Best Rowers for CrossFit and TOP 9 Rowing Machines Reviewed 2021

Jeff Baldelli
Written by
Last update:

When you step onto a rowing machine and give it a pull, the flywheel begins spinning.

This flywheel will keep spinning as you put in the work.

As the flywheel spins faster you will feel the resistance fight back.

A rowing machine allows you to move a lot of weight as you row. The way the flywheel builds your strength to avoid the reduction in kinetic energy is really the operative concept that makes a rowing machine so unique.

Rowing machines are superb for CrossFit fans and anyone looking to build up strength, endurance, and stamina.

There are a lot of different types of rowing machines on the market which makes selecting the best rowing machine tough for beginners.

That is where I come in. I put together this super comprehensive guide on 9 of the best rowing machines on the market right now. I also included a full guide on how to pick out the best rowing machine for your goals. Without any further ado, let’s get to learning.

WaterRower Club Rowing MachineBest OverallWaterRower Club Rowing Machine
Goplus Magnetic Rowing MachineBudget PickGoplus Magnetic Rowing Machine
WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine in Black WalnutUpgrade PickWaterRower Classic Rowing Machine in Black Walnut

1. WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

Our rating: 9 / 10

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine

Check Price on Amazon


  • Very smooth, quiet operation compared to other rowers.
  • Ergonomic, adjustable footrests.
  • Stable, sturdy frame.


  • Manual-based assembly
  • Seat is a bit hard compared to other rowing machines

The WaterRower Club is a gorgeous, smooth rowing machine. Its patented WaterFlywheel has been designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving across the water.

It features precision machined aluminum, steel, and wood components and adjustable monorail with automatic chain tension.

Not only should you be able to use this machine for a variety of different workout levels, it’s easy to move around, being both lightweight and foldable.

2. Stamina ATS Air Rower

Our rating: 7 / 10

Stamina ATS Air Rower

Check Price on Amazon


  • Durable and sturdy
  • Quiet & smooth mechanism
  • Great addition to your home gym


  • Small footplates, poor for people with large feet.
  • High quality flywheel is expensive.

With this Adjustable-Resistance Air Rower | Enjoy a fun and safe indoor rowing experience.

This Stamina ATS Air Rower is a quality indoor rower that can be used for CrossFit workouts. It is well designed and robust with a high quality, easy to use rowing mechanism.

This rower gives the full body workouts that are needed for CrossFit. It has a very quiet design and sports a rugged steel frame with a smooth mechanism. It gets heavy duty use in CrossFit gyms after being used for 2000hrs or more it is still going strong.

3. WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine in Black Walnut

Our rating: 7 / 10

WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine in Black Walnut

Check Price on Amazon


  • Nice design
  • Smooth rowing
  • The monitor is accurate
  • Very good engineering
  • The quality of construction is good


  • Can be a little loud (noise in the mechanism, not the noise of the water)
  • The monitor is big. It can interfere with the meter’s operation.

The WaterRower Rowing Machine is a low-impact aerobic activity that offers most of the same benefits as the classic rower. It is sustainable, which means you can use it for years. The WaterSmith WaterRower Rowing Machine has been crafted with high quality materials to make it challenging, but not impossible in case you are looking for a stronger workout.

The machine has two independent rowing arms that can be used at the same time, which means you can train with the maximum resistance possible while spending the time that suits you. It has steel construction that is both strong and durable.

It also comes with eight different fitness levels to give you a full range of challenges as you work your way to your maximum potential. At the WaterSmith, you’ll find a fantastic rowing machine that can make your workouts easy and effective.

4. Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine

Our rating: 6 / 10

Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine

Check Price on Amazon


  • Large 11-inch wheels
  • A good length for tall people
  • Very quiet during operation
  • Great price value


  • Tracking monitor button is flimsy
  • Resistance doesn’t feel all that natural

This very effective exercise equipment uses a magnetic brake mechanism, offering low impact and quiet operation.

The Goplus Magnetic Rower comes with 2 aluminum alloy footplates with comfortable non-slip PU cushion, allowing for a more effective and safe rowing. There is a mechanical tension control that enables you to adjust the intensity and difficulty you want.

The Goplus Magnetic Rower is tested and guaranteed to be sturdy with Heavy Duty Steel Construction. This full-body workouts equipment features a generous 8-inch seat height and is perfectly suited for users between 5‪‹ and 6’‹.

5. First Degree Fitness Apollo II Reserve AR Indoor Water Rowing Machine

Our rating: 6 / 10

First Degree Fitness Apollo II Reserve AR Indoor Water Rowing Machine

Check Price on Amazon


  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Well-made and sturdy construction
  • Smooth and quiet rowing
  • Includes an adjustable aluminum spacer for a perfect fit and movement efficiency.
  • Comes with a warranty

With 90 pounds of rowing capacity, the First Degree Fitness Apollo II Reserve AR Indoor Water Rowing Machine is one of the best pieces of workout equipment you can have in your home. It is environmentally friendly, since you are not burning any excess fossil fuels as your muscles provide the power.

It is a perfect combination of fitness and entertainment. While it has a low impact on your joints, its user-friendly resistance levels give you a challenging workout.

