The 7 Best Rowing Machines of 2020

Outfit your home gym with the right model for you

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
"This machine tracks all stats and is loaded with preset workouts."
"The top handle retracts to perform upper body exercises."
Best Splurge:
Hydrow Rower at Hydrow
"The high-tech rower offers live and on-demand rowing classes that you can stream from the comfort of your home."
"Sits higher up, making it great for those with mobility issues."
"Has all the bells and whistles anyone on a budget could need."
Best for Full Body Workout:
Stamina Orbital Rowing Machine at Amazon
"Gives you a full range-of-motion with your arms."
Best for Quiet Environments:
Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower at Amazon
"With its smooth magnetic resistance operation, this rower is quiet."

Best Overall: Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine

Fully equipped with a performance monitor, the Model D machine tracks all stats and is loaded with preset workouts for convenience. You can also transfer this data to a computer with USB (not included) to track your fitness goals easily. Also, it’s Bluetooth compatible for heart-rate monitoring.

Ergonomically, the seat is made from firm-rubber, which most buyers find to be comfortable. Also, the footrests adjust and the handles offer a smooth grip.

While most machines max out at a 300-pound weight capacity, this one is made to endure up to 500 pounds.

This rower takes up a space of 4’ x 9’ but quickly separates into two pieces for storage (and has wheels for a zippy move!).

Best Conversion: Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike and Rower

This two-in-one machine is great for those who like to switch up their workouts or want something more “full body.” Not only can you bike or row with this, but the top handle retracts to perform upper body exercises like bicep curls and tricep kickbacks The machine also comes with a resistance cord that you can attach under the seat to do leg presses. It has an LCD display your calories burned, distance and more. 

Like similar products, this also folds up for storage purposes. Users also like the ease of set-up and quiet movements while working out.

Best Splurge: Hydrow Rower

For those accustomed to group fitness classes or to working out with a personal trainer, the Hydrow Rower offers similar benefits, with live and on-demand classes that you can stream from the comfort of your home. All this comes at a price, though, as the rower is one of the higher-priced items on this list, and the accompanying classes are paid for separately as part of a monthly membership.

But the sleek design and high-tech features of the rower make it well worth its price tag, if it fits your budget. The rower has a 22-inch HD sweat- and dust-resistant touchscreen and front-facing speakers that project class instructions and motivating music. It's ergonomically designed for a quiet and smooth ride, and features a cushioned 10-roller system seat for optimal support and comfort.

Unsure whether it's the right fit for you? Not to worry—It comes with a risk-free home trial that lets you try the rower as well as all the membership benefits (including classes) for free for 30 days.

Best for Limited Mobility: Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine

Nicknamed “The luxury machine of the indoor rower world,” the Concept2 Model E is the “newer” version of the ever-popular Model D. A major difference is this machine sits higher up, making it great for those with mobility issues. While rowing provides a low-impact workout aimed for all ages, some of the lower-seated machines aren’t as easy to slide in and out of.

There are eight levels of magnetic resistance to help personalize your work out along with easy-to-reach tension control.

The electronic monitor gives instant feedback on time, distance, speed, intervals, strokes per minute, etc. This rower has a capacity of 500 pounds.

Best Budget: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine

This rower is not only great economically speaking but has all the bells and whistles a beginner or anyone on a budget could need.

The Sunny Health Rower allows you to have full motion use of your arms and the ability to change the resistance with a turn of a knob.

The LCD monitor is small but does the basics: tracks stroke count, time and calories.

The machine is equipped with a comfortable seat, that is able to hold up to 350 pounds, and non-slip handles and foot pedals. Reviewers note it is a great machine but for those who are more advanced, this might not be "strong" enough. 

Best for Full Body Workout: Stamina Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

Compact and portable (taking up just 32.5” x 48”) and a weight of 47 pounds, the Orbital Rower is a great way to work up a sweat in a small space.

But perhaps even greater than it’s size is the ability to have a workout where you have a full range-of-motion with your arms.

The actual rowing does mimic that of being on the water with its hydraulic cylinder resistance.

Pivoting foot plates make for ease of mobility and a thick, padded seat lets users enjoy their time in the rower. This machine is equipped with a monitor that shows speed, time, row count, distance, calories burned and miles completed. It can hold 250 pounds. 

Best for Quiet Environments: Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

If you’re one who likes to workout early morning or at night while the kids are in bed, or maybe you want to hear the TV versus the hum of your equipment, you’ll be pleased with this whisper-quiet machine.

This rower comes equipped with 12 different workouts for those who like to switch up their routine. Or want the option to customize their own.

With its smooth magnetic resistance operation, this magnetic rower can help you get in shape or help you practice for the real thing by perfecting your stroke.

The LCD display keeps you up to date on the typical readings: pulse rate, time taken, number of counts, calories burned. The weight capacity is 275 pounds. 

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 10 hours testing a top-rated rowing machine. We asked our testers to consider the most important factors when using this machine, from its comfort to its special features (like preset workouts and heart rate-monitoring capabilities). We've outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Rowing Machine

Comfort You’ll want to pick a rowing machine that’s as comfortable as possible so you can push yourself while working out. Many machines are built with ergonomic design in mind, but choose one that fits your body type. Also, if more than one person will be using it, adjustability is important. Be sure to check the padding on the seat to make sure it’s cushy enough.

Features Rowing machines run the gamut from very basic to feature-heavy models. For example, some offer heart rate-monitoring capabilities and preset workouts; others double as a stationary bike. Of course, a machine with more features typically has a higher price tag, so consider both your goals and your budget when making your decision.

Size Think about your space and where you plan to put your rowing machine. Many models can be folded up when not in use, but you’ll also want to ensure you have plenty of room to glide back and forth without hitting walls or furniture. Also, check a machine’s weight limit; while most accommodate up to 300 pounds, some have a capacity of up to 500 pounds.

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