What to Look For Before Buying a Rowing Machine

What to Look For Before Buying a Rowing Machine

Over the last few years, rowing has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity. Rowing now rivals other activities such as running and cycling, drawing attention via its unique cardio and strength benefits.  The availability of high-quality rowing machines makes it a fantastic choice for at-home workouts.  


When shopping for a rowing machine, it's essential to consider your needs/goals, space, and budget.  There are many different rowing machines on the market today, and they offer various forms of resistance, aesthetic appeal, displays, features, and benefits to the user.  The rowing machine that is best for you depends on the experience that you're looking for. For example, a specific machine might offer lots of bells and whistles, but the noise level isn't compatible with your living situation. 

Other machines might not offer smart features, but the price tag and basic stat tracking are sufficient to track your progress and help you achieve your fitness goals.  By far, the most crucial consideration is the durability of the machine. You should buy a rower that can handle the wear and tear of your workouts. The cost savings of buying a cheaply made rower with poor reliability and features are not worth the savings. If you buy cheap, you may buy twice.

Criteria That You Should Take Into Consideration

Sizes and Place Where You Store

A full-size rowing machine can take up a lot of space.  If you’re tight on space, make sure the rowing machine can be stored vertically or fold when not in use.  

Ask yourself, “When I’m not exercising on the rower, do I want to keep it in plain sight?”  If not, shop for a rower that offers storage features.  Some rowing machines can complement a living space with their aesthetic appeal.  Others look like fitness equipment and might be an eyesore.  

Easy to Do Regular Maintenance

Rowing machines benefit from regular maintenance. It's crucial to find a machine that has easy-to-remove parts if any fixes are needed.  If your rowing machine uses a chain and a fan, it could mean that those broken parts might need to be fixed professionally. If you're using a water rower, changing and cleaning the water from time to time is a good idea.  Regular maintenance is the key to avoiding problems.

Noise Level to Environment

The amount of noise that your rowing machine makes during exercise can be a crucial consideration. Water rowers are well known for being quiet machines that are fully compatible with apartment living or in areas where the noise must be minimal.  

Supplementary Features for the Machine

Supplementary Features for the Machine


The rower's seat should be comfortable since rowing workouts will involve sitting for extended periods.  If you notice discomfort after sitting on the seat for a few minutes, you're in trouble.  Find a seat that allows you to exercise without constantly re-adjusting and distracting from the workout.  If the seat is uncomfortable, you'll be less inclined to use the machine.  The seat's height is also something to consider for ease of getting on and off the machine.  

Foot Straps

An overlooked component of a rowing machine is the foot straps. The foot straps should be capable of accommodating large or small feet.  If the foot straps don't fit snugly around your feet, the wiggle room might impact your rowing technique.  If your feet are too large for the foot straps, you won't be able to row at all.  The foot straps should maintain a snug fit around your foot throughout the workout. If they loosen, you'll be distracted.

Dashboard Monitor

All rowing machines measure the energy expended, which is why they’re referred to as ergometers. Some models will display basic stats like meters, time, and power.  Displays that only offer basic stats are not bad, as sometimes keeping it simple is keeping it most effective.  If you have specific training goals, a rower with more in-depth performance tracking options could be your best option.

Built-in Screen Positioning

Streaming workouts is a feature that has grown in popularity over the last few years, and rowing machines are starting to integrate this.  If you’d like to follow along and participate in a streamed workout session, make sure the screen is positioned at eye level so it doesn't strain your neck or negatively impact ideal stroke technique.  

While streaming a workout and following along might seem like a good idea, it’s not always necessary. There are hundreds if not thousands of pre-programmed workouts that a person can use without the need for a built-in screen.

Smart Features

Smart features such as Wi-Fi capabilities, syncing with third-party apps, and heart rate monitors are all features that have made their way into the growing market.  If you want a technologically advanced machine, pay attention to the description and the smart features.

After rowing for a while, many people find that high-tech machines with lots of bells and whistles simply aren't necessary. Monitoring basic stats such as time, meters, and heart rate are more than enough to gauge progress and achieve your rowing goals.

Resistance Adjustment

Some rowing machines don't offer adjustable resistance but rather change based on the intensity of each stroke.  Other machines allow for fine-tuning of the resistance using a lever.   In general, most people prefer water or air resistance because of how smooth the rowing experience is.  Rowing offers strength and cardio benefits while sparing the joints from impact.  

What to Buy the Best Rowing Machine?

What to Buy the Best Rowing Machine?

GoRowinGo’s water rowing machine is the best option for a world-class at-home rowing experience at an unbeatable price. Water rowing machines have a smooth feel and aesthetic appeal combined with noise reduction characteristics, making these fitness-building machines perfect for any living space.  

The Golub rowing fitness community gives you access to a supportive rowing community where you can learn about new workouts, technique tips and improve your fitness with other like-minded individuals!  

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