Top 10 Best Compact Rowing Machines For Small Spaces in 2020

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Rowing machines are all the rage right now. They’re one of the few pieces of indoor exercise equipment that can provide a full-body workout. They’re also low-impact, easy to use, and require minimal maintenance.

The only challenge with rowing machines is that they take up quite a bit of space. The average length of a rower is about 8 feet.

Luckily, there are some models that don’t occupy as much space. If you’re looking for the best compact rowing machines for small spaces, we’ve got you covered.

The Best Compact Rowing Machine Deals Right Now

Finding a rowing machine that can fit in your tiny apartment is no small feat. It should have a space-saving design, be highly functional, and preferably, not mutilate your bank account. We’ve compiled a list of different rowing machines to suit different budgetary needs and space requirements.

Best Overall: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Are you tired of paying for a gym membership that you barely ever use? Well, the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine, designed for indoor use, is the perfect substitute. Its key highlight is its easy foldability that helps you save on space. This is actually the model used by professional athletes and in competitions (Olympic trainers use it) so this one really is top of the range.

Measuring 8ft by 2ft, and weighing 57 pounds, the rower is surprisingly easy to assemble. Just attach the front legs using the eight screws provided, and you’re good to go.

Space needed (with clearance for use): 9 feet x 4 feet

Once you piece it together, you can start using it right away. All you have to do is sit down, fasten the straps to secure your feet, and row away.

Another feature that will impress you is the robust build of the Concept2 Model D. Every part is designed with utmost durability in mind. The seat is made using heavy-duty rubber, the chain nickel-plated with steel, the front legs designed with aluminum, and the rear legs with steel.

That said, you’ll need to do a little bit of maintenance. If you exercise with the rower every day, it’s wise to lubricate the steel chain following every 40 hours of use.

With Concept2 Model D, you’ll also be able to customize your workout regimen. Simply adjust the damper level between 1 and 10 if you want to change the resistance.

The rower also comes equipped with a PM5 monitor. This way, you can use the already preset workouts or design your own from scratch.

This monitor also allows you to track your stats in real-time. To be specific, you’ll be able to know your pace, strokes per minute, watts, and calories burned. Better yet, you can view this data on the backlit LCD display that the rower comes with.

Pros

  • Simple assembly
  • User-friendly interface with a PM5 monitor
  • Highly-durable and customizable
  • Low level of maintenance

Cons

  • Expensive (but worth it if you can afford it)
Check Price on Amazon

Hydrow Live Outdoor Connected Rowing Machine

Hydrow rower is the answer for homeowners who’ve been wishing for interactive at-home fitness sessions. Offering live and on-demand rowing workouts, this exercising equipment is the only one of its kind (it’s like Peloton, but for rowers!)

Right off the bat, you’ll notice the sleek and compact design of the Hydrow. Measuring 85 inches long and 25 inches wide, the rower has a conveniently smaller footprint than our top pick. While it’s not foldable, it should be stored in a vertical position, a factor that helps you save more space.

The nicely-cushioned seat is another point worth mentioning regarding its design. It’s comfortable and can accommodate even heavy users. According to Hydrow, it’s designed to hold a maximum weight limit of 375 pounds.

It’s a no-brainer that Hydrow’s primary selling point is the fact that it comes with online classes. More specifically, you’ll get a combo of live and pre-recorded workouts, which are fit even for beginners.

However, this is a bittersweet offering. On the one hand, you get a detailed tutorial on how to use rowing machines. On the other hand, you have to part with $38 for a monthly subscription. That said, you’re free to cancel or pause the subscription at any time.

Considering that you’re paying top dollar for this rowing machine, the high-resolution display is a welcome addition. It’s a 22-inch, dust-and-sweat resistant touchscreen, with full HD resolution.

What’s more, you can rotate it, enabling you to watch videos from multiple angles. This lends it some futuristic flair.

Lastly, you’ll love the seamless operation of the Hydrow Rowing Machine. It’s equipped with a fabric belt and a 10-roller system to mimic the sensation of rowing on water (see our detailed Hydrow review here)

Pros

  • Heavy-duty single piece design
  • Comes with guided rowing classes
  • Swivel display with full HD resolution
  • Generous weight limit
  • Adjustable foot pedals
  • Vertical storage saves space

Cons

  • Pricey (the most expensive on the list, but the only one with interactive live classes)

See Price On The Official Website

XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower

If you’re not looking to spend much on your new rowing machine, the Xterra Fitness ERG600W is an excellent, cost-effective option.

