The Best Rowing Machine for Home Use

Purchasing a rowing machine is a wise step toward enhancing your complete well-being. This multi-functional exercise device provides an all-encompassing workout, focusing on both upper and lower body muscles in addition to promoting heart health. Whether you’re a beginner in the fitness world or an experienced athlete, a rowing machine can be a transformative element in your exercise regimen. With an array of options available, selecting the ideal machine may seem daunting. Fortunately, this comprehensive guide is here to simplify your decision by shedding light on key features, benefits, and top-performing models.

Table of Contents

Why a Rowing Machine?

Full-Body Workout

Rowing machines offer an all-in-one fitness solution by engaging key muscle areas like your legs, back, and arms, in addition to giving your heart a robust workout. This makes them an exceptionally effective option for anyone seeking a well-rounded exercise regimen without needing multiple pieces of gym equipment.


Rowing stands out as a low-impact activity, making it a versatile option for individuals across all age groups and fitness abilities, even for those with joint concerns.


The compact and often foldable design of many rowing machines makes them an ideal choice for homes where space is at a premium.

Key Features to Consider

Resistance Type

Various resistance systems are available in rowing machines, such as air, magnetic, hydraulic, and water. These mechanisms each have unique advantages and drawbacks, influencing factors like workout smoothness, adjustability, and even the amount of noise generated.

Build Quality

Opt for rowing machines constructed from durable materials like stainless steel or aluminum for longevity. The presence of a warranty is often a reliable sign of the machine’s enduring quality.

Data Tracking

The majority of contemporary rowing machines feature a display for monitoring metrics like distance covered, time elapsed, and calories expended. Some models even allow integration with fitness applications.


Rowing machine prices can fluctuate significantly, ranging from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand. Although a higher price tag often signifies superior quality, budget-friendly options are available that provide a commendable workout experience.

The Best Rowing Machine For Your Home GYM

Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine

The Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine is a high-end, innovative fitness equipment designed to bring the real-world rowing experience right into your living room. It offers a unique blend of cutting-edge technology, sleek design, and premium build quality. This machine aims to provide not just a workout, but a full-fledged rowing experience through its live and on-demand classes, real-time feedback, and immersive visuals. Let’s delve into its pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.


1. Immersive Experience

  • What It Is: The 22-inch touchscreen display offers high-definition workouts that mimic the experience of rowing on water, complete with trainers and scenic locations.
  • Why It’s Great: This makes workouts more enjoyable and can help motivate users to exercise regularly.

2. High-Quality Build

  • What It Is: The machine is constructed from industrial-grade materials like aluminum and steel, designed to last for years.
  • Why It’s Great: A durable machine is a long-term investment that pays off in extended use and reliability.

3. Live and On-Demand Classes

  • What It Is: Hydrow offers a wide range of live and pre-recorded classes led by professional athletes.
  • Why It’s Great: This feature provides a personalized touch, making your workout regimen more varied and engaging.

4. Quiet Operation

  • What It Is: Utilizes electromagnetic resistance, which is smoother and quieter than air or water resistance.
  • Why It’s Great: Ideal for home use, especially if you live in an apartment or don’t want to disturb other household members.

5. Real-Time Performance Metrics

  • What It Is: Detailed analytics like distance, split time, and calories burned are displayed in real-time.
  • Why It’s Great: Real-time metrics allow you to track your progress, set goals, and fine-tune your workouts for maximum effectiveness.


1. High Cost

  • What It Is: The Hydrow machine is priced at the higher end of the market.
  • Why It’s a Concern: The steep initial investment may not be feasible for everyone, making it less accessible.

2. Monthly Subscription Required

  • What It Is: To make the most out of the Hydrow’s features, a monthly subscription is needed.
  • Why It’s a Concern: This adds to the overall cost and might not be ideal for those who prefer a one-time purchase.

3. Space Requirements

  • What It Is: Despite its sleek design, the machine still takes up considerable floor space.
  • Why It’s a Concern: May not be suitable for smaller living spaces.

4. Limited Offline Utility

  • What It Is: Most of the advanced features require an internet connection.
  • Why It’s a Concern: If you don’t have reliable internet, you won’t be able to make the most of the machine’s capabilities.

Hydrow Wave Rowing Machine

The Hydrow Wave Rowing Machine is an advanced version of the company’s already prestigious lineup of rowing machines. Featuring cutting-edge technology and a commitment to delivering a lifelike rowing experience, the Hydrow Wave take the best parts of the original Hydrow machine and add a few more perks. Below is a comprehensive breakdown of what the pros and cons of such a machine might look like.


1. Next-Gen Immersive Experience

  • What It Is: Building upon its predecessor’s immersive features, the Hydrow Wave could offer an even larger screen and possibly virtual reality (VR) compatibility.
  • Why It’s Great: The heightened immersion can improve motivation and make the rowing experience more enjoyable.

2. Superior Build Quality

  • What It Is: High-quality materials like reinforced aluminum and steel could be expected.
  • Why It’s Great: A well-built machine ensures durability, translating into a longer-lasting investment.

