After researching over 65 rowing machines, using 13 of them, and legitimately testing 5 of them, we've determined that the Concept 2 Model D Rower is the best rowing machine for most people. Factoring in durability, performance, warranty, price, and availability, the Concept 2 Model D Rower offers the best value and is the generally agreed upon option for those seeking a rowing machine that will last.

Benefits of using a rowing machinekeyboard_arrow_up

There are many different cardio machines available for your use. Nearly all can provide a "good" workout, so long as they are consistently used with varying amounts of intensity. So, the question really is, why should you use a rowing machine versus the myriad of other options that are available?

Simply put, rowing machines require the user to use every muscle in the body through full ranges of motion. There isn't a motor propelling the treadmill belt and forcing you to follow, there aren't arms that limit your range of motion like what's found on Air Bikes (see our full guide on the subject here). You propel the machine, and in return, the machine makes you a more physically capable person.

If you've ever used a rowing machine, then you understand the stimulation and strengthening that is placed on the heart and lungs. Thanks to its versatility, the rower can be used for sprint intervals all the way up to very long, marathon type training. This allows the user to decide how to use the rower for their goals, whether it's fat burning, performance, or both.

One of the major benefits, especially for those that have spent much of their life running with an improper gait, is that the rower is low impact and non-weight bearing. High-impact activities like playing sports involve lots of running, jumping, and stress on joints. For people with a history of injuries that have left them with bad knees and backs, the rowing machine is ideally suited.

To understand the benefits of rowing, one only needs to spend 30 seconds on the machine. Whether pushing off the platforms in a squat manner to extending the hips and pulling the handle to your body, the rowing machine is an incredibly versatile and effective machine.

The best cardio machine, however, is the one you actually use. Many people enjoy the movements required in rowing. They enjoy the sound of their breath combined with the whirring of the fan wheel. There is no doubt that the enjoyment that comes from rowing is superior to that of a standard treadmill.

Whether you're an athlete looking to improve performance or simply someone trying to live a healthier life, the rowing machine can help you achieve your goals. 

How we picked and testedkeyboard_arrow_up

To compile our list of rowing machines, we researched all of the major manufacturers as well as reached out to industry experts and various forums such as r/homegym. In addition to this, we went to Garage Gym Reviews HQ to rank and test what we liked and didn't like about all of the most popular models. After researching over 65 different rowers worth your time and money, we narrowed it down to our top picks.

There is an overwhelmingly large amount of rowing machines available at nearly every price point today. Thanks to the increase of people working out in their homes along with the popularity of rowing, in large part due to CrossFit, there are now more options than ever (much more than we anticipated.) Whether you want to spend under $100 on a rower with resistance provided by hydraulic cylinders or over $1,600 on a WaterRower made out of handcrafted Black Walnut, there is something that will suit your fancy.

Due to the varying amount of options, our goal was to stick to rowers that we had used thoroughly, were highly reviewed, or recommended by respected people in the industry. The rowers we picked are all worth considering, it just depends on your goals and budget. Ultimately, after some deliberation, we narrowed down our specifications to the following list of features ordered in no particular order.

  • Overall Construction: Although the rowing machines we recommend are not always the most expensive you can find, they are ones that feature the best overall construction within their price ranges. The welds are clean, the connection points are solid, and everything from the seat rolling smoothly to the flywheels spinning freely are as one would desire.
  • Durability: A rower should last a LONG time; we're talking decades and similar to other areas of fitness equipment, with rowing machines, you often get what you pay for. A rowing machine should be able to take, within reason, whatever type of intensity you can throw at it.
  • Mode of Resistance: Pretty much every rower gets their resistance from one of three different modes. Hydraulic cyclinders which are featured on less expensive rowing machines, flywheels that spin against air, or flywheels that spin against water. We suggest staying away from hydraulic cylinders and focusing mainly on air rowing options.
  • Monitor: The monitor used to track the various metrics should be both accurate and easy to use. Nearly every company uses a different monitor and some are good while most are inaccurate and basic.
  • Fluidity: The chain or cord attached to the handle and flywheel should provide a fluid motion start and return. Cheaper rowing machines will have abrupt starts and returns including the seat rollers. The more closely the rowing machine experience relates to true water rowing, the better.
  • Maintenance: Rowing machines should be low maintenance. Fitness equipment is designed to improve performance, not mechanical skills and despite a rower being more complex than a barbell, it shouldn't require much more maintenance.
  • Price: The price of the rowing machine should be in accordance with the features offered. Value is more important the just a low retail price and what we've found with rowing machines is the more you spend, the more you get, up to $1,000.
  • Warranty: A warranty should be offered and the company should stand behind that warrant with great customer service.

