Find the Perfect Rowing Machine: Top Picks For 2023

Rowing machines are versatile pieces of equipment that offer a unique workout experience. They are ideal for increasing your heart rate during long strength sessions and also serve as a form of low-impact endurance training. Unlike some cardio equipment, which only focuses on burning calories, rowing machines target almost every muscle in your body. The legs drive the movement during the stroke, while the back and arms engage during the finish, making it an adequate strength and cardio endurance training tool. Our favorite thing about a rowing machine is that it offers a full-body workout, allowing you to improve multiple aspects of your fitness in one exercise.

When deciding to buy a rowing machine, it can be difficult as this may be needed to help you reach your fitness goals. You do not want to buy it, and in a few months, it is sitting unused, collecting dust, and you have wasted your hard-earned money. There are also many types of rowers on the market, such as air, water, and magnetic. What is the best option for me? Whether that be a high-tech rower so you can row like a professional athlete or a straightforward machine that will get your heart pumping and sweat on, below we have put together a list that will help you make this decision… Or at least take some weight off making it.

The top picks we have chosen

Our top pick is number one for a reason. It is immersive to the highest degree, from fitness classes, Bluetooth audio, and a maximum level of 26 digital resistance levels. That is just naming a few.

NordicTrack RW900

A highly immersive rower with fitness classes, Bluetooth, and 26 different resistance levels. NordicTrack produces some of the highest-quality rowers available.

The RW900 is a top-of-the-line home rowing machine that we have thoroughly evaluated. It boasts various advanced features, including a 22-inch touchscreen display, 26 levels of fluid resistance, 10 levels of air resistance, a folding design, and tilting foot pads. NordicTrack has put much thought into this premium home rower, ensuring that all features have been considered and included.

It Measures 218cm in length, 55cm in width, and 125cm in height when fully operational and can be easily stored by folding to 113cm x 55cm x 73cm. Despite having a similar footprint to most commercial rowers, it stands out with its convenient folding mechanism. The RW900 does not compromise on functionality or stability; it is one of the most highly-equipped rowing machines available.

It weighs in at 49kg, but this is fine as it has transport wheels for easy movement. The maximum user weight capacity is 130kg. Another handy aspect is that it is highly customizable, with nearly every element adjustable to fit your needs. The large 22-inch screen can be tilted to accommodate users of different heights, and the seat is oversized, ergonomically designed, and comfortable to sit on. The RW900’s impressive center console is visible and easy to use thanks to its adjustability.

The foot pads are adjustable, too, so you can have the perfect fit when rowing. The easier the fit, the easier the push will be. The console controls everything else apart from the manual air resistance. When wanting to select the fluid resistance, that is easily done with a touch of a button and is the only thing you will use once the resistance is set.

A 12-month family plan of iFit comes standard if you decide to purchase this rower, which will give you access to thousands of workout plans and live sessions that will keep you on track if you find yourself losing motivation and not staying connected.

Whether or not you would consider rowing machines aesthetically pleasing is open to debate, but the NordicTrack RW900 is undoubtedly a good-looking machine. Its monochrome design radiates sophistication and style, making it a visually striking addition to any home gym. It does more than sit pretty. It is also a well-crafted piece of equipment that showcases NordicTrack’s attention to detail and commitment to quality. From the smooth lines of its exterior to its smooth and seamless operation, everything about this machine speaks to the high level of workmanship that has gone into its creation.

For years, NordicTrack has been known for producing some of the highest-quality fitness equipment on the market, and the RW900 continues this tradition. With its superior build and elegant design, it stands out from its competitors and is a testament to the company’s expertise in home fitness.

Pros:

  • It has a large screen allowing you to have an immersive experience.
  • Comes with a 12-month family plan for iFit.
  • The magnetic resistance of the flywheel is very quiet, making it a perfect fit for a home.
  • It has thousands of classes to choose from on iFit.
  • Front wheels make it easy to transport the rower. It can also be stored upright.

Cons:

  • Some advanced rowers may outgrow the magnetic resistance depending on your level.
  • The weight capacity is 130kg, which may be lower than some machines.

ProForm 750R

An excellent mid-range choice for rowers out there, which runs very smoothly, comes with a 30-day iFit trial, and has 24 different resistance settings!

The Proform 750R is a top pick for a mid-range rowing machine with an included workout program membership. It boasts high-quality construction and is built to last.

The lack of a built-in screen may be a drawback, but the basic console still provides essential data and features a device holder to securely display your phone or tablet for following an exercise plan. Also, syncing with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor can display your heart rate on both the console and the device screen during iFit workouts.

