The 10 best rowing machines 2022

The success of rowing machines in sports halls is not surprising. It is a very good device to develop your physical, respiratory and cardiovascular capacities. Enough to give you an athletic body without leaving your home...

If you're looking for the best rowing machine to equip yourself at home, it absolutely must have a few key features:

  • Allow to have quality and varied training sessions
  • Be built to last according to its use (weekly, regular or intensive)

Top-of-the-line rowers come with durable frames and heavy-duty components that can withstand crazy sessions and heavy use for many years.

Whatever type of rowing machine you are interested in, it is important to know what are the features and specifications you need. So we'll help you find the machines that can do exactly what you want with the best value.

Come on, let's go for the selection of the best current rowers. This choice is regularly updated. Keep in mind that the best rowing machine for you is not the one that would match another user…

TOP 10 of the best indoor rowing machine

ENTRY LEVEL

What we call here the entry level does not correspond to the low end that can be found on the Internet.

This is our internal classification of good quality models at the lowest possible price. These models come from well-known brands in the fitness industry and cost less than 800 USD, offering excellent value for money.

If you're wondering which beginner rower is the best fit, start with these…

NordicTrack RX800

NordicTrack RX800 rowing machine

A good air brake rower with a tight price tag. The NordicTrack offers 20 pre-recorded programs focused on strength or calorie burning.

The 5 inch LCD display is easy to read and height adjustable. Data includes calories burned, total strokes, cadence per minute, power output in watts, time and distance traveled. Everything is done to motivate you to improve your results session after session.

It can be suitable for the whole family since the older ones will have no trouble using it. Its folding system facilitates storage. Excellent value for money.

This cardio machine is perfect for beginner to intermediate level athletes, or as a warm-up machine for the more experienced. On the other hand, confirmed athletes should turn to higher-end models that offer more resistance.

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Regular to intensive (5 to 10 hours per week)
Resistance Mechanism: Air (adjustable)
Resistance levels: 5
Preset programs: 20
Dimensions in use: Length 223 cm X width 56 cm X height 105 cm
Device weight: 41 kg
Maximum user weight: 125 Kg
Display type: 5′ black and white backlit LCD
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 95 cm X width 56 cm X height 111 cm
Transport wheels: YES

Advantages :

  • Very affordable price for a rower air
  • Padded handles
  • 20 programs for motivating sessions
  • Easy-to-read, height-adjustable backlit LCD display
  • Integrated tablet holder
  • Speakers and jack to listen to your MP3s
  • Suitable for tall users (over 1.90 m)
  • Ergonomic seat with a wide rail
  • Wide foot supports with straps
  • Foldable and equipped with wheels for storage
  • Structure guaranteed for life, 2 years on parts and labor
  • Fairly easy assembly

Disadvantages:

  • Fairly basic monitor
  • Lack of resistance for some experienced athletes
Sport Chez Soi Note: 7,5/10

NOTE : A great choice for the whole family if you're not looking for a hi-tech system with built-in video programs. An alternative to Concept 2 if you have a tight budget and for the unconfirmed.

ProForm Sport RL

ProForm Sport RL Rower Comparison

If you find an air of resemblance with the previous model, it is normal since as you will read later, it is the same company as NordicTrack. The chassis is therefore the same, with identical qualities. Except that here, the manufacturer has opted for an Effective Inertia electromagnetic resistance, a bit like on their elliptical trainers.

With its built-in tablet holder, this device lets you enjoy the iFit program for thousands of super motivating sessions. It's like being in a fitness room with coaches available all year round. Be careful though, if you want to continue using this application beyond one month, you will have to pay a subscription.

Fortunately, this machine does not depend on this program. You will always be able to find free or competing training programs to replace it.

This rowing machine is suitable for most athletes, except for experienced athletes who must go to the highest end.

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Regular to intensive (5 to 10 hours per week)
Mechanism of resistance: Electromagnetic (Inertia system)
Resistance Levels: 24
Preset programs: NO
Dimensions in use: Length 221 cm X width 56 cm X height 105 cm
Weight of the device: 48 kg
Maximum user weight: 115 Kg
Display type: 5′ black and white backlit LCD
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 95 cm X width 56 cm X height 111 cm
Transport wheels: YES

Advantages :

  • Good price for performance
  • Quiet and smooth motion
  • Padded handles
  • Easy-to-read, height-adjustable backlit LCD display
  • Integrated tablet holder with bluetooth for iFit programs
  • Speakers and jack to listen to your MP3s
  • Suitable for tall users (over 1.90 m)
  • Ergonomic seat with a wide rail
  • Wide foot supports with straps
  • Foldable and equipped with wheels for storage
  • Structure guaranteed for 10 years, 2 years on parts and labor
  • Relatively easy assembly
  • 30-day iFIT Family membership included

Disadvantages:

  • Fairly heavy rower, but easy to move around
  • The tablet is not included
  • The iFIT subscription renews automatically if you don't cancel it
Sport Chez Soi Note: 7/10

NOTE : Good rowing machine for the family, but I have a preference for its cousin, the Nordictrack RX800 in this price range because of its pre-recorded programs (less dependent on iFit subscription).

MIDRANGE

Among the different types of rowing machines you can buy with a budget between 800 and 1200 USD, you will find incredibly efficient and pleasant to use machines. Most of them can withstand heavy use and are suitable for all members of the family.

