Best Rowing Machine in 2017 – Top 10 Rowing Machine Reviews

Rowing is one of the most effective exercises for losing weight. Many health and fitness gurus regard rowing as one of the best exercises and there is no doubt that it is the most efficient. While boxing may have it beat as far as calories burned, rowing works out more muscle groups and is simply a better workout.

But how do you know which rowing machines will give you the most workout for your money and how do you choose from all the thousands that are on the market? That’s exactly why we researched the topic for you and came up with the ten best rowing machines in 2017 for you to choose from.

Product
Resistance TypeResistance LevelMachine WeightLoad CapacityBuy Now

Concept2 Model D with PM5
(Top Recommendation)

Air Resistance

Variable

69 lbs

500 lbs

Buy now

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
(Budget Pick)

Magnetic Resistance

8 Levels

68 lbs

250 lbs

Buy now

Concept2 Model E with PM5


Air Resistance


Variable


65 lbs


227 lbs


Buy now


WaterRower WITH S4 Monitor

Water Resistance

Variable

24 lbs

1000 lbs

Buy now

Stamina Avari

Quite Magnetic Resistance

12 Levels

81.6 lbs

275 lbs

Buy now

Top Recommendation: Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

Why we chose it ?

The first rowing machine on the list is one of the best built rowers out there and is simply packed with features. In addition, to say that the reviews for it were glowing would be a gross understatement. This rowing machine maintains an average of 4.9 out of 5.0 stars after more than a thousand posted ratings. That’s simply unheard of and it puts this rower in a class all by itself.

Full Review

CONCEPT2 ROWER

This rowing machine is one of the best ever made and there are good reasons why it has gotten such amazing reviews. First of all, this rowing machine is appropriate for everyone and even those that have a lot of weight to work off can use it – with a weight limit of 500 pounds. Most rowers have a much lower limit than that.

In addition, this is one of the most well-rounded workouts that you can get, even among rowing machines. You get a terrific cardio workout while still toning up your body and building muscle in the legs, arms and abdominals.

This is also such a great design giving you one of the most efficient workouts that you will ever do. There are many professional and Olympic-level athletes that use this exact rowing machine to get themselves into the best shape of their lives and prepare for sporting events, competitions and much more.

This rowing machine also has the Performance Model 5, which is much more than a display system for the rower. The PM5 is a user-friendly monitor that syncs up your data with your computer via USB and allows you to track your progress over the long term in whichever format you want to view it in – spreadsheet, database entry or simple text files. Plus, you can reposition the screen for comfort which is something very few rowing machines offer. All this makes the Concept 2 Model D stand out as the best rowing machine 2017.

Pros

  • Incorporates ‘Performance Monitor 5’ to track data during your workout
  • Full-body, low-impact workout
  • Innovative flywheel design that reduces noise down to almost nothing
  • 14-inch seat that will fit any rower
  • Nickel-plated chain that is both silent and strong
  • Breaks apart into two pieces for storage
  • Includes wheels to move it out of the corner for your workouts
  • Includes a 5-year warranty
  • Can support up to 500 pounds
  • Adjustable monitor arm
  • Ergonomically designed for your comfort

Cons

  • Has a fairly large footprint and may not work for small apartments like studios
  • Does not offer free shipping

Budget Recommendation: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

Why we chose it ?

We nominated the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 in our list of rowing machine reviews for a few reasons. First, we know that Sunny is a solid brand when it comes to fitness equipment and this is a solid rower based upon the reviews that are posted for it.

It is also very inexpensive, priced well under 300 dollars and offers one of the best workouts for those who are looking for a full-body session.

Full Review

sunny health

This 2016 model is really customizable, which means that it is versatile enough for multiple rowers if your whole family wants to get involved. It does have a few limitations like a weight limit of only 250 pounds and a very narrow profile that may not work for larger people, but overall, this is the best home rowing machine for full body workouts and it offers rowing machine benefits like 8 different levels of adjustability so that just about anyone will get a challenging workout and a comfortable seating arrangement.

This is definitely a portable rower, allowing you to move it to the corner when you are done working out because of the wheels on the bottom. The previously mentioned narrow profile can definitely be an advantage if you are of average height and weight because it means that you can easily store this rower in a closet or keep it in a corner of the room where it isn’t going to take up a lot of space. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • An easy to read LCD screen shows the number of rows, number of calories burned, duration of workout and more
  • Handlebars and grip bar designed with non-slip surfaces to give you more stability when working out and comfort for longer periods of rowing
  • Built-in wheels to allow you to easily move it to the corner of the room when not in use
  • Compact design with a small footprint
  • Magnetic tension system with eight different levels of resistance that you can customize instantly
  • Padded seat to give you even more comfort when rowing and allow you to sit for longer periods

Cons

  • This unit does not support more than 250 pounds
  • This rower is also really low to the ground

#1 Recommendation: Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

Why we chose it ?

