The Best Rowing Machines to Maximize Your Workout Routine

For the best immersive rowing experience, the Hydrow Rower is our top pick

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The 8 Best Rowing Machines of 2022

Verywell Fit / Sabrina Jiang

Combining cardio and strength, rowing machines are great for total-body fitness. Rowers build endurance, engage your core muscles, and maximize workouts without over-stressing your joints—making them great for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Reviewed & Approved

We selected the Hydrow Rower Starter Package as our best overall pick for its complete immersive experience and smooth, quiet ride. If you're looking for a good workout on a tight budget, the Sunny Health & Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine is also a good pick.

Since rowing machines can have different types of resistance mechanisms and handle styles, Grace D'Souza, U.S. National Rowing Team Member, U23, says you need to know what your goal is before selecting this piece of equipment. At the most basic level, she says you'll want a device that displays essential metrics like time, meters traveled, strokes per minute, and pace. More advanced rowers, she says, may benefit from a machine with a monitor, guided classes, and other added features.

We evaluated each rowing machine for its resistance style, handle design, durability, and special features (like built-in workouts and the ability to fold up when not in use).

Based on our research, here are the best rowing machines on the market.

Best Overall: Hydrow Rower Starter Package


Courtesy of Hydrow

  • Most immersive rowing experience

  • Top-of-the-line design

  • Smooth and quiet strokes

  • Larger footprint than other options

  • Heavy

Who else recommends it? Insider and CNET both picked the Hydrow Rower. 

What do buyers say? 94% of 9,400+ Hydrow reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

This complete package was designed for performance and comfort, which is why it's our top overall pick. If you want your rowing workouts to feel like the real thing, the Hydrow Starter Package is worth the splurge. The rower uses electromagnetic and computer-controlled resistance to mimic the feel of real water, giving you workouts that are both dynamic and challenging.

The rower's large touchscreen and built-in speakers promise a truly immersive experience during your ride. Its ergonomic seat offers plenty of cushioning for long workouts, and its industrial-grade glider keeps your strokes smooth and quiet.

The Hydrow Starter Package ships with a rowing machine, a mat, a heart rate monitor, and a pair of wireless headphones, so you’ll have everything you need to start rowing. And since it tilts upright, it will be easy to store between uses.

Resistance Style: Electromagnetic and computer-controlled resistance | Maximum Weight Capacity: 375 lbs | Dimensions: 86 x 25 x 47 in | Product Weight: 145 lbs

Hydrow Rower Fitness Machine

Verywell / Rozalynn S. Frazier

What Our Testers Say

"Throughout testing, I took a ton of classes—there are more than 2,383 on offer. Surprisingly, there were more than just rowing-specific workouts. Your Hydrow Rower also offers mobility, strength, yoga classes, and more. That is a definite bonus." —Rozalynn S. Frazier, certified personal trainer and Verywell product tester

Best Budget: Sunny Health & Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Great for small spaces

  • Quiet

  • Easy to use

  • Changing resistance mid-workout isn't seamless

The Sunny Health & Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine is our go-to budget-friendly pick because it gives you a great workout without taking up too much space. While many rowing machines are built around a pulley, this one relies on two large handlebars. This design puts the emphasis on your upper body—instead of using your legs primarily to glide forward and back, you use your arms, chest, and back. 

The machine relies on hydraulic cylinder resistance, which makes it incredibly small space-friendly and puts you in control of your workouts. Simply turn the built-in dial to kick the resistance up a notch, and scale it back whenever you need to recover. 

Resistance Style: Hydraulic cylinder | Maximum Weight Capacity: 350 lbs | Dimensions: 52.2 x 28.7 x 11.8 in | Product Weight: 35.8 lbs

Best Quiet: Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Solid construction

  • Easy to assemble

  • Quiet enough to use in a common area

  • Too small for tall people

Want a rower that won’t make too much noise? We recommend Velocity's Exercise Magnetic Rower that gets its tension from a magnetic resistance system, which keeps your workouts challenging and surprisingly quiet. Meanwhile, its durable aluminum frame keeps your workouts sturdy and stable.

