If you are like most, chances are that you’re either in a quest to keep fit or perhaps shed off some extra weight. Indeed, self improvement is in everyone’s best interest nowadays but in order to achieve results, you will have to invest your time and money in worthwhile equipment such as rowing machines. Procuring the effective equipment is certainly a good starting point, but how exactly do you find the perfect fit considering the infinite number of brands available on the market?
The Ultimate Rowing Machine Buyer’s Guide:
Fortunately, we have compiled a list of the best rowing machines on the market, so as to make it easier for you when you eventually decide to go for one. But before delving on the options you have, there are a plethora of factors you should place into consideration. For starters, ask yourself why exactly you want a rowing machine in the first place. Is it because you simply want a fun and effective fitness option? If this is the case, you are better off going for a budget friendly magnetic or hydraulic rower. On the flipside, if your main goal is to practice actual rowing, premium air and water brands should help you achieve this in optimal fashion. That said; let’s start by having a look at the varying types of indoor rowing machines.
Types of Rowing Machines:
There are four main types of rowing machines that vary slightly in design and the resistance produced. They consist of:
– Hydraulic Rowing Machine – if you are just making a debut in rowing, this machine is probably your safest bet. Not only is a hydraulic rowing machines extremely portable – great for less spaces – but cheap as well, meaning that you need not fret about burning holes in your pocket just to stay fit. They however lack a surreal rowing action compared to other types thus not ideal for pro rowers.
– Magnetic Rowing Machines – they are quite cheap, light and very user-friendly hence great for short, daily workouts. Also, magnetic rowing machines tend to offer the least noise among all rowing equipment due to the simple fact that they use electromagnets to provide resistance. The main downside is that their electromagnetic design doesn’t allow resistance adjustments and therefore lack intensity which is a paramount factor among rowers.
– Air Rowing Machines – pro rowers looking for realistic rowing experiences while working out should probably consider looking for air models. In a nutshell, this is technically the best technology there is in regards to rowing machines and more often than not, you are likely to come across an air rowing machine in your high-end local gym.
– Water Rowing Machines – specifically designed for pro athletes, these machines offer surreal action defined by an actual paddle of water to create resistance. They come complete with a water tank to store water and are in many ways aesthetically pleasing. If you are really serious about competing as a pro athlete, your best chances of winning lie in a water rowing machine.
The Best Rowing Machines in 2016:
Now that you have a rough idea about what to consider when shopping around for the perfect rowing machine to complement your needs, let’s dive right in and have an in-depth look at the best rowing equipment on the scene.
Our #1 Pick – Model D by Concept2:
If you’ve done your research well, chances are you have come across the Model D on almost every list and it is not by fluke. Being one of the most highly rated on the market, the equipment likely entails what you are looking for and perhaps more. Concept2 has a solid portfolio of designing great rowing equipment such as the Model E, its predecessor. So, what exactly distinguishes the Model D from the rest? Let’s have a look.
Key Features of the Model D:
The popular air rower is indeed filled with exciting and exclusive features that go a long way in making every experience highly-effective. For starters, the manufacturer uses an extremely durable aluminum monorail frame, fitted with a spiral damper that allows the user to adjust the airflow besides reducing noise. In fact, it is very durable that the manufacturer openly claims that it “was engineered to last a lifetime.” That aside, storage space shouldn’t be an issue with the Model D as it can be easily dismantled into two distinct parts using quick locks located on the side.
Secondly, the amazing equipment packs a monitor that helps you track your workout details including duration, number of calories burnt in every workout, distance rowed and intensity among others. Given, you may argue that a number of high-end rowing pieces sport such technology, but the Model D allows you to store vital information in a USB card for download. That’s not all; you can also set the resistance difficulty levels depending on how fit you are, besides cooling off over a number of featured games – awesome right?
- Comfortable padded seat with high-end upholstery.
- Multi-function performances 160 x 160 pixel resolution monitor to keep track of all your workout metrics.
- Textured grip on the handles to help you through sweaty affairs.
- Minimal noise production compared to other air rowers of its caliber.
- Smooth performance enhanced by an enclosed nickel-plated chain that can go for years without being oiled.
You would be hard-pressed to find flaws in the Model D but if space is an issue at home, you may find it quite bulky. The price is also a bank-breaking affair at $900, but if quality ranks high on your list of priorities, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Runner up – WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ashwood:
Regarded as the King of water rowing equipment, the WaterRower offers surreal rowing action that almost feels like the real deal. In fact, no other rowing equipment comes even close to providing the kind of mental and physical intensity it offers. This aside, let’s have a look at whether really, the WaterRower Club is worth its salt.
Before mentioning anything else, it is worth mentioning that it sports a beautiful hand-crafted ash wood design that is unlike anything else on the market. The unique design in itself will certainly stand out and grab visitor’s attention just like the sports car in your parking lot. Moving on, the equipment packs a rugged, durable frame that makes it ideal for those who vigorously work out or small gyms perhaps; mainly thanks to the quality finish that is well aligned to avoid scuffing alongside regular wear and tear known to affect most rowing machines.
- Strikes the perfect balance of solid construction with pleasing aesthetic features.
- High quality, surreal resistance ideal for intensive training synonymous with pro athletes.
- Provides a smooth but challenging flow similar to real-life paddling of a boat through water bodies.
- An S4 monitor designed to track your workout progress effectively.
The only downside with the WaterRowing club is that the stickers peel-off easily. That explains just how much the machine borders on perfection.
