These are the top five best rowing machines on the market, chosen from dozens of models.
- 1 #5 Stamina Avari
- 2 THE GOOD
- 3 THE BAD
- 4 The Breakdown
- 5 #4 First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR
- 6 THE GOOD
- 7 THE BAD
- 8 The Breakdown
- 9 #3 WaterRower Ash S4
- 10 THE GOOD
- 11 THE BAD
- 12 The Breakdown
- 13 #2 Velocity Exercise Vantage
- 14 THE GOOD
- 15 THE BAD
- 16 The Breakdown
- 17 #1 Concept2 Model E
- 18 THE GOOD
- 19 THE BAD
- 20 The Breakdown
- 21 Rowing Machine Reviews & Comparisons
- 22 #1
- 23 #2
- 24 #3
- 25 #4
- 26 #5
- 27 Best Overall Home Rowing Machine
- 28 Best Rowing Machine For The Money
- 29 Rowing Machine Buyer’s Guide
#5 Stamina Avari
- Workout Options
- Helpful Monitor
- Stores Easily
- Just the Basics
With its convenient and programmable backlit LCD display, the Stamina Avari keeps you on track and in control of your workout at all times. Featuring seven workout metrics, seven resistance levels and 12 workout programs, this machine offers plenty of challenging options, while also holding you accountable to your goals.
Storage and mobility are both a breeze with the Stamina Avari. With wheels for portability and a foldable steel frame, this machine has an extremely small footprint. Equipped with a foam-padded rowing handle and molded seat, the Stamina Avari provides a comfortable workout too. While it doesn’t have a ton of high-end features like other models, there’s plenty to like about this rowing machine. With the Stamina Avari, achieve a healthy body and target all major muscles groups with a low-impact, total-body rowing workout.
#4 First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR
- Resistance Control
- Add-On Features
- Small Footprint
- Fixed Design
Not only does the First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR water rower utilize the natural feel of a water flywheel, it also allows you to regulate the amount of fluid within its main tank to vary your resistance. Everything about this model is meant to give you the most authentic rowing experience possible. There’s no dead spots with this machine: its unique triple bladed impeller and baffled tank deliver instant catch and consistent resistance, its intricate pulley system greatly increases the range of resistance and its Fluid Resistance Technology is strong and steady throughout each stroke.
Unlike many other water flywheel rowing machines on the market, the Newport Challenge AR features a metal frame for increased durability. Holding users up to 300 pounds, this machine brings high-end functionality together with stability. Its multilevel computer monitor is complete with a USB port and monitors eight different metrics. In addition, its low-friction seat, adjustable foot pedals and ergonomic rowing handle make for a comfortable experience. Bring the feel of real water rowing indoors with the First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR.
#3 WaterRower Ash S4
- Weight Capacity
- Unique Design
- Self-regulated Resistance
- Interactive Monitor
- Limited Warranty
One of the most visually appealing rowing machines on the market, the WaterRower Ash S4 utilizes a water flywheel and a handcrafted solid ash wood design with a honey oak stain to distinguish itself from other models. Encased within a tank, the flywheel replicates a natural rowing stroke with its dynamic design.
Much like real rowing, the harder you row, the more drag you create through the water. The S4’s self-regulating resistance system puts the user in control of their workout intensity. This machine’s easy-to-use monitor tracks multiple workout details to keep you informed throughout your exercise, lets you create your own programs and stores details from your last nine workouts. These unique elements separate the S4 from just about anything else on the market. The WaterRower Ash S4 isn’t just a rowing machine, it’s a piece of functional fitness furniture.
#2 Velocity Exercise Vantage
- High-End Functionality
- Great Monitor
- Seat Design
Backed by a magnetic resistance system, flywheel and fan, the Velocity Exercise Vantage is “whisper quiet” and is one of the most efficient rowing machines on the market. Its oversized, backlit LCD monitor is adjustable, providing the best angle for every user and displays 16 resistance levels, 12 workout programs and five user profiles. This machine has something for everyone, with the comfort and durability to match.
A smooth-gliding seat with excellent back support and padded handles allow you to workout more comfortably for longer, while its 19 1/2-inch seat height is perfect for those with aching joints and knees. This machine’s metal frame folds and stows away easily and is backed by a lifetime warranty- it’s a high-quality rowing machine on multiple fronts. Enhance your workout routine with the quiet, low-impact Velocity Exercise Vantage rowing machine.
#1 Concept2 Model E
- Enhanced Monitor
- Seat Height
- Easy Storage
There’s very little on the Concept2 Model E rower that isn’t adjustable or suited for convenience. This is one of the most feature-packed and user-friendly rowing machines on the market. A spiral damper on the flywheel lets you control how much air flows through the machine, allowing you to change the feel of your stroke on the fly. Resting at chair height, the seat is easy to get on and off for people with achy joints and knees. The machine itself separates into two pieces for increased storage and mobility. Even the monitor arm adjusts to your liking.
Its enhanced monitor is what sets the Model E apart from other rowers on the market. Sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, the backlit display tracks your data accurately on every row and stores it easily through a USB flash drive. You can monitor your heart rate wirelessly and all of its workout settings are just a click away. With a steel frame to match, this machine has everything you need. Aesthetically, the Concept2 Model E is the luxury machine of the indoor rowing world.
