The 7 Best Rowing Machines for Seniors of 2024 (Expert Tested)

To ensure continued health and mobility, it’s imperative for seniors to regularly perform aerobic and strength-building exercises. (1) The best rowing machines are great tools for seniors, as they pair cardio exercise with strength training, targeting your arms, legs, and back as you push through the foot plates and pull in with the handle. For older adults who can’t manage a trip to the gym, or are just looking to bring some convenient cardio into their home, we’ve curated a list of the best rowing machines for seniors, with price, portability, and ease of use front of mind. 

Our team has tried and tested more than 20 rowers on the market in search of the best machines for senior athletes. While navigating our recommendations, you’ll want to consider your ability and what you want from a rower. What type of resistance will best suit your home? Will a rower with a touchscreen display and programming support your training, or would you prefer to forego monthly membership fees? Do you want a rower that can fold or be stored vertically to save on space? Keep these questions in mind as you peruse our top picks. 

The 7 Best Rowing Machines for Seniors of 2024

Best Rowing Machine for Seniors Overall: Concept2 RowErg 

Best Rowing Machine with Screen for Seniors: Hydrow Wave

Most Sturdy Rowing Machine for Seniors: NordicTrack RW900 Rower

Best Rowing Machine for Seniors in Small Spaces: Echelon Row

Most Comfortable Rowing Machine for Seniors: WaterRower A1 Oak Rowing Machine

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Seniors: Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

Best Water Rowing Machine for Seniors: CITYROW Max

About Our Expert

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

How We Tested and Chose the Best Rowing Machines for Seniors

The makeup of the BarBend team includes certified personal trainers, former D1 athletes, and lifelong fitness fans, and we’ve personally tested nearly 20 rowing machines in our search for the best equipment for your home. Utilizing the BarBend equipment testing methodology, we scored each profile in categories such as portability, durability, and ergonomics on a scale from 1 (not impressed) to 5 (we love it). We focused on the following areas of interest when testing and selecting the top machines for your home gym.

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. Options on our list include air, water, and magnetic rowers, providing a variety of options regardless of your preference.

Ergonomics and Comfort: Many rower seats tend to be made from hard plastic, but we looked for machines with molded and padded seats for a more comfortable ride. We also made an effort to include rowers with adjustability to dial in an ergonomic fit for a variety of different body types.

Rowing Motion: We tried to highlight machines with a smooth rowing motion, with seamless seat glides and no jerk in the pull during each stroke. When a machine felt less consistent than we’d like, we made sure to note it. 

Price: To accommodate a wide range of users, we’ve included options that range from $299 up to $2,199. While higher-priced models tend to offer more tech capabilities, the best budget rowing machines on our list will still help you work up a sweat. 

Workout Programs: Our picks support manual rows, but we also made sure to test out a rower’s built-in programming when available. When rowers included subscription services with trainer-led programming, we noted whether we thought this service was worth the subscription fee.

Best Rowing Machine for Seniors 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: PM5 LCD 

Weight: 57lbs


Sturdy steel and aluminum frame can support up to 500 pounds

Track stats, access pre-programmed workouts via PM5 monitor

For an additional fee, 20-inch tall legs can help make this machine more accessible


While commonly stowed vertically, there isn’t a safety feature to keep it from falling

Air resistance can be louder than magnetic and water resistance rowers

The seat can be uncomfortable; cushion available for added price

Our pick for the best rowing machine for seniors is the Concept2 RowErg. Used by Olympians and in nearly every CrossFit, this tried-and-tested rower has a steel and aluminum build that can support up to 500 pounds. We also like that it costs less than $1,000. “This is a great rower for the price, especially considering the durable build and the pre-programmed workouts from the PM5 monitor,” said our tester. Footprint, portability, durability, and ergonomics scored a 4.5 out of 5.

[Related: Best CrossFit Equipment]

Our tester rowing atop the Concept2 RowERG

I dabbled in CrossFit for two years before realizing I don’t like throwing weights over my head, and logged several workouts on this high-quality rower. While I found spending more than 10 minutes on it to be a literal pain in my butt due to the hard plastic seat (and my bony butt), there is an option to purchase a padded seat for a reasonable $3.50 from Concept2’s website. 

For those tight on space, this 57-pound rower can be split into two pieces should you want to stow it out of the way, transforming from 15.83 square feet down to 5.27 square feet. 

