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.

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.
Both competitive and recreational rowing are unique in comparison to most sports because they exercise all of your major muscle groups. Everything from your legs, back, and arms are engaged while rowing. In addition, rowing is a low-impact sport. When executed properly, the rowing stroke is a fairly safe motion, providing little room for the serious injury often found in contact and high-impact sports. 1
This type of calorie burn is better than what you would get from cycling or running, and it’s much gentler on the body. You can also position your hands differently in order to work new muscle groups in your lower and upper arms. Many people will be surprised to learn that rowing works the legs more than any other muscle group, but by switching up your rowing position, you can also focus on your abs, arms and shoulders for a total upper body workout that can provide impressive results just by working out a few times a week.
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.
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.
Function plays a large role in defining good design. When designers look at an object, they don't just consider its aesthetic appearance; they should also challenge it to be more versatile, to respond to the user's need, or to achieve its purpose more elegantly. Good design has the capacity to solve problems that sometimes we didn't even know we had. This is one of the ways design touches and enriches our everyday life. 

The WaterRower Classic Rower is outfitted with a Series 4 performance monitor that's designed to balance technical sophistication with user-friendliness. The monitor--which includes six information and programming windows, six QuickSelection buttons, and three navigation buttons--displays your workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, zone bar, duration, and distance. Plus, the monitor is compatible with an optional heart rate chest strap and receiver, which helps you optimize your workout and achieve your exercise objectives.
The WaterRower Club Rower has been designed for high traffic areas such as commercial gyms, studios, rehabilitation clinics, etc. Its black rails have been styled to prevent scuffing; other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the natural model. Each machine has been hand finished with Danish oil and urethane for protection. Wood has been chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration enhancing the waterrower's quietness and smoothness of use. Ash, like all woods used in WaterRower construction, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. For reasons of ecology, all WaterRower woods are harvested from replenishable forests. WaterRower Club Rower Black Rails have been styled to prevent scuffing, other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the Natural model.
Decreasing  speed of waves as water becomes shallow has dramatic consequences on the beach. As the waves slow, their profile (Figure on right) is laterally compressed and since each wave must carry the same energy it becomes higher. As the wave approaches shore this process continues until the height exceeds 1/7 th the wave length and the wave becomes unstable. Then the wave breaks.
If the machine is to be housed on a wooden floor you will need a mat beneath to reduce vibration and also noise. If space is tight, the hydraulic options are usually the smallest. It's also worth checking your floor can take the weight if you're going for one of the bigger, heavier models. For most, this shouldn't be a problem, if you have any doubts get a surveyor to check as it could be a very expensive mistake!

As with any fitness activity, it’s important to exercise with proper technique, however. The big muscles in the legs are where most of the workout action should be. Injury to the lower back can occur from bending too far forward in the row. It’s best to maintain a upright 90 degree angle to the rowing machine’s seat and slider bar. Using the legs for the motion rather than relying as heavily on the back or arms can help reduce the chance of muscle pulls or other related injuries. Always check with a physician before starting any new fitness regimen.


Velocity Exercise puts a premium on comfort here with a polyurethane molded saddle seat, and magnetic drum resistance contributes to a row machine that is durable, won’t need much or any maintenance, and, as we mentioned does not create much noise in use. This makes it easy to row while watching TV or listening to music. It also means the other people in your home won’t be listening to you workout quite as much. Easy to assemble and store, the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower CHR-2001 is a good choice for a mid-priced rower.  Click here to read the full review.
Get the WaterRower Indoor Rowing Machine w/ S4 Monitor - M1 HiRise for your home gym! This exercise equipment targets compound mus...cles 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 an aluminum makeup with powder-coated 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 3-6 months. Other specifications include maximum user weight and height of 700 pounds and 38-inch inseam. What's more, it comes with the S4 performance monitor that displays intensity, Kcalories/hour, Stroke Rate, Heart Rate, and more! So avail a WaterRower Indoor Rowing Machine w/ S4 Monitor - M1 HiRise today! read more
 The amount of water in the tank simulates the weight of the boat and crew, the more water in the tank the heavier the boat and crew. The standard Calibration Level is Level 17. If the user is lighter in weight, Level 15-16 can be used. If the user is heavier in weight, level 18-19 can be used. The maximum level to fill the tank is Level 19. DO NOT fill above the maximum level – this could void the warranty.
Water machines are generally quieter than air rowers - you can still hear the water moving in the tank, but users tend to find this a pleasant ambient noise. Water rowers also tend to require little maintenance. Because there's a tank full of water involved, however, these can be very heavy, and larger than most other rowers: if you have a smaller home, a less-than-permanent workout space, or you move frequently, these might not be best for you. And because they're so high-performing, they do come at a high cost.

