Best folding rowing machines featured image

Best Compact Folding Rowing Machines Of 2020

Best folding rowing machines featured image

So you want a rowing machine so that you can workout at home but you’re concerned because you either don’t have a lot of space or you don’t want a huge machine becoming an eyesore in your home. Luckily there are many rowers on the market that also have the ability to be great space savers. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best compact folding rowing machines available in 2020. 

Features To Consider When Searching For A Compact Foldable Rowing Machine

Weight

You should consider the weight of any rowing machine that you’re thinking about purchasing. Even if the rower can be folded, a heavy machine can make it difficult to maneuver. You don’t want setting up and putting the rower away to be a workout in itself. 

You can gauge if the machine will be heavy or not based on the material. Rowing machines usually have steel, aluminum, or wooden frames (such as the WaterRower). The steel frames will be the heaviest types with aluminum being the lightest material. Water rowers will also have some weight due to the water tank.  

Size

Having a machine that is foldable is all well and good but if the rower is significant in size then you may find that even when folded it still takes up too much space or does not fit in with the space you have available. 

You may need to consider your own size as well when selecting your rowing machine. Smaller, more compact rowers will usually have a lower maximum user weight than their larger counterparts so may not be suitable for you if you are overweight. 

Likewise, if you are tall, you may need a machine with a longer rail to make sure you can row back and forth smoothly without bumping/avoiding your knees with every stroke. If you fall into either category don’t worry, there are still options available. Just make sure you have checked all the specifications before you buy. A good source to check if you need more information is the manufacturer’s website or even try giving them a call. 

Comfort

Comfort may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you picture putting yourself through a grueling workout but I an assure you, if you’re going to be using your rowing machine for a long length of time then you want it to be comfortable. 

Size may be the biggest factor in comfortability for the reasons mentioned above. If the machine is too small for your needs then you will almost definitely be uncomfortable when rowing. Working out can be hard enough without having to endure discomfort every time you get to work. It’s also important as you do not want to cause yourself any pain or unnecessary injuries because you can’t perform the correct technique

On top of this, you want to make sure that you purchase a rower with a comfortable seat, handles that don’t irritate your hands, and footplates that are stable and secure. 

Portability

This one is obvious. If you’re looking for a rowing machine that is foldable, chances are you will want something that is easy to move and store away once you’ve completed your workout. 

The easiest thing to do would be to have a designated space for your rower and leave it there. But since your reading this that probably isn’t an option. To make sure your rower is easy to transport and move around go for one that is lightweight and has wheels.

You also want to make sure that folding your rowing machine is as simple as possible. You don’t want to be fiddling around with small parts trying to make sure everything is secure before you’re done.  

Depending on the space you have available you may not even need a foldable machine. Some rowers, though they can’t be folded can be raised to stand vertically. This may even be a better option for you

Other Factors

When looking to purchase a home rowing machine that suits your training goals and needs there are other factors that should be considered before you buy. There’s no point in having a machine that fits your space but does not meet your other requirements or doesn’t provide a good user experience.

Things such as resistance type, cost, monitor screen, and warranty are all important. To read about them and to make sure you know everything there is to know before you buy, check out our complete buyers guide

Concept2 Model D – Editor’s Choice

Concept2 Model D rowing machine

The Concept2 Model D is a fantastic rowing machine. If you purchase this machine you won’t be disappointed. It’s the worlds best-selling rowing machine for a reason. 

But what about its foldability? 

Well, you actually have two options, both easy and convenient. Firstly, you can choose to store the machine upright on its end without the need for disassembling. Or you can break the machine down into two separate components by using a quick-release mechanism placed around the middle of the rail – no tools required. You can then reconnect the machine just as easily when you are ready to use it again. 

Concept2 Model D folded

The Model D can be easily stored in the closet, under the bed, or just in the corner out of the way. It’s easy to move and you’ll have no trouble maneuvering the two parts. It also comes with caster wheels so if you choose to store it upright you can easily move it or change its location if need be. 

The monitor arm and screen can also be folded down for storage so you don’t need to worry about it getting damaged. 

Another thing to point out is that this machine is very well built. The frame is sturdy and has a maximum weight capacity of 500lbs.  

  • Dimensions (Inches): 96 x 24 
  • Folded Dimensions: 25 x 33 x 54
  • Weight: 57 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Resistance Type: Air-resistant flywheel 

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050

Best budget rowing machine

The Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 is the perfect option if you are looking for a rower to fit your healthy lifestyle but don’t have the space to match at home. Not only does it have a small footprint compared to other machines before it’s even folded but its also a legit rower too. Meaning you will get a good workout from using it. 

