10 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines
Table of Contents
Looking For The Best Magnetic Rowing Machine
Running is great and all, but jump on a rowing machine and you’ll notice how the exercise targets every area of your body. From arms and legs to abs and obliques, this full-body workout is second to none. As with any kind of fitness equipment, you have options. So here, you’ll meet only the best magnetic rowing machines.
How did we decide these brands are “the best”? We consult the masses. These 10 brands have some of the highest ratings on the web, recommended by not just customers, but fitness experts for their features, price, value, and design.
Before we get up close and personal with them though, let’s take a second to talk about rowing. You already know it’s a full-body exercise, but when exactly did the exercise go from lake to gym? Longer ago than you might have thought. In the 4th century BC, an Athenian admiral built the first machine to help train inexperienced oarsmen. However, it wasn’t until about 1872 that the first patented indoor rower was created.
The 10 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines
What makes a magnetic rower one of the 10 best magnetic rowing machines? You’re about to find out. With features like live and on-demand classes, ergonomic designs, and budget-friendly prices, there’s something for every need here.
Established in 2017 by Bruce Smith, Hydrow was launched with the mission to create an indoor rower that mimicked the outdoor feel. Merging the comforts of home with live and on-demand training videos, users are given the best workout possible in their own spaces.
The Hydrow Rower is equipped with an impressive 22” touchscreen display and front-facing speakers. The brand offers a subscription membership to their streaming service, where you’ll follow along with their best-in-class instructors out on stunning waterways around the world from Scotland to Norway to Alaska.
Hydrow’s classes are led by numerous world-class athletes who will keep you motivated through your workouts and help you become a better rower.
If you’d like to mix it up, you can always take one of their pilates, yoga, or strength training classes included with the membership. They recently added circuit training to their offering as well, designed to be a quick and effective full-body workout that combines strength and rowing in a high intensity interval training (HIIT) format.
As for design, Hydrow is a quite sleek looking machine. Using a patented electromagnetic drag mechanism with an industrial-grade webbed strap, you’ll stroke smoother and quieter. The ergonomic padded seat ensures you’re comfortable throughout your ride.
Along with a 1-year warranty and free shipping, you can get the Hydrow Rower for $2,495. If your budget for a rowing machine isn’t that high but you’re looking for a similar experience, get the Hydrow Wave for $1,895. 33% smaller, it’s designed for smaller spaces and it’s lighter and quieter. It also comes with 100% of the content that comes with the Hydrow Rower. The subscription has an additional fee and is available monthly or annually.
- Live & on-demand classes on waterways around the world
- 4,000+ workouts from rowing to strength training, yoga, and circuit training
- Holds up to 375lbs
- Can be stored upright
- Ergonomic padded seat
- 22” touchscreen
Marcy is a home fitness company established in 1959. They have 7 magnetic rowing machines in their inventory, offering a nice selection to choose from in terms of price and features.
One of Marcy’s selling points is how simple their machines are to operate. Unlike Hydrow, they don’t offer a subscription to live classes, but they’re still a solid choice for anyone who isn’t fussy about technology. Known for their affordably-priced fitness equipment, Marcy’s magnetic rowing machines start at $329 and go up to $459.
- 7 magnetic rowing machines
- Simple to operate
- LCD display screens
- Compact models
- Ergonomic features
- Very affordable
Aviron is highly regarded in the rowing world. Their magnetic rowing machine delivers best in class resistance up to 100lbs. They offer two types of rowers, both with magnetic and air resistance.
Like Hydrow, they offer a live streaming service, but also have multiplayer games. Aviron was launched in 2018 and quickly made a name for itself as durable and sleek. You can get one of their rowers for $1,899-$2,199 and add on a monthly membership for $25.
- Holds up to 507lbs
- 100lbs of resistance
- Live games
- 22” rotating touchscreen
- Accessible seat
- Compact design
NordicTrack is one of the names most associated with indoor fitness equipment. The brand got its start in 1975 when Ed and Florence Pauls created the first indoor ski machine in Minnesota. They offer two magnetic rowing machines, the RW700 and RW900.
Fitted with 10” and 22” touchscreens, once signed up for their live streaming membership iFit, your resistance will be controlled by their trainers, taking you to new levels of training. NordicTrack has an excellent reputation in the fitness world, known for their reliable machines and excellent customer service. You can get both magnetic rowing machines for $1,499 right now, though the RW900 is usually $1,999.
- 10” & 22” touchscreen
- IFit Membership
- 26 levels of resistance
- Can hold up to 250lbs
- Bluetooth connectivity
Horizon is a popular line of indoor fitness equipment and carries two types of magnetic rowing machines, the Oxford 3 and Oxford 6. The 3 is their more popular design, loved for its aluminum construction and 350lb weight capacity.
With a smooth operation, it’s incredibly quiet and features two front wheels for easy transport. Store your Oxford upright when not in use to free up extra space. Along with this convenient quality, you’ll love its ergonomic seat and stable feel.