“This rower is pretty big, but when split in two or stowed vertically, you’re saving a bunch of space,” said our tester. However, while vertical storage is common when it comes to rowers, Concept2 advises against this to avoid the danger of the equipment falling over. Footprint and portability scored a 4.5 out of 5.

This rower is accessible to a wide range of users. I’m 5 feet 5 inches and another one of our testers is 6 feet 7 inches, and we were both able to fit comfortably on the RowErg. Adjustability and ergonomics scored a 4.5 out of 5. If you struggle with mobility and the 14-inch leg height is too low to the ground, you can also opt for 20-inch legs for an additional $165. 

Controls on the Concept2 RowErg.

“This rower uses air resistance, controlled by your effort and a damper attached to the fanned flywheel,” added our tester. As such, you can expect this to be a noisier machine than what you’d find with a water or magnetic rower. If you like to watch TV or use this machine while others are sleeping, this may not be the rower for you. 

Read our full Concept2 Rower Review.

Best Rowing Machine with Screen for Seniors: Hydrow Wave

Hydrow Wave Rower

Hydrow Wave Rower

This luxury rower is equipped with a 16-inch touchscreen display and offers automatic adjustments to the resistance based on your rowing efforts.

Shop Hydrow


Price: $1,695

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Weight Capacity: 375lbs

Display: 16” HD touchscreen

Weight: 102lbs


Large touchscreen provides over 5,000 live and on-demand classes

High 375-pound user weight capacity

Compact footprint of 10.56 square feet


Monthly $44 Hydrow subscription needed to stream programming

Vertical anchor kit required for upright storage

The Hydrow Wave Rower utilizes magnetic resistance, which provides a smooth and, when compared to air and water rowers, quieter rowing experience for users up to 375 pounds. We also like its 16-inch HD touchscreen, which provides access to over 5,000 on-demand and live classes. Tech capabilities, dynamic programming, and customizations earned a 5 out of 5.

Viewed on the crystal-clear touchscreen, the Hydrow app’s immersive classes are led by expert coaches, from Olympians and former D1 rowers to members of the U.S. national team. There are also over 100 destinations available for scenic rows, from Norway to Los Angeles.

The 16-inch touchscreen on the Hydrow Wave Rower.

In addition to rowing, you’ll also be able to access off-rower workouts. “You’ll have access to strength training, yoga, pilates… and there’s even circuits that incorporate rowing and strength training at the same time,” says Jake Herod NASM-CNC, our lead video reviewer. Dynamic programming earned a 5 out of 5. 

Check out what else Herod had to say about the Hydrow Wave Rower in his video review below.

While we love this programming, it does require a monthly $44 subscription fee, which is on par with Peloton but more expensive than iFIT ($39 per month) or Ergatta ($29 per month). “It’s fairly pricey, but the programming is so good, I’d still recommend it,” said our tester. Herod agreed, “You’re going to have more classes… than you’ll know what to do with.” Without a membership, there isn’t any programming available on this rower.

For those tight on space, the compact footprint takes up a reasonable 10.56 square feet, making it about 3 to 5 square feet smaller than the average rower we’ve tested. Our tester gave footprint and portability a 4 out of 5. “Tipping it up to roll it around was a little awkward because of the screen,” they said. Additionally, vertical storage isn’t recommended without the use of a wall anchor kit, which will cost you an additional $190. 

Our tester raising the Hydrow Wave Rower vertically.

“This is one of my favorite rowers on the market, but that definitely comes with a price tag,” concludes Herod. At $1,695, plus the monthly Hyrdow subscription, the price can definitely add up. However, if you’re looking for a rower with a screen to view programming that doesn’t take up your entire home, the Hydrow Wave Rower is worth your consideration. 

Read our full Hydrow Wave Rower Review.

Most Sturdy Rowing Machine for Seniors: NordicTrack RW900 Rower

NordicTrack RW900 Rower

NordicTrack RW900 Rower

The NordicTrack RW900 is a durable  machine that features a 22” touchscreen display, a quiet belt drive and large pivoting pedals to fit pretty much any shoe size. You’ll also get a free month of iFit classes with your purchase, which you can view on your tilting display as you row virtually across the globe. 

