Best Air Rowing Machines

Air rowers are popular at commercial gyms and for home use. They aren’t the most expensive rowing machines, but they’re preferred by many competitive athletes and are even seen on our list of the best rowers. Here we summarize air rowers and link to leading brands.

Air rowing machines are top sellers in commercial and residential markets. These fitness machines create an on-the-water feel, but they cost less and are easier to maintain than water rowing machines. The most popular rowing machine in the world is the Model D, which is an air rower from Concept2.

How do air rowers work?

Air rowers have sliding seats to support full-body aerobic workouts. Their resistance systems are fan-like flywheels. When the rower handlebar is pulled, it makes the fan blades spin and resist the surrounding air. If the fan flywheel is uncovered, there’s a bonus: a breeze to keep the rider cool.

How powerful is the resistance?

Resistance on air rowers adjusts naturally to fit every trainee. It is tied to user effort; the more powerfully a person rows, the more air is displaced. Some air rowers also have dampers for adjusting the airflow.

A possible drawback of an air rower is the fan’s sound. Hybrid rowing machines such as the Sole SR500 augment air resistance with magnetic resistance for a quieter ride.

Which brands are best?

Concept2 leads the air rower industry in terms of ergonomics and durability. Its stroke feels very similar to water rowing, and Concept2 units can be combined physically and electronically for team training. At the other end of the spectrum are cheap air rowing machines by Stamina Products. Medium-quality options come from several brands such as NordicTrack, BodyCraft and Horizon.

Read our honest rowing machine reviews for help deciding which air rower is best for your fitness center or home gym.

Top 3 Best Air Rowing Machines

Model Resistance Upright Storage Monitor Rating Pricing
1

Concept2 Model D Rower

Air Yes PM5
9.5
2

Concept2 Model E Rower

Air Yes Backlit Performance Monitor 5 (PM5)
9.25
3

Sole SR400 Rower

Magnetic Yes 5.5" LCD display
8.5

See All Air Rowing Machines Below

BodyCraft VR500 Rower Review

BodyCraft VR500 Rower

The VR500 Rower leads its series with BodyCraft’s best indoor rower technology. Highlights include a smooth aluminum track, 12 preset workouts and wireless heart rate control. This rowing machine’s seat level is chair-like at 19”. Being easier to access compared with low profile rowing machines, it can accommodate a ...

Concept2 Dynamic Rower Review

Concept2 Dynamic Rower

The commercial quality Concept2 Dynamic Indoor Rower is a compact fitness machine, yet it provides a longer range of motion than the Concept2 Model D and Model E. This rower is recommended for people with inseams up to 40” whereas the other Concept2 rowing machines are for inseams up to 38”. The steel frame is made ...

NordicTrack RW200 Indoor Rower Review

NordicTrack RW200 Indoor Rower

Affordable and loaded with programming, the NordicTrack RW200 is designed for new rowers and makes our list of best rowing machines. It harnesses air resistance to train your whole body, helping you build strength while keeping your heart rate up. The faster you row, the harder the RW200 pushes back. Exercise ...

BodyCraft VR100 Pro Rower Review

BodyCraft VR100 Pro Rower

BodyCraft’s VR100 Rower is a very basic rowing machine designed for home use. It produces hybrid resistance with a fan and magnetic current. The harder you work, the stronger the resistance becomes. The VR100 is the simplest rowing machine in BodyCraft's collection. Some of its best features are an airplane-grade ...

Stamina X Rower Review

Stamina X Rower

The eye-catching red and black Stamina X Rowing Machine is among Stamina’s top deals and one of our favorites. for the price range. We rate it an 8 overall, but for value it’s a 10. The Stamina X is sized to fit almost anyone up to 250 pounds, and its resistance adjusts to fit the rider’s force. It produces smooth ...

Stamina ATS 1405 Air Rower

Stamina ATS 1405 Air Rower

Stamina’s ATS Air Rower 1405 produces smooth resistance with a fan flywheel. The harder you work, the stronger the resistance becomes. This resistance system makes the rowing machine suitable for virtually anyone; customers have commented that it feels just as powerful as the popular (and more expensive) Concept2 ...

Stamina ATS 1402 Air Rower Review

Stamina ATS 1402 Air Rower

Stamina’s ATS Air Rower 1402 is a very basic yet capable rowing machine designed for residential use. It's priced lower than most other air rowers -- just $499 -- so its durability is pretty remarkable. The ATS Air Rower 1402 gets a sturdy steel frame and has a metal chain instead of a cheaper tension cord. (With ...

BodyCraft VR200 Pro Rower Review

BodyCraft VR200 Pro Rower

The BodyCraft VR200 Rower is a simpler and more compact version of the VR400, yet it can comfortably accommodate a trainee up to 6’2” tall. Highlights include a smooth aluminum rail and wireless heart rate monitoring. Six levels of resistance are provided with a fan that also cools the rider. Session data are provided ...

Lifecore R88 PRO Rower Review

Lifecore R88 PRO Rower

The R88 PRO Rowing Machine is one of three indoor rowers in the Lifecore lineup: the R88, R88 PRO and R100. Compared with the standard Lifecore R88, the R88 PRO Rowing Machine is designed to withstand heavier use. Its frame is significantly longer and also sits higher from the ground at 19.5” for easier access. This ...

Lifecore R88 Rower Review

Lifecore R88 Rower

The Lifecore R88 Rowing Machine delivers efficient aerobic workouts in a compact package. It sits just 15” from the ground, is 70” long and 18” wide. The console uses battery power so the machine can be placed anywhere; no power cord is required. Tension for this rower is manually controlled. At the lowest level ...

Horizon Oxford Rower Review

Horizon Oxford Rower

The Horizon Oxford Rower is a simple black and white rowing machine for home gyms. Measuring 100" long (8'4"), it is one of the largest rowing machines on our review website. Its long aluminum beam helps the machine fit people of all heights, and the beam can be folded upward up in case floor space is needed. This ...