Best Rowing Machines in 2018

Ever since they were invented, the rowing machines got better and more complex over the years. Now, there is a variety of these highly refined machines on the market, and having one in your own home is a wise decision if you’d like to challenge your muscles in a genuinely comfortable way. But selecting one isn’t exactly an easy task – there are a number of different models, types, and brands on the market, with all of them having their good and bad points. Our goal is to help you select one – read on and find out which rowing machine is the right for you!

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Top Rated Products on the Market

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 – Product of Our Choice

Whether you’re just a beginner or an experienced gym enthusiast, the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine has almost everything that you’ll need for a full-body workout. We were quite surprised with its build quality and versatility – read on to find more about it!

The machine is well-packaged, coming inside the box with double layers, and it is very easy to assemble – the whole assembly process won’t take you more than half an hour. Once you put together all the parts, you’ll notice that this thing has a pretty strong skeleton, and looks like something that could easily handle even the most demanding workouts. That is, in fact, true – it fared very well during our testing period since it has a sturdy build and it’s still compact in terms of design and size. The track is made out of stainless steel, while the handle features a comfortable, ergonomic design, and is connected to the machine with a nickel-plated chain.

What We Like:

We liked the adjustable footrests, as well as the transport wheels and the low profile of the seat (it’s just 14″ away from the ground). One of the best things about it is the PM5 monitor – it’s simple to use and can show you the heart rate, how many calories have you burned, strokes per minute, and the distance that you’ve covered. We should also mention that the Concept2 Model D breaks down into two separate parts, and it’s very easy to store it away, even if you have limited space.


When it comes to flaws, we didn’t like the plastic arm that connects the monitor to the machine, as well as the fact that the nickel-plated chain requires frequent oiling.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
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All in all, we think that Concept2 Model D is a great piece of fitness equipment. Its frame is durable and will last you for years (no wonder you’re getting a 5-year warranty for it), and all other parts are of the highest quality and easy to use, especially the PM5 monitor. Rowing on this thing is a very pleasant experience!

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor – Great Exercise Equipment

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is truly something special – it offers a mixture of programs to the user and has a built and the design that is certain to satisfy all kinds of training needs. Let’s have a more in-depth look!

When it comes to assembly, you won’t have any particular problems – there are the instruction manual and the necessary tools inside the box, and the whole process takes less than 30 minutes. The thing that separates the WaterRower Natural from the other rowing machines is the material that it’s made out of – from wood! The whole thing was handcrafted from the ash hardwood of the highest quality, reinforced with some rosewood and looking absolutely fantastic. This is great if you want to have a rowing machine that looks completely different than the standard ones, or if you’re an eco-minded person who always goes all-natural with the fitness products. The machine uses the so-called “water resistance” technology, being outfitted with an enclosed tank of water that contains two paddles and a water “flywheel.” The frame of this rowing machine flips upright, and when we combine this with the compact dimensions, we get a model that’s very easy to store away.

What We Like:

We have to pay particular praise to the model’s S4 monitor, which operates in multiple languages and displays things such as meters per second, calories per hour, heart rate and other useful information. It can also be connected to your PC, and you can easily integrate it with your other workout software.


On the negative side, we have to say that the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is very pricey at the moment – it costs more than your standard, typical indoor rowing machine – it’s not a good choice for fitness enthusiasts who are looking to save some money.

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This rowing machine has a lot of good things going for it – it has an incredible build, a very realistic rowing motion (thanks to the water tank), a comfortable seat and a handle, and the versatile S4 monitor. We can do nothing else but recommend it!

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine – Great Value for Money

Next up is one of the most affordable models on the market, the Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machine. Even though it can’t really be compared with the pricier models, this one can still provide a satisfying cardiovascular workout for the fitness enthusiasts. Let’s see all about it!

