Some time ago, almost 30 years ago, I acquired a state-of-the-art flywheel rowing machine. It was considered one of the best rowing machines for home at the time. It was awesome to have! It was great when the kids where young as I could do one of the best overall training routines available at times when it was convenient for me and not disruptive for the family.

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Unfortunately, my beloved home rowing machine went with my ex-wife in our divorce. For many years after this, I have gone without one of the best rowing machines for home. I made do by going to the gym, running, swimming, to boot camps all to keep up my fitness. Recently, with access to gyms, swimming complexes no longer available, I thought, why not look at getting a replacement rowing machine for home.

Should I invest in a rowing machine?

I thought I would invest in buying myself a new rowing machine are in 2020. To behold, rowing machines have evolved quite considerably with computer measures and software to help you train. Some 30 years ago, if I recall correctly, there were only three different types available to choose. How things have changed.

I realized that I needed to do a bit of research to find the best rowing machine for home myself. So this is my research gathered from a range of resources, including the professional trainer, athlete, trailing all the products.

With all the information and learnings that I gathered, I thought I would share this with you from understanding the physical health benefits, to understand the different types of rowing machines available, the things to think about how to make sure you get the best rowing machine for yourself.

I hope you enjoy this information and review of some of the more popular rowing machines for home.

Do you want to go straight to the product reviews?


Why a home rowing machine?

For me, I consider the rowing machine one of the best indoor physical exercises that improves your cardio, strength, flexibility with a significantly reduced chance of getting injured. It is hard to find a workout that works on almost every single body muscle group. From the calves all the way to the forearms. Virtually no muscle group is missed.

The Rowing Machine Is the Gym’s Most Underrated Piece of Equipment

The other thing I really like about the home row machine is the ability to do it ant time, day or night. They can be relatively easily stored away and virtually requires no set-up time. So for us time-poor people, it’s ideal.

One other thing that I like about it, you can’t tip over in the water!

How long have Rowing machines been around?

Even though the first rowing machine was built as far back as 400BC, the first patented rowing machines were not until 1872 by a W.B. Curtis. Mr. Curtis’s rowing machine used a flywheel design. It was not till the early 1900s were rowing machines took a significant leap forward in design, predominately due to rowing at colleges and universities become a popular competitive sport.

This competitive streak amongst universities brought out the ingenuity to design and build the best rowing machine to get an edge on their competitors. This allowed the athletes to train off the water during poor weather conditions and off-season training.

Interesting Fact: Evidence of the first rowing machines was found as far back 2,500 years ago in Greece. The images show Greek military soldiers using them. We can assume that they were using the rowing machine to train their soldiers for combat in the seas.

An industry was formed. Rowing machines across universities, colleges, and rowing establishments became the norm. Each rowing machine was meticulously and lovingly hand-built.

The earlier machines, as expected, were fundamental compared to those of today. They were not portable and required a significant amount of space. The essential deficiency in the early rowing machines was the lack of consistent resistance in the rowing actions.

The moderisation era of rowing machines

In the early 1980s, rowing machines escalated in popularity across the globe. Not only as a training aid for rowers but as well for gyms and well as home rowing machines.

With this increase in popularity, inventors started to look for new ways to build the best rowing machines for all types of environments and needs. The modern-day rowing machines come in many different forms, and many have some fantastic innovative training aids to help improve your fitness. One that comes to mind is the visual computer screens that you use to motivate yourself while you are training, showing statistics of your heart rate, cadence, and other information.

Interestingly our friends down under, Australia, made some significant advances in the late 1980s with the rowing machine named “Concept 2”. This rowing machine combined a flywheel with air resistance. At that time, it was considered the best rowing machine around. It is still one of the most popular gyms and home rowing machines in the market place.

When I first bought my first rowing machine in the late 1980s, the price of units has dramatically reduced in cost. The actual dollar value that I bought my original one is equivalent to one of the most expensive ones in the market place.

Can rowing machines improve further?

Rowing machines have evolved with many types to meet people’s various needs. The reliability, the engineering is all second the none.
What I see as being improving is the measurements and feedback you will have while you are doing your workout.

Even though rowing machines are low risk of getting an injury, you are still able to hurt yourself through poor technique or overexertion or overstraining. With the use of a camera, computers, body trackers, heart rate monitors, and sophisticated applications, the rowing machine will provide real-time feedback to the person about their rowing technique and form

Health benefits of rowing machines

Unlike almost all other fitness machines, like climbing machines, step machines, and treadmill, it is one that exercises the full body. After extensive measurements of people, it has been found that the energy at the following rates for the specific areas of the body is;

  • Legs                55-60%
  • Upper body    40-55%
One of the most important aspects is that is low impact! Running machines. It avoids the orthopedic stress on your joints. Even the step master machines have a weight impact on the knees of around 3-times your body weight,

The rowing machine, in my view, is the best way to build and tone your muscles as well as developing core strength, overall strength, build endurance, anaerobic and aerobic fitness, and increase cardiovascular performance.

