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Total-body workouts are all the rage, especially since so many people are pressed for time. Still, finding a piece of exercise equipment that hits every major muscle group is next to impossible — unless you have a rowing machine.

Case in point: To complete one full rowing stroke, you’ll need assistance from numerous muscles, including your quadriceps, glutes, calves, hamstrings, upper back, arms, and core muscles.

Plus, to make it through an entire workout, you’ll need to rely on your cardiovascular system.

In other words, exercising on a rowing machine requires both strength and stamina. But don’t worry if you’re just starting a fitness program. Rowing is low impact and you can regulate the intensity, so it’s appropriate for all fitness levels.

We’ve researched several top picks and considered the type of tension, resistance levels, cost, and extra features like touch screens. The rowing machines in this roundup were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Customer reviews. We looked at online customer reviews and the 5-star rating system from Amazon. We also reviewed product websites. The rowing machines on this list all have at least a 4-star rating.
  • Resistance tension. We looked at rowing machines with magnetic, air, water, and hydraulic tension. Hydraulic is the most affordable, but magnetic and water seem to be the best for a smooth and quiet ride.
  • Features. We considered features like touch screens, multiple resistance levels, size, seat and pedal quality, on-demand classes, and storage.
  • Affordability. Rowing machines can range in price from $150 to well over $3,000. Although some pricier models are packed with amazing features, we generally chose moderately priced rowers, with just a few picks on the higher end.

Here are the 9 best rowing machines in 2022.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, prices range from $150–$3,000, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $500
  • $$ = $500–$1,000
  • $$$ = over $1,000

Best overall rowing machine

Concept2 RowErg

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 96 × 24 inches (244 × 61 cm)
  • Max weight capacity: 500 pounds (227 kg)
  • Warranty: 5-year frame, 2-year parts
  • Resistance type: air resistance
  • Display: PM5 performance monitor connects via Bluetooth; backlit LCD illuminates automatically when monitor powers on
  • Smart features: Bluetooth-enabled monitor connects to smartphone or tablet, ErgData to store and display workout results and upload workouts, ErgRace allows you to take part in online races, 30+ different apps, device holder for smartphone or tablet, ANT+ supported, USB flash drive for storing data

The Concept2 shows up on practically every list of top rowing machines, and for good reason — it’s built by rowers. It’s also a top pick for gyms and health clubs.

The digital monitor tracks your pace, watts, stroke rate, calories, and more. This information is automatically stored on a USB drive or internal memory after every workout.

The RowErg uses air resistance, which minimizes noise and provides a smooth ride, and it’s Bluetooth-enabled so you can connect wirelessly to a variety of apps. What’s more, the RowErg comes in both standard and elevated seat heights.

Plus, if you purchase directly from the company, you’re eligible for a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • accommodates users of many sizes and weights up to 500 pounds
  • easy to assemble
  • two seat heights
  • can be separated into two parts for easy storage

Cons

  • needs a large footprint for use and storage
  • pricier than other rowing machines
  • requires some tech skills to operate

Best budget rowing machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor

  • Price: $
  • Size: 78 × 19 inches (198 × 48.3 cm)
  • Max weight capacity: 250 pounds (113.6 kg)
  • Warranty: 3-year frame, 180-day parts
  • Resistance type: magnetic resistance
  • Display: LCD monitor
  • Smart features: LCD shows calories, distance, speed, and time; SunnyFit App

Looking for a budget-friendly rowing machine? Sunny’s magnetic rower delivers a good workout and is easy on your wallet.

With high ratings from users of all levels, this no-frills rower is ideal for anyone new to rowing, as well as for experienced rowers looking for a low cost option.

The Sunny rower comes with an LCD monitor that displays stats like your workout duration and calories burned, as well as an easy-to-use adjustable dial that offers eight levels of magnetic resistance.

Plus, it’s made with extra-long slide rails, so it can accommodate a variety of heights.

Pros

  • affordable sticker price for a quality, entry-level rower
  • eight resistance levels
  • extra-long slide rail to accommodate various body sizes
  • wheels for easy transport

Cons

  • may not be suitable for larger bodies
  • louder than other rowers
  • might not be challenging enough for very advanced users

Best rowing machine with adjustable resistance levels

Echelon Row S Smart Rower

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 85 × 24 inches (216 × 61 cm)
  • Max weight capacity: 350 pounds (159 kg)
  • Warranty: 1-year parts and labor
  • Resistance type: magnetic resistance
  • Display: 22-inch (56-cm) HD touch screen
  • Smart features: Bluetooth technology, dual audio jacks, HD touch screen, live and on-demand classes, rotating screen, 5-watt built-in Bluetooth speakers, music

If you need a machine that can handle multiple fitness levels, consider the Echelon Row S Smart Rower. This rower can be set to 32 levels of magnetic resistance, making it the ideal pick for a home with multiple users.

