The 6 Best Air Rowing Machines of 2024 (Tried and Tested)

If the thought of running on a treadmill causes phantom pain in your knees and joints — like how my feet scream whenever I think of my teeny-tiny rock-climbing shoes — the best rowing machines can be a solid alternative. As you push off the pedals and pull in with the handlebar, these machines deliver a low-impact cardio workout that targets your upper and lower body. As opposed to water or magnetic rowing machines, air rowers — one of the most popular types of rowing machines — utilize a fan that increases resistance the harder you row. 

Before you dive in and bring one of these row-boats home, it’s important to consider the following: What is your budget? How much room do you have available? Will a machine with streaming capabilities help motivate your training, or are you just looking for something durable to squeeze in some sprint sessions? We’ve tried and tested more than 20 of the most popular rowers on the market and curated a list of the best air rowing machines for your consideration. Here are our top picks.

The 6 Best Air Rowing Machines of 2024

Best Air Rowing Machine Overall: Concept2 RowErg

Best Air and Magnetic Rowing Machine: Sole SR550 

Best Compact Air Rowing Machine: Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

Most Durable Air Rowing Machine: AssaultRower Pro

Best Air Rowing Machine for Streaming: Aviron Strong Rower  

Best Budget Air Rowing Machines: Stamina ATS Air Row

About Our Expert

This article has been expert reviewed by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level-1 instructor. She researched our products and read our content to help ensure we’re providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations.

How We Tested and Chose the Best Air Rowing Machines

Our team of CrossFit coaches, certified personal trainers, and fitness junkies know a thing or two about rowing. We’ve tried and tested over 20 rowing machines in our quest to find the best of the best. The BarBend equipment testing methodology is simple: We scored each profile in categories such as tech capabilities, adjustability, and durability on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (fantastic). The following are some of the key points we focused on while testing and choosing the top performers.

Resistance Type: “There are several types of rowing machines, including water rowers, air rowers, magnetic rowers, and hydraulic rowers, and each type offers a different experience,” notes BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC. While we’re only highlighting air rowers on this list, we included some options with dual air and magnetic resistance for those looking for fine-tuned resistance and quieter rides.

Footprint and Portability: “Size, weight and portability are important, as you’ll need to ensure the machine will fit in your space and it’s relatively easy to move if you won’t be able to leave it stationary,” says Capritto. As such, we included options with transport wheels, folding capabilities, and the ability to be stowed vertically for easy storage.

Tech Capabilities: Tech on rowers is generally less impressive than what’s found on other cardio equipment. Regardless, we looked for options with Bluetooth pairing and app compatibility. When models only managed basic LCD displays, we opted for ones with built-in programming to support speed, time, interval, and distance-based workouts.

Price: We want rowing to be accessible for everybody, so we made sure to include rowers with price tags ranging from $279 up to $2,199.

Comfort: Rowing machines tend to have hard plastic seats, which can make your rear end want to throw in the towel on your training endeavor. We kept our eyes peeled for cushioned, padded, and molded seats for added comfort. 

Rowing Motion: When pushing out and pulling back through your stroke on a rowing machine, you want everything to feel smooth and seamless. We looked for rowers that provided a distraction-free workout, doing our best to avoid machines that jerked or stuttered.

[Related: Best Magnetic Rowing Machines]

Best Air Rowing Machine Overall: Concept2 RowErg

Concept2 RowErg

Concept2 RowErg

The Concept2 RowErg is one of the most tried and true rowers on the market. The “erg” (as it’s commonly known) provides a double-dose of conditioning and muscular endurance, and is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and a nifty monitor to track meters rowed and calories burned. 

