Before, I was only motivated to exercise outdoors, but living in a global pandemic made me think about how important it is to be prepared to exercise from home, under any circumstances.
I had not been in my quarantine for a month when my knees began to hurt, I lacked strength in my thighs to get up from the couch, had a rapid heartbeat walking up the stairs in the house, and even my back hurt when playing with the children. I had to do something!
I searched the internet for the best recommendations on exercise machines, focusing on those that would increase overall physical well-being: arms, legs, posture, cardiovascular fitness, and of course, to lower the love handles and flatten the abdomen!
The most compelling recommendation I found was to buy a rowing machine.
All types of people speak positively about these machines, from amateur beginners to experienced athletes with a long history in rowing.
It’s even used by grandparents and people recovering from injuries or operations, so it was a safe bet.
Here I tell you the steps I followed to get and buy an ideal rowing machine.
I also share some questions and answers that I had to investigate to make a good purchase, and I recommend the best models that I found for their quality/price ratio. With the model I chose, I already feel renewed!
Cheer up! You’re just a few steps away from getting energized and fit again.
10 Best Rowing Machine For Senior – Reviews In 2020
Rank #1: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
The model designed for amateurs with a long-term plan
This model is ideal for those who are starting in the rowing sport but maintaining their training for a long time.
It offers a hybrid resistance, with a magnetic system and an air system, so at the beginning, you can take advantage of the fluidity and total control of the magnetic system to internalize the correct postures and movements well. As you gain experience, you can take advantage of air resistance, which forces you to add speed and constant force to your stroke and develop your agility and power.
Buyers have been delighted that they can do varied and versatile exercises with this rowing machine in each training session, thanks to a large number of demonstration videos, structured exercises, challenges, and other activities that the console includes in addition to its basic functions.
- It is foldable through a tilting system.
- It is compatible with the Kinomap sports app.
- It offers great comfort due to its ergonomic and non-slip handles, padded seat, and pedals with dynamic grip.
- Has no scroll wheels
- It is not compatible with a chest heart rate monitor.
Rank #2: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine
For those who want to simulate boating
This rowing machine works through the natural resistance of water, with a tank that stores up to 13 liters to achieve eight levels of resistance, making it suitable for all levels of training, both beginners and advanced, and for almost any body type, as it resists up to 150 kg of weight.
If you want to feel “like a fish in water,” this is your option, since each pull of the handlebar recreates a smooth and natural movement such as the stroke, which in turn produces the soft resonance of the water flow that serves as psychological motivation.
The highlight of this rowing machine, according to its buyers, is its great stability, since it is built with the best materials: steel and aluminum, and has adjustable support feet to adapt its position on any surface.
- It has a nice digital console with a backlit LCD screen.
- It comes pre-assembled at the factory, so assembly is one of the simplest.
- It has a small footprint compared to most water-resistant rowing machines.
- It is not compatible with any mobile app.
- If you plan to store it upright, you will need to fill and empty the water tank with each use.
Rank #3: FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rower
For those who want an effective and aesthetic rowing machine
This rowing machine model is specially designed for homes, with a structure adjusted to ground level and made of American Ash wood, which is as robust as it is beautiful. It does not clash with the other furniture in the house.
It is based on the water-based resistance system, with a plus V-size tank that stores between 9 and 17 liters of water, to provide up to 4 levels of resistance. Does it seem very little? Think again! The 4th level of this machine achieves a requirement equivalent to level 8 in a magnetic resistance machine.
Users of this model are very happy with the ease of assembly. They claim that it comes pre-assembled for the most part and that you only need to take 15 minutes to fit a dozen screws.
- The seat is very comfortable and is located on casters, performing a smooth and fluid movement on the double rail.
- It supports up to 150 kg of weight thanks to its good materials: wood, aluminum, and polycarbonate.
- You will have no problem storing it: it can be stored standing up, and it has scroll wheels.
- The price is somewhat high compared to other models that fulfill the same functions.
- It is more than 2 meters long and cannot be folded or compacted.
Rank #4: NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine
For those who want to try this sport without spending a lot of money
Rowing training may attract your attention, but you are not sure that it is something that will catch you in the long run.
