Here at Start Rowing, we include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission.

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine: The Ultimate Review For 2023

Best Magnetic Rowing Machines featured image

Welcome to our article on the best magnetic rowing machines!

Our team has dedicated a significant amount of time to rowing on and evaluating these machines in order to provide you with an impartial and thorough review. Following exhaustive testing, we’ve determined that the Hydrow Rower is the best magnetic rower currently on the market.

It’s no surprise that the Hydrow Rower came out on top, with its seamless and authentic rowing experience, cutting-edge technology, and captivating on-water exercise routines. Its sleek design is eye-catching, and the numerous interactive features and workout options make it hard to surpass in terms of high-quality rowing machines.

Nonetheless, we recognize that each person’s fitness journey is unique, which is why we will emphasize the “best for” scenarios for each of the magnetic rowing machines we tested.

So, whether you’re looking for the best magnetic rowing machine for a small apartment or the best machine for a challenging workout, we’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to discover which magnetic rowing machine is best suited for your needs and goals.

6 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines In 2023 

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine Overall: Hydrow Rower

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine Overall
Hydrow Rower​

Experience the immersive workout of a lifetime with the Hydrow Rower. With live and on-demand classes, this rowing machine delivers a top-notch fitness experience.


  • Computer-controlled drag system provides a realistic rowing experience
  • Ergonomic design and highly padded seat ensure maximum comfort during workouts
  • High-definition touchscreen display offers stunning virtual locations and seamless integration with classes and workouts
  • Access to live and on-demand classes led by world-class athletes and coaches
  • Great for all fitness levels, from beginners to experienced rowers


  • Expensive compared to other magnetic rowing machines on the market
  • Requires a monthly subscription fee to access all the features
  • Some users may find the virtual classes and locations distracting or not motivating enough
  • Can take up a lot of space and may not be easily stored away when not in use.

The Hydrow Rower is our top pick in this review, and for good reason. This magnetic rowing machine offers a unique and immersive virtual fitness experience that rivals the real thing. 

The resistance is controlled by a computer drag system which provides a smooth and consistent rowing motion. It’s unlike anything I have seen before and gives the closest feel to real rowing that I have experienced on a rowing machine.

This is great as it makes for a more engaging and effective workout that will challenge both beginners and experienced rowers.

But the Hydrow is more than just a rowing machine. The Hydrow experience comes with an array of live and on-demand classes, led by world-class athletes and coaches, that provide personalized training and guidance. 

The high-definition screen provides stunning views of virtual locations that kept me engaged throughout my workouts. I was also able to keep track of my progress and metrics, which is essential for me in monitoring my fitness goals.

I appreciate that the Hydrow Rower is a quieter option compared to other rowers on the market, as it makes it easier to use in shared living spaces.

A potential drawback of the Hydrow Rower is obviously its cost. As a high-end product, it might not be the ideal choice for those working with a limited budget. Moreover, the monthly subscription needed to access all its features could be a turn-off for some.

As of this writing, the Hydrow Rower’s base price is $2,245. To access the Hydrow experience with interactive classes and online workouts, users need to pay a monthly subscription fee ranging from $38 to $62, depending on the chosen plan.

Personally, I love the Hydrow Rower. Not only are the interactive features unmatched but it also provides a great rowing experience. Its ergonomic design and well-cushioned seat also allow for a comfortable workout experience, even during long sessions. Which is always a plus. For me, the monthly subscription fee is well worth the cost, as it provides access to a wealth of content and features that will keep you motivated and engaged.

I would highly recommend the Hydrow Rower to anyone looking for a premium rowing machine that offers a truly unique and immersive workout experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rower, the Hydrow will challenge you and help you achieve your fitness goals. If you’re looking to invest in your health and fitness, the Hydrow is an excellent choice.

Read our in-depth Hydrow Rower Review for more information. 

