Rowing has gone mainstream in the recent years.
Indoor rowing clubs have opened in various locations around the world.
The reason is that rowing gives you a wholesome workout. With one simple rowing stroke, you can transform your body in a matter of a couple months.
Here are the reasons rowing is insanely effective:
Studies show that rowing works 86 percent of the muscles in your body. It works your upper as well as lower body. It works on your cardiovascular system but also strengthens your muscles.
It also leads to significant fat loss, which makes it a dream cardio machine for people who want to improve their physique with a simple fitness routine.
To have a better look of which muscles are targeted, see the picture below.
According to a study done by Harvard, intense rowing can burn up to 377 calories in just 30 minutes. Even if you do it at a moderate pace, it can burn 200-300 calories depending on your weight.
Competitive rowers burn twice the number of calories in a 2000-metre course as competitive runners burn in a 3000-metre race.
This is why people who want to lose weight often choose rowing as their go-to exercise. The best part is how simple rowing is. It is just one form of motion with no complicated postures to maintain and no new moves to learn.
As fun as working out is, it can be downright exhausting. Try running for two hours a day and you will see how much stress it puts on your joints and muscles. On the other hand, rowing is a low-impact workout - it is easy on your body and you recover from it fast.
There are many cases of people who injure their knees or ankles by running too much on the treadmill. In fact, rowing is often used as a therapeutic exercise to recover from injuries. Studies show that the rotatory motion in joints including knees, elbows, shoulders and lumbar can improve 30 percent within just 8 weeks of rowing.
Rowing machines allow you to workout at your own pace. If you are feeling tired, you can either make slow rowing strokes or manually lower the resistance to workout at low intensity. Similarly, you can make adjustments for high-intensity.
Just like rowing on real water is tranquil, rowing indoors can be a meditative experience. You have to repeat the same rowing stroke again and again, which feels meditative just like running. If you want to feel the tranquility, try rowing on a water rower and see how closely it simulates the feeling of rowing on a river.
It lets you leave your worries behind and release stress.
Rowing works on the cardio vascular system, strengthening the lungs and the heart. Even 15 minutes on a rowing machine is a serious cardio workout that can improve heart and lung function in the long run.
Ever see those before and after photos of people losing a 100 lbs. and wonder if you can do the same? Well, you don't need to learn twenty different exercises to tone your body. Rowing, as simple as it is, can transform your physique and make you look lean and muscular.
There are multiple purposes to the rowing machine. It can be used for high-intensity interval training as well as for strength training.
You can practice low-intensity endurance workouts. Ixt is also great for recovering from an injury. It can also strengthen your core. There is no other gym machine like it.
Since rowing is a low-impact exercise, it also lowers the risk of injury. You can workout at a high intensity without worrying about any negative impact on your joints. Running on the treadmill can be hard on the body and lead to injuries. But rowing is safe in comparison and in fact, used to recover from joint injuries.
The rowing machine requires you to use your back, so you develop a good posture in the process. Engaging your back during a workout helps balance muscle strength too.
The gym can be intimidating for a lot of people. Many of us don't want to be seen struggling with small weights. But the rowing machine is forgiving. You can start with as little resistance you want and work your way up.
The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines you can buy.
It is a hydraulic rower with two pistons.
If you have been looking for a rower that is affordable, quiet and compact, the 1215 is an excellent option.
Let us take a deeper look at each aspect of this bestselling rower.
Despite being a low-budget rowing machine, the Stamina 1215 has solid build quality. Stamina is known for its high-quality and affordable rowers and the Stamina 1215 is one of them. The steel frame and the aluminum center beam give it structural strength and rigidity.
Many users reported how the rowing machine is far more robust than they had expected. Some even used the rower to do additional exercises such as sit-ups or curls.
The rower can support 250 lbs of weight, which is the standard in this price segment. However, users as heavy as 300 lbs. have been able to use the rowing machine without any hassle. If the weight capacity is low for you, check out the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine, which is another hydraulic rower with a weight capacity of 350 lbs.
Usually, hydraulic rowers tend to make squeaking noises with the movement of the seat, but not this one. The Stamina 1215 Orbital is a smooth performer.Check Price
Another advantage of the Stamina 1215 is that it comes with two hydraulic pistons. Most hydraulic rowers come with a single piston. Due to two hydraulic pistons, both rower arms work independently, which allows you to mix it up and bring variety to your workouts.
The “Orbital” rower is named so because of the design of the rower arms. The design of the arms allows you to row in a wider, circular motion, similar to rowing with paddles on a real boat. You don’t necessarily have to use a wider rowing motion, you can keep your elbows closed in and row in the usual way.
Hydraulic pistons tend to leak oil after some period of usage. But there were no such complaints for the Stamina 1215.
However, some users reported how the pistons were stiff in the beginning. This is not a design flaw but the result of confusing instructions. Level 1 is the hardest resistance level and level 5 is the easiest. So if it feels stiff at level 1, just change it to level 5. You can adjust resistance levels by using the tension adjusters on each arm.
There is an interesting feature on the Stamina 1215 Orbital rowing machine, that stands out. The rower allows you to adjust the angle of inclination of the seat rail. So by increasing the angle, your rowing motion becomes more ‘uphill’ hence putting more resistance on your lower body.
As all hydraulic rowers are, the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower is dead quiet. You can watch TV and listen to podcasts. If you are an early riser, you can workout without disturbing anyone in the family.
The 1215 orbital rower has a basic performance monitor that tracks various workout metrics. The monitor is small and has a single button. These metrics include time, stroke count, speed, distance and calories.
It comes with the SCAN mode that toggles through and displays a new metric every few seconds so you don’t have to look out for a particular metric manually while working out.
The monitor is quite basic as you would expect at this price. So there aren’t any features for customizing workouts, storing data or heart rate monitoring. It isn’t even compatible with heart rate monitors, so that’s a bit of a let down.
The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower is okay in terms of comfort. The seat has some padding, but it isn’t good enough for long rowing sessions or people with a skinny butt. You can add an aftermarket seat pad to resolve this issue.
Multiple users mentioned that the foot pedals don’t pivot enough during the rowing motion. As a result, you can’t push against them with the entire foot, but you can only push against them with your ball of the foot.
The Stamina 1215 orbital rowing machine can be folded into a compact size. Once the free rower arms are folded in, the rower becomes so small that you can tuck it under your bed or stow it away in a closet.
It doesn’t have any caster wheels and since it is lightweight, you don’t really need the wheels to move it around. If you have a wooden floor, it makes sense to put a protective layer of carpet or a floor pad to protect the floor.
However, keep in mind that this rower doesn’t stand vertically for storage.
Assembling the Stamina 1215 Orbital rowing machine doesn’t take much time. But it can be tricky. User reports indicate that the instructions manual aren’t quite clear, so assembly can be tedious for some users. Some users were able to assemble it in as little as 20 minutes, while for others it took as much as 2 hours.
Also, some users mentioned the rower didn’t come properly packed and was treated rough during shipping. But even with such packaging, most users reported that the parts inside were intact.
The Stamina 1215 orbital rower comes with a stunning 5-year warranty on the frame, which shows how good its build quality is. However, there is only a 90-day warranty on its parts, which is rather short.
Since the parts warranty is short, make sure all parts are intact when you assemble the rower. If there are any discrepancies, contact the customer service and get the parts replaced immediately.
The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower is a great rowing machine with an impeccable build quality. It is compact, quiet and offers a full range of motion unlike most rowers that have t-bar handles. It comes with two hydraulic pistons, instead of one as seen in most hydraulic rowers. The only downside is the short 90-day warranty on parts, however it is a common drawback in this price segment.
If you can get it around $300, it is absolutely worth it. But if a retailer is asking $400 or above, you are better off buying a rower like the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus, which is more heavy-duty and has high-quality parts.Check Price
The Stamina 1215 Orbital rower has two hydraulic pistons. There are five resistance levels which you can adjust by using the tension adjusters on each arm of the rower. Level 1 is the hardest, level 5 is the easiest.
Yes, hydraulic rowing machines are perfect for those who need a quiet, compact rower with a moderate level of resistance. Hydraulic rowers also cost less than other types of rowers. However, if you have a strong physique, hydraulic resistance will be too weak for you.
High-quality hydraulic rowers like the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower or the Stamina 1050 Body Trac Glider can last many years. Some users even report using their hydraulic rower for as long as 10 years. It depends on maintenance and the build quality of the rower.
Looking for a compact or affordable rowing machine?
Then don’t you dare overlook the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050.
It is one of the best budget rowers ever made.
People love that it is robust, lightweight, compact and overall offers high value for money.
Let us take a deeper look at this fine piece of engineering.Check Price
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is made of a steel frame and an aluminum center beam. You will definitely be surprised with its build quality. It feels sturdy and user reviews indicate that it will last many years. Despite being a small rower, it can support 250 lbs, which further shows its good build quality. However, if you are a professional athlete or have a strong physique, you will need a bigger rower with a stronger resistance.
The seat may make squeaking noise, but using a lubricant can solve this issue instantly.
The Stamina 1050 has a different arm design, that allows you to have a fuller range of motion than rowers with the standard t-bar handle.
Stamina Body Trac glider 1050 uses hydraulic resistance to supply tension for rowing. To adjust the resistance, you can use a handy knob located underneath the seat. There are 12 levels of hydraulic resistance so there is a broad range to work with.