Its padded seat keeps you cushioned during your longest, most grueling rowing sessions. And the non-slip pedals keep your feet firmly in place as you row. What’s more, the machine folds up for convenient storage between uses, shrinking to half its size when you're done with your workout.

Resistance Style: Magnetic resistance | Maximum Weight Capacity: 275 lbs | Dimensions: 81 x 21 x 25 in | Product Weight: 75 lbs

Best for Total-Body Workouts: Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine
  • Full range of motion for arms

  • Mimics rowing outdoors

  • Very compact

  • Challenging to assemble

Many rowing machines offer a total-body workout, but we like that the Stamina Orbital Rowing Machine offers a particularly dynamic one. Because the rower boasts two large handlebars instead of a single handle on a pulley, it gives your arms a fuller range of motion as you row. This design helps you challenge more muscles in your upper body while strengthening your core and lower body the way any rowing machine would. The result: A killer workout from head to toe.

Since the machine gets its tension from hydraulic cylinder resistance, it mimics the feeling of rowing outdoors. An adjustable tension dial helps you keep your workouts challenging while a thick, padded seat keeps you comfortable while you row. The machine is also surprisingly compact, making it a pretty easy addition to small spaces. 

Resistance Style: Hydraulic cylinder | Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 lbs | Dimensions: 49 x 14 x 7 in | Product Weight: 52 lbs

Best Recumbent: Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike and Rower

Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower


  • Great for users who need additional support

  • Convenient to fold and store

  • Two-in-one design

  • Doesn't mimic a traditional rowing experience

If comfort is your priority, we recommend investing in a recumbent rowing machine like the Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Rower. While many rowing machines boast comfortable padded seats, very few of those seats come with backrests. This one offers a full seat for you to rest in while you work out, making it more comfortable and supportive than most. 

Even better, the design doubles as a recumbent bike. If you’re in the mood for a cycling workout, slide your seat toward the front of the machine, slip your feet into the front-most set of pedals, grip the sides of your seat, and start pedaling. To use the machine as a rower, slide your feet into the footholds that are closer to you, grip the built-in handle, and start rowing. You can use the same resistance dial to up the intensity for both workouts.

Resistance Style: Magnetic resistance | Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 lbs | Dimensions: 75.5 x 20 x 27 in | Product Weight: 106 lbs

Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower

Verywell Fit / Deanna McCormack

What Our Testers Say

“The Stamina Conversion rower marries a recumbent bike and rowing machine and takes up half the space of two separate machines but has double the value. It’s built to operate primarily as a rower and recumbent exercise bike, but it can also be used as a leg press or resistance strength machine for a full arm and shoulder workout.” Deanna McCormack, Verywell writer and product tester 

Best for Small Spaces: Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Rowing Machine

Courtesy of Walmart

  • Silent

  • Very small footprint

  • Secure design

  • Doesn't mimic a traditional rowing experience

If you’re really low on space, you may not have room for a traditional rowing machine. That's why we recommend the Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Rowing Machine to get a dynamic workout within a much smaller footprint. The machine boasts a unique upright design. Instead of sitting down and rowing back, you sit upright and row up. This format makes your rowing workouts more focused on the lower body, but you still get opportunities to challenge your upper body and core as well.

In lieu of a more traditional resistance mechanism, this rower comes with three adjustable resistance bands. Attach these to your machine to increase the intensity of your workouts, reaching a maximum resistance level of 22 pounds.

The rower’s textured pedals offer plenty of traction, and its non-slip handlebars are easy to grip. Adjust the height of the seat and the handlebars until the machine fits you just right, and take advantage of the fact that the machine folds in half for easy storage between uses.

