There are few reliable and tested best rowing machines for the house that offer full-body workouts. If you are not a runner and don’t like cycling either, you might just fall in love with the rowing machine and to help you make a better choice we have covered several rowing machine reviews 2021 here. Like the treadmill and the various recumbent cycles/upright cycles, rowing machines are built for exercise in the house. It is designed to mimic the movement of outdoor rowing. Most machines accomplish the motion of rowing with the help of a movable seat and hand-pulls.
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Best Rowing Machine – Top 3 Favorites for 2021
However, if you’re on a budget, and you’re looking for a simpler machine, the Sunny Rowing Machine is your best bet. At any rate, before you purchase a rowing machine, you should be familiar with the various types of erg machines, the best features, your goals and most importantly the best products on the market. Read our rowing machine reviews for the latest information on the best indoor rowers on the market.
Why Buy a Rowing Machine?
The Indoor Rower, also commonly referred to as the ergometer, was first introduced as a military training device for beginners to learn technique and train on-shore before they went on board ships. Since the mid 18 and 1900’s, row machines have come a long way, and success with design (the Concept 2 rowing machine) has even spawned the new sport of competitive indoor rowing, which has, in turn, revolutionized training and selection procedures for watercraft rowing.
A lot of the machines available for sale on the market today are of an extremely high caliber. They offer incredible training platforms for the layperson to get in shape and look amazing along with several other rowing machine benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the following rowing machine benefits:
1. Convenience: Modern rowing machines are light, easily transportable and take up little space compared to treadmills, indoor cycles, and other indoor equipment. Let’s face it, hauling yourself to the gym after a long day work can be painful and frustrating, especially if you have to drive long distances to get in a workout. With a rowing machine sitting in the house in front of your eyes, it’s hard to make excuses to skip your workout.
You know that when you come home, you can just get on the machine for 15 -30 mins, and you’ve achieved your exercise goal for the day. Yes, it can be that simple!
2. Full Body Workout: Most people who are into fitness and health are worried that they’re not working out for their full body with exercise. With runners, it’s mostly the legs, the same goes for cycling and even the elliptical to a significant degree. People who lift weights, on the other hand, need to worry about performing a whole variety of exercises to target all the muscles in the body which can take up a lot of time.
However, rowing machine workouts provide the ideal movement pattern that targets your whole body, including your legs, core, back, and arms. Moreover, depending on the tempo you set for the workout you can even train those muscles for endurance or strength or both!
3. Force and Endurance: As an exercise, rowing workouts are both inherently aerobic as well as anaerobic. Along with working the cardiovascular system, rowing also works for many muscle groups anaerobically throughout the body. Hence, it is considered a strength-endurance sport. Basic rowing machine technique comprises of four basic phases: the catch, the drive, the finish, and recovery.
The catch is the initial phase, where the body is relaxed and ready. The drive begins with the large quadriceps muscles of the thigh pushing the body back; next, the core is engaged to add to the work of the legs and lever the body backward. The arms are straight and parallel to the floor, ready to pull the handle toward the chest. In this motion, the muscles of the arm (primarily the biceps), shoulder and back are engaged.
After the finish, the individual slides through the recovery to the catch and engages the full body for action again. Check out these awesome rowing workouts to kick-start your rowing program.
4. Soft on the joints: Unlike running, cycling and other high-impact exercises that can be detrimental to the joints, rowing machine workouts are comparatively smooth and easy on the joints. However, rowing can affect the lower back and cause injury without the use of proper technique. If you plan on using your rowing machine on a daily basis, it is well worth the investment to read and learn about implementing the proper rowing machine technique.
Once you are confident with your technique, which includes a focus on both body mechanics and breathing (exhaling on the drive and inhaling on the recovery), you will find that using the rowing machine can be a surprisingly pleasurable activity. An awareness of the breadth during an intense session can also paradoxically be quite relaxing and calming for the mind.
5. Calorie-Burning: Rowing is inherently an intense calorie-burning exercise. With many installed workouts, modern ergometer is an excellent weight-loss tool. As with the Treadmill, one can perform various rowing workouts on the Row machine by varying speed (“split”= the amount of time in minutes and seconds required to travel 500 meters), distance, and time. One such effective rowing workout that is commonly used in indoor rowing is Interval training.
Interval training involves varying periods of intense training with moderate to slow training that is great for intense calorie-burning sessions. Most erg machines have computers with pre-installed programs, including the option to program your workout where you row at an average speed for a few hundred meters and then row at a slower pace for the next distance and so on.
6. Affordable: Unlike, expensive gym memberships that weigh heavy on your wallet and your conscience for missing days, the rowing machine requires a single upfront payment. It also continues to pay you dividends as you get leaner and fitter.
