The 7 Best Rowing Machines of 2019

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

Best Overall: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine at Amazon

"This machine tracks all stats and is loaded with preset workouts."

Best Conversion: Stamina Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent/Rowe at Amazon

"The top handle retracts to perform upper body exercises."

Best Water Rowing Machine: First Degree Fitness Newport Rower at Walmart

"Designed with professional rowers to capture the real experience."

Best for Limited Mobility: Concept2 Model E at Amazon

"Sits higher up, making it great for those with mobility issues."

Best Budget: Sunny Health and Fitness Full Motion Rower at Amazon

"Has all the bells and whistles anyone on a budget could need."

Best for Full Body Workout: Stamina 1215 Orbital 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."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

4.6

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 15-9003 Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent/Rowe

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. The weight limit on this is only 250 pounds so not suited for everyone. 

Looking for more ideas? Read our roundup of the best home gyms.

Best Water Rowing Machine: First Degree Fitness Newport AR Water rower

first-degree-newport-rower
Courtesy of Walmart

Most of us won’t be paddling outside this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t row like you're zipping across your favorite body of water.

This hydraulic rower is able to replicate the feel of being on water without dipping your toes in the actual water. Whether you’re looking to battle heavy waves or a smooth sea, the First Degree can adapt to your desired level of activity with its adjustable levels of fluid resistance. This model was designed in collaboration with professional rowers to help capture the real-life experience.

The ergonomic handles are made to prevent strain on the arms, wrists, and hands. Users comment on the smooth pull compared to other machines they’ve used.

To make it even more real, this machine even mimics the sound of rowing on the water. The weight limit on this model is 300-pounds. 

Take a peek at our article on the best ellipticals.

Best for Limited Mobility: Concept2 Model E

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 and Fitness Full Motion Rower

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 300 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 1215 Orbital

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. 

Want more options for your home gym? Read our roundup of the best indoor cycling bikes.

Tested by Verywell

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.

Test Results: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine (Best Overall)

4.6

What We Like

  • Easy to use

  • Comfortable

  • Great workout

What We Don't Like

  • Large

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine
Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine
Concept2 Rowing Machine
Concept2

This rowing machine’s easy setup was a big plus, according to one of our reviewers: “Once assembled,” he explained, “you can literally sit down, strap your feet in, and start rowing without touching the screen or having to set anything up—you just grab the handlebar and go.” He also felt that it was comfortable and provided a great workout: “The resistance works in such a way that you’re always forced to work hard, and if you do use the screen, you’re instantly motivated to meet whatever goal you've set.” The only real downside was the machine's size: “It's very long,” he explained, “so it does require a fair bit of space to use.”

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