Gym Brains

Best rowing machines 2019

Rowing is one of the most effective forms or cardiovascular exercises you can do. Understandably, we don’t all have access to long bodies of water so we tend to look elsewhere for something to burn off the calories.

However, in recent years, rowing machines have been growing in popularity for both commercial and home users thanks to the intensive, lung busting workouts they provide. All from the comfort of your own home.

This page is dedicated to bringing our readers unbiased, balanced reviews of rowers, noting there many benefits and flaws along the way.

Our picks

Stamina X Air
Stamina 35-1405 ATS
ASUNA 4500
First Degree E-520

Buying guide

Buying an indoor rowing machine isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. The problem most consumers are faced with is the amount of choice given. To the untrained eye, many of these rowers may appear to include many of the same features, but there are things that slip through the gaps that only someone experienced may see. We aim is to help our readers find the very best models on the market through intensive, in depth analysis of individual product specifications.

What to look for

What we often find is people are searching for rowers with specific requirements, and it more often than not boils down to current experience level, and what someone’s budget is. However, we will lead you through each and every feature and function below, so that you are able to conduct research yourself in the future.


Several things should be considered about the design. The first being, how solid it is. You can usually get a rough idea on this by looking at the user weight capacity and materials used on the frame. However, there are several other things that may be overlooked such as the type of stabilizers at ends, what they are made with, and their length.

Then you should take a look at the seating. Contoured and padded are two recommendations when it comes to staying comfortable whilst training. However, the cheaper the model, the less likely it is to get a high quality, comfortable seat.


You will find a wide range of handles. Some will be padded and lacking grip, whilst others may be ergonomically designed with specific material to prevent slippage from sweaty hands. These will also somewhat prevent blisters because they reduce the amount of rubbing and friction.

Folding and storage

Being able to effectively store your rowing machine in small spaces will be an excellent design feature for those living in small spaces. Folding options can quite easily be stored in a cupboard, or under a bed.


You are going to find numerous types of resistance whilst shopping. But what’s the right one for you?

There are four main options that consist of air, hydraulic, water, and magnetic. Each one will contain various benefits to the rower, for example one may mimic being on the water, whilst another may be designed to operate quietly.


Setting yourself a budget is a smart move, but going too low on that scale often means the rower will lack quality or functionality, going too high may mean you’re spending too much on bells and whistles that you may not even use. The key to finding a good rowing machine is to ensure you keep your budget to a sensible, affordable level. The high end products may be tempting, but you will often find mid-tier options hold their own against them quite well if you know where to look.