The Best Compact Rowing Machine Reviews

The Best Compact Rowing Machine Reviews

Stamina Air Rower - The Best Compact Rowing Machine WorkoutThe Best Compact Rowing Machine for home use is just as effective and efficient as the best full-sized rowing machines in commercial gyms.

The main difference lies in the size since a compact rowing machine will be smaller, both when fully laid out and when folded. In all other aspects, both offer similar features and benefits.

General Features Of Rowing Machines

Most, if not all, rowing machines consist of these general parts:

• Braking mechanism, also known as an energy damper
• Chain and/or handle
• Foot stretcher for placing the feet on
• Rail upon which the mechanism slides on

Of course, rowing machines come in a wide range of braking mechanisms, resistance and layouts. You will find, for example, that a collapsible rowing machine has a different design than a non-collapsible rower.

The most important part of a rowing machine is the type of resistance. This is because the type of resistance partly determines the smooth movements, intensity of resistance, and noise level of the rowing machine. The available types of resistance are:

• Hydraulic piston resistance is usually found on cheap rowing machines. The pistons are attached to the handlebars with the resistance level easily adjustable. The rowing movement, however, isn’t as smooth as the other types of resistance.

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• Air resistance comes with a flywheel for the generation of resistance. The design provides for a more intense workout and the more the wheel turns, the more power generated as well as for smoother operation. But it isn’t as nearly whisper quiet as many users like their foldable rowing machine to be.

• Magnetic resistance is found in more expensive rowing machines. This provides a better user experience, thanks to the electromagnets generating the resistance, and the quietest. But the rowing machines typically cannot be folded and are bigger in size.

• Water resistance is widely considered as the best for many reasons. It provides a feeling of being in a boat on water from the smooth resistance to the sound of splashing water. The rowing machine tends to be bigger so space constraints should be considered.

Indeed, the type of resistance should be your first consideration in choosing the best compact rowing machine!

General Guidelines In Choosing The Best Compact Rowing Machine

Keep in mind, however, that the type of resistance isn’t the only consideration in choosing the best portable rowing machine. You should also take into consideration the following factors in your decision.

Compact size

Magnetic Rowing MachineThe best compact rowing machine should be small enough to fit into its designated space in the residential or commercial gym. But it should also be large enough to accommodate a wide range of users, thus, the importance of adjustability.

Be sure to measure the space where the collapsible rowing machine will be placed on; add at least two feet of space around it for ease of getting in and out of it. You can then choose an appropriately sized folding rowing machine.

Ease Of Assembly

Most compact rowing machines require assembly on site. You should determine whether the rowers on your shortlist can be easily assembled mainly by reading the customers’ reviews. You want to avoid spending hours trying to make heads and tails of the rower’s parts, especially the nuts and bolts.

Information Display/Computer Monitor

The best portable rowing machine comes with an easy to read, easy to adjust and informative LED display. You can determine exercise related information, such as distance, duration, calories burned, heart rate, and speed, just by looking at the monitor. You can also choose from several pre-programmed exercise programs from the monitor.

In the best compact rowing machine, users also have the option to connect the data from the machine to their mobile devices. You will then be able to track your progress from your mobile device, such as your smartphone, by installing an app on it.

Comfortable Use

Stamine Avari Rower UnitLook for a comfortable seat, handles and foot pads, preferably padded for added comfort. The noise level should also be tolerable, if not relatively quiet (i.e., slight whooshing sound). The compact rowing machine should also be small enough when folded to fit into small spaces, such as under the bed or in the corner.

Price And Warranty

Set your budget. Just remember that with exercise equipment, you get what you pay for  and it pays to buy based on quality!

Check the warranty, too. You will want as much coverage on the frame and parts as possible.

Suffice it to say that choosing the best folding rowing machine takes time, energy and effort on your part, not least because you have to carefully consider the pros and cons of each rower. But when you can enjoy its benefits, your efforts are well rewarded.

Rowing, after all, is a highly recommended form or exercise. You can enjoy a low impact exercise that provides both cardiovascular and strength training benefits.

Recommended Compact Rowing Machines

Based on the above-mentioned general guidelines on choosing the best compact rowing machine, we tested several products. We discovered that the five following compact rowing machines are the best of the bunch, so far.

Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower


Stamina ATS Rowing MachineThe Stamina Air Rower is widely considered as the best in its price range because of its comfortable use, intuitive intensity adjustment, and sturdy frame, among others. The air resistance used in the rower underlines its ultra-smooth experience for its user, as well as contribute to its intuitive resistance level.

Basically, the harder and faster you row, the higher the resistance will be and the more challenging your workout can be.

The multi-function LED monitor provides relevant information about the users performance on the rower. The information displayed include distance, duration, speed and calories burned. You can use the information to determine whether you’re meeting your exercise goals, such as the number of minutes spent exercising or the number of calories burned.

The sturdy and stable steel frame construction also contributes to the positive user experience. You have the assurance that the collapsible rowing machine will not collapse under your weight, thanks to its stable design. You can also use it for several years (i.e., durability guaranteed).

The rower is also designed for utmost comfort during use. You will appreciate the firm feel of the padded and upholstered seat on your rear as well as the textured hand grips on your hands. You can spend 30 minutes or more on the best compact rowing machine yet still feel comfortable.

Other features that contribute to comfort are the large footplates, adjustable nylon foot straps, and over sized angled seat rail. You may or may not strap in your feet since you can “push” against the large footplates.

