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The Best Rowing Machine - 2020

Last updated on August 14, 2020

We looked at the top 12 Rowing Machines and dug through the reviews from 46 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Rowing Machines.

Best Rowing Machine

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Our Picks For The Top Rowing Machines

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Overall

Bluefin Fitness Foldable Magnetic Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine

Bluefin Fitness

Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine

Overall Take

All the Bells and WhistlesThanks to the ergonomic grip handlebars, anti-slip foot pedals and padded seat, this rowing machine lets you workout in comfort.

Experts Included
DWYM Sports and Recreation Experts plus SuperAds, Rowing Machine Reviews, Dynasys Tech and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Equipped with ergonomic grip handlebars and padded cushion seat, this rowing machine is very comfortable to use."
Cons
"There are those that find that the rower isn’t quite stable enough for their needs."
  Digital Display

Sunny Health SF-RW5515 LCD Monitor Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health

LCD Monitor Magnetic Rowing Machine

Overall Take

Handy LCD MonitorThis rowing machine comes with a digital monitor that displays the time, calories burned and the time spent rowing.

Experts Included
DWYM Sports and Recreation Experts plus Top Fitness Magazine, BestReviews. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Sunny Health & Fitness is a well known exercise equipment manufacturer. They’re known for providing a quality product for a reasonable price. The SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is another fine example of this. This rowing machine is large enough to..."
  Great Workout

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Machine

Fitness Reality

Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Machine

Overall Take

Full-Body WorkoutIn addition to using this machine to row, you can also complete a variety of other exercises with it that benefit your entire body.

Experts Included
DWYM Sports and Recreation Experts plus In Stash. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Full Body Workout, Adjustable Tension, Ergonomic and comfortable design, Smart cloud fitness, Folding design for easy storage."
  Easy to Store

MaxKare Water Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine

MaxKare

Water Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine

Overall Take

Water ResistanceThis rowing machine has support points that allow you to store it upright when not in use.

Experts Included
DWYM Sports and Recreation Experts plus Health and Fitness Critique, Fitness Verve, Best Elliptical Machine Hut, Best Fitness Equipment, Wise Pick, Home Rowing Machine Reviews 2020 and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Great for those intermediate and advanced rowers that want the realistic rowing in the comfort of their homes."
Cons
"LCD screen doesn’t feature a backlight."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the rowing machines available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

46

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Health and Fitness Critique, Fitness Verve, Best Elliptical Machine Hut, Best Fitness Equipment, Wise Pick.

20,626

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 12 Rowing Machines and also dug through the reviews from 46 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Rowing Machines.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Bluefin Fitness Foldable Magnetic Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine


Our Expert Score

10.0
4 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

7.0
120 user reviews

Our Take

Opt for this rowing machine if you're looking for a model with all the bells and whistles. Not only is this machine able to simulate a natural rowing motion, but it also has an incline to add resistance. Users can take advantage of the large LCD screen and the Kinomap smartphone app to compete in races and sign in with a live coach.

What other experts liked

Pleasant design & easy to store. Large & easy to read LCD display. The rowing action is very smooth, the foot straps are also great.
- Wild Trend
Equipped with ergonomic grip handlebars and padded cushion seat, this rowing machine is very comfortable to use.
- SuperAds
The pedals are the right size and position with a non-slip coating to help with your posture and form.
- Rowing Machine Reviews
It delivers thousands of training videos, has an exclusive fitness community, and features live coaching.
- Dynasys Tech

What other experts didn't like

Startup time is pretty slow.
- Wild Trend
There are those that find that the rower isn’t quite stable enough for their needs.
- Rowing Machine Reviews

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Sunny Health SF-RW5515 LCD Monitor Magnetic Rowing Machine

Our Expert Score

5.0
2 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.6
2,766 user reviews

Our Take

You'll get great workout with this rowing machine, which uses magnetic resistance with eight different levels. The machine is great for individuals of any height and comes with a padded seat and sweat resistant handlebars. If you need to store the rower when not in use, you can fold it and move it with ease, thanks to the built-in transportation wheels.

