A Complete Guide To Rowing Machines

A Complete Guide To Rowing Machines

If you’re looking for a home exercise machine but feel bored by the usual choices, then you’re probably waiting for that one unique product to jump out at you. The exercise bike seems pointless, a treadmill is too boring, and an elliptical looks a little too complicated to master.

This is where the rowing machine comes in, and offers an enjoyable and relaxing workout all in one that can actually target your entire body.

Finding the best rowing machines can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, though, with literally hundreds of options available. A home rowing machine doesn’t need to have one set of specifications, as long as what it does offer suits your needs. Where and when you work out, the décor of your home, and what you look for in a digital display, are all important things to consider.

Here are just a few examples of features you might look for in a water rower machine:

Types Of Rowing Machines
  • Warranty – depending on how much you spend on a water rower, you might be after a lengthier warranty period to keep you covered. As with most exercise machines, the parts are usually under a separate warranty to the frame, so ensure you check the fine print.
  • Noise – most people prefer to work out at home in the early or late hours, so need to keep things as quiet as possible. Some machines advertise themselves as whisper quiet, where others may make a bit of noise either from the fan, rowing apparatus, or seat moving.
  • Water or air – there are two popular types of rowing machines, water or air. A water rowing machine usually has a flywheel located inside a tank of water to replicate the feeling of rowing in a lake or ocean. An air rower just uses machinery and a flywheel but won’t be as smooth.
  • Construction and materials – most rowing machines are made with heavy duty steel, but there is a popular market for hardwood designs as well. It all comes down to personal preference and what each material can offer.
  • Programs and display – depending on whether you like a lot of bells and whistles or none, the importance of a digital display and your stats being easily read will either be an important feature or not.
  • Resistance – some machines don’t come with any resistance settings, others are manually controlled, and the rest are automatic through the digital display.
  • Comfort – look for features such as padded backrests, comfortable foot holds, and ergonomic handles if you’re hoping to purchase a rowing machine made for coziness.

The Best Products And Price Ranges

A water rower traditionally might have only been found in a fitness club or gym, but thanks to these manufacturers they’re bringing this amazing machine to your living room. But, is a rowing machine a good workout? You might think it’s only an upper arm exercise, but actually, these trainers can get you rowing machine abs and legs of steel.

Rowing Chart

Exercise machines can be extremely varied in their price range, and rowing workout machines are no exception. These commonly start from around $100 and can go upwards easily into the tens of thousands.

However, for a home user only, the most you will ever need to pay is something close to $1,000.

We take a look at some of the most popular water rowers on the market today, and what they offer in terms of affordability, versatility, quality, and results, so you can find one that best suits your needs.

Depending on your price range, you’ll find some great options at both the higher and lower end of the scale.

After considering the rowing machine reviews and what each of these models offers for your home gym, you’ll feel confident that the one you purchase can help you achieve your fitness goals. Once you use a rowing machine at home, you’ll never want to use the boring, old treadmill again.

Best Products Under $500

If you’ve ever considered purchasing home gym equipment before, you may have been initially frightened off by the price. These few machines represent some of the best quality trainers you can find for under $500, so there’s no need to break the bank just to get a decent workout at home.

These items in the budget rowing machines section haven’t had to sacrifice anything in quality to be the more affordable option, so don’t think of them as flimsy or cheap. They’re simply an effective way to get an all-body workout done with an enjoyable machine, without the need for going over the top on detail and design.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

Stamina Body Trac Glider
  • Compact machine measuring 23.5 x 46”
  • Fully adjustable gas shock resistance for different fitness levels
  • ​Digital display shows stroke count, calories, and time
  • ​Constructed with a sturdy steel frame
  • Able to be folded away to store for extra space

Representing the most affordable of rowing machines, this product from Stamina is a small and compact rower that can fit comfortably in most homes. Although compact, you can still great a great workout on this machine and due to its size, it’s ideal for people living in apartments or who need to store it in their closet.

Because it doesn’t cost as much as the expensive models, you can expect that it isn’t going to be perfect, though. The foot pedals aren’t as durable as you might hope and may need replacing after some use and you’ll need to have adequate footwear to prevent from slipping out as you row.

In addition, the backrest isn’t padded so if you’re planning on working out for long periods of time you’ll need to use your own cushioning with a towel or other soft object.