Don’t let that stop you from taking the test. I recommend this model from Bluefin Fitness that is a cheap, easy to assemble, easy to use, and durable rowing machine.
If you end up falling in love with this sport (I’m sure you will!), You will have bought a piece of equipment from which you can get the most out of it since it is based on a magnetic resistance with eight levels and robust materials that support up to 150 kg.
I found on this rowing machine very positive opinions about the smoothness with which the traction belt slides, generating a smooth transmission that mimics the movement of boating well.
- Great value for the price.
- It has support to place the tablet or smartphone.
- It is compact and can be folded for storage.
- It does not have a Bluetooth or wifi connection, so it cannot connect to external applications.
- The footrests make a slight noise with each stroke.
Rank #5: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
An excellent option for women
This rowing machine is unisex, but there are two reasons why I consider it a good option for women: first, because its maximum weight for use is 100 kg, something perhaps a little short for men, but ideal for women.
And second, the seat surface is wide and even, with no “markings” for the buttocks, which is beneficial considering the diversity between the shapes and sizes of women’s buttocks and hips.
In addition to this, for a low price, it offers high quality in its operation, durability, and above all, versatility, since you can use it both with its console and with your Smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.
According to the comments of its users, one of the best aspects of this rowing machine is its compatibility with the chest heart rate monitor, with which you will have the highest accuracy when measuring calories burned and in heart rate training.
To wear the heart rate monitor comfortably and not be damaged by sweat, the ideal is to use a good sports bra with breathable fabrics.
- It can be easily folded or stored standing up.
- It has a 20 kg flywheel, which allows eight levels of magnetic resistance.
- It connects with two sports applications: FitnessData and Kinomap, with which you can receive coaching sessions and train with other people in multiplayer mode.
- Won’t sync with iOS devices (iPhone or iPad)
- In certain training programs, the monitor display is turned off or restarted.
Rank #6: Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine
The model with the best quality/price ratio
I consider that this model offers the best quality in terms of functions and features about the price it has since it allows you to train with professional standards but to pay half of what a professional rowing machine would cost.
Its type of resistance is magnetic and controllable by computer, with no levers or knobs! And it allows up to 16 levels of adjustment.
It has a multifunctional console that can save up to 5 user profiles and be charged with a USB cable. No more changing batteries! And of course, it has a Bluetooth connection so you can link your training to the Kinomap and MyRowing applications.
Users highlight its durability. In several of the comments, it is related to how they have given frequent use to this machine for more than a year, and it continues to work like new, quiet, and with its smooth transmission.
- It allows you to broadcast live or train with other people in real-time.
- It has support to place the Smartphone or tablet.
- The console has 12 pre-installed training programs and HRC (heart rate) functions
- Includes a chest pulse monitor, USB charger, and assembly tools.
- It is quite large (201.5x57x83 cm)
- The included heart rate monitor is not resistant to moisture or sweat.
Rank #7: Fitness Reality 4000MR Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine
The model that best recreates the shoveling movement with the arms
Some athletes choose piston rowing machines just because the movement of the arms is more like real rowing, with each arm separated. But you don’t have to fall for the poor quality of piston machines to get this.
Here is a model of a traction chain rowing machine that has a structure with two individual levers, one for each arm, which will more accurately simulate the circular movement made when stroking in the water.
Users say they are satisfied with the machine’s resistance levels, since it is noticeable the difference when changing from one level to another, and it makes you sweat and burn calories quickly.
So that your clothes do not become transparent when you start to sweat with this rowing machine, take your precautions and wear dark leggings for sports.
- Offers 16 levels of magnetic resistance with flywheel.
- It has a backlit performance monitor, with 15 pre-installed training programs.
- It can be folded and stored standing.
- Your performance monitor works directly connected to electrical power.
- The assembly is complicated and takes about an hour and a half.
Rank #8: SNODE Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Machine
The necessary model for training with professional validity
Professionals train with air resistance-based rowing machines. Why? Because these require that the athlete’s strength, constancy, and speed determine the machine’s resistance.
With these machines, progress is measured through the ” drag factor ” and not through the regulation positions, which add difficulty but only practice different types of training and not obtain more benefits.
