Top 10 rowing machines in 2018 – Top picks and in-depth reviews

When most people think about working out, they mostly think about weight lifting, or treadmills. But what they don’t know is that Rowing machines are the most effective training device in the gym which entails amazing health benefits such as weight loss, muscle building and cardiovascular fitness.

As someone who has been selling fitness equipment for the last 12 years, I have gained in-depth knowledge about rowing machines that  are currently offered in the market.

To help you choose the best rowing machine for your needs I had inspected thoroughly hundreds of models that are currently offered in the market, consulted other shop owners and went over customer reviews and complaints.

So to make things short – Here are the top 10 rowing machines for 2018

1. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5  – Buy On Amazon

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

If you are looking for an effective, durable, low-impact, full-body workout that you can do right in your own living room, then you might be interested in the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5. Here is why we chose this model in our top 10:

Setup. Setup is fairly easy for this machine and requires only simple screwdriver knowledge; screwdriver is included. But, make sure to allow for plenty of setup space; approximately 8 ft. x 2 ft. when fully assembled. And don’t forget to read the directions as well as the Owner’s Manual.

Usefulness and Productivity. When it comes to an in-home workout machine, you want something that won’t disturb the whole house with its noise and extravagance. The Concept2 Model D creators had this completely in mind when engineering the flywheel design that reduces noise and gives the product a floating sensation.

While in the market for a productive workout, you obviously want something that is just that; productive. No worries here. The Concept2 definitely works as both a simple aerobic, cardiovascular exercise, and also works major muscle groups such as the arm, leg, stomach, and back areas. It is a great workout for most age groups and intensity levels.

The Concept2 Model D features the intensely accurate Performance monitor 5 that uses USB sticks that store and track your data for every row you complete and allows you to compare it to past workouts. Also included, is a fourteen inch high seat that provides the sufficient support needed for an intense workout; plus, adjustable footrests compensate beautifully for various body sizes and styles.

Storage and Upkeep. As far as storage goes, the Concept2 has it covered. It comes easily apart into two separate pieces that make it compact and easier to roll on the built-in wheels; without the need for a single tool. It also re-assembles just as easy.

In order to keep this workout machine in pristine condition, the Owner’s Manual insists that you oil the chain after every fifty hours of use and keep exterior clean.

Ratings The Concept2 Model D with PM5 has a 4.9 star rating on, accompanied by the compelling testimonies of multiple real-life users claiming the product has changed their life for the better. This product is extremely successful and popular. It can be bought online right now for $945.00. (not necessarily compensating for taxes and shipping)

Overall, I would personally give this product, Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5, full props and a nine out of ten rating.

  • Durable – Last for years!
  • Easy to assemble
  • An amazing Performance Monitor which is much better than other models in the market. It even include games!
  • High Capacity – Can handle up to 500 pounds
  • Covered by Tow years warranty on the computer and 5 on the frame
  • Reliable, its rare to have any issues
  • Size: This is a pretty large unit which need a lot of space (96”x24”)
  • Maintenance: Its nickel chain needs to be oiled ever few days for a smooth ride
  • Resistance mechanism might be noisy sometimes

2. Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 – Buy From Amazon

Concept E
Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

Concept2 Model E Rowing machine has no match! Just like its predecessor, the device is fully bulletproof and commercial grade. The device can be found in health clubs and in gyms used by professionals’ rowers. The model E has significant improvements over the previous model D. For instance, it has a nickel-plated chain, a long monitor arm and high seats. Despite costing more than its predecessor, it completely worth your investment.

Outstanding Features 

Level of Resistance As an air resistant rower, the Concept2 Model E is a leader in its field. The resistance force experienced from air resistance has a lot of similarities to that experienced by rowers. This explains why so many Olympic rowers order the Concept2 Model E machines specifically for practice. The user experiences resistance when they spin their flywheel and pull back the handle. When you pull the handle with sheer force, the flywheel spins into motion. The wind emanating from the flywheel depends on the intensity in which you pull the flywheel.

Performance Monitor The model E has a great performance monitor which has a ton of incredible capabilities. The PM5s arm remains affixed to ease interaction as well as the view. The PM5 has a Garmin chest belt which keenly monitors the users’ heart rate. There are no wires which might hamper your workout. One outstanding attribute of the monitor are the extra games and features which were absent in prior models. The games keep the users entertained and provide a feeling of purpose and achievement when rowing. The device also has this removable LogCard you can store your data from your workouts.

