A rowing machine is your best choice if you’re looking for a full-body workout but don’t like stationary bikes or power racks.
Adding it to your exercise routine helps tone your upper body muscles, like your pecs, obliques, and abdominal muscles, and your thighs and legs, including your calves, glutes, and quadriceps.
If you’re into home fitness and don’t want to waste money on a gym membership, check out the best apartment rowing machines instead.
This exercise machine simulates or copies the actions of rowing a watercraft, giving you a complete, full-body workout at home.
Since there are different types of rowing machines, we looked for models perfect for apartment use to help you find the right pick.
Best Apartment Rowing Machines
1. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
The Concept2 Model D is a type of low-impact exercise equipment that boasts impressive performance and long-lasting usage.
Even without going outside, you can get an intense workout for both your lower and upper body.
Thanks to its unbeatable performance, it’s no surprise that the Concept2 Model D is among the best apartment rowing machines today.
Here’s what you can expect from this indoor rowing machine.
The Concept2 Model D measures 96 x 24 x 14 inches (L x W x H) and weighs 57.32 pounds, so you’ll have no problems finding a spot for it in your apartment.
The frame combines stainless steel and aluminum and can support up to 500 pounds of weight.
- Special Features
Already included in the package are two D batteries, which power up the convenient LCD monitor.
Even with advanced monitor features, this rowing machine isn’t all that complicated to use.
It also has a tracking system called the Concept2 Logbook, which records your performance so that you can review your progress.
Even better, you can access the Concept2 Logbook using your phone via the ErgData app.
As you can imagine, this will be very useful, especially if you work with an online fitness instructor.
That said, this particular model is recommended even for total beginners because it’s very user-friendly.
What’s more, compared to other variants of this machine, the Model D is cheaper.
Surprisingly, the Concept2 Model D’s noise level is not that loud, unlike other magnetic rowing machines’ flywheels that produce an annoying white noise.
You can disassemble it into two separate pieces and assemble it back using eight screws. It also has caster wheels on the front legs for mobility.
All these features make it one of the best sellers when it comes to home exercise equipment.
- Great value for money
- Recommended by experienced rowers
- A standard model for rowing machines
- Can easily replace parts
- Replacement parts available
- Pretty standard LCD monitor features
- Not foldable; needs to be disassembled for storage
- Plain design and bland screen graphics
2. RUNOW Water Rowing Machine
The RUNOW Water Rowing Machine uses a water-filled tank to generate what is called variable resistance.
It is made to replicate the sensation of actually rowing a boat, which is why it is very appealing to water rowers.
At first glance, the RUNOW Water Rowing Machine looks lightweight and easy to use.
While user-friendly, it can support intense workouts and is arguably the best type of rowing machine to help you achieve your fitness goals.
This RUNOW model is a bit smaller than the Concept2 Model D, measuring 76 x 22 x 19 inches (L x W x H)
The frame is made of oak/black walnut wood, and it has a cushioned seat. You can get this rowing machine in different colors like orange, blue, or red.
Like the first rower, it is also equipped with an LCD screen so you can easily track your progress.
With its intensive workout benefits, the RUNOW Water Rowing Machine is an ideal pick for every hydraulic rower.
Plus, you get to hear the water being churned with every pull.
One of this unit’s key features is that the intensity level automatically adjusts depending on how hard you row.
This is unlike magnetic rowing machines, which have knobs to adjust the magnetic resistance levels.
With this rowing machine, the harder and faster you row, the faster the difficulty of rowing increases.
- Special Features
As mentioned, this piece of exercise equipment produces a relaxing burble of water at 65dB, which is a few decibels above a normal conversation.
Since it’s not an annoying sound, it’s considered one of the best quiet rowing machines today.
Then, there’s the screen or LCD panel; unfortunately, it can only display one metric or element at a time.
To monitor your current workout progress, use the scan button to switch between the different metrics on the screen.
As someone who lives in an apartment, you’re probably worried about storing this piece of equipment when not in use.
Fortunately, this wooden rowing machine has an awesome feature that makes it easier to store in small spaces.
The common concern is that the water might spill at any point. This machine is built to be water-proof and leak-proof.
As a matter of fact, you can even store it upright.
Plus, there are two transport wheels at the bottom, so you can move it from one spot to the next with not many problems.
- Aesthetically pleasing wooden frame
- Affordable price range
- Comfortable seats and very quick to assemble
- Simple LCD features
- Not advisable for a low-intensity workout
- Not recommended as a rehab tool
3. Stamina ATS Air Rower
The Stamina ATS Air Rower uses the Air Transfer System (ATS) mechanism to provide a smooth rowing experience.
The air resistance is created by the flywheel, displacing air upon continuous rowing.
This rowing machine’s compact design allows users to have a better rowing experience.
More than anything, you’ll like that it has an angled seat for a smoother and easier return while performing rowing strokes.
The Stamina ATS measures 73.5 x 18.25 x 22 inches (L x W x H), weighs 54 pounds, and can support 250 pounds of maximum weight.
For extra comfort and safety, it comes with a padded seat and non-slip foot pedals.
