Top 8 Best Compact Rowing Machines 2019

Rowing at home has never been easier. It no longer requires bulky machines that mess you up with installing and storing.

Compact rowing machines are designed to take up tiny space. They are also foldable to remove if needed.

We’ve tried our best to break down the things you need from a rowing machine and compile a list of various types.

Read on and don’t miss the best.

Here are our top picks for the best compact rowing machines:
  1. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 - (Hydraulic) Best Overall
  2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 - (Hydraulic) Budget-Friendly
  3. Sunny Health & Fitness Incline Full Motion - (Hydraulic) Special Structure
  4. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic - (Magnetic) Best Overall
  5. Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic - (Magnetic) Runner-Up
  6. Concept2 Model D Indoor - (Air) Best Of The Best
  7. Stamina ATS Air Rower - (Air) Most Lightweight
  8. Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood - (Water) Best Overall
Top 8 Best Compact Rowing Machines
Best Overall
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050
  • This rower is enough for users with general needs, great choice at its price point
  • Hydraulic Resistance
  • Stored dimensions (L x W x H): 46 x 26 x 19 (inches)
Read Our Review
Best Budget
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205
  • Being inexpensive doesn't mean compromising on quality. It brings more value than what it costs. A great choice for beginners
  • Hydraulic Resistance
  • Stored dimensions (L x W x H): 53.0 x 7.5 x 13.5 (inches)
Read Our Review
Special Structure
Sunny Health & Fitness Incline Full Motion
  • Interesting design for versatile and challenging workout, the machine is equipped with 5 levels of incline up to thirty degrees
  • Hydraulic Resistance
  • Stored dimensions (L x W x H): 55.5 x 12 x 9.5 (inches)
Read Our Review
Best Overall
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic
  • An excellent magnetic rower: foldable, sturdy, quiet and easy to use
  • Magnetic Resistance
  • Stored dimensions (L x W x H): 35.75 x 15.75 x 53.26 (inches)
Read Our Review
Runner-Up
Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic
  • Hi-end rower for serious trainees. 12 workout programs including 6 cardio Profiles, 1 Manual, 4 Custom user programs and 1 Heart rate program
  • Magnetic Resistance
  • Stored dimensions (L x W x H): 36 x 20 x 53.5 (inches)
Read Our Review
Best Of The Best
Concept2 Model D Indoor
  • Excellent quality, hi-end features & cool black coated finish. All come with a lovable price
  • Air Resistance
  • Stored dimensions (L x W x H): 25.0 x 33.0 x 54.0 (inches)
Read Our Review
Most Lightweight
Stamina ATS Air Rower
  • Not so quiet, but smooth & durable, easy to use, very lightweight, too. Good bang for your buck
  • Air Resistance
  • Stored dimensions (L x W x H): 48 x 18.75 x 28 (inches)
Read Our Review
Best Overall
Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood
  • Close your eyes and feel the water waves behind each row. This rower does nothing but gives you that tranquil touch of being on a real boat
  • Water Resistance
  • Stored dimensions (L x W x H): 82.25 x 22.25 x 20 (inches)
Read Our Review

We have made a list of rowing machines that we think are currently the best. If you decide to choose either one of these, you won’t make a mistake. If you prefer a compact model, continue read this article.

Top 8 Best Compact Rowing Machines 2019

Best Overall: Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050

Hydraulic Rowing Machine
Pros
  • Stiff construction

  • Easy to store

  • Lightweight

  • Long gliding track

  • Can accommodate tall rowers up to 6”6

Cons
  • The hydraulic piston can leak

  • Inaccurate calorie-counter

  • The foot pedals may slip

The first impression was not pretty much to the hardware, but we prefer the lightweight of 39 pounds. You can lift it with ease to move and enclose.

In the front, there is a readout gauge tells your general stats as you perform. It displays the number of rows or how long you’ve been on the machine.

The foot pedals are on the pivot design. They come with adjustable nylon foot straps. These straps include hook and loop closures that keep the feet stable.

We love the foldable rowing arms that can set underneath the unit for storage. These arms are full-range-of-motion handles give you a truer feel of being on the water.