Resistance Style: Three adjustable resistance bands | Maximum Weight Capacity: 220 lbs | Dimensions: 36.5 x 19 x 37 in | Product Weight: 24.5 lbs

Best Foldable: ECHANFIT Foldable Rowing Machine

ECHANFIT Foldable Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Very easy to move

  • Sleek and sturdy design

  • Quality resistance mechanism

  • Tracker needs improvement

It’s rare to find a foldable workout machine that's also sturdy and durable, but the ECHANFIT Foldable Rowing Machine is just that. We love that you can climb on the rower for an intense workout, and fold it away when you're done to make room for other activities. The frame remains stable as you row, and the 16 magnetic resistance levels keep you challenged. Adjust the built-in handlebars, pedals, and console until you feel comfortable, and settle in for a solid workout.

When you’re finished using the rowing machine, you can fold it in half. This design makes it easy to store against a wall, but you can also tilt it onto its transport wheels and roll it into another room.

Resistance Style: Magnetic resistance | Maximum Weight Capacity: 265 lbs | Dimensions: 44.5 x 25.5 x 8.75 in | Product Weight: 61 lbs

Best Design: Ergatta Rower

The Ergatta Rower


  • Multiple features and workouts

  • Easy to move and store

  • Bluetooth compatibility

  • Expensive

  • Technology takes time to master

Crafted with style in mind, The Ergatta Rower is handmade from American cherry wood and designed for the home—not the gym. We love that the back wheels make it easy to store and move with minimal effort, and the rower can be placed upright, minimizing the space it occupies when not in use.

Featuring a clear, fillable 3-pound tank, The Ergatta Rower relies on water resistance to scale naturally with your pull, meaning the harder you work the more resistance you'll receive from the rower.

It also offers goal-based training plans—like races, open-row experiences, interval and endurance workouts, and challenges—that will help you reach your fitness objectives, even if you're a beginner. For those seeking foolproof training, the rower is equipped with a high-definition touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity to help you track your workouts over time.

Resistance Style: Water tank | Maximum Weight Capacity: 500 lbs | Dimensions: 86 x 23 x 40 in | Product Weight: 76.5 lbs

What Our Testers Say

"I’ve been using the Ergatta for eight months and am fully converted to the rowing lifestyle. I love that I can work out on my own time—5-, 10-, and 20-minute workouts allow me to sneak in a sweat session during my lunch break—and I can still be part of the Ergatta community with group races and a very active Facebook group. The Ergatta isn’t some dusty old machine that you need to hide in your basement. With a little midcentury-modern flair, it’s good-looking enough to keep in your living room." Ariel Kanter, Verywell writer and product tester

Best Wind Resistance: Stamina ATS Air Rower

Stamina Air Rower

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Resistance naturally changes based on your intensity

  • Lightweight

  • Comfortable

  • Louder than other options

We like Stamina's ATS Air Rower because it's a solid rowing machine that will keep you balanced as you build strength. While many rowers get their tension from magnetic, hydraulic, or water-based resistance, this one draws on dynamic wind resistance. A wheel on the front of the bike spins every time you row, adding resistance as you gain speed. This design allows for your workouts to become more intense as you grow stronger. The faster you row, the harder your workouts get.

The dynamic wind resistance design isn’t the only thing that makes this machine worth buying. Its cushioned seat, padded handlebars, and adjustable pedals keep your workouts comfortable, and the seat smoothly glides forward and back as you row. Since the machine’s frame folds up, it’s particularly easy to store between uses as well. Simply fold the rower, tilt it onto its built-in transport wheels, and roll it away. 

Resistance Style: Air fan | Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 lbs | Dimensions: 77 x 18 x 22 in | Product Weight: 54 lbs

Best High-Tech: NordicTrack RW900 Rower

NordicTrack RW 900 Rower
  • Great workout program integration

  • Comes with 22-inch touchscreen

  • Versatile resistance options

  • Heavy

The NordicTrack RW900 Rower is a feature-packed rowing machine that delivers a solid workout every time. The rower boasts 26 different resistance levels, which you can use to scale the intensity of your workout, and since the machine relies on magnetic resistance, your strokes will be smooth and quiet. The rowing machine also comes with an ergonomic padded seat and large comfortable pedals. We love that it folds in half, making it incredibly easy to store between uses.

