We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. These days, there’s no need to trek to a gym and pay costly membership fees if you want to get fit and stay healthy. Rowing machines provide a low-impact, full-body workout that targets almost every major muscle group. Once you choose the model that best fits your needs and find a convenient location somewhere in your home, there's nothing left to do but dip your oars. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rowing machine on Amazon.

There are many differing sets of rules governing racing, and these are generally defined by the governing body of the sport in a particular country—e.g., British Rowing in England and Wales, Rowing Australia in Australia, and USRowing in the United States. In international competitions, the rules are set out by the world governing body, the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Aviron (FISA). The rules are mostly similar but do vary; for example, British Rowing requires coxswains to wear buoyancy aids at all times, whereas FISA rules do not.

For a third option, you can look to hydraulic machines, which use pistons to generate resistance. Hydraulic rowers are quiet, and they also tend to be smaller and cheaper than other kinds of rowing machines, but you won’t get the same smooth rowing feel, or the consistency of resistance, that you would get with an air or water rower. What's more, reviewer after reviewer has found them unreliable and high-maintenance.


From a fitness perspective, the WaterRower Natural works 84 percent of your muscle mass, helping tone and strengthen your muscles while burning far more calories than most other aerobic machines. The exercise is also low impact, as it removes all the body weight from the ankles, knees, and hips, but still moves the limbs and joints through a full range of motion--from completely extended to completely contracted.
The model E’s seat stands 6 inches higher. And while the model D’s monitor rests on an adjustable arm, the E’s sits on unbending metal. These few technical differences do nothing to impact ride feel. We recommend the $200-cheaper model D as the best buy, but the Concept 2 E will appeal to anyone who values a higher seat and more solid construction.
It provides a pretty impressive cardiovascular workout that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and empowered at the same time. This is a water resistance model that allows you to smoothly cut through water using all the major muscle groups, without putting unnecessary strain on the lower back and joints. This is the perfect workout for users who cannot participate in high impact workouts.
The dense resistance of water creates substantial drag, but on the WaterRower models, this is perfectly tempered by a whippy cord. It coils and recoils with such steady speed that one tester noted how the Classic “eats the rope back up on recovery.” This smooth agility helps balance out the impact of encountering slow water at the start of every stroke.
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For a third option, you can look to hydraulic machines, which use pistons to generate resistance. Hydraulic rowers are quiet, and they also tend to be smaller and cheaper than other kinds of rowing machines, but you won’t get the same smooth rowing feel, or the consistency of resistance, that you would get with an air or water rower. What's more, reviewer after reviewer has found them unreliable and high-maintenance.
In addition to this, certain crew members have other titles and roles. In an 8+ the stern pair are responsible for setting the stroke rate and rhythm for the rest of the boat to follow. The middle four (sometimes called the "engine room" or "power house") are usually the less technical, but more powerful rowers in the crew, whilst the bow pair are the more technical and generally regarded as the pair to set up the balance of the boat. They also have most influence on the line the boat steers.

This type of machine provides a smooth action with little wear and tear to the mechanism, and the flywheel itself could help to keep you cool as you work out. It's worth noting that although water rowers aim for a realistic rowing feel, competitive rowers often use air rowers for land training. They tend to be less expensive than water-powered rowing machines, as well.


This affordable rowing machine is streamlined, simple to use, built well, has a comfy seat with a realistic rowing movement, and especially good for a newbie. Because the cost of this machine is less than $150, it is popular on the net. As it has a hydraulic rower, resistance is provided by just one piston under the main key column. Along with a comfy cushioned seat, LCD screen, this machine provides 12 hydraulic cylinder resistances.