What other experts liked

Sunny Health & Fitness is a well known exercise equipment manufacturer. They’re known for providing a quality product for a reasonable price. The SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is another fine example of this. This rowing machine is large enough to accommodate a wide range of users. With a footprint close...
- Top Fitness Magazine

What other experts didn't like

The console on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is very basic. You get a handful of readouts to track your workout and that’s it. There’s no ability to download the data, there are no workout programs and there is no ability to monitor your heart rate....
- Top Fitness Magazine

Overall Product Rankings

Sunny Health SF-RW5515 LCD Monitor Magnetic Rowing Machine

2. Sunny Health SF-RW5515 LCD Monitor Magnetic Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 5

MaxKare Water Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine

4. MaxKare Water Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 10

Mr Captain Water Resistance Bluetooth Rowing Machine

5. Mr Captain Water Resistance Bluetooth Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 3

MaxKare Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

6. MaxKare Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 6

JOROTO LCD Display Magnetic Rowing Machine

7. JOROTO LCD Display Magnetic Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 5

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

8. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 6

Merax Magnetic Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine

9. Merax Magnetic Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 5

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

10. Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 5

NordicTrack RW 900 HD Touchscreen Rowing Machine

11. NordicTrack RW 900 HD Touchscreen Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 6

ECHANFIT LDC Monitor Foldable Indoor Rowing Machine

12. ECHANFIT LDC Monitor Foldable Indoor Rowing Machine

Overall Score: 7.9
Reviews Included: 3

Our Rowing Machine Findings


Bluefin Fitness Foldable Magnetic Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine

What We Liked: Opt for this rowing machine if you’re looking for a model with all the bells and whistles. Not only is this machine able to simulate a natural rowing motion, but it also has an incline to add resistance. Users can take advantage of the large LCD screen and the Kinomap smartphone app to compete in races and sign in with a live coach.


Sunny Health SF-RW5515 LCD Monitor Magnetic Rowing Machine

What We Liked: You’ll get great workout with this rowing machine, which uses magnetic resistance with eight different levels. The machine is great for individuals of any height and comes with a padded seat and sweat resistant handlebars. If you need to store the rower when not in use, you can fold it and move it with ease, thanks to the built-in transportation wheels.


Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Machine

What We Liked: Since this rowing machine comes with a complimentary app, you’ll be able to track the progress of your workouts. While the machine is mainly designed for rowing, users can also complete other exercises, like front arm raises, tricep extensions and reverse grip curls. The rower even has a large LCD screen, so you can see how many strokes you’re getting in per minute.


MaxKare Water Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine

What We Liked: Although this rowing machine allows you to workout on land, it provides the water resistance you need to feel like you’re out on the lake. The machine has a 264 pound weight capacity and a durable steel frame that holds up under vigorous exercising. Users will also appreciate the ergonomic design that makes the machine comfortable and easy to operate.


Mr Captain Water Resistance Bluetooth Rowing Machine

What We Liked: Thanks to the included rowing machine cover, you’ll be able to keep this unit on a covered porch or back deck. The machine itself is made from solid oak and has a unique vintage look. It’s able to provide a full-body workout and even comes equipped with a customizable Bluetooth monitor.

The Mr. Captain rowing machine is a piece of exercise equipment that allows you to perform rowing motions against the resistance of actual water.

While you sit on a seat that is able to glide back and forth along a rail, you will have your feet strapped down to the front of the machine with adjustable footrests. Holding a padded handle, you push your body back as you pull the handle in a rowing motion.

The act of rowing for exercise is a great cardiovascular workout that also encourages the engagement of many muscle groups.

A good rowing workout will fire your biceps, gluteus maximus, abdominal muscles and quadriceps. Additionally, you will find the workout to be intense in a sense that it burns a lot of calories in a limited amount of time, making it highly efficient if your goal is burning calories for a workout.

The seat on the Mr. Captain rowing machine is padded so as to keep you comfortable while you move through the motions. The ergonomically-designed handles are also a thoughtful part of this machine as they lessen the impact of unwanted pressure points on your hands.

The resistance that you pull against comes from actual water. This gives you the sensation of actual rowing as you hear the water moving during your motions. Inside the tank of water is a moving apparatus that you are attempting to spin while the water itself is slowing it down and making it harder for you.

An oak finish gives the Mr. Captain rowing machine a natural look to go along with the theme of actually working out in an old boat of sorts. It does give an elegant and earthy appearance to the rowing machine.

A built-in Bluetooth monitor on the rowing machine lets you use your smartphone or tablet to track your workouts. This is a great way to see how you are improving over time, whether in endurance or strength.

When it’s time to end your workout, the Mr. Captain rowing machine stands up for minimal storage needs. It stands 88-inches tall and is 20-inches wide, so it can be stashed in a corner or a closet to not consume too much space.

To really complete the package, there is an included cover that you can place over it to protect it from the elements if you choose to keep it outside.

Our Rowing Machine Buying Guide

If you’re looking for a great way to get in a full-body workout without having to leave the house, a rowing machine is your answer. This device offers a host of benefits, including the ability to burn calories while being easy on the joints. The actual act of rowing is also quite calming, which can help reduce stress. As you search for the best rowing machine, you’ll want to take a look at the machine’s construction, ability to control the amount of resistance and any extra features that improve the unit’s functionality.

