The best rowing machine for your home

Give your muscles a boost with a great home rowing machine

A rowing machine in use

by Ryan Gilmore |
Updated on

When it comes to the best home exercise equipment, rowing machines are seriously worth considering. Rowing is one of the best exercises for a full-body workout. It works your core muscles, as well as your upper and lower body. After a good rowing exercise session, you'll have worked out your deltoids, lats, quadriceps and abdominal muscles. Rather unfortunately, rowing tends to require a large body of water and a boat, which is not always the most practical of things to have access to.

Thankfully, there is a massive market of home rowing machines that'll allow you to work out to your heart's content without even having to go outside. You can even find some budget-friendly rowing machines. A rowing machine will help you build lean muscle and burn fat, so it's a great idea to introduce one into your fitness regime.

The best rowing machine at a glance:

Best overall home rowing machine: Hydrow Rower - View offer on Hydrow
Best comfortable home rowing machine: JTX Freedom Air Rowing Machine - View offer on Amazon UK
Best silent home rowing machine: Dripex Magnetic Rowing Machine - View offer on Amazon UK
Best budget-friendly home rowing machine: Opti manual rowing machine - View offer on Argos

We've put together a guide on what you'll need to look for when buying a rowing machine, so you can find the perfect one for your home exercise regime. You can also check out our FAQ section down below. Now, let's get into our picks of the best home rowing machines.

Best overall home rowing machine

The Hydrow Rower is one of the best rowing machines not just for its smooth ergonomic design, but for being simply top quality. Hydrow has re-engineered the rowing machine with patented technology, making it feel like you're really out on the water. It comes with a 22" touchscreen display and front-facing speakers to really immerse you in the experience, keeping you motivated and enthralled. It's silent, comfortable and built to last. You can access thousands of live and on-demand workouts, virtually row through waterways and experience yoga, pilates and strength training workouts for just £44/month.


  • Top-of-the-range tech
  • Immersive rowing experience


  • Not the best for beginners
Dimensions:203L x 63.5W x 120H cm
Maximum weight:170kg
Materials:Aluminium and steel frame, flat anthracite polymer body
  • Customer review: "As a rower, I have struggled in the past to find a rower that gives me the same enjoyment as rowing out on the water. I had given up hope, and then I found Hydrow… the feeling on the rower is the exact same as if I was out on the water, plus the huge screen (that is super clear and responsive) has beautiful scenery that is amazing to row to."

Best comfortable home rowing machine

If you're planning to go for long sessions on your rowing machine, you'll want to opt for the JTX Freedom Air. Comfort might not seem like the first priority when doing exercise, but we're much more likely to find excuses not to use a machine if it hurts to sit on it for long periods of time. Luckily, the Freedom Air is a good choice for those wanting a comfy ride.


  • Sleek design
  • Comfortable to use


  • Takes a bit to set up
Dimensions:230L x 55W x 88H cm
Maximum weight:135kg
Materials:Iron and stainless steal
  • Customer review: "Sturdy, looks nice, comfortable seat, excellent console and great connectivity with Polar H10. I love the fact no plugs are needed to run it."

Best silent home rowing machine

Dripex Magnetic Rowing Machine
Price: $399.99

Offering 15 different resistance settings, this Dripex rowing machine will be perfect for anyone, regardless of their ability. The near-silent sliding rails are great, as is the shock absorber that will make sure you are comfortable as you exercise. It also comes with an LCD monitor, so you know how your exercise session is going.


  • Very adjustable
  • Silent operation


  • Not the best for those with small feet
Dimensions:179D x 53W x 76.3H cm
Maximum weight:120kg
Materials:Steel and aluminium
  • Customer review: "I've been using this rowing machine for a week now, and I've been impressed with its performance. It has 15 adjustable levels, but I find myself using just the highest setting. Wish it went even higher but I know that's not the function of this machine. The operation of the machine is very quiet. I can't hear it from more than 10 feet away."