Hydraulic rowers use a piston to create resistance. This piston is located under the seat. You have to be careful with hydraulic pistons since they can get really hot even after 15-20 minutes of workout. They can also leak oil sometimes, due to which it is better to keep a mat under hydraulic rowers.
Since it is a hydraulic rower, it is compact and can be stored easily. Hydraulic rowers like the Stamina Body Trac Glider are also quiet, so you can watch TV, listen to music or workout early in the morning without waking your family.
You can gradually increase the level of hydraulic resistance to challenge yourself during workout. This is easier than rowing on air or water rowers where you have to row harder to increase the resistance.
It is worth noting that the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 doesn’t have strong resistance. However, this is true for all hydraulic rowers, they are meant to be compact rowers that offer moderate level of resistance.
Their resistance is best suited for people who can workout with moderate levels of resistance.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 accomplishes performance tracking with a basic but functional monitor. It tracks time, number of strokes and calories. The calorie count, as it is in most rowers, based on the weight of an average user. So it isn’t accurate, but useful for measuring relative performance.
There is also a SCAN mode that toggles through different metrics every few seconds so that you don’t have to search for them manually while rowing. Overall, the display has no frills such as backlight or customizable workouts. But you can’t complain at this budget. The basic workout data is enough to achieve fitness goals.
For better performance tracking, you can use rowing apps on your smartphone or buy a heart rate monitor.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 provides good levels of comfort. The seat is a bit hard, but this is quite common in rowing machines, even the Concept2 Model D. That said, this isn’t a huge issue as a seat cushion can solve the problem instantly.
The handle has moderate padding, it feels comfortable but it isn’t exactly soft-touch. The padding is high quality too, so it isn’t going to wear out anytime soon. The handle isn’t hard on your hands and won’t cause blisters like it happens with many other rowers.
The foot pedals are good for all shoe sizes, but some users felt that they were a bit too big. The velcro straps can’t keep feet secured because they are positioned a bit too high on the foot pedals. People who bought the 1050 came up with their own solutions to this issue. Some fitted the foot pedals upside down, others fit a U-bolt on each foot plate.
Although the foot pedals are initially uncomfortable, once you fix them with a makeshift solution, the rower feels quite comfortable.
If you are short on space in your house, the Stamina 1050 is the perfect choice. Having a fitness machine that provides a full-body workout yet takes small space can be a game-changer. The Stamina 1050 is compact when assembled and it can be folded to reduce its footprint even further.
However, like most hydraulic rowers, it doesn’t come with any built-in caster wheels. And it isn’t a huge issue since the rower is so lightweight that you can carry it in your hands.
Folding this rower is easy. You just need to take out two locking knobs from the rowing arms, fold the arms and put the locking knobs back in. Once folded, you can make the rower stand vertically.
The rower measures 49.5 inches x 11.75 inches x 9.5 inches when folded. Its weight is 39 lbs, so it is easy to carry too. However, once folded, there aren’t any comfortable grip points on its frame that you can use to lift and move it around.
Assembling the rower is easy. It is lightweight, so you will have no problem carrying it to its spot after delivery. The instructions for assembly are clear and the tools for assembly are in the package. The owner’s manual has instructions for assembly that are clear and easy to follow.
Although customer reviews indicate that the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 has a solid build quality, one should always check the warranty for long-term reliability. The Stamina 1050 comes with a one-year warranty on the frame and a 90-day warranty on its parts. The 90-day warranty is short, but it is usual for rowers in this price segment to have a 90-day warranty.
If there is one thing you don’t need to worry about while buying the Stamina Body Trac 1050 Glider, it is its price. It is a low-budget rower and yet delivers a smooth rowing experience.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a value for money hydraulic rower with a decent level of hydraulic resistance. Despite being a low-budget rower, its build quality is surprisingly good. It is lightweight, quiet and compact, and offers a full range of motion with its uniquely designed arms.Check Price
The Stamina Body Trac Glider uses hydraulic resistance. You can row with a full range of motion with its uniquely designed arms. Rowing is just like rowing on water, focus on the four elements of rowing: catch, drive, finish and recover.
Hydraulic rowing machines are good if you have a small budget or need a compact rower. They don’t have a very strong resistance, so they are best suited for beginners or people who aren’t very strong physically.
Despite being a low-priced rowing machine, the Body Trac Glider is robust enough to last many years - some customers have reported using it even after a decade.
The Concept2 Model E Rowing Machine is a bestselling rower from a reputed brand.
It is the advanced version of the Model D, a superior quality rower preferred by Olympians and professional athletes.
Concept2 rowing machines have an amazing build quality. They last longer than a decade and don’t lose their value over time.
Let us take a look at each aspect of the Concept2 Model E rower.
If there is one thing about the Model E that stands out from most of the rowers in the market, it is its build quality. Concept2 Model E rowing machine is built to commercial-grade quality. It can take any kind of abuse for years and years, and still stay the same.
The Concept2 Model E is built with welded steel throughout. This is a step up from the Model D, which is built with a steel frame, but aluminum front legs and steel rear legs.
As a matter of fact, steel has more structural strength than aluminum. The build quality is further reflected by the fact that this rower can support 500 lbs. of weight. This is almost double the capacity of most rowing machines.
Steel is more durable and less prone to warping, deforming, bending due to force or heat. Steel is 2.5 times as dense as aluminum, which also makes it a lot heavier.
The Model E is better finished as compared to the Model D. It has a double powder coat and a glossy finish that makes it more resistant to abrasions.
Because of this little detail, the Model E is better suited for commercial settings where fitness machines are prone to scratches and other forms of wear and tear. This rower is available in two colors - light gray or black, so it can blend with your room decor depending on whether you want a loud or soft color.See Price
The Concept2 Model E rower has air resistance. As with all air rowers, the harder you row, the more resistance you row against. This variable resistance makes the rowing motion much like rowing on water.
However, in addition to this manual way of increasing resistance, the Model E also comes with damper settings to adjust the resistance manually.
There are 10 levels of resistance you can choose from. This damper setting limits the amount of air that enters the flywheel. Hence instead of directly changing resistance, it changes the “feel” of the rowing stroke.
This is a lot like changing the gears on a bicycle. The 10 resistance levels offer a broad range of resistance to work with. Even levels 3-5 are strong enough for an intense and exhausting workout.
Concept2 suggests using the damper settings 1 through 3 for a good cardio workout. Keep in mind that you’re not limited by damper settings since you can always row harder to “feel” more resistance.
To get a closer look at how the damper settings work on the Concept2 rower, watch this video:
The PM5 monitor that is there on the Concept2 Model E is often called the best performance monitor for a rowing machine. It is highly programmable and offers a lot of functions that let you customize workouts and even play games. It is the most capable performance monitor in the market right now with many appealing features.
For example, the PM5 monitor can track your heart rate so that you can workout in your optimal workout zone. This is a step up from most performance monitors that can’t track heart rate and some of them can’t even connect to heart rate monitors wirelessly.
The display doesn’t look high-tech or from the future, but it acts like it. However, the display is crystal clear and high quality. The PM5 performance monitor can track many workout metrics including time, pace, calories, distance and speed (stroke rate per minute). The PM5 monitor is powered by flywheel - it gets its power from the dynamic energy created from the rowing motion.
When the flywheel is not moving, it uses 2 D-cell batteries for power. It has a long aluminum arm, which makes it quite accessible. The angle of the display monitor can be adjusted, but you cannot move the arm to adjust its height like in Model D. The arm is fixed.
There are five preset workout routines and the option to create your own customized workout routine as well. There are many interactive games that make things interesting and even allow beginners to learn the rowing stroke in a fun way.See Price
Here are the games that make the Concept2 Model E a fun rowing machine:
The aim of the fish game is to learn how to control intensity during workout. You earn points in this game by eating the nutritious fish and avoiding the toothy, monstrous fishes. As you change the intensity of rowing, you are able to move your fish up or down on the screen.
The darts game trains you to keep a consistent tempo and power output. If you want to learn how to keep a steady pace or get comfortable at a new speed level, the Darts game is what you should play.
In each game, you have 300 darts to throw and maintaining your pace allows you to nail the bull’s eye and score maximum points, 50 points per bull’s eye. If you increase your pace, the darts will land in a higher position and vice-versa. If you maintain a perfect pace, you can make the maximum score, that is 15,000 points.
Target training is similar to the darts game, but it is different because it asks you to set targets for pace and tempo. The goal is to keep a constant pace and hit as many perfect targets as possible. There are two modes of play:
In this mode, you can row for as long as you want and the target pace is set according to your recent strokes.
In this mode, you choose the pace and tempo before the game begins. This allows you to row at your preferred pace and achieve a high score. This workout is great for weight loss since you can row for a long time and burn a lot of calories at your preferred pace. This is also good for recovering from a physical injury as you can row at a pace recommended by your physical therapist.
The PM5 monitor has wireless ANT+ and bluetooth technology that lets you connect with compatible fitness apps including the company’s ErgData app.
Using supporting apps can help you visualize your performance in real time or over periods of time, keep performance logs, customize workouts and take performance monitoring to another level. You can also wirelessly connect a heart rate monitor to enhance performance tracking.
The PM5 performance monitor has a USB slot that allows you to connect a USB drive and store your workout data. This is really helpful when you want to track your performance over long periods of time and see how you’re progressing every week. The data stored on the USB drive can be uploaded on Concept2’s online logbook.
