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Best Portable Rowing Machines Review In 2021

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As a collegiate athlete who has trained in several small to world-class gyms, I’ve been able to test out different types of Portable Rowing Machines on the market. 

However, out of the eight Portable Rowing Machines that we got to test and research, we recommend Bodycraft Pro Air & Magnetic Resistance Rower Folding Machine because of how it blends decades of extensive development and research to bring you a hybrid rowing machine. 

The resistance is controlled manually and is available with 6 different levels. It begins using resistance and the rest of the levels use both air and magnetism for its resistance. The seat level is around 18 inches and is able to move up to 38 inches, perfect for individuals that are tall or have long legs.

The seat, foot straps, and handle are ergonomically designed to provide you better grip when you’re exercising. Although it has a relatively big frame, it can be folded easy to a very compact size, perfect for moving and storing the rowing machine if you live in a small house.

The Top Portable Rowing Machines Reviewed

Product ImageProduct's nameDimensionLevels of ResistanceMore Info
ASUNA 4500 Commercial Folding Rowing Machine Rower with Included Heart Rate Monitor Belt, 300 LB Max Wait, LCD Display and 40 inch Aluminum Slide Rail InseamBest Versatile
ASUNA 4500 Commercial Folding Rowing Machine Rower with Included Heart Rate Monitor Belt, 300 LB Max...
81 x 20 x 25.2 inchesVariableSee latest price
Bodycraft Pro Air & Magnetic Resistance Rower Folding MachineBest Compact
Bodycraft Pro Air & Magnetic Resistance Rower Folding Machine
98.5 x 21.25 x 69.25 inches6 Levels of ResistanceSee latest price
Merax MS037153BAA Indoor Magnetic Rowing Machine 8.8Lbs Folding Exercise Rower, BlackBest High Resistance and Smooth Pulley
Merax MS037153BAA Indoor Magnetic Rowing Machine 8.8Lbs Folding Exercise Rower, Black
73 x 16 x 21 inches8 LevelsSee latest price
JOROTO Magnetic Indoor Rowing Machine-Rower Exercise Equipment for Home use Portable Rowing MachineBest Minimalistic
JOROTO Magnetic Indoor Rowing Machine-Rower Exercise Equipment for Home use Portable Rowing Machine
70.5 x 20.87 x 31 inches16 LevelsSee latest price
Goplus Folding Rowing Machine,Magnetic Rower with Adjustable Resistance and LCD Display, Exercise Cardio Fitness Equipment for Home UseBest Weight Stack
Goplus Folding Rowing Machine,Magnetic Rower with Adjustable Resistance and LCD Display, Exercise...
70 x 21 x 19 inches8 LevelsSee latest price
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD MonitorBest Overall
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
51 x 55 x 87 inches8 LevelsSee latest price
Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399Best Multi-Function
Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399
77 x 18 x 28 inchesVariableSee latest price
ProGear 750 Rower with Additional Multi Exercise Workout Capability, BlackBest Water Portable
ProGear 750 Rower with Additional Multi Exercise Workout Capability, Black
53 x 26.5 x 36.3 inchesVariableSee latest price

Find the Best Portable Rowing Machines for You

ASUNA 4500 Commercial Folding Rowing Machine Rower with Included Heart Rate Monitor Belt, 300 LB Max Wait, LCD Display and 40 inch Aluminum Slide Rail Inseam

Best Versatile

#1- ASUNA 4500 Commercial Folding Rowing Machine Rower with Included Heart Rate Monitor Belt, 300 LB Max...

See latest price

ASUNA is a brand that is a manufacturer of Sunny Health & Fitness. Building every equipment to be sleek and elegant while providing the tools you need to attain your fitness goals. They are one of the leading manufacturers in helping you get fit and reach your fitness goals wherever you are.

The ASUNA rowing machine is what you would expect from one of the biggest brands. It comes as a compact rower with foldable capability perfect if you don’t have much space in your room. It gives you a smooth full body workout with its sturdy frame and innovative features.

These features include a magnetic break to generate the desired resistance and a heart rate monitor to see how much your body is feeling from the workout.

The handle is fully cushioned and the pedals are large and textured to ensure you’re comfortable when you’re performing the rowing motion.

It comes with 12 programmed workouts that include a manual mode, 6 preset workouts, and 4 user modes. The workout information shown on the LCD screen includes calories burned, distance covered, heart rate, and strokes per minute.