Care Skipper SP

Best Rower Care Skipper SP

This Care water rowing machine is very efficient and is suitable for users who are 1.80 m tall and support up to 130 kg. These are the manufacturer's data, but users over 1.90 m speak highly of them. Suffice to say that the whole family can normally use it without problem.

Many users like the sound of water during their sessions (this is also true for the following 3 cardio machines). It's a bit louder than the best electromagnetic rowers, but quite soothing and more realistic for a rowing motion.

The LCD screen is basic, but it provides useful information such as duration of the session, distance covered, speed, estimated calories burned, heart rate, strokes per minute.

It is the cheapest of the good water rowers, especially since it regularly benefits from good promotions!

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Intensive (more than 10 hours per week)
Resistance Mechanism: Water
Resistance levels: Vary according to water level and your strength
Preset programs: NO
Dimensions in use: Length 198 cm X width 58 cm X height 50 cm
Device weight: 38 kg
Maximum user weight: 130 Kg
Display type: LCD
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 89 cm X width 53 cm X height 142 cm
Castors: YES

Advantages :

  • Good value for money
  • Water resistance guarantees smooth movement
  • Realistic printing
  • Pleasant ergonomic handles
  • Adjustable foot supports
  • Heavy duty water tank
  • Foldable to save space and wheels at the front
  • Guaranteed 5 years on chassis, 2 years parts and labor

Disadvantages:

  • Pretty naughty (but that's not very important)
  • No program available
  • Tank to be emptied or filled according to the desired resistance
Sport Chez Soi Note: 7/10

NOTE : It is surprising that the manufacturer sets the height limit at 1.80 m when I have no problem with my 1.86 m and people over 1.90 m find it fine. But it's Care's choice. Also check the price because sometimes this model has a significant discount that places it among the cheapest rowers.

ProForm Carbon R10

ProForm Carbon R10 Indoor Rower

The ProForm Carbon R10 rowing machine is a technological evolution of the Sport RL on the same steel and aluminum frame. It is much more oriented towards the use of the iFit program with its 10-inch color screen. But you will have to pay a monthly subscription if you want to enjoy it after the trial month.

However, like all cardio equipment from the ProForm and NordicTrack brands, their use is not conditional on this subscription. Fortunately…

If you can afford this monthly subscription, however, you will benefit from the best in virtual coaching. The coaches are world class. You will know more about the iFit application below in the section dedicated to it.

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Regular to intensive (5 to 10 hours per week)
Mechanism of resistance: Electromagnetic (Inertia system)
Resistance Levels: 24
Preset programs: Thousands with iFit
Dimensions in use: Length 221 cm X width 56 cm X height 109 cm
Device weight: 50 kg
Maximum user weight: 114 Kg
Display type: 10′ touchscreen
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 95 cm X width 56 cm X height 111 cm
Transport wheels: YES

Advantages :

  • Quiet and smooth motion
  • Padded handles
  • Height-adjustable 10-inch touch screen
  • 2 speakers
  • Suitable for tall users (over 1.90 m)
  • Ergonomic seat with a wide rail
  • Wide foot supports with straps
  • Foldable and equipped with wheels for storage
  • Structure guaranteed for 10 years, 2 years on parts and labor
  • Relatively easy assembly
  • 30-day iFIT Family membership included

Disadvantages:

  • Fairly heavy rower, but easy to move around
  • The iFIT subscription renews automatically if you don't cancel it
Sport At Home Review: 8/10

NOTE : Like other models in the PorForm and NordicTrack range, the seat and handle adjustments make the rower comfortable. The build quality is impeccable and the device can be used by the whole family, including people over 1.90m. The iFit subscription is an incredible incentive, but it will cost you 33€ per month.

MAXXUS Air Row

Maxxus AirRow Air Rower

From the first glance, we see that this fitness device is there to compete with the market benchmark for pros, the Concept 2. This can be good news for your bank account, because it requires a lower budget. a third. In addition, this model is one of the best in simple models with air resistance.

Most buyers compare it to the Concept 2 and praise it for its quality. That's to say!

Its LCD screen with a beautiful blue display gives the speed, training duration, distance covered, calories burned, counting of rowing strokes during the session and frequency per minute, your heart rate (with a type sensor Polar), the power developed in Watts (useful if you charge your electric car with a paddle 😅).

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Intensive
Resistance Mechanism: Air
Resistance levels: 9
Preset programs: NO
Dimensions in use: Length 241 cm X width 64 cm X height 110 cm
Device weight: 41 kg
Maximum user weight: 150 Kg
Display type: LCD
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 120 cm X width 64 cm X height 138 cm
Transport wheels: YES

Advantages :

  • Excellent value for money compared to the Concept 2
  • Supports very tall users of 1.95 m and up to 150 kg
  • 9-level adjustable air resistance
  • Very pleasant ergonomic handles
  • Comfortable adjustable pedals
  • Wear-resistant chain pull
  • Very stable with its 2 feet at the front
  • Easy to assemble in 30 minutes

Disadvantages:

  • Lack of predefined program (as on all air rowers)
Sport Chez Soi Note: 9,5/10 💖

NOTE : The best rowing machine in the pro category because of its very well placed price and its impeccable quality. Like its direct competitor, it is reserved for those who do not need frills or programs to motivate themselves. It's spartan and strong!

