Friday , August 14th 2020
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Best Indoor Rowing Machines

Exercise enthusiast looking for the best workout will be pleasantly surprised with 2018’s upgraded rowing machines for home use. Rowing machines are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment on the market today because they work a large range of muscle groups simultaneously. In fact, rowing offers one of the best total body workouts – second only to swimming.

So with all the choices available, which ones are the best indoor rowing machines for providing a great workout, versatility, and an affordable price point? Fit Gear Review provides an in-depth analysis of the best rowing machine available and updates these regularly to stay on top of the latest changes in design and technology.

We’ve also included our top picks based on some factors, such as value, customer ratings, best level of customer service, most advanced indoor rowing technology, and ease of use.



You may be able to afford a $2,000 rowing machine, but after you assess your needs and read our guide, you may find a machine that is perfect for you for well under $1,000. Determine how often the machine will get used. Is it for one person or will other people in the family use it also? If you plan to use the machine often (at least three days a week), don’t try to buy a budget model.

Folding vs. Fixed:

Two types of rowing machines are common for home use; folding and fixed. The folding type rowing machines are a good choice if you don’t have a dedicated workout space and need to store the rower in between workouts. Fixed rowing machines are more durable and typically have a smoother rowing motion, but of course, take up more space.

Type of Rowing Machine:

There are four types of rowing machine: air, hydraulic, magnetic and water rowers.

Water Rowing Machine:

Water rowing machines use water pressure to provide resistance with a water paddle-like flywheel in a water tank connected by a chain and handles. When you pull back on the handle, the paddles revolves in the water. This creates drag against the paddles and produces resistance. The faster you row, the greater the resistance.

This action more closely replicates the feel of rowing on water and is smoother with a constant resistance throughout the complete stroke. While some air rowers don’t provide a totally smooth stroke, water rowers don’t have a ‘flat spot’ where the resistance drops during the stroke cycle.

Advantages of Water Rowing Machine:

Quiet operation with a soothing water sound
Smooth, consistent resistance through the stroke
Elegant, wood design
Very little maintenance needed
Disadvantages of Water Rowing Machine:

Larger, taking up more space than other rowing machines
Higher price

Air Rowing Machine:

Air rowing machines produce resistance using air flowing over an internal flywheel. The wheel is connected by a chain to the rowing handle and as you pull this spins the flywheel. The faster you row, the faster the flywheel spins through the air, and the greater the resistance.

Advantages of air rowers

A wide range of resistance to better replicate rowing on water.
Resistance adjusts to your stroke rate.
Smoother rowing action.
Reduced wear and tear to mechanism.

The disadvantage of air rowing machines

Can be noisy for indoor use

Hydraulic Rowing Machine:

In hydraulic rowing machines, resistance is achieved by hydraulic pistons attached to the handles. When you exert a force on the handlebars by pulling them back, the air or fluid in the cylinders create resistance, and you have to work against it.

Advantages of Hydraulic Rowers

Lower cost
Smaller size, many are folding models
Some higher-end models offer variable resistance levels

Disadvantages of Hydraulic Rowing Machines

Rowing action not as smooth
Resistance levels change as oil inside heats up.
Require regular maintenance

Magnetic Rowing Machine:

Magnetic rowers work by varying the distance between magnets and the spinning flywheel attached to the handle by a chain. Resistance levels are adjusted by either digital console controls and mechanical sliders. For a top-notch, high-quality product that provides you excellent resistance then magnetic rowing machine is the best option for you.

Advantages of Magnetic Rowing Machines

Quiet, almost silent operation
A wide range of resistance levels
Most models are smaller than air or water rowers
Little maintenance required

Disadvantages of Magnetic Rowers

Although smaller in size, they don’t fold up for storage
Rowing action not very similar to real rowing
Check The Rower, Seat and Sliding Track:

Be sure to check the specifications of the indoor rowing machine you are planning to buy. Make sure it will fit your height and weight.

Our top pick for the best magnetic rower is the Concept2 Model D Rower.



Used by professional rowers
Advanced digital display
Folds easily for storage
Comfortable seat
Easy assembly
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Good budget model
Folds for easy storage with built-in wheels
Quiet for an air rower
Multifunction display monitor
Large footplates
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# 3

Frame long enough for taller users
Very durable
Soothing water sound when rowing
Designed to be stored upright
Attractive design
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Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

The Concept2 Model D indoor rowing machine with PM5 is built to professional athlete standards and is currently one of the best indoor rowing machines in the world. In fact, this is the machine used in many competitions such as the CrossFit games. One of our favorite features is the monitor. It stores your workout data and allows you to transfer it to your Mac or PC or smart phone via a USB flash drive. This can also sync with apps such as MyFitnessPal to track your progress. It is compatible with heart rate monitors. And this product is built to withstand the high demand for intense training and incorporates technology that lets users track speed, pace, distance and the number of calories burned. Another great feature is that the Concept2 Model D can be folded and stored away when your workout is complete. This model also comes with an extended and limited warranty on parts and frame. Its smooth, its sleek, and a great option for those looking for a proven and tested piece of exercise equipment. Coming in at around $900, it earns our top pick for indoor rowers.