If you’re looking for a portable rowing machine that has all the innovative features built in, we recommend having a look at ASUNA 4500 Commercial Folding Rowing Machine Rower. 

Pros

  • Made out of commercial grade steel and aluminium for increased durability and sturdiness
  • Monitor provides all the details you need for a strong workout
  • 12 different programmed workouts
  • Portable and Easy to move with their inbuilt wheels.

Cons

  • Warranty on lasts for 90 days
Bodycraft Pro Air & Magnetic Resistance Rower Folding Machine

Best Compact

#2- Bodycraft Pro Air & Magnetic Resistance Rower Folding Machine

See latest price

Bodycraft has been helping people achieve their wellness goals by delivering the machine that provided safety, variety, design, motivation, and affordability for over 25 years. They focus each machine to be fun and motivating, helping you build a better you with each workout.

The Body Pro Air & Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine is a dream come true for many rowing enthusiasts. As it blends decades of extensive development and research to bring you a hybrid rowing machine. 

The resistance is controlled manually and is available with 6 different levels. It begins using resistance and the rest of the levels use both air and magnetism for its resistance. The seat level is around 18 inches and is able to move up to 38 inches, perfect for individuals that are tall or have long legs.

The seat, foot straps, and handle are ergonomically designed to provide you better grip when you’re exercising. Although it has a relatively big frame, it can be folded easy to a very compact size, perfect for moving and storing the rowing machine if you live in a small house.

The backlit LCD displays distance, date, pulse, time, total number of strokes, resistance time, strokes per minute, and overall calories burned. It also includes 5 different workout programs, adding variety to your overall workout. One includes a boat race scenario.

If you’re looking for a hybrid, compact, and portable rowing machine, we recommend you checking out Bodycraft Pro Air & Magnetic Resistance Rower Folding Machine.

Pros

  • 350lb Maximum User Weight Support
  • Detailed LCD Monitor Display
  • Compact when folded and easy to store
  • Has a lifetime warranty for the frame if used in residential area

Cons

  • Assembled size may be a bit too big for small spaces but can be folded and moved with the attached wheels easily
Merax MS037153BAA Indoor Magnetic Rowing Machine 8.8Lbs Folding Exercise Rower, Black

Best High Resistance

#3- Merax MS037153BAA Indoor Magnetic Rowing Machine 8.8Lbs Folding Exercise Rower, Black

See latest price

Merax is a manufacturer that creates innovative products to help simplify and enhance consumer’s lives. Pushing modern-day thinking boundaries, they focus their efforts on designing high performing and efficient products that solve all your health needs.

The Merax Indoor Magnetic Rowing Machine provides a comfortable rowing experience at home with its compact and sturdy design. It is one of the more affordable portable rowing machines on the market as it provides everything you need for a solid home workout.

The built-in magnetic flywheel reduces any loud noises that normal air flywheels make. The double padded and upholstered seat provides prolonged comfort for long exercises. As the seat rail is built in a 15 degrees downward slant angle, it adds an extra degree of difficulty in your workout.

The large LCD monitor that comes with the rowing machine shows your distance covered, time, strokes count per minute, and total calories burned to help you get an idea of your overall workout. It also comes with floor protectors to avoid 

Pros

  • Compact and foldable
  • Incline seat rail to add more difficulty for both your arms and legs
  • Adjustable magnetic resistance

Cons

  • Lower maximum weight capacity in comparison to other models
JOROTO Magnetic Indoor Rowing Machine-Rower Exercise Equipment for Home use Portable Rowing Machine

Best Minimalistic

#4- JOROTO Magnetic Indoor Rowing Machine-Rower Exercise Equipment for Home use Portable Rowing Machine

See latest price

JOROTO is dedicated to researching and creating fitness equipment that is of the highest quality without losing ergonomics. Focused on functionality and human movement, JOROTO creates fitness equipment to help transform your daily lives.

The JOROTO MR30 Magnetic Rowing Machine is a cumulation of top athletes and professionals providing their ideas and issues. The design ensures your body is rowing in the right posture, and the rowing movement is correct. This reduces the chances of you getting injured resulting in a great workout, everytime.

Built with sturdy aluminium, it gives a sleek futuristic look. With 16 levels of resistance, the ultra-quiet magnetic flywheel provides you a real rowing experience. We tested it to be lower than 30db of noise, that’s the sound of a whisper.

The fitness model tracks workout data including total number of strokes, strokes per minute, calories burned, distance, and time of workout.