Skandika Nemo IV

Skandika IV Water Rower

This water rower has the particularity of having a water tank inclined at 45°. According to Skandika, this position is more effective than horizontally, but less than vertically as with the NEMO V.

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Its LCD display shows all important training data such as rowing strokes, distance covered, calories burned, time over 500 meters and session duration. It has a built-in receiver for pulse display if you have a connectable heart rate sensor.

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Intensive
Mechanism of resistance: 6 depending on the amount of water
Resistance levels: Vary according to water level and your strength
Preset programs:
Dimensions in use: Length 200 cm X width 52 cm X height 90 cm
Device weight: 38.6 kg (without water)
Maximum user weight: 150 Kg
Display type: LCD
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 90 cm X width 52 cm X height 200 cm
Castors: YES

Advantages :

  • Supports very tall users of 2m and up to 150kg
  • Fairly quiet and smooth movements
  • Realistic rowing feel with water resistance
  • Height adjustable LCD screen
  • Integrated tablet holder
  • Ergonomic padded seat on 2 rails
  • Non-slip pedals
  • Really compact when folded
  • Compatible with the Kinomap app via bluetooth

Disadvantages:

  • The height is 200cm when folded
  • Once the tank is filled, the device reaches 52 kg
  • Tank to be emptied or filled according to the desired resistance
Sport Chez Soi Note: 7,5/10

NOTE : A good water rower for very tall people. Both strong and durable. The use of the Kinomap application is a real plus for motivation.

Skandika Nemo V

Best rowing machine comparison - Skandika Nemo V
Nemo V water rower

A rower with a futuristic motorcycle look from the movie Tron. We like it or not, but the machine is efficient with its water tank placed in the vertical direction.

The LCD screen displays rowing strokes and cadence per minute, distance traveled, calories burned, time over 500 meters and session duration. It has a built-in receiver for pulse display if you have a connectable heart rate sensor.

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Intensive
Mechanism of resistance: 6 depending on the amount of water
Resistance levels: Vary according to water level and your strength
Preset programs: NO
Dimensions in use: Length 212 cm X width 52 cm X height 93 cm
Device weight: 38.6 kg (without water)
Maximum user weight: 150 Kg
Display type: LCD
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 93 cm X width 52 cm X height 212 cm
Castors: YES

Advantages :

  • A real look apart!
  • Supports very tall users of 2m and up to 150kg
  • Fairly quiet and smooth movements
  • Realistic rowing feel with water resistance
  • Height adjustable LCD screen
  • Integrated tablet holder
  • Ergonomic padded seat on 2 rails
  • Non-slip pedals
  • Really compact and quite light when folded
  • Compatible with the Kinomap app via bluetooth

Disadvantages:

  • Pay attention to the height of 212 cm for storage when folded
  • Tank to be emptied or filled according to the desired resistance
  • A few customers complain of water leaks at the tank seal (this explains our lower rating)
Sport At Home Review: 7/10

NOTE : As its tank needs only 5.4 liters of water, this device is lighter than its little brother in operation… and therefore for storage. It is also a little more technically advanced. Although having many glowing reviews, this fitness device sometimes experiences some leaks at the tank seal.

Sportstech WRX700

Sportstech WRX700 water rower comparison

If you want a rowing machine with a nice look and a quality experience, this model from the German brand Sportstech gives you what you pay for.

The basic LCD screen displays heart rate, speed, calories burned, strokes and frequency, distance traveled and session time. In addition, this cardio device is compatible with the Kinomap and iConsole+ applications for an interactive experience.

The double water tank is very resistant and offers a very pleasant realistic feeling. You will find a good video in the Amazon page by clicking on the button below.

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Intensive
Resistance Mechanism: Water
Resistance levels: Vary according to water level and your strength
Preset programs: 9
Dimensions in use: Length 208 cm X width 55 cm X height 50 cm
Device weight: 37.3 kg (without water)
Maximum user weight: 200 Kg
Display type: LCD
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 113 cm X width 55 cm X height 86 cm
Transport wheels: YES

Advantages :

  • Gorgeous look with its ash wood frame
  • Comfortable seat on 2 very quiet rails
  • Very pleasant ergonomic handles
  • Double solid water tank with 3 resistance blades
  • Rechargeable electric filling kit provided
  • Supports people over 1.90 m or weighing up to 200 kilos!
  • Built-in heart rate monitoring
  • Heart rate belt provided
  • LCD display with important data
  • Smartphone or tablet holder
  • Foldable and very easy to move with its 5 wheels
  • Compatible with Kinomap and iConsole+ apps
  • Easy to assemble

Disadvantages:

  • LCD screen (but many possibilities with a tablet)
  • A little louder than a magnetic model
  • Tank to be emptied or filled according to the desired resistance
Sport Chez Soi Note: 9,5/10 💖

NOTE : Everything has been well thought out on the WRX700. It's one of our favourites, especially since the value for money is excellent and the equipment is of high quality. Quite simply one of the best water rowers on the market!

NordicTrack RW600

Comparative rowing machines - NordicTrack RW600

This rower is the successful cross between the RX800 of the same brand and the ProForm Carbon R10. It is the first model in the NordicTrack range to combine the advantages of magnetic braking and air resistance.

