Rowing machines can give you a great full-body workout that targets more major muscle groups than other exercises. Having one at home is extremely convenient. But how do you know where to start? Whether you’re a beginner or a rowing expert, we’ll help you find the best rowing machines in Canada for your home gym.
We evaluated each of the rowing machines on our list based on a few key performance areas, including the type of resistance, tension levels, size, weight capacities, and height capacities. We’ve done our best to ensure that there is an option for everyone here.
Best Rowing Machines for Canadians
- Best Overall: Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
- Best Display: Echelon Row-S Connected Rowing Machine
- Best Storage: Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine
- Best for Full-Body Workouts: Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine
- Best Water-Based Resistance: ECHANFIT Water Rowing Machine
- Best Magnetic Resistance: DMASUN Foldable Indoor Rower
Why Did We Choose These Rowing Machines in Canada?
As we evaluated each of these rowing machines in our test lab, it became clear that they each stood out in a certain area. These stand-out features became part of the reason we put these rowers on our list. Here is why each of these machines became the best rowing machines in Canada.
The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine is our best rowing machine in Canada overall. It’s incredibly sturdy, with a quiet and effective air-based resistance system. It’s perfect for a wider variety of users than other options on our list.
The Echelon Row-S Connected Rowing Machine, on the other hand, has the best display we found. The large 22” touchscreen allows you a front-row seat to all your workout programs and streaming platforms.
Sunny Health and Fitness’s Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine offers the best storage option. This machine folds down small so you can easily store it when you aren’t using it.
If you’re looking for a full-body workout, the Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine is your best option. That’s because you can use it for upright exercises, too. The lack of a console makes it simple to use this machine for other tension exercises.
Want more realistic rowing feel? Choose the ECHANFIT Water Rowing Machine. This machine offers great water-based resistance, which you can adjust by adding or removing water from the water tank.
Finally, the DMASUN Foldable Indoor Rower has the best magnetic resistance on our list. With 16 quiet resistance levels, users at any fitness level can get a great start on their fitness journey.
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine is our choice for the best rowing machine in Canada. This air-based rower gives you direct control over your resistance. You can choose from 10 damper levels, each of which helps control airflow and impacts tension. However, the tension is mostly generated by your actions, which can help you reach your fitness goals a little more intuitively. Despite being an air-based tension system, this option is quieter than other air-based systems. It also feels remarkably smooth.
This rower uses a PM5 (or Performance Monitor 5) to keep track of your fitness progress over each session. This display console is simple to use and easy to navigate, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to mess with more complicated control schemes.
You can connect this rower to Bluetooth to help monitor your heart rate and keep your workout data handy. You can save your progress and metrics to a USB flash drive, which can be plugged into your computer and uploaded to your favourite fitness apps. This machine works well with a variety of fitness apps. You might already use a compatible app!
This dependable machine is easy to store, too. If you don’t have a lot of space for your rowing machine, consider choosing a model like this one. You can separate it into two pieces for easy storage. If your home gym is a bit smaller (or you need the space for other equipment), simply collapse this option. It’s a simple process that greatly reduces the size of the machine.
Overall, this rower is one of the best options on the Canadian market right now. Concept2 has dubbed this model ‘the most popular rower in the world’, and it’s got the title for a reason!
The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine offers a quiet, effective workout. The air-based resistance isn’t loud at all. You can connect the machine to a lot of different fitness apps using the backlit LCD Performance Monitor 5. This monitor is simple to navigate, with a lot of useful information that you can access easily. It has the highest maximum weight capacity on our list, meaning it’s great for heavier Canadians who need a stable machine to help them work out.
- Minimal noise with a smoother flywheel
- Connects to a lot of different fitness apps you might already have
- Backlit Performance Monitor 5 is easy to navigate, with a ton of useful information
- Perfect for heavier Canadians who need a stable workout machine
From the Test Lab
“This rowing machine is quiet, stable, and easy to store. The display is simple to use too, so most Canadians can enjoy it without any hassle.”
Echelon Row-S Connected Rowing Machine
It's Great For:
The Echelon Row-S Connected Rowing Machine is the perfect example of a high-end rower. This option might be a little rich, but it does offer some of the best features on our list. First is the display. This 22” HD touchscreen is your portal to the Echelon Premium app, which comes with a host of live and on-demand classes, as well as personal instructors and waterway courses to help make your workout interesting. This touchscreen is completely immersive, as well as bigger and more informative than any of the other machines on our list.