If you’re looking for a silent portable rowing machine, we recommend having a look at JOROTO Magnetic Indoor Portable Rowing Machine Rower Exercise Equipment.

Pros

  • Foldable Design
  • Very quiet
  • 16 Levels of magnetic resistance
  • Requires minimal maintenance

Cons

  • Has a low user weight capacity of 265 lbs.
Goplus Folding Rowing Machine,Magnetic Rower with Adjustable Resistance and LCD Display, Exercise Cardio Fitness Equipment for Home Use

Best Weight Stack

#5- Goplus Folding Rowing Machine,Magnetic Rower with Adjustable Resistance and LCD Display, Exercise...

See latest price

GoPlus focuses on creating fitness products with usability and simplicity. They are always looking to find more innovative and better ways of developing better products to provide to their clients.

Their magnetic rowing machine has 10 levels of magnetic resistance. The seat is made with padded cushioning which reduces that soreness you feel on your buttcheeks after a long rowing workout. The footrest is made with extra grip in mind, providing you comfort of mind when you’re rowing.

THe LCD monitor shows your overall workout progress, displaying your total amount of calories being burned, the distance you’ve covered, the total time of the workout, scan, and the total number of strokes.

Weighing at only 49 lbs and a portable set of wheels attached onto the rower, the Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine is a great lightweight rowing machine to use in your house.

Pros

  • Compact and easily moveable
  • 10 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Only weighs 49lbs

Cons

  • Built with plastic
  • Maximum weight of the rowing machine is 220 lbs
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor

Best Overall

#6- Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor

See latest price

Sunny Health and Fitness are the premier distributor and importer for high-quality fitness and health products. As they source directly through their manufacturers, their pricing is more competitive, providing you an affordable way to get healthy.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine is no different. Less than $500, it provides you a quiet and easy to use rowing machine in the comforts of your own home.

There is a resistance adjustment dial that gives you the ability to choose the intensity of the workout. The levels go from 1 to 8, 1 being the easiest, 8 being the hardest. 

During your workout, you can see how you are performing with the LCD Digital Monitor. It tracks your calorie burn rate, calculates your split times, and your current heart rate.

One of the best features of this rowing machine is the fully padded seats and sweat-resistant hand bar. The hand bar is straightforward to hold as it does not dig into your hands when you begin rowing fast. 

This machine has a removable main bolt by the foot medal that allows you to quickly move your machine to your desired storing space.

If you’re looking for a rower that doesn’t make much noise as you row in the comforts of your own home, we recommend checking out Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine.

Pros

  • Little noise when rowing
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to assemble with the detailed instruction
  • Doesn’t take up much space
  • Resistance Dial to change the intensity of your workout for the day

Cons

  • The monitor has limited details that they track
  • The monitor can be hard to see 
Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399

Best Multi-Function

#7- Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399

See latest price

Stamina has been creating innovative, affordable equipment for over 30 years. Focused on the fitness and leisure industry, they’ve become affiliated with well-known brands and gyms such as Gold’s Gym, Joyus, Danskin, Body By Jake, and Body Shaping.

Stamina ATS Air Rower is one of the most well-known rowers on the market and used in many commercial gyms. The rower uses a flywheel air resistance system where it increases in difficulty with the amount of force you generate. The faster you are row, the harder the resistance will be.

Made with a strong metal chain chord, it can withstand a lot of yacking. With the footpad with nylon straps, this strong base can help generate that push back force giving you a great consistent workout.

There is also a Digital LCD Monitor where it tracks your workout. It has the speed, calories burned, workout time, strokes per minute, distance traveled, and heart rate. This allows you to see your progress, or if you have set goals you need to reach.

With built-in wheels at the bottom, it is straightforward to move around and place it into a storage area. If you’re looking for a dependable rower that doesn’t need electricity to function, we recommend the Stamina ATS Air Rower.

Pros

  • The workout strength/resistance is dependent on your intensity of your pulling power
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Mae out of Strong and Durable Material

Cons

  • Small LCD basic monitor
  • Loud noise from the fan
  • No manual resistance dial 
ProGear 750 Rower with Additional Multi Exercise Workout Capability, Black

Best Water Portable

#8- ProGear 750 Rower with Additional Multi Exercise Workout Capability, Black

See latest price

ProGear is part of Paradigm Health & Wellness, a leading supplier in the Health, Fitness, and Wellness Industry. They approach manufacturing with a holistic approach to your wellbeing and continuously bring new and innovative products to the market that address all your needs.

