How to choose a rowing machine
How to choose a rowing machine?
First of all it is important to mention that rowing machines are sometimes called rowing simulators or rowing trainers. Rowing machines are modern machines for whole-body workouts, mainly, however, for cardiovascular exercises. Nowadays, rowing machines are very popular not only for maintaining condition at home but also for active training.
Before purchasing, you should ask yourself the following questions and according to them choose your rowing machine.
Who is going to use the rowing machine?
- One person, two people, the entire family...
How often do you plan on exercising?
- One hour a day, two hours, three times a week one hour daily, etc.
The height and weight of users?
- The tallest person is 170 cm, 190 cm, weighs 60 kg, 90 kg or 120 kg.
What is your budget for the purchase of a rowing machine?
The price of a rowing machine is directly related to its construction. The differences in construction will be listed below.
The price of a rowing machine is strongly influenced by its construction. Basic parameters that you should pay close attention to when choosing the right rowing machine are:
- Braking or resistance system
- Weight bearing capacity
- Warranty and service
Let us examine every single parameter in detail. At first sight it may seem that all rowing machines are the same and you can focus on the price only. That, however, is not true.
Braking or resistance system of a rowing machine
Nowadays there are several types of rowing machines on the market. Their construction is bound by the resistance braking system. At the moment we can find rowing machines with hydraulic resistance, magnetic, water, air or inductive resistance or the combination of all. Each of these systems has its strengths and weaknesses. Let us look at each of them separately:
Hydraulic rowing machine – This type of construction is smaller in size what makes it suitable for smaller flats. The resistance is mediated through hydraulic pistons. A big downside of this type of rowers is minimum resistance level adjustment, short rowing movements and practically no motivation programs. Rowing machines with this type of braking system can be found in the price range of 100€ to 370€. They are the most basic rowers available on the market.
Magnetic rowing machine – This type is the most commonly used one on the market. They use the same type of braking system as elliptical cross trainers. The rowing machine has a fly-wheel with a magnet. Better and simpler resistance adjustment is a definite advantage. The construction of such a rower is more robust and the rowing imitates rowing in a rowing boat. This type divides rowers into manual and electronic. In manual rowers the resistance is operated via a turning wheel, electronic rowers are operated via a computer. A great asset of the electronic rower is a larger amount of resistance levels and software equipment.
Water rowing machine – This type of rower is very popular especially in the western world especially thanks to its water design. A pioneer seller of these rowers is the brand FIRSTDEGREE. The resistance medium is water located in a plastic tank. This tank is divided into two parts and the water flows from one part into the other. One of the parts contains paddles that create resistance. An advantage is natural movement and the feeling of rowing on actual water. A disadvantage, on the other hand, is greater noise caused by the paddles in the tank and low resistance level.
Air-magnetic rowing machine – This type of rower is the absolute leader. The resistance is created by a fly-wheel with paddles mounted on its circumference. The resistance can be set on the computer and during rowing you can hear rowing sounds and feel a pleasant breeze. These rowers have a very sturdy and good quality construction with long rowing movement, which means they are suitable for any body type – even very tall people. The best on the market in this category are the SPIRIT FITNESS R800 or the INFINITI R-100, on which you can adjust the resistance level on the handgrips. This model is mostly used by top-notch world-class athletes as well as gold medal winning rowing champions. Of course we cannot forget the brand Concept that is known all around the world thanks to its marketing.
Inductive rowing machine – This type of rower has an inductive braking system. It offers silent operation with fluent resistance regulation and a long lifespan. In terms of price it ranks among the most expensive types on the market and one of the best of this kind is for example the Kettler Coach E.
Construction of a rowing machine
An important element of the rower is its construction. The most basic rowing machines have a smaller body, yet at the expense of quality.
In terms of construction it is necessary to look on the overall seating. A majority of rowers has a low-set construction. Seats on good quality rowing machines are about 50 cm above ground, to simulate original racing rowers. The longer the rowing movements, the greater the strokes and the more exercise for taller people.
If you are taller than 180 cm, choose rowers with long rowing movements. In that case a hydraulic rowing machine is absolutely unsuitable for you because hydraulic rowers have a small construction.
A great deal of rowers are foldable. You should pay attention to this parameter in case you do not have enough space in your flat or house. Some rowers can in fact not be folded and after assembly they take up too much space. An important element is the weight capacity of the rower and it ranges from 100 kg up to 150 kg.