Related: Hydrow Rower vs Peloton Row or Hydrow Rower vs Hydrow Wave

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine For Workout Content: Aviron Strong 

Aviron Strong Series Rower
Best Magnetic Rowing Machine For Workout Content

The Aviron Strong Series Rower is a premium-level rowing machine with magnetic and air resistance that features interactive workouts and a comfortable, accessible design.


  • Combination of magnetic and air resistance provides the best of both worlds with the natural feel of an air rower and the controlled resistance of a magnetic rower.
  • Highly accessible with a low frame, high seat, adjustable footpads, and optional lumbar support pad.
  • Interactive workout content provides 8 ways to work out, including streaming, games, live competition, coached programs, power play, guided programs, scenic rowing, and pros vs joes.


  • High price point.
  • Monthly subscription required for full access to interactive content.
  • Assembly can be difficult and time-consuming.

I had the pleasure of using the Aviron Strong Rower for a few weeks, and I must say, it’s an incredible machine. Not just one of the best magnetic rowers, but one of the best rowers period!

The interactive workout content was what really stood out for me. The ability to compete in live competitions, join guided programs, and even play games during my workout kept me engaged and motivated to keep rowing.

The 22-inch HD touchscreen display was impressive, and the production value of the interactive content was top-notch. I found myself forgetting that I was actually exercising and instead immersed in a virtual world of pirates or zombies.

Another unique feature of Aviron is its ability to allow you to stream Netflix and other platforms during your workouts. This feature is especially useful for those who may struggle with finding the motivation to work out, as it provides an added incentive to hop on the rower and start rowing.

Aside from the content, the Aviron Strong Rower also had a lot to offer in terms of functionality and design. The combination of magnetic and air resistance made for a smooth and natural rowing motion, and the 16 levels of resistance provided plenty of challenge for all ability levels.

The large, padded seat was a nice touch, and the adjustable footpads allowed me to customize my positioning for optimal biomechanics. I also liked the slightly angled rail, which improved the ergonomics of my rowing motion.

The retail price for the Aviron Strong is around $2,245. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Aviron interactive experience, which is required to access all the rower’s features, comes at an additional cost of $25-29 per month, depending on if you pay annually or monthly.

As with the Hydrow Rower, the downside for me was the monthly subscription fee to access the interactive content. However, the content was well worth the cost for me, and I would highly recommend the Aviron Strong Rower to anyone looking for an interactive and engaging rowing experience.

Read our in-depth Aviron Strong Series Rower for more information.

Best Budget Magnetic Rowing Machine: Doufit Rower

Best Budget Magnetic Rowing Machine
Doufit Rowing Machine

The Doufit rower is a compact and affordable magnetic rowing machine with eight resistance levels and an LCD monitor for tracking workout data.


  • Compact and lightweight design makes it easy to store and move around.
  • Features 10 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance, allowing for a customizable workout.
  • Comes equipped with a basic monitor that displays time, distance, calories burned, and stroke count.
  • Affordable price point compared to other magnetic rowers on the market.
  • Comfortable and ergonomically designed seat and handle.


  • The maximum weight capacity of 264 lbs may not be sufficient for some users.
  • The foot pedals could be more adjustable to accommodate different foot sizes and positioning.
  • The monitor is very basic and doesn’t offer any advanced features or programs.
  • The rowing motion may feel jerky or unstable at higher resistance levels.
  • Some users may find the assembly process difficult and time-consuming.

The Doufit magnetic rowing machine is not a rower you’ll commonly see being talked about. It’s almost as if it somehow slipped under the radar. But not ours!

The Doufit is the best magnetic rowing machine for under $500. But still manages to beat a lot of higher-priced rowers in both build quality and functionality. In fact, in our best rowing machines article, we’ve named the Doufit the best budget rower you can buy. This is really the best machine I’ve come across at this price range and would struggle to recommend anything else if this was the limit of your budget. 

This foldable magnetic rowing machine with an LCD monitor is very compact so perfect if you need or just want a machine that doesn’t take up a lot of space. It weighs 61 pounds so it’s also very portable if you want to move it. It does however have quite a low profile to the ground so not ideal if you have mobility issues as you may struggle to get on and off. 

