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You’re looking for a way to work in some fast, low-impact cardio and have decided that rowing machines with magnetic resistance are the way to go. We couldn’t agree more!
We’re big fans of the magnetic rower, and we’re eager to help you find the best machine. So that you don’t have to waste time or go through unnecessary expenses, we reviewed over 50 models to come up with this list of the best magnetic rowers.
While these are all high-quality machines, we’re giving the top spot to the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine. If offers the best mix of value and features, and it’s a good fit whether you’re a new user or more advanced rower.
Learn more about this unit and others by checking out our magnetic rowing machine reviews below. If you need more help deciding, we’ve also included a quick buying guide outlining the most important factors to consider when shopping for a magnetic rower.
1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower – Best Magnetic Rowing Machine for New Users
Affordably priced magnetic rower that’s comfy to use
We’ve included the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 on our list of the best magnetic rowers because it’s a high-quality, high-performing machine with a great price tag for new users.
This budget rowing machine costs less than many of the other options on this list, but it offers an incredible value.
For starters, it has a 48-inch slide rail, offering users as tall as 6’5″ plenty of room to maneuver. This is huge because many lower-priced machines just can’t accommodate larger exercisers.
The magnetic rower is also very comfortable to use. It has a cushioned seat that won’t leave you sore and foam-padded, anti-slip handles for a strong, stable grip.
Its foot pedals are large and roomy, but they have textured surface and adjustable foot straps to keep you securely in place.
One thing we were really pleased to see on this magnetic rower is floor stabilizers. They seem like such a little thing, but they’re super useful for helping you feel steady when you’ve got uneven floors.
We tested the machine over some lumpy carpet, and the stabilizers made it seem as if we were on the flattest surface.
If there was something for us to be nit-picky about, it would be that this home rowing machine doesn’t offer enough of a challenge for really advanced users. It’s not really designed for these kinds of people, but we also think that stronger magnetic resistance would make this a rower that newbies could use years.
What I Liked
- Budget rowing machine for newbies and occasional users
- Lots of comfort and safety features for easy, secure use
- Large enough for exercisers up to 6’5″ in height
What I Didn’t Like
- Only a 250 lb weight limit — this is rather low
- Not enough resistance for hardcore rowers
Enjoy a whisper-quiet full body workout
If you prefer early morning workouts, you’ll definitely want to check out this machine from Fitness Reality. While all magnetic rowers are designed to be quiet, we found this one to be among the quietest.
To put things in perspective, we tested the rower in the living room around 5 am. When the rest of the household woke up, we polled them, and no one had heard a thing.
Later in the afternoon, we tested it again and were able to easily hear the radio over the nearly non-existent noise of the machine.
During our tests, we also found that this rower offered a true full body workout. It has 14 magnetic resistance levels, so it’s an ideal fit for both beginners and those who’ve been rowing for a while. We tested it on advanced levels, and we could definitely feel the burn.
Because this indoor rower has been designed to work with several fitness apps, including Apple Health and Google Fit, you can set health goals and track your progress.
With the My Cloud Fitness app, we were able to record important metrics like our distance, calories burned, and strokes per minute.
If we had to give you a word of warning about this machine, it would be to be careful during assembly. There were a couple of times that the instructions weren’t clear, but it was easy enough to eventually figure out what needed to be done.
What I Liked
- Super-quiet operation lets you exercise at all hours of the day
- 14 magnetic resistance levels will give you plenty of workout variety
- Compatible with several fitness apps
What I Didn’t Like
- Rower is very lightweight so it doesn’t feel as steady as others
- Assembly instructions were sometimes unclear
Home rowing machine with lots of convenience features
We think that this JOROTO machine is the best magnetic rower for users who like to go the distance. It was built with so many convenience features for those who like long workouts.
It has a large, comfortably placed, and easily adjustable digital monitor that allows you to track how long you’ve been working out, how many calories you’ve burned, and more.
If you’d rather listen to music or watch videos while exercising, you can prop a phone or tablet in front of the monitor using the integrated device holder.
A built-in cup holder lets you hydrate without having to get up, and a contoured seat cushion and foam-padded handles ensure you stay comfortable no matter how long you work out.
We also love that storage is such a cinch with this rowing machine. It has built-in wheels to make it easy to move it out of the way, and you can hoist it up into standing position so it takes up less room when not in use.
Our biggest gripe with this rower is that the seat is fairly loud. The rest of the machine is quiet, as to be expected, but the seat squeaked and made noise as we moved back and forth.
What I Liked
- Built-in monitor, device stand, and cup holder for convenience
- Comfortable seat and handles for longer workouts
- Stands up to take up less room when storing
What I Didn’t Like
- Excessive seat noise takes away from the quiet operation
- Would like to see the monitor track more metrics
Home rowing machine sculpts muscles with pull and push motions
After thorough review, we think that this indoor rowing machine from Teeter is the best for building muscle and sculpting your body. Its unique method of operation lets you exercise your upper body and lower body muscles during the same workout.
The machine’s secret lies in its patented elliptical path. You’ll engage your arms, back, and legs when you practice traditional rowing motions, but when you switch to push motions, you’ll work your abs, chest, and glutes.
Don’t get us wrong: This thing is amazing for targeting your major muscle groups, but it’s also an amazing tool for cardio workouts.
It has seven quiet magnetic resistance levels, and we worked up quite a sweat just on level four (need to lose belly fat? You won’t go wrong here!)
