Home » Best rowing machines in 2024 – our top picks

Best rowing machines in 2024 – our top picks

Best rowing machines

If you’re looking for the best rowing machines, you’ve come to the right place. Rowing provides an excellent, low-impact cardio exercise using major muscle groups such as quads, hamstrings, and back muscles. When these muscles work in tandem, more fuel (calories) is burned compared to running on a treadmill, leading to a toned physique, increased…

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If you’re looking for the best rowing machines, you’ve come to the right place.

Rowing provides an excellent, low-impact cardio exercise using major muscle groups such as quads, hamstrings, and back muscles.

When these muscles work in tandem, more fuel (calories) is burned compared to running on a treadmill, leading to a toned physique, increased endurance and stamina, and a better mood, among other benefits. 

On top of that, rowing machines are generally easier to store and move around than treadmills. This adds a layer of accessibility, and some even feature games or virtual courses, which can increase the entertainment value. 

So, if you set out to look for a rowing machine, you might’ve seen that there are so many options from various brands with different functionalities and resistance types. And we understand that this process can be daunting, as picking a single option is easier said than done. 

To that end, we’ve put together this in-depth buying guide to help you make an informed decision. So, without further ado, let’s get right to it. 

Our list of the best rowing machines 

  • Best rowing machine overall: Hydrow Rower 
  • Best budget rowing machine: MERACH Q1S
  • Best foldable rowing machine: Echelon Row S
  • Best water rowing machine: WaterRower OAK

How we picked 

We looked at and researched various options from different brands and compared them based on their build quality, resistance type, price, railing, and other important features to present you with the best options to make an informed decision. We’re always updating our guides with the latest information, so check back for newer additions. 

Best rowing machine overall

No products found.

ProsCons
Virtually silent operationHigh price point 
Good amount of connectivity optionsRequires separate purchase of storing kit
Electromagnetic drag technology for water rowing experience 

If you’re looking for the best rowing machine, we recommend checking out the Hydrow Rower. 

Let’s start with the built quality. This rowing machine sports an aluminum and steel frame, which should provide a premium feel and a layer of durability. This build material also brings its total weight to around 145 pounds, enabling it to support up to 375 pounds. This means that people of various sizes can use this rowing machine without worrying about the frame or components. 

The Hydrow Rower features their patented electromagnetic drag technology. What this means is that you should get the experiencing of rowing on water from the comfort of your home. On top of that, the manufacturer claims that this machine’s seat and overall operation are virtually silent. This is great if you live in an apartment with thin walls or have pets or young ones. 

As far as connectivity options are concerned, this rowing machine comes with Bluetooth, WiFi, and ethernet capabilities. This means you can connect your wireless headset or earbuds to the machine and listen to music or audiobooks while working out. You also have the option to connect your fitness gadgets, such as Apple Watch or Strave, to keep track of your performance metrics. 

On top of that, it sports a 22” touchscreen screen that can be rotated 90° with front-facing speakers. This should add an extra layer of entertainment and provide an immersive experience as you can leverage the 4,000 live and on-demand workouts that take you across the globe. This feature, however, is behind a paywall, and you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription fee. 

If space is an issue for you, the Hydrow Rower provides a solution for that as well. You have the option to purchase the Upright Storage kit, which should enable you to store it vertically. Overall, the features and functionalities this rowing machine brings to the table give it the well-deserved top spot on our list.

Best budget rowing machine

No products found.

ProsCons
350 pounds maximum weight capacity No auto resistance functionality 
16 levels of magnetic resistance No built-in screen
Quiet operation 
Free courses and programs through the app

Were you looking for the best rowing machine that won’t put a dent in your wallet? Merach Q1S might be the option for you. 

The Merach Q1S features a frame made of aluminum and alloy steel, bringing its weight to around 45 pounds and giving it a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds. This means it should be durable enough to cater to multiple people and handle rigorous workouts daily while being light enough to move around. 

It features 16 levels of magnetic resistance. This is adjustable by turning the knob on the front so you can make it as light or as challenging as you want. The magnetic resistance also enables it to reduce noise without compromising performance. 

This rowing machine’s dual railing design and high weight capacity make it a great option, as it should provide next-level balance and sturdiness. At the top, you’ll see a console through which you can change or select the mode and keep track of your performance. 

However, if you want a more immersive experience, you can download the Merach app on Google Play or Apple App Store. It should provide free courses and preset programs that you can choose from. 

However, that’s not all. You can connect a mobile device or tablet via Bluetooth, put it in the device holder on the center console, and choose to go on a scenic rowing experience or play a game that will place you in dangerous waters. This should add a layer of entertainment and make your cardio sessions more exciting. 

All in all, taking into account the price bracket this rowing machine falls in and the features it comes with, it’s certainly one of the best rowing machines you can buy on a budget.

Best foldable rowing machine

No products found.

ProsCons
It can be folded in halfNeed the Echelon membership to get the most out of it
32 magnetic resistance levels
22” HD touchscreen
Resistance can be adjusted with the handle

If space concerns you and you’re looking for a rowing machine that doesn’t take up much of it, we recommend you check out the Echelon Row S. 

First, this rowing machine is made from alloy steel, giving it a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds and a total weight of 123 pounds. This means that it should be durable enough to handle people who are a bit on the heavier side and grueling workouts day after day. 