Unlike traditional rowboats or kayaks, sliding seat rowing shells are quality fitness tools that allow you a low-impact, all-over body workout. Our versatile shells are simple to operate, stable in open water conditions, and effective in providing you with a fun, safe workout, whether you are a novice or an experienced rower. Our unique folding riggers and long Delta keel make our boats portable and easy to launch.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great style of training to burn fat, build toned muscle, and improve cardiovascular systems as the same time. Challenging HIIT workouts help you get to that state of EPOC and take advantage of the after-burn effect. The ability to change the resistance of the rowing machine at will means that the equipment is ideal for this method of exercise.
Whilst the action of rowing and equipment used remains fairly consistent throughout the world, there are many different types of competition. These include endurance races, time trials, stake racing, bumps racing, and the side-by-side format used in the Olympic games. The many different formats are a result of the long history of the sport, its development in different regions of the world, and specific local requirements and restrictions.
Rowing is one of the oldest Olympic sports. Though it was on the programme for the 1896 games, racing did not take place due to bad weather,[4] but male rowers have competed since the 1900. Women's rowing was added to the Olympic programme in 1976. Today, only fourteen boat classes race at the Olympics: [note 2] Each year the World Rowing Championships is staged by FISA with 22 boat classes raced. In Olympic years only the non-Olympic boat classes are raced at the World Championships. The European Rowing Championships are held annually, along with three World Rowing Cups in which each event earns a number of points for a country towards the World Cup title. Since 2008, rowing has also been competed at the Paralympic Games.
The Challenge AR has the capability to allow the rower to control and adjust the resistance from “Feather light” to “Olympic sprint” delivering a silky smooth resistance to the user’s effort and instantaneous response to input with no “flat sport”.  With water resistance being the most accurate manner in which to simulate actual outdoor rowing, the Challenge AR provides a smooth and consistent sensation throughout the range of motion of the exercise experience.  
The A1 S4 Driftwood by WaterRower delivers a total body workout, caters to fitness goals and exercise requirements. This rower is ...crafted out of fine-quality driftwood with an aluminum monorail. It is perfect for home or gym use and has a maximum user weight capacity of 375 pounds. The A1 S4 Driftwoood boasts features such as the WaterRower patented WaterFlywheel that gives life-like water rowing experience, a unique self-regulating resistance with infinite variable which suits any user, contoured seat with wheels that glide along the rail and comfortable rowing handles. It also comes with an S4 monitor that shows time per 2 or 500 kilometers, calories burned per hour, distance covered and total time of workouts. Maintenance of this rower is minimal. Simply add a purification tablet every 3-6 months. Tablets come with the package. When not in use, store the A1 S4 Driftwood vertically against a wall or in a closet. Buy your very own high-quality WaterRower Rowing Machine from Dazadi and get free shipping with every purchase. *WATER ROWER FOR HOME AND GYM USE - Crafted out of high-quality driftwood with aluminum monorail with no impact and non-load bearing, making it perfect for users with joint problems. Targets 84% of all major muscle areas like the arms, legs, back, shoulders, chest, core, etc. Water rower dimensions: 83 L x 22.5 W x 22.5 H Inches / Weight: 110 Pounds*LIFE-LIKE WATER ROWING EXPERIENCE - Features patented WaterFlywheel, unique self-regulating resistance, ergonomic seat and handles. Suits any user without need for adjustments. Maximum user weight: 375 Pounds. *TRACK YOUR PROGRESS - Water Rower comes with an intelligent S4 monitor that shows time per 2 or 500 kilometers, watts, calories burned per hour, distance, and the total time of workouts.*LOW MAINTENANCE AND SPACE EFFICIENT - This water rowing machine does not require lubrication or maintenance. User simply needs to add a purification tablet in the water every 3-6 months (tablets come with the package). When not in use, tip vertically against a wall or store in closet conveniently. read more
Being able to easily store your rower is a huge plus. Make sure you investigate how well the machine stores, if it folds up or comes apart easily to be able to put it in your closet, or in other storage areas. As an example, the Concept2 Model D rowing machine folds up nicely by a simple pull pin located in the middle of the rower. Wheels on the bottom allow for easy moving.
Rowing whether competitive and recreational is unique compared to most sports because this type of aerobic exercise gives all your major muscle groups a beneficial workout. Everything from your legs, back, and arms are engaged while rowing. This is a low-impact sport, the rowing stroke is a fairly safe motion, providing little room for the serious injury often found in contact and high-impact sports. 

The meter didn't work properly. It wasn't keeping the distance - we would row for 30 mins and wouldn't even be at 1km!!! And the strokes per minute was reading double strokes (which the company said was normal - huh?). Their customer service team was good and tried to make it work but we ended up returning it and spent the extra money to get a WaterRower and it is amazing!!!
WaterRower Dimensions: 83" x 22" x 21" / Weight: 108 Lbs (At Minimum Water Level)Built For Light Commercial Use & Practically Main...tenance Free, Rowing Machine Targets All Major Muscle Groups (84% Of Total Muscle Mass) W/ Excellent Adjustable Resistance LevelsMade W/ Kiln Dried Harwood; Danish Oil & Urethane Finish For Better Wood Performance/Strength & Cozy Feel To Your GymBoasts A Patented Water Flywheel That Mimics The Natural Dynamics Of Rowing Yet Suitable For Users W/ Joint Concerns (Chlorine Tablet Is Available Free Of Charge)Enjoy 1 Year Manufacturer's Warranty (Upgradeable To 3-Year Parts While 5-Year Frame Is Free Of Charge W/ Registration) read more
The main advantages of the water rower are that it has quiet operation; there is only little maintenance to do, the water only needs to be changed occasionally; many users love the whooshing sound of water in the tank; and its consistently smooth resistance at every stroke. Two disadvantages of this machine are it costs a lot than the air rower; and it tends to be larger in size compared to the other rowing machines.
There is much to love about the WaterRower--and I do love it--but I would echo others' comments that although the seat rolls solidly and smoothly on the wood rails, the seat itself is very hard (I use a gel seat pad I bought for my hard fiberglass kayak seat), and the footpads are in need up rethinking and upgrading--the cheap plastic doesn't let you row in socks or barefoot and is not really worthy of a machine that is otherwise a stunning piece of engineering and a beautiful one as well. As one other person noted about his machine, my machine made a clicking noise on the return stroke, so I had to adjust the wheel underneath the top rail that connects to the footpad and pull it away gently from where it was rubbing against another component. Also, be warned: the instruction booklet is in the DVD case. I did not see the little sticker on the case telling me that, thinking I'd wait to watch the DVD until after I'd assembled it. But WaterRower has a copy of the assembly instructions on their website, along with a video (I found the written ones better and easier to follow), so I was able to assemble it with no difficulty.
Outside of resistance type, we found the number-one arbiter of ride feel to be cord quality. Water ergometers tend to employ nylon cords, while air ergometers feature metal chains — a durability factor we anticipated would result in our favoring air. But while all three water rowers aced our expectation of smooth, high-tension strokes, perfecting the chain seems to be more difficult: Some tug with just a slight rumble, others feature bouncy, grinding chains that are incredibly loud, something akin to angry snoring. As for nylon, the best wind and unwind like elastic silk — no slack, no sound, no catching, just perfectly even tension throughout the stroke.
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