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A rowing machine is ideal for beginners and fitness gurus alike since they are easier on the body and offer an effective lower and body workout without putting undo strain on the joints and muscles. To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best rowing machines on the market to make it a bit easier to find one that works for you in a number of areas. Plus, we’ll help you educate yourself on the important factors to consider to avoid a bad purchase.
Best Overall Rowing Machine in Canada
Our top pick is the Sunny Health & Fitness magnetic rowing machine. This mid-level row machine supports up to 250 lbs and offers a total of 8 adjustable resistance levels with a large display for easy viewing of all of your important stats. This machine is designed for maximum comfort during your workout as well as stability during every movement.
The magnetic tension moves smoothly for a nice gliding motion from the seat and handle to avoid any extra strain on any part of your body. As an added bonus, you can fold it in half to restore your floor’s real estate to its former glory for an inconspicuous workout station when not in use. This rowing machine offers a great balance of value and quality, and we’ll get to the nitty gritty in a moment to show you why.
Best Rowing Machines in Canada
- Best Overall: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
- Best Upgrade Choice: Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine
- Best Compact Choice: Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Rowing Machine
- Best Full-Body Choice: Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Rowing Machine
- Best Budget Choice: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine
|Product||Maximum Weight||Resistance Levels||Resistance Type||Item Weight|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine||250 lbs||8||Magnetic||59 lbs|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine||250 lbs||Unlimited||Water||92 lbs|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Rowing Machine||250 lbs||16||Magnetic||46 lbs|
|Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Rowing Machine||250 lbs||14||Magnetic||64 lbs|
|SereneLife Air and Magnetic Rowing Machine||250 lbs||10||Air and Magnetic||82 lbs|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Elastic Cord Rowing Machine||220 lbs||4||Magnetic||34.5 lbs|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Phantom Hydro Water Rowing Machine||300 lbs||Unlimited||Water||88 lbs|
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine||220 lbs||12||Hydraulic||20.5 lbs|
|Stamina Body Trac Glider 35-1050 Rowing Machine||250 lbs||Adjustable||Hydraulic||39 lbs|
|NordicTrack NTRW59147 Rower||250 lbs||26||Magnetic||110 lbs|
The Best Rowing Machines in Canada
1. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
The Sunny Health & Fitness magnetic rowing machine has 8 levels od resistance to suit the fitness levels of any user, from incredibly fit to severely out of shape. The magnetic tension system is quiet so your workout playlist won’t have to compete with the machine to be heard. This machine can support up to 250 lbs and is a lightweight 59 pounds to make set-up and storage easier for individuals to manage on their own. This machine also folds vertically out of respect for your floor space.
The digital monitor on this unit can track your calories burned, time, and row count so you can track your progress as you get healthier. The seat is large and comfortable and the handlebars are padded for a better grip with reduced soreness in your fingers. The foot peddles are designed for a secure, stable grip no matter which type of shoe you wear so you can row without fear of slipping – a life saver for all the clumsy people out there. Plus, the base of the machine is equipped with floor stabilizers to keep the machine still even if you go to town on it.
- Comfortable seat and handlebars
- Built-in transportation wheels
- Stores easily
- Fewer tracked statistics
2. Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine
The Sunny Health and Fitness water rowing machine is best suited to more advanced fitness enthusiasts and experienced rowers since the water rowing technology allows for nearly unlimited resistance levels that will continue to challenge you and push your limits – which is the whole point right? This water rower tracks your calories, ambient temperature, total time, 500 m time, total strokes, strokes per minute, heart rate, and more. You can also use some pre-programmed workout programs to improve the effectiveness of your workout.
This machine looks after your comfort in a number of areas included a padded, contoured seat and wider handle bars for a comfortable fit for any sized hand and shoulder width. For storage, you can fold the machine up vertically to cut the consumed floor space by roughly a quarter. The foot pads pivot with your movements for optimal form to protect your feet and ankles from discomfort. Plus, this rowing machine can support people weighting 250 lbs with an inseam of 96.5 cm (38 inches). This rower is recommended for enthusiasts who want customized, unlimited-resistance workouts.
- Incredible resistance for thorough workouts
- Advanced tracking
- Wide handle for all hand sizes
3. Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Rowing Machine
The Sunny Health & Fitness compact rowing machine is a slimmer machine that folds vertically to give your space back to you – just tuck it away in a corner between uses. This is made easier by a lighter-weight 49lb frame and built-in transportation wheels for improved portability even if you’re moving it alone. The seat and handle bars on this machine are both non-slip and padded for stability and comfort no matter how long you row for. Each foot of the machine has anti-skid technology in place and your foot pedals have an adjustable strap for any shoe.
