Best Rowing Machine

A full-body workout goes a long way when it comes to both the state of your health and the way you look. To stay in shape and give your health a big boost in order to stay away from a variety of diseases and problems, what’s best for you to do is to invest in a rowing machine. This fitness equipment is as complete as it can be when it comes to the intense workout that it puts you through, this being the main reason why all the respectable gyms out there have at least one high-performance rower. No matter if your goal is to lose weight, build muscle mass, stay in shape, or upgrade your health, with this fitness equipment at your disposal, you will surely reach the desired results fast.

Top 5 Rowing Machines Comparison

1. Concept2 Model E with PM5 2. Concept2 Model D with PM5 3. WaterRower Ash S4 4. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205

Product Specifications

Manufacturer Concept2 Concept2 WaterRower Stamina Sunny Health & Fitness
Dimensions (L x W) 96″ x 24″ 96″ x 24″ 82.25″ x 22.25″ 46″ x 21″ 53.2″ x 20″
Seat Height 20″ 14″ 20″ 23.5″ 21.5″
Weight 65 Pounds 57 Pounds 66.5 Pounds Dry; 103.5 Pounds with Water 39 Pounds 20 Pounds
Monorail Length 54″ 54″ 82.3″ 74″ N/A
Maximum User Weight 500 Pounds 500 Pounds 1000 Pounds 250 Pounds 220 Pounds


Resistance Type Air Air Water Hydraulic Hydraulic
Resistance Adjustable Levels 12 12
Workout Monitor Performance Monitor 5 Performance Monitor 5 S4 Performance Monitor Multi-Function Electric Monitor LCD Monitor
Displayed Data Distance, Speed, Pace, Calories, Watts Distance, Speed, Pace, Calories, Watts Intensity, MPH, Duration, Kcalories per Hour, Stroke Rate, Heart Rate, Distance, Watts Speed, Distance, Duration, Stroke Rate, Calories Burned Time, Count, Total Count, Scan, Calories Burned


Adjustable Footrests
Seat Padded Padded N/A Padded Ergonomic; Fully Padded
Handles Ergonomic Design; 10-Degree Bend Ergonomic Design; 10-Degree Bend Ergonomic Design Foam Padded Cushioned; Non-Slip
Other Features LED Backlight LED Backlight Self Regulating Resistance Scan Mode Scan Mode
USB Flash Drive Compatibility USB Flash Drive Compatibility Sustainably Eco-Friendly Automatic Shut-Off Automatic Shut-Off
Wireless Heart Rate Monitor Wireless Heart Rate Monitor PC Interface
Adjustable Monitor Arm Adjustable Monitor Arm AutoStore
Flywheel and Damper Flywheel and Damper Zone Feature
Quick-Release Frame Lock Mechanism Quick-Release Frame Lock Mechanism


Parts Warranty 2 Years 2 Years 3 Years 3 Months 3 Months
Frame Warranty 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 1 Year 1 Year
Customer Support
User Manual

Top Rated 2017 Rowing Machines Reviews

1. Concept2 Model E with PM5

We chose the Concept2 Model E with PM5 as the best rower on the market due to the fact that it delivers the highest durability and the best performance out there. This model can accommodate users that weigh up to 500 pounds, so if you’re on the heavier side, you won’t have any issues using it. It’s an air resistance machine that offers users the ability to adjust the resistance as they desire, according to the intensity at which they row. This product comes with the top tier Performance Monitor 5 that displays crucial workout data such as the distance that the user has covered, the speed at which the user rows, the pace, and the number of calories burned. Due to the fact that it’s foldable, it will be extremely easy to get it out of the way when you’re done using it to free up the space that it normally occupies. Therefore, it’s a magnificent solution even for those who live in small condos. The padded seat and the ergonomically designed, 10-degree bend handles make the experience of working out with it extremely comfortable for you to not get tired too soon after you start the exercise routine. The nickel-plated chain that this rower features adds to the machine’s convenience in use as it requires oiling rarely. It comes with innovative features such as the USB flash drive compatibility of the monitor, and wireless heart rate monitoring so that you may keep an eye on your cardiovascular health as well when you’re working out. In addition, it’s covered by a 2-year warranty for the parts, and a 5-year warranty for the frame.