Storage The Concept2 Model E has a quick-release mechanism which allows the machine to separate itself into two. During its manufacture, Concept2 designers ensured that it remains foldable so it does not take up too much space when stored.

Level of Comfort The Concept2 Model E has 20 inch high frame with a raised seat that provides a great deal of comfort. Once you experience this change you will wonder why other rowing machines are incapable of doing the same thing.

Other features worth noting

  • Track made of stainless steel
  • The chain is nickel plated and is safeguarded within an outer housing
  • Footrests can be adjusted and the handle is very ergonomic
  • Single leg design purposefully for stability

The Concept2 Model E is a highly recommendable rowing machine which is equipped with great features and unique quality. This machine is long lasting and powerful enough to accommodate the young and the elderly.

  • Highly sophisticated PM5 performance monitor.
  • Added height makes it more comfortable
  • Can be simply assembled
  • Preferred by the professionals
  • Larger than its predecessor – model D.
  • Some of its instructions are confusing.
  • Quite costly, due to its additional features

3. WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor – Buy From Amazon

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

The WaterRower Club Rowing Machine is One of the most impressive and well designed water rower in the market made from solid ash wood and marked with black and rose marks and a finish of Danish oil.

The ash wood is essential as it absorbs noise and vibration when one is exercising. The machine has amazing resistance due to the flywheel paddles which move through the water in a tank that is enclosed.

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine can comfortably handle users whose weight is up to 1000lbs. This is the best workout machine that one can have, it comes with an S4 monitor that keeps track of the user’s workout progress.

The machine is designed to work on any kind of environment, it can be used for daily, heavy exercising and maintain the great look as it has double black rails that decrease scuffs and wear appearances on the machine.


  • The solid ash wood frame with Danish oil and urethane finish increases the durability of the frame.
  •  It can accommodate users of up to 1000lbs which is 454kgs
  •  It’s footrest and seat are stable and comfortable.
  • The polycarbonate make of the water tank cannot be easily damaged.

Features Of The S4 Monitor:

  • Has a single button for fast start and select in order to start a workout without wasting time.
  • It has options for automatically storing and reviewing the last 9 exercise sessions that can be viewed by just scrolling.
  • Shows the intensity in the following measurements: time taken, heart rate, stroke rate and distance.
  • Allows the user to set the heart rate and stroke rate intensity with the use of zone bars and alerts when the individual is out of the set zones.
  • It has a distance and duration feature where the workout is counted and the standard results shown after completing.


We highly advise the customers to fill out the registration form since by doing so the frame warranty will be extended from 3 years to 5 years and the components warranty from 1 year to 3 years.

For good value for your money, the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine is the perfect choice since it is long lasting and has advanced features that are very useful for workouts. In addition to that, the machine is extremely comfortable which is a motivation for long hours exercising.

  • Assembled easily
  • Durable
  • Excellent warranty
  • Can be stored in an upright position.
  • Double caster wheels
  • Comfortable and stable seat
  • The S4 monitor can be connected to the computer to upload information on the workout or for analysis.
  • High user weight capacity
  • The WaterRower machine is 82.25″ long which takes a lot of space compared to other machines

4.  Stamina Air Rower – Buy From Amazon

Stamina Air Rower – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

The Stamina Air Rower is an affordable rowing machine which functions on air resistance via a fan. It is a high quality, trustworthy fitness machine, directed to users of any level. Due to its air resistance function, the workout becomes really smooth. Actually, it is this exact feature that makes the Stamina Air Rower one of the best in its class.

It features a steel frame on a wide, angled seat rail that keeps you feeling correctly balanced and secure while exercising. The footpads are wide enough to fit any shoe size, and secure the lower foot with adjustable straps. Its upholstered, padded sliding seat makes exercising very comfortable whilst keeping the user in the correct body position throughout the workout session. The machine also features a padded handle for comfort and a wide nylon wire specially designed to withhold great resistance without snapping.

The digital easy – to – read multi task monitor on the front, allows the user to keep track of the exercising time and calories burnt, speed and distance covered. This way the user can have a clear and immediate view of all information necessary for an effective progress.

The Stamina Air Rower can easily be folded and stored, due to the rolling wheels attached to the bottom of the rail. With all the necessary tools already provided in the package, assembling becomes a very easy task too. This long lasting durable machine comes in two colours to suit any style and preference. Black or Chrome, it is up to you to start up the workout!