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You will also love these features:

• Easy assembly with just a few tools needed
• Frame can be folded for easy storage
• Built-in wheels for easy transport
• Floor protectors add to easy use by preventing skidding
• 3-year warranty on the frame and 90-day warranty on the parts

Indeed, if you’re looking for a foldable rowing machine that deliver on good value for your money, then the Stamina Air Rover may well be your choice.

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine


Stamina Orbital Rowing Machine For WorkoutThe Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine provides a full range of motion rowing experience, a must for amateur and professional rowers. In contrast with many rowing machines with hydraulic pistons for resistance, it provides a smoother rowing experience.

You shouldn’t feel jarring starts and stops during the rowing process provided proper technique is adopted.

The rower also has adjustable tension controls. You can set the intensity of your workout by adjusting the tension like for example, more intense workout in preparation for a rowing event, less intense workout after an injury. You don’t have to worry about your joints’ condition worsening since rowing is a low impact cardiovascular activity with muscle toning benefits.

The precision extruded aluminum beam contributes to the stable operations regardless of the workout’s intensity. You can also increase its incline to increase your workout’s intensity, a feature that adds to its status as the best compact rowing machine in its price range. You also have the choice of 12 resistance levels.

The single-button, multi-function monitor displays important information about the workout session. This includes the speed, time, distance, number of rows, miles rowed, and calories burned. You can then formulate an exercise program based on the information, such as increasing your speed for faster heart rate.

The padded seat provides a comfortable position on the folding rowing machine; it also glides on deluxe ball bearing roller system for smooth transitions between rowing movements. The rowing arms also provide added resistance for the arms, which means a whole body workout. The foam grips provide a balance between comfortable and secure grip, even when your hands are already sweaty.

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Other features to love on the collapsible rowing machine are:

• Compact dimensions (32.5 x 48 inches) and relatively light weight (47 pounds) suitable for smaller spaces
• Pivoting foot plates add to comfortable rowing experience
• Rowing arms can be folded for easy storage
• 5-year warranty on frame and 90-day warranty on parts

No wonder that this is also considered the best compact rowing machine for many amateur and professional rowers.

Life Span RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine


LifeSpan Indoor Rowing MachineThe Life Span RW1000 is folding rowing machine with an easy-to-assemble configuration. You can also easily fold it for transport and storage just remove its locking pin, fold it, and replace the locking pin to keep the frame in its folded position.

You can conveniently transport it, thanks to the transport wheels under the foot pads.

From its unfolded dimensions of 90×18.5x23inches, it folds into an even more compact exercise machine (34x19x64inches). You can place it under your bed or in a corner, a boon for small homes.

The rower’s patented Eddy Current Drive System is the reason behind its quiet and smooth operations. Your rowing movement will always be smooth while the whooshing sound is kept to a minimum, which means you can listen to your favorite music or watch a show. You will not disturb your housemates, thanks to its flywheel technology.

You can choose from five levels of resistance by turning the resistance knob located below the easy to use console. Your workout progress is displayed on the LED console with information like distance, duration, stroke count, strokes per minute, and calories burned automatically provided.

You don’t need to plug in the rower into a power supply and the console only requires a single AA battery for operation. This is one of the reasons why many users consider it the best compact rowing machine and for ease of use.

The rower can support weights of up to 300 pounds. You can let everybody in the household use it one at a time, of course without worrying about it collapsing under a person’s weight. You should keep to the weight limit for safety reasons.

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Other features to love on the compact rowing machine are:

• Padded hand grips for a firm and comfortable grip while rowing
• Large swivel foot pedals coupled with Velcro straps for efficient rowing
• Solid, stable and sturdy metal construction
• 5-year warranty on the frame, 2-year warranty on parts, and 1-year warranty on labor (i.e., among the best in the industry)

This is undoubtedly the best compact rowing machine, if its 2008 Gear Awards Seal of Excellence is anything to go by.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Review


Stamina Body Glider Rowing MachineThe Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 may be a mouthful to say but its affordable price isn’t a handful. But don’t dismiss it as a cheap foldable rowing machine because it has several benefits going for it.

The home rowing machine has a compact footprint of just 23.5×46 inches, which becomes even smaller when folded. You can easily position it from, say, the bedroom to the living room because of its light weight and compact dimensions. You don’t even have to find a large space as it can easily fit into a small corner of the room.

The adjustable gas-shock resistance provides for several levels of resistance from easy to difficult. Your workout can be as intense as you want it to be depending on your physical condition, age, and fitness goals. Your workout progress can be monitored via the LED display with relevant information like duration, calories burned, and stroke count shown.

The sturdy and stable steel frame coupled with an aluminum center beam ensures that each workout can be safe and effective. When you’re properly seated on the rower, you shouldn’t feel any wobbling movement. Your rowing experience should be smooth, too, since there’s no jarring starts and stops.

Final Words

There’s no such thing as the best compact rowing machine for everybody. Keep in mind that each person has his own needs and wants in an exercise equipment, thus, each one will choose accordingly. You have to consider your budget, planned space for the rower, and desired features, among other factors, before making your decision.

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You are also well advised to take your time in choosing from among several compact rowing machines. You’re making a substantial investment in the product so it makes perfect sense to carefully consider all the relevant factors. Otherwise, your haste can result in waste and your chosen compact rowing machine may just gather dust in the corner since it doesn’t meet your needs and wants in a rower.

But when you have chosen the best compact rowing machine, you will use it on a regular basis and, thus, get the best value for your money!