Rowing machines aren’t just for cardio anymore. Not when you can choose rowers that let you do a full-body workout.
If your primary goal is cardio, don’t worry, there has never been a better selection of magnetic rowers.
The great thing about a rowing machine is that it works your entire body. It’s one of the best exercise machines you can have in your home gym.
With that in mind, let’s dive in and check out the best magnetic rowing machines on the market!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
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The NordicTrack RW 900 features iFIT interactive personal training, a free 1-year iFit membership, and access to interactive trainer-led studio workout programs.
There’s also a 22-inch HD smart touchscreen display with an adjustable console angle.
Plus, the RW 900 indoor rower has 26 coach-controlled levels of resistance that imitate real water and match the recommendations of trainers.
The seat is ergonomically molded for comfort, and there’s SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance with an inertia enhanced flywheel. This design provides a quiet, energy-efficient workout.
Finally, the special SpaceSaver design lets you fold the rower in half, and the front transport wheels allow easy moving and storage. All of these features make the NordicTrack RW 900 Rower our best rowing machine.
- Accommodates Users 6’6” Tall
- 26 Levels Of Resistance
- Free 1 Year iFit Membership
- After The First Year, Users Must Pay For iFit Membership
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The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Rowing Machine is the only Bluetooth rower on the market that includes a free My Cloud Fitness app.
The app is available on iOS and Android so you can monitor your workout progress.
There are workout goal settings that include: time, distance, and the number of calories burned. There’s also an LCD monitor that displays your exercise stats.
It’s also the only home rowing machine on the market that lets users do additional exercises. Users can do full-body, intense workouts with this machine. You can target arms, shoulders, legs, and more. There’s a no-slip grip short handle that is used for these exercises.
The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus features 14 levels of quiet magnetic resistance with a user weight limit of 250lbs. There’s a padded seat, no-slip footplates with adjustable straps, and it folds for easy storage.
The exclusive features of this rower make it the best versatile rower.
- Users Can Do Additional Exercises For Full-Body Cardio Workouts
- Includes A Bluetooth Connectivity & Free Fitness App
- Folds Up For Easy Storage
- Some Users Feel The Exercise Stats May Not Be Correct
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The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5624 Magnetic Rower features 8 levels of resistance and has a user weight limit of 300 lbs.
There are full-motion oar-style long arms that can be used together or one arm at a time to create a more challenging workout experience.
There’s a fully padded, easy on, easy off seat set 22” high. This makes the Sunny Health & Fitness 5624 the best magnetic rower for seniors.
Also, there’s a display that tracks stroke count, calories, total stroke count, time, and scan.
Additionally, the SF-RW5624 Rower has large no-slip foot pads with adjustable straps. This Rower is foldable and includes transportation wheels for easy storage.
- 8 Levels Of Magnetic Resistance
- Oar-Style Arms – Use Together Or Separately
- User Weight Capacity Of 300 Lbs.
- The Magnetic Resistance Is Too Noisy For Some Users
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This Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine features a 48″ slide rail with a 44″ inseam length. This rower can accommodate users of virtually any height.
The SF-RW5515 is made using an alloy steel frame with a user weight capacity of 250 lbs. There are 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
There’s a large LCD console that tracks time, calories burned, and total stroke count.
The SF-RW5515 Rowing Machine has a large, comfortable seat and a no-slip handlebar. There are large, non-slip footplates with high-quality safety straps.
Finally, like many other magnetic rowers, this magnetic rower has wheels for easy transport.
- Features 8 Resistance Levels
- Built For Taller Users
- User Weight Capacity Of 250 Lbs.
- Does Not Fold For Storage
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The Marcy NS-6002RE Foldable Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine features heavy-duty steel construction and has a user weight capacity of 300 lbs. It is designed to mimic the feel of being in the water in a real boat.
There’s a computer display that tracks time, stroke count, total stroke count, and calories.
This home rowing machine has oversized foot pedals with straps and a foam covered handle. There’s also a water bottle holder and a media rack.
The Marcy NS-6002RE folds easily for storage and includes transportation wheels for easy transport.
This machine has more features than most compact rowers. These features make it our pick for the best compact home rowing machine.
- Imitates The Rowing Feel Of a Real Boat
- Folds For Easy Storage
- Water Bottle Holder & Media Rack
- Some Users Have Complained About Manufacturer Quality
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The Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine features 10 resistance levels and has a user weight capacity of 265lbs. It’s constructed using strong iron tubing for the slide rails.
