Our Fitness Editor Crowned This At-Home Rowing Machine The Best Bang For Your Buck

best rowing machines
9 Best Rowing Machines For Your Home GymCourtesy of Retailer

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If you're looking for a low-impact cardio workout that will boost your endurance and get your heart pumping, you should get into rowing. It's a total-body burner. You can row row row without a boat, and in fact, without ever leaving home—all you need is a great rowing machine.

Best Rowing Machines of 2024

While a rower might be classified as a cardio machine, it has a leg up on treadmills and exercise bikes, since rowing machines also work your core, leg, and arm muscles, says Neil Bergenroth, a professional online rowing coach and coach of Tulsa Youth Rowing Association. However, its effectiveness all comes down to the types of rowing workouts you choose.

"All rowing will give you both a cardio and full-body strength workout, but depending on how we use the rower and what the workout programming is, you can achieve slightly different things," says Caley Crawford, a NASM-certified trainer and a coach and Director of Education & Programming at Row House. Here are a few rowing workouts you can tackle if you don't know how to get started.

But first—you need a machine, and there are many kinds of rowing machines on the market today. Some offer a comprehensive suite of programming, including live and on-demand classes, while others simply feature a small LCD screen that tracks performance metrics. The machines with extensive programming are ideal for rowing newbies and individuals seeking guided workouts, variety, and motivation through instructor-led sessions. The simpler (and cheaper) models are best suited for those who prefer a no-frills approach and are comfortable designing their own workouts based on basic performance data.

With our extensive hands-on experience and comprehensive testing approach, we've determined which rowing machines are worth recommending to our readers this year. Below, you'll find our carefully curated list of the best indoor rowing machines to consider adding to your home gym in 2024.

What to consider

Indoor rowing machines have evolved significantly over the years, moving far beyond their simple beginnings as basic equipment in home gyms. Today, they boast cutting-edge technology and advanced features that cater to a more connected, comfortable, and engaging fitness experience.

Leading brands like Peloton and Hydrow have introduced highly connected models that sync effortlessly with your smartphone via Bluetooth and feature top-notch programming as well as live and on-demand classes. Many rowing machines feature intuitive touchscreens that can not only stream music but also connect you with other rowers worldwide for community-based, engaging training sessions at gome. Navigating through the myriad options available on the market can be overwhelming, which is why we're here to simplify the process by highlighting the key specifications, features, and essentials to consider before making your investment.

Weight capacity

When considering a high-priced gym equipment investment like an indoor rowing machine, durability is without a doubt the most important factor. While cheaper models may be tempting, quality often correlates with price. As a general rule of thumb, you want a rowing machine with a maximum weight capacity of at least 250 pounds to ensure it is worthwhile for regular use.

Resistance type

Understanding the different resistance mechanisms is crucial in choosing the right rowing machine for your needs. Hydraulic, flywheel, water-based, and magnetic resistance are the four main types available. Each type offers unique benefits and drawbacks, ranging from affordability to noise levels. Consider the noise level of the resistance type, especially if you'll be using it in a shared living space or apartment. Water-based and magnetic resistance models tend to offer quieter operation compared to flywheel-based ones.

Space and storage

Given their size and weight, rowing machines can take up a significant amount of space in your home. Non-folding models are typically sturdier and more convenient for consistent use, while folding models are ideal for those with limited space. If space is limited, consider a folding model with transport wheels for easy storage and maneuverability.

Connectivity and smart features

Check if the machine offers Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity for syncing with fitness apps or streaming workouts. Beginners should consider rowing machines with built-in touchscreens for easy navigation and access to training programs. For a more immersive and connected fitness experience, consider smart rowers like the Hydrow Wave, Peloton Row, or NordicTrack RW900. These models offer not only touchscreens, but also built-in apps that connect you with an extensive library of pro trainer-led workouts. Keep in mind that these advanced features often come with a higher upfront cost and may require ongoing subscription fees for full access to their capabilities.


A good rowing machine doesn't come cheap, so it's crucial to choose a manufacturer that offers a warranty that protects your investment. Warranty terms vary widely across the industry, so be sure to review the details carefully to choose a machine with a warranty period that provides you added peace of mind.