Concept2 is a professional brand. It has ten levels or adjustment positions, of which it is recommended to use between 3 and 5 for daily workouts. Its training monitor is very advanced, with an adjustable arm and backlight.
Buyers say that this machine is perfect for users with greater physical difficulties since its resistance is adapted to each athlete’s capacities.
It does not generate the slightest impact on the joints, making it ideal for the elderly and grandparents, people in the healing process after an operation, or recovering from an injury.
- Includes Bluetooth and ANT + connection to connect with the computer and the data app.
- It is compatible with USB memory to store training data.
- The seat and handlebars are comfortable and ergonomic, lined with soft-touch and durable material.
- The price is slightly higher than the other models in this comparison guide.
- It does not include support to locate the tablet or smartphone.
Rank #9: MaxKare Water Rowing Machine
The MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is your rowing training at home is real – regardless of the season and weather conditions. Instead of the usual resistance systems, such as magnetic or air resistance, or a combination of them, we work with a water stream that mentally moves us to the nearest water body.
Rowing is one of the most effective workouts in which we train the whole body to burn unwanted calories, improve endurance, and overall performance. The MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is the perfect training partner for your individual training goals.
A computer equipped with a large and legible display shows us the most important training functions, including time (elapsed or goal), number of rows (incremental or target), pace signal, paddles per minute, and calories.
The rowing machine has comfortable and comfortable foot holders, thanks to which you can train in shoes, socks, or bare feet. The way of adjusting the handles is comfortable and provides the ability to adapt to any foot size. High ergonomics means that the load on the exerciser joints is minimal, and even long-lasting training is a pleasure. The ergonomic handle has been designed to prevent strain on the arms, wrists, and hands.
The device can be easily moved thanks to the built-in transport wheels. Very easy assembly and virtually maintenance-free operation, further enrich customer satisfaction.
Technical data Water Stream Hammer rowing machine:
- Braking system: water
- Comfortable adjustment of foot loops
- High-quality bearings
- Comfortable and profiled seat
- Transport wheels
- Dimensions when unfolded: 205 x 52 x 98 cm
- Max. user weight: 150 kg
- Weight of machine: 36 kg
- Displayed parameters: Distance, Time, Calories burned, Pulse
- Training programs: 18
- Fixed display 1 + 6
- Integrated heart rate receiver for telemetry belt: yes
- You can set the lower and upper heart rate limit: you can set the upper heart rate limit
- Computer panel with a simple and clear display
- Dimensions (length, width, height) : 205 x 52 x 98 cm
- Weight : 36 kg
- Max load : 150 kg
- Resistance system: aqueous
- Folding option: Yes
- Transport wheels: Yes
Rank #10: HouseFit Rowing Machine
The HouseFit Rowing Machine is a modern, professional trainer with excellent properties. The solid construction with a long-range of movement along the guide (99 cm) impresses a high load capacity of 150 kg, even with very frequent use. The equipment was equipped with a 3 kg flywheel, but due to the gear ratio of 1: 4.6, it has a load comparable to rowers with much heavier wheels.
Thanks to the moderate weight and built-in transport wheels, it is mobile and convenient to carry. The magnetic braking system guarantees long life and maximum safety. The electronic load regulation system allows you to choose from 16 levels and resistance, optimal for all performance categories. The foldable design saves valuable space when the trainer is not in use.
The HouseFit Rowing Machine is equipped with a clear LCD with an intuitive interface and a wealth of programs. Eighteen programs have been saved in the computer’s memory: 12predefined, four user programs, and HRC program that works based on the runner’s heart rate (the kit includes a chest belt), and a manual program.
The screen displays basic information such as time, number of repetitions, number of repetitions per minute, load, time per 500 m, average pace, distance, number of calories burned, and power. Training with an oarsman effectively strengthens all muscle parts, effectively reduces body fat, and thus supports the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system.
Thanks to these properties, the KUCATE Rowing Machine Rower is the excellent equipment for gyms, clubs, gyms, and home use.
