The best rowing machines aren’t always the expensive ones.
Did you know that you use 84% of your musculature while rowing? A rower or rowing machine is suitable for low-impact exercises that can help in strengthening the legs and lower back. It’s also useful in burning calories which can then lead to weight loss.
Rowers give you the benefit of performing various upper body exercises such as shoulder shrugs, bicep curls and upright rows. Note that you are achieving all these while also having a cardio workout.
All these are why rowing is one of the best all-around activities for strength and cardiovascular fitness. You can easily build a strong back with rowing, thereby reducing the symptoms or occurrence of back pain.
The best rowers or rowing machines of 2019 – Review
Backed by over 30 years of manufacturing experience, the Concept 2 Model D is truly a rowing machine beast. This is definitely one of the best-selling indoor rowing machines in the world even despite its steep price.
The fact that it is also used by various gyms also speaks a lot about the quality and durability. Dare I say that it is also a popular option among Olympic-level athletes?
The rowing machine comes with a sturdy build and performance to match while delivering an effective cardiovascular workout that will increase your weight loss, fitness level and tone your physique.
The perceived downside of this rower is the price. It isn’t a cheap workout option but if you’re looking for a quality engineered rower that you can enjoy for years without complain then this is it. The good thing about rowers is that they often eliminate the need for other fitness equipment. It is an impressive value for money.
The PerformanceMonitor 5 (PM5) is definitely one of the most advanced monitors in the fitness equipment world. This is particularly impressive because of its basic build.
Easy to use and with a wide range of rowing options as well as even a few games like darts and fishing to switch things up when you get tired of the norm or need a new challenge.
With the PM5, you can track data such as distance, pace, speed, calories burned, and watts. Did I mention that it also supports multiple languages?
With the PM5, it is also possible to have machine-to-machine racing. It also supports ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart for connecting devices such as smartphones, iPads, and heart rate monitors/computers.
The flywheel and damper are also of premium qualities as you always have full control of your exertion and resistance. The spiral dampers also make it possible to easily change the resistance for improved strokes.
It also features adjustable footrests that make it ideal for any shoe sizes plus an ergonomic handle with a 10-degree bend for a more natural arm and hand position while rowing.
It is also incredibly easy to assemble and detach, thanks to its quick-release frame lock mechanism. You can split it into two and place in a corner, although it can be really heavy.
Performance Monitor 5
Premium flywheel and damper
Quick-release frame-lock mechanism
Comfortable ergonomic handle
Free Concept2 app ‘ErgData’
The R200 Rowing Machine by JLL is one of the best rowing machines and elite performance home rowers out there. It’s equipped with features that help in training like a pro, losing weight and sculpting the whole body. When used over time, it can also help with back pain relief.
As with most rowers, the R200 is perfect for all users. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a veteran with rowers, the JLL manufactured product just works for you thanks to its 10 different resistance levels.
Being belt driven and equipped with magnetic resistance, it operates smoothly and quietly. There are other cool features like the LCD Monitor Display which shows values such as total count, calorie, count/min, count, distance, scan, time.
The use of advanced belt driving system, the presence of wheels fitted to the underside of the seat and comfortable padded seat provides a smooth and seamless rowing experience.
It also makes use of strong secure foot plates fitted with Velcro straps to provide a comfortable foot fit. You can also worry-less about its ergonomic handlebars causing irritation to your fingers or hands as it is covered with foam padded and high-quality non-slip rubber.
However, some features in the device deserved better upgrades as there are some cons to this product. The built-in LCD display, for example, could display more than the basic total count, calorie, count/min, count, distance, scan, and time but it’s okay for a home use product.
You should also tape up the computer wire and be careful with during assemble as it’s the most vulnerable part of the machine.
10 levels of Magnetic Resistance
LCD Monitor Display
Advanced belt driving system
Secure Foot Plates
The best rowing machines are generally suited for low-impact and total body workout that utilizes the major muscle groups like the legs, back, arms, buttocks and abdominals. This way, you can effectively burn calories and fat without much effect on your joints.
