Best rowing machine 2021: The best air, magnetic and smart rowers for a full body workout

best rowing machine 2021

Best rowing machine 2021: The best air, magnetic and smart rowers for a full body workout

Our guide to the best rowing machine 2021 to suit every budget

Thanks to the best rowing machines, getting fit with a well-rounded full body workout  has never been easier. With each and every stroke using nine major muscle groups, rowing is a great way to get fit without putting excessive strain on any of your joints. Indoor rowing machines (also known as ergometers, or “ergs”) allow you to reap all the benefits of a rowing workout without ever needing to set foot in a boat. Great news for the aquaphobic. 

Despite the wildly varying quality and prices of rowing machines, buying your first indoor rower needn’t be a daunting prospect. To take the stress out of the experience, we’ve compiled a selection of the best rowing machines on the market, whether you’re looking to save money or to buy the best rowing machine money can buy. If you want to learn which type of erg is best for your needs, you can read our buying guide below.

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How to buy the best rowing machine for you

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What are the different types of rowing machine?

There are four different types of rowing machine, using different types of resistance, but each has its pros and cons:

  • »Air rowing machines generate resistance using a flywheel that rotates within an enclosed cage. You can let more air into the cage to generate more resistance, or close it to lower the resistance. 

However, since your power output is based on the flywheel’s speed as much as the damper setting, there’s no need to use a higher setting to get a great workout – on the contrary, it’s better to use a lower setting unless you want to exhaust your muscles. 

Air-resistance machines are the most common on the market, but generate quite a bit of noise, which might not be practical in all households.

»Hydraulic rowers, often referred to as piston rowing machines, are usually the most affordable option. These machines use a pair of hydraulic pistons to generate resistance, and tend to be the smallest and easiest in terms of storage, folding up in most cases. However, they often bare little to no resemblance to the movement of rowing. Usually, the range of movement is limited to a short arc that won’t offer the full-body benefits of a more expensive rowing machine.

»Magnetic is the final type of resistance used by rowing machines. Compared to the other varieties, these are extremely quiet and can be manually adjusted using a digital console or a slide lever, depending on the model. The disadvantage is that the magnetic resistance lacks the reactive and powerful resistance of air or water machines. Magnetic rowers’ simple, flat level of resistance can make it harder to achieve the all-round muscle gains of a more advanced rowing machine.

»Water-resistance models are designed to mimic the experience of real rowing, using large water-filled tanks and internal paddles to create resistance. They’re relatively quiet and often designed from wood and so are aesthetically fetching. The major disadvantage is cost – they’re rather expensive and offer less functionality than the top machines.

What else should I look out for?

Feedback and data are important to making progress in your fitness, and almost all rowers come with an LCD display that lets you know how far you’ve rowed and how quickly, with others giving you more advanced metrics, too. If all you want is a rower to give you a quick exercise fix, there’s no need to go for a model that provides extensive workout data.

As with most things, though, the more you spend, the more features you normally get. Some rowing machines include a USB port you can use to export data from your workout, and some support ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, enabling you to connect to a range of devices, including smartphone apps and heart-rate monitors.

Longevity and toughness may seem like a strange requirement for an indoor machine, but extensive use can take its toll on a rowing machine so it’s worth considering how heavy-duty the unit is. Hydraulic pistons, for instance, can begin to wear out. The Concept 2 flywheel, by comparison, is fairly bombproof and many units from 30 years ago (the infamous Model B) are still in use.

Need Gym Gloves for you new Indoor Rowing MAchine?

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The realism of the resistance is also important for more than just competitive rowers. Hydraulic and magnetic resistance may look superficially the same, but the unique benefit of rowing exercise relies on resistance changing according to the speed of the stroke. A flywheel or water chamber can generate that type of resistance, meaning that your arms and body are offered a dynamic workout just as much as your quads, whereas cheaper systems cannot.

A final advantage of that flywheel system is consistency across machines. You can jump on a top-end air or water resistance machine in any gym or health club in the world and pick up where you left off from your home workout.

The best Indoor rowing machines to buy

1. JLL R200 Home Rowing Machine: The best budget rower

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This is the perfect rowing machine for anyone just starting out on a fitness kick, who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money or commit a vast amount of space in their home to the rower. The JLL R200 offers 10 levels of magnetic resistance to keep challenging you as you get fitter, and folds up into a tall position that makes it possible to store it out of the way in a cupboard.

Eco Whiff

It’s also a fairly quiet machine, since it uses magnetic resistance instead of air, and it has a clear display that shows stats during your workouts. While even the highest level of resistance might not be enough of a challenge for experienced rowers, beginner and intermediate users will get plenty of action out of the R200.