Now, while this rower comes with an affordable price tag, it doesn’t skimp on essential features. For instance, it gives you a pretty similar experience to rowing on water.

To be specific, it’s designed with six resistance levels, usually determined by the quantity of water in the tank. Once you decide which resistance level suits you, set it at that. If you don’t want to tweak the water level, you can also increase or decrease the number of strokes per minute in a bid to vary your workout.

Another thing you’ll love about the Xterra is its space-saving design. Once you finish your workout, all you need to do is tilt the equipment upwards, roll it away and store it in an upright position. According to the manufacturer, it occupies just 33 x 22 inches of floor space when stored vertically.

As with most rowing machines, this one also comes with an advanced LCD screen. At 5.5 inches in size, the display is reasonably big.

This makes it easy to keep tabs on your stats as you exercise. Speaking of stats, the screen shows the total time, 500M time, calories burned, strokes, strokes per minute, distance, room temperature, date, and clock.

The ERG600W Rower has an exceptionally comfortable seat. It’s encased in high-density contoured foam to provide maximum comfort. Plus, it extends to 14 inches in width, making it suitable for users of all sizes.

This rowing machine is backed by an extended warranty. This entails 5-year coverage on the frame and 2-year coverage on other parts.

Pros

  • Six resistance levels for a customizable workout
  • Multifunction LCD monitor
  • Generous warranty
  • Solid construction
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable footrests and comfy seat

Cons

  • The LCD panel lacks a backlight
Check Price On XterraFitness.com

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Rowing Machine

Are you looking for ways to attain your fitness goals? Well, the easiest approach to use is to keep track of your progress each time you exercise.

Luckily, Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Rower is equipped with a cutting-edge LCD monitor that displays your stats as you work out. The console shows time, calories burned, count, total count, and scan. The only drawback is that it doesn’t display distance, which is another statistic that’s essential to track.

On the brighter side, the Sunny Health rower is among the easiest to use as it arrives partially assembled. By the time you get the equipment, the magnetic flywheel will be fully assembled with rowing straps and handlebars.

All that’s left to do is to install supports to the seat rail as well as the seat. This won’t take you more than half an hour, and all the tools you’ll need are included in the package.

This rowing machine is designed with flexibility in mind. As a result, it offers 8 different levels of magnetic resistance, hence allowing you to switch up the intensity of your exercises. Want to challenge yourself, simply increase the resistance level. You can also engage in a variety of routines.

With the SF-RW5515 Rowing Machine, one thing you’ll never have to worry about is that your feet will accidentally slip off from the pedals.

This is because the pedals are ingeniously constructed in a large size and non-slip surface. The handlebars are also made with quality foam to provide a secure grip.

Pros

  • Offers 8 resistance levels
  • Fitted with a large LCD screen to display stats
  • Well-built with slip-resistant pedals and foam handlebars
  • Quiet operation
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • The console does not show distance
Check Price On Amazon

Fitness Reality 1000 Rowing Machine

Nowadays, the majority of fitness equipment is designed to work with smartphone apps. If you like the convenience of being able to monitor your fitness from an app, Fitness Reality 1000 Plus is the perfect rowing machine for you.

The rower’s console sports Bluetooth Smart technology, which can be synced to the MyCloudFitness app. Download the app on any Android or iOS device and track your workouts with incredible ease.

Another thing you’ll love about this rower is the versatility it offers. While most rowing machines offer between 6 and 8 resistance levels, the Fitness Reality 1000 has a whopping 14 levels of magnetic resistance. Whether you want a simple or challenging workout, you can do any exercise on this rowing machine.

Besides, the rower also comes with stabilizer foot pedals. These also enable you to perform a wider range of workouts, be it curls, triceps extensions, or front raises. That said, you should be careful not to exceed the recommended weight limit of 250 pounds.

This rowing machine is also designed with ergonomics in mind. The handlebar is not only made of foam, but it’s also ultra-wide to provide a secure and comfortable grip.