When it comes to design, the SF-RW5515 looks pretty good and is big enough to accommodate users of all shapes and sizes. It is 7 feet long and has large foot pedals, as well as the magnetic resistance that is, fortunately, very quiet, which might be quite important to some users. It has eight different intensity settings that you can modify via the easy-to-turn knob, as well as the pretty basic console with a handful of readouts. Since the machine is so affordable, the console comes with no included workout programs and does not monitor the user’s heart rate, but it still does its job, showing you things such as the number of calories that you burned or the total count of rows. Fortunately, the SF-RW5515 has a foldable design, which will allow you to store it away when not needed.

What We Like:

When it comes to overall comfort, we were very pleased to find the non-slip material on the pedals, as well as the fully-padded seat and the non-slip handlebars, which is especially great for the fitness enthusiasts who sweat a lot during their workout sessions. There is also a set of transport wheels for the easier transportation.


Our biggest complaint about this rowing machine is how simple its LCD display is – it shows only the most basic information, but that’s what you get for a price that’s a few times lower than that of the premium models.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
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All in all, we can say that the SF-RW5515 brings a pretty good value for the money. Its build and the additional features aren’t as great as those on the pricier models, but it can still be a valuable companion during the fitness sessions, helping you to shape your body in the way that you’ve always wanted.

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower – Excellent Piece of Gear

This rowing machine is a relatively budget-friendly option for the people looking for a model with a smooth rowing motion and some convenient additional features. It is quite popular with the users, so let’s check out what it has to offer:

When it comes to assembly, the Stamina Avari Exercise Rower can be put together under half an hour, and we can safely say that the assembly process is easy and hassle-free.

The resistance is, as expected, quiet and powerful, using the magnetic technology and being able to challenge a pretty broad range of ability levels. One of the first things that you’ll notice after the assembly is the presence of a convenient LCD monitor, which has eight training programs and can give you info on heart rate, though we have to say that we didn’t really like its weak backlighting. The handlebars are very comfortable and have built-in resistance controls, and the same could be said about the pedals – they’re coated with the non-slip material and have Velcro straps for the additional safety. The Stamina Avari Rower also has a set of transport wheels for the easier relocation, and we have to give some special praise to its durable and resilient pull cord.

What We Like:

We really liked the design of the whole thing – it looks sleek and modern, and has a very strong frame that’s built from durable aluminum, with the manufacturer providing five years of warranty on it.


As we already said, one of our biggest complaints about the Stamina Avari Exercise Rower is the poor backlighting on its LCD monitor. This means that you will have to use a lamp if you like rowing at night, or in an environment with low lighting.

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower
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This model is a very solid rowing machine, and we’re sure that it can make a pretty significant impact on someone’s fitness regimen. It has an amazing design, a sturdy build, the convenient controls, and it’s a joy to use it. Even though it’s not flawless, we still think that it’s worth considering for purchase.

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 – Luxury Indoor Rower Machine

If money is not the problem, search no more – this expensive, luxury model is one of the best rowing machines that you can find today, coming with a premium build quality and a ton of useful features. Let’s check it out together!

Once you pull it out of the box, you’ll immediately notice the supreme build quality – the Concept2 Model E is one of the best-looking models we’ve reviewed so far, as it looks absolutely sleek and modern. It’s a durable product with a number of great features, working under the air-resistance technology that supports smooth motion while making minimal noise. The included damper will let you adjust the airflow to your liking, and therefore change the feel of each stroke – the more strongly you row, the bigger amount of resistance is generated. The slides of Model E allow you to increase the paddling rate and really make you feel like you’re floating on the water. The footrests are, of course, adjustable and can fit many shoe sizes, and we liked how far the seat is from the ground – only 20″. The seat is very comfortable, and the same could be said about the ergonomic handle which has a 10-degree bend.

What We Like:

The machine also has an excellent performance monitor with a good backlighting, allow you to choose from a myriad of games and workout programs, and it even has wireless connectivity. The Concept2 Model E is also very easy to store since it can be divided into two sections.


On the downside, the Model E could be too large for some users. It is 24″ wide and 96″ long, which means that it has a large footprint and isn’t really a good choice for the people who don’t have much space in their households or apartments. It is also quite pricey.

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5
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This rowing machine is one of the best that the money can buy today – it’s a luxurious product for the people with deeper pockets, offering a quality workout experience with its sturdy build and great additional features. We recommend it!

