September 2022

Rowing Machines: Meta Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Rowing Machine rankings posted by key online experts, as of September 2022.

Summary

As of 13 Sep 2022, Concept2 RowErg takes the cake as the most critically-acclaimed rowing machine with 8 expert endorsements. 4 experts out of 8 recommended it as the '#1 rowing machine' this month. It is followed by Hydrow Connected Rower and NordicTrack RW900 , with 8 and 9 expert endorsements respectively.

At a glance - September 2022 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Rowing Machine
The Trend Spotter
HiConsumption
Verywell Fit
Business Insider
SELF
Healthline
The Home Gym
greatist
Popular Mechanics
The Strategist
1
- $1020
Concept2 RowErg
5
4
-
1
4
1
-
7
1
1
2
- Check price
Hydrow Connected Rower
-
10
1
4
1
-
1
2
8
3
3
- $1309
NordicTrack RW900
-
8
10
5
9
6
4
3
3
4
4
- $250
Sunny Health SF-RW5515
14
-
-
7
3
2
-
-
2
6
5
- Check price
The Ergatta Rower
-
9
8
3
6
-
2
-
-
-
6
- $1160
WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine
-
-
-
6
10
-
-
8
7
2
7
- $329
Stamina ATS Air
-
2
9
-
-
-
9
-
5
-
8
- $800
The Echelon Smart Rower
-
-
-
-
14
3
8
10
-
-
9
- $129
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639
-
-
2
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
10
- $632
Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
-
3
3
-
-
-
-
4
-
-
11
- Check price
ProForm 750R
4
6
-
-
-
-
-
-
4
-
12
- Check price
MaxKare Magnetic Tension
-
-
-
-
5
5
-
-
-
5
13
- $199
Fitness Reality 1000 Plus
1
-
-
-
15
-
-
-
-
-
14
- $169
Stamina Trac Glider 1050
-
-
-
2
-
4
-
-
-
-
16
- $110
Sunny Row-N-Ride
-
-
6
-
-
-
-
5
-
-
17
- $699
Stamina Conversion II
-
-
5
-
-
-
-
9
-
-
18
- $1560
WaterRower Classic S4
-
7
-
-
-
9
-
-
-
-
19
- $350
Stamina 1215
15
-
4
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
20
- $449
Sunny Health Obsidian Surge
-
-
-
-
12
-
-
-
-
7
21
- Check price
Schwinn Crewmaster
18
-
-
-
-
7
-
-
-
-

We ranked Concept2 RowErg #1 in September 2022 because:

  • 8 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
  • Out of those, 4 experts ranked Concept2 RowErg as #1.
Critic endorsements:
The Trend Spotter

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HiConsumption

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Business Insider

The best row machine overall

Pros
Smooth gliding operation
ease of assembly
large size to accommodate tall people

Cons
Pricey
requires a bit of space (9 feet by 4 feet) but worth it

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SELF

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Healthline

Best overall rowing machine

Pros
accommodates users of many sizes and weights up to 500 pounds
easy to assemble
two seat heights
can be separated into two parts for easy storage

Cons
needs a large footprint for use and storage
pricier than other rowing machines
requires some tech skills to operate

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greatist

Best air resistance

Pros
Easy to assemble, Bluetooth connectivity

Cons
Air resistance can be noisy, resistance levels might not be tough enough for more advanced athletes.

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Popular Mechanics

Most Reliable

Pros
Smooth, quiet flywheel
Used by commercial fitness centers
Super durable

Cons
Monitor is very basic

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The Strategist

Snooping: Jason Statham’s rowing machine

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We ranked Hydrow Connected Rower #2 in September 2022 because:

  • 8 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked Hydrow Connected Rower as #1.
Critic endorsements:
HiConsumption

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Verywell Fit

Best Overall

Pros
Most immersive rowing experience
Top-of-the-line design
Smooth and quiet strokes

Cons
Larger footprint than other options
Heavy

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Business Insider

The best smart rowing machine

Pros
Extensive library of motivating classes and rowing events
delivers a full-body workout
features quiet
electromagnetic resistance

