Best Rowing Machines of 2021

The year 2021 is featuring the rise of outdoor workouts and home gym. If you want to continue with your workouts without going out, a great addition to your home gym is a rowing machine. A big misconception about the machine is that it only works your upper body. However, if you move it the right way it will help even the lower body.

Now, the question begs, which is the best rowing machine of 2021? The answer to this question will depend on what you want to achieve. There are a lot of considerations under which you can look at before you decide.

The article will look into the subject deeply and offer you as much information as possible. Read on the article for more insight on the subject. 

Best Rowing Machines of 2021

Rowing machines will be the greatest way for you to get a full-body workout. Every row will require you to use your legs and pull back your arms, as you maintain your balance by engaging the core. The work-out will have you sweating and help you build strength from head to toe.

Below are some of the best rowing machines of 2021.

1. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine

This full motion rowing machine is budget friendly and will give you great workout without taking up a lot of space. Where as many of the rowing machines rely on a pulley, this one will depend on its large handle bars. 

The effect of this is that more emphasis will be on your upper body instead of using the legs to move forward and back. You will have to use your back, chest, and arms. The machine comes with a water tank as it relies on hydraulic cylinder resistance. One good thing about it is that it places you in full control of your workouts. You can turn the resistance a notch by turning the built-in dial.

2. Best Splurge: Hydrow Rower

If you want your rowing workouts to feel easy then this is the machine for you. The Hydro Rower is computer-controlled resistance and uses electromagnetic to mimic to feel real water, giving you dynamic and challenging workouts. You can also take advantage of the large touch screen and in built speakers both which give a truly immersive experience.

The makers of the machine had performance in mind and it is quite comfortable when you use it. It has an ergonomic seat that offers you all the cushion that will help you make it through the workouts. Its glider is industrial grade keeping your strokes smooth and quiet. 

3. NordicTrack RW900 Rower

The NordicTrack RW 900 Rower has many features that will ensure you get a solid workout every time. It has 26 different resistance levels which you can use to either increase or decrease the intensity of the workout. Since the machine uses magnetic resistance, you are assured of smooth and quiet strokes.

What’s more, the machine has an ergonomic padded seat and large pedals. The rowing machine folds in half and you can easily store it in small spaces. When you pair it with iFit membership, the machine reaches its full potential. The membership ensures you have access to thousands of rowing workouts that will help you when you get started. 

4. Stamina Conversion 11 Recumbent Exercise Bike and Rower

If what you are looking for is comfort, you should buy the Stamina Conversion 11 Recumbent Exercise Bike and Rower. While many machines have comfortable padded seats, they are few which will come with a backrest. But the Stamina will offer you enough rest as you work out.

Additionally, the machines design will allows it to double up as a recumbent bike. If you are in a cycling mood you simply slide the seat towards the front of the machine, slip your feet into the front, grip the sides of the seat, and pedal. If you want to use it as a rower, use the pedals that are closest to you, grip the handles, and row. Both sets of pedals are secure and comfortable and you can increase the resistance to your liking.

5. Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

There is no rowing machine that offers a more dynamic full body workout than the Stamina Orbital Rowing Machine. The rowing machine boasts of two large handle bars instead of having a single handle on the pulley. The advantage of having large handle bars is that you will have a fuller range of motion. 

You will be able to engage more muscles in your upper body and at the same time strengthen your lower body and the core. The result is an intense workout from head to toe. The machine gets tension from hydraulics hence it feels like you are rowing outdoors. A thick padded seat keeps you comfortable where as, the adjustable tension dial keeps the workouts challenging.

6. MaxKare Water Rowing Machine

The MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is water based at it is accessible at an affordable price. It relies on water-based resistance to keep your workouts challenging and dynamic. It has a durable steel frame to keep the machine stable and sturdy as you row. 

Moreover, it has a wide ergonomic design seat to keep you comfortable as you row. The machine has a weight capacity of 265 pounds.

7. Echanfit Foldable Rowing Machine W/LCD Monitor

It is hard to find a foldable workout machine that is durable and sturdy, but that is what you get with Echanfit foldable rowing machine. You use it when you are working out and then fold it away once you are done to give room for other activities. 

It has a durable frame that will remain strong as you row. Additionally, there are 16 magnetic resistance levels will always keep you challenged. The handle bars and pedals are adjustable and will console you until you feel the comfort you want. The machine is foldable into two for easy storage. 