Best budget-friendly home rowing machine

Offering 12 tension settings, this Opti manual rowing machine is a great option, no matter your ability. It's one of the more compact options and can be folded up when not in use. It's suitable for anyone, regardless of their height, meaning even Andre the Giant could use this with ease. A faux leather seat offers greater comfort, meaning you'll be able to exercise for longer. A small console keeps track of your strokes, minutes, time and calories burnt.


  • Amazing value for money
  • Easy to fold


  • Underwhelming weight limit
Dimensions:40D x 42.5W x 138.5H cm
Maximum weight:100kg
Materials:Not specified
  • Customer review: "I was looking for a cheap but useful rowing machine, and this really fits the bill. Sturdy, easy to put together and use. I am very pleased with my purchase."

Best folding home rowing machine

Rowing machines can often be heavy, cumbersome, and a bit of an obstruction, but the folding design of the VIAVITO Sumi rowing machine makes it super convenient. Although the LCD screen is a bit middling, it gets the job done, and we think it's a worthwhile trade-off for such an excellent value rowing machine.


  • Easy to fold
  • Excellent value


  • Screen is so-so
Dimensions:53D x 178W x 48H cm
Maximum weight:120kg
Materials:Alloy steel
  • Customer review: "Folding is easy and takes only seconds, the stuff is fairly compact when folded. The console is minimalistic but does the job."

Best home rowing machine for beginners

This R200 rowing machine from JLL is a great option if you have limited storage options. The design of this rowing machine isn't too big, which means it's a perfect choice for a smaller home. The resistance settings may seem daunting at first, but give a beginner plenty of options to work with.


  • Great resistance settings
  • Quality build


  • Assembly can take a while
Dimensions:52D x 180W x 49H cm
Maximum weight:100kg
  • Customer review: "I've only had a few days but seems like a good beginner rowing machine, I didn't want to spend loads on the first machine and then not use it, so I'm happy so far."


How do I choose a rowing machine?

When looking for the right rowing machine, there are several things you need to consider. First and foremost, think about your own height and weight. Some rowing machines have limits on these, and it can potentially be dangerous to operate them if you exceed these limits.

Also, think about how much free space you have. Most rowing machines fold away when not in use, just be sure that you'll have enough room to use it safely. Nobody wants to put an elbow through their wall because they haven't got enough space to workout properly.

Finally, think about what options your chosen rowing machine has. Adjustable resistance is a must, and any machine that doesn't let you adjust it should be avoided. A monitor showing your stroke count, distance and calorie count is a nice touch.

How much should I spend on a rowing machine?

The great part about a home rowing machine is that it works out every part of your body, meaning it can easily become a central part of your fitness routine. Because of this, you can spend a bit more on a rowing machine safe in the knowledge that you won't be needing to buy more equipment to get a full workout. Of course, if you have a foldable one and extra space, you might be able to add in another exercise machine.

Most basic models still offer calorie counters and adjustable resistance but are often louder to operate and are bulkier than premium options. Still, if you stick in a pair of headphones and get a good workout playlist on, you should avoid the worst of the noise.

How long should I row for?

How long you spend on a rowing machine depends on your intensity. For a standard workout, 15 minutes vigorously or 30 minutes at a more moderate pace will be sufficient. If you're looking to lose weight or gain muscle mass, then it's a good idea to follow the same guidelines but extend them slightly.

If you want to increase your stamina, then it'll be best you work for longer (up to 90 minutes) but don't go insane on the intensity (unless you like cramps).

What is a rowing machine good for?

A rowing machine is ideal for exercising almost every part of your body. It also helps with some of the muscles that can be hard to target, namely your abdominal muscles.

It is important to understand how to use a rowing machine properly to avoid injury and get the most from your exercise. Your rowing machine should come with a guide on how to correctly use it, so as long as you follow those instructions, you should be fine.

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor and reviewer for What's the Best, specialising in car care and hand tools. A part-time tech nerd, he's fond of simple and durable designs and can mainly be found writing over on CAR and Parkers.

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