Shop Concept2


Price: $990

Resistance Type: Air

Weight Capacity: 500lbs

Display: Performance Monitor 5 LCD 

Weight: 57lbs


Bluetooth-compatible LCD monitor 

Steel and aluminum frame supports riders up to 500 pounds

Damper on flywheel allows for resistance adjustments


No HD touchscreen for streaming workouts

Chain drives can require more maintenance than belt drives

The seat can be uncomfortable

If you stroll into a CrossFit gym, chances are you’ll see someone sweating it out on the Concept2 RowErg. This machine is our choice for the best air rowing machine overall due to its popularity with serious athletes, reasonable price tag, and ease of use. Our team has even gone so far as to say that this is the best rower they’ve ever used. Value scored a 4.5 out of 5. 

[Related: Best CrossFit Equipment for Home Gyms]

Our tester straps in to the Concept2 RowErg.

I’ve used this rower in CrossFit gyms and at my climbing gym — basically, anywhere I go and see a rower, it’s this one. Getting situated is as simple as taking a seat and strapping in, though I always like to make sure the air damper, which controls the air resistance, is set to a level 5 out of 10 — a nice middle settling which allows me to pull fairly quick against a good amount of resistance. My only complaint is that the seat hurts my butt bones, but for $3.50 you can invest in a cushioned seat from the Concept2 website.

While you won’t find a touchscreen to stream programming, we like the small but mighty PM5 monitor which scored a 4.25 out of 5. “This rowing machine lacks the visual appeal of other indoor rowing machines, [but] I do appreciate the level of detail its monitor provides during training,” noted BarBend editorial member Ben Emminger. It provides training metrics, workout programs, and Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair this rower with over 30 different apps, from Zwift to ErgData. Tech capabilities scored a 4 out of 5.

Controls on the Concept2 RowErg.

This rower is built to last with a steel and aluminum construction that can support users up to 500 pounds. For this, durability scored a 5 out of 5. 

Emminger noted, “I especially enjoy the nickel-plated steel chain that showcases a great sense of durability and glide regardless of which dampener I have the resistance set to.” He scored construction a 4.75 out of 5. While a chain drive can last longer than a belt drive, they’ll require more maintenance — it’s recommended that you oil this chain every 50 hours of use. 

Read our full Concept2 Rower Review.

Best Air and Magnetic Rowing Machine: Sole SR550

Sole SR550 Rower

Sole SR550 Rower

This WiFi-equipped rowing machine combines magnetic and air resistance to evoke the experience of rowing on the open water. It’s roughly a foot smaller than most home rowers and can fold up for easy storage. 

Shop Sole


Price: $1,499.99

Resistance Type: Air and Magnetic

Weight Capacity: 400

Display: 10.1” touchscreen

Weight: 106lbs


Sixteen levels of dual air and magnetic resistance

Access to programming, entertainment apps, and screen mirroring

Wireless resistance adjustments built into handlebar

Lifetime frame warranty


Doesn’t include a heart rate chest monitor like earlier models 

Sole+ app is lacking

The Sole SR550 is our choice for best air and magnetic rowing machine thanks to its 16 levels of resistance, quiet operation, and upgraded tech capabilities. The SR550 is an updated version of the SR500 Rower, with Sole introducing a 10.1-inch touchscreen display with programming, built-in entertainment apps (subscriptions needed) like Hulu, Netflix, Max, and Disney Plus, and a screen mirroring feature that lets you view whatever’s on your mobile device on the screen. 

While air rowers have a tendency to be louder than water and magnetic rowers, the Sole SR550 utilizes a belt drive and a combo of air and magnetic resistance to help keep the volume down. “My favorite thing about this rower is how quiet it is during my workout,” noted our tester, a CrossFit level-1 coach. Additionally, belt drives require less maintenance than chain drives, however they may need to be replaced sooner. 

The touchscreen is an improvement over the previous model’s LCD display and provides users with 10 workout programs. However, with screen mirroring, you can use the app of your choice to stream classes if that’s what you’re missing. And while there’s heart rate tracking, you won’t find a heart rate monitor included with your purchase like the previous model had. Tech capabilities scored a 4 out of 5. 

There’s even a free Sole+ app for owners of Sole equipment, though there are only a little over 20 rowing classes on the app, and they lack the studio-like quality of programming found on Hydrow, Tonal, or Peloton. This app scored a 3 out of 5.