A quick but thorough look at the Stamina Air Rower features:

  • wind resistance operation
  • steel angled frame
  • padded upholstered seat
  • wide strapped footpads
  • padded handle
  • digital multi task monitor
  • built – in wheels for easy transport
  • folding skeleton for easy storage
  • tools for assembling and disassembling
  • Dimensions Unfolded / Folded (inches):
  • Height : 22′ / 48′
  • Width : 18′ / 18′
  • Length : 77′ / 28′

The Stamina Air Rower works with air resistance. This is a great tool and offers one of the smoothest and best resistance kinds you can find. Resistance builds up depending on the intensity of the user’s workout routine. Thus it can offer great results to users of any level, satisfying all demands. It can feel rather different from magnetic or water resistance though, yet the user will very easily get used to it. Coupling these remarkable features with its relatively low price , the Stamina Air Rower is an excellent buy for users of any stage, be they beginners, intermediate or advanced.

5. Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower – Buy From Amazon

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

This is one of the best rowing machine in the market, provides high quality yet at a reasonable low cost.
Including 16 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance and a high definition multi functional  monitor, this rowing machine offers a lot of great value to its users.


Electronic Resistance Control and Fitness Monitor

Most rowing machines are difficult to check while rowing. Fortunately, the CHR-2001 comes with a large LCD display conveniently situated between your feet. The display also comes with a blue backlight to efficiently serve even those who love working out in dim conditions. Additionally, this magnetic exercise rower features five buttons that allow you to track your workout and adjust your resistance level electronically. The fitness monitor analyzes different data including row count, time, calories, distance, heart rate and strokes per minute. The heart rate is calculated with the aid of a chest belt which comes alongside the magnetic rower. The entire system is wireless and arrives pre-connected.

Drum Magnetic Resistance

Unlike air and water resistance rowers, the CHR-2001 magnetic rower is designed with a drum magnetic resistance system. This feature makes this magnetic rower versatile compared to any other type of resistance rower in the market. This magnetic rower comes with 8 resistance levels to help you in determining the intensity level you desire to set each exercise at. If you are sharing the machine with family members, each person can set up his/ her own resistance level without interfering with each other’s exercise routine.

Silent Operation

This magnetic rower comes with double bearings for a noise-free fluid motion. You can exercise with your music on or in front of your television without any noise interference.

Padded Firm-Grip Handles

The CHR-2001 velocity Fitness magnetic rower comes with padded handles to give you a firm grip while exercising and to prevent blistering if your hands are sensitive.

Easy Storage

This velocity exercise magnetic rower is ideal even for those who have limited space because it can be folded to minimize its storage space. Just remove the seat rail knob, fold the machine up, and then screw the knob in again to secure the magnetic rower in an upright position.

Large Convenient Footrests

This fitness machine also features non-slip, oversized footrests with Velcro straps to make it comfortable and easy for anyone to use. Users who are above six feet tall and those with average shoe sizes can fit during exercise without any difficulties.

  • Easy to store
  • Big footrests
  • Padded handles
  • Comes with a heart-rate belt and an easy-to-use large fitness monitor
  • Silent and smooth rowing
  • One month warranty on all parts
  • It comes with 8 different resistance levels for varied workouts

Customers claim that this velocity exercise magnetic rower is safely packaged and arrives on time. Assembly is pretty simple because the CHR-2001 comes with an easy-to-follow instructional manual. Overall, its one of the best rowing machine in the market.

6.  Stamina 1205 Precision Rower – Buy On Amazon

Stamina 1205 Precision Rower – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is ideal for low- impact, full body fitness and strength. This rower lets you build a strong back and ramp up your metabolism for a lot more efficient burning off of calorie and fat. It’s designed to achieve this fitness milestone by simulating the physical movement of all body parts when working out.

Key features

The base frame of the rower includes an extruded aluminum beam that’s approximately 48 inches long, which is built-in with deluxe ball bearing system to enable smooth movement during rowing.

The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower also features a dashboard panel that has numerous abilities operated via a single button, which shows speed, exact distance covered during and after rowing, overall time taken to complete each set of rowing, exact number of rows covered, and interestingly, the amount of calorie burned out in the course of rowing.

This rowing machine also comes along with an adjustment control that enables you to increase or reduce the tension when you want to adjust the impact of your workout.

The smooth hydraulic cylinder piston-action work hand in hand with adjustable tension controls to increase overall rate at which you burn calories and fat.

The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower offers a high level of comfort when working out thanks to the properly padded seat using thick materials.

