10 Best Rowing Machines For Home Gyms (2023 Buying Tips)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 6, 2024
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

Investing in a rowing machine for home workouts is one of the best ways to boost how much cardio training you do each week.

But, like with all exercise equipment, there are plenty of machines that will let you down in no time.

As a personal trainer, I have seen many of these crap products, so our team decided to reach out to friends and colleagues to test out over 30 different rowers over a 4-week period.

The result is this list of the best rowing machines that will work exceptionally well in any home.

The Best Rowing Machines For Home Gyms

Editor's Choice
Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2 Rowerg Rower
Rogue Fitness
Durability
5.0
Weight Capacity
5.0
Price
4.8
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Click For Best Price
2nd Best Choice
Echelon Smart Rowing Machine
Echelon
Durability
4.9
Weight Capacity
4.8
Price
4.7
Overall Score 4.8
4.8
Check Current Price
3rd Best Choice
NordicTrack Smart Rower
NordicTrack
Durability
4.8
Weight Capacity
4.6
Price
4.8
Overall Score 4.7
4.7
Check Current Price

Our Top Rowing Machines (April 2024)

1 - Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2 Rowerg Rower - PM5 9Best Overall & Most Durable)

Rated 4.9/5
5.0
Durability
5.0
Weight Capacity
4.8
Price
Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2 Rowerg Rower
  • Type : Flywheel Air Resistance Rower
  • Size : 96”L x 24”W x 20”H
  • Weight Limit : 500 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Simple and easy-to-read display provides plenty of training data
  • Provides a very smooth rowing stroke for more effective workouts
  • Excellent durability and maximum weight capacity
  • Easily attach a phone or tablet to watch training videos or TV shows

Cons

  • It’s not a foldable rower to save space after your rowing workouts

Rogue Fitness mainly supplies commercial gyms, but they have also created more affordable and highly durable rowers for home use.

After our team tested this machine, we all found that the display and settings were very easy. You can also attach a tablet or phone with fitness apps integrated to track your progress during a full-body workout.

And with a weight limit of 500 lbs., it shows how sturdy and durable the design is.

Quick Facts:

2 - Echelon Smart Rowing Machine (Best for Athletes & Magnetic)

Rated 4.8/5
4.9
Durability
4.8
Weight Capacity
4.7
Price
Echelon Smart Rowing Machine
  • Type : Magnetic Rowing Machine
  • Size : 49.5”L x 25”W x 17”H
  • Weight Limit : 300 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes with a large touchscreen display for settings and watching training videos
  • Has a very smooth magnetic resistance rowing stroke
  • Ergonomically designed seat provides great stability and posture control

Cons

  • You only get 30 days of free Echelon membership

What immediately stood out to our testing team after trying the Echelon is that it has a large touchscreen display for adjusting settings and training modes. This made the use extremely easy during workouts.

You can also view workout videos through your Echelon membership.

It’s also the best folding rowing machine on our list, which is very helpful if you don’t have a dedicated home gym space to set up your equipment.

Quick Facts:

3 - NordicTrack Smart Rower (Best for Beginners)

Rated 4.7/5
4.8
Durability
4.6
Weight Capacity
4.8
Price
NordicTrack Smart Rower
  • Type : Magnetic Rowing Machine
  • Size : 22"D x 86.5"W x 50.4"H
  • Weight Limit : 250 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Includes Bluetooth connectivity to set up your favorite headphones
  • Choose from 26 different resistance settings to fine-tune your rowing workouts
  • Watch iFit workout videos directly on the large screen

Cons

  • It can take a few minutes for the system to start up and connect with iFit

Next up is what we decided was the best smart rowing machine from NordicTrack.

It has a large display and integrates with iFit.

As a result, you’ll be able to join on-demand rowing sessions where the machine automatically adjusts the intensity based on instructions in the videos.

Overall, it's the best interactive rowing machine I have tested so far. Unlike other rowing machines, I could also connect my Bluetooth headphones, like AirPods, to listen to clear instructions from iFit sessions.

