A rowing workout can produce sustainable results without negatively impacting muscles and joints. With a reported average of five hundred to a thousand calories burned per workout, rowing machines are the hottest new fitness trend in the industry. Because of this, manufacturers are working overtime to produce a wide variety of styles and types of row machines, all of which can offer an effective low-impact total body workout. With so many choices of models, it can be confusing for beginners to choose the right type. Most consumers automatically choose the cheapest rower, however, cheaper models often feature piston resistance, which is considered the worst type of technology because the workouts are uncomfortable and the machine itself is often poorly designed.

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.
In sweep or sweep-oar rowing, each rower has one oar, held with both hands. This is generally done in pairs, fours, and eights. In some regions of the world, each rower in a sweep boat is referred to either as port or starboard, depending on which side of the boat the rower's oar extends to. In other regions, the port side is referred to as stroke side, and the starboard side as bow side; this applies even if the stroke oarsman is rowing on bow side and/or the bow oarsman on stroke side.