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Best Rowing Machine for 2021

 9/7/2021 6:21:00 PM GMT

Rowing machines provide a low impact, joint-friendly workout
that builds cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.


Home rowing machines have become so popular because they offer a full-body workout in one compact piece of equipment. By mimicking what it feels like to row a boat, a 20 minute workout on a rowing machine efficiently provides both cardiovascular and strength training at the same time.

Studies show that rowing engages up to 86 percent of your muscles, with each stroke involving 65 - 75% of the lower body (glutes, quadriceps, calves) and 25 - 35% of the upper body (arms, pectorals, abdominals, upper back).

There are three types of resistance mechanisms available on today's rowing machines: 1) Air - this rower has a flywheel with attached fan blades that spin with each pull. Pulling harder increases resistance. 2) Magnetic - A magnetic brake system provides the resistance, so resistance levels can be set for different workout regimens. (Note: Some rowing machines combine air and magnetic resistance.); 3) Water: this rowing machine's flywheel gets resistance from water in a tank mounted on the frame, and is designed to mimic a boat moving through water. Like an air rower, resistance increases or decreases by how hard you row. Each type of resistance mechanism has its advantages; water and air are smoother, magnets are quieter, and hydraulics are less expensive.

The low-impact nature of the workout goes easy on your joints, making a rowering machine the ideal equipment for anyone to stay fit for life, including people in recovery or who are newer to exercise. In determining the best rowing machines available, we took into consideration space requirements, user experiences, build quality, and budget.



The NetDigz Editors rate the Concept2 Model D as the Best Premium Rowing Machine.
   Photo by Concept2Pinterest Pin for Best Premium Rowing Machine
 
You can pay up to $2,600 for a premium rower, but with the Concept2 Model D available, I'd never be able to figure out why you would. I guess you might if you just feel you want to pay a monthly subscription fee for a screen filled with trainers to provide motivation.

Personally, I'd take this surprisingly quiet (for an air resistance mechanism) rower, and turn on the TV or use one of the many compatible fitness apps. With a full repertoire of available workout data, adjustable air flow dampers, and bluetooth capability for cell phone app use, this health club tested quality built rower has it all.

Resistance Mechanism: Air



The NetDigz Editors rate the XTERRA Fitness ERG220 as the Best Rowing Machine for the money.
   Photo by XTERRAPinterest Pin for Best Rowing Machine
 
The XTERRA Fitness ERG220 has sturdy frame construction with adjustable rear levelers, and a comfortable seat on a long rail that can accommodate users up to 6'4" and 300 lbs. It is a folding design, with front rollers that helps when space is limited.

Featuring a smooth magnetic resistance system with 8 distinct levels and a quiet aluminum track, noise will never be an issue. Pivoting footrests with heel guards and adjustable straps, and an exercise meter that tracks time, count, count per minute, distance, calories, and pulse rate completes a package that's unbeatable at this price.

Oh - did I mention it requires almost no maintenance?

Resistance Mechanism: Magnetic



The NetDigz Editors rate the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 as the Best Mid-range Rowing Machine.
  Photo by Sunny Health & FitnessPinterest Pin for Best Mid-range Rowing Machine
 
The Obsidian Surge 500 comes with a light weight steel frame that can safely hold users weighing up to 300 lbs. It is a water resistance rower that uses a belt drive, which are a little quieter than the chain drives used by some rowers. The sweat resistant handlebar offers a comfortable grip and the non-slip foot pedals are large and robust, something seen more in the premium rower models.

The rower can be stored vertically without having to empty the water tank. It has a meter that's equipped to track all the standard data you'll need, plus workouts based on preset distances or times. With a smooth rowing action and a build that's more in line with more expensive models, the Obsidian Surge 500 is our number one choice for a water rower.

Resistance Mechanism: Water



The NetDigz Editors rate the Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 as the Best Budget Rowing Machine.
  Photo by StaminaPinterest Pin for Best Budget Rowing Machine
 
The Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 has a natural rowing action that simulates the use of oars. It features lightweight, sturdy construction that is well suited for a low capacity rower. This is a low profile design that has a small footprint and it is foldable for easy storage.

Its wide gliding rail offers enhanced seat stability, and the design includes pivoting footrests, with straps and a fitness meter. The hydraulic resistance is adjustable and quiet.

All-in-all, the Glider 1050 provides an extremely affordable platform for the moderate exerciser.

Resistance Mechanism: Hydraulic



The NetDigz Editors rate the Teeter Power10 Rower as the Best Elliptical Rowing Machine.
  Photo by TeeterPinterest Pin for Best Elliptical Rowing Machine
 
The Teeter Power10 Rower is an elliptical rower, which features motion duality so you can switch from pull to push during a workout to target additional muscle groups. The Power10's solid frame accommodates users up to 300 lbs. and 7' tall, and has large, adjustable footrest platforms with straps and heel guards for maximum foot stability.

With multi-grip oars and adjustable stroke length, its magnetic resistance provides a smooth, drag-free rowing motion. Its multi-function fitness monitor tracks time, distance, strokes, strokes per minute, calories, and pulse; and includes goal setting functions for time, distance, and calories.

This is a full body workout machine that's tough to beat.

Resistance Mechanism: Magnetic



The NetDigz Editors rate the XTERRA Fitness ERG700 as the Optional Best Premium Rowing Machine.
  Photo by XTERRAPinterest Pin for Optional Best Premium Rowing Machine
 
The XTERRA Fitness ERG700 has a range of features and overall quality that are pretty close to a commercial unit. Its durable frame can hold users up to 350 lbs and it has a long rail that accommodates tall users. It employs a folding frame, space-saving design, with transport wheels at the front and middle, adjustable stabilizers on both bases, adjustable footrests with heel guards and straps, and a contoured seat.

Uniquely, it combines air resistance, for a natural, dynamic response during rowing, with 16 levels of automatic magnetic resistance for overall tension adjustment. Its multi-window console has the most important workout metrics and 10 workout programs.

Quieter than most air resistance rowers, the ERG700 will not disappoint.

Resistance Mechanism: Magnetic/Air



The NetDigz Editors rate the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus as the Optional Best Value Rowing Machine.
  Photo by Fitness RealityPinterest Pin for Optional Best Value Rowing Machine
 
The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus features construction sturdy enough to support 250 lbs. and users up to 6'5" tall. It has a folding frame design, with transport wheels integrated into the front base, adjustable stabilizers on the rear base, and a cushioned and contoured seat.

It has 14 levels of smooth magnetic resistance, supported by an exercise meter that tracks time, distance, count, SPM, and calories burned. Its quiet operation is complimented by integrated Bluetooth, compatibility with the free MyCloudFitness app, and a smartphone holder.

Its overall quality construction and features makes it a strong value contender.

Resistance Mechanism: Magnetic



The NetDigz Editors rate the Lanos Hydraulic as the Optional Best Budget Rowing Machine.
  Photo by LanosPinterest Pin for Optional Budget Rowing Machine
 
The Lanos Hydraulic Rower is a much appreciated option in the budget category that features manual hydraulic resistance control, secure rubber gripped handles, and pivoting footplates equipped with 2-position safety straps.

Its surprisingly solid construction is rated for users weighing up to 330 lbs. and up to 6'7" tall. With a foldable design for easy storage and a LCD monitor that displays time, row count, and calories burned, the Lanos Hydraulic Rower offers a lot at this price.

Resistance Mechanism: Hydraulic



Rowing Machines: Magnetic | Air | Water | Xterra | Teeter