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The 10 Best Foldable Rowing Machines in 2023, Tested by Fitness Editors

The 10 Best Foldable Rowing Machines in 2023, Tested by Fitness Editors

Best Overall Foldable Rowing Machine

Concept2 RowErg with Standard Legs

Best Overall Foldable Rowing Machine

Concept2 RowErg with Standard Legs

Cons
  • Lacks smart connectivity

The RowErg with Standard Legs is the new name for Concept 2’s Model D rower, and it’s the first device that comes to mind when we think of training on a foldable rower at home. Our editors have never come across a better rower than this one, point blank. In a nutshell, it offers many of the same features as the best rowing machines that cost twice as much.

“It’s an industry standard used by CrossFit and in many high-profile competitions for a reason,” according to Samuel. “It relies on a variable resistance flywheel that provides a constant challenge, making it great for high volume or experienced rowers.”

It’s extremely easy to assemble, too. In our experience (and many Amazon reviewers agree) setup takes around 20 minutes with minimal tools or hardware (just eight screws are required). The design is versatile enough to support users up to 500 pounds with adjustable footrests and an ergonomic handle. It’s built with high-quality materials throughout, so it’s plenty durable, too.

City dwellers and users tight on space will appreciate the clever design that allows this machine to not only fold but separate into two pieces for easy storage. Built-in caster wheels make setting up and putting away a breeze. Plus, it’s surprisingly affordable at $1,240 delivered.

This is the definitive home rowing experience, and why it’s our pick for the best value rowing machine of 2023.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 11,900 Amazon reviews, 98% recommend the RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine with at least a 4-star rating.

Read more: Best Folding Exercise Bikes

ResistanceAir
DisplayPM5 performance monitor
Dimensions (L x W x H)96 x 24 x 14 inches
Item weight57.32 lb.
Weight capacity500 lb.

Best Foldable Rowing Machine for Small Spaces

Hydrow Wave Rower

Best Foldable Rowing Machine for Small Spaces

Hydrow Wave Rower

Now 11% Off

“If I can’t use a Concept2, this is my go-to,” says Samuel.

The Hydrow Wave—a more streamlined and slimmed-down version of Hydrow’s original Rower Connected Rowing Machine, (a 2022 Men’s Health Home Gym Awards winner)—is a smart connected foldable rower with a focus on recreating the real-world rowing experience.

“It fits easily in my basement training area, and can stand up for storage. Despite the compact size, the Wave is SUPER-durable: I can go hard on this rower for sprints, or take on longer intervals.”

Take live or on-demand classes, or take an unguided “journey”, to explore the water from the comfort of your own home. The best part is that the virtual classes are immersive and surprisingly lifelike.

“A free mode would be nice, so I could build my own workouts, but this is the best magnetic resistance rowing experience on the market.”

It offers a long list of other high-tech features, including a crisp and responsive touchscreen display. Unique “electromagnetic drag” technology also makes for more realistic and lifelike rowing—more so than any other machine we tested. Plus, it sets up and stows in seconds. In addition to folding, an optional Upright Storage Kit ensures it takes up minimal space, which is especially nice for storing in apartments and other tight spaces.

The Hydrow Wave features the sleekest, most streamlined design of any rowing machine we’ve seen. It’s enough to elevate the look of any home gym, although it comes at a premium—the device is nearly $1,900 delivered and requires an ongoing monthly subscription fee of $44, too.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 9,000 Trustpilot reviews, 94% recommend the Hydrow Indoor Rowing Machine with at least a 4-star rating.

Read more: Best Dumbbells

ResistanceElectromagnetic
Display16″ HD touchscreen
Dimensions (L x W x H)80 x 19 x 43 inches
Item weight102 lb.
Weight capacity375 lb.

