Reviews of the best rowing machines

Kettler Kadett Review

Kettler Kadett

Rowing machines come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big, others are small, most are made of metal and plastic but a few are constructed from wood. Many use fans or hydraulics for resistance whereas a small number use real water. However, the thing that very few rowers have is a fully independent arm action that accurately replicates rowing with to oars. The Kettler Kadett is one of these rare beasts and is reviewed below.

Type and model

The Kettler Kadett is an indoor rower that uses two independent hydraulic cylinders for resistance. Unlike most rowers that use a very guided forward-and-back-only rowing action, the Kadett is built using an outrigger design which means each arm not only moves independently, it also moves in multiple directions. This makes the rowing action look and feel much like sculling or rowing using two oars instead of the usual one.

The rower itself is, as you would expect from an award-winning German manufacturer, strong and sturdy and built from high-quality materials. Rated for users weighing up to 285 lbs. the machine is 59 inches long, 67 inches wide (with the rowing arms extended outward) and 18 inches high. Weighing 51 lbs. and foldable, the Kadett rowing machine is portable and easily stored when not in use.

Features and Functions

The main defining feature of the Kettler Kadett rowing machine is the lifelike independent rowing action. If you have rowed in the past or simply want to know how it feels to row a “real” boat, the Kadett will provide you with what you want. The resistance of each arm can be adjusted independently so if you have one arm stronger than the other, you can still enjoy a balanced workout. Other features include:

  • 12 different easily adjustable resistance settings
  • High carbon, powder-coated, steel frame with a lifetime warranty against breakage
  • Flexible, adjustable footplates and straps
  • Thickly padded, moulded seat for comfort
  • Sealed bearings for smooth, maintenance-free operation
  • Infrared earlobe clip sensor measures pulse rate electronically
  • Multifunctional performance display

The performance display monitors several different metrics relating to your workout including workout time, the number of oar strokes, speed of strokes, distance rowed during rowing session, total distance, energy consumption, and pulse rate.

The monitor can be fitted with optional plug-in receiver so that it will detect and display your heart rate when used in conjunction with a Polar or similar telemetric heart rate monitor chest strap.

Price and Value

The Kettler Kadett cannot be considered a budget rower or a cheap buy – it’s definitely a mid-range product. However, it does deliver something that most other rowing machines cannot; a unique sculling experience. You ARE paying a premium for this function but if you want a realistic rowing experience, that’s the price you pay.

Final Thoughts on the Kettler Kadett

This Kettler Kadett rowing machine is a good mid-range rower. The German-made outrigger design provides a very realistic rowing motion and the Kadett has many features that are hard to find in this price range, especially the built-in heart rate monitor. In short, if you want a realistic rowing experience but don’t want to break the bank doing it, the Kettler Kadett could be just the machine for you.

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