Best rowing machines in 2023 (UK)

This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for UK audiences.

Are you looking for a full body workout to do at home? Or a piece of exercise equipment that just doesn’t take up too much space? In any case, a rowing machine is a good choice.

There are many rowing machines out there – plus a variety of price points, sizes, and specs. We’ve done most of the work for you, so we can get you from your computer to your rowing machine in no time. You can thank us later when those muscles are bulging.

When it comes to buying a rowing machine, there are many factors to consider. Air resistance or magnetic resistance? Water tightness or hydraulic resistance? Hi-tech features or just the basics? Integrated workouts or solo rows? Fear not, we are here to answer all your rowing questions and point you in the right direction.

Why do you need a rowing machine?

Rowing machines give you a full body workout. It’s cardio heavy but not very stressful. This means less strain on your joints or overworked muscles and a reduced risk of injury. This makes rowing a safe and effective workout for people of all ages, sizes and abilities.

There’s more – rowing is great for both warming up and cooling down if you’re doing an intense or long workout. It also adds variety to the run-of-the-mill weight and jogging routine.

What types of rowing machine resistance are there?

Here’s some jargon you need to know when shopping for a rowing machine. Resistance is what makes it difficult to pull back on those handlebars, thereby working the muscles. But there are several types of resistors, each with their own advantages and disadvantages:

magnetic resistance — This is the most common type you’ll find in home gym rowing machines. It works by placing a powerful magnet at varying distances from the flywheel, allowing resistance to be increased and decreased. These machines are quieter but don’t necessarily simulate an authentic rowing experience.

air resistance — As you pull, the flywheel spins and creates its own drag. The harder you row, the stronger the resistance becomes. This simulates the experience of rowing on water – but these machines can be noisier than the magnetic resistance options.

water resistance — These use a small water tank. As you row, the flywheel paddles through the water. Unsurprisingly, this is the closest you’ll get to real rowing on the water. Again, the harder you row, the greater the resistance. They make a “swoosh” sound when walking. These tend to be high quality, expensive, and generally larger. They won’t fold away quite as easily – if at all.

hydraulic resistance — This is a standard mechanism on inexpensive, stripped-down rowers. They use pistons that push against liquid or air to create resistance. It’s not as smooth or sturdy as other rowers, but it does the trick if you just want the basics. These machines are usually smaller and easy to store.

Keep these points in mind when buying a rowing machine.

What features do rowing machines offer?

Once you have a type of resistance in mind, the next thing to look at is other specs – particularly the screen and how tech-savvy it is.

Some offer basic info like distance, calories burned, beats per minute and time – while other hi-tech models offer pre-programmed workouts and Bluetooth connectivity that you can connect to fitness apps. Ultimately it comes down to how serious you are about rowing and how much you are willing to spend.

Other features include the number of resistance levels – around 10 is standard – and whether or not the rower folds up for easy storage.

How much does a rowing machine cost?

That is of course the big question. We have included models in different price ranges. It is possible to buy a rowing machine for under £100. It’s also possible to spend well over £1,000.

For anything beyond a very basic model, prepare to shell out at least a few hundred pounds. But it’s worth the money if you want a long-lasting, total-body exercise machine – and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.

Which is the best rowing machine?

We’ve collected impressive models from top brands like NordicTrack(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab)WaterRower(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab)and XS Sports(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab). Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your workout, we’ve compiled a list of the best rowing machines for everyone.

These are the best rowing machines in 2023. Best rowing machines in 2023 (UK)

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