Exercise enthusiast looking for the best workout will be pleasantly surprised with 2017’s upgraded rowing machines for home use. Rowing machines are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment on the market today because they work a large range of muscle groups simultaneously. In fact rowing offers one of the best total body workouts - second only to swimming.
So with all the choices available, which ones are the best indoor rowing machines for providing a great workout, versatility, and an affordable price point? Fit Gear Review provides an in-depth analysis of the best rowing machine available and updates these regularly to stay on top of the latest changes in design and technology.
We’ve also included our top picks based on a number of factors, such as value, customer ratings, best level of customer service, most advanced indoor rowing technology, and ease of use.
IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING AN INDOOR ROWING MACHINE
You may be able to afford a $2,000 rowing machine, but after you assess your needs and read our guide, you may find a machine that is perfect for you for well under $1,000. Determine how often the machine will get used. Is it for one person or will other people in the fmaily use it also? If you plan to use machine regularly (at least 3 days a week), don't try to buy a budget model.
Folding vs. Fixed:
There are two types of rowing machines for home use; folding and fixed. The folding type rowing machines are a good choice if you don't have a dedicated workout space and need to store the rower in between workouts. Fixed rowing machines are more durable and typically have a smoother rowing motion, but of course take up more space.
Type of Rowing Machine:
There are four types of rowing machine: air, hydraulic, magnetic and water rowers.
Water Rowing Machine:
Water rowing machines use water pressure to provide resistance using a water flywheel (paddles) in a tank of water connected to a chain and handles. When you pull back on the handle, the paddles revolves in the water. This creates a drag against the paddles and produces resistance. The faster you row the greater the resistance.
This action more closely replicates the feel of rowing on water and is smoother with a constant resistance throughout the complete stroke. While some air rowers don't provide a totally smooth stroke, water rowers don't have a 'flat spot' where the resistance drops during the stroke cycle.
Advantages of Water Rowing Machine:
- Quiet operation with a soothing water sound
- Smooth, consistent resistance through stroke
- Elegant, wood design
- Very little maintenance needed
Disadvantages of Water Rowing Machine:
- Larger, taking up more space than other rowing machines
- Higher price
- Our top pick for a water rowing machine is the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine.
Air Rowing Machine:
Air rowing machines produce resistance using air flowing over an internal flywheel. The wheel is connected by a chain to the rowing handle and as you pull this spins the flywheel. The faster you row, the faster the flywheel spins through the air, and the greater the resistance.
Advantages of air rowers
- Wide range of resistance to better replicate rowing on water.
- Resistance adjusts to your stroke rate.
- Smoother rowing action.
- Reduced wear and tear to mechanism.
Disadvantage of air rowing machines
- Can be noisy for indoor use
- Our top pick for the best air rower is the Stamina Air Rower.
Hydraulic Rowing Machine:
In hydraulic rowing machines, resistance is achieved by hydraulic pistons attached to the handles. When you exert force on the handlebars by pulling them back, the air or fluid in the cylinders create resistance and you have to work against it.
Advantages of Hydraulic Rowers
- Lower cost
- Smaller size, many are folding models
- Some higher end models offer variable resistance levels
Disadvantages of Hydraulic Rowing Machines
- Rowing action not as smooth
- Resistance levels change as oil inside heats up.
- Require regular maintenance
Magnetic Rowing Machine:
Magnetic rowers work by varying the distance between magnets and the spinning flywheel attached to the handle by a chain. Resistance levels are adjusted by either digital console controls and mechanical sliders. If you are looking for high quality product that provides you excellent resistance then magnetic rowing machine is best option for you.
- Quiet, almost silent operation
- Wide range of resistance levels
- Most models are smaller than air or water rowers
- Little maintenance required
Disdvantages of Magnetic Rowers
- Although smaller in size, they don't fold up for storage
- Rowing action not very similar to real rowing
Check The Rower, Seat and Sliding Track:
Be sure to check the specifications of the indoor rowing machine you are planning to buy. Make sure it will fit your height and weight.
Our top pick for best magnetic rower is the Concept2 Model D Rower.
OUR TOP PICKS