Start off by examining exactly where you’re going to set up the rowing machine. Some models are bigger than others and you want to make sure the rower you select will fit in your available space. If you don’t have a lot of space, you can always go with a machine that folds when not in use. Make sure that the machine also has back wheels to making moving the rower easier.

Continue to review the construction of the rowing machine by checking its weight capacity. There are models that can only handle 250 pounds, as well as rowers that have a 500-pound weight capacity.

Determine how many levels of resistance the machine offers. The Sunny Health SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine has a dial that allows you to quickly switch between eight different levels of magnetic resistance. While eight levels are plenty for most, there are rowers that have as many as 16 levels of resistance.

Check how comfortable the rowing machine is to use. If you don’t feel good when you use it, you probably won’t keep up with your workouts. Look for a padded ergonomic seat, foam handlebars that are slip-resistant and a set of adjustable footrests. If you need, there are even models with extra-wide seats and thick handlebars.

Look at the technical capabilities of the rowing machine next. For example, the Fitness Reality Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Machine not only has an LCD digital display for immediate feedback, but it also utilizes Bluetooth technology to connect to the complimentary My Cloud Fitness app. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices and aids in keeping track of your workouts.

Consider any extra benefits the rowing machine may have to offer. Some models are equipped with extra-long side rails, while others are made for additional exercises beyond just rowing. The Bluefin Fitness Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine uses an aluminum flywheel and slide rail and no-touch magnetic resistance to keep it running quietly. That means you’ll be able to workout early in the morning or late at night without disrupting sleeping family members.

DWYM Fun Fact

Did you know that the first rowing machines were made out of wood over 2,500 years ago? It’s true! Athens and Sparta were at war and this war took place on the high seas. The vessels used during the war required soldiers to do a great deal of rowing. The military for Athens was smart and built wooden rowing machines for the soldiers to practice on, while still on dry ground. Not only did the machines help the soldiers build up their endurance, but they also aided in strengthening important muscle groups.

Fast-forward to the 19th century when a man by the name of W.B. Curtis received a patent for the first hydraulic rowing machine. The machine wasn’t as easy to use as the models we have today, as the flywheels were heavy the movements were not fluid. In the 1970s, the design of rowing machines took a step in the right direction. Gjessing-Nilson added a friction braking system and the ability to adjust the gear and overall speed. Current rowing machines are much more advanced and many even connect wirelessly to a variety of health apps.

The Rowing Machine Tips and Advice

  • Perform a weekly check on your rowing machine. Check that the screws and nuts haven’t come loose. If they have, take the time to tighten them. Use a lubricant on the screws and chains, so that they aren’t rubbing against each other and shaving off any metal.
  • Once per year, it’s a good idea to take the rowing machine apart to adjust and lubricate its inner parts. You should have received a product care manual with your purchase that can take you through this process one step at a time. If you didn’t and you don’t consider yourself handy, you can schedule an appointment with a mechanic and have them perform the necessary maintenance for you.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting your rowing machine regularly is extremely important. Choose an all-purpose cleaner with germ-fighting capabilities and use that and a lint-free cloth to wipe down the surface of the rower. The handlebars, padded seat and footrests are especially important, as these spots are the most likely to come in contact with your sweat and the dirt from your shoes. If you prefer to wipe down the machine with a moist cloth, you’ll need to spray the machine down with a disinfectant afterward. Let your rower dry completely before you resume using it for your workouts.
  • Store your rowing machine in a cool, dry location when not in use. Hot areas with extra moisture could cause the metal parts of the machine to rust.
  • Always check with your family physician before you begin any new workout routine, even one on a rowing machine. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are currently pregnant.
  • Set fitness goals for yourself before using the rowing machine for the first time. Start off slow, as you can always increase your goals later on. You can list how long you want to spend on the machine per day, how many calories you want to burn or how many strokes you want to achieve. Simply taking the time to put these goals on paper will help you achieve them.
  • No matter what your budget, you’re sure to find a rowing machine that can help you reach your fitness goals. The Sunny Health SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is one of the most affordable models. You’ll pay a moderate price for the Fitness Reality Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Machine and the MaxKare Water Resistance LCD Monitor Rowing Machine. If you’re looking for a rowing machine with all the bells and whistles, you may not mind spending extra for the Bluefin Fitness Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine, which has the highest price tag of the bunch.

About The Author

Alicia Bodine
Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared on leading financial publications. She's also a certified Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach.