Best Hydraulic Rowing Machines in 2018: Complete Reviews with Comparison

While hydraulic machines cost cheap, do not mistake them for low quality fitness equipment. In fact, these machines have two things in common: they take up little space in a workout room and they operate quietly. One thing you need to understand before spending your money on a hydraulic rowing machine is that they aren’t as long lasting as other types of rowers. Still, they meet the needs of many rowers.

In this review series, we will look at the top 10 best hydraulic rowing machines. Whether you prefer a 4-level resistance rower or a machine that can intensify your workout up to a resistance level of 12, you will find a good option on this list.

In Summary: Our Top 3 Picks of the Best Hydraulic Rowers

1) Stamina 35-1215 Orbital is one of the most comfortable hydraulic rowing machines with foldable rowing arms, padded handgrips, cushioned seat, and six unique feedbacks. This machine was designed for small spaces, hence a perfect option for trainees limited on workout area. Moreover, it is quite affordable, so this one shouldn’t break the bank.

2) If you are in the market for the most lightweight hydraulic rowing machine from Stamina, it would be best to go for Stamina 1205 Precision Rower. It weighs only 47 lbs. So it should be easy to move around. Other unique features of this machine include adjustable tension control, a padded seat, pivoting footplate, and smooth cylinder action.

3) The SF-RW1205 is one of the cheapest hydraulic rowing machine from Sunny Health & Fitness. And although it is simple in terms of design, it is sturdy with a weight carrying capacity of 220 pounds. Also, it comes with a display monitor, and 12 adjustable resistance levels, which help to enhance the performance of your workout.

In Reviews: The Best Hydraulic rowing Machines 

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


Sale
Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms
353 Reviews
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
  • Some assembly required; 5-year warranty on frame, 90 days on parts

Stamina 35-1215 Orbital competes head to head with some of the most reputable hydraulic rowing machines on the market. Featuring six different feedbacks, foldable rowing arms, cushioned seats, and padded handgrips, the 35-1215 Orbital is one of the most comfortable rowing machines that your money can buy.

Multi Function Monitor

Stamina integrated a multi functional fitness monitor to this system to ensure you stay up to date on your fitness progress, by displaying your workout stats on the console. The data displayed on the monitor include row count, an estimate of the calories burned, as well as the miles rowed by a user.

Good for Small Spaces

 Stamina designed this row machine for people who are limited on workout and storage space. It is particularly a good choice for beginners who are starting out with rowing machines. The seat is comfortable and the handgrips are well padded to allow you to row the machine for hours.

The Display is Basic

The display only lets you in on simple workout data. You get nothing besides the bare bones; no preset workout programs, no user profiles, no link to an external device, and you can’t track progress or set new goals. Because it is as simple as an ordinary machine can get, it’s suitable only for beginners.


​2. Stamina 1205 Precision Rower


Sale
Stamina 1205 Precision Rower
299 Reviews
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

With a superior roller system, adjustable tension control, pivoting footplate, thick padded seat, and smooth cylinder action, Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is the most feature-packed hydraulic rowing machine on our list. Weighing only 47 lbs, this is the most lightweight rowing machine that money can buy.

Assembly

How long it takes to assemble this machine depends on the number of people putting the parts together. To get the system up and running in the shortest time possible, consider putting the parts together with the help of a friend. Two people can assemble the machine in less than 30 minutes, but one person will need more time for the same job.

The Console

Unfortunately, the display is not as advanced as you would expect. The only thing the console does it to let you in on basic workout data, which are stroke count, distance rowed, time, speed, as well as calories burned during workout. The console is not placed appropriately on the machine, so the display is not easy to read.

No Transport Wheels

The missing wheels are actually not a problem for most people. However, if you are someone who would love these if they had wheels, it is best to look for another option. Lack of wheels means the machine might be quite difficult to move, particularly if storage is necessary.


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


Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine Rower w/Digital Monitor
725 Reviews
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

Even on a budget, you can get SF-RW1205 rowing machine, one of the cheapest – yet high quality – rowers from Sunny Health & Fitness. This machine is not just simple; it is also a sturdy device. With this machine, you can work major muscle groups in low impact.  Because it is compact, you can easily store it away, even in the smallest space in your workout area.

Capacity

You may have learned that some people claim that this machine can support a user weight of up to 300 lbs. That’s just flawed, because SF-RW1205 has a maximum user weight of 220 pounds. Unless you are 220 lbs or under, I wouldn’t recommend buying this rowing machine, even if it has features that you really like.

The Display Monitor

The SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rower has an LCD monitor that displays your workout data in real time. As soon as you start working out, the monitor will display time, an estimate of calories burned, and rows and total rows on the screen. The display monitor is also programmed to shut down exactly after four minutes of inactivity.

Adjustable Resistance

This is the best rowing machine for beginners and advanced trainees because it has 12 adjustable levels of resistance. With so many such levels, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a perfect resistance that fits your workout level.