The build quality of the Doufit is great considering the price. It features a wide, contoured seat that is very comfortable. The handles have a bullhorn curve design with a foam handle which feels really nice and allows for a firm strong grip.

Another great point about this machine is that although compact, it has a 48-inch rail length. Meaning taller users will be able to achieve a full range of motion stroke (something that isn’t possible on many more expensive rowers). 

The footplates are nice and wide and don’t pivot,  providing a solid base to initiate a fluid rowing motion. 

As with most magnetic rowers, the Doufit is very quiet. I was really impressed with the smooth rowing stroke of the machine as well as its overall sturdiness. It was able to maintain its position during some quite vigorous rowing strokes. Not near the durability level of say a Concept2 RowERG but it can definitely cope with moderate HIIT sessions.  

Don’t expect much when it comes to metrics. As expected for a machine of this price the data is very basic. You get a readout of time, stroke, distance, strokes per minute, and calories. You can just ignore the calories as they won’t even be remotely accurate.

There’s also a dial in the middle which allows you to switch between eight different resistance levels. Again, unlike with many other budget machines, when you change the resistance you can actually feel a change in the resistance. 

If you’re on a budget, the Doufit magnet rower is definitely one to consider. 

Best Quiet Magnetic Rowing Machine: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

Best Quiet Magnetic Rowing Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine​

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is a quiet, affordable magnetic rowing machine with 8 resistance levels and comfortable design.


  • Very quiet operation: The magnetic resistance system is very quiet, making it perfect for use in shared living spaces or when you don’t want to disturb others.
  • Affordable price: The SF-RW5515 is one of the most affordable rowing machines on the market, making it a great option for those on a budget.
  • Compact size: The machine is relatively compact and easy to store, which is great for those with limited space in their home gym.


  • Limited resistance levels: The machine only has 8 levels of resistance, which may not be challenging enough for more advanced users.
  • Basic monitor: The monitor is quite basic and only displays a few metrics, so if you’re looking for advanced tracking features, this may not be the machine for you.
  • Uncomfortable seat: Some users have reported that the seat is uncomfortable and not well-padded, which can make for a less enjoyable workout.
  • No preset workout programs: The machine doesn’t come with any preset workout programs, so you’ll need to create your own or follow a third-party program if you want some variety in your workouts.

I didn’t expect much when using the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 rowing machine but I have to say, I’m impressed. One of the standout features of this rower is just how quiet it is. If you’re someone who likes to exercise early in the morning or late at night without disturbing others, this could be the perfect option for you.

The machine is also incredibly easy to assemble, which is always a plus in my book. I was able to put it together in no time at all without any hassle or confusion.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 rowing machine also features a sturdy and durable build quality that can handle users up to 250 pounds. The adjustable resistance levels provide a solid workout and allow you to increase the intensity as you progress in your fitness journey.

While the display screen is relatively basic, it does provide all the necessary metrics such as time, distance, and calories burned, which is great for tracking your progress. However, I do wish the display was backlit, as it can be difficult to read in low-light conditions.

I think the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 rowing machine is a great option for those who are looking for a quiet and sturdy machine at an affordable price point. It may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-end models, but it gets the job done and is a solid investment in your fitness journey. 

I would recommend it to beginners but intermediate and more advanced users, you may want to look into machines with more advanced features and resistance levels.

Read our in-depth Sunny H&F SF-RW5515 Review for more information.

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine For Small Spaces: Hydrow Wave

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine For Small Spaces
Hydrow Wave

The Hydrow Wave is a compact and innovative magnetic rowing machine that offers an immersive workout experience with interactive classes and online workouts.


  • Offers the same interactive classes and online workouts as the original Hydrow, providing a comprehensive and engaging fitness experience.
  • Compact and portable design makes it a great option for those with limited space in their home gym or who need to move the machine frequently.
  • The computer-controlled drag system provides a smooth and realistic rowing experience, similar to that of being on the water.