The most important features:
- professional rowing machine
- readable display with backlight
- intuitive use
- a wealth of programs
- foldable space-saving design
- built-in fan
- gear ratio: 1: 4.6
- computer displays: time, number of repetitions, number of repetitions per minute, load, time for 500 m, average pace, distance, number of calories burned and power
- flywheel weight: 3 kg
- load regulation: electronic
- number of load stages: 16
- movement length on the guide: 99 cm
- braking system: magnetic
- total number of programs: 18
- predefined programs: 12
- user programs: 4
- HRC program
- manual program
- transport wheels
- surface leveling system
- chest belt receiver
- chest belt
- foldable construction
- total dimensions: 193 x 57 x 127 cm
- folded dimensions: 112 x 57 x 245 cm
- load capacity: 150 kg
- weight: 40 kg
- power source: 220V, 230V
- application: commercial, club, home
- Dimensions (length, width, height) : 193 x 57 x 127 cm
- Weight : 40 kg
- Max load : 150 kg
- Resistance system: magnetic
- Folding option: Yes
- Transport wheels: Yes
- Flywheel : 3 kg
Rank #11: Schwinn BIKER rowing machine
The Schwinn BIKER rowing machine is a great choice for fitness enthusiasts who train to be even more satisfied with life. The rowing machine embodies the best quality you can expect from Schwinn products.
The Schwinn brand has been on the market for over 50 years. She became famous mainly for the production of exercise bikes. Schwinn’s current range includes cardio training devices for home use. Both technologically and in terms of appearance, these devices meet the highest standards.
- display: LCD, with the ability to track and control parameters such as distance, time, calories, repetitions, pulse
- display position adjustment possible
- magnetic, manual resistance
- number of programs: 10
- comfortable, large seat
- ergonomic, comfortable handles
- large, adjustable and stable pedals
- transport wheels
- foldable and therefore easy to store
- Permissible user weight: 136 kg
- purpose: domestic use
- Max load : 136 kg
- Transport wheels: Yes
- Distance: Yes
- Time: Yes
- Calories: Yes
- Pulse: Yes
Rank #12: ECHANFIT Rowing Machine
The ECHANFIT Rowing Machine is a new top model from the ECHANFIT brand. The new computer with a clear LCD allows you to track training parameters in all lighting conditions. During intense training, the visibility of training parameters is particularly important because it allows you to monitor your performance effectively. The computer can also be tilted so that it is always in sight.
The rowing machine is equipped with seven training programs and a new Pacer program (race against the computer). All this to diversify training and further motivate the user.
The ECHANFIT Rowing Machine has a very modern design. The black and white housing and the aluminum rail will perfectly match any interior. The rowing machine can be traditionally folded and easily moved on transport rollers.
- braking system: magnetic
- adjustable resistance: 16 levels
- electronic resistance adjustment
- training programs
- pull length: 170 cm
- high-quality ball bearings
- comfortable sitting
- display: LCD with backlight and tilt angle adjustment
- unfolded dimensions: 232 x 55 x 75 cm
- dimensions after folding: 118 x 55 x 155 cm
- transport rollers
- max. user weight: 120 kg
Computer Features :
- displayed parameters: Time, Distance, Calories
- number of rows
- number of rows per minute
- pulse measurement: telemetry belt (option)
- Seven interval training programs
- One computer race program
- 1 HR program (Heart Rate)
Other information :
- Catalog number: 4533
- Home warranty: 3 years
- Dimensions (length, width, height) : 232 x 55 x 75 cm
- Weight : 55 kg
- Flywheel: 8 kg
- Max load : 120 kg
- Drive transmission system: rope cable
- Resistance system: magnetic
- Folding option: Yes
- Transport wheels: Yes
The JOROTO Magnetic Rower is a modern rowing machine with water resistance. The device is ideal for commercial use in small fitness clubs or wellness rooms and at home. The equipment is a combination of high quality, simplicity of use, and functionality. The rowing machine is ideal for training the whole body.
The ZW1600 rowing machine, as the name says, has a water resistance system. It is regulated by adding or pouring water from the tank. The nine lines indicate the degree of resistance on the side of the tank. The blades in the tank are set at the right angle, which means that the movement is smooth. Unlike classic cars, it is more enjoyable to train with a water oarsman because you will hear a pleasant, relaxing hum of water during exercise.