The handle has a cushioned grip to help keep calluses at bay and features wireless resistance control, thanks to the magnetic resistance, so you can change the intensity of your workout mid-stroke. And when you’re done with your workout, the aluminum rail is foldable to clear up some floor space. There’s also a lifetime warranty on the frame, and our tester gave warranty, financing, and returns a 4.5 out of 5 score.

[Related: Best Magnetic Rowing Machines]

Best Compact Air Rowing Machine: Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

The Bells of Steel Air Blitz Rower is one of the more affordable options on the market right now. This one is light and easy to roll around your home gym as needed or store away when you’re expecting guests.

Shop Bells of Steel


Price: $849.99

Resistance Type: Air

Weight Capacity: 320lbs

Display: Small LCD Monitor

Weight: 90.4lbs


Easily disassembles into two pieces for storage

Less than 8 feet long and about 2 feet wide

Easy to move around


No available programming on the monitor

Can’t be stowed upright like typical rowers

Lots of plastic parts

The Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower is our choice for the best compact air rowing machine thanks to its lightweight 90.4-pound build — the average rower we’ve tested weighs around 105 pounds — and the ability to easily disassemble the rower into two parts for easy storage. Customizations, customer service, delivery, and setup all scored a perfect 5 out of 5 with our tester.

[Related: Best Compact Exercise Equipment for Any Small Space]

“The machine was pretty lightweight, so tipping this onto its transport wheels to move around was easy for me,” our tester, a certified personal trainer, noted. 

In use, the frame measures 8 feet long and roughly 2 feet wide, taking up 16 square feet of floor space — about half the size of a queen-sized mattress. (1) The ability to remove the rail from the flywheel splits the machine in two, allowing users to easily stow the machine out of the way. Footprint and portability scored a 4.5 out of 5, however, it’s important to mention that this machine is not intended to be stored upright.

A reasonable $849.99 price tag puts this machine in a budget-friendly weight class, especially since some rowers we’ve tested can cost as much as $2,200. “It’s less expensive than the Concept2 RowErg or AssaultRower Pro,” noted our tester, who scored value a 4.5 out of 5. For this cost, you’re getting steel and aluminum components that support users up to 320 pounds. However, our tester pointed out that there were lots of plastic parts on this machine, which raises some concerns about how well it will hold up to wear and tear over time. Durability scored a 4 out of 5.

[Related: Best Budget Rowing Machines]

Air rowers don’t always have resistance adjustments, since resistance is created depending on how hard you row, but the Blitz Air Rower has a damper on the flywheel that can increase or decrease the intensity of your workout depending on how much air you allow into the fan. 

“While I liked the ability to adjust resistance… I wish the tech capabilities were better,” said our tester, noting the lack of programming on the small LCD monitor. There is Bluetooth connectivity, but our tester also struggled to set it up. Tech capabilities scored a 3 out of 5.

Most Durable Air Rowing Machine: AssaultRower Pro

AssaultRower Pro

AssaultRower Pro

The AssaultRower Pro features a powder-coated, steel frame that can withstand the elements and support users up to 350 pounds. This air rower is also human-powered, so you won’t need to plug anything in before you take off on your ride.

Shop Assault Fitness


Price: $999

Resistance Type: Air

Weight Capacity: 350lbs

Display: LCD monitor

Weight: 109lbs


Durable powder-coated steel frame

Can be used indoors or outdoors

Comfortable padded seat 


Basic LCD display

No interactive programming

No damper to adjust resistance

The AssaultRower Pro is our choice for the most durable air rowing machine due to its steel construction, shake and wobble-free workout experience, and smooth-like-butter glide and pull. Durability scored a 4.5 out of 5, with customizations, footprint, portability, and tech capabilities right behind, scoring a 4 out of 5. 

