Sometimes it can be really difficult to pick a rowing machine that fits all of your needs. There are, of course, some ‘fan’ favourites (excuse the pun) but you need to make an informed decision when it comes to picking the right machine for you. In this article, I’m going to be going over our picks for the 5 best rowing machines of 2023 and try to help you pick something that’s right for you. I’ll also be going over the different types of rowing machines there are, so you know what the differences are.
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The benefits of owning and using a rowing machine
Owning a rowing machine is one of the best ways to stay fit. Unlike gym memberships or outdoor fitness classes, you can use this low-impact exercise equipment whenever you want – even if it’s a short 15-minute workout!
Though small and convenient enough to store at home, rowing machines can provide a great full-body workout with intense cardio activity. Rowing machines mainly influence the arms, back, shoulders and legs while raising the user’s heart rate for maximum calorie burn. They can also improve posture and coordination because users have to maintain their balance on both sides of the machine while making sure their body moves in sync with each stroke. Best of all, there are no weather restrictions when you own your own rowing machine – allowing you to dedicate time to your health despite changes in the weather or busy schedules.
Rowing machines offer a low-impact, full-body workout that can help develop endurance, increase muscle tone and strengthen your cardiovascular system. They provide an effective way to improve your overall fitness while burning calories and fat. By adjusting the resistance level you can target different muscle groups as well as vary the intensity of your workout, enabling you to push yourself further or back off when necessary.
Some rowing machines allow you to track your performance so you are able to measure your progress over time and make any necessary adjustments to enhance results. Rowing on a regular basis is also said to be more precise than simply exercising through jogging. This is because muscles are challenged by movement during the exercise but do not experience the shock of impact found in running and other forms of exercise. So if used correctly, a rowing machine can be an excellent choice for people looking for a great workout without risking any damage or injury to their joints or muscles.
The different types of rowing machines
Rowing machines offer an excellent way to get an intense cardiovascular workout. There are three different kinds of rowing machines available today: air resistance, water resistance, and magnetic resistance.
Air resistance rowing machines use a fan for their flywheel mechanism, giving a smooth and realistic feel to the rower’s strokes. These can get close to mimicing water resistance by selecting the right settings on the flywheel resistance.
Water resistance rowing machines have a paddle that adjusts the speed level when immersed in water; this lets users customize the intensity of their workouts. They also give the most accurate off-water depiction of being on the water as they mimic water resistance perfectly.
Magnetic resistance rowing machines are less loud than other types of rowers, as they use magnets for adjustments instead of fans or paddles. They tend to be costlier though due to their complex construction. These can also mimic natural water resistance by selecting the right setting.
All three varieties of rowing machine offer users a great way to exercise the arms, back, legs and core in one efficient workout session.
JLL Aqua 1 Home Hydro Rowing Machine
The JLL Aqua 1 Home Hydro Rowing Machine is a fantastic addition to any aspiring athlete’s home gym. Being the first of three rowing machines on this list by JLL and the only water resistance rowing machine on this list, this erg comes as a true surprise to me in terms of functionality vs price. The cheapest of the 5 rowing machines on this list, it combines sleek looks with a practical interface
While on the surface this rowing machine may seem to look quite basic it really packs a punch when it comes to elevating your performance whilst using it. As it’s a water resistance rowing machine it’s able to perfectly mimic the natural resistance of water which really allows you to draw a parallel to how you should expect the water to feel if you were to go rowing on a river, however, if this isn’t enough for you it’s also equipped with elastic resistance so you can increase the amount of resistance you feel during a workout. With 5 different intensity levels to choose from you’ll be sure to find one that works for you and the workouts you’re doing.
The JLL Aqua 1 Home Hydro Rowing Machine is able to be folded up so you can store it compactly, but when it’s fully unfolded it has dimensions of 211 x 55 x 100 cm and weighs about 35kg without the water in it. This machine also has a maximum weight capacity of 150kg.
You can buy the JLL Aqua 1 Home Hydro Rowing Machine HERE
JLL® Ventus 2 Air Resistance Home Rowing Machine
The JLL Ventus 2 Air Resistance Home Rowing Machine is another fantastic addition to your home gym. Coming equipped with 8 different levels of hybrid magnetic and air resistance, you’re sure to find that this machine can cater to your every need. While I’m not the hugest fan of magnetic resistance rowing machines, much preferring fan resistance rowing machines, you’ll find that because this machine is a hybrid, you get the best of both worlds when it comes to the type of resistance you prefer.
For me, I like to know that while the machine I have is practical, I also like it to look the part and for me, I think that this is definitely a step in the right direction in the looks department. The resistance changer is right in front of you, so if you’re doing adjustable resistance sets you don’t need to worry about stretching to change your resistance.