3. Advanced Analytics

  • What It Is: Enhanced real-time analytics might offer more detailed insights into your workouts.
  • Why It’s Great: This would allow users to track their performance at a micro-level, making it easier to set and achieve goals.

4. Expanded Class Library

  • What It Is: An even broader range of live and on-demand classes with potential 360-degree camera angles.
  • Why It’s Great: More class options make it easier to find a workout that suits your mood, needs, and skill level.

5. Multi-User Profiles

  • What It Is: This new feature could allow multiple users to track their stats and progress separately.
  • Why It’s Great: It’s perfect for households with more than one person using the machine.


1. Premium Pricing

  • What It Is: Given its added features, the Hydrow Wave would likely come at a higher price point.
  • Why It’s a Concern: The high initial investment may not be within everyone’s budget.

2. Monthly Subscription Still Required

  • What It Is: Advanced features and class access would still necessitate a monthly subscription.
  • Why It’s a Concern: The ongoing costs could add up, making it less attractive to those who prefer a one-time payment.

3. Space and Set-Up

  • What It Is: With added features, the machine might require more floor space and possibly even special set-up for features like VR.
  • Why It’s a Concern: This could make it unsuitable for smaller homes or apartments.

4. Tech Dependence

  • What It Is: A reliance on high-speed internet and potentially other technologies for full functionality.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Users without reliable tech infrastructure won’t be able to make the most of the machine.

5. Learning Curve

  • What It Is: With more advanced features, there could be a steeper learning curve for non-tech-savvy users.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Some people might find the array of options overwhelming, making it less user-friendly.

Concept2 RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine

The Concept2 RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine with Tall Legs is a premium offering that promises durability, performance, and a broad range of features to take your indoor rowing to the next level. With its PM5 Monitor, device holder, adjustable air resistance, and easy storage capabilities, it aims to cater to both beginner and expert rowers. Below, we explore the machine’s pros and cons to help you determine if it’s the right fit for you.


1. Professional-Grade Quality

  • What It Is: The Concept2 RowErg is constructed with high-quality materials designed to withstand heavy use.
  • Why It’s Great: Ideal for those looking for a machine that will last for years, thus ensuring a solid return on investment.

2. PM5 Performance Monitor

  • What It Is: The advanced PM5 monitor offers a wide range of metrics, including stroke rate, distance, and calories burned.
  • Why It’s Great: Real-time data tracking helps to refine your technique and keeps you motivated.

3. Tall Legs for Easy Access

  • What It Is: This particular model comes with tall legs for easier accessibility.
  • Why It’s Great: Great for people with mobility issues or those who find low seats uncomfortable.

4. Adjustable Air Resistance

  • What It Is: The machine uses air resistance that can be easily adjusted to fit your desired intensity level.
  • Why It’s Great: Offers a wide range of resistance levels suitable for rowers at all skill levels.

5. Device Holder and Connectivity

  • What It Is: A built-in device holder can secure your tablet or smartphone, and it’s compatible with various fitness apps.
  • Why It’s Great: Allows for multi-tasking and entertainment, making your workouts more enjoyable.

6. Easy Storage

  • What It Is: The machine can be separated into two pieces for more convenient storage.
  • Why It’s Great: Ideal for those with limited space.


1. Price Point

  • What It Is: This is a premium machine with a premium price tag.
  • Why It’s a Concern: May not be accessible for those on a tight budget.

2. Learning Curve

  • What It Is: With its range of advanced features, there may be a learning curve for beginners.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Some users might find the advanced metrics and settings overwhelming at first.

3. Noisy Operation

  • What It Is: Air resistance machines tend to be noisier compared to other types.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Could be disruptive in shared living spaces.

4. Requires Assembly

  • What It Is: The machine comes disassembled and will require time and effort to set up.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Some people might find the assembly process tedious or difficult.

5. Large Footprint

  • What It Is: Even though it can be stored easily, the machine takes up considerable space when in use.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Not suitable for very small living areas.

WaterRower Ash Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor

The WaterRower Ash Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor offers an authentic, aesthetic, and efficient rowing experience for home or gym use. Handcrafted in the USA and backed by a robust warranty, this machine aims to blend functionality with durability. Below, we outline the machine’s pros and cons to help you determine if it aligns with your fitness needs.


1. Authentic Rowing Experience

  • What It Is: The machine employs a water-based resistance system that mimics the dynamics of rowing on actual water.
  • Why It’s Great: The water resistance offers a smoother, more natural rowing stroke, making workouts more enjoyable and effective.

2. Aesthetic Appeal

  • What It Is: Handcrafted from solid ash wood, the machine is not just functional but also visually appealing.
  • Why It’s Great: It adds a touch of elegance to your home or gym, unlike more industrial-looking machines.

3. S4 Monitor

  • What It Is: The S4 Monitor provides various metrics such as speed, distance, and calories, allowing you to track your performance.
  • Why It’s Great: It enables you to set goals and monitor your progress, helping to keep you motivated.

