Greatest Rowing Machines – CNET


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Should you’re constructing a house gymnasium, there is a ton of nice exercise gear on the market. Nevertheless, 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 quite a lot of totally different muscle teams, together with your core, again, arms and lats in addition to offering an excellent cardio exercise. They’re additionally simpler to slot in most rooms.

Rowing machines have developed in design through the years. Now you might have good rowing machines which can be a step up from conventional rowers. We examined totally different rowing machines to find out one of the best ones in the marketplace. Hold studying to study our favorites. 

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The Echelon Row-S is the perfect rowing machine in the event you’re a rowing newbie. Meeting was straightforward sufficient that just one particular person was wanted to place it collectively. It isn’t the fanciest trying machine, however it felt sturdy and easy and acquired the job finished. I discovered it much less intimidating than the good rowers and appreciated elements of its design, like that the deal with’s protecting overlaying to forestall blisters. I additionally favored the footplate design essentially 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 straightforward to seek out and raise. It is also on the lighter aspect, which makes it straightforward to maneuver round. Regardless of being mild, the machine can maintain as much as 350 kilos (158.7 kg) comfortably; due to this fact, it is versatile for individuals of all sizes and weights. 

The standard 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’ll need an Echelon Dwell and On-Demand class membership for a further charge to make use of this machine. There are three ranges of membership to suit your funds: 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 hundreds of courses in addition to rowing, together with yoga, biking, HIIT or power coaching. I favored that the library had newbie row courses, warmups and cooldowns, scenic, low influence 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 straightforward to learn and comply with. General, with the courses included, I favored the Echelon Row-S as an excellent introduction to rowing or if you would like a much less cumbersome machine in your house. 


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


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

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Should you do not thoughts splurging on what’s thought of the Peloton of rowing, then you definitely’ll love the Hydrow. Whereas testing rowing machines, I acquired 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, take note you may 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 expertise 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’ll need an all-access membership which is a further $38 a month, however offers you limitless profiles for your loved ones. 

I favored that the Hydrow appeared extra futuristic than different rowing machines I’ve seen. Nevertheless, 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 it’s a must to fiddle with the strap to tighten or loosen it. I discover this model 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 straightforward to make use of, and the seat feels snug 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 unique fashions. The packages supply a spread to select from, and I favored that I may select a shorter or longer exercise relying on how a lot time I had. Should you’re a seasoned rower, you possibly can alter 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 advisable in the event you’re simply getting began with rowing. 

Hydrow additionally has newbie courses that train you how one can correctly row to get used to the motion. This to be one thing many of the rowing machines I examined supplied, which is perfect since some individuals could initially wrestle to get correct type.

My fundamental concern with Hydrow was that it was greater than I anticipated for a contemporary rowing machine. You additionally need to buy the anchor individually to retailer it upright; it retails for $80 and is actually a strap screwed to the wall. I discovered this dear, particularly for the reason that unit itself is dear. With out the flexibility to retailer the machine upright, it made me query if individuals with smaller areas may personal it. Nevertheless, there’s a smaller model, the Hydrow Wave (extra on this machine later). 


  • Excessive-end rower with a easy journey
  • Straightforward to assemble by yourself
  • Effectively constructed


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

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Aviron provides two forms of rowers to select from: the Aviron Impression Collection and Aviron Powerful Collection rower. For this assessment, I examined the Aviron Impression Collection model. Aviron offers 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 likely one of the lighter machines on the record, weighing solely 97 kilos (43.9 kg), and its base folds upright for simple storage. One other factor to notice is that you will wish to place your rower in an space with robust Wi-Fi connection to get one of the best gaming expertise.

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

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

I favored that the design included a padded deal with since I am vulnerable to blisters. The seat sat increased 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 a bit of wider than different rowing machines, which is useful as a result of when positioned too shut collectively it is uncomfortable, notably you probably have longer legs. The seat had a bit of 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 provides and located them entertaining sufficient that it was a distraction from realizing you are figuring out. Should you dread the thought of figuring out, this could possibly be an excellent choice for you since exercising will really feel extra like leisure than a activity. 

Should you desire to go for Aviron’s upgraded rower, the Powerful sequence will value you one other $300. The distinction between the 2 is that the newest model has a heavy-duty body and is meant to carry as much as 507 kilos (230 kg). This makes Aviron the perfect rower for taller individuals who wish to make sure the machine can face up to their top and weight.


  • Video video games make you overlook you are exercising
  • Seat is comfortably padded
  • Design is even superb for tall individuals


  • Machine plastic design makes it seem much less sturdy
  • No reside 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 provides 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 evaluate 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 essentially the most time-consuming one to assemble as a result of he adopted the handbook instruction information. Nevertheless, EnergyFit instructed us that the majority clients 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 face up to two forms of health exercise. I did assume some particulars may use some upgrading. For instance, the monitor you utilize to regulate the resistance appeared dated, the lever used to decrease and lift the bottom was manufactured from plastic… which made me query if it will break off after lots of put on and tear, and the rope hooked up to the deal with did not look as sturdy as those on different rowing machines. When adjusted to the snowboarding place, I assumed the ski handles appeared and felt legit, and it was the precise top (for grabbing the handles), even for shorter people.

