The Best Rowing Machine in Australia [2019]

best rowing machine 2018

Author: Andrew Nixon - Exercise Physiologist

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Cardiovascular fitness is a vital part of any exercise program. Developing cardiovascular strength improves heart health and your ability to perform day to day activities more efficiently.

While it is important, cardio can also be rather un-enjoyable for many people, especially when starting out. It sort of hurts, it’s very difficult, and unless you’re a certain type of person - it’s hard to stick with.

This is why the mode of exercise can be a major factor in your success. If you don’t like running, don’t buy a treadmill. Simple. Find something you can tolerate that’s also safe and comfortable.

While any form of cardio training will help you improve, the rowing machine brings some unique things to the table.

After the summary table below, we discuss the key things to consider when choosing a rowing machine, followed by reviews of the best rowing machines on the market.


iMAGE
PRODUCT
OUR #1 RATED
OUR #1 RATED

CONCEPT 2 ROWING MACHINE – MODEL D

  • One of the most popular rowers worldwide
  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Advanced monitor
  • Great storage ability
  • Easily adjusted resistance


WATERROWER NATURAL ROWING MACHINE WITH S4 MONITOR

  • Sturdy and reliable
  • Low maintenance
  • Looks great


PUREDESIGN -  VR1 WATERROWER

  • Minimalist design
  • Easily stored
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet design


LIFESPAN FITNESS ROWER 605

  • More affordable
  • Quiet to use
  • Advanced technology
    Wide range of resistance


LIFESPAN ROWER 442

  • Affordable
  • Quiet
  • Wide range of resistance

How to Pick The Right Rowing Machine 

There are several types of rowers to choose from, each with its own set of redeemable qualities. So, how should you go about picking the rower that is right for you?

Use these guidelines to help figure it out:

Types of Rowing Machines:

Air Rowing Machines 

This type of rower uses the resistance created by air flowing around the flywheel inside the machine. Typically, these machines can be adjusted to alter the amount of resistance. A downside to this type of rower is that they often produce a lot of noise.

Magnetic Rowing Machines

One of the most popular options for home gyms, magnetic rowers are typically more compact and quieter than other options. The magnetic mechanism of these machines creates a smooth, consistent rowing action. Unfortunately, these rowers feel less like rowing on water than other models.

Hydraulic Rowing Machines

Hydraulic rowers are typically considered the most affordable and space saving option. While these rowers are quiet, they don’t have the best reputation in the fitness world. These rowers use pistons to create resistance and the oil inside these pistons heats up during use. Within 30 minutes of use, the oil will be heated to the point that resistance begins to decrease. This may not be a problem for beginners, but those who are experienced and in-shape this isn’t something that will work.

Water Rowing Machines

The new kid on the block. Water rowers are quiet, smooth, and create a rowing experience similar to actual rowing. When using this type of rower, paddles moving through a water tank create resistance. While these aren’t a top choice of competitive rowers, they’re a popular in home option due to their stylish look and quiet operation.

Other Things to Consider:

Budget

Rowers can range anywhere from $100 to $2000. So no matter your requirements, there should be an option out there for you.

Intended Use

​Will you be the only one using the rower? If not, it’s important to find a rower that can fit the needs of multiple individuals.

Space

No matter what type of rower you choose, it’s going to take up a decent amount of space in your home. Fortunately, most rowing machines can be stored vertically or folded in some way.

Noise

Depending on when and where the rower will be used, noise might be an important consideration. If you plan to exercise in the morning while others in your household are still sleeping, an air rower might not be the best choice.


Rowing Machine Reviews 

#1 ​​Concept 2 Rowing Machine – Model D REVIEW

TOP PICK

BUY AT Gym and fitness

One of the best selling rowing machine in the world - this model is widely used by competitive rowers and is considered the gold standard for indoor training.

Complete with a state of the art performance monitor, this machine can track your pace, distance, stroke rate, calories, and more.  With Bluetooth compatibility, the PM5 monitor allows you to connect to many heart rate monitors and fitness devices.

While this is an air resistance model, the design minimizes the noise created while simultaneously maximizing smoothness.

