Rowing Machines- The Ultimate Whole Body Workout Machine

If you need a whole body workout to burn some calories, get your body in better shape, and wanna ensure equal pressure on related body parts, leaving no pain on any several parts, there’s no better workout equipment than a Rowing Machine.

Rowing machines are a smooth way to burn calories. But you need to find the best rowing machine for you to get the most out of it.

These are the benefits you’re gonna get from a rowing machine-

  • Weight loss
  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Muscle toning
  • Stress Reduction and more….

Harvard Health Publications noted that a vigorous workout on a rowing machine is able to burn about 377 calories in 30 minutes for someone who weighs closer to 185 pounds. Sounds awesome, right?

While burning calories, one of the best thing I love about rowing machines is that they are designed to put equal pressure on both upper and lower part of your body, ensuring equal improvement on both parts and you won’t feel any unwanted pain in any several parts of your body due to unequal pressure

Picking the best rowing machine – Name of the game

Well, these things that I discussed are pretty obvious and I think you already knew that, didn’t you? Knowing the usefulness of a rowing machine is not the challenge.

The challenge is knowing the actual performance of a rower that you’ve chosen if that works according to it’s specification on your paper. Knowing it’s bad sides along with the goods, that the manufacturer doesn’t reveal.

Another challenge is finding the best rowing machine for you according to your fitness level and goals, your budget, and your overall situation, isn’t it?

Here, I’ve discussed all the good and bad sides of all the best rowing machines available in the market, their buy-worthiness and everything you need to know. I’ve also done the hard work for you to find what might be the best rowing machine for you.

1. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing machine

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The Concept2 Model D is one of the best indoor rowing machines in the market. I mentioned ‘indoor’, but it’s a gym standard rowing machine in fact. The model D from concept2 is expertly and solidly constructed ‘Air resistant’ type rowing machine. The machine is ergonomically designed and features the most advanced performance monitor ‘PM5’. Every part of this machine will feel premium as they are made from quality materials.

Very Well Constructed

Concept2 Model D is a very well built rowing machine made from quality materials. It has a rock solid stainless steel frame that promises ultra durability. It comes with an aluminum I-beam monorail with a stainless-steel seat track that ensures smooth seat movement. In the resistance box, it has a good quality fan and flywheel that has performed smoothly for years. Overall it’s a solidly built rowing machine from concept2.

Most advanced PM5 performance monitor

One of the best features of this rowing machine is it’s performance monitor. It features the PM5 Performance monitor which is one of the best in this industry. The monitor tracks information of your workout session brilliantly and is loaded with options. It tracks distance, speed, calories burnt, strokes per minutes and much more and show them intelligently, in two ways. You can see data for a whole session or see data of a little time range to see where u had tightened or loosened things up. It also has some pre-set workouts and games which I found useful in real time use.

A Comfortable Indoor rowing machine

Concept2 Model D is a comfortable rower as well. The seat movement on it is very smooth, and the seat is well padded and soft too. The handle is ergonomically designed and well gripped, ensures you not to get any blister or something like that. The foot positioning is good and the pedal is enough big to handle shoes of any common size. And there are foot straps also to make sure your feet doesn’t get slipped from the pedal.

Advantages of concept2 Model D are-

  • Well engineered, solid built and comfortable rowing machine.
  • Features the most advanced performance monitor.
  • Suits almost any user, complete beginner or advanced user.

2. WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

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The WaterRower Club rowing machine is a handcrafted, beautiful,well finished and well built, comfortable rowing machine in the ‘Water Resistant rowing machine’ era. The machine is designed to handle heavy duty uses even in commercial gyms.

It is made from solid ash wood, with a black and rose stain and danish oil finishing that gives it a real premium look. Other parts, like the water tank, is also made from a good plastic, poly carbonate. And the ash wood finishing of this machine absorbs the vibrations, making it comfortable while working out.

Solid and commercial grade, premium looking machine.

The WaterRower Club is a commercial grade rowing machine built with solid materials. The machine will feel premium with its every part. It can handle a user of maximum 1000 lbs that show how solid it is. Its frame is promised to give ultra durability, and the other parts as well. It has a premium finishing on it, with black and rose strain and danish oil.

Comfortable Rowing machine

It is a comfortable rowing machine, as its ash wood absorbs almost all the vibrations, so it’s super smooth. The seat slides along the seat rail smoothly. Both the seat and handle are well padded , making it soft even for long time use, a both are ergonomically designed. All the parts, seat, foot pedals are well positioned.

Performance monitor

The WaterRower Club comes with a simple but good quality multi-function S4 performance monitor. The monitor intelligently tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, speed, distance, calories burnt and more. It’s automatic, means it will start itself as far as you start rowing. Its LCD display is pretty large so seeing the workout data won’t be a problem also.