This rowing machine doesn’t look like much at first glance but it is one of the top-rated rowers out there when it comes to powerful indoor rowing machines. What is great about this rower machine is that it is extremely portable.

It is not as cheap as our runner-up by any means, nor even less expensive than the winner, but it is more portable than both of them because it is really narrow and light and can easily be picked up and moved by just about anyone.

Full Review

conept  model e

Our overall winner for the best rowing machines was the Concept2 Model D, which is a different (and slightly better) machine than this rower, but this still is a solid enough purchase to make it number three on our list. One of the differences here is a higher frame (20 inches), which means that those who have mobility problems are going to have an easier time getting on and off this rower.

Still, this is one of the most popular rowing machines on the market, which says a lot with the choices numbering in the thousands. In fact, this unit is so popular that it has more than 125 reviews and it has great ratings, which is only one point off from the near-perfect score people gave the ‘D’ model.

Pros

  • Effective full body workout
  • Flywheel that is designed to minimize noise and give you a very smooth rowing motion
  • Low-impact to be easy on the joints.Adjustable monitor arm
  • Performance Monitor Five that keeps track of your rowing data
  • Seat height of 20 inches
  • Chain that is nickel plated
  • Ergonomic handle and foot rests
  • Castor wheels for easy moving
  • Will support a person up to 500 pounds
  • Five year warranty on the frame

Cons

  • More expensive than some of the budget rowers on this list
  • Larger footprint than some rowers here

#2 Recommendation: WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor

Why we chose it ?

This is a professional rowing machine that has a very unique feature. When you buy a rowing machine for home, you want it to do one specific thing – to simulate rowing a boat which is what gives you the full-body workout.

This rower does that by using actual water, something that none of the other rowers on our list have to offer.

Full Review

water rower

Of course, there are also a whole lot of features that come with this rowing machine besides the simulated water rowing. The digital display and workout syncing allows you to track your performance statistics and see them displayed on the screen and this rower has the advantage of being made of wood which gives it an aesthetically pleasing appearance as well as an even smaller footprint than almost any of the other rowers on our list.

Pros

  • Water flywheel that replicates rowing in water as closely as possible
  • Series 4 Performance Monitor tracks your data continuously including how intense your workout is, how many strokes you've made, your heart rate, your duration of workout and a whole lot more
  • This is also one of the quietest rowers out there
  • Smaller footprint than almost any other with dimensions of 84 x 21 x 22 inches (W x H x D).Store the unit upright

Cons

  • One of the most expensive rowers on this list
  • Requires that you get really close to the ground in order to use it
  • Does not offer free shipping

#3 Recommendation: Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower

Why we chose it ?

This definitely may be one of the best budget rowing machine models on the market and it is certainly one of the most compact. This low cost rower is so thin you’ll wonder how it is able to do its job and give you a full workout. But rest assured, it is on this list because it is one of the most highly rated rowers out there.

Full Review

The smooth motion of this magnetic glider means that you get a workout like no other. You’ll be getting the resistance that you need to tone up your legs, arms, back, shoulders and more.

The glider motion is smooth and the rower isn’t too low to the ground so you can get on and off of it easily. Plus, it allows you to adjust your workout program from various pre programmed ones to customized plans that you create for you or other users.

Pros

  • This rowing device gives you 12 different workout programs so that you can choose one that is challenging and change things up when they get repetitive
  • Fitness monitor with long-term tracking that gives you real data to look at when you are measuring your workout effectiveness
  • Adjust both the resistance and the time of your workout right from your rowing seat so that you aren’t continually getting up and down while adjusting it
  • LCD backlighting for low light environments

Cons

  • Heavy and expensive to ship – nearly 100 pounds
  • Some people have had computer problems

#4 Recommendation: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower

Why we chose it ?

Number six on our list of the best rowing machines for sale is not quite under 500 dollars but it is still one of the best rowers out there.

Sunny Health and Fitness is one of our favorite brands and this magnetic professional rower stands up to the competition even if it is considered a budget model. You get a whole lot of features for a really low price.

sunny health

Full Review

Sunny wants to make sure that you are getting as effective of workout as possible so this rowing machine features a system of elevated magnetic tension that offers you 10 different levels of resistance so you can choose the workout that fits you the best.

You also have technology built in like the digital display which gives you all of your workout stats as well as the ability to add on a heart rate monitor via the wireless pulse receiver.

This is also a solidly built rowing machine with a narrow footprint will fit in almost any space. Because the rowing is elevated you get a much better workout than a straight rowing machine that is level with the ground.