I began by testing the rowing facet 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’re 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 price, tempo, resistance degree and energy burned. It features kind of the identical method as a Idea 2 rowing machine and allows you to join by way of Bluetooth to an ANT Plus Coronary heart Price monitor. Ski-Row can be related to Gymtrakr, an iOS and Android app that may sync your cellphone to the console. 

From the rowing perspective, it’s just like a standard rowing machine however can get boring in the event you’re searching for a extra interactive expertise. Should you’re including circuits to your traditional exercise, it could be much less of a difficulty since you will in all probability simply concentrate on 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 may 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 of a plus. I feel the Ski-Row is a superb piece of apparatus to have at residence (or on the gymnasium) in the event you’re searching for a two-in-one machine that will not take up further 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 desires the flexibility to coach indoors.


  • Distinctive design makes it two machines in a single
  • Splendid in the event you’re restricted in area and need two machines
  • Sturdy sufficient to face up to each rowing and indoor snowboarding


  • Heavy machine that requires not less than two individuals 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 Energy Machine impressed me by how the creators challenged the standard rowing machine. This machine is an all-in-one rower, Pilates reformer and power 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 straightforward for patrons 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 power coaching or Pilates workouts. 

LIT at present provides three packages. There’s Starter, which incorporates resistance bands, ankle cuffs (for Pilates) and handles. Then there’s Efficiency, which provides every thing within the bundle, together with a coronary heart price sensor, machine mat, power bar, pace bands and energy bands. The ultimate present package deal is July 4th, which incorporates every thing Efficiency provides minus the center price sensor and a machine mat.

I favored that this machine (just like the Aviron) had a wider footplate, so in the event you’re tall or have wider ft, it provides loads of room. I additionally realized it was designed to permit 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 likely one of the few machines that does not have a touchscreen or monitor, however courses are supplied by 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 system holder so you possibly can view the category out of your streaming system comfortably. 

Upon utilizing this machine, it felt like what the true rowing expertise must 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 straightforward because it has a dial that’s labeled with ranges 1 by 4. Nevertheless, this will not be the machine for you in the event you’re into conserving observe of your stats or a monitor.

LIT had essentially the most snug seat as a result of it was padded and helped me really feel extra supported whereas rowing. I used to be put by a demo to attempt the totally different points of the machine and appreciated its versatility. When you’re finished, you possibly can 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 Energy Machine.


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


  • Would not have a touchscreen; it’s a must to use your smartphone or pill
  • Prices further 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. Certainly one of my unique points with the Hydrow was the dimensions of the machine. It rectified the difficulty by shrinking the unique mannequin by just a few inches. I had this one delivered to my residence and was impressed by its dimension. It match within the area I had in thoughts in my house with ease. When it was delivered, the Hydrow staff assembled it extremely quick and ensured I may entry my account earlier than they left. 

Much like Hydrow, you’ll need 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 an ordinary 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 expertise, 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. Nevertheless, you’ll nonetheless have to 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 overlaying to forestall blisters. Moreover, you’ll nonetheless have to buy an anchor in the event you intend on storing the machine upright. The plus aspect is you will get away with not storing the machine upright because it is not as large as the unique Hydrow. You may as well decrease the display screen when it is not in use to assist prevent some area. 

The rowing expertise, however, was just like the Hydrow, so I am glad that facet remained the identical. It wasn’t too loud, and every thing 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 instances my glutes felt achy the longer I used the machine.

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


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


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

How we selected one of the best rowing machines

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

  • Meeting: We took into consideration how straightforward it will be for the typical particular person to assemble the machine.
  • Ease of use: We checked out how straightforward it was to set your self up on a machine in addition to the convenience of use on the metrics monitor. 
  • Noise degree: 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 appeared to see how straightforward it was to retailer when not in use. 

Components to contemplate

  • Ensure you measure out the area the place you’d hold the rowing machine. Account for a bit of further area outdoors the arms so you possibly can 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 individuals are going to be utilizing the machine, be certain it is user-friendly for all heights and health ranges.
  • Rowing machines may be costly. Decide in case your funds suits an ordinary or high-tech rower.
  • There are numerous rowing machine kinds to select from reminiscent of hydraulic, flywheel, water and magnetic. Do your analysis (and check them out) to find out which is the precise match for you.

Rowing machine FAQs

What are the various kinds of rowing machines?

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

Hydraulic machines are typically essentially 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 may’ve seen at your native gymnasium.

Water and magnetic rowers are newer machines which can be quieter and supposed to imitate outside rowing one of the best. 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 looking for, some cheaper machines can value about $500, whereas costlier ones can value between $1,000 to $2,000 plus. 

Is rowing an excellent exercise?

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

How lengthy ought to I row for?

Rowing is so environment friendly which you could get an excellent exercise in as little as 20 minutes. A lot of the courses supplied by 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 concerning any questions you might have a few medical situation or well being aims.


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