Rowing is an effective method of treating back pain at home or preventing future occurrences.
This rowing machine is a perfect offering from We R Sports to rowing or fitness beginners. I am going to lay emphases on the beginners because it might seem too easy to use for a veteran rower. But, this is a good offering with lots of cool features.
The LCD display is quite basic and doesn’t show much except time, distance and speed settings; the basic workout information you need.
You also have the option of a comfortable padded seat which has an underrated effect on your workout session. An uncomfortable seat makes workout sessions tiring and gruesome. This is because you keep shifting positions to accommodate your comfort.
The rower offers 4-way adjustable resistance options which are okay for beginners but the resistance levels become too easy for veterans. Again, stay away if you’re a veteran and need something more challenging.
It also featured non-slip adjustable straps for feet security; you don’t want your feet slipping off every time, do you?
Another plus is that the assembling is quite easy as most parts are pre-assembled. There are some things I wish they’d done better but isn’t too much of a concern given the price and target users.
The front panel, for example, isn’t very intuitive but does the main thing which is counting strokes.
It’s also been noticed that the front support legs/bar are not wide or heavy enough. This sometimes causes the front end to lift off the floor while rowing especially for seasoned users (told you to stay away).
Non-slip adjustable straps
4-way adjustable resistance
Foldable for easy storage
Foam padded seat
Have you heard of the legendary V-fit AR1 Artemis Air Rower? No? Well, the Tornado is its deluxe version. This rower is more robust than the We R Sports Premium for example and is perfectly suited to both fitness beginners and experts. After the Concept 2, it is arguable that this is one of the next best rowing machines in line.
V-fit themselves described the product as ‘a robust steel frame, an extruded aluminium rowing rail with an anatomically designed smooth action, roller mounted padded seat and a club style, speed-proportionate resistance air fan with chain drive and a contoured row handle for more intensive stroke control.’
With the Tornado Air Power, you will begin training like an Olympian in little time.
This rowing machine is driven by a centre-pull micro link chain which moves the multi-vane air fan to deliver speed proportionate resistance to the user, thus, causing a naturally adaptive difficulty level that matches your ability.
What all these grammar means, in essence, is that the faster you row, the harder it becomes.
It is also equipped with three built-in LCD exercise monitor which helps you track your progress. They require two AA batteries to work and show values such as strokes per minute, theoretical distance and calorie burn, time, speed and total strokes.
The measurement unit is switchable between kilometres and miles.
Its oversized pivoting footplates and 2-position Velcro-style toe straps help make your movement feel as natural as possible while keeping your feet secure.
Like many of the other rowers, it has front integrated roller wheels and you can fold it up to reduce storage length. The truth is that rowers can take up a lot of room when in use.
With V-fit Tornado, you can significantly improve your cardiovascular, weight loss, low impact and full body workout while it’s also possible to focus on the arms, back and shoulders.
This rower is a very good buy but some things could have been better. For example, because of the flywheel location, it is impossible to reach the front stop and you are limited to 1/2 to 3/4 stroke.
Another worry is that distance/stroke per minute is measured by seat slide (back and forth movement) which I fear wouldn’t be the most accurate technique.
Some users have also complained about it being somewhat noisy. The absence of resistance levels is brilliantly countered by ‘the faster you row, the harder it gets’ technique.
6 function LCD monitor
Folding frame design
Contoured polyurethane anatomically designed seat with bearing mounted upper and lower seat guide rollers
speed proportionate air resistance chain drive rower with canted, wide reach row bar
Rowing machines are excellent for weight loss and total body workout. With time, it becomes very beneficial in the treatment of back pain.
Concept 2 is considered by many as the benchmark of what a good rower should be but many forget the cost implication. If you have the budget then please look no further than the Concept 2. It is by far one of the best rowing machines at the moment.
However, there are still cheaper alternatives that offer great value for money and are also adequate for both fitness beginners and experts. V-fit Tornado Air Rower, We R Sports Premium Rowing Machine and JLL® R200 Luxury Home Rowing Machine are three such examples.