Best Rowing Machines, Best Features and Benefits

    Rowers or rowing machine is one of the most popular cardio training equipment, also considered to be the safest strength exercise equipment, Home rowing workouts are an excellent choice for toning your lower and upper body.

    A very wide selection of rowers are available in the market, low-price, mid-range, and high-end models are available and different types of rowing machines can be a bit confusing to choose from, however in this guide we will help you narrow down your options to select a rower that fits your goal and budget.

    1- Merax Magnetic Rower - Editors’ Choice

    Why Merax on top of the list?
    Needless to highlight the positive consumer’s appraisal, the product itself offers a good value for the money through its features and we think that it is the most adequate option for a reasonable price, comparing it to its peers in the same price range, like sunny health and fitness, we found that Merax has more weight capacity, unique design, stronger build and comes with a reasonable price.

    Despite that, there are other brands more popular and exclusively produces fitness equipment than Merax, However, this model is praiseworthy and worth the money, and that’s because it offers a more sturdy frame and better known for its long-lasting capability, six wheels on the rails and 8 levels of resistance using magnetic resistance mechanism to ensure unmatched low noise level. The rail has a 15-degree tilt to smooth the return, increase resistance and maximize the strength and benefit of your exercise.

    How many items compared to? 

    We compared 3 other products from Sunny health and fitness, Goplus and MaxKare they are all in the same price range, but sunny health outperformed Maxkare and Goplus. However, Merax outweighed all of the other items and usually, machine weight indicates stronger build and manufacturing materials. 

    Machine Weight: 74 lbs
    8 Resistance levels
    User weight capacity : 264 lbs
    Dimensions: 73 x 16 x 21 inches (L x W x H)
    Folded Dimensions: 26 x 16 x 49 inches (L x W x H)
    Recommended User Height: 5 - 5’8

    Pretty easy to assemble
    Foldable design
    Full-featured console
    Padded Seat for long sessions
    Item weight is heavier than the competition
    Some report a bit of a noisy issue
    User height might not be appropriate for some

    What are the benefits of the Merax magnetic rowing machine? 

    Using an easy twist knob you can control the 8-level resistance and give your body the training intensity it needs to keep it challenging instead of a regular dull workout, Additional padding on the handles, seat and footpads. It was specially engineered to support the blood flow in the glutes for long workout sessions. With its full-featured console, you can easily track your time, count, calories, total counts. Durability, portability, with endurance and strength are all packed in one box, with Merax rower you can easily move it, fold it and store it.

    So our final verdict for this product is simply this, if you are taller than approximately 5’9 then we suggest you skip this product and pick one with higher inseam. If you are on a moderate budget and looking for some quality machine that would outlast any other machine in this same price range, then Merax is appropriate for you. We didn’t start our list with the budget machine, the Merax is not a low-range rower. We chose it on top because its the fine line between all models.

    2- Budget Rower: Simone Best Budget Rowing Machine | Lower than 150

    No other item in this price range offer more than 4-level resistance, However, Simone gives 8-levels of adjustable resistance.
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    Benefits of Simone Rowing Machines? Design-wise it is foldable to save space, Magnetic tensions with 8-level resistance to control your workout intensity, Very comfortable handles, and seat, Improves blood circulation and helps tones lower and upper body muscles. Made of rugged and durable materials, like steel pipe and handles are covered with PolyUrethane leather also seat height is adjustable. Besides its whole body experience, Simone rower is focused to give good abdominal exercise, it was prepared to simulated water boating to give full-body workouts.

    Max user weight 250 lb
    Dimension: 113*64*68cm
    Material: steel frame
    The comprehensive console gives time, speed, calories

    Worth the investment
    Low price for the features
    Covers a lot of muscles despite being affordable
    Might not suit all user’s heights

    Our verdict on this item; if you are looking for a cheap option that can get along well for some time, then this option is right for you, sometimes other brands offer sale on amazon, so it depends on the time you read this post, however, we chose the lowest price based on the listing price on Amazon.

    3- Goplus 10-resistance rower - Best Deal For Low Price

    Why this is the best deal? It's the best option under 200 because its the only item that offers 10-level resistance within this price range. 

    Console hard to work with.
    The screen might be smaller than expected

    Why we needed to include a water-resistant rowing machines

    The best thing about rower machines is its ease of use, literally, you need no guidance to know how to use these particular type of cardio equipment, if you are a complete beginner or professional athlete in any kind of sport, you will definitely need one of these at home.

    We will introduce a highly detailed review and comparison between different options, and will always recommend the best in each category, meaning we use a very simple approach to compare rowers to one another, we will group together different models that are closely related and recommend the best among them.

    If you have a prior medical condition, we strongly recommend you seek advice from your doctor before purchasing any cardio machine at home.

