If you want a full body exercise machine then you’re only other option is a rowing machine. Rowing machines come in all shapes and sizes and offer a mixed performance depending on how much you want to pay for your rowing machine?
The Best Rowing Machine
The best rowing machine on the market is firmly the Concept 2 Rowing Machine. This is the same one that is used by professional rowers to train on when their not on the water and offers both fantastic performance and longevity. Personally I have used mine continuously over the last 10 years without a problem other than a few touch ups here and there. Why doesn’t everyone just buy a concept two rowing machine? They’re not exactly cheap! Check out the review and concept 2 rowing machine below.
If you want to carve your body muscles then a rowing machine can greatly help you as it will work not only on your shoulders and arms but at your back, chest and abs. In this review we're looking at the best rowing machines on the market and whilst we have established the best rowing machine is the Concept Two Rowing Machine, it's also the most expensive on the market.
Unless you're going to use it daily, it's hard to justify the expense and as a result we're going to look at those that offer a rowing machine to work-out on, but also a value for money product.
Types Of Rowing Machine
Rowing machines come in a range of different makes and models to suit all price range, however given that a rowing machine needs to create resistance, you will need to choose the type of unit that you want. Typically you have four choices, air, water, hydraulic and magnetic each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
- Water Rowing Machine – This type of rowing machine uses water to create resistance, however there are couple of reasons that we don’t like them. Firstly once you have got the water spinning inside the unit, its very easy to keep it spinning and therefore effects your work out. You also have to service these units otherwise you could find water all over your home.
- Air Rowing Machine – This type using a flywheel to produce resistance and thus creating a very smooth action with variable resistance. The only real downside is that they tend to make a lot of noise as the fan rotates.
- Hydraulic Rowing Machine – This type of rowing machine uses hydraulic cylinder filled with oil to create resistance. The upside is that they are lightweight and have been designed as lightweight rowing machines for home use, but the downside is that they really do not offer a very good rowing performance. Some of the really poor rowing machines create no resistance and really offer not effective training.
- Magnetic Rowing Machine – This type of machine uses magnet to create adjustable resistance and therefore with no fans, water or hydraulics can offer silent rowing packed into a unit that is easy to fit into your home and offer a great performance at a value for money price tag.
Best Indoor Rowing Machine 2016
This review has been updated in 2016 to include a few new models that have entered the market and few of our older models that whilst we liked, we have tested models that we thought were better. One thing that has not changed is our favourite model being the Concept2 Rowing machine, which has been developed over the last few years, but what has not changed is the quality. It's still used by the GB Rowing Team, and still our favourite rowing machine on the market.
If you want the best rowing machine on the market, check out the Concept 2 Rowing Machine here. It's used by the olympic rowers to train on and offers the most realistic rowing simulator on the market.
The key problem with Concept 2 Rowing Machine is the price. It's been built for professional rowers and therefore comes with a professional price tag. If you're after something that offer's value for money, check out the top three indoor rowing machines on the market below.
Body Sculpture Twin Rower
JLL R200 Luxury Home
If you want the rowing experience, but simply cannot justify the price tag for the concept2 rowing machine the we have two other models that you should be looking at. The JLL R200 is a fantastic rowing machine, whilst the Body Sculpture is great if you want a cheap rowing workout.
JLL R200 Luxury Home Rowing Machine
The JLL R200 Luxury Home is a great value for money rowing machine that will get you working hard quickly. The rower comes with many advanced features, but with a value for money price tag.
The JLL R200 Luxury Home comes in kit form, although it's not complicated to put together and in our test build, took us around 45 minutes to get it up and running. One point, the box comes with all the tools that you're going to require, however to be honest, they are not the best and you would do better having a few tools yourself to get the bolts tighter.
The rower is made of steel and comes with dimensions of 70/20.5/46 inches or 178/52/117 cm whilst weighing in at around 25KG. Unlike the concept2 which provides resistance by using a fan, the JLL provides resistance by using magnetic's, whilst offering 10 levels of magnetic resistance covering basic resistance to hard. Performance is great with the rower offering a smooth and variable resistance to your workout whilst allow you to practice your full rowing stroke.
The JLL rower comes with an LED screen which is okay, however due to the fixed angle, you cannot see it in direct sunlight. The screen provides a decent amount of information from you total count to calorie count, distance and time.
Overall the JLL provides a decent rowing workout allowing you to compete a full rowing stroke to include full extension. The instructions point that you should not use the rower if you weigh over 100KG, however I am about 108 and honestly I had no problem. We enjoyed the smoothness of the rower, and we enjoyed the price tag meaning that if you buy it and never use it like so many people do, actually it's not going to break the bank.
We have reviewed this rower extensively over the last month and have had no problems with it's performance. We have also scanned the internet looking for reviews and 90% are positive with the only real complaints being that the price tag does seem to vary across the internet. There are reports of users paying over £400 for their rower, whilst we found it across at amazon.co.uk for substantially less. Click the button below to see the best price on Amazon.co.uk.
