September 25, 2022
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Best Rowing Machines – CNET

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Should you’re constructing a house health club, there is a ton of great workout equipment on the market. Nonetheless, in the event you can solely afford one machine, you will need one thing that works out your full physique — and a rowing machine can just do that. Rowing machines can hit various completely different muscle teams, together with your core, again, arms and lats in addition to offering cardio exercise. They’re additionally simpler to slot in most rooms.

Rowing machines have developed in design over time. Now you’ve got good rowing machines which might be a step up from conventional rowers. We tested completely different rowing machines to find out the perfect ones in the marketplace. Preserve studying to study our favorites. 

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

The Echelon Row-S is the best rowing machine in the event you’re a rowing newbie. Meeting was simple sufficient that just one particular person was wanted to place it collectively. It isn’t the fanciest wanting machine, nevertheless it felt sturdy and easy and obtained the job carried out. I discovered it much less intimidating than the good rowers and appreciated components of its design, like that the deal with’s protecting protecting to forestall blisters. I additionally favored the footplate design probably the most of all of the rowing machines as a result of it felt intuitive to make use of the fastener straps.

Moreover, the lever beneath the machine that permits you to retailer the rower upright was simple to seek out and carry. It is also on the lighter facet, which makes it simple to maneuver round. Regardless of being gentle, the machine can maintain as much as 350 kilos (158.7 kg) comfortably; due to this fact, it is versatile for folks of all sizes and weights. 

The normal rowing machine has a small metric display screen to measure distance, variety of strokes per minute and your break up time. Echelon upgraded this idea, making a 22-inch HD touchscreen with a 180-degree flip adjustment. You will want an Echelon Stay and On-Demand class membership for an extra charge to make use of this machine. There are three ranges of membership to suit your price range: a two-year membership ($29.16 a month); a 12 months membership ($33.33 a month); or a $35 month-to-month choice.

Echelon has a library of 1000’s of courses apart from rowing, together with yoga, biking, HIIT or energy coaching. I favored that the library had newbie row courses, warmups and cooldowns, scenic, low affect and bootcamp rowing periods. It is easy to extend or lower the resistance by clicking the buttons on all sides of the deal with. The onscreen metrics are simple to learn and comply with. Total, with the courses included, I favored the Echelon Row-S as introduction to rowing or if you need a much less cumbersome machine in your house. 


  • Mild and simple to make use of in the event you’ve by no means rowed earlier than
  • Versatile for folks of varied weights and heights
  • Straightforward to retailer upright


  • Plastic design appears to be like prefer it will not be probably the most sturdy
  • Perform is restricted in the event you do not join Echelon class membership
  • Guarantee solely lasts for a 12 months

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Should you do not thoughts splurging on what’s thought-about the Peloton of rowing, then you definately’ll love the Hydrow. Whereas testing rowing machines, I obtained enter from the CNET Wellness staff and we collectively agreed that Hydrow was the smoothest and highest high quality rowing machine. Not solely does Hydrow look smooth and futuristic, even the stride feels smoother and pure.

CNET Lab Technician Gianmarco helped assemble the rowing machines on this record and located the Hydrow to be one of many simpler ones to place collectively. The largest problem was carrying the supply field as a result of the bottom could be very heavy. Due to this fact, be mindful you would possibly want a second set of palms that will help you carry this machine.

Hydrow works finest wherever your Wi-Fi is strongest. This machine makes use of electromagnetic drag know-how to imitate the outside rowing expertise. It consists of a 22-inch touchscreen that provides you entry to over 4,000 exercises whether or not you are utilizing the machine or the Hydrow app. To view the Hydrow courses, you will want an all-access membership which is an extra $38 a month, however provides you limitless profiles for your loved ones. 

I favored that the Hydrow regarded extra futuristic than different rowing machines I’ve seen. Nonetheless, I want the footplate was extra up to date to match the machine. As a substitute, it has the identical nylon foot straps as most rowing machines, the place you must fiddle with the strap to tighten or loosen it. I discover this type restrictive and may make it exhausting to get out of the machine in the event you’re doing a HIIT circuit, for instance. 

Though high-tech, the Hydrow is simple to make use of, and the seat feels comfy and easy whereas gliding forwards and backwards. The machine is not too loud, which is a plus and reveals how far rowing machines have come from their authentic fashions. The packages supply a range to select from, and I favored that I might select a shorter or longer exercise relying on how a lot time I had. Should you’re a seasoned rower, you’ll be able to regulate the resistance on the machine earlier than taking a category by going into the settings and altering the drag settings. The default resistance setting is about to 104 and is really useful in the event you’re simply getting began with rowing. 

