Gym Gear

Best Compact Rowing Machine

Get fit in the comfort of your own home! Read our 2021 Review and Buying Guide to get the lowdown on the best compact rowing machines now available.

Best Compact Rowing Machine

By: Travis

Hi, I am Travis. My main focus in life is to understand training better and help others get better results too. I used to be about the least fit kid in school and would always be last to get picked for a team. It wasn't for a lack of trying, but all my efforts just lead to injuries

For years, I had completely given up on ever getting in shape. Then I began to use my brain before using my muscles. I read every popular book on exercise, and began to structure my training.

With the right training methods, and the right machines, I was able to rebuild my body from the ground up.

According to science, I would never be able to walk pain-free again. And I would never be able to do 20 pull-ups with the injuries to my rotator cuff. But they were al wrong.

This site is where you can find all my tips and recommendations.

Are you looking to keep your cardiac health and fitness in top condition in the privacy of your own home? Working out with the best compact rowing machine does the trick. Cardio and resistance exercises are some of the most effective workouts to keep your body fit and healthy, and the best compact rowing machine is an excellent start.

Compact rowing machines are particularly suitable for indoor fitness workouts. The compact size makes them a good option for fitness enthusiasts, whether in a small or large apartment, as you can easily incorporate the equipment into your home.

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We’ve compiled a comprehensive review and buying guide below to make it easier for you to decide on which compact rowing machine is best suited to your needs.

7 Best Compact Rowing Machines

1. Concept2 Model D Indoor

Concept2 Model D Indoor rowing machine.

If you’re a gym lover or a health professional, you may have come across the brand Concept2, a household name in the fitness industry. The rower is compact, which makes it perfect for commercial and home use. It also has all the great features that are needed in a high-quality small rowing machine.

Concept2 Model D Indoor comes with an in-built LCD monitor that displays your workout session data, such as time, distance, calories burned, and session intervals. It also has Bluetooth that enables you to connect to apps, such as heart rate monitors. The LCD backlight allows you to workout in dark areas, avoiding eye strain.

The amazing aspects of this gear are that it uses air-resistance, it is foldable and extremely portable. It is also noisier than other models, which may disrupt your home or neighbors.

  • Concept2 Model D Indoor is one of the best compact rowing machines on the market.
  • It offers high air resistance making it an excellent option for strengthening muscles.
  • You will love its sleek design and features.
  • The ability to track your workout progress is the overall reason for buying this rowing gear.

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2. Stamina ATS Air Rower

Air rower from Stamina brand

Stamina ATS Air Rower is our next choice of top-ranking compact rowing machine. The gear is useful for cardiovascular workouts in particular. It has dynamically designed air resistance that enables you to pick the best level for your workout session, which strengthens muscles, and burns over 1400 calories per session.

The compact rowing machine also improves your rowing comfort thanks to its upgraded padded seat and upholstery. Its padded rowing handle and adjustable footplates add an extra level of luxury to your workouts. It is easy to assemble, so you will not need a technician to do the work for you.

The most surprising side of this rowing gear is its variable resistance. No need to break your rhythm to adjust your rowing speed—the machine speeds up or slows down automatically.

It lacks dumper settings, though, which are essential for enhancing your rowing experience. It also has a higher noise level compared to other rowing machines in its category.

  • Stamina ATS Air Rower is a good option for buyers looking for high-quality and robust resistance gear.
  • It is also affordable.
  • You will love its functionality and performance, but be ready for annoying whistles-like noises.
  • Buy this compact rower if you’re looking for value for money.

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3. Water Rower Club

Compact rowing machine from Water Rower club

If air rowing machines are not to your taste, you can replace them with the Water Rower Club. The compact rowing machine uses water as its source of resistance, and the frame consists of wood, which makes it light, portable, and sound and vibration absorbent.

The rowing machine uses the boat design, featuring a water flywheel with two pedals that enhance resistance and smooth sliding. These features make it a wonderful option for burning calories and removing excess weight around your hips and joints.

The gear comes with a 4 Series monitor that helps you generate information on your workout sessions, such as heart rate, stroke rate, and workout intensity. You can optimize your workout sessions and achieve your intended fitness objectives.

Water Rower Club is suitable more for commercial than home use, and you may face challenges during assembly.

  • Water Rower Club is suitable for people looking for light-weighted compact rowing machines for commercial use.
  • The water resistance mechanism makes it an excellent choice for prolonged, heavy-duty workouts.
  • Some users have complained about how challenging it is to assemble.

