10 Best Rowing Machines for Home Gym

by | Dec 22, 2020 | Exercise Machines

Photo by Kyle Kranz licensed under Unsplash

If you’re in a hurry and want to find the best rowing machines for home gym, then I’d recommend the Circuit Fitness Deluxe Magnetic Rowing Machine for its durable design, various monitoring features, and foldable storage option.


Rowing machines are made to simulate on-water rowing conditions and target a plethora of muscles, including those in your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abs, biceps, triceps, deltoids, and upper back. 


Suppose you’re looking to integrate this full body resistance workout, which provides a holistic upper body and lower body workout, into your daily routine. In that case, there is a bit to know before you find the best rowing machine for home gym.

What You Need To Know Before Buying Best Rowing Machines for Home Gym

Finding an economical, quality indoor rowing machine can feel overwhelming at first, and there’s a lot to consider. 


To begin, you must know what type of workout you’re looking for. A low-resistance workout targets your cardiovascular system, while high-resistance training is anaerobic, working the muscles with a slower stroke rate.


Secondly, suppose you have wood floors. In that case, it’s essential to place a mat under your rowing machine to prevent unnecessary vibration and noise, which may disrupt other members of your household or cause structural damage.

But budget can also be a factor. A budget rowing machine may have fewer resistance levels, but with a small footprint, more affordable indoor rowers can be a great fit for small spaces.

Types of Rowing Machines


Additionally, there are four types of rowing machines on the market to consider for your low impact rowing workout. These include air, electromagnetic resistance, water resistance, and hydraulic resistance machines.


To begin, air rowing machines produce a wide range of resistance by funneling air through an internal wheel. Home rowing machines with air resistance are typically smooth but noisy. So, make sure to consider this before buying an air rower.


Conversely, magnetic rowing machines incorporate velocity exercise magnetic technology and an internal wheel, and its resistance levels are altered using manual levers. While magnetic rowing machines are silent, they don’t mimic the feel of rowing on water, which some find unsatisfying.


Water rowing machines on the other hand, do simulate the conditions of aquatic rowing. The machines consist of water tanks and paddles, which fuel the resistance bar. They are quiet and smooth overall. However, a water rower is often larger and not ideal for smaller spaces.


Hydraulic rowing machines are typically the smallest of the four, so this type of resistance rowing machine may be the best option if you have a small space. Hydraulic rowers cultivate both high and low resistance with pistons; however, they’re critiqued for lacking smoothness in the pull.

We Will Be Reviewing Best Rowing Machines for Home Gym 

For those just getting started, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best rowing machine options for a home gym that are the best fit for those who are looking for an easy and convenient way to work out without leaving the house. 

I’ve looked at overall function, as well as unique features that make each indoor rowing machine stand out. 

Merax Rowing Machine

It is one of the Best Rowing Machines for Home Gym, this resistance rowing machine is a 59-pound apparatus with an extremely compact design. It’s sleek, easy to assemble, and easy to use, with multiple customization options — making it an easy machine for the whole family. 


This rowing machine has eight adjustable tension resistance levels, which can be manually adjusted using a knob, allowing you to switch it up when it comes to both aerobic and endurance exercise. 


While the maximum resistance level suits beginners, this resistance rowing machine may not be enough for more experienced athletes.


Plus, the seat rests at an ergonomically appropriate three-degree angle. The handle also uses easy-to-grip technology, making for a comfortable and efficient rowing workout. 


However, its rod is made with plastic, which may not stand the test of time after daily use.


This rowing machine is also both home and family-friendly because it’s relatively silent — no more angry beckons from your spouse, children, or roommates during a workout. It’ll just be you and the rower. 


When it comes to tracking your results, this rowing machine features an adjustable LED display screen that flaunts your display time, stroke, distance, and calories burned in order to track and maintain your fitness goals. The downside is that the screen isn’t very bright.


Need to haul your machine from one room to the other? The Merax has you covered. With built-in transportation wheels, you’ll be able to zip this machine across your house in no time — and get in an extra full body workout while you’re at it. 

Merax Water Rowing Machine

The Merax family also features a water rower, which offers solid steel construction and a sleek blue design. It’s compact and one of the best options for snug spaces.


What makes this rowing machine unique is its angled water tank, which creates maximum resistance by mimicking real aquatic conditions — perfect for rowers looking for a little more power in their workout.


Like its counterpart, the water rowing machine is virtually silent, excluding the continual sloshing of water. If you’re more of a land animal, this might not be the rowing machine for you.