During testing, we performed both long and short duration intervals including sprints and grueling long distance rowing events. We examined the build quality, opened up the various components to see how they were built, and spoke to representatives from different companies. Finally, we asked for the opinion of others on what rowing machines they've used and what they liked/disliked about each.

Our top pick: Concept 2 Model D Rowerkeyboard_arrow_up

Top Pick
Concept 2 Model D Rower
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Features an advanced PM5 Performance Monitor, improved ergonomically designed handles, adjustable foot-rests, and a flywheel designed for smooth movement with minimal noise. The Model D has a comfortable 14" (seat) height with an aluminum I-beam monorail and stainless steel track for a consistent back-and-forth slide. When done training, you can quickly break down the rower into two segments for storage or use the included caster wheels for easy transport. Rogue offers an optional space saving wall hanger. The Concept 2 Rower provides one of the more comprehensive, full-body workouts of any fitness machine. Engineered to last a lifetime, it's low impact enough for use in physical rehabilitation centers, and intensive enough to be used by the world's fittest athletes. The Concept 2 uses air resistance generated by the fanned flywheel. To adjust how much air enters the flywheel housing on each stroke, the Model D Rower includes a unique spiral damper adjustable from a setting of 1 to 10. This functions much like the gears on a bike, affecting how much energy will be needed to accelerate from one stroke to the next. 10 allows in the most air for more wind resistance. For most people the recommended settings is from 3-5. The PM5 is another leap forward in what a performance monitor can do. Track distance, speed, pace, calories burned, and watts—all presented on a clear, backlit display. Connects to wireless heart rate monitors and via bluetooth to the optional ErgData app to track detailed workout data. The monitor itself can be custom positioned using the adjustable monitor arm. USB flash drive compatible and built for machine-to-machine racing. Designed to last, the Concept 2 rowing machines offer a comprehensive fully transferable warranty. From home gyms, to Olympic training centers, to major professional sports teams, Concept 2 has been put to the test time and again. The Concept 2 Rower includes everything you need for a quick set-up. The front legs are installed using 8 screws, and clear, concise instructions are included. Your machine will be up and ready to use within 20-30 minutes of opening the box. Includes PM5 Performance Monitor** Flywheel design for smooth feel, minimal noise Spiral Damper with adjustable 1-10 settings Ergonomic handle promotes natural arm and hand position. 14" (seat) moves smoothly on aluminum rail / stainless steel track Adjustable monitor arm and simple two-part separation for compact storage Flexfoot footrests adjust for quick and easy sizing Easy assembly with tools and illustrated instructions included Caster wheels for mobility

The Concept 2 Model D Rower needs little introduction. If you've ever step foot into a CrossFit gym or just about any other serious training center, you've likely seen the black or gray Concept 2 Rower. Sometimes when you see a piece of equipment in many different places, it's because it's inexpensive.

The Concept 2 Rower, however, has infiltrated so many different home gyms, training centers, CrossFit boxes, and globo gyms because it's both effective and bomb-proof.

There is not a piece of equipment we can think of that compares to the dominance Concept 2 has in the rowing machine market. There are many different rowing machines on the market today, however, they simply pale in comparison to the Model D Rower.

Concept 2 has not only refined the rowing machine, it created the category. Decades ago, the two founders of Concept 2 strapped a chain to a free spinning bicycle wheel, and as they say in show business, the rest is history.

There are quite a few reasons why the Concept 2 Rower sells as well as it does, but one of the big ones is its ease of use.

Literally, anyone from those who row for sport to those who simply want to improve their health can jump on the rower and get an outstanding training effect with hardly any effort to get started other than during the movements. There are few adjustments required for the machine to be used between users and even less knowledge needed to begin pulling on the handle.