The manufacturer has accorded the buyer a piece of mind by attaching a 90-day warranty on moving parts and a 5-year warranty on the frame.

Overall, the benefits this rower accords you far outweigh the downsides. So, it will certainly represent good value for money.

  • The frame remains sturdy and stable even after intensive workouts
  • This rower doesn’t produce irritating noise while working out
  • It’s available at really reasonable price, $188 to put a figure on it
  • It is ideal for those that have small spaces in their homes
  • It comes in a compact design and offers complete body workout including legs, arms, elbow, and upper stomach
  • It’s not designed to collapse or fold like other rowers, so it does not offer much saving on space
  • Adjusting the resistance to the lowest setting can be challenging.

7. Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine – Buy On Amazon

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine is an affordable rowing machine for domestic use. One of the interesting features of this machine is the storage profile and its amazing compact footprint.

Its main features are an LCD monitor that indicates: calories burned, distance rowed and also row count, and a hydraulic resistance that is adjustable. The rowing machine has a length of 48 inches and can be folded for easy storage.

The machine has free motion arms that enable the user to involve nearly all the muscles found in the upper part of the body (shoulders, abdominal muscles, back, and arms) and the lower body parts are exercised by the padded seat which glides on a rolling track bearing a ball.

Use of this rowing machine ensures that the user is burning calories, strengthening muscles and at the same time having a good cardio workout.


  • An LCD monitor that plays multiple roles
  • Adjustable hydraulic resistance.
  • Comfortable, cushioned seat.
  • A beam Incline which can be adjusted to the intensity of the workout.
  • Swiveling foot plate with a nylon foot straps that are easily adjusted.
  • Soft handle grips
  • Have folding row arms to ease on storage.
  • It has a ball bearing rolling seat
  • Can support users with maximum weight of 250lbs

The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine can be stored almost anywhere since after the arms are folded it converts to 10 inches high and 4 feet long.

The machine comes with a 5- year warranty for the frame and a 90- days warranty for the components

  • Has a padded seat for the support of low impact workouts.
  • The LCD monitor gives records for distance, duration, speed, miles rowed, the row count and calories burned during the workout.
  • Incline control which can hardly be found on rowing machines is available in the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine and it is used to enhance the metabolism of the user and also to increase resistance by making some adjustment on the tilt of the orbital’s seat rail
  • The machine has a very quiet hydraulic resistance which cause no disturbances to other people at home.
  • Has a well-built strong beam
  • For compact storage, the arms are folded inwards.

The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine develops resistance by using air pressure, the tension is the best way for exercising and it is gentle on the joints. With the help of the free moving arms, the user is assured of a great workout that has a feeling of rowing a boat.

It will be worth it investing in the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine, it offers great features that are not available in other rowing machines and also comes at a very fair price.

8. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 – Buy On Amazon

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is one of the best and the most affordable indoor rowing devices on the market today. Features an aluminum center beam and a steel frame, this machine might appear smaller than other rowers, but it is able to do the same job with amazing results and is easy to assemble and store.

The row machine’s manual knob and shock resistance give you the choice to choose the frequency of your workout every time you exercise. Its multifunction fitness console gives you accurate and detailed feedback about your exercise session.

Despite its affordable price, the Stamina Body Trac Mchine was designed with sturdiness in mind. The steel frame holds up regular to great usage, and the rower should remain in great condition after years of use. You only need to maintain your machine – which is recommended since its warranty covers only 90 days.

The machine is very solid, measuring 23.5” wide by 46” long, which means it will fit even to the tiniest of workout space. Additionally, it folds up easily for easier storage, so it doesn’t get in your family way. Its gas shock resistance is customizable to your specific needs (boasts of 12 different levels), allow you to enjoy a personalized workout session.

Like most other rowing devices, the Glider 1050 comes with an installed, multifunction watch or monitor that shows the calories burned, stroke count, and the time taken. Therefore, while you are exercising, the classy monitor will provide you with feedback on your session. You will see how many minutes and strokes you have taken to burn your calories.

Because the watch is run by a battery, there is no need to place your machine near a power source or outlet. To watch automatically goes off after an extended period of inactivity to help save the power.
The rower also boasts of a comfortable seat that is made of molded plastic.

Although the machine is solid, it might be too heavy for some people. Weighing around forty pounds, this machine isn’t easy to move from one place to the other. Ideally, you should store your rower close to where you will be using it.

