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A rowing machine is one of the best home gym equipment investments you can make if you’re looking for low-impact, full-body exercise or just want to reap the benefits of cardio. But not all rowers are created equal (in performance or design). 

If you like the way wooden frame rowing machines look but can’t see yourself forking out thousands of dollars for one, we’ve got some good news: The MERACH 950 Dual Resistance Wood Rower offers a modern design for under $1,200. In this MERACH 950 rower review, we’ll cover the resistance options, foldable design, Bluetooth functionality, and more. Let’s dive in!

We’ve Tested More Than 60 Rowing Machines 

Your friends at Garage Gym Reviews aren’t just a bunch of gym bros off the street—we’re a group of Olympic-level athletes, gym owners, and certified personal trainers. We’ve collectively tested more than 60 different rowing machines to help us understand which ones are the best rowing machines for home gyms. 

For this MERACH 950 Rower review our lead reviewer for Garage Gym Reviews Everything YouTube channel, Lindsay Scheele, used the rowing machine for HIIT workouts and endurance sessions before giving her full review. 

Lindsay is not only an expert with equipment, she’s also an ISSA-certified personal trainer. During her testing process, she used our detailed fitness equipment testing methodology to review and rate different categories on a scale of 1 to 5 including the durability, ergonomics, tech capabilities, and general customer experience.  

MERACH 950 Rower

MERACH 950 Dual Resistance Wood Rower

GGR Score: 3.65 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Dual resistance rowing machine
  • Water and magnetic resistance
  • Durable oak wood frame
  • Foldable design
  • 16 levels of resistance

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Double tracks
  • Dual resistance
  • Foldable
  • Upright storage

Cons

  • Requires water tank maintenance
  • Needs power for magnetic resistance
  • Limited programming with app

Bottom Line

The MERACH 950 Dual Resistance Wood Rower offers more than just water resistance, you’ll have the ability to dial in your resistance with 16 levels of magnetic resistance. The folding design is space saving and can be stowed upright.

A Quick Look at the MERACH 950 Rower

MERACH is a budget-conscious fitness brand that manufactures exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, and rowers. When it comes to rowing machines, MERACH offers traditional single-resistance machines (magnetic resistance or water resistance) and two models with dual resistance, featuring both a water tank and magnetic drag.

The MERACH 950 is a dual-resistance machine built with a high-quality oak wood frame. To keep costs down, you’ll utilize your own smartphone or tablet instead of paying for a built-in one.

RELATED: Water Rower vs Magnetic Rower 

Before You Buy

  • The MERACH app is free and offers auto resistance adjustments, but is rather limited for experienced exercisers. 
  • The LCD display is small and circular and may be hard for some people to read workout metrics while working out. 
  • Our testers found filling the water tank cumbersome because the opening isn’t big enough for a regular garden hose. 

MERACH 950 Rower Full Video Review

Is the MERACH 950 Rower Worth It?

The MERACH 950 is a solid machine for low-impact home workouts and the ability to increase cardiovascular endurance, but it will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Compared to other wooden-framed rowing machines with high-tech consoles or interactive programming, the MERACH falls a bit short. 

However, for anyone who’s not interested in a monthly subscription for cardio programming, we totally appreciate the fact this machine can run as-is without programming or you can utilize the free MERACH app. Either way, you’ll never be locked into a monthly fitness subscription.  

RELATED: Best Rowing Apps

Plus, the $1,200 price is intriguing compared to similar rowers on the market. And at the time of writing this review, the price dropped $400 during a sale period. Based on our hands-on experience with the machine, if you’re not married to the idea of Peloton-like programming the MERACH will be just fine. We score the 950 Rower at 4 out of 5 stars for price and value. 

Great for:

  • Low-impact workouts 
  • Anyone on a budget
  • Customized resistance 

Not recommended for:

  • Advanced programming 
  • Folks who struggle with mobility 
  • Exercisers used to the Concept2 resistance system 

MERACH 950 Dual Resistance Wood Rower Specs

Price$1,199
Footprint78.74″ L x 19.69″ W x 19.69″ H
Weight85 lbs (in box)
User weight capacity350 lbs 
User height capacity6’7”
Resistance typeDual resistance: air and magnetic 
Resistance levelUnlimited water; 16 levels of magnetic resistance 
DisplaySmall LCD touchscreen 
ProgrammingFree MERACH app 
Warranty 1 year

Workout Experience on the MERACH 950 Rower 

When it comes to the rowing machine itself, our tester Lindsay enjoyed her workouts on the MERACH 950 Rower. Lindsay says the dual seat rails are smooth and the pull strap is super consistent. She even notes the sound from the water tank had a soothing effect, similar to real-water rowing. 

It’s the programming that fell short for her. “When you compare the MERACH app to Aviron, Ergatta, or Hydrow it just doesn’t stand up,” says Lindsay. Plus, the dual resistance wasn’t as robust as Lindsay had hoped. The water tank provided the most resistance, while the magnetic resistance added next to nothing for additional drag.

