Best Rowing Machines

Best Rowing machine reviews 2017 : Best rowers on Budget

If you’re searching for the best rowing machine reviews in 2017, then you are at the right place. Our extensive analysis of the top rowing machines and buying guides can help you find the best one for your money in 2017.

Rowing machine is one of the best indoor home gym devices you can install at home. Most people who’ve worked on rowing machines (Concept2 Model D rowing machine) before whether at the gym or someone else’s equipment, have agreed that it gives you a great overall body fitness workout while taking up less space than other comparable equipment.

Why Opt for indoor Rowing machines ?

If you’re on the hunt for the best rowing machine in 2017 for home fitness, keep in mind that there are many different styles and features to consider before choosing.

The best part about rowing machines is that they not only help you reduce weight, but they also build strong core and enhance your musculature and give you a fit appearance.

Here are the benefits of preferring a rowing machine over the rest:

If you have a home garage gym in mind then a rowing machine will be a valuable addition to your space. It offers several benefits over other more common home exercise machines like treadmills or ellipticals. Here are a few important benefits that you need to know.

Safe Cardio

The low resistance cardiovascular movements that are prevalent in rowing exercises means that they can take your aerobic state to a place not many fitness devices can get you.

Rowing Machine Benefits Safe Cardio
De-stressing is a Major Rowing Machine Benefit

De-stressing

We have established through various sources that physical activity gives us more confidence and relieves us from stress. 

Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight, rowing machines are a champ at getting you slimmer and fitter.

Rowing Machines are the Best for Weight Loss
Rowing Machine Ensures Better Muscle Tone

Better Muscle Tone

The great thing about rowing machines is the fact that even though you are executing cardiovascular movements they works out your entire body and you end up with great looking and toned physique.


Benefits Of Rowing Machines

A rowing machine is quite unlike any other in the fact that it has several benefits that most people are not aware of. Truth be told, I only got to know about it since I was researching at depth into the advantages of rowing machines.

Previously, I thought that a rowing machine was something that was like any other piece of equipment at the gym. Meaning that, you push or pull enough times and you start to lose weight. Little did I know that it offered much greater benefits. Here are a few:

  • A full body workout
  • Engages your core and makes you stronger
  • Increases your metabolic rate and helps you lose weight
  • Body is fit and looks toned
  • Stress and anxiety buster

After looking through numerous models and collecting a lot of data about all kinds of rowing machines, these are the machines I believe that can give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to getting your workouts right. There are more than a few things to consider when you’re looking at making a purchase. It will also give you some insights into what metrics I use to rank them all.

Top Rowing Machines rated for 2017

I’ve rated these rowing machines on a scale of 10 as usual. Please remember, these are just suggestions and how I see them, you might rate them differently. The best way to find out what is apt for you would be to visit their store and check them out yourself.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

This scored top marks on my list just for the sheer quality of the machine. It scored well in almost everything except price. Personally, I don’t mind high price if it’s built well and this piece of equipment is built to exacting standards.


Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programmable Magnetic Rowing Machine

Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programmable Magnetic Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

Coming in at a close second, I scored this 4 out of 5. Overall, it’s a good piece of equipment marred only by the fact that assembly is not as straightforward as I would’ve liked or expected. Of course, people might think differently about this issue.


Pro Rower H2O RX-750 Home Series Rowing Machine

Pro Rower H2o Rx-750 Home Series Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

This is an average rowing machine and did not have the expected build quality of a top class machine. I scored it 3.5 out of 5.


Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

A very limited feature set coupled with suspect build quality ended up in me giving this only 3/5. Out of the things that it has got going for it, it’s cheap and good for basic use. If you want something with additional features, you need to look elsewhere.


Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine

Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

A pretty good piece of equipment, and performed pretty well. Build quality was the highlight of this machine and it feels like it could last an eternity.


Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

The only thing that kept me from rating this any higher is the feeling that it was not built so well and has fewer features than the rest of the machines. But it’s a great machine for its price.


​​​​Best Rowing Machine in 2017

Rank

Product

Picture

Our Rating

Details

1

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

2

Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programmable Magnetic Rowing Machine

Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programmable Magnetic Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

3

Pro Rower H2o Rx-750 Home Series Rowing Machine

Pro Rower H2o Rx-750 Home Series Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

4

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine Review

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

5

Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine Review

Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

6

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Review

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Review

The Concept2 Model D rowing machine has got what it takes to give you a chiseled body if you are regular with it. Considered the top rowing machine ever built, it has all the features that you would commonly associate with equipment of its class. It is also durable and has a really good lifespan complete with great after sales support.

This is a basic overview of the features of the machine and how it can help you achieve total body fitness.

Design and Features

In my opinion this is one of the best designed and featured rowing machine out there, and knocks it out of the park. Here are a few points that people should be aware of.

  • The Model D has a low profile with 14 seat height adjustments.
  • It is super smooth and easy to get a proper workout done.
  • The presence of a weighted flywheel provides a lot of dampening to noise when using this machine.
  • The machine has dampers which channels air into the machine on every stroke, forcing you to expend more energy.
  • It has a detailed performance monitor unique to this model gives you exact and analogous data from which you can gain information.
  • The Concept2 Model D can be easily dismantled for convenient storage. It has a quick release frame lock mechanism that splits the machine into 2 parts which can then be rolled away.
  • Most machines come with a fixed number of settings which can only go up to a certain size of shoe, not the Concept2 Model D. You can fit a lot of different shoe sizes on this machine.
  • The handles are comfortable and made of certified materials, it is soft and yet supple enough to support you through your most intense workout.
  • It has a warranty period of 5 years which is literally unheard of in this category of machines.Well, it might be a bit on the expensive side but you get the feeling that it is well put together and it won’t break anytime soon.

Well, it might be a bit on the expensive side but you get the feeling that it is well put together and it won’t break anytime soon.

Click here to read our review of the "Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine".

PROS

CONS

  • Reduced Noise
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable sliding seats and adjustable footrests
  • Built to last
  • Nickel-plated chain means longer intervals between oiling
  • Stainless steel track for smooth sliding movement of seat
  • Expensive
  • It's 10+ feet long, so can be problematic for people with smaller spaces

Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programmable Magnetic Machine

Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programmable Magnetic Rowing Machine Review

Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programmable Magnetic rowing machine is a quality, state of the art piece of fitness equipment that incorporates a magnetic system to achieve resistance. The overall fit and finish is great and it has a large and easy to read display as well.

You can find my overview here, bear in mind that I had this only for about a day and so these are my thoughts on how it was able to perform during that period.

Design and Features

A slightly more dated model, but this nevertheless is a very reliable alternative to most other machines. Let’s take a look at some of its features.

  • There are different types of rowing machines that create resistance using various mediums like air and water. Interestingly, this machine is designed to work with magnetic resistance and features up to 8 adjustable levels of resistance.
  • It has fantastic build quality and it comparable to several other premium products that are available.
  • The seats are comfortable and offer protection from bruises during strenuous exercise sessions. It also has a smooth sliding mechanism.
  • It has premium adjustable footrests that are comfortable and durable. It has a wide range of sizes that it can accommodate.
  • It has a fitness monitor at the base of the rowing machine which displays and records all manner of data. It has 5 buttons on its face and is a multi-function type device. It can record and display time, rep count, distance, strokes and pulse.
  • It has a large and clear LCD display with a blue backlight. It automatically calibrates itself when you start rowing.
  • It is pretty mobile and easy to store as well. If you are done with it for the day, all you have to do is remove a knob and it can be folded to half its size and stowed away for the next day.
  • The machine can take a load of about 275 pounds.

It has a great number of benefits, features and is easy to use. For the price, it’s a good machine which means that it will end up being a great buy for you.

Click here to read our review of the "Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programmable Magnetic Machine".

PROS

CONS

  • Close to being fully silent
  • Fluid motion, reduces the risk of injury
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Comfortable seat and handles
  • Sturdy and adjustable foot rests
  • LCD is large and readable
  • Durable frame
  • Pretty easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Shorter warranty period comparatively
  • No on-off switch

Pro Rower H2o Rx-750 Home Series Rowing Machine

Pro Rower H2o Rx-750 Home Series Rowing Machine Review

A rowing machine is a great way to keep fit and build your core up. This rowing machine is different in that it uses water to achieve resistance. It is offered at a great price and is available all over the world.

I’ve used this extensively at my friend’s place so this will be an in-depth, long term review which I hope will answer most of your questions about it.

Design and Features

Using innovative water based resistance system, this still manages to deliver the goods as far as workouts are concerned. Why don’t we find out more?

  • A hydro drive system has been incorporated which uses water as the base. With water’s natural adaptive resistance, you get a feeling that is as close to being on a boat as possible.
  • By increasing/ decreasing the water in the tank you can set different intensity levels to engage more of the drive and get a better workout.
  • The H2O RX-750 Home Series Rowing Machine has a multifunction monitor that keeps track of every stroke, distance rowed, time taken, split time, heart rate and calories burned.
  • The data is presented in an easy to read format on the large LCD screen. This makes checking your statistics at the peak of your workout a trivial affair.
  • It is long lasting and durable, withstanding a lot of abuse which is thrown at it every day.
  • It can support weights of up to 350 pounds.
  • It has adjustable footrests and most feet sizes are included on the H2O RX-750 Home Series Rowing Machine.