Plus, the resistance controls are easy to access — they’re located on the handlebars.

The Echelon comes with a 22-inch (56-cm) touch screen that flips 180 degrees. You’ll need a monthly membership to access the rowing workouts and other on-demand classes like yoga, strength training, and Pilates.

Pros

  • 180-degree screen rotation for off-equipment training
  • foldable for easy storage
  • easy-glide seat
  • 32 magnetic resistance levels

Cons

  • high sticker price
  • monthly subscription required to access live and on-demand classes
  • requires a large space

Best rowing machine for small spaces

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

  • Price: $
  • Size: 58.25 × 42.5 inches (148 × 108 cm)
  • Max weight capacity: 250 pounds (113.6 kg)
  • Warranty: 1-year frame, 90-day parts
  • Resistance type: hydraulic resistance
  • Display: LCD monitor
  • Smart features: monitor to display workout time, stroke count, calories burned; Smart Fitness app

Exercise equipment takes up a lot of room, but this compact rower from Stamina is our top pick for small spaces.

Measuring 58.25 inches (148 cm) long and 42.5 inches (108 cm) wide, this machine is ideal for apartments, and it weighs only 39 pounds (17.7 kg).

Plus, it has foldable arms for compact storage and a multifunctional LCD screen to track your metrics. It uses hydraulic cylinder resistance, so the rowing motion isn’t as smooth as some others, but it offers a wide range of motion when rowing.

Note that because this rower is small, it has a weight limit of 250 pounds (113 kg).

Pros

  • good size for apartments and small rooms
  • very low price
  • foldable for simple storage
  • low tech for easy use

Cons

  • limited warranty
  • can be cumbersome to operate
  • might be too basic for advanced fitness levels

Best rowing machine for beginners

MaxKare Foldable Magnetic Rowing Machine

  • Price: $
  • Size: 76.4 × 19.7 inches (194 × 50 cm)
  • Max weight capacity: 243 pounds (119.5 kg)
  • Warranty: none
  • Resistance type: magnetic resistance
  • Display: LCD monitor
  • Smart features: screen to display calories, reps, minutes, time, speed, distance, and heart rate

New to rowing? No problem. This rowing machine from MaxKare is affordable, reliable, and easy to operate.

Designed with a magnetic control flywheel and offering 16 levels of resistance, this rower is appropriate for all levels, from beginner to advanced.

Users like the extra-long slide rails, which make the rower ideal for taller people. The LCD monitor tracks your workout duration, stroke rate, row count, and calories burned. And the machine is foldable for easy storage.

Pros

  • foldable for simple storage
  • large cushioned seat
  • affordable entry-level rower

Cons

  • might be too low tech for advanced users
  • maximum user weight of only 245 pounds
  • only 16 resistance levels

Best high tech rowing machine

NordicTrack RW900

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 86.5 × 22 inches (220 × 56 cm)
  • Max weight capacity: 250 pounds (113.6 kg)
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor
  • Resistance type: silent magnetic resistance
  • Display: 22-inch HD touch screen
  • Smart features: smart HD touch screen, Bluetooth-enabled, iFIT live and on-demand classes with mobile app, 30-watt premium sound system, wireless connectivity, auto-adjusting mode

If high quality on-demand classes top your must-have list, this rower from NordicTrack has you covered.

It’s designed to use with iFit — an interactive personal training app — so you’ll have access to live studio classes and a library of on-demand workouts for rowing, yoga, cardio, strength training, and more.

The 22-inch (56-cm) touch screen comes with an adjustable console, so you can rotate the screen when not on the rower.

What’s more, this magnetic-resistance rower has 26 resistance levels to provide workout variety.

Finally, if you need a boost of motivation, take advantage of the Automatic Trainer Control, which allows your trainer to adjust the resistance.

