Best Rowing Machines in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 9, 2018
Millions of people are suffering from cardiovascular diseases worldwide and if you do care about your health, you should certainly perform regular exercises. A rowing machine is the best fitness equipment for this purpose! We have selected and reviewed 5 best rowing machines for you! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Design
Resistance levels
Displayed information
Maximum user weight
Extras
Unit weight
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS
Training on this rowing machine will be comfortable and extremely efficient thanks to its well-built frame and informative display.
CONS
Folding this fitness equipment might take a lot of time.
OUR VERDICT
It's an excellent rowing machine with a durable steel frame and adjustable resistance. Perfect choice for exercising at home!
detailed parameters
Type
Mechanical
Design
Flywheel
Resistance levels
10
Displayed information
Distance, Speed, Pace, Calories
Maximum user weight
~ 230 kg
Extras
Performance monitor, Flywheel and damper, Low profile, Storage and mobility, Easy assembly
Unit weight
26 kg
Dimensions
244 х 61 х 36 cm
Warranty
5 years on frame, 2 years on other parts
PROS
Thanks to the DualTorque™ technology, the rowing machine combines both air and electromagnetic resistance, ensuring smooth workouts.
CONS
The unit needs to be connected to the electricity grid.
OUR VERDICT
This is a fantastic rowing machine for novices, who just wish to improve strength and health, and for professionals who need to keep in a good shape. The indoor rower offers 8 training programmes.
detailed parameters
Type
Mechanical & magnetic
Design
Flywheel & Magnetic
Resistance levels
16
Displayed information
Overall speed and distance, Revolutions, Stroke rate, Heart rate, Power and split times, Hill profile, Interval, Target heart rate options
Maximum user weight
120 kg
Extras
DualTorque™ resistance system, JTX MotionRail™ system, Electro magnetic resistance, 6 Point adjustable pedals, Heart rate chest strap
Unit weight
36.5 kg
Dimensions
225 x 58 x 86 cm (assembled), 112 x 58 x 160 (folded)
Warranty
2 years
PROS

Owing to the advanced belt driving system and magnetic resistance the JLL R200 produces just a low whistling-like sound, which makes it one of the quietest rowing machines out there.

CONS

The max weight capacity is rather low.

OUR VERDICT

If you're looking for a rowing machine that will be not expensive and suitable both for intermediate and beginner users alike, the JLL R200 is a perfect choice. It's budget-friendly and functional.

detailed parameters
Type

Magnetic 

Design

Flywheel + Magnetic

Resistance levels

10

Displayed information

Total count, Calorie, Count / Min, Count, Distance, Scan, Time

Maximum user weight

100 kg

Extras

Advanced belt driving system, Wide platform pedals, Adjustable footplates, Foam padded handles, Foam-filled seat, Inbuilt wheels, Easy storage

Unit weight

23 kg

Dimensions

180 x 52 x 49 cm (assembled), 71 x 52 x 127 cm (folded)

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The unit doubles as a mini gym for muscle toning and strengthening of your arms, chest, shoulders, lats and abs. Great for gentle, full-body workouts. 

CONS

It's not very compact when folded.

OUR VERDICT

The Body Sculpture BR 3010 is an excellent entry-level rowing machine with added workout capabilities that can help you strengthen your whole body. Great for those who are at the beginning of their fitness journey.

detailed parameters
Type

Mechanical

Design

Flywheel 

Resistance levels


Displayed information

Scan, Time, Count, Total count, Calories

Maximum user weight

110 kg

Extras

Large pivoting footplates with secure strap, Built-in gym, Ergonomic seat, Free complimentary DVD, Foldable construction

Unit weight

~ 16 kg

Dimensions

120 x 32 x 19.2 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The unit has large foot pedals that are very accommodating. And the added foot straps will help you keep your feet securely in place as you row.

CONS

The paintwork could be better. 