It is a great tool for beginners and you can get a thorough workout done when you get one of these. The Pro Rower H2O RX-750 Home Series Rowing Machine is an excellent piece of equipment for people of all ages.

Click here to read our review of the "Pro Rower H2o Rx-750 Home Series Rowing Machine".

Pros

Cons

  • Good attention to build quality
  • Assembly and disassembly for storage is pretty easy
  • Lifetime warranty is a huge plus
  • Adjustable resistance levels
  • Lots of happy customers
  • The range of resistance may not be suitable for power users
  • Though the LCD is large, it looks pretty basic
  • Noise due to paddles in water

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine Review

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine Review

The Stamina 1215 is an orbital style rowing machine that is an excellent choice for people who want to burn flab in a short time. There are several features which are designed keeping in mind the people most likely to use the machine. Unlike other machines, the Stamina 1215 is a compact solution does not occupy too much space and is ideal for home use.

These are the list of features that are incorporated in the rowing machine which set it apart from others in the same genre.

Design and Features

A well-built and robust piece of machinery, it offers most of the features that are offered by top rowing machines in the genre.

  • Everyone who owns a rowing machine at home with will testify to how critical the texture and comfort of the seat is to the machine. This seat is contoured to offer ample support to your lower back and is made of supple material.
  • Any hydraulic machine depends on the master cylinder for their characteristic smoothness and the Stamina 1215 is no different. It has a precision engineered master cylinder and piston that focuses your effort on the machine rather than fighting against friction because of bad hydraulics.
  • Stamina 1215 orbital rowing machine offers adjustable resistance in the rowing arms. Since it is also connected to the monitor, it gives you readouts of how much resistance is actually applied.
  • This machine has adjustable footrests which can also pivot giving you the perfect place to push your feet against.
  • It has a basic LCD fitness monitor that you can use to track information. It gives you calories burned, time duration, speed and stroke count.
  • The Stamina 1215 rowing machine has a 5 year warranty on the frame and 90 days on parts. This makes it a pretty attractive package for beginners and experienced people alike.

This is built sturdy and is definitely a value for money addition to your home gym. While assembly might take some time, you can easily fold it away for the next day.

Click here to read our review of the "Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine Review".

PROS

CONS

  • Easy to get started
  • Value for money
  • Several levels of resistance
  • Durable aluminum frame
  • Assembly may take some time

Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine Review

Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

Another hit from Stamina, the Air Rower rowing machine is touted to be one of the better rowing machines on the market. It has several unique safety features and controls that make it worth buying.

While it uses the same technology as a few other machines, it has a lot of things that are different. Let’s go through them one after another.

Design and Features

Another machine that goes up against companies twice its size and products that are more expensive.

  • The Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine has an advanced fitness display that updates data in real-time and it easily readable as well. It gives you a measure of usage time, total calories burned, speed and distance.
  • You can get very efficient resistance when you use this machine. Most machines that use air are very loud but this machine is effective at masking the sound.
  • The manufacturers have taken extra care to make sure that the smooth rowing arms are not hindered by jerks or pauses when you operate them. So you can get maximum benefit from them during your rowing session.
  • The great sliding mechanism of the seat has been tweaked for extra smooth feel and durability. It uses ball bearing rollers to achieve this and the seat is molded to better support your pelvic region and lower body during extended workout sessions.
  • Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine has extendable, adjustable foot plates that are suitable for almost all foot sizes. Additionally, there are nylon straps that secure your feet and cushion them.
  • This machine isn’t very complicated and so you can fold it away and store it easily. It only takes half as much space as equivalent machines from other manufacturers.
  • Since the machines are simple and easy to service, they’re pretty durable and are built to last. If you give it proper maintenance, it can serve you for a really long time.

Stamina makes good rowing machines and this is one of their better ones. It is durable and offers an easy way to get your full-body workout done every morning.

Click here to read our review of the "Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine Review".

Pros

Cons

  • Full body workout
  • Quality materials used
  • Easy to set up
  • Has floor protectors
  • Has wheels for mobility
  • Seat is comfortable
  • Large sized foot rests
  • Steel frame might be affected by humidity
  • Does not have high weight capacity

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Review

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Review by Garage Gym

The Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine will help you work harder and lose that flab quickly and safely. I have detailed a review below where I highlight all the good things and flaws with of the machine. Hopefully it can help you guys out.