Its color display lets you track your workout stats. For example, it shows calories burned, total number of rowing strokes and cadence per minute, power developed in watts, time and distance traveled. With a heart rate monitor, you can also track your heart rate.

Of course, it is also clearly oriented towards the use of the iFit program with its 10-inch color screen. You get one month of free use of this application, but after that you have to pay a monthly subscription (not compulsory).

It should be noted that this program not only trains you on the machine, but also provides you with complete sessions of HIIT, weight training or yoga. It's as if you were going into the room.

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Intensive
Resistance mechanism: Electromagnetic (Inertia system) + Air
Resistance Levels: 26
Preset programs: Thousands with iFit
Dimensions in use: Length 221 cm X width 56 cm X height 109 cm
Device weight: 44 kg
Maximum user weight: 115 Kg
Display type: 10′ touchscreen
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 95 cm X width 56 cm X height 111 cm
Castors: YES

Advantages :

  • Quiet and smooth motion
  • Comfortable padded handles
  • Height-adjustable 10-inch touch screen
  • 2 speakers with Bluetooth connection
  • Suitable for tall users (over 1.90 m)
  • Ergonomic seat with a wide rail
  • Wide foot supports with straps
  • Foldable and equipped with wheels for storage
  • Structure guaranteed for life, 2 years on parts and labor
  • Relatively easy assembly
  • 30-day iFIT Family membership included

Disadvantages:

  • Fairly heavy rower, but easy to move around
  • The iFIT subscription renews automatically if you don't cancel it
Our opinion : 8,5/10

>> See the RW600 on NordicTrack Canada <<

NOTE : If you're really passionate about the thousands of sessions available, it's a worthwhile investment. Especially if several of you use it at home. Read the iFit app section below before deciding. You can row around the whole world!

TOP OF THE LINE

These are the best home rowers over $1200. Their price is justified by the manufacturing quality and/or the technology offered. The 2 reference models are poles apart in terms of their philosophy. They will interest people with very different profiles…

CONCEPT 2 Model D or E

Best rowing machine for pros: Concept 2
Rower Concept 2: The star of gyms!

This is the best rowing machine for rowing professionals or gyms. It is also the one used for the French indoor rowing championships. It must be said that it has a reputation for foolproof reliability linked to its simple and solid design. It can collect endless draws in a good comfort of use.

Its small monitor gives you important information such as total distance, pace variation, working time. Its traction chain pulls on the flywheel which increases the air pressure according to your efforts, and therefore the difficulty. And even if you're a brute, it's extremely stable during sessions.

On the other hand, it is far from being the most fun device on this list! The LCD screen is a model of sadness, as Oldelaf would say. If you want to enjoy extra motivation with the best apps, you'll feel like you're in trouble and need a few boosts 😅

In short, it is the most efficient machine for confirmed and hyper motivated athletes. But look elsewhere if you want to have a good time during your session, unless you plant the device in front of a large screen...

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Intensive
Resistance Mechanism: Air
Resistance levels: Vary according to your strength during the effort
Preset programs: NO
Dimensions in use: Length 244 cm X width 65 cm X height 110 cm
Device weight: 26 kg
Maximum user weight: 220 Kg
Display type: black and white LCD
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 122 cm X width 65 cm X height 138 cm
Transport wheels: YES

Advantages :

  • High quality and solid construction 
  • Quick and easy to assemble after delivery
  • Considered a benchmark by pro athletes
  • Smooth, realistic rowing motion
  • Powerful monitor at recorded data level
  • Bluetooth-enabled
  • Easy to fold and store despite its size

Disadvantages:

  • High price (justified by the quality)
  • Relatively noisy 
  • Lack of predefined program (as on all air rowers)
Sport At Home Review: 9/10

NOTE : A great rower for advanced athletes, but it's not for everyone. The antithesis of NordickTrack rowers…

NordicTrack rowing machine RW900

NordicTrack rowing machine RW900

It is the flagship of the NordicTrack brand. It has the same qualities as the RW600, the huge screen as a bonus. Like him, he combines the benefits of electromagnetic braking for interactivity and air resistance for power.

Its large touch screen allows you to follow your statistics such as calories burned, total number of rowing strokes, cadence per minute, power developed in watts, time and distance traveled. With a heart rate belt, you can know your pulsations with bluetooth.

This exceptional rowing machine is completely oriented towards the use of the iFit program with its 22-inch color screen. You get one month of free use of this application. The following month, you will have to pay a monthly subscription if you do not cancel. Fortunately, this subscription is not essential to use the beast...

As you read above, this commitment can represent savings for a couple or a family. Professional coaches motivate you as if you were going to the gym.

