TOP 10 Best Heavy Duty Rowing Machines (2021 Reviews)

You might be wondering … Why are rowing machines becoming more and more popular?

Unlike most cardio machines (stationary bikes or treadmills ), rowing machines work your entire body, not just your lower torso. 

In addition to this, you work both cardio and strength, something difficult to find in most gym equipment.

As if that were not enough, rowing is an exercise with minimal impact on the joints compared to running activities. 

Some studies conclude that rowing contributes to improving joint health.

All this has meant that rowing machines have become one of the most used equipment in recent years.

 If you are already clear that you want a rowing machine but do not know which one to choose, in this article, we will see:

  • What criteria to take into account to choose the best one for you.
  • The five best heavy-duty rowing machines.
  • Pros and cons of each of them.
  • And much more!

TOP 10 Best Heavy Duty Rowing Machines (2020)

After analyzing all the models and contrasting information from all types of users, this is selecting the five best rowing machines. 

Rank #1: Marcy Foldable 8-Level Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine

The Marcy Foldable 8-Level Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine is for you if you want to exercise sporadically.

You do not need to train at high intensity, you are not a very tall person (> 180 cm), and your budget is very limited.


It is a very basic rowing machine, recommended for beginners or people who will not give it a lot of cane.

 Hence, it is such an inexpensive machine, one of the cheapest on the market.

The resistance is varied through a system of elastic bands that allows three levels of tension. 

To adjust the level, you have to change a carabiner position to use another rubber.

The resistance levels are sufficient if you don’t want to work very hard, more aerobically than strength.

It’s a fairly compact machine, which you can fold up when you’re done using it. 

Marcy Foldable 8-Level Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine


  • Very low price
  • Takes up little space when folded
  • Simple assembly


  • Fair work resistance if you want to work strength
  • It isn’t quiet
  • Inaccurate control panel

The WaterRower is for you if you want a rowing sensation very similar to rowing in water, you don’t have space problems at home, and you have the budget to invest in it.

They say there is nothing quite like paddling a WaterRower. Well yes, rowing in real water

The sensation of fluidity is incomparable and, also, the little sound that the water makes is even pleasant.

Water-resistance increases with higher paddling intensity (as in real rowing). That is, the stronger you want to row, the more resistance the machine will put up

Unlike rowing machines with magnetic resistance, which have a little more resistance at the beginning of the course.

The resistance is perceived the same throughout the entire row in WaterRower.

If you want to increase or decrease the resistance, you can fill/empty the water tank—the greater the amount of water, the greater the resistance.

 Fitness Reality 3000WR   Rower Rowing Machine


  • Water-based paddling sensation emulating real paddling
  • Stable resistance all the way
  • Very stylish design


  • Price not suitable for all pockets
  • It would help if you had a lot of space at home to use it
  • Somewhat uncomfortable if you want to vary resistance levels often

Rank #3: XTERRA Fitness ERG700 Rower

The XTERRA Fitness ERG700 Rower is for you if you want to train both cardio and some strength, you need it to be quiet, and you want to train sporadically (3-4 times a week).

 The Sport plus stands out for its magnetic resistance, configurable from the digital panel. 

You can choose between 8 different resistance levels, perfect for both light and more intense workouts (higher level of strength).

In addition to this, it comes with six pre-programmed training programs, in which the machine itself sets the intensity and duration of the session, so you don’t have to worry about anything.

The maximum user weight that it supports is 150 Kg, so you should not have any restrictions in this regard. 

One thing to keep in mind: to prevent machine slipping, it is recommended to use a protective mat.

XTERRA Fitness ERG700 Rower


  • Good variety of magnetic resistance levels
  • Silent
  • Supports heavy user weight (150 Kg)
  • Easy to assemble


  • Unreliable calorie counter
  • It is recommended to use a protective mat
  • Resistance levels not excessively high

Rank #4: Total Gym XLS Rowing Machine

If you want a rowing machine to train very often, you are a tall person, and you have no budget problems.

The Total Gym XLS Rowing Machine  is a very interesting machine.

 The RSX500 is not a professional machine, but it comes close. 