If you own one fitness equipment at home, it should be the rowing machine.

Let me give you some compelling reasons to use the best rowing machine to improve your physical fitness as well as strength

Increase the calorie burn for the same time of exercise

Let s compare the 60-minute calorie burn rate for an average person for different exercise regimes. Below is an extract from Harvard Health from their in-depth analysis of various exercises.

 Exercise Type Calories used in 60-Minutes
Rowing machine  600
Stepping Machine  400
Running  400
Walking  250

The rowing machine is of the best exercises to tone-up and slimming down

Re-vitalising proving your Heart and Lungs

With the best rowing machines providing an over body work out, it is the rate in the top few in cardiovascular / aerobic workouts.

An excellent cardiovascular work out even for a few minutes has many benefits, including;

  • Body fat burning
  • Strengthens the heart reducing blood pressure.
  • Increases lung capacity.
  • Reduces emotional stress and anxiety

Get the Endorphin rush and feel good
Want to feel good?

Why not do it naturally by stimulating your endorphins? Endorphins reduce pain and boost pleasure. Endorphins are known to alleviate depression, reduces stress, lowers anxiety, book self-esteem.

Did you know? A 30-minute laborious aerobic exercise your energy and mood will change and improve for 2-3 hours and last for the next 16 hours.
With a good row machine that gives you the all-of-body workout, it has been witnessed and experienced that the endorphin rush, to be so much higher than any other form of exercise for the comparable time.

Toning and muscle increase in the Torso

No-one likes to have sagging upper arms or have drooping chest, with regular rowing machines works outs, it can be avoided. Below is a list of some of the major upper body muscles that are used;

  • Trapezius
  • Triceps
  • Rhomboids
  • Rectus abdominus
  • Obliques
  • Brachioradialis
  • Pectorals
  • Rhomboids
  • Biceps
  • Deltoids
  • Abdominals

The rowing machines workouts are especially beneficial though who have office jobs as it provides strengthening exercises and body balancing exercise. (Read “Can you improve your body Balancing” to understand the importance of core strength exercises). Sitting in one of the major causes of back injuries.

Legs and Buttock Toning and strengthening

There is virtually no impact on your lower joints when you use a row machine. This workout does not contribute or, at the very least insignificant to painful joints injuries caused by running, tennis, and similar physical exercises. What more it works so many leg muscles including;

  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteals
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Peroneal
  • Soleus
  • Semimembranosus
  • Calves
  • Feet

Avoidance of joint injuries

Joint and muscular injuries are universal for overweight people. For those people having an exercise routine that is low impact and avoid muscle strain is extremely important.

The joint and muscular injuries are caused by the weight places extreme stress on all body parts. Unfortunately, joint and muscular injuries stop people from doing exercise, which has a downward spirally effect on their health.

Well, the rowing machine workouts has an extremely low impact on joints!

Rowing Machine Body Overall Stretching & Flexibility

By the sheer nature of using the row machine, your body stretches. For the;

  • Arms and shoulder: the reaching and pulling actions of the arms
  • Legs: bending, compressing, and straightening.

It should be remembered; before any strenuous exercise, it is essential to warm up.

Building Peak Staying Power

Having good oxygen flow to all your body builds tissue and cell efficiency that, in turn, improves overall stamina. There is no other workout like a row machine workout that circulates blood throughout the body.

By increasing stamina, it reduces fatigue. (Note: Stamina is different from endurance. Stamina is being at your peak for a given time.)

Stamina is built by combing cardio, strength, and endurance training. The all of body rowing machine workout indeed combines all these necessary components.

Mental Meditation on rowing machines

Doing a rowing machine workout is repetitive. In most, it needs little concentration. It is effortless to get into the “Zone” once you have mastered all the techniques and have some confidence in using the rowing machines. The noise made by all the row machines, the low volume whooshing noise.

Reduction of neighbors stress

Exercising at home can be quiet noisy. If you are living in close confines, this may cause you stress because neighbors complain. The rowing machine is low noise.

Watch your Rowing Machine Form

It looks relatively simple to use the rowing machine. Yes, it is. Notwithstanding this, the row machine form should be carefully observed to avoid unnecessary injuries.

A few things to consider when training on a rowing machine. Speed and rushing through strokes is not the most efficient or effective strength exercise. It’s more around making every stroke count.

There are ample available videos on the internet to show you how to properly rowing. I particularly like the one produced by Concept2.

My suggestion is to video yourself to see your actions.

Types of Rowing Machines available

When I started looking at, which is the best rowing machine for myself would be, I began to understand the pros and cons of the different types of rowing machines.

