Top 9 Best Rowing Machines 2019 - Complete Reviews

Rowing is not only good for your health, but also very interesting. A rowing machine is an easy way for you to do this kind of exercises. It's a really motivating tool that can keep you practicing until achieving your fitness goals.

However, there are so many models available on the market, each of which has its own disadvantages and advantages. We have experienced and researched a lot of models to pick all the best rowers for you.

Here are the best rowing machines you can buy in 2019:

  • Best Of The Best: Concept2 Model D
  • Best For Bad Knees/Back: Concept2 Model E
  • Best Value: Stamina ATS Air Rower
  • Quietest Model: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic SF-RW5515
  • Most Compact: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205
  • Best Inexpensive: Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050
  • Best Hydraulic Model: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639
  • Best Water Model: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5713
  • Budget-Friendly: Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine

Top 9 Best Rowing Machines 2019

Best Of The Best: Concept2 Model D

Top Pick
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing MachineThe Best Rowing Machine 2019
10Perfect
Pros
  • Minimal noise, smooth operation

  • High-end console

  • Nickel-plated steel chain requires little maintenance

  • Durable

Cons
  • The seat is hard and uncomfortable

Concept2 Model D uses air mechanism to produce resistance. When you pull the string that connects to a flywheel, the flywheel will spin against the air, creating resistance. The faster you row, the higher the resistance is, making riding an air rowing machine really like riding a real boat in the sea.

Concept2 Model D has a black powder coated finish, which is not only durable but also good-looking. The build quality is very good as it operates smoothly and quietly - much quieter than most air rowing machines.

The most valuable feature on Concept2 Model D is the console. An LCD display with Performance Monitor 5 computer can be pivoted to many positions and allows users to track real-time workout data or adjust the tension levels. You can also connect it wirelessly to apps for easier monitoring.

The pulling string is made of nickel-plated steel that requires little maintenance - you just need to oil every 40 hours of use.

However, the seat of Concept2 Model D is quite hard and uncomfortable. You will want to buy an additional pad.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Specifications

Kind of resistance

Air Resistance

Levels of resistance

10 levels

Dimensions

96 x 24 x 44.5 inches

Stored dimensions

25 x 33 x 54 inches

Maximum user weight

500 pounds

Slide rail length

54 inches

Highlight features

High-end console, nickel-plated steel chain.

Verdict

What is the best rowing machine? Concept2 Model D is the answer, a great air rowing machine for effective cardiovascular workouts.

Best For Bad Knees/Back: Concept2 Model E

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine
Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine
9.6Outstanding
Pros
  • Minimal noise, smooth operation

  • High-end console with long arm

  • Nickel-plated steel chain requires little maintenance

  • Durable

  • Higher seat

Cons
  • The seat is hard and uncomfortable

Concept2 Model E is pretty the same as the Model D mentioned above. However, if Model D is designed for serious cardiovascular workouts, Model E is designed for those having problems with their back and knees.

The seat is 20 inches higher off the ground, making it easier to get on and off the machine and easier on your back when exercising.

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine Specifications

Kind of resistance

Air Resistance

Levels of resistance

10 levels

Dimensions

96 x 24 x 50 inches

Stored dimensions

58 x 25 x 28 inches

Maximum user weight

500 pounds

Slide rail length

54 inches

Highlight features

High-end console, nickel-plated steel chain, 20-Inch seat height.

Verdict

Concept2 Model E is easy and aesthetic rowing machine for those having problems with back and knees.

Best Value: Stamina ATS Air Rower

Stamina ATS Air Rower
Stamina ATS Air RowerThe Best Value Rowing Machine
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Smooth operation

  • Durable

  • Adjustable footplates, comfortable seat, and padded handle

  • Floor protections are included

Cons
  • Produces a lot of noise

  • Short slide rail

Stamina ATS Air Rower produces a smooth and continuous action that likely to the real boat rowing action. Using air resistance mechanism, Stamina ATS Air Rower doesn't have a feature for users to control the tension level - it all depends on your movement. For more resistance, pull harder.