To fold, just bring the arms in towards the frame, and voila, it’s ready to store. When folded the rower is nice and streamlined which makes it super easy to store standing up or lying down. You can even place it in a cupboard or under a unit out of sight. The 1050 is also very lightweight which makes it easy to move around and take it from storage space to workout space.

Stamina Body Trac Glider folded

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 offers a unique rowing experience. Unlike most rowers that have a single connected handle via a chain or belt,  this machine has two independent rowing arms which mimics the motion of sculling to give you the feeling that you would have in a real boat.

  • Dimensions (Inches): 58L x 43W x 18H
  • Folded Dimensions: 48L x 34W x 18H
  • Weight: 59 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Resistance Type: Hydraulic

NordicTrack RW900 Rower 

Best dual resistance rower

The NordicTrack RW900 is a premium rower with plenty of built-in advanced features. Its definitely the most expensive rower on our list with a price tag over $1000 but if you’re looking for a complete training experience then it could be worth it for you. 

One thing I really like about the RW900 (and the reason it’s on this list) is that its super easy to fold. For a rowing machine with a 22” touch screen and a relatively large footprint its a nice feature to have, especially when you consider that other rowers within the same range can not be stored away or transported as easily. 

NordicTrack RW900 Rower folded

The rower folds using a hinge mechanism. NordicTrack calls it their innovative ‘SpaceSaver Design’ which allows you to easily vertically fold the rower for storage. I don’t know if I would call it innovative, plenty of machines can be folded, but as I said it is very good to see this feature on such a high-end model and it does work really well. The machine also comes with wheels attached making it a breeze to move it around your home.  

  • Dimensions (Inches): 86.5 x 22 x 50.4 
  • Folded Dimensions: Not specified
  • Weight: 130.6 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Resistance Type: Magnetic

Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower

Merax Magnetic rowing machine

The Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower is a solid machine. It’s well built, sturdy, and surprisingly comfortable to use. I say surprising because with all its sharp lines it looks as though Merax went for design over comfort. But I can assure you that this is not the case. It’s not just me that thinks so, this product scored very high with consumers. 

The machine comes with 8 resistance levels which can be adjusted using an easy to reach dial positioned just under the monitor. It’s nice that it’s within reach whilst you are already on the rower. You won’t need to struggle to lean forward or get up to switch up your resistance for intervals or other training. 

Merax Magnetic rowing machine folded

Of course, the rower can be easily folded. It has built-in wheels for easy transportation when you want to put it away. To fold, simply take out the locking pin from the seat rail and fold the seat rail into an upright position. Then simply reinsert the pin to make sure the machine is secure. 

  • Dimensions (Inches): 73″ x 16″ x 21″  
  • Folded Dimensions: 
  • Weight: 74 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 264 pounds
  • Resistance Type: Magnetic

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

The Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower is a reliable machine that comes at a reasonable price. It also has very good customer reviews. It is a great choice as an entry-level rower for those looking to start exercising and get fit.

The magnetic rower allows you to control the resistance with buttons on the control panel. What’s nice about this machine is that it provides good levels of tension, something that is often lagging on magnetic rowers. This is due to the drum magnetic control system with electronic tension that allows for noticeable variance in resistance. 

As for the build, you get a sturdy and durable frame that’s made from aluminum. This keeps the rower lightweight and you should have no trouble moving it around your home. The rower also has  a large molded seat and large footplates which make it comfortable to use

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower folded

If you’re short on space at home then the Velocity Exercise Rower will be a great choice. As with a lot of machines you first have to remove the knob from the seat rail. This will allow you to fold the machine up. Once it’s in place simply screw the knob back on to make sure the machine is secure. Then you’re ready to store in the closet, under the bed, or wherever you see fit. You can also transport easily using the builtin wheels. 

  • Dimensions (Inches): 80.71 x 25.2 x 20.08
  • Folded Dimensions: 4.5 x 3 x 2 feet
  • Weight: 74.94 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
  • Resistance Type: Magnetic

Final Thoughts

There are a ton of rowing machines on the market today. So many in fact, that it can be quite overwhelming when trying to select a machine that is best for you. There are also many options for foldable rowing machines so don’t be surprised that they did not all make the list. It does not mean that they are not good machines and do not fold suitably. 

Its just that in this article, we wanted to give you a good variety of machines so that we could provide at least one option that would suit you depending on your training goals, space availability, and budget. 

If you’re interested in looking at some of the best rowing machines available then you can check out our review of the top 10 indoor rowers here.