Best Rowing Machine Review For 2019

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Rowing is an amazing exercise that involves the whole body and helps tone your muscles. It also improves your cardiovascular function and stamina. A rowing machine will help you in achieving these functions.

In this review, we will be discussing the best rowing machine for your use. We will first list the top 5, then we will describe each product in detail, with the pros and cons of each.

Let’s get into it.

Best Rowing Machines in 2019

1. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine- Most Budget Friendly


2. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine by SF-RW5515- Our Top Pick


3. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5- Most Advanced


4. Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine- Best for A Full Body Workout


5. Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower- Most Quiet



Now that we have listed the top 5, let’s go ahead to some details.

1. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine- Most Budget Friendly

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a small size machine designed with an aluminum center beam and a steel frame. It is however capable of doing the same job with equally good results as those bigger in size. It weighs less than 40 pounds. This makes it easy to fold, handle and store.

The air shock resistance and the manual control knob of this machine give you the ability to determine the intensity of your training at each point. The multifunction fitness monitor gives you the accurate details of your workout.

It is a well-balanced and reliable exercise machine with double handles that offer a full range of motion so you can mimic rowing in real life. It is a hydraulic rower that uses a single piston below the main column to ensure resistance. The resistance of the hydraulic piston is not as strenuous as other types of resistance.

As it has a low noise level, it is a great device for users who want to exercise without disturbing their neighbors, roommates, or family members. The adjustable resistance also gives you the ability to row slowly as you feel strong resistance. You can set it to level 12 and row slowly. Note that it is different than air or water resistance, where you have to row quickly to feel a high degree of resistance


  • It is affordable
  • It is quite quiet
  • A pretty sturdy steel frame
  • It’s foldable and easy to store


  • The footrests can be slippery sometimes
  • The resistance decreases after heavy use
  • The seat gets uncomfortable after a long workout

Customer Feedback

Most users gave a positive review of this machine, especially for the cheap price. However, most had the problem of their shoes slipping out of the foot straps.


2. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor- Our Top Pick

This magnetic rowing machine SF-RW5515 by Sunny Health & Fitness will offer you all the prerequisites for a great cardiovascular workout. It has an eight-level power button that lets you increase the intensity of your workout. You can either increase or decrease the magnetic resistance with a simple twist. This will make your training effective and challenging all through.

This rowing machine has large, structured pedals with safety belts to give you a non-slippery surface. Regardless of the intensity of your performance, the stability of this rower will never be compromised. It has a padded seat that gives you a comfortable rowing session. It can accommodate up to 220 pounds user.

The device also comes with a handy LCD monitor that shows you important workout statistics so you never have to worry about your hard work paying off. This machine is big enough to accommodate different users. The footprint is almost 2 meters such that almost everyone will be able to extend the rowing movement maximally.

Another amazing feature of this device is the quiet sound of the magnetic resistance. The SF-RW5515 magnetic rower with its foldable design enables you to move the device easily and store it. This rower is also great from an economic point of view. It has everything a beginner or anyone with a low budget could need. You can fully move your arms and change the resistance.


  • It is foldable
  • Small footprint
  • Nonslip foot pedal
  • Foam grip handlebar
  • Easy and quick to assemble
  • Not noisy
  • Not too expensive


  • The distance is not displayed on the LCD screen
  • Small LCD Monitor

Customer Feedback

Most users love the product as it is very easy for them to assemble and it is also very quiet while in use.


3. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5- Most Advanced

Concept2 model D indoor rowing machine is used as a training method for indoor use by competitive rowers worldwide. It is designed and built to have a long service life. It has a spiral damper that enables you to adjust the air flow to its flywheel, giving you control over your stroke and preferences. The flywheel makes it calm and comfortable.

It is designed to suit most users. Its seat is about 14-inch high with adjustable footrests.
You can separate it easily into two pieces for easy storage. It has caster wheels that make it mobile. You only need to use eight screws to assemble it.

The monitor which has backlit starts automatically when you start rowing. It also has in its feature the ability to transfer the collected data to your computer using a USB cord. Thus, you can pair with compatible heart rate monitors via Bluetooth.

The Performance Monitor 5 allows you to track data such as calories burned, distance, speed, and pace. There is also an amazing ability to select pre-set workouts, games and to connect Bluetooth wireless heart rate monitoring products.

This machine supports the maximum user weight of 500-pound. It is thus recommended for heavy and obese users. It uses air-resistance flywheel that responds to each stroke. You can control the air flow easily with a change of the damper that has 10 levels.


  • Minimal noise.
  • Smooth feel.
  • Well-built rowing machine
  • Easy to store
  • Easy to assemble
  • Many functions with the monitor.


