Best Rowing Machines Review 2018

updated June 6, 2018

Want an all-in-one exercise device that will give you a fantastic cardio workout, burn a ton of calories and provide a great back, shoulder and leg workout? You need to add a quality rowing machine to your home gym. Using a rowing machine will improve your cardio fitness, increase your overall strength and endurance, it is low impact and is always accessible. In this article, we discover the best rowing machines on the 2018 market.

A Snapshot of the Top 10 Rowing Machines

Our top rated rower is the Concept 2 Model D, which provides an ultra smooth, realistic rowing motion, rugged body construction and a very comfortable, ergonomically positioned user experience. We were also impressed by the Lifespan R1000, with it’s sturdy steel frame, 14-inch injected foam seat and ultra smooth operation.

The best priced quality rower we encountered was the Sunny Fitness SF-RW5515, which features 8 levels of adjustable resistance, a smooth operation and comfortable padded seat and handles.

We’ve graded the 10 top rated rowing machines on the market in terms of their price, durability and then given an overall rating out of 5. This makes it easy for you to compare each product. In the following section, we go into detailed review on the best rated rowing machines.

Xebex Rower has been making waves in the home fitness industry. Read more about Xebex Rower.

The 10 In Depth

Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower Review

The Concept 2 Model D is the top selling indoor rower in the world for good reason; it is efficiently engineered to deliver the performance and rigidity to handle the toughest workout year after year. The flywheel and damper respond to every stroke and the spiral damper allows you to control the airflow to the flywheel. This means that you can change the feel of the stroke to suit your preference.

The Performance 5 on the Concept 2 erg rowing machine monitor is the most advanced display you’ll ever come across. You get accurate data on every stroke and you can also wirelessly adjust your heart rate. There are adjustable footrests and ergonomic handles. You also get a 5 time limited warranty on this product.


  • Extremely rigid
  • Advanced display unit
  • Ergonomic handle and foot rests
  • Wireless heart rate monitoring


  • A little noisy operation
Lifespan Fitness R1000 Review

The Lifespan R1000 rowing machine provides you with a very smooth rowing experience, due to its smooth and quiet eddy system, along with the 16.5 pound flywheel. The frame is extremely sturdy, yet folds to a very compact 34 x 19 x 64 inches. This ergometer rowing machine has a 300 pound maximum user weight. The console features 3 LCDS, displaying distance, calories, time, strokes, and strokes per minute.

The Lifespan R1000 crossfit rowing machine is amazingly quiet and comfortable to operate. The eddy current drive system provides smooth operation and a slack free retrieval. Padded hand grips and a 14-inch injected foam seat provide max comfort while you’re training. The Lifespan rower folds quickly for ease of storage.


  • Very smooth rowing experience
  • Extremely sturdy frame
  • 14-inch injected foam seat


  • A little squeaky
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515 Review

The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515 magnetic rowing machine makes use of a magnetic tension system to provide 8 levels of adjustable resistance. A simple yet functional LCD monitor displays all of your needed workout diagnostics, featuring a set, mode and reset button. The large, rigid pedals on this unit have adjustable safety straps and provide a secure non slip surface to work from.

The seat is cushioned with extra padding to allow you to train longer in comfort. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515 features a grip pulse rate sensor to reveal your training heart rate. Then magnetic resistance system provides a smooth, jar free movement and is very quiet. The heavy duty steel frame makes this a reliable, sturdy rower at a great price.


  • 8 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Smooth, jar free movement
  • Well priced


  • Rower will move around if not secured to the floor
Kettler Stroke Rower Review

The Kettler stroke rower and multi trainer makes use of center pull technology to provide an ultra smooth, comfortable rowing experience. The seat features high quality ball bearings to provide a natural roller action. On the display screen you can see six functions all at once; time, oar strokes, current cadence, cumulative distance, heart rate and kilojoules. Your purchase includes a Polar T34 chest strap heart rate monitor to accurately track your training pulse.

The Kettler stroke rower features a magnetic brake system resistance that can be adjusted to eight manual settings. This provides you with a good range of resistance options. The footplates are ergonomically positioned to provide the ideal rowing motion. The unit has built in transport castors for ease of movement.


  • Ultra smooth rower
  • 8 manual resistance settings
  • Transport wheels


  • Seat not very comfortable
Lifecore R100 Review

The Lifecore R100 is a commercial grade rower that comes with 16 levels of resistance. This foldable machine offers you 15 pre-set programs, and an additional 4 heart rate control programs. The unit works with any Polar heart rate monitor. The body of this machine is very sturdy, as shown by the max user weight of 600 pounds. Foot rests are angled and provide pivoting heel supports.

The Lifecore R100 provides a very natural, comfortable ride. The seat and handles provide quality padding and are ergonomically designed for back support. This rower uses a combination of air and electronic brake system technology for a very smooth operation. The drive system is extremely quiet and an adjustable cooling vent is included.


  • 16 levels of resistance
  • 15 pre-set programs
  • Max weight of 600 pounds


  • Heart rate monitor innacurate
Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower Review

The Velocity Fitness magnetic rower is a cost effective alternative to the more costly air or hydraulic machines. The magnetic resistance is not as strong as what you get with an air rower but it is smooth and fluid. The Velocity low row machine uses a drum magnetic control system along with electronic tension control. The saddle is especially comfortable, being molded from PU foam. The main beam is made from sturdy anodized aluminum.