While the LCD monitor is a little small at 5.4”, it’s big enough to clearly see basic stats like speed, distance, and calories. The Oxford 3 and 6 go for $899-$1,099 (on sale from $1,399-$1,599) respectively.
- Race mode
- 5.4” LCD backlit screen
- Front wheels for easy transport
- Stores upright
- 350lb weight capacity
With 24 levels of resistance the Pro R10 Rower and Pro 750R have great value. Compatible with an iFIT membership (the one NordicTrack uses), they have 20 workouts built right into the machines in case you don’t feel like joining.
Featuring a small LCD screen, to use iFit, you’ll need your own personal smart device. Though they have a lower weight capacity of 250lbs, there’s tons of wiggle room for you to find your perfect workout thanks to the auto-adjust feature that syncs with iFit.
Both compact, lightweight rowers, you can get them for $699-$800 or sign up for 3 years of iFit and get the Pro R10 for free.
- Compatible with iFit
- 24 levels of resistance
- Two magnetic rowing machine option
- 20 built-in workouts
- Compact & lightweight
Doufit is one of those brands you’ll see at Amazon or Walmart but it doesn’t actually have its own website. For that reason, its magnetic rowing machine is super affordable. The foldable design is compact and easy to store out of sight, standing upright to take up less than ½ square foot of space.
Made from steel with a powder coated finish, though this rowing machine is cheap, it’s actually pretty well made. The seat is comfortable and wide and the machine can hold up to 265lbs. At just 61lbs, this rower is awesome for petite folks and seniors. Get yours for $234.
- Basic LCD screen
- Holds up to 265lbs
- Folds & stores upright
- Very affordable
- Steel construction
Spirit is owned by Dyaco, a Taiwanese manufacturer. They stock a few types of rowing machines, but the one we’re most interested in is the CRW800.
With a 5.5” LCD display, you’ll see all of your stats in real time, but it’s the wireless remote system that really caught our attention. Using just your thumbs, you can adjust the resistance from the handle so you never have to ruin your workout flow.
Other notable features include the combined air and magnetic resistance giving you the best of both worlds and the built-in battery that eliminates the need for a plug. Foldable, this powerhouse machine holds up to 450lbs. Contact the brand if you’re interested in getting a price.
- No need for power outlet
- Foldable & easy to store
- Holds up to 450lbs
- Uses air & magnetic resistance
- Wireless resistance controls
Schwinn is probably the name most associated with bikes, founded in 1895 by Ignaz Schwinn and Adolph Frederick William Arnold. Launching the Schwinn Bicycle Company known around the globe for their best-in-class cycles, it turns out the brand makes one of the best magnetic rowing machines too, the Crewmaster.
While its features aren’t as thoughtful as, say, Hydrow’s are, it’s still an option for rowers up to 6’4” tall. The adjustable foot pedals are a nice touch, and though there are only 10 levels of resistance, there’s enough to get a great workout. This foldable machine has wheels and an easy to read display. Get the Crewmaster for $499 with a 10-year frame warranty.
- 10 levels of resistance
- Easy to read screen
- 10-year warranty
- Foldable & has wheels
- 300lb weight capacity
10. Sunny Health & Fitness
Sunny Health & Fitness was established in 2022 by John Sun. Today, it’s a name associated with quality machines and affordable prices. There’s a total of 10 magnetic rowing machines in their collection, some weighing under 50lbs.
Seniors and women might gravitate to this brand more than others on this list of the best magnetic rowing machines. With foldable designs, padded seats, and 16 levels of resistance, you’ll get a challenging workout without spending a fortune. With that said, don’t expect super techy features from Sunny. Sale prices start at $259 (normally $299).
- Nice selection of magnetic rowers
- Lightweight models
- Simple design
- Padded seat
- 16 levels of resistance
- Accommodates up to 250lbs
What is a Magnetic Rowing Machine?
You’ve just read about our top 10 picks for the best magnetic rowing machines, but you still might not know exactly what makes a magnetic rowing machine different from air or water rowers.
The main difference between the three is that magnetic rowing machines use magnetic resistance to create tension. What is magnetic resistance? Using an electric motor and flywheel, resistance is created magnetically by expanding or lessening the distance between magnets, thus increasing the difficulty at which you row.
Magnetic rowing machines are usually a little more high-tech than their earth element relatives, boasting larger screens or workout programs such as the one offered by Hydrow. With a magnetic rower, you can track your calories, speed, and distance, seeing your stats as you row.
Magnetic rowers are quieter and smoother in operation than air and water rowers. They can also be more compact, often folding for easier storage. I’ll cover more of their benefits in the next section of this Best Magnetic Rowing Machines list.
Magnetic Rowing Machine Benefits
The best magnetic rowing machines have a wide range of benefits— if you choose the right brand. I’ll walk you through the main reasons why folks choose this type over air and water.
- They’re quiet. If you’re working out at home, this is invaluable. No one likes a noisy machine, and water rowers generate quite a lot of it.
- Smooth operation. Magnetic rowing machines use magnets to create resistance and stay at a set level of resistance. This means you’ll experience a consistent level of resistance and smooth operation.
- Great for beginners. Because magnetic rowing machines offer set levels of resistance, you’ll get a workout that will meet you at a low level of fitness and scale up as you increase in strength.
- They’re more affordable than air or water rowers. Magnetic rowers are typically the most affordable type of rowing machine available.
- They require little maintenance. Unlike water rowers, you never need to change the water, and because they’re made from steel (some water rowers are made from wood), they’re more durable.
- Consistent resistance. Unlike air and water, once you set your resistance level on a magnetic rower, it will stay there until you change it. Your pace will not affect the resistance.
As for rowing machines in general, you can expect a full body workout no matter which one you choose. Rowing machines deliver a good cardio workout that may help with weight loss and heart health.
Who is a Magnetic Rowing Machine For?
Considering that a magnetic rowing machine is quieter than others, it’s a good idea for anyone that lives in a shared apartment or watches TV while exercising. Also, if you’re not a fan of noisy machines in general, I think you’ll prefer this type of rower.
As you’ve already seen in this list of the best magnetic rowing machines, a low noise level is just one of the many benefits buying one can bring. That’s why a magnetic rowing machine is a good choice for many, though I would not recommend it for elite athletes or those looking to build muscle.
Because a magnetic rowing machine has limited resistance levels, you will not be able to increase resistance past its top level. This means these machines are excellent for anyone new to rowing or those looking for a heart-pumping cardio workout.
Since magnetic rowing machines are also more compact than water rowers, those with small apartments or spaces may prefer them too.
How to Shop For the Best Magnetic Rowing Machines
I’ll take a guess and say you’re reading this list of the best magnetic rowing machines because you need help deciding on which one to buy. If so, that’s a great first step because with so many different brands and models, there’s a good chance you could end up with one that’s wrong for your fitness needs and space.
To help make the process easier, I’ve put together a list of key points to consider before you commit.
- Size: If you live in a small NYC apartment, space is precious. You’ll want a compact rowing machine that’s easy to store. If you have tons of space, you might want something larger.
- Technology: Are you into advanced tech? Most of the best magnetic rowing machines have tech-forward screens but some even offer live and on demand workouts or games. If you’re not looking for classes with your rowing machine, you can opt for one without a fancy screen.
- Ergonomics: I won’t lie to you, some of the best magnetic rowing machines on this list are more comfortable than others. More affordable options tend to skimp on ergonomics while some of the more premium models like Hydrow were designed for your comfort.
- Warranty: Depending on which one you buy, a rowing machine can be a big investment. You’ll want to protect that by choosing a brand with a decent warranty—5+ years on the frame is usually a good starting point.
Which is better air, water, or magnetic rower?
It’s a matter of opinion, really. I’ll walk you through the basics of each below so you can decide for yourself.
- Air rowers use air to create resistance. The longer you wait between pulls, the more resistance you will generate. These types of rowing machines are mid-range, usually less expensive than water but more costly than magnetic.
- Water rowers use real water to generate resistance. These mimic the feel of rowing on the water and are usually used by elite athletes for training. Water rowing machines are the most expensive of all three—and also one of the noisiest
- Magnetic rowing machines are quiet and use magnets to create resistance. You can set the level of resistance and keep it there unlike the other two types. They are the most affordable.
Do magnetic rowers have enough resistance?
One of the only drawbacks of a magnetic rowing machine is they have lower levels of resistance than the other types of rowers. However, they’re the only type that maintains a set level of resistance, helping you to have a better and more consistent workout.
With water and air rowers, the type of resistance generated comes from how fast and hard you row. For higher levels of resistance or if you are an elite athlete, you might want to opt for an air or water rowing machine.
Are magnetic rowing machines quiet?
Out of all types of rowing machines, magnetic ones are the quietest. With that said, magnetic rowers with a hydraulic piston can begin to create more noise over time due to the movement of their parts.
Air rowing machines will always be the noisiest type, though water can get up there in decibels too. If you are interested in watching TV while using your rowing machine, a magnetic rower is definitely the way to go.
Do magnetic rowing machines need electricity?
Magnetic rowing machines require some form of electricity, yes. Some come with built-in batteries while others need to be plugged into an electrical outlet on the wall. Most of the best magnetic rowing machines use a battery for convenience.
The only issue with this type of rower is that, at some point, that battery will need to be replaced. If you’d prefer to never replace a battery, choose a machine with a plug.
You’re all done with this list of the best magnetic rowing machines and with any luck, you’re leaving with more knowledge than you came with. Remember that the best magnetic rowing machine for you takes your fitness level, body composition, budget, and tech preferences into account.
Even though Magnetic rowing machines compatible with on-demand and live classes may be more costly, they can help you stay more motivated in the long run. There’s a lot to think about before committing, so we hope this listicle has helped.
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