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Designed to replicate the motion of rowing a boat, a rowing machine (aka rower, ergometer, or erg) can give you a killer full-body cardio workout without ever leaving land.

Indoor rowing is a fab workout for almost anyone because it’s a low impact exercise that packs a serious punch. But choosing an indoor rowing machine to add to your home gym can be a little overwhelming because there are a lot of options.

Don’t sweat it (at least not yet 😉). We rounded up the 10 best rowing machines and some tips for choosing the right one for you.

We used customer reviews to find the most loved rowing machines on the market. We also made sure to include a variety of resistance types (more on that below) and price points to help you find the right fit for you.

1. Best under $200: Sunny Health & Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine

  • Price: $
  • Resistance type: Hydraulic
  • Pros: Compact, inexpensive, quiet
  • Cons: Not great for full-body workout

This rowing machine from Sunny Health & Fitness is a budget option with rave reviews on Amazon. It uses a hydraulic cylinder for resistance, which means it’s quiet (aka apartment-friendly). It’s also compact and easy to store.

It’s def important to note that this rower is designed specifically to focus on your upper body. This means that instead of mostly using your legs to slide back and forth, you’ll be using your arms, chest, and back. But still, reviewers say it’s well made and a good value for the $$$.

2. Best splurge: Hydrow Rower

  • Price: $$$
  • Resistance type: Electro-magnetic
  • Pros: Real rowing feel, built-in speakers, large touch screen
  • Cons: Expensive, membership required

Wanna feel like a real-life Olympic rowing champ? Meet the Hydrow Rower. This sophisticated rowing machine has a unique design and uses electromagnetic and computer-controlled resistance to mimic the feeling of rowing on water.

To complete the full immersive workout experience, it has a large touch screen and built-in speakers that promise to bring the river to your living room.

It also comes with a 30-day risk-free trial, so you can return it for a full refund if you don’t end up loving it.

3. Best for classes: NordicTrack RW900 Rower

  • Price: $$$
  • Resistance type: Air and magnetic
  • Pros: 1-year iFit membership with purchase, large touch screen, easy to store
  • Cons: Membership requires payment after the first year (currently $396 annually), air resistance can be noisy

The price of the RW900 from NordicTrack comes with a year of the company’s iFit membership, which gives you access to a ton of on-demand workouts. The trainers teaching each class can even automatically adjust your resistance for you. No breaks here! 😅

The rower’s 22-inch screen also swivels so you can use it to take other classes from NordicTrack — like strength training and meditation.

4. Best for small spaces: Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

  • Price: $$
  • Resistance type: Magnetic
  • Pros: Quiet, easy to store, comes with a heart rate monitor
  • Cons: Durability concerns from reviewers, hard to reach customer service

Some rowers can be super noisy, which can be a bummer for someone working out in a small shared space. This rower from Velocity Exercise uses a magnetic resistance system that’s supposed to be extra-quiet. It’s also super easy to fold up and shrinks to half its size when you do, so it can fit into a closet for easy storage (hello, free space!).

5. Best rowing machine for lower-body workouts: Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Rowing Machine

  • Price: $
  • Resistance type: Adjustable resistance bands
  • Pros: Easy to use, assemble, and store; great for lower-body workouts
  • Cons: Nontraditional rower, not a lot of resistance options

If you’re looking for a rower that’s all about building up your lower body, this upright rower is the one. This machine puts you in a squat-like position, so it really makes your booty work 🍑.

It’s also a bestseller on Amazon with more than 21,000 reviews. Reviewers say they’re impressed with the workout and super satisfied with their *booty-ful* results.

6. Best water resistance: MaxKare Water Rowing Machine

  • Price: $
  • Resistance type: Water
  • Pros: Easy to assemble and use, relaxing water sounds
  • Cons: Not as easy to store, no resistance levels

Water resistance rowers are designed to replicate the feeling of rowing on real water. Reviewers say this budget-friendly option from MaxKare provides legit workouts, and they love the relaxing sound the water makes as they row.

Keep in mind that while this rower can be stored upright, the water makes it a little heavier than other rowers and it might be a little tough to maneuver.

7. Best air resistance: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

  • Price: $$$
  • Resistance type: Air
  • Pros: Easy to assemble, Bluetooth connectivity
  • Cons: Air resistance can be noisy, resistance levels might not be tough enough for more advanced athletes.

The Concept2 Model D gets amazing reviews on Amazon, so it’s a solid pick for anyone looking specifically for an air resistance rower.