Most User-Friendly Water-Based Foldable Rowing Machine

Life Fitness Row HX Trainer

Most User-Friendly Water-Based Foldable Rowing Machine

Life Fitness Row HX Trainer

Cons
  • Lacks the tech features you’d expect at this price

Life Fitness machines are found in fitness clubs around the world. And for good reason: they’re durable, easy to use, beginner-friendly, suitable for advanced rowers, and reasonably priced. The Row HX Trainer is no exception. It’s reasonably heavy at 108 pounds (with water) and designed to run well for years. It also folds almost in half to neatly stow away in even the smallest spaces.

Unlike some of the more premium models we tested, it features a simple water-based design for ultra-smooth resistance, so there’s less gadgetry to worry about. We love that, unlike many other water-based rowers, you never need to add or remove water to change the resistance. Five manually adjustable resistance levels make this a great option for novice to advanced users.

This model lacks a built-in touchscreen display (surprising given the roughly $1,800 price tag). But, it’s designed to work seamlessly with the Aaptiv app to keep you motivated with thousands of workouts and new ones added regularly.

What do buyers say? “Great quality and the ability to change resistance levels makes for an intense workout. Looks good too,” wrote one Amazon reviewer.

Read more: Best Folding Treadmills

ResistanceWater
DisplayPerformance Monitor LCD
Dimensions (L x W x H)83.85 x 20.47 x 22 inches
Item weight71 lb.
Weight capacity330 lb.

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Best Overall Budget Foldable Rowing Machine

Women’s Health x Men’s Health Magnetic Rowing Machine

Best Overall Budget Foldable Rowing Machine

Women’s Health x Men’s Health Magnetic Rowing Machine

Now 30% Off

We might be a little biased, but this Men’s Health-branded rowing machine is a solid choice for beginners looking to get started with home rowing workouts. With 14 levels of resistance, it’s easy to start small and build up as your fitness level increases over time.

“This rowing machine isn’t for everyone. But on days I’m not going hard, I love this rower. It’s relatively quiet. The resistance can be a little slow to catch, so I don’t love doing sprint workouts on this. But for a longer, more relaxed cardio session, this is great,” explains Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., MH Fitness Director.

You’ll get real-time fitness analytics wirelessly (cadence, watts, mileage, calories burned, and more) with the device’s built-in Bluetooth connectivity.

This machine also provides access to a deep library of on-demand classes, so you can go beyond rowing with cycling, yoga, bodyweight exercises, and more. The surprisingly lightweight construction (around 60 pounds) and space-saving design also folds down small. So, it’s a great option for apartment dwellers and anyone with limited home gym space. Plus, it’s a steal at around $550 delivered.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 200 Amazon reviews, 85% recommend the Men’s Health x Women’s Health Bluetooth Rower with at least a 4-star rating.

Read more: Best Under Desk Treadmill

ResistanceMagnetic
Display3.5″ LCD
Dimensions (L x W x H)23 x 80 x 28.5 inches
Item weight64.3 lb.
Weight capacity250 lb.

Best Mid-Range Foldable Rowing Machine

Echelon Smart Rowing Machine

Best Mid-Range Foldable Rowing Machine

Echelon Smart Rowing Machine

Now 25% Off

Echelon’s base model rowing machine has an ergonomic cushioned seat and oversized, adjustable foot pedals for extra comfort. The 32 silent, magnetic resistance levels allow you to customize your workout, whether you’re a rowing newb or an advanced rowing machine.

Best of all, it’s foldable. Plus, built-in wheels help for easy transport to tuck it easily away when it’s not in use.

While it lacks the jumbo high-tech displays of many other machines on this list, it features a device holder that swivels and flips around for use during off-row workouts instead. With an optional Echelon Fit US membership (you can still use the rower without it), you get access to 3,000+ live and on-demand classes including rowing, strength, yoga, and more. Plus, all those scenic rides that high-end rowers twice the price boast. Dual built-in speakers also allow you to hear the trainers in your virtual workout programs loud and clear, too.

Bonus: It’s the second most affordable rowing machine on this list. So, if budget is a concern, the Smart Rowing Machine is definitely worth considering.