I found that there were four different main types of rowing machines. 

  1.  Water
  2. Air
  3. Magnets
  4. Hydraulic pistons

Water-resistance rowing machines

As the name implies, the rowing machines use water as the resistance mechanism. Rowers say these rowing machines are the closest to that of rowing on the water.

The water resistance row machine has a water tank with paddles inside the unit. It provides the swishing and splashing noise as well.

For those who do rowing as an outdoor activity, as it is the most closely emulates the rowing feels and actions on the water.

Typically these are the most expensive

Air-Resistant Rowing Machines

The air resistant row machines, or air rowers, use air as its resistance. It has fan blades as the mechanism. Typically, there is a vent that you adjust the opening to modify the level of resistance on the rowing actions. The resistance goes harder as you pull harder.

The rowers that I spoke to felt that the air rowers had a water sensation when using the exercise machine. I found they are particularly popular for home rowing machines by competitive rowers.

Magnetic rowing machine

Can you hear me train on the rowing machine? No. It must be a magnetic rowing machine. Yes, it is the quietest of all the various types of rowing machines.

The magnetic rowing machine works using electromagnets close to the flywheel to place frictionless resistance on the flywheel. These row machines would have a number of settings to adjust for your own personal resistance level.

Using a magnetic rowing machine had some degree of real-life rowing experience.

Magnetic row machines tend to be more durable than hydraulic row machines.

Flywheel Rowing Machines

As the name implies, it works using a heavy flywheel with blades attached to use air for resistance. As the flywheel speeds up, there is more resistance.

This configuration provides very real-life rowing actions where you place the blades into the water. The harder you pull, the more resistance.

I didn’t really understand the difference between flywheel and air-resistance rowing machines. I think it is more of a marketing ploy.

Hydraulic/Piston Rowing machines

The piston rowing machine was designed purely on providing a low-cost budget weary exercise rowing machine. It does have its place in the market

This resistance is created on compressing an oil-filled or air-filled cylinder. The compression levels can be adjusted to make resistance easier or more difficult.

Most hydraulic rowing machines cannot synchronize the simultaneous arm and leg motions.

The cylinders on the hydraulic rowing machines tend to fail from overuse.

Summary of Rowing Machine Types

Below is a summary of key plus and minus of r each type of resistance tyechnology.

Types Pro’s Con’s
Water Resistance
  • Emulates rowing on water
  • Low maintenance
  • Good looking
  • Variable resistance based on effort
  • Noisest
  • Expensive
  • Spacious
Air Resistance
  • Push air onto you to keep you cool
  • Moderately priced
  • Most popular in Gyms
  • Similar feel to rowing in the water
  • Variable resistance based on effort 
  • Humming Noisy
  • Very quiet
  • Smooth rowing cycle
  • Realistic rowing action
  • A wide range of price range
  • Very reliable
  • Smaller
  • Fixed resistance based on effort
  • Less natural free
  • Less available resistance
  • Very close to outdoor rowing
  • Broad price range
  • Heavy piece of equipment
  • Low price
  • Quiet
  • Space conscious
  • No real rowing experience
  • Suitable for upper body cardio work
  • Not durable
  • Short life span
  • Cheap construction

Attributes of Rowing machines would need to consider

What is the best home rowing machines for you?

In my quest to buy a home rowing machine, I came up with a list of questions that I want to answer to make sure I truly wanted or needed one. The questions I posed to myself in no particular order, included;


  • How often would I use a home rowing machine?
  • What are my goals
  • Why would I use it instead of running through the bush or going for an ocean swim?
  • What level of money would I be willing to part?
  • Would I want all the additional computer add-ons?
  • Is noise an issue?
  • Where do I want to put it?
  • Will I get bored sitting in one place for exercise?
  • Is it easy to move it?
  • Are there specific settings just for me?
  • Is it complicated to use?
  • Will I get value for money?
  • How many times per week will I use it?
  • How important is the reliability and durability of the unit?
Tip:   Exercising on a stationary rowing machine, you do get very hot and perspire alot.

  • If you have glasses they do tend to get wet
  • I have a fan going to keep me cool , plus a towel to wipe my face.
  • Have drink bottle close by

What type of Rowing Machine should I Get?

Then the question about selecting the actual rowing machines. I came up with the following questions to use in my evaluation. I have placed them in my personal of preference

  1. Feel of unit
  2. Noise
  3. Computer measurement and simulation
  4. Viewability of the screen (my eye sight is going)
  5. Comfort
  6. Quality -durability
  7. Value for money
  8. Complexity of use
  9. Stability
  10. Storage

These are all very personal. You should decide on your own priority.

Review of benefits and types of home rowing machines

I hope the prelude in this article has provided you some insight into the benefits of rowing machines as along the various types of rowing machines available. Often the most critical aspect of purchasing a rowing machine is cost.