Shop NordicTrack


Price: $1,999

Resistance Type: SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance

Weight Capacity: 250lbs

Display: 22” HD touchscreen

Weight: 163lbs


Steel and aluminum build for a stable ride

10-year frame warranty

Huge HD touchscreen compatible with iFIT’s library of over 17,000 classes


iFIT subscription required to utilize the HD touchscreen

Expensive $1,999 price tag

Doesn’t fold and can’t be stowed vertically

Forged from aluminum and steel, the NordicTrack RW900 Rower is “incredibly stable,” per our testers, and provides access to iFIT — one of the best fitness apps we’ve tried — via the 22-inch HD touchscreen. Durability scored a 4.5 out of 5, while tech capabilities and dynamic programming scored a 5 out of 5.

Our tester Jake using the NordicTrack RW900.

The seat rail is made from steel and the frame is largely constructed from aluminum parts. “While there are some plastic parts on this rower, such as on the foot plates, they’re a thicker and more flexible plastic than what I’ve seen on budget-friendly fitness equipment,” noted our tester,.“This machine feels like it will hold up to wear and tear over a good long time.” 

Additionally, the 10-year frame warranty is a good indicator that this machine will last, and that NordicTrack will step in to assist if you do happen to come across a structural problem.

“This is a solid, high-tech rower for anybody looking to spice up their cardio efforts,” says Jake Herod, NASM-CNC, in the video review below.

The 22-inch HD touchscreen is compatible with iFIT, giving you access to over 17,000 on-demand classes that you can take both on and off of the rower. iFIT is crazy good,” noted our tester, a certified personal trainer. “There is a huge variety of classes you can take, interesting locations you can visit around the globe, and knowledgeable, engaging instructors to keep you entertained while also maintaining good form.” Dynamic programming earned a 5 out of 5. 

A $39 monthly subscription to iFIT is necessary to utilize this screen and take advantage of the app’s SmartAdjust functionality, which can automatically adjust your resistance and training intensity during your workout. However, if you’re uninterested in programming or a screen, there’s no need to drop nearly $2,000 on a rower.

Our tester trying an iFIT class on the NordicTrack RW900

The biggest mark against the NordicTrack RW900 is its footprint and portability, which scored a 4 out of 5. Our tester noted, “While it doesn’t feel heavy when I’m rolling it around, it does weigh 163 pounds, so this may be too heavy for some individuals.” This rower can’t be folded or stowed upright, so you’ll also want to have a dedicated area where this rower can live.

Read our full NordicTrack RW900 Rower Review.

Best Rowing Machine for Seniors in Small Spaces: Echelon Row

Echelon Row

Echelon Row

This Echelon rower is more compact than others and it’s budget-friendly. You can choose from 16 levels of resistance and mount your tablet on the device holder.

Shop Amazon


Price: $999.99

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Display: LCD 

Weight: 106.5lbs


Folds from 12.25 square feet to 5.83 square feet for easy storage

Bluetooth-enabled and can pair with Echelon Fit app

Handlebar controller adjusts 32 levels of resistance


You need your own device to stream workouts

You can only pair this rower with the Echelon Fit app

It can’t be stowed vertically

If you’re searching for the best compact exercise equipment for your home workouts, you’ve come to the right place. The foldable Echelon Row can shrink its 12.25 square feet footprint down to 5.83 square feet. We also appreciate that it’s a smart rower without a cumbersome touchscreen, allowing users to sync the machine with Echelon Fit programming from their own mobile device. Durability, customizations, and ergonomics scored a 4 out of 5.

Measuring 84 inches long and 21 inches wide, it’s on par with the average rower’s footprint. “It can’t be stowed vertically, but it basically folds in half to save you some space when you’re not working out,” mentioned our tester. 

Our tester riding the near-identical Echelon Row-s.

This foldability is ideal for older adults or those with limited mobility, since you won’t have to struggle with raising and lifting the equipment whenever you want it out of your way.

This smart rower is compatible with the Echelon Fit app. With a $39.99 Premier subscription, you’ll have access to trainer led workouts both on and off the machine. “The production value is nice, but I didn’t like the coaches as much as the ones on Hydrow or CITYROW,” noted our tester, who scored dynamic programming a 3.75 out of 5. 

Additionally, while there is Bluetooth connectivity with this rower, it can only be used to pair with Echelon Fit. The Bluetooth handlebar, however, is a great feature, as it makes it easy to cycle through the rower’s 32 levels of resistance. 

Our tester using the Bluetooth resistance controls on the Echelon Row

“The Echelon Row provides a ton of value, with access to lots of classes in the app, and it’s often on sale for less than $999.99,” concluded our tester, who scored value a 4.5 out of 5. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, and a smart rower that can be folded to save space, this may be the pick for you.

