Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Welcome to ReviewBox! Physical health is something that everyone should take care of, because if you don’t maintain it, you won’t have the stamina you need to follow your daily routine, and you could also have health problems. In any case, using the right exercise machines is important, such as a rowing machine, for example.

You might be surprised to learn that exercising at home can be extremely effective, as long as you have the perfect machine. If you want to strengthen your arms, improve your posture, activate your legs and push yourself to the limit, the rowing machine is the item you need. You can do all that and more with it.

If a product is new to you, you may find it difficult to make a decision, as you don’t really know how to discern which is the right choice. If this is your case, you don’t have much to worry about, through this article you will learn all about this training equipment.


  • A rowing machine is an exercise machine inspired by the sport of canoeing, because it mimics the rowing motion in a canoe. It uses resistance to generate tension in the arms and legs, working them into a complete cardiovascular workout. It allows the paddling experience without the external factors.
  • There are a variety of rowing machine models on the market today, but there are two in particular that you should be aware of, as they generate different effects. These are the magnetic resistance ones, which are customisable to your liking, and the air resistance ones, which force you to push yourself as you go through the session.
  • Before you make your final decision, there are some things to consider that will allow you to make comparisons between different options, helping you to choose the best one. Factors such as size, type of resistance, type of control and seat are important.

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After taking a look at the 4 best rowing machine models, the picture may no longer look so blurry and cloudy to you, and you may even have a general idea of what you should buy. However, it is important that, before you make your purchase, you are aware of certain features that surround the product.

The use of this machine can be the beginning of your physical improvement, both in health and appearance. (Photo: Альберт Шакиров /

What are rowing machines?

A rowing machine is, in a nutshell, an indoor exercise machine that mimics the movement you would make when rowing a boat or canoe, allowing you to perform this action without exposure to external factors that are experienced in “Canoeing”.

It consists of a seat, a support for the feet, which makes the legs semi-flexed, and has a handle or handle that is subject to a certain amount of weight, which must be raised by pulling this handle forward, to your chest, managing to generate tension in almost the entire body.

What are the advantages?

Among its many benefits is the fact that it does not generate an impact on the joints, which happens with the treadmill or the common jogging on the knees. As the movement is fluid, it does not cause discomfort, and it is also a complete cardiovascular exercise that strengthens muscular and respiratory activity.

Although it may seem like the perfect product, the truth is that, like any product on the market, it has advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of, so that you can be sure about what you are buying.

  • Strengthens breathing and muscle activity
  • No impact on joints
  • Improves arm strength and back posture.
  • They take up a lot of space
  • They can be heavy, so it is a bit tedious to move them
  • They are expensive.

Magnetic resistance or air resistance rowing machines – what should you look out for?

When you are in the process of selecting your rowing machine, you will find a wide variety of models available, each with their pros and cons. There are two in particular that you should be aware of, as they will offer you a different level of challenge. These are: Magnetic resistance and aerial resistance rowing machines.

Magnetic resistance rowers: This model involves increasing the grip resistance with the use of electromagnets. They are one of the most customisable models, so you can exercise at your own pace, controlling the amount of force you need to exert.

They are normally operated through the LCD screen that is integrated in the equipment, so the resistance is very easy to control, and you will be able to do it gradually. It is a perfect model for those who are not looking for a real challenge, but rather an exercise at their own pace.

Air resistance rowers: A more challenging model. It works with movement and air, so the faster you move the rower back and forth, the more resistance the machine will put up, making you work harder during the exercise.

Because of this type of functionality, the resistance usually increases on its own during the workout, challenging you more and more until you reach your limit. For this reason, the machine is not customisable. In addition to this, it is usually moderately noisy while performing the rowing movement.

Magnetic resistance rowing machines Air resistance rowing machines
Customisation Can be operated in levels Not customisable, the machine sets the resistance.
Noise generation Does not generate noise Usually noisy.
Ease of use Very easy to operate Complex due to the resistance.
Price Moderately affordable More expensive than magnetic rowing machines.

Purchasing criteria

Before you make a final decision regarding your purchase, it is important that you know certain aspects that will allow you to establish comparisons between one model and another, so that you can choose the one that suits you best, and best adapts to your real needs, making the right purchase.

Type of resistance

In the current market of fitness machines, when it comes to rowing machines, there are different versions of this, working with various resistance mechanisms, which offer a greater or lesser challenge to those who use them. It is important that you know the types, so that you choose the right one for you.

Water resistance: This model is one of the best on the market, because it has a water tank, which, the faster you make the movement, the more water it will release and the more resistance it will have. It is very natural, as it feels like you are paddling in water, perfect for canoeing at home.

Piston resistance: They use hydraulic pistons that each connect to the paddle handles, exerting force. Normally you can customise the resistance, but there are some that work with speed. The movement is not natural, so they are perfect for a common cardio workout, not for rowing as such.


These machines are of a wide length, so depending on the model, they may take up less or more space. This can be a disadvantage if you have limited space, so it is good to know the alternatives that exist in terms of this aspect of the rowing machine.

Static length machines: This type of length is the one that cannot be modified, that is to say, the machine stays the size it is, and that is how it moves. Rowing machines are usually between 40 inches and 80 inches, depending on the model. Water resistance rowers are usually the ones that take up the most space.

Folding machines: Some models of these machines fall into this category, the most common being magnetic resistance and piston machines. Because they are foldable, they usually shrink by half or a little less, so if it is 80 inches when extended, it will be between 50 and 40 inches when folded. Perfect for small spaces.


A very important aspect within the rowing machines or rowers is the seat, as this will allow you to have comfort and fluidity during the exercise, making it enjoyable, and not torture. If the seat is the right one, you will be able to do hours of this exercise without discomfort, such as back pain, for example.

Static seat: When the exercise is performed, the seat will always remain in place, perfectly simulating the canoeing position. The downside of this is that, when the handlebars are moved forward, the back bends slightly, which in the long run can cause pain. Excellent for sport.

Sliding seat: Although they do not completely simulate the original movement, as in the previous case, the sliding seats on rowing machines are usually more comfortable, as they allow continuous movement, as well as working more on the resistance of the legs, being more challenging than the previous ones. Ideal for daily training at home.

Type of control

As a last point, the way in which you control the exercise while you do it is vital in many cases, as it will ensure greater or lesser accuracy in your results. In addition to this, the resistance management can be high or moderately accurate according to this aspect, and the price can go down.

Manual: The simplest rowing machines usually work in this mode. Although the control in these cases is very personalised, as you will regulate the exact amount of resistance yourself, the precision may vary, as there will be a higher margin of error. They are cheaper and easier to operate, but the control is not 100% safe.

As for the results of each session, you will not be able to see them exactly, as you will not know for sure how many calories you burned, your heart rate or the number of repetitions you did, or the exact time you lasted, everything is more uncertain with this modality. They are perfect for those who exercise without a specific goal.

LCD screen: This type of machine can also be known as automatic, as it takes care of itself, through its system, to determine the speed at which you are going, your approximate heart rate, the time you have been exercising and the amount of calories you have burned, so that you have complete control of the session.

The results are displayed on the screen, and are often saved in the case of some models, so you can even compare to admire your progress. Not only that, they also allow you to manage the resistance from the screen, in levels. Ideal for those who work out to achieve sporting or physical goals.

(Featured image photo: Andor Bujdoso/