10 Best Indoor Rowing Machines Reviews

In A Rush? Get the Concept2 Model D Model

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  • Low impact workout that engages all major muscle groups
  • Track your progress with real-time reliable data
  • Designed to fit most users
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    Separates easily into two pieces for storage
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    Space recommended for use is 9 x 4 feet

If you’re looking for the best indoor rowing machine out there, check out the Concept2 Model D.

The Model D is an industry standard, used by fitness enthusiasts and professionals across the globe. It’s air resistance is adjustable to ten different intensities. An LCD fitness monitor tracks workout progress and provides a number of workout options.

Rowing is one of the best workouts out there.

It hits nearly every muscle group and provides some great cardio work.

Picking the right rowing machine can be a real uphill battle though.

The problem is …

Indoor rowing machines come in all shapes and sizes—from simple, inexpensive units that rely on a hydraulic piston, to machines you use actual water for resistance.

If you’re in the market for a new indoor rowing machine, keep reading for an in-depth look at how to pick the right machine and 10 of the best models available right now.


How to Choose

An indoor rowing machine is a great way to get a low impact workout that hits just about every major muscle group in your body. Much like cycling or an elliptical machine, rowing is easier on the joints than running or weight training.

Rowing also makes a great addition to other types of workouts. A few popular, high intensity workout programs include rowing in some of their workouts and warmups.

Picking the Right Type of Rower

If you’ve been shopping for rowing machines, you’ve probably noticed that there are a few different types—each using a different method of resistance.

Hydraulic Resistance Rowing Machines

One of the most common types of rowing machines are hydraulic resistance rowers. These rowers use either a single or double hydraulic piston for resistance.

Hydraulic resistance rowers are often the most inexpensive.

Air Resistance Rowing Machines

Another type of rower is the air resistance rower. These machines rely on a big fan that spins as you row, creating more tension as it turns. Resistance can be added with a belt tensioner on some models.

Water Resistance Rowing Machines

Water resistance rowers provide a realistic rowing experience by spinning a set of paddles in a water tank as you row. While these machines provide a smooth, authentic experience, they’re often the most expensive.

How Much Space Do You Have?

Rowers can be big machines.

Some require a large area to operate.

Before buying, it’s important to understand how much space you’ll need to store and operate your new piece of fitness equipment. Many hydraulic models are light, compact, and can often be folded or taken apart for storage.

Understand What You Can Afford

Rowers come in all shapes and sizes and prices large and small.

While many hydraulic rowers can be had for $200 to $300, most air or water rowers will cost you at least $400 with many priced closer to $1000.


The Top Rated Indoor Models

1. Concept2 Model D with PM5 Performance Monitor 

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Concept2 is the name in rowing machines. They make very durable, high performance rowing machines that are the standard in both home gyms and commercial environments.

But, they come at a price.

The Model D is an air resistance rower with an adjustable damper than can be moved between ten different intensity settings—giving you lots of options. Resistance will also increase as the user increases rowing speed.

A built in LCD monitor allows rowers to track activity and select from a number of different workout options. For convenience and simple storage, the Concept D can be quickly taken apart in two pieces and moved out of the way.

Specs:

  • 10 levels of air resistance
  • Can be easily dissembled into two parts for storage
  • LCD monitor tracks activity and provides a variety of workout routines
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    Cushioned seat designed to fit most users
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    Adjustable foot rests and ergonomic handle

Pros:

  • Trusted, durable design
  • Plenty of resistance for rowers of all types
  • LCD monitor does more than just track activity

Cons:

  • Large unit unit—needs a 9’ by 4’ space to operate
  • One of the more expensive rowers on the market

2. WaterRower Club

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For a truly realistic rowing experience, nothing beats a water rower.

The WaterRower Club Rowing Machine uses a water resistance method that is both quiet and smooth, giving users a truly unique workout. A tank at the front of the machine holds the water, while a set of paddles spin in the tank when rowing. Though there’s no adjustability, resistance naturally increases with the speed of the rower.

The frame of this rowing machine is made almost entirely of wood, which reduces vibration and increases the smooth operation of the machine. A built-in fitness monitor tracks strokes, heart rate, and more.