​4. Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060


Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060
71 Reviews
Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060
  • The BodyTrac Glider 1060 home rowing machine features full-motion arms and adjustable; Brand Name Stamina Products
  • Item Weight 34
  • Item Height 9.875
  • Item Width 11.5
  • Item Length 41

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060 is an entry-level rowing machine.  So, if you are a beginner to rowing machine, or you have never used one before, this one would make a perfect choice for you. While this machine is similar to the previous models in terms of appearance and functionality, it is a more improved version.

Capacity

When it comes to maximum body weight support, this rowing machine supports only up to 250 lbs. In addition, the footplates have a big lip at the bottom to accommodate short people. Because this machine has an abnormal seat rail, it may not favor tall users. If you are taller than 6 feet 3 inches, it would be best to try this machine before buying.

Assembly

Putting the different parts of this machine doesn’t take a lot of time.  Because it comes with step-by-step instructions, it should take you not more than 60 minutes to assemble this machine all by yourself. The assembly manual even has illustrations, so – as you can guess – the process should be  quite smooth. 

Good for Cardiovascular Workout

This machine is good for cardiovascular workout, especially because it works different parts of the body all at the same time. And with the 12 adjustable workout resistance, this machine provides challenging workouts to tone up your legs, arms, abs, and back.


​5. Stamina 1205 Precision Rower


Sale
Stamina 1205 Precision Rower
299 Reviews
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

Stamina 1205 Precision Power weighs only 47 pounds and takes up less space in a workout area, so it is a good option for trainees who are limited on space. With a padded seat that glides smoothly and the rows that imitates  the continuous motion of flowing water, this rowing machine is comfortable to sit on for hours and not too noise to make you or people around you uncomfortable.

The Display Console

Stamina 1205 Precision Rower has a display console; unfortunately, it is quite basic. It doesn’t have anything advanced, or special features, per se, but it still does a good job of letting you in on distance rowed, calories burned during rowing, stoke count, and display time. We do not like how the monitor is placed. At its current position, it is quite hard to read.

Carrying Capacity

This hydraulic rowing machine has a user carrying capacity of 250 pounds. There is often the temptation to think that a user weighing 300 lbs can use this machine. However, it is important to use this machine only if you weight 250 lbs or less. This is what the manufacturer recommends, so it is best to keep to the weight limit.


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


Sale
Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms
353 Reviews
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
  • Some assembly required; 5-year warranty on frame, 90 days on parts

If space is an issue, make sure you spend on a hydraulic rowing machine that’s compact enough to fit in your small workout area. You do not want to buy a bigger rowing machine only to end up frustrated because of insufficient space for it.

With that said, Stamina 36-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine makes a good option because it is designed to take up less space. Although the sturdy frame is made of steel, this machine is only suitable for light use.

The Monitor

By now, it would be a big surprise if any of the Stamina’s hydraulic rowing machine didn’t have a display console.  This monitor doesn’t show any preset workout programs, because there is none. And although it is as basic as the monitors of some Stamina rowing machines, it still displays information that will help you stay motivated and keep working out.

Assembly

This machine isn’t easy or difficult to put together. Some people say that it takes less than an hour to assemble the parts together. Still, some people say that it takes up to two hours to put the parts together. So on average, it should take less than 2 hours to put the different parts together.


​7. KiNGKANG Rowing Machine Adjustable Resistance Rower 


Sale
K KiNGKANG Rowing Machine Adjustable Resistance Fitness Home Training Workout Rower Equipment
16 Reviews
K KiNGKANG Rowing Machine Adjustable Resistance Fitness Home Training Workout Rower Equipment
  • SIMPLE COMPONENTS: No installation required, easy to move and store
  • RESISTANCE REGULATION: 4-resistance available, simulate the actual boating
  • STABILITY: Four suction-cup non-slip foot sets to guarantee the stability
  • DIMENSIONS: 43.3"(L)x 28.4"(W)x 27.6"(H)
  • LOAD CAPACITY: 330lbs Maximum weight capacity

If you are looking for a machine with the best adjustable resistance, the KiNGKANG isn’t the cream of the crop. With only four adjustable resistance levels, it doesn’t hit the jackpot for advanced trainees. For beginners to fitness training, this one will cut it just fine, though. You will love the foot straps because they help to keep each foot in position during rowing.

System Resistance

KiNGKANG may not be a perfect choice of a rowing machine for an advanced user. That’s because it only has 4 levels of resistance. If you are getting started, though, this machine should be fine, as it can intensify your workout to a degree.

The Multi Function Monitor

KiNGKANG also has a multi function monitor. But it is quite basic, to say the least. What you see is distance rowed, an estimate of the total calories burned during workout, scan rowed, and time. You do not get anything else besides these stats.