How we tested and selected

For years, Women's Health experts and editors including our fitness editor Talene Appleton, NASM, and rowing coaches such as Bergenroth and Crawford have been at the forefront of testing and evaluating the top rowing machines. Our ongoing process for selecting the best home rowing machines involves a deep dive into performance, construction quality, comfort, smart capabilities, accessibility features, and overall user experience.

We don't just stop at the basics; our team subjects these machines to rigorous performance and stress tests, executing rowing workouts of varying durations and intensities on each machine we tested. Throughout our evaluations, we prioritized comfort and user-friendly features like easily adjustable foot straps, scrutinized aspects like resistance feel and adjustability, and paid close attention to the quality and breadth of live and on-demand classes.


The Concept2 is every rower's fave–and has almost 100 percent positive reviews on Amazon. "The durability, maintenance, and feel of the machine is perfection and their customer service is amazing!" Crawford says.

Bergenroth also lauds this machine (he has two of his own). "I'm sure there are other [quality] options out there, but [the Concept2] is the go-to. It's built like a tank. I bought one almost 12 years ago, and I just replaced it in the last year," he says.

The machine allows you to track your progress in real-time with its attached monitor, can connect to heart rate straps and apps, and can easily separate into two parts for easy storage. Plus, if you're looking to become a real rower, Bergenroth says this is the brand most professional coaches respect.

<p><a href="https://shop.concept2.com/indoor-rowers/298-model-d-with-pm5.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>RowErg</p><p>concept2.com</p><p>$990.00</p><span class="copyright">courtesy of retailer</span>

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courtesy of retailer

Hydrow Wave Rower

Looking for a "smart" rowing workout without dropping nearly $3,000 on a Peloton? Meet the Hydrow Wave, hailed as a top pick by our very own fitness editor Talene Appleton, CPT. "Think of the Wave as a sleek alternative to the Concept2," she says. "This smart connected rower offers an immersive digital experience and delivers a workout that feels a whole lot like real-world rowing."

The machine itself is one of the most compact of any smart rower, yet it's also one of the most durable. The Hydrow Wave easily fits into compact home gym spaces and can be conveniently stored upright when you're not crushing a workout on it. "I use this machine in my apartment for everything from intense sprints to longer intervals. It feels just as solid as a Concept2, just as fun and immersive as a Peloton, and takes up less room than either one."

Whether you crave structured classes or prefer to free row on a solo journey, the Hydrow Wave caters to you with live or on-demand sessions. Lifelike virtual classes transport you to picturesque waterways, and trainer-led programs are entertaining and easy to follow. While some users may miss the option for customizable workouts, the Hydrow Wave delivers the best magnetic resistance rowing experience for its price.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fhydrow.com%2Fproducts%2Frowers%2Fhydrow-wave%2F&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthmag.com%2Ffitness%2Fg30798305%2Fbest-rowing-machines%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Hydrow Wave Rower</p><p>hydrow.com</p><p>$1695.00</p><span class="copyright">original photo</span>

Peloton Row

Talene put the Peloton Row to the test, and it’s poised to give every other smart rowing machine a run for its money.

According to Talene and the WH fitness team, the Peloton Row excels in comfort and aesthetics with its wide, contoured seat and easily adjustable foot pedals, featuring straps that glide smoothly without any annoying catches. Plus, its electric resistance system makes for a whisper-quiet rowing workout.

But what truly sets the Peloton Row apart is its software. Talene emphasizes that Peloton’s strength lies not only in its durable, comfortable, and good-looking hardware, but also in its exceptional software capabilities. From live classes to thousands of on-demand workouts for on and off the rower, it's programming is top notch. The Form Assist function stands out, offering valuable guidance to improve rowing technique for users of all skill levels (which is really beneficial when rowing at home without a trainer adjusting your form).

Despite its strengths, we need to point out one drawback: the absence of an adjustable manual mode. However, if you just want to free row, you shouldn't invest in Peloton’s technology and programming anyway. Bottom line: This machine is expensive, but if you want the pinnacle of fun, immersive home rowing workouts, this is the machine for you.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onepeloton.com%2Fshop%2Frow%2Frow-basics-package-us&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthmag.com%2Ffitness%2Fg30798305%2Fbest-rowing-machines%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Peloton Row</p><p>onepeloton.com</p><p>$2995.00</p><span class="copyright">original photo</span>

SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine

You'll be hard pressed to find a rowing machine that's a better value than this one. For just $120, you can grab a machine with 12 levels of resistance, making it good for most fitness levels. It's also designed with a digital monitor that makes it easy to keep track of strokes.

