Best Rowing Machines of 2020
Looking for a new indoor rower to recharge your current at-home exercise routine? With so many types on the market—as well as the ever-growing popularity of interactive training to consider—knowing what to look for and where to get the best deal can be overwhelming. We’ve rounded up the best rowing machines of 2020 and organized the list into handy categories so you can pinpoint the type of rower you are looking for. This way, you can find the best value rowing machine for your budget, workout preferences, and home gym space.
Our Top 7 Rowing Machines for 2020
- Best Rower for Interactive Training: Hydrow
- Best Magnetic Rowing Machine: NordicTrack RW500
- Best Air Rower: Concept2 Model D
- Best Value For Money Rower: XTERRA ERG600W
- Best Rowing Machine for Seniors: Concept2 Model E
- Best Budget Rowing Machine: Stamina ATS 1405
- Best Water Rowing Machine: WaterRower Classic
1. Best Rower for Interactive Training: Hydrow
The Hydrow is a premium rowing machine designed for interactive training. It brings the outside in, allowing you to virtually row on the water alongside world-class athletes, or others on your rowing team if you choose team racing. It’s the only rower on the market featuring a Live Outdoor Reality™ experience. It offers unique interactive training consisting of on-demand rowing workouts and an impressive daily live class schedule delivered on a 22″ HD touchscreen. The console has ample connectivity for workout data tracking and transfer. There’s also a variety of learning materials for beginner rowers to learn form and technique, as we well as an inclusive workout library for all fitness abilities. The on-the-water rows and team racing allow you to feel connected to a rowing community; it’s much like the elite Peloton experience this way.
At $2,199—without taking into consideration the ongoing membership costs—the Hydrow isn’t cheap. But you get what you pay for. Club-quality components support the impressive interactive training experience. There are 300 levels of smooth and quiet electromagnetic resistance which allow you to fine-tune the challenge and personalize your rowing stroke. All of this is packaged into a sleek, modern design. If you’re looking for a rower that will help you stay motivated to keep exercising, the Hydrow will not disappoint.
See our detailed review of the Hydrow.
2. Best Magnetic Rowing Machine: NordicTrack RW500
The RW500 is NordicTrack’s intermediate air-magnetic rower. It gives you the interactivity of the brand’s top-spec rower—the RW900—at a more affordable price. It features 26 digital resistance levels, which is a good overall range compared to some air resistance rowers without adjustability. Transitioning between the resistance levels is smooth and quiet thanks to the inertia-enhanced flywheel with SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance. What’s more, the air resistance element will increase and decrease based on your intensity/stroke speed.
Its 10″ HD touchscreen tablet connects you to iFit (which you get free for a year) for unlimited interactive training opportunities. iFit trainers can make real-time resistance adjustments to the rower, allowing for an immersive workout experience. What’s more, you can use the detachable tablet to enjoy other iFit classes such as yoga, strength training, and HIIT training. Running this screen alongside the 5″ backlit LCD display, you effectively get the best of both worlds. You can easily track your data, and get the additional push from interactive, instructor-led courses. Overall, it’s a top value purchase for those who want to enjoy interactive training on an adjustable air-magnetic rower at an affordable price.
See our detailed review of the NordicTrack RW500.
3. Best Air Rower: Concept2 Model D
The Concept2 Model D rower is one of the best-selling rowers on the planet, and for good reason. Its variable air resistance (with damper settings 1-10 to change the feel of the rowing stroke) will challenge just about any trainee, as resistance depends on user effort. Solid construction, quiet operation, and a significant weight capacity are some of the Model D’s major selling points. Although it doesn’t have a flashy screen, it’s still a connected rower. Its user-friendly but sophisticated PM5 monitor features Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity. This allows you to connect it to a variety of wireless heart-rate monitors, fitness devices and apps. Tune into the brand’s free ErgData app to track your workouts online, or try one of the many compatible third-party apps to experience virtual rowing, racing and more. What’s more, the Model D separates into two pieces for easy storage. For just $900, the Model D offers durability, unlimited resistance, and engaging programming at a manageable price point.