On the bottom of the unit, there is an adjustable hydraulic cylinder resistance provides a solid smooth base to your rowing workout.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Specifications

Kind of resistance

Hydraulic-piston Resistance

Levels of resistance

12

Dimensions (L x W x H)

58.25 x 42.5 x 18.125

Stored dimensions (L x W x H)

46" x 26" x 19"

Maximum user weight

250 lbs

Verdict

This Stamina Trac provides all general needs to keep you motivated and your pace to reach your fitness goal.

Budget-Friendly: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205

Hydraulic Rowing Machine
Pros
  • Reasonably cheap

  • Compact stored dimensions

  • Perform quiet and smooth

  • Straightforward assembly

  • Ideal for beginners

Cons
  • Resistance can be insufficient for skilled rowers

  • Small for tall users

We picked this up because it is the cheapest one we could find to cover our rowing hobby off season.

The assemble is quite straightforward. Once you got all the parts to come into place, time to add some workouts.

One single knob on the cylinder allows you to adjust the resistance levels up to 12. You can sit on the saddle to modify the level you want to go.

If you push yourself with some resistance, you can get breathless pretty quick. The one piston setup lets you practice evenly on both arms and shoulders.

The pivot foot plates are so flexible to adjust to your movements.

The best thing about this product is the price. This piece is doing a pretty good job in giving the basics. You now have a chance to boost your health level without breaking the bank.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Specifications

Kind of resistance

Hydraulic-piston Resistance

Levels of resistance

12

Dimension (L x W x H)

53.2″ x 20.0″ x 21.5″

Stored dimensions (L x W x H)

53.0″ x 7.5″ x 13.5″

Maximum user weight

220 lbs

Verdict

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 allows you to keep in good shape at a tight budget.

Special Structure: Sunny Health & Fitness Incline Full Motion

Hydraulic Rowing Machine
Pros
  • Full-motion exercise attacks big muscle groups

  • 5 incline levels for powerful workout

  • Geared with non-slip foot pads

  • Equipped with wheels for portability

  • Compact and lightweight

Cons
  • The machine can slide on the floor

As you row, the sturdy aluminum slide rail inclines. It forces your leg to push against your own mass creates a full-body dynamic motion.

For a versatile and challenging workout, the machine is equipped with 5 levels of incline up to thirty degrees.

The foam padded full-motion handlebar gets yourself engaged in burning up your quads as you control your descent back down.

Users that weigh below 350 lbs can feel confident on the machine’s sturdy construction.

Despite that, the equipment doesn’t have to sacrifice its compact size to the high weight capacity.

Sunny Health & Fitness Incline Full Motion Specifications

Kind of resistance

Hydraulic-piston Resistance

Levels of resistance

5 inclines

Dimension (L x W x H)

55.5” x 21.5” x 18”

Stored dimensions (L x W x H)

55.5” x 12” x 9.5”

Maximum user weight

350 lbs

Verdict

The exclusive incline designed full-motion machine provides an efficient workout to build a good shape.

Best Overall: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic

Magnetic Rowing Machine
Pros
  • Large LCD console easy to use

  • Easy folding

  • Portable with wheels

  • Handlebar is foamed

  • Powerful resistance

Cons
  • Short warranty

  • Wobble when push hard

On the overall aspect, this rower with its footprint design doesn’t consume a lot of space in your house.

The highlight is the magnetic resistance inside a flywheel provides repulsion against the built-in spinning metal drum.

This type of resistant is outstanding for a silent yet smooth rowing section. It comes with 8 levels of adjustments in a simple dial knob.

We honestly appreciate the large console positioned right in front of our view. The LAC panel includes the monitor tracks on your fitness data.

If you’re worried about the soreness comes from the seat, this machine has a solution with its fully padded saddle curved to accommodate your backside.

The anti-slip foot pedals geared with Velcro straps lock your feet tight for the entire training.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Specifications

Kind of resistance

Magnetic

Levels of resistance

8

Dimension (L x W x H)

82” x 19” x 23”

Stored dimensions (L x W x H)

35.75” x 15.75” x 53.26”

Maximum user weight

250 lbs

Verdict

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic provides a strong and smooth row thanks to the magnetic mechanism.

