, the machine is designed in such a way that the splashing sound won’t be too loud.

The Computer Monitor

The computer monitor is an important part of this rowing machine. The dynamic monitor displays time, strokes per minute, calories burned, stroke count, and distance. The display is not fancy. While it is easy to use, it is pretty basic.  You don’t get any preset workout program, and this one doesn’t even have a heart rate monitor either.

Product Warranty

When it comes to product warranty, you get a 3-month protection on the parts and a 3-year protection on the frame. The warranty is not that long, so this might not be the best water rowing machine for people that are looking for a product with a longer warranty.


The folding design makes the machine easy to store away when not in useThe machine is made of steel, a sturdy material that lasts for a very long time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long before the frame of this machine starts to wear. Another problem is that the footrest is not adjustable.

Chest Strap Heart Rate

While it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor on the LCD, it does have a chest strap heart rate.

​2. First Degree Fitness Newport AR Rower Water Rower Exercise Machine

First Degree Fitness Fluid Rower - AR Newport
  • Rower, Fitness, Endurance, Training, Water Rower; Tank is made of tough polycarbonate shell with a triple-bladed stainless steel paddle. Variable water volume from 9 to 17 liters.; Computer displays Time, distance, 500m split time, strokes per minute, calories per hour, watts, interval training, and optional heart rate reception.; Product Weight 68; Product Height 20.1; Product Width 20.9; Product Depth 77.8; Assembly Required Yes
  • Fluid resistance technology Water ? nature?s perfect resistance. More resistance than most single resistance level competitors.
  • Ergonomic handle Designed to prevent strain on the arms, wrists, and hands.
  • Durable belt drive Smooth, clean, quiet (no whirring noises), and built to last.
  • Solid construction makes this perfect for home gym applications.

When color and quality is what you are looking for in a water rowing machine, you won’t go wrong with First Degree Fitness AR Rower. It’s said to look to kill, and the fluid technology, which emulates the exact sound of rowing on real water, makes it stand out from many rowing machines out there. The resistance of this rowing machine is adjustable, so you can adjust the level according to the intensity of the workout that your body can endure.

The Monitor

One of the things you will notice about the console of this rowing machine is that the display is large. Moreover, the console has a USB port, which means you can save your workout data to a flash drive and save the data to your computer. There is even a software on First Degree’s website that’s built to help you view your workout stats so you can stay motivated and keep working out all the more. 

So far, the console is good. However, I feel it is still lacking in a way. You won’t find preset workout programs, because the monitor doesn’t support any. If you do not need a rower with preset programs, this should be fine. But if you need something more advanced, it would be best to settle for a magnetic rowing machine.


This rowing machine offers excellent value for the money; at least the design is enough proof for this. The seat of this rowing machine is made of anodized aluminum, and the frame is made of durable steel. The rowing machine has a commercial grade feeling, but you can use it at home as an addition to your existing home gym, or as the only gym equipment for cardiovascular workout from home. The material used for construction is high quality, so this rowing machine should last for years. The seat is comfortable. And the monitor is compatible with personal computers.

Where it Fails

This rowing machine does not have a heart rate strap. It doesn’t have preset workout programs either.

​3. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor

Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor
  • Handcrafted rowing machine with "water flywheel" that replicates actual rowing feel
  • Flywheel sits in enclosed water tank to provide smooth, quiet, self-regulated resistance
  • Series 4 performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and more
  • Solid ash and stained honey oak construction absorbs sound and vibration
  • Stores upright; measures 84 x 21 x 22 inches (W x H x D) and weighs 117 pounds

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is a sturdy fitness gadget suitable for individuals of different fitness needs. Whether you are a beginner or a regular to fitness training, you will find this water rowing machine helpful. With a well padded seat and comfortable handles, you can exercise with this machine for hours without losing your comfort.


