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10 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines 2020 Reviews

I have been inspired by a recent read about the incredible benefits of a rowing machine for overall body fitness. While similar stationary cardio machines focus on one section of the body’s fitness, such as the lower body on the treadmill or stationary bike, the rowing machine simultaneously trains both the upper and lower body in strength and endurance. The upper body muscles engaged using the rowing machine are the abs, oblique abdominals, arms, pecs, and upper back. The lower body muscles trained with the rowing machine are the quadriceps, calves, and glutes. With so many major muscle groups targeted, it is no wonder why a stationary magnetic rowing machine is such a popular choice.

High calorie burning during a cardio session while working out is one of the targets when cutting fat stores in the body, as well as when training to increase endurance for overall fitness. The rowing machine is one of the highest calorie-burning cardio workouts you can do. I was intrigued to try out a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout on the rowing machine to maximize calorie burn.

Best Magnetic Rowing Machines Reviews

One of the pro reasons to switch to using a magnetic rowing machine for your fitness goals is that is it designed so that anyone at any fitness level can easily use it. With its simple directions and smooth motion, almost anyone can find results with its intense workout. Like me, I look for a low impact exercise, with minimal compounding pressure on my knee joints, the magnetic rowing machine can provide just that. With high-intensity routine, with little to no impact on the joints, a rowing workout provides a low impact aerobic workout for the entire body.

Choosing the best magnetic rowing machine is completely according to your requirements. Are you a fitness enthusiast or are you only starting in the fitness scene? What is your budget financially for your gym equipment? These are questions you need to ask yourself about the type and style of rowing machine you will choose. Some rowing machines have an LCD screen to track distance, calories burned and time spent on the workout. Others are more accurately representative of rowing in a boat on the water – more ergonomically designed to simulate water rowing for rowing professionals.

I thoroughly researched the top magnetic rowing machines on the market at the moment and compiled a comprehensive list of my top choices for you.

Top 10 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines

top 10 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines

ModelRating
Life Fitness HX Row4.8
Water Rower Gronk M14.9
Concept2 Model E4.8
Concept2 Model D4.9
First Degree E-5205.0
XTERRA Fitness ERG2004.6
SereneLife Rowing Machine4.6
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW56063.4
Marcy 8-Level4.5
Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW4.6

1. Life Fitness HX Row

One of the pricier options, the Life Fitness HX rowing machine is a design beauty. The frame is made with elegant natural wood together with tempered steel to provide a durable and luxurious construction. This design beauty smoothly integrates into your modern home design, bringing style and luxury to your home. The rowing machine has 4 resistance levels which are easily changed with just the turn of a dial and can be easily adjusted between multiple users. This rowing machine can be used by any member of the family, making a top choice for a family setting. The Life Fitness Rowing machine uses a cutting edge fluid technology that delivers a naturally smooth feel and consistent resistance through each rowing stroke, like gliding upon the water. This rower easily stands upright when not in use and uses minimal storage space, seamlessly fitting into your modern home. This rowing machine is my dream choice.

Details

  • Dimensions: 84 x 20.5 x 22 inches
  • Weight: 87 pounds
  • Model Number: HOME-ROW-0101
  • Batteries: 2 AA batteries required
  • Materials: Wood and tempered steel

Pros

  • Beautiful Design
  • Fluid Resistance Technology
  • Easy standing upright storage
  • Adjustable resistance settings

Cons

  • Price
  • Cannot fold to fit in smaller cupboards

2. Water Rower Gronk M1

This rowing machine is perfect for the powerhouse, endurance athlete. Gronk Fitness launched this product to provide a full-body workout with the fastest results, burning fat and building muscle simultaneously. Exclusively made in the USA, this rowing machine comes with a hefty price tag too. With a black carbon coating, this rowing machine is designed to integrate with a modern gym set up. This machine has a higher maximum user weight of over 700 pounds and therefore is user friendly no matter your starting weight. Monitoring your heart rate can be beneficial for fitness and endurance tracking and ensuring you are not over-doing your workouts. As an additional extra, the Gronk heart rate monitor adds another element to your workout routine. Partnering with WaterRower, the Gronk Fitness M1 uses a specially patented water flywheel as the resistance system, successfully emulating the movements and dynamics of water rowing. The Gronk M1 is stored upright in its standing position, easily stored out of sight within your home set up.