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.
Although some rowing machines are made of space-age, super-sweat-resistant metals, you still want to wipe off the equipment after a sweaty workout.  These machines are usually constructed with a lot of various materials and salty sweat can be very corrosive.  Keeping your rowing machine clean can go a long way toward extending its life, and its appearance.
The WaterRower Classic is handcrafted in solid American black walnut, which may vary in color from rich brown to purple/black. The black walnut was chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, especially its ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the WaterRower's quiet performance and smooth operation. Black walnut, like all woods used in the construction of the WaterRower, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. In addition, the wood is harvested from replenishable forests and is hand finished with three coats of Danish oil to give it a deep luster and warmth.
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.
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
Handcrafted rowing machine with inchwater flywheel inch that replicates actual rowing feelFlywheel sits in enclosed water tank to ...provide smooth, quiet, self-regulated resistanceSeries 4 performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and moreHandcrafted rowing machine with "water flywheel" that replicates actual rowing feel read more
At the junior level (in the United States), regattas require each rower to weigh in at least two hours before their race; they are sometimes given two chances to make weight at smaller regattas, with the exception of older more prestigious regattas, which allow only one opportunity to make weight. For juniors in the United States, the lightweight cutoff for men is 150.0 lb.; for women, it is 130.0 lb. In the fall the weight limits are increased for women, with the cutoff being 135 lb.
Assembly was challenging. One of the rails could not be attached because the embedded screw in the cross-beam was too crooked to fit into the hole on the rail. I had to place a nut on it to protect the screws and tap until it was true enough cap nut to be attached. The foot board is slightly wider than the top board. I will sand this to match when I reapply the finish. This will need to be done because the wood has a dry, ashy appearance. The wood is beautiful and mostly uniform. This rowing machine is a nice product, but the build quality of the unit I received was disappointing. I felt lucky that the gashes in the carton did not damage the product as the packaging was optimistic. The leading competitor I use at the gym seems to provide slightly more resistance. It is beautiful and useful, but with room for improvement.
Fitness experts as well as health professionals agree that rowing machines provide one of the best workouts possible. Exercising on a rower will allow you to target the great majority of your muscle groups and give them as hard and challenging a workout as you feel like giving them. On the better rowing machine models, you’ll be able to track your progress and see how your splits are improving.
Instead of air or hydraulic resistance, the Elite Wave Water Rowing Machine emulates actual rowing with lifelike water resistance. The paddles glide through the water housed in the reservoir, making the rowing stroke smooth from start to finish, and like rowing on a body of water, the resistance increases infinitely the faster you row. Not only does this feel like rowing on water, it sounds like water. Different stroke speeds and intensities vary water motion, resulting in realistic water resonance.
The tank of the WaterRower Oxbridge Rower is made from polycarbonate, one of the strongest plastics available. It is virtually indestructible. The tank is sealed and can be filled with municipal water via a small opening closed by a stopper. This water typically contains enough chlorine to remain clear for some time. After exposure to light, the chlorine will degrade; the chlorine tablets should be added periodically.
The water flywheel is comprised of two paddles encased in an enclosed tank of water. As you pull the cable, the paddles move through the water creating resistance. The beauty of this machine is it uses the mass/density of water. The paddles create the drag, so the harder you pull, the more resistance increases. Think about moving your hands through water. The faster you go, the more dense water feels. The slower you go, the less you feel the resistance. And this type of resistance is excellent for your joints. Click here to read the full review.

In addition to its natural, fluid resistance, the Elite Wave Water Rowing Machine features many performance upgrades that push you to row harder, faster and longer. When mounting the rower, you will immediately notice the ease and customization of the footplates and straps. The footplates, which accommodate a wide range of foot sizes with their adjustable length, feature a heel strap that secures the feet while also allowing the heel to rise higher for a wider range of motion. There are also quick-adjust straps with finger loops so you can quickly secure your feet – even in the middle of the workout. Once you push, extend and bend, the seat glides atop the aluminum rowing beam, providing a smoother workout.


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
Velocity Exercise puts a premium on comfort here with a polyurethane molded saddle seat, and magnetic drum resistance contributes to a row machine that is durable, won’t need much or any maintenance, and, as we mentioned does not create much noise in use. This makes it easy to row while watching TV or listening to music. It also means the other people in your home won’t be listening to you workout quite as much. Easy to assemble and store, the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower CHR-2001 is a good choice for a mid-priced rower.  Click here to read the full review.
Row your way to fitness with this water rowing machine from WaterRower. The A1 S4 Natural is a low-maintenance exercise machine th...at's constructed from high-quality ash wood with aluminum mono rail. Engineered with the patented WaterFlywheel resistance method, it provides life-like water rowing experience while the low noise level and minimal intrusion along with the unique self-regulating resistance with infinite variable allows suits any user without the need for adjustments. With its no impact and non-load bearing, this gym equipment is also perfect for users with joint problems. Exercise all major muscle groups like the arms, legs, back, shoulders, core, etc. and see how great you're doing with the help of the S4 monitor that comes with the package. It monitors time per 2 or 500 kilometers, watts, calories burned per hour, distance, and the total time of workouts. This exercise machine also boasts minimal maintenance with no lubrication needed. You simply need to add purification tablet every 3-6 months (tablets come with the package). Storage is easy and hassle-free as well. Simply tip the machine vertically and you can easily lean it against a wall or hide it inside a closet. Moreover, enjoy 1 year manufacturer warranty (can be upgraded to 3 years parts and 5 years frame warranty for free with registration) read more
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