10 Best Rowing Machines of 2024, Rigorously Tested by Certified Fitness Trainers

10 Best Rowing Machines of 2024, Rigorously Tested by Certified Fitness Trainers

<p><strong><em><em><strong></strong></em></em></strong>“Indoor rowing is an excellent low-impact option for improving cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance,” Lululemon lead instructor <a href=” target=”_blank” data-vars-ga-outbound-link=”><u>Hollis Tuttle</u></a> told <em>Men’s Health</em>. “Since it is a <a href=” target=”_blank”>low impact</a> sport, rowing reduces the risk of damage to weight-bearing joints, such as hips, ankles, and knees, which tend to be prone to injury and soreness when doing high impact sports.”</p><p>But rowing’s not just a great joint-friendly form of <a href=” target=”_blank”>cardio</a>. A solid <a href=” target=”_blank”>rowing workout</a> can also help build strength in more muscle groups than you’d expect. “The rower is basically the horizontal version of the <a href=” target=”_blank”>deadlift</a> and uses similar muscles,” says veteran trainer <a href=” target=”_blank”>Ian Creighton</a>. “On the drive, the main focus is on the posterior chain—the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and spinal erectors are all being used. In the pull, the quads, forearms, biceps, and lats are used as well.” </p><p><em>When considering an indoor rowing machine, you’ll encounter a variety of resistance systems:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Magnetic</strong>: Utilizes magnets and a flywheel for consistent resistance, ideal for steady workouts and small spaces.</li><li><strong>Air</strong>: Features a fan-driven flywheel, offering dynamic resistance that increases with intensity.</li><li><strong>Water</strong>: Mimics the sensation of rowing on water with a water tank and paddles that offer smooth and fluid movement.</li><li><strong>Hydraulic</strong>: Uses hydraulic pistons for resistance regulation, delivering a budget-friendly option with potential motion limitations.</li></ul><p class=”body-text”><em>Men’s Health</em> fitness editors, in collaboration with experts including Tuttle and Creighton, have thoroughly tested and evaluated more than two dozen of the best indoor rowing machines to determine which ones we can genuinely recommend. We’ve carefully considered dozens of best-selling models from reputable brands and assessed them on build quality, resistance mechanism, performance, tech features, and price. To ensure no stone is left unturned, each rowing machine has undergone rigorous trials, including hundreds of miles in varied workout routines such as high-intensity sprints, endurance-based long-distance rows, and interval sessions.</p><p>In the market for a rowing machine after all? Read on for our curated list of the 11 best rowing machines to upgrade your home gym this year.</p><h2>What to Consider </h2><p>Indoor rowing machines are a bit more complicated than ordinary home gym equipment, like <a href=” target=”_blank”>power racks</a> or <a href=” target=”_blank”>dumbbell sets</a>. Decades ago, they used to be little more than a gliding seat and rope handle attached to a water-filled flywheel. But today’s best rowing machines are a <em>lot</em> more high-tech and sophisticated.</p><p>The most connected models—from the likes of Peloton and Hydrow—pair with your smartphone via Bluetooth to stream music, while their touchscreens connect you with professional rowers on the other side of the world for personalized, guided training sessions. That’s all to say that shopping for a new rower can be a challenge, and finding the best indoor rowing machine for you is especially difficult. We’re here to help with the most important specs, features, and essentials to consider before forking over your hard owned money.</p><h3>Durability and Quality</h3><p class=”body-text”>If you’re dropping $1,000 or more on a complicated piece of gym equipment, you want to know that it can go the distance. That’s why it pays (literally) to buy from a company that you trust and that offers a solid, reputable product with a decent warranty. Don’t settle for a bargain-priced Amazon model from a brand you’ve never heard of just because it seems like a steal. In the world of fitness equipment, you almost always get what you pay for. If you’re planning to row on a regular basis and to keep your rowing machine for the foreseeable future, consider investing good money into a model that will last.<br></p><h3>Resistance Mechanism</h3><p>At the heart of every rowing machine is some sort of resistance mechanism. There are four main types including hydraulic, flywheel, water-based, and magnetic resistance-based. Hydraulic resistance relies on air or fluid compressed into a cylinder and is almost always the cheapest. Flywheels rely on air resistance; these will require the most nuanced timing of your rowing pattern. The downside: They’re often noisy. Water-based and magnetic resistance models often deliver a near-silent experience, although they can be pricey.<br></p><h3>Storage</h3><p>By their nature, rowing machines are big, bulky, and often heavy. If you have the real estate in your home, non-folding models are typically sturdier and more convenient when it comes time to work out. They’re always set up and ready to go—er, row. If you’re a city dweller or are just short on space, however, a folding model might be the best way to go. Some rowers fold neatly in half or offer vertical storage to minimize wasted floor space. Look for models with transport wheels too, so you can easily move yours around by yourself.<br></p><h3>Warranty</h3><p>With the best rowing machines priced north of $1,000, buying one is a serious investment. So, it’s important to purchase from a manufacturer that offers a clear, comprehensive warranty. They vary widely across the industry, with the most budget-forward brands offering just 90 days on some parts, and others boasting generous 10-year warranties on everything. Again, the more you spend upfront, the better the warranty is likely to be. And, if there’s anything that isn’t clear to you about the stated warranty, be sure to ask. It’s your money, after all.<br></p><h3>Budget</h3><p>Depending on your situation, price might be the most important consideration. Indoor rowing machines are a substantial investment that can run into the thousands. Know that, if price is an issue, you can absolutely land a decent mid-range model for under $1,500 and even a solid budget model for less than $1,000 delivered.<br></p><h3>Other Rowing Machine Features</h3><p>The most basic rowing machine design has changed little in decades, and you can still find a “classic”-style model for a reasonable price. But, if you’re looking for a more connected experience, look at smart rowers like the Hydrow Wave or the Peloton Row. These offer touchscreens with built-in apps that connect you to professional trainers who can motivate and work with you to better achieve your personal goals. The rowing machines with these features are, of course, more expensive upfront. But, know that many also require ongoing monthly subscriptions to take full advantage of those “smart” connected features.</p><h2>How We Selected</h2><p><em>Men’s Health</em> fitness editors and experts including Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., Senior Fitness Editor Brett Williams, NASM, and Fitness and Commerce Editor Talene Appleton, NASM, have been using the top rowing machines for years.</p><p>Our methodology for assessing the best rowing machines for home use involved thorough testing across performance, build quality, comfort, features, and user experience. We conducted extensive performance and stress tests through rowing workouts of varying lengths and intensities, and paid close attention to comfort and user-friendly features along the way. Features such as resistance levels, workout programs, and connectivity were scrutinized in detail.</p><p>Our extensive experience working out on rowing machines coupled with our comprehensive approach to testing ensures our recommendations are well-rounded and reliable. The list below represents our carefully considered picks for the best indoor rowing machines to shop in 2024.</p><ul></ul><ul></ul>”/>

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