In my circumstance, I chose the price as the underlying factor in choosing a rowing machine. I used a formula to work on how much I was going to spend. I determined how many times I would use it per week, and what I would sacrifice to pay for it. I used coffee as my monetary system. I figure I was willing to give up 2 bought coffees per week, and I believed the unit would last at least 2 years.

And the reason I chose a home rowing machine is several-fold;

  • A recent leg injury that occurred running at night. Didn’t see the hole!
  • Great benefits all-of-body exercise anytime.
  • And most importantly the convenience to exercise anytime and to my schedule

What is your value proposition?

Rowing Machine Product Reviews

For the purpose of the review, three different levels.

  • Introduction level, typically below $500,
  • Exercise home rowing machine in the $500-$1,000
  • Fitness Home Rowing machines above $1000

In most instances, the higher the price, the higher the quality and reliability. The other attributes that our evaluators rated were storage, comfort, noise, stability, quality, and value.

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Overall Rating

First Degree Fitness Viking PRO
A high grade rowing machine.  It is designed for commercial use.  This is unit is excellent for rowing competitors that require for a almost rue rowing feel.


Concept2 Model D Indoor
The most popular rowing machine on the market for a couple of decades. Very high quality product and used extensively in gyms and rowing clubs.


NordicTrack RW Rower
A great product. Felt good using the the inertia magnetic flywheel. I particularly like the the large screen where is was able to see the status very easily. This is my choice.


WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry with S4 Monitor
A beautifully crafted piece of equipment. Looks amazing as performing very nicely.  Has all the features you would ever want.


LifeSpan Fitness RW7000 Commercial Rower
A hybrid air – magnetic resistance unit that reduces noise and mimics water rowing. It has a nice gliding action. Will last for years.


GOROWINGO Water Rower Rowing Machine
A beautifully designed machine. Really felt the water resistance. The ergonomic seat was exceptional and felt really steady using the equipment, hard to go past.

It would have been my choice if it had a larger screen


First Degree Fitness Fluid Rower – AR Newport
A well constructed equipment. The improved pulley system has made a difference in the overall product performance. It is a very quiet rower.


Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower
A versatile rower and bike exercise combination machine. Its use magnetic flywheel technology.


Merax Water Rowing Machine – Fitness Indoor Water Rower
A solid steel construction that can support people upto 330 lbs. Its not good for people over 6ft.


Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower
The heart rate monitor integration is a nice feature. This suitable for people upto 6ft 6″. The pulling action is quite high compared to a few other devices. Need to be very well balanced on the device.


Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
A space age looking unit with a magnetic resistance operation. It has a heart rate monitor integrated into the units. This version has a nylon belt.  They do have other models available.


ProForm 440R Rower
With an inertia-enhanced flywheel the Proform 440R has feature of the higher quality models. It is aim for people purchasing in the lower price bracket.


Vilobos Rowing Machine Heavy Duty Rower with Water Resistance Adjustable
The dual rail water resistance rowing machine is a compact unit. The resistance can be changed by adding water into the unit. This may not be a practical for home use.


IPO Compact Magnetic Sports Rower Rowing Machine
This training unit comes in various colors and is very compact. I t is really stable in using the equipment but found it tend to move on the floor during a hard work out. Good product for the price range.


Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor – Obsidian SF-RW5713
A sophisticated looking piece of equipment though the quality is not as high as the upper end.

This water rower has a nice feel. It is heavy to move.


Stamina ATS Air Rower 1406 | Dynamic Air Resistance
An air resistance rower that is practicable and very affordable. It is sturdy to use and has a nice feel for this price bracket.

Even though it doesn’t feel like rowing on water, it does exercise 85% of your body.


Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
Designed for those starting to build home equipment.  A The magnetic rower is fairly quiet machine with manual adjustments.


MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine
A very low cost hydraulic rowing action exercise machine.

The hydraulic resistance can give you 12 levels of adjustment.

I felt very fragile using the equipment.


Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine
A basic low cost magnetic rowing action exercise machine. You are able to manage the the levels you operate at.

The LCD display can be a little tempermental.



Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor

Overall Rating: 4.7

Level: Entry Level

Type: Magnetic tension system

Feel: Basic

Noise Level: Quiet 

Storage: Folds up

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight: 250 lbs

Price: $370


  • Fairly stable on floor
  • Very quiet
  • The resistance works well


  • Small screen
  • Foot straps could be improved
  • Manual resistance change
A very popular unit at this price range.  The unit is quiet stable when being used.  There are many good reports on its quality.

The assembly is fairly straight forward.  The foot straps could do withe strengthening.

There is no feel of being a a ‘true rowing” simulation machine.  It does give you a good work out, if that is what you are looking out for.

