The Best Rowing Machines For Home

Rowing machines are a popular, efficient option for burning calories. Given their widespread availability and the fact that they can easily be used in homes (or even offices), a rowing machine for home may be just what you need to kick-start your exercise routine and take your health and fitness to the next level. In this article, we’ve reviewed a few of the best and most popular options for home rowing machines. If you’re looking for something else, we also have recumbent bikes.

Comparison Chart

TypePriceShipping WeightUser Weight LimitOur Rating
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050$38.8 lbs.250 lbs.4.0/5
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5$$$$69 lbs.500 lbs.4.9/5
Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine$24 lbs.220 lbs.4.3/5
WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor$$$$$82 lbs.1000 lbs.4.7/5

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is one of our two most affordable options, coming in at an incredibly low price. Some of its key features include:

  • Adjustable gas-shock resistance
  • Monitor showing time, calories burned, stroke count
  • Steel frame construction
  • Folds for easy storage
  • Ball-bearing roller system
  • Adjustable cylinder resistance & manual resistance knob

 

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is an all-around good choice for many. As you can see, there are roughly two classes of rowing machine that we are reviewing – let’s call them “budget” options and “luxury” options. As far as budget options go, the Stamina Body Trac Glider might well be the best option.

Many people report that the machine is far sturdier than its price point would suggest, with a few long-time owners reporting that the Stamina is still holding up great years down the line. Others report that it’s a bit noisy (squeaking was the most common problem), and that the on-board computer is less than excellent.

That said, almost nobody has problems with the way the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 actually functions. Even reviewers voicing complaints about the computer or the noise say that it holds up really well, and that working out with it is both pleasurable and challenging. It’s a highly popular purchase – thousands of consumers have reviewed it online, and demonstrated their undying love for the product.

 

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

Now, for something a bit different – the first of our “luxury” models, the Concept2 ModelD Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 is, in fact, both the second-most expensive indoor rowing machine we’re reviewing and the second-most expensive home exercise machine we’ve ever reviewed. Is it worth it? Read on to find out more! A few of the key features of the Concept2 Model D are:

  • Backlit Performance Monitor 5 for tracking data, with USB compatibility
  • Flywheel and spiral damper
  • Quick-release framelock mechanism allows for easy storage
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Nickel-plated steel chain

While indeed expensive, it’s also by far the most well-received product we’ve ever taken a look at here on Cardiospeed.com. Many reports are nearly ecstatic, with some reviewers claiming that this is the first workout machine they’ve ever had that doesn’t worsen problems such as arthritis and back pain. Claiming to be the “best selling indoor rower in the world…recognized by competitive rowers as the standard for indoor training,” it’s probably fair to say that the Concept2 Model D sets the standard for indoor rowing machines.

The most appealing part of the Concept2 Model D, besides the fact that it is extremely customizable and durable, is probably the on-board computer, the “Performance Monitor 5”. The PM5 tracks a great deal of data with every row, and you can even buy software that allows you to compare, in real time, your rowing with that of others around the world. If keeping track of how you’re doing is a big motivator for you, the Concept2 Model D might be the indoor rowing machine for you.

Most reviewers also comment on the solidity of the Concept2 – many say that it exceeded their already very high expectations. While comparatively light (55 lbs. after assembly), it can handle extremely intense workouts without budging

Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine

The second of our “budget” options, you may recognize the Sunny Health and Fitness brand from some of our stationary bike reviews. They’re a company that’s well-known for high-quality, very affordable home exercise machines. Coming in at an even cheaper price than our first model, and less than a tenth of the price of the Concept2 Model D – the Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine is a robust, affordable home rowing machine. Some of the key features include:

  • Ergonomically designed seat
  • Pivoting foot plates and adjustable foot straps
  • LCD monitor (time, count, total count, calories burned, scan)
  • Solid steel frame
  • Hydraulic cylinder resistance with 12 adjustable levels

For many, the Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine does everything they need it to do. Light, simply and solidly constructed, easy to assemble, sturdy – quite a few consumers report that it’s nearly a steal at the price. The hydraulic cylinder resistance system is not as customizable as, say the Model D’s flywheel and spiral damper system, but it can give you a good workout, which is all many need from their home rowing machine.

Some users expressed concern with their particular makes. It seems as though a bit of quality control is sacrificed for the price – one person reported that their Sunny rowing machine leaked oil all over his living room (this seems to be an exceptional experience, though). The computer also received mixed reviews. The hydraulic cylinder resistance system gets a bit overheated, which can be dangerous in certain home settings, like homes with children and pets. It also seems to be less than ideal for taller people, or for those looking for an intense range of motion.

All that said, the overall rating here on CardioSpeed is a decent 4.3/5 – it’s a great option for people looking to get into rowing without breaking the bank. While it’s a bit more of a gamble to buy a budget rowing machine like the Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine, you could buy twelve for the price of one Model D machine – which doesn’t even take the warranty into account!

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

Here it is – the most expensive item we’ve ever reviewed on CardioSpeed.com. Coming in at a whopping 5/5 dollar signs on our price list, what makes the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine so exceptional? Let’s take a look at the key features to find out:

  • Handcrafted
  • “Water flywheel” simulates actual rowing feel
  • Series 4 performance monitor (workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, more)
  • Solid ash construction
  • Dual black scuffing-resistant rails
  • Frame flips upright for storage

The most appealing feature of the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine is the entirely unique “water flywheel” system. The resistance system on the WaterRower is actually enclosed in water, in order to accurately simulate the experience of rowing on water. What this means is that the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine is a uniquely smooth experience, with seemingly no limit on how hard you can push yourself. Conventional rowing machines often deploy bulky, noisy, or inconvenient rowing mechanisms that begin to feel artificial at high levels of activity – not so with the WaterRower.

The WaterRower is sturdy: the advertised weight capacity is 1,000 pounds, nearly 5 times the capacity of the Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine. It’s handcrafted from solid ash, which the manufacturers report is “a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability.” While the manufacturers’ warranty is initially only a year, if you fill out a registration form the WaterRower will extend the frame’s warranty to 5 years and the components’ warranty to 3.

What this means is that the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine is an investment. If you’re not sure rowing is for you, you probably don’t want to put one of these on your credit card just yet. However, if you want a rowing machine that will handle whatever you throw at it – for years – the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine might just be the way to go. It’s so large that many people report you might need a dedicated gym room in your house to fit it, and it’s so expensive that it costs as much as 5 years’ membership at some gyms. However, if you’re truly serious about rowing as a means to home fitness, there might not be any better option.

Winner: Stamina Body Trac Glider 2

Here at CardioSpeed.com, we’re all about helping you figure out which exercise routines will work for you. The “luxury” rowing machines are great for what they are, but they’re just too expensive for most people’s needs, especially given that machines of their caliber are often available at gyms.

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 2 is an exceptional machine for the price, one that will allow you to seamlessly integrate rowing into your home life. Sturdy, but compact, the Stamina folds up to allow you to store it even in fairly crowded spots in your home, like bedrooms or living rooms. It doesn’t have the fanciest computers and it’s not handcrafted, but many report that it’s fun and easy to use, and it’ll get the job done.

For what it’s worth, many of these machines can be tested at local gyms or sporting goods stores – some companies, such as Concept2, will even tell you what YMCAs or gyms nearby use their products, so you can go test them. As always, you’re the ultimate judge of what home workout equipment is best for you – the whole point is to get you regularly moving and having fun!

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