Finest Rowing Machines – CNET


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In the event you’re constructing a house fitness center, there is a ton of nice exercise gear on the market. Nevertheless, should you can solely afford one machine, you will need one thing that works out your full physique — and a rowing machine can do exactly that. Rowing machines can hit various completely different muscle teams, together with your core, again, arms and lats in addition to offering cardio exercise. They’re additionally simpler to slot in most rooms.

Rowing machines have advanced in design over time. Now you will have good rowing machines which might be a step up from conventional rowers. We examined completely different rowing machines to find out the perfect ones in the marketplace. Maintain studying to find out about our favorites. 

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The Echelon Row-S is the perfect rowing machine should you’re a rowing newbie. Meeting was straightforward sufficient that just one individual was wanted to place it collectively. It isn’t the fanciest trying machine, nevertheless it felt sturdy and clean and obtained the job executed. I discovered it much less intimidating than the good rowers and appreciated components of its design, like that the deal with’s protecting overlaying to forestall blisters. I additionally appreciated the footplate design essentially the most of all of the rowing machines as a result of it felt intuitive to make use of the fastener straps.

Moreover, the lever beneath the machine that means that you can retailer the rower upright was straightforward to seek out and carry. It is also on the lighter aspect, which makes it straightforward to maneuver round. Regardless of being mild, the machine can maintain as much as 350 kilos (158.7 kg) comfortably; subsequently, it is versatile for folks of all sizes and weights. 

The normal rowing machine has a small metric display screen to measure distance, variety of strokes per minute and your break up time. Echelon upgraded this idea, making a 22-inch HD touchscreen with a 180-degree flip adjustment. You have to an Echelon Reside and On-Demand class membership for a further price to make use of this machine. There are three ranges of membership to suit your funds: a two-year membership ($29.16 a month); a 12 months membership ($33.33 a month); or a $35 month-to-month possibility.

Echelon has a library of 1000’s of lessons moreover rowing, together with yoga, biking, HIIT or power coaching. I appreciated that the library had newbie row lessons, warmups and cooldowns, scenic, low impression and bootcamp rowing classes. It is easy to extend or lower the resistance by clicking the buttons on either side of the deal with. The onscreen metrics are straightforward to learn and comply with. General, with the lessons included, I appreciated the Echelon Row-S as introduction to rowing or if you’d like a much less cumbersome machine in your house. 


  • Gentle and simple to make use of should you’ve by no means rowed earlier than
  • Versatile for folks of assorted weights and heights
  • Straightforward to retailer upright


  • Plastic design appears to be like prefer it might not be essentially the most sturdy
  • Operate is restricted should you do not join Echelon class membership
  • Guarantee solely lasts for a 12 months

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In the event you do not thoughts splurging on what’s thought of the Peloton of rowing, you then’ll love the Hydrow. Whereas testing rowing machines, I obtained enter from the CNET Wellness workforce and we collectively agreed that Hydrow was the smoothest and highest high quality rowing machine. Not solely does Hydrow look smooth and futuristic, even the stride feels smoother and pure.

CNET Lab Technician Gianmarco helped assemble the rowing machines on this checklist and located the Hydrow to be one of many simpler ones to place collectively. The most important problem was carrying the supply field as a result of the bottom may be very heavy. Due to this fact, consider you would possibly want a second set of palms that can assist you carry this machine.

Hydrow works finest wherever your Wi-Fi is strongest. This machine makes use of electromagnetic drag know-how to imitate the outside rowing expertise. It consists of a 22-inch touchscreen that provides you entry to over 4,000 exercises whether or not you are utilizing the machine or the Hydrow app. To view the Hydrow lessons, you have to an all-access membership which is a further $38 a month, however provides you limitless profiles for your loved ones. 

I appreciated that the Hydrow regarded extra futuristic than different rowing machines I’ve seen. Nevertheless, I want the footplate was extra up to date to match the machine. As an alternative, it has the identical nylon foot straps as most rowing machines, the place you need to fiddle with the strap to tighten or loosen it. I discover this model restrictive and may make it arduous to get out of the machine should you’re doing a HIIT circuit, for instance. 

Though high-tech, the Hydrow is straightforward to make use of, and the seat feels snug and clean whereas gliding forwards and backwards. The machine is not too loud, which is a plus and exhibits how far rowing machines have come from their unique fashions. The applications supply a spread to select from, and I appreciated that I might select a shorter or longer exercise relying on how a lot time I had. In the event you’re a seasoned rower, you’ll be able to modify the resistance on the machine earlier than taking a category by going into the settings and altering the drag settings. The default resistance setting is about to 104 and is really helpful should you’re simply getting began with rowing. 