This might just be the best budget-friendly rower we've found on Amazon in the past couple of years. This option is noticeably quieter than similarly priced competitors, and requires minimal setup.

It provides a satisfactory workout for someone who knows what they're doing when it comes to rowing and wants a no-frills machine to row on at home. While it does lack the bells and whistles of pricier models, for the price, it's an absolute steal—highly recommended for those seeking a basic, straightforward rower on a budget.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009QXP77I?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.30798305%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$99.99</p>

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SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine



Bluetooth Magnetic Rower

This rower can actually double as a cable machine, making it two pieces of home gym equipment in one. Not bad, right? Its glide bar also folds up for easier storage and the 14-level magnetic resistance system it uses allows you to fine-tune intensity and challenge yourself as you progress.

The anti-slip pedals and handlebar ensure your footing remains secure throughout your sweat session, allowing you to focus solely on performance. While it doesn't feature a fancy touchscreen or a library of digital programs, Bluetooth connectivity and access to external apps serve as solid options to guide workouts and track performance metrics. Thanks to its nylon rowing belt and ball-bearing rollers, this machine also operates quietly.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NJRWTPS?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.30798305%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Bluetooth Magnetic Rower </p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$295.90</p>

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Bluetooth Magnetic Rower



RW900 Rower

With 26 (!) resistance levels, this is by far the most advanced rower on this list, making it A-okay for more experienced rowers. Use its built-in, 22-inch tablet to access on-demand workouts using the accompanying app, making it simple to access on-demand group fitness classes and pre-set programs.

If you're someone who needs the push from an IRL instructor, you'll appreciate the interactive technology NordicTrack uses to digitally adjust your resistance and ensure you're always getting stronger. The automatic resistance adjustment feature syncs with virtual trainers' cues to help you challenge yourself while working out at home.

The quick-adjust pedals are another feature on this machine worth calling out, as it makes customizing your foot position way easier and less frustrating than most rowers out there. Easy assembly and stowaway capability simplify the home use process, allowing me to focus more on my workouts and less on logistics.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nordictrack.com%2Frowing-machines%2Frw900-rower&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthmag.com%2Ffitness%2Fg30798305%2Fbest-rowing-machines%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>RW900 Rower</p><p>nordictrack.com</p><p>$1799.00</p>

Rowing Machine

If you're still building your home gym, this rowing machine is a perfect addition. Some of its features include a large, adjustable LCD monitor and a quiet, magnetic rowing experience. But, it also comes with additional workout equipment.

This rower is equipped with a slant board for stretching, and resistance bands to give your arms an even more intense work out. Making the most of your space is difficult with specialized equipment, and this machine offers a multifunctional approach. While it lacks smart features and provides only basic software functions like performance metrics tracking, it serves as a solution to those who may only have room for one piece of equipment and don't want to choose between a rower and a resistance trainer.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09YY8YPC5?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.30798305%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Rowing Machine</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$459.98</p><span class="copyright">Amazon</span>

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Rowing Machine




Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower

This top-rated rowing machine (more than 11,000 five-star ratings on Amazon) includes eight levels of magnetic resistance. Many reviewers age 50+ loved the ease of setting up and say they enjoy using this machine for a casual workout while watching TV.

We find this machine great for beginners and seniors since the resistance is a little less intense than other machines. It's not the most advanced or tech-forward option on this list, but the price is right for what you get. It's lightweight, easy to store upright, and quiet—what else could you ask for for less than $400?

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017HSNIEW?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.30798305%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$233.99</p>

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Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower



35-1402 ATS Air Rower

According to users, this air rower is a solid dupe for the more expensive Concept2 Rowing Machine favored by CrossFitters. It relies on wind resistance, rather than magnets or water power, to challenge your strength and stamina. You can track your progress by keeping tabs on your distance, time, strokes per minute, calories burned, and more on the built-in LCD monitor. The rower is also designed with built-in wheels and a foldable frame to make it easy to store.