What do buyers say? “I love using the machine, especially with the iFit workouts. I’ve rowed in Zambia, Montana, the French Polynesian Islands, and more. I love the iFit coaches, the variety of workouts and scenery, and the encouragement they provide,” wrote one Google reviewer.

ResistanceMagnetic
DisplayLCD
Dimensions (L x W x H)‎84.65 x 20.47 x 43.7 inches
Item weight120 lb.
Weight capacity300 lb.

Most Versatile Smart Foldable Rowing Machine

NordicTrack NordicTrack Smart Rower with 22” HD Touchscreen and 30-Day iFIT Family Membership

Most Versatile Smart Foldable Rowing Machine

NordicTrack NordicTrack Smart Rower with 22” HD Touchscreen and 30-Day iFIT Family Membership

Now 19% Off

Want group fitness workouts in the comfort of your own home? This rowing machine from NordicTrack has you covered. The RW900 Smart Rower has a crisp, 22-inch touchscreen, which allows you to take classes on-demand and automatically adjusts your resistance level according to the trainers’ preferences. Professional class instructors will even challenge you to go beyond just cardio, with strength training and yoga classes, too. The comprehensive virtual program library ensures you’ll never be bored.

We like the long list of other nice-to-haves like Bluetooth headphone connectivity, quick-adjust pedals, and easy assembly. A few other standout features make it one of Samuel’s go-to’s for a long rowing workout, “the seat’s extra-comfortable, and the magnetic resistance on this is ultra-quiet so it’s easy to watch Netflix or listen to a podcast while training.”

It also sets up, folds, and stores easily, making it easy to get ready and break down at the end of your workouts. Given the long list of smart features and the NordicTrack brand name, it’s surprisingly well priced at around $1,600.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 800 Amazon reviews, 80% recommend the NordicTrack RW900 Smart Rower with at least a 4-star rating.

Read more: Rowing and Core Workout

Resistance`Dual air and magnetic
Display22″ touchscreen
Dimensions (L x W x H)86.5 x 22 x 47 inches
Item weight130.6 lb.
Weight capacity250 lb.

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Most Connected Foldable Rowing Machine

Peloton Row

Most Connected Foldable Rowing Machine

Peloton Row

High-end home fitness equipment company Peloton launched the simply named Peloton Row in December of 2022. Men’s Health fitness writer and strength coach David Otey, C.S.C.S., took it for a spin (pun intended) and confirmed that it’s set to give every rower on this list—even the best rowing machines—a run for their money.

Both the seat and strap are extremely comfortable and easy to use. Otey describes the strap’s pull as “silky smooth” without the annoying catching found in lesser chain-linked rowers. The electrically controlled resistance also allows for whisper-quiet operation. But, “Peloton’s best asset isn’t its hardware; it’s a great software company,” says Otey. Case in point: The built-in Form Assist function is a game-changer to help novice (and even experienced) users row with better form to maximize their workouts and eliminate unnecessary post-workout aches and pains.

It’s not perfect, however. Otey notes that its most obvious shortcoming is the lack of an adjustable manual mode. “This is a stark difference from many manual rowers, which shows Peloton is more confident in their programming and instructors than your ability to create your own workouts.” It’s also reliant on power and a Wi-Fi connection. If either goes down, you’re out of luck. And, of course, there’s the sky-high price. At north of $3,000, it’s among the most expensive indoor rowing machines on the market.

Still, after early testing, he concludes that “Peloton pairing its best-in-class programming with this luxe machine is a combo for results … [The Row] is a perfect option for someone who is short on time and looking for an efficient and effective workout (if they have a big enough wallet).”

Read more: Peloton Rower Review

ResistanceElectronically controlled resistance
Display23.8″ HD swiveling touchscreen
Dimensions (L x W)94 x 24 inches
Item weight156.5 lb.
Weight capacity300 lb.