Yes, there is obviously technique involved, but we would say that to get to a proficient level of rowing technique requires little practice. Notice we said "proficient," not "world-class."

For anyone looking to add a rower to their training arsenal, one of the most important features is to have a machine that is going to last. As we've seen with some air bikes and treadmills, not all cardio equipment is made for the long haul.

The Concept 2 Model D Rower is not only stated to last a very long time, but it's also been proven in some of the most brutal training conditions there are, CrossFit Gyms and YMCA's. If a rower can handle the abuse that CrossFitters and commercial gym owners place on equipment, then it can pretty much take anything.

One of the differing features between the Concept 2 Rower and some others is its use of air resistance. There are many different types of rowers available, but the most popular outside of air-resistance rowers is magnetic and water resistance. Magnetic resistance creates a constant force that feels the same throughout the entire stroke. This is both boring and awkward during rowing strokes. Water resistance is most like rowing on the water, however, due to many different shortcomings we'll list later on in our review of the WaterRower, it fails in comparison to air resistance.

Air resistance is the best type of resistance for a rowing machine due to the training effect provided during use as well as the ease of maintenance. The starting point of the row on the Concept 2 is the hardest and as momentum is built, the flywheel increases in speed and allows you to end your row stroke with satisfaction. The Concept 2 Rower is so great, because it will actually get used. Once you feel the satisfaction of rowing, you will get hooked.

The Concept 2 Model D Rower's frame is made of mostly aluminum and hard plastic. The aluminum provides a solid, yet lightweight base, while the hard plastic components provide protection for the internal parts of the rower, such as the flywheel.

The rail of the Concept 2 Rower is polished and when the ergonomic seat is attached, it provides a smooth experience no matter the weight of the user. The seat of the Concept 2 Rowers is a bit firmer than others available. The reason for this makes complete sense and although we haven't had any personal issues with the seat, there have been some novice users who complain of its hardness. The firmness of the seat is to provide circulation that can't be had with a more padded seat. If you feel the need for more padding, there are many third-party seat pads available, although we wouldn't recommend them.

Attached to the handle, which by the way features a good diameter for the average user along with enough grip to prevent slippage even when wet, is a chain. The chain wraps around a cog inside of the front of the machine that spins a flywheel, providing the air resistance. Here's a schematic of the Model D for those interested:

Although the schematic makes the machine appear quite complex, it's actually rather simple when compared to many other cardio machines.

The official name for machines like a rower is, "ergometer's." Basically, this means exercise machines equipped with apparatus' that measure work performed on the machines. The monitor, and one that is pretty much the industry standard, is the Concept 2 Performance Monitor. All rowers sold by Concept 2 come with the latest Performance Monitor that is able to track every metric you'd ever want to know and more.

The current Performance Monitor being sold alongside Concept 2 rowers is the PM5. The PM5 allows the user to see:

  • Elapsed time
  • Stokes per minute
  • Average pace
  • Split meters
  • Heart rate
  • Projected meters in 30 minutes

And that's all on one easy to read screen. There are many other metrics, games, intervals, and features in addition to that. It is a fact that no monitor currently available on rowing machines has the capacity or abilities that the Performance Monitor does. The majority of users will have no need for most features, but, the best part is having them won't hinder a novice from jumping on and getting a great workout.

One fun part of the Concept 2 Rower that no other rower holds a candle to is their worldwide leaderboard that allows you to see how you stack up to others across the world in various challenges. If you're looking for motivation to get on the rower, then this is an awesome feature that should help you to put in more meters at a more intense pace.

When in use, the Concept 2 Rower takes up about the same amount of space as other rowing machines, but can be easily maneuvered using the front wheels to be stood upright and out-of-the-way. Should you want even more portability, the Concept 2 Rower breaks down into two separate pieces for easy storage.

Finally, the Concept 2 Model D isn't any more expensive than other rowing machines on its level. Sure, there are cheaper options, but we would recommend spending a little bit more to get a much better-performing machine.

The Concept 2 Model D Rower is our pick for the best rowing machine for most people.

Find more details including purchase info here.