The ProGear 750 Rower provides an incline to your rowing workouts. It has three levels that you can adjust, changing the intensity and effort used by all your muscles.

There are two hydraulic cylinders and three hydraulic resistance levels that are also changed to make your workouts harder. With the controller placed in between the handlebars, you can also change the tension of your entire workout.

It also comes with a backrest with your cushioned seat and foam-covered handlebars, providing you the comfort you need to focus on a hard intense workout.

If you’re looking to do more than just row, you can also change the rowing machine to perform 10 additional exercises such as shoulder presses, pull-downs, ab workouts, pec flies, bent over rows, and more.

This is a great machine that provides you more than rowing. If that’s what you’re looking for, we recommend having a look at ProGear 750 Rower.

Pros

  • Easily folded and stored
  • Has an incline option for add on the difficulty of your rowing workout
  • 3 different levels of resistance
  • Additional exercises can be implemented on top of rowing

Cons

  • Machine is very low close to the ground

Portable Rowing Machine Buying Guide

What Are Rowing Machines

A rowing machine simulates how a boat would feel if you were rowing it. It provides you the resistance of the water on the rowing machine. As rowing uses a lot of your whole body and cardio, you increase your heart while increasing your strength while you row.

Just like High Intensity Interval Training, it is a low-impact workout that is easy on your joints but improves your overall body.

The Benefits Of Using A Rowing Machine

Burns A Lot Of Calories

Rowing provides a combination of strength and cardio training. Research has found that with a high intensity workout, you will burn up to 713 calories per hour.

Beginner Friendly

Rowing Machines are very simple. All you have to do is push back and forth and you only need 10 to 20 minutes to see immediate improvements with your life.

Work With Less Injury Risk

With a rower machine, you have a lower injury risk due to having less wear and tear on your joints. You can also change the variables such as intensity, resistance, pace, and distance so it suits your body and the condition it is for that day.

Better Posture

Since the rowing machine uses your full body, it activates many muscles that usually don’t get used. It works on the posterior chain which is crucial for balancing your muscles, resulting in less injuries and better posture.

Improve Aerobic Fitness

15 minutes of regular rowing can increase your endurance and overall stamina. This will help your overall cardiovascular health and live longer.

Full Body Workouts

When you’re rowing, you’re using 86% of your muscles in your body. Your upper body and arms to pull back and your legs to push off similar to a squat. And you’re doing this for hundreds, maybe even thousands of reps. 

What To Look For When Purchasing A Portable Rowing Machine

Foldability

Foldability helps if you have a limited amount of space. You can fold the rowing machine and store it when you’re not using it.

Noise

Noise can be a big problem if you like working out in the morning and have neighbors or tenants in your apartment. Rowing machines that are powered magnetically will have the least amount of noise.

User Weight Capacity

Make sure to check how much the rower can hold. If you’re heavier than the manufacturer’s weight capacity, the rower will not run effectively or efficiently.

Size

Size is important if you have a limited amount of space at home. Rowing machines go from 50” to 82”, sometimes even more. Make sure you pay attention and measure out the space in your home to ensure the size of your machine will fit in your room.

Resistance

Some rowing machines have a different level of resistance. This can be beneficial as you can adjust the intensity for the workout depending on your body condition. 

Materials

Standard rowing machines are made with a stainless steel frame. Make sure they are at least the durability and strength of steel if you’re looking to have a machine rower that lasts for years.

Monitor and Console

The console and monitor keeps tracks of certain statistics. Most rowing machines under 500 will not have a console or will have LCD monitors that display basic information.

The basic information is enough if you want to see your progress for the workout day. If you’re looking to track everything, make sure it is able to track the data you’re looking for.

Seat Height

Mobility can be an issue for individuals that have gotten surgery or don’t normally stretch. If the rowing machines are low or close to the ground, it can be hard to get on and off.

What Are The Different Types of Rowing Machine

There are four different types of rowing machines currently on the market. All have benefits and disadvantages depending on what you’re looking for.

Magnetic Resistance

A magnetic resistance rowing machine uses electromagnets to control the resistance to slow down the flywheel. The more resistance you want for your workout, the slower the flywheel will spin.

Air Resistance

An air resistance rowing machine is created by using a flywheel. The harder you pull the bar, the more resistance is placed when you row. The downside is it’s very loud, but there is no electricity required when using.

