Best Rowing Machines – CNET

Best Rowing Machines – CNET

There’s no such thing as one rowing machine for every user or every living situation, but there are a few things you can ask yourself to narrow it down. With that in mind, we tested all rowing machines under the same basic criteria.


With a lot of smart rowing machines, you’re rarely paying for just the hardware. Be sure to check the subscription price, and whether that subscription is required to use the rower. Separately, many manufacturers offer payment plans for rowing machines to help make the initial cost a little less impactful.

Physical space

By design, rowing machines are quite long, and you need to be able to move across the length of the rail while working out. Be sure to measure your space and include a little room on either side for you to get on and off the rower. It’s also important to be aware of the size of the machine when it’s stowed away or folded up, to ensure it isn’t always taking up a lot of space.

Max rower weight

You may be surprised to learn that the total weight a rowing machine can support varies significantly from model to model, especially if that model folds up instead of stands up. You can run into long-term wear issues if you’re close to the maximum weight a machine can handle.

Workout quality

If you’re going to be paying for a monthly subscription, the stuff you get access to needs to be good. Some rowers come with great class-style programming, while others use recordings of the real world or even games to help keep you focused on the physical activity at hand. It’s important to know what kind of programming motivates you the most, and choose a platform to best suit your needs.


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