For most of us, our first exposure to rowing is that little song about going gently down a stream. But as we get older, we realize that actual rowing can be a great form of exercise whether it takes you down a stream or not. But finding a lake and a rowboat just isn’t practical
It is worth noting that there are four types of rowing machines: air, magnetic, water/fluid, and hydraulic. Hydraulic rowers are considered outdated and unreliable. Oh— and a little messy if some of the piston oil leaks. They may be more affordable in comparison to some of the other rowers out there.
But you will be better off, and happier if you purchase one of the other three instead. For more on the different types of resistance give this link a look.
So, let’s talk about some machines you should consider buying.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Overall: Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine
- 2 Best Water/Fluid Rowing Machine: Water Rower Club Rowing Machine
- 3 Best Air Rower: Stamina ATS Air Rower
- 4 Best Magnetic Rower: Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
Best Overall: Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine
The Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine was reviewed ten times at one fitness site with an average rating of 5.0 stars (out of five).
Another website had 234 users review the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine. They gave it an average rating of 4.8 stars (out of five).
- Durable: If you are going to spend the money on fitness equipment for the house, you want something that is going to work without breaking down anytime soon. That is not an issue for the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine.
- Quiet: The flywheel design maximizes the operation of each stroke and goes a long way towards minimizing noise. So, if you are worried about disturbing your loved ones when you work out, you don’t have to worry about that with the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine.
- Easy storage: The last thing anyone wants is for a big, bulky exercise machine to take up space in their home. But the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine will not do that. Storing it is pretty easy since it can break down into two parts.
- Performance monitor: Not only will it let you know how you are doing while working out in your Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine, but it also contains pre-loaded workouts and games.
- Weight capacity: The Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine is good for users up to 500 lbs. So, if you are really heavy and hate treadmills…
- Bulky: So, if you don’t break down your Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine after workouts, it is going to take up some space. Some users considered it bulky even when they broke it down.
- Shipping issues: Several users complained in their reviews that they didn’t receive all the pieces to their Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine when it was shipped to them.
- Low-tech: While the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine is well-constructed and the most durable machine on the market, it is surprisingly low-tech. Resistance levels have to be changed manually, and you can’t do it while sitting on the rower. You will have to stop your workout, get up, adjust the resistance, and then start your workout again.
The Bottom Line
According to many of the reviews online, the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine is used by more professional rowers than any other machine on the market. It will withstand the test of time and not break down on you. For me, that alone is the most important selling point.
I can’t stand it when I buy something, and it breaks a few months later! It is hard, as a larger than average size individual for me not to appreciate something that can handle a 500 lbs. person.
Best Water/Fluid Rowing Machine: Water Rower Club Rowing Machine
One person reviewed the Water Rower Club Rowing Machine at Walmart.com and gave it a five-star rating.
At another site, the Water Rower Club Rowing Machine was reviewed by 207 users. They gave it an average rating of 4.7 stars (out of five).
- High-quality construction: When you buy a Water Rower Club Rowing Machine, you are going to have it for a long time. It will not be breaking down on you anytime soon.
- The Water Rower Club Rowing Machine is the closest thing to paddling on the water in a boat without having to actually be in the water.
- It’s a really nice-looking machine: They are handcrafted out of Ash and stained for color (rosewood; also makes it more resistant to soiling). Each is finished with Danish Oil and Urethane for protection. The black rails help prevent scuffing.
- The Water Rower Club Rowing Machine is very quiet; it’s designed to absorb sound and vibration.
- Expensive: Whenever the word ‘hand-crafted’ can be used to describe something that also means that it will not be cheap. Prices will vary, of course, from one location to another. But if you get the Water Rower Club Rowing Machine, you must believe in getting what you pay for in purchases.
- Shipping issues: Some users complained that their Water Rower Club Rowing Machine did not have all its parts when they received it.
- Seat issues: Several users complained about having issues with the seat of their Water Rower Club Rowing Machine and having to get it replaced. None of the reviews were very clear as to what the issue(s) were. But several people had some.
The Bottom Line
Several online reviews considered it a toss-up between the Water Rower Club Rowing Machine and the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine for the best machine on the market. Like the Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine, the Water Rower Club Rowing Machine is one you can use at home without fear of disturbing anyone else (which can be nice).
Most reviewers raved about how smooth the ride was and said it was a piece of cake to put together. The frame flips upright to make it easier to store, and it has a weight capacity of 1,000 pounds. It is geared towards the more serious athlete, but a great machine for those just looking for some exercise.
Best Air Rower: Stamina ATS Air Rower
At Walmart.com, 154 users reviewed the Stamina ATS Air Rower and gave it an average rating of 4.4 stars (out of five).
At the Dick’s Sporting Goods site, 11 users reviewed the Stamina ATS Air Rowerand gave it an average rating of 4.6 stars (out of five).
Another site had 924 users leave reviews for the Stamina ATS Air Rower. They gave it an average rating of 4.1 stars (out of five).
- Good for anyone: Wind resistance which powers the Stamina ATS Air Rower creates an efficient resistance level for users of all abilities—and especially for beginners!
- Wind resistance makes working out on the Stamina ATS Air Rower a lot like rowing outdoors.
- Easy to put together but it doesn’t hurt to have a second person to assist with some parts.
- Noise: the fan on the Stamina ATS Air Rowerdoes make some noise during operation.
- The seat: Many users mentioned in their reviews that the seat of their Stamina ATS Air Rowerwas as uncomfortable. Nothing kills a workout quite like a bad seat!
- Durability: Several users mentioned in their reviews that they started having issues with things breaking down on their Stamina ATS Air Rower as early as a month after purchasing it.
- Weight capacity: only 250 lbs.
The Bottom Line
If you can live with the noise and a less-than-comfortable seat, the Stamina ATS Air Rower may be the machine for you. It folds up for easy storage and even comes with wheels so that you can move it around with ease. The floor protectors will keep it from sliding on the floor during use.
It’s not a perfect machine by any stretch of the imagination. But the Stamina ATS Air Rower will help you meet your fitness goals.
Best Magnetic Rower: Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
At Walmart.com, 12 users left reviews for the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower and gave it an average rating of 4.7 stars (out of five).
Another site had 193 users leave reviews for the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower. They gave it an average rating of 3.7 stars (out of five).
- Quiet: From what many users said, the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower is so quiet they were able to workout in the next room over, and no one was aware they were doing so. If you like early morning workouts before the rest of the family wakes up or if you don’t like having to crank up the volume on your TV, the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower is an excellent choice.
- The seat: On most rowers, the seat is a little tiny thing that is often not very comfortable. While the seat is not large on the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower, many users did refer to it as ‘comfortable.’
- Storage: It folds up for simple and easy storage.
- Weight Capacity: I will never understand why anyone makes exercise equipment that those most in need can’t use. The Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower is only rated for 275 lbs.
- Warranty: Five years for the frame of your Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower isn’t too bad. But it makes me wonder when the monitor is only protected for 90 days and parts for just 30 days.
- Not realistic: The resistance during use of the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower uniform from the beginning of your stroke to the end. So when you row, the motion will be unlike an actual rowing motion.
The Bottom Line
If the lack of sound is important to you, then the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower is the rower for you. It will give you a great workout. But the motion is not going to be quite like what it would be on the water.