Cons
Expensive

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SELF

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The Home Gym

Best Overall Rower

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greatist

Best splurge

Pros
Real rowing feel, built-in speakers, large touch screen

Cons
Expensive, membership required

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Popular Mechanics

Best "Reel Water" Feel

Pros
375-pound weight limit
Close to real-water feel
Sleek and quiet

Cons
Expensive
Need add-ons for storage

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The Strategist

Strategist-tested: Senior writer Karen Adelson’s pick for all-in-one rowing at home

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Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Rowing Machines.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Rowing Machines, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for September 2022 ranking

We ranked NordicTrack RW900 #3 in September 2022 because:

  • 9 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
HiConsumption

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Verywell Fit

Best High-Tech

Pros
Great workout program integration
Comes with 22-inch touchscreen
Versatile resistance options

Cons
Heavy

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Business Insider

The best digital-resistance rowing machine

Pros
Interactive workouts
easily folds up
utilizes a dual resistance design

Cons
Expensive
iFit membership costs $39 per month (after the first free year)

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SELF

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Healthline

Best high tech rowing machine

Pros
adjustable touch screen for off-rower workouts
silent magnetic resistance technology for a smooth and quiet ride
automatic resistance adjustment feature
quiet and smooth ride with upgraded flywheel and sliding rail system

Cons
requires monthly subscription to access live and on-demand classes
high sticker price
requires a large space for use and storage

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The Home Gym

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greatist

Best for classes

Pros
1-year iFit membership with purchase, large touch screen, easy to store

Cons
Membership requires payment after the first year (currently $396 annually), air resistance can be noisy

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Popular Mechanics

Best Resistance Options

Pros
Large, full-color touchscreen
Membership-based group classes
Manual and air-resistance options

Cons
Expensive
Servicing and support questionable

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The Strategist

Men’s Health editors’ pick

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We ranked Sunny Health SF-RW5515 #4 in September 2022 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Trend Spotter

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Business Insider

The best rowing machine for beginners

Pros
Economical with eight levels of resistance
easy to fold and store

Cons
Only okay cord quality
rail might be too short for tall people

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SELF

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Healthline

Best budget rowing machine

Pros
affordable sticker price for a quality, entry-level rower
eight resistance levels
extra-long slide rail to accommodate various body sizes
wheels for easy transport

Cons
may not be suitable for larger bodies
louder than other rowers
might not be challenging enough for very advanced users

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Popular Mechanics

Best Budget Pick for Tall Rowers

Pros
Portable
Long slide rail
Affordable

Cons
Not as durable
Small readout

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The Strategist

Strategist family poll: The rowing machine I bought my dad for Christmas

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We ranked The Ergatta Rower #5 in September 2022 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
HiConsumption

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Verywell Fit

Best Design

Pros
Sleek, handcrafted design
Easy to move and store
Multiple features and workouts
Bluetooth compatibility

Cons
Expensive
Technology takes time to master

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Business Insider

The best interactive rowing machine

Pros
Motivating video game-inspired workout platform
beautiful design
features a folding design for easy stowing

Cons
Expensive

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SELF

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The Home Gym

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We ranked WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine #6 in September 2022 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Business Insider

The best water resistance rowing machine

Pros
Gorgeous appearance,
meditative whooshing sounds
simulation of open-water rowing sensations

Cons
Expensive
included monitor is fine but limited

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SELF

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greatist

Best high weight capacity

Pros
High weight capacity, easy to use, aesthetically pleasing design

Cons
Assembly requires power tools, resistance level difficult to change

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Popular Mechanics

Best Water-Resistance Rowing Machine

Pros
Beautiful design
True water-based resistance

Cons
Not foldable

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The Strategist

Expert-approved: A Pilates instructor’s favorite rowing machine

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We ranked Stamina ATS Air #7 in September 2022 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
HiConsumption

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Verywell Fit

Best Wind Resistance

Pros
Resistance naturally changes based on your intensity
Lightweight
Comfortable

Cons
Louder than other options

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The Home Gym

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Popular Mechanics

Best Budget Rowing Machine

Pros
Affordable
Durable materials

Cons
No manual resistance options

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We ranked The Echelon Smart Rower #8 in September 2022 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
SELF