Superior engineering solutions ensure that both the comfort, convenience and your safety, all of which are of utmost importance. The Apollo II Rowing Machine comes with a unique reversible rowing arm that is compatible for flat and inclined operation.

6. Stamina DT Pro Rower

Our rating: 6 / 10

Stamina DT Pro Rower

Check Price on Amazon


  • Power plate style rower for whole body workout
  • Solid steel frame
  • Space-saving design
  • Quiet operation
  • Only 60 minutes assembly required


  • Missing features
  • Not for speedy workouts

This excellent Stamina DT Pro Rower is one of the best rowing machines for CrossFit. The Stamina DT Pro is a rowing machine with a large gym style design and home style performance. It features a highly effective front rail welded steel frame with sliding seat rails. It includes a stitched slide handle and a built-in computer to easily track your progress. You can use the included heart rate monitor to track the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve traveled.

The Stamina DT Pro Rower can be used by exercising beginners, as well as athletes looking for a more intense workout. It is not one of the fastest home rowers but can really pack it on with the resistance.

Bottom line: The Stamina DT Pro is one of the best rowing machines for CrossFit athletes because of the solid steel frame, space-saving design, and the quiet operation.

7. First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Home Fluid Machine

Our rating: 6 / 10

First Degree Fitness Viking 2 AR Home Fluid Machine

Check Price on Amazon


  • Fresh new 12.5 inch design.
  • Premium Ergosphere design (ie: great spine and body position).
  • Fluid Rowing Resistance.


  • Not as compact or portable as other rowers.
  • Has only a digital monitor.
  • Limited warranty period.

This rower is one of the higher priced products on the market. It has great fitness features. This indoor rower is mostly for home use and can be a great alternative to a gym membership.

It is a great option for people who would like to improve their overall fitness level. This is especially true for those who have physical disabilities. This model is also very lightweight and compact which makes it perfect for storage. It has a capacity of up to 500 pounds and has a water-based resistance system.

It has been optimized for a comfortable body position with the Ergosphere design. It also has a great 12.5-inch design. This is one of the most compact rowing machines on the market, making it perfect for small spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which is the best rowing machine for home use?

There are over 30 great rowing machines for home use. The Stamina 1215 Loop Rower is the best overall rower for most people.

This is a good mid-range rower that has all of the features you need in a good home rower. It has a 15-pound flywheel along with adjustable resistance so you are able to adjust it to whatever level you need and make it easier or harder to work out. Stamina is known for making mid range rowers and this is one of their best machines. This will give you a great workout and is easy enough for almost anyone to use.

The Concept2 Model E is the best overall rowing machine and is the best machine to buy if you can afford it.

Which magazine is best for rowing machine?

Rowing machines have seen a recent renaissance in popularity, a trend that is expected to continue into 2019. While rowing is a popular activity at gyms across the country, many people want the option to use this equipment at home. This is understandable considering the amount of time required to maintain the rowing machine at a commercial facility and the high membership fees that come with most gyms.

For this reason, it is not surprising that the rowing machine industry is growing at a rapid rate. You can expect many innovations to come out in the next year as rowing machines look to keep innovating and stay on top.

The first step to buying a rowing machine is deciding what your needs and budget are.

Do you want top end features or are you on a restricted budget? How much weight do you want to be able to lift? Are you looking for cardio rowing machine or a machine to do strength training and toning?

What rowing machine does Crossfit use?

Crossfit has its own specific rowing machine, the Concept2 Model D. The Model D is a newer, more modern version of the traditional rower that has been used for generations. Crossfit also has its own recommended way to use the Model D to achieve the best results when performing Crossfit rowing workouts.

In a Crossfit rowing workout, when the athlete is on the machine they are always facing the front of the machine. The workout will include a specific number of minutes your exercising and performing different types of rowing.

If you do your Crossfit rowing workouts on a Concept2, you have to make sure that the seat is at the correct height. The correct thigh height should be about 1/4″ or 6.5mm from the top of the thigh to the top of the footman.

Is rowing good for HIIT?

Whether you want to do HIIT training or want to use a rowing machine as part of your cardio routine, a rower can be a great addition to your workouts. Rowing provides a full-body workout that raises your heart rate, burns calories, improves agility and balance and tones muscles. If you are not experienced in the rowing machine or have not used one in a while, here are a few pointers.

To get the most out of your HIIT routine, warm up for about five minutes. Start easy, because it is better to get your body used to the motion of rowing. Then, once you feel comfortable, set your dial at the highest resistance. Make sure you are balanced, feet on the risers, and stroke.


Most CrossFit athletes consider rowing a vital part of their fitness routine. A rower can add value to an athlete's training regimen by increasing cardio-respiratory endurance, muscle endurance and strength, and overall body coordination and balance.

The table below compares 9 of the top-rated rowing machines with their review scores. The display is set up in order from highest to lowest by looking at the rating.

Our Recommendation

WaterRower Club Rowing MachineBest OverallWaterRower Club Rowing Machine
Goplus Magnetic Rowing MachineBudget PickGoplus Magnetic Rowing Machine
WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine in Black WalnutUpgrade PickWaterRower Classic Rowing Machine in Black Walnut