“This rower feels similar to the Concept2 RowErg,” mentioned our tester, a certified personal trainer. “However, it weighs twice as much.” The 109-pound weight of this machine is due, in part, to the powder-coated steel frame. Powder-coated steel can help to keep your equipment free of rust, whether it’s exposed to drops of sweat or the elements that come with a backyard workout. (2) While we recommend always wiping down your equipment after use, this protective layer can help your machine resist corrosion over time.

Also, similar to the Assault AirBike AND AssaultRunner Pro, it’s a user-powered machine that requires no electricity. 

“This thing is super solid, and the pull is smooth and consistent,” noted our tester, who appreciated that each stroke on this machine felt consistent regardless of effort. “There wasn’t any shake or wobble even as I pushed it in my workout.” 

This smooth and stable ride’s only bump in the road may be the limited tech capabilities. There’s no touchscreen to stream interactive programming, and the LCD display provides fewer workout programs than the RowErg. “This monitor is similar to what Assault Fitness uses with their air bikes, so you’ll be able to do some interval programs and connect to a heart rate monitor, but that’s about it,” said our tester. Dynamic programming scored a 3.75 out of 5, as users at least have access to interval, split time, heart rate, and distance programming.

Assault Fitness is known for making incredibly sturdy equipment, from air bikes to manual treadmills, but our team was also impressed with how comfortable their workout was atop the cushioned seat. “I think it’s more comfortable than the Concept2,” said our tester, scoring the rower’s ergonomics a 5 out of 5. “While it isn’t super forgiving, there is some cushioning that made my long workouts more comfortable.” 

[Related: Assault Runner Elite Treadmill Review]

Best Air Rowing Machine for Streaming: Aviron Strong Rower

Aviron Strong Rower

Aviron Strong Rower

Sleek, modern and compact design coupled with a diverse workout content library and frequent new releases to get you motivated and keep you consistent for the long term. The Aviron Go Rower is the perfect at-home magnetic rower to invest in. 

Shop Aviron Strong Rower


Price: $2,199

Resistance Type: Magnetic and Air

Weight Capacity: 507lbs

Display: 22” HD touchscreen

Weight: 114lbs


Stream games, scenic rows, entertainment apps, trainer-led workouts, and more

The widest variety of streaming options we’ve seen 

Pivoting 22-inch immersive HD touchscreen

Up to 100 pounds of resistance


$29 monthly membership is needed to stream games and entertainment

Pricey upfront cost

The sleek Aviron Strong Rower comes with its own app that provides access to more than 500 on-demand classes, video games, scenic rows, and even entertainment apps. This streaming content unfolds on a 22-inch touchscreen, and the Aviron app’s variety makes it one of the best smart rowers we’ve tested. Customizations earned a 5 out of 5, and delivery, setup, ergonomics, and tech capabilities scored a 4.5 out of 5.

Our tester navigating the home screen of the Aviron Strong Series Rower

“There’s nothing like it,” noted our wide-eyed tester. “The gamification of your HIIT rowing workout makes it feel like you’re not even working out.” 

There are a variety of categories to sneak your workout in, including on-demand classes, gamified workouts that resemble video games, live competitions with friends, and scenic rows across gorgeous bodies of water. If you prefer to double dip and work out while you catch up on your favorite shows, you can also access streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ (individual subscriptions needed). Dynamic programming scored a 4 out of 5.

The immersive 22-inch touchscreen swivels four ways, allowing you to also use it for off-rower strength and mobility workouts. “The screen reacts really well while navigating the home screen or when streaming programming, and you get a ton of metrics displayed throughout your training,” said our tester, giving tech capabilities a 4.5 out of 5.

Best Compact Rowing Machines

Access to streaming is dependent on your subscription to Aviron’s Family Membership, which costs an additional $29 a month. Our tester noted, “This is a really competitive membership fee compared to other fitness subscriptions.” It’s less than Peloton All-Access ($44/month) and iFIT ( $39/month), but with a pricey $2,199 upfront cost — plus added accessories you may want to consider, like the $129 handlebar with Bluetooth resistance controls — some users may not want to keep their tab running.

