Best Rowing Machines For Fitness Seekers In 2018 | A Thorough Evaluation

You want to get in your desired shape, right? It is not like moving or scaling a mountain. It does not require you to hit the road frequently either. Only the best rowing machine, if you can really manage to buy one, can help with the most of your tasks.

Rowing machines have become popular for they provide users a solid reason to deny the stressful efforts outside of home just for the sake of fitness. Seeing the rising prominence of the machines, manufacturers are also in a competition to bring about newer models with more sophisticated mechanisms and digital features which are, in turn, making it difficult for buyers to make a choice.

With keen interest in figuring out the right rowing machine, we have made a selection of rowing machines to make sure that every individual has a choice to make to perform targeted and full body workouts.

Best Rowing Machines To Look For In 2018

The following products are some of the most popular rowing machines on the market. We have included each of them in view of their performance, price, durability, ease of use, assembly, and other factors. We hope you will find your desired piece of equipment from the list.

01Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine

Important Highlights

  • Air-resistance flywheel design
  • Extruded aluminum frame
  • Flexfoot adjustable footboard system
  • Self-calibrating electronic monitor
  • Ergonomic handle with molded soft rubber grips and foot pads
  • Anatomically designed seat top
  • Built-in caster wheels
Price : $$$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.9 out of 5 star
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We rely on the craftsmanship and consciousness of Concept2, every time, we receive the question, “What is the perfect rowing machine for rowing indoor?” This is another great piece of work from the manufacturer. This model comes with some similarities and dissimilarities to Model E. however, both of them are reliable only in a different way.

Being a standout choice for many fitness professionals, Model D has proven its all-around effectiveness in boosting cardiovascular exercises and enhancement of the physical tone. For the first time in this article, we are going to admire a product for being cost-effective.

Although we got a problem with the machine’s noise level. We expected it to work almost quietly, but it could not. Also, we do not like the lack of programmability of the digital component. But, we had to undermine these two issues enjoying the flexibility of the ergonomic handle and footrests.

02Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine

Important Highlights

  • Welded steel construction
  • Flywheel design with spiral damper
  • Nickel-plated steel chain with full housing
  • PM5 Monitor with fixed monitor arm
  • Caster wheels for easy rolling of the machine
  • Quick-release frame lock mechanism
  • Adjustable footrests with one-piece leg design and ergonomic handle
Price : $$$$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.8 out of 5 star
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Apart from the usability factor, the one thing that did not escape our glance was the look of Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine. The 20-inch frame stands bright with its double powder coat, glossy finish. Oh, the nickel-plate chain is just an embellishment to the main frame. With the higher frame, you can go for easy on-and-off, especially if your knees have given up or mobility is restricted for a particular reason.

As per our assessment, Concept2 comes with the right type of engineering that meets all your rowing needs indoor. Make a stroke and see if the machine responds. You will not complain. Take the help of the spiral damper when you feel the necessity of adjusting the flywheel airflow. Won’t you feel happy getting a smooth rowing experience with the noise significantly minimized?

After all these good things, we could not help telling you the limitation of the PM5 monitor that comes with a significant battery issue. But, it should not be the only impediment to your buying decision.

03WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

Important Highlights

  • Premium hardwood construction
  • Solid ash construction
  • Handcrafted frame
  • Water flywheel resistance
  • Dual black rails for preventing scuffing
  • Series 4 performance monitor (For tracking stroke rate, workout intensity, and heart rate)
  • PC and online compatible
Price : $$$$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.7 out of 5 star
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According to the manufacturer, this rowing machine is a commercial-grade workout helper that works much like a boat due to the same dynamics being used. With this declaration in mind, we tested its ability to make use of the “water flywheel” feature. To be honest, we found what was advertised.

The flywheel design comprises two paddles in a tank of water to offer quiet resistance. One of our mates screamed “Wow, I’m riding a boat. What about you?” Apparently, we found no moving parts that could be susceptible to damage or wear and tear. The pulleys and recoil belt need no maintenance, we appreciate it.

As with a conventional rowing machine that would require you to row fast to receive high resistance, this machine requires you to paddle fast for high resistance. Similarly, slow paddling leads to a less intense resistance. The setback we discovered was the requirement of the machine that you may not be able to row faster than your strength to overcome the drag.

04Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower

Important Highlights

  • Steel frame
  • 12 Workout programs including six cardio profiles
  • Backlit LCD monitor (For tracking distance, time, calories, count, pulse, watt, and strokes per minute)
  • Arrow buttons for on-the-fly adjustments
  • Foam-padded handle
  • Molded seat
  • Footplates with extruded aluminum rowing beam
  • Built-in wheels
  • Electronic chest strap for monitoring heart rate
Price : $$$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.3 out of 5 star
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The upgraded tech is the first thing that held our attention as we looked at this modern version from the rowing powerhouse, Stamina. You might not be willing to think about it so sincerely because most rowing machines come with the same.

But, this model goes beyond the commonplace of technological gadgetry in rowing machines. You have access to as many as 12 programs, each of which carries out a different function. All these small details work together to help you know when to stop from crossing the limits.