It is clear that the PM5 offers best-in-class performance monitoring since it has a plethora of options for performance tracking. There are a host of features including interactive games, so you will never be bored once you start rowing on this Concept2 rower.
The Concept2 Model E is impressive when it comes to comfort. The rowing motion is smooth, with no hint of any noise from the seat. The seat glides smoothly on the rail, the chain moves without any struggle or snag and the whole motion is seamless.
Since this is an air rower, it does make noise. But the fan noise is minimal so you can listen to music or watch TV. Users have mentioned that it is virtually quiet - so much that you can’t hear the noise in the next room.See Price
The seat is a bit hard, as reported by some users, but not very hard. Some users will be able to use it without cushion, others will need one to be comfortable.
Nonetheless, an aftermarket seat cushion/pad can make the rowing experience more pleasant, especially for longer workouts.
An advantage of the seat is its height. The seat is 20 inches high off the ground, 6 inches more than the Model D. This is equal to the height of a regular chair.
So getting off/on the rower is easier for people with knee or back issues. Since the seat is higher than the Model D, it is supported by a wider, single piece leg design to bring more structural rigidity to the rower.
Next, the handle has good ergonomics, it is built with a 10-degree bend for natural positioning of the hands. It is rigid and a bit large, so beginners may need time getting used to it.
The grip is comfortable and isn’t hard on your hands. However, some users mentioned how the plastic handle can cause blisters when you’re just starting out, so wearing gloves can be helpful.
The foot plates are adjustable and fit all shoe sizes, whether it is a child or a big and heavy adult. Moreover, you can row barefooted, a rare feature on rowing machines.
After all, wearing shoes is a chore and you are more likely to workout every day when you don’t have to do any “prep” for it. The foot straps do a good job of keeping your feet in place.
When all is said and done, the Concept2 Model E is superior in terms of comfort than 90 percent of rowing machines out there. Its rowing motion is smooth as silk and it simulates the feeling of rowing on a river.
The seat and handle are a bit hard in the beginning for some, but good in the long-term. There are no creaking noises, so you enjoy each workout without getting disturbed.
The rower is long enough to accommodate people with an inseam of up to 38 inches. Even if you are as tall as 6’7”, you will have no problems using this rower. You can measure your inseam to get an accurate idea of whether or not it will be your size.
If you happen to have a longer inseam, Concept2 offers an optional extra-long monorail. The extra long monorail gives you an additional 5 inches, which makes the monorail long enough for virtually everyone.
When in use, the Model E rower has a large footprint. It takes 8 ft x 2 ft of your floor space when assembled. The good news is that it can be folded to save space. When folded, it measures 27 in x 47 in x 54 in.
All you have to do is use the quick-release framelock to separate the seat rail from the flywheel. Once separated, the seat rail has to be stood vertically and the flywheel part can rest against it while tilted.
Despite being a heavy-duty rower, it is amazing how quickly the Model E can be disassembled for storage. Concept2 has paid attention to user experience and that is why Olympic athletes don’t buy any other rower other than the Concept2.
For storage, make sure you keep it in a dry place since it isn’t waterproof. However, the machine isn’t so sensitive that it will get damaged with mild moisture.
There are caster wheels on the front for easy mobility. The rower is heavy duty but still mobile. You can roll out this rower outside your house to have an outdoor workout.See Price
A rowing machine can be amazing the first time, but if it is hard to maintain, you are not going to like it as much. Fortunately, the Concept2 Model E is easy to maintain. It has a double powder coat with a glossy finish, so you can wipe it periodically to keep it clean. If the seat or handle gets sweaty, you can wipe them with an anti-bacterial solution.
For long-term durability, it is good to clean the rower regularly. After all, every machine needs maintenance. The nickel-plated chain doesn’t need to be oiled as much as regular chains. The chain housing is also enclosed, which further makes it less dependent on maintenance.
The Concept2 Model E is a high-end rower. It costs more than a grand, but it offers a great value for money. If you buy a rowing machine that costs half as much, it probably won’t last more than 3-4 years and won’t have the seamless rowing experience as that in the Concept2.
If you aren’t sure about spending such a huge sum, the company also offers a thirty-day money back guarantee. The warranty is also long-term, so you can rest assured knowing that the rower will last a long time.
The Concept2 Model E rower is delivered in two boxes. It is a big rower and there are many parts to assemble, but it can be assembled by one person. There are 10 screws you need to insert to put the different parts together.
Parts include frame, front and rear legs, monitor arm, pickup cable and the performance monitor. Assembly is overall easy and takes just 30 minutes. Some users could even assemble it as little as 10-15 minutes.
Here is a quick video to give you a closer look of the assembly:
Warranty is a strong indicator of the build quality of a rowing machine, or any product for that matter. A long warranty indicates that the product has solid build quality.
Well, you can never go wrong with a Concept2 rower when it comes to build quality. Therefore, the Concept2 Model E comes with a long warranty - five years (limited) on frame and two years (limited) on parts. Another advantage of buying the Concept2 rower is that the warranty can be transferred if you sell or gift it to another person.
In addition, it is also reassuring to know that the company offers a 30-day money back guarantee. There is essentially zero risk when you buy the Concept2 Model E rower.
The Concept2 Model E rower is the best among the best. There is no rower that comes above it - none. It has everything you need in a rowing machine - performance, smoothness and durability. Despite being a heavy-duty unit, it is easy and quick to assemble and disassemble. Its PM5 performance monitor is regarded as the best in the market and offers a vast variety of features.See Price
If you are going to buy a high end rower, the Waterrower rowing machine is definitely worth your attention. If you like the natural feeling of rowing on water, the Waterrower rowing machine is perfect for you. The design is also unique from all other rowers, it looks less like a piece of metal and more like an aesthetic piece of furniture.
If you are concerned about the price, you can buy the Concept2 Model D. It is a bit less expensive but has impeccable build quality. The monitor arm of the Model D is adjustable unlike the Model E. The Model E just has a better finish, but it doesn’t make much of a difference as both rowers are made to last for longer than a decade.
If you want to know more, here is an in-depth comparison of Concept2 Model D vs E.
Because Concept2 has established its reputation for building high-value rowers, the Concept2 rowers don’t go on sale. The company puts it this way - “We don't put our equipment on sale, because our philosophy is to offer the lowest, business-sustainable pricing possible all the time”.
In fact, if a vendor is offering a discount, it is a fraud.
Concept2 rowers have a very high resale value. A used Concept2 rower can go for $500-$800, which shows how long these rowers can hold their value. Even when all retailers are giving huge discounts, on occasions like Black Friday, you won’t see any discount on the Concept2. To minimize the price, you can try to find a deal with a retailer like Rogue Fitness, that is offering free deliveries. But it doesn’t get cheaper than that.
Rowing works 86 percent of your muscles. The rowing motion targets your biceps, pecs, deltoids, abs, obliques, quadriceps, upper back, triceps, lats, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Moreover, it doesn’t put high pressure on your joints like other exercises such as running.
The easiest way is to buy from Amazon. You can also buy a Concept2 rowing machine directly from the Concept2 shop if you live in the US or Canada. There are some resellers that sell the Concept2 rower too, you can contact the company’s customer service for more details.
If you want to check more options, read our complete guide to Best Home Rowing Machines
Looking for a serious rower that doesn’t cost a fortune?
Then, you’re in the right place.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 rower is a bestselling product and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. It is quiet, compact and strong enough to give you a strenuous workout.
The brand has an amazing lineup of a variety of rowers, many of which are top bestsellers. All you have to do is go to Amazon and read the thousands of positive reviews left by its customers.
But hey, who has got time for that?
You don’t need to read a thousand reviews, this guide will give you the lowdown within minutes.
The SF-RW5515 rower is built with a robust steel frame that gives it structural strength and makes it durable. The nylon strap attached to the handle can take years of abuse and stay strong.
The rower can support 250 lbs. of weight which is good enough for this price segment. If you want a higher weight capacity, look for other rowers in this segment. If you want to buy a rower of the same brand, you can go for Sunny SF-RW5639 or Sunny SF-RW5632.
The product feels sturdy but there are some plastic parts such as the corners which aren’t as sturdy. The foot pedals are not high quality either.
The rollers under the seat are made of plastic and tend to leave marks on the seat rail, indicating that they are not as durable either.
Some users mentioned how the plastic broke after a few months of use. For example, the plastic housing on the feet, the plastic pulley that runs the chain and other plastic parts may break with time or even come broken upon delivery.
Overall, the SF RW5515 is okay when it comes to build quality. But some user reviews mentioned that the rower broke after 4-6 months of use. However, the company was quick to send a replacement unit in these cases.
The Sunny Health & Fitness 5515 is a magnetic rower. This means it is quiet and maintains a constant level of tension while you row. This is different from air or water rowers in which the tension increases when you row harder and vice-versa.
The rower has 8 levels of magnetic resistance. I was super impressed by the level of resistance the 5515 has.
Even expensive rowers like the NordicTrack RW200 don’t have this level of resistance. You can get a solid workout even at levels 3 to 5.
To change the resistance level, all you have to do is use the adjustment knob, which is quite handy. Magnetic rowers are known to be the quietest and so is this one. You can row at early hours without waking anyone in the house.