OUR VERDICT

The Viavito Sumi rowing machine is very sturdy to sustain long training sessions. It's designed in vibrant red and black colours, so it looks quite classy and can add a modern touch to your interior.

detailed parameters
Type

Magnetic 

Design

Flywheel 

Resistance levels

10

Displayed information

Time, Distance, Calories, Total strokes, Strokes per minute

Maximum user weight

120 kg

Extras

Large pivoting footplates, Ergonomic seat, 4-roller system for smooth action, In-built transportation wheels

Unit weight

26.1 kg

Dimensions

178 x 53 x 48 cm (assembled), 74 x 53 x 119 cm (folded) 

Warranty

2 years (must register within 28 days to get the 2nd year)

Concept2 Model D

What Can Be Easier?

The Model D is a fantastic rowing machine produced by Concept2. This fitness tool is very popular and we are going to find out why. In terms of design, the Concept2 Model D is a conventional mechanical rowing machine with a flywheel, the resistance of which is created with the help of air and a propeller. The design this simple can benefit users in many ways. Firstly, the machine doesn't require any special maintenance, as well as it doesn't need you to change water or keep it fed with electricity. All controls are simple and user-friendly. The machine offers 10 resistance levels, so you can start with a lower one and proceed to the higher settings while making a progress. The indoor rower has a damper that controls the amount of air and, thus, changes the resistance of the machine. The unit has a highly durable steel frame which withstands the maximum user's weight of almost 230 kg. You don't need to be an athlete to use the Concept2 Model D rowing machine. Start with little and soon you will see a visible change in your body!
Review of Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor

Smart Workout Performance Monitoring

This indoor rower can be equipped with several types of performance monitors. The reviewed model has the PM5 workout monitor which is informative and easy-to-use. There are 8 buttons: 3 main and 5 additional ones. The display has a backlight so you can see your workout results even in a dimly lit room. The PM5 will tell you about the distance you 'cover', your speed, pace, and the number of calories you have burnt. But it is just a tip of the iceberg! The PM5 is Bluetooth-compatible which means you can sync it with your mobile devices. Install the branded ErgData app (available for iOS and Android) and the information about workouts will be displayed right on the screen of your gadget. Moreover, the app will save your workout results, offer different data display modes, and so on. The PM5 is also compatible with a Bluetooth heart rate sensor to allow you to check on your heart and if there's ever a problem, relieve it in time.

Exercising on this rowing machine is really comfortable due to its ergonomic shape of the seat, adjustable footrests, and rubber-coated handle. The machine is supplied with a user manual following which you'll spend no longer than 10 minutes to put it together. The assembly is easy and trouble-free. Thanks to the compact dimensions of the unit when it's folded, it's also convenient to store it under your bed or in a drawer.

In all, if you need an effective, functional, and reliable rowing machine, the Concept2 Model D is a fantastic choice!

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Concept 2 Model D rowing machine (A Miss Info Review)
 

JTX Fitness Foldable

Dual Power

Founded in 2009, the JTX company employs professionals who create unmatched tools for an in-home gym. JTX has set a goal to help all people regardless of their overall physical condition to achieve great results in sports. Casting a quick look at the tool we decided it was a mechanical unit with a flywheel. Yet, the device turned out to be much more sophisticated than that. The manufacturer has implemented the DualTorque™ technology to make it possible to combine both air and electromagnetic resistance in this rowing machine and gave it the benefit of being a versatile sports gear with a range of resistance levels to suit all people. The machine itself is pretty lightweight with the weight of 36.5 kg yet strong and solid boasting maximum user's weight capacity of 120 kg. 
Review of JTX Fitness Foldable Air Rower Foldable Superior Rowing Machine

Versatile Training Programmes

Now it's not necessarily to pay for individual training in order to keep fit. The JTX rowing machine can offer you a number of individual programmes that you can do on your own at home. The device features an informative computer that will tell you of the load required for aerobic, interval, cardio, etc. exercises, and a LED-backlit display with the output of the data on your workouts, including speed, distance, time, torque or power, revolutions, heart rate, etc. To make your workouts not only effective but also safe, the manufacturer has included a chest strap with a sensor with which you can take control over your body condition and stop training when the load is too high for you. As for resistance, this JTX indoor rower is, probably, a record holder as there are 16 levels. No doubt, this rowing machine will help you keep fit without doing the slightest harm to your health!