Read our full Echelon Row Review.

Most Comfortable Rowing Machine for Seniors: WaterRower A1 Oak Rowing Machine

WaterRower A1 Oak Rowing Machine

WaterRower A1 Oak Rowing Machine

The WaterRower A1 Oak Rowing Machine uses water resistance to fuel your ride. This machine offers a quieter experience when compared to air rowers, and the lapping of water against the jug can be both calming and meditative. Unlike typical rowing machines, the A1 features a build constructed out of oak wood, providing an aesthetically pleasing focal piece for your home.

Shop WaterRower


Price: $999

Resistance Type: Water

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Display: LCD Monitor

Weight: 61lbs (without water); 98lbs (with water)


Comfortable molded seat — even on longer rows

We find the splash of this rower’s water during use to be soothing

Can be stowed upright


Water quality must be maintained with purification tablets

Limited tech

Can’t customize the resistance easily

Unlike magnetic, air, or hydraulic rowers, the best water rowing machines utilize water tanks to create resistance against your stroke. The WaterRower A1 Oak Rowing Machine is our choice for the most comfortable indoor rowing machine for seniors due to its molded seat, smooth pull, and aesthetically-pleasing wooden frame that’ll leave all of your house guests saying, “Oh, my, that looks fancy.” Durability scored a perfect 5 out of 5, with footprint, portability, setup, and tech capabilities right behind with a 4 out of 5.

Handlebars on a WaterRower Original Series.

The seat is molded for comfort during long rides, and many customer reviews agree. When an owner of the Ergatta Rower complained about the seat being uncomfortable, one commenter suggested this machine’s seat instead. “Try the A1 seat,” they said. “More comfortable per my butt-o-meter.” 

The A1’s seat includes a cut-out for your tailbone and grooves for both cheeks, but if your butt-o-meter still disagrees with the molded plastic, you can upgrade to a seat with more cushioning for $35.

We like the whooshing of the water on this rower during use, though your mileage may vary. It’s at least more pleasant than the loud fan whirl on even the best air rowing machines. “While this isn’t loud, it does make some noise,” noted our tester, a certified personal trainer. “It’s not as loud as an air rower, and the noise it made was actually really calming.”

Original Series WaterRower

“You can’t [easily] adjust the amount of resistance on a water rower,” added our tester, scoring customizations a 3 out of 5. The amount of water in the water tank is what controls resistance, so you can increase resistance by adding more water or lower resistance by draining the tank. Also, to keep the tank from getting gross, you’ll want to use purification tablets every three to six months. 

The tech capabilities on this rower are limited, so you won’t find app compatibility, Bluetooth capabilities, or even a device holder to store your phone or tablet. However, there is a simple LCD display with basic training stats, like stroke rate, distance, time, and intensity.

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Seniors: Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

This rower features 16 levels of quiet magnetic resistance and a comfortable, cushioned, and wide seat. When not in use, this machine can fold up for easy storage.

Shop Sunny Health & Fitness


Price: $299.99

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Weight Capacity: 285lbs

Display: LCD 

Weight: 49.6lbs


Affordable $299.99 price tag 

Folds down to 5.80 square feet

Wide, comfortable seat


Per our tester, the seat is super low to the ground

Lots of plastic parts, which may impact longevity

We think the Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine is one of the best rowing machines under $1,000. For just $299.99 — roughly $600 to $900 less expensive than the average rowers we’ve tested — you get a foldable rower with a lightweight build that is perfect for those tight on space. Delivery, setup, and value scored a 4 out of 5.

“This thing carries a super reasonable price tag, and it’s a great consideration if you’re just looking to row without the fancy tech features found on pricier machines,” noted our tester, a certified personal trainer. Value scored a 4 out of 5.

This rower has 16 magnetic resistance levels, a 285-pound user weight capacity, and folding capabilities that can transform it from 12.30 square feet down to just 5.80 square feet. Footprint and portability earned a 4.25 out of 5. “This thing is really small, and when you need it out of the way, you can fold it up in half,” noted our tester.

Don’t expect budget equipment to last you as long as mid or high-end rowers would. “It doesn’t shake while in use, but there are a lot of plastic parts which, from my experience, tend to break on budget-friendly equipment,” concluded our tester. As such, durability scored a 3 out of 5.