Water Resistance

A water resistance rowing machine provides an authentic rowing experience. This is because the blade system is in the body of water instead of the air. This allows you to control the resistance, however you do have to add and replace the water.

Hydraulic Machines

A hydraulic rowing machine uses pistons that are connected to the handlebar. This allows the user to manually adjust the resistance and usually are the most affordable rowing machines.

Which Is Better – Air Or Magnetic Rowing Machine?

Both work an Air Rowing Machine and Magnetic Rowing Machine work well. It depends on your current situation.

If you’re looking to have a silent pulling where there is no noise, we recommend using a Magnetic Rowing Machine. However, the drawbacks is that the resistance doesn’t increase when you pull faster or harder.

If you want a variable resistance that goes stronger the harder you pull, you may use a water rower or an air rower.

Rowing Vs Other Cardio Machines

Both rowing and other cardio machines are great ways to work on your cardiovascular system and muscles. 

In terms of cycling, both moderate rowing and moderate cycling burn at the same amount; 200 to 300 calories in 30 minutes.

In terms of a treadmill, it works very little on your upper body as your legs are doing the work.

A rowing machine will be better on your joints and activates more muscles throughout the movement.

It is also ideal for overweight individuals and other older people.

Both rowing machines and treadmills work, find which one is more beneficial and less complicated for your situation.

How Do You Use A Rowing Machine?

The rowing motion may not be intuitive, but it is very simple once you understand the movement. 

When you begin to “row, think of the legs, core, and arm” on the way out, and “arm, core, legs” on the way in.

When you begin from the starting position up close, you should extend your legs, brace your core, and use your arms for rowing the arm bar into your chest.

Then to reverse, you extend your arms, hinge your core forward, and then bend your leg.

Most of the power comes from the legs, but you need to keep your core tight, or you’ll be going with the force instead of resisting. That’s where most of the muscle building comes from.

FAQs for Portable Rowing Machines

Can You Use the Rowing Machine If You’re Injured or Are New to Exercise?

Rowing is great for individuals of all ages with different fitness levels.
If you’re rehabbing for an injury, it has no impact on most joint pain or discomfort, or muscle strain. You can adjust the intensity until your body heals and gets stronger.
If you have a back injury, you have to monitor your fatigue level. People tend to lose their core strength and their ability to brace when they get tired. This puts more stress to your lower back. Make sure you have supervision from a person to watch your form.

How Long Should I Row For Using A Rowing Machine

It depends on what your goals are and your current health condition. If you’re looking to burn a lot of calories, 30 minutes per day, everyday, at a comfortable pace can be very beneficial.

How Do I Clean A Rowing Machine

Depending on what type of rowing machine you purchase, you can wipe down the steel with an all purpose cleaner. 
If you get a water-powered rowing machine, make sure you maintain the water with some chlorine tablets to purify the water.

Will Rowing Get You Ripped?

Rowing Machines work 86% of the muscles in your body. It can get your ripped, but it will definitely get you toned. It will help improve your cardio and health which will provide a better overall appearance.

Conclusion

When choosing a Portable Rowing Machine, there are many factors to consider. The room size and height, budget, your fitness level, and overall space.

However, out of the eight Portable Rowing Machines that we got to test and research, we recommend Bodycraft Pro Air & Magnetic Resistance Rower Folding Machine because of how it blends decades of extensive development and research to bring you a hybrid rowing machine. 

The resistance is controlled manually and is available with 6 different levels. It begins using resistance and the rest of the levels use both air and magnetism for its resistance. The seat level is around 18 inches and is able to move up to 38 inches, perfect for individuals that are tall or have long legs.

The seat, foot straps, and handle are ergonomically designed to provide you better grip when you’re exercising. Although it has a relatively big frame, it can be folded easy to a very compact size, perfect for moving and storing the rowing machine if you live in a small house.

If you’re looking for a more lightweight alternative, we recommend having a look at Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine

Weighing at only 49 lbs and a portable set of wheels attached onto the rower, the Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine is a great lightweight rowing machine to use in your house.

Their magnetic rowing machine has 10 levels of magnetic resistance. The seat is made with padded cushioning which reduces that soreness you feel on your buttcheeks after a long rowing workout. The footrest is made with extra grip in mind, providing you comfort of mind when you’re rowing.

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About Julien

Hey! Thanks for being here. I’ve been active pretty much my whole life and I discovered Crossfit about 5 years ago. I want to help you improve your Crossfit performances by giving tips on specific movements, workouts and equipment. You have a question? Get in touch!