4. Made in the USA

  • What It Is: Manufactured and handcrafted in the USA, ensuring quality control.
  • Why It’s Great: The made-in-the-USA tag often instills confidence in the product’s quality and durability.

5. Robust Warranty

  • What It Is: The machine comes with a generous warranty, ensuring peace of mind for your investment.
  • Why It’s Great: If anything goes wrong, you’re covered, making it a safer long-term investment.

6. Quiet Operation

  • What It Is: Water resistance machines like this one are typically quieter compared to air resistance models.
  • Why It’s Great: Perfect for shared living spaces or for those who like to watch TV or listen to music while exercising.


1. Price

  • What It Is: The WaterRower Ash Rowing Machine is on the higher end of the pricing spectrum.
  • Why It’s a Concern: The high initial cost may not be accessible for everyone, especially those on a budget.

2. Size and Storage

  • What It Is: While elegant, the machine’s solid construction makes it relatively large and heavy.
  • Why It’s a Concern: It can be cumbersome to move and may not be suitable for smaller spaces.

3. Learning Curve for S4 Monitor

  • What It Is: While robust, the S4 monitor might not be as user-friendly as some other digital interfaces.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Beginners may find it challenging to navigate the monitor’s features initially.

4. Limited Resistance Adjustment

  • What It Is: The water-based system provides less flexibility in resistance adjustments compared to magnetic or air-based systems.
  • Why It’s a Concern: May not suit those who prefer very high or very low resistance levels for their workouts.

5. Maintenance

  • What It Is: The water tank may require periodic cleaning and water treatment to prevent algae growth.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Adds an extra layer of maintenance that other types of rowers don’t require.

Stamina Elite ATS Air Rower

The Stamina Elite ATS Air Rower is designed for home fitness enthusiasts looking for an effective yet budget-friendly option. With smart workout app compatibility, an upgraded foldable design, and an LCD monitor, this rowing machine offers a well-rounded experience at an accessible price point. Below, we take a deep dive into its pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.


1. Budget-Friendly

  • What It Is: The Stamina Elite ATS Air Rower is priced affordably compared to other high-end models.
  • Why It’s Great: It offers good value for money, making it accessible for people on a budget.

2. Smart Workout App Compatibility

  • What It Is: The machine is compatible with smart workout apps without requiring a subscription.
  • Why It’s Great: Allows you to customize and diversify your workouts, without the ongoing cost of a subscription.

3. Upgraded Foldable Design

  • What It Is: The machine features an upgraded folding mechanism for easier storage.
  • Why It’s Great: Ideal for those with limited space, as it can be folded and tucked away when not in use.

4. LCD Monitor

  • What It Is: Comes with an LCD monitor to track metrics like time, distance, and calories burned.
  • Why It’s Great: Helps keep track of your performance, providing a straightforward way to measure your progress.

5. Air Resistance

  • What It Is: Uses air resistance which can be naturally adjusted by rowing faster or slower.
  • Why It’s Great: Provides a more intuitive workout experience, as the resistance adjusts to your rowing speed.

6. Easy Assembly

  • What It Is: The machine is relatively easy to assemble.
  • Why It’s Great: Saves time and effort, allowing you to start your workouts sooner.


1. Limited Advanced Features

  • What It Is: Doesn’t offer as many advanced features as some of the pricier models.
  • Why It’s a Concern: May not meet the needs of advanced or professional rowers looking for specialized training metrics and options.

2. Air Resistance Noise

  • What It Is: Air resistance rowers are generally noisier than water or magnetic resistance rowers.
  • Why It’s a Concern: May not be ideal for those who need a quieter machine for shared or small living spaces.

3. Build Quality

  • What It Is: The construction is generally good but may not be as durable as more premium models.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Could wear out sooner with heavy use, making it less ideal for those looking for a long-term investment.

4. Basic LCD Monitor

  • What It Is: The LCD monitor is functional but not as advanced as those found on more expensive models.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Limited display features may not provide the in-depth analytics that some users desire.

5. Seat Comfort

  • What It Is: Some users may find the seat less comfortable for longer workouts.
  • Why It’s a Concern: Could deter you from engaging in extended training sessions.


Choosing the right rowing machine is not just about selecting a piece of equipment; it’s about making a long-term investment in your well-being. From beginners to seasoned athletes, a rowing machine offers a versatile and effective workout that engages both your cardiovascular system and a wide range of muscle groups. As this guide has outlined, there are various factors to consider—from the type of resistance and build quality to data tracking capabilities and, of course, your budget.

Whether you’re leaning towards a high-end model like the Concept2 Model D for its professional-grade features, or considering a more budget-friendly option like the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050, remember that the best rowing machine for you is the one that meets your individual needs, lifestyle, and fitness goals.

As you embark on your rowing journey, the right machine can become more than just a tool for exercise; it can be a catalyst for achieving your broader health objectives. So, take your time to weigh the pros and cons, maybe even test out a few models if possible, and make an informed decision. Your body—and your future self—will thank you. Happy rowing!

Read Also:

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