June 22, 2024

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Our Guide to the Best Rowing Machines in Canada in 2024 (And Where to Get Them)

11 min read

No matter what you’re feelings are towards daily exercise, a rowing machine might be the next big thing for your home gym. They can help you improve your heart health (who’s opposed to that?) while building strength in all of your major muscles… core, legs, and arms! Plus, it’s a low-impact form of exercise that won’t aggravate injuries or take a toll on your joints. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right?

If a rowing machine sounds like the perfect way to meet your exercise quota every week, we fully support you. But in order for you to support yourself, you need to choose the right rowing machine. How do you do that, you might ask? Think about all of its features, of course! Price, resistance type, resistance levels, seat comfort…nothing should be overlooked if you want your perfect match.

This comprehensive guide will investigate the best rowing machines in Canada and outline the criteria you should consider while making your purchase decision. Let’s dive right into our top five products.

The Best Rowing Machines Right Now

Our Top Pick for The Best Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Review

 

What We Think of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine boasts a lot of beneficial features. And who doesn’t love those? The extra-long slide rail on this one guarantees that it can be used by anyone who falls within the 250-pound weight limit, no matter how tall they are. If the length is an issue for your space, have no fear. You can fold up the rail to open up your floor again.

If you’ve ever used a rowing machine with a less-than-stellar seat, you’ll appreciate the ergonomic shape of this one. You won’t ever feel like you’re going to slide right off of it. The non-slip handlebars keep your grip comfy, too. It doesn’t neglect your feet, either. The pedals have straps and a grippy surface to keep your feet in place without any effort on your part.

There really aren’t any features that jump out at us and scream “red flag”. We aren’t thrilled that there’s no warranty coverage in Canada, but that’s standard for the company. The only issue we have with it really is the limitations of the monitor. It can’t track your stroke rate, and since that’s important to serious rowers, it might not be perfect for everybody. We’re disappointed about that too!

What Reviewers Are Saying About the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

Reviewers have a high opinion of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine. Nobody had trouble putting it together, and the folding style helps them keep their spaces open and free of trip hazards. The resistance levels are effective for everybody, and their feet feel really secure with the straps and non-slip texture of the pedals.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Specifications

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Long slide rail fits everyone’s height

  • Non-slip footpads and straps keep your feet secure

  • Folds for easier storage

  • Ergonomic seat and non-slip handlebars give you security and comfort

Cons:

Our Final Thoughts on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

  • Performance: 5/5

  • Usability: 5/5

  • Price: 4/5

  • Quality: 5/5

All in all, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is a well-rounded option that will make (just about) everybody happy. It has a couple of limitations, but it provides a great workout and is easy to put together.

Our Vertical Pick

Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine Review

 

What We Think of the Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine is a really cool option. It’s so much more than a rowing machine. It can definitely help you train your upper body rowing muscles, but you can also use it for squats, deadlifts, and even incline chest presses. The handlebar and seat are both adjustable, so you can change their heights to make it as comfortable for you as possible.

One of the best things about it is how easily it folds — it only takes a few seconds, and you can easily hide it away and reclaim your floor space when you aren’t using it. The self-levelling pedals are another favourite feature — you won’t have any trouble getting on or off, even if you’ve got some joint pain or limited mobility.

We do have a handful of minor low points to talk about. If you’re looking for a traditional rowing motion, you can’t get that on this machine. It’s just not designed for it. Also, the resistance can only be adjusted with the addition of three elastic bands, each adding 22 pounds of resistance. The adjustability is pretty limited because of that. We’d also prefer that the pedals have straps. Just for security.

What Reviewers Are Saying About the Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine

Reviewers have so many good things to say about the Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine. Most people use it in its standard position for squatting and rowing, but the extras are still noteworthy. People think the seat is comfortable, and it folds well for storage. It didn’t take much effort to put together, either.

Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine Specifications

Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Folds for easy storage

  • Seat is 4-way adjustable and well-cushioned, handlebar is 2-way adjustable

  • Self-leveling pedals make it easy to get on and off

  • Trains squats, rows, deadlifts, and incline chest press

Cons:

  • Doesn’t simulate the actual rowing experience

  • Resistance levels are limited

  • Pedals don’t have straps

Our Final Thoughts on the Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine

  • Performance: 5/5

  • Usability: 4.5/5

  • Price: 5/5

  • Quality: 4.5/5

All in all, the Sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Ride Rowing Machine is our favourite non-traditional rowing machine. It has a few flaws, but the overall effectiveness and versatility of the machine more than make up for the inconveniences.

Our Upgrade Pick

NordicTrack RW900 Rower Review

 

What We Think of the NordicTrack RW900 Rower

No matter what you’re looking to get out of a rowing machine, we can almost guarantee that the NordicTrack RW900 Rower will be able to give it to you. A reliable and adjustable magnetic resistance system? Yup. A sturdy and long-lasting design? Yeah, it’s got that. A 30-day iFIT trial? You bet it’s got that too. 

The 22-inch screen jumps out at you right away, and it even tilts and pivots! You’ll be able to follow along with all kinds of iFIT workout videos whether they’re on the rowing machine or not. How awesome is that? During your workouts, the trainer can even adjust the resistance of your machine so you can just focus on keeping up and giving it your all.

With all the things going right with this one, you might be wondering what could be wrong. Well, there are only a couple of things, and they’re easy to look past. Number one? The price. It is high, and we bet there aren’t many people willing to spend this much on one piece of exercise equipment. It’s also very, very big, so you’ll need a ton of free floor space to give it a home.

What Reviewers Are Saying About the NordicTrack RW900 Rower

Reviewers are blown away by the quality of the NordicTrack RW900 Rower. Although it’s a bit of a pain to put together because of how heavy it is, it’s also the sturdiest rowing machine they’ve ever used. In other words, worth it. Most people pay for the iFIT membership to make the most of the machine. The pivoting screen is a massive hit, and people think it’s a great machine to grow with.

NordicTrack RW900 Rower Specifications

NordicTrack RW900 Rower Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Comes with a 30-day iFIT trial

  • 22” screen tilts and pivots to follow along with videos of other workout types

  • Resistance level can be adjusted by your trainer during workout classes

  • Incredibly sturdy and durable

Cons:

Our Final Thoughts on the NordicTrack RW900 Rower

  • Performance: 5/5

  • Usability: 5/5

  • Price: 1/5

  • Quality: 5/5

All in all, the NordicTrack RW900 Rower is a one-of-a-kind machine. It’s built to last (forever), has the largest and most mobile screen you’ll ever see, and will match your fitness level at every step of your journey. What more could you ask for?

Our Foldable Pick

ProForm Pro R10 Rower Review

 

What We Think of the ProForm Pro R10 Rower

There are a lot of things to like about the ProForm Pro R10 Rower. The screen size alone is something to admire. It’s a 10-inch touchscreen display, and it’s paired with some pretty awesome speakers that you can enjoy with the aux port. Pair those things with the included three-year iFIT membership, and you can say hello to awesome training videos and an enjoyable workout.

The good times don’t end there, either! The magnetic wheel is nearly silent, even when it’s making you work the hardest. You won’t have to worry about drowning out your music or disrupting the rest of your family. Since it folds up to half its size and moves around on front wheels, it’s the perfect rowing machine for small spaces. 

There are only a couple of things we aren’t too fond of with this one. Most obviously? The price is high. We’re sure there are a lot of people who won’t want to spend that much on a rowing machine. Also, the seat is not our favourite. It’s pretty small, and not very ergonomic, so it won’t be a comfy fit for everybody.

What Reviewers Are Saying About the ProForm Pro R10 Rower

Reviewers are in love with the ProForm Pro R10 Rower. Their favourite thing about it is how easily it folds up and moves around a room, but there are tons of other things they like too. The large screen, the quiet magnetic wheel, and the iFIT membership are all things they enjoy. The only main problem is the seat—it’s pretty small, and some people don’t find it very comfortable.