JTX Fitness Foldable Air Rower Foldable Superior Rowing Machine in the use

Following the Shape of Your Chest

The manufacturer has thought of user's comfort and made this rowing machine maximally convenient to use. The handle here features an ergonomic bend allowing it to follow the contours of your chest and making it possible for you to pull and stretch your arms to work out back muscles to the full. The pedals have 6 adjustment points and fit all foot sizes. You will also appreciate the seating which here is soft and comfortable. The machine is foldable and can be stored in a corner of a room or under your bed after each workout. The folded dimensions make 160 cm high and 112 cm long only.

In general, this JTX rowing machine is a great tool for everybody who wants to keep fit, from amateurs to seasoned sportsmen.

Detailed review of JTX Fitness Foldable Air Rower Foldable Superior Rowing Machine

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

JLL R200 Luxury

Train Like a Pro

If you're not willing to spend too much money on a rowing machine, JLL® company offers you a decent rowing machine that boasts excellent price/quality ratio. Actually, it's the best model in the sub £200 price range. Of course, it's not a gym-quality machine but for home use, it's more than adequate. Once you open the box, you'll realise that there's a very little compromise on quality. The machine looks sturdy and well-built. All the parts have a heavy feeling to them, which indicates that this machine was made of good quality materials. When it comes to use, the rower feels solid either: it doesn't shake and stands firmly in place (keep note that the max weight load shouldn't exceed 100 kg). The assembly of the JLL R200 is very straightforward and you're unlikely to spend more than 45 minutes to put all the components together.

However, the major selling point of this rower is its super smooth and nearly silent magnetic rowing mechanism. The machine produces not much more than a slight whistling-like sound, which makes it perfect for use at home. The rower is equipped with a magnet, positioned close to the flywheel, allowing you to choose any of 10 levels of resistance by turning the adjustment dial. A magnetic resistance range this big is enough to challenge most users. The lowest level is ideal for those who want to practise their own rowing style and those who are recovering from an injury. The R200 has a very smooth sliding mechanism to deliver you a seamless rowing simulation and smooth rowing.

The machine is also fitted with an LCD console that provides a range of monitoring settings from the Stroke rate to the Calories used. This display isn't back-lit and perhaps shows not as many stats as a pro machine, but it's more than enough for home use.

Review of JLL R200 Luxury Home Rowing Machine

Easy to Use, Easy to Store

This machine isn't only quiet and substantially-built but also very comfortable to use. The foot plates are sufficiently strong to give you the maximum safety during your workouts. They’re wide enough to suit any user and feature the Velcro straps for a comfortable fit. But sadly, many users note that foot straps wear out pretty quickly.

On the positive, the machine has an ergonomic handlebar which is foam padded and covered with non-slip rubber. This way, you won't experience irritation to your hands or fingers.

This rowing machine folds upright for compact storage. When folded, the unit takes no more space than a vacuum cleaner. Thus, you can easily fit it in your closet behind the hanging clothes. It's extremely stable in the upright position when folded.

In all, whether you're looking for a good budget-friendly rowing machine that would be able to cater to the needs of both intermediate and beginner users or you're short of space and seek a space-saving solution, the JLL R200 Luxury Home Rowing Machine is the one you shouldn't miss.

JLL R200 Luxury Home Rowing Machine in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Body Sculpture BR3010

2-in-1 Machine

If you are a beginner who wants to learn fitness basics but are short on time or money to pay gym subscriptions, the Body Sculpture BR3010 rowing machine might be the best fit for you. The thing that appeals about this model is that it's not just a basic rowing machine like most entry models are but a whole mini gym that can be used for full-body workouts. That has become possible owing to additional cables that allow converting the BR3010 from a cardio rower to a machine for resistance workouts within just a couple of minutes.

Since the Body Sculpture BR3010 is a rowing machine first and foremost, before going into details let's focus first on its rowing capabilities. The rower has 3 tension cords that can be set to low, medium, or high resistance depending on your fitness level. Users note that the machine gives a low-impact cardio workout that is safe for beginners, old users, people with ailments, and just for everyone else who wants a very gentle dose of home workouts. And while rowing itself can deliver you a full-body aerobic workout, you can switch to the cables and lock the seat at one of the preset positions to isolate individual muscle groups. The carabiner clips attached to the straight bar and handle attachments make it easy for users to switch between rowing and weight training.

