This post contains links that we may earn a small commission for at no cost to you read more
If you are reading this, chances are that you have been seriously considering is it worth buying a rowing machine for your home gym or wondering should I get a rowing machine?
That’s not surprising. Ever since Kevin Spacey used a water rower in the series House of Cards, it seems as though everyone has just “discovered” rowing!
The problem is that you can practically get “lost” reading about all the hundreds of different rowing machines available (however check out Oprah’s Favorite Rower – Yes she loves rowing as well!)
This can cause some people to just throw up their hands and say, “Forget it,” or they pick the cheapest rower they see. Or the most expensive. Or the one they see at their local gym.
None of the above might be the best choice depending on your situation.
In today’s article, I want to tell you about the reasons why you should own an indoor rowing machine and which one is the best for you. This is important because no one wants to spend their hard-earned money on a piece of exercise equipment that turns into nothing more than a giant clothes rack.
Are you picturing your treadmill that is currently in the garage and covered with a sheet and several patio chairs? Yeah, that’s what I mean.
Let’s avoid the clothes rack scenario and talk about the benefits of buying your own rowing machine and which one will be the best for you.
Is a Rowing Machine Really Worth It?
A rowing machine is a full-body exercise equipment that benefits most people in different age groups and fitness levels, so there’s no doubt that it’s worth having.
However, before you buy an indoor rowing machine, you should first ask yourself this important question: Will you use it?
Buying a Thighmaster (remember those?) that you used a half dozen times, then tucked away in the closet, and later gave it away to Goodwill is one thing. You were out about $20, and it took up no more space than a pair of boots.
Buying a rowing machine is another thing. You might spend a few grand for it, and even the ones that fold or are stored upright can take up quite a bit of space.
If you have any doubts about whether or not you will actually use the machine, you might want to hold off on buying one for a bit. Not that it’s not worth it but because it doesn’t make sense spending on something that you’re not going to use.
On the other hand, if you have used one at your local gym and really liked it, or you’ve used one at a friend’s house and wished you had one yourself, then you, my friend, are going to get your money’s full worth and then some!
I think I’ve mentioned before that while I love my rowing machine, I am not a big fan of gyms. It always seemed like such a pain in the behind to drive there, look for parking, hope it’s safe parking, change my clothes, use whatever machine I was looking for (let’s not even go into non-working machines or waiting in line) then change clothes, shower once I got home (because I am not using those public showers), and change clothes yet again.
Why do all that when I can jump on my Hydrow and row anytime I like for as long as I like. None of those “30-minute limit” rules a lot of gyms have due to overcrowding.
If you enjoy rowing and love the idea of rowing whenever you want and however long you want to, then you’re going to really enjoy this piece of exercise equipment and use it to it’s full worth.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Rowing Machine?
To be honest, the only disadvantage(s) that I can think of would be the size and the noise.
Nearly all rowing machines take up between 84″ and 94″ of floor space. Rowing machines are long, but they aren’t wide. This means that you will need to find some space to use it and room to store it.
For some people, this can be a bit tricky, but I honestly can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone say that they didn’t buy a rowing machine because of space issues.
The other issue would be noise.
Some indoor rowing machines use air as their means of resistance, similar to stationary bikes that are known as spin bikes or assault bikes.
If you’ve ever heard an assault bike or air resistance rowing machine, then you know just how loud those can be! If you live in an apartment or you live with others, they may not like all that noise.
Fortunately, you can still get a good quiet rowing workout if you choose a rowing machine that uses magnets or water as resistance. Magnetic rowing machines and water rowers offer efficient workouts that are much, much quieter than the traditional air rowers.
Do Rowing Machines Get Boring?
I suppose sometimes they do, and this appears to be a common concern, but mostly I think the boring part of any exercise machine is the repetitive movements and the absence of something to entertain the mind.
The trick to avoiding boredom is to mix up your workouts with other exercises and to buy a quality rowing machine that offers motivational workouts or programs.
For example, the Ergatta offers racing competitions, monthly challenges, and fully animated video games to help prevent boredom.
Hydrow is well known for offering the most beautiful waterways in the world, on-the-water workouts, and the best, most dynamic instructors to help keep you motivated.
However, there are no exercise machines that will keep you motivated and engaged if you hate using the equipment. I’m not a fan of stationary bike workouts, and I don’t enjoy riding bikes, so I don’t care how “fun” the workouts were supposed to be.
If you love rowing, get the best rowing machine that you can afford and you should enjoy your workout.
What Rowing Machine Should I Buy?
There are a few things you should consider before buying:
If you have issues with space, you might want to consider a rowing machine that you can store out of the way, such as the Ergatta and Hydrow.
If you need a completely silent (or next to silent) rowing machine, go with magnetic rowers, such as the Hydrow or the Teeter Power10.
If you want to get as close to a real rowing experience as possible, try a water rower, such as the LIT Strength Machine or the Ergatta.
Do you need a rowing machine for heavy users? The Ergatta can withstand up to 500 pounds and the LIT Strength Machine a whopping 450 pounds.
Want a rowing machine that’s a little different? Try the LIT Strength Machine, which has anchors with resistance bands attached to them. This is a workout you won’t ever forget or get tired of!
If you want a true beast of a workout and you don’t care about fancy screens and programs, check out the Teeter Power10.
Decide what resistance type you want – magnetic resistance, water resistance, or air resistance – then check out the space requirements for storage and the weight capacity you need.
I do recommend that you buy the best machine that you can afford not only for the quality (so that you have years of trouble-free usage) but also for the type of workouts it offers.
If you’ve never used a rowing machine or you still aren’t sure, this article about the best rowing machines might be helpful.
Do I Need to Pay a Subscription with an Indoor Rowing Machine?
Some of the newer smart rowing machines, sometimes called connected rowers, do require a monthly subscription, yes.
You should also consider how many people in your house are going to use the machine. High-quality rowing machines, such as Ergatta, LIT, and Hydrow, will be able to withstand the stress and heavy usage that a multiple-person household will put on the machine.
If you have multiple adults in your home, each one can share in the price of the subscription since these rowing machines allow you to create as many users profiles as you wish.
Of course, if you choose one of the more expensive models of rowing machines, it will still work even if you don’t pay for the subscription, but if that’s the case, you might as well buy just any rowing machine. It’s the subscription that gives you access to the fun stuff, so why not take advantage of that?
The fact remains that the most expensive models tend to be the best indoor rowing machines, and they come with a monthly subscription fee. It means additional expense, but remember that you often pay much more for a single gym membership.
The Bottom Line – Is It Worth Buying a Rowing Machine?
There are rowing machines and then there are high-quality, completely silent (or nearly silent) rowing machines.
The trick is to find the one that sounds the most inspiring and that fits your budget.
Don’t forget that many manufacturers have sales during Black Friday or at other times during the year. I know that Hydrow and Ergatta have zero-down, zero-interest financing plans that you might be interested in. (read more: Rowing Machine on Finance)
Whether you want to buy a rowing machine to help you lose weight, gain upper body strength, strengthen muscles on your lower body, or you just want to burn calories and get in a good cardio workout, a rowing machine is the perfect piece of exercise equipment no matter what your fitness level or fitness goals are.
Have fun and Happy Rowing!
More You Might Also Like:
Written by Petra Amara – RowingCrazy.com
CEO & Founder of RowingCrazy, National Rower, Coxswain Womens Eight Team, Rowing Coach & Writer
Petra is a Mother of two and owner of Rowingcrazy.com. Petra lives and breathes rowing, she also has a passion for writing which lead her to start RowingCrazy.com to share her rowing experience and expertise with others.