Hydrow additionally has newbie lessons that educate you correctly row to get used to the motion. This to be one thing a lot of the rowing machines I examined provided, which is perfect since some folks could initially battle to get correct kind.

My primary concern with Hydrow was that it was larger than I anticipated for a contemporary rowing machine. You additionally should buy the anchor individually to retailer it upright; it retails for $80 and is basically a strap screwed to the wall. I discovered this expensive, particularly because the unit itself is dear. With out the power to retailer the machine upright, it made me query if folks with smaller areas might personal it. Nevertheless, there’s a smaller model, the Hydrow Wave (extra on this machine later). 


  • Excessive-end rower with a clean journey
  • Straightforward to assemble by yourself
  • Effectively constructed


  • Costly
  • Larger than customary rowing machine, will not match all areas
  • You need to pay further for the anchor that shops it upright

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Aviron provides two varieties of rowers to select from: the Aviron Impression Sequence and Aviron Robust Sequence rower. For this overview, I examined the Aviron Impression Sequence model. Aviron provides a singular spin to indoor rowing with its interactive exercise applications. That is particularly interesting should you take pleasure in video video games. The machine’s resistance is made up of twin air and magnetic resistance. It is without doubt one of the lighter machines on the checklist, weighing solely 97 kilos (43.9 kg), and its base folds upright for straightforward storage. One other factor to notice is that you will wish to place your rower in an space with robust Wi-Fi connection to get the perfect gaming expertise.

Much like the opposite good rowing machines, Aviron has a 22-inch touchscreen the place you’ll be able to entry numerous exercises, together with scenic excursions, competing with household and pals, guided applications, arcades and digital video games. You may even log into your streaming providers accounts resembling Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus and YouTube when you row. 

To entry Aviron’s applications, you have to an Aviron membership ($25 a month). The draw back is there aren’t stay lessons, so this may not be the suitable machine for you if that is one thing you need.

I appreciated that the design included a padded deal with since I am vulnerable to blisters. The seat sat larger from the bottom than the opposite rowers, which makes it user-friendly should you’re a tall particular person and like the additional room to hop on and off. The foot placement is a bit of wider than different rowing machines, which is useful as a result of when positioned too shut collectively it is uncomfortable, significantly you probably have longer legs. The seat had a bit of extra padding than your conventional rower seat and comfortably glided up and down the bottom. 

I am not an enormous gamer, however I attempted out among the video games Aviron provides and located them entertaining sufficient that it was a distraction from realizing you are figuring out. In the event you dread the concept of figuring out, this might be possibility for you since exercising will really feel extra like leisure than a activity. 

In the event you desire to go for Aviron’s upgraded rower, the Robust collection will price you one other $300. The distinction between the 2 is that the newest model has a heavy-duty body and is meant to carry as much as 507 kilos (230 kg). This makes Aviron the perfect rower for taller individuals who wish to make sure the machine can face up to their top and weight.


  • Video video games make you overlook you are exercising
  • Seat is comfortably padded
  • Design is even splendid for tall folks


  • Machine plastic design makes it seem much less sturdy
  • No stay lessons
  • Costly

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I used to be tremendous excited to strive EnergyFit’s Ski-Row as a result of I like the concept of a rowing machine being two-in-one. The Ski-Row does simply that by combining snowboarding and rowing. It provides two machines: The Ski-Row Air + Pwr and the Ski-Row Air. For this overview, I examined out a Ski-Row Air+Pwr. Having used different two-in-one health machines just like the Idea 2 rowers and Ski Ergs earlier than, I knew I must examine the Ski-Row to them to see if the design does it justice.

I first got here throughout the Ski-Row after seeing it on a social media advert and thought it was a intelligent idea. Our lab technician discovered this machine essentially the most time-consuming one to assemble as a result of he adopted the handbook instruction information. Nevertheless, EnergyFit informed us that almost all clients comply with a video tutorial that may be discovered on YouTube which makes it simpler to place the machine collectively. 

I used to be stunned at how sturdy and well-made it was to resist two varieties of health exercise. I did suppose some particulars might use some upgrading. For instance, the monitor you employ to regulate the resistance regarded dated, the lever used to decrease and lift the bottom was manufactured from plastic… which made me query if it will break off after a whole lot of put on and tear, and the rope hooked up to the deal with did not look as sturdy as those on different rowing machines. When adjusted to the snowboarding place, I believed the ski handles regarded and felt legit, and it was the suitable top (for grabbing the handles), even for shorter people.