  • As with the original Hydrow, the Wave comes with a hefty price tag that may be a barrier for some potential buyers.
  • The smaller size may not be suitable for taller users or those with longer inseams.
  • The monthly subscription fee required to access the full range of workouts and classes will be an ongoing expense that adds up over time.

First of all, I was excited to try it out the Hydrow Wave which promised to be a smaller, more compact version of the original Hydrow rower. I have limited space in my home gym, so having a machine that could fit easily whilst having the interactive capabilities of the original Hydrow was a big plus.

When I first hopped on the rower, I was immediately impressed with the computer-controlled drag system. It doesn’t feel exactly the same as the Hydrow but still provides a natural and smooth rowing experience that made me feel like I was on the water. 

One of the standout features of the Hydrow rowing machine is its interactive classes and online workouts. This is the same feature that made the original Hydrow so popular, and I think it’s one of the reasons why the Hydrow rowing machines are so great. 

We’ve gone into the Hydrow experience in depth in other articles so I won’t do so again here. Just know that with the Wave you get exactly the same interactive experience. 

But with that experience of course comes the monthly membership cost. 

The Hydrow Wave itself is currently priced at $1,995, which may seem like a steep price for some. However, that’s still a few hundred dollars cheaper than the original Hydrow without a drop off in quality.  So for the value it provides, it’s definitely worth considering. 

Overall, I would recommend the Hydrow Wave to anyone looking for a high-quality rowing experience in a compact machine. It’s great for those with limited space but who still wants the benefits of owning a Hydrow. 

The interactive classes and virtual locations make it a fun and engaging option for people looking to mix up their workout routines. However, if you’re not interested in the extra features or don’t want to pay for the subscription, it might not be the best option for you.

Read our in-depth Hydrow Wave Review for more information.

Best Combined Air And Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine: NordicTrack RW900

Best Combined Air And Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine
NordicTrack RW900

Combining magnetic and air resistance, this machine provides a smooth and challenging workout. Enjoy interactive coaching and personalized training with the 22" HD touchscreen.


  • Combination of air and magnetic resistance provides a smooth and adjustable rowing experience that can cater to different fitness levels and goals.
  • 22″ HD touchscreen display with iFit membership provides access to a vast library of live and on-demand workouts, scenic routes, personalized coaching, and even yoga and strength training classes, making it a versatile fitness machine for various interests.
  • Comfortable and adjustable seat, handle, and footrests, as well as the machine’s sturdy build


  • The machine’s high price point may not be suitable for budget-conscious users or those looking for a more basic rowing machine.
  • The machine’s size and weight may not be suitable for users with limited space or mobility.
  • Some users may find the iFit membership subscription fee and other additional costs (such as heart rate monitor or dumbbells) to be too steep or unnecessary.
  • The machine’s pre-programmed workouts may not be customizable enough for users who prefer to design their own routines or need more variety in their workouts.

Let’s talk about the NordicTrack RW900 2022 model. 

First of all, let’s talk about what makes this rower so unique. It combines both magnetic and air resistance, which means you get the best of both worlds – the natural feel of air resistance and the controlled resistance of a magnetic rower. The result is a smooth and steady rowing motion that provides progressive resistance for all fitness levels.

The machine itself is solidly built and feels sturdy even during intense workouts. The ergonomic design of the seat and handlebar ensures that you can row comfortably for extended periods of time. Plus, it comes with a large, HD touchscreen display that shows all your important workout metrics, as well as access to a library of interactive workouts and classes.

What I particularly liked about this rower was the ability to customize my workout experience. With 26 levels of digital resistance, I could adjust the intensity to match my fitness level and goals. Plus, the machine comes with a built-in fan that provides a cooling breeze to keep me comfortable during those intense sessions.

In terms of price, the NordicTrack RW900 is definitely on the higher end, but in my opinion, it’s worth every penny. You get a top-of-the-line machine that offers a premium workout experience with access to their iFIT platform.

The NordicTrack RW900 is for anyone looking for a high-quality rowing machine that offers a combination of magnetic and air resistance. It’s perfect for anyone from beginners to experienced athletes, and the interactive workouts make it easy to stay motivated and on track toward your fitness goals.