The less-expensive runner-up: Xebex Air Rowerkeyboard_arrow_up

If you want a rowing machine that is slightly more affordable and are okay having an inferior monitor, we also like the Xebex Rower. Unlike our top pick, the Xebex Rower hasn't been on the market very long and proved its durability to the level that the our top pick, the Concept 2 Rowers have. Don't get us wrong, the Xebex Rower is an outstanding rower and stole our runner-up spot for a reason.

With a piece of equipment like a rowing machine, you want something that is going to last, and do so with little maintenance. As a whole, the Get RXd Xebex Rower is made to the standards of abuse that CrossFit Affiliates worldwide have and will unleash upon it.

Runner-Up
Xebex Air Rower
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Easy to Get In and OutHave the comfort and ease of getting into and out of a machine that's "dining chair height." The 20" seat height makes it simple to sit in and sit out after a long workout, if your knees don't bend like they once did, or from a wheelchair. Storage and Transport Made EasyXebex Air Rowers fold in half taking up less than 50% of original footprint! Only 3' long x 20" wide footprint when folded. Folding and transporting takes less than 5 seconds: pull the Xebex Air Rower Pull Pin until the rail touches the ground. Lift the rail upwards until it clicks into position (no tools required) - and that's it! Now that it's folded, you're able to roll the Xebex Air Rower on 4 wheels out of the way and into storage with just 1 hand.Adjust amount of Drag for Any AbilityYou are in control of your output and resistance at all times. The amount of work you do is directly calculated by how hard you row. Row harder to go faster, row easier to go slower. The spiral damper allows you to quickly adjust the airflow to the flywheel from little drag at Setting 1, to max drag at Setting 10. This is much like rowing with little drag or shallow paddle depth at 1, to max drag with deep paddle depth at 10. You can change the feel of the stroke to suit your preference. The flywheel design produces a smooth feel and minimizes noise.Smoother, More Comfortable Rowing ExperienceXebex Air Rower seats feature extra-padded, high-density foam ergonomically designed for maximum comfort while rowing. Our uniquely designed fan to utilize air resistance allows the user to enjoy a smoother, more comfortable rowing experience that maintains momentum immediately from your initial pull. Enjoy a smooth, momentum-building pull with every stroke. Durable ConstructionXebex Air Rowers are known for their durability and construction. Our nearly 100 LB base provides a stable foundation for nearly any user weight. We use metal and steel where others don't. Our stainless steel chain is designed to last with minimal maintenance required.

Although this is the audience who it's largely made for, it's not the only people who would benefit from the rower. That said, if the rower can stand up to a CrossFit Box, it can absolutely do well anywhere else.

From a stability and construction standpoint, the Xebex rower is solid. In fact, It weighs slightly more than our top pick, the Concept 2 Model D which can increase stability, but can also make it a bit difficult to move.

Although this is the audience who it's largely made for, it's not the only people who would benefit from the rower. That said, if the rower can stand up to a CrossFit Box, it can absolutely do well anywhere else.

From a stability and construction standpoint, the Xebex rower is solid. In fact, It weighs slightly more than our top pick, the Concept 2 Model D which can increase stability, but can also make it a bit difficult to move.

The parts of the rower that need to be the strongest are the legs and the piece that holds the fan up. These pieces are made of black powder-coated steel and we don't see them failing anytime soon. We tested the Xebex Rower with people weighing 250 lbs+ with full force and had no issues other than the rower scooting backward. This, however, is standard for all rowers when you have very high output weightlifters doing 100m sprints.

One part of the Xebex Rower that we actually preferred to the Concept 2 Model D Rower is the foot holders due to their ease of adjustability. The mechanism likely won't last as long on the Xebex Rower as the Concept 2 which is obviously important, but if you're running many different people through the rower, the Xebex foot adjustment is a nice feature.

The heart of any rower is the flywheel. It's essentially the drivetrain that allows there to be resistance. One look at the fan and you can see it's pretty much an identical copy of the Concept 2, at least from the outside.

The Xebex Rower has the same adjustments from 1-10 on the side that, contrary to popular belief, don't necessarily make for a harder workout, but rather just how much air enters the flywheel housing on each stroke. Think of the gears on a bike, which with each change in gear, affect the amount of energy needed to accelerate from one stroke to the next.

The internals allow the chain to pull smoothly with very little gap in the initial pull that some cheaper rowers are known for. The chain/shock cord do their jobs well, as well. We felt little difference between the Concept 2 and the Xebex Rower in this area which is a very important part.

The rail on which the seat glides is smooth and has a similar construction to the Concept 2 rower with the use of aluminum.The seat features rollers that allow the seat to glide along the rail with very little force or resistance. The seat on the Concept 2 and Xebex Rower are similar, although the Xebex Rower has more padding which makes it more comfortable at first. They're both fairly comfortable, but the back lip on the Xebex Rower allows you to feel a bit more secure.

The handle Xebex Rower is one of its worst features. It feels both cheap and a bit awkward due to how it's angled. This is the only piece of the rower that you will be holding onto, and you'll be doing so for long stretches of times, so it's important that it's comfortable. In the center of the handle is a plastic cover that is somewhat cheap and flimsy to cover the handle connection. If it were our choice, we would have just left it off.

When looking at the monitor of the Xebex Rower in comparison to the Concept 2 Rowers, it becomes apparent how much effort C2 has put in. Xebex has upgraded their monitor and although it's better, it's still lacking in many areas. You can track similar metrics on both monitors, including heart rate, however, they track differently.

And, this is an important point that needs to be addressed.

The Xebex Rower tracks calories and distance using a different formula than the PM5 on the Concept 2. This is a big deal for those that plan to use this rower in the CrossFit Open or in conjunction with the Concept 2. Xebex also doesn't have the worldwide leaderboard that is such a cool part of the Concept 2 experience.

Aside from the monitor and how it tracks distance and calories, if you shut your eyes, the Concept 2 and Xebex Rowers feel pretty similar in their experience due to both using air resistance. This said, due to the durability, construction, and features of the Concept 2 Rowers, we recommend them as our first option.

Find more details including purchase info here.

Another option: WaterRower Rowing Machinekeyboard_arrow_up

The WaterRower Rowing Machine is the most unique rowing machine in our comparison and likely the entire world. The difference between it and every other rowing machine is the use of water for its resistance instead of air or magnets.

When asking people what they like most about the WaterRower, the response we most often got was that it was, "the most aesthetically pleasing rowing machine available." Other than that, people liked to sound of the water during use, but no one made the statement that it was the most durable or accurate rowing machine available.

Another Option
WaterRower
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Rowing has long been recognized as the perfect aerobic pursuit, with naturally smooth and flowing movements that don't tax the joints but do boost the heart rate. Now you can take your rowing experience to the next level with the WaterRower Natural rowing machine. Using the same principles that govern the dynamics of a boat in water, the WaterRower Natural is outfitted with a "water flywheel" that consists of two paddles in an enclosed tank of water that provide smooth, quiet resistance, just like the paddles in an actual body of water. As a result, the machine has no moving parts that can wear out over time (even the recoil belt and pulleys don't require lubricating or maintaining). More significantly, the water tank and flywheel create a self-regulating resistance system that eliminates the need for a motor. As with real rowing, when you paddle faster, the increased drag provides more resistance. When you paddle slower, the resistance is less intense. The only limit to how fast you can row is your strength and your ability to overcome drag. And unlike conventional rowing machines, which tend to be jerky and jarring, the WaterRower Natural is remarkably smooth and fluid.From a fitness perspective, the WaterRower Natural works 84 percent of your muscle mass, helping tone and strengthen your muscles while burning far more calories than most other aerobic machines. The exercise is also low impact, as it removes all the body weight from the ankles, knees, and hips, but still moves the limbs and joints through a full range of motion--from completely extended to completely contracted. The WaterRower Natural is outfitted with a Series 4 performance monitor that's designed to balance technical sophistication with user-friendliness. The monitor--which includes six information and programming windows, six QuickSelection buttons, and three navigation buttons--displays your workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, zone bar, duration, and distance. Plus, the monitor is compatible with an optional heart rate chest strap and receiver, which helps you optimize your workout and achieve your exercise objectives.The WaterRower Natural is handcrafted in solid ash and stained honey oak for consistency of color. The wood was chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, especially its ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the WaterRower's quiet performance and smooth operation. Ash, like all woods used in the construction of the WaterRower, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. In addition, the wood is harvested from replenishable forests and is hand finished with Danish oil to provide a deep luster. Other details include dual rails with four corner wheels that increase seat stability and reduce the amount of sweat buildup; a frame that flips upright for handy storage; and a weight capacity of up to 1,000 pounds. The WaterRower Natural measures 84 by 21 by 22 inches (W x H x D), weighs 117 pounds (with water), and carries a one-year warranty on the frame and components (WaterRower will upgrade the warranty to five years on the frame and three years on the components with the completion of a registration form).