When it comes to assembly, the process is quite straightforward. That’s because the package comes with all the tools you need to put the parts of this rowing machine together. Generally, it should take you at least 30 minutes to assemble the machine, even if you have never laid your eyes on a rowing machine before.

Computer Console

This device also has a computer console, an important part of the best water rowing machine that makes the equipment worth investing in. The console is quite advanced; it even has a USB port that you collect to NetAlthlon 2XF for advanced fitness training. The console’s USB port further allows you to connect to Fluid Coach and Logs It All. These are two applications designed to help you analyze your rowing data with ease.

Then, there is the obvious data that we are all used to, a common feature for all rowing machines. With this console, you get to see your workout data on the go. The data include your heart rate, an estimate of the total number of calories you burn every hour, 500M split time, strokes per minute, and distance.


This rowing machine has been designed for people of all fitness levels, from beginners to intermediates. It supports up to 300 lbs of weight, and very quiet during operation. With a good warranty, ease of assembly and quietness in operation, WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is worth the asking price.

This machine has two downsides, though. First, advanced users won’t find the adjustable resistance as challenging.  Second, this machine does not include a heart rate monitor. You’ll need to buy one separately.

​The Overall Buyer’s Guide of the Best Rowing Machines


Even before you look at the features of a rowing machine, it’s best to look at the warranty duration. Of course, how long a warranty will last varies from brand to brand. For a more expensive rowing machine, especially those costing $400 and above, consider at least 3 to 5 years of protection on the machine’s frame. For machines that cost less than $150, a shorter warranty seems fine. Yet, if you can find a brand that offers a longer period warranty, go for it. 

The LCD Monitor

A computer display (also known as the LCD monitor) is one of the most advanced feature of rowing machines. But it is important to keep two things in mind. First, not all rowing machines have the LCD monitor; at least most hydraulic rowing machines don’t have the display console. Second, some monitors are very basic.

For people that want to monitor their workout in progress, a rowing machine with a display monitor is must-have. However, if you can do without the display console, any rowing machine should do.

Weight Limits

Your body weight will determine the kind of machine to buy. It doesn’t make sense to buy a rowing machine that supports a user weight of 300 lbs and you weigh more than 300 pounds. First determine your weight, and then choose a rowing machine (whichever the type) that has a higher carrying capacity. 

The Benefits of Rowing Machines

1. Rowing Machines Can Help You Lose Weight

It is said that regular workout can help you burn more calories, give you increased energy, and let you lose weight in the process. The more you row a rowing machine, the more calories you burn. In fact, you can burn an average of 600 calories in every 60 minutes of exercise. This means that a rowing machine is more efficient than many home gym gadgets out there.

Using a rowing machine on a regular basis and combing your workout with healthy eating habit can help you lose weight faster and in the end help you become the fit person you want to become.

2. Rowing Machines Build Muscles

Everyone wants to build muscles. But hitting the gym every day to lift weights can hinder such progress. Rowing machines are perfect devices for building and toning your muscles, and it is therefore a perfect alternative to commercial gym equipment.

Basically, a rowing machine targets the most important muscles. The machine works your arms, back, shoulder, legs, and even the core. In the process, it tones and strengthens all these parts, helping you to build muscles with time. To grow your muscles, you simply need to use the machine as often as possible. Doing so also contributes to your overall fitness as a person.

3. Rowing Machines are Affordable

Hitting the gym every day is not just time consuming, it is also expensive. You have to get up every morning, walk or drive to the gym and even pay monthly fee to use the gym facility. And if you are not a gym regular, this can be a waste of money.

A rowing machine takes away the need to go to the gym. That’s because it lets you workout from home the same way you would in the commercial gym itself. The biggest advantage is that once you buy the best rowing machine, you will never spend another dime on it again. You can use it any day any time you want, without incurring any additional costs.


Although rowing machines aren’t popular in many homes, they are quickly rising into popularity. Because of their health benefits, they remain as helpful as punching bags and the best pull up bars for working out.