On this rower and gym, you can do a great number of different exercises to strengthen your arms, lats, chest, shoulders, back and even the abs (seated rows, bicep curls, pec flys, standing lateral raises, and more).

Review of Body Sculpture BR3010 Rower and Gym

Some Nifty Extras

For those who are just starting their fitness journey and not sure how things work, the manufacture supplies this rower with a DVD disc which contains detailed instructions on its assembly and use, as well as precautions and useful tips on how to get the most out of 15+ exercises that can be performed on this combo machine.

Another useful feature is the built-in computer that monitors and displays your time, calories burned, stroke count, total, count, and scan. This way, you will easily keep track of your progress.

The BR3010 is foldable in half and convenient to store. You'll be able to lift it by yourself and transport wherever you need. Yet, take note that it takes reasonable space even when folded.

Overall, this rowing machine with added workout capabilities is a great bargain you just can't miss. It can bring you versatile full-body workouts in the comfort of your own home.

Body Sculpture BR3010 Rower and Gym in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Viavito 15003 Sumi

Lose Calories in Style

Viavito is a relatively new company that has recently entered the world of fitness but has already made a name for themselves as of one of the best brands producing sport equipment. The company offers many nice deals for fitness enthusiasts, and quite often you get much more than what you actually pay for. The Viavito 15003 folding rowing machine is the bright example of this. It's covered with a 2-year warranty, but in reality it will serve you a lifetime! Made of tubular steel, this rower is intended for continuous use to deliver you a never-ending challenge. The machine is very sturdy and can sustain long and really long training sessions.

As for design, the Viavito 15003 is implemented in vibrant red and black colours which makes it look quite classy and allows it to add a modern touch to any interior. It's ergonomically designed to match every contour of your body, which allows you to work out with less pain and more comfort. Plus, it produces virtually no noise, so you can give it a go and worry not that you might disturb the people around you. The Viavito 15003 has no motor and, consequently, doesn’t require the power network. It's only an LCD battery that needs batteries. Speaking of which, the screen is handy and easy to read, and can show you the workout stats such as Time elapsed, Distance, Strokes per minute, and Calories burned. A resistance adjustment knob is placed underneath the screen, and switching between resistance levels is easy-breezy.

Review of Viavito 15003 Sumi Folding Rowing Machine

A Few Words About Design

Like most rowing machines, the Viavito 15003 comes disassembled, but you get clear step-by-step instructions so you'll have no problem putting it together without spending too much time. The rower has a 7-kg flywheel, 80-cm row length and can suit users up to 120 kg and up to 185 cm. The machine has large foot pedals (more accommodating than other machines in its price range) with straps to keep your feet securely in place. The seat is very comfortable to sit even during long workout sessions. After you finish your cardio exercising, you can fold the machine in half and store in your closet. Although the rower is not particularly lightweight at 26.1 kg, a pair of wheels is surely a great add-on!

Summing up all we've said above, if you're looking for a reasonably-priced yet robust magnetic-type rowing machine that would sustain long training sessions and survive years of extensive use, the Viavito 15003 should be right up your alley.

Viavito 15003 Sumi Folding Rowing Machine in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is a Rowing Machine?

As you can guess, rowing machines are called so after the sports of rowing. The reason is that during working out, your movements follow the ones performed by oarsmen.
This fitness equipment can be called unique since 80% of your body muscles stressed when you are performing this exercise. Back, shoulder, abdominal, leg, and arm muscles are trained during this exercise. You’ll be able not only to tone up your muscles but also lose weight, prevent a heart attack, and maintain a healthy condition of your body in general.

If your favourite sports is running, we recommend you to look through our review of the best treadmills.

What Features to Compare

Type

There are two kinds of rowing machines – mechanical and magnetic – and they have their own sub-types. There are 3 types of mechanical rowing machines.

  • Flywheel rowing machines are the most widespread. They have a propeller rotating due to a motion of a flywheel. The more effort you apply, the stronger the resistance of a machine is.
  • Water rowing machines have the similar operating principle, however, the resistance is created by the water kept in a water tank. Your every stroke makes the propeller move inside the tank so you feel the effect of resistance on your muscles.
  • Finally, hydraulic rowing machines work due to two pistons creating the resistance by means of a special liquid.

