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Best Rowing Machine UK Reviews

Thanks for taking your time to read our reviews of the very best rowing machine reviews in the UK. Suffice to say there are any number of choices available. While that is great for pricing competition, it can make it difficult to figure out which are the best models for you.

Using a rowing machine to keep fit is one of the many different pieces of exercise equipment available. Indoor rowing is one of the most effective ways to get a full body, low impact level of fitness through an all over body workout. It is also the best for getting a cardio workout.

In this article we show you the top 10 rowing machines that are best for home use. We have ranked these by buyer rating with the highest buyer rated first. We then do a summary review of each machine, and then provide a link to a more in-depth review, should you wish to find out more information on an individual machine.

After those reviews we have included a full buying guide. That is useful if you are not familiar with rowing machines, and in particular what types are available.

In a Hurry?

If you simply want to know what the best rowing machine on the UK market is right now, then it is the Concept 2 Model D. It is an expensive option, but in our opinion, the best rowing machine that money can buy.

Top 10 Rowing Machines by Buyer Rating

We have listed the top 10 rowing machines below showing the highest buyer rated first. Beside each product name you will see a percentage score. We have worked that rating score out by looking at many websites that sell these machines.

We noted what rating buyers had given the product after they had bought an used it. We added those together and worked out the average, and have then expressed it in a percentage.

  1. Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower (98%)
  2. Body Fit Rowing Machine Rower for Home Use (94%) 
  3. XS Sports R310 Home Rowing Machine (93%)
  4. Athlyt Unisex's Air Rower (90%)
  5. WaterRower Original Series Rowing Machine (88%)
  6. JTX Freedom Air Rowing Machine (88%)
  7. JLL® R200 Home Rowing Machine (86%)
  8. We R Sports Premium Rowing Machine (82%)
  9. XS Sports R310 Folding Rowing Machine (82%)
  10. Body Sculpture BR3010 Rower and Gym (80%)

No 1 . - Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower Review - Best Overall Winner

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 98% buyer satisfaction which is an outstanding rating
  • 96% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • Only 1% of all buyers have given this a bad review
  • This machine comes with a Performance Monitor 5, that gives you accurate, comparable data for every row. ​
  • The seat height is 35.5cm and the chain is nickel plated chain, and it has adjustable footrests and an ergonomic handle
  • Easily separates into two pieces for storage.
  • Caster wheels make it mobile
  • Requires footprint of 274 cm x 122 cm
  • 227kg capacity
  • 5-year frame warranty.

No 2 . - Body Fit Rowing Machine Rower for Home Use Review - Best Under £100

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 94% buyer satisfaction which is an excellent rating
  • 78% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • Only 1% of all buyers have given this a bad review
  • This is an hydraulic rowing machine that targets every major muscle group in your body
  • Has a 6 wheel carriage under the saddle for a smooth rowing action
  • The foot plates are adjustable
  • It has 12 resistance levels and an adjustable incline
  • Comes with a computer monitor that measures your total stroke count, workout time, calories burned and strokes per minute so that you can easily chart your progress
  • Max user weight: 100 kg
  • Measures: L138.5 x W42.5 x H40cm 

No 3 . - XS Sports R310 Home Rowing Machine Review - Best Folding

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 82% buyer satisfaction which is a very good rating
  • 70% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • 9% of all buyers have given this a bad review
  • This is a folding rowing machine with a powder coated frame
  • Maximum weight up to 100 kilograms
  • Has 10 levels of magnetic resistance that uses 4 kg inner magnetic flywheel
  • Has an LCD display to measure Total count, Calorie, Count / Min, Count, Scan, Time
  • Uses a belt drive that's almost whisper quiet to use

No 4 . - Athlyt Unisex's Air Rower Review - Best Air Rower

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 88% buyer satisfaction which is a very good rating
  • 75% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • No buyer has given this a bad review
  • A good choice for a full body workout and cardiovascular training
  • This is a twin hydraulic rower machine with 8 levels of resistance
  • It has a built-in computer that displays calories burned, count, scan, and time. 
  • It also has a fan that works as you row great for cooling you down
  • Transport wheels in the base of the rower allow for easy movement around the home.
  • A great choice if you have limited space
  • 12 month guarantee

