Important Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Rowing Machine for 2023

The best rowing machine may work up to 86 percent of your muscles at once. Rowing exercises cover all the elements, whether you want to increase functional strength or burn calories.

To assist you to choose the greatest solution for your needs and budget, we’ve compiled a list of the important factors you need to keep in mind when shopping for the best rowing machine for 2023.

Three key factors should be considered first to help reduce the options when choosing the best home rowing machine.

Analyzing the resistance type, cost, and monitor features of a rowing machine will typically reduce the list of 100 alternatives to only about 2-3 good ones.

Factors to Consider When Shopping For The Best Rowing Machine

Man doings rows on rowing machine

In this section, we will discuss the important factors you need to keep in mind when buying a rowing machine. These factors will help you narrow down your search if you are having a hard time.

let us get right into it.

1.  Resistance type

When comparing rowing machines, it’s important to remember that not all of them employ the same kind of resistance.

You’ll likely encounter three main types: water resistance, magnetic resistance, and fan/air resistance. Another frequently less expensive option is hydraulic rowers, although these are typical of inferior quality and don’t provide the same smooth feeling.

Although water-resistance rowing machines are increasingly popular, fan-resistance rowing machines have historically been the most prevalent.

2.  Foldable or compact

Finding a fantastic little rowing machine doesn’t always imply focusing on folding models. Although a rower like the LIT Method can be stored vertically, it doesn’t truly fold.

Therefore, it actually has one of the smallest footprints of any rower (even ones that fold).

Keep this in mind when looking through and comparing models.

3.  Noise

Noise is undoubtedly an issue if you use a rowing machine in your house or apartment. Water-resistance and magnetic rowers like the NordicTrack RW900 are generally silent (they make a sloshing sound).

Air resistance-based fan flywheels tend to be noisier, though this varies from model to model.

4.  Maintenance

The warranties should cover such occurrences, and the majority of rowers shouldn’t require much maintenance or repairs

Water-resistance Although changing the water or using cleaning tablets may be necessary for rowers, doing so doesn’t take very long and just keeps the water tank clean and fresh.

Cheaper rowing machines will likely experience wear and tear far more quickly than robust options. In reviews of rowing machines under $300, complaints that the rail is easily destroyed or the belt is defective are rather typical.

5.  Rail length

You might also want to check the rail length if you are tall. Once more, cheaper rowing machines, particularly those that advertise themselves as “compact,” may have shorter rail lengths, which isn’t ideal if you’re tall.

It would be worthwhile to check out or hunt for rowing machines with an extra-long rail if you are taller than 6’9″. Most normal rowing machines are appropriate for users up to 6’9″. This ensures you can fully stretch your legs throughout the rowing motion.

Our recent article on the finest ellipticals for tall people is worth reading if you’re tall and shopping for home cardio equipment because we explain several important considerations to take into account.

6.  Weight limit

The maximum weight capacity varies significantly from one rowing machine to another. The Ergatta and Concept2 are two rowers with maximum weight restrictions of up to 500 lbs.

Including a naturally compact and smaller rower could indicate that the manufacturer has sacrificed stability and the maximum weight limit. Thus, this is a crucial characteristic to note for foldable and compact rowers.

We did not include rowers with low maximum weight limitations in this list because we believe they are often less durable.

7.  Dimensions

Look at the dimensions for storage and use while looking for a small or foldable home rowing machine.

While some rowers fold up and require little storage space when not in use, they still need a sizable area. Check the size of the rower when it’s in use because this may not be the best option if you have a little place, such as a studio apartment.

Keep in mind that you’ll need some room around the rowing machine, so it’s simple to get on and off.


The type of compact rowing machine you choose will ultimately depend on your particular preferences and budget. Compact rowing machines come in various designs, sizes, and price ranges.

It is occasionally well to pay a little bit more money to get something that will last time. In our opinion, the less expensive compact rowers don’t always give the same durability and longevity.

Anything priced under $200 is probably not made to withstand rigorous exercise or endure a long time, so it would be wise to spend a little extra to get something durable.

We tend to favor rowing machines that can be stowed vertically even though you would think the greatest compact rowing machine is one that fits comfortably under your bed.

This, in our opinion, takes up less room while yet providing a good rowing experience. For instance, the Ergatta seems even more fashionable than most pieces of furniture, so you’ll undoubtedly want to admire it fully even when it’s not in use.

Video Review

Here is a video review of the best rowing machines for 2023: