Rowing machines are wonderfully versatile, and give you a high energy fat-burning workout.
There are three main kinds of resistance used in the rowers, air resistance, magnetic resistance and water resistance. They all have their pros and cons, and we compare them further down in the reviews.
A rowing machine is a great addition to your home gym, but it is costly so you need to pick wisely.
Here are the best rowing machines for home in 2016.
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine With PM5
The Concept2 Model was a best seller in 2015.
It is used by many professional athletes and is designed to withstand heavy training every day.
The design is minimal, and only has features that contribute to a smooth rowing motion.
The seat and frame has a capacity of more than 500 lbs. and the track and pull arm are designed for strong and quick motions.
I also like how the seat slides perfectly when you move.
It can be stored in an upright position, and it can be separated in two pieces and rolled away.
– long seat track for powerful pulls
– stable foot supports and straps
– an air module for resistance
– digital readout of performance details
How Does It Compare To The BodyCraft VR500?
The BodyCraft VR 500 is one of the biggest competitors of the Concept 2 Indoor Rowing Machine. The BodyCraft is more expensive, and while it has pros such as better warranty and easy wireless adjusting of resistance, the Concept 2 has some advantages over it as well.
You can use it with RowPro software, which enables you to race online and get a nice graphic visualisation of your rowing.
It is smaller than the BodyCraft and easier to store. You can easily separate it into two pieces in a matter of seconds and roll it into a corner.
Some people prefer the air resistance of the Concept 2 vs the combination of air and magnetic resistance of the BodyCraft VR500. Air resistance makes the flywheel move fast when you get going, and it is easier to pull once you get going while magnetic resistance provides constant pressure.
One of the big advantages of the Concept2 Models is that you can use them for online rowing using the program RowPro. This is great if you easily get bored, or if you want to compete with others online.
This is a top rowing machine, and the one rower I own. I love this machine and I am not alone. One of the best ways to get a feel for a product, with exception for trying it out, is checking out the user reviews. The Concept 2 gets very good reviews from its users online.
You get a 5 year warranty on the frame and 2 years on the parts.
WaterRower Club Rowing Machine In Ash Wood With S4 Monitor
Stylish. Tranquil. Smooth. This rower is a powerful and attractive rowing machine that would look great in any home or home gym.
Each component of this rower is bolstered with lacquered and hardened ash wood panels.
This gives the rower a truly authentic feel. While you work out on this rower you will experience the relaxing, and to rowing authentic, sound of water due to its central water-resistance centrifuge.
The machine is mounted on wheels, and can be transported anywhere.
– solid panel construction
– wide double track
– strong bands that enable maximum arm motions
– secure and immovable foot rests
– wide and comfortable padded seat
Water Resistance vs Air Resistance
The water concept makes the rowing extra smooth, and really imitates the feeling of rowing in water. This is the ultimate and most authentic form of resistance when it comes to rowers.
The rowing is smooth and the strokes are completely natural, and without the small jerk that you get on the other rowers.
I love the sound of the water when I use this machine, it feels authentic and peaceful, and if I did not already own the Concept2, this would be my choice.
You will get a warranty of five years on the frame and three years on the components, but you need to fill out the registration form. I highly recommend that you do that. You have bought an amazing machine, make sure it works as long as possible.
How Does The Concept2 Compare To The WaterRower Club?
The WaterRower club give a more authentic rowing feel, and uses the natural resistance and sound of water to give a smooth and really relaxing workout that is superior to the feeling of the other leading rowers such as the Concept2.
But the Concept2 has some advantages over the WaterRower as well.
The Concept2 is more directed towards professional rowers and is a better choice for training athletes since it is more sturdy, and built for real heavy exercising and to last forever.
The Concept2 can be used with RowPro for online rowing and racing.
But when it comes to that natural rowing feeling, the right sounds and the aesthetics, the WaterRower Club is in my opinion by far the best rower, and has no equal!
Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine
The Lifespan is a pretty cheap model, but it still has the advantages of a good quality rower.
It uses magnetic resistance, which has the main advantage of being quiet.
