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6 Best Rowing Machines 2024 - Top Brands and Reviews

Row, row, row your boat

Expert In This Title
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Member of Kuala Lumpur Rowing Club

Ben Stephens

Ben Stephens is an active member of KL Rowing Club (KLRC) and is a coordinator of the Learn to Row Program at KLRC. With years of athletic participation in rowing both in the UK and Malaysia, he aspires to continuously provide awareness on this aerobic and strength conditioning sports.
“Rowing is a low impact workout that reduces stress on joints since it is conducted while sitting. With a rowing machine, you’ll get a full-body workout; with your legs, core, back, shoulders and arms, as well as your cardiovascular system engaged. This also means that more calories can be burned while rowing compared to a different workout of the same duration.” - Ben Stephens

Home-based workout equipment is all the rage these days. It is just so much easier to hop onto your machine for a quick workout without having to get ready, dress up like you didn't spend the whole day on the couch, don your mask, and travel to the gym or the park. If you want a full-bodied workout without expending too much time on it, a rowing machine is the answer to all your questions – as it targets muscles on your entire body. 

Gyms usually provide rowing machines, and certain boutique gyms even offer rowing classes. However, you can pretty much achieve your daily workout quota by going on Youtube and working out alongside online trainers. Just remember to stay hydrated and maintain good posture to prevent any injury.

Check out our picks of the best rowing machines in Malaysia from brands such as X-Core, Decathlon, and more.  

6 Best Rowing Machines 2024 - Top Brands and Reviews

Best air rowing machine
Chia Sports Air Rowing Machine
Chia Sports Air Rowing Machine
Check Chia Sports Air Rowing Machine price below:
add_circle Easy to assemble
add_circle Provides an experience of rowing on water

Why It's Our Top Pick:

"Air rowers are one of the most traditional types of rowing machines, and the most popular choice in gyms. It works on automatic force and speed, meaning that the harder and faster you pull on the handle and kick-off, the bigger the resistance.

Advanced rowers who are practising for competitions should get one for when they are out of the water, as it replicates that experience most closely.

Similar to Concept2 rowers, this air rowing machine by Chia Sports is a cheaper alternative that our expert recommends."


Despite it being an air rower, Chia Sports have made the machine quieter. There are 10 levels of tension resistance on the machine, and its frame is made of metal. For storage purposes, the machine can be separated into two parts. The seat is well-padded, with adjustable pedals and non-slip handles. 


Great for bodyweight and rowing training, the rowing machine also comes with tools for easy assembly. People of all ages can use this machine, as the resistance is adjustable – and it is quiet enough despite its being of air resistance.

Best rowing machine with water resistance
X-Core Semi Commercial Water Rowing Machine XC7116
X-Core Semi Commercial Water Rowing Machine XC7116
Check X-Core Semi Commercial Water Rowing Machine XC7116 price below:
add_circle Provides a natural rowing experience
add_circle Space-conserving

If you are from Malaysia, you may have heard of the annual Dragonboat tournament in Penang. Ever tried your hand at rowing an actual boat? If not, a water rowing machine, otherwise known as water resistance rowing machines, is a good way to start! Though not quite like the real thing, a water rowing machine will produce seamless resistance and train every muscle in your body, just like how it would be if you were to train on the water. 


This machine offers a 5-level elastic rope resistance control. The pedals are adjustable, so it is suited for everyone. You can glide the machine from spot to spot as it comes with a transport wheel at the bottom and folds it up when you are not using it. Additionally, the machine is fitted with an LCD console to display your workout data, like distance, strokes, and number of calories burned. 


Customers find that it is a very good piece of equipment to lose weight with and is suited for the whole family. It is easy to use and space-conserving, while also very easy to move around when you are cleaning the house. 

Best rowing machine with magnetic tension system
OneTwoFit Rowing Machine
OneTwoFit Rowing Machine
Check OneTwoFit Rowing Machine price below:
add_circle Easy to use
add_circle Silent
remove_circle Manual can be hard to understand

Magnetic tension systems tend to be quieter when used on rowing systems and are a great addition to your home – allowing you to work out at all times without disturbing your loved ones. The slide rail made of steel also prevents loud noises during a workout, as users can glide seamlessly through it without a hitch. 


