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.
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.
I kayak (ocean and flat water, not river), so I was drawn to the WaterRower over a flywheel type rower (which I have used in gyms) because I wanted to hear the sound of the water, which I miss hearing against the hull of the boat during the winter when I can't get out on the lake. I also like the way the paddles engage in the water; it's a very smooth pull and release, and moving the mass of the water instead of a dialed down tension feels more natural. As someone else also commented, the seat (at least on the wood version) is incredibly smooth and solid; no wobbling at all. I generally listen to music on my Nordic Track ski machine, but with the WaterRower I am content to listen to the sound of the water; working out on this is somehow both energizing and calmingly meditative at the same time. In the event that you want to use it while watching tv (this is one use to which I wanted to put it), it is quiet enough to hear the tv without having to turn it up.
The WaterRower Classic is handcrafted from solid American Black Walnut wood, finished with danish oil. The WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel has been specifically designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving though water and is unsurpassed in its simulation of the physical and physiological benefits of rowing. WaterRower will not provide support or documentation for any product transported outside of the original country of purchase
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WaterRower Dimensions: 83" x 22" x 21" / Weight: 108 Lbs (At Minimum Water Level)Built For Home Use & Practically Maintenance Free..., Rowing Machine Targets All Major Muscle Groups (84% Of Total Muscle Mass) W/ Excellent Adjustable Resistance LevelsMade W/ The Elegant & Desirable Solid Cherrywood That Darkens W/ AgeBoasts 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
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
In the rowing machine category, there are a lot of models to chose from. They range in price from under $100 to well over $1500.  As you can imagine, you’re getting a different type of row machine at those ends of the spectrum, but within that variety there’s something for everyone.  To help guide you, we’ve listed our favorite row machine models and brands by price below:
Water Rower Dimensions: 88" x 22" x 28.5" / Weight: 79 Lbs (Empty Tank), 116 Lbs (With Water); Maximum User Weight And Height: 700... Lbs & 38" InseamExercise Rower Features Aluminum Makeup With Powder-Coated Aluminum Finish For High DurabilityBoasts Patented Water Flywheel Responsible For Its Natural Rowing Dynamic-Like Actually Driving A Boat With Oars! Other Features: Self-Regulating Resistance Levels-Making It Suitable For Any User, Little Maintenance Required (Tablets Available From Manufacturer Free Of Charge) And Inclusive Of S4 Performance Monitor (Displays Intensity, Kcalories/Hour, Stroke Rate, Heart Rate, And More! Enjoy 1 Year Commercial Warranty (Upgradeable To 3-Year Parts While 5-Year Frames Are Free Of Charge With Registration) read more
The table on the left gives the speed of waves of different wave lengths in deep water. “Deep” in this context is not an absolute value, but is relative to wave length. The simple relationship starts to to breakdown when the depth of the water is less than 1/4 th the wave length. At that depth the bottom exerts sufficient drag on the wave to slow its motion and thus decrease the wavelength [equations and more about wave speed].
Storage is also a plus point for the Waterrower series as they are all designed to stand upright with the tank acting as ballast for stability. In this position they only take up around two square feet. Again, great if you are planning on training in the living room. However, if you have small children, I would advise fixing the top to the wall with a hook and strap.
The WaterRower Oxbridge Rower in Cherrywood is designed for equally gorgeous look and performance. Every detail complements the overall aesthetic and performance of this unparalleled machine. Built in America, the WaterRower Oxbridge Rower in Cherrywood is a product of modern European design. It's hand-crafted in solid ash and stained honey oak for consistency of color. Each machine has been hand-finished with Danish Oil, which lends a deep warmth and luster. Wood has been chosen for its marvelous engineering properties; primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the WaterRower Oxbridge Rower 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 woods are harvested from renewable forests. The frame is more than stylish; it holds up to 2,200 lbs!
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.

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.
The OMNI T1X next-generation, cutting-edge, gold standard touring class open water and coastal rowing shell is available for purchase spring 2015!   The new OMNI T1X is 19' long with significant design updates to row and track well on flat water as well as be the ultimate performance and safe rowing shell rowing through chop, wake and swells found on magnificent large bodies of water.   We've modeled the OMNI T1X after the best features of U.S. manufactured open water shells and built-in the efficient, self-bailing open transom found in all European built Coastal Rowing Shells. The OMNI T1X is a versatile, adjustable shell accommodating both tall and short rowers of varying weights.  You'll find the slightly uplifted bow shape slicing through chop with ease, the self-bailing open transom efficiently shedding water against the roughest conditions; the long, tapered built-in keel tracking well and the hull shape & stabiity necessary to catch, lock-on and drive past the competition in the roughest of open water stretches. Meeting the maximum length for Open Water Competition Touring Class shells at 19', the new OMNI T1X is light, stiff and ready to deliver optimal performance for our most competitive endurance rowers and a boat to last a life-time for recreation and fitness rowers. 
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.
The most commonly damaged piece of rowing equipment is the skeg, which is a metal or plastic fin that comes out of the bottom of the boat to help maintain stability, and to assist in steering. Since the skeg sticks out below the hull of the boat it is the most vulnerable to damage, however it is relatively easy to replace skegs by gluing a new one on. Hull damage is also a significant concern both for maintaining equipment, and for rower safety. Hull damage can be caused by submerged logs, poor strapping to trailers, and collisions with other boats, docks, rocks, etc.
In the starting position, the knees should be bent, with the shoulders and arms extended forward and the shins held vertically. Begin rowing by pushing both feet against the row machine’s platform and straighten the legs until they’re slightly bent. Pull the paddle towards you, using bent elbows as you slightly lean back while focusing on keeping your back straight. This type of motion should be both continuous and fluid.
With magnetic rowing machines, adjusting the resistance means varying the distance between a flywheel and one or more strong magnets. This is done either manually, using mechanical sliders, or digitally by the console controls. Like hydraulic rowers, magnetic rowing machines operate quietly and have a compact design for easy storage. Unlike hydraulic rowers, they can provide a smooth and consistent workout. It's a very different kind of feel to what you'd expect from an air or water rower, though. You still get a good workout, but it doesn't simulate the sensation of rowing in quite the same way.