Computer of the rowing machine
Nowadays, the computer or console of the rowing machine is basic equipment of every model. On manually operated rowers (manually operated hydraulic, magnetic), the computer shows basic training figures such as time, speed, amount of burned calories and heart rate. On manually or mechanically operated rowers that do not require electronic connection, the computer is supplied with batteries. A small unlit display with figures is a basic facility.
Electronically operated rowing machines have computer-controlled resistance. Better rowers are equipped with better computers. Computers can have lit displays for better visibility, they can be of different sizes, various numbers of programs and additional equipment. In case of electronically operated rowing machines with software equipment, there are multiple programs with different resistance levels depending on the program. Pulse programs are a must. Additional programs include race modes – against the computer, etc.
Weight capacity of a rowing machine
Weight capacity of a rowing machine is a parameter that says a lot about quality and sturdiness of the construction. Basic models have maximum weight capacity of 100 kg. The bigger the rower, the sturdier the construction. The maximum weight capacity gradually increases to 120 kg, 130 kg and to 150 kg.
When choosing a rower for the entire family or for a larger number of users, it is necessary to know the weight of the heaviest user. If your weight is 90 kg, do not choose a rower with maximum weight capacity of 100 kg, even though you can still squeeze into the limit. The bigger the reserve, the lesser the strain on the construction and automatically the longer the lifespan of the trainer.
Brand of the rowing machine
There are many manufacturers of rowing machines on the market. We recommend verified global brands that have been offering their products for years and there are even some that have been producing in the field of fitness for more than 100 years. Some of the globally most famous brands are: SPIRIT FITNESS (USA), XTERRA (USA), SOLE FITNESS (USA), LIFE FITNESS (USA), Hammer (Germany), FINNLO (Germany), FINNLO MAXIMUM (Germany), ENDURANCE FITNESS (USA), KETTLER (Germany), BH FITNESS (Spain), TUNTURI (Finland), LIFESPAN (USA), CYBEX (USA) NORDIC TRACK (USA).
Recommendation: If you are looking for a high-quality rowers for regular exercise, we recommend the best rowers from SPIRIT FITNESS or INFINITI.
How to avoid the assembly of a rowing machine?
Not all of us are DIY assemblers with a garage full of tools. What do you do when your dream rowing machine finally arrives at your doorstep and you need to assemble it?
Although manufacturers often supply tools for assembly of trainers, it is not always easy, especially with no experience.
Sellers who provide assembly will rid you of this nightmare and you can enjoy a cup of coffee in the meantime.
Recommendation: Look for sellers that provide assembly. That way you do not have to assemble anything and you can be sure that your rowing machine will be assembled correctly. You will save a lot of time that you can spend with your family.
What warranty and service can a rowing machine have?
When choosing your trainer, do not forget one important thing – the length of warranty on a rowing machine. The legal warranty in our country is 24 months. Some manufacturers provide extended warranty on the entire trainer or warranties of different lengths on individual parts.
For example the German brand FINNLO provides a 3-year-warranty on the entire rower, the American brand SPIRIT FITNESS provides lifelong warranty on the frame, etc.
A very important information for you is whether or not the seller provides “service directly at the customer’s home”. Not all sellers offer this service. In case of a technical difficulty you will see how important and practical it is.
Every rower is just a machine after all and can break, no matter how good the quality is. In case such a problem occurs, you do not have to pack the rower and send it back to the seller. Imagine you have a 40 kg heavy trainer and you would have to disassemble it, put it in a box (that you have thrown out in the meantime, because who keeps gigantic empty boxes anyway, right?) and then somehow send it back to the seller.
If you actually manage to disassemble your rowing machine and fit it in a box, there is still a problem with the transport. Courier companies will gladly be forthcoming to you, however if you are not a contracting partner (which you surely are not), the transport of your rowing machine may cost you a few dozen euros.
Recommendation: We recommend checking the warranty length and looking for sellers that provide on the spot service and assembly.
We are very pleased to be able to share our long-standing experience in the field of fitness, where we have been working since 2008. We hope that the aforementioned information will be put to good use and will help you choose the ideal partner in achieving your goals and dreams. Whether it is your dream body, great condition or solving your health problems.
Our company is a direct importer of several brands as well as an exclusive distributor for the Czech and Slovak Republic.
We also distribute products to our customers in Austria, Germany and the rest of the EU.