It’s safe to assume that even the best budget home gym equipment will have to make sacrifices in one area or another, but when it comes to comfort, you may be as impressed as our tester. “The seat reminds me of a recumbent bike seat. It’s really wide and so, so comfortable,” they said. 

However, users with limited mobility will want to be aware that the seat height may make getting on and off of this rower a struggle. “The seat sits right above the ground, so I had to do a deep squat just to get on it,” they said.

Best Water Rowing Machine for Seniors: CITYROW Max



The CITYROW Max Rower offers a large 19.5-inch HD touchscreen, thousands of live and on-demand workouts, and connectivity with fitness trackers and Bluetooth headphones. 



Price: $2,199

Resistance Type: Water

Weight Capacity: 325lbs

Display: 19.5” HD touchscreen

Weight: 61lbs (without water); 98lbs (with water)


This water rower has a 19.5-inch HD touchscreen for immersive training

Can be stored vertically

Sturdy and sleek aluminum and wooden build 


CITYROW subscription is needed to utilize the HD touchscreen

Resistance can’t be adjusted

User height max is a 39-inch inseam 

The CITYROW Max is our choice for the best water rowing machine for seniors due to its smooth pull, large HD touchscreen, top-tier programming, and stylish build, which incorporates aluminum and American ash wood. Footprint, portability, setup, ergonomics, and dynamic programming all scored a 4 out of 5.

“The large 19.5-inch HD touchscreen gives you access to CITYROW’s app, featuring high-quality studio programming for classes both on and off of the rower,” noted our tester, who scored tech capabilities a 4.5 out of 5 after their HIIT rowing workout

It also packs a pair of high-fidelity 10-watt speakers to fully immerse yourself in your training, as well as Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair your wireless headphones when you want to keep the volume down.

The CITYROW app provides thousands of trainer-led on-demand classes and keeps track of your training metrics, so you can see how your efforts impact your progress over time. A CITYROW app subscription ($29.99 a month or $299.99 for the year) is needed to utilize this touchscreen, so if you’re not interested in this programming, we’d suggest opting for a more simplified water rower.

“Most importantly, it’s easy to use,” noted our tester who also appreciated the comfortable seat and handlebars, “And there aren’t many adjustments needed before you can get to your workout.” Adjustability and ergonomics scored a 4 out of 5. 

However, CITYROW recommends this rower for users with a max inseam of 39 inches, which might not be suitable for athletes over 6 feet tall. Additionally, the resistance isn’t adjustable, as is the case with most water rowers.

While water rowers like this one are often considered more aesthetically-pleasing than typical rowing machines, we appreciated this machine’s vertical storage capability. “Most of the weight is on the backend, so it was easy to tilt up. Plus, it didn’t hurt that it looks good stored up or left out,” said our tester, scoring the footprint and portability a 4 out of 5. When titled up, its footprint transforms from 13.21 square feet to less than 4 square feet. 

Benefits of Rowing Machines for Seniors

“Rowing is 100-percent effort-based,” says Jacqueline Owens, former D1 rower and current Row House instructor. “When you strap in, you can get the workout you want by either going all in and pushing off the [pedals] as hard as you can, or you decrease the power you push off with to move slower up the drive.” Regardless of your age, fitness level, and ability, here are some of our favorite benefits of rowing machines.

Our tester browsing the iFIT library available through the NordicTrack RW900 Rower

Versatility: Rowers are also versatile pieces of equipment,” notes BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC. “You can use them for high-intensity interval training and steady-state cardio exercise. They can also be used for some strength-training exercises, like pikes, for added versatility.”

Low-Impact: “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,” mentions Owens. This is ideal for senior athletes looking to reduce impact on their joints and knees when compared to running or jogging. (2)

Full-Body Workout: Capritto appreciates how rowing offers a full-body workout, targeting muscle groups in the upper and lower body. “I particularly like rowing because it engages the majority of the body’s muscles.”

Cardio and Strength: We love cardio for its heart-strengthening capabilities, but strength training is also important, especially as we age. (3) ”[Rowing] can develop power and explosiveness in the glutes and hamstrings, in addition to improving cardiovascular endurance,” says Capritto.

How Much Do the Best Rowing Machines for Seniors Cost?

Our picks for the best rowing machines for seniors range in price from $299.99 up to $2,199. When price is a strong determining factor for your purchase, be sure to consider any additional fees you’ll incur with your new equipment, such as monthly app subscriptions, wall anchor kits, or cushioned seats. Check out the chart below to see how each model’s price compares to the next.

