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How to Choose a Rowing Machine?

If you are looking for an effective fitness trainer for home use, a rowing machine is the ideal choice for you. A rowing machine is a rowing simulator, where just one movement allows you to exercise the muscles in both the upper and lower half of your body, mainly your back muscles. By regularly exercising with a rowing machine, you’ll gain firm muscles and a lithe, athletic body. What’s more, training with a rowing machine is great for condition and cardo training. And if you suffer from back pain, exercising on a rowing machine will help you quickly eliminate it.

How to Choose a Rowing Machine?
How to Choose a Rowing Machine?

What To Focus On?

On the market, you can come across various types of rowing machines with various attributes. The main differences lie mainly in braking systems, rail length, resistance regulation, functions and other features. In this guide, you’ll find out what to focus on, what are the main differences between various rowing machines, what is the effect of exercising on a rowing machine, and which rowing machine will suit you the best.

Braking System Type

Even though most rowing machines are similar in design, their attributes can vary significantly, depending on their braking system. Braking system provides resistance during training and usually it can be adjusted to several levels. Every type of braking system has its advantages and it is important to choose a rowing machine that will suit your needs the bets. Most of the inSPORTline rowing machines have either a hydraulic or magnetic braking system. However, we offer rowing machines with water and air resistance systems as well. Because this is one of the most important attributes of a rowing machine, we’ve prepared an entire guide that describes how to correctly pick out a braking system of your new rowing machine. You will be introduced to both advantages and disadvantages of all the systems available, their basic functions, usual prices and we’ll help you figure out which system is the best for you. 

Resistance Regulation

Resistance can be regulated either manually (with a regulation knob) or electronically (via a display). Some models with electronic control allow you to set automatic resistance adjustment according to a pre-programmed profile, target heart rate or target output. Rowing machines with a hydraulic or friction braking system can be controlled only manually.


The type and quality of a rowing machine rail are very important. The quality of the rail guarantees a long service life of the machine and quieter running. Rails with plastic wheels, found in the cheaper models, usually get worn quickly (depending on the quality of the wheels). That’s why it’s better to pick a rail with bearings. Those are found in higher-quality machines.

If you are taller than average (over 180 cm), rail length is one of the key parameters for you. Be sure to get a rowing machine with as long a rail as possible. (in this case, hydraulic rowing machines with smaller frames are not suitable). Keep in mind that the longer the rail, the wider the stroke you’ll be able to achieve.

Dimensions and Placement

Just to be sure, measure the space where you intend to place the rowing machine. The size of various rowing machines differs significantly, so make sure to always check the dimensions of the product you are interested in. Also consider the weight of the machine, especially if you intend to move it around often. (Or check if the machine is equipped with transport wheels.) We offer rowing machines in the range of 14-44 kg. Some rowing machines are foldable, to take as little space as possible in storage. Their disadvantage, however, is a less sturdy frame. Heavier machines usually provide more functions, but you’ll be also able to find a light and easy-to-store machine that will serve you perfectly.

If you have wooden floors at home, it is best to also purchase a protection mat. A safety mat is also recommended if you pick a sturdier model of a rowing machine. This way, you don’t have to worry about any damage to surface materials.


Most rowing machines have a control panel that displays time, speed, distance and the number of burned calories, at the very least. Displays on manually controlled rowing machines are usually small and simple. Electronically controlled rowing machines are equipped with easy -to-read backlit displays that usually allow you to select various functions, including training programs (i.e. heart rate monitoring). Some rowing machines with electronic control allow you to race with the computer.

Weight Limit

Before you start looking for a rowing machine, you should figure out who exactly is going to use it. If you just want to use it by yourself, the weight limit only needs to cover your own weight. However, if you know that your entire family will use it, make sure to invest into sturdier machine with a higher weight limit. The usual weight limit for a rowing machine is 100 kg, but you can find trainers with 150-160 kg weight limit on our e-shop as well. 

What Else To Consider?

Folding Frame
Some models can be easily folded so they won’t get in your way when you are not currently exercising. These models are of course most suitable for those who have limited space at home. On the other hand, these rowing machines are less robust, which manifests in their lower weight limit.

Transport Wheels
If you intend to move the rowing machine from place to place often, make sure to purchase a trainer with transport wheels, so you won’t have to drag it around.

Heart Rate Measurement
Some electronically controlled rowing machines have a chest strap as part of their package to measure your heart rate frequency that wirelessly relays the information to the computer. The computer uses the data for further purposes. For example, if you set target heart rate, the machine will automatically adjust the resistance to keep your heart rate in the set target zone. This kind of training is great especially for losing weight or cardio training.

Do you want to try rowing from the comfort of your home, or are you looking for a way to effectively strengthen muscles in both the upper and lower half of your body? Surely you know now that a rowing machine is the perfect choice. At first glance it may seem that using a rowing machine is easy, but if you use the correct technique while exercising, you will certainly get a good work out. Buy one of our rowing machines for yourself. If you want to exercise on a trainer with multiple functions and the smoothest running, you can even get one of our commercial rowing machines.

Comparison of inSPORTline rowing machines

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