As an exercise, rowing has been proven time and again to provide a low-impact, effective, full-body cardiovascular workout. It’s little wonder then that so many people are turning to indoor rowing machines for their dose of daily exercise at home.
While jogging, cycling and yoga may spring to mind as the best go-to answers for at-home exercising, for many athletes and workout enthusiasts, rowing trumps them all. Here are some of the reasons you may want to consider investing in one of the best home rowing machines for your daily workout.
As anyone who has used a rowing machine already knows, when you finish your workout, there are very few parts of your body that don’t feel like they played a part (as in aren’t aching). Compare this to running, cycling and other activities, and it’s easy to see why the ability to work out your full body is an appealing factor.
High Intensity/Low Impact
For a truly intense workout, many exercises require you to put more strain on your body. This, of course, can lead to injury. The fixed and guided action of rowing helps minimize the impact on your body, allowing you to work harder without the fear of injury you experience with other activities, like running or lifting weights.
If you want to work out regularly, rowing is a great choice. Not only do indoor rowing machines provide an activity that is independent of the weather outside, but it’s also easy to do morning, noon or night. This increases the likelihood you’ll stick to it and eventually achieve those goals you’ve been wishing for.
Tedium is a big problem when it comes to working out. Luckily, rowing allows you to mix things up when boredom starts to appear. It’s easy to switch between high or low-intensity workouts or switch up your hold for a different kind of workout. Some machines even include programs that let you race against yourself or compete against professional-standard times.
Probably one of the best things about indoor rowing is the time commitment, or rather the lack thereof. If you’re short on time, a 15-minute, high-intensity daily workout will likely be enough to make a positive difference in your life. This is ideal for parents, workers and even people who want to be in shape but hate working out.
Below, we have sourced some of the best rowing machines, made especially with working out at home in mind. These will help keep you motivated, focused and excited to work out during and even beyond the stay-at-home era. Models include magnetic rowing machines, water-assisted rowing machines and full-motion options, too. There’s sure to be a model to fit your home workout needs. To get started, check out our selection of the best home rowing machines below. With the right exercise machine and home gym essentials, you won’t even miss your local gym or fitness class.
1. NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine
What can we say, NordicTrack makes incredible workout equipment and their rowing machine tops our list when it comes to features, longevity, resistance control and design. Their rowing machine is a bit more expensive then other options — but if you’re looking for the Peloton equivalent of rowers this machine gets pretty close. It comes with a 22″ rotating smart HD touchscreen that can stream in their iFit rowing and strength classes so you can build strength after getting your cardio workout in. It has 26 resistance levels and manual air resistance as well, and the rower comes with LIVE resistance control that’ll automatically change alongside the instructor during the classes. The rower also gathers real-time stats you can track after each workout to see your progress.
2. Hydrow Connected Rower
BEST FOR CLASSES
This Hydrow rower is another luxury workout machine that’s perfect if you love to row and know it’s your favorite source of cardio. It comes with live & on-demand classes you can join via the sweat-proof 22″ HD touchscreen monitor. The classes are led by world-class trainers and the rower can be folded and stored upright at 25″ x 33″ if you’re short on space. It comes with digital adjustable resistance grounded via a webbed connection so your rowing feels smooth and efficient, like you’re in a real boat. The 10-roller smooth gliding seat has been tested on over 3 million cycles and you can even row in picturesque locations all around the world via their fitness programs.
3. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
BEST BUDGET ROWING MACHINE
This magnetic rowing machine by Sunny Health & Fitness offers all the necessities for an intense rowing workout in the comfort of your own home. The quiet, magnetic tension system works with the eight levels of adjustable tension to provide a smoother, more enjoyable workout. In addition, the large LCD display and fully padded seat provide a convenient and comfortable experience, even during the most intense rowing workout. It has a convenient tension knob for easily adjusting resistance and transportation wheels built into the bottom so moving it around is easy. The best part? This rowing machine coasts 1/5 what the previous two options cost, and is a perfect addition to a home gym where your rower isn’t the sole source of cardio.
4. The Ergatta Rower
BEST LUXURY OPTION
Handmade from American cherry wood, the Ergatta Rower is drop-dead gorgeous. It’s a piece of fitness gear you’d proudly display in your home, not fold up and tuck in the garage when you’re done working out. That quality craftsmanship, paired with a stunning high-def digital touch screen, marks a level of elegance and sophistication that’s tough to beat. Ergatta’s connected rowing experience features goal-based training plans, interval workouts and competition-style races, all of which should keep you coming back for more.
5. Schwinn CrewMaster Rower
Fitness gear can take a beating, especially if you’re getting after it every day. Thankfully, Schwinn’s CrewMaster Rower comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame, three-year on the parts and one-year on the labor. Considering Schwinn’s reputation for building quality products, though, you might not need a warranty at all. Either way, it’s a great safety net to have. So if you’re looking for the best rowing machine under $500, the Schwinn CrewMaster is the machine you’re looking for.
6. FITNESS REALITY 1000 Magnetic Rower
The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Rowing Machine is more than just a rowing machine. In addition to rowing, this advanced device can be used to perform front raises, tricep extensions and a number of other cable exercises for a whole body workout. This handy extra is available thanks to the front stabilizer built into the design. You’ll also find a large, LCD display that includes Bluetooth technology, allowing you to connect with your smartphone using the My Cloud Fitness app, letting you track workouts and set personal goals. The extra-wide handlebar with a foam grip gives comfort and security during workouts, while the 14 levels of resistance mean you can choose from a range of workout options, from easy to challenging.