Buying The Proform 750R will give you a 30-day family membership of iFit, a cutting-edge fitness app with an extensive library of workouts that range from rowing (both in a studio setting and on the water) led by seasoned trainers, including Olympians, to a diverse selection of cross training exercises. Unlike other fitness applications, iFit provides a unique experience with its ability to remotely adjust the resistance level at the instruction of the trainer in real-time, based on the workout’s conditions, such as rowing against the current or during an intense burst in a studio session. This feature adds extra engagement and challenge to your activity, making it a truly dynamic experience.

The 750R rower offers a smooth and ergonomic experience during use, with a fluid motion and 24 different resistance levels to allow for continued progress in fitness and strength. The large color display is highly readable and displays all critical metrics and access to 20 preset workouts if the user is not subscribed to iFit. The machine’s build quality is impressive, featuring an exceptional cord/belt drive that eliminates any potential for jumps, a common issue with lower-quality devices. It has one of the most convenient and compact folding mechanisms among the rowers we tested. This is a very convenient rower to use!

A magnetic rowing machine will have a feel of its own as there will be constant resistance meaning you will not build momentum as you go. Doing this can feel odd, but eventually, you will become used to it. To our surprise, It is very smooth, reassuringly.

The console provides essential data, such as calories burned, distance covered, speed (measured in splits or 500 meters), the time elapsed, and strokes per minute. It also displays your heart rate if you have paired a Bluetooth heart rate monitor with it. During an iFit rowing workout, a data display appears at the top of the screen, displaying the above. Additionally, you can compare your performance with other users through a leaderboard that shows your gender and age decade, such as people in their 30s.

Pros:

  • It Will give you 30 days of access to the iFit app.
  • Runs very smoothly and quietly.
  • Very convenient for space in a household.
  • 24 different resistance levels.

Cons:

  • It can be tricky to put together.
  • iFit is a monthly subscription.
  • More for the average rower and not a pro.

JTX ignite air

The JTX rower has eight workout modes to keep your workouts fun, a device holder for streaming your favorite shows, and a generous 3-year warranty!

The JTX Ignite rower has earned recognition as an outstanding option in the fitness category thanks to its dynamic air resistance and ergonomic design. With a commercial-quality feel, this rowing machine from JTX Fitness has the look and performance of gym-grade equipment but is priced for at-home use. You can’t go wrong!

It has an innovative and cable-free design, making it a fantastic addition to any home gym or workout space. Its compact and foldable design allows for easy storage when not in use. Fold it in two parts and roll it away using the built-in wheels. JTX Fitness has expertly crafted the air resistance system to replicate the feel of rowing on water accurately. As you row, the resistance adjusts to match your intensity, providing a more challenging workout as you increase your pace. This feature gives the JTX Ignite a truly authentic rowing experience, making it an excellent choice for fitness enthusiasts of all levels.

The slower you row, the more resistance will decrease. This is useful when you can only push yourself as far as possible. As your fitness levels increase, the further you can improve. It is a machine that will match you as you get better and better.

This rower is a top-performing piece of home gym equipment, and its widespread use in UK gyms proves its exceptional build quality. With a weight of 38kg (about six stone), its iron and stainless
steel frame ensure durability. At the same time, the nickel-plated steel chain and construction-grade materials used in its structure make it capable of withstanding repeated intensive workouts. Expect nothing but the best from the JTX Ignite Air.

In addition, JTX Fitness has crafted an intuitive professional computer console, displaying all the necessary information for your workout, including distance, time, calories burned, paddle width, stroke rate, 500m split time, and power output in Watts. This user-friendly design makes the JTX Ignite Air ideal for a convenient and practical at-home workout experience.

Pros:

  • It has eight workout modes for you to try out.
  • It has a device holder, so this will be useful if you like watching Netflix or other streaming services.
  • 28-day money-back guarantee – not a fan of it, send it back, that easy.
  • Comes with a 3-year home repair warranty.

Cons:

  • An advanced rower may want more resistance.
  • Holds a max weight of 150kg.

Concept 2 rowErg

Designed for professionals and beginners, this rower will give you excellent value for money with its sturdy and reliable build.

Concept2 is up there with some of the best. This model rowErg, formerly Concept2 Model D, is in gyms and rowing clubs worldwide. It has a reliable and sturdy design that you can fully trust and is backed up by its popularity. It’s a classic air resistance machine with a flywheel and a damper that controls ten airflow settings.