The machine is robust, solid, and has black powder coated finish. It looks attractive and can last for years.

Riding on Stamina ATS Air Rower is pretty comfortable. You'll have adjustable footplates, comfortable seat, easy-to-read LCD display, and padded handle. All to maximize your comfort during workouts. In addition, floor-protections are included not to scratch your floor.

However, Stamina ATS Air Rower produces a lot of noise - it'll be louder than other rowing machines above. Another drawback is the slide rail is quite short.

Stamina ATS Air Rower Specifications

Kind of resistance

Air Resistance

Levels of resistance

Dynamic air resistance

Dimensions

77 x 19 x 22 inches

Stored dimensions

48 x 19 x 28 inches

Maximum user weight

250 pounds

Slide rail length

30 inches

Highlight features

Adjustable footplates and padded rowing handle, Oversized angled rail, Floor protectors, LCD display

Verdict

Stamina ATS Air Rower is a high-quality air rowing machine suitable for all kinds of user.

Quietest Model: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic SF-RW5515

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic SF-RW5515
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic SF-RW5515The Best Rowing Machine Under 500
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • Really quiet with the magnetic resistance mechanism

  • Fully padded seat and larger anti-slip foot pedals

  • Affordable

Cons
  • The LCD console is fixed low that hard to read

Sunny SF-RW5515 is really quiet as it is featured with the magnetic resistance mechanism - the newest and most accurate resistance mechanism.

You can adjust the resistant at 8 levels and monitor the workout progress via a fixed LCD display. However, the display is quite low that might cause some inconvenience.

Sunny SF-RW5515 has a fully padded seat and larger anti-slip foot pedals, providing you with comfortable rides. Built-in wheels allow you to move it easily for storing. Finally, Sunny SF-RW5515 is also affordable.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic SF-RW5515 Specifications

Kind of resistance

Magnetic Resistance

Levels of resistance

8 levels

Dimensions

82 x 19 x 23 inches

Stored dimensions

37 x 19 x 53. 5 inches

Maximum user weight

250 pounds

Slide rail length

44 inches

Highlight features

LCD console, Foam grip handlebars, non-slip foot pedals

Verdict

Sunny SF-RW5515 is a quiet and comfortable magnetic row machine for those living with many people.

Most Compact: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205Best Foldable Rowing Machine
8.8Great
Pros
  • Compact and lightweight

  • 12 adjustable levels of tension

  • Cushioned non-slip grip handlebars

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Limited arm motions

  • The slide rail length is short

In terms of space-saving design, Sunny SF-RW1205 is the best. It uses the hydraulic resistance mechanism as the Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine. However, the smaller slide rail and the back-and-forth arm make the Sunny SF-RW1205 even more compact and lightweight.

The compact design is also a drawback of Sunny SF-RW1205. It provides you with limited arm motions and the short rail is not enough for most men. Which means Sunny SF-RW1205 is kind of a rowing machine for relaxing exercises rather than for serious exercises.

Despite being so small, Sunny SF-RW1205 has 12 adjustable levels of tension, which you can adjust by using a knob on the piston. The rowing machine has a cushioned non-slip handlebars for a better grip and pivoting foot plates for more comfortable on your ankles. Moreover, it is also affordable.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Specifications

Kind of resistance

Hydraulic Resistance

Levels of resistance

12 levels

Dimensions

54 x 20 x 22 inches

Stored dimensions

Unfoldable

Maximum user weight

220 pounds

Slide rail length

30 inches

Highlight features

Cushioned non-slip grip handlebars, Pivoting foot plates, Electronic monitor display

Verdict

Sunny SF-RW1205 is a good rowing machine for recreational and relaxing purposes.