Specs:

  • Solid wood construction
  • Water resistance mechanism
  • Ergonomic, padded seat and handle
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    Can be stored upright

Pros:

  • Natural water resistance
  • Quiet, smooth operation
  • LCD fitness monitor included
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    Beautiful wood frame

Cons:

  • Big rowing machine that may be difficult for some to move and store
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    Resistance not adjustable

3. Stamina ATS Air Rower

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If you’re in the market for a simple, reliable rower with lots of power and flexibility, check out the Stamina ATS Air Rower.

This air resistance rowing machine relies on your power output and speed to adjust the effort level. The harder you row, the more intense the resistance becomes. This makes for simple, no frills operation that equals durability and long-term reliability.

Progress, distance, time, and more can also be tracked through an LCD monitor. The wide, padded seat of the ATS provides plenty of comfort for bodies of all shapes and sizes.

Don’t be intimidated by the size of the ATS air rower. With a collapsible, fold up build, this rower can be quickly folded up for storage and rolled into a closet or other area for storage.

Specs:

  • Air powered—adjusts with speed and effort level
  • LCD monitor tracks activity and progression
  • Folds into package of just 48 x 18 x 28 inches

Pros:

  • Fold up design for easy storage
  • Simple, reliable air-powered system
  • Wide, padded seat for maximum comfort

Cons:

  • Limited features overall
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    Resistance cannot be adjusted manually

4. Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment

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Simple, durable, and highly adjustable, the Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment: Favorit Rowing Machine is another great choice for rowing machine shoppers looking to keep the overall price in a comfortable range.

With resistance coming from two industrial strength pistons, the Favorit can be quickly adjusted between 50 different resistance levels. Users just move a knob to a new resistance marking. Rather than just moving faster for more resistance, this rower allows you to set the difficulty on you own, right up front.

A padded seat and ergonomically correct foot pedals make the Favorit comfortable for most rowers to use—and a 285 weight capacity ensure that it can be used by most people.

The Favorit cannot be folded up or easily taken apart for storage though. But, it is far more compact than most air resistance rowers on the market. So, make sure you have space for this unit before picking one up—just to be safe.

Specs:

  • Frame made of strong, lightweight aluminum
  • Dual handle and piston design
  • Just 50 inches long overall

Pros:

  • Compact design for easy storage
  • Dual handle design ensures both sides of the body are worked equally

Cons:

  • Size may feel too small for some users
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    Dual handle design could be confusing

5. Stamina X Air Rower

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If you really just want to row hard, the Stamina X Air Rower is a no-nonsense, all steel air rower that’s made to be used heavily. Relying solely on air resistance—generated by the fan blades as they spin. This rower is ready to go as hard as you can as often as you want.

Although the X Air is a pretty simple rower, it does have a multi-function fitness monitor that’s designed to keep track of distance, speed, and calories burned.

Another exciting feature of the X Air is its ability to be stored in smaller spaces. The X Air has wheels for easy movement and can be folded in half to save a ton of space.

Specs:

  • All steel construction supports users up to 250 pounds
  • Fan powered resistance—tension increases with rowing speed
  • Ergonomic, molded seat and pivoting foot rests

Pros:

  • Great build quality
  • Comfortable seat and foot pedal design
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    Folds and has wheels built in for easy storage

Cons:

  • Does not track heart rate or more in-depth metrics

6. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic

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If you’d like to keep the price down, it’s hard to go wrong with the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine.

This affordable rowing machine relies on a magnetic resistance system that gives users the ability to select from eight different levels of resistance. Tension is controlled by a large dial right on the front of the machine and can be turned easily while seated on and using the rower.

A nice, big LCD monitor allows users to easily track important figures like time, count, calories, and others.

Oversize, non-slip foot pedals and a cushioned seat and handle make this rower comfortable and safe to use. An all-steel frame provides more than enough support for most users and good long-term durability.