Best Foldable Water Rowing Machine for Beginners

XTERRA ERG600W Water Rowing Machine

Best Foldable Water Rowing Machine for Beginners

XTERRA ERG600W Water Rowing Machine

The ERG600W is a great introductory rower for those in the market for a water-powered option. Construction is sturdy, and assembly is a breeze, taking only a few minutes.

While adjusting the resistance may not be as effortless as with some other machines, the rower’s performance is impressive for the price.

Plus, a ton of reviewers have remarked about the brand’s exceptional customer service. Some buyers have experienced issue with the foot straps wearing down, which XTERRA’s team has been quick to replace when needed.

Although the feet straps could benefit from improvement, the overall quality and performance of this water rower makes it a worthwhile investment for beginners.

What do buyers say? “Now you know what you’re going to be getting with an entry rower like this. But what if something breaks? Their customer service has had me covered each time I have reached out. Upon shipment my machine had a broken screen, and that was replaced immediately by the team,” said one Dick’s Sporting Goods reviewer.

Read more: Best Exercise Bikes

ResistanceWater
Display5.5″ LCD screen
Dimensions (L x W x H)80.7 x 22 x 33 inches
Item weight82.7 lb.
Weight capacity300 lb.

Best Foldable Rowing Machine for Beginners

ProForm 750R Rowing Machine

Best Foldable Rowing Machine for Beginners

ProForm 750R Rowing Machine

With the option to upgrade to an iFIT membership, you can take your exercise to the next level with an Automatic Trainer Control feature that digitally adjusts your resistance. Meaning an at-home workout that keeps you engaged and motivated.

The rowing machine itself is well-designed, with 24 digital resistance levels that catch pretty quickly when adjusting. A multicolor display keeps track of essential stats such as distance, time, and estimated calorie burn, but lacks higher-end tech features or app connectivity (you’ll need to use a phone or tablet for iFit).

An oversized cushioned seat offers solid support, and the rower is built on a solid steel rail, so it feels stable during use. It’s not the most heavy-duty rower on this list, but backed by a 5-year frame warranty and a 1-year parts and labor warranty, it’s a good piece for beginners to get started on.

What do buyers say?A great rowing machine! I opted out of the fitness program that comes with it and it is everything I had wanted. Made well, quiet, easy assembly and storage- a great product and as advertised,” said one reviewer on Walmart’s site.

Read more: Best Ellipticals

ResistanceDigital
Display5″ multicolor backlit display screen
Dimensions (L x W x H)45.5 x 22 x 86.5 inches
Item weight116 lb.
Weight capacity250 lb.

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Most Affordable Foldable Rowing Machine

ECHANFIT Magnetic Rower R49

Most Affordable Foldable Rowing Machine

ECHANFIT Magnetic Rower R49

Cons
  • Lacks connectivity

The space-saving design of this folding rowing machine is impressive, as it can fit into any corner of your home with just a 4.3 ft² footprint when folded. Its magnetic resistance system and improved slide rail offer a quiet and smooth experience, so you can enjoy your workout without disturbing your neighbors or housemates.

This machine can support up to 350 pounds and accommodate users with a maximum height of 6’6″, which is impressive for a budget model. The LCD monitor provides real-time feedback on important workout specs, but if you want more extensive digital features, we recommend looking elsewhere.

Users have also praised its easy assembly process and the convenience of storing and moving it around due to its vertical storage capability, front wheels, and easy folding mechanism.

While the digital interface may have some minor quirks, overall, this budget-friendly rowing machine offers a decent workout experience. Making it fit for endurance training and casual workouts in the comfort of your own home.

n summary, this rowing machine offers a convenient and efficient way to achieve a full-body workout. Its space-saving design, adjustable resistance, and real-time workout data tracking make it a valuable addition to any home gym. Despite a few minor issues, it provides a solid exercise experience at an affordable price point.

It does come with a warranty for replacement parts, but one -year is a bit short in our eyes.

