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Our editors independently research the best products online to produce this list. We may receive commission on purchases made from the links below but this will never affect our product choices.
- Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor (Editor’s Choice)
- JLL R200 (Magnetic Choice)
- WaterRower Original Series (Best Water)
Indoor rowers offer a great way to keep in shape without having to travel to your local gym. Owning one of these machines allow you to easily fit in a workout whenever you have a spare moment, all in the comfort of your own home. However, with such a huge variety of rowers on the market, deciding which one to choose can be difficult. After all, the last thing you want to do is pay a high price for the wrong exercise equipment, which then ends up gathering dust in the corner.
In this collection of rowing machine reviews, we will tell you all you need to know about the best rowing machines available in the UK. That way, you can easily decide which is right for your home at a price that is suitable for you. So let’s get started!
Best Rowing Machine Reviews – Top 7 Picks
The impressive Concept 2 Indoor Rower is one of the most popular and highest selling machines on the market today. Offering an intensely effective and convenient workout, this indoor air rower is well-known in the world of competitive rowing.
The Concept 2 is ultra-responsive, adjusting the level of resistance according to your activity. If you need to slow down for a few minutes, this machine will reduce the effort required per stroke. But if you are going for gold, the Concept 2 D will match your power so you really feel the burn, just like rowing on the sea.
A spiral damper enables quick and simple manual adjustments to the resistance settings if you need to. This is great for beginners who are still building their strength and stamina.
Keeping track of your performance is effortless too, thanks to the performance monitor 5 (PM5). This backlit heart rate monitor displays your speed, distance, pace, calories burned, and watts – so you know when to push a little harder to smash your goals. The stored data can be downloaded to your PC via a USB port or wirelessly with your smartphone, although some people complained the connectivity can be unreliable.
The Concept 2 Rower is ergonomically designed to fit your contours with ease. The handles boast of excellent build quality. It has a 10-degree bend which ensures your arms and hands are kept in a safe and natural position during use. On the other hand, a few customers said they found the seat was a little uncomfortable, but you can get an extra seat pad if necessary.
Once set up, this indoor machine is rather large at 243.8 x 61 x 113 cm, so you will need to have adequate space for this model. However, when not in use, the Concept2 can be effortlessly separated into two parts for easy storage.
You do not need to struggle with tools to dismantle it, either. A handy quick release mechanism means this rower can be disassembled in moments.
- Top selling model with max user weight of 227 kg
- Responsive resistance
- PM5 monitor
- Ergonomic design
- Easy to store
- Uses air resistance
- With smartphone app
- Downloading PM5 data can be awkward
- Some said the seat was uncomfortable
- Takes up quite a lot of space when in use
The R200 rowing machine is a belt-driven, magnetic rower. Boasting of providing a quiet, yet effective workout; this machine is a great choice for busy households.
Offering 10 different resistance levels, most home athletes should be able to work up an adequate sweat without disturbing family or housemates. Although, some experienced rowers said the maximum resistance wasn’t high enough for their needs. The combination of the belt drive and smooth slide seat promises a flawless and uninterrupted motion. The seat itself offers extra padding for comfortable long-term use.
If you have a limited storage area, don’t worry. The R200 Magnetic can be quickly folded into an upright position which makes saving space easy. A spring-loaded mechanism keeps the machine locked in this position, so you will not have to fight to keep it collapsed; nor is it difficult to set back up for your next session.
The R200 indoor rowing machine has a fixed, highly durable footrest design to keep your feet safely secured. They are large enough to comfortably accommodate larger foot sizes but can be a little too big for petite users. Furthermore, some customers complained that the velcro foot straps lost their shape rather quickly with frequent use.
- Quiet operation
- Smooth slide mechanism
- Padded seat
- 10 resistance levels and max user weight of 100 kg
- Folds upright for convenient storage
- Footplates have straps can lose shape quickly
- Experienced rowers may find the highest resistance too easy
- Footplates can be too large for petite users
The WaterRower Original Series rower is certainly a unique and beautifully designed luxury home rowing machine.
