Woman using rowing machine

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Rowing machines are an awesome addition to a home gym setup. They are relatively compact and work a wide range of muscles, making them a great option for exercising at home. Rowing machines burn more calories than almost any other workout (up to 1,200 per hour). In addition to being an efficient workout, rowers are low impact, which makes them ideal for everyone – even seniors. Using a rowing machine at home will help to build your core muscles, decreasing the risk of injury from other activities. Cardio exercises, including rowing, are also beneficial to your overall cardiovascular health. The reasons for adding a rower to your home gym setup are many.

If you are looking for the perfect rowing machine for your home, look no further. From ultra compact hydraulic rowers to rowers that use water to mimic the organic rowing feel – we’ve got you covered. We read through thousands of verified reviews for hundreds of rower models to find a handful of rowing machines that people absolutely love for home use. Check out the models below and you’re sure to find something that fits your needs and budget.

Best Rowing Machines for Home 

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

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We started with the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine because it is one of the highest rated and most popular machines for home use. This machine is built to last, with a 5 year warranty on the frame, accommodating users up to 500 LBS. It assembles easily with only 8 screws in total. Additionally, it comes with “Performance Monitor 5”, which is a self calibrating system that tracks your progress and even wirelessly connects to heart rate belts and apps (sold separately).

One of the reasons this particular rowing machine is fantastic for home use is the fact that it easily breaks down into 2 pieces for easy storage. It also comes with rollers on one end for easier mobility. This machine is priced a bit higher – but it doesn’t disappoint. The Concept2 Model D gets crazy high reviews from verified users.

Things we like
Only Weights 57 LBS (Easy to move)
5 Year Frame Warranty
Easy Assembly
Supports People Up to 500 LBS
Solid Construction
Performance Monitor Tracks Everything
Relatively Compact (Especially When Broken Down)
Things we don’t like
A Bit Pricey
Noisy

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MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine

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The MaxKare Magnetic Rower is a compact, highly reviewed rowing machine that is great for home use. It offers 16 adjustable resistance levels and supports users up to 243 LBS. Adjust the resistance with the turn of a knob. This rower is among the lowest priced rowing machines on the market while still maintaining highly positive reviews overall. It offers a low impact workout that will target a range of muscles – for a fraction of what you would pay for a gym membership. The best part – you’re in the comfort of your own home.

Here are a few reasons why the MaxKare Magnetic Rower is a great choice for home use. It’s extremely quiet for a rower. If you have used a typical loud rowing machine in the past, you’ll be amazed at how quiet this one is. This rower comes with a small storage basket just below the adjustment knob which provides quick access to a drink during workouts. It’s also very portable, weighing only 64 LBS to begin with – but also has roller wheels on the heavier side to make it a breeze to move by picking up the lighter end and simply rolling it wherever you want. The only real gripe people seem to have with this rower is that the LCD tracks reps instead of distance – but it does still track calories, time, reps per minute and total repetitions.

Things we like
Extremely Quiet
Assembles Easily (Under 25 Mins)
Very Smooth Operation
16 Resistance Levels
Easy to Move
Things we don’t like
Small LCD
Does Not Track Distance

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MaxKare Water Resistance Rowing Machine

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If you are looking to re-create the organic sound and feel of rowing on a lake, in your living room – the MaxKare Water Resistance Rowing Machine might be the one for you. This rower tries to recreate the feeling of rowing on water. The rower offers a “competition mode” for an additional challenge. Enjoy the sounds and feeling of cutting through water with every stroke. This rower operates smoothly and is very sturdy, providing a stable exercise experience for users up to 264 LBS. Exercising on the MaxKare Water Resistance Rower at home is a truly therapeutic experience that adds much needed joy to your workout.

This rower assembles easily with most people completing assembly in under 30 minutes. The LCD screen is fairly large and tracks everything you would want including distance, strokes per minute, time, calories, pulse and total strokes. The buttons are large and the readout is easily understandable. For people that want to feel like they are on water from the comfort of their home, it’s hard to beat this rower. This rower has rollers on the water tank side for easy portability and also stores vertically if you need to make additional space (but be sure not to overfill the tank, or it will leak when stored vertically).

Things we like
Competitively Priced
Mimics the Sound and Feel of Rowing on Water
Operates Smoothly
Is Very Stable
Seat Is Comfortable
Can Be Stored Vertically
Things we don’t like
If Overfilled, Tank Will Leak When Stored Vertically

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Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine (SF-RW5515)

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The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rower is a bargain priced magnetic rower that offers the majority of bells and whistles of a more expensive machine at a fraction of the price. There are 8 levels of magnetic adjustment, giving you the ability to intensify your workout as needed. The machine supports users up to 250 LBS and the extra long (48 inch) slide rail accommodates rowers of nearly any height.

The machine has a relatively small footprint overall, and most purchasers said the assembly was straight-forward, taking less than 30 minutes from unboxing to rowing. While the digital monitor isn’t as fancy as some of the more expensive rowing machines, it does still track strokes, time and calories.

The rower does make noise when in use – but as far as rowing machines are concerned, it’s still one of the quieter ones. This is a fantastic entry level rowing machine for your home. It does also come with roller wheels, so you can move it out of the way if you have company over or just need the extra space. Additionally, it does fold up for better storage – an option that isn’t available on many rowers.

 

Things we like
Moderately Quiet
Comfortable Seat
8 Levels of Adjustment
Folds Up for Better Storage
Things we don’t like
Does Not Track Distance

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What to Look for When Buying a Rowing Machine for Your Home

When buying a rowing machine for your home, here are some key factors to consider:

Portability

For many people, space in the home is limited – so you may want to consider a rowing machine that has wheels on the heavy end to make moving it around easier. Most rowing machines offer this feature, but it’s certainly important to be aware of.

Storage Ability

Some rowing machines fold-up easily, allowing for easier storage when needed. Another feature some offer is upright storage, where you are able to stand it vertically to reduce the amount of floor space it consumes when not in use.

Noise Level

If you live in an apartment, or you like to workout while others in your home are sleeping – you may want to consider the noise level of your rowing machine. Some rowing machines are extremely loud, but there are very quiet ones as well. Another thing you can do to reduce the noise level is consider a getting a mat to go under your rowing machine.

Adjustability

As your rowing skills improve, you will likely want to add resistance. Consider the adjustability of your rowing machine so that you have room to grow in it, and aren’t looking for a replacement that offers more resistance 6 months down the road.

Comfort

Rowing is a cardio activity. It is low impact – but it is also repetitious. You will want padded handles and a plush seat. There’s no reason to have bleacher bottom when you get off your rowing machine – it should be a comfortable exercise.

Digital Readout

The one major thing that most of the lower priced rowing machines lack is “distance”. Almost every rowing machine shows reps and time, but if you are looking for more advanced data such as distance or even speed, you’ll want to read the features carefully to ensure the things you care about are tracked and displayed.

Final Thoughts

Rowing machines have increased in popularity over the last several years because people appreciate the low impact calorie burning experience they offer compared to other options that target the same muscle sets. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on gym memberships to get the results you desire. Consider saving the cash and spending it on a rowing machine for your home, where you can wear whatever you want – and you don’t have to deal with the gross feeling of settling into a machine soaked with a strangers sweat.