ProForm Pro R10 Rower Specifications

ProForm Pro R10 Rower Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Nearly silent

  • Folding design and front wheels make it perfect for small spaces

  • 10” HD touchscreen and high-quality speakers with aux port

  • Comes with a 3-year iFIT membership—follow along with training videos and automatic resistance changes

Cons:

  • Seat is very small

  • Very expensive

Our Final Thoughts on the ProForm Pro R10 Rower

  • Performance: 5/5

  • Usability: 5/5

  • Price: 2/5

  • Quality: 5/5

Overall, the ProForm Pro R10 Rower is an outstanding choice no matter which way you look at it. Whether you’re motivated by video classes, a did-it-yourself playlist blasting from killer speakers, or an every-level resistance system, this one will make you happy.

Our Budget Pick

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine Review

 

What We Think of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine has a lot of features working in its favour. Unlike other machines that work on a cable, the handlebars are attached to a bar to give you more stability while you row. Plus, the raised seat helps you get your legs working harder… perfect help for new rowers!

There are a bunch of other things we love. The pivoting foot pedals give you a full range of motion in your ankles to keep your form correct (and your joints happy), the display tracks all of the stats you need to track your progress, and you’ve got a device holder and ergonomic seat to keep you comfortable and motivated. If you like to follow workout videos, the SunnyFit app will be a big help.

For such a budget-friendly rowing machine, this option doesn’t come with a very long list of downsides. The hydraulic resistance will warm up as you exercise, and this will make it less effective—you’ll need to adjust the level as time goes by to make sure it’s still an effective workout! Also, if you’re taller than six feet, you won’t be able to get a full range of motion for a deep row.

What Reviewers Are Saying About the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine

Reviewers really like the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine. It’s incredibly easy to put together and people don’t have any trouble finding a place to put it. It’s stable, although not big enough for people over six-foot to get a full row. The resistance is also effective for people at different training levels.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine Specifications

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Digital monitor tracks stroke rate, count, calories, and time

  • Seat is higher than foot pedals for a better lower body workout, and handlebars are attached to a bar instead of cord for more stability

  • Has a device holder, pivoting foot pedals, and ergonomic seat

  • Sync to the SunnyFit app with Bluetooth for training videos and more

Cons:

  • Range of motion is limited for people over 6 ft tall

  • As the piston warms up, the resistance decreases—will need to adjust multiple times over a workout session

Our Final Thoughts on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine

  • Performance: 4/5

  • Usability: 4/5

  • Price: 5/5

  • Quality: 5/5

Overall, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to save some money or isn’t sure about their interest in rowing yet. It’s good for beginners or people further along on their fitness journey.

How to Properly Choose Your Rowing Machine

Price

Some rowing machines cost less than $200, others cost nearly $3,000. With this much variability in the price, the quality of the rowing machines also varies quite a bit. In general, more expensive machines will have higher-end, interactive displays, a more durable build, and a more effective resistance system.

Resistance Type

There are several options for resistance type when it comes to rowing machines. Hydraulic systems, magnetic systems, and air flywheels are the most common types. Unique machines even use elastic bands. Everyone has their own preference for resistance types, but in general, magnetic systems will be the quietest and hydraulic systems the least reliable.

Resistance Levels

Since regular use of a rowing machine will help you get stronger and fitter, it’s important that your rowing machine can grow with you. As a result, you’ll want to look for one that offers a range of resistant levels that can match your growth. Some machines only have three levels, others can have 25+. More levels mean more precision in your step-ups.

Folding Design

Many rowing machines out there can fold to keep your floor space open when you aren’t using them. This isn’t a guarantee, though, so if you’re tight on space or you need an open layout for other types of exercise, you’ll want to prioritize a folding design.

 

Disclaimer: The prices displayed are accurate at the time of publication. We’ll do our best to keep them as up-to-date as possible, but you may see slight changes. The products in this list are ranked by independent third parties. Rankings are based on both reviews and independent testing.

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