Best Budget Air Rowing Machine: Stamina ATS Air Rower

Stamina ATS Air Rower

Stamina ATS Air Rower

This low-impact cardio machine is budget-friendly, providing users with access to air fan resistance that’s lightweight and foldable for easy storage.

Shop Amazon


Price: $279

Resistance Type: Air

Weight Capacity: 250lbs

Display: LCD screen

Weight: 52lbs


Affordable $279 price tag

Padded seat

Small and easy to move


Seat rail may be too short for taller users

Shakes and wobbles a bit in use, per our tester

No tech features besides basic LCD screen

The Stamina ATS Air Rower is our choice for best budget air rowing machine due to its $279 price tag, a small price to pay when compared to other rowers we’ve tested, which have ranged in price from $850 to $2,199. Footprint, portability, delivery, and setup all scored a 4 out of 5 with our tester.

This rower’s air resistance increases or decreases intensity based on how hard you row, and an upholstered, padded seat can help beginners finish out their workout without pain in their keister. It can also fold up, transforming from 9 square feet down to just 6 square feet. 

[Related: The 5 Best Rowing Workouts for Beginners]

“It’s a small machine, and fairly easy to move, but the rower has to be angled just right to be able to roll around on the transport wheels,” mentioned our tester, a certified personal trainer. “Since it weighs around 50 pounds, it’s almost easier to just pick it up and move it.” Portability scored a 4 out of 5.

This rower touts carbon steel construction, but our tester doesn’t think it’ll hold up over time. “I’m only 140 pounds and this rower wobbled a bit during my workout,” they noted, “Frankly, I don’t think the machine is built to last.” In addition to the steel seat rail and frame, many of the components are built out of plastic, which has a tendency to be less resilient on exercise equipment. Durability scored a 2.5 out of 5.

While there is a basic LCD display that provides training metrics like exercise time, speed, distance, and calories burned, there aren’t any additional tech features on this rower. 

Our tester also noted that this rower is best suited for shorter athletes. “I’m 5 feet 6 inches and I couldn’t get a full range of motion for my row,” they said, “so I can’t imagine anyone taller than me fitting comfortably on this rower.” 

[Related: Best Budget Home Gym Equipment]

Benefits of Air Rowing Machines

Like water, magnetic, and hydraulic rowers, air rowing machines can deliver calorie-torching sweat sessions without placing too much impact on your joints. Whether you row for gold or are taking things a bit slower, here are some of the benefits of rowing machines. (3)

Our tester rowing atop the Concept2 RowERG

Low-Impact: Rowing can help save your knees and joints from unnecessary stress. “Because a rowing machine is a low-impact workout, not only will it avoid pounding on your joints, but it’s also often recommended by doctors post hip and knee surgery,” says Jacqueline Owens, former D1 rower and current Row House coach. 

Full-Body Workout: “Rowing is an effective form of exercise, engaging most of the body’s muscles and significantly working the cardiovascular system,” says Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC. “…It engages the majority of the body’s muscles and can develop power and explosiveness in the glutes and hamstrings in addition to improving cardiovascular endurance.” Cardio and strength training? Yes, please.

Feels like Rowing on Water: Air rowers can closely mimic the feeling of rowing on water when compared to magnetic and hydraulic rowers. While water rowers may feel the most like being out on a lake since you’re pulling against literal water resistance, they don’t include adjustments to that resistance like an air rower can.

HIIT vs LISS: Since your stroke rate dictates the intensity of your at-home rowing experience, users can opt for high intensity or low-intensity steady state sessions, depending on their desired goals and exertion. This versatility makes air rowers suitable for users of any fitness level.

How Much Do the Best Air Rowing Machines Cost?

Air rowers come with a variety of features, from sturdy builds and high-tech immersive displays to dual resistance capabilities and padded seats. Below, see how our picks stack up against each other in terms of price. 

What to Consider Before Buying an Air Rowing Machine

Building out your home gym with the best cardio machines can be a dream come true. Before scooping one up, though, you’ll want to take your time to consider how much space you have, what type of training you want to do, and how much tech will benefit your training. Here are some key areas to consider.