This rower operates quietly and provides smooth resistance. It also has a 15-degree angle for a more intense workout.
The seat is padded for comfort and there are large pivoting footplates with adjustable straps. Additionally, the LCD monitor tracks stroke count, total stroke count, time, calories, and distance.
There’s also a scan mode that displays your progress.
The Goplus is easy to use and features a simple single pull handle. It also folds for storage and moves easily.
- Made Using Iron Tubing
- Easy To Fold And Store
- 10 Levels Of Resistance
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The Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower features an aluminum rowing beam and steel frame.
It provides 12 workout programs with 6 cardio profiles that include 1 heart rate program, 4 custom user programs, and 1 manual program.
The monitor displays time, total stroke count, stroke count per minute, calories burned, and distance. There’s also a chest strap that tracks heart rate.
This rower uses electromagnetic resistance, so users can adjust resistance while they are training with the up/down arrows on the monitor.
There is a molded ergonomic seat and oversize footplates with straps.
Finally, this rowing machine is foldable for storage.
The downside to this rower is that it doesn’t list how many resistance levels there are, and it took searching online to reveal a weight capacity of 275 lbs.
- 12 Workout Programs With 6 Cardio Profiles
- Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor
- Foldable Rower For Easy Storage
- The Seat Is Not Padded And May Not Be Comfortable To Some Users
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The Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW Deluxe Foldable Magnetic Rower is manufactured using heavy-duty steel and aluminum. It has a user weight capacity of 300lbs and utilizes an 11lb flywheel.
There are 8 levels of resistance. Coupled with the 11lb flywheel, you can get a good cardiovascular workout using this rowing machine.
The LCD monitor keeps track of time, speed, strokes per minute, distance, calories burned, ambient temperature, and date.
There’s also a molded seat for support and comfort. The Circuit Fitness Rower features foam-covered handlebars and adjustable foot straps for stability.
This rowing machine is easy to fold up for storage and has wheels for easy transport.
- 11lb Flywheel & Magnetic Resistance
- User Weight Capacity of 300 lbs.
- Wheels For Transport
- Some Users Feel The Tracking Information Is Not Accurate
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The Velocity CHR-2001 Exercise Magnetic Rower has an aluminum frame with a user weight capacity of 275 lbs.
The magnetic resistance is a drum magnetic control (DRM) system that lets you electronically control the amount of tension. This means you can adjust the resistance in the middle of an exercise. It also provides the quietest, smoothest operation of any magnetic rower.
The LCD monitors time, stroke count, and calories burned, plus there’s a chest strap monitor to track your heart rate.
There’s also a padded seat for comfort and large footplates with straps to help you keep your exercise form.
The CHR-2001 folds for easy transport and storage.
- Features A Drum Magnetic Control System
- Folds For Storage
- Includes Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor
- Some Users May Feel The Rowing Handle Is Too High
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The Teeter Power10 Magnetic Rowing Machine is unique in that it features 2-way resistance. Users not only pull like traditional rowers, but they also push.
There are 7 resistance levels, and there are also multi-grip handles so users can target specific muscle groups. This approach allows a more complete workout. You can do cardio workouts and strength training on this rowing machine. In fact, it’s almost a self-contained home gym.
The magnetic resistance can be adjusted during the workout, users do not have to stop an exercise to increase/decrease resistance.
There’s also a free training app that’s instructed by personal trainers.
The digital monitor displays calories, strokes per minute, total strokes, time, and distance. Plus, there’s a Coded Polar Telemetric Heart Rate transmitter and T34 Polar Chest Strap that connects to the monitor so your heart rate is displayed.
The Teeter Power10 folds and has wheels for easy transport. The handles, seat, and footplates are adjustable. This is a complete rower for anyone that wants an exclusive piece of fitness equipment.
- Features Exclusive Push/Pull Movement Path
- 7 Levels Of Magnetic Resistance
- Allows A Complete Full Body Workout
- Requires Two People To Put Together
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The Hydrow Rower features an electro magnetic resistance system. The frame is made of aluminum and steel with an anthracite polymer body. This rower provides smooth rowing action.
There’s a large 22″ display screen. You’ll need it for the extra-cost Hydrow membership. The membership includes preset workout programs and daily live streams with world-class athletes. There’s an in-depth library of workouts available. You can also track all your performance stats.
