In most places, gyms and fitness studios are still closed, so the best way to get a workout in is to exercise at home, and for lots of people that means stocking up on equipment. We’ve written about all sorts of home exercise equipment — including the best stationary bikes, ellipticals, and gym mats — and here, we’ve rounded up the best rowing machines, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated rowing machine
“This rowing machine is the bee’s knees of home exercise equipment,” writes one reviewer. “I’ve been looking for a way to exercise that takes minimal effort (read: I don’t need to put on a sports bra for this) while getting maximum output (read: sweating like a sinner in church).” According to people who own this rower, one of the main reasons to opt for a magnetic rowing machine is noise reduction. One purchaser praises this machine’s low volume: “My cats hang out with me while I use it, and we all know how easily cats can be startled.” Another home exerciser is similarly struck: “One thing I noticed while in the middle of my short but effective workout was, that I didn’t have to adjust the volume on the TV. This thing is very quiet! I also have an exercise bike and when I use it, I have to crank up the volume on the TV.”
Best-rated (less expensive) rowing machine
Reviewers say this rowing machine is a great value, and many actually prefer it to more expensive options because it’s lightweight and compact. “Absolutely blown away by the construction and durability of [this rowing machine],” writes one home rower. “It was easy to put together and does everything the more expensive rowing machines do. I love the fact that it takes so little space to house and the results are great!” A couple chose this machine for working out in their bedroom for similar reasons: “We were looking for both a rowing device and an elliptical for our bedroom. We saw some in a department store that has plenty of them — they were all good and had a number of additional features such as fans, entertainment screens, etc., but they were all VERY bulky. This device, on the other hand has just about half the dimensions of the rowers we saw, costs just a fraction, and works great.” As one reviewer puts it: “This is a great machine. Obviously not as robust as the Concept2, but it’s great if you want a lightweight rowing machine. Great to use while watching TV!”
Best incline rowing machine
“I write this review sore but happy,” says one reviewer. “This machine works a bit of everything all at once, especially quads (front thigh), biceps, and upper back but also some calves and a bit of core. You will definitely feel the soreness where you worked the muscles.” One reason for this more intense workout is the incline, which makes the act of rowing a little tougher. One reviewer says this model “has a better workout” than models without the incline, explaining, “Muscles in my chest I never knew I had are waking up now.” Another writes, “I love the incline, which adds another challenge and works the quads as well as the core and upper body.” If you aren’t up to that challenge, however, you can make this machine lie flat; one reviewer says that option “ensures my workout will change according to my ability.” Shoppers are also impressed with how easy this rowing machine is to set up and how compact it is for storage, along with its higher weight capacity. “If you’re big like me and you’re looking for an affordable way to lose weight at home, please get this; you will not regret it,” says one 300-pound user. “Coming from this big guy, you will not regret this purchase.”
Best quiet rowing machine
If you have roommates, a sensitive baby, or a partner who needs complete silence to work, this is probably the rower for you, because nearly one-fifth of reviewers describe it as quiet. The reason for this lack of noise is the machine’s magnetic resistance, which, according to one shopper, is “much quieter than the fan-driven rowers.” According to others, those magnets also make the strokes smooth. “Magnetic resistance works great for smooth operation, seat glides nicely back and forth,” one writes. It’s very easy to adjust, and, according to one reviewer, “the resistance settings range from very easy to quite challenging. It folds easily and quickly and is easy to roll if you are on a tile or wood floor … not so easy on carpet.” Some are skeptical of the accuracy of the LCD screen, but one reviewer writes, “Whenever I count the reps, the digital counter is accurate, except that it seems to miss the first one. We are pleasantly surprised.”
Best rowing machine for beginners
Many reviewers of this rowing machine are either first-time rowers or new to working out in general, and they enjoy their experience with this model. “For a first time user, this machine works great,” one writes. “Very quiet machine. Very sturdy. Definitely getting the workout I was looking for.” Another says, “It may not be for someone who has been working out for years, but for us beginners it is fantastic.” What makes it friendly for beginners is the lack of heavy resistance, which frustrates a more experienced reviewer; another writes, “The strength adjuster doesn’t provide enough resistance for me, but it’s still adequate to provide a good aerobic workout.” Like the magnetic rower above, this one is very quiet, and more than one reviewer says it’s very easy to assemble. One user says theirs was “Delivered at 1:00 today, assembled by a totally nonmechanical history teacher by 2:00, fantastic workout completed by 3:00!”
Best Bluetooth rowing machine
This rowing machine is very similar to the Sunny Health and Fitness model above. They’re both roughly the same size, magnetic and have built-in LCD screens. One key difference, however, is that this rowing machine from Fitness Reality has Bluetooth functionality and an integrated smartphone app for tracking workouts. “The bluetooth connection and app is wonderful if you’re a gadget type of person who likes to track data and results,” writes one purchaser, and many others chime in to praise the app functionality as well. “Easy bluetooth setup for tracking workouts,” says another, adding that the machine itself is “quiet and reasonably priced.” Many also mention how “quiet” it is during operation — “Quiet enough that I can watch videos while I’m on it,” according to one rower. And it also gets high marks for being easy to fold and store away, which, as one five-star reviewer puts it, is “crucial for apartment living.”
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