This rower can track your time, stroke count, count per minute, and calories burned. To help you remember to stay hydrated during your workout, you can place your water in a built-in bottle holder. For added convenience, your phone can be placed in a built-in device holder underneath the handle bars so you can keep up with a fitness video or skip an annoying song while keeping your heart rate up. This machine has an impressive 16 levels of resistance, though you probably won’t notice too much of a difference between the levels unless you skip a few at a time.
- Compact and easy to store
- Comfortable to use
- Not a lot of difference between resistance levels
4. Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Rowing Machine
The Fitness Reality 1000 plus rowing machine is a mid-level rower with 14 resistance levels of magnetic tension, though this machine is better for less experienced rowers since the max level isn’t suitably challenging for seasoned rowers. However, this machine has unique front stabilizing foot pads for additional exercises so you can get a better full-body workout with one machine by using the handlebars for workouts like bicep curls, side raises, tricep extensions, front raises, and more.
This rowing machine has Bluetooth connectivity and a device holder so you can connect and work along with workout videos or watch a show while rowing. This machine folds up for simpler storage and will track all of your important stats including distance, time, calories burned, strokes per minute, and total stroke count of your workout. For increased comfort, the rower has a wider handlebar length as well as a contoured seat. This machine can support up to 250 lbs, though the front stabilizer pads for standing exercises can be used by anyone.
- Full-body exercises
- Extra-wide handlebars
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Max resistance is too low for some fitness enthusiasts
5. SereneLife Air and Magnetic Rowing Machine
The SereneLife air and magnetic rowing machine uses both types of resistance for a stronger max resistance level and noticeable differences between each setting as you move up the scale. This rower supports 250 lb users and is great for people of all heights. The digital display will track your calories burned, time, strokes, and more. Plus, it has an auto shutoff battery saving function so you’ll get an extended life out of each set of batteries used.
This rowing machine glides incredibly smoothly both from the handle and at the seat joint for a smooth, even workout experience. Your time can be set up to 99 minutes and 59 seconds if your goal is elapsed workout time more than number of strokes or speed. The seat is large and padded for your comfort and the foot pads are adjustable and non-slip to give you the support you need through every movement. For a pricier machine, it would be nice to see a few more resistance levels or advanced tracking of every possible stat, but the few digital features and smooth glide of the machine make this a well-rounded rower for your at-home workouts.
- Uses both air and magnetic resistance
- Great design for comfort and functionality
- Durable and well-made
6. Sunny Health & Fitness Elastic Cord Rowing Machine
The Sunny Health & Fitness elastic cord rowing machine is better suited for beginners and novice rowers. With only 4 resistance levels, it will need to be replaced by a machine with better resistance once you improve your fitness level and have maxed out on this machine. another limit of this budget-friendly rower is the lower weight capacity of 220 lbs. While this may work for shorter people, anyone taller than 6’ may be too heavy for this lower-end rowing machine.
Overlooking its few flaws, this rower has a few features that work in its favour to give us a little more value. The LCD display will track your time, stroke count per minute, calories burned, scan, and more. Plus, the seat is paddled and angled to improve circulation and give you better support through the various rowing movements. The elastic cord has dual directional resistance and the attached handlebars are non-slip and sweat resistance so you won’t accidentally punch yourself in the face. The back end of the machine is eased up higher in the back than the front to work your muscles more with each stroke over a horizontal alignment.
- Lightweight and portable
- Angled padded seat for comfort
- Only 4 resistance levels
- Lower weight capacity
7. Sunny Health & Fitness Phantom Hydro Water Rowing Machine
The Sunny Health & Fitness phantom hydro rowing machine uses a water tank and 16 hydro blades to provide resistance rowing. The tank holds water at a 60-degree vertical angle to provide stronger and more consistent resistance for a smoother stroke. The frame of this machine is stronger than most, allowing users up to 300 lbs to exercise with this rower comfortably. The seat is wide and padded for comfort and contoured for better blood circulation during your workout. The foot pedals are adjustable 2 ways instead of one (width and height) to give you more secure, customized support.
This rowing machine has advanced tracking compared to many other rowers with a digital display for time, distance, total strokes, strokes per minutes, time per 500 m, calories burned, temperature, calendar, and clock. Plus, the display can swivel for you to achieve the best angle without a glare from overhead lights and it has a device holder on top so you can watch workout videos or keep up with your playlist at any time. This rower also folds up vertically to restore floor space and make storage easier.