It doesn't have the same bells and whistles as some of the more expensive ones, but it gets the job done. We also love that setup is a breeze, taking two people less than 30 minutes from box to workout.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TLV5HVQ?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.30798305%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>35-1402 ATS Air Rower</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$349.99</p>

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35-1402 ATS Air Rower



Is rowing a good workout?

Rowing is an excellent full-body workout. It's very efficient–you don't have to spend a ton of time on a rower to get results. Rowing also qualifies as an aerobic and cardiovascular workout, so it's great for your heart. Plus, with a machine in your house, you won't have to waste any time heading to the gym.

"When rowing properly, you’ll work about 86 percent of your muscles in every stroke, targeting all of the major muscle groups," says Crawford.

Bergenroth also says that taking up rowing is a great cardio alternative to running. "If you can't run because your knees aren't what they used to be, this is a very good exercise," he says.

As always, make sure you check in with your doctor before beginning any workout program.

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How long should I row for?

If you've never used a rowing machine before, Bergenroth recommends starting at rowing around 20 minutes per day. It depends on your ability, but he stresses to master your form on a machine before kicking up the time spent on it. "[If you learn to row properly] it's going to allow you to have more fun and be less prone to injury," he says.

A common mistake Bergenroth notices is the sitting position of users on a rowing machine. He prescribes imagining that you're wearing pants with pockets on the back to get your butt into the correct position. "Those back pockets should be facing behind you, rather than you sitting on top of your back pockets" he says.

If posture on the machine is corrected, Bergenroth says other important factors–such as arm positioning and core use–fall into place. "If you're not sitting correctly, you're not going to get that full-body angle, so things start to fall apart," he says.

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What should I consider before purchasing a rowing machine?

As with any purchase, you should focus on what is best for you when it comes to shopping for a rower, but Bergenroth has a few tips on what to consider when picking one out.

You should consider storage or how much space you have to house one, resistance type, if there is an ecosystem that comes with the machine (a system of workouts programmed on it or a membership platform), price, and maintenance required.

Obviously, what kinds of things you want within those parameters is completely up to you.

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What are the different types of rowing machines?

There are four main types of rowing machines: air, water, hydraulic, and magnetic. The type you go for really depends on what you're looking for in a machine, but here's the rundown on how they work:

Air Rowing Machines

Air rowing machines produce resistance using air and a flywheel. The flywheel turns as you row. The faster you row, the more resistance you produce. Crawford says these are typically good for both short distance and long distance rowing. On the other side, air rowers can be a bit noisy and they usually don't have a manual way to change resistance levels. Instead, it depends on the speed at which you're rowing. Still, many say these provide a natural rowing feel.

Water Resistance Rowing Machines

These ergs give off a natural feel because they use actual water to produce resistance. The flywheel is usually in a tank of water, and when you pull, it turns. It isn't the best for long-distance rowing, though. "The feel isn’t as smooth for longer rows because the water loses momentum on each stroke taken, so it tends to feel a little stop-and-start," says Crawford.

Hydraulic Rowing Machines

The resistance in hydraulic rowers is produced using pistons. A piston is basically a short cylinder that sits within a tube. That cylinder then moves up and down against a liquid or gas. Hydraulic rowers allow you to manually set your resistance level. "They are unique in that they’re not effort based—the resistance is set. So when you push off, you’ll feel whatever resistance the machine is set at regardless of how hard you're pushing," says Crawford.

Crawford isn't a huge fan because there’s more pressure on the technology to perform. "With water and air, it’s just water and air, so there isn't t a ton of potential technical errors to occur," she explains. "With a hydraulic rower—if the machine breaks—it loses its resistance and usage entirely."

Magnetic Rowing Machines

Magnetic rowers usually operate using magnets that are placed near a flywheel to create resistance. "They are similar to a hydraulic rower and unique to air rowers in that they’re not effort-based. You’ll set the resistance of the magnet and that’s the resistance you’ll feel on every stroke," says Crawford. These are usually much quieter than other rowers and allow you to play with resistance levels, but they're also prone to technology errors, says Crawford.

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