No 5. - WaterRower Original Series Rowing Machine Review - Best Wooden

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 86% buyer satisfaction which is an outstanding rating
  • 74% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • 7% of all buyers have given this a bad review
  • Made from solid cherry wood
  • The ultimate choice if you can afford it and also often used as a training tool for those rehabilitating from injury.
  • Each stroke on a WaterRower churns the paddle on its unique Water Flywheel.
  • It uses an S4 Performance monitor and it stores upright
  • Heart rate monitor compatible
  • Handcrafted in the USA with wheels on the front for easy movement
  • 5 year frame / 3 year parts commercial warranty
  • Low maintenance
  • No external power required

No 6 . - JTX Freedom Air Rowing Machine Review - Best Under £500

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 98% buyer satisfaction which is an outstanding rating
  • 76% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • No buyer has given this a bad review
  • This is a very well made robust air rowing machine
  • This is gym quality strength and available in silver or black
  • Combines air & electromagnetic resistance for a smooth workout.
  • Measures: 225(l) x 58(w)x 86(h)
  • It has 16 levels of resistance and 8 training programs
  • The rfame is made from reinforced aluminium
  • Suitable for users up to 130kg (20 stone)
  • Folds and has transportation wheels
  • Comes with a 2 year in home repair warranty, including all parts and labour.

No 7 . - JLL® R200 Home Rowing Machine Review - Best Under £200

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 86% buyer satisfaction which is a very good rating
  • 67% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • 6% of all buyers have given this a bad review
  • This machine has 10 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Use an LCD Monitor Display: Total count, Calorie, Count / Min, Count, Distance, Scan, Time
  • It has an advanced belt driving system
  • Comes with wheels that allow this item to be easily transported
  • Compact and foldable
  • Maximum User Weight is 100kg.

No 8 . - We R Sports Premium Rowing Machine Review

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 98% buyer satisfaction which is an outstanding rating
  • 56% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • 12% of all buyers have given this a bad review
  • Has an LCD display with time, distance and speed settings
  • Comes with adjustable straps to secure feet in
  • Has 4 way adjustable resistance
  • It is foldable for easy storage
  • Also has a foam padded seat
  • Maximum user weight is 100 Kg

No 9 . - XS Sports R310 Folding Rowing Machine Review

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 82% buyer satisfaction which is a good rating
  • 70% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • 11% of all buyers have given this a bad review
  • This is a foldable rowing machine with a powder coated frame magnetic rowing machine
  • Maximum user weight is 100 kilograms
  • It has 10 levels of resistance
  • Uses a 4kg inner magnetic flywheel
  • Has an LCD display to measure Total count, Calorie, Count / Min, Count, Scan, Time
  • Uses an advanced belt drive that's almost whisper quiet to use
  • Comes with wheels for easy movement

No 10 . - Body Sculpture BR3010 Rower and Gym Review

  • Online buyers rate this with an average 80% buyer satisfaction which is an outstanding rating
  • 51% of all buyers have given this a full 5 star review
  • 7% of all buyers have given this a bad review
  • Uses 3 tension cords on the rower which can be set to low, medium or high resistance
  • Has a small gym which can be used for muscle toning
  • The BR3010 is foldable, so ideal for those who are limited on free space within their homes
  • Comes with a complimentary instructional DVD
  • It has secure pivoting footplates with velcro straps
  • Has a computer that monitors and displays; (theoretical) calories burned, count, total count, scan and time to allow you to easily keep track of your progress and make your journey all the more satisfying.

Rowing Machine Buyer's Guide

Just below you will find an extensive buying guide for rowing machines. This is very useful especially for beginners.

Is a Rowing Machine the Right Choice of Fitness Equipment for You?