See our detailed review of the Concept2 Model D rower.
4. Best Value For Money Rower: XTERRA ERG600W
Although water rowers are known and loved for their zen-like, real-rowing stroke which closely mirrors rowing on water, many rowers in the category are pricey when compared to other rower types. At just $599, the XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower is extremely well equipped for the price. It features 6 water-based resistance levels which you can modify via the fill level of the water tank. As for programming, its console can be programmed for 5 different types of training programs including: Race Against Computer; Time Countdown; Distance Countdown; Strokes Countdown; and Calories Countdown. It also features a convenient stand-up design for storage after workouts. The solid steel frame with dual aluminum slide rails can hold up to 300 pounds; it’s a smooth and stable row. What’s more, the warranty outshines many rowers in the category. Whether you’re in the market for a water rower or not, you get a lot of bang for your buck here.
5. Best Rowing Machine for Seniors: Concept2 Model E
The Concept2 Model E rower is one of two top-ranked rowers from the best-selling rowing machine brand. Known for its solid construction and high-quality components, the Model E rower adds in a 20″ seat height into the mix for easy access. The relatively high seat positioning (which is around the height of a typical chair) allows the Model E to accommodate a wider range of trainees, including those with limited mobility or those who need a little extra leg room. What’s more, as it features air resistance, the challenge is determined via user effort. Resistance increases with the rower’s intensity (and has a damper with 1-10 levels to change the rowing stroke), making the Model E suitable for users at all training levels.
Although not loaded with tech-savvy features, it’s still a connected rower. You can make your workouts more tech focused if you want to. Whether that’s exercising with a wireless heart-rate monitor and tracking this data in the online logbook via the brand’s free ErgData app, or connecting your PM5 to a virtual rowing app, it really depends on how much you want this to be a part of your rowing routine. The focus is on quality construction, durability, and a real-rowing feel.
See our detailed review of the Concept2 Model E rower.
6. Best Budget Rowing Machine: Stamina ATS 1405
If you’re looking for a budget rowing machine, Stamina has some very enticing options. We’re very impressed with a handful of Stamina rowers from a value proposition standpoint: the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1405 being a prime example. Priced around the $500 mark (and sometimes on sale for even less), the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1405 offers smooth fan air resistance which will challenge just about anyone. As the rower responds to user effort, the harder you work, the stronger the resistance becomes. You won’t get it all with this rower: which is of course expected for the budget price. Its seat is a touch firmer than some alternatives, and there isn’t anything in the way of workout programming. For what you’re paying, however, it’s an impressive and durable machine. It features a metal chain as opposed to a cheaper tension cord, a steel frame, and a seat that smoothly glides on metal bearings instead of nylon wheels. It’s one of the best budget rowing machines on the market that uses air resistance, prioritizing quality components and durability over flashy bells and whistles.
See our detailed review of the Stamina ATS 1405 Air Rower.
7. Best Water Rowing Machine: WaterRower Classic
If you’re in the market for a water rower, you have probably come across a few models from one of the major players in this rowing machine category: WaterRower. Their Classic rowing machine is crafted from sustainably sourced black walnut and like their other machines, uses natural water resistance. It features the brand’s unique WaterFlywheel design for a real-rowing stroke. This will provide enough challenge for most trainees, from beginners through to advanced rowers. Customers rave about the zen-like, smooth rowing experience of this machine. At 82.25” long by 22.25” wide, it’s not a small rower, but you can easily store it upright to save space after workouts. It’s a durable water rowing machine that will keep up with you as you progress, making it truly worth the investment.
See our detailed review of the WaterRower Classic.
Want to browse some other models or learn more about what to look for when shopping for a new rower? Check out our extended best rowers list to explore rowers in every category and price range.