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Best Rowing Machines: 10 Toning Tools Reviewed for 2019
Best Rowing Machines

Best Rowing Machines:
10 Toning Tools Reviewed for 2019

Rowing machines are a quick and efficient way to tone and strengthen every muscle group, while providing the user with an excellent cardiovascular workout. A perfect addition to any home gym or exercise regimen, rowing delivers a low-impact strenuous activity that can accommodate athletes of varying skill and strength levels. 

So you can quickly get rowing, we’ve done extensive research and have put together this best rowing machine article, which provides in-depth reviews of ten of the top units the market has to offer. Book-ending the below reviews are an easy-to-read comparison chart as well as a buyer’s guide to further assist in the decision-making process.

Comparison Chart

NameDimensionsWeight CapacityWarrantyRating
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5
Editor’s Choice 2019
96 x 24 x 44.5 in500 lbs5-year limited9.9/10CHECK PRICE
Edtior's Choice
Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM596 x 24 x 20 in500 lbs5-year limited9.8/10CHECK PRICE
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor84 x 21 x 22 in1,000 lbs1-year frame/components9.6/10CHECK PRICE
Stamina ATS Air Rower77 x 18 x 22 in250 lbs3-year frame, 90 day parts9.5/10CHECK PRICE
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor82 x 19 x 23 in250 lbs3-year frame, 90 day parts/components9.5/10CHECK PRICE
XTERRA ERG200 Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower72 x 21 x 31.5 in250 lbs1-year frame/parts9.4/10CHECK PRICE
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine and LCD Monitor51.5 x 24 x 14 in350 lbs3-year frame, 90 day parts/components9.4/10CHECK PRICE
Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine56.5 x 11 x 8 in300 lbs10-year frame, 3 years electronic parts, 6 months wear parts9.4/10CHECK PRICE
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine50 x 12 x 10 in250 lbs1-year frame, 90 day parts9.2/10CHECK PRICE
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor86 x 19 x 28 in300 lbs3-year frame, 90 day parts/components9/10CHECK PRICE

1. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 – Editor’s Choice 2019

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The Rundown

Engineered by two former Olympians, the Concept2 rowing machine is recognized by competitive rowers as the paradigm for indoor training. The company was initiated in the back of a bread truck, in 1976, and went on to create the Concept2 indoor rower in 1981, quickly becoming a best-seller. Still today, the Concept2 is the standard in training for Olympic athletes and rowing programs, and is ubiquitous at Crossfit gyms, corporate fitness centers, health clubs and in private homes. Easily assembled, it separates into two pieces for tidy storage. The solid build quality of the Concept2 Model D means it lasts a lifetime, while its smooth rowing action, realistic resistance, and top-of-the-line Performance Monitor 5 will enhance any workout where no muscle-group is left untouched.

An air-resistance machine, the Concept2 Model D provides a better aerobic workout than magnetic or hydraulic machines, as resistance is generated and adjusted by rowing pace. You can further modify the feel of row strokes with the spiral damper, and the adjustable PM5 allows a choice of programs and myriad accurate and comparable data. You can connect the PM5 to your TV or laptop to track progress, while it is compatible with RowPro software so you can compete with rowers worldwide. The Model D also offers a longer monorail for those with inseams 38” or longer, along with adjustable footrests, and an ergonomic handle to fit any size. If these merits weren’t enough, it also comes with an excellent warranty.
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Specifications

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  • Resistance Type: Air
  • Frame Construction: Welded Steel
  • Dimensions: 96 x 24 x 44.5 in
  • Monorail length: 54 inches
  • Color: Light Gray, Black; Matt Finish
  • Model Number: 2712-US
  • Warranty: 5-Years Frame, 2-Years Parts
  • Maximum User Weight: 500 pounds
  • Footprint: 9 feet by 4 feet

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Pros

  • Made by one of the most respected names in the rowing industry with a promise to hold its value
  • Solid build and a semi-enclosed chain casing mean this machine requires minimal maintenance
  • Flywheel ensures quieter row with a design that provides greater tension with increased rowing effort and speed
  • Fluid rowing motion with nickel-plated steel chain
  • Top-of-the-line Performance Monitor 5 with multiple functions to personalize your workout
  • Great manufacturer’s warranty
  • Easy assembly and storage
  • Best overall in market

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Cons

  • Being 8 feet long by 4 feet wide in its footprint, it requires a larger space
  • Seat can be a little hard and uncomfortable, especially after prolonged use
  • Noise increases exponentially as rowing speed and effort increase

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The Bottom Line

Although the Concept2 Model D is a little pricey, this will be the only rowing machine you will need throughout your lifetime. With its dedicated online community and a host of features, the Model D promises to delight those who enjoy a competitive workout against other athletes worldwide, while it well serves the everyday fitness-conscious individual who wants to stay in top form.