Hydrow additionally has newbie courses that train you the best way to correctly row to get used to the motion. This to be one thing many of the rowing machines I examined provided, which is perfect since some folks could initially wrestle to get correct kind.

My major concern with Hydrow was that it was larger than I anticipated for a contemporary rowing machine. You additionally must buy the anchor individually to retailer it upright; it retails for $80 and is basically a strap screwed to the wall. I discovered this dear, particularly because the unit itself is pricey. With out the flexibility to retailer the machine upright, it made me query if folks with smaller areas might personal it. Nonetheless, there’s a smaller model, the Hydrow Wave (extra on this machine later). 


  • Excessive-end rower with a easy experience
  • Straightforward to assemble by yourself
  • Nicely constructed


  • Costly
  • Greater than normal rowing machine, will not match all areas
  • You need to pay additional for the anchor that shops it upright

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Aviron affords two varieties of rowers to select from: the Aviron Impression Sequence and Aviron Robust Sequence rower. For this assessment, I examined the Aviron Impression Sequence model. Aviron provides a singular spin to indoor rowing with its interactive exercise packages. That is particularly interesting in the event you get pleasure from video video games. The machine’s resistance is made up of twin air and magnetic resistance. It is among the lighter machines on the record, weighing solely 97 kilos (43.9 kg), and its base folds upright for straightforward storage. One other factor to notice is that you’re going to need to place your rower in an space with sturdy Wi-Fi connection to get the perfect gaming expertise.

Much like the opposite good rowing machines, Aviron has a 22-inch touchscreen the place you’ll be able to entry numerous exercises, together with scenic excursions, competing with household and buddies, guided packages, arcades and digital video games. You may even log into your streaming providers accounts comparable to Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus and YouTube when you row. 

To entry Aviron’s packages, you will want an Aviron membership ($25 a month). The draw back is there aren’t stay courses, so this won’t be the correct machine for you if that is one thing you need.

I favored that the design included a padded deal with since I am liable to blisters. The seat sat greater from the bottom than the opposite rowers, which makes it user-friendly in the event you’re a tall particular person and like the additional room to hop on and off. The foot placement is slightly wider than different rowing machines, which is useful as a result of when positioned too shut collectively it is uncomfortable, significantly you probably have longer legs. The seat had slightly extra padding than your conventional rower seat and comfortably glided up and down the bottom. 

I am not an enormous gamer, however I attempted out among the video games Aviron affords and located them entertaining sufficient that it was a distraction from realizing you are understanding. Should you dread the thought of understanding, this may very well be choice for you since exercising will really feel extra like leisure than a activity. 

Should you choose to go for Aviron’s upgraded rower, the Robust collection will value you one other $300. The distinction between the 2 is that the most recent model has a heavy-duty body and is meant to carry as much as 507 kilos (230 kg). This makes Aviron the best rower for taller individuals who need to make sure the machine can stand up to their top and weight.


  • Video video games make you neglect you are exercising
  • Seat is comfortably padded
  • Design is even excellent for tall folks


  • Machine plastic design makes it seem much less sturdy
  • No stay courses
  • Costly

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

I used to be tremendous excited to attempt EnergyFit’s Ski-Row as a result of I really like the thought of a rowing machine being two-in-one. The Ski-Row does simply that by combining snowboarding and rowing. It affords two machines: The Ski-Row Air + Pwr and the Ski-Row Air. For this assessment, I examined out a Ski-Row Air+Pwr. Having used different two-in-one health machines just like the Idea 2 rowers and Ski Ergs earlier than, I knew I must examine the Ski-Row to them to see if the design does it justice.

I first got here throughout the Ski-Row after seeing it on a social media advert and thought it was a intelligent idea. Our lab technician discovered this machine probably the most time-consuming one to assemble as a result of he adopted the handbook instruction information. Nonetheless, EnergyFit informed us that almost all prospects comply with a video tutorial that may be discovered on YouTube which makes it simpler to place the machine collectively. 

I used to be shocked at how sturdy and well-made it was to resist two varieties of health exercise. I did suppose some particulars might use some upgrading. For instance, the monitor you utilize to regulate the resistance regarded dated, the lever used to decrease and lift the bottom was product of plastic… which made me query if it could break off after a whole lot of put on and tear, and the rope connected to the deal with did not look as sturdy as those on different rowing machines. When adjusted to the snowboarding place, I believed the ski handles regarded and felt legit, and it was the correct top (for grabbing the handles), even for shorter people.