JOROTO Magnetic Rower was made of the highest quality materials that guarantee safety during use. Aluminum guide and comfortable saddle allow training at the highest level: comfortable and smooth. The solid construction satisfies a load capacity of 150 kg. Even with a full water tank, moving equipment is not a problem thanks to the built-in transport wheels. Storage of the device is also very easy, thanks to convenient folding.
The device is equipped with a computer with a very readable LCD. The display shows all the important information that is useful during training, e.g., distance, time, heart rate (heart rate is measured using the telemetry belt, which is included in the set).
The JOROTO Magnetic Rower enables comprehensive endurance training. The device is ideal for strengthening and stretching many muscle groups, e.g., back, legs, buttocks, arms. What are the effects of water rowing training? Improving the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, fat burning, increased the body’s ability to absorb oxygen.
- unfolded dimensions: 211.5 x 52 x 85 cm
- dimensions of the folded device: 112.5 x 52 x 142.5 cm
- water resistance, regulated by the amount of water in the tank
- comfortable foot support with velcro straps
- comfortable seat that moves smoothly on the skid
- transport wheels
- Weight: 27.38 kg
- Permissible user weight: 150 kg
- the kit comes with: a funnel, a pump to drain the water, a telemetry belt
- functions: heart rate measurement, outdoor temperature, number of repetitions, RPM, Scan, time, speed, distance, pulse, calories
Dimensions (length, width, height) : 211.5 x 52 x 85 cm
Weight : 28 kg
Max load : 150 kg
Transport wheels: Yes
Rank #14: CIRCUIT FITNESS Circuit Fitness Deluxe Foldable Magnetic Rowing Machine
The Circuit Fitness Deluxe Foldable Magnetic Rowing Machine from the Circuit Fitnessseries is the perfect fitness equipment. It is an ergometer, which means that it has the function of measuring the work muscles. A solid main frame of 1.23 m long, a 6.5 kg flywheel, guarantees comfortable, safe, and smooth training. It has 12 defined training programs, individual user programs, Target programs (target), race program, and HRC program controlled by the user’s heart. The rowing machine is equipped with 16 resistance levels adjustable by a computer with an LCD and wireless heart rate measurement during training so that the user can track the progress of training regularly. The instrument can be easily folded and stored in a small space.
It is a device that lightly strains the joints, so people of all ages can use it. The rowing machine is a perfect device for training, especially the muscles of the legs, arms, back, back, and hips, a device burning fat, improving the overall condition and efficiency of the body.
- computer: with a 126 x 60 mm LCD
- Resistance range: 16 levels
- flywheel weight: 6.5 kg
- flywheel weight in motion (inertia): 8.25 kg
- display functions:
o number of paddle movements per minute (SPM)
- training programs:
o 12 defined
o HRC – heart rate controlled program
o race program
o individual user program
o Target programs – measuring target training parameters such as:
- handle/rod: round with a 38.6 mm; covered with a special foam coating to prevent the hand slipping during training
- bases for feet: wide, with stops at the rear and adjustable safety straps with Velcro
- leveling feet: yes, in the front and rear bases
- transport wheels: yes, in the front base
- heart rate measurement: wireless heart rate measurement (additional wireless measurement belt required)
- dimensions when unfolded: 198 x 48 x 82 (L x W x H)
- folded dimensions: 86 x 48 x 148 (L x W x H)
- weight of machine: 33.1 kg
- Package Weight: 35.3 kg
- maximum user weight: 120 kg
- a 24-month warranty covers the equipment
- the equipment complies with European safety standards
- the computer is certified С certificate
- the computer complies with the EU ROHS directive (restricting the content of harmful materials)
- Dimensions (length, width, height) : 198 x 48 x 82 cm
- Weight : 33 kg
- Max load : 120 kg
- Flywheel: 6 kg
- Drive transmission system: rope cable
- Folding option: Yes
- Transport wheels: Yes
Benefits of the rowing machine on your health
The rowing machine mimics the movement performed on the boat or canoe in the sport of rowing.
It offers aerobic training: the exercise of medium or low intensity and long duration, where the body makes a lot of oxygen to burn fat and carbohydrates.