Another thing we like about this rowing machine is that it’s adjustable to suit users of all sizes. You can tweak the stroke length and raise or lower the seat according to your height and reach.
This is one magnificent magnetic rower, but it’s hard to ignore the price tag. We can appreciate how its unique features contribute to its higher price point, but we also understand that this means it will be out of the price range of many users.
What I Liked
- Patented elliptical operation targets all your major muscle groups
- Offers strength training and cardio in one workout
- Adjustable handle and seat to suit your height and size
What I Didn’t Like
- Costs a lot more than many other magnetic rowers
- Noticed some noise coming from around the plastic housing
Magnetic rower with a high-definition monitor
With the rise of technology, there have been some rather amazing advances in the world of fitness. When it comes to rowing machines, this behemoth from Hydrow is the cream of the crop.
Weighing in at 145 lbs, it’s a huge machine — that may be a negative for new users or people with limited space, but for those who live for rowing, it’s a sign of solid, high-quality build.
The defining aspect of this durable magnetic rower is its immersive experience. The rowing machine includes a 22-inch, high-definition, touchscreen monitor that works hard to replicate the sounds and sights of being out on the water. Turn it on, and you could be “rowing” in Miami or London rather than your living room.
With the Hydrow, you also have access to thousands of classes that are led by famous, accomplished instructors. Take a class, and you’ll feel like a member of an elite rowing team.
We could easily say that the Hydrow is the best rowing machine ever, but that would require ignoring something very important: a high price tag and ongoing monthly subscription that will put it out of reach of many users. It’s a highly specialized piece of equipment, but we think that many advanced users would be perfectly happy with a more affordable machine that doesn’t have as many bells and whistles.
What I Liked
- Incredibly solid, well-built machine that will easily last years
- Huge, high-definition monitor for an immersive experience
- Access to classes taught by professional athletes and instructors
What I Didn’t Like
- High initial outlay and ongoing subscription makes it an expensive investment
- Cannot use any features besides rowing without an internet connection
What We Looked For in the Best Magnetic Rowing Machines
Magnetic resistance rowing machines may not be as popular as exercise bikes or treadmills, but with a single unit, you can enjoy incredible cardio workouts and strength training. We love them, and we’re excited that you’re thinking about bringing one home.
As we reviewed options for our list of the best rowing machines, we paid particular attention to three important factors:
- Price: We recognize that outfitting a home gym can be expensive, so we made sure to look for affordable rowing machines that beginners and advanced users alike would value. Of course, we also recognize that function is sometimes more important than cost for some people when it comes to fitness equipment, so we also included a couple of premium models.
- Quality: No matter the cost of a home rowing machine, it should be a high-quality, well-built unit. We made sure to only include those models that have proven themselves to be safe and effective.
- Accessibility: Like people, magnetic rowing machines come in all shapes and sizes. For that reason, we’re only recommending units that can accommodate a variety of users or have adjustable settings.
How to Choose the Right Magnetic Rowing Machine
After testing a slew of magnetic rowing machines, we’re confident in calling the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine our top pick. It’s affordably priced, and it doesn’t skim on features.
Is it right for you? Consider the following the help make the most informed decision.
While this buying guide focuses on magnetic rowing machines, it’s important to note that these are not the only types of rowers available. Two other popular styles include the air rower and the water rower.
As the name suggests, air rowers like the Stamina ATS Air Rower use air resistance from a flywheel. The harder you pull, the faster the flywheel turns, upping the wind resistance.
This type of rowing machine offers the closet feel to traditional rowing, but it’s also going to make for a loud home rowing machine.
A water rower uses water within a chamber to create resistance. When you add more water, you’ll create more friction; less water allows for a lower-intensity workout.
Though water rowing machines are rather peaceful and quiet since you essentially just hear the sloshing of water, many users find that other styles provide a better rowing workout.
When deciding between air rowers, water rowers, and magnetic rowers, you have to think about the type of experience you want to have — it’s going to be a balance between realism to actual rowing and the intensity of your rowing workout.
As you shop, you’ll find that here are many budget rowers. There are also lots of rowing machines that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Deciding how much you’ll spend on a rowing machine is a highly personal decision. However, you’ll want to consider how experienced you are with this type of equipment and how often you plan to use it.
If you’re a beginner, it’s not a bad idea to buy an entry-level home rowing machine and then later upgrade if you need something more substantial.
Rowing machine dimensions are important for two reasons.
The first relates to how comfortable you’ll be when using it. Some inexpensive magnetic rowers cut costs by using less material; this typically means things like a shorter slide rail and smaller seat. If you’re tall, you’ll find such a small rowing machine to be difficult and uncomfortable to use.
Overall size is also important when it comes to use and storage. If you live in an apartment or only have a corner of a room to devote to your home rowing machine, a large unit won’t work.
Likewise, if you don’t want your magnetic rower to sit out all the time, you’ll want to look for a model that folds or stands to get out of the way.
Style, price, and size are the most important factors to consider when shopping for rowing machines. Finding the balance between these aspects ensures you pick a model that you’ll be happy to use for a long time.
Of all the options we tested, we liked the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine best. It ticks off all the important criteria above and truly is a pleasure to use. Whether you’re looking for a way to get in your cardio workouts or work on your strength training, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this pick.
Just starting on your fitness journey? Let us help you build a workout plan in just 10 minutes! We’ve got ideas for incorporating magnetic rowers, weights, and more.