I began by testing the rowing side of it. Ski-Row has your conventional footplate with nylon straps and an adjustable base. The machine makes use of air and magnetic resistance as you might be rowing or snowboarding. That is not like the Ski-Row Air, which solely makes use of air to energy its machine. The monitor on the Ski-Row reads time, distance, stroke fee, tempo, resistance stage and energy burned. It capabilities kind of the identical method as a Idea 2 rowing machine and allows you to join through Bluetooth to an ANT Plus Coronary heart Price monitor. Ski-Row can be linked to Gymtrakr, an iOS and Android app that may sync your telephone to the console. 

From the rowing perspective, it’s much like a conventional rowing machine however can get boring in the event you’re in search of a extra interactive expertise. Should you’re including circuits to your ordinary exercise, it might be much less of a problem since you will most likely simply deal with the time or distance on the monitor. 

My favourite half about this machine was utilizing the ski coach choice. It is also a fast transition altering the rower right into a ski coach by the press of a lever. Ski trainers are nonetheless a reasonably new idea, and never many of those exist in the marketplace. I am a brief lady, so I used to be glad I might comfortably attain as much as seize every of the handles whereas the machine was upright.

The snowboarding choice was paying homage to utilizing a Idea 2 Ski Erg, which I thought-about a plus. I feel the Ski-Row is a superb piece of apparatus to have at house (or on the health club) in the event you’re in search of a two-in-one machine that will not take up additional room. Despite the fact that it has room for enchancment, it is a strong piece in the event you’re an skilled rower or ski fanatic who needs the flexibility to coach indoors.


  • Distinctive design makes it two machines in a single
  • Supreme in the event you’re restricted in house and wish two machines
  • Sturdy sufficient to resist each rowing and indoor snowboarding


  • Heavy machine that requires at the least two folks to assemble
  • Monitor is dated and does not have a touchscreen
  • Sure items do not look as sturdy as they need to be

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

The LIT Power Machine impressed me by how the creators challenged the standard rowing machine. This machine is an all-in-one rower, Pilates reformer and energy coach. 

Not like different machines on the record, LIT is a water rower withs resistance starting from 10 to 40 kilos (4.5 to 18.1 kg) of water in a dual-tank drum. The great factor is you will not ever have to alter the water, as a result of the machine comes with a lifetime provide of chlorine tablets. 

Despite the fact that I examined this machine within the model’s showroom, I realized that LIT makes meeting simple for purchasers by delivering it 85% preassembled. The black and pink design makes it look smooth and futuristic. The machine additionally has resistance bands (as much as 100 kilos or 45.3 kg of resistance) looped round either side of the rower deal with, prepared for energy coaching or Pilates workout routines. 

LIT at the moment affords three packages. There’s Starter, which incorporates resistance bands, ankle cuffs (for Pilates) and handles. Then there’s Efficiency, which affords all the pieces within the bundle, together with a coronary heart fee sensor, machine mat, energy bar, velocity bands and energy bands. The ultimate present package deal is July 4th, which incorporates all the pieces Efficiency affords minus the guts fee sensor and a machine mat.

I favored that this machine (much like the Aviron) had a wider footplate, so in the event you’re tall or have wider toes, it affords loads of room. I additionally realized it was designed to assist you to use your hamstrings extra in the course of the exercise. The rowing deal with can be correctly coated with protecting rubber layering to attenuate the possibilities of blisters. 

This is among the few machines that does not have a touchscreen or monitor, however courses are provided by means of the LIT On-Demand app, which you’ll entry in your smartphone and is each IOS and Android suitable. LIT’s membership prices $25 a month and comes with a three-month complimentary trial upon receiving your rower. The machine has a small gadget holder so you’ll be able to view the category out of your streaming gadget comfortably. 

Upon utilizing this machine, it felt like what the true rowing expertise needs to be like. Despite the fact that I used to be on land, it felt good to listen to the water as I rowed as an alternative of a fan. Adjusting the resistance was simple because it has a dial that’s labeled with ranges 1 by means of 4. Nonetheless, this will not be the machine for you in the event you’re into conserving observe of your stats or taking a look at a monitor.

LIT had probably the most comfy seat as a result of it was padded and helped me really feel extra supported whereas rowing. I used to be put by means of a demo to attempt the completely different features of the machine and appreciated its versatility. When you’re carried out, you’ll be able to retailer the machine by folding it up vertically and rolling it to the specified space. Should you’re into the thought of getting a flexible machine that challenges the standard rowing apply, you will love the LIT Power Machine.