Eco Whiff

Key specs – Dimensions in use: 180 x 52 x 49cm (LWH); Dimensions while stored: 71 x 52 x 127cm (LWH); Weight limit: 100kg; Ant/Bluetooth support: No; USB workout upload: No; Warranty: One year

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Our Rating
4.6/5

2. XS Sports R110 Home Rowing Machine-Folding with Adjustable Resistance-Fitness Rower

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Our R110 is the perfect machine for those just starting to row, it offers 4 levels of elastic resistance. A great addition to any home gym user looking for a beginner/light workout, and without having to spend too much on a more expensive machine. Each indoor rowing machine is crafted to meet the highest standards that thousands of XS Sports customers have come to expect

Eco Whiff
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Our Rating
4.6/5

3. soges Rowing Machine Indoor Rower Exercise Machine with Digital Monitor for Home Gyms Fitness and Cardio Training Black

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This Hydraulic Multi-function Indoor Rowing Machine is the ideal for the person looking to save space and is unsure of the traditional cord Indoor Rowing Machines.

Eco Whiff

Key specs – Dimensions in use: 140.5x 30.8x 66cm(LWH); Dimensions while stored: 71 x 52 x 127cm (LWH);Weight : 11.5kg; Weight limit: 120kg; Ant/Bluetooth support: No; USB workout upload: No; Warranty: One year

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Our Rating
4.6/5

4. Rowing Machine with 16 Levels Magnetic Resistance, Neezee Super Silent Rowing Machine with Aluminum Slide Rail, LCD Monitor, 2021 Model, Fit for Home Gym, Strength Training

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If your looking for the best built Indoor Rowing Machine, then look no further! this has been built to gym grade. with 16 levels of resistance, silent and a space-saving design. we couldn't recommend another indoor rowing machine.

Eco Whiff

Key specs – Dimensions in use: 161.5x 53x 68cm(LWH);  Weight limit: 110kg; Levels of resistance:  16;  Warranty: One year

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Our Rating
4.6/5

5.Dripex Magnetic Rowing Machine for Home Use, Super Silent Indoor Rower with 15-Level Adjustable Resistance, Double Aluminum Sliding Rail, LCD Monitor Fit for Home Gym, Cardio & Strength Training

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Dripex Magnetic Rowing Machine is an incredible home use rowing machine designed to complement a total home gym. No matter what your reason to choose an indoor rower, we are sure you’ll find Dripex home rowing machine to be a priceless asset in achieving your health and wellness goals. A top quality rower, like Dripex, is one that is generally constructed from top-quality materials and contain the latest design and construction.

Eco Whiff
  • Resistance System: 15-level Magnetic Resistance
  • Max Weight Capacity: 265 lbs/120 kg
  • Suggested User’s Height: Up to 6’2
  • G. W/N.W: 72.75 lbs/60.63 lbs
  • Expand Size: 70.47’*20.81’*30.04’
  • Flywheel Weight: 6.6 lbs/3 kg
  • Material: Steel& Aluminum & PU feather
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Our Rating
4.6/5

Frequently asked questions

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?

Rowing is an efficient way to burn calories, as well as build strong and defined muscles – but is it enough to help you shed stubborn belly fat, compared to other forms of cardio like running? The short answer is yes. … Instead, you‘ll need to work to elevate your heart rate, which will help you shed fat all over

How long should my rowing machine workout be?

In terms of time, weight loss is best achieved with consistency, so aim for at least 30 minutes per day on a rower, anywhere from 4 to 6 times a week. Make sure you’re getting enough rest days, especially if you’re just getting started!

Can you get in shape by just rowing?

Rowing is a great full body exercise. Rowing is a calorie-burning activity that can quickly tone the body. Rowing machine before and after photos often show tone improvement across the entire body. This activity is particularly beneficial for the back, shoulders, abs and arms.

Can I row everyday?

While many people want to know if they can use a rowing machine everyday, I think it is more important to keep a consistent, injury-free workout routine. … However, if you have slowly built up from rowing 3-4 times a week, I think it is perfectly fine to use a rowing machine everyday.

Is 20 minutes of rowing enough?

Rowing workouts around 20 minutes in length

Studies show that endorphins, the neurochemicals that release during exercise and make you feel good, regularly kick in around the 20minute mark. A workout around 20 minutes can give you a full-body burn that leaves you feeling good for hours to come

How long does it take to see results from rowing?

If you do this routine three days a week—coupled with proper nutrition—you can start to see results in as little as 14 days, Stein says