The best rowing machines in the UK 2023

Using nearly 90% of the body's muscles, the rowing machine is one of the best and most complete pieces of exercise equipment. It is the ideal option for improving cardiovascular endurance and training at home. But finding the best machine is still not easy. So, we have prepared this guide to help you find the right indoor rowing machine for you.

Sportstech RSX400 1

Best value

Sportstech RSX400

The best apartment rower in 2021

Designed for beginners and intermediates, the Sportstech RSX400 is a practical and reliable home rower. With a magnetic resistance system, it offers a pleasant and natural rowing experience.

378 £ on Amazon

The RSX400 is a very compact, simple and elegant rowing machine. It features an 8-level magnetic resistance system with a 6-7 kg inertia weight. Compatible with cardio belts and fitness applications, this equipment will offer you many exercise options. The machine supports a maximum user weight of 100 kg for a height of 1.85 m on a seat equipped with ball bearings with an aluminum rail.

The folding type, this rowing machine measures 160 x 45 x 89 cm for a folded size of 71 x 47 x 12.5 cm and a total weight of 23.6 kg. It has a training monitor that displays all the data of your session such as duration, distance rowed, total strokes and strokes per minute, calories burned etc. It also has a tablet support to enjoy mobile fitness applications. Compact and mobile, the device has transport wheels to simplify its movement and storage.

SportPlus SP-MR-008 2

Best cheap

SportPlus SP-MR-008

The best entry-level apartment rower

Enjoy a cheap exercise rower with the SportPlus SP-MR-008. Made in Germany, this fitness equipment adopts a magnetic resistance system, perfect for intermediate use.

160 £ on Amazon

The SportPlus SP-MR-008 is one of the most underrated home rowers. However, this model has a silent magnetic braking system with 8 levels of resistance to choose from on an 8 kg flywheel. It is suitable for beginners as well as intermediate users. With a maximum weight capacity of 150 kg, the rower is suitable for users up to 1.83 m tall. Easy to store, the rower has a folding mechanism and wheels to simplify its movement.

The machine is equipped with a console with an LED screen displaying information on the training session. Here we note the duration, distance, number of strokes, movements per minute and calories burned. It also has a signal receiver for standard 5 kHz chest straps. The seat is made of Polyurethane and glides noiselessly on the aluminum rail, mounted on ball bearings: stable and light. It is equipped with non-slip pedals with a safety strap to ensure perfect posture and stability.

Concept2 Modèle D

Best high-end

Concept2 Model D

The best high-end apartment rower

The Concept2 Model D is the ultimate reference in the world of rowing machines, both at home and in the gym. It has everything you need for an intense workout.

1 240 £ on Amazon

The Concept2 Model D is the world's best-selling exercise machine. This success is due to its reliability and ease of use. For these reasons, it has been approved by the French Rowing Federation for national team performance testing. Thanks to its robust design, the equipment can withstand intensive use. Note its maximum load of 220 kg.

It is an air resistance rowing machine with a monitor arm. The height and angle of the monitor can be adjusted as needed. The PM5 monitor is powered via a USB port. Despite its 244 cm length, the Concept2 Model D can be disassembled with ease. It is also compatible with ANT+ heart rate belts as well as the free ErgData application and Bluetooth Smart (or BLE, also known as Bluetooth Low Energy).

Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1 3

Alternative high-end

Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1

A high-end alternative

Amateurs and pros alike can have a blast with the Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1. It features an adjustable water resistance system with a dual chamber tank that simulates rowing.

799 £ on Amazon

The Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1is an indoor rowing machine for building muscle and endurance. It features a 10-level adjustable water resistance system with a dual chamber tank to simulate rowing and create a more realistic experience. It adopts a foldable structure with transport wheels and takes dimensions of 122 x 83, 61 cm on a weight of 40 kg.

Equipped with a non-slip V-shaped handlebar, this rowing machine has an ergonomic seat with a ball bearing system. It also has non-slip pedals with straps to optimize your support. In addition to its functions, it incorporates an LCD screen that displays information on your training sessions such as calories burned, distance traveled, duration and number of strokes. Consisting of a tablet support, the machine supports the Kinomap mobile application via Bluetooth for training guides and videos.

ISE SY-15002 4


ISE SY-15002

A great apartment rower

For your muscle gain and fat loss, the ISE SY-15002 will be perfect. This rowing machine allows an optimal training with 8 levels of intensity on a total mass of inertia of 6 kg.

184 £ on Cdiscount

The ISE SY-15002 is an exercise machine designed for low to medium intensity use. It is mainly a Gym machine ideal for basic fitness needs. Adopting a magnetic resistance type, it offers 8 intensity levels on a total inertia mass of 6 kg. Foldable and ultra-compact, the machine allows a maximum load up to 130 kg and a user height up to 2 m.

The equipment has a console with an LCD screen displaying the statistics of each training session. Equipped with 2 transport wheels, the rowing machine is made of extra long aluminum rail of 103 cm for large extensions. The device is 157 cm long, 45 cm wide and 89 cm high and weighs 23.6 kg. Despite its small price, it comes with a chest belt that allows you to monitor the heart rate during exercise.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best rowing machine

Any specific needs?

The best apartment rower in 2021

The best entry-level apartment rower

The best high-end apartment rower

A high-end alternative

A great apartment rower

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best rowing machines

Sportstech RSX400 5
SportPlus SP-MR-008 6
Concept2 Modèle D
Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1 7
ISE SY-15002 8
Sportstech RSX400
SportPlus SP-MR-008
Concept2 Model D
Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1
ISE SY-15002
Designed for beginners and intermediates, the Sportstech RSX400 is a practical and reliable home rower. With a magnetic resistance system, it offers a pleasant and natural rowing experience.
Enjoy a cheap exercise rower with the SportPlus SP-MR-008. Made in Germany, this fitness equipment adopts a magnetic resistance system, perfect for intermediate use.
The Concept2 Model D is the ultimate reference in the world of rowing machines, both at home and in the gym. It has everything you need for an intense workout.
Amateurs and pros alike can have a blast with the Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1. It features an adjustable water resistance system with a dual chamber tank that simulates rowing.
For your muscle gain and fat loss, the ISE SY-15002 will be perfect. This rowing machine allows an optimal training with 8 levels of intensity on a total mass of inertia of 6 kg.
Bluefin Fitness
Resistance system
Air resistance
Aquatic (water-based)
Resistance levels
8 levels
8 levels
10 levels
8 levels
Maximum user size & weight
100 kg & 1.85 m
150 kg & 1.83 m
227 kg
200 kg & + 2 m
130 kg & 2 m
Dimensions & weight
160 x 45 x 89 cm & 23.6 kg
190 x 51 x 77 cm & 26.5 kg
244 x 61 x 36 cm & 26 kg
122 x 83 x 61 cm & 40 kg
157 x 45 x 89 cm & 23.6 kg

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Buying guide - rowing machine

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How to choose your rowing machine

The rowing machine, also known as indoor rowing, is more complete and very beneficial to your health. It is a very good choice for getting back into shape. How do you find the most suitable model? Follow the advice below:

#1 - The type of resistance

As we have just explained,this is the main criterion for differentiating between rowing machines. Each type of resistance has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, bungee rowers are often the cheapest, but also the least efficient, while water rowers are among the most expensive, but also the most efficient and quiet.

#2 - The comfort of use

The comfort of using a rower depends on three elements:

  1. Seat comfort: choose a padded or hard seat, soft or hard handles, and footrests with effective fasteners (scratches or buckles).
  2. Rower noise: most people want a quiet (water) or low-noise (magnetic) rower, but others prefer to hear the noise produced by their efforts (air rower). It depends!
  3. Stability: generally speaking, the heavier the rowing machine, the more stable it is. In addition, for greater stability, some machines have height-adjustable feet that allow the rowing machine to be level.

#3 - Sturdiness and maximum supported weight

Your rower will probably suffer as much as you do during your workouts! Given the price of the most expensive machines (over 2000 €), it is essential to choose a robust machine that will last for many years. It is also essential to make sure that the rowing machine is suitable for your weight! High-end models can support 180-230 kg; mid-range models generally support 110-130 kg; while entry-level models sometimes support less than 100 kg. So it's important to find out before you make your purchase if you don't want to end up with an unusable machine.