This rower, although on the cheaper end of the scale, still has everything you need to get an effective workout. You have a handy digital display that can show you your stroke count and calories, so it’s a great machine if you’re looking for something to aid in weight loss. Using a rowing machine for cardio workouts and strength training guarantee you better results than just running alone, and this is the ideal machine to do it.

Overall, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine represents a great entry level trainer for people who are just starting out with their home gym or want to add a rower to their collection without breaking the bank or sacrificing a smooth, quality ride. Best of all, it won’t take long to set up so you can start enjoying the rowing machine results in no time.

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Sunny Health And Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

Man Rowing on Sunny Health Rower
  • Suitable for up to 250lbs weight capacity
  • Large LCD display for calories, count, scan, and time
  • Anti -slip foot pedals and adjustable straps to suit all types of users
  • Wheels attached for easy transportation
  • Magnetic tension system with eight levels of resistance available

Sunny Health and Fitness are no strangers when it comes to expert gym equipment, and they always seem to deliver something high quality at just a fraction of the other machine’s prices. This water rower can hold up to 250lbs and even more, according to some online reviews, plus the added bonus of adjustable straps to suit all shapes and sizes.

The rowing action itself doesn’t make much noise, but the seat going forward and backward can be quite noisy. If you’re looking for a whisper quiet water rower, you might need to spend a little more. However, if it’s just you using the trainer or you don’t mind a little bit of sound coming from your home gym, it’s certainly worth the money.

8 Tension Levels

This rowing machine offers eight different levels of tensions, and it’s ideal for people looking to lose weight. As you get stronger, you can make your way through the resistance levels and give yourself an effective full body workout of cardio and strength exercises. For a cheaper model, it’s rare to see this many options for how you can tailor your workout and make it more challenging.

Sunny Health and Fitness rarely disappoint with their range of workout machines, and this one is no exception. Considering it comes in under the $500 mark and is quite sturdy and capable when compared to other brands, you’re getting fantastic value for money here. This would be ideal for any home gym and will give you an effective workout every time.

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Stamina Air Rower

Air Stamina Rower
  • Multi-function performance monitor to display your important information
  • Folds away easy for storage and rolling wheels and floor protectors for mobility
  • Padded and upholstered seat for comfort
  • Three-year frame warranty
  • Angled seat rail for smooth workout and large footplates for all sizes

Finally, the last of the budget options for rowing machines comes from Stamina again. Their Air Rower costs just under $300 which makes it exceptional value for money, and it’s been made with a lengthy three-year frame warranty. You’ll be had pressed finding many other comparable fitness machines with a warranty this long when you consider how cheap it is.

Depending on what type of rowing machine and gym equipment you like, the digital display on this one isn’t that amazing. However, if you prefer no bells and whistles and just want to get your workout done without interference, this will appeal to you greatly. If this machine is solely intended for rowing machine cardio and strength training, the others add-ons won’t be as important.

Display of Stamina Rower

One huge downfall with this which will only matter if you like to adjust your workouts is that the Stamina Air Rower doesn’t come with any resistance settings manual or otherwise. Although it can still provide a solid workout, some people do prefer to challenge themselves or take it easy in a workout, depending on what the day feels like.

However, the negatives aside, this is a qualit machine with extremely smooth rowing precision. If you’re naturally tall and have been looking for a rower to suit your stature, this might be the choice for you. The Stamina Air Rower has been built to cater to a wider range of users without overcrowding the machine with too many features, and they’ve done so with a quality and reliable product.

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Best Products Over $500

For those who are happy to spend a little more of their money to ensure quality, style, and smoothness when they train, there are some great options for over $500. Although it might sound pricey, when compared to a gym membership you can actually get years of use from the one machine and enjoy it from the comfort of your living room.

Commonly, machines in this price range don’t tend to have more additional features, but rather have been constructed to create a smoother rowing feeling with less noise. For people interested in rowing machine bodybuilding workouts or something more intense might prefer to spend a little extra.

However, all of these products will get you a great workout, but spending more on a machine will just make using them a little more convenient.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

Rowing With Concept 2
  • Performance Monitor 5 which displays accurate and comparable data
  • 14-inch seat height with adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
  • Disassembles into two pieces for easy storage and wheels for mobility
  • Average size once assembled is 9 x 4’ and 500lbs
  • Flywheel design for a smooth and quiet feel

Finding a Concept 2 rower for sale that meets your requirements isn’t that hard to do, as they’re an extremely popular choice for a rowing machine. These are among the most popular brands and styles of rowers, so it makes sense that people are willing to pay a little extra for them. The Model D Rower is one of their best-sellers, and it’s packed full of features that make rowing even more enjoyable than ever.