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is definitely one of the best in its class. It provides effective exercises for your legs, arms, back, and legs abs. In general, the machine is perfect for person that is interested in a full-body exercise rower.

9. LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine – Buy From Amazon

LifeSpan RW1000
LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

The LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine is one of the latest additions to the rowing device world and is designed to exercise your shoulders, legs, arms, and back muscles while proving a smooth workout to your cardiovascular system as well. It is a high-quality product with a good price range of around $500-$600.

The machine has a 16  pound flywheel and an eddy current or power drive magnetic resistance structure that creates a quiet and smooth performance while providing an effective workout. Its firm construction supports your weight, up to 300 lbs. Additionally, its digital motor gives you a detailed and accurate info about your rowing sessions.

The RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine is a quite machine – even when you increase the resistance and stroke rate. Hence, it is a great choice if you will be using it in a house or home and you do not want to distract your family or even want to watch TV as you work out. It is also smooth as well as easy to use. Its seat is comfy, even when rowing for an hour and folds up into a solid size for keeping away when you are not in session.

RW1000 is a firm product that holds up to 300 lbs. However, the rower might move a little when you are in session but this is down to your rowing technique. With a smooth, great technique, the machine feels fine.

Built sturdy enough to support more weight than other rowing devices, RW1000 is one of the most durable rowers on the market. It also comes with a warranty which is a guarantee and a great sign of the firm’s faith in their machine.

The eddy current drive feature that produces magnetic resistance is an amazing way to minimize wear and tear on your machine. This system doesn’t have many parts that may crush and wear and tear out like other machines such as air rowers. This is a plus in that it minimizes the noise of operation and thus, you can use your machine during the night (when others are sleeping).

It is very difficult to find negative stuff to say about the RW1000 as it is a high-quality machine as well as an effective one. However, there is one small issue: the console or monitor isn’t backlit. This only becomes an issue in low lighting or during the night, but the best solution is to avoid these situations. Additionally, a lamp or touch placed behind you when working out is good enough to illuminate the monitor.

The LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine make a superb addition to your apartment fitness gears and get you toning up, losing weight, or realizing whatever objects you are after. It is quiet, durable, and very well designed.

10.  Magnetic Rowing Machine with Adjustable Resistance by Sunny Health & Fitness – SF-RW5515 0 – Buy From Amazon

Magnetic Rowing Machine with Adjustable Resistance – Click on photo to check price on Amazon

Sunny Health & Fitness has a new rower on the market: the SF-RW5515. This magnetic rowing machine boasts several features such as an adjustable magnetic tension system, and LCD display for workout stats, and built in roller wheels for easy transport. After reviewing the 5515 I’m happy to say I discovered a solidly constructed rower that delivers great performance at a surprisingly low price point.
Like all rowing machines, the 5515 allows for a full body cardio workout in a compact, unobtrusive form factor that should be attractive to any home-fitness enthusiast. Unlike some bulkier options, this rower’s ability to fold up coupled with its built in wheels allows for easy, small footprint storage when not in use. The tension system is whisper quiet, making it perfect for the home.

In addition to its understated Qualities, the 5515 is also easy to use. Right out of the box, the rower is simple and straightforward to assemble with a basic 5 step process, the tools for which are included in the package. Once put together, the device is easily adjusted and the three-button controls are intuitive to use.

Performance and overall quality is refreshingly decent for this price point. I’ve already alluded to the quiet, non-squeaky action of the magnetic tension system, but the smooth glide of the seat and handle are also worth calling out. Right from the beginning the rower has “felt” solid and sturdy, and after several months that determination has seemed to hold up.

Despite all the pluses, there are a few minor drawbacks. The included LCD screen is rather small, and it was often difficult to see my workout statistics. Speaking of those statistics, the rower curiously doesn’t track things such like “total meters rowed.” That being said, all the important stats such as time, calories burned, etc. are there. More experienced fitness buffs may quickly work past the 5515’s highest resistance level and find themselves wanting more. For the average home user, however, the tension should be more than enough. Overall these detractions are nitpicks at best and don’t seriously hinder the rower’s ability to perform.

All in all, I would highly recommend the SF-RW5515. Sunny Health and Fitness has built a solid, high quality machine for your home gym that offers the most essential features in a tight non-intrusive package, and at a competitive price point to boot. Despite a few minor shortcomings this magnetic resistance rower is perfect for the home-fitness fan that wants an affordable yet effective workout machine that stays out of the way.

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