Quick Facts:

4 - WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine S4 (Cheapest & Most Compact)

Rated 4.7/5
4.6
Durability
4.8
Weight Capacity
4.6
Price
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine S4
  • Type : Water Rower
  • Size : 84"D x 21"W x 22"H
  • Weight Limit : 330 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Simple design for a natural rowing experience
  • Comes with a compact water tank for space-saving design
  • Very affordable option that doesn't take up much space

Cons

  • The wood frame isn’t the most durable material

Next up is our recommendation for the best water rowing machine. Many amateur and professional rowers prefer one of these rowing machines because it tends to feel more natural.

And the sound can be soothing as well.

I found it has a very compact design, and I could easily move it out of the way when I was done using it.

Just pay attention to the wood frame, as this can be damaged more easily than steel.

Quick Facts:

5 - Teeter Power10 Rower (Best for Seniors)

Rated 4.6/5
4.5
Durability
4.6
Weight Capacity
4.6
Price
Teeter Power10 Rower
  • Type : Magnetic Rowing Machine
  • Size : 38"D x 63"W x 43"H
  • Weight Limit : 300 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Provides a more upright seating position for less strain on the back
  • Adjusting the intensity is very easy with convenient mode buttons
  • Provides access to training videos to immediately get the most out of workouts

Cons

  • It’s quite a bulky machine that’s not easy to move out of the way

This is one of the more unique magnetic rowing machine designs I’ve seen.

At first, it almost looks like an incumbent bike, but these types of rowing machines can be highly effective.

According to a study in the National Library of Medicine, the more upright posture position is ideal for anyone with back and joint problems [1].

I did a full 45-minute workout going through all the intensity settings and found the transition up and down very smooth and easy to adjust without being disrupted.

Quick Facts:

6 - SNODE Water Rowing Machine (Best Water Rowing Machine)

Rated 4.6/5
4.5
Durability
4.7
Weight Capacity
4.6
Price
SNODE Water Rowing Machine
  • Type : Water Resistance Machine
  • Size : 79"D x 20"W x 36"H
  • Weight Limit : 331 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes with a great app for keeping track of your training progress
  • Highly adjustable to your height and preferred posture
  • Easily attach your tablet to watch workout videos or TV shows

Cons

  • It’s quite a bulky machine that you’ll need to find a permanent home for

Water rowers seem to be increasingly popular these days, probably because they tend to provide a very natural feeling of resistance.

Unlike most rowing machines we tested in this category, this one allows you to sit up higher, which can make it easier to use if you have joint problems or injuries.

Just keep in mind that it’s quite a large machine that’s not easy to move if you don’t have a dedicated home gym space.

Quick Facts:

7 - HouseFit Water Rower

Rated 4.5/5
4.3
Durability
4.5
Weight Capacity
4.7
Price
HouseFit Water Rower
  • Type : Water Rower
  • Size : 19.5"D x 79"W x 40"H
  • Weight Limit : 330 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Connect to the fitness app for more detailed training data if needed
  • Easily adjust the pedals and seat for your height and posture preferences
  • You can stand it up for storage while not in use

Cons

  • Some users have reported that the seat guide rail doesn’t feel 100% smooth

The HouseFit is another great machine with a water tank for resistance.

It took me less than 30 seconds to adjust it to my height and posture, and I found the resistance to be nice and smooth.

This one didn’t quite make it to our top spot for the best water rowing machine because we felt that sometimes the seat didn’t move as smoothly as other products.

Quick Facts:

8 - Women's Health Men's Health Magnetic Rowing Machine

Rated 4.5/5
4.6
Durability
4.5
Weight Capacity
4.5
Price
Women's Health Men's Health Magnetic Rowing Machine
  • Type : Magnetic Rower
  • Size : 23"D x 80"W x 28.5"H
  • Weight Limit : 250 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Simple and easy-to-use display and intensity settings
  • Long guide rail makes it suitable for taller people
  • Comes with six months of free fitness classes

Cons

  • It’s limited to 14 resistance levels which might not suit all athletes

Here’s another one of the magnetic rowing machines that we liked using during our testing and research process.

It’s a simple design with an easy-to-adjust resistance knob in a convenient spot.

And the display shows you just the right information to keep you on track for training.

Unlike other magnetic rowers I tested, I found that this one is particularly suitable for taller people as it seems to have a longer guide rail for the seat.