List of technical characteristics:

Use: Intensive
Resistance mechanism: Electromagnetic (Inertia system) + Air
Resistance Levels: 26
Preset programs: Thousands with iFit
Dimensions in use: Length 221 cm X width 56 cm X height 64 cm
Device weight: 56 kg
Maximum user weight: 115 Kg
Display type: 22′ touchscreen
Foldable: YES
Dimensions when folded: Length 82 cm X width 56 cm X height 111 cm
Transport wheels: YES

Advantages :

  • Quiet and smooth motion
  • Comfortable padded handles
  • Height-adjustable 22-inch touchscreen
  • 2 speakers with Bluetooth connection
  • Suitable for tall users (over 1.90 m)
  • Ergonomic seat with a wide rail
  • Wide foot supports with straps
  • Foldable and equipped with wheels for storage
  • Structure guaranteed for life, 2 years on parts and labor
  • Relatively easy assembly
  • 30-day iFIT Family membership included

Disadvantages:

  • Rather heavy, but easy to move
  • The iFIT subscription renews automatically if you don't cancel it
Sport Chez Soi Note: 9,5/10 💖

>> See the RW900 on NordicTrack Canada <<

NOTE : This machine is for you if you want a real home gym for your sports training. It will help you achieve all your goals in the comfort of your home with the iFit program. This is the very example of what technology can do best for your motivation 😉 But all of this comes at a cost. Note that for €300 less, the RW700 gives you the same with a 14-inch screen.

Demo video of the RW900 with the iFit program. It is in English, but the program is also available in French:

Note on iFit fitness programs

We believe streaming fitness programs are the future of home equipment. And the one offered by NordicTrack and ProForm is undoubtedly the absolute reference today. It contains at the time of this writing more than 16000 videos. You can find out more in this article.

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Having quality workouts led by world-class coaches, when and where you need them, gives you so much flexibility that it saves you a lot of time and money in the long run. This is even more true if several members of the family benefit from it!

You have to understand that it is not just rowing programs, but a set of fitness, HIIT and strength training exercises to do at home.

Note that this program is currently available in 10 languages, including French.

How to choose the best rowing machine for home?

indoor rowing machine comparison

When choosing your rowing machine, a good design can be deceiving. This is absolutely not what should hold your attention. Well, if it's both beautiful and a solid device that meets your criteria, it's perfect. But do not buy on purely aesthetic criteria. 

Instead, read on to learn the essentials for choosing the best for you.

The type of resistance and center pull

This is probably the most important element, the one that will have the greatest impact on the quality of your sessions. High-end devices offer different resistance levels to spice up your workout.

Here are the 5 main resistance techniques used:

1. Hydraulic resistance

I'll tell you right away, it's the braking method you should avoid… and you won't find any in our selection.

Old school rowers almost always used hydraulic resistance. A modern device with this system is generally cheap and much less pleasant to use than other methods of resistance. Because the handles inevitably move in an arc rather than a straight line, the rowing motion is not really not natural, even uncomfortable unlike a center pull rower.

They often offer levels of resistance by friction, but it is fragile in use. Hydraulic resistance rowers are lightweight, portable, and easy to store for storage, but are generally only suitable not serious training.

2. Magnetic resistance

These machines provide magnetic resistance through the use of a metal disc and magnets. The hardness of the central pull is increased or decreased by moving the magnets closer or further from the disc, either with a manual control or by electronic control.

The biggest advantage here is that these machines offer a constant resistance, no matter how fast (or hard) you pull. In addition, with this silent magnetic braking system, you disturb other occupants of the house or neighbors less.

However, the feeling is not as realistic as with air or water rowers. In particular the water models, since like a real rowing machine, they are subjected to the resistance of the water with each pull on the handles.

Some believe the resistance isn't as intense either, which makes sense considering there's no limit to the resistance an air rower can provide.

However, this does not change the effectiveness of these rowers to do crazy cardio sessions. In addition, this type of resistance is the one that best accommodates the preset programs since they can vary the intensity of the magnetic braking without user intervention.

3. Water brake

rowing machine with water brake

Water or water resistance rowers are equipped with a flywheel that spins in the water. In fact, it is your own energy that will increase the resistance. The more you want to accelerate, the stronger you will have to be.

They offer the closest experience to rowing on a body of water. This is why rowing pros often prefer these quality devices with unparalleled fluidity. In addition, the sound of water is soothing.

But beware, these models tend to be a bit more expensive. Especially since some are made with a wooden frame. It's great for refined design, but it can hurt the wallet...

The weak point of water rowers is that the resistance is defined by the amount of water in the tank. It must therefore be filled or emptied according to the desired resistance. This is a constraint that other braking systems do not have.

4. Air brake

In these machines, the resistance is provided by a large fan that you have to turn.

When you shoot, the flywheel with fan spins. The harder you pull, the more resistance you get. Air rowers are very popular and are even used in indoor rowing competitions because they can provide unlimited resistance. Also, the rendering is quite similar to rowing on water.

The only real downside to an air rower is that it is quite loud.

5. Mixed magnetic/air resistance

On this type of rower, the braking system combines electromagnetic resistance and an air brake. It's kind of the best of both worlds . The magnetic resistance is managed electronically, while the air resistance is adjusted manually.

You therefore benefit from the strengths of electromagnetic braking, which can vary the resistance without your intervention, and the power of air braking.

This system is basically found on the high end of NordicTrack.

Movable seat and comfort

rowing machine seat comfort

Of course, a rowing machine is not a lounge chair. But it is still important to have a comfortable seat for ease of use.

In addition, this seat must be very stable on its mobile support. This is why most devices are equipped with a wide rail or 2 rails and the seat has ball bearings.

A poorly designed rowing machine can be uncomfortable for a session lasting more than 20 minutes. Make sure that the model chosen is long enough, has a good seat and a handle wide enough for a good grip. The best rower in the world is a waste of money if it's uncomfortable.

