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
Concept2 Model D Rower
Concept2 Model E Rower
|Air||Yes||Backlit Performance Monitor 5 (PM5)|
Sole SR400 Rower
|Magnetic||Yes||5.5" LCD display|