This rower uses smooth magnetic resistance, but you don’t have to stick with the manual options you chose. A toggle on the handlebars allows you to increase or decrease the tension as required, meaning you can test your limits to see how your body is improving.
This machine offers adjustable pedals and handlebars. The pedals have adjustable straps to keep your feet right where you want them. It folds down for storage, meaning that you don’t always have to navigate around it. It folds up small enough that it won’t be in your way while you’re doing other things.
Everything about the Echelon Row-S Connected Rowing Machine makes it convenient and comfortable. They want you to have an effective workout, so they’ve included all the tools to make your workout count.
Echelon’s Row-S Connected Rowing Machine features a large 22” touchscreen console. Through this screen, you have access to a large variety of features, including connectivity to Echelon’s fitness app, Echelon Premier. This works best if you already have Echelon machines. It folds for easy storage, too, so you can still enjoy this machine in smaller spaces. There are a full 32 levels of smooth, magnetic resistance to test yourself with. There are also multiple points of adjustment (including the pedals, handlebars, and seat) for users of all heights and sizes.
- A large 22” HD touchscreen display gives you access to a wide range of apps and features
- Folds for easy storage in smaller spaces
- A full 32 levels of smooth magnetic resistance
- Multiple points of adjustment for users of all sizes
From the Test Lab
“This machine offers a huge screen for a complete experience. It’s also highly adjustable and features a ton of resistance. Our testers found that it was great for families or multiple users.”
Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine
The Sunny Health and Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine is one of the smallest options on our list. That’s because it folds up small, giving you plenty of room to work around it if you need the space for something else. The folding is convenient and doesn’t take much muscle at all, so just about anyone can do it. If there isn’t much room in your home gym, this is the perfect option for you.
There are 16 levels of tension available on this machine. It’s no slouch when it comes to tension levels, ensuring that you have a smoother path to reach your fitness goals. Multiple convenient features help, too – the large, padded seat and longer rail make it comfortable for most users to use this rowing machine.
The simple digital monitor keeps track of time, calories, count, and total count as you work out. This can help you track how your goals are changing over time. The back of the machine features a water bottle and device holder. You’ll be able to watch your favorite shows or workout programs while you row.
Finally, the handlebars and pedals are completely non-slip. The pedals include an adjustable strap, which will help adjust to the size of your foot. When you’re finished with the machine, you can fold it up, lean it up on its transport wheels, and store it wherever you have room.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine has multiple comfort features, including a wide, padded seat, non-slip handlebars, and non-slip pedals with an adjustable strap. There are 16 levels of magnetic resistance, which can help you improve how you work out over time. The transportation wheels make it easy to move the machine once it’s folded up for storage. Finally, a bottle holder and device holder help keep your water and favorite device close at hand when you’re exercising.
- Wide, padded seat, non-slip handlebars, and non-slip pedals for more comfortable use
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance to help you improve
- Transportation wheels make for easy movement when the machine is folded
- Bottle holder and device holder to hold your mobile devices as you exercise
From the Test Lab
“This rowing machine worked well for our experienced testers, but it was also perfect for those who were just getting started.”
Best for Full-Body Workouts
Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine
If you prefer a full-body workout (or more of one, since it’s a rowing machine), choose the Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine. Here, you won’t find a large console obscuring your vision. Instead, a small console that shows simple statistics really makes this rowing machine simple. There’s a device holder, which can keep your device seated over the display. This can help keep you from checking it and allows you to watch a show or movie while working out.
The real versatility comes with the realization that there isn’t a console in your way. Because of the way this rower is laid out, you can use the handlebars as a standard tension workout. Keep your muscles and core working with a series of curls, raises, and other exercises. This is a unique feature of Fitness Reality, as most rowers notice that the console gets in the way.
The LCD display helps keep track of time, distance, total count, calories burned, and strokes per minute. If you want to keep this information to compare to past and future workouts, be sure to connect the Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine to your Bluetooth phone or tablet. These apps can keep track of your progress or fitness plan and how it’s progressing.
The length of the rail makes this one of the best options for multiple different heights. The rail is large enough to accommodate users between 4’9” and 6’4” tall. If you fall within these parameters (and most people do), you can adjust the seat to your height for a more comfortable experience.
The Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine features 14 levels of magnetic resistance. With this machine, you can start your fitness journey at any level. If you already have machines that work with the MyCloudFitness app, you’ll be able to connect this machine to your exercise ecosystem for a more complete idea of your progress. The longer rails support users up to 6’4” tall, while users as short as 4’9” can enjoy the machine as well. Without a console in the way, you can use the machine in an upright position for additional exercises.
- 14 levels of magnetic resistance allow you to start your fitness journey at any level
- Works with MyCloudFitness App, which may connect to gym equipment you already own
- Longer rail supports users up to 6’4” tall
- Can be used for upright exercises as well
From the Test Lab
“This rower provides surprisingly flexibility, especially when it comes to additional exercises.”
Best Water-Based Resistance
ECHANFIT Water Rowing Machine
The ECHANFIT Water Rowing Machine is one of the only water-based resistance systems we could find. This machine offers a full 6 resistance levels, which can be easily adjusted by adding or removing water in the water rower tank. This provides a realistic water rowing feeling, second only to rowing a real boat on the water. It’s rare for water rowers to be this small, too – this option is great for those with limited space in their home gyms because of the way it folds up when you’re finished with it. Just make sure to drain the water first.
This rower may be smaller than some of the other options on our list, but it accommodates some of the tallest Canadians. This rower is usable by those up to 6’6” tall, making it one of the best options for taller users. Everything about it is adjustable, from the handle to the pedals. The raised seat also helps. You can get down onto the rower without any difficulties, especially if you’re taller.
It’s built for comfort, too. The large, padded seat helps create a welcoming feeling that some machines lack, especially when they use molded plastic seats. This seat uses comfortable cushioned foam, making it ideal for those who want a little extra comfort when they work out.
The monitor on the console helps track metrics like time, count, total count, distance, and calories. It’s adjustable, so you can move it to wherever you can see it best. You can also use this console to hold your phone or tablet, which is especially useful if you have workout programs to follow up with.
The ECHANFIT Water Rowing Machine features 6 resistance levels, which can be changed by adding or removing water from the rower. It offers a realistic rowing feeling, with resistance that is enhanced compared to magnetic resistance rowers. The seat rail is long enough for users up to 6’6”, making it best for taller Canadians. The raised seat height and adjustable pedals make this rower accessible for users of just about any height.
- 6 resistance levels, changed by adding or removing water
- A realistic rowing feeling with enhanced resistance
- The seat rail is long enough for users up to 6’6”
- Raised seat height and adjustable pedals make it simple to adjust to any height
From the Test Lab
“Our tallest testers loved this rower. It’s super adjustable, so they could get comfortable.”
Best Magnetic Resistance
DMASUN Foldable Indoor Rower
While most of the rowing machines on our list offer magnetic resistance, The DMASUN Foldable Indoor Rower does it best. The tension here is quiet, sensitive enough that you aren’t going to disturb anyone in your house. There are also 16 different adjustment levels, which can help you achieve your fitness goals by slowly increasing resistance as you improve.
This machine works to create a low-impact environment for your workout. If you have knee issues, rowing machines are already some of the best exercises you can get. This machine works to keep your knees from feeling any impact or strain, so you don’t have to limp away from the machine at the end of the workout.
It’s comfortable in other ways, too. The soft ergonomic seat offers an intuitive curve for your body. It slides smoothly along the rail during strokes, preventing snags that might cause you to lose your rhythm. When you’re finished with the machine, you can tilt it onto its side and store it against the wall. It’s the next best thing to a foldable design.
The non-slip handlebars are comfortable as well, offering you the best of both comfort and safety. While you’re working towards your fitness goals, you can check your rowing time, distance, count, calories, and strokes per minute on the LCD monitor. It’s easy to read and simple to navigate, so you always know exactly how you’re progressing.
The DMASUN Foldable Indoor Rower features quiet magnetic resistance. You can work out at any time without disturbing anyone. The soft, cushioned seat makes exercise more comfortable. The large, simple LCD display is simple to navigate, making it easy to track your stats over time and identify where you can improve. There are 16 adjustable levels, so you ramp up the intensity over time as your fitness level increases.
- A quiet magnetic resistance system won’t disturb the rest of your household
- A soft seat makes exercise more comfortable for all users
- A large, simple LCD display makes tracking your stats simple
- 16 adjustable levels give you lots of opportunities to improve
From the Test Lab
“This rower is super quiet, making it perfect for those who work out while other people are working or studying.”
Why Trust Us?
At our test lab, we’ve spent years finding the best products for your home and lifestyle. From sleep accessories to mattresses, exercise machines, and more – we’ve seen it all, and we’re only bringing you the best. We evaluated each of the best rowers in Canada (as well as a few that didn’t quite live up to our expectations) based on the following performance areas.
- Resistance Type. The type of resistance a rowing machine uses makes a huge difference in how well it works, and which users will enjoy it. Because of this, we tried to find a variety of different resistance options. There’s something for everyone on our list.
- Tension Levels. How many tension levels does the machine provide? The more tension levels available, the more you can test yourself. The more you can progress along your fitness journey, too.
- Weight and Height Capacity. All users cannot use every rowing machine. These machines have weight capacities and height capacities that must be followed. We tried to include a wide range of rowers for users of every size and height.
- Size. If you have a smaller space for your home gym (or no permanent space at all), you’ll want a rowing machine that has a smaller footprint and stores well. We looked at both of these factors before recommending rowers.
Why Should You Use a Rowing Machine?
A rowing machine uses a tension and resistance system, which allows you to mimic the motion associated with rowing a boat. Rowing machines have several benefits. They provide a full-body workout, so you’ll work for more muscle groups than with other exercises. Rowing is accessible for all fitness levels, as it’s an intense low-impact exercise that won’t stress your joints.
Rowing is mostly leg work, though there is a good amount of trunk and upper body work in each stroke. By using a rowing machine, you’ll work the following groups:
- Abdominal muscles
That’s not the limit of how beneficial a rowing machine can be, though. It’s great for those who want an alternative to treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals. Rowing also helps you build power and endurance better than most of the other exercises you can perform in your home gym.
How to Choose a Rowing Machine for Canadians
Now that you’re ready to start rowing, how do you choose the right machine for you? Here are some tips for determining which options are best for your home gym.
There are a few different types of resistance that rowing machines use. The type of resistance can determine how firm the tension feels, as well as how many tension levels are available.
- Magnetic Resistance. Magnetic resistance is extremely durable but usually isn’t very strong. If you’re prone to rowing slowly, a magnetic rower can be a great option. It’s also one of the quietest options, perfect for your apartment or exercise while others are busy. Magnetic rowers offer a lot of adjustment when it comes to resistance.
- Air-based Resistance. Air resistance adjusts tension based on your rowing intensity. They produce a lot of noise, but they also provide smoother movement than other options. Air-based rowers are best for users who already know how to row.
- Water-based Resistance. This type of resistance feels more realistic than other types. Machines that use water resistance can be expensive, but they are also more versatile in general than other options.
Rowing machines have a set number of tension levels. These levels allow you to raise and lower tension depending on your skill level and the intensity of your workout. Some rowing machines have just a few different tension levels, which can be great for beginners. However, some users prefer to have a wider range of tensions to choose from. This is especially true for experts and those who want to use the rower to track fitness progress.
A rowing machine should have at least 6 tension levels. This is a great place to start if you are just beginning with rowing machines. If you are an absolute beginner and you want to slowly increase the resistance as your fitness level improves, you should choose a rower that has over 30 different resistance levels.
This allows you to slowly ramp up the tension as you improve over time. If you’re interested in using your rower for the long haul, consider the tension levels it offers. Choose the tension system you prefer for your workout routine.
When you use a rowing machine, the seat moves along the rail as you push with your legs and pull with your arms. Because of the way it works, each machine has a weight limit. You should be careful about observing this weight limit. If you put too much weight on the machine, it can become unstable. It could damage the machine or lead to injury.
If you exceed the weight limit, you could also void the machine’s warranty. To stay safe and keep your machine in proper working order, make sure to choose a machine with a weight limit that exceeds the weight of any users.
The size of the rail and the height of the seat are some of the best indicators of the height restriction on each rowing machine. If you are very tall, you should choose a machine that is equipped to handle taller Canadians. For example, some machines are great for those up to 6’6”, while others top out at 6’4”.
Unfortunately, most rowers that aren’t equipped to handle these heights are only large enough for users up to 6’2”. If you are taller than this, consider choosing a machine that specifically caters to taller users.