Frequency of use and number of users

If your rowing machine is going to be used by a large number of people or heavily used by a single user, be sure to choose a machine designed for a regular or intense use.

Some models are designed only for occasional users and are suitable for light use, but are not up to intensive and constant use. 

Also think about the fact that if 4 people use it at home, even only 2 times a week each, it can represent a relatively heavy use in the end.

Size and bulk

This specification is important because your workout space and housing size can play a big role in your choice.

It's a good idea to know exactly where to install your rower before buying it. If space is limited, take a tape measure to measure the length and width of the space used during your session. A rowing machine can take up a lot of space in action.

The best rowers can occupy 2.75m X 1.20m, although there is a difference between the models.

Our descriptions will give the dimensions of each machine to help you choose.

Then you have to ask yourself if the rowing machine will stay in the same place all the time or if you will have to put it away between each session. That brings you to the next point…

Folding and storage system

Pro-Form foldable rowing machine

If space in your apartment is an issue, a large water rower may not be the best option as these models are usually quite heavy and bulky. It is true that some are foldable, but they remain more invasive than models with electromagnetic resistance. So make sure you know the dimensions of your storage room before buying.

Magnetic, hydraulic, and some air rowers have a collapsible design that will save you space. Most also have wheels that allow you to easily move the rower to the corner of a room or closet when not in use.

All of our reviews will state whether the machine is foldable or has wheels to move it around easily.

User height and weight

The seat rail length is a concern for tall users. Before buying a rowing machine, make sure it has a long enough rail for you or anyone else who will be using it. There is nothing worse than constantly reaching the seat stop at the end of leg extension. In addition, this may damage the device during use.

The weight capacity is also important. The rowing machine you choose should easily support your weight and that of other users. Even if you are relatively light, a large load capacity is an additional sign of quality and great stability of the chosen rowing machine.

Machines that can handle the heaviest users have more durable frames and bearings.

Most quality rowers support people over 250 lbs.

Screen and features

NordicTrack rowing display

The features included vary a lot from rower to rower and the price plays a big role. You may not be surprised to learn that the more expensive models usually come with more features.

That being said, rowing machines are often technologically simpler than other types of fitness equipment, although that is starting to change.

Most come with monitor or screen. A basic monitor will display time, distance, stroke count and rowing speed.

More advanced features include the calculation of calories consumed during the session, the power developed in watts as well as training programs.

Rowers equipped withHD touch screens have appeared on the market. They are capable of streaming workouts and streaming rowing videos, depending on the model. ProForm and NordickTrack also offer a really great coaching system, but involving the payment of a monthly subscription beyond the first free month. However, these devices are perfectly usable without a subscription.

Some of the best monitors can log your stats and let you fight against yourself. You can even race against another stimulation oar. Those are fun and motivating features, but may not be necessary for you.

Some rowers come with a heart rate monitor or are compatible with existing heart rate monitors. Others have a USB port for storing workout data or are compatible with workout apps that make it easy to record and view your workout stats.

Sometimes the only reason one machine costs a few hundred dollars more than another is the amount of features that come with the console. If it is not essential for you, you can save on purchase of your equipment without compromising on quality.

Price

The last point to consider, and not the least, is the price. I put price last, but let's face it, most of you are going to look at price first. Hey, I understand. You have to find something that fits your budget.

Setting your budget in advance is essential. This will help you focus in your search. You should never feel pressured to spend more than you are comfortable with.

But it really depends on what you need and how often you plan to use it.

If it helps, you should know that the rowing machine most used by professional athletes costs about 1500 €. It is the Concept 2 in the list.

Who is this cardio machine for?

Everyone can benefit from an indoor rower. Indeed, intense cardio with intervals (HIIT) is perfect for burn fat, improve endurance and have more toned muscles. A rowing session can burn up to 700 Calories per hour!

However, you must understand that the best exercise is the one you do regularly. To maintain good physical condition, you must do at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio or 75 minutes of intensive cardio per week.

If your goal is primarily to lose weight, aim for an average of 30 minutes of intensive training per day. If you want to make it happen at home, a rower with a motivating program like NordicTrack or ProForm is probably the best bet.

However, if the rower is sufficient to tone up and lose weight, it will not help you gain a lot of muscle volume. To build muscle, you also need to do strength exercises.

The muscles used

As the elliptical, the rower has the ability to work 85 % muscle of the body in a single movement.

List of muscles worked

Here are the main muscles used:

  • Quadriceps (front of thighs)
  • Hamstrings or crural biceps (back of the thighs)
  • Calves
  • Back (latissimus dorsi, quadratus loins, spinal erectors)
  • Shoulders (posterior deltoids, rhomboids, trapezius, teres major, posterior rotator cuff muscles)
  • Abdominal strap
  • Biceps
  • Forearm

Of course, many other muscles work at the same time, but force less. Without forgetting that the cardiovascular system is also very stressed... and the heart is an essential muscle!

What are the best brands of rowing machines?

Sportstech

Present in the fitness market since 2015, this German company offers good quality and innovative fitness machines. In general, its material offers excellent value for money. I myself invested in a inversion table from this manufacturer, and I am extremely satisfied.

However, some complain about the after-sales service which seems unresponsive. It is therefore better to buy their products through Amazon to benefit from the easy return of the equipment if you have a problem.