I began by testing the rowing facet of it. Ski-Row has your conventional footplate with nylon straps and an adjustable base. The machine makes use of air and magnetic resistance as you might be rowing or snowboarding. That is in contrast to the Ski-Row Air, which solely makes use of air to energy its machine. The monitor on the Ski-Row reads time, distance, stroke price, tempo, resistance degree and energy burned. It features kind of the identical manner as a Idea 2 rowing machine and allows you to join through Bluetooth to an ANT Plus Coronary heart Fee monitor. Ski-Row can be related to Gymtrakr, an iOS and Android app that may sync your cellphone to the console. 

From the rowing perspective, it’s just like a conventional rowing machine however can get boring should you’re in search of a extra interactive expertise. In the event you’re including circuits to your ordinary exercise, it could be much less of a problem since you will in all probability simply give attention to the time or distance on the monitor. 

My favourite half about this machine was utilizing the ski coach possibility. It is also a fast transition altering the rower right into a ski coach by the press of a lever. Ski trainers are nonetheless a reasonably new idea, and never many of those exist in the marketplace. I am a brief lady, so I used to be glad I might comfortably attain as much as seize every of the handles whereas the machine was upright.

The snowboarding possibility was paying homage to utilizing a Idea 2 Ski Erg, which I thought of a plus. I feel the Ski-Row is a good piece of kit to have at residence (or on the fitness center) should you’re in search of a two-in-one machine that will not take up further room. Though it has room for enchancment, it is a stable piece should you’re an skilled rower or ski fanatic who needs the power to coach indoors.


  • Distinctive design makes it two machines in a single
  • Supreme should you’re restricted in area and need two machines
  • Sturdy sufficient to resist each rowing and indoor snowboarding


  • Heavy machine that requires no less than two folks to assemble
  • Monitor is dated and does not have a touchscreen
  • Sure items do not look as sturdy as they need to be

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

The LIT Power Machine impressed me by how the creators challenged the normal rowing machine. This machine is an all-in-one rower, Pilates reformer and power coach. 

In contrast to different machines on the checklist, LIT is a water rower withs resistance starting from 10 to 40 kilos (4.5 to 18.1 kg) of water in a dual-tank drum. The great factor is you will not ever have to vary the water, as a result of the machine comes with a lifetime provide of chlorine tablets. 

Though I examined this machine within the model’s showroom, I discovered that LIT makes meeting straightforward for patrons by delivering it 85% preassembled. The black and crimson design makes it look smooth and futuristic. The machine additionally has resistance bands (as much as 100 kilos or 45.3 kg of resistance) looped round either side of the rower deal with, prepared for power coaching or Pilates workout routines. 

LIT at present provides three packages. There’s Starter, which incorporates resistance bands, ankle cuffs (for Pilates) and handles. Then there’s Efficiency, which provides the whole lot within the bundle, together with a coronary heart price sensor, machine mat, power bar, pace bands and energy bands. The ultimate present bundle is July 4th, which incorporates the whole lot Efficiency provides minus the guts price sensor and a machine mat.

I appreciated that this machine (just like the Aviron) had a wider footplate, so should you’re tall or have wider ft, it provides loads of room. I additionally discovered it was designed to let you use your hamstrings extra throughout the exercise. The rowing deal with can be correctly coated with protecting rubber layering to attenuate the probabilities of blisters. 

This is without doubt one of the few machines that does not have a touchscreen or monitor, however lessons are provided by means of the LIT On-Demand app, which you’ll entry in your smartphone and is each IOS and Android suitable. LIT’s membership prices $25 a month and comes with a three-month complimentary trial upon receiving your rower. The machine has a small machine holder so you’ll be able to view the category out of your streaming machine comfortably. 

Upon utilizing this machine, it felt like what the true rowing expertise ought to be like. Though I used to be on land, it felt good to listen to the water as I rowed as an alternative of a fan. Adjusting the resistance was straightforward because it has a dial that’s labeled with ranges 1 by means of 4. Nevertheless, this might not be the machine for you should you’re into maintaining observe of your stats or taking a look at a monitor.

LIT had essentially the most snug seat as a result of it was padded and helped me really feel extra supported whereas rowing. I used to be put by means of a demo to strive the completely different points of the machine and appreciated its versatility. When you’re executed, you’ll be able to retailer the machine by folding it up vertically and rolling it to the specified space. In the event you’re into the concept of getting a flexible machine that challenges the normal rowing follow, you will love the LIT Power Machine.


  • Versatile 3-in-1 machine
  • Comfy, well-cushioned seat
  • Could be saved after use
  • Large footplate to accommodate tall rowers
  • Inexpensive membership
  • Does not should be plugged in to make use of


  • Does not have a touchscreen; you need to use your smartphone or pill
  • Prices further to purchase equipment 

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Earlier within the checklist we talked about the Hydrow. Now, we’re specializing in its latest and smaller mannequin, the Hydrow Wave. One among my unique points with the Hydrow was the dimensions of the machine. It rectified the difficulty by shrinking the unique mannequin by a couple of inches. I had this one delivered to my residence and was impressed by its dimension. It match within the area I had in thoughts in my house with ease. When it was delivered, the Hydrow workforce assembled it extremely quick and ensured I might entry my account earlier than they left. 