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2. Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

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The Rundown

The Concept2 Model E has been dubbed “the luxury machine of the indoor rowing world,” and it fully lives up to its reputation. It is solid and sleek, in light gray or black, with a glossy finish that protects against scratches. Manufactured by the same Vermont company who designs the Model D, topping our list, the Model E’s glaring difference is that the seat is higher, at 20 inches, to provide ease in getting on and off the machine. Along with a one-piece leg design for better stability, the Model E also boasts a fully-enclosed chain housing that reduces maintenance needs, and an ergonomic handle with a 10-degree bend for natural arm/hand position. The Performance Monitor 5 is USB compatible, connects to other Model Cs, Ds, and Es for team training, includes a wireless heart monitor, and draws power from the flywheel to extend the life of the batteries.

Although competitive in quality with the Model D, the Model E is usually pricier because it comes with more bells and whistles, which appeals to the serious competitor. Nothing is compromised with this exceptionally built air rowing machine, and it equally delights the occasional athlete and the serious fitness fanatic, so long as you have a basic understanding of how to use a rowing machine. As an added bonus, both the Model E and Model D hold their resale value well, due to Concept2’s status in the indoor rowing industry.

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Specifications

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  • Resistant Type: Air
  • Dimensions: 96 x 24 x 20 in
  • Monorail Length: 54 inches (longer monorail available for inseams longer than 38”)
  • Chain/Cord: Nickel-Plated Steel Chain
  • Frame Construction: Welded Steel
  • Power Requirement: Two D-Cell Batteries
  • Weight: 65 pounds
  • Maximum User Weight: 500 pounds
  • Footprint: 9 feet by 4 feet
  • Warranty: 5-Years Frame, 2-Years Parts

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Pros

  • Easily assembles and disassembles for storage, and has caster wheels for mobility
  • 20 inch seat-height that is the same height as a regular chair for easy mobility
  • Great manufacturer’s warranty
  • One of the world’s best monitors, the PM5
  • Devoted online community with accessible tutorials and training options
  • Fluid and consistent rowing motion; resistance of flywheel increases with rowing effort
  • Flywheel design minimizes noise and maximizes smoothness
  • Fully-enclosed chain housing that reduces the need for cleaning and oiling chain
  • Longer monitor arm that is fixed in place

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Cons

  • A little bulky when folded up thus requiring a larger storage area
  • Needing a larger footprint when assembled due to its overall length of 96 inches
  • Some reports of the handle becoming rough on hands after prolonged use
  • A little pricey

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The Bottom Line

The Concept2 Model E is the indoor rowing machine of choice for the serious rower or athlete who wants an unparalleled low-impact, full-body workout. This rowing machine is well-made and sophisticated; it is a reputable indoor rowing machine that appeals to the technically-inclined and endures the harshest of workouts, while its sleek and ergonomic design promotes frequent use.

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3. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

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The Rundown

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood is a perfect blend of aesthetics, quality, and performance. Hand crafted in Warren, Rhode Island, WaterRower uses only the finest American hardwood from sustainable forests. Hardwood, in this case Ash, provides an excellent medium for dampening noise and vibration while adding stability and style. Other than its tasteful and durable design, WaterRower’s most outstanding feature is how well it simulates the feel of rowing on water. Its uniquely-designed and patented Waterflywheel enhances a silent, smooth operation, while creating a soothing ambient sound of water jostling. As well, the Waterflywheel allows you to choose the desired level of intensity during workouts, because the resistance of water against row-stroke is intensified with rowing effort and speed.

Standard is a dual-rail system for added safety and stability, a comfortable and ergonomic seat, and the Performance Monitor 4. The PM4 offers a choice of programs with the flexibility for variations, it also stores and tracks data, and is compatible with various operating systems. Several upgrades are available to individualize your workouts. Assembly is easy and it stores neatly upright. But the fringe-benefit of the WaterRower Natural is that it is so eye-catching that you can’t walk past it without jumping on for a workout.