Advantages of the WaterRower Cub rowing machine are-

  • Smooth and comfortable
  • Commercial grade can handle heavy usage.
  • Decent series 4 performance monitor

3. Stamina Air Rower

Stamina Air Rower

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Stamina air rower 1399 is another well-built air resistant rowing machine, but surprisingly cheap comparing to its performance and another air rower. The rower is durable, comfortable and provides smooth rowing strokes and is ready to give you low-impact, full-body cardio fitness workout. It has a sturdy feeling on it and it provides comfort with its soft and padded seat and handlebar and with smooth seat movement. And the comparatively cheap price of it makes it a buy worthy one.

Well Built feels sturdy

The Stamina air rower is a well-built rowing machine built with high-quality materials. The stainless steel frame on it is rock solid and feels sturdy to touch. It promises durability and users have found it to be so. Other parts on it are also made from good materials, including the fan in the resistance box that creates resistance. It can handle users of heavy weight easily without any hassle.

Comfortable, More than expected.

This machine is surprisingly comfortable, with padded, upholstered seat, Over-sized seat rail, a comfortable handlebar and big foot pedals that will fit any user’s shoe size. The adjustable foot straps on it will help to hold your feet strongly on it. The whole machine is engineered to be comfortable and consumers have found so.

Good Monitor, Simple yet effective

Stamina air rower 1399 comes with a simple but enough featured performance monitor. It tracks the data you need to know about your workout session, such as calories burnt, total distance, speed, time etc and shows them intelligently. The speed data remains fixed on the panel while another data is displayed one by one. As I said, It’s not too advanced, but it is enough.

Advantages to stamina air rower 1399 are-

  • Comfortable rower overall.
  • Good resistance, Decent monitor
  • Cheap comparing to other rowers of its standard according to performance.

4. LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine

LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine

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LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 is a Magnetic resistant, Solid, comfortable and award winning rowing machine. Yet this machine is pretty cheap and affordable one. This machine is well constructed, super quiet because of its magnetic resistance system and provides smooth rowing strokes. It’s also a comfortable rower overall because of its soft and padded seat, handlebar, smooth gliding of the seat along the seat rail. And you can avoid any noise for its being a magnetic rower and its resistance level is adjustable also, making it suitable for rowers of different fitness level.

Expertly constructed

The rw1000 from lifespan fitness is an expertly constructed rowing machine, which promises high durability and a sturdy feel to it. The machine can handle even a 6’2″ guy with 250 lbs. That shows how nice and solid built it is. It has a solid steel frame on it, and other parts are also made from good quality materials. Overall its a solidly built machine, considering the frame and other parts also.

Comfortable indoor rower

This machine is a comfortable one also, along with being a solid one. The positioning of everything is good and well engineered. The seat and handlebar are well gripped a comfortable. The Handlebar is easy to grab on and well gripped to save your hand from any blister. The seat movement is smooth and provides smooth rowing strokes.

Good and intelligent resistance

The lifespan fitness rw1000 comes with a ‘magnetic-resistance’ technology. The resistance is enough and it is adjustable to suit user of any fitness level. That’s why it will suit from beginner to advanced level user. The machine is extremely quiet, again thanks to its brilliant magnetic resistance system.

Advantages of LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 are-

  • It suits people better, regarding height and fitness level. Taller or shorter, beginner or advanced user, all will find it pretty suitable for them.
  • Good overall built quality, and comfortable too.
  • Nevertheless, its an award winning rowing machine.

How to pick the best rowing machine, things to consider:

Now I’ve discussed my top picks, it’s time to let you know what makes a rowing machine good or bad. I’ve discussed those things below which I keep in mind while judging a rowing machine and thus you can pick the best rowing machine for you

Type of Resistance

Rowing machines come with different types regarding resistance. What technology was used to create the resistance on the machine, determines this. This is a point you should not forget while picking a rower. The types of resistance include:

  • water resistance
  • air resistance
  • magnetic resistance
  • piston/hydraulic resistance.

Each type of resistance has its unique benefits and different rowing feel. Water and air rowers operate almost in the same way, and resistance of both is auto adjusting. The resistance level is determined by how hard you row. The harder you row, the more resistance you’ll feel. But the difference is water rower are quieter than air rowers. Air rowers create a little noise. But performance-wise, its very good. To mention, one of the most popular rower Concept2 Model D is air resistant type rower.

While magnetic and hydraulic resistance system is manually adjustable. You’ll need to set the specific resistance level according to your fitness levels and goal. Both are very quiet and easy to operate.

Talking about performance, each system has its own unique good and bad sides. So as far as there are more goods than bads, and it fulfills your requirements of creating good resistance, its okay, no matter of which Resistance system it is.