On a Budget Option – Stamina Air Rower:
Besides being a quality, high-end air rower, Stamina offers the best value for money among all rowing machines – its greatest strength. The machine is well-built with all key features entailed in all high end equipment. That said, let’s have a look at why exactly it makes our cut for the best rowing machines on the market 2016.
For longevity purposes, the Stamina is built using a solid steel frame with equally sturdy handles attached to a damper consisting of a nylon strap. The thing that will strike you most though, is how comfortable it is during workouts thanks to an extra large seat that allows you to adjust yourself regardless of how intense the workout is. Despite its low price tag, it still packs a digital monitor that tracks every workout metric including distances covered, intensity, calories burnt and speed among others.
- It comes with built-in wheels designed for portability and storage purposes.
- Multi-function performance monitor that displays time, speed, calories burnt and distance covered.
- Affordable price tag
- Extra-large upholstered, padded seat for extra comfort during workouts.
- Textured grip handles for sweaty moments.
Considering its price, the Stamina surely isn’t perfect. However, it is worth noting that these drawbacks aren’t deal breakers. The most notable downside is its noise level which is tolerable by all standards, but slightly higher compared to other rowing machines. Also, it isn’t the ideal rowing equipment for heavy athletes over 250 lbs.
At $299, there is virtually no other rowing machine within its range that can match the functionality and features offered by the Stamina Air Rower. It is a true reflection of the mantra – great value for money- and will certainly come in handy in small scale workout sessions. All in all, this is the ideal for those on a budget, looking to keep fit or get in shape for rowing competitions.
The Upgrade Pick – The Stamina Avari Magnetic Rower:
As you may have gathered by now, Stamina wields a solid portfolio of reputable products in its realms. The Avari is undoubtedly one of the manufacturer’s best pieces and to prove this, it is ranked as one of the top 10 best selling rowing equipment on Amazon. To break it down further, let’s delve on some specs that make it a one-of-a-kind rowing machine.
By just catching a glimpse of its exemplary engineering, you can instantly tell that the Avari is special. It sports a sturdy rowing beam and rails built using extruded aluminum, extra large, padded seats for enhanced comfort and a textured handlebar that doesn’t slip even after a sweat-filled workout. Its distinctive key feature however, has to be the effective LCD performance monitor that allows the user to choose from 12 different pre-set workout programs, besides of course keeping track of your vital metrics such as time spent, calorie loss count, distance and pulse rate.
- Realistic rowing motion that provides surreal workout experiences.
- Large footrest and seat for enhanced comfort levels during workouts.
- Effective LCD display monitor to keep track of all workout metrics.
- Sturdy, durable frame for enhanced longevity purposes.
- Portable and very user-friendly.
You would be hard pressed to find any flaw with the Avari but for the extra finicky characters, the comfort levels may be slightly below par compared to other rowers in its class.
Valued at roughly $700, the solid equipment by Stamina is certainly one of the best gifts to rowers by the manufacturer. It strikes the perfect balance of high-end functionality; ideal for pro athletes and unparalleled simplicity; great for those starting out in rowing. In fact, it is the perfect equipment to transition with from a basic rowing machine to a high-end rower designed for pros.
Also Great – The ProRower H2O RX-750 Home Series Rowing Machine:
If you are looking for a classic water rower that offers actual water resistance for surreal action-packed experiences, this rower is probably your safest bet considering the great price compared to other water rowing machines. Besides being a reasonably priced rowing machine, what other features make it worth your money? Let’s have a look.
The solid frame entails a comfortable extra large seat and equally comfy footrest that will keep you entrenched throughout the workout. Similar to the high-end products above, the ProRower product also features a convenient display monitor to keep track of your calorie count, heart rate, distance and time spent. However, its main strength lies in its distinctive ability to offer natural resistance and to increase the intensity; all you need to do is just row faster and voila!
- Offers natural resistance by allowing users to paddle through water.
- Affordable compared to other water rowing machines.
- Highly effective and ideal for those looking for a surreal water challenge.
- Built-in monitor to keep track of all your essential workout metrics.
Considering its great price, the product isn’t free from flaws. Some have complained about the accuracy of the monitor’s metrics while others have found it somewhat average in regards to the intensity and challenge offered.
All said, the ProRower is one of the most reasonably priced water rowing machines on the market hence making it a great option for those seeking “natural water intensity.” Our experts specifically fell in love with its sheer simplicity which doesn’t in anyway compromise on functionality.
Wrapping it up:
Now that you have a clue on the best products available on the market, it is up to you to categorically identify your needs and then match this to the prospective product you may have in mind. Rowing machines are quite beneficial and can go a long way in offering a good variation from the conventional workout equipment such as the treadmills.
However, procuring a rowing machine won’t necessarily translate to instant muscles, stamina and abs. You will not only have to find the ideal equipment to match your needs, but also use it properly as a daily routine. If this is achieved, you can expect a full body workout that flexes a wide range of muscles throughout your body. In fact, most rowing machines are great for cardio and if you are in a quest to develop your abs alongside burning off immense calories, it would be in your best interest to go for a highly effective rowing machine such as those above.
In a nutshell, the above just scratch the surface on what the market really has to offer. However, those that made the cut on our list are nothing short of exemplary and you can expect a highly intense experience by just working out on them. Those on a quest to get the best rowing machine without a budget limit can go for the Model D by Concept2 as stated above. If you are on a budget leash, there is a wide array of rowers you can get your hands on as well such as the Stamina Air Rower which has regularly been reviewed or the latter ProRower ideal for those seeking a surreal, natural experience to get them in shape for a rowing competition.