The second notable thing we accepted as a benefit is the comfort derived from the extruded aluminum beam and molded seat. These two components will make you feel their worth as you go for a stroke and try for the recovery of the stroke. However, we recommend you follow caution while adjusting the settings upwards because the resistance may not be felt that much under higher settings.

05Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

Important Highlights

  • Heavy-duty steel mainframe
  • Magnetic tension system and eight levels of adjustable resistance
  • LCD console (For displaying count, time, calories, scan, and total count)
  • Cushioned seat and Non-slip grip handlebars
  • Anti-slip pedals with built-in transportation wheels
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.
Price : $$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.2 out of 5 star
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Do you have any idea how a magnetic rowing machine delivers as the user asks? Whatever you know about a magnetic machine will be enhanced with the information that Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 features a tension knob that works as per your will. A twist, if you make, can either increase or decrease resistance. So, it is completely in your hands whether your workout sessions will be easy and efficient or a little challenging and rigorous.

Although we believe the textured pedals are just a visual element rather than anything that adds to the functionality of the machine, you can still benefit from them if you know how to use this magnetic equipment. Use the user manual as it contains everything you need to learn. The pedals become more useful with the safety straps.

The non-slip surface adds a layer of safety by keeping your feet in place. The design of the machine has been schemed to stand the test of the highest level of rigor a fitness enthusiast can inflict upon.

06Stamina InMotion Rower

Stamina InMotion Rower

Important Highlights

  • Steel Construction
  • Stitched seat
  • Five levels of resistance
  • Adjustable closure with pivoting foot plates
  • Foam hand grips
  • Multi-function Digital Touch monitor
  • Ideal for low impact workouts
Price : $$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.2 out of 5 star
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After hours of heavy use, we reached a verdict that Stamina works with the idea that rowing should be simple and affordable. Stamina InMotion Rower has been designed to simplify and facilitate users’ total body and cardio workout goals.

Here comes another critical factor, the level of resistance a rowing machine offers. More challenges will lead you to look for adjusting the intensity. But, as said above, things get simple with this machine. Just loosen the resistance knob and lift up the piston. Then, tighten the knob. You are set.

We have noticed with surprise that the maker of this rowing machine has put some attention to the aesthetics of the rowing machine. The silver frame easily matches almost every gym or household interior. It eliminates the need for an additional space to store the machine. The standing frame that weighs 27 lbs. adds to the convenience.

07Stamina ATS Air Rower

Stamina ATS Air Rower

Important Highlights

  • Efficient wind resistance
  • Multi-function display (For tracking distance, time, speed, and the calories)
  • Upholstered, padded, sliding seat
  • Large footplates with adjustable nylon foot straps
  • Oversized seat rail
  • Angled seat rail
  • Sturdy steel construction
  • Textured grips keep
  • Nylon rowing strap with floor protectors
Price : $$$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.2 out of 5 star
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Another gem from Stamina! Did we exaggerate? You may be thinking we have considered the product by its manufacturer. The machine features a wind-resistance design that helps target all your muscle groups. So, strengthening and toning the abs, arms, glutes, and legs become a breeze.

We carefully explored the adjustment of the resistance. It is a matter of seconds to change the rowing stroke. Row hard, and the resistance will go up. Row slow, the level will go down. Due to this intuitive response to the resistance factor, you will get nothing to disturb your concentration on the workout.

A few minutes of use can make you feel the goodness of the oversized seat rail. It allows you to slide the seat smoothly. Regardless of the body type, this machine allows every user with the intention to make use of it.

08Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

Important Highlights

  • Full range of motions
  • Steel frame construction
  • Adjustable gas-shock resistance
  • Multi-function electronic display
  • Molded seat
  • Hydraulic cylinder resistance
  • Textured footplates with straps
  • Foam padded hand grips
Price : $$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.0 out of 5 star
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Maybe, you want to be familiar with this BodyTrac Glider because you have heard about the excellence of a glider model. But, we tell you otherwise. The machine uses hydraulic resistance mechanism and has become an iconic model by being space-saving and subject to be a budget version.

No matter whether you want or not; this machine will leave you the scope to use the major muscle groups of your body. You have got to know why we often tell that Stamina and user convenience are synonymous. The rowing arms work pretty intuitively to ensure that you experience the piece of action, full body workout.

We cannot talk much about the multi-function monitor because it barely upholds any standalone utility of the rower. The steel frame indicates the durability of the machine. The storage facility will become a nonissue because the equipment takes up a very little space.

09Stamina 1110 Magnetic Rowing Machine

Stamina 1110 Magnetic Rowing Machine

Important Highlights

  • Aluminum rowing beam
  • Ball-bearing rollers
  • Durable rowing strap
  • Eight levels of magnetic resistance
  • Multi-functional digital monitor (For tracking number of total strokes and strokes per minute, distance, time, and calories burned)
  • Larger range of motion with pivoting footplates
  • Molded, padded seat
  • Foam rowing handle
  • Built-in wheels with floor protectors
Price : $$$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 3.9 out of 5 star
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Since the resistance ability is one of the primary considerations every buyer should have, we would like to talk about the magnetic resistance of Stamina 1110 Magnetic Rowing Machine. It has eight levels of quiet magnetic resistance that allows you to undertake the workouts without requiring you to cause any disturbance to anybody staying around you.