Pros

  • adjustable touch screen for off-rower workouts
  • silent magnetic resistance technology for a smooth and quiet ride
  • automatic resistance adjustment feature
  • quiet and smooth ride with upgraded flywheel and sliding rail system

Cons

  • requires monthly subscription to access live and on-demand classes
  • high sticker price
  • requires a large space for use and storage

Best rowing machine with an oversized seat

Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine

  • Price: $
  • Size: not disclosed on manufacturer’s website
  • Max weight capacity: 300 pounds (136 kg)
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 3-year parts, 1-year labor
  • Resistance type: magnetic resistance
  • Display: LCD monitor
  • Smart features: screen to display time, distance, strokes, calories, recovery, and pulse

Looking for a rower with a larger seat? The Schwinn Crewmaster comes with an extra-large seat designed to cushion your backside while you work out.

Additionally, it has oversized pedals and a large LCD screen that tracks your distance, workout duration, row count, stroke rate, calories burned, recovery time, and pulse.

The electronic display rests on an adjustable console that you can adjust to different heights. This rower uses magnetic resistance and comes with 10 resistance levels. Users like how quiet and easily foldable it is.

Pros

  • foldable for easy storage
  • affordable sticker price for an entry-level rower
  • adjustable LCD screen

Cons

  • only 10 resistance levels
  • maximum user weight of 300 pounds
  • not Bluetooth-enabled

Best rowing machine with Bluetooth connectivity

Women’s Health Men’s Health Bluetooth Rower

  • Price: $
  • Size: 80 × 23 inches (203.2 × 58.4 cm)
  • Max weight capacity: 250 pounds (113.6 kg)
  • Warranty: 3-year limited, 180-day electronics
  • Resistance type: magnetic resistance
  • Display: LCD monitor
  • Smart features: Bluetooth-enabled technology, MyCloudFitness app for on-demand and live classes, smartphone and tablet holder

High quality Bluetooth connectivity and affordable rowing classes make this rowing machine one worth considering. This rower uses magnetic resistance and comes with 14 levels of resistance.

It also includes a basic digital display for keeping an eye on your stats, though you’ll need four AA batteries to keep it powered.

The machine is equipped with a phone holder, so you can stream classes while rowing. You get access to workout programs, including coach-led videos on the MyCloudFitness app, available on Android and iOS.

Through the app, you can also track your workouts and metrics. Plus, you can see your results in real-time while you exercise. The app comes with a free 30-day trial.

Pros

  • affordable price for a quality rower
  • lower cost for MyCloudFitness app ($14.99 per month) than for some other monthly subscriptions
  • foldable for easy storage

Cons

  • only 14 resistance levels
  • maximum user weight of 250 pounds
  • small (3.5-inch) LCD screen

Best water rower

WaterRower Classic

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 82 × 22 inches (208.3 × 55.9 cm)
  • Max weight capacity: 250 pounds (113.6 kg)
  • Warranty: 1-year frame and components, optional warranty upgrade
  • Resistance type: water resistance
  • Display: S4 digital monitor
  • Smart features: can be used with add-ons such as a Bluetooth ComModule and Ergatta WaterRower Upgrade package

WaterRower is a Rhode Island-based company that makes indoor rowing machines known for their beautiful wooden design. Each rower has a circular tank at the center that you fill with water. As you row, a cable pulls a paddle inside the tank, which creates resistance.

All WaterRower models have an S4 digital monitor that displays time, distance, speed/intensity, stroke rate, and heart rate (when paired with a heart rate monitor).

While the WaterRower is not as high tech as some competitors, the brand offers add-ons to incorporate more tech features, such as the WaterRower Bluetooth ComModule ($59.95).

The WaterRower is also easy to lift up and store in a vertical position, making it a good option for apartments or smaller spaces.

Pros

  • easy to use
  • stows upright, making it a good option for smaller spaces
  • can be used with add-ons such as the Bluetooth ComModule and Ergatta WaterRower Upgrade package

Cons

  • expensive
  • not easy to change resistance level
  • no built-in touch screen or sound system

Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:


