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.


Essentially, the water rower uses water as it's resistance and the air rower (click here to read our air rowing machine reviews) uses air resistance. Additionally, the resistance of the water gives a very similar feeling to actually rowing in the water. The rowing machines listed above all have fantastic rowing mechanisms that mimic the exact feeling of a rowing a boat.


As previously discussed, the rowing machine’s big advantage is that it provides more than just a cardio workout. It can definitely help you build muscle and lose weight. Compared to a treadmill, the rowing machine works most of your body. It will really hit your shoulders, core, quads, hamstrings, glutes, arms and back effectively while being low impact thus reducing the stress on your joints. Bigger muscles need more energy and will burn fat to get it, which of course leads to healthy weight loss.
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. 

The WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine is a work of art. But before you buy one just to hang it on the wall, the more important feature of course is that this rowing machine is a high-quality, durable, and effective piece of exercise equipment that will help you get in top fitness with ease and low-impact comfort. With a user weight capacity of 1,000 lbs, WaterRower has built the Classic Rowing Machine to take everything you can throw at it. No matter how intense your workouts are, you’re not going to hurt this machine. And it accommodates everyone from beginner rowers to experienced die-hards.
There are 4 main rowing machine types that are classed according to its utilized resistance mechanism. Having an exercise workout needs to have resistance against the movement in order to provide to the muscles and the cardiovascular system a good change. This can be provided by the rowing machine whenever you pull its handle and then slide back to the seat. Having low resistance works on the cardiovascular system can make you row fast easily. Having high resistance means that it provides you with the anaerobic session, working with the muscles harder, also having a slow stroke rate because of the harder pull.
On a rowing machine, you don’t want to be wearing clothes that are too baggy as the fabric can get caught between the seat and the beam it slides on.  It’s not a disaster if that happens, but it can get annoying if your shorts keep getting caught there while you’re trying to get a serious workout.   It’s better to wear shorter, tighter-fitting shorts (nothing ridiculous), but just enough to ensure it doesn’t the material doesn’t hang down.
From a fitness perspective, the WaterRower Classic 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.
Adaptive rowing is a special category of races for those with physical disabilities. Under FISA rules there are 5 boat classes for adaptive rowers; mixed (2 men and 2 women plus cox) LTA (Legs, Trunk, Arms), mixed intellectual disability (2 men and 2 women plus cox) LTA (Legs, Trunk, Arms), mixed (1 man and 1 woman) TA (Trunk and Arms), and men's and women's AS (Arms and Shoulders). Events are held at the World Rowing Championships and were also held at the 2008 Summer Paralympics.[59]
As I mentioned, the rowing experience with the WaterRower is amazing. I bought the rower for myself, but my wife was curious and decided to try it out. She loves it, and now rows almost daily. We have a treadmill that neither of us has used since we started rowing - the WaterRower is a much better workout and much more enjoyable at the same time. It's easy to adjust the intensity, pace and duration of your exercise. There is nothing to change on the rower (* see note below), you just row harder or faster, adjust how far you lean forward and back during your stroke. The WaterRower will keep up with you as your fitness increases, all you need to do is keep throwing more and more at it.
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!!!
There is some minor maintenance. Because it's made out of wood, which can expand and contract, the bolts need tightening every few months or so. It's easy and takes only a couple of minutes. That, and putting in a fresh water purification tablet every six to twelve months, are about it for regular maintenance. The only problem I've had with the rower (the reason for 4 stars instead of 5) was a squeak that developed after about 6 weeks. It took me some time to determine the source of the squeak, which was a metal bracket connecting the footrest board to the horizontal boards above the drum. I had to partially disassemble the top section and tighten four bolts, but that fixed the problem and it's been quiet ever since.
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
If you are anything like me, you read the negative reviews to see what some of the complaints could potentially be...I have found none that match with my machine or experience so far. The boxes it came in were a little bunged-up but everything on the inside was perfect. Only took about 15-20 minutes to build (first time building a row machine) and another 5-10 to fill with water. We used it for a little while before we added the danish oil.
Flywheel sits in enclosed water tank to provide smooth, quiet, self-regulated resistanceSeries 4 performance monitor tracks workou...t intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and moreHandcrafted rowing machine with "water flywheel" that replicates actual rowing feelStores upright; measures 83 x 22 x 21 inches (L x W x H) and weighs 108 poundsNo impact and Non-Load Bearing, perfect for users with Joint concerns read more
WaterRower Rowing Machines offer a pleasant rowing exercise while holding true to the dynamics of on-water rowing; burn up to 1000 calories an hour and work up to 84 percent of your muscle mass! Rowing provides an effective, high-intensity, cardio workout, while maintaining a low-impact to the joints. Workout at your own pace as the WaterFlyWheel's self-regulating resistance dynamically adjusts to each of your strokes. Unlike common ergometers, to change resistance on a WaterRower rowing machine you simply row harder!
After reading so many fantastic reviews I purchased the Classic model. Before I write what I think are the negative aspects I'll say that it gives a great workout! That is pretty obvious and I don't think that part is arguable. The disappointment began while unpacking. The wood parts were wrapped fairly well and did not have damage but there were several scratches that I had to sand out and re-oil. It appears that they were there before shipping. Putting it together would have been fast and easy- except 2 of the bolts were bent at about 15 degrees and would not fit. I had to wrap with tape and bend with vice grips. After getting it all together the rower worked well for about a week. I started to notice an annoying kind of popping sound from the left rail as the wheels rolled over on each stroke and recovery. It seems the plastic that the wheels ride on is not flat or adhered well to the rail. It isn't very loud but I can hear it well and it gets my attention, spoiling the nice sound of the water. Really disturbing. Support at WaterRower would like a video of the issue. Seems like an obvious issue and could swap out with a rail that is good instead of me trying to make a video of this small sound while moving the seat back and forth. For a $1500 machine the quality control- or lack of it is disturbing. Having to jump through a bunch of hoops because they are too cheap to just send a part is even more so. Perhaps I am being difficult but it is upsetting to have something touted as so great but put together like a $200 piece of junk. Another complaint would be the lack of any back lighting on the monitor. Really cannot see it if the lights are low. Being able to remove the monitor to attach to a PC wouldn't hurt either. While it gives a good workout the rower really suffers from poor manufacturing.
At the catch the rower places the blade in the water and applies pressure to the oar by pushing the seat toward the bow of the boat by extending the legs, thus pushing the boat through the water. The point of placement of the blade in the water is a relatively fixed point about which the oar serves as a lever to propel the boat. As the rower's legs approach full extension, the rower pivots the torso toward the bow of the boat and then finally pulls the arms towards his or her chest. The hands meet the chest right above the diaphragm.
As previously discussed, the rowing machine’s big advantage is that it provides more than just a cardio workout. It can definitely help you build muscle and lose weight. Compared to a treadmill, the rowing machine works most of your body. It will really hit your shoulders, core, quads, hamstrings, glutes, arms and back effectively while being low impact thus reducing the stress on your joints. Bigger muscles need more energy and will burn fat to get it, which of course leads to healthy weight loss.
	Using the same principles that govern the dynamics of a boat in water, the WaterRower S1 Stainless Steel Rower with S4 Monitor provides an unlimited range of resistance making it suitable for a variety of strength and skill levels. In a boat, the faster you move, the greater the drag and the greater the intensity of exercise required to maintain your speed. The limit to the speed you can maintain is you, your physiology, not the machine. For maximum realism and comfort, the WaterRower S1 Stainless Steel Rower's precision spragg clutch engages the instant the handle is pulled, so there is no jerkiness or jarring at the beginning of the stroke. The WaterRower S1 Stainless Steel Rower with S4 Monitor leaves you with the distinct sense that you are gliding effortlessly across the water. Order your WaterRower S1 Stainless Steel Rower from FitnessZone.com today!