The first known "modern" rowing races began from competition among the professional watermen in the United Kingdom that provided ferry and taxi service on the River Thames in London. Prizes for wager races were often offered by the London Guilds and Livery Companies or wealthy owners of riverside houses.[10] The oldest surviving such race, Doggett's Coat and Badge was first contested in 1715 and is still held annually from London Bridge to Chelsea.[12] During the 19th century these races were to become numerous and popular, attracting large crowds. Prize matches amongst professionals similarly became popular on other rivers throughout Great Britain in the 19th century, notably on the Tyne. In America, the earliest known race dates back to 1756 in New York, when a pettiauger defeated a Cape Cod whaleboat in a race.[13]
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.
When waves run into water moving in the opposite direction, they are slowed, just as if they were approaching a beach. Wave length becomes shorter, wave height higher, and they may break. A good (bad) example of this is an ebb current flowing out of Raccoon Strait into waves coming in from the Golden Gate. Good rough water training, if that’s what you want.
WaterRower Dimensions: 82" x 22" x 28" / Weight: 114 Lbs (With Water) / Storage Dimensions: 28" x 22" x 82" (Easily Store It On En...d)Built For Home Use & Practically Maintenance Free, Rowing Machine Targets All Major Muscle Groups (84% Of Total Muscle Mass) W/ Excellent Adjustable Resistance LevelsMade Of Kiln Dried Harwood For Better Wood Strength & Performance; Has Honey Oak Finish That Goes Well W/ Other Home FurnitureBoasts 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
In the starting position, the knees should be bent, with the shoulders and arms extended forward and the shins held vertically. Begin rowing by pushing both feet against the row machine’s platform and straighten the legs until they’re slightly bent. Pull the paddle towards you, using bent elbows as you slightly lean back while focusing on keeping your back straight. This type of motion should be both continuous and fluid.
Most races that are held in the spring and summer feature side by side racing, or sprint racing, sometimes called a regatta; all the boats start at the same time from a stationary position and the winner is the boat that crosses the finish line first. The number of boats in a race typically varies between two (which is sometimes referred to as a dual race) to eight, but any number of boats can start together if the course is wide enough.
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.
Most races that are held in the spring and summer feature side by side racing, or sprint racing, sometimes called a regatta; all the boats start at the same time from a stationary position and the winner is the boat that crosses the finish line first. The number of boats in a race typically varies between two (which is sometimes referred to as a dual race) to eight, but any number of boats can start together if the course is wide enough.
In general, multi-boat competitions are organized in a series of rounds, with the fastest boats in each heat qualifying for the next round. The losing boats from each heat may be given a second chance to qualify through a repechage. The World Rowing Championships offers multi-lane racing in heats, finals and repechages. At Henley Royal Regatta two crews compete side by side in each round, in a straightforward knock-out format, with no repechages.

Rowing machines are an excellent and effective way to get exercise and muscle tone, thanks to their sliding seat and repetitive rowing motion, that allows the engagement of almost all major muscle groups, without the need for a lot of gear or a lot of space compared to most workout machines. Long renowned as the perfect aerobic exercise, the WaterRower is unmatched with its ability to burn calories within a perceived level of exertion. Low impact and body weight bearing, the WaterRower is perfect for any user, and each one is built from beautiful, rich wood that is sourced only from sustainably-managed forests where growth exceeds removal by 229%.
Absolutely beautiful piece of functional furniture. I use this rower 3-5 times per week. The display is a little awkward and not nearly as advanced as the competition but for anyone short of a pro, it provides all the basic functions you could want. I've used plenty of rowers in gyms but this was my first purchase for home use. It was an excellent alternative to running outdoors in the winter and as an alternative to running when the legs need a little more recovery time. I have it set in the middle of it's resistance range and it is still plenty challenging. So there is a ton of adjustability in that regard. It's not quickly changed but for a single user device this doesn't matter. It's a different feeling than an air fan but I really like it.
Wood has been chosen due to its marvellous engineering properties, primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration enhancing the WaterRower's quietness and smoothness of use. The WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel has been designed to emulate the exact dynamics as a boat moving through water; the objective of the exercise of rowing.
WaterRower (UK) Ltd was formed in 1991 to market and distribute the WaterRower throughout Europe under license to WaterRower Inc. Initially with offices in Fulham, London, a 1993 agreement provided WaterRower (UK) Ltd with the additional right to manufacture the WaterRower for Europe. Workshops were established in the idyllic stately home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, Mapperton Manor 
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.
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