#4 - Resistance to stress



rowing machine suitable for a child's strength or a real titan's? If most devices offer the possibility of adjusting the level of resistance to the effort, it is necessarily within the limits set by the design of the device. It is important to know that the majority of negative feedback following the purchase of a rowing machine results from the choice of a resistance that is too low. It is therefore essential to check if the device is adapted to your strength and to the use you wish to make of it

(occasional/amateur, regular, or intensive).

#5 - Ease of storage

A rowing machine is a bulky piece of equipment up to 2 meters long. So it's best to choose a model that's foldable and easy to store.

#6 - The screen and training options

All good models have a monitor with a screen that helps motivate you by displaying your speed, distance you've traveled, and calories you've burned. Even better, some models have training programs designed by sports coaches. These programs include performance tracking, allow you to optimize your workout, keep you motivated, and help you excel.

#7 - The guarantee

In case of a problem, know that you are protected by the 2-year legal warranty of conformity. The manufacturer will be obliged to repair or replace your device during this period, even if it does not specify any warranty in the product description.

Some manufacturers extend the warranty period to 5 years, or even 15 years, for the rowing machine frame. An interesting choice for the most expensive models.

How does a rowing machine work?

The rowing machine, as its name suggests, is a sports device that simulates the movements of rowing. It consists mainly of a seat, pedals of varying widths, a handle, oars, a rail, a console and a gliding system.

Its use is very easy. Simply sit on the seat on the rail, put your feet on the pedals, pull the handle and slide back and forth. While performing these movements, you will be forced to bend your legs as well as your arms.

The back will remain in an upright position throughout the workout thanks to the comfort of the ergonomic seat. In addition, the pedals are equipped with straps so that your feet can get better support. The console allows you to be informed at any time on the progress of the session by providing essential data such as the distance covered, calories burned, number of strokes... Some models have predefined programs for a more elaborate training or a connected console.

The different types of rowing machines

Did you know that there are 5 types of rowing machines on the market? Each model corresponds to specific needs, which is why it is essential to know your objectives.

Elastic resistance rowing machine

It is simply a large rubber band stretched

or wrapped around a cylinder. The sensation produced is far from a real rowing machine, even if it is called a "rowing machine". However, some entry-level rowing machines are equipped with them. Inexpensive, these types of home rowing machines are not very effective if you are looking to work your muscles.

The air resistance rowing machine

This is

what is typically found in gyms. Used by high-level athletes

and rowing pros, this rowing machine offers sensations very close to those of a real rowing machine. Its main interest lies in the intensity that adapts to the effort provided. The faster you pull, the greater the resistance. Beware of the noise!

Magnetic resistance rowing machine


is the type of rowing machine most offered to individuals. It uses electromagnets to control the intensity of the effort to be provided

. Their main defect is the production of a constant resistance, thus far from the real sensations of a rowing machine. But the comfort of use remains superior to elastic or hydraulic resistances, although inferior to air or water resistances. It is also a quiet rower.

The hydraulic piston rowing machine

Hydraulic or Scandinavian piston rowers use two hydraulic cylinders

attached to the handles of the machine. Their shorter shape clearly distinguishes them from other types of rowers. They are generally less expensive, more comfortable to use than bungee rowing machines, but less comfortable than air or water rowing machines, and require less leg muscle work. They also take up little space.

The water resistance rowing machine


better than water to simulate water resistance? The water resistance rower is the one that offers the closest feeling to a real rowing machine. They are, in our opinion, the most enjoyable to use. In addition, it is a real pleasure to hear the sound of the water during the effort! These types of rowing machines come at a relatively high price.

Exercise rower or spinning bike?

Exercise rowing machine

The rowing machine or ergometer is a type of cardio-training device specially designed to reproduce the movements made while rowing. Initially, the rowing machine was mainly intended for athletes and amateurs of this sport who wanted to train at home. Today, with the democratization of the body-building machine, it is becoming one of the most popular in gyms.