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4. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205

Foldable and compact rowing machine from Sunny Health and Fitness, model SF-RW1205

Are you a beginner when it comes to rowing workouts? You’ll need a compact rowing machine that offers low-impact cardio.

Sunny Health & Fitness has one of the best compact rowing machines for beginners. The machine uses hydraulic resistance, which provides lower impact compared with other types. It offers twelve resistance levels to enable you to choose the one most suitable for your needs.

The impressive rowing machine is also noise-free thanks to the hydraulic resistance system.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 features an electronic monitor, assuring you of accurate data and other workout information. Apart from ergonomic design, the rower has large footplates with foot straps for enhanced comfort.

The handlebars are anti-slip, preventing slippage due to sweaty hands. You’ll love its compact size that still has a user capacity of 100 kilograms.

The capacity is low compared to that of other rowers in its cluster. The monitor can also be a challenge for you to read.

  • The compact rowing machine is one of our top picks because of its hydraulic resistance.
  • The system offers different resistant levels that match user needs, making it stand out as one of the few rowers fit for beginners.
  • The rower design takes into account workout fanatics who prioritize comfort.

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5. Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower

A great solution for small space magnetic rowing is the Merax Magnetic

Noise can be an unwelcome disturbance, especially if you love rowing while enjoying your favorite TV shows. The Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower, which uses magnetic resistance, guarantees you silent rowing sessions in front of your favorite television series.

The rower features eight resistance levels, enabling you to pick one fit for your needs. It also has an adjustable resistance tension knob, which makes it easy to increase or decrease resistance with a simple twist. The handy LCD monitor helps you to keep track of your exercise routines and modify them as needed.

The Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower is foldable, making it portable and easy to store. Its frame is durable and comes with in-built wheels giving you real value for money.

It is not a good option for advanced users due to its light resistance, though. You may not like its footplate design and forward stroke, either.

  • Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower is an excellent choice due to its magnetic resistance that assures silent rowing sessions.
  • It offers different resistance levels suitable for beginners.
  • It provides enhanced fitness information for your workout sessions.
  • The multi-functional fitness monitor will also enable you to access accurate and timely information about your workout progress.

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6. Stamina InMotion Rower

Stamina's foldable rowing machine is compact and easy to use anywhere

Stamina InMotion Rower is another compact rowing machine that delivers high performance. It is a hydraulic resistance rower, but it features a single piston that harnesses its rowing stroke. It is a quiet and light rower, suitable for beginners.

The rower features an InTouch Fitness Monitor that enables you to access vital workout information, allowing you to focus on your exercise regime and weight loss.

It comes with five different resistance levels, which you can alter by setting the pistons on lower or higher settings using the rowing arm. It has a solid steel body that makes it light, and an excellent design featuring handle grips, foot straps, a padded seat, and rollers to enhance your comfort.

The rower also features anti-slip floor protectors that prevent it from sliding. It is an excellent option for beginners and older adults, as well as for home use. The light structure may make it unfit for commercial or high-level exercises, though.

  • The compact rowing machine is a good pick for its single piston, which enhances its performance.
  • It offers users smooth sliding and increased resistance. •
  • You’ll love the easy to set resistance levels, making it perfect for beginners.

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7. Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus foldable rowing machine with magnetic resistance

It’s newer to the market, but Fitness Reality 1000 Plus is fast ranking as a top seller. It comes with modernized fitness features, 14 adjustable resistance levels, and strong, silent rowing experience thanks to its rowing stroke, and magnetic resistance.

The rower offers more just a basic rowing workout. Additional exercise features enable you to perform other workouts that require magnetic resistance. These exercises include bent over, and upright rows, shoulder presses, triceps extensions, and front raises, among others.

It is a rower fit for multiple exercises that offer real value for money. The Bluetooth feature can have connection issues, and its wheels are not suitable for every surface.

  • The compact rowing machine is an excellent choice for its strong magnetic resistance and free workout apps.
  • Its monitor and additional exercises are great features that will offer you value for money.
  • As a beginner, this machine is the right choice, but you’ll need a stronger rower if you would like to advance to higher workouts.

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What To Look For When Buying Compact Rowing Machines

Selecting the right compact rower can be a challenge. There is a wide variety available on the market, and it’s easy to choose the wrong machine. There are four main considerations for a purchase decision: size, resistance, portability, and use.