This is a list of the main benefits that you will obtain when doing your training with the rowing machine:
Tone all the muscle groups of your body
If you are wondering what muscles the rowing machine works, the answer is almost all of them!
The effort you need to exert to achieve the correct rowing motion requires your entire body’s momentum, using a total of 80% of your muscles.
These are the muscles that take the most work during training and the ones that you will see marked faster:
- Latissimus dorsi muscle: The largest muscle in the back.
- The rhomboids: They are found on the shoulder, between the spine and the shoulder blades
- Trapezoids: The muscle between your neck and your shoulders.
- The triceps and biceps: In the arms.
- The glutes: You know what they are!
- Quadriceps: The front of the thigh
- The hamstrings: The back of the thigh.
- The abs: Central and high part
- The obliques: The muscles on both sides of the abdomen.
Increase your cardiovascular endurance
Nothing more important than having a healthy heart and lungs!
This guide to reducing sedentary lifestyle from the Andalusian Health Council explains how important it is to increase the maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) to improve circulation. Therefore, the proper functioning of the heart.
Right here, you can confirm that the World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes a week of aerobic physical activity to reduce the risks of coronary heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
The rowing machine provides you with the ideal aerobic exercise, with your preference’s intensity, to increase your resistance progressively and gently with your body.
To get rid of doubts, the previous guide mentions rowing as one of the recommended aerobic activities.
I would be lying if I said I bought my rowing machine to be healthy. I also wanted to look slim again, and I’m doing it!
I began to lose the extra pounds by just training 30 minutes a day, about five days a week, and I sped up the process using one of the most recommended reducing girdles.
The rowing machine requires you to keep your back straight to perform the exercise correctly, and it also forces you to open your chest, pushing your shoulders back and lengthening your neck.
By doing this every day, your body will adjust to the posture, and it will be more natural for you to stand or sit without slouching.
It is suitable for young and old alike.
The rowing machine offers a low-impact training with adjustable intensity, which does not generate weight in any joint, so it can be used without risk by anyone who does not have delicate health conditions.
It is even recommended for recovery after joint injuries or operations.
On page 40 of this guide for the prescription of physical exercise in patients with cardiovascular risk, of the Spanish League for the fight against arterial hypertension, you can find a table that indicates the contraindicated health conditions for rowing exercise and any exercise aerobic.
If you do not see yourself reflected in any of these conditions, it does not matter if you are 15 or 65 years old. You will find multiple benefits in a rowing machine!
Fight stress, anxiety, and depression
Any exercise helps you to release tension in the body. Still, the exercise’s execution on the rowing machine, through push/pull and release, works more efficiently to balance the loads that we put on the muscles due to the stress, which are relocated to achieve the activity.
At the end of my daily rowing routine, I always feel a sense of relaxation that I could only compare to a good yoga session.
As it is a highly demanding aerobic exercise, it effectively increases VO2max. Among the greatest benefits of cardio-respiratory endurance is reducing anxiety and depression, as you can see on page 47 of the guide I mentioned previously.
Do you have even more doubts? Then do not miss this detailed article on the benefits of the rowing machine that will convince you.
How To Choose The Best Rowing Machine For Home
To determine the purchase factors, I investigated the differences between the rowing machines’ various resistance systems and verified which were considered the best brands.
So I learned to recognize the most important aspects and characteristics that you should look for in a rowing machine, and I share them with you below.
Cable Drive Vs. Pistons
There are two types of base frame for rowing machines.
Those that are based on pulling a handle that is connected with a cable or chain to the source of resistance, and those that are based on pulling a pair of levers that activate 1 or 2 pistons that generate resistance
In any case, I recommend cable traction rowing machines for multiple reasons. They are made to recreate strength, acceleration, and endurance training identical to that experienced with the rowboat exercise.
However, the machines with pistons exercise the muscles to a more aesthetic level, aimless sports integration, so you can get to look good, but do not always get stronger or you will feel healthier.
There are some exceptions, it is true, whose piston system is more demanding. Still, they are more cumbersome to perform a fluid movement and learn to apply the same force on both sides of the body.
This is why the cable traction structure is more recommended.
It is used by professionals and beginners alike, and it is the one I looked for to select the best rowing machines that I show you below.