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Specifications

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  • Construction: American Ash Wood Frame and Honey Oak Satin Finished in Danish Oil
  • Resistance Type: Water
  • Dimensions: 84 x 21 x 22 in
  • Weight: 117 pounds
  • Maximum User Weight: 750 pounds
  • Warranty: 5-Years Frame, 3-Years Parts
  • Upgrades: Foot board, 17” Handle, 8” HiRise Adapter Kit, Extra-Long Rail, Heart Monitor
  • Includes: SyphonPump, Water Purification Tablets
  • Available: We-Row Software

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Pros

  • Built with elegance and durability in mind
  • All products are manufactured in Warren, Rhode Island, using only hardwood from sustainably managed forests
  • The hardwood frame absorbs noise and vibration which makes it perfect for home-use
  • Simulation of on-the-water rowing, even at the competitive level
  • Uniquely-designed and patented Waterflywheel promotes increased resistance with intensified effort and speed for an unparalleled workout
  • An excellent warranty and a reputable company, established in 1988
  • Comfortable and ergonomic seat and dual-rails for additional stability when rowing
  • PM4 allows you to race online as well as against yourself; stores and tracks data

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Cons

  • One of the pricier units on our list; but remember you are buying a beautifully-crafted and lasting performance machine
  • Some have reported the footrest tends to place feet close together thus making it a little uncomfortable for those with larger legs and thicker thighs
  • The LCD screen of the PM4 is set to one side and farther back, making it a little difficult to see clearly

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The Bottom Line

The WaterRower Natural in Ash Wood with PM4 is not only a premium indoor rowing machine with close simulation to on-the-water race boats, but it also appeals to the aesthetically-minded athlete. Its features equal its looks, while its quiet and smooth operation makes it an ideal indoor rower for the home gym.

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4. Stamina ATS Air Rower

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The Rundown

The Stamina ATS is an exceptionally well-designed, air-resistance indoor rowing machine that won’t break the bank. Stamina, founded in 1987, holds its headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, and has consistently produced great designs for three decades. Released in 2017, the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1403 quickly became the perfect total body, low impact, cardio equipment for the home gym. Being an air resistance machine, the Stamina ATS allows you to choose the level of intensity for your workout according to the effort and speed of each row stroke. You won’t need to stop to adjust a setting, which makes for a smooth and consistent session.

Its upholstered and cushioned seat provides comfort for long workouts, and when finished it folds to be stored away neatly. The large footplates and adjustable nylon foot straps ensure a secure and safe hold, no matter how rigorous your workout. The solid, angled seat rail affords a smooth glide of the seat for easy return, the textured hand grips will not irritate your hands, and a well place LCD monitor will display time, distance, calories, and speed. But the best advantage to the Stamina ATS 1403 is that it caters equitably to most levels of fitness.

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Specifications

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  • Resistance Type: Air
  • Frame Construction: Steel
  • Built-In Transport Wheels, Floor Protectors
  • Brand: Stamina
  • Model: 1403
  • Weight: 54 pounds
  • Dimensions: 77 x 18 x 22 in
  • Maximum User Weight: 250 pounds
  • LCD Monitor Display
  • Folded Dimensions: 48 x 18 x 22 inches
  • Warranty: 3-Years Frame, 90-Days Parts

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Pros

  • Sturdy design yet budget friendly
  • Air transfer system offers varying tensions that match rowing speed; no setting to adjust
  • Comfortably upholstered and cushioned seat
  • Adjustable and secure large footplates that accommodate all sizes
  • A good fit for most skill levels and perfect for in-home gyms
  • Easy set-up that only takes minutes, while it folds nicely to fit small spaces
  • Seamless rowing and smooth slide of seat on an angled monorail
  • Industry standard for reliable and consistent use

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Cons

  • Some have reported that the Stamina Air Rower is louder than Concept2 and generally tends to be a bit noisy as the flywheel is not encased
  • LCD monitor does not support pulse data or include any preset programs

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The Bottom Line

If you want a solid yet inexpensive indoor rowing machine that will challenge your fitness goals, is easy to use, and transports easily to any room or outdoor space at your home, the Stamina ATS 1403 is the machine for you. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, because this machine will deliver on every count.

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5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor

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The Rundown

The most outstanding advantage of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is that it is so quiet that you can row while watching TV or while the kids are sleeping in the next room. Headquartered in Los Angeles for the past 15 years, Sunny Health & Fitness directly sources their products from manufacturers in Taiwan, China, and maintains a competitive price in the fitness industry. Beside its unrelenting quietness, the feel of a magnetic rowing machine differs from air resistance machines in that you can set the resistance according to your level, and it will not fluctuate with rowing speed. The improved magnetic system of the SF-RW5515 is designed to supply eight levels of resistance, while it provides a smooth and realistic row stroke.