Best Inexpensive: Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050The Best Inexpensive Rowing Machine
8.6Great
Pros
  • Full range of rowing motion

  • 12 levels of resistance

  • Large seat and large footplates with straps

Cons
  • The resistance drops after heavy use

  • The seat and the footplates are not so comfortable

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a basic hydraulic rowing machine. It's not so good-looking but sturdy that shows no shacking while operating.

Stamina 1050 has pivoting arms and pedals. They mimic the motion of rowing a real boat, along with 12 levels of resistance, giving you interesting workouts.

It does have some drawback as the seat pad is not so thick and the footplates don't hold your feet firmly. The air in the cyclic becomes hotter after heavy use, hence the resistance drops as well.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Specifications

Kind of resistance

Hydraulic Resistance

Levels of resistance

12 levels

Dimensions

58 x 42 x 18 inches

Stored dimensions

46 x 26 x 19 inches

Maximum user weight

250 lbs

Slide rail length

45 inches

Highlight features

Pivoting arm design, LCD display

Verdict

Stamina 1050 is a basic and high-quality hydraulic rowing machine for entry-level users.

Best Hydraulic Model: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639

Stamina ATS Air Rower
Stamina ATS Air Rower
8.6Great
Pros
  • Full range of rowing motion

  • 12 levels of resistance

  • Affordable but has a high weight capacity

Cons
  • The resistance is weak for serious workouts

Sunny SF-RW5639 is a budget and small hydraulic rowing machine, however, has a high weight capacity of 350 lbs.

It also featured with pivoting arm design that gives a full range of motion. The hydraulic cylinder provides you with 12 levels of resistance, but even at the most tensioned level, it's still not sufficient for serious workouts.

Despite that, Sunny SF-RW5639 is still a great budget choice for heavier people to lose weight.

Stamina ATS Air Rower Specifications

Kind of resistance

Hydraulic Resistance

Levels of resistance

12 levels

Dimensions

54 x 29 x 12 inches

Stored dimensions

54 x 29 x 12 inches

Maximum user weight

350 pounds

Slide rail length

40 inches

Highlight features

Extended weight capacity, Pivoting arm design, LCD display

Verdict

Sunny SF-RW5639 is an affordable but high-weight-capacity hydraulic rowing machine for big guys to lose weight.

Best Water Model: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5713

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5713
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5713The Best Water Rowing Machine
8.4Good
Pros
  • Real-rowing mimic action with interesting sounds

  • Compatible heart rate strap

  • Lightweight but sturdy

Cons
  • You have to refill the water regularly

  • Noisy

Sunny SF-RW5713 is one of the best rowing machines featured with the water resistance mechanism. Water mechanism is the nearest mechanism to real rowing. It also squeaks very funny and entertaining, however, the sounds might be annoying to somebody.

The rowing machine is sturdy but also lightweight. It also has a good outlook in black powder coated finish.

You can use a heart rate strap (not included) to monitor your heart pulse. Heart rate can tell a lot about your health status.

A very typical drawback of water rowing machine is that you have to refill the water regularly and you have to use a siphon to do this.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5713 Specifications

Kind of resistance

Water Resistance

Levels of resistance

No

Dimensions

79 x 22W x 33.5 inches

Stored dimensions

Unfoldable

Maximum user weight

250 pounds

Slide rail length

42 inches

Highlight features

Compatible heart rate strap, High-profile padded seat design, LCD Monitor

Verdict

Sunny SF-RW5713 is a special water rowing machine that gives real rowing feeling.

Budget-Friendly: Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine

Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine
Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine
8.2Good
Pros
  • Money back guarantee

  • Pivoting foot plates with safety straps

  • 12 levels of resistance

  • Full arm motions

  • Affordable and Space-saving

Cons
  • The slide rail is short

  • Not so comfortable

Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine uses a piston to produce resistance - you'll pull against the air inside the cylinder. This mechanism does not take so much space, so the machine is small.

