Image Name Best Rowing Machines - 2024 Reviews

Rowing Machine Reviews

What is the best rowing machine?

This is a good question because everyone’s definition of best is different. First, consider what your health goals are and which benefits are most important to you. In this article, I will cover each of these benefits, types of rowing machines, and a review of my favorite machines in each category. The rowing machines are reviewed on three pieces of criteria: price, quality, and size.

Which Rowing Machine Benefits Are Important to You?

It is important to identify what your goals are in order to select the right machine. There are the strength, cardiovascular, and psychological benefits of rowing machines. The first benefit of rowing machines is an obvious one strength. By increasing the resistance, and consistently working out, you will get stronger. If strength is your goal, make sure the machine you select has the adequate amount of resistance.

Machines with magnetic resistance are better for strength training because the resistance increases the harder you pull the handle. Indoor rowing machine workouts mainly target the back muscles, biceps, and quadriceps. Of course, there are additional muscles that act as stabilizers such as the rectus abdominus and obliques.

For those looking to lose weight, the most important benefit will be cardiovascular. If this is your goal, look for one with a moving seat to engage the entire body. The fixed seat rowers are more for strength training for professional on the water rowers. Because rowing machine engages the entire body, that makes them some of the best cardio machines. Finally, there are psychological benefits of using rowing machines.

Studies show that exercise can actually increase brain performance. It also increases endorphins in the brain after a certain amount of time a concept known as “runners high”.

A drawing of a man using a rowing machine .in white background

Rowing Machine Size

When it comes to rowing machines, size does matter. If you’re looking for a home rowing machine, then you should seek something that is lightweight and portable. The Concept2 is one of the best home rowing machines because it only weighs 55lbs.

If multiple people will be using your machine, such as in an office or commercial gym, then you should seek a heavier machine like the Bodycraft V500. Will you be moving soon? If you live in an apartment or will be moving in the near feature, look for a lightweight model or a model with wheels like the WaterRower.

What Types of Rowing Machines Are There?

Hydraulic Resistance

These machines are lightweight and highly portable. They are equipped with a piston that provides resistance. The other three types are referred to as flywheel resistance because they have a big wheel-like fan on the front.


This type of rowing machine uses magnetic resistance that increases when you pull the rope harder, so it is best for strength training.

Air Resistance

Most commonly found in commercial gyms and homes. An example is the Concept2.

Water Resistance

The most realistic to actual rowing, the machine uses actual water for resistance. An example is the WaterRower.

Update Jan 2016 – You can find out more information from new rowing machine review website, Best Rowing Machine Reviews.

The Best Air Rowing Machine: The Concept2

The Concept2
  • Price: 2/3
  • Quality: 3/3
  • Size: 2/3
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This is considered one of the top rowing machines on the market. It is an air resistance machine that is very popular with rowing athletes, home users, and commercial gyms. For storage, you can stand the machine up vertically. The design supports individuals up to 500lbs, which is twice as much as most of the other machines on the market. The only machine that supports more weight is the WaterRower Natural.

Weighing in at only 55lbs, it is one of the most compact rowing machines. The lightweight construction and portability make it perfect for home use. The Concept2 takes five minutes to put together there are only 8 bolts and easy assembly instructions. There is a fancy display for tracking key stats such as your speed and calories burnt. The display can even be loaded with new software and games! The Concept2 has earned 5-star reviews on Amazon.

The Concept2 Model D Vs. Model E

The Concept2 Model E is higher off the ground than the Model D 20 inches versus 11. This makes the Model E much easier to get on and off of. If you are senior or have back problems, you should get the Model E for this reason. It also has additional color options. The Model E is about $200 more than the Model D.

The Best Water Rowing Machine: The WaterRower Natural

The WaterRower Natural data-pin-nopin=
  • Price: 1/3
  • Quality: 3/3
  • Size: 1/3
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Though this machine is less practical than the Concept 2, it makes up for that in beauty. The machine is made of gorgeous ash wood with a protective finish (hence the name). The machine uses water resistance. Between that and the finish, it really reminds you of rowing on a boat! Though the machine weighs twice as much as the Concept2, it is still highly portable because of the wheels attached the base. In terms of pricing, this machine is $200-300 more expensive than the Concept2 Model D.

Best Hydraulic Rowing Machine: Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050
  • Price: 3/3
  • Quality: 2/3
  • Size: 3/3
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This is the most compact rowing machine. The machine folds for easy storage. It is the most portable of all the machines reviewed and also the cheapest. However, for these benefits, you sacrifice some of the quality. Myself, along with many other reviewers have found that this model is very squeaky when in-use. In addition, it is uncomfortable for taller people. The instructions were minimal, but it was easy to assemble.

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine: Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

The Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
  • Price: 2/3
  • Quality: 3/3
  • Size: 2/3
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The Velocity is a nice mid-range machine in terms of price and performance. Unlike the Stamina Body Trac, it is very quiet due to the magnetic resistance. It suits tall people well, though there is a weight limit of 275lbs. This machine includes 7 workout programs and a heart rate monitor.

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