Rowers are an amazing workout machine, especially if you’ve got a low ceiling. But which one is the best?
Best home gym rowing machine;
Best rower: Concept2 Model D: Concept2 rowers are the gold standard of rowing machines. Great build quality and service, unlimited air resistance and folding slide rail for compact storage. While not the cheapest option, you get a lot for your money. For the same features and quality from some other brands you often pay more. Find the current price on Amazon by clicking here (Affiliate link)
Cheap option: Fitness Reality 1000 Plus: For a lot less money than the Concept2, you can get this Fitness Reality rower. It’s a magnetic resistance rower that still has great build quality and smooth movement. It also folds up so it’s good for small home gyms. While you’re missing a little bit of the features and quality of the Model D, it’s price/value can’t be denied. You can now get it for a great price on Amazon (affiliate link).
Why I chose the Concept2 Model D
As said above, Concept2 rowers are the gold standard of rowing machines. They do so many things right and while they’re not cheap, you can put them against more expensive machines without missing out on anything.
- Air resistance. The resistance is always matched to your capacity.
- Folding Slide rail. Fold it up for very compact storage.
- 500 lbs. user weight capacity
- Performance monitor.
- Great build quality
- Can connect to some heart rate monitors and fitness trackers.
- Good warranty. 5 years on frame and parts
- Low seat height: Only 14” from the floor so you can use it under the lowest ceilings. For people with mobility problems, the model E seat is a bit better at 20” from the floor.
- Nickel plated chain. Just requires a little lubrication every 40 hours of use.
- Low noise for an air rower.
- Smooth feel.
It’s a great machine that’s not only used in home gyms but also commercial settings. Rowing athletes even use it for training during the off season. That means it’s super sturdy and the movement/resistance pattern translates well to ‘real’ rowing.
It’s such a popular rower also because it’s priced right. No, it’s not cheap but, what you get for your money is actually pretty remarkable. Comparable machines from other brands can easily cost 30% more for a very similar experience.
Why I chose the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus
This rower is all you really need for a great cardio workout. It comes with all the features you want while being sturdy and strong.
- LCD display that shows distance, time, strokes/min and calories burned.
- Comfortable seat
- Wide handlebar so you can vary widths for different training stimulus.
- Foldable slide rail.
- Very quiet
- Strong nylon cord. Thicker than most commercial rowers use which makes the rowing motion smoother and less bouncy.
- Easy assembly. Everything you need is included and instructions are clear. You can assemble this in 1-1.5 hours.
- 14 Easily adjusted resistance levels.
One of the best features that makes this rower great for home gym use is the fold away slide rail. This means you can stow it away in a 4’ by 4’ space as long as your ceiling is at least 6’ tall. Since many home gyms are pretty small this is a nice plus.
As you can see in the reviews, most of the users are very happy with the rowing action especially for the price you get.
Since this is the cheaper option, there must be some drawbacks right? Yes, there are. If you can live with them, you can save a bit of money. If not, it’s better to go for the first option.
Is says it’s Bluetooth connected and comes with a smartphone app. Most users are reporting that this app is completely useless. If you want to share and/or track your workout, don’t buy it for that purpose. It can still give you a great workout, just don’t expect to use the connectivity.
It’s also advertised with pictures of people doing other exercises than rowing. This isn’t really feasible for most people. To be able to do those you have to be pretty short and the resistance doesn’t change enough between setting to be suitable for different exercises.
The build quality, while good for the price, is not on the same level as the Concept2.
Magnetic resistance runs out at some point. The air resistance of the Model D is always matched to your efforts.
All in all, it does the rowing part very well and can give you a great workout. If you can live with the downsides, you get a great rowing machine for a great price.