    Benefits of rowing machines

    Any type of consistent exercise is very useful for those who have any type of back, shoulder or neck pain, people with weight loss plan, those who have after surgery conditions, those who want to workout without pressuring their joints, or doing regular exercise, all of them can benefit in many ways from this piece of equipment due to its low-impact nature. Literally, there are many benefits for low-impact exercising and we want to quickly highlight some of those.
    Increase endurance; this type of training has the ability to boost your ability to endure future pain.
    Fat burning, it has been proven now that low-impact exercising is an effective way to successfully complete your weight loss program.
    Better heart rate; it has been proven now that low-impact exercising can improve your heart health, reduce bad cholesterol, lower body fat, and decrease blood pressure.
    Boost your cardiovascular health; it will protect you from any potential cardiovascular diseases, some are heart disease, stroke, and hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.

    What are the benefits of having a rowing machine at home

    Protection from potential injuries

    Running and jogging cause pounding that affects the joints, which could be harmful to some people, now due to its impact-free nature, rowers are perfect solutions for people following a rehab program or recovering from a severe injury, it's also the kind of go-to solution to help prevent any potential injuries during your workout.

    Full body workout

    This machine engages the full-body, targeting a wide range of muscles due to its dynamic motion, these muscles including Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Lats, Core, Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps, and Back. Rowers with a sliding seat are much better than the static one. All the upper muscles engaged through the handles. Read more

    Easy to use

    Rowers are safe, though it's very easy to use, also it won’t cause harm if improperly used, though it would be just inefficient, however you can just watch a video on youtube that would help show you the moves, you don’t need a personal trainer for this, it's pretty straightforward.


    Rowing machines can be easily adjusted to fit your pace and intensity of your program, if you are willing to invest a mid-range model, they usually come with plenty of workout programs, adjusting the strokes, through the damper settings you can change the resistance. Read more about setting up the machine

    What are the key features to look for before buying

    There are lots of information regarding the machine specs and features, which could be overwhelming to look at, however, we have simplified it for you in main categories.


    There are four types of resistance, Air, Water and Magnetic resistance each has its own distinct features, pros, and cons. More details on resistance

    Air Resistance

    Using the front flywheel, when you pull using the handles, air flows through the flywheel and then a resistance force is generated, the harder you pull the greater the resistance would come out. The pros of this type of resistance are it has greater control and it's more responsive and less expensive and also has a wide array of resistance levels, and the cons are that it's noisier than any other type.

    Water Resistance

    Using water and paddles, when you pull the handles, the paddles in a tank of water spins so fast to generate resistance through moving the water, and most people reported its often smoother and quieter resistance than air flywheel. Need to mention that sometimes this type is heavier and bigger than other models.

    Magnetic Resistance

    As the flywheel turns it passes through magnetic fields which creates resistance, you can adjust the resistance level using an external controller to match your exercise’s goal. This type of resistance is a bit quiet, quieter than the air and water resistance types, also need to mention that it would cost more than water or air resistance machines. Often comes smaller in size and lighter in weight. There are also some models that are foldable and compactly designed to safe space.


    Before storing the machine in your place, you need to consider the size and weight, if you are willing to store it in the basement, you can go with any from the above machines, however, if you are willing to store it in your bedroom, then I suggest you pick rower that is smaller in size or compact/foldable. Magnetic machines are the ones that mostly designed with the foldable options, air models, however, are not.


    With the high price models, usually, it comes with many workout programs and provides some data related to calories, heart rate, intensity and tracking your progress. The lower range models some of them come with a pretty basic console that only provides minor details, However, more priced options come with a more convenient display and the mentioned features.

    Workout Tips

    Now that you have made a purchase, let's move on to using the machine, It's not the speed of the rowing that matters, in fact, the faster you go the more exhausting you would be, don’t overlong the stroke, this may cause knee pain or back pain, If you have a chronic pain, rowing machines can be very helpful if done properly, always keep your core braced and not laying too much on your back. Always start with a warm-up, begin with 10 sets and then increase as you go along.

    Rowers are not only cardio fitness equipment, but they are also safe resistance training which works on strengthening the muscles and toning the body, compared to any regular weight training equipment rower is safest.

    Though it's very basic and easy to learn, knowing some tips would be helpful:
    To seat properly and adjusting your posture correctly has a very positive impact on your exercise and will increase its efficiency and will protect you from any potential injury
    Place your foot properly on each foot-pad, usually, they come with non-slippery material to securely fit.
    Before beginning your workout, make sure your back is straight and reach with your hand to the handles and hold them securely.
    To prevent any potential injuries, always start slowly with low resistance and gradually increase, this would help prevent any muscle tension.
    While holding the handles begin by pulling them toward your chest, and slowly return.
    Now you will gain momentum, start pulling and returning.
    Remember your hands and feet needs to be fully stretched until they are straight.
    Bend your elbows backward not on the sides, when you pull toward your chest, your elbows will conveniently be drawn backward which is the correct form.
    Now repeat pulling and returning and increase intensity as you go along.

    Here is one of the best thorough exercise guide on YouTube, watch it one time, it’s easy to remember.
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