5 Best Rowing Machines – Top Picks and Reviews for 2017

Looking for the best rowing machines? Read our in-depth rowing machine reviews, comparison charts and top picks for 2017 to help you make the right buying decision.

Indoor rowing machines are the ideal type of exercise equipment for those who want to improve their cardio health and push their muscles in a comfortable, yet challenging way. They are excellent resources for building muscle and burning calories in a low-impact and safe manner.If you are searching for the best rowing machine for home fitness, it is important to keep in mind that there are several different styles and features to consider when making your decision.

If you are searching for the best rowing machine for home fitness, it is important to keep in mind that there are several different styles and features to consider when making your decision.

Whether you are looking for a rowing machine for health reasons or to get in shape, all of the following models are definitely up to the task.


Top Recommended Rowing Machines for 2017

ProductBuildOverall LengthFeaturesBudgetRating
Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5Steel Frame96 x 24 x 14 inchesErgonomic handlePremium9.8/10
WaterRower Natural Rowing MachineSolid ash Frame83 x 24 x 21 inchesDual rail designPremium9.3/10
Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic RowerSteel Frame44 x 30 x 11 inchesUser-FriendlyMedium9.0/10
Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 Magnetic RowerAluminum frame45 x 30 x 11 inchesMagnetic DrumsMedium8.8/10
Stamina Air Rower Black ChromeSteel Frame45 x 24 x 9 inchesUpholstered SeatAffordable8.5/10

#1 Recommendation: Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor

Concept-2-Model-D

The Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Monitor is an ergonomically correct, expertly constructed air rower that rows extremely smooth, without the typical jarring some machines have.

The Concept2 is suitable for beginners as well as those who frequently use a rowing machine as a part of their daily exercise routine.

The construction of this machine is designed to target all muscle groups for a well-coordinated workout. The Concept 2 Indoor Rowing machine comes with a 5-year frame warranty and a 2-year parts warranty.

Features of the Concept 2

The Concept 2 is packed with features, including the PM5 monitor which provides all vital data, including distance covered, strokes per minute, calories burned, pulse and heart rate.

The PM5 monitor is designed to display workout performance in two different ways; you can opt to view your workout in total time and distance or as splits, which allows you to see how your pace is varying against two set points.

Although both options are beneficial, the splits option will provide you with a real-time calculation of your progress. The PM5 performance monitor will keep you continually updated with all of the information pertaining to your training goals.

The monitor also calculates drag factor, so you will get a true measure of your workout regardless of outside interference, such as dampness or heavy breezes.

Another great feature about the Concept 2 Indoor Rowing Machine is the nickel plated chain which pulls the flywheel, which allows you to pull against the increased air pressure created by the fan.

This unique flywheel design provides an extremely quiet row. The frame is also built in a way that it easily separates into two pieces, which makes it easy to store.

Other features:

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Flexfoot footrests
  • Adjustable monitor
  • Quick-release frame lock
  • Smooth seat movement

Final Thoughts…

The Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine is one of the best indoor rowers on the market. This rower allows you to have a natural and safe workout without overtraining muscles or inducing injury and as an added benefit it requires little space to store and move around.

If you are looking for a rower that is solid, reliable and will give you an intense home workout this is the machine for you.


#2 Recommendation: WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

WaterRower-Natural

Whether you are looking for a piece of equipment that will allow you have an intense, toning workout or you simply want a rowing machine that will help you stay fit, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine will give you the results you are looking for.

The WaterRower offers a wide range of programs that are suitable for beginners to veterans. The durable design is aesthetically pleasing and it will last a lifetime.

Features of the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

One of the best features of the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is that it is beautifully handcrafted from ash wood. There are a 5-year frame warranty and a 3-year parts warranty. Other features of the WaterRower include:

Water Flywheel

The water flywheel helps to mimic the feeling of actually rowing in water. Workouts are challenging, yet smooth. The water flywheel is made up of two paddles that are encased in a water enclosed tank. When the cable is pulled, the paddles move through the water which creates resistance.

Since the paddles create the drag, the harder the cable is pulled, the more the resistance is increased; the faster you go, the denser the water feels and the slower you go, the less the resistance will be.

WaterRower Computer Features

The WaterRower features the user-friendly S4 Performance Monitor. The monitor provides accurate rowing data, including:

  • Distance covered
  • Heart rate
  • Intensity in m/s
  • Miles per hour
  • Workout duration
  • Stroke rate
  • Calories burned

Other Features:

  • Dual rail design
  • Ergonomic saddle
  • Ergonomic handle
  • American ash wood frame
  • Polar compatible

Final Thoughts…

The WaterRower provides a well-balanced total body workout that is smooth and quiet. It combines comfort and durability with aesthetics that fits well into a home environment. If you are looking for a rower that will last a lifetime, the WaterRower is an ideal choice.

The S4 Performance Monitor not only allows you organize your workouts but also allows you set specific goals as well as achieve them. It is easy to handle, store and transport.