A padded seat for a cushioned ride is standard, as is a reinforced nylon strip handle that deters fraying. The long rail amply accommodates users up to 6’ 7” tall, and the machine folds into a compact footprint and easily transports with built-in wheels. As for the competitor in you, the battery-powered LCD monitor displays all necessary fitness data so you can track your progress on the fast road to fitness.

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Specifications

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  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Frame Construction: Heave Duty Steel
  • Dimensions: 82 x 19 x 23 in
  • Weight: 59 pounds
  • Model: SF-RW5515
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Eight Levels of Resistance
  • Large Anti-Slip Foot Pedals with Adjustable Foot Straps
  • Fully Cushioned Seat
  • LCD Display: Time, Count, Calories, Total Count, Scan
  • Warranty: 1-Year Frame, 90-Days Parts/Components

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Pros

  • Comes at an affordable price and accommodates various levels of fitness
  • Magnetic resistance makes this machine extremely quiet, while supporting a smooth and consistent rowing tension
  • Eight levels of resistance on setting for a continuously challenging workout
  • Easy to assemble and comes with easy to understand assembly instructions
  • Folds up for storage in a compact size
  • The seat is very comfortable and promotes prolonged use
  • Handle is reinforced to deter fraying

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Cons

  • Some users have reported the LCD display lacks background lighting which makes data hard to read while in use, and advanced features are missing
  • Short warranty period
  • Large footprint while assembled and in use

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The Bottom Line

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 magnetic rowing machine is perfect for home-use due to its silent nature, sturdy ground protectors, and ease of assembly and storage. A budget-friendly price doesn’t hurt either. Although this machine is mostly geared towards the recreational rower (if that’s you, check out this Daily Burn article regarding common rowing machine mistakes), it can justly provide a challenging workout for the more serious athlete.

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6. XTERRA ERG200 Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower

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The Rundown

The Xterra Fitness fleet includes a variety of exercise machines that are well-suited for the home gym, and the ERG200 Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower is no exception. Easy to assemble and use, this magnetic-resistance rower is well built for the price and offers a friction-free, smooth and quiet row. Imported from China and distributed with competitive pricing, the ERG200 utilizes a dual aluminum track rail system for fluid seat slide, as well as offers a contoured seat for superior comfort, a padded handle to keep hands blister-free and pivoting foot pedals with wide Velcro straps to relieve joint stress during workout.

The blue backlit 3.7” LCD monitor furnishes data such as elapsed time, stroke count, calories, total count and scan. An easy access dial allows selection between eight levels of tension to challenge you with varying resistance and boost your heart rate. This sleekly-designed magnetic rowing machine is perfect for the beginner or intermediate rower, whereas the advanced athlete may not find it sufficiently challenging. Nevertheless, if you are looking for an efficient way to burn calories and maintain a sound level of fitness, the Xterra ERG200 provides some wonderful options at a great price.

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Specifications

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  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Frame Construction: Steel
  • Dimensions: 72 x 21 x 31.5 in
  • Weight: 66 pounds
  • Maximum User Weight: 250 pounds
  • LCD Display: 3.7”; Displays Elapsed Time, Stroke Count, Calories, Total Count, Scan
  • 8-Levels of Resistance
  • Dual Aluminum Seat Slide Rail
  • Pivoting Foot Pedals with Wide Velcro Straps
  • Warranty: 1-Year Frame; 1-Year Parts

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Pros

  • Requires only simple assembly and folds into a sleek and reduced size when not in use
  • Magnetic flywheel design ensures a quiet, consistent and smooth row
  • Affordable addition to a home gym
  • Seat is contoured for extreme comfort and is situated at just over 31 inches high for easy mobility when getting on and off the machine
  • An excellent choice for beginners
  • Pivoting foot pedals reduces impact on joints
  • Large LCD monitor with blue back-lighting for better contrast of displayed data

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Cons

  • For many users the maximum resistance level did not provide adequate tension
  • The maximum height of user this machine accommodates is 6’2”
  • Foot pedals and straps are not well-made according to some users, creating slippage and need for readjustment

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The Bottom Line

If your goal is to indulge in an activity that will work every muscle group efficiently while building strength and flexibility, this is a great machine for the price. The compact design, clean lines and simplicity of the Xterra ERG200 have elevated the popularity of this rower among amateur athletes for good reason.

