Best Rowing Machine for Home Use: How to Select the Right Rower

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When it comes to selecting exercise equipment for home usage, it’s important to take a few considerations into account such as the amount of space you have available, the equipment’s footprint (size when installed), the noise the piece of equipment generates and a few other points.

We won’t necessarily be talking about any one specific best rowing machine for home usage in this article, but if you read through this article and then head over to our Best Rowing Machines For This Year article you can learn about the hottest rowing machine recommendations.

The list is kept up to date every year so you know you’re getting the most current information available to you. We do our best to source and choose only the best of the best across generally 3 price ranges to suit every need and budget.

Alright, so how exactly do you select the right rowing machine for in-home use? Let’s find out.

There are Just a Few Questions to Ask Yourself First.

Whether you want a space saving design, quiet operation, a vigorous workout experience or you want something light for general purpose exercise, we have information that will help you make the most informed decision when considering purchasing a rower.

The key features to keep in mind when choosing a rowing machine would be:

  • How much noise does it generate?
  • How experienced are you and what’s your overall fitness level?
  • Do you have limited space or unlimited space to use one in your home?
  • What’s your budget?

All of these questions will sort of help you out on your journey to choosing the right rower and we’ll cover everything there is to know below.

What Kind of Features do You Want or Need?

Other than your target budget, there are a couple of features to pay attention to when choosing a rowing machine. 

For example, there are four main types of resistance, ranging from cheapest to most expensive:

  • Hydraulic Piston Resistance
  • Air Resistance
  • Magnetic Resistance
  • Water Resistance

The models with the least features and cheapest price tag would be the ones featuring a hydraulic piston resistance design. These are cheap to manufacture and a decent quality one can be had for under $300.

However, don’t expect to be training for the next World Rowing Championships on cheap devices as they just can’t provide adequate amounts of resistance for extremely advanced athletes.

Air resistance is the same idea – cheap designs, but the advantage they have over their hydraulic counterparts is that they can automatically adjust their own resistance based on how intense your workout gets which we think is pretty cool.

More advanced models will always feature a magnetic design and/or water resistance, both of which provide a very realistic rowing experience geared towards the enthusiast rower or the professional rower looking to train during winter or in their off-season.

For these people it’s imperative that they get the highest quality possible because of their frequent and intense training sessions and their desire to train as realistically as possible. 

It’s not all just about resistance though – it also comes down to noise. Choosing models with water resistance will also be the quietest, but also most expensive. Magnetic resistance designs will also be near silent and can offer you a much lower price, so you have to kind of gauge what tradeoffs you’re willing to make!

Do you want the quietest at the expense of price, or can you sacrifice going a little cheaper for a little more noise? The choice is yours to make.

What About Build Quality and Craftsmanship?

This is a valid point. Again, if you take a look at our Best Rowers for This Year buyer’s guide, you will find all sorts of options in 3 main price ranges. However, we would never recommend any piece of equipment that we haven’t personally tried out or don’t personally stand behind. 

Each kind of price range has a specific audience in mind and the higher the price tag, the better the quality of materials being used will be.

Rowers from the likes of Water Rower, First Degree and BodyCraft will feature some of the best quality components available, but at a hefty price premium. If you’re someone just starting out and in need of a basic machine, it would be pretty senseless to spend over $1000 on a rowing machine.

It’s also not like the cheaper models will instantly fall apart during use, they just can’t be used every single day for hours on end at high intensity levels. It’s pretty much the same with anything – you get what you pay for!

Remember we talked about the professional rower up above? Well, chances are, you won’t be needing anything like that and something of slightly lower build quality can and probably will provide you with an exceptionally suitable experience.

What’s the Best Balance of Quality, Features, Size and Noise?

If you’re a beginner, novice or semi-intermediate cardio training aficionado, then something in the $300-$600 price-range will suit your needs just fine. You’ll find a striking balance between features, size, noise, quality and price that simply can’t be offered by more expensive devices.

Say you had a Ferrari, and the speed limit in your area is electronically capped at 50km/h. There would literally be no point in getting a Ferrari over a Mazda 3 would there?

The same can be said for exercise equipment. We can really only do so much to recommend good equipment for you, but ultimately it comes down to where your experience level sits and what you plan on doing with your cardio equipment.

