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Different Types of Rowing Machines

The rowing machines on the market today are available with multiple types of resistance systems, such as air, water, magnetic and hydraulic. But how do they differ?

If you’re used to rowing at your gym, you’re most likely using an air resistance machine. These are possibly the most popular and authentic models and they offer a natural and smooth rowing stroke. On these machines, resistance is provided when air blows through the flywheel, with the result that the harder you pull, the faster the fan moves, the more resistance.

A water rowing machine actually feels and sounds like you’re rowing on water. These machines offer a quiet and smooth experience, plus they offer many levels of resistance. Here too, the harder you row, the more intense the resistance. These types of rowers are extremely fluid and realistic and feel very natural.

A magnetic rower is a great option for your home gym because these machines are especially quiet and usually more compact. With this model, two magnets move past each other to provide resistance, which in turn is smooth and consistent. Most machines have multiple magnetic resistance levels that you can easily adjust.

A hydraulic rowing machine is a good option if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, as these machines tend to be more budget friendly. They’re usually portable, take up little space, and run very quietly. With these rowers, the tension comes from the amount of fluid or air that’s compressed by a piston or cylinder, and can be adjusted. 

Before you invest in an expensive piece of equipment like a rowing machine, there are several factors to consider. These include the following:

1. Type of rowing experience: First figure out what type of rowing action you prefer and which type of machine described above best aligns with your preferences.

2. Space: Broadly speaking, rowing machines are large and take up a lot of space, so you’ll want to make sure you can accommodate this type of machine in your dedicated workout space. They are generally very long machines, so you’ll want to keep this in mind. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough space to move your arms comfortably. Alternatively, it is possible to buy a folding model if you have limited space.

3. Your fitness plans and goals: How often will you be rowing? If it’s going to be casual, you don’t need to invest in a large, expensive, top-of-the-line machine and you can probably get by on something smaller and more economical. If you’re a hardcore rower, then you’ll want a premium machine with all the bells and whistles.

4. Price: Keep in mind that a quality rowing machine is going to cost more because it’s built to last and made with the best technology and superior materials. Buying a “cheap” machine could end up costing you in the long run. That being said, buy the machine that best aligns with your budget and fitness goals.

Keep scrolling for more information about all the best rowing machines.