Body Sculpture Twin Rowing Machine
Last year we tested the Body Sculpture BR3010 resistance rowing machine which we liked, but after using it for a couple of months, the resistance bands snapped and therefore we have decided to take this off our list.
The replacement is the The Body Sculpture Twin Rower which is may seem a very basic rowing machine, but actually it does a fantastic job at providing a great rowing workout at a great value for money price tag.
The twin rower is made of steel, and comes with dimensions of L124 x W80 x H17.5cm and a weight of around 13KG. The twin rower uses hydraulics to provide resistance which are both adjustable and allow you to have something to pull against.
The foot pedals are fixed, but can also be adjusted to suit your needs. The rower also comes with an LED screen which is basic, but does show your rowing time, strokes taken and your calories burnt.
Overall performance is great with the rower offering a great rowing workout at a value for money price tag. One slight problem, the rower is not suitable for tall people. It's got a maximum rowing leg length of around 35 inches meaning that if you're legs are longer, this is probably not going to be suitable.
We have checked out the reviews across the internet and they all seem to be positive. Where the feed-back is not positive is all surrounding those that buy the twin rower only to find they cannot fit on it. If you're 6ft and under you should have no problem, however if you're over, i would test and your local sports shop before buying it online.
Things To Think About When Buying The Best Rowing Machine
Once you have decided on the type of rowing machine that you’re going to buy, the second thing that you need to decide is what you’re going to be using your rowing machine for, how much space you have for your unit and how much you want to pay.
- Folding Vs. Fixed – There are two types of rowing machines, fixed meaning you cannot take them apart and folding meaning that they will fold up typically into two parts, the sliding part and spinning part. Fixed units are more durable, however our concept 2 is folding and has lasted for years.
- Rowing Seat – This is something that you will be spending a while one so make sure that you buy one that fits. A rowing seat is never going to be comfortable, however there is a difference between un-comfortable and annoying.
- Rowing Slide – Make sure that the slide is long enough to stretch your legs out fully.
- Brands – Look out for Brands, as they typically will offer you a quality product that will last you a lifetime. The major brands in rowing machines are Concept 2, Stamina, Velocity Fitness, Kettler and Schwinn.
- Weight – Rowing machines are heavy units especially the water resistance models and the air fans and thus you need to make sure that you have the flooring. Given that your rowing machine is likely to move around, you’re going to need either a training mat or to do it on a concrete floor where is does not matter if it moves around.
- Warranty – Make sure that you buy a rowing machine with at least a one years warranty, however ideally you would really want two years as a minimum. Usually the manufacturing companies give warranty for at least 2 years on their product. Buy such rowing machine that is warranted. So, in case you find any maintenance issue you can easily contact the company.
- Price Range – With a price range varying from less than £100 to over £1,000 there is a lot of choice on the market. One point we would say, cheaper is never better especially when it comes to rowing machines. Some models are cheap, bend and really cannot be used so watch out.
Rowing Machine Reviews 2015
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine is firmly the best rowing machine on the market today. It's used by the professionals to train on, however it is rather expensive.
The rower is made of solid steel and whilst is nearly three meters long, it can easily be divided into two pieces to store it comfortably. As standard it comes with everything you need to get yourself rowing as quickly as possible including the 35 cm seat, adjustable monitor arm, ergonomic handle with nickel-plated chain, caster wheels and adjustable footrests to suit any sized feet.
Given the build quality, there is also no weight limit and whilst it does come with 5-year warranty on its frame and 2-year warranty on its moving parts, you will not need it.
Once you're ready to go, simply sit on the seat, fix your feet into the foot rest, grab the handle and start pulling. The first thing you will notice is the smoothness and information that is provided by the 5 inch rowing screen. If you're finding it two easy, the fan contains a difficulty arm that increases the pressure your pulling at.
The monitor provides all the information you require to include your distance, speed, pace, calories, and watts for each workout you do. Whilst there is some difference between the models, the model D also allows you to choose between five display options, all data, force curve, bar chart, and having a paceboat/pacer to help you along your way and keep you motivated. You can use it with heart rate monitors for monitoring your heart rate wirelessly as it is compatible to Bluetooth Smart an +ANT connectivity.
The package includes Performance Monitor Quick Start Guide, User Manual, assembly instructions and necessary tools.
Overall the concept rower is firmly the best rowing machine on the market as is used by professional rowing athletes all over the world. Other than the price, you cannot complain about the concept 2 rowing machine and the reviews across the internet also agree. On Amazon.co.uk, there are over 100 reviews of which apart from one all are at 5-stars.
Not ours, but there is a great rowing technique video showing the concept2 rowing machine in action.