Resistance is the main part of any rower and the company has got it covered. No matter whether you are just getting into rowing or already experienced, you can have a badass workout on this rower.
However, if you are on the extreme end of fitness or a pro athlete, the resistance may not be enough for you. You will be better off investing in a high-end rower, like the Concept2 Model D.
The performance monitor on the SF-RW5515 shows various workout metrics including time, stroke count, total count and calories.
It also has the SCAN mode that toggles through different metrics and shows them on the display so that you don’t have to manually look for a particular metric. The monitor doesn’t measure distance, like most of the mid-range rowers.
As with all other rowers, the calorie count is just an estimate based on the weight of an average user. However, it is still useful for comparing relative performance to a previous workout.
Overall, the monitor is basic but good enough for performance tracking. It doesn’t come with any frills such as backlight or programmable workouts, but it is useful.Check Price
You don’t want a rower that leaves you in pain after each workout. There is a difference between the feeling pumped and getting hurt. Fortunately, the company has given attention to this area when making this rower.
The seat is padded and comfortable and the handle is made with non-slip material to promote a tight grip.
The foot pedals are comfortable and big enough for all shoe sizes. But they aren’t as sturdy as the other parts of the rower. Also, the straps can’t keep your feet secured in place, so you will have to buy aftermarket velcro straps.
There is a design inefficiency in this rower that you should be aware of. During the recovery phase of the rowing motion, the handlebar doesn’t go beyond the foot plates. This results in a limited range of motion and takes away from the natural feeling of rowing.
Note that this design flaw is not exclusive to the SF-RW5515. In fact, there are many other rowers that have the handle positioned right above the footplates.
The rowing machine is comfortable for taller people too. It has a long inseam that can usually accommodate people as tall as 6 ft 7 in. This is really cool for a budget rower.
So whether you have a kid at home who wants to row or you’re taller than most people, you will be able to use the rower without any hassle.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 can fold up for compact storage. Folding is easy - you just have to take out a pin and a bolt, fold the seat rail up and re-insert the bolt/pin back in. This can be done as quick as 15 seconds.
Once folded, it can be stowed in a closet or a corner of your house. The built-in caster wheels on the front help with mobility.
They help roll it out in your garden/backyard to have an outdoor workout when you’re feeling like it. The rower weighs 71 lbs, so it isn’t very heavy and can be transported easily when needed.
Assembling the SF-RW5515 is easy. It just takes four steps. The parts are labelled and all tools are provided in the package.
Most parts such as the magnetic flywheel come already assembled, so you just have to attach a couple parts and the rower is ready for rowing. The assembly takes twenty to thirty minutes max and can be done by a single individual.
The Sunny SF-RW5515 rower comes with a one year warranty on the frame and 90 days warranty on its parts. The parts warranty is short, but often this is the standard for this price segment.
If there is one thing that stands out about the Sf-RW5515 rower, it is its price. Despite having a strong resistance and smooth performance, this rowing machine costs half of many of its competitors.
This makes it a great product for those who want a serious rower on a budget.
If you want to look at more options, feel free to check our reviews of the best rowing machines under $500.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 rower is impressive. Resistance is the heart of any rower and its resistance is stronger than some of the high-end rowers in the market. You can have a strenuous workout with the eight resistance levels and when you’re done, it can be stowed in a closet or a corner, taking little space.Check Price
Yes, Sunny Health & Fitness has many bestselling rowing machines on Amazon. Its products have thousands of positive reviews, so you don’t have to worry about the quality when it comes to this brand.
There are eight magnetic resistance levels on the SF-RW5515 rower. All you have to do is use the adjustment knob to change the resistance.
The SF-RW5515 is better than many expensive rowers in the market. It has a very strong resistance that allows you to have a rigorous workout even at levels 4-5. It is quiet, smooth and comfortable too.
This guide gives an in-depth NordicTrack RW200 rower review.
It goes deep into the pros and cons of the RW200.
Nordictrack is a leading brand in the fitness industry, so you would expect nothing but the best from the RW200.
But is it really worth your money?
Let us find out!Check Price
If there is one thing you don’t have to worry about with NordicTrack, it is their build quality. They are a top brand in the fitness industry and make high-quality rowers.
The RW200 rower has a sturdy frame built with welded steel construction. The oversized steel rail accommodates people of all heights and keeps the rower stable while rowing.
You don’t have to be concerned about build quality since NordicTrack offers a long-term warranty on the NordicTrack RW200 rower. And if you are not satisfied, you can return the rower within 30 days of purchase.
The build quality is impeccable and there are no flimsy parts, so you can rest assured knowing that the rower will last a long time.
The NordicTrack RW200 has a combination of air and magnetic resistance.
As you may already know, air resistance is always variable - to increase the intensity, you have to row harder. On the other hand, to increase the intensity of magnetic resistance, you can manually adjust the resistance level using an adjustment knob.
While buying a rower, one of the most important things to look out for is the resistance strength. If the resistance isn’t strong enough, if it doesn’t have enough tension, then everything else becomes useless.
User reviews indicate that the resistance on the RW200 isn’t strong enough for most people. Although there are 24 levels of magnetic resistance, users reported that there isn’t enough resistance even at the highest levels.
The RW200 also has 10 levels of damper settings that control the airflow into the flywheel. In other words, at level 10, you are sending the highest volume of air into the flywheel, hence maximizing the resistance.
Given the hefty price tag, one would at least expect strong resistance that gives a strenuous workout. For such a complex resistance setup with 24 magnetic resistance levels and 10 damper settings, you would expect more from this rower.
That said, there are a couple reviews on Reddit that indicate the RW200 isn’t that bad. But overall, it doesn’t seem to offer much resistance.
The performance monitor on the Nordictrack RW200 isn’t as advanced as the PM5 monitor seen on Concept2 Model D.
The NordicTrack performance monitors differentiate themselves with the company’s iFit programme, which opens a whole new world of interactive and outdoor workout options.
The iFit programme makes it act like your personal coach, as you are guided by experts and never run out of motivation to get better.
But it can track calories, distance, strokes, strokes per minute, time, watts and watts metre. The monitor can be powered using two options: either with 4 D-cell batteries or by being plugged into a power adapter.
The performance monitor has some interesting features that aren’t quite common. It has two 2” digitally amplified speakers, bluetooth smart connectivity and an aux port for headphones.
There are 20 preset workout programs in which you can pick targets for watts or calories. You have to hit the target and the monitor alerts you if you are off the target.
NordicTrack took the help of certified fitness experts to design these preset workouts. So it gives you an added incentive to workout knowing that you will surely get the results you are looking for.
The performance monitor doesn’t track heart rate like the Concept2’s PM5 fitness monitor, but you can wear a compatible heart rate monitor for that purpose.
You can also connect a smartphone or other device to play music using the 3.5mm jack on the monitor. This allows you to workout without having to use headphones. This is great for people who like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks while they row.
The iFit program allows you to have a studio workout experience from the comfort of your home. Or you can row on exotic rivers around the world while guided and entertained by an expert coach.
This is the only feature that sets NordicTrack rowers apart in the market. But it comes at a significant price. Although the NordicTrack RW200 comes with a one-year free iFit membership, you have to pay $396 or £349 per year for future annual subscriptions. Also, many users have reported that the rower is no good if you don’t plan to use the iFit membership.
There are 16,000 workouts you can choose from. It includes a wide variety of workouts including crossfit, yoga and kickboxing. So whenever you are bored of rowing, you can mix it up.
There is a beginner class that teaches you proper rowing form and how to perform each part of the rowing stroke. HIIT workouts let you build your stamina with exercises that alternate between rowing and bodyweight exercises.
The best part is that there is always a trainer speaking in your ear, so you can have a guided workout experience. Working alone can sometimes get dull and uninspiring, so having a trainer by your side is a huge plus.Check Price
Studio workouts are an interesting feature that lets you enjoy working out in a group setting. You can compete with your fellow iFit members from the comfort of your home.
In other words, the iFit feature lets you “go to the gym” without actually going. Studio workouts are high-energy workouts and can be good for those who get bored working out on their own.
The ‘row around the world’ feature lets you enjoy the view of exotic rivers and canals around the world as you row. You can also hear your trainer guiding you and talking about the place along the way.
However, don’t raise your expectations as this feature fetches live images from Google street view. The company didn’t go and pre-record videos to give you an immersive experience.
Note that the group workouts aren’t live. They are pre-recorded and uploaded on the iFit app. So there is no direct dialogue between you and your trainer.
But to enjoy this feature, you will need to connect your smartphone/tablet to get the visual. NordicTrack’s higher end rowers, like the RW900 come with a built-in display, but you have to plug your own on this one.
The RW200 is impressive in terms of comfort. The seat on the NordicTrack Rw200 is padded, contoured and comfortable for long workouts. The seat is positioned higher than usual. This allows people with physical injuries or back or knee problems to easily get off or on the rower.
The handle and footrests are also ergonomically designed to keep you comfortable during workouts.
The performance monitor arm is also adjustable for height. So you can set it to your preferred viewing angle. The foot plates are big enough for all shoe sizes and the nylon straps do a good job of keeping your feet secured. They pivot with movement, which supports ankles and helps people with weak ankle flexibility.
Despite being an expensive rower, the RW200 can only support 250 lbs. of weight. This is a bit disappointing since rowers in this price segment, like the Concept2 Model D, can support 500 lbs. of weight.