We agree, the WaterRower is one of the best looking pieces of gym equipment we've seen. The use of hardwood in gym equipment is rarely seen (due to its heft and low durability when compared to many metals) and it provides a really great look.

If a rower is going to be sitting out in your living room and you want to strike up conversations about it while drinking with your pinkies out (we kid, we kid) then the WaterRower is a great option.

Although the WaterRower is often remarked on as the most aesthetically pleasing rowing machine on the market, it's rarely said to be the absolute best.

Ourselves, and most others, choose fitness equipment based upon its performance over a long timeline. This isn't to say that the WaterRower isn't durable or a good machine for rowing, but in comparison to our top two picks, we feel it slides it at a solidified third.

As stated, the WaterRower uses water as it's resistance method. This has both advantages and disadvantages, however, we feel that the cons outweigh the pros. First, the advantages:

  • Quiet operation
  • Most similar to actual rowing

The WaterRower is the quietest rower among our picks, which is the main reason it made the list in the first place. There are some people who need the quietest equipment available, those with sleeping children and spouses (hopefully just one spouse) as well as those that live with neighbors who complain. Our other picks aren't overly loud, but in comparison to the WaterRower, fans make much more noise than swishing water.

The other big benefit of using water for resistance is that it most closely mimics actual rowing on the water. With this said, few who use indoor rowing machines ever get out on the water in a real rower and just about every crew (rowing) team in the world trains on our top pick, the Concept 2 Rower. The sound of the swishing water does provide a great audible feedback, however, that shouldn't be overlooked.

Now, the disadvantages of using water as the resistance method in an indoor rower:

  • Possible leaking
  • Higher maintenance
  • Mildew growth
  • Less durable housing
  • Less portability
  • Possible freezing if left in a garage in winter

As you can see, the disadvantages of using water for resistance outweigh the advantages, at least to us. The biggest problem with using water as the resistance method is the maintenance required. Eventually, no matter if you use triple-filtered, reverse osmosis, distilled water or whatever comes out of your tap, it will need to be changed eventually. Users have reported the water eventually smelling and causing mold spores to grow on the plastic.

The requirement to change water is obviously an annoyance, but the reports of leaking are another issue altogether.

Although water isn't our favorite option, the look of the wood that's most often used by WaterRower is something we really like. Obviously, even though hardwood is used, these rowers aren't going to hold up to the abuse that rowers made of aluminum and steel will. But, the WaterRower, at least the 'Natural' versions, aren't made for commercial use. They're designed to look good sitting in a home environment and while in use.

The WaterRower does have a monitor to track different metrics, although it's not quite as accurate or detailed as the Performance Monitors found on Concept 2 Rowers. One other issue surrounding the WaterRower monitor is that it's next to the foot placement on the right side. This may not sound like a big deal, but after a few thousand meters, it can get tiring looking down and to the right to see how much further you have to go.

Finally, the WaterRower is more expensive than all of our other top picks.

We suggest the WaterRower for those that want the quietest rowing experience possible along with an aesthetically pleasing design. There's no question, the WaterRower is a beautiful design, but due to the extra maintenance, cost, and monitor, the WaterRower is our third pick.

Find more details including purchase info here.

Budget pick: Stamina ATS Air Rowerkeyboard_arrow_up

The Stamina ATS Air Rower doesn't have the overall great features and durability of the Concept 2 Rower, the value of the Xebex Air Rower, or the unique qualities of the WaterRower, but it is inexpensive. Although we would suggest spending more on a rowing machine, especially if you plan on using it more than a handful of times, the Stamina ATS Air Rower is the absolute least expensive rower we would suggest anyone purchase.