What to Consider Before Buying a Rowing Machine for Seniors

Whether you’re on the prowl for the best cardio machines for weight loss or are looking to tackle fitness goals by adding rowing into your routine, consider the following areas before making that purchase.

Rowers vs Treadmills, Ellipticals, and Exercise Bikes

“Unlike other cardio machines, rowing will target your glutes, quads, back, lats, and shoulders with every stroke you take,” says Jacqueline Owens, former D1 rower and current Row House coach. Treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes can provide you with a solid cardio workout — and ellipticals can also work your upper body — but they won’t hit the same muscle groups as a rower. When deciding between these machines, consider what’s best for your body, training goals, and comfort. 

Grip Comfort

If you struggle with grip strength or suffer from tennis elbow, pulling on the handle of a rowing machine can be painful or uncomfortable. I struggle with tennis elbow, so when I want to get a rowing workout in, I like to use weight-lifting straps to assist with my grip and take some strain off of my elbow. Try out a rower at your local gym to see if it accommodates your grip — if not, you may be better served by a treadmill or one of the best ellipticals for seniors.

Air, Water, Magnetic, or Hydraulic

There are a variety of rowers on the market, and each type has its own pros and cons. Here’s a quick general pros and cons chart for your options.

Water wheel on the WaterRower Original Series machine.

Air rowers use fan flywheels; water rowers use fan flywheels against the resistance of water in a tank; magnetic rowers use electromagnetic resistance; and hydraulic rowers, which are less expensive but functionally limited compared to the other three types, use hydraulic cylinders in the handles to create resistance,” says BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC. 

Tech Capabilities

If you’re anything like my parents, you might not care about tech, Bluetooth connectivity, and streaming capabilities — I’ve spent many phone calls with my father talking him through how to use Instagram. It’s important to consider how much tech you want with your rower and how much tech you’re willing to spend your time figuring out how to use. 

Our tester on the Hydrow Wave Rower.

We’ve included options that run the gamut, from basic machines with limited tech to rowers with all of the bells and whistles. If you’re keen on tech capabilities, built-in touchscreens with app integration can help with motivation, developing a routine, and stat tracking. Plus, Bluetooth capabilities can allow you to pair headphones with your programming, control resistance from the handlebar, or sync the machine with mobile apps.

Available Space

“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. Rowers can often measure between 7 and 8 feet in length, which can be a lot for those in close quarters, so be sure to measure your space so you can compare what you have available to the footprint of these machines. 

Jake using the Hydrow Rower

Additionally, look for rowing machines with transport wheels, folding features, and the ability to stow vertically. However, if you have limited mobility, you may want to forego vertical storage since you’ll need to be capable of placing your equipment upright and lowering it back down when you want to row.

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,” says Capritto. If this is your predicament, the best recumbent bikes can keep you in a more upright position while taking stress off of your knees and joints. Ellipticals can do the same while providing a load-bearing workout to help strengthen bones. (4)

Best Rowing Machines for Seniors FAQs

What is the best rowing machine for seniors?

The Concept2 RowErg is our pick for the best rowing machine for seniors due to its approachable $990 price tag, lightweight 57-pound build, and sturdy 500-pound weight capacity. Additionally, while the tech is limited compared to some other options, the Performance Monitor 5 is one of our favorite low-tech monitors, providing access to ample training metrics and built-in programming.

Is a rowing machine good for a 70-year old?

Rowing machines are excellent for seniors. They provide low-impact workouts that are gentle on joints and can target your arms, legs, back, and core.

How long should a senior use a rowing machine?

Regardless of your age, it’s important to start any new fitness routine by easing into it. Start your training with what you’re able to do, aiming for 10-minute workouts to start. Once you’ve built a consistent routine and your body becomes stronger and more accustomed to this workout, you’ll be able to incrementally increase the time you row.


Mora, J. C., & Valencia, W. M. (2018). Exercise and Older Adults. Clinics in geriatric medicine, 34(1), 145–162.

Lane N. E. (1996). Physical activity at leisure and risk of osteoarthritis. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 55(9), 682–684.

Nystoriak, M. A., & Bhatnagar, A. (2018). Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 5, 135.

Lanyon L. E. (1992). Control of bone architecture by functional load bearing. Journal of bone and mineral research : the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 7 Suppl 2, S369–S375.

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