The display is fairly basic.

This a very good entry level unit.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine

Overall Rating:  2.5

Level:  Disposable

Type:   Hydraulic

Feel:  Ordinary

Noise Level: Very Little

Storage: Very compact

Screen/LCD: None

Max, User Weight:  220 lbs

Price: $89


  • Very portable
  • Quiet
  • Very easy to use


  • Unstable
  • Lightly constructed
  • Lots of poor reviews on the web
The SF-TW 1205 is aimed for the very bottom of the rowing exercise machine market.
There is 12 levels of resistance settings .     It uses body weight as added resistance by the angle of the exercise machine.

One of the nice things about the machine is that it is so compact and light to transport.   It will do the job of exercising your body..

NordicTrack RW Rower

Overall Rating: 9.7

Level: Serious Trainer

Type: Flywheel/Wind

Feel:  Amazing

Noise Level: Low

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD: Large Touch Screen

Max, User Weight:  250lbs/115kg

Price: $1,600


  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Large Touch Screen – great for poor eye sight
  • Extremely stable


  • Pulley could be higher to pull at chest height
This is my choice as the best home rowing machine. What closed the deal other than the high quality, great feel, being really stable, is the computer screen. With my aging eyes, I can monitor how I am going and gives me a bit of inspiration.

It would be good if it had blue tooth capability.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor

Overall Rating: 9.5

Level: Serious Trainer

Type: Flywheel/Wind

Feel: Awesome

Noise Level: Quiet

Storage: Foldable Upright

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight: 500 lbs/225kg

Price: $1,800


  • World leading rowing machine
  • Extremely well built
  • Good pulley height
  • Available several models


  • Small LCD screen.  Difficult to see for people poor vision
There is a reason why the Concept2 in the world leader in rowing machines. It is designed and built to a very high quality. Feels amazing using the equipment. It can be used by very large people and is of commercial-grade.

It is not really meant to be packed away, even though the manual says so.

You really cannot go wrong if you are seriously thinking about getting an overall body fitness. You will not need to go to the gym, especially if you had some weights at home.

In this Concept2 Rowing Machine review it was had to find a fault of the equipment.  The only suggestion is to have a larger  monitor with blue tooth connectivity for music and visual stimulation.

Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor – Obsidian SF-RW5713

Overall Rating: 4.7

Level: Regular User/ not over vigorous

Type:  Water

Feel:   Comfortable

Noise Level: Nice swooshing noise

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD:  LCD

Max, User Weight:  300lbs/136kg

Price: $454


  • Good rope height
  • Good stability
  • Nice rowing feel
  • Good screen size
  • Good for taller people


  • LCD screen quality could be improved
  • Foot straps have no adjustments for small feet
  • Regular maintaince of water is required
An excellent feeling water rower with its hydro blades. It can handle vigorous rowing strokes. Visually the unit feels bulky. This may be an issue for some people.

The LCD screen in larger than many of the other units that I really liked.

The units were stable when using it at different rowing rates.

It does take more maintenance than flywheels as the water needs to be cleaned to avoid mold.

It is a well-priced product for those in this price bracket.

I wouldn’t try the high-end products as they are in a different league.

Stamina ATS Air Rower 1406 | Dynamic Air Resistance | Two Online Expert Guided Workout Videos Included with Purchase

Overall Rating: 4.8

Level: Regular User

Type: Air Resistance

Feel: Good

Noise Level: Not too loud

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  250lbs/115kg

Price: $349


  • Good foot straps
  • Good fit for most body sizes
  • Nice feel of the dynamic air reistance


  • Basic LCD
  • There has been belt and handle retracts issues.
Definitely get an extended warranty for the product as there has been known issues. Support has been good.

This is an excellent introductory rowing machine for those who are going to test themselves on whether they are going to keep using it regularly.

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower

Overall Rating: 5.6

Level: Intermediate

Type: Magnetic

Feel: Fine

Noise Level: Silent

Storage: Foldable

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  275lbs/125kg

Price: $699


  • Very quiet
  • Very well built
  • Heart rate monitor strap included
  • Easy storage
  • Easy to use console
  • High pulley system


  • Concerned about the strap
  • Seat a little uncomfortable after 30 minutes
  • 90 day warranty for parts
  • Stability for larger people
In the Stamina Avari Magnetic Rowing Machine Review, we have found that it will help your endeavors to get fit and toned as well as losing weight.  It is very quiet as expected by magnetic rowers

It particularly liked the monitoring system, with all the features,  though I did find it hard to read with my aging eyes with my glasses and sweat.   The preset program has been well thought out and is useful in the use of the equipment.

Some concerns about the longevity of the cable, the comfort of the seat ,  as well the stability if a larger person using the equipment.

Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower

Overall Rating: 6.5

Level: Fitness enthusiast

Type: Magnetic

Feel:  OK

Noise Level: Quiet

Storage:  Folded update

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  250 lbs/112 kg

Price: $849


  • 2 in 1 machine
  • Very quiet
  • Big characters on LCD
  • Foldable
  • Good height of pulley


  • Concerned about the pulley strap
  • Not very confortable seat
  • Comprised Rowing experience
  • Heavy to move
  • Short parts warranty
Definitely a great idea to combine a sleek looking rower and a bike exercise machine. I felt it was short in both at this price point. For this Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower review has looked at how well it as a rower and bike exercise machines.

Some of the shortfalls include not being really suitable if you are over 6 ft it and or over 180lb, have large hands, may not work well for those who like to vigorous rowing on a regular basis and little concerned with the robustness of the plastic coverings.

I did like the height of the pulley as it felt a good level to get the most of the workout, The screen I found a feature as the characters where large enough to read with my legs stretch out.

Like with most of the Stamina products, it has only a 90-day parts warranty. For this price point, you would expect much better.

MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine Folding Exercise Rower 16-Level Tension Resistance

Overall Rating: 3.8

Level: Introductory

Type: Magnetic

Feel: Basic

Noise Level: Quiet

Storage: Foldable

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  265 lbs/120 kg

Price: $250


  • Affordable
  • Easy to move around
  • Pulley at right height
  • Solid on floor


  • LCD not really clear
  • Assemble a little difficult
  • Kept slippping on seat
  • 3 month warrant on parts
  • Questionable about the quality of nylon strap
In this MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine Folding Exercise Rower Review, we look at the unit in comparison to other units. This rowing exercise machine priced for the lower end of the market. Don’t necessarily be turned off by the overall rating as it is considered value for money should you want it to do an all of body or exercise routine at home.

It has an extra-long slide that can suit people up to 6 ft 5”. It has some novel accessories like a phone holder.

I did find I was slipping on the seat when I was rowing vigorously.

Overall, it is a good introductory machine for smaller sized people.

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Overall Rating: 5.8

Level: Intermediate

Type: Magnetic Drum

Feel: Reasonable

Noise Level: Quiet

Storage: Huge Range

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  275 lbs/125 kg

Price: $639


  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Easy and fast to pack away
  • Built in heart rate receiver and chest strap
  • Fluid rowing actions
  • Spacey looking unit
  • Pulley at right height


  • Parts & Monitor Warranty only 90 days
  • Little movement under vigorous rowing
  • Does not feel like it is rowing on water
  • Requires to be connected to electricity
  • Monitor is poorly backlit
The Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower is priced at the lower end of the higher quality rowing units. It has excellent resistance and well thought out monitor system with an integrated heart rate monitor. The screen can be a little larger for my liking.

There are some other redeeming features such as; the seat is comfortable, there is a strong frame that is good for large people, the pedals are good for large feet, it is easy to assemble as well as storing the unit and the wireless heart rate monitor (strap not included in price).

One of the significant issues for me is the poor warranty for an expensive unit.

This Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower review suggests that it would be a good fitness rowing machines and would recommend you try the unit out before purchasing it to ensure it is right for you.

GOROWINGO Water Rower Rowing Machine,Wooden Indoor Row Machine

Overall Rating: 8.9

Level: Serious Trainer

Type: Water

Feel: Awesome Experience

Noise Level: Pleasant

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD:  LCDl

Max, User Weight: 265 lbs/ 120kg

Price: $949


  • Excellent Build Quality & Beautifully buily
  • Ability to connect to PC
  • Extremely comfortable seat
  • Feels really stable
  • Amazing rowing feel
  • The slide feels silky smooth


  • Prefer a larger monitor to see information
  • No heart rate monitor
  • The pulley in a bit low for my liking
Wow! A beautiful piece of engineering. In this Gorowingo Wooden Water Rower Review, we have learned to appreciate real craftsmanship, and you can’t go past this piece of equipment.

Sitting on the Gorowingo and rowing it felt divine. A real joy. It looks great and feels great. There is so many pluses for this unit. The rowing action and feel is exceptionally good.

There is a couple of things that I would like to improve. One is the height of the pulley, I found it a bit low. Also I would like to change the LCD with a Computer screen and interactive information.

They certainly believe in their workmanship giving 2 years warranty. Say a lot
One thing that they cannot do to in the cleaning of the water every few months, though this is livable.