2. Concept2 Model D with PM5

The Concept2 Model D with PM5 ranks as the second best model on the market due to the fact that it’s very similar to the better performing Concept2 Model E with PM5, the differences between these two models being minor. It can be used by those who weigh a maximum of 500 pounds, so even heavy individuals are able to use it. This air resistance model allows for the resistance to be customized by the user as pleased, the adjustment depending on the intensity at which the user rows. Due to the fact that it comes with the Performance Monitor 5, it allows users to track important data such as distance, calories burned, pace, and speed. The quick-release frame lock mechanism allows for an easy folding, this process not requiring the use of any tools. Also, due to the fact that the exercise machine can be folded after use, it is perfect even for those who live in small apartments. The seat is padded and the handles have an ergonomic design and a 10-degree bend, ensuring a comfortable and convenient operation. The LED backlight that the monitor features ensures that the data shown on the display is easy to read no matter the lighting conditions that are in the room. It offers users the possibility to monitor their heart rates as they row to ensure that the workout isn’t putting too much stress on this important organ. Also, it’s backed up by a 2-year warranty for the parts, and a 5-year warranty for the frame. As long as the rower is in warranty, you won’t have to pay a cent to fix it as the manufacturer will handle the procedure without charging you.

3. WaterRower Ash S4

The fact that this model is produced by none other than WaterRower, a company that prides on delivering high-end rowing machines to their customers, shows how dependable it is and that it doesn’t fail to impress when it comes to performance. This water resistance model can accommodate users that weigh up to 1000 pounds, which is more than what most rowers on the market have to offer, catering to heavier individuals perfectly. On the S4 Performance Monitor that it comes with, important data such as intensity, miles per hour, Kcalories per hour burned, heart rate, stroke rate, and distance will be displayed. The handles have an ergonomic design, ensuring that using this machine will be as pleasurable and as comfortable to use as possible. The self-regulating resistance allows users to decide the precise level of resistance that they desire, thus fully customizing the workout experience with ease. One of the most important features that it comes with is AutoStore, a feature that ensures the previous 9 workout settings are automatically saved so that you may have an easier time when selecting the prefered setting for your current exercise routine. Also, there’s the useful Zone feature to be enjoyed with it, a feature that allows you to set the stroke rate, intensity, or heart rate in order to be announced when you’re going below or over the limit that you have set. This feature makes a big difference especially for those who have cardiovascular problems. In addition, it comes with a 3-year warranty for the parts, and a 5-year warranty for the frame.

4. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a top of the line model that ensures an easy and pleasurable operation. Best of all, it comes at a low price when compared to most models on the market, being a more affordable option to go with. It can be used by people who weigh up to 250 pounds, so it’s not the best choice for you to go with if you’re on the heavier side. This hydraulic resistance model offers users 12 different resistance levels that they can manually choose from in order to customize the workout experience to your fitness level. The multi-function electric monitor that it features displays the speed at which the user rows, the distance covered, the duration of the workout session, the stroke rate, and the number of calories burned. It’s foldable, so you can rest assured that it’s perfect for you even if you have limited space in your home. The seat is padded and the handles are padded with foam to ensure comfort in use. It features a steel frame that it strong and sturdy, guaranteeing that the rower will perfectly withstand intense use. After 4-5 minutes of inactivity, the monitor will automatically shut off to make sure that the battery doesn’t run out of power. When it comes to warranty, this model is covered for 3 months for the parts, and 1 year for the frame. This isn’t the best warranty out there, but the quality construction that the rower boasts ensures that there’s no need to worry about issues appearing with it for a long time.

5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 is the most affordable top of the line rower on the market. This model can support users that weigh a maximum of 220 pounds. The rower itself weighs only 20 pounds, so it will be an ease for you to store it in a different location after you finish the workout session. It has a durable construction that ensures it’s a long lasting investment. This hydraulic resistance model offers no less than 12 levels of resistance for the users to choose from in order to customize the workout session as desired. The LCD monitor that it comes with displays important workout data such as time, strokes count, scan, and the number of calories that are being burned. It’s foldable, ensuring that the space that it occupies when it’s in use can be freed up after the exercise routine. For the user’s comfort and convenience, it features adjustable footrests, an ergonomically designed, fully padded seat, and cushioned non-slip handles. It comes with the automatic shut-off feature, ensuring that the battery power won’t be lost due to the fact that it will shut off on its own after 4-5 minutes of inactivity. The 31-inch slide rail length makes it very convenient to use even by tall people. In addition, the manufacturer offers a 3-month warranty for the parts and a 1-year warranty for the frame. As long as you use the rower as instructed in the manual and don’t damage it due to improper use, the manufacturer will fix or replace it free of charge if the warranty period is still active.