  • It is quite expensive

Customer Feedback

Many users love the device’s monitor with its extra features of pre-set workouts, games and multiple languages. They also gave a positive review as it meets up with their expectations and even beyond


4. Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine- Best For A Full Body Workout

This rowing machine with free motion arms is a compact, low-cost rower with hydraulic resistance and free-running oars. It is designed to mimic the feel of the rowing in real water. With the free moving arms, you can hit almost all the major upper body muscles. This includes your arms, shoulders, abdomen, and back.

It has a padded seat that glides on a ball-bearing rolling track to train your lower body. Like the best rowing machines, you’ll train and burn your muscles while you get excellent cardio training. It helps build your cardiovascular endurance

It has a single button monitor that displays your speed, distance, time, calories burned, row count and miles rowed. Another interesting feature of this machine is the amazing storage profile and compact footprint. It is 4 meters long and thus, it is suitable for almost anyone who has even the smallest training area.

In addition, the Stamina 1215 weighs 52 kg making it very light to store in a cupboard. It can be folded up to 10 inches, making it easy to move. This will be suitable for use in small apartments and offices.

This is the machine is quiet and smooth to use. If you are need something that will make you sweat and maybe lose a few pounds without breaking the bank, then this rowing machine should be considered.


  • Compact and portable
  • Free arm orbital motion
  • Affordable
  • Full body exercise


  • It is not suitable for a long workout

Customer Feedback

Most customers gave positive feedback as it is well built and comfortable to use. However, few users complained about the resistance provided by the pistons as uneven.


5. Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower- Most Quiet

The Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower features an advanced performance monitor that records all the necessary fitness data. The magnetic resistance design offers a quiet, smooth, and adjustable resistance using a Drum Magnetic Control (DMC) system. The Drum Magnetic Control (DMC) system is a magnetic braking system.
It has 8 different levels of resistance adjustment.

It has a compact design that makes it ideal for smaller training areas. You can fold in seconds and rolls away to save extra space. It comes with pre-programmed workouts and a chest heart rate monitor. Its frame is made of sturdy, and lightweight aluminum.

When you pull the rower handle, It turns the metal flywheel in the front housing. Inside this housing is a magnet that can either move closer or away from the metal flywheel. The closer the magnet to the flywheel, the stronger the resistance. Also, the farther the magnet from the flywheel, the weaker the resistance.

This machine has a 5-button multifunction fitness monitor. It is found at the rower’s foot and you can easily access it while rowing. It has comfortable seat, handles, and footrests. It has concealed built-in wheels to facilitate easy movement

The monitor has a motion sensor that detects your actual movement. It does not only counts the data till endpoint but also set a target time, count, distance, or the number of calories you like to burn. When the target is reached, it then informs you that your workout is completed


  • Not noisy
  • Smooth rowing motion
  • It has a large LCD display
  • 12 exercise program options
  • It is durable frame
  • Built with quality materials
  • Easy to assemble and fold


  • The resistance does not imitate the resistance felt when rowing on the water
  • Electrical components are more likely to malfunction

Customer Feedback

Most users really liked how quiet the rower works with comfortable rowing strokes. However, few users complained about electrical malfunctions.


Benefits of Rowing

Indoor rowing machines are very popular devices that provide excellent cardio, toning and strengthening training. Owning a rowing machine at home is a good way to push yourself. It helps you to burn calories and build muscle with little to no negative impact.

Rowers are available in different shapes and styles, and there is one for every budget. Like many things, for the best quality, you have to pay a premium. However, there are also machines great for the budget and they work well too.

There are many benefits of rowing but it is advisable that you consult your doctor before starting your exercise program. When a rowing machine is used properly, different benefits of rowing like increased cardiovascular fitness, muscle building, and weight loss are assured. It is also important to know how to use a rowing machine

  • Exercise with little impact

Rowing is suitable for those who have joint pain and is recommended as an exercise for postoperative knee surgery. It offers very little pressure on your joints as rowing is done in a fluid motion, this means that no impact or sudden pressure is applied to the joints. Do not confuse little impact with low intensity. Rowing can have as much intensity as you wish.

  • Effective cardio training

When you train on a rowing machine, your heart rate definitely increases. By adjusting the resistance, you can essentially control the heart rate zone and your workout. There are a lot of benefits in cardio workouts, and the inclusion of cardio can be expected to bring huge health gains.

  • Weight loss

A rowing workout is said to burn an average of 500 calories per hour. If we compare the calorie burning rate, this is much higher than many other exercise machines. Your weight loss can be significantly supported by the use of a rowing machine.

  • Upper body workout

The upper body is elaborated when using the rowing machine. You can be assured that the muscles of the rhomboids (shoulders), lats (lower back) and trapezius (upper back) are trained. These are the muscles directly targeted, and in addition, the muscles of the hands, wrists, and arms as well.

  • Lower body workouts

Many take rowing as a training for the lower body or the leg, which seems strange to an average person. The quadriceps (upper thighs), calves and buttocks are strongly trained. Since the legs are the largest muscle group to be trained, these muscles provide a very powerful workout that will help you burn more calories.