#3 Recommendation: Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower

Stanina-Avari

The Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower provides an excellent upper and lower body workout with a smooth, realistic rowing action. The Avari Programmable Magnet Rower is manufactured by Stamina, which has been offering quality fitness products since 1987.

The Stamina Avari rower is equipped with a wide range of user-friendly features and it is foldable for easy storage.

With a 3-year warranty on the frame and a 90-day warranty on parts, the Stamina Avari Magnetic Rower is built with a sturdy aluminum rail that provides a smooth rowing motion. The Stamina Avari Rower has a low center of gravity which helps to keep the machine stable during even the most intense workouts.

Assembly of the Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower is typically less than one hour, which means you can have the machine up and running quickly. It is designed for easy folding, making it ideal for those without a lot of space for storage of exercise equipment. Other features of the Stamina Avari Programmable Magnet Rower include:

  • Foam padded rowing handle
  • Large molded seat
  • Large footplates
  • Chest strap heart monitor
  • In-Touch Fitness Monitor
  • Extruded aluminum rowing beam

In-Touch Fitness Monitor Features

The in-touch fitness monitor comes with 12 pre-programmed workouts that simulate ramps, rolling hills, mountains and valleys. An added bonus is that the LCD monitor is backlit which makes it easy to see in low light.

The monitor also has 4 customizable workouts as well as heart rate and interval workouts. The workout data includes a pulse recovery function to measure how quickly you return to your resting heart rate as well as data that includes distance, strokes per minute, time and calories.

Final Thoughts on the Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower

The Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower is a durable and quality piece of exercise equipment. One of the best features of this rower is the 12-preprogrammed workouts.

The rowing feel is almost identical to that of actual rowing. The Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower has very few drawbacks; however, the seat comfort has been a concern of a few users.


#4 Recommendation: Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 Magnetic Rower

Velocity Exercise

The Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 Magnetic Rower has electronic tension control and drums magnetic control system that allows you to adjust the resistance to your exact desired level.

Whether you are new to rowing or a rowing veteran, the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower provides you with a comfortable, smooth and intense workout. This rower is designed for easy folding and transportation.

The Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 Magnetic Rower comes with a 5-year warranty on the frame, a 90-day warranty on the monitor and a 30-day warranty on all other parts.

The Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 Magnetic Rower comes with a wide range of features including electronic tension control, polyurethane molded saddle, heart rate monitor chest strap and anodized aluminum beam and rectangular tubing support.

One of the best features of this rower is the magnetic resistance, which helps to keep the rowing machine extremely quiet.

Computer Features

The Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 Magnetic Rower computer is packed with a wide range of features, including:

  • Strokes per minute
  • Rowing time
  • Heart rate
  • Calories burned
  • Distance covered
  • 12 programs; 6-pre-set programs and 1 manual program
  • Pulse meter

Final Thoughts…

This rower is packed with features, but one of the best things about this rower is that the seat rail is long enough to accommodate users with all leg lengths. The Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 Magnetic Rower is adjustable and comfortable with padded handles that make it easy to have a firm grim and reduce the risk of blisters. This rower is ideal for users of all levels.


#5 Recommendation: Stamina Air Rower Black Chrome 

Stamina-Air

If you are on a budget, but still want a durable rowing machine, the Stamina Air Rower is the perfect option. This is an inexpensive rower, yet it delivers the performance you want. Although it doesn’t come equipped with some of the upgrades found in higher priced machines, it is compact and designed for comfort.

It is built on a steel frame with the handle connected by a nylon strap to the damper. The oversized seat makes it easy to adjust yourself during your intense workouts.

Features of the Stamina Air Rower

The price is definitely one of the best features of the Stamina Air rower. Other features include built-in wheels for portability, quality performance and functionality.

The Stamina Air Rower comes with a digital monitor that allows you to track all aspects of your workout including the distance covered, calories burned and speed. Other features of the Stamina Air Rower include:

  • Padded and upholstered seat
  • Textured handgrips

Final Thoughts…

Although this is a budgeted rower it does provide an intense workout. Although they are not deal breakers, there are a couple of cons with the Stamina Air Rower, including the noise level. The noise level is tolerable, but it is not as smooth and quiet as higher level rowing machines.

The weight limit on the Stamina Air Rower is less than 250, which is slightly less of a weight limit than with some of the higher level rowing machines.


Rowing machines provide one of the best workouts possible for those on all workout levels. Workouts on a rower will allow you to target a majority of the muscle groups and allow you to workout as intense as you see fit.

One of the best advantages of working out with a rower is that it allows you to do cardio workouts as well as build muscle and lose weight. Rowing machines are low impact, which

Rowing machines are low impact, which means you can work on most of your body without putting a significant amount of stress on your joints. There are several options to choose from when looking for a rowing machine, so it is important to take your time, do your research and choose a machine fits your budget as well as your specific needs.