Something very important to keep in mind with all of this as well is deciding how much space you’re willing to use up for this machine and if you want the ability to fold it up and stash it away when it’s not in use.

Our Rowing Machine buyer’s guide has all kinds of options for you when it comes to choosing a rower that can be stashed away. We also provide all of the dimensions, features and everything else you need to know before you make the final purchasing decision.

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve covered so far:

  • For a beginner or intermediate, select the $300-$600 price range.
  • Find a model with preferably magnetic resistance.
  • Choose a model that provides the correct measurements for the space you have available.
  • There are models that fold up – do you want this feature for easier storage?

Warranty and Support and Advanced Features

This goes without saying – but models that sell for a more premium price will also sport better features, bigger LCD panels, longer warranties and much better support.

The question to ask yourself, however, is: Do you really need this stuff?

We’re all prone to doing this. It’s called the “shiny object syndrome” where we think we’d like to have the best features, the biggest size, most expensive etc, but in this case, that’s simply irresponsible in our mind.

Now, there will be those people who can afford to spend as much as they want, and if that’s what you want to do (which is not recommended at all) you can certainly do that, but you must ask yourself if it’s really worth it to you to splurge.

Some of the advanced features you will find are custom workout programs, connectivity to workout apps via Bluetooth such as MyFitnessPal and more, massive LCD consoles, fans to cool you off – basically all the bells and whistles that come along with very expensive equipment.

You will obviously be getting way better resistance and more advanced resistance types, but again, you have to ask yourself if you really need this stuff.

Warranties will be great which goes without saying but if you aren’t stressing your machine very hard or working out very intensely, these warranties could go unused (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). 

==>Click here to find our best recommendations for this year<==

How Much Do You Want to Spend?

You may be thinking that this is a very obvious point, but it’s important. How much do you want to spend? This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind.

Once you’ve established your price-range you can go over all of the information above and take a look to see what kind of equipment will serve your purpose the best with the budget that you have set for yourself.

Keep in mind that as a beginner or intermediate, the least you spend for the most amount of features will suit your needs best and spending any more than that directly goes against our philosophy of consumerism here.

I personally would never want to spend more than I have to to get the features that I want, so why would I want you to do that? That seems silly.

Resources to Help You Decide

There are a plethora of resource to help you choose the right rowing machines or any other exercise equipment for that matter.

For one check out our Buyer’s Guide for this year to help you gauge what kind of machines you can get for your price range.

You can also do a quick Google search on rowing machines, or you can head over to Amazon and check out what other people have to say about whatever specific rowing machine you’re considering.

It’s always advisable to do as much research as you can because a rowing machine is not something you upgrade very often, if at all. We therefore always recommend to read as many reviews as possible from credible resources, and from other consumers as well.

Check out Walmart, Target, Amazon and any other major retailer that has tons of user reviews so you can get a good idea of the issues and positives you will find in your next home rowing machine!

We want to thank you for stopping by to check out our home rowing guide. Make sure to check out our full Best Rowers for This Year buyer’s guide here.

If you have questions for us or if you want personalised help choosing a rowing machine, then please feel free to see the bottom of this page and use our contact form for individualised help! We’re always pleased to help out our viewers.

As always,
With Love,


  1. Hi, It is timely article for me. I have Sciatica for a while now. Due to the illness, the strength of my both feet is weak. I saw my doctor last week and he suggested that I do some exercises to enhance my feet strength. Rower exercise is one of his recommendation. I have no budget issue. I just want to purchase one that enhance the strength of my feet and in the same time, it will reduce my Sciatica. Could you give me suggestions of such rowers. Thank you for help in advance.

    1. Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for stopping by! I am so sorry to hear about your health struggles. I hope you get better soon! In the event that you wish to purchase a rowing machine, there are many great options and you really don’t have to spend much money at all.

      If you want the best of the best, the Concept2 Model D has consistently been heralded as the highest rated rowing machine of all time, which you can learn more about here.

      Alternatively, you can go to that same link and have a look around our 3 different price options. Any one of the rowing machines will serve you quite well 🙂

  2. Hey thanks for the post. A rower is a great way to get in shape and something that you can use from the comfort of your home. I think I’ll have to look into getting one for my house. Do you have a rower that you would recommend with great quality but also a reasonable price? Thanks

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