Handcrafted in the USA out of Ash, Walnut or Cherry wood, this looks wonderful in any room. While it is one of the most aesthetically impressive rowers on our list, it is also the most expensive, so it may not be suitable for lower budgets.
This harnesses the tension power of water to offer a realistic and highly effective workout. No manual adjustment is required, as the tension self-regulates according to the rowing action of the user. The WaterRower Natural rowing machine mimics the feel of real-life rowing. The more force you put behind each pull, the higher the resulting tension, and the tougher your workout. Not only does the use of water resistance mean the tension matches your effort, but it also makes for an incredibly smooth rowing experience. There is no jerking or shaking when using this, each pull feels just like being on the river.
While training at home, users can view their live workout stats easily via the S4. The LCD screen displays strokes per minute, duration, distance, rate and intensity. This water rower can also be connected to a personal heart rate monitor, should you have one.
The footrest is simple to adjust to fit any shoe size, but the straps provided may need replacing frequently due to loss of shape.
Unlike previous fitness products in our review, this cannot be folded or dismantled for storage. Instead, it can be stood vertically on one end against a wall to clear space. The initial setup of this machine proved difficult for some customers.
- Has a weight capacity of 317kg
- Beautifully handcrafted build quality
- Made from wood
- Self-regulating resistance
- S4 performance monitor
- Realistic and smooth rowing experience
- Compatible with a heart rate monitor
- Difficult to set up
- Foot straps come loose easily
The JTX Freedom is a great choice for your home gym. This machine combines the power of air and magnetic resistance to offer you a highly effective workout without needing to leave the house.
The reinforced aluminium frame is super-durable and able to support users weighing up to 130 kg. It has the best rowing movement which is smooth and realistic, due to the JTX Fitness DualTorque technology. Furthermore, because this machine features 16 different levels of resistance, both novice and seasoned athletes can benefit from using this. If you prefer structured power training programmes, the JTX Freedom includes 8 pre-programmed workouts which make improving your fitness hassle-free. Simply select your preferred option and start your training.
Unlike other fitness products we have looked at, this comes complete with a wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring. Live readings are transmitted back to the machine, enabling you to choose a target heart rate and have the tension level automatically adjusted to keep you working at the right intensity. A stylish built-in screen displays all the information you need to tailor-fit your workout programs like strokes per minute to make sure you hit your targets every time.
On the downside, female users said the footplates were designed with male shoe sizes in mind. The included instruction manual isn’t very detailed, and the rower is also quite heavy and large, so maybe a struggle to move for some people.
- Combines air resistance and magnetic resistance
- Max user weight of 130 kg
- 16 different levels of resistance
- 8 pre-programmed exercise routines
- Wireless heart rate monitor strap included
- The instruction manual isn’t comprehensive
- The footrest is quite large for women
- Big and heavy compared to other air rowers
The Viavito Sumi Folding Machine is the best rowing equipment under £200. It offers 10 types of magnetic resistance for a smooth workout. This machine has a great low price point option for complete novices through to experienced home users. It suffers some issues with cosmetic durability, though, with many owners reporting flaking paint after light use.
Changing the tension level is done manually via the easy to reach adjustment knob under the LCD display screen. The seat in this magnetic rower is shaped to fit the body’s contours, so users can work out for long periods without discomfort. Moreover, the handlebars are also ergonomically designed, reducing strain and maintaining balance throughout each stroke. The LCD display shows distance, time, calories burned, strokes per minute, and count – however, the accuracy of this information can be a little dubious.
Viavito Sumi Folding Machine features large footplates, which are specially constructed to minimise pressure on the ankles. They pivot with the users’ movements, reducing the risk of injury or aggravation of the joint. Feet are well-secured, thanks to the adjustable velcro straps. During use, the flywheel mechanism is impressively quiet, but the movement of the seat can be quite noisy. True to its name, once you have finished your workout, the Viavito Sumi can be effortlessly folded up and stored out of the way until next time.