The Stamina ATS Air Rower uses a flywheel in a similar manner as our top pick, the Concept 2 Rower to allow air resistance. One unique part of the Stamina ATS Air Rower is the frame is angled downwards instead of flat. This "increases the work placed on the legs" as they advertise, but in reality, it's mainly to put less stress on the machine during the pullback.

Budget Pick
Stamina ATS Air Rower
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Rowing is widely known by the fitness community as an effective exercise for toning major muscle groups, improving cardiovascular health and stimulating the metabolism for fat loss. Look no further than the Stamina ATS Air Rower for an affordable, versatile answer to all your rowing needs. The intuitive, wind-based resistance adapts to your desired intensity. To ramp up the difficulty, simply pull harder. Slow down for less. Track your results with the multi-function monitor during exercise to see your speed, distance, time and calories burned. Expect a comfortable and smooth workout with the over-sized and gliding seat rail, pivoting foot plates with adjustable nylon straps, padded and upholstered seat and textured handle. Once you're done exercising, fold the Stamina ATS Air Rower to save space.

Most of the reviews found on Amazon state they prefer a flat rower which is most popular, but we can understand why they would make the change. The ATS Rower features standard foot plates and seat. The seat is an upholstered seat that is pretty cushy which can cause a restriction of blood flow if used for too long.

The foot plates can fit just about any shoe size and thanks to the nylon straps that come standard on most rowers, your feet won't slip out.

The ATS Rower is somewhat stable, but we would not suggest sprinting on the unit as it can cause it to tip and eventually break the flywheel.

One nice feature of the ATS Rower is the ability to fold the machine in half for storage and portability. If you're short on space, this can be a nice benefit, although it's a feature seen among many other rowers as well.

The Stamina ATS Rower does have a monitor that displays speed, distance, time, and calories, although don't expect it to be very accurate.

One thing to consider with the ATS Rower is the how short the rail is that can prevent taller users from reaching a full stroke. The other rower is in our comparison can accommodate tall users, however, the ATS cannot.

If you want an inexpensive rower to find out if rowing is something you enjoy and will use, then the Stamina ATS Air Rower is one we would suggest. Otherwise, we suggest choosing one of our other options.

Find more details including purchase info here.

The competitionkeyboard_arrow_up

Concept 2 Model E Rower: We're big fans of every piece of equipment Concept 2 is making, and the Model E is no exception. The only reason we would suggest the Model E over the Model D is if you had an injury limiting your mobility for getting on a lower to the ground rower. Otherwise, they're pretty much identical.

TechnoGym SKILLROW: The TechnoGym SKILLROW has some cool features, but its price-point is a bit hard to swallow. We haven't been able to use it and weren't able to talk to anyone who had outside of the company. Until then, we will remain neutral.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rower: Magnetic rowers have a tendency to break down and require maintenance sooner than air rowers. The Sunny Health Rower is a very inexpensive option, but you also get what you pay for. We don't suggest this model.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine: The Body Trac Glider is one of the cheapest rowers available and uses gas-shock resistance instead of air. Gas-shock resistance rowers are known to not have a very long life for use and can be found broken at garage sales often. We don't suggest gas-shock resistance rowers, no matter the price. If you go through the Amazon reviews of the machine, you'll find it riddled with comments on it breaking after less than a year.

Stamina X Air Rower: The Stamina X Air Rower has a cool look to it, but we don't see any additional benefits of it over the Stamina ATS Rower other than the colors. It's also a bit more pricey and has quite a few negative reviews.

Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower: The Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower is pretty much the same as the Stamina X Air Rower and again doesn't have much more benefits over our budget pick that has a lower price point.

Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine: The Crewmaster is Schwinn's premier rowing machine offering and is unfortunately overpriced for its features. The Crewmaster hasn't been out long enough for many reviews, but based on its components, it's somewhat lacking for the price.

Stamina Avari Magnetic Rower: Magnetic rowers break quickly and this one is overpriced.