Fitness Reality 1000 boasts a foldable mechanism. This makes for convenient storage when it’s not in use. The rower’s folded size is 39.5 x 21.5 x 53.5 inches.

Pros

  • Bluetooth capability
  • Easy assembly
  • Offers up to 14 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Reasonably-priced

Cons

  • Short warranty
See Today’s Price On Amazon

Stamina ATS Air Rowing Machine

Are you hell-bent on purchasing a rowing machine from a reputable brand? If so, the ATS designed by Stamina is your best bet. With an experience spanning over 25 years, Stamina has proven to be a trusted manufacturer of rowing machines and other exercising equipment.

The ATS provides a smooth and comfortable rowing experience. It has a user-friendly interface that makes it fairly easy to adjust the resistance level. All you need to do is alter the speed of your rowing stroke. Once you make adjustments, the rower will automatically amp up resistance as you row.

The LCD display is another excellent addition. This allows you to track your fitness stats with ease, specifically, distance, speed, time, and calories burned. While the ATS doesn’t display all the stats, such as your heart rate, it’s much cheaper than other rowing machines.

Made to fit the majority of users, the ATS Air Rower has a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds.

It also sports several upgraded features such as an upholstered, padded seat to increase user’s comfort. The rowing handle is also padded to prevent unnecessary fatigue for those planning to exercise for a long time.

For easy portability, the rowing machine has built-in wheels. It also comes with a mid-range price tag, meaning it’s one of the more affordable models.

Pros

  • The LCD display makes for easy tracking of fitness stats
  • Backed by a 3-year warranty on frame and 90-day warranty on parts
  • Padded seat and rowing handle for maximum comfort
  • Dynamic air resistance technology for a smooth rowing experience
  • Foldable frame for easy storage

Cons

  • Lacks preset programs, which can be useful to beginners
Check Stamina ATS Price On Amazon

Xterra Fitness Erg200 Rower

Most rowing machines occupy a great deal of space. Luckily, the Xterra Fitness Erg200 has a foldable design to save you space. With the rail in a folded position, the equipment’s length reduces nearly by half. To be specific, the rower measures just 20.7 x 36.4 x 47.3 inches when folded.

Apart from its space-saving design, this rowing machine is also well built. The manufacturer combines steel and aluminum, which are some of the strongest materials.

The base stabilizer components and the front section of the frame, which supports the drive system, are both made of steel. The slide rail, on the other hand, is constructed using aluminum, facilitating a really smooth motion of the seat.

Another thing we love about the rowing machine is that it’s not too heavy. Besides, the base is equipped with wheels, enabling you to move easily from one place to another.

The rear base is also fitted with swiveling polygonal caps that double up as levelers. This enhances the machine’s stability. Thanks to this, you’re free to perform any workout, including vigorous routines.

To that regard, Erg200 offers up to 8 levels of magnetic resistance. This way, you can vary the intensity of your workouts as you wish.

That said, the rower’s 3.7-inch screen looks pretty basic. Nonetheless, it displays important stats, and its viewing angle can be adjusted. It shows the stroke count, calories burned, total count, and elapsed time.

Despite all these handy features, the Xterra Fitness Erg200 is one of the cheapest rowing machines on the market.

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Includes rear base stabilizers to enhance stability
  • Wheels for easy portability
  • Ideal for light to intense workouts
  • Foldable to reduce the footprint

Cons

  • Has a rather basic monitor
Check ERG200 Price On Amazon

Maxkare Water Rowing Machine

Are you looking to get a full-body workout without breaking your bank? The Maxkare Water Rowing Machine is just what you need. It has excellent build quality, a smooth rowing stroke, and a fairly big monitor.

This is an example of a water rower, meaning the resistance is generated by fan blades submerged in a water tank. As you pull the handle, the fan blades spin in the water tank, creating resistance. The faster you row, the faster the fan blades spin, creating greater resistance.

The water tank sports a pretty solid build consisting of polycarbonate plastic. It can hold anywhere from 3 to 4 gallons of water and has line-markings to show you the level. The higher the water level, the more the resistance; hence, the harder your workout will be.

Maxkare Rowing Machine comes with a large LCD monitor. What we like most about this control panel is that it tracks several metrics that other models don’t.