What do buyers say? Filling water and adding purification tablets to keep the water clean are both super easy, the water chamber has a nice hole on top that you can unplug to let water in. The box comes with a funnel and a pump for adding water, but the pump felt a bit useless so I just poured directly down the funnel,” said one Amazon reviewer.

Read more: Best Cardio Machines

ResistanceMagnetic
DisplayLCD
Dimensions (L x W x H)19.29 x 74.8 x 34.06 inches
Item weight56.55 lb.
Weight capacity350 lb.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Foldable Rowing Machine

It’s not question that foldable rowing machines offer a convenient and space-saving solution for home gyms. No longer limited to basic designs, these modern machines have evolved into advanced and sophisticated equipment. With seamless connectivity, top brands like Peloton and Hydrow allow you to pair your smartphone via Bluetooth, stream music effortlessly, and even connect with professional rowers for personalized training sessions. However, finding the perfect foldable rowing machine can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help.

Durability and quality: If you’re dropping $1,000 or more on a complicated piece of gym equipment, you want to know that it can go the distance. That’s why it pays (literally) to buy from a company that you trust and that offers a solid, reputable product with a decent warranty. Don’t settle for a bargain-priced Amazon model from a brand you’ve never heard of just because it seems like a steal. In the world of fitness equipment, you almost always get what you pay for. If you’re planning to row on a regular basis and to keep your foldable rowing machine for the foreseeable future, consider investing good money into a model that will last.

Resistance mechanism: At the heart of every rowing machine is some sort of resistance mechanism, foldable models are no different. There are four main types including hydraulic, flywheel, water-based, and magnetic resistance-based. Read more on this in the FAQ below.

Storage: By their nature, rowing machines are big, bulky, and often heavy. If you have the real estate in your home, non-folding models are typically sturdier and more convenient when it comes time to work out. However, if you’re short on space, consider durability and weight capacity even more for foldable models. Some rowers fold neatly in half or offer vertical storage to minimize wasted floor space. Look for models with transport wheels too, so you can easily move yours around by yourself, when folded or not.

Warranty: With the best foldable rowing machines priced north of $1,000, buying one is a serious investment. So, it’s important to purchase from a manufacturer that offers a clear, comprehensive warranty. They vary widely across the industry, with the most budget-forward brands offering just 90 days on some parts, and others boasting generous 10-year warranties on everything. Again, the more you spend upfront, the better the warranty is likely to be. And, if there’s anything that isn’t clear to you about the stated warranty, be sure to ask. It’s your money, after all.

Budget: Depending on your situation, price might be the most important consideration. Foldable rowing machines are a substantial investment that can run into the thousands. Know that, if price is an issue, you can absolutely land a decent mid-range model for under $1,000 and even a solid budget model (like the Bluetooth Rower by Men’s Health x Women’s Health) for less than $550 delivered.

Other rowing machine features: The most basic foldable rowing machine design has changed little in decades, and you can still find a “classic”-style model for a reasonable price (hello, Concept 2). But, if you’re looking for a more connected experience, look at smart rowers like the Hydrow Wave or the Peloton Row. These offer touchscreens with built-in apps that connect you to professional trainers who can motivate and work with you to better achieve your personal goals. The rowing machines with these features are, of course, more expensive upfront. But, know that many also require ongoing monthly subscriptions to take full advantage of those “smart” connected features.

How to Use an Indoor Rowing Machine

Our fitness experts love indoor machines for a ton of reasons. But the biggest one is how easy and accessible they are for enthusiasts of any fitness level. Seriously, there’s not much more to using one than simply sitting down and pulling—rinse and repeat. But like any workout machine, there is a right way and a wrong way. The best way to not only maximize your performance and rowing gains but also to avoid injury is to practice good form.

Start by sitting squarely on the seat with your tailbone pointing directly into the middle. Follow your rowing stroke through each of these four phases, paying careful attention to your posture and form:

The catch: To start, your shins should be perpendicular to the floor (i.e., vertical). Extend your arms fully—with a focus on your triceps—and grab the rower’s handle. Be mindful of your core, and slightly lean your torso forward.