Much like Hydrow, you have to to arrange this machine in an area with an influence outlet and good Wi-Fi connection. The Hydrow Wave design appears to be like extra like a normal Flywheel rowing machine and makes use of a smaller footprint than its predecessor. It nonetheless has the identical high-tech qualities because the Hydrow, just like the electromagnetic drag know-how, a contact display screen and entry to Hydrow’s exercise applications. It is also $1,000 cheaper than the Hydrow, making it a extra inexpensive possibility. Nevertheless, you’ll nonetheless have to pay for the all-access membership for lessons.

A few issues I noticed that I want had been upgraded this time round is the design of the straps on the footplate. It nonetheless had the identical design because the Hydrow with the adjustable nylon straps. I additionally would’ve appreciated the deal with to have a extra protecting overlaying to forestall blisters. Moreover, you’ll nonetheless have to buy an anchor should you intend on storing the machine upright. The plus aspect is you may get away with not storing the machine upright because it is not as massive as the unique Hydrow. You too can decrease the display screen when it isn’t in use to assist prevent some area. 

The rowing expertise, alternatively, was just like the Hydrow, so I am glad that facet remained the identical. It wasn’t too loud, and the whole lot was clean and comfy between the seat and the pulling movement. I feel a great way to improve this expertise is by including a extra cushioned seat since there have been instances my glutes felt achy the longer I used the machine.

General, the Hydrow Wave is a good possibility to your residence should you’re restricted in area, however nonetheless need the good rowing expertise. 


  • Sufficiently small to slot in an house
  • Similar nice options as the unique rower
  • $1,000 cheaper than the Hydrow


  • No new upgrades, apart from dimension
  • Vertical storage equipment nonetheless not included

How we selected the perfect rowing machines

Since rowing machines are very particular machines, there have been a number of elements we thought of to find out which had been finest. We narrowed it down to those rowing machines based mostly on the next pointers. 

  • Meeting: We took into consideration how straightforward it will be for the typical individual to assemble the machine.
  • Ease of use: We checked out how straightforward it was to set your self up on a machine in addition to the benefit of use on the metrics monitor. 
  • Noise degree: We checked to see how loud or silent the machine was throughout rowing classes.
  • Options: We noticed distinctive options that made the rowing machine stand out and/or improved the person expertise.
  • Storage: We regarded to see how straightforward it was to retailer when not in use. 

Elements to think about

  • Ensure you measure out the area the place you’d maintain the rowing machine. Account for a bit of further area outdoors the arms so you’ll be able to row freely with out obstructions. 
  • Take into account should you want to have the ability to retailer the rower upright or if there may be sufficient room to spare.
  • If a number of persons are going to be utilizing the machine, be certain it is user-friendly for all heights and health ranges.
  • Rowing machines might be costly. Decide in case your funds matches a normal or high-tech rower.
  • There are numerous rowing machine kinds to select from resembling hydraulic, flywheel, water and magnetic. Do your analysis (and take a look at them out) to find out which is the suitable match for you.

Rowing machine FAQs

What are the several types of rowing machines?

There are 4 varieties of rowing machines: hydraulic, flywheel, water and magnetic

Hydraulic machines are typically essentially the most inexpensive and the resistance is created from the quantity of air or fluid that is constricted with a hydraulic cylinder.

Flywheels work with fan blades to create resistance utilizing air. That is the normal rower that you simply would possibly’ve seen at your native fitness center.

Water and magnetic rowers are newer machines which might be quieter and supposed to imitate outside rowing the perfect. The distinction is magnetic rowers use magnets, whereas water rowers use water of their tank to generate resistance.

How a lot do rowing machines price?

Relying on the kind of rowing machine you are purchasing for, some cheaper machines can price about $500, whereas dearer ones can price between $1,000 to $2,000 plus. 

Is rowing exercise?

Sure, rowing is a full-body exercise and targets 85% of your physique. It targets your arms, again, core, legs and chest, and may help construct up your endurance and power.

How lengthy ought to I row for?

Rowing is so environment friendly which you could get exercise in as little as 20 minutes. Many of the lessons provided by means of memberships on this checklist have lessons lasting 20 to 45 minutes.

Extra health suggestions

The knowledge contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t supposed as well being or medical recommendation. At all times seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier concerning any questions you will have a few medical situation or well being aims.

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