Lifecore Rowing Machine Reviews

8 Total Score
Lifecore Rowing Machine Reviews

Customer Service

LifeCORE Fitness is based in southern California and was founded in the late 1990s. The company literature states that LifeCORE’s best asset to manufacturing is its leaders’ background as fitness retailers; they understand what customers are seeking. LifeCORE’s rowing machines are meant for use at home or in light commercial settings. The company also manufactures elliptical trainers and stationary bikes.


LifeCORE makes three rowing machines for residential and/or light commercial use. Each uses a combination of magnets and air for resistance. Prices start at $699.

  • The compact R88 is LifeCORE’s most affordable rower. It is only under warranty for home use. This machine sits about 15” from the floor. Six levels of resistance are available, and changes are made manually. The R88’s computer monitor provides a pacer but does not have preset workout programs.
  • The R88 PRO is also under warranty for home use only. Unlike the basic R88, it is raised high from the ground and has pivoting foot rests. The pivoting foot rests let the rider’s lower body have more natural movement. Like the  R88, it has six levels of resistance. There are no preset workout options.
  • The R100 is LifeCORE’s top rowing machine. It is the only model with a light commercial warranty option. It is also the only LifeCORE rower with preset programs (11). It has 16 levels of resistance, whereas the other LifeCORE rowing machines have six.

The Great:
  • Quiet Operation: Magnetic resistance helps ensure quiet operation. Also, LifeCORE uses belt drives instead of chains.
  • Data: A simple LCD monitor shows 500 m time, total time elapsed, strokes per minute, total strokes, calories, speed, distance and pulse.
  • Wireless Heart Monitor: LifeCORE rowing machines are all equipped with wireless heart rate receivers to help trainees make the most of exercise sessions. Only the R100 is sold with a compatible chest strap.
  • Moving Foot Rests: The R88 PRO and R100 have moving footrests for good ergonomics. When foot rests do not pivot, riders could get strained because their bodies aren’t following a natural motion.
  • Storage: LifeCORE rowing machines can easily be folded for storage. Transport wheels facilitate movement.
  • Warranty: LifeCORE’s home warranty on the R100 is competitive. The frame has a lifetime guarantee, parts are protected for five years and labor is free during the first year of ownership. With LifeCORE’s other rowers though, labor is limited to 90 days.

The Not-So-Great:
  • Plastic: On the R88 and R88 PRO, the flywheel housing is plastic. On the R100 and other higher quality rowing machines the flywheel has a metal casing.
  • Two Program Modes: Very little workout support is provided on the R88 and R88 PRO. Other rowing machines with comparable prices include considerably more programming. The R100 has 11 workout modes.
  • Price: LifeSPAN rowing machines seem a bit overpriced. For the R88 and R88 PRO in particular, riders can only choose from six resistance levels. Additionally, the R88’s mere 90-day labor warranty is a turnoff.
  • Customer Service: Two days in a row, this reviewer was unable to reach a LifeCORE representative when phoning during their regular business hours.


LifeCORE rowers appeal to people seeking virtually silent workout machines. Owners are generally pleased with their selections, judging from customer reviews. The $699 R88 without programs might be a good choice if you seek simplicity. The R100 has programs but its price isn’t competitive. Another magnetic rower to check is the $799 Velocity Magnetic Rower. Unlike the R88 and R88 PRO, it has built-in workout programs.

Unless the quiet of a magnetic rower is essential, we’d opt for the Concept2 Model D air rower or WaterRower Natural with real water resistance.