Other Magnetic Rowers Researched

Here are some other magnetic rowing machines that we tested out but that didn’t make out top 6 list.

  • Horizon Oxford 6 Rower: The Horizon Oxford 6 rower is gym-quality with a comfortable, ergonomic seat and footrests, 20 levels of resistance, foldable design, 12 built-in workouts, and a smooth, silent magnetic strip resistance. It also offers an impressive warranty, including one year for parts, three years for electronics, and a lifetime for the frame.
  • Xterra ERG200 Rower: The Xterra ERG200 Rower is a more affordable magnetic rowing machine that offers 8 levels of resistance, making it ideal for beginners. The lightweight flywheel and simple monitor won’t challenge experienced users, but its compact design and quiet operation make it suitable for small workout areas or apartments. However, the warranty is limited to just one year on the frame and parts.
  • ProForm 440r: The ProForm 440r Rower is a durable rowing machine in the upper budget price range with a solid aluminum rail, quality bearings, and 8 levels of magnetic resistance. But the handle is uncomfortable, and the light flywheel means it won’t challenge experienced users. The LCD monitor is easy to read, but assembly can be difficult and time-consuming.
  • Fitness Reality 1000 PLUS Magnetic Rowing Machine: The Fitness Reality 1000 PLUS Magnetic Rowing Machine is a budget-friendly option with 14 levels of magnetic resistance and a Bluetooth connection for use with a smartphone. While its other features, such as the seat and screen, are average, it is foldable and has wheels for convenient storage.
  • Avari Programmable Rower: The Avari programmable rower is a mid-range option with 12 preset programs, comfort padding, and a foldable design, but it lacks the ability to adjust resistance, and some users have reported issues with the seat and handle.
  • MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine: The MaxKare rower is a budget option with 16 levels of resistance, a comfortable seat and handles, and a foldable, lightweight design. However, it only comes with a one-year warranty and has a basic screen and limited features. It may be a good choice for budget-conscious buyers.

How We Picked The Best Magnetic Rowing Machines

Here are the criteria we considered when compiling our list:

  • Resistance levels: We looked for rowing machines with a wide range of resistance levels to accommodate users of different fitness levels.
  • Build quality: We made sure the machine is well-constructed and can support your weight without wobbling or shaking.
  • Comfort: We looked for machines with comfortable seating and adjustable footrests that didn’t become uncomfortable after longer usage. 
  • Size: We considered the size of the machines and whether they will fit comfortably in your home gym or workout space.
  • Display: We looked for machines that at minimum have an easy-to-read display that tracks your progress, including time, distance, calories burned, and resistance level.
  • Price: We consider your budget and looked for machines that offer good value for money.
  • User experience: We took from our own experience as well as read reviews and considered the overall user experience, including the ease of assembly, noise level, and customer support.
  • Rowing capabilities: We considered what the rowing experience is like and how the rower performs during a workout. 

Magnetic Rowing Machine Buying Guide

Here are some things to consider before you buy a magnetic rowing machine. 

Resistance Levels

Look for a machine that offers a wide range of resistance levels. The more levels, the more you can customize your workout to your fitness level and goals. A good magnetic rowing machine should have at least 8-10 resistance levels.

Build Quality

The build quality of the machine is important as it affects the durability and longevity of the rower. Look for rowing machines with sturdy frames and high-quality materials. A good warranty period is also a good indicator of build quality.


Comfort is important when it comes to long workouts. Look for machines with comfortable seats, footrests, and handlebars. Adjustable footrests and handlebars can provide added comfort and customization.


Consider the size of the rower and whether it fits in the available space in your home or home gym. Foldable machines can be ideal for those with limited space.


A clear and easy-to-read display can provide valuable information about your workout, such as time, distance, and calories burned. Look for machines with backlit displays for easier visibility.


Magnetic rowing machines vary in price, so it’s important to consider your budget when making a purchase. Look for machines that offer good value for their price range.