It also differs from the traditional Merax in terms of its display screen. This machine’s screen is LCD and displays duration, calories, stokes, and distance, as well as heart rate. However, it’s not a connected rower; it can’t sync with fitness apps.


The machine also has quick start and stop options and a competitive race mode for optimal workouts. Additionally, its seat is contoured for comfort and the footrests come with adjustable Velcro straps for secure pivoting during rigorous workouts. Its handle stretches 19 inches, and it’s ergonomic, too.

Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine

The Schwinn Crewmaster is also one of the best rowing exercisers for home use. As a Nautilus brand product, it’s a tried and true option, and durable, too.


It features a large LCD screen that tracks time, distance, strokes, and calories, as well as recovery and pulse. The screen is also adjustable, which ergonomically adapts per the user’s preferences.


There’s also an oversized seat, ensuring long-lasting comfort, as well as wide and adjustable straps and ten levels of magnetic resistance. The magnetic resistance means it’s quieter than an air rower, too. 


However, this feature also means your workout won’t replicate the feel of rowing through the water. Additionally, there is no option for customized workouts, such as interval or strength training, so if you need highly adjustable settings, this may not be the best machine for you.


On the bright side, this rowing machine features an easy-to-fold design, which allows for convenient storage if you need to pack up your gym quickly.


Circuit Fitness Deluxe Magnetic Rowing Machine

This hefty machine consists of heavy steel and aluminum, which is engineered to increase the machine’s long-term durability, as well as its everyday stability during rigorous rowing sessions.


It also features a manual magnetic resistance system with eight levels of resistance that can be chosen using a stick shift on the machine’s side. It’s comfortable too, with foam handlebars and adjustable foot straps. 


This magnetic rower also has an easy-to-read LCD screen with all the features, including speed, distance, duration, calories burned, and strokes-per-minute, as well as such notable additions as the date and ambient temperature. 


The machine also allows you to set specific workout goals, which are tracked on the screen. Rowers may choose targets for time, distance, strokes, calories, or pulse. There are also two modes: manual and race, in which the magnetic rower can compete against a computer.


However, there are no heart rate monitors; therefore, you’ll need to buy a chest strap to monitor your heart rate if you wish to utilize the pulse features.


Need another reason why this rowing machine is perfect for your workout space? It’s foldable and transportable using its built-in wheels. However, it measures 91 inches long, which isn’t very suitable for a small space.

Sunny Phantom Hydro Rowing Machine

This gym-ready rowing machine is one of the best water rowers available and features a water tank that is angled at 60 degrees and consists of 16 hydro blades that increase the resistance level. Like most water rowers, this machine is relatively quiet, despite the movement of water, making for a calming rowing experience.


Like its competitors, the Sunny Phantom Hydro water rower offers buyers an adjustable monitor that tracks workout progress. There’s a calendar, too. During a workout, rowers may improve their workouts with one of eleven preset programs, as well as a recovery program after a grueling session.


Rowers may also choose from seven levels of resistance, which can be changed by adding or removing water from the tank.


Additionally, the machine is durable (made of steel), and built to hold heavier rowers. Its wide-padded seat is also comfortable and designed to relieve tailbone pressure. Furthermore, the beam is longer than its competitors, making it perfect for taller users.


A few special features include a device holder and a water bottle holder for quick access to your essentials. The Sunny Health Fitness brand also cultivates online workout videos, which are watchable with a tablet or smartphone.


Sunny SF-RW5713 Obsidian Surge Rowing Machine

The Obsidian Surge — a unique product of the Sunny brand that offers top-tier design features that are optimal for a home gym workout.


Its water resistance design includes 16 fan blades within its three-gallon water tank, which creates higher levels of resistance during the workout. It’s harmonious and dynamic, making for a unique user experience that mimics the power of a competitive on-water race. 


The rowing machine is constructed out of a lightweight steel and it features sweat-resistant handlebars that enable efficient workouts.


It’s also wholly ergonomic: the seat is padded and elevated, reducing strain to the back. The machine also features an R2 fitness meter that monitors various elements, including 500M time.


Uniquely, the Obsidian Surge has swivel footrests that allow users to flex their ankles during each rowing session. While this can be beneficial to some, it can also make for an unstable workout.


Conclusively, it’s the perfect entry-level rowing machine for those looking for ultimate water-resistance.

Stamina DT 397 Rowing Machine

The Stamina DT 387 Rowing Machine is another one of the best resistance rowing machines for a full body workout. Its dual resistance technology combines air resistance with magnetic resistance. The air resistance also acts as a cooling mechanism during sweaty workouts.