The inseam is long enough to accommodate tall users. With the oversized seat rail, people as tall as 6’6” should have no issues using this rower.
You don’t have to worry about storage with the NordicTrack RW200. NordicTrack has a patented SpaceSaver design that allows you to fold the rower quickly. When in use, the machine takes a large space, measuring 86.5 inches x 22 inches x 42.8 inches.
When folded, it reduces the footprint to almost half. There are caster wheels on the front that allow you to easily roll it on the floor, whether it is assembled or folded.
The rower is quite heavy though, it weighs 105 lbs. So you have to be careful while moving it from one spot to the other.
The RW200 rower is easy to assemble. Assembly takes just 10-15 minutes. Most of the parts come preassembled, so you can get the rower ready within minutes. However, the rower is heavy at 145 lbs. of weight, so you will probably need a hand to move it after delivery.
NordicTrack offers a great warranty to build reliability and trust with customers. There is a 10 year warranty on the frame and a 2-year warranty on parts. There is also a 1-year labor warranty, which is rather short. If a part needs replacement after one year, you may have to shell out hundreds of dollars just for labor.
For your satisfaction in the short-term, there is a 30-day money back guarantee. Moreover, if you buy from Amazon, you can rest assured that you will get your refund anyway. Amazon goes above and beyond to make sure you are satisfied as a buyer.
The price of the NordicTrack RW200 can vary depending on where you buy it from. However, it will cost under $1000 from all vendors.
Is it worth the price?
If you want to use the iFit program and experience the thrill of studio workouts and outdoor rowing from the comfort of your home, then RW200 is for you.
However, it doesn’t offer a strong enough resistance for challenging workouts. The resistance is average at best, which is disappointing given its price. Moreover, the monitor is also quite basic for this price segment. The PM5 monitor on the Concept2 Model D is the best-in-class and it costs about the same.
It is best to check the price and see if you can go for the Concept2 Model D, even if you have to drop a couple extra hundred on it. The difference between these two is night and day. The Concept2 Model D is the world’s bestselling rower, so you can buy it without any second thoughts even if it means stretching your budget by a couple hundred bucks.
Check the Concept2 Model D review for full details.
If you want a mid-range rower, check out our list of the best rowing machines under $500.
If you want more options, check our top picks for the best home rowing machines.
The NordicTrack RW200 rower looks promising but actually isn't. Sure it has a solid build quality and folds up nice and easy, but there is much more a rower should be capable of.
The number one thing that needs to be improved is its resistance. Despite having variable air resistance, users found it lacking in tension. On top of that, the performance monitor is quite basic for this price segment.
The iFit program is swanky, but it is of no use until the resistance is fixed. It will only add to the costs after the one-year free membership is exhausted.
You won’t expect this level of performance from an industry leader like NordicTrack.
You will be better off buying the Concept2 Model D, which is recommended by professional athletes and Olympic rowers. It costs almost the same.Check Price
The RW200 rower has both air and magnetic types of resistance. For the magnetic resistance, there are 24 resistance levels which you can adjust using a knob. For the air resistance, there are 10 levels, which you can adjust using the damper. On top of that, you can also row harder to increase the magnitude of air resistance.
NordicTrack rowers stand out from other rowers because of their iFit programme. iFit offers 16,000 interactive workouts in studio and outdoor settings from the comfort of your home.
No, the Concept2 Model D is the best among the best. It has a better performance monitor, far better resistance and more heavy-duty as compared to the NordicTrack RW200.
Looking for a quality rower that doesn’t break the bank?
This Xterra Erg400 rower review will give you a compelling option.
Xterra Erg400 has a combination of air and magnetic resistance.
Does it make it better than most rowers?
Let us find out!Check Price
The Xterra Erg400 is a meticulously designed rower. However, its construction is what causes concern to many of its users. Many customers seem to run into issues with its flywheel. This is concerning since there have been many reports of the rower breaking down within the first few months of use.
Some reported that the flywheel broke after a few months of use. Others reported problems with resistance - the resistance lost all its tension for some users after a couple months. For some users, it had no resistance to begin with - level 1 and level 16 felt the same.
While there have been many complaints, 40% of customers seemed to be satisfied with the Xterra Erg400 rower. So keep this in mind while making the buying decision.
The reassuring thing about the Xterra Erg400 rower is its long term warranty. Customers received replacement of flywheel or other parts under warranty. However, they had to pay for the labor themselves. Still, it is good to know that the company has good customer service.
The Xterra Erg400 Rower is unique since it uses a combination of air and magnetic resistance. So how does this work?
In air resistance, the harder/faster you row, the more resistance you get. On the other hand, in magnetic resistance, the resistance stays fixed. To increase the resistance, you have to turn the knob and change the resistance level on the rower.
In the Xterra Erg400 rower, there are 16 levels of magnetic resistance. At the lower resistance settings, the resistance will only increase if you row harder, like in air rowers. At higher settings of magnetic resistance, the resistance will be stronger by default, but should get even stronger as you row harder, since the air resistance gets activated.
So how effective is this fiery combination of air and magnetic resistance?
The user reviews are mixed - some believe the Xterra Erg400 is a steal at its price, others said that the resistance isn’t strong enough. However, as long as the machine is working properly and not broken, most users could feel the burn after 10-15 minutes of use.
Overall, we expected the Xterra Erg400 to be more reliable. It is supposed to be a good performer, but there is a big “if” attached to its performance. It will only perform “if” it doesn’t break in the first place. So, even though the resistance is decent on this rower, reliability is a big issue.
The Xterra Erg 400 rower has an interesting performance monitor that comes loaded with 6 preset workouts. The monitor isn’t exactly advanced like those seen in Concept2 rowers. It isn’t programmable, but it can still do the basic job of performance tracking.
It can track time, distance, strokes per minute, resistance level, stroke count, calories and watts produced.
One thing you would appreciate about the Xterra Erg 400 rower is its noise level. Air rowers are known to be noisy, but not this one. The noise level on the Erg 400 is low and you can easily watch TV and listen to it clearly without having to turn up the volume. It is also good for early risers who don’t want to disturb their family during workouts.Check Price
What the Xterra Erg400 lacks in build quality, it makes up for it with comfort. The seat is large and has sufficient padding to provide comfort for those long rowing sessions.
The handle is also soft-touch with padding to ensure that your hands don’t get sore or develop blisters after a long workout. The foot pedals are large and accommodate all sizes. But the velcro straps can’t hold the feet in place.
The foot pedals have pivoting motion - they move around the axis to ensure there is no extra pressure on your ankles. The handle is attached to a nylon strap, which can last a long time, and also ensures that the rowing motion is smooth.
There is a drawback about the rowing machine’s design. The rowing motion gets restricted because the handle is positioned right above the footplates and not farther away like it is in rowers like the Concept2. This restricts the range of motion and inhibits the user from achieving full extension.
The Xterra Erg400 can support 250 lbs. of weight. This isn’t extraordinary considering that many rowers under $200 can support this amount of weight. Moreover, the significant number of build quality complaints made by users indicate that you shouldn’t try to cross this assigned weight capacity.
The inseam of the Xterra Erg400 isn’t very long. However, it can still accommodate people who are up to 6’ tall. If you are over 6’, you will struggle with full extension. There are stoppers on the rear of the seat rail. So if you want another few inches of space, you can remove the stopper. If you are on the shorter end of the spectrum though, you can use this rower without any hassles.
The Xterra Erg400 is easy to store. The seat rail can be folded up to save space. The folding process is quick and easy too - just remove the locking pin, fold the rower and put the pin back in place. The Erg400 has transportation wheels that allow you to move it without any hassle. So when you are done folding it, you can just roll into a closet or a corner of your house.
The Xterra Erg400 is easy to assemble. The instructions are easy to follow and the whole process takes 30-45 minutes. The packaging is done carefully so that you don’t lose any nut or bolt. All tools necessary come in the package so that you don’t have to arrange them on your own.
Since the build quality isn’t reassuring, the warranty becomes really important for the Xterra Erg400 rower. Fortunately, the Xterra Erg400 rower comes with a 5-year warranty on frame and 1-year warranty on parts.
Another thing to note is the quality of their customer service. Xterra has a responsive customer service so if you face any issues or need parts replacement, it will be done promptly.
Overall, the Xterra Erg400 tries to be a high performer but falls short. That said, if you don’t experience any quality issues with this rowing machine, it can indeed be a decent rowing machine for home. What the machine lacks in build quality, it makes up for it with its customer service and long-term warranty. However, it still doesn’t compare to a rowing machine that is reliable and doesn’t give you any headaches whatsoever.Check Price
Fitness Reality 1000 Plus is a high-quality rowing machine. It has 14 levels of magnetic resistance, a decent performance monitor and solid build quality. Such a broad range of resistance levels also makes it great for HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. You can workout at early hours without waking anyone up since the rowing machine is dead quiet.
Stamina is known for making high-quality rowers. The ATS Air Rower 1399 is one of them. It is compact, offers a strong enough resistance and is long enough for taller people. The rowing stroke feels smooth and the seat glides without making any noise. It not only provides a strenuous workout, it is also comfortable.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is one of the best rowing machines. If you are a beginner looking for a smooth rower, the RW5515 is the perfect option. It has a strong enough resistance and doesn’t make any noise. The performance monitor lets you track the basic workout metrics and it folds up nicely to save space. However, its build quality isn’t as good as other rowers like the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus or the Stamina Air rower.