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7. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine and LCD Monitor

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The Rundown

As far as hydraulic rowing machines go, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 is one of the best brands on the market. Hydraulic cylinder resistance rowers feature a quieter ride, are less expensive and require a smaller footprint. This Full Motion rowing machine has arms that pivot simultaneously back and forth, as well as inward and outward, to closely mimic the feel of rowing a real boat, with the added benefit of engaging more muscles in the back, shoulders and core. The padded, 14”-inch-wide seat slides on a rail that is higher in the back to produce a slightly better leg burn, and make recovery of row motion more quick and efficient. Another benefit is that the steel frame and rail support a weight capacity of up to 350 pounds.

The LCD monitor clearly displays all the health and fitness data you will need for a challenging workout, and offers a countdown feature for time, calories and stroke to add variety to your session. You can choose from 12 levels of resistance, where levels 1 through 3 are perfect for recovery training. Sunny Health & Fitness has been a leading distributor and importer of high quality fitness equipment for 15 years, and this new addition to the fleet is no exception.

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Specifications

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  • Resistance Type: Hydraulic Cylinders
  • Dimensions: 51.5 x 24 x 14 in
  • Weight: 33 pounds
  • Maximum User Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Frame and Rail Construction: Steel
  • Footrest Construction: Heave-Duty PVC Material
  • Model: SF-RW5639
  • Digital Monitor: Time, Count, Calories, Total Count
  • Warranty: 3-Years Frame, 90-Days Parts/Components

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Pros

  • Extended weight capacity of up to 350 pounds
  • Full Motion arm allows a more complete range of motion for shoulders, burning more calories
  • 12-levels of resistance promote bilateral and unilateral efforts during rowing action
  • Fully padded seat with raised edge that prevents user from slipping back during workout
  • Non-slip footrests pivots ergonomically and has adjustable nylon straps
  • Very durable steel frame and seat rail
  • Extremely quiet and small enough to tuck under the bed or store vertically
  • Easy to follow assembly instructions

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Cons

  • Some users have reported that resistance is not intense enough at the higher settings
  • As an hydraulic rower, it tends to have less consistency of resistance that air or water rowers
  • A higher level of maintenance is required

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The Bottom Line

The SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine is designed to replicate the movement of rowing a real boat. By using the arms simultaneously with equal resistance, you can be sure to burn more calories and strengthen more muscles in your core and upper body. For such a compact rower, this machine delivers a big punch.

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8. Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine

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The Rundown

As one of the oldest and most respected names in the fitness industry, Schwinn has been making bicycles since 1895 and branched out, in 1965, to make home fitness machines. The Crewmaster rowing machine was released in 2017, combining durability and ergonomics to bring you the best in its class. The magnetic resistance design and sturdy nylon transmission ensure a smooth and quiet operation for beginners and advanced enthusiasts alike. Choosing the intensity of your workout is easy with 10 magnetic resistance levels at your fingertips, as is tracking your progress via the built-in monitor that displays time, distance, strokes, calories, recovery and pulse.

To promote a comfortable and prolonged rowing experience, the Crewmaster offers an oversized padded vinyl seat, an ergonomic handle, and large stable foot pedals that keep your feet secure with adjustable straps. Schwinn, a reputable and long-standing company in the health and fitness world, further sweetens the deal by giving owners an unprecedented 10-year warranty—the best of its kind in the fitness industry. At an affordable price, Schwinn Crewmaster is a great solution for a fully body fitness regimen that improves cardiovascular health while strengthening muscles. And the front-mounted wheels allow you to transport the rower easily to any room of the house for variety of scenery during your workout.

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Specifications

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  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Transmission: Durable Nylon
  • Dimensions: 56.5 x 11 x 8 in
  • Weight: 75 pounds
  • Maximum User Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Model: 100660
  • LCD Monitor: Built-In Digital Display
  • Warranty: 10-Years Frame, 2-Years Mechanisms/Electronics, 6-Months Wear Parts, 1-Year Labor
  • Front-Mounted Transport Wheels

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Pros

  • The best warranty of all the rowing machines on our list, Schwinn offers an excellent warranty that covers frame, electronics, wear parts and even labor
  • 10-levels of magnetic resistance and a durable nylon transmission
  • Quiet and smooth, while it challenges the novice rower and advanced athlete alike
  • A solidly built rowing machine from one of the most trusted and well-known names in the fitness industry
  • Easily transports with built-in front-mounted wheels
  • LCD monitor displays all the usual health and fitness specifics, in addition to pulse
  • Crewmaster rowing machine is capable of wireless heart rate monitoring
  • Over-sized rail for stability and smooth glide of sea