The first aspect to check is the size of the machine. Avoid buying an oversized machine for your home by measuring the space you intend it to occupy before you purchase it.

Next, consider the model of the compact rowing machine. These machines have four varieties that differ in how the resistance is generated. You can choose between hydraulic, air, water, or magnetic resistance machines that are all readily available on the market.

A third aspect to consider is portability and weight. If you enjoy doing your workouts in different locations, prioritize the foldability and portability of your machine. A light, compact rower should be your first choice.

Lastly, consider the use of the machine. There are compact rowing machines designed for home and commercial use, while others fit only one of these options. For commercial use, go for sturdy machines designed for heavy-duty and prolonged use.

You may also need to consider the number of users that will take advantage of your rowing machine for durability.

Benefits of Compact Rowing Machines

Compact rowing machines come with many benefits, but the main one is health. These machines combine cardio and strength workouts into one session. You have a chance to exercise your heart and lungs while strengthening your chest, abdomen, and body muscles simultaneously.

Compact rowers also help you to burn calories without injuring or straining specific areas of the body. It is one of the few exercise methods that protect and strengthen your joints and muscles gently and safely. If you live with joint conditions, these machines are the best option for rehabilitation and strengthening.

Another benefit of compact rowing machines is effective weight loss. Compact rowers offer whole-body workouts that burn excess calories and fat, which keep you fit and enhances the weight loss process.

Disadvantages of Compact Rowing Machines

Compact rowers also have some shortfalls. If not used carefully, they can strain your back, resulting in injury and pain. If you live with a back condition, you need to check with a medical professional whether rowers are the right equipment for you.

It requires some storage space to accommodate the rail, tank, and flywheel, too, and enough space to stretch your arms and legs. It might not be suitable for people living in small apartments.

Noise production is the other disadvantage. Compact rowing machines produce a lot of noise, particular the varieties that use water and air resistance. It might not be suitable for your household or neighbors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Types Of Compact Rowing Machines Are There?

There four primary types of compact rowing machines. It depends on the resistance mechanism, including air, hydraulic, water, and small magnetic rowers.

  • Air compact rowing machines use flywheel spinning to create resistance. When you start the fan flywheel, it generates wind. The resistance increases with the spinning speed of the wheel.
  • Water rowers use the same mechanism as air rowers, but with paddles that control the resistance level.
  • Hydraulic rowers use pistons to generate resistance. These pistons are adjustable to your preferred resistance level.
  • Magnetic rowing machines use magnetic brakes to control the resistance levels and come with a monitor to choose your desired settings.

Which Is Better – Air or Magnetic Rowing Machines?

Depending on your preferences, air and magnetic rowing machines are both good options. Air rowers are light and compact, and suitable for strength-building due to the high resistance. These rowers do produce plenty of noise, though.

Magnetic rowing machines are quiet and low in friction. The machines feature a heavier flying wheel than other rowers, creating a smooth slide, and making them the best option for weight loss.

What Is The Best Compact Rowing Machine For Home Use?

There are many compact rowing machines on the market, but not all of them are fit for use at home.

  • When choosing a rower for your home gym, it is crucial to consider your available space. The best compact rowing machine for home use should be portable and convenient to store.
  • Weight is another aspect to consider. A light rower is an excellent option (unless you’re an advanced user).
  • Silent compact rowers are more favorable for home use because they won’t disturb your neighbors or households. Considering all these features, the Concept2 Model D Indoor ranks as our best compact rowing machine recommendation for home use.

Are Compact Rowing Machines A Good Way To Lose Weight?

Yes. Rowing is one of the most effective ways to lose weight because it is a whole-body exercise that develops strength, endurance, and aerobic power. These machines combine cardio and impact-free resistance workout training that helps burn excess calories and body fat. It also stretches and tones your stomach muscles, denying excess fats a space to settle, and breaking down belly fat.

It is a superb option if you need to deal with stubborn extra pounds.

Wrapping It Up

According to fitness experts, compact rowing machines are one of the best and most convenient everyday workout options. These machines help you perform cardio and strength exercise within a small space that is customizable to your needs.

A rowing machine is a long-term investment, and some of the best compact rowing machines will undoubtedly give you years of service. Ensure that your rower of choice is of high-quality and durable.

We hope the information given in this review will help you make the right choice.