You will not be sorry to buy this unit

First Degree Fitness Fluid Rower – AR Newport

Overall Rating: 8.1

Level: Serious Trainer

Type: Water

Feel: Good though cold

Noise Level: Quiet Swooshing

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  300 lbs/140 kg

Price: $899


  • Nice rowing sound
  • Good warranty
  • Good monitor
  • Good fluid technology with adjustable resistance
  • Easy to assemble


  • Delay in changing of settings
  • Customer service available by email
  • Maintenance required on the units
  • Some of the components not of the quality expected for this price range.
First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR Rower is one of many products by First Degree Fitness. This particular model provides a feeling of actually rowing on water with a realistic feel of the stroke.

The build of this machine oozes quality, and this can felt by the use of the equipment.

I found the screen on the side a little off-putting by needing to look at the angle. Like most rowing machines, the screen for my liking needs to be larger.

There are nice features like the adjustable footholds and strapping. An essential aspect of rowing machines.

One of the things I like about the unit is the height of the pulley rope. My preference it to have at chest height.

They have been smart with the monitor. It integrated with heart rate monitors and many fitness apps.

Overall the First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR Rower review rates this as a one of the best rowing machines around.

IPO Compact Magnetic Sports Rower Rowing Machine

Overall Rating: 3.8

Level:  Introductory

Type: Magnetic

Feel: Good

Noise Level: Quiet

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight: 220 lbs/100kg

Price: $460


  • Very compact can fit under the bed
  • Low impact equipment
  • Look good


  • Small characters on the screen
  • Require to be connected to electricity
  • Relatively low resistance
  • Not shown on company’e website
The IPO Compact Magnetic Sports Rower has been around almost for 4 decades. It was a little concerning that I was not able to find much information on the companies website.

This IPO Compact Magnetic Sports Rower review found the equipment to be basic and not suitable for those with any great strength. This equipment is suitable for petite ladies who want to do a whole-body workout at home. The equipment does look really good and comes in different colors.

The unit did run smoothly and in very quiet and is stable on the floor.

I found the screen characters hard to see. The other part of the pulley system is a bit low for my liking.

We believe many other products that provide more value for money.

Vilobos Rowing Machine Heavy Duty Rower with Water Resistance

Overall Rating: 5.0


Type: Water

Feel: Good

Noise Level: Swooshing

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  265 lbs/ 120kg

Price: $500


  • High Quality build
  • Good pulley height


  • Relatively small player in market
  • Regular water maintenance required
  • Screen hard to see.
The Vilobos Rowing Machine Heavy Duty Rower is a relatively new entrant in the rowing machine market. It was hard to find people who have used this rowing machine to provide general feedback.

Most of the feedback was that they were generally happy with this rowing equipment. Most people didn’t find it an issue to ad water to increase the resistance. They did like the ability to adjust the foot straps for their own feet.

I would be a little concerned about the pulley-strap after some time of use.

Vilobos Rowing Machine Heavy Duty Rower review will do further investigation to give any recommendation.

LifeSpan Fitness RW7000 Commercial Rower

Overall Rating: 8.5

Level: Intermediate

Type: Hybrid Air/Magnetic

Feel: Extremely Good

Noise Level:  Quiet

Storage: Folds up

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  350lbs/160kg

Price: $1,200


  • High Quality – 5 year warranty on parts
  • Very comfortable to row
  • Lots of features on monitor
  • Competive price for market segment (lower end of top tier)
  • Good pulley height
  • Smooth rowing action


  • Screen size can be larger
  • Heart monitor belt not included.
There is a significant step up from the Life Span RW1000 to LifeSpan RW7000 in all aspects of the equipment, as you would expect with the price over double. You will not be disappointed.

All the reviewers reached out to were very happy with the unit. It has been proven to be very reliable, durable and of highest quality. They liked the additional levels of resistance, now 16 and as well as the 9 programmed workout plans.

In this LifeSpan RW7000 Review, it was found that it can easily handle very large people. It was really stable, and they felt comfortable and safe.

The LifeSpan RW7000 provides an experience of emulating rowing on water with multiple levels of resistance.

The LifeSpan RW7000 review recognizes that this is an excellent product for the very serious vigorous rowing fitness person. Here at Mind, Body Soul & Heart sees this product as one of the best rowing machines in the market. It is a commercial-grade exercise machine that would not be out of place in any gym.

First Degree Fitness Viking PRO Rower Commercial Grade Designed Horizontal Series – Fluid Rower

Overall Rating: 9.3

Level: Super Serious Trainer

Type: Water

Feel: Amazing

Noise Level: Relaxing

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  330lbs/150kg

Price: $1600


  • Excellent Build Quality very stylish
  • Adjustable wate resistance levels
  • Very smooth rowing action and realistic water feel
  • Heart rate reciever to work with Polar chest monitor
  • Easy storage
  • Highly suitable for health clubs


  • Belt driven device.  May ware out with lots of use.
  • Small screen for visual feedback.
The First Degree Fitness Viking Pro is one of the finest rowing machines on the market, as expected by the price. It has certainly been designed for the commercial health market in mind, with a very high-quality build and very stylish design.