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Cons

  • Although this is not a very large machine, storage must be in one piece as it does not fold
  • Lacks the more advanced functionalities with which some premium rowing machines come
  • Some have reported the pulse display on the LCD monitor can be inaccurate

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The Bottom Line

The Schwinn Crewmaster is a robust fitness rower with a well-appointed price and an incomparable warranty. The magnetic resistance means a near silent row, making this rower perfect for home use at any hour of day or night. Meanwhile, you have peace of mind in knowing this fitness machine represents one of the best options among magnetic resistance rowers in the market.

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9. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

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The Rundown

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a hydraulic rowing machine that is controlled by a single piston located under the aluminum rail. The adjustable knob on the piston offers 12 different settings of resistance, where you can turn the knob to decrease the movement of fluid inside the piston which in turn increases tension. The adjustable resistance also offers the ability to row slowly while still feeling strong resistance, unlike air or water rowing machines that rely on a faster row stroke to produce greater effort. With a price that won’t leave a dent in your wallet, this machine is a strong contender in its range and designed with the moderate user in mind.

The frame is sturdy in its steel construction and the machine requires a smaller footprint than most rowers; its arms also fold down for storage in tight spaces. The Body Trac Glider 1050 also comes with dual handles that closely emulate the feel of rowing a boat on water, emphasizing the benefits of a great upper-body workout. Another appealing feature is how quiet it is; you can get in a session without disturbing others at home or your neighbors. And the computerized monitor begins its count of speed, distance, duration, and calories as you begin to row, which further simplifies and enhances usage.

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Specifications

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  • Resistance Type: Single Hydraulic Piston
  • Frame Construction: Steel
  • Rail Construction: Aluminum
  • Ball-Bearing Roller System
  • Dimensions: 50 x 12 x 10 in
  • Weight: 39 pounds
  • Maximum User Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Model: 1050
  • Required Footprint: 6 feet x 4 feet
  • Warranty: 1-Year Frame, 90-Days Parts

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Pros

  • Its budget-friendly price and compact size make this a popular rowing machine with which to jump-start your fitness routine
  • It is a sturdy piece of equipment with arms that fold for storage
  • The seat is comfortable for prolonged use
  • 12 levels of resistance that well accommodates the beginner or intermediate rower
  • It is reasonably quiet and definitely more quiet than an air-resistance machine
  • A wider Velcro strap for the foot pedals is available
  • Easy to use monitor that begins displaying data as you begin rowing

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Cons

  • Regular and heavy use can be problematic for the piston as it is reported to drop resistance during longer sessions
  • Issues reported with keeping the foot strap securely in place
  • No preset programs or the option to store workout performance with this monitor
  • Warranty is limited

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The Bottom Line

This efficient and affordable indoor rowing machine perfectly caters to those who want a moderate workout and have limited space for placing the machine when in use. The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine is a well-balanced and reliable piece of training equipment, primarily designed for the beginner or intermediate fitness-minded individual.

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10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor

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The Rundown

The third unit from Sunny to make it onto this rowing machine reviews article, you no longer need to decide between air or magnetic-resistance rowers, as the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 offers an inexpensive dual-resistance option. You have the best of both worlds with this rowing machine—air resistance that varies according to effort, and magnetic resistance that is adjustable to a consistent tension level. This rower is equipped with 8 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance. At level 1, the SF-RW5623 is producing about 80% air resistance and 20% magnetic resistance, while at level 8 the resistance-type is reversed, resulting in a stronger row stroke. Because of this uncommon feature, this machine challenges and accommodates all skill levels, be it the weekend warrior or seasoned triathlete.

Although this is the only budget rowing machine of its kind on the market, its superior build quality means that larger and heavier user can use this machine with confidence. Its large aluminum rail also conforms to taller athletes of up to 6’4”. The SF-RW5623 comes with a fully-padded seat, soft non-slip handlebar, large anti-slip foot pedals, and an LCD monitor that displays all necessary data. Overall, this rower is a great choice for those who want an inexpensive machine that is solid and sturdy with strong resistance.