That being said, Sportstech offers a 5 year warranty on their hardware.

nordic track

This brand has been around for 25 years and is part of the same group as ProForm. It offers unique and innovative rather high-end machines. Their iFit program offers a very motivating user experience, but unfortunately this comes at a cost due to the monthly subscription.

ALSO READ:  12 benefits of the elliptical trainer for your workouts at home

That being said, their cardio machines are often benchmarks on the market.

ProForm

This other home fitness specialist created in the 80s offers innovative products that are still easy to use. It's the same company as NordicTrack offering a slightly cheaper range.

In addition to being compatible with the iFit app, most ProForm rowers are designed to help you stay motivated through every session.

CareFitness

It is the leader in home fitness in France. The brand offers reliable and innovative fitness equipment suitable for all levels. Their devices are designed for home fitness, rehabilitation, gyms and all kinds of businesses that need equipment such as hotels, communities, etc. 

Care Fitness has several brands that you may have heard of: Intensive line, CARE, CARE First Line, MediCARE, BodyCARE, STRIALE and IxoSport.

Maxxus

Established in 1999, MAXXUS is a direct distributor of home fitness equipment. This company specializes in rather high-end cardio and strength training machines.

They offer treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, multifunctional weight benches, boxing equipment, vibration plates, etc.

Design 2

In 1981, Dick and Pete Dreissigacker created the Concept 2 indoor rower which quickly became the best selling indoor rower in the world.

Today, several models later, it is used every day by Olympic athletes, cardiac rehabilitation patients, home users and rowers of all skill levels.

Skandika

Skandika is a German company specializing in high-end and professional camping equipment, hiking backpacks and cardio equipment.

It has been offering quality, practical and reliable products for 20 years.

Lada

No I'm kidding, they only make moldy cars 🤣

How much does a quality rowing machine cost?

There are models from less than 100 € to more than 10000 €.

How much do you have to pay? 

The models presented in this buying guide range from 350 € to 1700 €. You will find models to your liking in this price range, no need to go above. On the other hand, below 350 €, it is almost impossible to find an acceptable model.

If you do not have this amount, I recommend that you do not equip yourself. You can do cardio without any equipment at home.

Beware of 5-star customer reviews

Don't be fooled by reviews that feature a super cheap rowing machine with 5 stars. They are often poor quality Chinese models and the reviews are biased or fraudulent. Other opinions come from people who are not regular athletes and are content with average equipment used very occasionally.

In reality, it is better not to buy anything than to take a low-end device. It is totally impossible to find a good device for less than 350 euros.

Also, if you plan to use it regularly or heavily for years, you will need to invest some money. This is true for just about anything you buy.

Now you decide...

Why buy an indoor rower?

rowing among bodybuilding exercises

This machine is a great apartment option for people looking for a different way to do their cardio. When it comes to general fitness and cardiovascular exercise, they're hard to beat. Indoor rowers can work up to 85 % of body muscles in a single session. Only the elliptical trainers do as well...

They are also a great alternative if you find treadmills or exercise bikes painfully boring.

However, it is important to ensure that you are rowing with correct form, especially if you have back problems. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself and not be able to use your brand new rower.

They aren't that hard to use correctly, but it takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it.

What is an indoor rower?

It is a sports device used in apartments or gyms to simulate the action of a rowing boat or a skiff to practice rowing. Modern models are often called ergometers because they measure the effort exerted by the rower.

The current best rowers provide a braking system to simulate the resistance of oars in the water. This is provided by an electromagnetic flywheel or an air or water braked flywheel. Only low-end models use mechanical resistance subject to wear.

These devices can be classified according to 2 types of movements. In either case, the rowing motion causes the footrests and seat to move apart and toward each other in coordination with the user's stroke. The difference between the 2 lies in the movement, or the absence of movement, of the footrests in relation to the ground.

Here are the 2 kinds of movements:

  • The Dreissigacker/Williams device: With this device, the steering wheel and footrests are fixed, and the seat is free to slide back and forth on one or two rails integrated into a fixed frame. Thus, during use, the seat moves back and forth, while the steering wheel and the footrests remain stationary with respect to the ground.
  • The Rekers device: With this type, the seat and footrests are free to slide back and forth on a single or double rail attached to a frame. Therefore, in use, the seat and the footrests move relative to each other and relative to the ground.

That being said, the selection of the best rowing machines only includes the first device. The Reckers device involves more technically complicated equipment and requiring more maintenance, without providing any particular advantage in terms of training.

How to use an indoor rower?

Improper use of a rowing machine can cause pain and injury, especially to the lower back. It is therefore very important to learn to do the movement correctly from the start.

Good technique of use

As this is better than thousands of explanations, I invite you to follow this very good video on a Concept 2 which details the 4 phases of the movement:

Why not buy a used rowing machine?

It all depends on whether your goal is simply to pay as little as possible or to have a good ratio between price and quality. But you have to beware, because most people sell for the wrong reasons. Don't forget that you don't live in Care Bear country 😆

Why is this generally a bad idea?

Often, those who sell their rowing machine do so for these reasons:

  • Dissatisfied with their purchase because their material is of poor quality
  • Aging and worn out equipment that they want to replace with a new one
  • Hidden defect that makes it almost unusable
  • Unknown brand model impossible to maintain or repair
  • Etc.

And we must not forget that the prices asked are often excessive.

When should you buy second-hand?