Want to check more options? Check out the best rowing machines under $500.
The Xterra Erg400 rower is a good product but comes with a caveat. It has a decent level of performance and comfort, but it isn’t reliable when it comes to build quality. However, the company does a good job of mitigating it with its long-term warranty and responsive customer service.
If this Xterra Erg400 rower review left you concerned about its build quality, check the alternatives mentioned above.
Looking for a detailed Proform 550R rower review?
You're in the right place!
The Proform 550R Rowing Machine is an air rower with many appealing features. It has a solid build quality and attractive design.
But is it worth your money?
Let us find out!Check Price
The Proform 550R is built with a steel frame and aluminum steel rail. The seat rail is long on this rower, so taller people can have full extension and a complete range of motion. The frame is solid enough so that it doesn’t wobble when you are rowing with full strength.
Until you have tested the rower yourself, it is hard to know how good it is. However, there is an indicator you can use to check its build quality - the weight capacity. It can accommodate up to 250 pounds of weight, which is not huge when it comes to rowing machines.
Even rowing machines under $200 have 250 lb capacity. So I expected more from a rower which is almost thrice as expensive. However, users were satisfied with its build quality, so you can still keep it as an option on your list.
Rowing machines come in four resistance types: air, water, magnetic and hydraulic. Each type of resistance comes with pros and cons.
The Proform 550R uses air resistance in which you have to pull the handle and row faster to have more resistance. The faster the rowing speed, the more resistance you fight against.
Air resistance also simulates the feeling of rowing on water. So that is an added advantage. This is also why Olympic rowers and professional athletes often use air rowers.
Air resistance is quite effective, in fact the world’s bestselling rowing machine - the Concept2 Model D - uses air resistance.
Although air resistance increases proportionately with your speed of rowing, the Proform 550R also comes with a damper mechanism.
By changing the resistance level using the damper, you can adjust the resistance manually. By changing the damper setting, you actually change the amount of air that reaches the flywheel fan.
Changing the damper setting changes the “feel” of the rowing stroke. If you switch it up, you feel you are rowing against a higher resistance.
But it doesn’t actually change the resistance. It just limits the air, which is like rowing on water with a lighter boat. The real change in resistance counts when you are rowing harder.
Although air resistance is great, many users reported that the resistance on the Proform 550R rower was lacking in magnitude. Even at the highest damper setting, they found the resistance lacking.
However, some of those users were confused with the damper setting. They forgot that air rowers need you to row harder in order to increase the resistance.
Overall, the resistance is enough since you can get more resistance by rowing harder. However, the damper settings on the Proform 550R definitely need improvement.
But if you are an athlete or stronger than the average population, the resistance won’t be enough for you. In that case, the Concept2 Model D is a suitable option.
The seat on this rower is a bit firm, but then that’s a common issue even with some high-end rowers. Using a seat cushion, you can get past this problem and enjoy workouts. The footrests are designed to fit all shoe sizes and come with velcro straps to keep your feet secured.
This makes rowing comfortable as you don’t have to worry about your feet slipping constantly.
The handle has enough padding for comfort and is anti-slip so that your grip doesn’t break even when your hands get sweaty.
The ProForm 550R has a long inseam with an oversized rail, so taller people can enjoy a full extension and a complete range of travel when rowing.Check Price
The performance monitor on the Proform 550R doesn’t come with any frills. It can track watts, strokes per minute, time, strokes and calories. It comes with the SCAN mode, that toggles through these metrics every few seconds so that you don’t have to search for a particular metric manually. There is also a ‘Priority Display’ button that lets you switch between the modes.
The watts metric is interesting because it helps you visualize how much power is created as you row. As it is in most rowers, the calorie count is an estimate, rather than accurate data.
The monitor calculates calories on the basis of the weight/height of an average user. However, this calorie count can still be used to compare relative performance.
Overall, the monitor is basic and does the job.
Even though the Proform 550R has a large footprint, it can be folded to reduce its size. In fact, the company has a patent on its SpaceSaver design. There are storage handles on the rower, an innovative feature, which you can use to fold the rower.
The seat rail locks in place and the whole folding process just takes a few seconds. Once the rower is folded, it can be moved using the built-in caster wheels. The entire process is seamless.
Proform 550R rower has the easiest assembly amongst all rowers. The reason is that it comes 90 percent preassembled. All you have to do is put the seat in place.
The instruction manual is straightforward and easy to follow, so the whole assembly can be done in a few minutes. Proform made a major improvement over its predecessor, the 440R, which is quite hard to assemble.
Warranty is an important thing to look out for since it indicates the durability of the product. In this case, the Proform 550R comes with a five-year warranty on frame, a 90-day warranty on parts, and a 90-day warranty on labor.
The 90-day part warranty isn’t really reassuring since any machine can break down after 90 days of use, incurring major expenses.
Overall, the Proform 550R rower is good for beginners and intermediates. It has a compelling design, smooth rowing motion, and a compact storage system. It operates with a variable air resistance that increases in magnitude as you increase your rowing speed.
However, the resistance seems to be not enough for some users, so go for it only if you aren’t strongly built and can do with average resistance.Check Price
Want the best rowing machine under 200 bucks? Go for the Maxkare Magnetic Rower. It has 16 levels of magnetic resistance, enough for an intense workout.
Even in this price range, you can everything in a rower.
Surprised? Check our top picks below to find out more!
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205
Stamina 1205 Precision Rower
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1410
Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is not only our #2 top pick, it is also an Amazon bestseller. This is for many reasons.
It is a hydraulic rower with 12 levels of adjustable resistance. It is compact in size, like all hydraulic rowers, and has the unique ‘free arms’ design that gives a fuller range of motion than the T-bar handle you see on most rowers. To adjust the resistance, you don’t even have to get off the rower. There is a knob right underneath the seat for that. But as with all hydraulic rowers, the piston tends to get hot and may leak oil after some usage.
Although the Stamina 1050 is one of the best rowing machines under 200, it still has the limitations of a hydraulic rower. Hydraulic rowers don’t have a strong enough resistance for rowing experts, athletes or people who are very strong or big.
The Stamina 1050 has a steel frame and an aluminum center beam. It is highly durable and lightweight, weighing just 40 pounds. The seat may produce a squeaky noise in some cases. If it happens, you can use the WD40 lubricant to fix this quickly.
The rower is small, but durable. It can last a long time. Its weight capacity is 250 pounds - which is excellent for its size and price range.
The LCD monitor is basic and made of cheap plastic, but it does the job. It can track time, stroke count, total count and calories. However, the calorie count is just an estimate. Most rowers have an inaccurate calorie count because they calculate it on the basis of an average user’s height/weight. Apart from that, it has the SCAN mode that toggles through various metrics every few seconds.
The seat on the Stamina 1050 is a bit hard and a seat pad may be needed. Foot plates are sufficient in size and feel comfortable, but the velcro straps can’t prevent feet from slipping. So you’d have to buy new straps.
When it comes to its inseam, people with height up to 6’4” have used it easily. On the other end, it can work for people as short as 5 feet. When it comes to weight, try to stay under the mentioned capacity of 250 lbs. If you are too heavy, it may not work for you.
Its compact size is one reason why it is among the best on our list. It can be folded for storage which brings its size down to 49 ½” x 11 ¾” x 9 ½” (source: Sears). Folding it is easy - just undo the two knobs, fold the arms, put the knobs back in and make the rower stand vertically.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a quality hydraulic rower that is compact yet powerful. Unless you are an athlete or physically very strong or heavy, it will give you a challenging and tiring workout every time you use it. Its free arm design allows you to fully enjoy each rowing stroke.
The SF-RW1205 is another amazon bestseller worth a mention here. It is a compact hydraulic rower, so great for small apartments.
Not all budget rowers are well made. But the 1205 is a solid rower with a durable steel frame. It will surprise with its quality at its price.
There are rubber floor protectors on the legs that make it stable and protect your floor. It can support up to 220 lbs. of weight. But people with up to 250 lbs. of weight could use it without any issues.
The rower has 12 levels of hydraulic resistance. There is a piston under the seat along with a knob that allows you to change the resistance. However, hydraulic pistons tend to get hot and may even leak after continuous usage over many months.
Some users reported this issue and mentioned how the company replaced the pistons immediately. Some users even set up a fan that blows air on the piston while in use to enhance its durability.
The good thing is that the resistance is of good magnitude, enough for you to have a tiring workout within 20-30 minutes. However, it is common knowledge that hydraulic rowers aren’t suited for stronger people. They don’t have a strong enough resistance.
Assembling the rower is easy. It just requires you to put in three bolts. You won’t need instructions to assemble this rower.
The seat is comfortable and has sufficient padding. However, to maintain stability, you have to sit at the center. If your weight is uneven, the rower may start to wag. The handle is soft-touch with enough padding to keep your hands comfortable.
Foot plates are large and accommodate all sizes. They have a pivoting motion which takes the extra pressure off your ankles, which helps people with weak ankle flexibility or ankle issues.
The performance monitor shows a range of workout data including time, stroke count, total count and calories burned. As with all budget or mid-range rowers, the calorie counter isn’t accurate since it doesn’t take into account your weight.
It also has the SCAN mode that toggles and shows a different workout metric every few seconds so that you don’t have to search for it manually.