RELATED: Best Magnetic Rowers

Footprint and Portability

The MERACH 950 Rower won’t be a hassle to stow or wheel around your home gym. The machine earns a 4-out-of-5-star rating from Lindsay in this category. 

When it’s not in use, you can stow it upright or use the folding mechanism to push the back half of the rower toward the water tank like a drawer. Unfolded, it’s about 6.5 feet long and can be folded to save about 2 feet of length. Lindsay thinks the folding mechanism is a bit unnecessary since it can be stowed upright, but knows it might be ideal for some folks. 

Lindsay says the MERACH 950 is lightweight (85 pounds dry) and easy to cart around with transport wheels. “The wheels on the front are pretty decent—I had no problems rolling it on the gym floor or the turf we have at GGR HQ,” she says. 

RELATED: Best Water Rowers

Durability and Construction

Lindsay found the MERACH 950 to be solid and locked to the ground during workouts. She notes the user weight capacity is 350 pounds, which contributes to the overall durability. While this exceeds the industry standard, we’ve tested rowers (like the Concept2) that have an impressive 500-pound user weight capacity.

RELATED: Concept2 RowErg Review

And when it comes to the construction of the 950 Rower, Lindsay says the oak wood frame is very sturdy and well built. She also appreciates the dual-rail design the seat rolls on, which offers a smooth glide during all portions of the row: drive, catch, and release. It’s also constructed with a belt strap (versus a chain) which contributes to the ultra-smooth row. 

RELATED: How to Use a Rowing Machine

“It’s an incredibly smooth rowing experience, on par with the Ergatta and about half the cost,” says Lindsay. 

Her only concern when it comes to durability, is the folding mechanism. “Moving parts on a machine are typically where we see something jam or break,” she says. For this reason, the MERACH 950 earns a 4 out of 5 stars. 

Adjustability and Ergonomics

When it comes to adjustability and ergonomics, the MERACH earns a 3.5-out-of-5-star rating. Lindsay gave it a middle-of-the-road score because there were a few things she liked and a few things that could use improvement. 

The seat is contoured and comfortable, but it’s very low to the ground. “Older folks or anyone with mobility issues may struggle to get down to the rower’s seat or up off it,” says Lindsay. 

The foot pedals are adjustable and can fit a wide range of shoe sizes, but Lindsay didn’t like the fact they were narrow. Again, she notes folks with mobility issues may have a problem with comfortably positioning their feet just a few inches apart. 

RELATED: Rowing Workouts for Beginners

And lastly, Lindsay says the handlebars are just OK. There is no curve, and the handlebar is fairly narrow, which is not her preference. 

Technology and Conveniences

The MERACH 950 Rower earns 3 out of 5 stars in the technology department. Lindsay says it’s not void of tech, but it won’t blow you away either. The feature she was most excited to test was the automatic magnetic resistance control. Lindsay used the MERACH app on her personal smartphone and connected to the machine via Bluetooth (which she thought was a bit tricky to figure out, but eventually did). 

In theory, the automatic control via the MERACH app works much like the auto-adjust feature on iFIT-enabled machines, where the resistance is controlled through the programming and changes based on the intervals or coaching cues. 

RELATED: iFIT Reviews

Lindsay says she could see the resistance changing on the display, but barely noticed any difference in difficulty. Keep in mind the MERACH has two forms of resistance: water and magnetic. That means when Lindsay starts workouts on the MERACH, the water tank provides preliminary resistance. 

The other callout Lindsay has in the tech department is the small display. It offers a bright backlit LED touchscreen, but it’s circular and no more than 3 inches in diameter. Lindsay says it may be hard for everyone to see their workout metrics on such a small screen—including strokes per minute, duration, calories burned, and pace. 

When it comes to the MERACH app, our testers agree it’s a welcome relief when a fitness company offers a free app to pair with equipment rather than forcing users into endless monthly subscriptions. However, compared to apps you have to pay for, the MERACH app pales in comparison. 

“There is a surprising amount of variety and classes,” says Lindsay. “However, the instruction and video quality was sort of uninspiring compared to iFIT and Peloton. Plus, the music was kind of lame.” 

RELATED: Peloton vs iFIT

MERACH 950 Rower vs Ergatta Lite

Ergatta Lite

Ergatta Lite

GGR Score: 4.1 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Water resistance rowing machine
  • Oak frame
  • Shorter length than Ergatta Rower
  • Made in the USA
  • Touchscreen display

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Frees shipping
  • 30-day risk-free trial
  • Easy assembly
  • Ergatta membership not required, but recommended
  • Small footprint

Cons

  • Narrow foot placement
  • Low seat
  • Limited resistance adjustability

Bottom Line

The Ergatta Lite is made in the USA and handcrafted from oak. It features a 17.3-inch touchscreen display that is Bluetooth and Apple watch compatible. The Ergatta membership is optional, but with it you will have access to game-based workouts, scenic workouts, form check with AI coaching, live racing, and more.