Although exceptional, it can happen that we come across a real bargain. But you have to be very attentive to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Check the following points before deciding:

  • Price not exceeding 50 or 60 % of the equivalent new price;
  • Your selection criteria are respected, particularly in terms of quality, programs and maximum user weight;
  • The seller allows you to try it to check that everything works perfectly and without suspicious noise;
  • It was bought on a whim, but it has never or rarely been used;
  • The rower didn't stay long in a damp room or in an uninsulated garage.

How to maintain your home rower

An indoor rowing machine does not require a lot of maintenance, but do check all the clamping screws from time to time. In particular, tighten those that you installed yourself when assembling the device.

Also be attentive to any abnormal noise at the level of the magnetic resistance and the flywheel. Look at the condition of the cable or pull chain to see if there are any faults.

Wipe it down to keep it in good condition

A rower needs a seat that slides perfectly. Take the time to clean regularly your machine, especially the rail(s) so that no dirt impedes the circulation of the wheels on bearings.

Air rowers also require regular cleaning of the air inlet grille. I recommend just using a damp cloth with water or a little white vinegar (perfect for killing germs).

Of course, if you have sweated a lot, wipe down your rower with a damp cloth after each session. Indeed, sweat can corrode the parts and reduce the life of the equipment.

Best Rower: Conclusion

Rowing machines are impressive in that they can simultaneously offer a total muscle building body and a cardio workout. They can have a place of choice in your home gym. You can use them as a warm-up or on rest days in bodybuilding.

Before choosing your model, I suggest you decide on the features of the rowing machine you are looking for. This will make the whole process of the final choice much easier.

All styles of rowing machines have advantages and disadvantages. The key is to determine which one will work best for you according to the desired use:

  • Hydraulics: They take up little space, but are of little interest today.
  • Magnetic: They are also very quiet and offer constant resistance regardless of the speed of movement.
  • Air: They're nice because they give you most of the benefits of a water rower, but without having to worry about the water reservoir.
  • Water: they offer the most realistic rowing experience as they use water to provide the resistance, but they are generally a bit more expensive.
  • Mixed models magnetic/air give you the best of both worlds, but are rather in a high price range.

Once you know which rower to choose, it's all about comparing features, warranties, and prices to find the model that offers the best combination.

In my opinion, the 11 rowers mentioned above are the best value for money available right now. I hope you found this guide useful and that it helps you find the right rowing machine for you and your family.

FAQ – Answers to your questions

Who can use an indoor rower?

As this equipment works 85 % of muscles at the same time, anyone who wants to improve their endurance, strengthen and tone their muscles or even accelerate their weight loss can benefit from it.

Being a low-impact exercise for the joints, women and men of all ages without heart problems can use it.

What is the best rowing machine for moderate use?

Even in this case, it is better to choose a resistant model with pre-recorded programs for your motivation and the quality of your sessions. In this regard, the NordicTrack RX800 is probably the best option, and its price remains tight.

How to choose your home rower?

Analyze the data in this comparison of the best rowers carefully before deciding. In fact, it all depends on your ability to motivate yourself and your budget. But below €350, it's not even worth looking for.

Then, depending on the chosen technology, the 3 best are:
MAXXUS Air Row among the air rowers
Sportstech WRX700 among the water rowers
NordicTrack RW900 for an electromagnetic hi-tech rowing machine

How many times to row a week?

To be effective, you must do at least 3 sessions of 30 minutes per week if they are intense, or one hour if your training is moderate.

The ideal is to manage to do 5 weekly sports sessions in total, whether it is intensive cardio, weight training or another physical activity.

Can you lose weight by rowing?

Yes, if you combine the regular and intense practice of a sport with a balanced diet. On the other hand, you won't be able to burn all the body fat if you continue to eat more than you burn.

Remember that 80 % results depend on what you eat, not your sports training. The proof, look at the sumos!

Can you build muscle with an indoor rower?

To a certain extent, yes. But don't expect to build muscle like you would with barbell or dumbbell workouts. elastic bands.

However, you will tone your muscles and obtain a nice well-defined musculature if your sessions are intense and your diet adapted. On the other hand, if you alternate rowing and muscle building, you will get fabulous results!

Are they delivered fully assembled?

No, you will generally have to assemble it yourself using the assembly manual supplied with it. Take your time so you don't make mistakes. However, rest assured, they do not arrive in spare parts.

These are just a few items that need to be assembled, not the complete device. Most models require little more than 30 minutes to an hour of unpacking and assembly.

If you have any questions or know of any great rowers that aren't on the list, leave a comment below. THANK YOU !

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2 réflexions sur “Les 10 meilleurs rameurs d’appartement 2022”

  1. Hello, I am looking for information on the SKANDIKA Nemo IV rowing machine that I have just purchased. I find it very difficult to fire, even with the tank filled to the minimum, especially since we were used to the
    CAPITAL SPORT Water Rowlympic.
    I can't tell if this is normal or if it's a hardware problem?
    Thanks for your help.
    Have a good day.
    Robert DESMARIES

    1. If you have the resistance set to minimum, it should be relatively easy to pull. The resistance should increase with your pulling speed. If it's hard from the start, there must be a problem.

      First check that the belt does not jam somewhere and that the assembly is well done. If everything is good on your side, contact the seller.

      Have a great day.

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