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.
The overall rowing experience encompasses pulley, seat, and — of course — resistance. Air and water have very distinct qualities, making them impossible to compare but interesting to contrast. Air stores inertia, which feeds into intense, constant effort during a goal-oriented workout. Water’s more sluggish drag makes for demanding exercise, but one that’s less consistent.

Water rowers feature a tank that is actually filled with water as a means for resistance. As you increase the pace of rowing, the resistance naturally increases as well. This means that you can set your own pace and resistance in a single motion. The same is true for air rowers. Air rowers use a fan or flywheel to create resistance, and you have control over the intensity of the workout due to the fact that the air resistance depends on your pace. Most water and air rowers come equipped with -- or at least have as an option -- monitors that track various functions such as distance, strokes, strokes per minute and calories burned.
Flywheel sits in enclosed water tank to provide smooth, quiet, self-regulated resistanceSeries 4 performance monitor tracks workou...t intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and moreHandcrafted rowing machine with "water flywheel" that replicates actual rowing feelStores upright; measures 83 x 22 x 21 inches (L x W x H) and weighs 108 poundsNo impact and Non-Load Bearing, perfect for users with Joint concerns read more
The horizontal movement of the water when a wave passes is approximately equal to the up and down movement of the water. If you are on flat water and are parallel to waves made by a passing boat, your boat will move side-to-side as much as up-and–down as the wave passes under you. The side-to-side movement actually creates most of the difficulty in balancing the boat in such a situation. However, under typical conditions in the bay there can be such varied wave action that you can’t easily distinguish horizontal and vertical motion.
Get the WaterRower S1 Indoor Rowing Machine w/ S4 Monitor for your home gym! This exercise equipment targets compound muscles such... as arms, legs, back, and glutes. It's the perfect workout as if you're actually driving a boat with oars. Its construction features a stainless steel makeup with brushed finish--giving it high durability. Moreover, it boasts a patented water flywheel responsible for its natural rowing dynamic. Enjoy self-regulating resistance levels--making it suitable for individuals with joint concerns, along with little maintenance required by replacing the chlorine tablet every 2-6 months. Other specifications include maximum user weight and height of 1000 pounds and 38-inch inseam. What's more, it comes with the S4 performance monitor that displays intensity, Kcalories per hour, Strokerate, Heartrate, and more! So avail a WaterRower S1 Indoor Rowing Machine w/ S4 Monitor today! read more

At the international level, women's rowing traditionally has been dominated by Eastern European countries, such as Romania, Russia, and Bulgaria, although other countries such as Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Great Britain and New Zealand often field competitive teams.[55][57] The United States also has had very competitive crews, and in recent years these crews have become even more competitive given the surge in women's collegiate rowing.[58]
An 'oar' is often referred to as a blade in the case of sweep oar rowing and as a scull in the case of sculling. A sculling oar is shorter and has a smaller blade area than the equivalent sweep oar. The combined blade area of a pair of sculls is however greater than that of a single sweep oar, so the oarsman when sculling is working against more water than when rowing sweep-oared. He is able to do this because the body action in sculling is more anatomically efficient (due to the symmetry).

Water rower for home and gym use - a1 rose water rower is constructed from high quality ash wood with aluminum mono rail with no i...mpact 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 poundslife-like water rowing experience for all - engineered with the patented waterflywheel resistance and unique self-regulating resistance with infinite variable, this rowing machine suits any user without the need for adjustments. Maximum user weight: 375 poundsmonitor your fitness goals - exercise machine comes with the 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 easy to use - this water rowing machine does not require lubrication. User simply needs to add a purification tablet in the water every 3-6 months (tablets come with the package). read more
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.
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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