Quick Facts:

9 - Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 (Most Comfortable)

Rated 4.5/5
4.5
Durability
4.6
Weight Capacity
4.5
Price
Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500
  • Type : Water Resistance Rower
  • Size : 22"D x 80"W x 34"H
  • Weight Limit : 300 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes with a very comfortable seat for longer training sessions
  • The front legs have wheels to make it easier to store out of the way after use
  • The Sunny Health & Fitness machine provides plenty of relevant training data

Cons

  • A holder for a phone or tablet would be a nice extra feature

This Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machine is one of the more affordable water rowers.

What our testing team immediately liked was the higher seating position and the very comfortable seat.

Even after a 1-hour cardiovascular fitness session, I didn’t feel uncomfortable or sore.

You also get a load of training data on the display to keep you on track, but I wish there was a convenient way to attach my tablet.

Quick Facts:

10 - YOSUDA Magnetic/Water Rower (Best Foldable)

Rated 4.4/5
4.3
Durability
4.5
Weight Capacity
4.4
Price
YOSUDA Magnetic_Water Rower
  • Type : Magnetic Resistance Rower
  • Size : 46.5"D x 27"W x 8.25"H
  • Weight Limit : 350 lbs

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Feels very comfortable even after a longer fitness routine
  • Easily folds up into a more convenient way to store it
  • Large mode button switches between the training data displayed

Cons

  • It only has eight different resistance levels, which could limit training

The final one of our recommendations for the best rowing machines is this magnetic one from Yosuda.

My first impression was that it’s very sturdy for such an affordable rowing machine.

And once I started training, it felt very comfortable and smooth to use.

The main downside for me is the limited adjustment settings. According to an article on the University Hospitals website, many people will need a lot more than eight settings for their rowing workout to get more variation [2].

“By creating variation and changing exercises in your routine, you can create a new stimulus, which creates more progress over time.”

- Brian Magat, PT at uhhospitals.org

Quick Facts:

How We Tested Home Rowing Machines

Here's how we found the best rowing machines for home gyms:

1. Build Quality and Durability

We started by assessing the build quality and durability of each rowing machine. This involved examining the materials used in construction, the sturdiness of the frame, and the quality of moving parts.

We also tested the machines under different intensities to simulate long-term use and ensure they could withstand regular wear and tear without compromising performance or safety.

2. Ease of Assembly and Storage

We evaluated how simple it was to put each machine together, noting the clarity of the instructions and the time taken for assembly.

Additionally, we looked at how easily each machine could be stored, considering factors like foldability, weight, and the space required.

3. Comfort and Ergonomics

We tested the ergonomics of each model by examining the seat comfort, handle grip, and foot pedal design. Our testers of varying body types used the machines to ensure a wide range of users could exercise comfortably and effectively.

4. Performance and Resistance Levels

To gauge performance, we focused on the smoothness of the rowing action and the range of resistance levels.

We tested how each machine responded to different rowing speeds and intensities, ensuring a consistent and challenging workout.

The variety of resistance levels was also crucial to cater to both beginners and advanced users.

5. Technology and Additional Features

We evaluated the technological features of each rowing machine, including the functionality of onboard computers, connectivity with fitness apps, and any additional features like heart rate monitors or pre-set workout programs.

This helped us determine how well each machine could meet the needs of tech-savvy users.

6. Weight and Portability

The weight of each rowing machine was carefully measured, as it directly impacts portability and ease of movement within a home gym. We tested how easy it was to move and reposition each machine, considering factors like the presence of wheels and overall design.

7. Price and Value for Money

We compared the cost of each rowing machine against its features, durability, and performance. This helped us determine the overall value for money, ensuring our recommendations catered to a range of budgets.

Buyer’s Guide

Coins in a row

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when choosing rowing machines.

Who Should Buy a Rowing Machine for Home Use?

Anyone looking for compact and effective cardio equipment should buy an indoor rowing machine.

As far as fitness equipment goes, rowers are great for raising your heart rate with a limited impact on joints [3], providing an excellent full-body workout.

Even if you don’t buy a foldable rower, these machines tend to have a small footprint, making them ideal for people who don’t have a lot of space for working out.

Related Articles:

Resistance Mechanism

Based on our research, we have found that the best rowing machine we used has an air resistance mechanism.

But you can also find water and magnetic mechanisms. The water-based ones are often preferred by competitive rowers, while the magnetic ones tend to be very quiet.