Design and Features

Considered an advanced option, a lot of people prefer this for the amount of information that is available as feedback from the machine for the user.

  • When you are talking about advanced features, Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine has pre-programmed exercise routines which give you the ability to control the speed and distance of your rowing.
  • Since it has 2 individual hydraulic cylinders as opposed to just one on most machines, you will find that the resistance is more easily distributed and it will give you a better workout compared to the rest.
  • Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine has a pretty large LCD screen that can give you readouts of almost every attribute of your rowing workout. A glance at the info screen gives you progress tracking over the last few days.
  • Most machines in this price range do not have strong frames that are as well built as this. Plus only a good frame like on this one can give you the feeling of sliding easily on the machine.
  • Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine’s unique selling point is the fact that it has an earlobe heart rate monitor that gives you accurate readings of your pulse and heartbeat during strenuous exercise.
  • It has adjustable foot plates that also pivot to give you the exact resting position for a comfortable workout. It comes with durable nylon straps to secure your feet to the footrest.
  • Kettler Favorit rowing machine has floor protectors that help keep your floor free from marks and scratches during extended workout sessions or moving the machine.
  • It’s easy to assemble and you can do it yourself without calling for help. The manual is extremely detailed and comprehensive.

If you are looking for one of the fastest ways to lose weight, you’ll be hard pressed to find something better than the Kettler Favorit rowing machine.

Click here to read our review of the "Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Review".


Choosing the Best exercise machine for home

The quandary everyone faces when reading reviews off the internet is the fact that none of us are the same and so what works well for me might be a total waste of time for you. It’s easy to blame the person doling out advice in spite of him toning up his body with the same machine they recommended. What you actually need is a method by which you can choose the best machine for yourself.

This is what I follow when I wanted to get a rowing machine for my personal use. Hopefully, you can use it to shortlist what you want as well.

Type Of Resistance

One of the most important aspects for me is the resistance any given machine offers. The type of resistance usually determines how effective your workouts are. The level of resistance will ensure that you put in maximum effort. I would prefer a rowing machine with a high level of resistance. Not too high that it would give me sores every time I spend a session on it.

Number of Features

You are paying good money for a rowing machine; you might as well get the maximum features you possibly can. Take care to separate the useful features from the ones that hardly give you any benefit. Out of all these rowing machines, there were a few of them that had a lot more features than the rest. The key is to choose the one that suits you best.

Strength and Materials

A lot of people totally neglect this because of the glitz and glamor of some of the rowing machines. Be wary about this and always prefer a durable machine with slightly less features than something which is shiny and ends up breaking the minute you put some work on it. Be on the lookout for machines with a 5 year warranty period.

Machine Noise

I listen to music when I work out so I actually don’t have a problem with a good bit of noise. If you have problems with noise where you work out, then this should definitely become a priority. Some rowing machines that use air resistance especially are prone to produce a lot of noise. So be wary and test it on the shop floor before you buy it.

Comfort Factors

It is important to be comfortable to get any meaningful workout done. Exercises on a machine which doesn’t provide adequate comfort can mean that you tire of it and eventually it falls into disuse. All of the rowing machines’ seats mentioned here were comfortable and I think they might be for you as well.

Weight Capacity

This is something that varies from person to person. I would advise you to especially check the amount of weight a machine can take so you can be comfortable knowing that it won’t break down easily. If it does not have weight on the documentation, then ask the guys at the store and they should be able to help you with it.

Space used

For people with smaller rooms and houses, this is an important thing to watch out for. The amount of space used by you to work out on it comfortably and the machine itself should be taken into account before arriving at the total. Too many people have just taken the machine’s footprint into account with disastrous results.

Assembly

Most machines have simple assembly procedures that can be done with in a jiffy using some tools that come with the machine and some elbow grease. There are machines that are incredibly complex also and require trained professionals to assemble it for you. take your pick with whatever you are comfortable with.

Price

The price point for different equipment also varies from person to person. When I was doing my research I found that they were selling rowing machines for a huge amount of money! Personally, I don’t think I would invest in such an expensive proposition. But there might be people who do, so this attribute is strictly on a “what you are comfortable with” basis.

Brand Power

When it comes to clothes and other trivial stuff, I’m comfortable with whatever’s lying around in my wardrobe. But I would be lying if I said brands don’t matter when it comes to fitness equipment. Why I say this is because the bigger brands 90% of the time offer great quality as well. This means that paying a bit extra for something that is genuinely better is something I would do.