  • Versatile 3-in-1 machine
  • Snug, well-cushioned seat
  • Will be saved after use
  • Extensive footplate to accommodate tall rowers
  • Inexpensive membership
  • Would not should be plugged in to make use of


  • Would not have a touchscreen; you must use your smartphone or pill
  • Prices additional to purchase equipment 

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Earlier within the record we talked about the Hydrow. Now, we’re specializing in its latest and smaller mannequin, the Hydrow Wave. One in all my authentic points with the Hydrow was the scale of the machine. It rectified the problem by shrinking the unique mannequin by a number of inches. I had this one delivered to my house and was impressed by its dimension. It match within the house I had in thoughts in my condominium with ease. When it was delivered, the Hydrow staff assembled it extremely quick and ensured I might entry my account earlier than they left. 

Much like Hydrow, you will want to arrange this machine in an area with an influence outlet and good Wi-Fi connection. The Hydrow Wave design appears to be like extra like a typical Flywheel rowing machine and makes use of a smaller footprint than its predecessor. It nonetheless has the identical high-tech qualities because the Hydrow, just like the electromagnetic drag know-how, a contact display screen and entry to Hydrow’s exercise packages. It is also $1,000 cheaper than the Hydrow, making it a extra reasonably priced choice. Nonetheless, you’ll nonetheless must pay for the all-access membership for courses.

A few issues I noticed that I want had been upgraded this time round is the design of the straps on the footplate. It nonetheless had the identical design because the Hydrow with the adjustable nylon straps. I additionally would’ve favored the deal with to have a extra protecting protecting to forestall blisters. Moreover, you’ll nonetheless must buy an anchor in the event you intend on storing the machine upright. The plus facet is you will get away with not storing the machine upright because it is not as large as the unique Hydrow. You too can decrease the display screen when it isn’t in use to assist prevent some house. 

The rowing expertise, alternatively, was much like the Hydrow, so I am glad that side remained the identical. It wasn’t too loud, and all the pieces was easy and cozy between the seat and the pulling movement. I feel a great way to improve this expertise is by including a extra cushioned seat since there have been occasions my glutes felt achy the longer I used the machine.

Total, the Hydrow Wave is a superb choice to your house in the event you’re restricted in house, however nonetheless need the good rowing expertise. 


  • Sufficiently small to slot in an condominium
  • Similar nice options as the unique rower
  • $1,000 cheaper than the Hydrow


  • No new upgrades, apart from dimension
  • Vertical storage equipment nonetheless not included

How we selected the perfect rowing machines

Since rowing machines are very particular machines, there have been a number of components we thought-about to find out which have been finest. We narrowed it down to those rowing machines primarily based on the next pointers. 

  • Meeting: We took into consideration how simple it could be for the typical particular person to assemble the machine.
  • Ease of use: We checked out how simple it was to set your self up on a machine in addition to the convenience of use on the metrics monitor. 
  • Noise stage: We checked to see how loud or silent the machine was throughout rowing periods.
  • Options: We noticed distinctive options that made the rowing machine stand out and/or improved the consumer expertise.
  • Storage: We regarded to see how simple it was to retailer when not in use. 

Elements to contemplate

  • Be sure you measure out the house the place you’d hold the rowing machine. Account for slightly additional house outdoors the arms so you’ll be able to row freely with out obstructions. 
  • Think about in the event you want to have the ability to retailer the rower upright or if there may be sufficient room to spare.
  • If a number of persons are going to be utilizing the machine, be sure it is user-friendly for all heights and health ranges.
  • Rowing machines may be costly. Decide in case your price range matches a typical or high-tech rower.
  • There are numerous rowing machine kinds to choose from comparable to hydraulic, flywheel, water and magnetic. Do your analysis (and check them out) to find out which is the correct match for you.

Rowing machine FAQs

What are the several types of rowing machines?

There are 4 varieties of rowing machines: hydraulic, flywheel, water and magnetic

Hydraulic machines are typically probably the most reasonably priced and the resistance is created from the quantity of air or fluid that is constricted with a hydraulic cylinder.

Flywheels work with fan blades to create resistance utilizing air. That is the standard rower that you simply would possibly’ve seen at your native health club.

Water and magnetic rowers are newer machines which might be quieter and supposed to imitate outside rowing the perfect. The distinction is magnetic rowers use magnets, whereas water rowers use water of their tank to generate resistance.

How a lot do rowing machines value?

Relying on the kind of rowing machine you are searching for, some cheaper machines can cost about $500, whereas dearer ones can value between $1,000 to $2,000 plus. 

Is rowing exercise?

Sure, rowing is a full-body exercise and targets 85% of your physique. It targets your arms, again, core, legs and chest, and may also help construct up your endurance and energy.

How lengthy ought to I row for?

Rowing is so environment friendly you could get exercise in as little as 20 minutes. A lot of the courses provided by means of memberships on this record have courses lasting 20 to 45 minutes.

Extra health suggestions

The knowledge contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t supposed as well being or medical recommendation. All the time seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you might have a couple of medical situation or well being goals.

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