One of its best qualities is the 16-level magnetic resistance, which means you can be more creative with your workout routine – even jumping on the progressive overload wagon for muscle mass. The flywheel is magnetic, which makes it a smoother pull. You can adjust the pedals for a safer rowing session, and fold up the machine when you are done. 


Users enthuse about the ease of use and silent nature of the machine. The machine was easy to set up and the simple features are a plus for beginners. Some people complained about the manual that came along with the machine – that it was a bit hard to understand, but ultimately, they did not need it anyway.

Best budget rowing machine
DFsports Indoor Adjustable Multi-Purpose Exercise Rowing Resistance Machine
DFsports Indoor Adjustable Multi-Purpose Exercise Rowing Resistance Machine
Check DFsports Indoor Adjustable Multi-Purpose Exercise Rowing Resistance Machine price below:
add_circle Great value for money
add_circle Equipped with a small LED display
remove_circle Assembly could be slightly difficult

If you’re looking for a basic, budget-friendly rowing machine, then this one's for you. It has all the features that you need, along with an LED display that helps count movement, time and even calories. There are also 12 levels of resistance so you can adjust accordingly to your exercise plan.


This no-frills rowing machine isn’t fancy but it comes with all the necessary features. The cushioned seat and handles are comfortable and the footrest is rather large with a non-slip base. It requires a bit of work to assemble but in the end, you’ll get a sturdy machine that you can safely use in the comfort of your home.


Most users are satisfied with this rowing machine and its great value. It’s a fairly simple machine but it is sturdier than expected, especially given its low price. It’s easy to use, doesn’t take up much space and it’s an overall good deal for those who want a full-body workout at home.

Best rowing machine with app
Yesoul R40S Foldable Water Rowing Machine
Yesoul R40S Foldable Water Rowing Machine
Check Yesoul R40S Foldable Water Rowing Machine price below:
add_circle Space saving
add_circle Large water tank
add_circle Suitable for beginners
remove_circle Not suitable for heavy people


The Yesoul R40S is a water rowing machine which is capable of 18L of water and has a 16-blade double-layer water paddle, both of which are capable of giving you an intense workout. Thanks to the intelligent control system, you’re also able to adjust the resistance strength as you wish and not worry about water leakage as the tank is designed not to leak out so you won’t need to worry about water escaping the machine and making a mess of your house. 

Along with that, it comes with a 3D Ergonomic Cushion so you can go through your workout in comfort. The Yesoul R40S is also foldable and comes with a wheel so you can easily store it away after use. Not sure what to do? Download the Yesoul Lite Mobile APP which is a fitness app compatible with iOS and Android, that has a workout routine you can follow.


  • 3D Ergonomic Cushion
  • Dimension 213.5cm x 52cm x 48.7cm (unfolded) / 115cm x 54cm x 55cm (folded)
  • 150 kg Weight Capacity
  • 18L huge water tank capacity
  • Adjustable footrest

Who is it for? 

If you’re looking for a rowing machine but aren’t sure how to work out on one, the Yesoul R40S is one that you should consider getting. Not only is it water resistant (which gives you great resistance while being quiet), but it has an app that you can download on your device to get a routine, and also get details like heart-rate data. 

It comes with a device holder which can hold your tablet or smartphone while you’re using the app when working out. It also makes for a good conversation starter, especially with its wooden build and unique look.

This rowing machine has an adjustable footrest, so you can use it even if you have big feet. Yesoul R40S is also easy to use, making it suitable for both beginners and for those with more experience in exercising. However, it only has a 150 kg weight capacity so those heavier than that should look for a different product.