Techniques for Effective Rowing Workout

While a rowing machine can be mastered in a matter of days but there are certain exercises that you need to understand which will help you get the most out of your workouts with the rowing machine. There are several levels that you will find give you the best benefits regardless of your current physical ability. As you get better at it, you can advance to more complex or harder workouts.

Basics: Pulling Technique

You need to understand how to accomplish this basic motion to move ahead with the rest of it. Even though it looks fairly simple, most of them get it wrong at the outset. This is nothing to be ashamed of, rather you need to learn how to do this effectively. What you must notes is that when you finish you must do so just under your pec, after a good long stroke. Many people choose to go a lot higher, but this is just bad technique according to rowing professionals. Remember to keep your rowing strokes smooth and not to snatch at it when you’re rowing.

Find The Right Pace

Most experts say that rather than focusing on short strokes that are brisk and end quickly, you get more output with longer strokes that are a lot smoother. This makes your muscles work harder than usual and gives you a better workout. Taking longer strokes also lets people extend their muscles and becomes a lot stronger than just letting momentum taking you through the exercise.

Focus On Your Legs

Since rowing is a whole body exercise, to find the optimum rhythm and technique you have to make sure that your legs are involved as well. Most people who work out with rowing machines agree to the fact that the last stage of perfecting the rowing machine motion is to get into the rhythm with your legs as well. They liken it to a squat, where you have to push off with some power. This enables all the rowing motion to fall into place.

Best Rowing Machines for Crossfit in 2017

When it comes to CrossFit, one of the hardest group exercise regimes out there, rowing machines are an integral part of every CrossFit box. When compared to other cardio exercises like running or swimming, rowing is a much more intense overall body workout coupled with close to zero impact. This means that people who are just getting into CrossFit can get to rowing straightaway.

There are several reasons why rowing is preferred in a CrossFit environment:

  • Rowers have really high VO2 max which is the maximal rate of oxygen consumption during incremental exercise.
  • Rowing machines add intensity and variation to your regular CrossFit regime by giving your body new ways to move.
  • Top of the line models have digital monitors that can give you comprehensive readouts of several important physical markers.

Here again, the Concept 2 Model D Rower wins hands down. It is durable, robust and offers really high performance for the price. In fact, you’ll find that most CrossFit boxes have a huge collection of these particular rowers on the floor. They are that good!

Beginner Rowing Machine Cardio Workouts For Your Home Gym

If you just want to burn a few calories while working out at your home garage gym then you need to get a rowing machine that can grow a bit with you. For this purpose, getting the top of the line machine might not be suitable for you and it might be a needless expense. The best thing to do would be to get a model that has most of the features that you can find on the higher end models but while remaining a bit more easily accessible.

This is where Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine comes in. It is a pretty value for money proposition and you get a whole lot of equipment for that money. I need to admit that I was surprised that I was able to get so many features at this cost. Assembly is pretty easy straight from the box and you’ll find that all the nuts, bolts and brackets are all available perfectly sealed in the box. After you’re done with your session, you can put it away quite easily and it will hardly take any space. Also I like its sleek design and it won’t look out of place among my other equipment from Precor and Rogue.

The 15-minute Quick Burst Full Body workout

This is a burst exercise session where you will push your body to the max and for a brief period of time.

Duration (mins)

Phase

Strokes per minute

1

Warm up

14

3

Rows

20

2

Rows

22

2

Break and stretch

-

3

Rows

22

2

Rows

24

2

Cool down

14

Simple workouts

These exercises are simple to track but effective rowing workouts for beginners. This type of interval training burns a lot of fat and can help you get lithe and shredded in very little time.

Distance Row

If you have a machine that can only register distance, then you will find a lot of use for this type of work out. This is not very strenuous and you can adjust the distance as per your need.

  • Row for a set distance, 250 – 500 meters
  • Rest for 1 minute
  • Repeat for 30 minutes

Timed rows and push ups

Complete 1000 meters as fast as you can (4 – 6 minutes) and then immediately drop down for a bout of pushups. Rest for 3 minutes and then go at it again. This can leave you with a burn in your upper body but it works to define the chest/shoulder area.

Final Thoughts

Well, this has been a pretty comprehensive look at one of the staples of a lot of gyms. The reason why a lot of people prefer this is that it offers considerable benefits for both toning your body as well as reducing fat.

You will find that young and old, professional and beginner alike take an instant liking to a rowing machine. This really is a machine that gives you a total body workout experience bar none.

While these are some of the brands that are the most common ones out there, just remember that this is not a popularity contest. Just do your research and find out what best works for you and get cracking with it. As long as you remember the important things, you should end up with a rowing machine that works hard on your body to give you a great looking physique.

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