The drive: While keeping your arms straight, power through the Drive phase with your leg muscles, pushing your body (and the seat) smoothly away from the footplates. Finish by pulling the handle into your abdomen and leaning back.

The finish: Despite the name, you’re not quite “finished.” In this phase, your elbows should be bent and the handle tucked into the lower part of your chest. Use your core to stabilize your torso, keeping a slight angle toward the rowing machine.

The recovery: Be mindful of your form while returning to the starting position in this phase. Straighten your arms by using your triceps. Slightly lean your torso forward. Bend your legs and smoothly slide your butt and the seat down the rail of the rowing machine.Once back in the starting position, repeat the next stroke by beginning with the Drive phase again.

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Foldable Rowing Machine Resistance Mechanisms

Rowing machines utilize various mechanisms to generate resistance. These mechanisms determine the feel and intensity of the rowing motion, but each type offers a slightly different benefit.

Magnetic: Magnetic resistance is one of the most popular types used in foldable rowing machines. It relies on a magnetic brake system that creates resistance by adjusting the distance between magnets and a metal flywheel. By altering the magnetic field, users can increase or decrease the resistance level. Magnetic resistance offers a smooth and quiet rowing experience, but are at the pricier end of the market.

Flywheel: Flywheels rely on air resistance; these will require the most nuanced timing of your rowing pattern. They use a large flywheel equipped with fan blades, which spin and create resistance as you pull the handle. The resistance level intensifies based on the speed and force of your strokes, automatically adjusting to match your effort. These machines are often favored by experienced rowers. The downside: They’re often noisy.

Water: This is the mechanism you want to best mimic the experience of rowing on water. Water rowers feature a tank filled with water and a paddle system connected to the rowing handle. As you pull the handle, the paddles spin in the water, generating resistance. The resistance level increases as you row harder or faster. These machines deliver a near-silent experience, but also tend to be pricey.

Hydraulic: This mechanism relies on air or fluid compressed into a cylinder and is almost always the cheapest. Hydraulic resistance pistons or cylinders filled with fluid to generate resistance. When you pull the handle, the pistons compress the fluid, creating resistance.

Combination: Some foldable rowing machines combine different resistance types to provide a versatile workout experience. For example, a machine may feature both magnetic and air resistance, allowing users to switch between the two or combine them for a customized workout.

Why You Can Trust Us

At Men’s Health, we take great pride in providing our readers with reliable and trustworthy product recommendations. We believe that our readers deserve the best, which is why we always make sure to conduct thorough research and testing before making any recommendations. Our writers and editors thoughtfully select experts for collaboration on product recommendations, and are also experts in their own right, using their informed opinions to select products and ensuring that our content is of the highest quality.

Our product recommendations are purely editorial, and while we may receive free products to test and review, we only recommend the products we are most impressed by. We never let retailers or public relations contacts dictate our content or product coverage. Which is why you can trust us to provide you with reliable and unbiased product recommendations.

How We Selected

For the past two years, we consulted with Men’s Health‘s Fitness editors and writers on the top foldable rowing machines. Experts including our fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., tested foldable rowing machines from top home gym brands to evaluate their resistance, functionality, and value. We also considered top-reviewed rowers with at least 100 five-star customer ratings on reputable e-commerce websites that we trust. The final list above represents our carefully considered picks for the best foldable rowing machines of 2023.

Talene Appleton

Fitness and Commerce Editor

Talene Appleton is the Fitness and Commerce Editor at Men’s Health, where she covers fitness, nutrition, health, and wellness. She was previously the Associate Editor of General Surgery News, and a nutrition writer for The Food Institute. Talene is a retired professional dancer, and loves to spend her free time cooking elaborate meals for her friends and family. 

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men’s Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He’s logged training time with NFL athletes and track athletes and his current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga. Before joining Men’s Health in 2017, he served as a sports columnist and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.  

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