Rowing machines, also known as indoor rowers, are exercise machines that help one simulate the watercraft rowing action while training all body muscles and increasing the levels of their energy. Indoor rowing is an excellent activity for those who wish to stay in shape. Professional rowers use it to train for water rowing, while amateurs simply use it to diversify their workout routine. Indoor rowing is an established sport, recognized worldwide, just like water rowing.

Modern indoor rower machines are sophisticated and extremely efficient, being known by the public as ergometers, too. They have the ability to measure one’s performance and are usually equipped with monitors that calculate and show the amount of energy, calories and effort one has put into his training. More than that, the performance monitors that are incorporated in rowing machines are designed to collect data using specific algorithms, in order to help the performer keep track of the distance he or she has routed. All indicators concerning the distance, speed, burnt calories, heart beat rate, pulse, resistance, route difficulty, etc., are shown on a digital display that can be easily reached and adjusted in most cases.

Using a rowing machine for every-day training brings multiple benefits to one’s body and mental state, being able to reduce stress. Rowing is especially recommended to those who wish to develop a powerful cardiovascular system. While doing that, endorphins are being released as a result of high effort and stress or depression can be easily avoided.

Rowing machines have been used since the 4th century BC, even though rudimentary versions of what we can see on today’s market were used by beginner oarsmen who needed to be trained. The first rowing machine that looked similar to what we know today, was WB Curtis’ 1872 patented model that represented the stepping stone for numerous manufacturers.

These training machines are comprised of a braking mechanism, a chain, a handle, a foot stretcher and a rail. Of course, mechanisms, advantages and disadvantages differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but all modern rowing machines include at least one digital display that shows a number of indicators.

While the rowing machine can be used by people of all ages, the rowing machine workout is recommended especially for those who wish to train more than one muscle group. This sport is known to be a strength-endurance activity and interval trainings are most frequently recommended by fitness specialists. It is not recommended, though, for people who have a sensitive lower back, pain in that specific area or injuries.

A rowing machine can be used in the comfort of one’s home or at a gym, with the purpose of simply staying in a perfect physical shape, losing weight or reducing stress and anxiety. Whether you are a gym owner and you need to buy some more rowing machines or you just need to buy one for your home, you need to carefully analyze the market before choosing the right machine. The purpose of this article is to give you an idea of the best-selling machine’s advantages and disadvantages, so while reviewing the 10 products below, we have looked at the performance monitors’ quality, the materials, the noise level and many more significant factors that will help you train in the most efficient way possible.

1. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

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This is one of the best rowing machines that the market has to offer in terms of gym equipment. It is an air-resistance model with one of the lowest noise levels. Its advanced performance monitor is a PM5 that tracks distance, pace, speed, calories and watts and shows data on a large digital display. Its main menu contains options like “just row”, “select workout”, “games”, “memory” and “more options”.

This machine’s PM5 has five different graphic displays that help the rower understand its performance. Force curve, pace-boat, bar chart, large print and all data are the graphic options offered on display. A chest strap and heart rate attachment are available for this model. More than that, it supports Bluetooth for heart rate monitoring and has a USB drive for record storing. As expected, it is an expensive machine that not everyone can afford for home use.

What’s to like about Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine ?

  • Is strongly built
  • Has a matte finish and a great design
  • Has PM5
  • Has Bluetooth
  • Has low noise level

What’s not to like:

  • The seat is not as comfortable as it should be
  • Rough handle

2. Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine

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This is a cheap rowing machine, extremely affordable, that includes a PM5 monitor and an adjustable digital display. It has a comfortable seat, 12 levels of adjustable resistance, and pivoting foot plates. It has an electronic display that shows time count and calories burnt.

It has a simple design and it is easy to use and transport, as it only weighs 23 Ibs. It is made of plastic and steel and it has a hydraulic resistance type. It is fully assembled, so when you order it, you just need to place it in a suitable spot. Even though it has basic features, it is extremely useful for those who want to lose weight or stay in a great physical shape.

What’s to like about Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine?

  • Has 12 resistance levels
  • Is lightweight
  • Is affordable
  • Is easy to use
  • Has a 5-year warranty

What’s not to like:

  • Is made of plastic and steel
  • Does not seem extremely durable

3. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

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WaterRower is a rowing machine that has a wooden design and it offers a realistic motion that imitates the rowing action almost perfectly. It comes with an S$ control panel that is multifunctional and can track the exercise’s intensity, the heart rate, the duration, the distance and more. It has 9 different buttons on the battery operated display which is not lit.

It has a water tank that is made of polycarbonate, which is pretty cool. Its build quality seems high and it is also extremely comfortable, having a molded seat with an ergonomic design. It is easy to assemble and store and it is perfect for spaces with wooden furniture, as it fits right in.

What’s to like about WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood?

  • Has a solid structure
  • Is comfortable
  • Has variable resistance
  • Has an advanced monitor
  • Has a great, wooden design

What’s not to like:

  • Is expensive
  • Occupies a large amount of space

4. WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood

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This water rowing machine has a similar design to the natural rower above, but it is designed to be used for heavy-duty use. That means that it is meant to be in a gym, rather than at home. It has an advanced, S4 monitor that displays intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, distance, duration and target fitness zone. It separates multiple windows to get a better data visibility.