One may anticipate that the air resistance rower would emit considerable noise. While it is not as silent as its magnetic counterpart, it has a 70-100dB range, which is unlikely to disturb anyone nearby. The Concept2 RowErg is the quintessential machine used in indoor rowing competitions and is highly sought after by rowers of all skill levels, from novice to Olympic standard. It is the world’s benchmark for indoor rowing, and its prevalence in a club and home setting is well-deserved. As such, it merits inclusion in any comprehensive evaluation of top-performing rowers.

Fancy rowers on the market have a touchscreen, live classes, and interactive workouts, but Concept2 doesn’t. Do not be fooled, though, as it contains the PM 5 monitor, providing plenty of data. Numerous options for data analysis can be connected with the Concept2 app and transferred to the logbook.

The Concept2 RowErg prioritizes functionality over aesthetics. It lacks the attractive design of wood water rowers or the sophisticated shape of Hydrow Rowers, but it is constructed with the rower in mind and intended to be durable. All machine parts are sturdy and reliable, with minimal potential for malfunctions (however, some reviewers find the PM5 monitor less durable).

This rower is a well-regarded option for those searching for a dependable and expertly designed-machine. It prioritizes functionality over additional features, making it an easy choice for those who want a machine that does the job. This model is particularly well-suited for those participating in indoor rowing competitions, as it is the only machine worth considering.

Pros:

  • It is excellent value for money.
  • Designed for both professionals and beginners.
  • It is sturdy and reliable.

Cons:

  • Lacks any fancy screen features.
  • The design could be better looking.
  • Not as quiet as some on the market.

DKN H20ar

The DKN has a user-friendly console that anyone can use and a tank that comes with 18% more resistance to allow for intense workout sessions.

The DKN H2Oar machine focuses on competitive rowing and delivering results. The design aspect is interesting too.

Using a water tank and submerged paddles will provide a realistic rowing experience. The machine’s resistance adjusts according to the strength of your rowing, much like in an actual boat. With its seamless motion, premium components, and vertical paddle setup, the H2Oar offers a superior rowing experience that resembles the real thing more closely than traditional rowers.

The resistance system will also put you in full control in an instant. It is responsive and dynamic. The resistance is controlled by you in real-time using rowing action, meaning the harder you go, the higher the resistance will be. When you ease up, the rower will lower difficulty immediately, matching the input given. On the machine is a water tank that is vertically positioned and pushes back 18% more than horizontal-based tanks, which is the most common on rowing machines. You can easily rely on this rower to push you and achieve a solid workout every time.

The H2Oar console features real-time workout data to aid in monitoring and tracking performance. It displays various information, including strokes per minute, total strokes, pulse, watt output, time, calories, and average stats. Additional modes such as interval, race, and recovery, as well as customizable options, will give you plenty of information on how well you are doing. This will also help you track if you want to lose weight or improve your fitness. A compatible wireless receiver that delivers almost perfect accuracy can also be purchased as an additional part to monitor your heart rate without interrupting your workout.

Its ergonomic race seat, easy-to-hold handle, and large, slip-resistant footplates offer a secure and comfortable workout. This design allows for a more natural rowing posture, enabling you to challenge yourself harder while minimizing the risk of training-related injuries.

Pros:

  • The console display is user-friendly and shows you a lot of information.
  • The tank will allow for 18% more resistance.
  • Smooth parts enable an enjoyable workout.

Cons:

  • It has a potential flaw with the long durability of the machine.
  • It May be too pricey if your budget is lower.
  • The design might not be as aesthetically pleasing as others.

NordicTrack RW700:

NordicTrack RW700

Another high-quality build from NordicTrack, this is a convenient rower that folds up when not in use, giving you plenty of room. Additionally, it comes with 30 days of iFit for free.

The RW700 is an excellent addition to a home gym from NordicTrack, boasting a spacious 14″ touchscreen, adjustable resistance controls, a tiltable arm, hybrid air/magnetic resistance, and a foldable track. Rowing provides an efficient, low-impact, full-body workout that targets the cardiovascular system and various muscle groups in the legs, core, chest, and back. With its easy-to-use features and free 30-day iFit subscription, the RW700 provides an exceptional rowing experience right in the comfort of your own space. iFit offers indoor training routines to enhance your form and outdoor sessions captured on actual water, immersing you in a realistic experience!

In addition to its large touchscreen and training options, the RW700 rowing machine also incorporates hybrid resistance, a blend of magnetic and air. The console offers 25 digitally-controlled resistance levels, which users can customize by adjusting the air flowing through the flywheel, providing a personalized feel for the rowing stroke.