Resistance type: Air, water, or magnetic
Among the cable traction machines, you can find, in turn, three classifications, which are based on the method to achieve resistance:
Air Resistance Rowing Machine
By pulling the handlebar, you spin a disk surrounded by blades like a fan.
With the adjustment level, you can regulate how much air can pass through said fan. The greater the amount of air, the more resistance the disc will offer to keep turning since the air works as a shock absorber against the movement.
- It is the system most used by professionals
- The resistance is adapted to the physical performance of each athlete.
- It is priced a bit higher than the other systems.
A rowing machine with water resistance
When you pull the handlebar, you spin some blades immersed in a tank of water.
The tank is marked with various markings to determine fill levels. The more water you add, the more resistance the blades will offer to spin.
- The feeling of rowing is identical to the sport of boating.
- Produces a pleasant and relaxing sound.
- They take up more space, both lengthwise and widthwise.
A rowing machine with magnetic resistance
By pulling the handlebar, you turn a flywheel with a certain weight, usually between 5 and 15 kg.
When selecting the resistance level, a set of magnets that border the flywheel is moved closer or further away. The higher the level, the closer the magnet is and makes it more difficult for the steering wheel to turn.
- Usually, a cheap rowing machine
- It is very quiet.
- It is the heaviest compared to the other types of resistance.
Some rowing machines combine 2 of these systems to offer a more organic workout, with greater adjustment options or a wider range of resistance levels.
I found on Amazon the comment of a buyer who left a single star on a rowing machine because the model was very large, it did not enter any part of her apartment, and she returned it.
In my opinion, this is not a reason to subtract stars from a product. It is our duty as buyers to verify that we have space for what we are buying!
After measuring space you have available at home to locate the rowing machine, look for a model whose length measures are at least 50 cm less than that space.
Remember that the rowing motion involves leaning back a bit, and you don’t want to hit the crown of your head against the wall.
Easy to store and move
Do you have a permanent place to locate your rowing machine? If so, you can skip this feature.
If you do not have a permanent space, and you plan to relocate and store your rowing machine each time you finish, choose a model that has scroll wheels and is foldable, or has a system to make it more compact so that you can take it to a place where it does not get in the way while you are not using it.
For this aspect, it is also very beneficial that the structure allows it to be stored standing.
Maximum weight and height are supported.
Each exercise machine has its limitations. The average height they support is 1.85 m, and the average weight is 130 kg.
If you exceed any of those figures, be sure to check the maximum weight and height of each model that catches your attention.
Training Console Features
The training console, which is also known as a performance monitor, is essential to accompany you on each exercise day with your rowing machine, as it provides you with the data you achieve with your physical effort in real-time, such as:
- Calories burned
- Strokes per minute
- The distance paddled
- Heart rate, among others.
These are basic data, all training consoles should provide them, but also, if you choose one with advanced technology, they will include other very useful tools such as:
- Registration of various user profiles, with age, sex, weight, and height.
- Pre-installed training programs.
- Compatibility with heart rate measuring devices.
- HCR (heart rate training) functions
- Internet connection for competition mode and interaction with other users.
- Recreational activities (sports games)
In addition to this, the monitor must have the following physical characteristics :
- Backlight, so you can see the data even in unfavorable light conditions.
- Adjustable support with a flexible shaft to direct the screen towards the height of your face.
Sports app compatibility
The technology is our best ally today. It is a great benefit that your rowing machine has Bluetooth, wifi, or a connection system with your smartphone or tablet, and that you can use it through its app or your favorite sports apps.
In this way, you can make more lasting records of your training, check your progress, see your data from old exercise sessions again, and save all the data received by the console or performance monitor on your smart device daily.
So you can compare them with those of other users, get appropriate advice for your physical condition, and share results on your social networks.
Stand to hold the smartphone or tablet.
Do you like to listen to music, podcasts, or watch your favorite YouTubers while you exercise?
Then consider buying a rowing machine that has, in front of the performance monitor, support to locate the mobile or tablet, with which you can use them as the main screen.
Comfort lies in the good ergonomic design of the seat, handlebar, and pedals.
- The handlebar must be covered with a material that conforms to the hands’ pressure, which allows a good grip.