It allows you to work your muscles, tone them, lose weight and burn fat, sculpt your body, work your endurance and thus reduce cardiovascular risks ... Its use is not suitable for beginners since it requires specific positions and movements to target specific muscle groups.

Spinning bike

Like the rowing machine, the spinning bike was originally designed for professional cyclists. According to some studies, a training session on a spinning bike allows you to burn calories (more precisely, 900 kcal). If you want to lose about 500 g/month, it is advisable to do 3 sessions of 40 min per week.

This is the ideal machine for maintaining and strengthening your body while keeping in shape. You will be able to work your main muscles and reduce cardiovascular risks.


Both of these fitness machines offer low impact training, which is why they are highly recommended by sports coaches. They are ideal for those with joint problems and those in need of rehabilitation.

The spinning bike offers minimal dynamic movement and can be used by anyone without the need to be a professional athlete. Offering a good level of protection for the back, this type of fitness equipment only really works the muscles of the lower body. You will have among other things an optimal freedom of movement for your hands. The rowing machine, on the other hand, will give you the opportunity to burn more calories. It works the whole body and is very practical for people under stress.

Why buy a rowing machine?

The rowing machine works more than 90% of the muscles

Contrary to what you might think, it's not just your arms that are used during a rowing session. On the contrary! Only 25% of the effort is taken up by the arms, the remaining 75% is distributed throughout the body, and in particular in the legs, abdominal muscles and back. In total, more than 90% of the muscles (by volume) are mobilized when you row!

The reason the rowing machine is so much better than other fitness machines is that it is a complete workout for your whole body.

It allows you to work on your aerobic and anaerobic systems

We know how effective running and cycling are for developing aerobic fitness. But the rowing machine is even better! Why is that? Simply because it works more muscles and allows you to control the pace and intensity of your effort even more precisely. This allows you to mobilize your VO2 max over a longer period of time and methodically improve your aerobic capacity.

It is an ideal piece of equipment for cardio training

As we have just mentioned, one of the great advantages of the rowing machine is its ability to work in rhythm. You can, for example, set a goal in strokes per minute on most monitors. The machine will then display your deviation from that pace and how consistently you are following it.

In addition, some rowing machines work in conjunction with an accessory that tracks your heart rate.

This allows you to create personalized programs that optimally alternate slow paces, fast paces, and rest times to effectively build your cardiovascular system, increase your endurance, reduce your blood pressure, improve your pulse rate, and balance your blood sugar!

It's an effective calorie and fat burner

Where a cycling or running session will make you lose 500 to 600 calories in one hour, a rowing session will make you lose up to 800 calories.

It is therefore an incredible fat burner!

Even better, by building muscle mass and improving your basal metabolic rate, the rowing machine will help you use more energy throughout the day, so you can lose weight even when you're not working out.

It's easy to use

With a rowing machine, you don't need to perform difficult movements or learn how to use a complex machine (like some weight benches):

Sit on the seat, place your feet on their support and... row! It's not much more complicated than that.

It's great for winter training

If you play an outdoor sport that depends on the weather, such as football, baseball or rugby, you know how difficult it is to train in the winter. Between the night, the cold and the frozen ground, it's a real struggle to train in good conditions.

The only solution, for the lucky ones, is to train indoors... but then again, you're never safe from a last-minute cancellation.

Having a rowing machine at home will allow you to train in all circumstances to be in optimal shape and be even more efficient when the good weather returns.

You will save time

By having your own rowing machine, you won't waste time going to the fitness or weight room. Moreover, it is a device that requires no time to set up: you just have to sit down to start your workout.

During the session itself, you can mobilize up to 90% of your body's muscles at the same time. This saves you a lot of time compared to machines that only train your legs, abs or arms.

It's good for your joints

Unlike running, tennis or even jumping rope, the rowing machine is good for your joints. Thanks to the fluid movement, without impact, that you will provide on the rowing machine, you will preserve and strengthen the joints which are often damaged by the practice of sports.