Air Vs Magnetic, Water, or Hydraulic

Air rowers are sturdy and provide adjustable resistance that can emulate the resistance you’d feel on the water. They’re a bit noisy but when it comes to a reliable and affordable machine, an air rower is the way to go,” notes Lauren Keary, BarBend editorial member and former collegiate rower. 

Concept2 RowErg handle. Credit: Rogue Fitness/Concept2

Air rowers do, however, produce a louder workout due to the gush of air that’s forced out of the spinning fan. But they tend to be less expensive than magnetic rowers, sturdier than hydraulic ones, and more adjustable than water rowing machines.  

Rowing Vs Other Cardio Equipment

“Unlike other cardio machines, rowing will target your glutes, quads, back, lats, and shoulders with every stroke you take,” noted Jacqueline Owens, former D1 rower and current Row House coach. When compared to something like running on a treadmill, indoor rowing machines activate a wider range of muscle groups across your entire body and have been shown to deliver less of an impact to your knees and joints. (4

However, unlike using treadmills or ellipticals, rowing is not a weight-bearing exercise so users won’t reap the benefits of increased bone density. (5)

[Related: Best Treadmills]

Tech Capabilities

While air rowers are often simple, hard-working machines, some options include tech features with app compatibility or touchscreens for streaming programming. Consider how much tech you want and what type of tech will best support your training.

A person working out on a rowing machine.

However, if you’re interested in machines with all of the bells and whistles, be prepared to fork over a larger investment. “Smart rowing machines are more expensive and usually require a monthly subscription to access full functionality,” notes Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC.

Measure Your Space

“Be sure to check the overall dimensions of the machine and measure —and measure again! —the space in which you intend to place it,” says Capritto. If you’re tight on floor space, consider rowers with folding features or the ability to tilt vertically for upright storage.

Back Pain

“Rowing may exacerbate pain in people who struggle with low back pain. The seated exercising position combined with the hip hinging involved in the rowing stroke is not ideal for individuals with lower back pain,” notes Capritto. Ellipticals and recumbent exercise bikes may be better suited to support those with ailing backs, providing access to low-impact cardio while keeping the torso in a more upright position.

[Related: Best Recumbent Bikes]

Best Air Rowing Machines FAQs

What is the best air rowing machine?

The Concept2 RowErg is our choice for the best air rowing machine due to its reasonable $990 price point, light 57-pound frame, 500-pound max user weight capacity, smooth and powerful pull, and impressive (yet simple) PM5 monitor that can provide access to training metrics and workout programs.

Are air rowers better than other rowers?

Air rowers are the most popular type of rower, used by nearly every CrossFit gym and even with many professional athletes. While these machines can be noisier than magnetic or water rowers, they’re sturdy and provide adjustable resistance to dial in your workout.

What rowing machine do Olympic rowers use?

The USA Olympic rowing team trains on the Concept2 RowErg. This rower has a sturdy build, a smooth and consistent pull, and, per Lauren Keary, BarBend editorial member and former collegiate rower, has the ability to “emulate the resistance you’d feel on the water.”


American Mattress. (n.d.). Mattress Size Chart | American Mattress.

KeystoneKoating. (2023b, September 26). Benefits of powder coating. Keystone Koating.

Kang, S. R., Yu, C. H., Han, K. S., & Kwon, T. K. (2014). Comparative analysis of basal physical fitness and muscle function in relation to muscle balance pattern using rowing machines. Bio-medical materials and engineering, 24(6), 2425–2435.

Yoshiga, C. C., & Higuchi, M. (2002). Heart rate is lower during ergometer rowing than during treadmill running. European journal of applied physiology, 87(2), 97–100.

Shanb, A. A., & Youssef, E. F. (2014). The impact of adding weight-bearing exercise versus nonweight bearing programs to the medical treatment of elderly patients with osteoporosis. Journal of family & community medicine, 21(3), 176–181.

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