Details

  • Dimensions: 28.5 x 88 x 22 inches
  • Weight: 79 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminium

Pros

  • 1 year warranty
  • Maximum user weight of 700 pounds
  • Heart rate monitor available as an extra
  • Lightweight aluminum material

Cons

  • Price
  • Can only be stored upright

3. Concept2 Model E

The new Concept2 Model E rowing machine comes with a higher seating position. This characteristic makes this model ideal for those with flexibility or mobility issues, sitting more than 6 inches higher than other rowing machines. The display unit, or Performance Monitor 5, self-calibrates to each user so that you can compare results from previous workouts, wirelessly connecting to your heart-rate applications. Aesthetically, the Model E rowing machine from Concept2 is unparalleled with its special higher seated design, double powder coat with a glossy finish, and stylish color choices.  Concept2 uses a nickel-coated chain and flywheel resistance system, with up to 10 different levels of resistance. This low noise flywheel design provides a smooth rowing feel which is customizable to your fitness level. This rowing machine also features a quick-release frame lock mechanism that separates the machines into 2 for easy compact storage.

Details

  • Dimensions: 96 x 24 x 20 inches
  • Weight: 63.9 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminium and steel

Pros

  • Higher seat (benefit for mobility issue users)
  • 2 year limited warranty
  • Performance Monitor 5 wireless connects to your heart rate applications
  • Separates into 2 for easy storage

Cons

  • Fixed monitor display position
  • Flywheel and Chain needs maintenance

4. Concept2 Model D

The Model D rowing machine from Concept2 is the most popular choice for price, useability, and durability. Like the Model E, it comes with the Performance Monitor 5 display unit which allows wireless connection to your heart rate belt and applications. The Model D is a standard design, made for most users with a 14-inch seat height, 500-pound user capacity, and adjustable foot straps. The world’s best-selling rowing machine for over 40 years. The Concept2 Model D is one of the most popular rowing machines for commercial use, this machine is simple to assemble, and easily separates into 2 pieces for storage which makes this easily integrated into a home setting. Concept2 uses a special designed chain and flywheel resistance system, with a choice of several resistance levels, the flywheel produces minimal noise, while also providing a smooth and natural rowing feel. For a trusted and dependable rowing machine, this is the top choice for the elite or entry-level athlete.

Details

  • Dimensions: 96 x 24 x 14 inches
  • Weight: 57 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminium and steel

Pros

  • Trusted worldwide
  • Lightweight
  • Performance Monitor 5 wireless connects to your heart rate applications
  • Separates into 2 for easy storage
  • Price

Cons

  • Flywheel and Chain needs maintenance

5. First Degree E-520

Do not be put off by the very high price tag on this rowing machine. The First Degree E-520 is unmatched in durability and is virtually maintenance-free. With 20 levels of resistance, the patented variable fluid resistance (VFR) in this rowing machine is unmatched in its smooth, gliding rowing action. Sitting with the highest seat of most rowing machines, at office chair height, the user can get on and off with ease. Using a fluid resistance system allows simulation of real feel water rowing to provide the ultimate rowing workout pleasure. A specially designed ergonomic handle to prevent strain on your arms and wrists during use, and their unique heel support system on their footboard, together with their premium comfortable seat offers ultimate user satisfaction. This rowing machine, although heavier than most, can be stored vertically in standing position, out of the way for your residential use. Made from superior anodized aluminum for appearance and durability, and a tough polycarbonate tank, the First Degree rowing machine is a leader in ultimate sophisticated construction.

Details

  • Dimensions: 76 x 28 x 33.5 inches
  • Weight: 150.5 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminium, polycarbonate, stainless steel

Pros

  • Zero Maintenance
  • Higher seat for low mobility users
  • 10 year frame warranty, 2 years mechanical warranty
  • Comfortable handle, seat, and footboard.

