The Best Rowing Machine for Heavier People

Looking to lose those extra pounds, but intimidated by the rows of complex-looking gym equipment at your local fitness centre, or just short on time to make good on that membership? Our suggestion would be short, succinct and decisive – why not try rowing? And we don’t, of course, mean actually getting into a boat and rowing out into the water – though that is what rowing machines emulate. This form of exercise gives your whole body a complete workout, putting over 80% of your muscles to work and helping burn calories at an incredible yet sustainable pace. Aside from helping strengthen your core and tone your muscles, while keeping impact on your joints and back low, rowing has been proven capable of burning over 300 calories in half an hour, and 600 calories in a full hour. In a matter of weeks, you’ll see a marked – and satisfying – increase in the pounds you lose, all with an intuitive form of exercising suited for beginners down to cardio junkies and CrossFit enthusiasts. So which rowing machines are best suited for people looking to lose weight? Let’s take a look at our top picks.

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

If you can’t hop into an actual boat for your weekly workout needs, one of these is your closest substitute. This machine features a water flywheel to realistically emulate the experience of rowing in water, creating a self-regulating resistance effect, several components of the machine structured out of authentic wooden parts sourced from sustainably maintained forests for an all-round durable and rugged exercise unit. Despite the heavy-duty construction (weighing 117 pounds including a filled water tank), the flywheel enclosed within a water tank ensures smooth, whisper-quiet operation, the premium ash wood also absorbing sound and making it great for working out at home without kicking up a ruckus and disturbing the neighbors. In fact, thanks to the non-electrical mechanism of this machine and the lack of parts prone to wear and tear, you have the added benefit of not worrying about parts malfunctioning, and expensive repairs. Considering all these benefits, we think this is a brilliant long-term investment despite the initial somewhat hefty price-tag.

Despite mainly operating on a self-regulating rowing mechanism, the unit does feature an electrical component – a Series 4 performance monitor. This is handy for keeping an eye on your exercise stats, including time and distance covered, stroke rate, heart rate (with an optional sensor) and workout intensity, so you can keep track of your progress and alter your workout intensity as need be. The unit features an impressive weight capacity of 1,000 pounds, making it the perfect stable and sturdy exercise unit for heavy-set and tall individuals. The unit features a frame that can be flipped upright for space-saving and storage.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine Rower

If our top pick overshoots your budget cap an alarming bit, why not take a look at something much cheaper comparatively, but still with the functionality we come to expect from a great rowing machine? With a weight capacity of 350 pounds, this unit uses hydraulic fluid filled pistons to create non-jarring and adjustable resistance, the fluidly moving pedals and handlebars allowing you to emulate the strokes you’d be making when rowing in water, all the while giving your upper and lower body a rigorous workout. Extra-large, anti-slip stirrups with foot straps let you secure your feet firmly in place, with your shins at 90 degrees to the ground, a fully padded seat making intensive rowing sessions that much more comfortable for you to go through. The unit features an LCD monitor displaying stats like time and distance covered, so you can keep track of how well you’re meeting your workout goals.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

A gym favorite, this is a fantastic indoor unit to go for to meet your rowing machine needs, the flywheel designed to keep its operation smooth and quiet. A rugged machine built to stand up to the most intense of workouts, the unit has a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds, separable into two parts for easier mobility and storage and featuring caster wheels so you can maneuver it to where it’s needed with ease.

The unit packs several user-friendly features working together to ensure your rowing sessions go smoothly, including the spiral damper regulating airflow to the flywheel to be fully responsive to changes in how you pull each stroke. A comfortable 14-inch high padded seat, ergonomic handlebars and adjustable pedals make for secure rowing, without the fear of accidentally destabilizing yourself. The unit also features the Performance Monitor 5 with USB drive compatibility which not only lets you keep track of your workout stats, but also lets you conveniently save the data to chart your progress over time.

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine

A bigger version of our first Runner Up, this unit is another rugged workhorse with a weight capacity of 500 pounds great for heavier and taller individuals to use safely and for intensive and rigorous workouts. Featuring a 20-inch high padded seat, the unit also features the adjustable pedals with straps to secure your feet and prevent slippage and ergonomic non-slip handlebars of our previous entry. Also like our previous entry, this unit features a uniquely designed flywheel to keep noise at a minimum, prioritizing smooth performance and accurate emulation of the activity and exertion your body undergoes when rowing in water. A spiral damper regulates airflow to the flywheel to respond to the intensity and rigor of your strokes so you experience the appropriate degree of resistance and drag, while the Performance 5 monitor displays your workout stats, allows you to save your workout data in a USB flash drive and can even wirelessly monitor your heartrate. The adjustable monitor arm also ensures the digital backlit screen is within easy reach when you wish to keep an eye on your progress.


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