Best Overall Home Rowing Machine
In nearly every area across the board, the Concept2 Model E either matches or outperforms the competition, which makes it an easy choice for our best overall home rowing machine. Multiple features on this model are geared to making your workout more convenient.
The Model E’s seat rests 20 inches off the ground for stress-free access, it’s adjustable monitor features USB capability and can wirelessly monitor your heartrate, and the spiral damper on the flywheel lets you control resistance and manage your desired type of stroke. Throw in features like the machine’s 500-pound weight capacity, five-year frame warranty and its separable, space-saving design and your long-term solution for exercising at home becomes quite clear.
“Amazing machine. Quiet, smooth, and easy to use. Fitness monitor is large and easy to read.” -Verified Amazon Customer
- Indoor rowing is an effective full-body and low-impact workout; flywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel
- Includes the performance monitor 5, giving you accurate, comparable data for every row; Adjustable monitor arm
- 20-Inch seat height, nickel-plated chain, Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
- Easily separates into two pieces for storage. Caster wheels make it mobile
- Requires footprint of 9 x 4 feet; 500-pound capacity; 5-year frame Warranty
Best Rowing Machine For The Money
With one of the most unique rowing features on the market, the First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR is a tremendous value buy at its price point. Not only does this model replicate the natural sound and authentic feel of real rowing with its water flywheel, but you can actually adjust the amount of fluid you row against with its multiple tanks. Resistance increases the harder you row, so the amount of fluid dictates the intensity of the workout.
Its multilevel computer monitor is complete with a USB port and monitors eight different metrics. In addition, its low-friction seat, adjustable foot pedals and ergonomic rowing handle make for a comfortable workout experience. For all the authentic features it has to offer, the First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR is an excellent rowing machine for the money.
“Great rower for the price. It’s comfortable, stable, and unlike air rowers it gives constant resistance throughout the whole stroke.” – Verified Amazon Customer
- Replicates the feel, sight, and sound of real water-rowing
- Adjustable levels of fluid resistance
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
- Manufacturer’s warranty included (see Guarantee & Returns)
- Dimensions: 20.9L x 77.8W x 20.1H in.
Rowing Machine Buyer’s Guide
There are a lot of technical terms being thrown around in these reviews, so it may benefit you to brush up on some of the features to look for when purchasing the best rowing machine for your needs. Here is a quick breakdown of some terms you’ll often see and how they relate to your workout experience.
There are four types of resistance available on home rowing machines–air, magnetic, water and hydraulic–and each has its advantages.
Air: These are the most popular type of resistance and often include a damper, which changes the feel of your stroke by altering the airflow.
Magnetic: These systems are one of the quietest resistance forms out there and vary your resistance by moving magnets closer or farther from the flywheel.
Water: These rowers replicate the natural feel and sound of authentic rowing and regulate the resistance based on the speed of your stroke.
Hydraulic: These models are less expensive, less common and often a less effective resistance option. Pistons work through different levels to vary your resistance, but people often complain about the unnatural feel of this process.
Frame Material: The majority of rowing machines either feature metal–usually steel or aluminum–or wooden frames. Both of these options yield pretty comparable results in terms of weight capacity, warranties and the ability to fold. Wood frames are more commonly found on machines with a water flywheel.
Seat Height: Seat height is an important feature to consider when picking a rowing machine, especially if you suffer from knee, joint or back pain. Many people gravitate towards rowing machines as a low-impact workout option, so it’s necessary to find one that has convenient access. Models with a seat height near or comparable to the height of a chair are ideal. This factor eliminates the need to sink into an uncomfortable position just to get on, or propel yourself off the floor to get off.
Fixed Rowing Machines vs Folded Rowing Machines: There are two types of rowing machines for home use: the folding type and the fixed type. Folding rowing machines occupy less space and can be easily stored for convenience, while fixed machines are more space consuming. According to user experience, fixed machines are more durable, but for indoor use folding machine are usually preferred because of their eco-friendly design.
Rowing Machine Benefits: Rowing machines are a great calorie-burning workout, which happen to burn 10 to 15 percent more calories than cycling at the same level of exertion. This is because the rower is a total-body workout, involving more muscles than most other sports or exercise machines. The primary muscles worked are the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, shoulders, back and arms. Rowing is a great core workout because the abdominals are engaged throughout the entire process. Because the rowing machine is a low-impact exercise, it’s a great option for those with joint issues.
How To Use A Rowing Machine: The starting position is known as the “catch,” where the user’s knees are bent, shoulders and arms are reaching forward, and shins are vertical. Once you’re in the catch position, the “drive” position is next. This is the movement of pushing your feet against the machine’s platform and straightening your legs until there’s a slight bend in your knees. Pull the handle toward your lower chest and bend your elbows as you lean backward. Remember to keep your back straight. Lastly, the “recovery” phase is when you return to the starting position or catch position. When rowing, your motions should be fluid and continuous.
Keep these terms in mind when comparing prices and features to find the best rowing machine for you!