The next thing we found good about this machine is its molded seat on top of the ball-bearing rollers. The aluminum beam should be sufficient to ensure smooth seat gliding. But, the manufacturer with its big name has attempted to offer users a smoother way to do the job through the ball-bearing rollers. The built-in wheels make the transportation of the rowing machine easier and simpler.

You might have some difficulty due to the footrests being very close to the bar. However, it applies to those who are taller than the common height.

10Stamina 1405 ATS Air Rower

Stamina 1405 ATS Air Rower

Important Highlights

  • Steel construction
  • Efficient wind resistance
  • Multi-function digital monitor (For tracking distance, speed, time, and calories burned)
  • Molded, padded seat
  • Sliding ball bearing rollers
  • Large footplates
  • Adjustable nylon foot straps
  • Built-in wheels and robust metal rowing chain
  • Foldable frame
  • Floor protectors
  • Angled seat rail
Price : $$$
Editor Rating :
  • Star 3.7 out of 5 star
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The type of resistance it provides is by far the most attractive point that makes us praise this rower. If your workout routine is intense and involves intervals, this machine is ready to deliver you performance.

While being engaged in high-intensity training, you have to row intensely maintaining high resistance and slow down to make it easy for yourself to breathe maintaining low resistance. Stamina 1405 ATS Air Rower can handle these actions pretty much appropriately due to its responsiveness as you row fast and slow.

With this machine included are a metal rowing chain and an oversized chrome seat rail. The plastic flywheel is housed in a metal cage. The absence of a damper is perhaps the only noticeable downside of this rower. You can go ahead with it if you have to stay on budget.

We know it is often an irksome job to find a suitable piece of equipment that works great for you. So, we are going to take some more of your time to help you overcome this unending dilemma. We have brought you a set of factors that you need to consider. We promise the considerations will be worth your time.

Things to consider

There is a misconception surrounding the types of rowing machines. In fact, we classify these workout machines in view of the mechanisms they involve. Read this brief overview of each type of the rowing mechanisms along with their benefits and downsides to help you learn more about the science that works behind the resistance you expect from the machines.

Air Rower

This type of rowing machine yields resistance through airflow over a built-in flywheel. A chain connects the wheel to the handle of the rowing machine. An attempt to pull the handle spins the flywheel. If you row fast, the flywheel spins fast through the air, and the resistance level will be high. The right rowing machine for home comes with additional dampers that can alter the airflow to make changes to the feel of the stroke.

Pros

  • Wide range of resistance
  • Automatically adjustable resistance as per the user’s stroke rate.
  • Smooth action
  • Less vulnerability to damage or wear

Cons

  • Less than an ideal choice for indoor use

Water Rower

This type uses a water flywheel in the form of paddles, located in an enclosed water tank and connected to handles and a chain. As the user pulls back on the flywheel, it revolves in the water, an action that brings about a frag against the flywheel. Thus, the user gets the resistance. The same rule as that of an air rower applies when you want higher or lower resistance.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Smooth resistance on a consistent basis
  • Little to no maintenance required

Cons

  • More space required for storage
  • More expensive than air rowers

Magnetic Rower

A chain attaches the flywheel to the handle, and a few magnets are the key parts of the mechanical componentry. The varying distance between a spinning flywheel and strong magnets is what this type of rowers works through. Some models in this category comes with an upgrade like a digital console or mechanical slider to adjust the resistance level.

Pros

  • Almost silent operation
  • Wide range of resistance
  • Space-saving design
  • Little to no ‘maintenance’ requirement

Cons

  • No simulation as in a water rower

Hydraulic Rower

This type has some pistons connected to the handles that are the pivotal elements to create resistance. The user has to pull against the fluid or air in the cylinder. For adjustments of resistance, the clamps or levels do the trick.

Pros

  • Known as the best inexpensive rowing machine
  • Foldable, space-saving models
  • Relatively quiet operation

Cons

  • Little to no smoothness in rowing actions
  • Changes noticed in the resistance levels with the heating of oil inside
  • Regular maintenance required

Do not ignore the noise issue

  • If your living place does not allow noise, the best rowing machine for you will be the water or magnetic rowers.
  • If noise matters little, you can pick any of the air or hydraulic models for the distinct benefits they offer.

Think about the floor

  • If you love the wooden floor and want to place your rowing machine on the floor, you need to look for one that produces high resistance but very low vibration.
  • If your floor offers a little space, you may consider buying one of the hydraulic rowers because of their smallest sizes.

Final Verdict

Our final advice is that you try to discover the reasons why you want a rower.

If you are a fitness professional needing to buy a rower for the gym, you should get the models built to serve multiple users. These rowers are often known as the commercial rowing machines. For rowing at home, you can buy models with the less bells and whistles but more rowing benefits to offer.

We have tried to cover as many fundamental factors involved in the search for the best rowing machine. The rest of the matter depends on how much you want to pay for. Now, we hope you have your answers. Happy buying!