This is a simple, yet sturdy rowing machine, good for both beginners and experts.
– covered, regulated central resistance unit
– no-impedance handles
– properly-angled foot pads
– 16.5 lb flywheel controlling all motions
– LCD console with calorie, distance, and stroke timing readout
– collapsible frame for storage
Magnetic Resistance vs Air Resistance
The Lifespan Fitness RW1000 uses magnetic resistance. The main advantage of magnetic resistance vs air resistance is that it is quiet.
You can use it when the kids or your partner is sleeping, and your exercise will not disturb anyone.
Not everybody likes the magnetic resistance though, since the resistance is more static, which can become a bit boring.
When you get going with air resistance the flywheel moves fast and it is easier to pull, which might feel rewarding.
Air makes more noise though.
How Does It Differ From The Other Top Rowing Machines?
While this rower is an excellent and compact model for expert athletes, it does have a few setbacks.
First, the footpads only provide support for the toe portions of the feet. Anyone who has used a rower during vigorous exercise knows that heel support is preferred.
Heel supports keep the feet from wandering during pulls, and keeps the force of the seat motions on the ankles.
It has a warranty of five years on the frame and two years on the parts.
BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower
The BodyCraft VR500 is the Rolls Royce of rowers. It has been getting very good reviews by its users online, and it is appropriate for all body types and fitness levels. It uses a combination of air and magnetic resistance, and it runs very quietly.
– aluminum construction for ultimate strength and lightness
– reinforced tracks
– parallel pull lever and resistance centrifuge
– customizable display panel
– toe and heel guards
How Does It Differ From The Other Top Rowing Machines?
The Concept Model D rowing machine is very popular, and for good reason, but the VR500 has some advantages over it.
- The seats are more comfortable.
- Better warranty – RW1000 gives lifetime warranty on the frame and 5 years on the parts, while the Concept Model D gives a 5 year warranty on the frame and 2 years on the parts
- Easier to adjust resistance while rowing with wireless handlebar resistance control
- Backlit LED display
The addition of heel guards on this machine is a good indicator that the designers really considered the body mechanics of rowing. When heels come off the foot pads of any rower, power is lost and the rowing motion quickly becomes uncomfortable. Completely stabilized feet allow the user to row comfortably and efficiently until they are exhausted.
The VR500 is a quiet and smooth luxury experience, with a really comfortable seat and a great on board computer.
Its a real high quality rower, and it has a long rail, so great for taller people.
Assembly takes a couple of hours.
Sport-rowing Action Exerciser Yellow
While this is not a rowing machine, this minimalist rower exerciser with heavy-duty resistance tubing is good for those on a budget, or those who like to bring their exercise equipment with them.
This exerciser is designed to mimic the motion of rowing, but relies on the user’s discipline for effectiveness.
The upper body should remain upright, and utilize the arm and back muscles to pull.
– stable foot supports
– strong central pull band
– comfortable hand grips
– compactness for travel and storage
– design to fit any body type
For Budget Users And For Travelling
There is obviously a huge difference in the quality of exercise with this exerciser and the real rowing machines, but if a person knows how to row, they can get a decent workout with this simple strap and grip combination.
Though the band only provides a medium amount resistance, it puts the body in the optimal position for calorie burning and muscle use in a rowing motion.
Combined with a yoga mat for floor support, this exerciser is a good way to get a rowing workout anywhere.
These are the top rowing machines for home gyms right now, and they all have their pros and cons.
The first thing you need to figure out is what kind of resistance you prefer. If a natural smooth motion, accompanied by the relaxing sound of water sound fantastic to you, have a look at the WaterRower Club with is water resistance.
If you like to row quietly, perhaps the kids or your partner is sleeping, a magnetic resistance machine might suit your needs best.
Others prefer air resistance over magnetic since it give you a less static and more entertaining workout.
Another important thing to consider is how often and heavy you will use it. Professionals seem to prefer the Concept2 and the BodyCraft VR500 as they are built to withstand very heavy workouts daily.
To my knowledge the Concept2 is the only rower that is supported by the RowPro software which enables you to race online and see a graphic representation of your rowing.
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