​8. Kadett Outrigger Style Rowing Machine


Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment: Kadett Outrigger Style Rower Rowing Machine
97 Reviews
Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment: Kadett Outrigger Style Rower Rowing Machine
  • High resolution LCD digital display is easy to read and provides the following workout data: Time, Distance, Energy Consumed, Strokes, Pulse Rate and Frequency
  • Two industrial strength hydraulic pistons provide resistance with adjustment knobs to vary the resistance level; Includes an infrared earlobe clip sensor measures pulse rate electronically
  • Resistance levels are changed by using adjustment knobs with settings from 1 to 12 providing a wide and challenging range of resistance
  • 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
  • Thick padding on seat provides maximum comfort and combines with sealed ball bearings to yield exceptionally smooth performance along the chrome plated steel rails

Unlike KiNGKANG, the Kadett Outrigger Style Rowing Machine features 12 levels of adjustable resistance, making it a good option for beginners and intermediate trainees who would like to take their fitness to the next level.  With a multi functional performance monitor, a built-in pulse rate monitor, a good warranty, comfortable seat, and padded footrest, this machine is a perfect example of what really makes the best hydraulic rowing machine.

Carrying Capacity

We wish this rowing machine had a carrying capacity of at least 300 lbs. The 285 lbs is still good enough, though. As long as you do not weigh above the 285 pounds mark, this rowing machine should work just fine for you. Thanks to the telescopic design of the footplate, the rower is easy to adjust to fit users of different leg length. The KiNGKANG is therefore suitable for any user.

The LCD Display

Like KiNGKANG, the Kadett Outrigger Style Rowing Machine also has an advanced LCD display. Instead of just letting you read calories burned, time, distance, and total count, the monitor even lets you set your personal achievements in different categories on the go. Once you have achieved your goals, the display will beep as a notification.


9. HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine


HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine
65 Reviews
HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine
  • High-quality piston rowing machine; 12 levels of hydraulic resistance
  • Strong, commercial-grade cylinders
  • Quickly folds into an ultra-compact unit
  • LCD display shows you time, stroke count, total strokes, and calories

It is hard to find a rowing machine for people with improper or low height. So when we learned that this HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull makes a good fit, we didn’t hesitate to include on our list.  This machine is a good option for people who are limited on space. Moreover, it is a good rowing machine for elderly persons.

The Good Display Monitor

The HCI hydraulic rowing machine has perhaps the most advanced display monitor. It is unlike what we see in other hydraulic machines. First, this monitor does the obvious: it displays distance rowed, calories burned in the process, total strokes, as well as the time of rowing. Second, the monitor features a unique software solution that is perfect for programming your schedule. It even saves you time by letting you in on different workout types.

Assembly

It doesn’t matter if you have never seen a rowing machine before. When it comes to assembly, the HCI is quite easy to put together. It comes with an easy-to-follow instruction manual. You also get some basic tools for assembly. On average, it should take less than 20 minutes to assemble the machine.


10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1410 Rowing Machine


Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1410 Rowing Machine Rower with Full Motion Arms and LCD Monitor
160 Reviews
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1410 Rowing Machine Rower with Full Motion Arms and LCD Monitor
  • The Rowing Machine with Full Motion Arms allows full range movement, with 12 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Fully thick-padded seat, non-slip grip handlebars and large anti-slip pedals with adjustable foot straps allow for optimal comfort
  • Full-Motion Arms targets all major muscle groups such as the legs, arms, back, abs, glutes and more
  • Built-in LCD displays your time, count, calories, and total counts
  • Sleek, solid steel frame provides optimal support and comfort

We’ve seen something common with Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machines. They are cheap and often convenient for people who are short on workout space. The SF-RW1410 is one of the cheapest and compact rowing machines in the Sunny Health & Fitness Family. It features 12 resistance levels, a display monitor, and a maximum carrying capacity of 220 lbs.  

LCD Monitor for Fitness Tracking

Without the LCD monitor, it would be difficult to track your progress with the SF-RW1410 Rowing Machine.  With an easy to read and very much informative CLD monitor, you can see your real time fitness data, including time, calories, counts, and total counts with scan mode option. With this innovativeness, you are able to see your progress and even set and meet new fitness goals.

Cushioned Seat

The comfort of your butt on a rower’s seat is as significant as the comfort of your living room’s couch. And I am confident you wouldn’t sit on gravel and expect your bottom to be comfortable afterwards. SF-RW1410’s seat gives you the kind of comfort you need to row the machine for hours. In fact, the padding not only relieves the pressure points, but also gives your body the relief it needs to keep rowing for hours.


​Buyer‘s Guide

There is no one-size-fits-all set of instructions on buying a hydraulic rowing machine. Since most rowing machines have a lot more similar features, no matter the type of the machine, the buying tips are almost always the same. In other words, when shopping for the best hydraulic rowing machine, pay attention to carrying weight load, computer console, the comfort level of the seat, and the quality of the handlebars and the foot pedals.

Conclusion

Now that you have a list of the top-rated hydrated rowing machines, it should be easier for you to decide which one is worth the money. Overall, consider investing in a rowing machine that will give you the biggest bangs for the bucks.