Rowing Machine – Things To Keep In Mind While Buying


Have you ever tried to row a boat by yourself in the water?

It’s not easy! A rowing machine will burn calories like nothing else and tone that flab into pure muscle. Because rowing involves pushing and pulling, you are able to work your calves, thighs, arms, shoulders, and back. (Read: The Complete Aerobic Workout on Rowing Machines)

If you are in the market for a piece of exercise equipment that will help you build and define your muscles, read the following buyer’s guide and consider the purchase of a rowing machine.

Why a Rower or Rowing Machine??

Rowing machines offer a cardiovascular workout without high impact. This means your heart and lungs will work hard without causing a lot of unnecessary strain on your joints, as other exercises often do. When it comes to a total body workout, rowing machines offer just that. It has been reported by experts that only swimming offers a better total body workout. However, since not everyone can afford or find the space for a swimming pool, a rowing machine is often the most feasible choice. (Read: Ways to increase Workout Effectiveness)

What should I look for in buying a rower?

1. Space

Space is important to consider. Hydraulic machines tend to be the smallest and if you are going to be a regular user, it will still last for several years before any parts need replacing. However, if you are going to be a daily user, then consider for a higher range machine designed for heavy use. Some machines are fold-able and easier to store away when not in use. Better opt for that if you have a tiny apartment.

2. User

It is important to consider who will be using the rower before making your purchase. Different types of users may have certain requirements. Tall users will require a rowing machine which has a long seat rail and possible even be higher off the ground whereas a shorter user would be more suited to a rower which has a small seat rail.

3. Price

A quality rowing machine will sell anywhere between $600 – $800. While some models sell for less, it is important to carefully check the quality of those machines.

Like most things in life, home fitness equipment is no different – you get what you pay for. On the other end of the spectrum, the best rowing machines sell for as much as $2,000 or more. Don’t assume that to get the best rowing machine you have to spend that kind of money.

You can buy a very nice, high-quality rowing machine for much less. Your fitness goals, budget, and your expected daily use of the machine should dictate how much you spend and what brands and models to consider. You may be able to spend $2,000 but after you assess your needs and do a little research, you may discover that you can find a machine that is perfect for you for as little as $800!

4. Construction

The seat of the exercise cycle should be comfortable and easily adjustable. In the case of recumbent exercise cycles, it should also provide solid back support. Similarly, the frame should feel sturdy and the handlebars should be easily adjustable.

5. Resistance

There are three main types of resistance options in modern rowing machines: air, magnetic and water.

(a) AIR ROWING MACHINE

Air flows over a flywheel to create water resistance. They are powered by the resistance of moving a fan against air. The resistance on some rowing machines can be altered by adjusting a damper, but on most other air rowing machines the intensity is increased by rowing faster, as you would if you were rowing on water.

Advantages: 

  • Wide range of resistance available replicating rowing on water, i.e., the faster you row the greater the resistance.

Disadvantages: 

  • Noise, air resistance machines can be quite noisy especially as you increase your rate.

(b) MAGNETIC ROWING MACHINE

Resistance is achieved by an adjustable magnet.

Advantages: 

  • Almost silent operation
  • Smaller than air and water machines for easy storage
  • Little or no maintenance required

Disadvantages:

  • Not really a disadvantage but if you like to hear the sound of water when you row you won’t get it with this type of rower.

(c) HYDRAULIC ROWING MACHINE

Water rowers are designed to emulate the dynamics created by a boat in water.

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive
  • Tend to be small units so storage is easy

Disadvantages:

  • Action is not as smooth as other types
  • Can be susceptible to leaking over two years which render it unusable
  • Controls and Programs: Rowing machines usually do not have workout programs though some newer models with electromagnetic resistance systems (which may require mains power supply) are carrying this feature.

6. Warranty

As with any other piece of home fitness equipment be sure to check the warranty on the rower before making your purchase. Most rowing machines will come with at least a one year parts and labor warranty with manufacturers of higher quality rowing machines offering a two or even three years warranty.

  • Most rowing machines come with basic features such as rowing functions, speed, time, distance, and calories burned. Other models offer various methods of monitoring.
  • Consider the advantages along with the extra cost before jumping into a purchase.
  • In addition, some machines come with the ability to do other exercises. Do not spend the extra money to have this feature if you do not plan to use other exercises besides rowing.

You might find our other fitness equipment buying guides useful too:

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