Cons

  • Price
  • Lower user weight than other rowing machines
  • Very heavy

6. XTERRA Fitness ERG200

The XTERRA Fitness ERG200 is one of the more affordable rowing machines available. With its unique dual aluminum track rail system, comfort and usability are the top priority. There are 8 resistance levels with the ERG200 using a special magnetic resistance system together with a 9-pound flywheel for a quiet, smooth, and real-feel rowing experience. XTERRA designed this rowing machine with ergonomically comfortable handles for hand and wrist comfort, extra padded seat and pivoting foot pedals for a wide and comfortable workout. Suitable for any fitness level, the ERG200 monitor displays elapsed time, stroke count, calories, and total row count. The machine is a maintenance-free design with a simple fold-away construction for easy storage in residential use. The weight limit is low, at a maximum of 250 pounds, it makes it not a suitable option for every person, as well as there is a height limit of 6’2” which limits the usability if you are a taller person.

Details

  • Dimensions: 71.9 x 20.7 x 31.5 inches
  • Weight: 55 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminium and steel

Pros

  • Compact storage size
  • Lightweight
  • Price
  • Maintenance-free

Cons

  • Low user weight limit
  • Maximum user height of 6’2”

7. SereneLife Rowing Machine

The SereneLife air and magnetic rowing machine is another more affordable rower on the market. With its simple ergonomic design, this rower fits seamlessly in a commercial or residential setting. With a digital display monitor to measure time, total row count, calories, and rows per minute, accountability, and accurately measuring improvements throughout your fitness journey. This rower is more suited to an entry-level or less serious rowing enthusiast. It comes with a comfortable seat, 8 level resistance adjustment options, soft handles, and pedal-style footrests for ultimate rowing comfort. An entry-level rowing machine, but no doubt with the ability to help you achieve your fitness goals. Using comfort and style, this rower uses air or magnetic resistance systems to provide a full-body workout, both aerobically and anaerobically for a high-intensity workout. Smooth seat movements ensure a low impact workout routine to decrease any discomfort for the users’ joint conditioning. If you are looking for an easy on the wallet option and have limited storage space in your home, then this is the rowing machine for you.

Details

  • Weight: 63 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminium and steel

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Foldable storage solution
  • Price

Cons

  • Low user weight limit

8. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606

The cheapest and lightest option on the list, the Sunny Health & Fitness Rower is the ultimate beginner rowing machine. For a user that does not need to spend an excessive amount on a rower and needs to keep to a tight budget. This rower, however, is still durable and reliable with large anti-slip foot pedals and a large LCD console monitor. This rower has a low weight limit of only 220 pounds but comes with an oversized angled seat with non-slip handles for optimal user comfort. The monitor display unit shows time, row count, total count, calories burned, and count per minute. The elastic cord rowing machine comes with only 4 resistance levels, however, although limiting, the ability to successfully train for endurance and fitness is not hindered and many HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts can still be incorporated using this machine.

Details

  • Dimensions: 68 x 14 x 21 inches
  • Weight: 34.5 pounds
  • Materials: Steel

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable floor stabilizers
  • Folds compact for easy storage
  • Price

Cons

  • Low weight limit of 220lbs
  • Only 4 resistance levels
  • Height limitations

9. Marcy 8-Level

Another option for a mid-range rower machine. The Marcy-8 level rowing machine provides an intermediate option for a rowing or fitness enthusiast. With a typically comfortable seat, pivoting foot pedals, padded handles, and an LCD computer display unit this rower is a perfectly acceptable rowing machine. With the unusual extra of a device holder, to set upon your book or tablet to read or watch TV shows while you work out, this is a unique addition is why this rower made my top 10 rower machines. The LCD machine displays, row count, total count, calories, and time elapsed during a workout. There are 8 adjustable resistance levels on the Marcy rower machine, providing the user with a choice for workout intensity. The foldable storage solution also makes it a clever decision for a home that lacks storage space, so that the rowing machine can fold away nice and easy out of sight.

Details

  • Dimensions: 53 x 64 x 24 inches
  • Weight: 66 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminium and steel

Pros

  • Device holder
  • Foldable for easy storage
  • Price

Cons

  • Height restrictive
  • No distance monitoring

10. Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW

The last machine on my list is by far one of the better options out there. With several additional options including temperature monitoring displayed on the LCD screen or the option to pair with their heart rate monitor chest strap, the Circuit Fitness AMZ rowing machine is a very acceptable rowing machine. Made with premium aluminum and steel, this rower is still very reliable and durable, suitable for any fitness level. The durable injection-molded seat and foam covered handlebars ensure a smooth and comfortable use, with the LCD panel that tracks speed, distance, time, calories, rows per minute, date and ambient temperature to compare endurance and training level. The Circuit Fitness AMZ uses an 11-pound flywheel resistance system coupled with magnetic resistance to increase your cardiovascular fitness. With the ability to fold down conveniently when not in use, this rower saves space in your residence.

Details

  • Dimensions: 91 x 31.5 x 20.5 inches
  • Weight: 90 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminium and steel

Pros

  • Distance and Temperature measurement display
  • Option for heart rate monitor chest strap
  • Foldable for easy storage
  • Maximum user weight of 300 pounds
  • Price

Cons

  • Weight of machine

FAQs

top 10 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines Reviews

What are the benefits of using a rowing machine?

A rowing machine can burn up to 1000 calories in an hour, and together with its strength training characteristics, can burn fat long after the workout. It trains both the upper and lower body both aerobically and anaerobically.

Do I have to use a specific technique to row?

Yes, there is a proper rowing form and technique which ensures you are getting the most from your training. The technique is simple, and once mastered, can ensure drastic results.

What muscles are worked during a rowing workout?

One of the only cardio workout machines that offer both upper and lower body engagement. Arms, upper back, abs, obliques, glutes, quadriceps, and calves to name a few muscle groups trained on a rowing machine.

How many calories does a rowing machine workout burn?

Some experts say up to 1000 calories per hour, with increased metabolic rate post-workout which burns even more calories.

How do I know what rowing machine to buy?

By reading reviews by industry-leading professionals, and comparing your individual needs for a specific type of machine. It pays off to shop around and read the pros and cons of each one.

Are rowing machines noisy?

It depends on the type of machine resistance system, some are virtually noise-free and some offer a little wind-like noise. Shop around for the machine which best suits your requirements

Is a rowing machine better than a treadmill, elliptical, bike, or step machine?

Each machine has its pros and cons, so it is relative to your intended needs and expected results which machine is best for you. They all have their place in a well-balanced workout routine.

Are rowing machines height sensitive?

Some rowing machines are not suitable for shorter people, and some that limit the ability to row correctly for taller people. Read the reviews and understand height limitations on your intended rowing machine.

Is a rowing machine bad for your back?

If you apply the correct techniques and form when rowing, it may strengthen your back to prevent any strain or injury. As such, it is important to follow the directions for use.

What resistance type should I buy?

Again this is specific to your requirements and preferences. Some types are quieter than others, while some need some oiling and maintenance, others not. There are pros and cons to each type of rower resistance type.

Conclusion

Best Magnetic Rowing Machines Reviews

In conclusion, there are several types of rower machines on the market. I struggled to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 and even then, I am not sure they are listed correctly. There are so many options and variables when choosing a rowing machine for your individual needs. If money was not a problem, then my ultimate rowing machine probably would not be my most sensible option. I love the natural wood in the design of the Life Fitness HX trainer, however, you cannot go wrong with the world-renown Concept2 Model D rower. There is also the risk of buying cheap, but also is it completely necessary to spend exorbitantly on a rowing machine?

Choosing a rowing machine can take some time, weighing the pros and cons of each one to suit your fitness starting point, financial capability and the machines need for maintenance. Whichever rowing machine you do choose however, will be just as effective as another with its ability to improve endurance, burn calories and build muscle all simultaneously.

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