It is suitable for all levels of fitness levels as well as body shapes and sizes.
It also provides a wide range of rowing programs that will suit everyone, from the beginner to the seasoned rower. The machine feels good and has the feeling you are on the water in very early mornings when the air is still and water surface glassy. The rowing sound of swooshing was very calming. They even considered the handle shape, which is impressive, adding to the experience.

I found the seat very comfortable and non-slippery when used vigorously. The feets felt secure, which a big plus.

One of the things I like about the unit is the height of the pulley rope. My preference is to have at chest height.

They have been smart with the monitor. It integrated with heart rate monitors and many fitness apps. The screen for my liking is too small. I am a bit older and need a bigger screen, especially when I am sweating.
There is little maintenance required for the equipment, which is a nice aspect.

There is not much more to say by First Degree Fitness Viking Pro Review team about this product other than it is one of the very best rowing machines available.

Merax Water Rowing Machine – Fitness Indoor Water Rower

Overall Rating: 5.8

Level: Trainer

Type: Water

Feel: Effective

Noise Level: Swooshing

Storage: Foldable

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  330 lbs/150kg

Price: $769


  • Solid construction
  • Cater for larger people
  • Adjustable foot straps
  • Low level swooshing


  • Reliability of the unit
  • Small screen
  • Does not really mimic a real rowing session
The Merax Water Rowing Machine is a mid-priced rowing exercise equipment.  To me, it has a feel of a Chinese designed and built equipment without input for rowing fitness people.  Something didn’t feel right when compared to other units.

The unit has all the ticks for stability, seat comfort, sound, resistance levels, wireless connection for heart rate monitor, and even the monitor.  Though they could have had a larger screen.

They have gone for some innovation by having an angle water container.  Good on them for trying something new.

Some issues in the length of the unit is a little short for tall people, it could have been an extra 6 inches to allow people over 6’3” to use it comfortably.

The unit does provide a whole-of-body-work if that is what you are looking to achieve.  It does really give you the real like rowing experience.


ProForm 440R Rower

Overall Rating: 4.0

Level: Introductory

Type: Magnetic Flywheel

Feel: Basic

Noise Level: Low

Storage: Foldable

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight:  250lbs/110kg

Price: $500


  • Sleek design
  • Very compact


  • Low resistance and not suitable stronger people
  • No preset programs
  • Low quality parts for price
  • Short warranty for a reason
The equipment has a low center of gravity that helps to keep it stable when using the equipment. The handle and pulley felt like it should be on an introductory unit and not a mid-range rowing exercise machine.

I found the resistance way too low, and I think that if you had any strength, the equipment would break. I am sure Icon would let that happen. Maybe that why they have only a 90-day warranty on parts.

We have seen the price dramatically drop on this device over the years.

The monitor provided some good information, though I felt lie with most rowing machines. It’s a bit small and not well enough lit, especially for home use, where it will more than likely be in the garage with poor lighting.

If you are looking at exercising your legs and arms, it does the job. I did not find an inspirational feel when comparing to other rowers.

I think the score speaks for itself.

WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine in Cherry

Overall Rating: 8.7

Level: Serious Trainer

Type: Water

Feel: Very Nice, indeed

Noise Level: Relaxing

Storage: Upright

Screen/LCD: LCD

Max, User Weight: 1000 lbs/ 450kg

Price: $1,360


  • Fantasitically built and attention to detail
  • Very stylish
  • Great monitor features and integration to a PC
  • Amy preset workouts
  • Extremely stable and balanced
  • Adjustable to fit different heights
  • Very good resistance


  • The pulley system could be slightly higher
  • The monitor could be larger
As you can envisage, by the name of the rowing machine, it has it origins for Oxford University in England. It has been carefully designed to ensure that there is a fantastic feel, with a focus on emulating rowing on water. They have achieved it.

This is one of the best rowing machines on the market. It is stylish, as expected, and very well built. There are no cheap parts on the unit and will last forever. This is supported by a 3-year parts warranty.

They have monitor has many features that will enhance the use of the rowing experience. I specifically like the seating and the eight wheels to give it a great movement.

The complete rowing equipment was a well thought out ergonomic design. From the rowing handle to the seat and even the foot straps.

The only things that I would like to improve are the monitor size and have an adjustable height for the pulley system,

The WaterRower Oxbridge Rowing Machine review believes that this is a solid investment for a way to get fit. The exercise unit will give you enjoyment while you are getting fit. What a bonus!

Final Say

There is a lot to think about what the right rowing machine is for you.  From a person to starting out to one that who is a very serious about training.

If you are not sure which one you would like, try it in a gym.   If you are thinking about investing in the top end, why not rent it for a few months to see if you use enough to purchase one.

Get fit.

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