If you plan on buying and using a rowing machine in your home, then there are a number of things that you need to understand, and then give serious consideration to.Many people opt for this type of equipment because they either do not want to go to a gym, or simply prefer to do their exercise in the comfort of their own home.

It is simply more convenient for me to do that, and although you have the expense of buying the equipment initially, it is not long before you get that paid back. That is achieved by avoiding expensive monthly gym fees For those people who go to work, it is hard to try and develop any kind of consistent fitness routine. At least having your own rowing machine, allows you the flexibility to work out when you can.

A rowing machine is an investment in your health and fitness. The better machines are certainly not cheap. It is better to do your research first before buying and on this site we believe we have covered all the bases.

What Are Your Expectations from Using a Rowing Machine?

The reality is that a rowing machine is just not the right piece of equipment for everyone. Rather than waste your money, and have it end up in your garage, it is worthwhile considering what a rowing machine can actually do for you and your level  of fitness. Here are the key benefits of what they can help with:

  • It does do a full body workout from head to toe
  • Especially designed to help with fat burning and body building workouts
  • They are especially good for increasing stamina and strength
  • They do help you lose weight as part of a bigger program and a better diet
  • They really help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes
  • It is good for your overall general health and fitness levels
  • Also very good for toning arm, tummy, back, the bottom and leg muscles
  • Like most equipment exercising it does help you be less stressful
  • Good for body flexibility
  • Very good for people of all ages and levels of fitness

Benefits of a Rowing Machine

Unfortunately, people tend to buy these, use them for a while, and then simply get bored. We would encourage you, before you spend a dime, to make 100% certain that you really want one of these.

"An Exercise Machine That Won't Become A Clothing Rack."

The table below shows what rowing machines are good for, in terms of weight loss, strength building and full body workouts.

ACTIVITY

TYPE OF MACHINE

For Weight Loss

All you really need is a low cost rowing machine with light resistance

Building Strength or Rehab

You need ranges of resistance and all the way up to high

Solid Training

You want a full range of resistance methods and also a variety of body workout programs 

First and foremost these have been around for a very long time. In the early days these were basic machines, but the manufacturers have gone on to make great improvements. Now they are quite different to those that were made several years ago. These days they are good for toning up, building up your strength and staying supple as you get older. They are not stressful on the joints and as such are considered to be low impact fitness equipment.

People stop using rowing machines because they get bored. Now we find that surprising because when you kick backwards and watch that large flywheel spin, you just know that you are achieving something really great. The key to doing this on a regular basis is to vary your routine. Try mixing those up with longer rows, short fast rows and also track your improvement...you will not get bored that way!

Many pieces of gym and fitness equipment are boring if used constantly so watching or listening to something will also help.There are many benefits for different people in using one of these on a regular basis. First up, they are ideal for maintaining good levels of fitness and a great cardio.

So as part of a home gym, or as a stand alone machine, or part of a bigger training program, these offer a good all body workout.They will work your arms, shoulders, back, tummy, and legs with one simple stroke. As you build up your strength, they can then start to work out your cardio, and most importantly of all, your overall stamina. They are much more exhausting than a treadmill, a cross trainer or even doing weights, so a great workout is guaranteed.

Cost of Rowing Machines

Please be aware that these machines vary a lot in price. You can get a very good basic one for under £100. If you want something at the higher end with all the bells and whistles, then you can get those too. Just be aware that for those you can pay anything between £300-1200. 

Skill and Coordination for Rowing Technique

What many people don't realise about a rowing machine, is that it does require a level of skill to use. You want to develop a safe posture, a steady and consistent stroke and perfect the stroke itself. I see far too many people, especially at gyms, get this completely wrong.

People tend to lean too far back and also tend to really pull the bar back to high up the chest. They also get the arm/leg driving action the wrong way round. You should not be lifting the bar over your bent knees.With a little practise though the perfect stroke is not difficult to achieve. It does take a little practise though.

Storing Your Rowing Machine

If you are buying one of these machines always think of what happens to it when it is not being used. If you have the room to have it sitting around then of course this will not be a concern.