You’ll be able to keep tabs on your heart rate, SPM (strokes per minute), strokes, distance, calories burned, and time. These statistics are displayed in different compartments for easy readability.

Another cool feature of the control panel is the ‘Race’ mode. This lets you configure a specific pace and try to keep up with it. You can also set it to countdown from different metrics, such as a 20-minute workout.

This rowing machine is one of the most sturdily constructed. It comprises a steel tubing and aluminum frame. Plus, there are 4 big bolts securing the seat rail to the core frame. Unfortunately, this means that the rowing machine is not foldable. The saving grace is that it can be stored vertically without emptying the water tank.

Pros

  • Has a handy water bottle holder
  • Excellent monitor for the price
  • Can be stored upright to save on space
  • Affordable
  • Fitted with pulleys for easy portability
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Not the easiest to assemble
Check Maxkare Price On Amazon

Nordictrack RW900 Rower

The Nordictrack RW900 Rower is a superb choice for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. While it’s not a budget option, it has a good selection of features making it worth the investment.

The RW900 comes with Bluetooth Smart technology and a one-year free iFit membership. Even though you’ll have to attach your smartphone or tablet on the console to watch the tutorials, it’s a small price to pay for the interactive training sessions you’ll be getting for free.

The display monitor sports an intuitive design. It shows watts, total strokes, strokes per minute, calories burned, and distance. There’s even a watts meter that constantly displays your energy expenditure as you work out.

Are you new to row training and don’t know how to use this equipment? The Nordictrack RW200 comes with 20 preset workouts to get you started. These are formulated by certified personal fitness trainers.

Once assembled, the rower takes up quite a bit of space as it measures 86.5 x 22.0 inches. Thankfully, its foldable frame cuts the length substantially, offering you a compact storage.

The rowing machine is suitable for individuals of all fitness levels and sizes. As such, the footrests are made in a big design to fit all shoe sizes. Besides, these footrests come with nylon straps to provide a secure fit.

Pros

  • It’s easy to assemble
  • Offers 1-year iFit membership
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Space-saver

Cons

  • Expensive
See The Nordictrack Rower On Amazon

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine

An upgrade on the Model D we reviewed earlier, the Model E is another rowing machine worth looking into. It’s slightly taller than its predecessor and offers a really smooth ride. It’s still not quite as popular as the Model D as it’s a bit more expensive and the upgrades are only minimal. Still a great product though!

Assembling this piece of equipment is a breeze. Usually, it’s shipped in two large boxes, which can be intimidating at first. However, it takes just 10 screws to install the frame, front and rear legs, pickup cable, and monitor arm. With the monitor, all you have to do is plug it into position.

Apart from its simple assembly, the rowing machine sports a user-friendly design. The seat’s height is 20 inches, which is slightly higher than in other models. The benefit of this is that it makes the rower easily accessible for individuals with limited mobility. The seat is also molded to provide the utmost comfort for long rides.

The rowing handle also boasts an ergonomic structure. It’s positioned at a 10-degree bend to provide the most natural hand positioning.

Another highlight of Concept2 Model E entails its superior performance. Thanks to its flywheel design, it offers smooth operation with every stroke. The flywheel also helps to minimize noise, which comes in handy if you’re setting it up in a multifunctional space.

The rowing machine also comes equipped with a PM5 Performance Monitor. This feature provides an array of options, which include preloaded workouts, and the ability to save or transfer data to a computer.

Pros

  • Simple assembly
  • Solid build consisting of welded steel
  • Advanced monitor
  • A variety of workout options

Cons

  • More expensive than other rowing machines
Check Price On Amazon

Conclusion

Have you been searching for a hardcore workout that can build your hamstrings and glutes? Consider indoor rowing. With a rowing machine, you can switch up your routine from the typical workouts you perform on a treadmill or elliptical.

Another good thing is, there are numerous rowing machines that won’t take up too much space in your home. One of the best compact rowing machines is the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine. It’s foldable, easy to assemble, and comes with a PM5 monitor to track your fitness progress.

Outfit your home gym with one of these low-impact exercise equipment and get exercising from the confines of your home!


About the author

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is a husband, dad, fitness enthusiast and personal trainer who has been working out since he was 18 years old. He enjoys the gym as well as exercising at home, and loves testing new fitness equipment and gadgets that aid in fitness and recovery.

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