Hydraulic rowers are easy to store. The RW1205 rower can be folded flat and stored under the bed. But to fold it flat, the rowing handle bolts have to be taken out and the knob on the rear has to be undone as well.
It takes some work initially, but can be done quickly once you get used to it. If you want a quicker way, you can make it stand vertically.
Hydraulic rowers are compact, so they aren’t suited for taller people. If you have a stronger and heavier physique than most people, this rower would be too lightweight for you. It won’t support your weight.
If you are 6’2” or taller, you won’t be able to extend yourself fully on the rower to enjoy a full range of motion.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF RW-1205 is a solid product for those who have an average physique and want a comfortable rower capable of challenging them every day.
Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is a solid contender. Here is why:
It is a hydraulic rower with two pistons. So both arms of the rower can work independently, allowing you to ‘mix it up’ when you get bored of the same rowing motion. Stamina is known for producing solid quality budget rowers and this is one of their finest.
The Stamina 1205 rower has solid build quality. Reviews indicate that people were surprised by the quality of this rower. It is made of a steel frame with an aluminum beam. Although it is solid, it is still lightweight - weighing just 50 lbs.
The rower uses two pistons for resistance. The resistance is adjustable with five levels to choose from. Level 1 is the toughest, 5 is the lowest. In most hydraulic rowers, resistance is adjusted by turning a knob that is located under the seat.
But in this one, there are adjusters fitted on the arms themselves. To change the resistance level, you have to unlock the tension adjusters on either side and lock it to the level you want.
In hydraulic rowers, the piston tends to get hot after 15-20 minutes of workout. So one has to be careful not to touch the piston, because it can literally burn your hands. The pistons can also leak oil, although rarely, so it is better to keep a mat under the rower.
Hydraulic rowers are quiet and so is this one. You can enjoy an early morning or even a late-night workout without disturbing anybody. The only sound you will hear is that coming from the gliding of the seat.
After a certain period of use, you may start hearing squeaks from the joints or other parts. The WD-40 lubricant spray will solve the issue immediately.
The seat is super comfortable and remarkably so. It is one of the most comfortable seats on any rower. The handle has a soft-touch, foam padding for comfort. Even the handle on Concept2 rower (the gold standard in rowers) is hard for some people. But the Stamina 1205 has taken care of this aspect.
The monitor can track time, stroke count, speed, distance and calories burned. There is a single button on the monitor that turns it on and helps you use the different functions. There is a scan mode that displays different metrics every few seconds so that you don’t have to do it manually.
However, it is not backlit and the calorie count isn’t exactly accurate since it is based on the height and weight of an ‘average user’. Don’t count this rower out yet, the calorie counter is just an estimate on most rowers and is still useful for comparing two workouts.
The Stamina 1205 rower is compact, but it doesn’t fold up for storage. The seat, however, can be removed, if you want to tuck it in a small space. For storing it under your bed, it needs to be at least 7.5 inches high. Since it is small and lightweight, moving it is easy. However, it has no built-in caster wheels like other rowers.
The Stamina 1205 will surprise you with its build quality, keep your workouts interesting with its independent arms and keep you going with its comfort levels. It is an all-rounder with a hint of innovation. Its drawbacks are those typical of hydraulic rowers - pistons getting hot and needing maintenance.
Sunny Health & Fitness 1410 is one the best rowing machines under 200 bucks. It has garnered a lot of positive reviews. A certified fitness expert with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) gave it five stars and mentioned how it was working smoothly even after two years of use.
It is made with a durable steel frame. It feels very high-quality for the price.
Some users mentioned how the unit broke at the weld where the arms attach after 6-12 months of use. However, for those who experienced this issue, the company issued a replacement without asking any questions. Of course, not every unit breaks like this. But if this worries you, you should buy one of the Stamina rowers mentioned above.
The rower operates on hydraulic resistance for which a piston is located under the seat. Because of its hydraulic resistance, the rower is quiet and allows you to watch TV or listen to a podcast without getting disturbed.
The resistance is good enough unless you have a strong or athletic physique. However, if you are looking for a rower with high resistance, you should go for the MaxKare magnetic rower. The RW1410 has a moderate level of resistance at best. You can increase the number of your strokes or your speed to make it intense, but it doesn’t get better beyond that.
Some users also found that the resistance was too weak to work their legs. However, others were satisfied with it and mentioned how it worked their arms, shoulders, upper back, and legs. A user even added a 9-inch platform under the rear foot to increase the resistance for their legs.
Another common flaw with hydraulic rowers like the SF-RW1410 is that their piston tends to get burning hot after 10-15 minutes of workout. You have to let it sit for a minute or two before you can start working out again. Hydraulic pistons can also leak sometimes. But there was no such complaint about the SF-RW1410 rower.
Overall, the rower provides moderate levels of resistance like most hydraulic rowers.
The performance monitor on the RW1410 is basic but helps you track time, stroke count, total count and calories burnt. It also has a SCAN mode that shuffles through these metrics so that you don’t have to search a particular metric manually. Despite being basic, the monitor is easy to read, more so than many expensive rowers.
The seat is padded for comfort and most users found it comfortable. However, it can get uncomfortable a few minutes into the workout. The foot plates are comfortable and you can even row barefooted if you want. The handles have a soft-touch grip and the unique design allows you to enjoy the actual rowing motion rather than the back-and-forth motion of a t-bar handle.
The rowing motion is smooth and one can work out for over an hour without any hassles. Unlike many other rowers, the foot straps on this rower are sturdy and keep your feet secured in place.
Since this is a compact rower, you won’t expect it catering to taller people. But many users who are 6’ to 6’3” mentioned using the rower without any problems. On the other hand, shorter people, with height about 4’11” won’t have any problems either. This is great since shorter and taller people tend to struggle with hydraulic rowers.
The rower only weighs 34 lbs, so it is easy to move around or store. For compact storage, the pin from the rear support can be removed and it can be folded down. Then it can stand vertically taking little space.
If you want to stow it away for a long time, there’s another way. Undo the two screws to take out the monitor arm and then re-inserting the pin. This will allow you to store it in a closet or small space.
The Sunny Health & Fitness 1401 has a little bit of everything. It is perfect for beginners with its moderately strong resistance and smooth rowing motion. It is more comfortable than many of its counterparts, perfect for those long and sweaty workout sessions.
The Harvil Hydraulic Rower has a solid build quality, folds for compact storage and makes zero noise. You can choose to do only an upper body workout or a full-body workout with its large free motion arms.
For more details, check the full review on this page.
Finding a solid rower under the $200 budget is hard. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Stamina makes some of the best quality budget rowers. The MaxKare magnetic rower is also an unbeatable rower in the $200 range.
You can’t have a long and tiring workout if the seat is uncomfortable due to lack of padding or if the handle is hard and hurting your hands. The foot pedals should also secure your feet in place and the gliding motion of the seat should be stable and smooth.
After checking the three main features, the next step is to look for the functionalities of the performance monitor. Budget rowers usually have basic monitors that can track time, stroke count, total count and a rough estimate of calories.
Most sub-$200 rowers are compact and easy to store. Still, you should check whether it is foldable. The hydraulic rowers usually don’t come with transportation wheels. But the MaxKare magnetic rower, which is our top pick, has built-in wheels.
There are many high-quality rowers for home use:
This is considered the gold standard by Olympians and professionals. It has air resistance and damper setting that lets you row at a precise level of resistance.
This is the perfect mid-range rower with 14 levels of magnetic resistance and a Bluetooth app for performance tracking.
This is a quality rower from the renowned brand, Waterrower. It provides a tranquil rowing experience that mimics the feeling of rowing on water. Here is a full guide to water rowing machines for home use.
The Stamina ATS air rower is known for a solid build quality. Its resistance simulates rowing on water and is strong enough for getting a strenuous workout. With an air rower, the harder you row, the more resistance you get. So it gives the control in your hands.
It depends on the resistance strength available to you. The best way is to tweak the resistance up and find a suitable level with trial and error. If your rower doesn’t have adjustable resistance, you can row harder to get an intense workout.
Yes, rowing works 86% of the muscles in your body. However, rowing for losing belly fat shouldn’t be used in isolation. If you use it in isolation, it would take a long time to lose belly fat. You should combine it with other exercises such as cycling, crunches and running.
Yes, rowing is the best exercise since it activates 86% of muscles and nine muscle groups. It burns more calories than running and doesn’t put stress on your joints like running. Competitive rowers burn twice the number of calories in a 2000-meter course as a runner in a 3000-meter steeplechase.
Even on a $200 budget, you can buy a quality rower that can last for many years.
Our top pick is the MaxKare magnetic rower with 16-resistance levels. It has everything you need - performance, comfort and reliability.
If you can stretch your budget, check our guide to the best rowing machines under $300.
This guide delivers an in-depth Stamina X Air Rower review.
The Stamina X Air Rower is a quality product with a host of features.
Stamina is known for making high-quality budget rowers, and the Stamina X is one of them.
It has a sleek design and a vibrant look that comes from the red and black color theme. Its performance is equally good, it delivers a smooth experience and has a strong enough resistance for a rigorous workout.Check Price
So let us look at each aspect of the Stamina X Air Rower in-depth:
The Stamina X is built to last. It is made with a durable steel frame that makes it strong enough to take years of abuse. It uses a metal rowing chain instead of the nylon strap that is seen on most rowers.