Comfort:

This is an issue which you should pay good attention too. No matter how hard you wanna work out, you would love to do this from a comfortable position. A good rower should have good seats, handlebar, smooth seat movement etc. To help yourself more, Check the checklist below-

  • Does the rower have padded and soft seats, well gripped handlebar that is easy to grab on?
  • Is its seat movement smooth along the seat rail? are there any jerks?
  • Does it have a large and good footrests?
  • How’s the overall positioning and combination? Do other users have found it to be comfortable?

I’ve answered all these questions about a rower in my every single rower review. So it’ll help you to determine.

Performance Monitor:

You might wanna have an eye on which performance monitor a rower includes. It is important, as you wanna know about every single information of a workout session. It helps you to calculate your plans well and how your progress is going. A good performance monitor should at least track-

  • Distance covered
  • Speed
  • Total time
  • Calories burnt
  • Workout intensity
  • Strokes per minute

Anything more is better. And if its a backlit enabled monitor, its a plus point for you as you can see the data even in low lights. Whether it’s automatic or not, does not matter much if it shows enough data after turning on.

Build Quality:

No one in this earth will want to last his machine lesser, and so is you, I know. It’s obvious. So you should have a good look at how good the overall build quality of a machine is when judging on. The sturdy feeling of a machine will give you much confidence on it while rowing. And good build quality also ensures durability.

The first thing to look for is the frame. It should be made of a good and tough material, like steel or tough woods. The frame is like the backbone of a rower, so to make the rower last long and feel sturdy, the frame is very important. Its the most important thing of a rower to determine its build quality.

Next, comes the other several parts. Starting from the chain you pull, to the resistance box,foot pedals and other should be made of good materials.

And another important thing is the finishing. You don’t want any sharp edges that might hurt you while working with the rower. The manufacturer should ensure there are no such things as this on a rowing machine. It should be smoothly finished. But you can’t find this ‘edge type’ information from a specification paper. The only way you can find it is from reviews of consumer who’ve used this product. I’ve tried to include them in my individual reviews if there was such an issue found on a rower.

Price and warranty:

The price is a point you will be paying attention too, I know! Everyone does, I do! Our intention is to find a rower that is affordable, not to costly, yet good in performance. There are such rowers available in the market, trust me! To help you on this, first, let me show you the average price ranges. Then you can determine in which price range your budget fits.

  • ~$400 and under – “Low-End”
  • ~$400 – $700 – “Mid-Range”
  • Over $700 – “High-End”

Though I always say, “you get what you pay for”. So you can not expect a 400 bucks rower to perform like a 1000 bucks rower. Yet there is such good rower in the “Mid-Range”. And if the price does not bother you, I suggest you go for a rower that will give you ultra performance and satisfaction, like the Concept2 Model D.

Another thing you should be paying attention to is warranty. You’ll love a good after sales service, won’t you?A good rower should have a good warranty on it, individually on frame and parts. There can be little problem in any rower after a year and couple of years, a lengthy warranty will keep you tension free in this cases.

Even for the best rowing machines that are supposed not to break down quickly, you wanna have a good warranty still. Because there can be a little manufacturing defect on an individual one, you can do nothing with this, not the manufacturer also. But unluckily if you get that defected one, good warranty and after sales service can be a savior for you.

Other things Like Storage and Assembly:

A rower that folds, and folds into a small piece will be helpful for you to save space. Most of the consumers do not have all the space of earth in their house, so a rowing machine with low storage space will be very useful for them. In this case, you want to make sure that the rowing machine is fold-able and takes low storage space. I’ve talked about this issue in my reviews.

Last but not least, a rowing machine that is easy to assemble is something you’d love. Most of the consumers do not have that vast knowledge on putting these things together. So, a rowing machine that is east to assemble and comes with a good user manual showing how to assemble it for first time, and fold it after usage, is one that any consumer will like. Though it is not that important, as you’ll have to assemble this machine once or twice, if you don’t shift your place too often.

Final Words on picking the best rowing machine:

Rowing machines are definitely an ideal equipment to get a whole body cardiovascular workout. But to serve the purpose properly, you need to find the best rowing machine out there, that is suitable according to your performance.

For this, I recommend you to do enough research on them, read reviews from real-time consumers. I’ve reviewed the best rowing machines I’ve come in touch with, and broken their detail on 100 percent real-time performance, along with reviews from other consumers who’ve used those machines from pretty long time that I’ve talked with.

I believe all the information you need to pick the best rowing machine for you is provided here. So don’t move here and there, read the reviews you are looking for. I love seeing people in shape, getting the most suitable machine for them and getting the most value for their money while buying a rowing machine, or any workout machine in fact.

Happy rowing. Hope you’ll reach your fitness goals very soon but you can also read another great article about Best Crossbow buying guide.