6. Stamina X Air

This rower is an air model that provides various intensities based on how hard or slow you row on it. This means that you can control the resistance of the machine and choose how intense you want the rowing session to be. It’s an average size unit that will not take too much space, measuring 77″ long by 18″ wide by 22″ high and weighing 54 pounds. The best thing is that you can fold it to 48″ long by 18″ wide by 28″ high in order to save more space when you’re done using it. It’s equipped with wheels for easy transportation so you can move it from one room to another without putting too much effort into this task. Aside from allowing you to correct your posture and work your muscle groups, this fitness machine will also help you relax and relieve tension. The sliding seat is upholstered and padded so you will sit comfortably and the footplates feature large straps that keep your feet in place. Also, the footplates are pretty large, ensuring that they can accommodate people with various shoe sizes. It adapts to many user heights so it’s designed for the entire family. To help you monitor your progress during the rowing session, a device has been mounted to measure your speed, the time, the distance you have gone, and the calories burned. Note that the device is not a heart rate monitor, so you can’t rely on it to fully check your cardiovascular health. The 3-year warranty that covers it will replace or repair it free of charge as long as you use it properly.

Everything You Need to Know About this Fitness Equipment

This is a fitness equipment that simulates the action of watercraft rowing, helping those who use it stay in shape, build muscle mass, lose weight, and even practice for actual rowing events. What stands out the most about this product is the fact that it doesn’t have a large footprint when compared to other fitness equipment. Being very narrow and foldable, this rowing machine can be easily stored away when not in use and it doesn’t take too much space even when unfolded.

Also, it delivers a full-body workout by setting all of the muscles in your body in motion and challenging them by opposing resistance. This is another benefit that won’t come with the vast majority of fitness equipment out there, making the rowing machine a must-have for any fitness fanatic. As you maneuver the machine, you challenge your arms, legs, back, and lower and upper back muscles into a complex motion that you can hardly obtain with another fitness equipment. Your entire body participates to a full stroke and the result is a complete and intense workout that provides resistance and strengthens your muscles.

Another important detail that you have to know about rowers is that there are four different types that you can choose from when it comes to resistance, more precisely air, water, hydraulic, and magnetic rowers. Air resistance types produce the resistance by using the air that flows over an internal flywheel. Water resistance types use water and paddles to produce the resistance, having a more realistic feel when they are used. Hydraulic resistance types achieve their resistance with the help of pistons that are attached to the handles. Last but not least, magnetic resistance types deliver the resistance by varying the distance between the spinning flywheel that is attached to the handle and the strong magnets that they feature.

5 Rowing Mistakes That You Must Avoid

When using any type of fitness equipment, it’s mandatory that you know how you should proceed in your movements and overall motions in order to avoid injuries. In the following, we will show you what are the 5 common mistakes that people make when using the rowing machine so that you will know to avoid them and stay safe.

  • #1 – Using Your Arms Only

  • A vast majority of people who use the machine practice with the help of the fitness equipment in the idea that they will build strong upper bodies. As they’re eager to see results fast, they tend to pull the handles of the rowers using only the strength in their arms, shoulders, and back. This can lead to serious injuries fast as strain inevitably occurs. The correct way to proceed when pulling the handles is to use the power that comes from your legs, from the core, and from the arms. About 60% should come from the legs, 20% from the core, and 20% from the arms in order to stay clear of any unwanted accidents.

  • #2 – Hunching Your Back

  • Unfortunately, most people have the bad habit of hunching their backs. This habit sticks even when using the rower as the user feels most comfortable in the dangerous position. If you row while sitting with your back hunched, your spine is inevitably going to be affected as you will put a large amount of pressure on it while keeping it in an unhealthy position. What you should do is to sit tall with a stacked posture when using the rower, engaging the core and relaxing the shoulders while pulling them back and down.