Overall, I have found that the air rowers tend to last longer, and they provide much smoother movement. And they also tend to offer more intensity levels to vary your training [4].

“Rowing burns serious calories without putting added stress on your joints. It allows you to control the movement and pace and is a great exercise for active recovery.”

- Jake Tipane, CPT, at HealthLine.com

Adjustments For User Height

Ruler next to rowing machine

This is a vital thing for tall athletes to look at. The budget rowing machine market tends to give you products that have very limited adjustments to user height.

I also encountered pieces where I couldn’t stretch out my legs as the seat rail was too short.

The more adjustment settings for pedals and height you have, the more comfortable you’ll be in longer training sessions.

Size And Storability

If you have limited space at home, a compact rowing machine is one of the essential pieces of equipment for a home gym.

You can fold it up and store it out of the way in a spare room, and it doesn't become a point of argument with your girlfriend.

Before you place an order, take the above measurements and see where it will fit in your home, and add a few inches on each side to give you some space to move your elbows.

Integration With Technology and Apps

Here's how technology is enhancing the rowing experience:

Fitness Tracking Apps

Modern rowing machines can connect to various fitness apps, allowing you to track your workout data like distance, speed, calories burned, and heart rate.

These apps can help you monitor your progress over time and set and achieve fitness goals.

Virtual Reality and Online Competitions

Some rowing machines offer virtual reality experiences, allowing you to row through different environments, adding an exciting element to your workouts.

You can even connect with other rowers worldwide through online competitions, fostering a sense of community and motivation.

Rowing Machine Maintenance and Care

Regular care not only keeps the machine safe to use but also enhances your rowing experience.

Here's a guide to help you keep your rowing machine in top condition.

Cleaning and Inspection

  • Daily cleaning: Wipe down the seat, handles, and other high-touch areas after each use to prevent the buildup of sweat and germs.
  • Weekly inspection: Check for loose bolts or parts and tighten them as necessary. Inspect the foot straps for wear and tear, replacing them if they show signs of significant damage.
  • Monthly deep clean: Use a mild cleaner to wipe down the entire machine. Pay special attention to the rail, ensuring it's free of dust and debris, which can hinder the seat's smooth movement.

Lubrication and Part Replacement:

  • Chain or strap lubrication: If your machine has a chain, lubricate it monthly with a high-quality lubricant to ensure smooth operation. For machines with a strap, check for fraying or wear.
  • Monitor wear parts: Keep an eye on parts like the seat wheels and bearings, replacing them as needed. These parts are prone to wear and can affect the machine's functionality.

FAQs

What Kind Of Home Rowing Machine Is Best?

Air rowers tend to be the best kind of rowing machine for home use. They provide a very smooth motion and don’t make as much noise as a water-based rower.

Is Indoor Rowing Good For Belly Fat?

Yes, indoor rowing is good for belly fat, as it’s a highly effective training option to increase your calories burned. It’s also a great way to work out at high intensities without causing damage to your joints.

Our Verdict on the Best Rowing Machines for Home Gyms

After thorough testing and personal experience with various models, our top pick is the Rogue Black Concept 2 rower.

Our team found that its smooth movement, wide range of intensity settings, and durable build make it ideal for any home gym.

The added convenience of a tablet holder allows for an enjoyable workout experience. I could watch my favorite shows while working out.

It's not just a machine; it's a reliable fitness partner for achieving your goals.

Our #1 Recommendation

Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2 Rowerg Rower - PM5 9Best Overall & Most Durable)

Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2 Rowerg Rower

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Durability
5.0
Weight Capacity
4.8
Price
Pros
  • Simple and easy-to-read display provides plenty of training data
  • Provides a very smooth rowing stroke for more effective workouts
  • Excellent durability and maximum weight capacity
  • Easily attach a phone or tablet to watch training videos or TV shows
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of April
Cons
  • It’s not a foldable rower to save space after your rowing workouts
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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Our durability score is based 3 factors including: material quality, maintenance, and warranty terms. The score is a measure of objective test results against set standards. For more information see our durability score explanation here.
Our weight capacity score is based on marketed user weight limits. Our team tests the equipment by continually adding weight and measuring for stability and damage. The score is an objective measure of test results against product specifications. For more information see our weight capacity score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.