Stamina Wave Water Rowing Machine: If you're going to buy a rower with water resistance, go with WaterRower.

Xterra ERG400 Rower: Air and magnetic resistance is a good combination for disaster. Choose one or the other.

Top Pick
Concept 2 Model D Rower
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Features an advanced PM5 Performance Monitor, improved ergonomically designed handles, adjustable foot-rests, and a flywheel designed for smooth movement with minimal noise. The Model D has a comfortable 14" (seat) height with an aluminum I-beam monorail and stainless steel track for a consistent back-and-forth slide. When done training, you can quickly break down the rower into two segments for storage or use the included caster wheels for easy transport. Rogue offers an optional space saving wall hanger. The Concept 2 Rower provides one of the more comprehensive, full-body workouts of any fitness machine. Engineered to last a lifetime, it's low impact enough for use in physical rehabilitation centers, and intensive enough to be used by the world's fittest athletes. The Concept 2 uses air resistance generated by the fanned flywheel. To adjust how much air enters the flywheel housing on each stroke, the Model D Rower includes a unique spiral damper adjustable from a setting of 1 to 10. This functions much like the gears on a bike, affecting how much energy will be needed to accelerate from one stroke to the next. 10 allows in the most air for more wind resistance. For most people the recommended settings is from 3-5. The PM5 is another leap forward in what a performance monitor can do. Track distance, speed, pace, calories burned, and watts—all presented on a clear, backlit display. Connects to wireless heart rate monitors and via bluetooth to the optional ErgData app to track detailed workout data. The monitor itself can be custom positioned using the adjustable monitor arm. USB flash drive compatible and built for machine-to-machine racing. Designed to last, the Concept 2 rowing machines offer a comprehensive fully transferable warranty. From home gyms, to Olympic training centers, to major professional sports teams, Concept 2 has been put to the test time and again. The Concept 2 Rower includes everything you need for a quick set-up. The front legs are installed using 8 screws, and clear, concise instructions are included. Your machine will be up and ready to use within 20-30 minutes of opening the box. Includes PM5 Performance Monitor** Flywheel design for smooth feel, minimal noise Spiral Damper with adjustable 1-10 settings Ergonomic handle promotes natural arm and hand position. 14" (seat) moves smoothly on aluminum rail / stainless steel track Adjustable monitor arm and simple two-part separation for compact storage Flexfoot footrests adjust for quick and easy sizing Easy assembly with tools and illustrated instructions included Caster wheels for mobility

Further reading

The Best CrossFit Equipment for a Home Gym in 2019 Cover Image

The Best CrossFit Equipment for a Home Gym in 2019

CrossFit requires constantly varied movements performed at a high-intensity. Therefore, a home gym designed for CrossFit will require varied pieces of equipment made of high-quality (due to the intensity and work required.) These are the pieces of equipment and our suggestions for each to build the ultimate CrossFit home gym. Read More

The Best Air Bike for 2019 Cover Image

The Best Air Bike for 2019

After researching 15 air bikes, using 8 of them, and legitimately testing 6 of them, we've determined that the Rogue Echo Bike has dethroned the previous victor, the Schwinn Airdyne Pro as the best air bike for most people. Factoring in price, warranty, performance, durability, and ease of use, the Rogue Echo Bike offers the best performance and least amount of maintenance among all its competitors including the ever-popular Assault Bike. Read More

The Best Gymnastic Grips for CrossFit for 2019 Cover Image

The Best Gymnastic Grips for CrossFit for 2019

After researching nearly 25 Gymnastic Grips and legitimately testing 8 of them over the course of 35 workouts, we've determined that the best Gymnastic Grips for CrossFit currently available are the Leather 3-Finger Gymnastic Grips by Victory Grips. Read More

The Best Budget Home Gym Equipment for 2019 Cover Image

The Best Budget Home Gym Equipment for 2019

Just about everyone loves the idea of walking out of your garage door or into your basement or even into a bedroom and having a place where you can hone your physical and mental abilities. Unfortunately, many people have the idea that a home gym or garage gym has to be expensive; we’re here to crush that notion. Here is the best home gym equipment for those on a budget so you can start training at home on your time without breaking the bank. Read More