Stamina Products sells some of the world’s cheapest indoor rowers and other affordable fitness equipment. This international company was founded in 1987 and was among the first to develop infomercials. Nighttime sales helped bring quick success, and by 1991 Stamina was among America’s most rapidly growing companies. Remember the ThighMaster endorsed by Suzanne Somers? That’s Stamina.
To keep prices low, Stamina makes its indoor rowers and other products primarily in Taiwan and China. Its US customer service is based in Springfield, Missouri.
Stamina features more than a dozen indoor rowers for home use. Customers can choose between three major resistance types: magnetic, air, and hydraulic. Prices range from $179 to $1199.
Stamina’s magnetic rowers include the Conversion II bike-rowers and the $999 Avari Programmable Magnetic with 12 preset workouts. A top Stamina air rower is the handsome Stamina X, a sleek red and black rower selling for $549. For the best of both worlds, Stamina also makes an $1199 hybrid magnetic-air rower called the DT Pro.
Most Stamina indoor rowers are hydraulic. Their hydraulic rower collection includes some of the smallest and cheapest rowing machines on the market. These units tend to fit adults of most heights, even when the machine frames are very compact. Of the eight options, we give the highest overall rating to the $229 Stamina BodyTrac Glider.
Some Stamina products we’ve reviewed are nontraditional rowing machines. Stamina’s most expensive model is the magnetic $1199 Conversion II. It works not only as a rower, but also as a recumbent bike. At the other end of the price spectrum, some of the unique hydraulic models have oar-like “free motion” bars instead of the traditional pull-back handlebar.
- Resistance Types: This brand offers three main types of rowing machines: air, magnetic, and hydraulic. The air rowers are best for customized resistance, while the magnetic rowers with preset resistance levels are especially quiet. The hydraulic rowers are the smallest and cheapest.
- Resistance Ranges: Stamina has a rower for every exertion level. The best option that accommodates any strength level is the $549 Stamina X Air Rower, which automatically adapts to user effort. Some of the cheaper hydraulic rowers from this brand also provide a surprising range of force.
- Fit All Heights: Although many Stamina rowing machines are compact, they generally have long beams to accommodate tall trainees.
- Strong Frames: Many Stamina frames are built from steel and have aluminum beams.
- Compact Sizes: Stamina’s hydraulic rowers can support 250 pounds or more, yet can also be made compact for storage. The Orbital 1201 has an especially small footprint and weighs a mere 35 pounds.
- Cordless: Stamina monitors tend to use batteries instead of AC power, so the machines can be set up anywhere.
- Price: Priced as low as $179, Stamina rowing machines are among the most affordable in the industry.
- Few Extras: Most Stamina rowing machines lack preset workout programming. They also lack accurate heart rate receivers, which some riders consider an essential feature.
- Cheaper Parts: These rowing machines are sometimes use plastic where other brands use feature metal. For example, Stamina rower seats sometimes get bearings with nylon casings instead of metal casings. These wear down quickly and compromise the smooth glide. The company also favours easily frayed cords over metal chains.
- Short Warranties: Stamina rowing machines have some of the shortest warranties in the industry. For example, the parts warranty on the BodyTrac Glider is just 90 days. Since the longevity of Stamina exercise products varies widely, it’s a good idea to read individual product reviews before making a purchase.
Stamina Products offers a wide variety of home rowing machines with low prices. These tend to have short warranties, but some get enthusiastic customer reviews. For this brand in particular, it’s worth reading individual product reviews. These rowing machines are all meant for different sorts of shoppers and deserve different expectations. These rowers tend to work best as quick fix, almost disposable machines. They are not built to last.