There are so many rowing machines that vary in quality, durability, utility, and price. The hard part is finding which one is right for you. The best way to figure that out is to try them out in person and see which one feels best and will fit your individual needs. The best rowing machines have adjustable resistance, which will allow the user to increase or decrease the difficulty depending on their fitness level or experience. The three main types of rowers are water, air and magnetic rowing machines.
Water rowers use paddles that are suspended in the water to create resistance. Cheap water rowers will require the user to open the tank and increase or reduce the amount of water in order to change the tension of the rowing machine. This can cause the tank to leak over time and will affect the durability of the rower. High quality water rowers will have adjustable resistance that will allow the user to change tension on the fly without opening up the tank and compromising the integrity of the rower. The other main benefit of water rowers is that the tension is smooth and allows for more muscles to be activated resulting in a higher caloric output.
Air resistance rowing machines from a flywheel that spins to produce air similar to a fan. Air rowers do not usually have adjustable resistance, so they rely on the user to pull faster in order to increase the difficulty. These rowing machines are most popular among athletes who compete in crew or crossfit. This is because they do not have a wide range of resistance, therefore the purpose is for racing and going as fast as possible. Air rowers are also the loudest of the three main types of rowing machines due to the flywheel operating similar to a fan.
Magnetic rowing machines use a magnet that can be moved closer or further from the flywheel to create adjustable resistance. They generally require the least amount of maintenance due to the lack of friction that the magnet produces. Magnetic rowers also have one of the widest ranges of resistance alongside water rowers. The other main benefit of the magnet is that it is very quiet, so it can be used in a variety of different environments and withstand a consistent amount of usage.