- Higher user weight capacity
- 16 hydro blades for stronger resistance
- Advanced tracking
- More expensive
8. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine
The Sunny Health and Fitness rowing machine is one of the most affordable rowers on the market and is ideal for those shopping on a strict budget. This machine is incredibly portable since it uses a hydraulic cylinder rather than a magnetic flywheel or air or water resistance, making it incredibly compact. The frame is designed in such a way that the back end is raised higher than the front end, forcing you to push yourself both horizontally, which is normal, and vertically, which improves your workout. This rower offers a total of 12 resistance levels, giving you a greater range of choice compared to most other budget-friendly rowing machines.
This rower seeks to provide a comfortable rowing experience in a number of ways. It has adjustable foot straps, pivoting foot pedals for additional comfort and flexible support through your various movements of a stroke, sweat resistant handlebars with padded grips, and a large cushioned seat to reduce numbness and hampered blood circulation. This rower is not very technologically inclined but will still count your strokes, calories burned, time, scan. Since this rower is so compact, it only weighs 20.5 lbs, making it incredibly easy for anyone of any size to easily move it back and forth from its storage area.
- Very affordable
- 12 levels of resistance
- Lightweight and portable
- Lower weight capacity
- Tiny display
9. Stamina Body Trac Glider 35-1050 Rowing Machine
The Stamina Body Trac Glider rowing machine is better suited to beginners and novice fitness enthusiasts since the resistance offered is weaker than most advanced rowers will require for a challenging workout. This rower supports up to 250 lbs and weighs less than 40 lbs itself to make storage easier. This rower has unique handles designed to more effectively replicate the movements of actual rowing; they are placed on your sides rather than directly in front of you, allowing a more natural rowing range of motion.
The hydraulic resistance is manually adjusted with a simple twist nob located on the underside of the machine. Though an awkward placement, the hydraulic resistance can be adjusted for any level user by small increments for a customized fit. The digital display tracks your total strokes accumulated, stroke count of your current session, workout time, and total calories burned. The machine folds up very well to store easily and you’ll find the rower to be comfortable to use with a wider ergonomic seat and textured, adjustable foot plates.
- Wide ergonomic seat
- Adjustable hydraulic resistance
- Resistance won’t be good enough for fitness enthusiasts
10. NordicTrack NTRW59147 Rower
The NordicTrack rowing machine has an advanced design for a totally silent magnetic rowing experience. You could watch a show or speak on the phone without anyone being the wiser. The digital display is large and controls your resistance adjustments rather than using a manual knob to do so. The console angle is adjustable so you can tailor it to your height and watch your stats every second of your workout. Plus, it has a device holder for greater convenience for those who need their phone close by even during their workout.
This rower offers a staggering 26 levels of resistance, though you may not notice a huge difference between each one. This sleek rower also becomes fairly compact with a center-fold design that allows the machine to fold vertically and store more easily. The handles, seat, and foot pedals are designed for user comfort and stability. With this rowing machine, you’ll enjoy a very smooth rowing experience and can keep track of your important stats to monitor your progress and watch your fitness level improve.
- Very quiet flywheel
- Large digital display
- 26 resistance levels
- Quite heavy
The Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine
The rowing machine is a more effective workout than most other popular machines including the treadmill and the exercise bike since it targets 85% of your body’s muscles with every stroke. Plus, you work on strength and cardio at the same time for twice the effectiveness of other workouts.
The beauty of the row machine is that you can wok your body hard but at low-impact to your joints and muscles. Rather then injure yourself through intense running, lifting, and cycling, the row machine puts less strain on your body while delivering a n equally effective workout. This bodes well for future you as well since you can improve your fitness level and build strength without damaging your body in the process.
Reduced Soreness After Intense Workout
The rowing machine is unique in that it requires concentric muscle movement rather than eccentric movement. Since this type of exercise doesn’t break down the muscle tissue like a lot of other exercises, you can exercise more often or for longer without the same level of soreness
Workout in Any Weather
By having a rowing machine in your home, you can’t use the old “it’s too hot” or “it’s too cold” excuse to get out of your daily exercise since you can set your home temperature to the perfect workout environment. This is great for people in all areas that want to maintain their routine without suffering through extreme weather events.
Good for all Fitness Levels
Rowing machines have variable intensity or resistance levels that make them perfect for beginners. As your fitness increases, your machine can grow with you and continue providing a worthy opponent for you to curse at for 30 minutes a day. If you’re already fairly fit, a water or air rowing machine can provide the next-level workout you’re looking for without requiring new equipment.
While this may sound counter-intuitive considering you’re working your butt off every second on the rowing machine, the consistent movements and smooth motions combined with the rhythmic sounds actually make for a meditative state that allow the mind to relax and go on “autopilot” once you get into a groove.
