Best Rowing Machines (Reviews + Ratings For 2020)

Losing weight or just improving your overall fitness has never been easier, the best rowing machine offers a full body workout with little to no impact and low risk of injury.

By simulating the physical elements of physical rowing and bringing them on-land and indoors, the rowing machine is incredibly accessible and convenient for people of all ages. 

In addition, they are fairly compact and can add a lot of value to your workout, as they are an effective aerobic workout that torches calories and tones your muscles. 

Of course, with the amazing benefits of this product, it is very popular and therefore has hundreds of different models on the market, find 5 of the best of these designs below!

Best Rowing Machines

You can purchase these machines from various online retailers. We've listed the lowest buy now retailers below but you can always shop for these brands, and other rowing machines from stores such as Harvey Norman, Kogan.com, Gym Direct, Lifespan Fitness and eBay. 

1. Everfit Resistance Rowing Machine

  • 5kg flywheel
  • Magnetic brake system
  • LCD screen w/ stats

The Everfit resistance rowing machine has a sturdy steel frame which takes weights up to 200kg. It has a 5kg magnetic flywheel for maximum resistance and optimal strength training.


There are 8 manual resistance levels and different workout choices to accommodate all fitness levels. The row length is 130cm.


It has a magnetic brake system as well as a steel wheel glide rail system which are both durable and smooth in their operation.


The generously sized anti-slip footrests are comfortable, with straps over the feet to ensure a secure glide whilst rowing. The moulded seat is also well-designed for both comfort and stability.


The rowing machine is quiet and smooth to operate. It easily folds up for storage between sessions and is fitted with caster wheels for easy movement around the home or gym. The large LCD screen displays the progress of the user’s workout.


It is easily powered on and off and displays the number of strokes, duration of the workout, and calories burnt and strokes per minute.


The monitor uses a AAA battery which is not supplied. Some assembly is required but this is not difficult. The measurements when fully assembled are 207 x 49 x 15.8cms, and it weighs 31kg. The product comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.


2. Concept 2 Model D Black

  • Low profile 14" seat
  • Ergonomic design
  • Monitor /w performance data

The Concept 2 Model D indoor rowing incorporates a Performance Monitor, the PM5, to allow the user to access useful and comparable data about his/her rowing performance in real-time. Using a USB drive the monitor can be used to store historical performance data for later comparison.


And the PM5 also wirelessly monitors heartbeat, calories burnt and other useful information. The user can control their stroke, exertion and resistance by adjusting the airflow to the flywheel via a spiral damper.


The noise of the strokes is minimised by the design of the flywheel. The rower has a low profile 14” seat. The adjustable footrests and ergonomically designed handles allow the user to customise the machine to suit their height and shoe size and to use a natural arm and hand position.


The chain is nickel plated to keep oiling and other maintenance to a minimum. And the machine is manufactured from the strongest of materials for maximum durability.


The rower itself weighs 26kg and will take up to 227kg. 


It measures 244 x 61 x 36cm. The PM5 monitor takes 2 x DD batteries (not supplied) and uses the power generated from the flywheel in use to extend the batteries life.


There is some initial assembly required, instructions and tools are included. The machine is easily dismantled by a quick-release frame-lock device for convenient storage between workouts. Caster wheels on the base allow for easy transportation when needed.


3. Proform 750R

  • iFit coach bluetooth enabled
  • Large 5" LCD display
  • 24 resistance levels

The Proform 750R is an “iFit Coach Bluetooth Smart Enabled rower” which connects to the user’s smart device to access rowing workouts from trainers around the world, via a subscription-based service. The service is an ever-expanding library of workouts and classes to suit all level of subscribers.


The user’s class and personal data (strokes, distance, calories burned etc) can be reviewed on the machine’s own 5” high-contrast display as well as the subscriber’s smart device.


The monitor is vertically adjustable to suit all body heights. There is also a fitting to hold a tablet so the user can engage with their personal trainer via iFit, and an auxiliary audio port to plug into music.


The rowing machine itself has 24 incorporated digital resistance levels, with the transition between them made seamless and smooth by the patented SMR (Silent Magnetic Resistance) system.


The flywheel incorporates a fast gear ratio and effective weight arrangement for a smooth and steady rowing stroke.


The seat is secured to the rail and the whole construction is made from strong steel to withstand the highest level of resistance. The handles are sturdy in operation and soft to the touch, with a 90” pull strap to accommodate the longest of strokes.


The pedals are oversized to fit all shoe sizes and have adjustable straps for stability.

The machine will take weights up to 120kg. The machine measures 220 x 55 x 115cm but can be collapsed for storage with front-mounted wheels for easier movement.


4. Pure Design PR9

  • Professional grade
  • 12 pre-set programs
  • Lightweight, only 36kg

The Pure Design PR9 magnetic air rower has an engineered strong steel frame and an extra-long aluminium rail which will take weights up to 150kg.


The moulded contoured seat sits 50cm above the floor and has smooth seat bearings. The handles are made from high-density foam with an incorporated grip. The footrests are close-set and have adjustable straps.


The resistance system is an auto air/magnetic design which includes 16 incorporated levels of resistance to suit any fitness level. The resistance level transition can be done through either the infrared handlebar remote control or the console.


There is a dual colour computer with monitor (adjustable viewing angle) mounted on the handlebars which are backlit and has an inbuilt receiver for monitoring heart rate, calories burnt, and other data, via a chest belt, supplied.