As for magnetic rowers, they are either magnetic and electromagnetic.

  • Magnetic rowing machines create the resistance by means of two magnets moving at a certain distance from a flywheel.
  • Electromagnetic rowing machines have the same operating principle but also use an electromagnetic field while working.

In general, magnetic rowing machines are less noisy as there is no friction between their internal components.

Machine Components

The rowing machine consists of several parts. All of them perform their own functions to make the process of exercising as effective as possible. The frame can be made of wood or stainless steel. A sliding seat is designed to train your feet while your arms are strengthened thanks to a handle attached to a hawser. Depending on the type of a machine, there is also a flywheel or pistons generating the resistance. A monitor displays the speed, time, burned calories, and the distance for you to understand how your progress is going. The majority of rowing machines have special straps to fix your feet for a better convenience and safety.

Usability

This feature is of the utmost importance, too. Since a rowing machine is a relatively large and heavy equipment, you want it to be convenient and easy-to-use. Pay attention to the way the unit works. The softer the process of setting the machine in motion is, the more pleasant your training will be. Remember that it’s easy to make magnetic machines work smoothly while those having a flywheel tend to jerk slightly every time you make a new stroke. However, it’s not a reason to neglect these wonderful machines. The ability to fold a rower makes the storage of the equipment more convenient. Built-in wheels will also be an advantage since they allow you to move your rowing machine with smaller effort.

Exercises You Can Do

Although a rower looks like a basic piece of fitness equipment, it allows you to vary your workouts making them more effective and challenging.

Simple Rowing

First of all, we would like to help you get the technique of simple rowing right. The basic exercise includes 3 positions:

  • Catch. Sit on the rowing machine, bend your knees, and put your feet in the hold. Then, stretch your arms and grab the handle of the rower firmly. Your abs should be tight and your back mustn't be hunched.
  • Drive. Push with your legs and pull the handle with your arms simultaneously. Don't straighten your legs until they are completely unbent.
  • Finish. After straightening your legs, lean back at approximately a 45-degree angle. Keep your arms extended.

Reverse and return to the original position.

Power Curls

By doing power curls, you can tone and strengthen your biceps. This type of exercise also challenges the core muscles more.

Do basic rowing 3 times and then bend your elbows and bring the handle of the rower towards your chin. Uncurl.

Repeat the exercise 8-10 times.

Side Curls

Side rows can help you work out your arms and cinch your waistline. Also, this variation of rowing can tone your chest a bit.

Catch the handle, making sure your back is completely erect.

Push whilst straightening your legs. Pull the handle to your left side and lean back.

Repeat the same for the right side. Do the exercise 8-12 times for each side.

Sprints

This variation is also called Extreme Rowing because it involves increasing of the rowing speed. It can help you achieve a better cardio effect and burn more calories.

You simply need to do the regular rowing but you shouldn't take the handle all the way back. Do the exercise as quickly as you can. Begin with 1 minute and then gradually increase this time and speed of rowing.

Long Distance

This exercise can help you improve your stamina and overall health accordingly. In this exercise, you need to increase the resistance and lower your pace.

Do the simple rowing but at a bit slower than usual pace.

When you reach the Finish position, bend your arms and pull the handle back towards you. Try not to hunch your back and lean back as much as you can.

Useful Tips

Always keep in mind that the right breathing technique is the key to successful workouts. Inhale while you're in the Catch position and exhale while you're pulling the handle. Inhale once you get back into the original position.

Begin a rowing workout with a warm-up and end it with a good stretching session.

To stay motivated, make your personal fitness plan that you'll enjoy. Increase the resistance step by step to challenge yourself more.

Sources:

1. How to Choose the Right Rowing Machine for You, eBay. March 10, 2016.

2. How to choose your rowing machine? Decathlon.

3. How to Choose a Rowing Machine, Overstock.

4. A guide to rowing machines, Argos.

5. Todd Maternowski How to Choose a Rowing Machine, Healthy Living Fitness.

6. About Rowing Machines, Fitness-Superstore.

7. Nicole Catanese ROWING IS THE NEW SPINNING, Harper's Bazaar. September 16, 2014.

8. How to Row on a Rowing Machine, wikiHow.

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