Most people do not, so you should consider how easy it it to store, and how much room it will take up. Can you fold it up? What weight is it? Is it awkward to store? If very tight for room, then you should probably consider a folding machine. As the name would suggest, you can fold this one up and store it away easily when it is not being used.

Staying Within Budget

Always consider your budget and how much you want to spend. If this is just for general exercise there is no need to break the bank. There are plenty of these for around £70-150 that will give you a good general workout.

If you want a better quality machine then it will cost £300+ but at that stage you are moving into very high quality machines for the ultimate style of workout.

Type of Resistance Systems

In simple terms, this means how hard it is to row the machine. You should have the choice of different levels. That way you can start out as easy as you want. As you get stronger and fitter, you can then increase the resistance level.

There are three types of general resistance methods available in these:​

  • Magnetic - This gives the closest feel as if you were rowing across a lake - smooth
  • Hydraulic - These will be the cheaper option but feel the least like a normal rowing action
  • Sculling - Uses levers rather than a bar and cable - easiest to use but also a bit dull to use

You will sometimes see these referred to as water resistance, air resistance using a flywheel, hydraulic or magnetic resistance. They all provide the same purpose of offering resistance, they just do it in different ways.

Other Rowing Machine Features

LCD screens can be very useful. They will show important measurements like rowing speed, distance covered and other measurements. Knowing these and watching them may be important to help motivate you and keep you going. These will be found on the main console of your machine.

Adjustable Rowing Positions - This is an important feature as it can help reduce injuries and avoid backache. You should be able to easily adjust the distance between the bars and the seat to allow you to find your perfect stroke length.​

Do you know the name for an indoor rower? They are called "ergometers." It does of course come from the old Latin word "ergo" which is the amount of energy used.

Best Wooden Style Rowing Machines

If you like to stick with tradition or simply prefer the high end wooden style of rowing machine, then those are of course available. That is if you can afford them. These are not a cheap option but they are very high quality.​ They are designed for those who want what is referred to as the "authentic rowing experience."

authentic wooden rowing machines

As you can see from the image above these most certainly look the part. They are precision made and come with a very natural and motivating wave sound. These type of machines can also be attached to your PC via a simple USB connection, so as you can set various programs for your desired workouts.

WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine

This is the name of the one pictured above and seems to be a popular choice with rowing enthusiasts.​ From just one single stroke of this machine 84% of the muscles in your body are used. It can help burn calories at a rate of up to 1,000 calories per hour. Unlike the metal versions these use a water flywheel for resistance, and along with the sound gives a true feeling of rowing in a boat.

If you have ever watched "House of Cards," you will have seen this one in action, be it somewhat reluctantly at the start.​ This one pretty much has everything going for it. It has a full heart rate monitoring system, is polar compatible and is fitted with an LCD monitor. 

It has been made by hand from solid American black walnut wood. It is also available in ash wood.

The LCD console has a quick start feature and displays the important measurements like stroke rate, number of total strokes, heart rate, duration, and distance. These along with a padded seat, foam-coated handles, and footplates make the rowing experience complete, and a great deal more comfortable. This rowing machine can be connected to your PC via USB. It can also be folded up for easier storage.

Full Body Workouts with a Rowing Machine

One of the most complete cardiovascular exercises around has to be rowing. A well put together workout on a rowing machine will tone all of the major muscle groups such as your legs, back and arms.

All you have to do is set it up in an adequately spacious area and away you go. As you can see there are lots of different machines available on the market. Although as we have explained they generally fall into 2 categories:

These are 

  1. Water rowers
  2. Air Rowers


The water rower, uses enclosed water and paddles for resistance as opposed to air. These rowers tend to be quieter than air rowers and are just as much works of art as they are exercise machines. As you can see they are also expensive.

Then we have rowing machines such as the Concept 2 air rower. There are many other brands available but this piece of machinery is commonly accepted to be one of the best, if not the best.

The alternative is an air rower and no matter which one you decide on, they both give a great cardio workout. The information on the display monitors allow you to see that information and also help you plan the improvements in your workouts.