8 Best Rowing Machines of 2023
(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links at no additional cost to you.)
What are the best Rowing Machines in 2023?
The workout provided by a rowing machine is hailed as one of the best that you can get. It provides a low-impact exercise that tones the arms, legs, back, and core abdominal muscles. It also provides you with the heart benefits of a vigorous cardio workout. Stationary bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals cannot reach all of these muscle groups.
To help you navigate the many options out there, we have rounded up the Best Best Rowing Machines in the post for you:
Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full top 8 list with in-depth reviews.
#1: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine (Best overall)
Types of Rowing Machine
There are four main types of rowing machine classed by the resistance mechanism used. Here are the 4 types:
If you are looking for an economical option or you are living in a space that is limited in size the hydraulic rowing machine can be a wise choice. This machine gets its resistance from the air and fluid that is being compressed with a cylinder inside that can be adjusted by the user. The problem with these machines is they do not allow you to pull in a straight line and you therefore are unable to perform a natural stroke row stroke.
The Water rowing machine is prized as the best rowing machine out there by many people because it emulates the motion, feel, and resistance of being in a true row boat because of its patented water flywheel design. The water rower rowing machines gain resistance by dragging through water just like your performing outdoors. They have a tank of water that the machine moves through so the resistance is similar and the sound is almost silent. You do hear the movement of water but with most water rowers it is ever so slightly.
Most water rowing machines are made of wood but there are a few commercial models that are mostly constructed of metal. The disadvantages of water rowing machines are that they tend to be larger than other types of rowing machines and the prices start at a higher price point.
Magnetic resistant fitness rowing machines are very popular due to their silent stroke and smooth resistance. Unlike flywheel based indoor rowers which receives its resistance from the wind, magnetic rowing machines utilizes a magnetic brake system. This provides for multiple levels of resistance and easy adjustability. This ease of resistance adjustability makes them very popular in the rowing world today, especially for the use in the home. Because they use magnetic resistance there is no friction and there is virtually no sound out of the machine.
Air or Flywheel
The Flywheel Rowing Machines are often referred to as an air rowing machine and can usually aim to give you a feel like outdoor rowing. The air rowing machine uses a flywheel that is spun from the pulling motion. This flywheel then spins blades from a fan that puts out wind. The resistance is increased the faster you pull on the rowing machine because the faster you go the faster the blades spin and this creates more resistance. The problem with these machines is the can be very noisy for indoor use.
To figure out which model is the best rowing machine for your use, you will need to examine the following criteria: Rider weight may have a maximum limit of 250 pounds up to a possible 500 pounds. Obviously, your personal situation will dictate the appropriate model. You will also have to examine height limits if you are extremely tall or short. You will also need to determine your space requirements. If you have a home gym with room to spare, it is not a concern. For those who need a model to fold and store in the closet or under the bed, it will be more of a consideration.
Your goal in shopping for one of these machines is to find a model that is best suited to your individual needs and preferences. You want to find a unit that balances affordability with reliability and resistance. Evaluating the 4 kinds of resistance available will help you to determine the most suitable rowing machine for you.
1. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
- Integrated Device Holder allows you to keep your Smart Phone or Tablet securely in place. Compatible with over 40+ apps.
- 14-inch seat height fits most uses. Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
- Indoor rowing is an effective full-body and low-impact workout; flywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel
- Includes the Performance Monitor 5, giving you accurate, comparable data for every row. Bluetooth and ANT+ functionality to connect wirelessly to apps and heart rate monitors.
- Smooth gliding operation
- Ease of assembly
- Large size to accommodate tall people
- Reliable and robust with readily-available replacement parts
- Requires a bit of space (9 feet by 4 feet)
- No in-built apps, fancy graphics or live workouts
- Not the most aesthetically attractive
2. Hydrow – Connected Rowing Machine
- LIVE OUTDOOR REALITY (LOR) ROWER: Meet Hydrow, the leading at-home connected rower that brings the on-water, outdoor experience of rowing directly to your home. Work 86% of the body’s major muscle groups for challenging workouts that are high-energy and low-impact.