Runner-Up: Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic

Magnetic Rowing Machine
Pros
  • Mess-free assemble

  • Strong resistance

  • Includes chest straps to measure heart rate

  • Sturdy machine

  • User-friendly LCD console

Cons
  • Short warranty for moving parts

  • Seat needs cushion

The machine features 12 programs. Seven of them can be monitored by the LCD backlit touch screen. It includes six cardio profiles, one manual, and four custom user programs. Besides, a heart rate program is available.

It counts, tracks your burnt calories and other fitness numbers. The heart software collects your rate via a chest strap provided.

One plus point is the extruded aluminum beam on the stiff side provides a smooth movement during the drive.

Strong resistance assists the workout. The magnetic row arms help attack your glutes, legs, back and the top-body muscles thus bring you the most effective result.

When you’re done with the rowing, fold the stride and push the whole unit with wheels to the storage; no hassle assembly.

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Specifications

Kind of resistance

Magnetic

Levels of resistance

12

Dimension (L x W x H)

81” x 20” x 24.5”

Stored dimensions (L x W x H)

36″ x 20″ x 53.5″

Maximum user weight

275 lbs

Verdict

With abundant programs, Stamina Avari allow multiple training modes and results for everyone.

Best Of The Best: Concept2 Model D Indoor

Air Rowing Machine
Pros
  • Come from a respectable brand

  • Built solid for commercial use

  • Requires little maintenance work

  • Fits most user sizes

  • Employ a powerful motor

  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

Cons
  • Rough handle

  • Noisy fan

The D model of Concept2, for some reasons, has outshined the other competitors while settling its high price. You can find this machine rigged in many local fitness gyms.

This is a strong and stiff piece of equipment. It gets you to put more effort since the wind resistance increases faster the harder you pull. This damper can be modified to low if you are not an aggressive rower.

What scores is the menu screen where you can kick on the programs and make it run the way profile you want.

Universally, the machine is made to please people. The rower itself is about 8 foot long; you will need a place in your house for that.

Because this guy is tough, it can handle the weight capacity up to 500 lbs, which sounds insane.

More than that, the machine is made of two pieces which can go separately for storing. That saves you a lot of breath pulling the motor and the slide to the corner.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Specifications

Kind of resistance

Air

Levels of resistance

None

Dimension (L x W x H)

96” x 14” x 24”

Stored dimensions (L x W x H)

25.0″ x 33.0″ x 54.0″

Maximum user weight

500 lbs

Verdict

With Concept2 Model D, you can find the most realistic rowing experience. Go for it!

Most Lightweight: Stamina ATS Air Rower

Air Rowing Machine
Pros
  • Low price

  • Sturdy frame

  • Good quality motor

  • Comfortable seat

Cons
  • Noisy when operates

The machine may look cumbersome, but in fact, it is among the most lightweight air rowers on the market. The interesting part is that you can fold it up to store away.

What’s awesome too is the dynamic air resistance. That means the harder you pull on that, the more strength you will gain. When you row, the fan creates air and will cool you down.

This rower has a nice and neat pair of foot pads that are adjustable to your movements. The heel protections and sticky straps will tighten your feet down.

It also has a nice little computer screen shows you the calories and your pace. The screen displays analog numbers in big size makes it them easy to read.

If you don’t want to use the whole rowing motion, sit stationary and do the rowing part.

Stamina ATS Air Rower Specifications

Kind of resistance

Air

Levels of resistance

None

Dimension (L x W x H)

77” x 18.75” x 22”

Stored dimensions (L x W x H)

48” x 18.75” x 28”

Maximum user weight

250 lbs

Verdict

The Stamina Air rower makes a portable rowing machine you can move it everywhere in the house.

Best Overall: Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood

Water Rowing Machine
Pros
  • Extremely solid

  • Gives realistic rowing motion

  • Pie-eating assemble

  • Made from natural wood

  • Can connect the console to PC

  • Easy upright storage

Cons
  • High-priced

  • The console locates out of reach

An alternative option that stays on top is this rower from Water Rower. It features the water resistance. The way it does is to give the right feel and force as real as when you do it on a boat.

What wins our money is that the machine is quieter than the wind resistance. The actual sound itself, if you close your eyes, imitates the river water. It does give a tranquil to start off a day.