It has 10 resistance settings and can connect to your phone and heart rate monitor to track your workout data. It also has a designated spot to mount your phone so you have real-time access to your favorite fitness apps (or Netflix 🤷).

8. Best high weight capacity: WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

  • Price: $$$
  • Resistance type: Water
  • Pros: High weight capacity, easy to use, aesthetically pleasing design
  • Cons: Assembly requires power tools, resistance level difficult to change

With a max weight capacity of 1,000 pounds, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is a good pick for people with higher body weights. The water resistance system is designed to make you feel like you’re actually rowing on water.

Reviewers love the design of this rower, saying it’s beautiful, high quality, and pretty easy to assemble (though you will need power tools).

9. Best convertible: Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower

  • Price: $$
  • Resistance type: Magnetic
  • Pros: Adjusts to recumbent bike, easy to use
  • Cons: Seat can be uncomfortable for biking, difficult to assemble

Three for the price of one?? Sign us up! This machine converts from a rower to a recumbent bike, so you can switch up your workout on the fly. You can also use the handles to do upper-body exercises like biceps curls.

To turn it into a bike, you just need to slide your seat all the way forward and slip your feet into the pedals. For upper-body exercises, slide the seat all the way back to make room for you to stand and start pumping that iron 💪.

Reviewers say that while they love the ability to convert the machine, the recumbent bike isn’t ideal for someone looking for super high intensity cycling workouts.

10. Best magnetic resistance: Echelon Smart Rower

  • Price: $$
  • Resistance type: Magnetic
  • Pros: Quiet, access to rowing and nonrowing classes with app subscription
  • Cons: Extra cost for app subscription, need to use your own tablet or smartphone

Reviewers love the Echelon Smart Rower, saying it’s super quiet (thanks to that magnetic resistance) and really high quality. It also has 32 resistance levels you can control right on the handlebars and a swiveling screen for tracking workout metrics and taking classes. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay extra for an app subscription, though.

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a rower. Here’s what you should keep in mind when searching for the right one for you.

Resistance mechanism

When shopping, you’ll see a few different types of resistance mechanism (the way each machine amps up and lowers the difficulty of your workout):

  • Air. These machines have a flywheel (aka a fan) that spins when you pull on the handles. The intensity of the workout is usually determined by how hard or fast you pull the handles rather than by setting a specific level of resistance. These can get a little noisy because of the fan.
  • Water. These work a lot like air resistance rowers but use paddles in a tank of water instead of a fan. They can be a little loud, but many reviewers love the relaxing water sounds. They also tend to feel pretty realistic, like you’re actually rowing through water, and tend to be a bit expensive.
  • Magnetic. These rowers use magnets to create resistance. You’ll usually have to manually change resistance levels. They tend to be really quiet, since there isn’t any wind or water swooshing around.
  • Hydraulic. These use a hydraulic system (cylinders filled with air or fluid) to create resistance. To change your resistance level, you’ll usually use a simple knob. They tend to be pretty cheap, small, and quiet.

Storage

Nobody likes to have a bulky rower standing in the middle of the living room, so if you don’t have much storage space at home, look for a rowing machine with built-in transport wheels or one that can be folded in half.

Special features

Some rowers come fully equipped with fancy, swiveling screens for you to stream classes and track workout metrics, while others have simple screens with minimal metrics. Some also have built-in speakers and Bluetooth connectivity.

Do your homework before buying to make sure you’re getting all the special features you care about. They might add to the overall cost of your rower, but it might be worth it if those features make you more likely to actually get on the rower.

Rowing is a great workout that can help you lose body fat. Here are a few tips to make the most of exercising with your rower at home:

  • Check your posture. It can be tricky if you’re just starting out with rowing, but it’s super important to keep the right posture during your workout. To keep your back straight, engage your core and don’t forget to breathe.
  • Relax your elbows. When you’re rowing, your elbows can become tense without you noticing. To get rid of that tension, try pulling the oar below your chest (instead of high up).
  • Remember, it’s *mostly* about the legs. While it might not look this way from the outside, rowing is mostly legwork. Make sure you’re engaging your legs so you’re not putting too much stress on your upper body.
  • Take it slow. Faster speed doesn’t necessarily mean a better workout. Focus on your form before bumping up your rowing velocity.

Rowing is an amazing full-body cardio workout, and a rower can take your home gym to the next level. These 10 options are a great place to start, but make sure you’re reading reviews and checking the specs to find the right fit for you.