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Specifications

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  • Resistance Type: Air and Magnetic
  • Frame Construction: Steel
  • Rail Construction: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 86 x 19 x 28 in
  • Weight: 60 pounds
  • Maximum User Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Folds at Rail for Storage
  • Model: SF-RW5623
  • Warranty: 3-Years Frame, 90-Days Parts/Components

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Pros

  • A combination air and magnetic resistance rower produces added resistance and stronger row stroke
  • 8 levels of resistance provides a great workout for users of varying ability and fitness level
  • Accommodates taller and heavier users equally well
  • The added magnetic resistance promotes a slightly quieter row than air resistance machines
  • Durable and solid quality
  • The only machine of its kind at a budget price

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Cons

  • A little louder that magnetic-only-resistance rowing machines
  • Very basic monitor
  • Location of rowing handle restricts a full range of motion

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The Bottom Line

If you want to own one rowing machine that will perform well within a wide range of skills and strength levels, then you have found it. At an affordable price, you can have the benefits of both air and magnetic resistance, while enjoying the dynamic response of an adjustable rower built to last.

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Best Rowing Machine Reviews Buyer’s Guide

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If you’re looking for a low impact, full body workout that’s a great muscle-toner and calorie-burner, a high-quality rowing machine may be just what the doctor ordered. While an investment, rowing machines offer an excellent return in the form of a more fit and healthier lifestyle for both the casual exerciser and experienced gym rat.

Resistance Types

While a diverse range of machines are covered in the reviews above, you will first need to decide on the resistance type that best fits your needs when choosing a rower. Air resistance rowers are high on the list for their varying tension that produces an aerobic workout that exceeds other resistance types. The Concept2 rowers are among the most popular air resistance machines, but they tend to be a little noisy due to the sound of air current moving through the flywheel, and they come with a higher price tag as they are well-designed and offer a wide range of functionality.

For a more budget-friendly air resistance rowing machine, look to the Stamina ATS 1403. The WaterRower, on the other hand, is an outstanding water resistant machine that delivers a very quiet row with the added benefit of its soothing ambient sounds. Its most outstanding feature is that it offers the most accurate simulation of on-the-water rowing of a race boat. However, the WaterRower is one of the more expensive rowers on our list, while being the most aesthetically pleasing to any space.

Hydraulic rowing machines also tend to be on the quieter side, and the best hydraulic rower on our list is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639. As for magnetic resistance types, which further prove to be quieter than air resistance ones, the one we recommend is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 for its smooth and quiet row stroke. And for those who can’t choose between an air or magnetic resistance-type rower, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 offers the best combination of both forms of resistance in one machine.

Build Quality

Concept2 rowing machines, constructed with welded steel, surpass most rowing machines in build quality. A favorite among Crossfitters and professional athletes, Concept2’s workmanship is solid and durable, and the best part is that the Concept2 holds its resale value well. While most rowers are built with steel, the welded steel concept makes the Concept2 that much more sturdy than a regular steel construction.

But hands down, the best built rower in our Buyer’s Guide is the WaterRower Natural in American Ash Wood. The WaterRower is built from American hardwood, by a company that is environmentally inclined. The hardwood structure of this machine means that sounds and vibration are absorbed by the wood, while nothing about the performance is compromised.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 also stands out in that both its frame and seat-rail are made from steel, affording a more punishing workout. As well, the Xterra ERG200 offers a very sturdy construction with an aluminum dual rail that will withstand the most vigorous of workouts. This list wouldn’t be complete, however, without mention of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 for its heavy duty steel assembly.

Regardless of the quality of the rowing machine you purchase, be sure to consistently maintain it to prolong it’s lifespan and ensure you’re safe when using it. Healthfully offers some great maintenance tips that don’t take long but can greatly benefit you and your machine.

Weight Capacity

There are several rowing machines from our list that stand out in this category. But, first and foremost, the one indoor rowing machine that can withstand the highest user weight is the WaterRower with its limit of about 770 pounds. Its solid hardwood construction not only absorbs sound and vibration, but is engineered to last through years of heavy use. While most rowers have a user weight capacity averaging 250 pounds, there are several that allow larger users to row with reliable confidence. Second on such a list is once again the Concept2 which hovers at a maximum weight potentiality of 500 pounds; this is largely due to its welded steel frame and durably-built components.

Another contender that can’t be overlooked is the reasonably-priced Schwinn Crewmaster. The solid and time-tested structure of the Crewmaster allows a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds, and this is not an exaggeration as several larger users have reported positively in how the rower responds in performance. The name of Sunny Health & Fitness comes up again in this category, for models SF-RW5623 and SF-RW5639 are respectively durable enough to accommodate a weight capacity of 300 to 350 pounds.