There are a wide variety of products on the market with good features at affordable prices, so you are bound to find one that makes good financial sense. Read our top Rowing Machine Reviews to for a detailed analysis of the best ergometers in the market.
Rowing Machines Buying Guide
The best thing about rowing is its capability to provide cardiovascular workouts and full body workouts at the same time. There are many myths regarding these rowers. Some people even go on to an extent to think that they are only good during some seasons but we will tell you something it is just a myth. There is not even a pinch of truth in that.
Rowing machines are so simple that anyone who is approaching it can just get on it and start rowing without any worries. If you still doubt, just check out some tutorials online to find out how easy it is to use a rowing machine. With this simplicity, you can easily start building your body muscles.
With a ton of benefits, many people desire to buy these rowers but something holds them back. Their ignorance and their lack of ability to choose the best rowing machines 2021 out of the plethora of rowing machines available in the market right now.
To make everything simpler, try asking yourself these questions. They will help you narrow down the options available.
- How much do you like rowing?
- What is your budget for buying the rowers?
- How much space can you afford to lose in your home for the rowers?
- How frequently do you plan to workout with the rowers?
Part 1: How Will You Use The Rowing Machine?
All of you will be only thinking about working out on them and nothing else. But there are some more things that you need to think about before making the purchase.
1. Is this for residential or commercial use?
Indoor rowing machines are well built to be a good workout companion in your homes but that doesn’t mean that they are strong enough to withstand the harsh usage they may be subjected to in the commercial gyms and boathouses. So, if you are buying the rower for your home, then you have nothing to worry but if it is for heavy usage then you must be careful not to buy something with lower endurance capacity.
There are rowing machines especially made for this kind of tough usage. Maybe your home consists of more than 5 members then again don’t choose the traditional rowers. Go for something like a semi-commercial rowing machine.
This will ensure that the rowers last long. We found rowers like WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine and Concept2 Model D Home/Commercial Rowing Machine to be good options if you want so many people to workout on your rowing machine.
2. Are You Looking for On-the-Water Simulation?
If you are a person who usually rows on water and wants a similar experience on the rowers, then not many rowers will be able to get you the same experience. You will need to choose a rowing machine that can easily simulate the real-life rowing experience with a proper resistance that you get on an original boat. Generally, we found the seasoned rowers to prefer water rowers and air rowers during off seasons so they are a good pick for the people who want a real-life rowing experience.
3. Are you going to share this rowing machine?
Most of the times, the rowing machines are going to be used by more than one person so it is always better to choose a rower with a variable resistance so that anyone who wants to use it will find it comfortable to workout with them. Not just that rowing machines come with different maximum weight capacities and height capacities so choose it depending on the type of people who will be rowing on them.
The best rowing machines will have monitors with the facility of assigning user profiles. This will be especially useful when multiple people are working out on the same machine.
4. What are your Workout Goals?
Setting fitness goals are important before starting any kind of workout. It will help to keep you on track. This will also let you choose the right rower that you may need. All the rowers are made differently so some of them will be only useful for some specific needs so you need to pick them wisely. We will make it clear for you if you are a bodybuilder who is just looking for equipment to build your muscles more and body bigger then all you need will be hydraulic rowers with hydraulic piston resistance.
This is also a good option for people who are planning to use it for weight reduction. Some rowers have preset programs with fitness goals that you can target at. So choose the rower based on your fitness goals.
5. How many people will use the rower?
The number of people who will be using the rower is an important concern. It determines the longevity of your equipment. There are rowers that can work tirelessly in any kind of environment but they must be selected before they can be of any good use for you. Also, check out the maximum weight capacity on each of the rowers if the weight of the people who are going to use the rower falls above it then it can wreck the rower. If you don’t care about this, your warranty will be void incurring more expense once you break it.
Part 2: Learn About the Different Resistance Types
All the rowing machines can be easily categorized into 4 based on the resistance systems they use.
- Hydraulic piston
Each of these resistance types has its own specialties and flaws. If you understand them better, it will get easier for you to distinguish between the rowers available in the market. Moreover, if you have any affinity towards a particular type, then the number of rowers you need to look at will be reduced.
For example, if you prefer rowers and have a budget of around $400 then you will only be having 2 rowers to select. We always feel that the best way to get the best rowers is to decide upon your budget and the resistance type you need.
Below is a brief summary of each resistance type:
1. Air: If you have ever seen a rower in the gym, then chances are that it will be off air resistance type. The resistance offered by these rowers is related to the rowing intensity the user provides to these rowers. This means that the more you push them the more the resistance the rower will provide. Air rowers are famous for providing a smooth motion while rowing but they are a bit noisy due to the fan.
2. Hydraulic Piston: These are the cheapest rowers that you can get in the market right now. Hydraulic pistons are used for providing resistance in these rowers and it can easily be adjusted by turning the dials. They are compact rowers so you can save a lot of your room space if you buy them.