This is an innovative step from the company but it comes with some flaws, which we will discuss later. The seat is molded for comfort and glides smoothly along the seat rail. The handle is padded to ensure that your hands don’t get sore or have blisters from those long workout sessions.
Yet another innovative feature is the incline seat rail. The seat rail is angled to provide a more effective resistance. When you are in the drive phase of the rowing stroke (moving back), you have to push on your legs harder to move through the incline.
When you are in the recovery phase (moving forward), you have to maintain pressure on your legs to keep a proper rowing form. This change in form leads to a better leg workout than what you get on a flat seat rail.
The Stamina X Air Rower operates on air resistance. As you pull the handle faster, the flywheel fan spins faster and displaces a larger volume of air, increasing the resistance. Hence, the faster you row, the more resistance you feel.
The resistance isn’t adjustable as it is in high-end Concept2 rowers. There are no resistance levels and you just have to row harder to increase the resistance.
As far as the magnitude of resistance is concerned, it is enough for most people with beginner or intermediate fitness level. However, if you are an athlete or training for competitive sports, it is better to get a rower where you can adjust resistance levels.
Another unique design feature is the open fan system. Usually, the flywheel housing is covered in most rowers. But you can see the fan moving in the Stamina X. However, because of the open fan design, the Stamina X makes a moderate level of noise and isn’t exactly quiet.
Air rowers are generally louder than any other type of rowers. But the Stamina X Air Rower is like the higher-end rowers that don’t make disturbing levels of noise.
This rower can support up to 250 lbs. of weight as per official guidelines. However, users feel it is solid enough to support as much as 300-350 pounds of weight. This is remarkable since many high-end rowers like Nordictrack RW900 that cost almost $2000 can only support 250 lbs. of weight.
The foot plates are pivoting, so they rotate around the axis as you row, to take off the pressure off your ankles and provide a more ergonomic position. The foot plates are adjustable and accommodate all foot sizes. User reports indicate that the foot pads are too big even when you adjust their length at the lowest setting. The foot straps hold your feet in place.
Some users have mentioned that the seat on the Stamina X is smaller than that on most rowers. This makes rowing a bit harder than usual. If you are big or heavy, this may become a serious concern. The seat is also hard and doesn't have sufficient padding.
Stamina is known for its good build quality, but the seat is average at best. Even after 10-15 minutes, it starts to feel uncomfortable. However, adding a seat cushion can provide some relief.
A hard seat is a common complaint in many rowers. Some even find the seat of Concept2 uncomfortable. But Stamina did a disappointing job by building a small seat. This needs to be changed.
Although the handle isn’t uncomfortable, it should be a couple of inches longer. It is short in length which is bad for the ergonomics of the rower. However, one may get used to it with time. The handle is also positioned a bit low for someone who is over 6 feet tall. So if you are very tall, say 6’5”, it won’t be comfortable for you.
Air rowers are great for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). In HIIT workouts, you focus on gassing yourself out by alternating between quick bursts of aerobic exercises and anaerobic or resistance exercises. The point of HIIT training is to push your heart rate to 80 percent of its maximum capacity. This has immense health benefits.
The plastic flywheel is enclosed by a metal grill around it. As you pull the handle, the fan starts spinning and the sound makes you feel like you are rowing on actual water. The harder you row, the louder the sound gets.
The Stamina X makes some noise, but it is not annoying and sounds like a normal fan. Wearing headphones can eliminate this noise, but you can enjoy the sound like a breeze. The noise is less than a treadmill and you can watch TV easily even at a normal volume.Check Price
The Stamina X Air Rower comes with an LCD monitor that shows time, total strokes, distance, calories, speed and strokes per minute. There are three different rows in which the monitor shows the metrics. The monitor turns on when you start rowing or it can be switched on using the ‘Mode’ button. The mode button lets you view and toggle between the different metrics.
There is no backlit and some users have mentioned how the display is hard to read even in normal conditions. This is really disappointing since Stamina rowers have good build quality in general.
The performance monitor only measures the distance in miles and you have to manually convert it into meters to get an idea of your performance. Moreover, the calorie metric isn’t accurate since it is based on the weight of an average user. Customers also reported how other metrics seem to fluctuate abruptly. However, many users were satisfied with the display, so this could be a subjective issue.
The performance monitor has no bell and whistles. You cannot program it to create customized workouts or learn from pre-recorded workouts. You cannot store your data on the machine to keep track of your progress in the long term.
If you are serious about performance tracking, it is better to buy a quality fitness tracker such as a Garmin.
The Stamina X Air Rower can be folded for easy storage. It can be stowed away in a remote corner of the house or in a closet. It has built-in wheels for easy transportation from one spot to the other. To fold the rower, you just have to remove two pins, fold the flywheel part toward the seat rail and re-insert the pins. Since it is easy to fold up and store away, this makes it good for people who are always on the move.
The folding mechanism is different from most rowers. Generally, the seat rail folds up against the flywheel in most rowers, but the Stamina X is different. Due to this different mechanism, it has a larger footprint when folded.
For example, the Concept2 Model D rower measures 25.0″ x 33.0″ x 54.0″ when folded. This translates to 825 square inch of footprint.
The Stamina X Air Rower measures 53.0″ x 18.0″ x 40.0″, which is 954 square inches of footprint and 129 square inches more than the Concept2 Rower, which is quite a long rower.
The Stamina X Air Rowing Machine is easy to assemble. Assembly takes anywhere from half to quarter of an hour. Due to the weight of the unit and how it needs to be maneuvered during assembly, it is better if assembly is done by two people. There are twelve bolts and screws that connect the rear support, foot plates and the display monitor.
It is good to take some time to familiarize yourself with the instructions and the parts. All tools necessary for assembly are provided in the delivery package. However, a couple users mentioned that the included wrench can’t tighten the leg bolts enough. So it’s better to use your own wrench. In fact, the assembly process will be smooth if you use your own tools.
The Stamina X Air Rower has a long enough inseam for people up to 6 ft. 4 inches of height. Many users who are 6 feet tall mentioned that the machine had plenty of travel for them and still had 6 inches to spare. The inseam of this rower is 39 inches, so you can measure your inseam to have an accurate answer.
On top of that, there is a rubber stopper on the rear end of the seat rail, which can be removed to free up a couple more inches of travel.
For anyone over 6’3”, the chain positioning would be too low. So it would be hard to have a comfortable and grounded form when rowing. If you happen to be over 6’3”, it is better to look for other rowers such as the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus, which is our top pick in magnetic rowing machines.
78.5” x 18” x 29”
53” x 18” x 40”
The handle is too close to the foot plates which restricts the range of motion. Generally, the handle is supposed to be a couple feet farther away from the foot plates so that you can have a longer reach during the ‘recovery’ phase of the rowing stroke.
The most reported issue with the rower was the metal chain. For many users, the chain kept jumping off the track and out of its sprocket. Also, it clicks so loudly when you row that it feels like it is going to break. A user mentioned how the chain wouldn’t slip off if you don’t pull the handle high with a jerky stroke.
The fan is made of cheap plastic and its durability is uncertain. For one user, the seat bolts fell out and the monitor stopped working after a couple months of use. Another user mentioned that the rollers under the seat don’t consistently touch the center beam, which inhibits the motion from being smooth. Such issues show the lack of quality control on this rowing machine.
The build quality of some parts isn’t promising in the long-term. One user reported their experience after rowing 600 miles on the Stamina X. They mentioned that the foot brackets broke at the heel. Foot brackets make sure your feet are secured in place when you push back.
Second, they mentioned that the rollers beneath the seat were wearing out, shredding black flakes on the rail. A couple months later, they reported that they had replaced all four of the rollers.
Apart from a few quality issues, Stamina X Air Rower delivers the kind of rowing experience you see on high-end rowers.
Some users who liked the product mentioned that the product is made in China, so there are some quality issues. But for the price, they were satisfied with the rower. They liked the experience of pushing themselves as far as they could with the variable resistance and getting a strenuous workout. An engineer with experience in metal fabrication mentioned that the rower is expensive for the material and labor that went into manufacturing it.
Warranty is a strong indicator of quality. In this case, the Stamina X Air Rower comes with a 3-year warranty on the frame, but only a 90-day warranty on parts. However, in this budget range, this is quite common.
Since the parts warranty is short, you may consider buying third-party warranty from companies such as SquareTrade.
If the poor quality control of the Stamina X Air Rower doesn’t sit well with you, then we recommend you check out the Stamina 1399 ATS Air Rower. It is cheaper, but more reliable and an Amazon bestseller.
If you can spend an additional hundred bucks or so to get a superb rower, I recommend the Fitness Reality 100 Plus Magnetic Rower. It is a high-quality rower with 14 levels of adjustable resistance, is whisper quiet and even has bluetooth connectivity. Keep in mind that magnetic resistance isn’t variable; it doesn’t fluctuate with how hard or slow you are rowing.
The Stamina X Air Rower is a dynamic rower with a sleek and innovative design. The open fan and the angled seat rail make it stand apart from other rowers, although both have their downsides. Some users were impressed with this rower while others expected a better comfort level and smooth design. The rower looks perfect at first, but lacks the seamless design that we see on other rowers. Overall it is a decent rowing machine for a home gym and if quality issues are taken care of, it is capable of challenging high-end rowers like the Concept2.