LCD Monitors

While most of the units in the above rowing machine reviews come with a basic monitor that keeps track of necessary data, such as time elapsed, distance rowed, stroke count, total count and calories burned, there are two that distinguish themselves from the pack: Concept2’s PM5, and WaterRower’s PM4. The Performance Monitor 5 is a top-of-the-line monitor that does so much more than the average LCD monitor.

The PM5 is not only capable of providing a choice of programs to vary your workouts, it also offers a competitive edge by being compatible with RowPro software where you can compete with other Concept2 users globally (with Model Cs, Ds, and Es); it is also able to track progress that is downloadable to a PC or laptop.

The Performance Monitor 4 that comes standard with the WaterRower is another high-end monitor that offers a wide range of functionality. It is compatible with We-Row software that allows you to row against other WaterRower users worldwide, and is further compatible with several operating systems, from Mac to Windows. Two basic monitors that are notable, however, belong to the Schwinn Crewmaster as it displays pulse and can be used with a wireless heart rate monitor, and the large 3.7-inch monitor of the Xterra ERG200 that offers great visibility.

Warranty

Seeing that most of the rowing machines on the market, including several of those covered in the reviews above, can cost a substantial sum, it is always recommended to keep the quality of the standard warranty in mind when choosing a machine for your personal use. The most solid warranty is that of Schwinn’s Crewmaster, covering 10 years for the frame, 2 years for electronic parts, 6 months for wear parts and even 1 year of limited labor.

Also worthy of mention is the 5-year frame and 2-year parts warranty of Concept2’s Models D and E, as well as that of WaterRower’s. As all three are near the top of the price range in our review, and likely the priciest of the rowers on the market, it provides peace of mind to know that you are covered if something unexpected happens. The Stamina ATS 1403, moreover, comes with a respectable warranty that protects the frame for 3 years and allows 90 days coverage for components.

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FAQ

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Q: Is a Rowing Machine Worth it?

A: Rowing machines are a great full-body investment. They tone your arms, shoulders, midsection, legs, and back all in one swift movement. Although it’ll take some practice to have good form, rowing machines are a great way to involve your whole body in cardio exercise.

If you are recovering from injury or have sensitive joints, rowing machines might not be the best choice for you. Because they require the whole body to operate, it might be hard to avoid using parts of your body that you rather not aggravate.

Q: Which is Better: Rowing Machine or Treadmill?

A: The machine that’s best for you will depend on your fitness goals. Both rowing machines and treadmills are great options for cardio exercise. They are also both good options for low-impact exercise.

Rowing machines are better for strength exercise, building muscle, and getting a full body workout. Treadmills primarily work the lower part of your body, but you will probably burn more calories on a treadmill than a rowing machine.

Q: Can You Lose Weight with a Rowing Machine?

A: You can lose weight on a rowing machine, but like any weight loss regimen, it’ll take time, patience, and good nutrition.

To make the most of your rowing machine workout, be sure to use proper technique. This means using the full drive of your legs to move backwards, and a gentle lean with your back to get the full pull range of your arms and ab muscles.

Although it takes longer to burn calories on a rowing machine, you’re likely to see better long-term results. Because the rowing machine builds and tones muscle, you’ll see results that give you a leaner look that is both slim and strong.

Q: Are Rowing Machines Loud?

A: Compared to the loud thudding of a treadmill, rowing machines are relatively quiet. In order of quietness, it goes magnetic, hydraulic, water, and finally – air resistance rower.

If you live in an apartment or otherwise want to keep the noise down – a rowing machine is a quiet, low-impact alternative to treadmills and other cardio machines.

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Conclusion

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You’ve already determined that a full-body, low-impact, exercise that challenges your cardiovascular fitness level, and improves your overall physique is the right choice for you. Now you can use the Buyer’s Guide to narrow down your search, and refer to the reviews for more detailed information on which rowing machine is the right fit. Regardless of your fitness goals or budget, there is a rowing machine on our list that is perfect for your needs, and will meet or exceed your expectations.

You can personalize your rowing experience by choosing a machine with features and applications that are must-haves. If having the latest technology in a monitor is your priority, then that focuses your search to the machine with PM5 or PM4 consoles. However, if the type of resistance is what drives you to find the perfect rower, then you will be rewarded with selections from every category to make your choice from. Budget, as well a criterion? No problem; there is something for every price point and you can see to the Buyer’s Guide for the best warranty. We hope the information we provided is useful in your quest for achieving top fitness-form and habits, while it enhances your search for “the one!”

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