The monitor on the Velocity Fitness magnetic rowing machine is large and easy to read, providing instant readouts of time, calories, count, stroke, distance and pulse. This machine provides 12 workout programs, six of which are pre-set. There are also built-in wheels for ease of transport.


  • Cost effective
  • Extremely comfortable saddle
  • 12 workout programs


  • Poor customer service

Xebex Rower has been making waves in the home fitness industry. Read more about Xebex Rower.

Stamina Air Rower Review

The Stamina is a very compact foldable air rower that comes with a sturdy steel frame. It features an inertia enhanced flywheel to provide a very smooth operation that feels just like rowing on the lake. The maximum user weight is 250 pounds.This machine features a very easy to use foldable design that allows you to fold and wheel it away in one move.

The Stamina features very comfortable saddle and hand grip ergonomics. The foot pedals are angled to provide the ideal leg positioning for your rowing movement. The pedals also pivot and have adjustable straps. This machine comes with a 3 year frame warranty and a 90-day warranty on parts and labor.


  • 5 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Compact foldable design
  • Pivoting pedals


  • Noisy
LifeCore R88 Review

The Lifecore R88 cable row machine uses a combination of air and magnetic resistance to drive its flywheel. The result is a smooth, quiet performance that feels very natural and is completely stutter free. This unit features 8 levels of resistance by way of an easy push button system. These include a racing program and recovery program that works in conjunction with a chest strap (not provided).

The LifeCore R88 has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds. It is foldable to 16 x 24 inches. The seat is extra large for added comfort and is ergonomically designed for enhanced lower back support. The handles are also ergonomically positioned and features extra padding for a better grip. The machine comes with a lifetime frame warranty.


  • Smooth, quiet performance
  • 8 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Lifetime frame warranty


  • Seat is too high relative to pedals

Rowing successfully is all about technique. Unless you know how to use a rowing machine, you are likely to waste a lot of time - and hurt your lower back. Get the lowdown on how to do it right and learn about its benefits with this cool instructional video . . .

H20 RX-750 Review

H20 RX-750 Review

The H20 RX-750 makes use of a unique hydro power drive system to power its mechanism. This mimic the action that you get out on the water more than anything else on the market. That’s because the main form of resistance that you’re facing is water. Unlike with other systems, there are no dead spots or unnatural jerky actions with this system.

The display panel on the H20 RX-750 gives you a full and clear readout of all your vital statistics. The device requires minimal assembly, with set up dimensions of 78 x 22 x 20 inches. This water rower has a maximum user weight of 350 pounds. With this rowing machine with water, you get an incredibly smooth, realistic workout.


  • Hydro power drive system
  • Very smooth, realistic action
  • Max weight 350 pounds


  • Front end may lift when training hard
Soozier Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine Review

The Soozier Magnetic folding machine is a cheap rower that still provides the performance that you need for a quality workout. It is shock resistant to provide you with a smooth, jerk free rowing experience. You get 8 levels of adjustable resistance on this machine to progressively challenge you as you get fitter.

The Soozier magnetic folding rower features a comfortable oversized seat with a generous amount of padding, NBR handle grips for a secure hold and angled foot stirrups, large foot plates and adjustable straps. An angled seat rail provides for a very natural return. The ABS monitor is large and clear, providing mode, set and reset buttons. When not is use, the Soozier is stored in an upright position.


  • 8 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Large, clear ABS monitor
  • Angled seat rail


  • Difficult to assemble

Concept 2 Rowers

The Concept 2 Rowing machine has long stood as the gold standard of rowing machines for in the home. Concept 2 put out a whole range of top quality machines that continue to impress.

How do you choose between the various Concept 2’s for home use? Check out our in depth reviews of the best Concept 2 rowing machines of 2018 to discover which Concept 2 belongs in your home gym.

Water Based Rowing Machines

Water rowing machines provide a unique and challenging form of cardio exercise that also maximally stimulates your quads and lats. They offer the most realistic rowing experience because you are actually using water as your resistance.

The quality of water rower exercise machines for home use varies greatly. Discover the best waterrower rowing machines that are on the 2018 market with our comprehensive guide - it’s an eye opener!​

Stamina Rowing Machines

Stamina Rowing machines are among the most respected on the market. Stamina provide a range of top quality rowers that give you every rowing option that you need.

Check out the best that’s out there with our Stamina rowing machines review 2018 - it will give you the knowledge you need to make smart buying decision.

Affordable Rowing Machines

​Rowing machines are great form of cardio that also hits your back and legs. Having one in your home gym is a great idea. The problem is that they can become extremely expensive. However, there are cheap rowing machines for the home that are also very high quality.

Discover the best 11 affordable rowing machines that won’t break the bank - you’ll save money and get a great piece of home cardio equipment.​

Compact Rowing Machines

​You want a rowing machine for your home gym, but you just don’t have the space. Portable, fold up rowing machines are available but a lot of them are so low quality that they’re unsafe. However, top quality, portable rowing machines do exist.

Discover the 9 best compact and portable rowing machines for small spaces with our in depth review.​


The best home rowing machine we found is the Concept 2 Model D, which features an extremely smooth, natural riding experience, a superior level of comfort and ergonomics and a very reasonable price. We were also very impressed with the Lifespan R1000, with it’s rugged yet extremely compact foldable design, extra comfy seat and high res display.

The best budget rower that we came across was the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515 magnetic rowing machine, which provides 8 levels of magnetic resistance, a very comfortable seat and a sturdy body.​

Best Rowing Machines Review 2018
4.5 (89.07%) 75 votes