The Concept2 model D is powered by an aluminum monorail frame and can support people up to 500 lbs. The seat is comfortable and adjustable to accommodate various heights. The rower features a spiral damper that allows you to adjust the airflow and minimize noise. While some rowers are very loud, you can easily listen to music during your workout.

Main Features:

Comes in either black frame or white frame
Spiral Damper with adjustable 1-10 settings
Adjustable monitor arm
Breaks down to two sections for easy storage with a quick-release frame lock. Caster wheels make it mobile.
Footrests adjust to accommodate most shoe sizes
Ergonomic handle for natural position
500-pound weight capacity
5-year frame warranty
PM5 Monitor Features

LogCard and USB cable to connect the PM5 to a computer and access LogCard data
Strokes Per Minute (SPM)
Distance Covered
Calories Burned
Pulse Meter
Heart Rate
Pre-set workouts available
The machine beaks down into two parts with quick locks which makes it easy to move it around.


Overall Length: 96 in
Width: 24 in
Seat Height: 14 in
Machine Weight: 57 lb
Monorail Length: 54 in. Fits inseams up to 36 in. Extra-long monorail is available at an additional cost.
Space Requirements
Assembled: 8 ft x 2 ft
With Clearance for Use: 9 ft x 4 ft
Storage: 25 inches x 33 inches x 54 inches


Professional quality
Easy to set up and maintain
Comes apart for easy storage
Smooth rowing motion


Higher price than some rowers
Takes up a lot of space when in use
The Concept 2 Model D provides a natural, safe workout that doesn’t strain specific muscles or cause injury when used properly. This rower is excellent for cardio and strength training, combining comfort and durability in one great machine. Easy and simple to use, but with enough bells and whistles to be engaging, this is one of the best indoor rowing machines on the market. If you are looking for a great value on a solid machine, the Concept2 Model D is the one for you.

Stamina ATS Air Rower

If you are on a budget, a great affordable option is the Stamina Air Rower. This indoor rowing machine uses wind for rowing resistance. In other words, the harder, or faster a person rows on this machine, the greater the workout will be. Exercisers will experience a high degree of resistance as they go up in speed and intensity. Similar to the Concept2 rower, it has a built-in monitor that displays speed, the distance you’ve traveled, calories you’ve burned and time during your workout. It includes rowing and foot straps and is made of steel. It also can be folded to store in most places. The affordable price point – often selling for under $300 -makes this one a go-to option for those concerned about price yet wants a good workout.

Stamina ATS Air Rower

Stamina ATS Air Rower


The first design features to make a note of is the angle of the frame. It only has one level of incline whereas other rowers can switch between a flat profile and other incline settings. While this can create a harder workout for your legs, it limits your options for varying the intensity of the workout.

The foot plates are large, pivoting and can fit a wide range of shoe sizes. It has nylon straps to prevent your feet from slipping. The handles have a textured grip and a comfortable feel. The seat is upholstered and oversized which makes it more comfortable than some other rowers.

The display monitor is basic and shows workout duration, speed, distance rowed and calories burned.


Color: Grey, Black
Stride Adjustability: Manual
Material: Stainless Steel and Plastic
Type of console display: LCD
Portability: Fully portable
Assembled product size: 77 x 18 x 22 inches
Folded product size: 48 x 18 x 28 inches
Shipping weight: 55 pounds
User weight: 250lbs
Storage: Foldable for easy storage
Rower length: 77 inches
Warranty 3 years on frame 90 days on parts


Resistance only dependant on how fast you row
Wide upholstered seat
The breeze from the fan keeps you cool
Folds for easy storage


Louder operation than other rowers
Display console somewhat limited
A fixed level of incline
250-pound weight limit
Most of the work is concentrated on the upper body during slow workouts


This is a durable and effective rower. Despite its lack of resistance level settings, the Stamina Air Rower offers an excellent workout for people who want a full body workout. It is a good value for money and is our pick for someone with a limited budget.

WaterRower Natural in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

When quality is more important to you than price, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine will not disappoint. It is designed to give exercise users a different experience in rowing by simulating the same dynamics someone rowing in a boat would feel. This rower is perfect for those wanting to emulate the true nature of rowing in their workouts.

WaterRower Natural in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

WaterRower Natural in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor


The WaterRower does not come with any moving parts that can wear out over time. The water tank and flywheel make a system that removes the need for a typical motor found in other rowers. The patented water tank is durable and does not leak. The machine simulates rowing in a boat; when you paddle faster, the resistance becomes greater, and the opposite is also true. It is very smooth and fluid and has a very beautiful and unique wood design. The wood is sustainably harvested from the Appalachian forest. The rowers come in Ash, Oak or Cherry.

The S4 monitor has good features and connects to your computer to sync with software such as the included We-Row.

Assembled dimensions:
Height: 20 in (50.8 cm)
Width: 22.25 in (56.52 cm)
Length: 82.25 in (208.9 cm)
Item weight: 66.5 lbs (30.2 kg)
Rower with full water tank: 103.5 lbs (47 kg)
The WaterRower stores conveniently upright when not in use and takes up no more space than a dining room chair. With the bulk of the weight at the bottom, it is stable when stored.


Frame long enough for taller users
Very durable
Soothing water sound when rowing
Designed to be stored upright
Attractive design


Higher priced than many rowers
S4 Monitor doesn’t have as many features as expected for the price