3. Magnetic: Magnetic rowers utilize electromagnets for their braking system and because of this, they remain silent while working out. The resistance levels of the magnetic rowing machines can be adjusted easily. In some cases, the resistance levels found in magnetic rowers are far less than the resistance provided by air rows and water rowers.
But they have a smooth rowing motion and you can easily feel the resistance provided by these rowers even at lower speeds, unlike the air and water rowers. We found them to be highly durable so you will not have to worry about the repairing expense if you get the best magnetic rower.
4. Water: Water rowers are ideal for the people who require a realistic rowing experience that is similar to rowing in water. The rowing motion and the sound it makes is virtually similar to rowing on plain water. Their resistance level adjustment is like that of air resistance where the intensity of the user’s drive decides the resistance of the rower.
While rowing, the blades make the water splash which causes noise which might feel odd when you are indoors but it is similar to the noise produced during real rowing. Out of all the resistance types we reviewed, these are one of the best rowers and are priced the highest.
Part 3: Additional features worth Considering
1. Space: Just as with purchasing any indoor equipment, space is an important factor. The Hydraulic resistance type indoor rowers are perhaps the easiest to store since they are foldable. The air and water resistance types will take up more space, so you need to look at the dimensions carefully before you order. It is a good idea to factor in the extra elbow for your workout so that you’re not colliding with any furniture. Read our rowing machine reviews for details on dimensions, foldable features and more.
2. Workout Effectiveness: What are your exercise goals? Are you simply looking to for some moderate exercise each session or do you plan to train with increasing intensity? The air resistance type rower is not the top choice for competitions for nothing. It offers the best training and preparation for outdoor rowing, so you can be sure that you’re in for serious exercise if that’s what you’re looking for.
The magnetic and hydraulic rowers offer great workouts as well. However, they are inherently easier to use and tend to be less intense than air/water resistance types. Another aspect to consider that can affect your workout is dual/single straps. It is, therefore, a good idea to determine your exercise goals before you choose.
3. Noise: Noise can put you off and cause you to lose focus during your workouts. The air resistance rower makes very little noise when you row, and it also provides a cool breeze as you row harder which can be quite refreshing. The water type rowers provide the best kind of noise, especially if you love rowing. All you can hear is the calming sound of water sloshing around in the tank.
Hydraulic rowers can be noisy, especially when they’re in need of maintenance. The magnetic type is virtually silent since it produces no friction.
4. Cost: Indoor Rowers range in price between $200 and $1000. There are many products available in the market, so you need not to worry if you are on a strict budget. What’s important, however, is your personal preference, available space, and your workout goals. You should be sure and positive when you choose so that your chosen product continues to pay you dividends in the future.
5. The Length and Weight Limitations: Not all the rowers are made with the same dimensions, so you must check the maximum weight and height capacity of the rowers before making the purchase. Almost all of the famous brands publish their maximum weight capacity. But if you are too tall then you might have to check out each rower one by one to ensure that it will fit you in.
A long seat rail and large foot pedal will be needed for people like that. Hydraulic rowers and magnetic rowers may not be a good fit for tall people.
6. Brands: There are many famous brands out there who have been making good quality rowers for years so there is a great chance by which you will choosing any one of their rowers. Brands like Concept2, Stamina, and WaterRower are good options for anyone who wants the best rowers.
But there are new rowers coming in the market every day with much more technological integration so it will be good for you to check them out too and don’t just jump into buying a product because of the brand name. Analyze the rower carefully and find out whether it is suitable for your needs. The dimensions, features and the resistance type must all be considered before making the final buy.
7. Monitor Controls: Almost all of the rowers released these days have a monitor for managing basic functions. The features of these monitors will go on increasing with the price that you pay. And this one is based on your discretion. If you want the best monitors then get ready to shell out the extra cash.
The most basic rowers can be used for monitoring your speed, distance, and speed. Expensive models will have the facility to monitor heart rate, calories and the ability to do preset rowing games. If you want any of these features, then go in search of them or else stick with better rowing experience because ultimately that is what matters most.
Anyway they will cost you more so you must also get the best performance otherwise it will just be a solid waste of money. Even with a poor monitor, the best rowers will still be able to give you full body workouts. Other things to take care of:
- Besides this, every characteristic that turns the rowing machine to be more easy to work on like the handlebar, footplates as well as the seat must be paid attention to.
- Try to prefer the rower that has the seat and handle padded.
- Also, go for the one whose footplates are a pivot to ensure comfort.
- Take into account the other factors like the seat height. This is important if you are tall or face transportation issues.
- Try to go for a rower that is easily foldable so that you do not face any storage problems. If you are buying a bulky model, then go for the one that has wheels so that you are able to move it easily.
