Rowing Machine Reviews – Find the Right One

Welcome to where we aim to help you find the perfect rowing machine for you, by evaluating rowing machines revealing their pros and cons allowing you to make an informed decision. Among the team here at we have over 40 years of experience within the fitness industry and know what it takes to get into the shape of your life.


We offer trust worthy reviews of rowing machines of all different prices and specifications, but we do not sell any rowing machines.

Buyers Guide, What to look for?

You’ve decided to buy a rowing machine. Congratulations! You’ve just taken a major step in improving your health and fitness level. Now comes the most difficult part: finding the best rowing machine for you. If you’ve never owned a rower, you may not know exactly what to look for. This guide will give you some insight into which features are most important, so you can choose a rowing machine that will help you achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.

Resistance Type

One of the first and most important things you need to consider is resistance type. There are four main types to choose from: air, water, hydraulic and magnetic. Each resistance type comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Our rowing machine reviews have also been split up into different resistance types, enabling you to see all the machines available for that particular type.


Air rowing machines are one of the more common types, and they generate resistance through a flywheel. Some machines allow you to adjust the resistance level using a notch on the side of the wheel. Aside from this adjustment (if available), your rowing pace will generate resistance.

With an air-based machine, the harder and faster you row, the higher the resistance will be. Because workouts intensify as your effort intensifies, air rowers ensure that you maintain a higher level of expended effort.

Perhaps the only drawback to an air rowing machine is that it produces noise as the wheel turns. That being said, the flywheel also produces a nice breeze as you exercise.


A water rowing machine is designed to mimic the experience of real rowing, and are intended for serious users. Most of the high end rowers on the market use water resistance.

As you may have guessed, these rower machines use water to generate resistance. They come equipped with large water-filled tanks that create resistance as you row.

Like the air rowing machine, the harder and faster you row, the greater the resistance will be. Each time you row, the paddles in the water tank revolve. The moving water drags against the paddles to create resistance.

A water rowing machine tends to be quieter than air rowing machines, although you can still hear the sound of the water moving in the tank. Many users find the “whooshing” sound of the water in the tank to be relaxing and soothing.

These rowers require little maintenance, but because the tank needs to be filled with water, they can be very heavy and larger than most other rowers.


Hydraulic rowers are inexpensive, smaller in size, and quieter than other rower types. That being said, they’re not the best choice for intermediate or advanced users.

To generate resistance, hydraulic machines use pistons. You won’t get the same smooth rowing feel that you would get with an air or water rowing machine, but it will offer a challenge that will help you improve your fitness level. Therefore if you are looking for a cheap rowing machine to have at home then a piston rowing machine may be the one for you.


One of the most popular resistance types for home users, is the magnetic rowing machine. One of its major benefits is that it’s very quiet, but its compact design is also a crowd-pleaser.

These machines use magnets and a flywheel to adjust the resistance levels. You can increase or decrease the resistance either by adjusting a slider or through a digital console.

Unlike hydraulic rowers, a magnetic rowing machine is capable of providing that smooth rowing feel that users are looking for.

If you are looking for a folding rowing machine, then chances are it will be a magnetic rowing machine, as the compact design allows for easy storage and makes it a great choice for people with smaller homes or flats. One of the top selling magnetic rowing machines on the market is the York R700 rowing machine, therefore have a look if you are interested in a magnetic rower.


Another important thing to consider when choosing a rowing machine is its display. Does it offer a digital display of any kind? It may seem trivial, but a digital display will allow you to track your workouts and progress.

Most machines will come with a built-in display – even cheap rowing machines. Look for machines that will tell you:

  • Calories burned
  • Workout time
  • Strokes per minute
  • Distance
  • Heart rate

These are just the basic stats that you want to be able to track. Advanced displays may offer other stats as well. The Concept 2 rowing machine’s display, for example, allows you to race against a targeted pace to help you reach your goals and is considered the best rowing machine available on the market.

While advanced features aren’t necessary, you do want to ensure that you can at least track the basic stats listed above.


Some users may be looking for a folding rowing machine, as this may be an important feature if you are looking for a home rowing machine. If space is a concern, a large water rower may not be the best option as these models typically do not offer foldable features.

Magnetic, hydraulic and some air rowers will offer a foldable design that allows you to save space in your home. Some also feature wheels that allow you to easily move the rower to the corner of a room or a closet when it’s not in use.

All of our rowing machine reviews will indicate whether the machine is foldable.

Seat Rail Length & Weight Capacity

Seat rail length is a concern for taller users. Before buying any rowing machine, be sure to look at the length of the seat rail to make sure it’s long enough for you or anyone else who will use the rower.

Weight capacity is also important. The rower you choose should be able to easily accommodate your weight and any other person who may use the rowing machine. Hydraulic rowers may not have as high of a weight capacity as an air or water rower, so keep that in mind when choosing a model.

Heart Rate Monitor Compatibility

Most people overlook the importance of being able to use a heart rate monitor during a rowing machine workout. Your heart rate is a good indication of how intense (or easy) your workout is. If you’re trying to improve your fitness level and burn extra calories, you’ll want to make sure that you hit your target heart rate and stay there.

Most machines come with built-in pulse monitoring, but if the machine you’re looking at doesn’t, check to see if it’s compatible with a separate ones.


Built-In Workouts

Not sure what a rowing machine workout really consists of? Well, some models have built-in workouts which will help to take the stress out of your workout. Depending on your personal goals, this may or may not be important to you.

Built-in workout programs offer the benefit of varying your workouts and providing you with a challenging rowing session. Some machines offer dozens of built-in workouts for all fitness levels, while others offer just a few. If you’re looking for a well-balanced workout, consider a rowing machine that offers built-in programs.


One of the final things you need to consider is the rower’s warranty. The vast majority of rowers will come with some type of warranty, but models that offer five-year or longer warranties are a smart choice.

While a warranty will not affect the performance of the rower, it will give you peace of mind in knowing that your investment is protected if something should break or malfunction.

These are the primary things to be on the lookout for when buying a rowing machine. Resistance type will likely be the deciding factor in which type of rower you choose, but be sure to keep all of the other points in mind while looking for your home rowing machine.

Still unsure of which rower to choose? Check out some of our rowing machine reviews and the customer reviews from our best 3 rowing machines below:

Our Top 5 Rowing Machine Picks

Below you will find what we consider to be the 5 best rowing machines. If you would like a more detailed analysis of each model, feel free to read the reviews of each individual model.

Best Rowing MachinesPro'sReviews
#1. Concept 2 Model D Rowing Machine

  • Advanced monitoring with the PM5

  • Exceptional resistance

  • Smooth rowing experience

  • Comfortable

  • Long-lasting

102 Reviews
#2. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

  • Realistic rowing design and experience

  • Resistance is dependent on user

  • Silent rowing with advanced monitoring

  • Exceptional full-body workout

29 Reviews
#3. JTX Freedom Air Rower

  • Sturdy build

  • Advanced monitoring system

  • 16 resistance levels

  • Foldaway design

  • Fast and free delivery

11 Reviews
#4. Marcy Regatta Folding Rowing Machine

  • Exceptional magnetic resistance

  • Easily folds

  • Transport wheels make moving the machine a breeze

  • Computer feedback is accurate

  • Comfortable seat

53 Reviews
#5. York R700 Rowing Machine

  • Multiple (8) resistance levels for challenging workouts

  • Solid construction

  • Retractable seat allows the rower to fold up for easy storage

  • Combination of air and magnetic resistance allows for smooth rowing

  • Quiet while in use

121 Reviews