Easy to Learn
Unlike many other exercises and machines that can hurt you pretty badly if you don’t perform or use them correctly, a rowing machine is very easy to learn and is simple to use. Even if you’ve never seen one before, you’ll quickly get used to the motions required for an effective and safe workout.
How to Choose Your Rowing Machine
A higher number of resistance levels available on your rowing machine results in better longevity for you as you improve your fitness and cardiovascular health. A machine with only 4 resistance levels won’t provide the same continuous challenge as a machine with 12, 15, or more than 20 resistance levels. A greater range of resistance also allows you to customize your workout for strength or cardio training with tough or easy resistance settings that match your fitness level.
The size of your rowing machine should be small enough to fit in your workout space comfortable but large enough to fit your inseam so you can straighten your legs properly. You should also consider the weight of the machine when thinking about its size since a heavier unit may require a helper to set up and move around.
Rowing machines are not known for being very maneuverable or portable, but there are a couple of features to watch out for that make it a bit easier. Hydraulic and magnetic rowing machines can sometimes fold up or be stood vertically to take up less floor space when not in use, though this feature is rarer with water and air rowers. Most rowing machines also have wheels on one end so you can lift and roll the machine single-handedly. And of course, the weight of the unit will also affect its portability.
The price of a rowing machine will range from as low as $100 to as high as $1000 or more. The cost of the machine will – usually – determine how many resistance settings it has, what stats it will track, how durable it is, and the number of programs it has. Lower-end rowing machines usually have a lower weight capacity as well, so keep that in mind when shopping around as well; you may have to pay more if you’re taller or rounder.
Maximum Weight Capacity
Most rowing machines can support 250 lbs, but the minimum capacity sits around 220 lbs while the maximum is usually around 300 or – rarely – 350 lbs. It is wise to follow these guidelines as not doing so may make your workout inefficient at best or damage the machine at worst.
With any exercise machine, it’s important that it can track all of your stats including calories burned, time elapsed, distance, speed, and in more advanced machines, performance indicators such as stroke rate, stroke count, distance per stroke, and even heart rate in machines that have a pulse sensor in the handle grips. These stats are excellent motivators during your workout, help you track your health and fitness progress, and are also just interesting to know.
Exercise machines aren’t often designed for maximum comfort, and rowing machines are no different. However, they do often take steps to make comfortable contoured seats, ergonomic handle grips, non-slip foot pedals for stability, and smooth gliding from the seat and rowing line so you don’t have to strain unevenly. All of these features will combine to make for a more comfortable workout, so keep an eye out for one or more of these comfortable additions.
How to Use a Rowing Machine Safely
Using a rowing machine safely is all about doing so with proper form. It is very difficult to hurt yourself on a rowing machine if you’re exercising with the right posture and movements. There are four movements you’ll perform with each rowing motion: the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery.
During the catch, make sure you don’t hunch your shoulders while keeping your arms straight and shins vertical. Your upper body should be leaning forward from the hips with your shoulders in front of your hips. During the drive, keep your hands in a straight line as you use your legs to push away from your catch position. During the finish, your upper body should be leaning back slightly with good support from your core. Your legs should be fully extended with the handle held just below your ribs. During the recovery, your arms should be the first to straighten before leaning from the hips and bending your knees to move back to the flywheel.
What Are The Different Resistance Types to Choose From?
There are four main types of resistance on a rowing machine. They are: hydraulic, magnetic, air, and water. Air and water resistance rowing machines are typically more expensive since they generally offer a greater number of resistance levels, or unlimited resistance, compared to magnetic and hydraulic machines.
Hydraulic machines create resistance via hydraulic fluid in one or two pistons that connect to the handles. Magnetic machines use electromagnets to slow the metal flywheel to create resistance. Water machines have a water tank with a flywheel inside so that the flywheel pushes through the water when you stroke. Air machines have a medium to large spinning flywheel with blades designed to catch the wind so that the faster you stroke, the more force is being applied to the wheel for greater drag.
What Parts of Your Body Get a Workout Using a Rowing Machine?
Due to the combination of pushing with your legs and pulling with your arms, a rowing machine works a variety of upper body and lower body muscles alike. With a rowing machine, you can expect to feel your workout most in your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, obliques, abs, deltoids, upper back, lats, pecs, biceps, triceps, and deltoids.
All in all, a rowing machine is an excellent choice for novices and pros alike looking to get in better shape, lose weight, and feel healthier. Choosing the rowing machine that is best suited to your fitness level and workout requirements should be done only after you’re armed with information and have considered several options. Your rower will last you a good long time, so hopefully we’ve helped you choose the best one for you.