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Healthline

Best rowing machine with adjustable resistance levels

Pros
180-degree screen rotation for off-equipment training
foldable for easy storage
easy-glide seat
32 magnetic resistance levels

Cons
high sticker price
monthly subscription required to access live and on-demand classes
requires a large space

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The Home Gym

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greatist

Best magnetic resistance

Pros
Quiet, access to rowing and nonrowing classes with app subscription

Cons
Extra cost for app subscription, need to use your own tablet or smartphone

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We ranked Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 #9 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Verywell Fit

Best Budget

Pros
Great for small spaces
Quiet
Easy to use

Cons
Changing resistance mid-workout isn't seamless

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greatist

Best under $200

Pros
Compact, inexpensive, quiet

Cons
Not great for full-body workout

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We ranked Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower #10 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
HiConsumption

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Verywell Fit

Best Quiet

Pros
Solid construction
Easy to assemble
Quiet enough to use in a common area

Cons
Too small for tall people

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greatist

Best for small spaces

Pros
Quiet, easy to store, comes with a heart rate monitor

Cons
Durability concerns from reviewers, hard to reach customer service

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We ranked ProForm 750R #11 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Trend Spotter

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HiConsumption

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Popular Mechanics

Best Budget-Friendly Interactive Rower

Pros
Affordable with streaming capabilities
Compact and foldable

Cons
Need separate device for streaming

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We ranked MaxKare Magnetic Tension #12 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
SELF

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Healthline

Best rowing machine for beginners

Pros
foldable for simple storage
large cushioned seat
affordable entry-level rower

Cons
might be too low tech for advanced users
maximum user weight of only 245 pounds
only 16 resistance levels

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The Strategist

Self editors’ pick

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We ranked Fitness Reality 1000 Plus #13 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Fitness Reality 1000 Plus as #1.
Critic endorsements:
The Trend Spotter

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SELF

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We ranked Stamina Trac Glider 1050 #14 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Business Insider

The best budget rowing machine

Pros
Low price
independent arms for a full range of movement
ease of assembly and folding

Cons
Resistance declines as piston heats up during long rowing sessions
short warranty (90 days for parts/one year for frame)

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Healthline

Best rowing machine for small spaces

Pros
good size for apartments and small rooms
very low price
foldable for simple storage
low tech for easy use

Cons
limited warranty
can be cumbersome to operate
might be too basic for advanced fitness levels

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We ranked Sunny Row-N-Ride #15 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Verywell Fit

Best for Small Spaces

Pros
Silent
Very small footprint
Secure design

Cons
Doesn't mimic a traditional rowing experience

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greatist

Best rowing machine for lower-body workouts

Pros
Easy to use, assemble, and store; great for lower-body workouts

Cons
Nontraditional rower, not a lot of resistance options

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We ranked Stamina Conversion II #16 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Verywell Fit

Best Recumbent

Pros
Great for users who need additional support
Convenient to fold and store
Two-in-one design

Cons
Doesn't mimic a traditional rowing experience

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greatist

Best convertible

Pros
Adjusts to recumbent bike, easy to use

Cons
Seat can be uncomfortable for biking, difficult to assemble

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We ranked WaterRower Classic S4 #17 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
HiConsumption

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Healthline

Best water rower

Pros
easy to use
stows upright, making it a good option for smaller spaces
can be used with add-ons such as the Bluetooth ComModule and Ergatta WaterRower Upgrade package

Cons
expensive
not easy to change resistance level
no built-in touch screen or sound system

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We ranked Stamina 1215 #18 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Trend Spotter

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Verywell Fit

Best for Total-Body Workouts

Pros
Full range of motion for arms
Mimics rowing outdoors
Very compact

Cons
Challenging to assemble

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We ranked Sunny Health Obsidian Surge #19 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
SELF

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The Strategist

People’s Choice: Best water rowing machine on Amazon

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We ranked Schwinn Crewmaster #20 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Rowing Machines” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Trend Spotter

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Healthline

Best rowing machine with an oversized seat

Pros
foldable for easy storage
affordable sticker price for an entry-level rower
adjustable LCD screen

Cons
only 10 resistance levels
maximum user weight of 300 pounds
not Bluetooth-enabled

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