Something else that I love about this machine is the addition of a tablet holder above your main monitor. This is so important when you’re going for a long-distance workout, as you’re able to keep your attention on both screens if you’re trying to keep a split, but also want to binge your favourite series while you do it.
The JLL Ventus 2 Air Resistance Home Rowing Machine has dimensions of 214 x 54 x 115 cm and weighs almost 35kg. It has a maximum weight capacity of 120kg.
You can buy the JLL Ventus 2 Air Resistance Home Rowing Machine HERE
JLL® Ventus 3 Air Resistance Home Rowing Machine
The last of our rowing machines from JLL we have the JLL Ventus 3 Air Resistance Home Rowing Machine. This is a wonderful rowing machine that comes equipped with a big flywheel on the back which is perfect for increased air flow. Also this machine comes with 16 levels of resistance which is great if you want to make sure that the resistance that you’re going for is something that you usually have to fine tune. This is another machine which has a hybrid resistance, with both air resistance and magnetic resistance you’ll be sure to get a great workout in with this one.
I feel like this machine is very reminiscent of the old Concept2 model B with the big flywheel at the back. I always liked that design as it kept me nice and cool while I was doing a big workout. One thing that I love about this machine is the inclusion of the phone stand. While the Ventus 2 had it there for the viewing of readouts or watching something while you row, the Ventus 3 has it there for practical reasons.
You can link your phone or tablet to the rowing machine by downloading an app that helps you with structured workouts and challenges to help you push yourself to the max! It even works as a remote display giving you specialised readouts so you can track your progress while you use the rowing machine over time. They even include a heart rate band so you can accurately track your heart rate, giving you a better idea of how many calories you are burning.
The JLL Ventus 3 Air Resistance Home Rowing Machine has dimensions of 219 x 49 x 95 cm and weighs 39kg. It has a maximum weight capacity of 120kg.
You can buy the JLL Ventus 3 Air Resistance Home Rowing Machine HERE
Concept2 RowErg with PM5
It should come as no surprise to you that this rowing machine is featured in our top 5! The Concept2 RowErg with PM5 is widely regarded as THE rowing machine to use. A favourite of athletes across all sports, the Concept2 RowErg is perhaps one of the best out there. They can run quite expensive, but for me it’s totally worth it. With each model they release Concept2 find a way to somehow improve their rowing machines by adding new features that you wonder how you lived without before.
For me it’s the smartphone compatibility that really puts this machine on a pedestal. Concept2 have released a smartphone app that allows you to connect wirelessly to your erg. This provides additional date points and also allows you to store all of your workouts on the app so you can track your progress and see where you’ve improved over time.
Personally I can’t see a world in which Concept2 aren’t totally killing it in terms of design and practicality. If you’re looking to store the rowing machine all you have to do is lift it up and you can store it on its “back” or you can quickly release the track with a simple flick of a lever and store the pieces separately. It’s both the design and function that sets this apart from most other rowing machines out there.
The Concept2 RowErg with PM5 has dimensions of 60.96 x 243.84 x 35.56 cm and weighs 26KG. It has a maximum weight capacity of 227KG
You can buy the Concept2 Rowerg with PM5 HERE
NordicTrack New RW900
I didn’t think it was possible to be so surprised by a rowing machine that I had to even say this, but WOW! The NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine is an absolute powerhouse to be reckoned with! This magnetic resistance rowing machine has 26 levels of resistance to give you full control of your workouts. Not only does this rowing machine look sleek and modern, but it also boasts a massive 22-inch interactive HD touchscreen. We’ve truly entered the era of smart rowing machines.
The NordicTrack rowing machine comes with a free 30 day subscription to their iFit membership platform which allows you to have access to lots of premade workouts and even some live workouts too. The fun doesn’t stop there though, not only do you have access to rowing workouts but you also get access to stretches and warmup videos that you can do next to the rowing machine by pivoting the screen.
The price tag may be high, but to gain access to all of these features it’s almost worth it when you think about all of the content that you have to explore and all of the guided workouts you can do. You do have to pay a monthly subscription cost of £12 ($15) per month (at the time of writing) to retain access to all of these features, but to be honest, when you compare that to the cost of a gym membership it’s almost not worth comparing the two. Plus, if you have any other NordicTrack workout equipment you can use that membership with all compatible models to gain access to all different kinds of workouts.
The NordicTrack New RW900 Rowing Machine has dimensions of 208.28 x 56 x 137cm and weighs 74KG. It has a maximum weight capacity of 113KG
You can buy the NordicTrack New RW900 Rowing machine HERE
So there you have it! Our picks for the top 5 rowing machines of 2023. If you feel like you’re ready to purchase one of these rowing machines, we’ve provided links to all of them in this article. We hope you’ve found this useful and hope that your year is full of PB’s and success!