You will reduce your back problems

We spend more and more time sitting, often in a bad position. It's not surprising, then, that 80% of English people suffer from back pain and that back problems are the cause of 85% of occupational illnesses (according to the INRS).

By stretching and strengthening the muscles of the back (trapezius, large round, large dorsal ...) the rowing machine helps both to prevent and reduce back pain. It will therefore be extremely beneficial to the vast majority of sedentary workers.

You limit the risk of injury

Unlike machines that require you to handle weights, you won't tear a muscle or injure yourself with a rowing machine.

Even better, the seat is only a few inches off the ground, so you can work to the point of exhaustion: you won't hurt yourself when you fall, which is a great advantage if you like to push yourself to the limit.

The best brands of rowing machines

In our opinion, the best brands of rowing machines in 2022 are :

Capital Sports

A German brand that entered the market in 2015, Sportstech is a specialist in sports equipment. This subsidiary of the InnovaMaxx group mainly offers quality equipment in the image of its rowing machines.

Hop-Sport, like Sportstech, is a German brand founded around 2010. Its sports equipment is well thought out and comes with an incomparable design. The rowing machines of the brand will be offered to you at a very good price.

Ultrasport's rowing machines are designed for the general public and allow you to learn to row. You won't have to spend a huge amount of money because they are offered at a very affordable price.

The Capital Sport brand offers a wide range of sports equipment of varying quality to suit all budgets. Its rowing machines of apartment have the characteristic to be more solid and more powerful.

Proform is a subsidiary brand of the ICON Health and Fitness Group, which has made it the international leader in the fitness world. Its high-quality rowing machines are designed for both professionals and beginners.

What is the price for a rowing machine

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

100 £ to 300 £
300 £ to 750 £
more than 750 £
Price range diagram


Be like clockwork

Think of your upper body as a clock: when you shoot, you should be at 11:00, when you return, you should be at 1:00. This is a simple trick to maintain good posture.

Use your legs


legs, which should do a lot of the work. Remember to push against the machine and use your hamstrings and quads. You will gain more yardage by pushing harder with your legs.

Choose a place that motivates you


will be different for each person. Facing a window with a nice view. Place your rower in front of a large television where you can watch the news. Or, set it up outside so you can get some fresh air.

Exercise first thing in the morning


is important so you can exercise effectively without moving from your home. If you start your morning with your exercise routine, you're more likely to get it done. Your routine won't be disrupted by appointments, commitments and other distractions. Plus, exercising early will make you feel better all day!

Find a mat for your rowing machine


people overlook this tool when buying a rowing machine, it is really useful though. A rowing mat helps the machine not slip on a smooth wooden floor. It also helps keep your workout area cleaner, which is another time saver too.


How do I choose an exercise rowing machine?

The resistance remains the most important criterion when choosing a rowing machine, as it defines the performance of the device. A magnetic resistance seduces by its constancy, while a hydraulic rower allows to dose the effort according to your physical aptitudes. In addition to the resistance, there is also the sound level, the comfort of use and the various options.

How do I use an exercise rowing machine?

You just need to understand how an exercise rower works to use it properly. It mimics the movements of rowing and invites you to sit on the seat with your feet on the pedals and your hands gripping the handles. All you have to do is "row" back and forth, keeping your back straight.

What muscles does the rowing machine work?

One of the reasons for choosing the rowing machine is that it works 90% of your muscles. Indeed, the movements from front to back solicit the muscles of the arms, the lower limbs, the back and also the abdominal strap. However, to avoid discomfort, the arms only bear a third of the effort.

What is the advantage of a hydraulic rowing machine?

The hydraulic rowing machine has many advantages; citing only the possibility of working the quasi-totality of the muscles and the equitable distribution of the efforts on the whole body. In addition, it is one of the few sports equipment that can be used in apartment; provided of course to choose a model low noise as what we propose in this comparison.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

See more
Our selection
Sportstech RSX400 9
Sportstech RSX400
SportPlus SP-MR-008 10
SportPlus SP-MR-008
Concept2 Modèle D
Concept2 Model D
Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1 11
Bluefin Fitness Blade Aqua W-1
ISE SY-15002 12
ISE SY-15002


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