Best Foldable Rowing Machine
BPS Foldable Rowing Machine 4kg Fly Wheel Resistance TL-RM209
BPS Foldable Rowing Machine 4kg Fly Wheel Resistance TL-RM209
Check BPS Foldable Rowing Machine 4kg Fly Wheel Resistance TL-RM209 price below:
add_circle Easy to use
add_circle Light
add_circle Foldable
remove_circle Resistance might be too easy for some people


The TL-RM209 rowing machine comes with an LCD Screen display which shows basic yet important functions like the total amount of strokes, calories burnt, and the time taken for your workout. With 8 levels of resistance which you can pull with the magnetic cable, the TL-RM209 makes for a great tool to improve your cardiovascular health while being in the comfort of your home.

Its ergonomically designed seat makes this rowing machine better to use, especially with its non-slip tread on the pedals which also has loops so you can strap your feet in when rowing. To work out, you can use its quick-start function, use one of the four manual programs, or you can even set a timer on the screen and row until it goes out. 


  • 8-Level resistance
  • Dimensions: 172 x 55 x 47 cm
  • Machine Weight: 19 Kg
  • LCD Screen Display
  • Foldable

Who is it for?

BPS Foldable Rowing Machine 4kg Fly Wheel Resistance TL-RM209’s functions are simple enough to use, making it a good option for those who are just starting out with their fitness journey. Its ergonomic seat and the non-slip pedal are also something you will appreciate when using the rowing machine.

Other than that, the 8 Level of Resistance also allows for an intense enough session. However, those with more exercise experience might find this level still too easy. But, we highly recommend the BPS Foldable Rowing Machine 4kg Fly Wheel Resistance TL-RM209 for those who don’t have a lot of room in their homes.

With its small and foldable design, the TL-RM209 rowing machine will fit well in the corner of your room. It’s also lightweight at 19 kg so you can easily lift it to keep it away whenever you’re not using it. 

- How can rowing machines improve your fitness? 

Rowing machines are an alternative to high-impact cardio. This rowing exercise is suitable even for beginners who are starting their fitness journey, people with pre-existing health issues, and seniors. Many fitness enthusiasts slot rowing classes into their repertoire as a cardio alternative. 

In addition, rowing is not just a form of cardio, but also includes strength training;  muscles throughout your entire body are involved! From the arms and back during the pull and the legs when you push off of the base, and even your core, as you need to maintain a certain controlled tension to ensure that you do not hurt yourself while working out. 

- How to pick a rowing machine?

A few factors are involved here, the main ones being the type of resistance you prefer and the storage style of the machine. Most rowing machines come with adjustable resistance levels – so you must choose how many you need in your regime. If you live in an apartment, consider getting a foldable one so that you can save on space. 

The more specific features are embellishments you may be fond of having – a touchscreen, a machine that comes with an app to record your progress, the sound of the flywheel (you may not like the one that comes with the little screechy sounds), and the padding of the seat. The size of the machine, in general, is also important, as you may have a designated spot you want to place the machine in. Make sure you do the appropriate measurements before you make the purchase!

- How often should I use a rowing machine?

According to Ben, this depends on your goal/training program. If it is the main focus of your training, then 3-4 times per week would be plenty. However, he says that it could also be done just once or twice per week if you incorporate other forms of training as well.

- How will the rowing machine change my body?

Training with a rowing machine can be hard for some people, but one thing for sure is, one can see positive changes in their body after some time. The main effects can be seen in your aerobic capacity and muscular endurance. As a full-body exercise, it can burn a lot of calories which can help with fat loss too.

- What are the features to look for when purchasing a rowing machine?

For the casual rower, Ben believes that the price of the machine and your budget should be the main factor to consider. To him, all rowing machines work similarly (you pull the chord against some sort of resistance).

Personally, Ben has used air and water resistance machines in the past but has always preferred air resistance ones. He likes that the degree of resistance can be adjusted in the latter.

Hence this could be another factor for shoppers to consider too.

- Do athletes have any specific preferences when it comes to rowers?

Most rowing clubs, high-level athletes and international teams use a brand called Concept2. They are the industry leaders and have a wide range of rowing machines that simulate being on the water more accurately. Concept2 rowers are also used for indoor rowing competitions. Ben recommends this brand.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily – life is but a dream. 

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