8. Metal Foot-plates: Footplates are an important component of the rower so they must be able to endure the force you exert on them while rowing. Plastic plates and bracing must be avoided for their lack of strength instead of going with full metal ones. The pulling drive system is also an important thing to consider. There are two types of pulling system – chain and belt. From our research, we found out those belt systems to be silent. But make sure that these belts are made of high-quality materials.
9. Wireless Heart Rate Monitors: Sometimes it is really hard to keep you motivated. Getting your pulse reading is one of the ways by which you can do this. Good heart rate monitoring systems are found in some of the rowers. These heart rate measurement units will require you to buy the additional chest straps which will increase your investment amount.
You can easily get a non-wireless heart rate measurement facility at every price category. But based on the actual user experiences they don’t provide an accurate measurement.
10. Workout Programs: Workout programs are useful for adding variety to your otherwise mundane workouts. And not just that it will help you in fixing fitness goals. They have a lot of variety in terms of stroke count, calories burned and the total time is taken for workouts. The best rowers from brands like BodyCraft, Concept2, NordicTrack, and WaterRower have workout programs built into them.
Most of the cheaper rowers don’t offer this facility but being an exception the rower NordicTrack RW200 has 20 preloaded workouts. If you want video tutorials and high-quality workout guides, then you can get it from the website of WaterRower. The best rower offered by WaterRower is the WaterRower Signature. The best features you will get with them are access to the Olympic medalist and trainer Xeno Müller. This can be a bargaining feature for many buyers.
Part 4: Consider the Warranty of Rowing Machine
Warranty of the rowers is a determining factor to analyze the quality of the build. The longer the warranty period the longer you can expect the rowers to stay without any damages. Warranty may be relative to the amount of money you pay. But make sure to get the product with the maximum warranty within your budget. After all, nobody wants to stay with a broken rower in the first year of usage.
Warranties come in three parts-frame, the parts, and labor. The frames are less vulnerable to breakage so what you must give care to is the parts warranty. The parts like the monitor, pistons and the chains are all expensive to repair. Like we said earlier, cheap machines 2021 give a really short period of warranty. For the best rowers 2021, you can expect a warranty of over 3-5 years on the frame and around 2-3 years on the parts. Getting a 1-year labor warranty is also a good option.
Part 5: Consider the Assembly and Maintenance
Assembly of Rowing Machines
Rowing machines don’t have many parts so you don’t have to worry much about the assembly. All the rowing machines will have a user manual that can be used for assembling the rowing machine without any trouble. If any trouble comes up the customer services executives will surely help you in making assembly easy.
Many people buy the best rower but ruin it up really fast because of poor maintenance. There are a few things recommended by the manufacturers in order to prolong the life of your rower. This includes changing the water frequently and the addition of purification tables. Doing this will prevent the growth of organic life forms like algae and other substances. These are simple but effective things that you must do.
As we have told earlier, water rowers give the most natural experience to rowing. Even the splashing sound made by the water rower resembles the natural one. If you want a quiet machine, then you must go for either the hydraulic rowing machine or the magnetic rowing machine. Out of all these, air rowers give you the smoothest rowing experience.
People think that maintenance is only required when something malfunctions but that’s not true. Like every machine, a rower too needs proper maintenance and for that all you need is a duster, cleaning liquid and a screwdriver. All the procedures needed for maintenance can be found with the user manual. Take care of not disassembling some parts that will void the warranty.
Part 6: Finally Shopping the Equipment
Appearances are deceiving so never completely trust the things told by the manufacturers. To them, the only thing that matters is making the maximum sales. So be skeptical when selecting the rowing machines and reading the reviews online. And not just that most of the reviews that you find online might be written by the sales executives of these big brands.
So, make sure to read famous websites like that of ours which is trusted by many people worldwide before making the purchase. The website like ours keeps our standards high so we never engage in brand endorsements in any way.
Buy From us with 100% Confidence
After reading our rowing machine reviews, you must have understood that it is written by the experts in this field. We value our customers and our victory comes with the good health of our readers. So, you can trust us completely when it comes to the suggestions we make. All the lists of the best rowers are handpicked by our experts who took all the features into consideration and also asked the real customers for their experience with the product.
But we too will advise you to take a second opinion to make sure of the product. Anyway, we can guarantee you that you will never regret the purchase decision if you have made it with us.
Indoor Rowing machines are a great exercise tool that offers a unique strength-endurance workout. Despite being comfortable and easy to use, they offer high calorie-burning workouts for the whole body. And, since there is no harm to the joints, people of all age groups can benefit from using them.
This page is intended to serve as a guide to rowing machines so that potential users have access to all the latest information related to rowing. Our team of experts has also put together several product reviews of the best rowing machine products on the market in the hope that you can make an informed decision when purchasing different types of rowing machines. So take your time, do your research and explore the awesome sport of rowing!