Historical data such as speed, distance, strokes/minute, time etc can be stored for later comparison. The console also has 12 pre-set programs and other features (explained in the User Manual).


 The product measures 238 x 43 x 106cm and weighs 36kg. It folds down for storage ('easy-fold system') and has 4 wheels for easier mobility when folded. There is a 5-year product warranty.


5. Everfit Resistance Rowing Machine

  • Portable device
  • LCD monitor w/ data
  • Foldable storage

The Everfit Resistance Rowing/Exercise Machine uses an oil cylinder system to create the required workout resistance.


The brake system is also oil-based. Because it uses the hydraulic piston system, the sitting position of this exercise rowing machine is not aligned in a natural rowing motion as other types are.


It can hold weights up to 200kg and is appropriate for the whole of body training, with a row length of 90cm. Its quiet wheel glide rail system is engineered from strong steel.


The moulded seat is ergonomically designed. The large footrests are adjustable to fit any shoe size, and foot straps keep the feet stable.


There are 4 incorporated pre-set resistance levels, controlled by loosening the cylinder. The monitor with LCD, mounted between the footrests, displays key workout data in real-time as well as storing historical data for later comparison.


The overall dimensions when fully assembled are 150 x 57 x 72cms with a weight of 17kg.


The machine is foldable for easy storage after use and comes with a non-slip mat for more stability during use. Some initial assembly is required. Instructions are supplied. 


How To Choose Best Rowing Machine?

When it comes to choosing the perfect rowing machine for your needs, there's a few things most people consider. If money and portability isn't an issue, there's plenty of commercial grade rowing machines out there that you can purchase right away. 

But for most consumers, they are limited on space and budget, so they must choose wisely. 

Step 1: Do You Have Enough Space?

This is the first step because it's also the most important. Unlike a spin bike, a rowing machine takes up quite a lot of space, especially if it's not a portable one that can fold down. 

Most rowing machines don't actually fold down, the Everfit Resistance Rower above does fold down but it's more of a unique device than a traditional rower. 

A normal sized rowing machine has a similar size to a 3 seater sofa. Use this as a guide when choosing where you're going to put it. If you've got a spare room then great, you'll have no issues. If you need to fit in to an existing space, check the dimensions of the individual rower. 

Step 2: What's Your Budget? 

If money isn't an issue you can easily spend upwards of $5,000 on the latest and greatest rower. But for most people they'll be able to pick something up for $500 - $2,500 online. 

Figuring out how much you have to spend will help narrow down the models available to you. If you want something ultra cheap then the Everfit Resistance Rower could be a wise idea. 

Sticking to your budget is advisable as it prevents you from overspending. You definitely don't need to buy the most expensive rowing machine to get value and see results. 

There are many negative reviews out there from those who bought cheap models, expecting the features and qualities of a higher end model. 

By sticking to a budget, you can purchase additional gym equipment such as spin bikes or cross trainers as well. 

Step 3: How Will You Use It?

If you're going to purchase this device just for you, then you'll have no issues buying a normal rowing machine that's intended for home use. If you're going to be sharing the device with others, or it's going to get lots of use (such as in a school or local gym) you'll definitely want to buy a commercial grade rowing machine. 

If you have a lot of users, even at home, such as a family of five all using the device, I'd definitely recommend buying a commercial rower, as it will have higher grade parts and last longer before needing a service! 

Step 4: Choose A Resistance Type?

There's a choice to make when it comes to choosing a resistance type. Of all the rowers we've reviewed here today, they are all air resistance. You can however get rowing machines that use Hydraulic piston, magnetic breaking systems and water. 

Water rowers provide a more realistic experience and it sounds as if you're actually rowing on water. They are very similar to air resistance as it's determined by your rowing intensity. 

You'll need to dig deep for a water rowing machine in Australia though. 

Step 5: Purchase Your Rowing Machine

You're now ready to purchase your rowing machine. If you purchase online you'll nearly always get free or reduced shipping direct to your door. This can be easier than going to a store and trying to take this home in the car. Some stores such as Amazon offer fast shipping. 

There's many different rowing machine stores, most are Gym stores that specialise in this type of equipment. Some of the best ones to look at in Australia include Gym & Fitness and GymDirect. 

How To Use A Rowing Machine?

Rowing machines can be intimating at first, especially for the beginner or someone isn't sure they are actually using it correctly. "Do I lead with my arms or legs?" - This is a common question, followed by 'Why do my feet keep slipping out of the straps?' or 'Should be shoulders be sore?'

You're definitely not alone in asking these questions.. 

It's about power, not speed. If you come out of a rowing session with a sore back or shoulders then you're doing it all wrong. You should focus on your lower-body muscles, glutes, hamstrings and quads to push out, then slowly glide back in. 

Number of Strokes: You should aim for less than 30 strokes per minute. 

Split Time: You should aim to row 500 meters in 2 minutes or less. 

Best Budget Rowing Machines

If you're on a budget and only want to spend a couple hundred dollars on a rowing machine then you should consider a portable one with limited resistance. 

Some of these include:

Verdict

Buying a rowing machine doesn't have to be an expensive purchase, due to advancements in technology and cheaper components, you can pick up a rowing machine online for less than a gym membership for several months. 


If you want to stay fit, while maintaining a busy schedule, but don't want to commit to the gym, then the best rowing machine Australia has to offer in our opinion is the Everfit Resistance Rower


Now be sure to checkout our other gym equipment buyers guides.