Pros

  • Large LCD screen so you can see your workout statistics
  • Tracks your total duration of workout, how many strokes per minute you're performing, your total number of strokes, your distance traveled, the number of calories you burned as well as your pulse rate
  • Wireless pulse receiver already built-in for hooking up with the chest strap
  • Ergonomically designed seat and handlebars with nonslip grips
  • Seat is padded and comfortable
  • Aluminum frame combined steel to make it as light as possible to
  • Will support someone up to 300 pounds

Cons

  • Comes apart rather than folding for storage
  • Does not offer free shipping.Heart rate monitor wristband or chest strap is sold separately

#5 Recommendation: Air Magnetic Rower Machine with Dynamic Response by Sunny Health & Fitness

Why we chose it ?

The seventh rower on our list is also from Sunny Health and Fitness and this rowing machine is under $500 that is something that you do not often see and especially on this list of the best rowing machine reviews out there.

This rowing machine also is customizable and gives you even more resistance than the average machine which is why we have it on this list.

Full Review

Let’s take a closer look at this Sunny air magnetic rowing machine. This machine combines air resistance with a standard magnetic resistance system so besides the eight levels of customization that it provides it also offers additional resistance which means you can get an extremely challenging workout even if you normally find that the highest levels don’t challenge you quite enough.

This machine also has a digital display that tracks all of the standard statistics so you can see how you are doing and the way that the resistance works is extremely useful for those who feel they need more of a challenge from a rowing machine.

Pros

  • Offers magnetic tension system for standard resistance
  • Eight levels of resistance that you can adjust
  • Dynamic resistance design for even more if necessary
  • Bars for pedals that have secure straps and anti-slip pads
  • Digital screen displays duration of workout, calories burned, rowing counts and has a scan feature

Cons

  • The digital screen is really small and kind of hard to see

#6 Recommendation: Stamina X Air Rowing Machine

Why we chose it ?

This is a really simple rowing machine that doesn’t have a lot of digital technology – or any really – behind it, but it does offer one of the lowest prices on this list as well as a modern rowing workout combined with additional resistance for those who require a challenge. Simply put, we chose this because it is one of the best budget rowing machines we’ve ever seen.

Full Review

When it comes to rowing machines, Stamina is one of the best premium brands out there. The fact that they have made such a simple and inexpensive rowing machine is good news for fans of the brand.

stamina X

This machine has a small footprint and a simple design so that you can get on and get a full body workout anytime you want.

The major strength of this rowing machine is the fact that it is dynamic which means it responds to your workout and gives you more levels of resistance if you need. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Air resistance offers dynamic intensity – the harder you work out the more resistance there is
  • Digital display that shows you your distance traveled, your total workout duration, your number of calories burned and much more
  • Incredible price that you would not expect to be able to get a rower at
  • Smooth workout for your entire body

Cons

  • Not as sturdy or durable as some of the others on this list
  • 250 pound weight limit

#7 Recommendation: Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060

Why we chose it ?

The last three items on our list of rowing machines are those that are not only some of the most highly rated ones that we were able to find but also some of the most budget friendly ones. All of these last three rowing machines are well under $300 and on this and number 10, the price seems too good to be true. Luckily, they really are as good as they seem to be.

Full Review

The Body Trac Glider 1060 is a really great rowing machine that is incredibly priced under $200. This machine has a lot to offer including a small footprint, a padded seat, a very sturdy base and durable parts that will last.

The small monitor in front of you tracks all of the standard rowing machine statistics like your calories, workout duration, number of strokes, etc.; featuring a steel and aluminum frame that is both lightweight and durable and that folds up so you can easily store it.

Pros

  • Small footprint of 49.25L x 36W x 20H in
  • Hydraulic resistance that you can adjust if you need more challenging workout
  • Steel frame combined with aluminum being and a foam seat for comfort
  • Folds up so you can easily store it
  • Monitor tracks number of strokes, the number of calories burned in your workout duration as well

Cons

  • The monitor screen is quite small
  • This rower does not offer free shipping
  • Some people have had trouble putting it together

#8 Recommendation: Stamina InMotion Rower

Why we chose it ?

Again, these final few rowing machines are budget machines for those who are not able to spend $500, $700 or more than $1000 on a rowing machine. They may not have all the features of some of the other rowers on this list but they do have incredible prices such as this one for less than $100.

Full Review

This is a budget rowing machine, no question about it. It is certainly not going to give you all of the features that the other machines on this list do nor is it going to last forever.

stamina rower

However, for those on a really tight budget and cannot spend any more than $100 on a rowing machine, this is the perfect solution and will give you everything you need.

Pros

  • Features solid steel construction and a lightweight design
  • Stitched seat design for comfort
  • Foot plates that pivot and that you can adjust
  • Five levels of resistance
  • The unit folds up so you can store in a closet when you're not using it

Cons

  • There is no digital display with this rowing machine so you cannot track calories, number of strokes, distance traveled or anything else
  • Very lightweight – less than 30 pounds – and not that durable
  • Definitely will not support heavier people very well

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