9 Compact and Portable Rowing Machines for Small Spaces December 2018

9 Compact and Portable Rowing Machines for Small Spaces

updated December 1, 2018

Adding a rowing machine to your home gym will provide you with an awesome multifunction machine. It uniquely combines cardio and resistance training to maximize weight loss while building muscle. But it usually takes up a large footprint and many people just don’t have the space for it. In this article, we focus in on the 9 best compact and portable rower machines that will fit into even the tiniest of spaces.

A Quick Snapshot of the 9 Best Portable Rowing Machines

A Quick Snapshot of the 9 Best Portable Rowing Machines
The most compact rowing machine that also has great portability that we found is the Stamina BodyTrac Glider, which provides an awesome air resistance row, a high level of comfort and impressive monitor functionality, all in one compact unit. We also love the Sunny Health and Fitness rower with full motion arms, with its 12 levels of hydraulic tension resistance, and contoured padded seat.

Also read our indepth article on Xebex Rower Review.

The 9 Best Portable Rowing Machines In-Depth

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower is a very compact, portable hydraulic piston driven rowing machine. It offers 12 levels of adjustable resistance by way of centrally located dial. The rowing arms of the machine can be folded when not in use, making it even more compact. The range of motion of the 1215 is superb, allowing for a great calorie burning workout.

The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower provides a good level of comfort. It has a thickly padded seat that moves along a ball bearing track to give a fluid guide motion. The foot plates and handles are ergonomically positioned for ideal exercise movement. This foldable rowing machine provides surprisingly quality for the price and even comes with a 5 year manufacturer warranty.


  • 12 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Excellent range of motion
  • Thick, padded seat
  • 5 year manufacturer warranty


  • Not designed for short people
rowing equipment

The Stamina Body Trac Glider is a basic model rower that provides a very reliable workout. It has built-in shock resistance. This amazingly compact machine will fit into almost any space. It is also an ideal rower to take with you when you travel. A key feature of the glider is that has separate rowing arms. This provides you with a more realistic rowing motion.

The seat on the Stamina BodyTrac Glider is adjustable so you can lift or lower it to suit. The seat is well padded and glides smoothly on the central track. For a cheap rower, this machine is surprisingly sturdy and wobble resistant. A centrally located dial allows you to adjust the resistance.


  • Built-in shock resistance
  • Separate rowing arms
  • Adjustable seat


  • Display data not reliable

For the most realistic rowing experience, you’ve got to experience a waterrower. Find out the best that the market has to offer with our Waterrower Rowing Machines Review 2018 - it’ll change the way you think about rowing machines!

Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine is a hydraulic tension rower the features extra long arms. It has 12 levels of adjustable resistance and a unique angled height which allows you to intensify your rowing angle. The seat is fully padded and contoured for comfort. The frame of this compact unit is made from solid steel, providing a high level of rigidity.

The foot pedals on the Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine are extra wide and have adjustable straps to allow you to secure your foot placement. The LCD display is prominently positioned and provides a clear readout of your vital training data. It has a maximum user weight of 220 pounds. This is a very lightweight, portable model, ideal for taking with you when you travel.


  • 12 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Adjustable height angle
  • Extra wide foot pedals


  • Limited resistance
Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower

The Xterra Fitness ERG200 Rowing Machine is a compact magnetic resistance rower. It has a sturdy metal frame that will last for years. The maximum user weight on this rower is 250 pounds with the unit itself weighing 55 pounds. The magnetic resistance is easily adjusted from a central knob, providing you with a smooth transition between resistance levels. An easy to read LCD monitor provides you with a readout of your key training data while the moulded seat glides your every motion and the pivoting foot-plates and straps give you a secure foot grip.


  • Compact
  • Max user weight of 2650 pounds
  • Smooth magnetic resistance


  • ​Limited range of motion

Also read our indepth article on Xebex Rower Review.