When paired with an iFit membership, the NordicTrack RW900 Rower reaches its full potential. The membership gives you access to hundreds of on-demand rowing workouts, which you can use to get started with your new machine. You can also activate iFit’s Automatic Trainer Control feature to let a trainer virtually control your resistance level while you row, making it easy to build strength without taking your eyes off your workout.

Resistance Style: Silent magnetic resistance and adjustable air | Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 lbs | Dimensions: 86.5 x 22 x 50.4 in | Product Weight: 131 lbs

Final Verdict

Quiet, comfortable, and plenty challenging, the Hydrow Rower Starter Package is our best overall pick because it offers everything you’d want in a rowing machine. The feature-packed rower will keep your workouts challenging and engaging. We also like the Sunny Health & Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine for its budget-friendly price and compact size.

Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower

Verywell Fit / Deana McCormack

How We Selected the Best Rowing Machines

We researched dozens of options from trusted retailers and selected the best rowing machines based on a variety of factors. First, we asked Grace D'Souza, U.S. National Rowing Team Member, and Kenny Rosenzweig, co-founder and CEO of Rowgatta, for their insight on what features make a rowing machine stand out from the rest.

Then, we looked at the resistance mechanism, or how each machine creates resistance while you use it. We also considered price, durability, noise, and how easy each rowing machine is to store or bring with you. Finally, we reviewed any additional features each machine offered, including specific handle designs, touchscreens, and workout programs.

What to Look for in a Rowing Machine


If you choose rowing as your form of exercise multiple times a week, a durable machine is necessary. “A more affordable option might seem attractive at first, but you’ll get much more value from a machine that is a bit pricier and more durable since it lasts for a longer time,” says Kenny Rosenzweig, Co-founder and CEO of Rowgatta.

Resistance Mechanism

All rowing machines offer some amount of resistance, but the source of this resistance can vary. Some rowers come equipped with water tanks that handle the tension for you. Others rely on internal resistance mechanisms like hydraulic or magnetic resistance. And some others come with built-in fans that provide wind resistance. 

“I highly recommend air resistance as it best replicated the feel of rowing on water,” Rosenzweig says. “In my opinion, it also generates the best workout.” He also says that the type of resistance is a personal preference and that you should choose one that feels most comfortable during use.

Handle Design

Classic rowing machines boast a single handle, which you grip with both hands to pull. But some rowers boast two handlebars, instead. These handlebars look a little like what you’d find on an elliptical, and you can use them to get a fuller range of motion in your upper body.

“The best handlebar is one that will not tear your hands apart after a long session on the rower,” Rosenzweig says. He says that finding a handlebar with traction and grip is also important, but warns that ones with too much texture can cause blisters over time. Find one that feels good from the first use.

Storage and Portability

Rowing machines can get large and heavy, which can make them hard to transport or store. But many rowers are designed with portability and convenience in mind. Some come with built-in transport wheels that make them easy to move from place to place, some are designed to be turned on their sides and propped up against your wall, and some even fold in half.

Special Features

Some rowing machines come with high-tech options like built-in workouts, games, or guidance from an instructor. "The connected rowing machines can be more fun and motivating,” Rosenzweig says.

He warns that these options can often be more expensive since many require a corresponding content subscription. But if you have the budget to splurge, it could be a good option for beginners in need of additional instruction, or advanced rowers trying to add a new dimension to their workouts.

Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower

Verywell Fit / Deanna McCormack 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it safe to row every day?

    Depending on the intensity with which you row, you can enjoy this total-body workout safely every single day—and for hours, if you choose to do so. Just pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you're feeling particularly sore or stiff, consider a day of gentle stretches and rest to give your body a period of recovery. If you feel great, keep rowing!

Hydrow Rower Fitness Machine
Verywell / Rozalynn S. Frazier

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. The 7 best rowing machines for an effective full-body workout. Insider.

  3. Best Rowing Machines of 2022. CNET.