The MERACH 950 Rower and the Ergatta Lite both feature sleek oak wood frames, similar weight capacities, and comparable dimensions. 

The main difference is the tech capabilities and programming that come with the additional monthly subscription if you go with the Ergatta Lite. The Ergatta Lite has a built-in 17-inch touchscreen to stream gamified workouts, instructor-led workouts, and live races. You can even integrate your workouts with certain smartphone apps or your Apple Watch. 

The price is also comparable, but for $600 less, you can get a similar rower without paying for a touchscreen display. However, if you’re into the idea of fun and engaging workouts through games or instruction, the Ergatta Lite is the way to go. Just keep in mind the Ergatta app is an additional $29 per month. 

We have more details in our in-depth Ergatta Lite review

MERACH 950 RowerErgatta Lite
Price$1,199$1,799
Footprint78.74″ L x 19.69″ W x 19.69″ H82” L x 23” W 38” H
Product weight85 lbs (in box)72 lbs (filled) 
User weight capacity350 lbs 320 lbs
User height capacity 6’7”6’4” 
Warranty 1 year5-year frame, 3-year components,
1-year tablet

Customer Experience 

The MERACH 950 rowing machine comes standard with a one-year warranty. That warranty does not cover water damage, misuse, improper assembly, improper storage, or normal wear and tear. Essentially, the warranty covers workmanship defects for the first year. 

There is an additional one-year warranty policy you can buy, but we don’t think it makes sense for most people to buy because the warranty covers so little to begin with. If you are interested in the extended warranty, you’ll have to register your rowing machine on the MERACH website within the first 14 days after purchase. 

If you need to return your rowing machine, you’ll have a 30-day window to contact customer service, get your return authorized, and return the rower in the original packaging in like-new condition. You’ll also be on the hook for any fees to ship the rower back. 

To contact MERACH, there is a general inquiry contact page on the website. There are no phone numbers, email addresses, or live chat functions. For this reason, MERACH earns a 3-out-of-5-star rating for customer experience. 

Ordering and Assembling the MERACH 950 Rower

The ordering process is easy on the MERACH website and you’ll have several payment options at checkout including PayPal, GooglePay, ApplePay, and financing options with Klarna. 

You may also like knowing that the MERACH rowing machine arrives at your door almost fully assembled. It arrives in a rather heavy box—weighing about 85 pounds and measuring about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide—but once you’ve completed the unboxing, you’re pretty much good to go. 

Lindsay says the most difficult part of setting up for your first rowing workout is filling the water tank. “The fill hole on the water tank is smaller than the diameter of a garden hose,” says Lindsay. At first, Lindsay used a watering can but then used a sprayer attachment on the garden hose with a very narrow stream to fill the tank.

Customer Reviews

On the MERACH fitness website, there are currently under 200 customer reviews and an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. On Amazon, there are about the same number of customer reviews and an average rating of 4.4 out of stars. 

Overall, most customers are happy with the rower, but some folks have similar callouts to Linday’s review: Not enough drag from the magnetic resistance and lackluster programming in comparison to well-known apps like iFIT and Peloton. 

Final Verdict of Our MERACH 950 Rower Review

After our experience with the MERACH 950 Rower, it’s safe to say it’s a well-built machine but lacks the engaging programming to make it stand out. If you’re on the hunt for a quality rower that won’t destroy your savings account or slowly eat away your monthly budget with subscription fees, the MERACH 950 is worth considering. 

That said, we don’t recommend this rower for seniors or folks who lack mobility based on how low the seat is to the ground and the narrow footplate placement.

Full Rating

MERACH 950 Rower

The MERACH 950 Dual Resistance Wood Rower offers more than just water resistance, you’ll have the ability to dial in your resistance with 16 levels of magnetic resistance. The folding design is space saving and can be stowed upright.

Product Brand: MERACH

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 1199

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.65

MERACH 950 Power Rating

Footprint and portability  – 4
Delivery and setup – 4
Durability and construction – 4
Customizations  – 3
Adjustability and ergonomics – 3.5
Tech capabilities – 3
Price and value – 4
Customer experience  – 3
Customer reviews – 4.4
Buy Now

MERACH 950 Rower: FAQs

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?

Rowing for weight loss may help with total-body fat loss, but fat loss cannot be spot-treated. Exercise alone may not help you reach your weight-loss goals, but nutrition plays a huge role in weight loss and body composition changes. 

Can you get in shape by just rowing?

Although most folks will benefit from a combination of cardiovascular and strength exercise, rowing machines offer a unique combination of both strength and endurance. That said, rowing workouts are not necessarily the ideal solution for total-body strength or addressing left-to-right imbalances. 

Is 20 minutes of rowing enough?

Depending on your fitness goals, 20 minutes of rowing could be enough to supplement your established fitness routine. However, the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, which works out to about 21 minutes per day or about 30 minutes five times per week. 

Do magnetic rowers have enough resistance?

Many magnetic rowers offer plenty of resistance for interval training, endurance rowing, and rowing sprints. 

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