The Hydrow features Bluetooth connectivity. Headphones are included so no one else hears the workouts. This is helpful if others are trying to sleep when you train. It’s also helpful if you’re training in a noisy environment.
The adjustable foot pedals, or “foot bed” as it’s called, ensure correct foot placement. The thick padded seat is ergonomically designed for full leg extension and smooth operation.
Like many magnetic rowers, this is a folding rower for easy storage, and it has transport wheels. In fact, there’s an exclusive upright storage kit available at extra cost.
You can see the rowing machine dimensions for in-use and storage before you buy. This lets you make sure you have the space for this machine. The storage dimensions refer to upright storage only.
There are several Hydrow magnetic rower special packages. These begin with the Basics Package, which includes a mat that goes under the rower.
Next, there is an Essentials Package. This includes the mat and heart rate monitor.
The Launch Package adds headphones and a foam roller.
Finally, the Works Package adds resistance bands.
No doubt, Hydrow provides a complete home gym concept.
The Hydrow Rower has a max weight limit of 375lbs, and there’s an inseam measurement of 36″. This means you can ensure whether or not you can do full leg extension with this home rowing machine.
Most users buy a rower for fat loss. This makes sense because you can burn between 600-800 calories per hour using a rowing machine.
Even at its most basic, a rower is an effective piece of exercise equipment that can involve the entire body. At its most advanced, you can perform a more complete full-body routine, depending on the rower.
This means you can burn fat and build a little muscle. While it’s true a rowing machine directly targets the back, it also activates the legs and the core.
Some of the benefits of magnetic rowing machines include:
- Quiet Operation
- Minimal Maintenance
- Magnetic Rowers Can Be More Compact Than Rowers That Use Other Types Of Resistance
- Many Have Trainer Programs Included
- Low Impact
- Easy To Use
- Rowers Using Adjustable Magnetic Resistance Work The Muscles More Effectively Than Non-Adjustable Forms Of Resistance
There are two fundamental types of rowing machines:
Oar – This version uses two long handles that imitate the feel and motion of rowing on the water in a boat. The motion is more of an arc which makes it a longer range of movement. This type may take a little more getting used to for maximum benefit.
This is a form of resistance that uses magnetic brakes to maintain an even motion as you pull the handle or long arms.
There are two types of magnetic braking systems: manual, and electromagnetic.
This type of rower has an adjustable resistance knob or dial.
One of the primary differences is that an electromagnetic system has to be plugged in. A manual system does not. With a manual magnetic resistance rower, you can train anywhere, you don’t have to be near a plug.
The downside of this system is that you can’t automatically change the resistance. In other words, the resistance you chose pre-workout is the resistance you’ll have to use during your workout. If you want to change it, you’ll have to stop the exercise and adjust it.
With this system, you can be mid-exercise and change the resistance with the push of a button.
Additionally, they are more accurate. They can also be preset to automatically change resistance. This feature usually applies to the trainer programs that some machines include.
Another nice feature is that you can choose to work out in a predetermined heart rate range. So, you can set a minimum and maximum heart rate, and the rower will control the resistance to keep you in that range.
Besides magnetic, there are 3 other forms of resistance used on rowing machines. Briefly, they are:
A water rowing machine uses water resistance by filling the flywheel with water. The flywheels on water rowing machines use multiple fan blades. The faster the blades spin, the greater the resistance level.
A good example of a water rowing machine is the HouseFit Wooden Water Rower.
Many water rowing machines feature a wood frame. They are long and not as easily movable as a rower that folds.
A water rowing machine may be more awkward for home use. One reason is that you will have to empty the water every time you choose to move it for storage. Plus, as noted, they may be hard to move.
Still, water rowers are a popular alternative to magnetic rowing machines.
This type uses hydraulic pistons as resistance. The pistons are attached to long arms that mimic the act of rowing a boat. It’s a popular design. Many manufacturers that make magnetic rowing machines also make this style of rower.
This is a rower that uses a flywheel with fan blades that create air resistance. Air rowers come in different configurations. Some combine two types of resistance, magnetic and air, others are pure air.
An excellent example of a pure air rower is the Stamina ATS Air Rower. This type of rower uses dynamic resistance. That means it increases or decreases based on how hard you pull the handle. This is a cardio and strength-oriented type of training. Some users feel air resistance is not “aggressive” enough for serious exercisers.
Choosing the best magnetic rowing machines is always partially based on your budget. However, if you can afford it, the more expensive rowers offer several advanced features. Still, even the value models bring a lot to your workout experience.