- The seat must be wide and made of a material that absorbs the impacts of the push.
- The pedals should be non-slip, incorporate adjustment straps to secure the feet and avoid dislocation, and, if possible, have a flexible shaft that allows natural movement of the ankles when rowing.
Ease of assembly
Don’t let it be a nightmare to assemble your rowing machine!
Ensure he brings an instruction manual to assemble and all the tools you will need to achieve it.
Quality of materials
The best-built rowing machines have an aluminum frame.
While the best cable pull is nylon or polypropylene strap, similar to seat belts.
These materials represent durability, lower weight, and lower noise.
The best rowing machines, those with cable traction, start at prices around 350 euros, which are aimed at beginners, have training monitors with basic options, and perhaps little resistance levels.
Those with more resistance, greater comfort, and multiple options on the console can exceed 1,000 euros.
It’s the same price range you’ll find for the best exercise bikes, but with the rowing machine, you have the benefit of exercising your upper body as well.
Yes! For this comparison guide, I made sure to select only the best quality-price rowing machines, so you can make the most of every penny you pay.
What are the best rowing machines to buy
Here I show you my top 8 rowing machines, available on Amazon, where I always find the best prices and the most efficient delivery service.
I tell you the most important characteristics of each one, their pros and cons, the main opinions of buyers, and what type of person will get the most out of these models.
Which rowing machine to buy
These are the two best quality-price rowing machines, effective for all levels of training, durable, and with the greatest amount of features:
- For those who want a gym-worthy rowing machine at home: The Sportstech RSX500 Portable Rowing Machine
This rowing machine is kept at an affordable price and has multiple advanced features. It has magnetic resistance, 16 levels of adjustment, compatibility with Smartphone and sports applications, a multifunctional console with pre-installed programs, and HRC functions. As if that were not enough, it includes its chest heart rate monitor.
- For the elderly, people with joint problems, and anyone who wants a professional level training: the Concept2 indoor rowing machine.
This machine has an air resistance system that does not generate impact, with up to 10 levels of adjustment, and a performance monitor with the most advanced technology, capable of linking to the computer, tablet, or smartphone and providing you with 12 training programs, 4 HCR functions, and competition mode in real-time with fellow athletes from around the world.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can anyone use the rowing machine?
Yes. Rowing machine exercise does not impact the joints, so that it can be used by people of any age, from teenagers to older adults.
These machines also allow you to adjust the level of resistance through levers or knobs, which makes them suitable for both beginners and advanced athletes.
In which cases is it not advisable to exercise with the rowing machine?
Avoid training with the rowing machine if you have a delicate health condition that prevents you from aerobic and cardiovascular exercise. For example:
- Recent inflammation or trauma to the locomotor system.
- Acute state of neurological diseases.
- Congestive heart failure
- Ventricular or aortic aneurysm.
- Active tuberculosis.
- Rib fractures.
- Elevated blood glucose above 300.
Does the rowing machine need a connection to the electrical network to work?
No. The cable traction system of rowing machines works through inertia. They are activated with the force you apply to rotate the flywheel’s axis or the blades.
Still, the performance monitor (the LCD console) needs the power to function. In most cases, they only require AAA batteries, but some exceptions need to be connected directly to the electrical network.
How many hours a week can you train on a rowing machine?
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes a week for these cardiovascular exercises, such as the rowing machine, which involves large muscle groups. That translates to 5 sessions of 30 minutes a week.
Once you have gained experience and developed a good physical shape, you can increase that time to a maximum of 50 minutes per training session, that is, about 250 minutes per week.
Is a rowing machine with magnetic resistance or one with air or water resistance better?
Each type of resistance has its advantages and disadvantages:
- Magnetic resistance is best for getting started in sports and learning the correct postures and movements.
- Resistance by water allows more customization in the resistance level and is better for concentrating.
- Air resistance adapts its level of difficulty to each athlete’s physical condition, so it is the most used by professionals and by older people or in recovery from physical injuries.
How much minimum should the flywheel of a rowing machine weigh?
The ideal weight is between 6 and 9 kilograms. Less than that could take too long to see results in training, and more than that could lead to injury if not used carefully.