User Experience

The user experience includes factors such as ease of assembly, ease of use, and overall satisfaction with the machine. As well as this review, consider reading reviews from other users to get an idea of their experiences.

Rowing Capabilities

Consider the rowing capabilities of the machine, such as the smoothness of the rowing motion and the maximum user weight capacity. Look for machines that provide a natural and fluid rowing motion.

If you’re still unsure about what things you need to consider before buying then I suggest you check out our rowing machine buyers guide in our best rowing machines article, where we go into detail about all the criteria you need to consider for your needs and goals.

Before You Go…

Based on our research and personal experience, we highly recommend the Hydrow Rower as the best magnetic rowing machine option for those looking for a high-quality, versatile, and immersive workout experience.

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine Overall
Hydrow Rower​

Experience the immersive workout of a lifetime with the Hydrow Rower. With live and on-demand classes, this rowing machine delivers a top-notch fitness experience.

If you’re still unsure about your decision, be sure to check out our other rowing machine reviews for more insights and recommendations. Happy rowing!

Questions About The Best Magnetic Rowing Machine

What is the best magnetic rowing machine?

The Hydrow Rower is the best magnetic rowing machine if money is no issue. However, the machines in this article present you with multiple options that could potentially be great for you. As everyone has different needs and different budgets, selecting one for everyone would not be suitable.

Are magnetic rowing machines any good?

Yes, magnetic rowing machines can provide a great workout with a smooth and consistent resistance level. They are also generally quieter than air rowers and offer a range of resistance levels. But like any type of rowing machine, the quality (or lack of) will be determined by the individual machine, not the resistance type. The largest factor in quality will be your budget but you can still purchase very good machines without breaking the bank. The magnetic rowers in this review are a great selection to choose from ranging in price to suit all budgets.

What is better water or magnetic rowing machine?

A magnetic rower is not necessarily better than a water rower. It offers a different type of resistance that will affect your rowing experience. If you have a lower budget, then a magnetic rowing machine may be a better option for you as there are very good magnetic rowers that are reasonably priced, whereas a quality water rowing machine is going to be expensive in comparison.

What is the best rowing machine air or magnetic?

As with all resistance types, it depends more on what your personal needs are from your machine as there are examples of models from all resistance types that are of great quality. So it’s not a question of whether air is better than magnetic or vice-versa. To gain an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each resistance type read our rowing machine resistance article.

Are magnetic rowing machines a good workout?

Yes magnetic rowing machines do provide a good workout. But as with any resistance type, the quality of the workout will depend on the individual quality of the machine you choose. So use this guide to help you select the right machine for your needs and budget.

What is the difference between an air rowing machine and a magnetic rowing machine?

The main difference between air and magnetic rowing machines is the type of resistance they provide. Air rowers use a flywheel to create resistance through the air, while magnetic rowers use a magnet to create resistance through a series of adjustable settings. We wrote about the difference between air rowing machines and magnetic rowing machines at length in our Air vs. Magnetic Rowing Machine guide.

Are magnetic rowing machines durable?

Yes, magnet rowing machines are durable. As long as you get a quality machine like the ones suggested in this guide. Not all magnetic machines are made equal, so do your research before purchasing.

Is Hydrow rower magnetic?

Yes, the Hydrow Rower uses a computer-controlled magnetic drag system to provide resistance.

Is Concept2 magnetic?

No, Concept2 rowing machines use air resistance.

Are magnetic rowers quieter?

Yes, magnetic rowers are generally quieter than air rowing machines because they do not rely on a fan to create resistance.

Do magnetic rowing machines need electricity?

Magnetic rowing machines require electricity to power the computer-controlled magnetic drag system. However, they do not require a power source for resistance, so they can be used without electricity if needed. Interactive rowers with monitors will require electricity.

Steve Burden


Steve is a Fitness Writer and Personal Trainer with over a decade of experience in the industry. As a semi-retired professional wrestler and fitness model, he's traveled the world expanding his knowledge on all things fitness.