The Performance Monitor 5 is a huge standout here, with the ability to show you all the important information you crave in a workout. You can access heart rate, workout data, and more with this unique system so that you perfect your row with every stroke. This machine is far more than just a piece of equipment, and this is where it shows.

PM5 Computer

You’ll be hard pressed finding anyone that didn’t enjoy their Concept 2 rower, no matter the style they choose. This one caters to such a wide range of users as it allows for adjustable footrests and a 14-inch seat height which you just won’t find it cheaper machines. For a rowing machine workout weight loss trainer, you can’t go past the Concept2.

The flywheel designed by Concept2 is extremely quiet and will make you feel as though you’re rowing on a real lake. Prepare to put a bit of maintenance in, though, as this is only covered by a two-year warranty. You’ll want to ensure it’s taken care of as you don’t want to fork out again for one of these expensive models anytime soon.

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Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine In Ash Wood

Water Machine Rowing
  • Constructed from solid ash and stained honey oak
  • Water tank with flywheel inside to provide smooth and self-regulated resistance
  • Series 4 Performance Monitor which tracks vital information
  • Weighs 117 pounds and measures 84 x 21 x 22”
  • Can be folded compactly for easy storage

Another brand just as popular, and with good reason, is WaterRower. This unique product takes rowing machines one step further and is filled with design and ingenuity that can make you feel as though you’re actually rowing on a lake somewhere. When you can be transported away like this as you get fit and healthy, you’ll forget that you’re actually exercising sometimes.

The WaterRower has been beautifully handcrafted using fine solid ash and stained honey oak, so if you want to veer away from that industrial and heavy duty look that most pieces of gym equipment have this is your answer. It will light up any room and is worth the investment for the practicality of it and just how elegant it can make your home.

Water Rower in Living Room

This machine can be folded away compactly into two separate pieces if you’d prefer to keep it hidden, however, with such beautiful craftsmanship, it’s not likely you’ll want to part with it. It also features a series 4 performance monitor which might not be as high tech as some of the other brands but gives you just the right vital information to keep you motivated.

Overall, the WaterRower is a product that will not disappoint, not matter your fitness level. Whether you’re looking to purchase a rowing machine for your personal gym or a professional fitness club, this one can handle both jobs. With everything from the design to the smooth and quiet of each stroke, they’ve truly thought of everything.

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The Rowing Machine Market

After viewing some of the best machines available in this market, you might notice a trend of simplicity among them. While you can often buy treadmills and ellipticals that have a ton of built-in games and programs to keep the user occupied, a rowing machine really doesn’t need any extra bells and whistles to entice.

The most important thing to market with these is their ease of use and how smoothly the user can glide through each stroke.

More and more rowers are being made these days with the home user in mind, and they’re now available more compact and lightweight than ever. However, this isn’t to say that they lack the stability needed for these powerful machines, they’ve just been altered to suit a personal user more carefully.

As we see an increase in home gym equipment, the rowing machine is sure to become just as popular as its predecessors the treadmill and exercise bike. This machine is not only exciting and new for the home gym market, but it gives an all over workout that appeals to all types of fitness levels.

The Verdict

The world of gym machines used to be a frightening one, but with more and more models being made for people to enjoy at home they’ve become a lot more user-friendly. Where people traditionally spent their money on a gym membership, they now find it’s far more effective and motivating to work out at home on their very own equipment.

When you consider what each of these can offer, the ultimate top choice for a home trainer would be the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine. It ticks all of the boxes that you look for in a solid piece of gym equipment as it’s fun to use, looks great, is easy to maneuver, and gets you serious results. People often wonder if they should choose a Water Rower or Concept 2, and for us the choice was clear.

The cherry on top of this choice is the stylish design and water flywheel. While you can still get an effective workout from the other machines, this one alone offers elegance and grace that will instantly improve any area of your home. Best of all, you’ll actually enjoy your time spent exercising which will lead you to want to do it more often.

Perfect Rowing Machine For Your Home

These few top picks represent a great variety of different rowing machines, all available for different price ranges. As these water rowers can easily get into the tens of thousands of dollar range, it’s nice to know there’s still quality available for a lot less.

Whichever of these you choose, you’ll be seriously impressed with how effective the workout is in half the time and energy of regular gym machines.

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