  • Effective aerobic exercise

Regardless of your age, a fitness plan that includes aerobic exercise is an important factor in your overall health. The advantages of a regular aerobic exercise are weight loss, improved stamina, and a stronger immune system. Endorphins are released during exercise and are helpful in improving your sleep and mood quality.

As it involves so many large muscle groups, a rowing machine is an effective way to increase heart rate and increase oxygenation for effective cardiovascular training. With the adjustable resistance of most rowers, you can easily work up to your target heart rate and slow down your rest period.

Factors to Consider Before Buying A Rowing Machine

Buying a rowing machine could be a great decision you can make. Before buying a rowing machine, you must be sure you will use it. To get a good result, you must use it at least three to four times a week. So if you do not like the action of a rower, you can not use it. If you have tried using one in a gym and then like the action, then you should probably buy one.

So before you purchase a rowing machine, you should ask yourself these questions. Do you like the rowing action?
How much can you afford? Do you have the room? (You can consider foldable models if this is limited) How often do you think you will use it?

If you are sure you are using it and are motivated to get its benefits, a rowing machine can be an excellent and safe method to get fit.

  • Budget

How much you are willing to spend on a rowing machine? You can get a rowing machine from about a hundred dollars to over a thousand. So you can see that there is a significant difference in quality and features. Budget is usually the first thing a buyer consider. If you will use it on a regular basis, you will need to spend a fair amount of money to buy a quality product.

  • Space

Next thing to consider is if this machine fits in your room. Is it long enough for your legs with the space you have without bothering people around you?

  • Seat and Sliding Track

Another important thing to check before purchasing your machine is the seat and sliding Track. Rowing machines should be made of durable material and have a firm grip to facilitate rowing. Check these things before the actual purchase to make sure you are buying a durable machine. Testing the machine also helps with decision-making.

  • Quality

It is always better to prefer a quality type. Quality brands have unique characteristics and are more reliable

  • Type

Another important factor to consider is the type of rowing machine. Which type best suits your needs. The type refers to the brake mechanism used to provide the resistance.

These are types are air rowing machines, hydraulic rowers, magnetic and water rowing machines. we will be discussing the types in detail.

Types of Rowing Machines

Rowing machines have four types of resistance mechanisms. Air, magnetic, hydraulic and water resistance. Each of these types has different characteristics and is slightly different from the others.

  1. Air resistance rowing machines

It is sometimes referred to as Fan resistance. It is created by a flywheel that houses a fan that has a large blade driven by a chain. This produces a wind resistance as it rotates. The resistance level is determined by the exertion on the flywheel. The more force applied, the more the resistance. However, some models allow flywheel settings that affect resistance levels.

2. Magnetic resistance Rowing Machines

Magnetic resistance works in flywheel the same way it does in most upright and horizontal bikes. A magnet is mounted near the rotating flywheel to create a resistance. You can control the resistance sometimes using a lever or an electronic system that moves the magnets closer or away from the flywheel.

3. Hydraulic Rowing machine:

This uses oil-filled cylinders to generate resistance. These machines are lightweight and easy to store. Therefore, these are good for home use.

4. Water Resistance Rowing Machines

The water resistance is basically the most realistic since the resistance is created by moving the rotating blades of the flywheel through a water tank. A physicist will tell you that the water resistance is increased or decreased due to the “rule of cubes” by the rower. This exerts more force during the stroke. WaterRower tanks are in horizontal position, but tanks from some manufacturers may not. This means that the water in an upright or sloped tank at the beginning/end of a stroke is slowed for a moment, resulting in delays that can disrupt the user’s rhythm.

The type is best for you depends on the factors that are most important to you. If you’re looking for a quiet machine that does not make a lot of noise, a magnetic type is probably the best for you.

The sound of blades cutting through real water is often referred to as one of the advantages of a water resistance type that is both realistic and therapeutic. If the feel and dynamics of the rowing movement are important to you, a fan or a water rower is probably the best choice for you.

Folding vs. Fixed

There are two types of rowing machines for use at home. There is a foldable type and a fixed type. Folding rowers take up less space, while fixed ones will require a lot of space.

Over To You

Having reviewed the best rowing machine, we will like to hear from you. Do you find this review helpful? Have you used any of these machines before now? Do you think there is a brand that should be part of this review? Kindly let us know by leaving a comment.

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Omotayo Oke

Omotayo Oke is a graduate of physiology and currently a medical student who loves to see people happy and healthy. She joined 25 Doctors in 2018 and helps to review different health-related products. She enjoys trying out new things, singing, and traveling.
Omotayo Oke

3 thoughts on “Best Rowing Machine Review For 2019”

  1. Great article – enjoyed reading it, I think you covered all machines really well! My personal favorite is the Concept 2 it does take up a bit of space & the price is more than some, but it is strong and built to last.

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