You gauge the amount of resistance based on how far you pull. If you pull it light, the resistance won’t be as tight.

That said, it is a self-regulated mechanism where you can create the resistance without bothering the e-panel.

This particular machine is made from ash wood and stained in two different colors. The honey oak looks stunned and arrogant than most. It also gives a sharp looking to the eyes.

The machine probably has the highest weight capacity around the market.

The product is not foldable, but you can definitely store it upright. Beware of its weight. After all, the machine gets no way to eat up more space in your room.

All you need is 30 minutes to put it all together and pour in some water.

Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood Specifications

Kind of resistance

Water

Levels of resistance

None

Dimension (L x W x H)

82.25” x 22.25” x 20”

Stored dimensions (L x W x H)

82.25” x 22.25” x 20”

Maximum user weight

1000 lbs

Verdict

Water Rower Natural is a high-end piece of art that recall the whoosh of the water.

How To Choose The Best Compact Rowing Machine?

Are you ready to get a home rower for the next stationary rowing? Take these into consideration.

Your home space

  • Though the machines are compact and movable, you need a place to occupy.

  • Take a look around to see if you have an adequate spot for one more sofa; you can comfortably accommodate a rower.

Type of resistance

  • There are 4 resistance types:

    • Air: Most common in the gym. It produces smooth motions but quite noisy

    • Hydraulic: These are the most compact and friendly to the bank account

    • Water: Provides realistic rowing motion but the price is the pain in the butt

    • Magnetic: Brings less noise but the resistance is less than on air and water.

  • Keep in mind that hydraulic-piston and magnetic have the smallest footprint while the air and water resistance own the largest.

Your budget

  • The price range is so abundant. From $100 to $3,000, you’ve got a ton to choose. So, it helps to know how much money in your pocket before going shopping and stick to it.

Your rowing passion

  • Are you going to practice consistently or abandon the machine after a few uses? Rowing at home can be recreational, but it requires attitude towards the sport.

  • Don’t be fancied by the fitness promise but visualize if you will keep practicing in the future.

Who Makes The Best Compact Rowing Machines?

Concept2

  • Founders of the company are the Olympian trainees devoted their passion for the activity. They grew the house producing oars and began to make the best water resistance rowing machine, the D model.

  • No doubt the product has won countless credit from the community for its unique conception.

Stamina

  • Considered young in the market, Stamina distinguishes themselves by providing only quality.

  • Their products pursue excellence while thriving for the affordability to fit users from all range.

  • Sunny Health and Fitness

Sunny Health and Fitness

  • Being a giant gym equipment distributor is nothing but proud. The company is universally recognized for delivering the finest health machines.

  • They commit to satisfying customers with the highest quality and the best customer service, all aim to the benefits of their buyers.

FAQs

What is the best type of indoor rowing machine?

It relies on many factors to determine. The best machine fits all your criteria from storing, performing to budget.

Is a rowing machine good for fitness?

A rowing machine provides cardiovascular workout yet a low-impact exercise. It helps to build up muscles in legs, shoulders, arms and most of the big group on your body. Of course, it is good for fitness.

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?

Rowing motion attacks the buttock to shed pounds of fat if you keep on the proper training and practice.

Can you use a rowing machine every day?

A rowing section of 30 minutes per day brings tons of health benefits from building lean muscles to improving the heart. It also helps in losing weight.

How often should you row a week?

For beginners, three times a week is ideal. When your endurance grows, increase your workout to five times.

How long should I use a rowing machine for weight loss?

Depends on how much intensity you have and how consistent you are. If you go heavy to burn roughly 800 kcal per day, you can lose more than one pound per week.

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

The study shows that per 15 minutes rowing, you can burn 150 to 300 calories.

Will I tone up using a rowing machine?

As a result of fat shedding, rowing adds more flesh to tone up and strengthen your body to promote your fitness.

Summary

Rowing at home makes an ideal choice for people who prefer indoor exercise.

The equipment is versatile in all aspects.

Whether you want to workout in a tight budget, saving space for your home, or striving for a good shape while enjoying your favorite TV show, a rowing machine will respond to it all.

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