7. ProForm 750R Rower
BEST TECH INTEGRATION
Though many indoor rowing machines sport plenty of built-in digital components, the ProForm 750R Rower lets you utilize what you’ve already got. For elevated sound, the audio auxiliary port allows you to connect to a bigger sound system, while the secure tablet mount makes it easy to view your favorite rowing workouts on a device you already own. Like the NordicTrack RW900, right now the ProForm 750R Rower comes with a one-year subscription to iFit, one of the premiere subscription-based personal training apps.
8. JOROTO Magnetic Rowing Machine
This JOROTO rowing machine uses a solid aluminum flywheel and slide rail as well as no-touch magnetic resistance to keep your workout as quiet as possible. It occupies less than 0.15 square meters of space when standing upright for storage, and the 10 different resistance levels are easy to adjust between. It has a digital monitor for metrics tracking and the extra-wide seat and soft handlebar are both ergonomically designed. JOROTO makes some of the best affordable indoor spin bikes, and the workout brand’s cheap rowing machine is a good option for occasional rowers who don’t need a $2,000 piece of equipment in their home gym.
9. Merax Water Indoor Rowing Machine
BEST WATER ROWER
Rowing is supposed to involve water, right? This water rower from Merax gives you that authentic aquatic experience without needing a body of water close by. The amount of water in the machine is what creates the resistance — so you can fill it up as high as you want the workout to be difficult. It has a sleek and elegant design with a solid steel construction that can support up to 330 lbs. The seat has a smooth glide and the water splashing around in the tank creates a relaxing sound for your cardio session. It has an LCD monitor that displays metrics and a comfortable, 19-inch long ergonomic handle.
10. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
BEST RANGE OF MOTION
Featuring a minimalistic aesthetic and a full range of motion, this compact rowing machine makes a great addition to your home gym or workout routine. To ensure you’re comfortable throughout your workout, the Trac Glider employs a ball-bearing roller system, giving you a clean and smooth stroke. The rowing machine is made of sturdy steel and comes equipped with a multi-functional LCD screen, so you can keep track of your speed and progress as you row. It also quickly and easily folds up to make storage as easy as possible.
11. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
The Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine provides a low-impact workout that engages all the major muscle groups, works the legs, strengthens your core and builds the arms with a smooth, high-calorie burning motion. With the Model D, you can track your progress with its Performance Monitor 5 which uses real-time data, connects wirelessly to heart rate belts and apps and is designed to fit most users. This is the type of model you’ll find in high-end gyms, and it leaves budget rowing machines in the dust. This rower can also connect to a wide range of fitness apps where you can store and analyze your workouts on your smartphone.
12. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine
BEST NATURAL AESTHETIC
If the whole black-and-grey, steel-and-aluminum vibe isn’t your thing, we’d recommend the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine. Sourced from the Appalachian Mountains, its solid ash wood construction has a honey oak stain finished in Danish oil. So, basically, it’s like another high-end piece of furniture that’ll mesh nicely if you’re already rocking that rustic aesthetic. And in case you’re not convinced this thing is a work of art, it’s available at the Museum of Modern Art Design Store. How’s that for an endorsement?
12. Merex Magnetic Foldable Rowing Machine
This foldable rowing machine from Merax stores slim and easy, and gives you a killer workout during each use. You can easily switch up the intensity of your workout using the tension knob, and there’s extra padding on the seat and footrests to keep you as comfortable as possible. The seat is also angled to maximize blood flow to your glutes for maximum endurance during longer workouts. The LCD monitor tracks your progress and the 15-degree angled seat rail makes your ride smooth and as efficient as possible.
13. CITYROW Max Rower
BEST OVERALL DESIGN
Think Equinox in rowing machine form. If you like the dark aesthetic but want a design that’s a little more elevated, check out the Max Rower from CITYROW, which is crafted from sustainable American ash wood and powder-coated aluminum. The Max model features a 19.5-inch sweat-resistant screen, while the Classic model lets you mount your own device. Included in some rowing machine packages, CITYROW’s bespoke workout app offers goal-tracking and a library of guided classes to pick from.
14. Women’s Health/Men’s Health Bluetooth Rower
If you’d rather not drop over $1,000 but want a machine that’ll last, grab this rowing machine from Women’s Health and Men’s Health. It has zero lag time resistance so all of your energy will yield a smooth and steady pull. It has 14 different levels of calibrated resistance to choose from and the SmartPower Tech measures all of the key metrics like watts, calories, time, distance and even pull length. It also comes with access to the MyCloudFitness App where you can work on water training and receive professional coaching. It’s not easy to find a good rowing machine under $1,000, and reviewers have noted some problems with durability with this machine. While it’s not an ideal option for practiced rowers, it’s an affordable option for beginners who want a no-frills piece of exercise equipment.
15. EnergyFit SKI-ROW AIR+PWR
The SKI-ROW AIR+PWR from EnergyFit embodies its name — it’s both a classic rowing machine and a ski trainer, and can switch between the two in less than five seconds with a simple foot lever. Equipped with Bluetooth and heart rate connectivity foot straps, this is a great choice for those looking to seriously break a sweat with some dual-action workouts.
Update: This was last updated on July 20, 2022, when prices were updated throughout the roundup.