- Price is affordable
- 10 types of magnetic resistance and max user weight of 120 kg
- Ergonomic design
- LCD display
- Flexible footplates protect ankles
- Easy to store away
- The painted finish doesn’t last
- The LCD display isn’t always accurate
- Noisy seat
The V-Fit Tornado Air Rower is a great choice of cheap rowing machine for budding athletes on a budget. Probably the best budget rowing machine UK, it responds to match your abilities. The level of resistance changes automatically according to your performance, so as you row faster, the more difficult it gets. This is great for new and intermediate rowers but may not pose enough of a challenge for seasoned exercisers. The mechanisms can also be quite noisy.
In line with other products on our list, this has ergonomically shaped handles and a contoured seat to maximise ease of use. The pivoting footplates feature sturdy heel cups and durable velcro straps to keep the feet secure. This offers a basic LCD display which can show your calorie burn, strokes per minute, overall speed, distance and time. This is useful to have but some people said that the information wasn’t especially reliable.
Lack of space shouldn’t be an issue with this equipment. The unit easily folds up into a compact shape which can be stored away when not in use.
- Has a weight capacity of 115kg
- Low price tag
- Responsive resistance
- Ergonomically designed
- Pivoting footrest
- Compact when folded
- Resistance too weak for some
- The LCD display isn’t very reliable
The Body Sculpture Rower and Gym is a great choice that offers mini-gym functionality, alongside its primary use as a compact rowing machine. Fantastic for smaller rooms or limited floor area, this is one of the best lightweight machines that can provide a cardiovascular workout. In the convenience of their home, users can even perform separate cable tension exercises for the upper body.
The greatest benefit of the Body Sculpture Home Gym is the convenience of not needing to get additional machines or resistant equipment – at least not if you are a beginner. More serious exercisers may find it a little unstable for sprints or be left unchallenged by the cable tension strength. Featuring three elastic cords, the user is able to choose the level of resistance they require by connecting to either one, two or all three for the maximum tension.
Both standing and sitting exercises can be easily performed with minimal fuss. Simply switch the additional handle attachments and adjust the tension to get started. For those new to cable exercises, the included instructional DVD will no doubt be useful. However, some customers found that the resistance bands lost strength fairly quickly, so this machine may not stand up to the requirements of a committed strength trainer.
As expected, the Body Sculpture Home Gym has a display screen to track your workout, albeit rather basic. The screen itself is very small, and you must press the single button to cycle through each reading. Clearing space after you have completed your full-body workout is super-easy with this rower. The Body Sculpture Home Gym folds up neatly and quickly, so you can pack it away in around 2 minutes.
- Has a weight capacity of 110kg
- Easy to use
- Converts to a mini home gym
- DVD included
- Includes LCD monitor with scan mode
- Build quality is not for serious strenuous workouts because it is not very stable
- Bands can lose resistance relatively quickly
- Not many levels of resistance
Are Rowing Machines Good For Fitness?
The answer is yes! With an obesity epidemic on our hands, more people are being advised to get better exercise to improve their health and protect against chronic diseases. The world of gym equipment can be confusing to a beginner, treadmills, exercise bikes, rowers which should you use? The best rowing machine is truly one of the best options to slim down, tone up and build your stamina fast. Here we take a look at some of the benefits of rowers for fitness.
Total Body Workout
One of the things about the best home rowing machines is their ability to offer a total body workout to the user. Not only does your heart and lungs get a great aerobic challenge, but all major muscle groups in the body are put under strain too. With each and every rowing stroke, the leg, buttock, back, shoulder, stomach and arm muscles are recruited to effectively complete the movement.
This combination of aerobic and resistance training in a machine means that users can feel, and see, the benefits very quickly with regular use. Muscle strength and tone are improved, as is overall cardiovascular fitness; thus providing immeasurable benefits to the users’ health and physique. Some machines even come with training programs already installed for you.
Many people shy away from high-impact activities such as jogging or using the treadmill for marathon training due to the strain it puts on the joints. Overweight individuals or those who have a history of joint problems need to be especially wary of causing damage when starting an exercise regime. However, this is no reason to write-off exercise altogether. In fact, regular low impact strengthening exercises can significantly improve muscle density, which in turn supports and protects the joints from further damage while putting little to no pressure upon the joints. Using an exercise bike or rower are two great examples of low impact activities.