Shortly after using it, you immediately realize that it is a quality machine (like a good German machine).

If you are interested in training in a wide range of force levels and you are concerned about not making excessive noise during your workouts,

The Total Gym XLS Rowing Machine stands out for its magnetic brake system with 16 resistance levels and its low noise pulley.

It is designed for all types of users but, if you are someone of a large size.

Total Gym XLS Rowing Machine


  • You can work strength and aerobic thanks to its 16 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Suitable for tall people (up to 2 meters)
  • Bluetooth connection to train with Apps
  • The pedals adapt to the movement of the rudder
  • Very quiet


  • Price not suitable for all pockets
  • Less intuitive LCD interface than expected

Rank #5: Concept2 Model D

If you want a high-end, professional-quality rowing machine to give you a lot of power and don’t mind paying the price, the Conecept2 is for you.

They say it is used by professional rowers to train at home in the off-season. And, when you delve into its features and benefits, you understand why.

First of all, the manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty on the structure. And everyone who has tried it agrees: the machine withstands intense daily use.

One of its strengths is its fan-based air-based resistance regulator. The fan is a good way to generate resistance, although it is not as quiet as the magnetic resistance.

In this case, you can vary the air intake using a 10-position wheel (the more air intake, the more resistance you generate). In addition to this, at each level, you can also vary the resistance: the greater the pulling force, the greater the resistance, thus simulating a real rowing environment.

It is one of the machines that generate greater resistance, not in vain they use Crossfit training.

It is designed for all types of users, both men and women, without weight restrictions (supports up to 227 Kg) or height. If you are going to share the machine with more people, it is something to consider.

Concept2 Model D


  • 5-year frame warranty
  • Perfect for high training levels of strength
  • One of the best value in the market
  • Connection with Apps to monitor your progress
  • Excellent support service


  • Price not suitable for all pockets
  • It would help if you had a lot of space at home to use it
  • The fan can be noisy if you paddle too hard

4 types of resistance systems

If you want to know which system is the most appropriate in your case, in this section, we are going to review the four most common types:

 Elastic bands

They are based on the tension of different elastic bands. The more elastic the rubber, the less resistance, and vice versa.

In general, machines with this system have a carabiner with which you change the different rubbers to vary the resistance level.

The machines that incorporate it are usually the cheapest because it is not as robust a system as others. That is, it deteriorates more easily. Therefore, I recommend this system if you are going to train sporadically and at a low intensity.


They consist of a fan whose blades rotate from the force you exert. To increase resistance, they have an air inlet: the greater the airflow, the greater the resistance.

The paddling sensation is similar to real paddling, as the paddling difficulty increases when we increase the intensity.

They usually have a manually adjustable opening with different positions. Although they are quieter than rubbers, they are not as quiet as water or magnetic ones. Of course, they are the most robust and durable.


They are usually the quietest machines. They are based on a system of magnets that generate resistance and hardly make noise. The rowing motion is smooth, and the resistance is usually adjustable.

It is true that, in general, the resistance is less than that of air and water. However, unlike the latter, for low intensities, we can increase the resistance level.

They are usually very durable and require practically no maintenance.


They are the ones that simulate a more realistic paddling. The feeling is the most similar to paddling in the water.

Its operation is similar to air resistance because the intensity of rowing determines resistance (the higher the rowing intensity, the greater the resistance).

It has a kind of paddle that moves inside the water tank. It is not as silent as the magnetic ones, although it is true that it is a pleasant sound since it emulates a real paddle’s sound.

The worst: they tend to take up a lot of space and are usually the most expensive rowing machines.

Where to buy rowing machines?

If you want to buy a rowing machine from home, one of the best places to do it is Amazon, the largest online store in the world.

Amazon tends to do promotions very often, so it is not uncommon for you to find bargains at many times of the year (and many times with lower prices than the manufacturer itself).

If the machine is not what you expected, Amazon guarantees you a one month trial without obligation. That is, if, after one month, the machine does not convince you, you can return it.

This is all from me! If you have any questions or suggestions, I’ll wait for you in the comments.


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