Buying A Rowing Machine?
Check Out This Guide First.

Rowing machines can be expensive, if you buy the wrong one - a costly mistake.

But if you take your time to select the right model, it will get you into great shape, and what's more, be an enjoyable way to stay fit for many years to come.

Rowing is an excellent and safe activity to work all your major muscles as well as being an ideal cardio-vascular activity.

It's also a low impact exercise, making it safe for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Although rowing is a safe exercise, it's still important to know how to use it - see my guide to rowing machine technique.

If you're thinking of getting a rower, check out my extensive website at

What To Consider Before You Buy

How often will I use it?
If only occasional use is envisaged and space is limited a small collapsible rowing machine would be better.

Hydraulic machines tend to be the smallest and if you are not going to be a regular user it will still last for several years before any parts need replacing. If you are going to use it everyday then a hydraulic machine is not a good idea. You will need to spend more for a higher range machine designed for heavy use.

How much space do I have?
Some machines are foldable and easier to store away when not in use. Another consideration is the noise. If you are likely to annoy your neighbours then a silent magnetic rower will be the best option.

Do I need a workout monitor with my machine?
Often you will find that the computer is an optional extra, sometimes adding up to $200 to the price of your machine.

Although this may seem a lot, many people like this feature because it will record your distance, time and stroke rate. This information can act as a motivator as you can set targets and measure your progress. Before choosing a rowing machine, it's important to check out this sort of feature and it could help with your training program.

Does the machine have variable resistance?
The majority of rowing machines will have this feature but do check the range. A wide range can be useful as this enables you to use your machine for an anaerobic workout by increasing the resistance.

Should I try the machine first?
Ideally when buying a new piece of fitness equipment, you should try the machine for several minutes to check the motion and seat comfort. If buying online perhaps you could visit a gymnasium and try some of the models.

If this is not possible and you do not have a fitness equipment supplier nearby, check the policy on returns of your online supplier.

Is the machine adjustable?
Check that you can adjust the position of the seat and foot pads – essential if you intend to share with someone else.

Do I exceed the machines weight limit?
Something that is often overlooked, but each model will have a safe weight limit. You could invalidate the warranty if you exceed this limit! So please check the machine specification before ordering.

Can I justify the cost?
Quality rowing machines can be quite expensive, so do be sure that you are going to use it. Membership of a gym may be another option as one years fee could be far less than a machine plus you get access to all the other machines.

Should I consider second hand?
Buying second hand is another option but do look for signs of excessive wear such as excessive noise when in use or a worn down seat and foot pads. You would be better off buying second hand from a private user rather than a gym as the amount of use will differ dramatically.
Many machines offered second hand will still be in very good condition due to underuse! Make sure you don’t do the same and check your reasons thoroughly first.

Where shall I put it?
Your machine will need to be used in a room with good ventilation because you will need plenty of oxygen in a good session. Many users like to watch tv or listen to the radio or music – but don’t let it distract you from your technique.

What Type Of Rowing Machine Is Best For Me?

There are four different ways to provide the resistance for the rowing action on a machine, these are:-

Uses oil in cylinders to provide resistance. Prices start around $160

tend to be small units so storage is easy

action is not as smooth as other types
can be susceptible to leaking over two years which will make it unusable

2. AIR
Air flows over a flywheel to create water resistance.
Prices start around $200 but to get a quality machine you would need to think about spending at least $400 +

wide range of resistance available replicating rowing on water, i.e., the faster you row the greater the resistance.

Noise, air resistance machines can be quite noisy especially as you increase your rate

Resistance is provided by water pressure in a cylinder.
Prices start around $1000

authentic feel of water
very smooth action
many people like the sound of the water whooshing as your row

are expensive, tend to be bulkier than other rowers
will require more maintenance than other types as the water may need replacing at intervals

Resistance is achieved by an adjustable magnet

almost silent operation
smaller than air and water machines for easy storage
little or no maintenance required

not really a disadvantage but if you like to hear the sound of water when you row you won’t get it with this type of machine

You are here: Home >> Fitness Equipment >> Buying A Rowing Machine

New! Comments

Please add your comments on what you've just read below.

Rowing Machine Workouts

rowing machine workout program
Get the best results from your rower with my new program.