Arguably the best feature of this model is its storage ability. The Model D comes with a quick-release mechanism, allowing you to separate the rower into two pieces for easy storage. Complete with wheels on the front foot of the machine, you can roll it anywhere you need with very little effort.

Pros
  • One of the most popular rowers worldwide
  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Advanced monitor
  • Great storage ability
  • Easily adjusted resistance
cons
  • Expensive
  • Noisier than other options                                

#2 ​​​​WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor REVIEW

BUY AT gym and fitness

Stylish and sleek, this rower is an impressive piece of equipment. Built to last you a lifetime, this durable water rower provides a challenging exercise experience that will remind you of being out on the water.

The combination of water resistance and a wood frame creates a sturdy and quiet machine that absorbs sound and vibration. Equipped with a Series 4 performance monitor, the WaterRower provides user-friendly technological sophistication. The monitor can display heart rate, duration, distance, stroke rate, and more.

When it comes to storage, this model doesn’t fold or separate, but can be easily stored in a vertical position. At just over two meters long, it will easily fit in most rooms.

Pros
  • Sturdy and reliable

  • Low maintenance

  • Looks great                                              

cons
  • Does not fold

  • May be difficult to adjust resistance                      

#3 ​Puredesign -  VR1 Waterrower REVIEW

BUY AT gym and fitness

This minimalist water-powered rower provides the best of both worlds. With a durable, lightweight steel frame, and the use of water resistance, this rower is a perfect option for any in home gym. At 2.1 meters long, this machine can be stored vertically to save room, and can be easily moved into position using the front wheels.

Perfect for any age or ability, the rower can accommodate users weighing up to 120kg.

Pros
  • Minimalist design
  • Easily stored
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet design                                            
cons
  • Short (1 year) warranty
  • Lower weight capacity
  • Can’t adjust resistance easily                                    

#4 Lifespan Fitness Rower 605 REVIEW

best value

BUY AT gym and fitness

The magnetic resistance system built into the Lifespan fitness rower 605 makes this machine a great option for those wanting a super-quiet rowing machine. It’s almost silent.

Beyond that, it comes with an LCD display, 12 preset programs, and heart rate monitor compatibility. It also includes wheels and is capable of folding for easy, convenient storage.

Similar in length to other models and with a 150kg weight limit, this rower one of the best bangs for your buck that you will find in today’s market.

Pros
  • More affordable

  • Quiet to use

  • Advanced technology

    Wide range of resistance                      

cons
  • May be more difficult to assemble than other options

  • Less consistent resistance

  • Does not simulate water 

#5 Lifespan Rower 442 ​REVIEW

BUY AT gym and fitness

Just like the previous model, this rower utilizes a magnetic resistance system creating a silent user experience. The main differences between the 442 and the 605, is the technology that’s included.

While the 442 still comes with an LCD display, the functions are not as comprehensive as the more expensive 605.

With that said, this is a perfect rower for those on a budget, or those that are just starting to row. Use this machine as a stepping stone to a higher quality model once you’re ready to take that step.

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Quiet

  • Wide range of resistance                      

cons
  • May be difficult to assemble

  • Less consistent resistance

  • Does not simulate water                       


verdict

All in all, a rowing machine is a solid choice of exercise equipment for anyone looking to improve their cardiovascular fitness while simultaneously stimulating most major muscle groups. Your personal preference will ultimately determine what type and model of rower you choose to purchase.

Our top choice is the Concept 2 – Model D. You can find this model in commercial fitness clubs and professional training facilities around the world – and for good reason. It comes complete with state of the industry display and workout tracking technology.

But it may not be perfect for you – and that’s okay. When it comes to something like this, the most important questions are:
1. Will you use it?
2. Will it help you achieve your fitness goals?

If you can answer yes to both of those, you’ve made a quality decision.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andrew Nixon

Exercise Physiologist


An exercise physiologist and hiking enthusiast, Andrew enjoys spending his time learning about the body and exploring the great outdoors.

As a writer, Andrew has written for a number of health and fitness blogs.

Andrew holds a master’s degree in Exercise Science and has spent time as a personal trainer, university instructor, and currently serves in an exercise-oncology clinical research program.