Proform 550r Rower Review

Proform 550r rower
Our Rating:
The Proform 550r rower is an ideal choice if you are looking for a full-body workout machine for low to moderate intensity exercises. It is solid built and convenient to use at the office or home environment. Continue reading for our full product review.
  • It can fit in smaller spaces thanks to its compact design. You can also fold it to reduce its footprint
  • A sturdy machine is made of durable materials and can withstand regular use
  • Its damper settings allow for customization of the exercise experience
  • It is easy to assemble without requiring professional assistance
  • It does not come with a heart rate monitor. You have to look for a heart monitor device separately
  • The console does not include several metrics that advanced fitness enthusiasts may need
  • The resistance is only suitable for low to moderate body trainers.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Proform 550r Rower

The first thing that you always keep in mind when buying a rower is its mode of resistance. The Proform 550r rower uses air resistance. It has a fan in the flywheel that spins to produce wind.

You should also check the amount of space that is required for a rower. If you do not have much space, go for a foldable frame rower, which you can move to where you have room and fold back for storage after the workout. Fortunately, the 550r is foldable and has wheels to enable you to move it from one location to another.

Check if the rower is easy to assemble. A good rower should be easy to assemble without requiring any professional assistance. Besides, it should come with clear instructions and tools to help assemble it rather fast. You can assemble the 550r without professional assistance. There is also a booklet in the package that shows you how to go about assembling the rower.

Features and Benefits

Here are some core features of Proform 550r rower.


It is easy to assemble your Proform 550r rower using hand tools that you have at home. Most users are able to assemble it in under 20 minutes. Most of the parts, such as stands and the flywheel, come pre-assembled. Your work is to mount the seat and the monitor.

Some of the tools that you require for the job are a Phillips head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. The shipping package weight is about 103lbs (46.72kg). Therefore, you may need some help to bring the package home.

Resistance Type

Proform 550r rower uses air to provide resistance to the trainer. The resistance is created when the flywheel spins when it spins. When you draw the string in exercise, fan blades draw in air to produce wind. The more you row, the higher the wind that is produced.

In turn, it becomes hard for you to row as the wind increases resistance.

Proform 550r rower electronic damper

Besides, the flywheel comes with a magnetic damper that allows you to adjust the intensity of the resistance. This way, you are able to customize the feel of the row when you are exercising. It is advisable to start with a low setting and move to a higher one as you get fitter.

Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions – 47 x 25.8 x 22.6 inches
  • Material – Steel frame, aluminium seat rail
  • Maximum user weight capacity – 250 lbs (113 kg)
  • Item weight – 103 lbs. (46.7 kg)
  • Resistance type – Air Resistance (Adjustable)
  • Colour – Black painted rail, silver flywheel, and red stands

Build Quality and Features

The brand behind Proform 550r has a reputation for quality fitness products that span over a long period. This is the build quality behind the manufacture of this model. Users have given good ratings for its solid steel structure that includes an oversized rail with sturdy stands that are welded onto the frame.

The stands have a rubberised base to avoid scratching your flow. However, I would recommend that you put a mat below it to give the floor some extra protection. The footrests are raised close to the display and have a solid feel when pressed hard during the rowing exercise. There are adjustable straps to lock your feet in place when rowing.

Finally, you can fold the frame if you need the rower to take up minimal space. The front has wheels that allow you to roll it around your home with ease.


Proform 550r display and settings

A monitor plays a significant role in any training. The 550r comes with an LCD monitor that is placed at the center of the fitness machine.

This is unlike most similar brands where the minor is at the front. It shows several types of data that include the duration of time you have taken when rowing, the total amount of calories burned, total strokes per minute, and the wattage generated during the exercise.

There are three readouts displayed at any time. You can determine what metrics get the priority. The monitor also has an automatic off and on feature that automatically detects when you start some activity starts.

Unfortunately, the monitor does not come with a heart rate monitor. You can buy wearable heart rate monitors if you need this metric. I can personally recommend the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor.


The seat is ergonomically designed and positioned where you can row with ease. There is also a handle at the front of the display for adjusting your position.

The string comes with a comfortable handle that prevents blistering if you are rowing continuously for a given period. On the flip-side, I feel that the machine could do better with a larger seat.


The 550r rower is one of the SpaceSaver rowers in the market. You can fold it with ease by holding the frame at the center such that it folds at the front. Then, take the folded front towards the front wheels.

With such a design, it is easy to roll it across your home or office despite the 46 kg weight. This is one rowing machine that you can use anywhere, even outside on the deck, or carry it with you on a road trip.

Proform 550r rowing machine foldable for storage


Proform offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to all the new users. You can always return the machine within the period for a full refund. There is a two-year warranty on parts, a one-year warranty on labor, and a five-year warranty on the frame. Ensure that you register your product once you buy it to validate the warranty.

I have also talked with Proform customer service in the past on a few product issues. I found them to be friendly and helpful.

Alternative rowers to Proform 550r

Nordic Track RW200

Nordic Track RW200

The RW200 looks more or less the same as the 550r in terms of capacity, design, and functionality. However, its footrests are placed near the floor and the monitor is placed in the front. The seat is also placed in a different location on the frame. In addition, its LCD display is smaller and less interactive than that of the 550r.

However, you will find the same metrics as the 550r such as wattage, duration, and strokes per minute. While the RW200 is more expensive than the 550r, it has a more silent magnetic resistance with a greater range on its damper settings.

Read our full Nordic Track RW200 review or check the price.

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower uses magnetic resistance instead of air resistance. It has electronic tension control, which allows you to adjust the exact level of resistance that you need for the exercise. This rower is suitable for both moderate and intense workouts as it has a high resistance range. It also has a smooth rowing experience.

The build is a little different from that of the Proform 550r in that every part is housed in an aluminum casing. However, it still has an LCD screen that comes with far more programs and metrics than the 550r.

Check the price.

ProForm 440R Rower

ProForm 440R Rower

The 440r rower is one of the rowers in the R series by the same manufacturer. It has similar features to the 550r except for its size and capacity. The 440r is mainly an entry-level rowing machine that comes with a low pulley station.

It has an adjustable seat and a moderate-length frame that is not foldable. The monitor has a smaller LCD screen with fewer metrics than the 550r. If you are a beginner trainer and are looking for a cheap rowing machine, this is an ideal first-time rower that you can use before upgrading to 550r.

Read our full ProForm 440R review or check the price.

Final Thoughts On The Proform 550r Rower

Proform 550r rower is a great home rower for use by beginners and intermediate trainers. It is also a cost-effective machine for home or individual office use.

I have found the 550r to be a lot quieter than most air-resistance rower brands in the market. Its magnetic adjustable damper setting gives it extra convenience in terms of varying its resistance.

The Proform 550r is durable, easy to use, and portable. I would recommend it to any serious trainer looking for a good home rower.

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Our Rating:
Proform 550r rower