Essentially, the magnetic resistance feature has eight levels that can be selected to increase the intensity of the workout, and the air resistance feature mimics the feeling of rowing on water. This dynamic duo enables a consistent workout without drops in resistance. 


Your purchase also includes two expert-led workout videos, which stream to users’ smartphones, tablets, personal computers, and televisions. The large, easy-to-read LCD monitor also tracks duration, distance, and calories. However, the monitor does beep after each stroke, which may bother some users.


The Stamina air rower design is sleek and comfortable, offering a padded seat and rowing handle. There are also textured foot plates and adjustable straps, as well as a built-in water bottle holder. 


Unfortunately, this air rower machine is rather loud since it’s powered partly by magnetic resistance.


Despite the drawbacks, you can’t go wrong with the Stamina DT 387 Rowing machine, and it is dynamic and technologically advanced.

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Rowing Machine 

This is one of few rowing machines with a Bluetooth feature that connects to a free fitness app available to all iOS and Android users. The app allows users to use their connected rower to track their progress by monitoring distance, time and calories burned.


When it comes to the machine itself, it’s a magnetic resistance rower with 14 resistance levels. Furthermore, it’s built for users of all heights, and its foot straps secure via Velcro straps.


The handle is also extremely versatile with extended length, allowing users to expand their workout repertoire to such arm exercises as front raises, tricep extensions, side raises, and reverse grip curls. 


It’s simple and quick to the point, and overall a great magnetic rower for a home gym in need of a versatile rowing machine.

MaxKare Water Rowing Machine

The MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is a water-resistant workout machine that’s adjustable by adding or removing water from the tank. 


A rowing machine with a water tank does require a little more maintenance than one with air resistance; however, a bi-monthly purification treatment and a bi-yearly water replacement will do the trick.


The rowing machine adopts a fully ergonomic design; however, the seat is positioned relatively low, which may cause discomfort to those who suffer from knee or lower back pain. 


On the bright side, the handle is padded and easy to grip, which increases comfort during long workouts. Furthermore, a water bottle holder lies between the two footrests, which are adjustable with straps that hold rowers’ feet securely in place. The frame is made of steel, which provides a sturdy base to the machine as a whole.


Overall, the MaxKare Water Rowing Machine is functional and of good value and would be a perfect addition to your home gym.

Stamina 1130 Rowing Machine

A sleek, easy-to-use machine, the Stamina 1130 features multi-functional workouts that track strokes, workout time, distance, and calories burned. 


Additionally, unlike its competitors, the machine includes a heart rate chest strap that automatically syncs to the built-in monitor. There’s a water bottle holder, too. 


Furthermore, the machine features a treasure trove of elements, including 16 resistance levels, as well as 13 workout programs, 9 preset programs, and 4 user-generated programs. These programs consist of interval and fat-burning workouts.


While the seat is comfortable, it’s smaller compared to its competitors. In addition, while the machine features Velcro straps, they’re thin and less secure than those on previously mentioned rowing machines.


Luckily, this rowing machine is compact, meaning it’s smaller than traditional rowing machines, and therefore easier to store. However, it’s not suited for heavier or taller rowers. Those of bigger stature may feel like they’re a bit cramped, and for good reason. 


The Stamina 1130 also comes with built-in wheels and is storable on its side, making for easy storage even in small spaces. 


Moreover, it’s quiet. Instead of a chain, this model uses a hard-wearing nylon strap to connect the handle to the machine, making for a quiet workout. However, nylon straps are less durable than chain connectors and are prone to fraying.  


If you’re looking for a simple machine with good features, this is the pick for you. 


Ultimately, you’ll want to consider the various features, drawbacks, and advantages when aiming to find the best home rowing machine (or any other exercise equipment) for your needs


No need to attend live classes for rowing: find the right home fitness equipment, and make fitness reality. Think about your rowing experience and whether you have room for a water rower, whether you need a rower that’s easy to assemble, or if purchasing high quality fitness equipment is your highest priority. 


Ultimately, the Circuit Fitness Deluxe Magnetic Rowing Machine tops the rest in terms of overall home-friendly features, including its interactive workout features and durability. However, it has drawbacks too, whether you’re new to rowing or feel like a high-performance option is best. The magnetic resistance means higher noise levels, and the size isn’t the best for small spaces.


Finding the best rowing machines for a home gym can be challenging. Whether you’re on the hunt for a budget rowing machine, an indoor rower with hydraulic resistance, or an option with a performance monitor, velocity exercise tracker, and other bells and whistles, you’ll find the perfect fit on this list. 


Ultimately, it’s about personal preference and finding the best rowing machine for a home gym.


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