The best rowing machines for apartments
When you live in an apartment, space is at a premium, especially when it comes to exercise equipment. You need to shop for something that provides a full body workout, doesn't take up much space and is quiet. Believe it or not, there are rowing machines that meet all three of these requirements.
Our favorite rowing machine for apartment life is the Marcy NS-40503RW Foldable Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine. This model is not only quiet, but it can be folded up when it’s not in use so it can be stashed in a closet. To learn more about rowing machines suitable for an apartment, keep reading.
Considerations when choosing rowing machines for your apartment
When you live in a space where your neighbors are on the other side of the walls — and maybe under your floor or above your ceiling as well — noise level is of primary concern. You need a rowing machine that’s quiet. The type of rowing machine you purchase has a huge bearing on this.
A model that uses air resistance (a fan) can be quite noisy. One that uses water resistance (a chamber filled with water) is a little quieter, but it can still have an audible swoosh. If you live in an apartment, a hydraulic rowing machine (which provides resistance via pistons) only makes a slight hiss once per cycle, so it can be a good option. However, the best is a well-built magnetic resistance rower. Some users have labeled these models "silent" for their remarkably quiet operation (though they aren't actually silent).
The second area of concern for people living in an apartment is space. By design, rowing machines cannot be small. On average, you're looking at a piece of equipment that’s over six feet long; even a compact model takes up between four and five feet of floor space. To find a rowing machine that’s right for an apartment, you want one that can fold up on itself and be stored on its end so it fits in a closet or under a raised bed. It helps if the machine is lightweight and has wheels for ease of mobility.
If you plan on using your rowing machine frequently, it must be comfortable. You want a soft seat so it won't irritate your tailbone and a cushioned handle so you won't get blisters. Your rowing machine should also have footrests that secure your feet with a good heel cup and a hook-and-loop strap.
The console is the computer that monitors your progress. Without it, you won't know if you’re getting better or not. The console needs to tilt up and down so any size person can easily view the screen. Also, the display must be large enough so it can be read from several feet away. At the very least, the console should monitor stroke rate, split time, and distance.
Rowing machine prices
If you’re on a budget, you can get a rowing machine for slightly more than $100. If money is no object, you can spend as much as $2,000. For the average user, however, $200-$400 is the sweet spot where functionality and affordability meet.
Q. Does a rowing machine provide a good workout?
A. Yes. When you use a rowing machine, it engages 85% of the body's musculature. It’s also excellent for cardio, and the rhythmic motion has a meditative effect. In short, a rowing machine builds muscle, endurance and it’s good for your mind, making it one of the best things you can do for your body.
Q. What’s the secret to getting a good rowing machine workout?
A. Take your time, don’t rush and focus on power and form rather than speed. If the workouts aren't challenging enough, take a video of yourself while exercising so you can determine if you’re doing the stroke properly.
Rowing machines for apartments we recommend
Best of the best: Marcy NS-40503RW Foldable Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine
Our take: Quiet, compact and easily transportable, this model has everything you need for apartment life.
What we like: The convenience of the multi-angle computer screen ensures that it's always easy to see so you can monitor every aspect of your workout. It features eight levels of resistance, a padded handle and a smooth, nearly silent glide.
What we dislike: Some users experience frustration with assembly.
Best bang for your buck: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine
Our take: If the budget is tight and you're a beginner, this rowing machine will get you hooked.
What we like: This is a space-saving hydraulic rowing machine that provides the user a wide range of arm and shoulder motion when working out. It features 12 levels of resistance and has a weight capacity of 350 pounds, yet the machine only weighs approximately 35 pounds.
What we dislike: This machine doesn’t offer as much resistance as other models.
Our take: When you’re done working out, this model can be folded up and stood on its end so it can be conveniently stored in a closet.
What we like: There are 16 levels of tension available on this model. The machine features a slot to place a mobile device and it has a holder for beverages. The rugged construction can support up to 285 pounds.
What we dislike: Rarely, a unit with a defective or missing component slips through quality control, but customer service is superb.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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