18 Best Rowing Machines For An At-Home Full-Body Workout

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18 Best Rowing Machines For An At-Home Full-Body Workout
Health And Wellness

For individuals looking to get an excellent cardio workout, using a rowing machine is fantastic exercise. Rowing exercise is a great low-impact cardio workout that is a lot like rowing while you're sitting in a boat in the water. However, you don't need to find water to do it.

Rowing is great for burning fat, toning, and strengthening your abdominal muscles, and can help create a sculpted middle section to make you look and feel great.

Says Lucia Petruzzella, a coach from Row House Montclair, "The erg (rowing machine) is an incredible low impact, non-weight bearing alternative of cardiovascular exercise to running, spinning and dancing. What you put in is what you get out, and when rowing with proper form, you not only increase endurance, but utilize 85 percent of your muscles (60 percent legs, 30 percent core and 10 percent arms."

RELATED: 30 Best Butt Workouts On YouTube (To Firm Your Backside For Free!)

Despite the rowing machine benefits, it's important to know that not all rowing is "created equal" in the programming of gyms/studios.

"Some facilities utilize the rower for quick sprints with high resistance (damper settings), which creates a higher risk of injury, especially if proper form isn't coached or shown," warns Petruzzella. If using a rower in these cases or trying the machine solo, seek out a qualified coach to help you perform the stroke properly to mitigate any risks of injury. (And, as always, if you are under the care of a doctor, consult them first.) 

Adds Petruzzella, "The standout advantage to rowing are the incredible health benefits inclusive to all ages and fitness levels."

However, rowing is also a great option for anyone recovering from injury who needs to be cautious of high-impact exercises, as well as anyone focusing on posture and alignment.

According to Timothy Bigknee, a personal trainer and entrepreneur, rowing is an ideal workout for anyone who’s looking to work all areas of their body. "Unlike other exercises that target specific muscle groups, this workout effectively works both the upper and lower body," he says. In fact, one study revealed that rowing engages 86 percent of your body’s muscles.

"Rowing is a low-impact sport which can provide an effective workout for someone who has suffered from an ankle, hip, or knee injury — as long as you keep the resistance fairly low. Remind yourself that you’re trying to mimic rowing on water, and that there should be fluidity to your workout. Jerking movements not only impact your overall workout but have the potential to lead to injury," adds Bigknee.

So, for individuals looking to get an amazing workout, whether it's low- or high-resistence training, the best rowing machine all depends on your personal preferences.

And to help you get started, these are the best choices available today.

1. Nordic Track RW900 Rower

On the RW900, you’ll be able to build your strength and stamina with a fast-paced, high-intensity workout. Between the ergonomic seat, soft touch ergonomic handle, and oversized pedals with quick-adjusting straps, you have all the features for a high-powered fitness experience. And with the 22-inch smart HD touchscreen, dive into a new world of exercise to take you through trainer-led, high-energy classes.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

2. XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower

Bring the unparalleled full-body workout of on-the-water rowing home with the premium design and feel of the XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower. The "Zen-like" water movement you hear from the multi-bladed impeller generates a smooth and uniform stroke, with durable multi-bladed impeller creating peaceful sounds similar to actually rowing on the water.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

3. Circuit Fitness Deluxe Foldable Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Foldable Magnetic Rowing Machine is constructed using a combination of steel and aluminum, engineered to offer reliability. This gear is designed with a foldable structure, giving you the advantage of easily storing it when not in use. Adding to its ergonomic construction are the foam-covered handlebars and adjustable foot straps for secure grip, magnetic resistance system with multiple settings, and an LCD panel that tracks speed, distance, time, calories burned, SPM, date, and room temperature.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

4. ProGear 750 Rower

The PROGEAR 750 Rower features slide rail length/inseam, LCD display, 2 independent hydraulic cylinders for tension resistance, 3 adjustable hydraulic resistance levels on both handle bars, and provides 180-degree range of rowing motion for full arm, shoulder and chest exercises. While not in use, it can be folded for storage.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

5. Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine

Harvil's Hydraulic Resistance Rowing Machine is built to provide an optimal workout with its full range motion arms, adjustable hydraulic resistance, and easy-to-read LCD monitor. Its steel frame, molded seat, pivoting footplates with straps, and folding arms make it durable, ergonomic, and compact.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

6. JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine 

This rowing machine is designed with a high-quality solid aluminum flywheel, aluminum slide rail, and no-touch magnetic resistance. You can put the machine in standing position for storage when not in use. With 10 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance, it can be used for different workout plans, whether you're a beginner or expert.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

7. MaxKare Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine

A budget-minded option, this rowing machine comes with 16-level magnetic tension resistance for easy operation, letting you customize your workout plan. The full-body low impact workout targets forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs, thighs and more, while the LCD monitor displays the data of calories, reps/min, time, count and total count, tracking your training record.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

8. Lanos Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine

Use this magnetic rower for an effective aerobic workout, or incorporate it in your HIIT in the comfort of your home. It can also be used for cross training and endurance training. Fitness LED monitor displays time, row counts, distance and calories burned, allowing you to track your personal workout programs.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

RELATED: 4 Stress-Relieving Ways To Work Out At Home (Without Having To Go To The Gym)

9. Echelon New Smart Rower

This is a smart rowing machine with unique swivel device holder, motorized resistance control, comfortable seat and foot design, and foldable design for easy storage and handling. The first in the industry, it features a toggle control on the handle to adjust resistance. There are two models: one for tablet use, and another with integrated 22" screen.

(Indiegogo, $839+)

10. Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

The Velocity CHR-2001 Rower features Drum Magnetic Control (DRM) and electronic tension control that produce optimum friction to build muscle strength and enhance endurance. It features sturdy aluminum frame, ergonomically designed molded-foam padded seat, non-slip foot pedals, versatile design, and LCD display that lets you monitor various parameters.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

11. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

The WaterRower Natural is handcrafted from solid Ash wood, finished with a honey oak stain and danish oil. Its patented WaterFlywheel has been specifically designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving though water, and is unsurpassed in its simulation of the physical and physiological benefits of rowing. 

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

12. Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine

The Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine comes with LCD display that shows six functions simultaneously, a recovery feature, two industrial strength hydraulic pistons, resistance levels, biomechanically correct footplates, thickly padded seat, and infrared earlobe clip sensor.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

13. First Degree Fitness Newport Club Fluid Rowing Machine

The commercial grade Newport Club Fluid Rower is perfect for group training or high-end home gyms. The water-resistant design, meditative motion, and integrity of construction set it apart, and includes new features and innovative improvements. It has an impressive impeller system, increasing water resistance by 15 percent.

(Costco, $999.99)

14. Avari A350-700 Magnetic Exercise Rower

The fitness monitor keeps you motivated by tracking time, count, distance, calories, strokes per minute, pulse and watt. You can also use the up and down arrows on the "In Touch Fitness Monitor" to adjust workout time and resistance on the fly.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

15. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050

The unique design allows for a full-body, effective workout for every major muscle group, including back, legs, arms, abs and glutes. Stay focused with an easy-to-read LCD monitor and see your workout time, stroke count, calories burned and total strokes accumulated. For extra support and stability, the BodyTrac Glider moves along a smooth ball-bearing roller system and includes features to enhance comfort.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

16. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

This machine offers a low impact workout that engages all major muscle groups, and works legs, core and arms with a smooth, high calorie-burning motion. Track your progress with real-time reliable data. The Performance Monitor self-calibrates for comparable results, and connects wirelessly to heart rate belts and apps.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

17. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine features a newly improved smoother and quieter magnetic tension system with 8 levels of adjustable tension, convenient large LCD console, fully padded seat, larger anti-slip foot pedals, and built-on transportation wheels. It's designed for convenience while also providing the challenging feel of an outdoor rowing.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

18. Mr. Rudolf Water Rowing Machine

This rowing machine perfectly brings a feeling of real-life outdoor rowing experience, but in the comfort of your home. It displays time, distance, 500M split time, strokes per minute, calories per hour, and watts. It also features ergonomic seat, active recoil system, and height adjustable footplates with straps.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

RELATED: 10 Reasons To Exercise That Improve Your Body And Mind — And Why It Has Nothing To Do With Your Physical Appearance

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.

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