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Rowing machines seamlessly blend calorie-burning with low-impact cardio to deliver a unique experience almost anyone can enjoy, regardless of age or fitness level.
It’s because of that effectiveness that rowers are becoming increasingly popular in folks’ home gyms. They can be more effective than running on a treadmill and are a better full-body workout than a stationary bike.
Though most rowers deliver similar benefits, they vary enough in design that some differences are key in determining which is best for certain folks. Below are eight of the best rowing machines I’ve tested. You’ll also find answers to some FAQs, and a rundown of how I test rowers, at the bottom of this guide.
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Our top picks for the best rowing machines
Best overall: Concept2 Model D – See at Amazon
The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine brings the gym to your home with its sturdy build, smooth gliding action, comfortable design, and superb quality.
Best budget: Stamina Body Trac Glider – See at Amazon
The Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine offers a versatile workout with its independently moving arms and smooth hydraulic resistance for continuous rowing action.
Best interactive: The Ergatta Rower – See at Ergatta
The Ergatta Connected Rower combines the rush of video game racing with the fitness benefits of a full-body exercise to deliver one of the most interactive rowing machines available.
Best smart: Hydrow – See at Hydrow
The Hydrow Rowing Machine aims to be the Peloton of at-home rowers with an immersive content experience that delivers a complete, full-body workout.
Best budget smart: Hydrow Wave – See at Hydrow
The Hydrow Wave replicates the on-water experience better than the original Hydrow, is the smoothest rower we’ve ever tested, and is one of the most affordable smart machines on the market.
Best digital resistance: NordicTrack RW900 – See at NordicTrack
NordicTrack’s RW900 combines the stimulation of instructor-led courses with the versatility of both air and digital resistance to offer one of the best at-home rowing experiences.
Best water resistance: WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine – See at Amazon
The elegant WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine uses water resistance to make you feel like you’re truly sculling on the open water.
Best for beginners: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rower – See at Amazon
Quiet, smooth, and stable, the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine provides varying magnetic resistance levels for a wide range of workouts.
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