8. Sunny Health and Fitness Upright Rowing Machine

If you live in a small house you may not have space for a traditional rowing machine. However, with the Sunny Health and Fitness Upright Rowing Machine, then you have your solution. It has a unique upright design where you can row as you stand. By standing it will ensure that your rowing workouts are focused on the lower body, but you will still challenge your core and upper body. 

The machine has resistance mechanisms that are boosted by the three adjustable resistance bands. You can easily attach them to your machine to increase the intensity of your workouts. It has a maximum resistance level of 22 pounds. The pedals are textured to give the traction you want and the handles are non-slip for the perfect grip. You can adjust the height of the seat and handle bars until the machine fits you. Fold it in half after use for easy storage.

9. Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Do you want to row in a quiet environment? The Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rover is just the machine for you. It produces the least noise and it has a lot of tension from magnetic resistance. Though the magnetic system will make the workouts more resistant and challenging, they will be surprisingly quiet. 

Of course, being quiet is not the only good quality with the machine. Its frame is made of aluminum making it durable and strong for a stable and sturdy workout. The seats are padded to make it comfortable rowing. The pedals are non-slip to keep the feet firm as you row.

Evaluation and testing criteria of Rowing Machines

There are certain aspects you have to look at before settling on the best rowing machine including the following: 

  • Noise Level

The level of noise that a rowing machine produces is very important especially if you want to do it indoors. 

  • Maintenance

When buying a rower you need to know and consider its maintenance. A machine that has detachable parts is easy to fix, since you will only need to replace the one broken part. A rower that has complex parts like a fan or chain may need a professional to fix it. 

Another thing to consider is that you will have clean/change water periodically which you wount have to do with a fan-based rowing machine. 

  • Ease of Storage

Rowers will take up a lot of space so you have to ensure it is easy to store when it is not in use. Ideally, it should fold to ensure the ease of storage. 

  • Budget

Figure out how much money you have set aside to spend on the rowing machine. Knowing the budget will help you narrow down on the number of models from where you can choose from. Knowing your budget will help you not to overspend on a model just because it comes with the latest technology. 

  • How Do You Plan To Use the Machine

It is obvious you are going to exercise on your rower, but the question will be, is it for commercial or residential use? All indoor rowing machines are ready for home use where as not all indoor rowing machines are ideal for commercial use in boathouses, health clubs, and gyms. 

When choosing a rowing machine for commercial use, ensure that it is commercial grade and it is built for heavy use.

  • Different Resistance Types

Rowing machines have four different resistance types, water, magnetic, hydraulic piston, and air. Each of these types has its own advantages and disadvantages. Having knowledge about the different resistance types offer you basic understanding of how the rowing machines function.

Below is a summary of each of the resistance types:

Hydraulic Piston

It is compact and very easy to store. You can adjust the resistance and the hydraulic pistons you use for resistance are quiet.


It is the most common in health clubs and gym. The resistance level is determined by the user. More intensity will bring about more intensity and vice versa.


Water rowers will give you a realistic motion that makes you feel like you are rowing on water. The resistance is determined by the user. It is tranquil as the noise it makes are the same as those heard when rowing outside.


Magnetic rowers are quiet because of the magnetic breaking system that is used to provide resistance. The resistance is adjustable and the rowing motion is smooth. The resistance is sometimes lower than what is found on water and air rowers.

Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine

There are several benefits of using a rowing machine including the following:

  • Get a Full-Body Workout

You use every part of your body when using a rowing machine. The machine will use up to 90% of the muscles in your body. 

  • Burns Calories

Rowing offers you a combination of strength and cardio training. It is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories. Depending on how vigorous you are rowing and your body weight you can burn up to 500 calories in one hour on the machine.

  • Toned Legs

There are those who think that rowing is a predominantly for the upper body. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is more than 60% legs and you will feel it in this area as you row. Only 20% is your arms where as the rest is your core.

  • Increased Endurance

Rowing machine exercises feel exhausting but the long term benefits are immense and will give you more energy and endurance. Because rowing is cardiovascular and works out the whole body it is a step ahead of many other exercises. With many repetitions you will have increased stamina and have the necessary boost in your metabolism. More energy will give more drive.

  • Convenience

You can buy a rowing machine and use it in the comfort of your home. Additionally, it is also more appealing because it is great and you can recruit a work buddy for added encouragement.

  • Affordable

You do not have to break the bank to acquire a rowing machine. There are high quality rowing machines that go for as low as $ 200.


If you want to improve your health and have a strong body then you just need to buy a rowing machine. Though at first it will be hard within a short time you will feel fine as you reap the benefits of your continuous efforts. 

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