Specs:

  • Magnetic resistance with 8 levels to select from
  • LCD monitor to track key rowing and resistance figures
  • Cushioned seat and handle for comfort
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    Built in wheels for easy moving

Pros:

  • Magnetic system provides great resistance
  • Can be easily moved around with built in wheels
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    Steel construction for stability and durability

Cons:

  • Large size could be difficult to store

7. XTERRA Fitness ERG200 Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower

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Another great rowing machine available at a great price point is the XTERRA Fitness ERG200 Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower.

The ERG200 is a magnetic resistance rowing machine. The magnetic resistance of this rower gives users a smooth, quiet experience. And, with eight resistance levels, there’s more than enough adjustability ready when rowing.

Aluminum rails keep the seat of this rowing machine on track. While rowing, an ample 3.7 inch LCD display keeps users up to date on their progress with important details like time, stroke count, calories, and more.

Another great feature of the ERG200 is its ability to fold up and be stored easily out of the way.

Specs:

  • Folds easily for storage in smaller spaces
  • Smooth, magnetic resistance
  • Large, 3.7 inch LCD display
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    Weight limit of 250 pounds

Pros:

  • Quiet, consistent magnetic resistance
  • Folds for easy storage

Cons:

  • Display does not track distance

8. Stamina 35-1215 Orbital with Free Motion Arms

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The Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine is a compact indoor rowing machine with lots of high performance features.

Rather than using a single rowing handle or two that work in tandem, the Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine has two handles that work independently. This allows each of the user’s arms to work independently, giving the rower a complete and balanced full body workout.

The Stamina 35-1215’s handles and seat are also padded and ergonomically contoured for comfort. The large pivoting foot pedals include straps to help the user’s feet stay positioned while rowing.

With a frame made of aluminum, this rower is designed for both strength and to be lightweight. The arms also fold flat on The Stamina 35-1215, allowing it to be easily stored out of the way when not in use.

Specs:

  • Frame made of strong, lightweight aluminum
  • Dual handle and piston design
  • Just 50 inches long overall

Pros:

  • Compact design for easy storage
  • Dual handle design ensures both sides of the body are worked equally

Cons:

  • Size may feel too small for some users
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    Dual-handle handle design could be confusing

9. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050

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The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is an indoor rowing machine that relies on a hydraulic piston for resistance. Users can select from a number of different resistance settings to really dial in the correct intensity.

An articulated arm design provides a realistic rowing experience. An LCD monitor helps users track and monitor activity including time, calories, and other features.

The Body Trac Glider 1050’s seat is also fully adjustable, providing space for users of all heights. The maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds may be limiting for some though.

Though it doesn’t fold up, one of the best features of this rower is its compact, easily stored design. At just 58 inches long and 48 inches wide, this rowing machine will comfortably fit in most storage spaces.

Specs:

  • Adjustable, hydraulic piston provides resistance
  • Just 58 inches long
  • Articulated arms for realistic rowing experience

Pros:

  • Compact design—easy to store
  • Realistic rowing experience
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    Inexpensive to purchase

Cons:

  • Does not fold up for storage

10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance 

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If you’re looking for a simple, no-nonsense rowing machine that won’t take too big of a bite out of your budget, check out the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205.

This rower makes use of a single piston for resistance with 12 different levels of adjustment. The rowing motion comes from a handle that acts as a lever against the piston rather than spinning a fan or pulling a set of two handles. This mechanism makes this Sunny Health & Fitness rower super simple and affordable.

Users do get an electronic monitor that displays time, count, calories burned, and more. A padded seat and handle, along with non-slip pedals, make this rower comfortable and safe to use.

Specs:

  • Durable, solid steel frame
  • Simple, single piston resistance design
  • 12 levels of resistance adjustment

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable rowers on the market
  • Very simple, durable design
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    Easy to use and maintain

Cons:

  • Does not fold up as small as some designs
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    Lacking features of more expensive models

Final Verdict: 

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As you can see, there are a lot of rowing machines out there. But, if you want the best, it’s hard to beat the Concept2 Model D.

 

The Model D is a solidly built rower that’s designed for lots of use. Air resistance is fully adjustable with up to ten levels of resistance—making this a good choice for everyone from beginners, to experts.

 

If you’re in the market for a high quality indoor rowing machine, check of the Concept2 Model D today.