Rowing machines can get large, especially when you choose some of the more luxurious options on the Canadian market. On our list, we’ve included the dimensions of each rower. This can help you decide if it will fit into your room, or if you need to choose a machine that works out better. Keep in mind that some machines fold for storage. We’ll talk about those machines in just a moment. If the size is a large factor in your rower decision, consider looking into one that folds down for storage.
The display, or console, on each rowing machine is a vital piece of equipment. Some machines come with touchscreen options, while others use LCDs or backlit consoles to display your statistics. Others connect to your smartphone directly, so they don’t display any information on a screen. The choice here is mostly personal. What type of display do you want? What type of statistics and metrics are most important for you when you’re working out?
Once you know what numbers you’ll be looking for, you can choose a rower that displays those metrics. Otherwise, choose one that connects to a fitness app with the figures you want to be displayed.
The display should be easy to navigate and simple to read.
Rowing machines can be long. The slide deck is one of the longest pieces of exercise equipment available, especially in machines with a taller height capacity. Most Canadians won’t be able to leave a rowing machine out all the time, especially when they have other gym equipment to use.
Thankfully, most rowing machine companies have considered this. Most options can fold or unscrew, becoming two separate pieces. This allows you to store it easily, without it becoming a hassle in your closet. If you’re worried about moving the entire weight of the machine, consider choosing an option that comes with built-in transport wheels. These wheels can help make moving the machine easier once you have it folded up and ready to store.
Like all exercise machines, you might want your rower to connect to an app. Apps might provide workout routines, videos, courses, and more. They can also keep track of your workout statistics over time, helping you compare your progress and explore exactly how effective your workouts are. Some rowing machines may connect to proprietary apps via Bluetooth. Others might connect to common apps available for most machines.
If you use a particular fitness app, make sure to check your options with each rowing machine. Choose an option that connects to your fitness app if possible, so you don’t have to switch. If you have other workout equipment, consider which apps and connectivity options you use there for comparison.
To become viable for users of different heights, a rower must adjust. There should be multiple adjustment points, including the handlebars, pedals, and seat. Everyone will need to adjust the rower to fit their height and proportions. Otherwise, you won’t be getting a very effective workout. Look for rowing machines that provide multiple points of adjustment, especially if you are shorter than average or taller than 6’2”.
Handlebars and Pedals
Aside from the seat, you’ll be interacting with the handlebars and pedals more than any other part of the rowing machine. These parts must be comfortable to use. Handlebars should come with soft-touch features, ergonomics, or other options that make them easier to hold. Anti-slip options for both handlebars and pedals deserve your consideration. If your hands or feet slip during a stroke, you might injure yourself. As a result, look for anti-slip options. Pedals should also have adjustable straps to keep your feet planted.
If you’ve ever seen a rowing machine in use at a gym, you know they can be loud. Noisy rowers are disruptive when you use them at home. Neighbors and other family members might hear every moment of your workout, even if you’re in another room or on another floor. This is especially inconvenient if you work out early in the morning or late at night.
To avoid disturbing those around you, make sure to choose a quieter noise level. Air-based resistance is the loudest option available. Water-based resistance is a little quieter, but magnetic resistance should be the quietest option for those who need to sneak their workouts in.
Smoothness is sometimes overlooked when shopping for rowing machines. While you don’t necessarily have to look for the smoothest possible machine, it can make a difference. Machines with smoother tension can lead to a more effective workout, especially when it comes to magnetic resistance.
On the other hand, a rower that isn’t as smooth can put a little more strain on your muscles and interrupt the perfect flow of each stroke. While there’s no way to measure smoothness, there are some general rules. First, magnetic tension is the smoothest available. Air-based tension is controlled by how you work the machine, so it can be smooth if you have some experience. Water-based tension is firm and realistic, so it can be a little bumpier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rowing machines provide a full-body workout without the high-impact feel. If you want to work your core as well as the rest of your body, a rowing machine is one of the best home gym choices.
Treadmills and rowing machines provide different benefits. Rowing machines build muscle, while treadmills are best for burning calories. Treadmills are mostly a lower-body workout, while a rowing machine works your entire body. The one you should choose depends on how you want your workouts to go.
For beginners, 5 to 20 minutes per day on the rowing machine is ideal. As you improve and grow used to the exercise, you can increase your time as you see fit.