The rower provides you with a full range of arm motion. Rowing in a circular motion requires more group of muscles to be involved so you can practice more effectively. These arms can be folded to free up more space.

The seat is large and padded. The pivoting pedals are also large and have straps. However, the slide rail is short and the motion of the piston is not so smooth. So in overall, it's not perfectly comfortable riding on Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine. However, this is still a great choice for small users or those living in small apartments.

Finally, If you don't like the rower after having it, there is a refund guarantee..

Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine Specifications

Kind of resistance

Hydraulic Resistance

Levels of resistance

12 levels

Dimensions

50 x 36.22 x 20 inches

Stored dimensions

50 x 30 x 20 inches

Maximum user weight

250 pounds

Slide rail length

35 inches

Highlight features

LCD monitor, Ergonomic design, Full-range-of-motion, Pivoting foot plates with safety straps

Verdict

Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine is a decent choice for girls or small guys living in small apartments.

How To Choose The Best Rowing Machines?

There are 4 common types of rowing machines, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is the comparison table:


Air rowers

Magnetic rowers

Hydraulic rowers

Water rowers

User’s experience

All level (beginners to Olympic athletes)

beginner, intermediate

beginner, intermediate, elders, people

All level (beginners to Olympic athletes)

Quietness

*

***

**

*

Size & storage capacities

*

**

***

*

Smooth operation

***

**

*

**

Maintenance required

**

**

*

*

As you can see from the table, the magnetics have a lot of advantages from quietness, size, smooth operation, to little maintenance required. The airs and the hydraulics don’t have many advantages, however, the airs are favorited by athletes as they operate smoothly and real-rowing-alike, while the hydraulics are the most space-saving and affordable.

The waters are a special type. Rowers of this type have so many disadvantages, but they mimic the water environment and does squeaks very interesting sounds. Somebody found this motivating.

Depends on your taste, choose a type of rowing machine and have a look at the above models to choose the best fit for you.

Which Brands Make The Best Rowing Machines?

Concept2

  • Concept2 with Concept2 Model D and Concept2 Model E

Sunny Health & Fitness

  • Sunny Health & Fitness with SF-RW5515, SF-RW1205, SF-RW5713, and SF-RW5639

Harvil

  • Harvil with Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine

Stamina

  • Stamina with Stamina ATS Air Rower and Stamina ATS Air Rower

FAQs

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?

Rowing machines are not designed for belly fat burning. However, if you really like rowing and want to burn fat, you can do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) on rowing for this kind of purpose. Turn to the last question for further instruction.

How long should you work out on a rowing machine?

If you are aiming at improving cardiovascular health, you only need 5 to 20 minutes a day on your rowing exercises. If you are at building muscles, there are no limits, however, you should take a break after 30 minutes of practicing. If you do HIIT, it's 10 minutes for maximum.

What muscles does a rowing machine tone?

Riding a rowing machine works 84% of the total muscles in your body. Especially, quads, shoulders, back, biceps.

Is a rowing machine good for your back?

Yes. Rowing exercises work your back mostly, so they are very good for your back.

How many calories do you burn in 5 minutes of rowing?

Rowing at a moderate pace for 5 minutes burns less than 30 calories for a 125-pound individual.

Are rowing machines good for seniors?

Studies have shown that seniors who ride a rowing machine often have better stamina, higher bone growth rate, and higher bone mineral density.

Can you do HIIT on a rowing machine?

Yes, you can. Simon Collins, a specialist in rowing recommended that:

  • First, stretch and warm up slowly for 10 minutes.
  • Then, set the tension to the maximum and do at least 10 rounds of this:
    • 1, at least 10 strokes in 20 seconds.
    • 2, slow down at a half rate to 10 strokes in 40 seconds.
  • Finally, warm down for 15 minutes.

Summary

Above are our full review of the best rowing machines. Hope the information in this article will help you find the suitable rowing machine!

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