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What's behind our rowing machines Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 6 models in rowing machines to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Based primarily on the ergonomics, ease of use and construction categories with a minor contribution from user safety and specific product features The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
  • Ergonomics
    Assesses the pedals restraint system and the potential for interference during the rowing stroke.
  • Ease of use
    Assesses the ease of reading the display and operation of the console, and adjustment of the resistance level.
  • Construction
    Considers aspects that indicate good construction methods, the sound and the feel of the rowing machine, and the result of a static load test.
  • User safety
    Assesses potential hazards, such as sharp edges, pinch points, and slippery gripping surfaces.


Follow Consumer Reports

Rowing machines have designs that consist of an energy damper or braking mechanism connected to a chain and/or handle. A foot stretcher (where the rower places her feet) is attached to the same mounting as the energy damper. Most include a rail that either the seat or the mechanism slide upon. Different rowing machines have a variety of layouts and damping mechanisms, each of which have certain advantages and disadvantages. The workout value comes from the whole body nature of rowing. If you have the space to devote to an indoor rowing machine, make sure you first try the rowing machine at the store. If you're looking for information about rowing machines, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ rowing machine reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our rowing machine buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and rowing machine reviews to help you choose the best rowing machine for your needs.

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