The use of magnetic and air resistance makes the rower much quieter than other ones meaning you won’t be distracted or put off if you are watching a show or listening to music. The rower also folds in half so it can be tucked out of the way if it is not being used, resulting in more space if you keep it in your home.

Pros:

  • iFit is included in the first 30 days.
  • It has a screen that will keep you immersed.
  • It folds up when not in use resulting in plenty of room.

Cons:

  • iFit will require a monthly subscription after the trial period has ended.
  • The seat is relatively low, so this may not be for you if you have mobility issues.
  • When fully open, it may take up space.

Hydrow

It has one of the smoothest rowing motions, with a high-quality build and an easy-to-navigate touchscreen.

The Hydrow is sleek and modern compared to traditional gym rowers and will catch attention. Its rounded edges, 22″ touch screen, and absence of chains or water drums make it seem like a futuristic rowing machine. Using the Hydrow feels like a unique experience, thanks to its founder Bruce Smith, a former US National team coach. He utilized his extensive knowledge to design a machine with computer-controlled resistance and a specially engineered seat with 12 rollers for a smooth and quiet glide.

The rower feels a lot different from the others we have used. The smoothness of the glide is the first thing you will notice. It urges the legs to move more as the want to pull on the handle is not there. Meaning you instinctively use your legs.

Hydrow brings a fresh and innovative approach to the classic rowing machine. Its sleek design and smooth performance set it apart from traditional gym rowers. The luxurious 22-inch display allows you to escape the confines of your home and explore the beauty of exotic waterways with its collection of live and regularly updated on-demand workouts. You can follow top-tier athletes as they row on virtual channels, take unguided journeys to paddle freely, and discover sights from Miami to where you choose.

Gone are the days of staring at your room’s walls while you work out. Hydrow’s central selling point is its ability to transport you to different locations, giving you a sense of adventure and variety. This feature is handy for those who need help motivating themselves in the gym or at home. With Hydrow, you can explore new and exciting locations while getting a great workout.

The Hydrow’s computerized resistance system is designed to provide a realistic rowing experience, mimicking the natural fluidity of rowing on water. Each stroke adjusts resistance to create a smooth and seamless connection between the rower and the machine. To further enhance the experience, Hydrow features a comfortable padded seat, a webbed strap, and a foam handle. These elements work together to make finding and maintaining proper form effortless, ensuring a safe and effective workout. The combination of a computerized system and the ergonomic design elements make the Hydrow a top choice for those looking to improve their rowing skills or enjoy a natural rowing experience in the comfort of their own home.

Pros:

  • A very smooth rowing motion.
  • High-quality build.
  • Easy to navigate the touchscreen considering it is big.

Cons:

  • It’s a significant investment.
  • Takes up a large part of floor space.
  • Not foldable, so it will need plenty of storage if not in use.

What muscles do rowing machines work?

Rowing is a full-body exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including legs, arms, back, and core. The motion of the sliding seat engages the triceps, hamstrings, and quadriceps, while pulling the handle strengthens the biceps, glutes, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles. Incorporating rowing into your workout routine can enhance your overall strength and tone your back, arms, and abs.

Do I need a mat for my rowing machine?

When deciding whether you need a mat for your rowing machine, there are factors to consider. Firstly, it is essential to consider the type of flooring in your home. Rowing machines are heavy and robust, and without adequate protection, they may cause damage to delicate flooring materials such as wood or carpet.

If you plan on using your rowing machine for high-intensity workouts. A mat can also help absorb any vibrations caused by the machine, protecting your floor and reducing noise transmission. This is especially important if you live in a flat with neighbors nearby. It will also help keep your machine stable and reduce the risk of it moving or sliding during use while reducing the amount of noise that might escape.

How often should I row?

When it comes to any exercise, and you are a beginner, it’s important to build your strength and stamina slowly. This will help to avoid injury and fatigue. Rest days are crucial, too, for the same exact reason. While it is perfectly safe to row every day, it will depend on how intense your workouts are.

Always know that your body needs valuable recovery time to repair the damaged muscles. So, if you are buying a rower, start slow… But if you are an expert, you won’t need our advice!

Conclusion

In conclusion, rowing machines are an effective and convenient way to get an intense, full-body workout at home. There are many great options on the market, each with unique features and benefits. Whether you’re looking for a high-tech model with a large touchscreen display, or a straightforward machine that pushes you closer to achieving your fitness goals, there is a rower out there for everyone. With the help of this article, we hope to have highlighted some of the top rowers available.

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