The rowing machine you’re interested in should be well-built with a slide rail that’s durable and strong. Alloy steel is a common frame/slide rail material. It’s strong and provides good durability.
Always check the user weight capacity before buying. Also, it should be designed to accommodate users of all heights.
Most magnetic rowing machines offer quiet operation. If noise is an issue in your house, you’ll want to check the reviews and see what others have to say before buying.
The seat and handle should be padded, and the seat should be ergonomically designed.
As noted above, the handle will either be a single straight bar or two separate handles. In either case, it will attach to a single band or cable that attaches to the resistance mechanism.
Some rowers use long oar-like arms. This is more like the motion of rowing a boat.
As a point of reference, there’s a rower in this guide that uses something different. The Teeter Power10 has multi-grip arms that are similar to what you’d see on a single stack weight machine.
The displays on the rowing machines in this guide range from simple to hi-tech.
The bottom line is that you should choose a display that gives you the data you want in a rowing machine.
Most rowing machines track similar data, but some provide less than others. Be sure the rowing machine you want tracks the info you want.
Also, make sure the display is large and easy to read, and that there’s extra storage for your phone or water bottle.
The footplates should be no-slip and should have adjustable straps.
Be mindful of the fact that many rower machines have footplates that pivot. Not all users want pivoting footplate. Many users want their feet secure and unmovable. This “locks” you into the proper exercise form and promotes a sense of security.
Ultimately, the size of your exercise area dictates the rowing machine you can buy. While you should buy the best indoor rowing machine for your goals, make sure you have the available space. This means measuring your exercise area and having a place to store your rower if needed.
Two examples of a machine that takes the basics of rowing farther are our best versatile magnetic rowing machine, the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth, and the unique Teeter Power10.
Both of these rowing machines allow users to do a complete cardio and strength workout. If you want to do intense training sessions, these are the rowing machines to use.
With the Fitness Reality Plus Rower, you can sit on the machine and row normally. Plus, you can stand in front of the machine and use the handle to perform multiple exercises for the whole body.
The Power10 lets you do bi-directional movements, pulling and pushing against the resistance.
Many of the magnetic rowing machines in this guide have at least 8 levels of resistance. The best rowing machines will have more. Do not settle for less resistance than your experience demands.
Always carefully consider the warranty offered on any rowing machine you may be interested in buying. A durable magnetic rower should have a warranty that backs up its durability.
Specifically, many users wonder if they can lose belly fat using a home rowing machine. After all, anyone trying to lose weight is focusing on their midsection.
The answer is yes, you can lose belly fat with a home rower. That’s true for any type of rower. For example, a budget rower, one that uses water resistance, or air rowers will all help you burn fat. Even the most basic rower helps you burn more calories. A rowing workout promotes cardiovascular health and helps users lose excess fat.
A home rowing machine can engage as much as 80% of the muscles in your body. That means both your upper and lower body.
With that in mind, a home rowing machine is great for interval-style cardio. This means you row at high intensity for a predetermined amount of time followed by a period of low intensity. Usually, each phase is only a few moments.
Other workouts include steady-state, where you row at a consistent pace for a predetermined period of time.
On the more advanced machines, such as the Hydrow Rower, or the Nordic Track RW 900, you have access to preset workout programs and live training sessions. There are also workout libraries available on these machines.
The fact that a rowing machine engages most of the body makes it more popular than many other types of cardio machines.
While indoor rowing machines may seem simple, there are quite a few designs to choose from.
The most unique design is the Teeter Power10 Rower, which features exclusive bi-directional resistance, you can pull and push against the weight. With the multi-grip handles, it’s similar to the handle arm on a single stack weight machine.
If you want a more traditional rower but still want the versatility to work your entire body, our best versatile magnetic rower is the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Rowing Machine. There’s an app available on iOS and Android so you can easily track your stats. Also, you can set workout goals for time, distance, and calories burned.
Plus, it’s the only rower that allows the use of additional exercises. Users can work out in front of the rower by standing on special footpads and using the handle to work both the lower and upper body.
Finally, our best rowing machine is the NordicTrack RW 900 Rower. While this is at the high end of the budget range, it features iFIT interactive personal training, interactive trainer-led studio workout programs, and a free 1-year iFit membership. It has a 22-inch HD smart touchscreen display and 26 coach-controlled resistance levels.
What is the best magnetic home rowing machine?
The one that fits your budget and goals the most!