Magnetic Rower machine

The Merax Magnetic rower is a compact rower that uses smooth magnetic resistance to provide a natural rowing action. The ergonomically designed seat is very comfortable, placing your lower body in an ideal position for best performance. The seat features a ball bearing system that provides a smooth glide return. The large foot plates have adjustable straps to give a secure foot placement.

You get 8 levels of adjustable resistance on the Merax magnetic rower. The onboard display monitor is centrally located and easily readable. It provides readouts of time, number of strokes, speed of strokes and distance covered. It even provides audio and visual signals when you reach your goals that you are able to set.


  • Smooth glide return
  • Very compact
  • Excellent display monitor


  • Noisy operation

The best rated rowing machines on the market are the Concept 2 series. Find out if they really deserve to be number one with our Concept 2 Rowing Machines Review 2018 - you may be surprised!

Air Rower

The Stamina X ATS rowing machine is a wind resistance with a multi function performance monitor. The air resistance provides you with a very smooth, natural resistance and a fluid rowing machine. You also get secure foot straps that keep your securely locked in along with anti slip foam grip handles to ensure that you don’t lose your grip.

The Stamina X ATS features a thick, comfortable seat. The unit folds for storage and comes with wheels for ease of transportation.


  • Air resistance
  • Secure foot plates
  • Foldable


  • A little tricky to assemble
Rowing Machine Rower

#7. Sunny Incline Full Motion Rowing Machine

The Sunny Incline Full Motion Rowing Machine is a hydraulic arm compact rowing machine that provides you with a unique incline function. While rowing the solid incline rail inclines with your body to create a dynamic, fluid motion to provides your abs and quad with extra stimulation.

The Sunny Incline Full Motion Rowing Machine provides you with a very comfortable molded seat, along with ball bearing rollers to ensure smooth gliding motion. A multi function display provides you with updates on all of your training diagnostics.


  • Water resistance
  • Infinite variety of resistance levels
  • Dynamic rowing stroke

Find out the best deals on quality rowing machines with our Best 11 Affordable Rowing Machines That Won’t Break the Bank article - it could save you some serious cash!

Stamina In Motion Rower

#8. Stamina In Motion Rower

The Stamina In Motion Rower is a basic entry level small rowing machine that provides quality componentry for reliable performance. It provides 5 levels of adjustable resistance, giving a smooth rowing experience that is unusual for a rower under $100. It is simple to assemble, having the hydraulic tension arm at the from of the machine, rather than under it. This makes for a more natural feel during the rowing motion.

The foot plates on the Stamina In Motion Rower pivot to provide for a more natural leg action while exercising. At 56.5 x 19 x 23.5 inches this machine is amazingly compact, allowing you to get a decent workout in even the most confined of spaces. It can even be stored on end.


  • 5 levels of resistance
  • Hydraulic arm at front
  • Very compact


  • Questionable customer service

Discover the best rowing machines of 2018 in every category with our guide here - we’ve got the market covered!

Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Sunny SF-RW5515 is a magnetic tension rower with 8 levels of resistance. The cushioned seat provides you with a very comfortable rowing experience. The large, textured safety pedals provide you with a very secure foot-hold while rowing. A conveniently located tension knob allows you to easily adjust your resistance level. Your grip is assured with non-slip grip handlebars. You get a smooth, flowing rowing experience on this machine that is completely jerk free and natural.


  • Magnetic tension
  • 8 resistance levels
  • Secure foot-hold


  • A little noisy

The combination of rowing and high intensity interval training will allow you to torch your body fat faster than anything else. Kickstart your fat loss with this great HIIT rowing workout . . .


The best rower in terms of portability and compactness that we found is the Stamina BodyTrac Glider. This air resistance machine offers a great mix of comfort, functionality and portability. Our second favorite is the Sunny Health and Fitness with full motions arms, which offers a great range of motion, a comfortable, padded seat and 12 resistance levels.

The third best compact and portable fold away rowing machine that we encountered is the Stamina 1215 orbital rower, with its 12 levels of variable resistance and surprisingly smooth rowing action.

Our #1. Recommendation

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower

jim roose

My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.

9 Compact and Portable Rowing Machines for Small Spaces
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