Body Sculpture BR3010 Rowing Machine
If you really cannot justify the Concept2 rowing machine, then take a look at the Body Sculpture BR3010 Rowing Machine which provides many of the benefit of the concept2, but at a 10th of the price.
The Body Sculpture works in a slightly different way to the concept2 model above. Whilst they both look very similar, the concept2 uses a large fan to provide resistance, whilst the body sculpture uses resistance bands that you can pull against. Build quality is much the same given they are both made from solid steel (it comes with a one year warranty), however this model also allows you to fix the seat in one place and use the resistance bands for different exercises.
Whilst this models comes with an on-board monitor, honestly other than stroke count and your time rowing, it's pretty useless and really does not offer much in the way of information.
Performance is okay, however the biggest problem is that we're always comparing it to the concept2 above and whilst it does not compare, it does offer a decent work out and a value for money product.
Overall, we do like the Sculpture Rowing machine. It's decent value for money but does come with some problems. The foot plates are not adjustable, it uses elastic bands as resistance which means the elastic gets harder to stretch the further it is extended and therefore its actually an easy work out for your legs, but not your back or arms.
V-Fit Tornado Air Rowing Machine
V-Fit has introduced this club style rower which allows you to drive it at a speed proportionate to air resistance on it with the help of its wide rowing bar. Its PU seal mounted on upper and lower seat guide rollers can be adjusted automatically.
Adjustable Velcro style foot straps, three-screen monitor, six-function exercise monitor, pivoting and oversize PVC footplates with two mount positions are the other main features of this rowing machine.
Maximum capacity of this rower is 253 pounds or 115 kg. V-Fit Tornado Air Rower can be used for effective workout in the comfort of your home to train yourself like an Olympian athlete. It is one of the dependable devices used for this purpose on the basis of its extruded aluminium rowing rail, robust steel frame, roller mounted padded seat, chain driven air resistance fan and a curved rowing handle to control it effectively during every stroke.
It is one of the best fitness devices used by the beginners and fitness experts with equal prominence as it can be used for various types of workouts. The 2 page exercise monitor and 6 functions of this device keep you motivated by providing theoretical information about keeping an eye on the distance travelled, speed and calorie burnt with each stroke.
The box of this rower contains user and assembly manual and tools along with a rower. It has been rated for 4.1 out of 5 stars on an average whereas over 40% users have rated it for 5 out of 5 stars.
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine
The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine was designed by WaterRower to really take on the Concept2 rowing machine. The problem is, it's not quite as good as the concept2, but is a similar price.
The rower is made by hand to provide you unique and natural experience of rowing a real boat while working out with it. It motivates you for workouts by generating the sounds like waves and imitating the natural movement of a rowing boat. The features of dual-rail, comfortable seat and sealed tank help in regulating the resistance of water by yourself.
You can quickly start your workout just by pressing Stat button after choosing from the two program types, time and distance. The rate of stroke, rowing duration, number of total strokes, intensity and distance and many more are some of the information types this console can provide you while working with it.
This rowing machine can be folded vertically for easy storage. Its compatibility with various types of PC software improves its performance much better than its rivals. Company offers a standard three year warranty on the frame of this rowing device along with one year warranty on its components but this warranty is valid only for the users living in UK. If you purchase it out of UK then any service or parts warranty will be seized by the manufacturer.
Average rating of this rowing device is 4.2 out of 5 stars as nearly 70% users have rated it for 5 out of 5 stars.
Do Not Touch The Following Machines
If you're looking for the best rowing machine then look at the rowing machines above. Do not touch the rowing machines below.
Kettler Stroker Rowing Machine
The Kettler Stroker Rowing Machine is pretty expensive, however it will fall apart quickly. It just felt like something was going to break at every stroke and with the reports of strops breaking after a few months, it's one to avoid.
York Excel 310 Folding Rowing Machine
The York Excel 310 Folding Rowing Machine is actually not a bad machine, however the biggest problem we have is that it's tray is only 44-inches which means that if you're over 6ft, it's too small. It's easy to put together, comes with a decent computer with options and is actually a decent rowing machine to use.
Other key problems we found include, the build quality which is not great, the computer screen is terrible meaning that you cannot see it, it has wheels but they don't seem to do anything meaning that it's impossible to move, and the seat clunks and squeaks the whole time. What drives us nuts though it that the footrests do not move which means that when you slide forward to take a stroke, your feet fall out the straps.
Marcy Regatta Folding Rowing Machine
The Marcy Regatta Folding Rowing Machine is another decent rowing machine if you just want move backwards and forwards. The problems comes with you want take a proper rowing stroke as you find out that you cannot reach past your feet which is part of the stroke.
This means that if you're taking a full rowing stroke, you can actually only take half a stoke which is annoying and will probably hurt your back. Other problems we found include the strap where there are reports of it breaking and coming off the fan. It's virtually impossible to replace or put back on meaning that if this happens to you, your rowing machine is out of action.
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