Concept2 RowErg
Echelon Row S Smart RowerMaxKare Foldable Magnetic Rowing MachineNordicTrack RW900Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing MachineStamina BodyTrac Glider 1050Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD MonitorWomen’s Health Men’s Health Bluetooth RowerWaterRower Classic
Price
(MSRP)
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Max weight capacity500 pounds (227 kg)350 pounds (159 kg)243 pounds (119.5 kg) 250 pounds (113.6 kg)300 pounds (136 kg)250 pounds (113.6 kg)250 pounds (113.6 kg)250 pounds (113.6 kg)250 pounds (113.6 kg)
Tension systemairmagneticmagneticmagneticmagnetic hydraulic magneticmagneticwater
Resistance levelsadjustable; no set levels32162610adjustable; no set levels814adjustable; no set levels
Foldableno,
separates into 2 parts
yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes
Displayperformance monitor22-inch (56-cm) touch screenLCD 22-inch (56-cm) touch screenLCD performance monitor performance monitorLCD S4 monitor
Bluetoothyesyesnoyes nononoyesadd-on available for additional cost
App integrationnoyes, Echelon Unitednoyes, iFitnoneyes, Müüvnoyes, MyCloudFitnessyes, with add-on

Note that the prices listed above are based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP. The actual price may vary by retailer.

Shopping for a rowing machine can feel overwhelming. With so many features, tension types, sizes, and prices, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here are some tips to help you choose a rowing machine to fit your needs.

Tension system

Rowing machines use various tension systems — such as magnetic, water-powered, hydraulic, and air-powered systems — to create resistance.

If you want to feel like you’re rowing in the water, opt for a water-powered system.

A magnetic tension system will provide a smooth and quiet ride, and rowers with built-in fans provide wind resistance. Rowing machines that are compact and lower in price typically rely on hydraulic tension.

Cost

Rowing machines range in price from $130 to more than $3,000. While a higher price tag doesn’t always equate to better quality, it’s worth your time to consider moderately priced rowers.

Plenty of options average $350–$700 in price. If money isn’t an issue, try one of the top-of-the-line rowers that deliver quality and durability.

Special features

Most rowing machines come with an electronic display. Basic rowers tend to have a small display that shows your workout duration, row count, stroke rate, and calories burned.

The pricier, high tech rowers have more elaborate electronic displays, and some even have adjustable touch screens.

Bluetooth compatibility is another feature to consider, along with height and weight limits, on-demand programming, live classes, and multiple resistance levels.

Storage and portability

Before purchasing a rowing machine, make sure you have adequate space. If the size of the machine is an issue or you’ll need to move it, focus your search on rowers that are easy to fold and store. Also, look for rowers with built-in transport wheels.

Are rowing machines good for weight loss?

Incorporating cardiovascular exercise into a weight loss plan can be effective for losing weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1).

Performing aerobic workouts with a rowing machine burns calories, boosts heart health, and improves muscular endurance.

According to the American Council on Exercise, a 160-pound person can burn about 254 calories and a 250-pound person can burn about 396 calories in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity rowing (2).

What are the benefits of using a rowing machine?

A rowing machine is an excellent piece of home and exercise equipment.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, using a rowing machine is beneficial because it:

  • recruits both your upper and lower body to perform the movement
  • increases your heart rate for cardiovascular health
  • burns calories
  • improves muscular endurance
  • provides a total-body workout that strengthens your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, and core muscles
  • is a low impact activity
  • is appropriate for high intensity interval training or steady-state cardio

What is the best rowing machine for tall people?

Aerobic exercise equipment like a rowing machine is often designed for the average user — this does not tend to include very tall people. Finding a rowing machine that accommodates your height may take some time, but some brands do offer larger machines.

The best rowing machine for tall people included in our list is the Concept2 RowErg. It not only accommodates taller heights but also has a maximum user weight of 500 pounds.

The Concept2 RowErg also has two leg height options: standard and tall. The standard leg model comes with a 14-inch seat height, while the taller leg style increases this distance to 20 inches from the floor.

What is the best rowing machine for short people?

If you’re looking for a rowing machine designed for shorter people, you’re in luck. Unlike other cardio and home exercise equipment that may require you to stand, reach, or step up, most rowing machines can accommodate shorter people.

That said, you will want to look at the seat rail to see how far forward it moves. It should move far enough forward to allow a full range of motion without making you feel like you’re reaching too much.

Also, consider the display and control knobs. Make sure they are accessible and easy to use during a workout.

The standard leg model of the Concept2 RowERG and the Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine are good rowing machine options for shorter people.

Rowing machines are an excellent addition to any home gym or fitness studio. Most rowers provide an intense full-body workout that strengthens your upper and lower body muscles and improves your cardiovascular system.

When choosing a rowing machine, consider factors like the tension type, design, resistance levels, and size. For a reasonable price, you can get a top-notch, low impact strength and cardio workout for your entire body.