- REDEFINED ROWING EXPERIENCE: Hydrow uses patented technology to capture everything from the sights and sounds to the synchronicity and camaraderie you could otherwise only experience in a boat, resulting in a unique workout experience you won’t find anywhere else.
- Extensive library of motivating classes and rowing events
- Delivers a full-body workout
- Features quiet, electromagnetic resistance
- Superb graphics
- Membership not included
3. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5854 Magnetic Rowing Machine with Dual Resistance
- SILENT GLIDE: Avoid sliding noises with the aluminum slide rail. The soft touch metal on the fitness equipment allows for a quiet slide as you produce powerful rowing strokes. The aluminum build is rust resistant and lightweight. It can also support up to 300 lb.
- MOVABLE LCD: Never worry about batteries when using the adapter-powered rower. Pivot your workout meter up and down to get the best view of your data while you're working out on the exercise rower.
- Enlarged digital monitor
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance
- 7 workout programs
- 300 lb weight capacity
- Folding frame for storage
- ANT+ heart rate monitor compatible
- Pivoting foot pedals
- Quiet operation
- Easy assembly
- Warranty could be longer
- An HR chest strap is not included
4. NordicTrack – RW900 Rowing Machine
- 30-Day iFIT Family Membership Included; Stream live & on-demand workouts on your equipment with Global Workouts & Studio Classes; Add up to 5 users; Elite trainers adjust your equipment ( dollars39 value)
- 22” HD Interactive Touchscreen Display streams on-demand iFIT workouts into your home directly on your rowing machine; Adjustable Console Angle for a variety of training both on and off your equipment
- Interactive workouts
- Comprehensive program including cross-training
- Easily folds up for easy storage
- Utilizes a dual resistance design
- iFit membership costs $39 per month (after the first 30 day)
5. ProForm Pro R10 Smart Rower with 10” Touchscreen
- Totally free with a 3-year iFit subscription
- 10″ HD touchscreen
- Oversize, pivoting foot pedals
- Folds and rolls for storage
- Only one month’s iFit subscription included in price
- The touchscreen could be larger
6. Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine – SF-RW5713
- WATER PERFORMANCE: Instant resistance is available with the flywheel and 16 fan blades. The faster the fan blades spin the higher resistance and dynamic response caused by the harmonious interaction with the water, giving the user a unique experience.
- DESIGN: Constructed with lightweight sturdy steel, for solid performance and durability. The 16 hydro-blades mimic the dynamic movements of competitive rowing along with sweat resistant handlebars.
- High-density rubber wheels make it easy to maneuver
- Built-in fitness meter helps to track workouts easily and accurately
- Constructed with sturdy steel that provides maximum durability
- Smooth rowing action
- Adjustable water levels
- Heart rate monitor compatible
- May not be ideal for people with short height
- Water can leak from tank when stored vertically
- Heart rate monitor not included
7. ProForm 750R Folding Smart Rower
- Start Your Complimentary 30-Day iFIT Membership; Stream live and on-demand workouts on your equipment with Global Workouts and Studio Classes; Elite trainers adjust your equipment (Dollar 15 value)
- Adjustable Tablet Holder; stream interactive iFIT workouts to your own device to stay engaged and motivated as you train; 5” Multi-Color Display; Track distance, cadence, and estimated calorie burn
- 24 Digital Resistance Levels; With iFIT, your trainer will auto-adjust your resistance as you exercise for a hands-off experience; SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance; Exercise in near silence at home
- Good value
- Optional membership program
- Folds up for storage
- Integrated tablet holder
- Only one month’s iFit subscription included in price
- Design not the most attractive
8. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor
3 used from $210.51
- 【Legacy Equipment】 Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine, trusted by over a million satisfied customers with 12,000+ 5-star reviews. Purchase with confidence, knowing its quality has been time-tested and acclaimed
- 【Total Body Workout】 Full-body Workout with Extended Slide Rails. Engage & strengthen legs, glutes, core, back, arms & shoulders. Rowing activates multiple muscles, promoting balanced development & strength. Unlock your potential
- Economical with eight levels of resistance
- Easy to fold and store
- Only okay cord quality
- Rail might be too short for tall people