Usually, with exercise bikes, you only focus on your lower body. With rowers, you are in a seated position and you use your whole body to performing a smooth rowing motion without any stress to the knees or ankles. Rowing machines are not just for those who suffer joint pain, though. Regularly undertaking low-impact activities in place of high-impact movements is one of the best ways to keep fit, while also preserving the health of your joints in the future.
If you are looking to lose weight, you need to burn calories. The simple truth is, creating a ‘calorie deficit’, where you have expended more energy than you have consumed – is the only way to cut fat and drop those pounds. The trouble is, most people have busy lives and need to get results in as short a time as possible.
This is where rowers really stand up to the limelight. Using it is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories fast. For example, an average 13 stone man can burn an incredible 377 calories by rowing vigorously for 30 minutes using the right rowing technique. With such a high-calorie burn potential, using a rowing machine is sure to get you back into those jeans in no time.
Choose the Best Rowing Machine
Now we have looked at some of the benefits of rowers, you are probably about to rush out the door to buy it. But, which should you choose? Purchasing the best rowing machine is quite a high-price investment for most people, so it is important that you make the right choice for your needs. In order to make the right decision, here are a few things you should consider first:
Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have a spare room as a dedicated home gym. Usually, it’s just a small extra area in your living room or bedroom. Therefore, you must think about where you are going to use and store your new rowing machine once you have bought it. Make sure you have accurately measured the area you have available for a rowing machine so that you can be confident the ones you are considering are able to comfortably fit the space. Luckily, most rowers are fairly compact, at least when compared to other exercise machines.
If you don’t have a permanent home for a rowing machine, don’t despair. Many models are able to fold up for convenient storage when not in use, so you can clear the area again once you have finished your workout.
Generally, rowing machines are available in three main types. Some machines will offer a combination of these types. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. By understanding these differences, you will be in a better position to decide which is best for you.
1. Water Rowing Machine
These offer perhaps the most realistic rowing experience. These models are the best choice for seasoned rowers or those who wish to replicate the feel of being out on the sea. They are also the most expensive. These machines don’t have adjustable levels of resistance. Instead, it is determined by the users’ actions. Just like real life, the harder and faster you row, the greater the water resistance. They can be quite noisy as the paddles are repeatedly pulled through the water, but most people find the sound of water machines soothing as it is similar to that heard when training outdoors.
2. Magnetic Rowing Machine
When it comes to noise levels from resistance, magnetic rowers are usually the quietest option. These models use a flywheel which recruits magnets to create resistance. They are easy to use, offering a smooth rowing and comfortable motion. Magnetic rowing machines are highly durable and rarely require any maintenance. However, they are usually the largest kind, so they need the most space. Once you have gained momentum, the tension level can feel lower than that which is provided by other types of machines.
3. Air Rowing Machine
Air rowing machines are by far the most commonly found machines in commercial gyms. If you have ever used a rowing machine at your local health centre, chances are it was an air rower. These machines tend to be the nosiest option available. But they feel very smooth and realistic to use. Air rowers create resistance from the breeze which flows over the internal flywheel system. This wheel is attached to a chain, which is connected to the handlebar. When you pull back on the handle, the flywheel spins. Just like a water resistance rower, the tension level on air rowers changes according to the rowing intensity. The faster your stroke rate, the harder it gets.
Which Is The Best Rowing Machine?
Home rowing machines are certainly a fantastic and convenient way to keep fit in your own home. With so many collapsible options, this super-effective piece of fitness equipment can offer a low-impact, full-body workout that burns through calories without requiring much space at a price range that’s right for you.
All of the rowers featured in our rowing machine reviews are truly great options, but if we had to choose the best rowing machine, it would have to be the Concept2 Model D.
We love how this best selling machine is highly ergonomic, durable and sturdy with a weight capacity of 227kg. Additionally, it is compatible with all fitness levels or abilities. The air resistance system increases intelligently with the users’ effort. As your fitness improves, you can still enjoy a tough workout with this home rowing machine. Not only that but you can also keep an eye on your progress and metrics with its high-quality PM5 heart-rate monitor, Finally, the ability to download your workout data from the monitor to your computer truly sealed the deal for us.
Which is the best machine for you? let us know in the comments section.