  • #3 – Rushing

  • Another common mistake that beginners make is that they rush, jerking their bodies forward in an uncontrollable manner. The proper way to row is by following a 1:2 count stroke ratio. More precisely, you should expend a lot of energy at the drive in a quick manner as the arms are pulling and the legs are pushing. During the second half of the stroke, you should relax, calmly recovering to prevent the seat from smashing into the rower’s front side.

  • #4 – Setting the Damper Too High

  • This is a common mistake among newbies, beginner users being tempted to set the damper level too high, which leads to an increased difficulty of the exercise and a more rapid exhaustion. If you have just started using the fitness equipment, it’s best that you start with a middle setting and move up as time passes and you start to feel more comfortable when rowing.

  • #5 – Mixing Up the Operation Order

  • What most people are tempted to do is to fire their arms and legs at the same time when rowing, putting unnecessary strain on their bodies by mixing up these operations. The proper way to work out with the rower is to first focus on pushing with the legs, then pivoting backward at the hips, and finally pulling the arms into the chest.

Health Benefits that Come with Rowing

Rowers, like all other fitness equipment out there, offer users a wide range of benefits that they enjoy if they work out with them. But they stand out from the rest by having certain advantages that differentiate them. If you’re curious to find out exactly what makes them such a great choice to go with when it comes to the multitude of advantages that they offer, read this section of our article.

  • Full Body Workout

  • One of the most important advantages that come with exercising on a rowing machine is the fact that you will get a great full-body workout when you use it. This benefit doesn’t come with a lot of fitness equipment, most of them only exercising your upper or lower body. By providing this amazing full body workout, it ensures that you will achieve the goals that you have set much faster than you could ever imagine.

  • Weight Loss

  • An obvious advantage that comes with using this fitness equipment is the fact that it helps in the process of weight loss. What makes it more effective from this point of view is the fact that it works out both your upper and your lower body at the same time as you use it. Therefore, you will lose weight in a harmonious way, without having to switch between various exercise equipment.

  • Improved Cardiovascular Health

  • This fitness equipment helps increase heart function when the tension is set at a low level and the resistance isn’t high. As you work out with it and maintain a high-speed rate, you will manage to reach an aerobic state, improving your heart’s health, blood circulation, and lung functions. All in all, it will provide an amazing cardio workout that will improve the state of your health considerably.

  • Increased Muscular Strength and Endurance

  • The muscular strength represents the amount of weight that a particular muscle group can lift in a single effort, and the muscular endurance represents the number of lifting repetitions a particular muscle group can perform. By using the rower, you will increase both your muscular strength and endurance, this fitness equipment providing both the necessary resistance and repeated motion that will help you have a strong and fit body.

  • Low Impact Exercise

  • The fact that rowing is a low impact exercise is a benefit that can’t be overlooked, especially considering how harsh certain workout routines can be on the joints. With it, you will be able to reach your fitness goals easily, all without affecting the health of your joints in any way. This makes it a great option to use even by those who have suffered injuries in the past and who can’t afford to take risks anymore, and for those who have led a sedentary lifestyle for a long time and that are completely out of shape.

  • Stress Reduction

  • As you exercise with this fitness equipment, you will notice a major difference when it comes to your mood as well. The positive change that you will notice is all due to the fact that as you work out, the endorphins are stimulated and released, giving you an overall “feel good” sensation. This is especially helpful for those who are faced with anxiety issues, overwhelming stress, and depression.

Other Advantages of Owning a Great Model

  • Convenience

  • By having it at your disposal, you will make it more convenient to exercise and actually maintain an active lifestyle. Nevertheless, the fact that you will have a complex fitness equipment at home will provide an increased level of comfort without even having to leave your home and waste time in traffic. You can use it anytime you want without having to share it with other people and you will enjoy a full body workout while using one single machine.

  • Space saving

  • Other sports machines can be bulky, heavy, and hard to store especially if your house is small and you can’t afford to build a home gym. Thanks to this type of fitness equipment, you can enjoy your workouts without taking too much space and you can easily free the space when you are no longer using it.

  • Versatility

  • If you’re into leading a healthy and active lifestyle, then you probably already know about high intensity interval training. This type of training alternates low to medium intensity exercises with high intensity exercises for results to be visible a lot faster when it comes to losing weight and toning the body. The rower is the perfect fitness equipment to integrate in HIIT routines as it adds versaility to the workout. All that you have to do is to put your imagination to good use and come up with new exercises to perform while on the rower, and combine them with squats and other types of exercises that are of a lower intensity. In case you’re not the most creative person out there, don’t worry as there are many tutorials and exercise routines on the internet, routines that involve the rower and that you can find out about for free.