What’s more, you can choose to get it in red, chrome, blue, or crypto green to match your style.
Using the Stamina ATS helps you build your major muscle groups because the resistance automatically adjusts as you increase the intensity of your rows.
In other words, the harder you row, the higher the resistance is created by the flywheel.
Again, this is called variable resistance and is totally different from magnetic rowing machines that use buttons and levers.
As for the noise, the machine makes a whooshing sound for every pull as the flywheel spins. Though not that loud, it might be annoying to some users.
- Special Features
Keeping track of your progress is easy with the Stamina ATS’ well-functioning performance monitor.
It monitors and displays total strokes, strokes per minute, distance traveled, speed, time, and total calories burned.
Since it runs on two AA batteries, you will not have a hard time sourcing them out.
- Easy to use single-button display panel
- Folds for storage
- Ergonomic design for more effortless rowing action
- Adjustable resistance levels
- Low profile seating height
- Cannot handle extra weight; not advisable for large users
4. Echelon Smart Rowing Machine
As one of the top picks when it comes to magnetic rowers, the Echelon Smart Rowing Machine supports intense workouts.
Since it has multiple levels of resistance, you can start slow and increase the intensity of your workout routine over time.
Compared to water and air resistance rowing machines, this Echelon fitness equipment uses magnetic resistance that does not generate a lot of noise.
What’s more, you will find it very easy to set up and use.
The Echelon Smart Rowing Machine is bigger than other options on this list at 84.65 x 20.47 x 43.7 inches.
It weighs 120 pounds and boasts a 300-pound maximum user weight capacity.
It’s impressive that it can handle that much weight even when the frame is built with a mix of alloy and plastic materials.
It doesn’t come with a screen like the other machines we looked at, but you can get the more expensive model with a 22-inch LCD monitor.
If you’re after challenging but very efficient workouts, you will like that the 35kg flywheel offers 32 levels of magnetic resistance.
You can adjust the resistance level via a push of a button, which you’ll find on the rowing handle.
This means you can adjust the intensity of your workout without the need to stop and interrupt your stroke rhythm.
For ease of use, the machine has ergonomic handles and an easy-to-glide padded seat rail for quick adjustments.
It also has wide foot pedals to keep you stable as you row. Getting out of the seat is also easy because of the adjustable foot straps.
- Special Features
As mentioned, the Echelon Smart Rowing Machine does not have a built-in LCD screen. However, you can get one from the same brand and mount it above the unit’s magnetic wheel.
If you don’t want that extra expense, you can always use your existing smart devices and download the Echelon app.
That said, you will need to pay a monthly subscription fee to unlock the app’s and the machine’s full potential.
The fitness app comes with multiple selections of workout classes. You can even display scenic routes from different rivers on the screen.
All in all, you can choose from over 900 workout classes filtered by difficulty levels and duration.
Some choose to stream live workout classes or play music of any genre for motivation.
The Echelon Smart Rowing machine has a slick and convenient design that allows you to fold it easily whenever you are done using it.
There are also wheels to help make moving it around the apartment much more manageable.
- Plain and simple to use design
- Foldable feature that saves a bit of space on storage
- Multi-functional app with lots of excellent features
- Magnetic resistance for quiet rowers
- Supports muscle building
- The LCD screen is purchased separately and costs more
- The app requires a monthly subscription fee
5. ProForm 750R Folding Smart Rower
The ProForm 750R is one of the most recommended rowing machines for beginners, and for good reason. Not only is it user-friendly but also affordable.
As a magnetic resistance rower, the ProForm 750R ensures you get a quiet rowing experience, which is important if you live in an apartment.
It may look small and simple, but it packs a lot of power and boasts plenty of useful features.
Measuring 46 x 25 x 22 inches and weighing 116 pounds, it’s surprising that this rowing machine can support a maximum user weight of 250 pounds.
Unlike other options, it only comes in black, but it does include a screen or console upon purchase.
The ProForm 750R boasts 24 resistance levels, which should be enough for beginners still working their way up to rowing at a higher intensity.
- Special Features
Every purchase of the ProForm 750R gets you one month of free trial on its app membership.
Through this app, you can stream in-demand and effective workouts as well as join top-of-the-line studio classes.
The built-in, high-contrast screen LCD screen is not that impressive at only five inches, but it does monitor different metrics.
The machine also has a device holder, allowing you to secure your phone or tablet while working out.
Moving the ProForm 750R from one room to another is something one person can accomplish, thanks to the built-in wheels.
It also folds down for easier storage once you finish your workout.
- Great value for money
- Sleek and foldable design
- Membership is optional
- The app remains functional after membership expires
- Cannot handle excessive weight
- Only one month of membership upon purchase
- Basic digital display and equipment design
Which Rowing Machine Is Perfect for Apartment Living?
If you are unfamiliar with rowing exercises and their many fitness benefits, now is the time to start considering adding them to your routine.
Just make sure you get a rowing machine that will fit your apartment’s tight space. Some models even have a foldable design for easier storage.
Looking at its features and price, you’ll get the most out of your investment if you get the Concept2 Model D.
Besides, its user-friendly design makes it the perfect choice for beginners.