The Echelon Row S has 32 magnetic resistance levels, which can be adjusted with the controls on the rowing handle. This means that you won’t have to stop your workout and fiddle with a knob or buttons on the console to change the resistance level. This functionality should make your rowing sessions more efficient and challenging, as there will be next to no downtime between adjustments. 

It features a 22” HD touchscreen that is capable of rotating 180°. This means that if you’re paying for a monthly subscription for the Echelon Fit membership, you can rotate the screen and follow other available non-rowing exercises. 

A great feature of this rowing machine is that it can be folded, bringing its dimensions to 48” long, 24” wide, and 60” high. This should significantly reduce its footprint and make storage easier. 

The railing on this rowing machine is angled at 1.7°. This slight incline should provide a more natural rowing motion for optimum performance. On top of that, it provides 6 foot platform adjustments. This is great if you want to row with or without shoes or simply have big or small feet; you can adjust it for the perfect fit.

Best water rowing machine

No products found.

ProsCons
700-pound weight limitWater needs to be changed 
No chains or bearings in the designWood can get damaged 
Near instant resistance change
Weighs 38 kg

f you’re looking for the best water rowing machine, check out the WaterRower OAK. 

For starters, this rowing machine weighs approximately 38kg and has a maximum weight capacity of 700 pounds. This is the highest on our list and should speak toward its durability as the frame is made from oak wood. 

The WaterRower uses water as the main form of resistance, and that is for good reasons. It uses a unique WaterFlyWheel design, which works to provide instant resistance, a dispersed stroke, and a smooth rowing experience. Since the resistance mechanism is simple, there are no levels you can adjust; how you perform depends on you.

The harder you row, the more resistance you’ll face, and vice versa. This means you’re in control of your pace and must maintain your performance for the same resistance level. The water-based resistance model should also give a more natural rowing feel than the mechanical types. 

The seat is comfortably cushioned and should help to avoid soreness during prolonged sessions. On top of that, the operation of this rowing machine is quiet. One thing to note is that you must change the water as it can grow mold or purchase water purification tablets to avoid that. 

Overall, the foot pedals, smooth gliding, water resistance mechanism, and the aesthetic of it make it one of the best water rowing machines.

How to pick the best rowing machine

There are many factors to consider before investing in any product, including a rowing machine. We’ve listed some of the factors you need to keep in mind to help you make an informed decision.

Size

Before browsing for a machine, pick out a space in your home where you’re likely to keep your rower.

Take precise measurements, and understand that the rower you purchase will need to be slightly smaller than these dimensions. This way, you’ll have room to move without running into anything.

If your space is limited, you may want to consider a collapsible or folding model that can be stored between uses. This is a little less convenient than having a rower who is always out and ready to go, but it can be a realistic solution for the right person.

Portability & weight

Once you start looking, you’ll probably be amazed at how the weight of rowing machines varies from model to model. You may not want a heavier machine if you know you will have to move it from place to place. Conversely, you may find that a lighter model just isn’t as durable as one with more heft.

Of course, it’s also important to consider the machine’s weight in terms of moving it into your home. A back injury is not a good way to start a new exercise program. Make sure that you can move the machine yourself or enlist the assistance of a few helpful friends.

Comfort of seat

The seat’s comfort, or saddle, can make a big difference in your continued determination to use your rower.

A stiff, unforgiving saddle can take the fun out of your routine, making you reluctant to exercise on subsequent days. Although, people do say that it’s all about getting used to it.

Inexpensive rowers tend to have basic seats made from molded plastic or a similar material. As rowing machines get more expensive, the saddle tends to get cushier.

You can also buy seat cushions separately as add-ons; some are universal and would fit most seats and saddles, while others are made for specific models.

Display

Even the most affordable rowing machines have some sort of display that gives you information about your performance.

More expensive models may feature in-depth displays that provide pre-set programs and many options. As attractive as these are, they may not be of much use to you if you are a more casual rower.

If you aren’t certain that you want to use pre-set programs for your workouts and you don’t particularly care about a lot of really technical information, then you can certainly go with a more affordable rower that has a less sophisticated display.

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine? 

Rowing machines provide a good, low-impact cardio workout that uses most of the major muscle groups. More muscles working means you’re spending more fuel and burning fat/calories. So, as long as you have a healthy and controlled diet and a dedicated workout plan, you can lose belly fat using a rowing machine.

Verdict

No products found.

We compared the features, specifications, and functionalities of all the listed rowing machines and concluded that the best out of them all is the Hydrow Rower. First, it sports a steel and aluminum frame with a max weight capacity of 275 pounds. On top of that, the electromagnetic drag technology should provide an authentic water rowing experience; it has multiple connectivity options, a 22” touchscreen, speakers, and a kit that can be purchased for easy storage. 

If you’re looking to further kit out your gym, we’ve covered different equipment, like the best-curved treadmill or the best vertical climber as well.

About Tim & Lisa

Tim

Hey there, I’m Tim, co-founder of GymPerson.com.
I am a former fitness physique competitor with over 20 years of intense experience in strength training, weight lifting and body transformation.

I’m Lisa, a donut eater turned into a health conscious person turned into a marathon runner (side note: losing some 60+ pounds along the way!)

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