This rowing machine has water resistance and has a smooth rowing motion. Its low noise level is pleasant and offers the user a comfortable experience. The great thing about this type of rower is that the more water you add, the more difficult it gets to row. The S4 monitor can be connected to computers in order to record performance data.

What’s to like about WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood?

  • Is strongly built
  • Is designed for heavy-duty use
  • Is comfortable
  • Has an advanced monitor
  • Has a smooth rowing motion

What’s not to like:

  • Is expensive and lacks some menu features

5. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

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This is an affordable rowing machine that is suitable for home use. It has an adjustable gas-shock resistance and a basic monitor that displays time, stroke count and burned calories. Assembly and storage is easy with this machine thanks to its folding structure. It is easy and comfortable to use thanks to its two separate handles. It has a smooth motion and is sturdily built.

This rowing machine’s monitor turns off automatically for energy saving, as soon as the workout ends. It has a 1-year warranty for the frame and 90 days for its parts. It also comes with floor protection which makes it even more suitable for home use.

What’s to like about Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine?

  • Is sturdy
  • Has floor protectors
  • Has adjustable resistance
  • Has 2 separate handles
  • Is affordable

What’s not to like:

  • Is battery powered
  • Can be quite noisy
  • Has only 1 year warranty

6. Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

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The Stamina 1215 rowing machine has a hydraulic system and adjustable resistance with 5 levels. It comes with a multifunctional monitor that can track the distance, time, speed and calories. Its two adjustable handles makes it comfortable to use and extremely practical as resistance can be set separately for both handles.

Its thick padded seat is comfortable for those who practice a large amount of time. Its layout is sturdy and its structure seems durable. Has a smooth motion and sliding. Also, it is one of the most affordable machines on the market, even though cheaper ones can be found, too.

What’s to like about Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine?

  • Is cheap
  • Has a solid layout
  • Has adjustable arms and handles
  • Has a smooth running
  • Has a 5-year warranty

What’s not to like:

  • Has a basic monitor
  • Is not suitable for most tall people.

7. ProRower H2O RX-750 Home Series Rowing Machine

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This is a great water rowing machine that is based on the hydro-power drive technology. It has a polycarbonate water tank that is extremely resistant and an easy-to-read control panel that is larger than most displays on other rowing machines. It has an ergonomic design, comfortable footrests and a soft seat.

Its display is able to track time, speed, distance and calories and al data can be easily observed. This rowing machine is suitable for home use. It can be easily folded for storage, even though it occupies a large amount of space when is ready for use. The great thing about this product is the fact that its manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty.

What’s to like about ProRower H2O RX-750?

  • Is easy to assemble
  • Is cost effective
  • Has a large display
  • Can be folded for storage
  • Has lifetime warranty

What’s not to like:

  • Does not support a lot of weight

8. Stamina Air Rower

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The Stamina air rower comes with a great design and wind-resistance rowing system, as well as a multi-function monitor that is excellent for both beginners and advanced rowers. Its monitor can track speed, time, calories and distance. It is quite affordable comparing to the features that it offers. Its padded seat is comfortable enough for short training sessions. It has large footplates with adjustable belts.

This product has a 3-year warranty for its frame and only 90 days warranty for its parts which is definitely a minus. It is made of stainless steel and plastic and even though its materials are not very promising, it seems quite sturdy during training. Although it has its advantages, this machine can be too loud sometimes.

What’s to like about Stamina Air Rower?

  • Is foldable
  • Has 3-year warranty
  • Has multi-function display
  • Has ergonomic foot plates

What’s not to like:

  • Is noisy
  • Has a capacity of only 250 Ibs

9. LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine

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The LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 has a moderate price and a great technology which makes it a good buy for those who have a limited budget but need a high-performance rowing machine. It has a solid steel frame and it can be easily stored thanks to its foldable structure. It has a 5-level magnetic break system that allows the user to adjust its resistance. It is comfortable to use thanks to the seat’s foam material and ergonomics.

It has a three-LCD console that offers a better data visibility. Its monitor can track distance, time, calories, strokes per minute and total stroke count. It has a 5 year warranty for its frame and only 2 year warranty for its parts.

What’s to like about LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine?

  • Has adjustable 5 level resistance
  • Has 5 years warranty
  • Has ergonomic design
  • Is foldable
  • Has a moderate price
  • Has a 3-LCD console

What’s not to like:

  • Does not include a chain

10. Stamina 15-9003 Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent / Rower

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This rowing machine from Stamina is a more expensive product that comes with a variety of advantages. It has a compact design and a great seat that also includes a back rest. It comes with 8 resistance levels, a battery powered display that turns itself off after 4 minutes of inactivity and a touchpad that is easy to use while training. It includes heart rate monitoring, but it only offers correct results when hands are on the handles.

It has a solid frame and a pleasant design, as well as a low noise level. It can be used as home or at the gym. Its comfort level is pretty high, as it has an ergonomic design and 2 separate sets of footrests. The best thing about this product is the fact that it can be turned into the bike mode for those who prefer imitating the bike motion.

What’s to like about Stamina 15-9003 Deluxe Conversion II?

  • Has rower mode and bike mode
  • Has solid frame
  • Has 8 levels of resistance
  • Has backrest
  • Is foldable
  • Has heart rate monitor

What’s not to like:

  • Heart rate monitor only works in the bike mode
  • Its capacity of 250 Ibs might not be enough for some users