  • Privacy

  • Due to the fact that it will be in your own home, you are going to be able to use it whenever the time allows it, and you will have complete privacy and intimacy as well. These are benefits that you won’t enjoy in a public place like the gym, where you are forced to exercise with others around you, and where you might even have to sit in line to use a certain equipment.

Most Popular Brands on The Market

Great quality products only come from the best manufacturers out there. Therefore, if you want to make sure that the model you go with provides durability and a high performance, make sure that the brand producing it is Concept2, Water Rower, or Stamina.

  • Concept2

  • When it comes to the production, there isn’t another brand out there that comes remotely close to Concept2 in terms of durability, innovation, and quality. This company has been founded back in 1976, since then delivering only high-end equipment that have made it the most renowned name in this market. The quality of this company’s work can be best seen in models like the Concept2 Model E with PM5 and the Concept2 Model D with PM5, which are the two best rowers of the moment.

  • WaterRower

  • Since the WaterRower company has been established back in 1988, it has gained a name for itself on this market by delivering innovative water resistance units. The realistic feel and smooth operation of the products that it offers to clients have made this company become a household name, the seriosity and hard work being best seen when looking at models like the top of the line WaterRower Ash S4.

  • Stamina

  • Stamina is seen as one of the most serious brands on this market due to the fact that it has focused on innovation and the delivery of affordable products to customers. This company has been around since 1987, gaining popularity fast through their hard work, and managing to maintain their status as a leading brand to this day by producing amazing models such as the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050.

What Stands Behind our Ratings

If you’re wondering what stands behind our ratings and why we have ranked the best models on the market the way we did, wonder no more and read this section of our article to find the answers that you’re seeking.

  • Resistance Adjustability

  • As you have already noticed when you looked at the comparison table of the top 5 models on the market, some of them feature a certain number of resistance levels that the user can choose from, while others give users freedom in resistance adjustability by modifying this setting according to the intensity at which they row. While the fact that having 12 levels of resistance to choose from, like the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 and Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 offer, is extremely convenient, this doesn’t mean that the self-regulating resistance of the WaterRower Ash S4 isn’t great. On the contrary, when talking in terms of what model is of a higher quality, it’s preferable to have the freedom of choice offered by the WaterRower Ash S4, this being one of the reasons why we have given it a better rating.

  • Workout Monitor and Displayed Data

  • All of the models in our top come with great workout monitors that display a variety of workout data. The reason why we rated them according to these two elements is because a high-performance monitor that shows many workout stats enables the user to reach the set goals easier. In addition, the fact that so many stats are shown allows for a better monitoring of the workout performance over time.

  • Foldability

  • We know how important it is for thems to be foldable in order for them to be convenient to use, this being the reason why the Concept2 Model E with PM5 and the Concept2 Model D with PM5 received higher ratings. Of course, they’re not the only foldable models in our top, but they are more convenient due to the fact that they come with the quick-release frame lock mechanism feature. This feature allows users to separate them into two pieces without the use of special tools.

  • Comfort in Use

  • We had to take into consideration what level of comfort the rowing machines offer when they are used because this aspect shows that it will be a pleasure to work out with them on a regular basis. This is one of the reasons why the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 ranks among the best models on the market, featuring an ergonomic, fully padded seat, and cushioned, non-slip handles, meaning that it delivers a relaxing and comfortable experience when using it.

  • Flywheel and Damper

  • The flywheel design and spiral damper features of the Concept2 Model E with PM5 and the Concept2 Model D with PM5 rowing machines convinced us to give them a higher rank when compared to their competitors due to the fact that they ensure a smooth experience in use, easy adjustability of the resistance, and a quiet operation.

  • Wireless Heart Rate Monitor

  • The wireless heart rate monitor feature offered by the Concept2 Model E with PM5 and the Concept2 Model D with PM5 allows the user to keep a close eye on the cardiovascular health while exercising. The fact that the two models come with this feature has influenced us when rating them, being one of the reasons why we have ranked them on the first two spots in our top.

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