The Complete Guide on Choosing Your Perfect Home Rowing Machine

Rowing machines are often the unsung heroes of the gym. Many people underestimate the benefits of this particular form of exercise and, even when shopping for fitness apparatus for the home, most people tend to head for the stationary bike or treadmill. So, why look at the home rowing machine instead?

The benefits of a rowing machine are extensive. People often ask that is rowing machine a good workout. Well, it offers a low impact workout well suited to those who struggle with the pounding action of jogging or speed walking. Find out more here.

On the other hand, it offers a well-balanced, full body workout, using the muscles in legs – particularly the quads and hamstrings, as well as the calves and glutes – and the arms, chest, shoulders and abs. 

rowing machine

Thirty minutes of rowing, at a moderate effort, will burn about 210 calories per 125lb of body weight, while vigorous effort increases that to 311 calories. Given the minimal impact to the knees, ankles and hips, when compared with running, one can easily see how rowing machine can help to sculpt the whole body. When burning calories at that rate, you will definitely shed unwanted body fat.

Different Types Of Rowing Machine

Right, you’ve decided you want to buy a rowing machine? The next decision you need to make is what type of machine you want. There are several different types, and also various types of resistance, including the elastic cord, flywheel or water, hydraulic piston, air and magnetic.

Let’s take a closer look at the options.

1. Elastic Cord

The Elastic Cord rower is one of the simplest concepts in terms of the concept, which is simply that an elastic cord offers resistance by means of the elastic cord’s natural tendency to recoil or retract to its original length. They can be noisy, however, but are great if a simple workout is all you’re after.

2. Water Rower

Water rowers use a water flywheel, located in a tank of water, for resistance. The flywheel is connected to a chain, with the handles on the other end.  As the handle is pulled back, the flywheel rotates in the water, creating drag (water resistance).

The faster you row, the greater the resistance offered by the water, therefore increasing the intensity of your workout. The main disadvantage of this type of machine is that they tend to be larger than other types. 

3. Hydraulic Rowers

Hydraulic rowers use the resistance air or hydraulic fluid, inside a piston, which is attached to the handles. They offer a fair amount of resistance, but this cannot really compare with the smooth motion of a water rower.

They are usually smaller and more compact, making them an option for those with limited space, but not really an option for the serious rower, such as one who uses his machine to keep “rowing fit” during the winter months.

4. Air Rowers

Air Rowers use the resistance of the air flowing over an internal flywheel, which is attached to the handle by means of a chain. The faster you pull the handle, the greater the air resistance. This allows you to increase the intensity of your workout, by pulling faster, which increases the air resistance over the flywheel.

While offering a great workout, these rowing machines do have the disadvantage of being fairly noisy. 

5. Magnetic Rowers

Magnetic Rowers use two strong magnets and a spinning flywheel, and resistance is created by the various distances of the two magnets. The flywheel is attached to the handle by a chain.

The magnetic rower offers a smooth and almost silent workout, making them very popular. Another advantage is that they are generally also compact, making them an appropriate choice for those with limited space. 

Things to Consider When Buying Rowing Machine for Home

In order to decide which option would best suit your needs, you will have to consider several varied factors:

  • Noise - this is of significant importance if you live in a communal living space, or an apartment building where a noisy machine would disturb your neighbors.
  • Space – there isn’t much point in getting a magnificent machine and then not having enough space to use it.
  • Budget – a no-brainer for any major purchase. Decide how much you want to (or can afford to) spend on your machine; remember to factor in what you would save on gym membership fees!
  • Frequency - how often do you intend to use the machine, and for how long per session? This is very important, because if you’re an experienced rower, who spends 90 minutes a day on the machine, you need to ensure you buy a machine that can cope with that kind of punishment!

Who Makes the Best Rowing Machine?

Right, so you’ve looked at all the deciding factors, and you’ve looked at the different types of rowing machines, let’s look at the manufacturers:

Sunny Health and Fitness

Sunny Health and Fitness offers a wide range, of rowing machines, with offerings from most resistance types. Their elastic cord and hydraulic offerings are the cheapest on the market, coming in at well under $200. However, the online ratings by members of the public came in at only 3.9 stars for the elastic cord model, as opposed to the 4.6 stars for their magnetic models.

Check out the SF-RW5720, an incline full motion rowing machine.

Stamina

Stamina Rowing machines are also well priced, with machines ranging in price from $250 to $1000, depending on the type of resistance. Their magnetic rowers top their price range, at between $500 and over $1000.  Their overall star rating came in a little lower, at between 4.2 and 4.3.

Check out Stamina Air and ATS 1399.

Water Rower

Water Rower is the original manufacturer of the water resistance rowing machine. They are well built and sturdy and will last for years, but you will need to maintain the water in the tank, or you’ll find it turns green.

They do come with a somewhat higher price tag though, with all products over the $1000 mark. All products reviewed by the public came in at a whopping 4.8 stars.

Their famous models include the Classic, Natural Ash, and Oxbridge, click for more details.

Concept 2

Concept 2 has offerings from entry level machines, at under $250, right through to the high-end machines at well over $1000. Of the products rated by the public, Models D and E both scored well over 4.5 stars.

Xebex

Xebex manufactures superb commercial gym equipment, which are suitable for home-used too. Their air rower is well priced at between $500 and $999. What you get is a commercial grade air rower with affordable price.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the best advice is: try a few models, a few different resistance types. Find the rowing machines for home that comes closest to meeting all your needs: level of fitness, what you will demand from your rowing machine, available space and – of course – available budget. 

You are sure to gain many hours of good workouts and row your way to a healthier, shapelier you!