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Rowing Machines

A good rowing machine can provide you with one of the best possible full-body workouts in the comfort of your own home. It can help you gain muscle strength and lose weight, and using it regularly provides the user with significant health benefits. If you’re about to buy one, we advise you to consider the following points:

resistance system

The types of resistance systems

The first thing you need to know is that not all rowing machines work on the same principle – here are four main variants:


Air resistance rowers

These types of models work with a flywheel and fan blades, with the resistance coming from the motion of these blades towards the wind. They’re common in fitness centers and gyms and deliver very smooth and natural strokes.


Magnetic resistance rowers

They use the so-called magnet breaking system which generates resistance during the user’s rowing motion. They are quiet, easy to maintain and provide a smooth movement.


Hydraulic resistance rowers

Even though these rowers don’t deliver a rowing motion that’s as realistic as that on the magnetic models, they’re often very compact and easy to store away. Adjusting the rowing tension on them is as simple as it gets.


Water rowers

As you can probably already guess, these machines offer an experience that’s as close as possible to rowing in a real boat, and that is their key benefit.

What to look for

What to look for in a rowing machine?

Now that you know all about the main types of these versatile fitness machines, let’s have a look at some important things to look for when purchasing a new model:


Sturdy frame

The frame of a rowing machine can be manufactured from a range of different materials, with the steel being the most common one. The quality of the model’s frame also dictates the maximum user weight that it can handle – look for models with sturdy skeletons that will last you for a long time.


Comfortable footplate position

This varies from one rower to another, with some having rotating footplates that move together with the user and some having fixed footplates that can be adjusted. Both types can work very well, but you should select one that suits your needs the most.


Long warranty period

The warranty period can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but, like with all other devices, you should look for a rowing machine that has a warranty period that’s as long as possible and covers both the frame and all other parts of the device. Reputable companies usually back up their rowing machines with the most extended warranties.


Good range of movement

We advise you to look for a model that will have a sufficient length in its rail to provide you with the ability to fully extend the legs, and then to pull the handlebar to your abdomen without any restrictions. This is really important – the overall comfort of the whole workout experience may depend on it.


Ergonomic handle

Your hands will be holding the handle for the entire duration of each workout session, so it would be wise to select a model that has an ergonomic handle that provides a pleasant feel in hands.


Useful console features

Having a good workout feedback is really important for the motivation, and it’s nice to have consoles that provide as much information as possible. Some of these readouts are time, speed, distance, total strokes, total calories burned, watts control, heart rate and similar things. Even the most basic models should have some of these features on their consoles.

Purchasing a new rowing machine certainly isn’t an easy task, and we hope that these points will help you with an easier selection. Don’t be in a hurry, and try to find a reliable model that will last you for years to come!

NameImageMain FeaturePrice RangeOur Rating


CONCEPT2 MODEL D INDOOR ROWING MACHINE WITH PM5 tablepressFlywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel$$$9 out of 10


CONCEPT2 MODEL D INDOOR ROWING MACHINE WITH PM5 tablepressWater Flywheel sits in enclosed water tank to provide smooth, quiet, self-regulated resistance$$$$9.2 out of 10


Sunny Health &Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine tablepressMagnetic tension System with (8) levels of adjustable resistance$$$9.5 out of 10


Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower tablepressFitness monitor keeps you motivated by tracking time, count, distance, calories, strokes per minute, pulse and watt$$$9.1 out of 10


CONCEPT2 MODEL E INDOOR ROWING MACHINE WITH PM5 tablepressFlywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel$$$9.8 out of 10


In our opinion, a quality rowing machine can totally change the user’s life – it offers a full-body workout in the comfort of your own home, and once you start using it, it’s hard to stop (believe us). We hope that we’ve helped you with our honest reviews and straightforward articles and that you will easily find a model that suits your fitness needs. If we had to choose our favorite that would definitely be the Concept2 Model D. All parts of this rowing machine are of the highest quality and it also has a set of very useful features, which instantly makes it a product of our choice.