Best Heavy Duty Rowing Machines in 2021 [Reviews]

Weight capacity and materials are crucial in the best heavy-duty rowing machines. Steel and aluminium are among the most durable materials used to create rowing machines with a weight capacity between 300 and 500lbs.

When you’re shopping for a heavy-duty rowing machine, you’re after a product that lasts. Even if you use the rower at home, multiple family members could be using it every day as well.

This is why most rugged rowers need to handle intense use, and they need to come with a long rail (typically around 80 inches) to accommodate users of various heights.


What to look for in a heavy-duty rowing machine

A rowing machine for a heavy person needs to come with all types of small parts that can last. This starts with the main rail, but it continues with the seat or the folding system.

  • Maximum weight capacity

A heavy-duty rowing machine has a maximum weight capacity of between 300 and 500lbs. These rowers are ideal as rowing machines for obese people. Most entry-level rowers aren’t up for the task of everyday use for obese people, and they can even break under the heavy load.

Getting in shape as an overweight user can be complicated. It’s not enough to choose a good online rowing class to follow along. You also need a rower that can handle all the extra weight without falling apart. Make sure you abide by the maximum load capacity as specified by each manufacturer.

  • Materials and warranty

Steel and aluminium are the main materials chosen for the rower frame. The type of steel or aluminium used in their construction is important as well. Brands such as NordicTrack offer 10-year warranty plans for some of their rowers, given the heavy-duty steel used in their rowers.

A good warranty plan should cover your fitness machine for at least 2 years. But rowing machines can come with differentiated warranty plans. Electronics tend to have the shortest warranty, while the frame usually comes with the longest warranty. For obese users, it’s imperative not to overload the rower as each has a maximum load capacity.

  • Workout programs

Obese users need multiple good workout programs. Cardiovascular rowing programs and customizable rowing programs are ideal for those who need to lose excess weight. At the same time, obese people might need a bit of guidance when starting on a rower. Online workout classes such as those offered by iFit are ideal for those who need a bit of workout guidance.

The following best heavy-duty rowing machines have been selected based on the criteria. They feature high load capacity, multiple workout programs, customizable workout programs, the ability to be used with a chest strap for heart health monitoring, and with a folding design for easy storage.


The 5 Best Heavy Duty Rowing Machines In 2021 [Reviews]


1. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Review – Best Overall

Last update on 2022-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Designed to handle maximum weights of up to 500lbs, the Concept2 Model D is the best heavy-duty rowing machine for home use. This is one of the leading options for a gym and sports training as even athletes training in kayaking sports use it every week.

Its high weight capacity and sturdy materials recommend it among the most interesting solutions to rely on for years to come for home use. Most importantly, the Model 2 home rowing machine is ideal for full-body workouts. It activates all major muscle groups, such as the muscles of the back of the legs.

Another great aspect about this rower is that it comes with a long main rail. This is what makes this rugged, heavy-duty rowing machine ideal for tall users or people of any height. Many home rowing machines are too short, putting unnecessary pressure on the knees.

The Model D rowing machine works on air resistance. There are 10 levels of air resistance you can choose from. All users benefit from these adjustable air resistance levels as they increase or decrease rowing intensity. The smoothness of each stroke is recognized on this rower.

The heavy-duty rower also features extras such as USB compatibility so that you can store workout data and heart rate monitoring technologies. This rower comes with a 2-year warranty for residential use, excellent for almost all types of intense use.

Other features

  • Quick assembly with the help of the included tools
  • Designed with an adjustable display
  • Made with adjustable, secure footrests
  • It separates into 2 pieces for storage

2. NordicTrack RW Rower Review – Best for Online Workouts

Last update on 2022-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NordicTrack’s rower is ideal for all of those heavy-duty fitness machines that need to come with online connectivity. You can rely on this rower if you like the idea of getting into group rowing classes from the comfort of your home. This is why the rower with a workout screen features a 22” display you can use to watch training videos or to follow along with group training classes.

Normally, getting access to online training classes is based on a monthly subscription plan. But NordicTrack offers free 12-month iFit access, a plan used by up to 5 family members. Ideally, you will try all types of online workouts, including the classes where the trainer adjusts the resistance level of the rower for you.

But the rower can also be used offline without any input from iFit trainers. It features 26 resistance levels so that it matches the demands of some of the most dedicated users. With 250lbs capacity, this heavy-duty rowing machine is ideal for almost any type of workout plan.

Other features

  • Made with a space-saving folding design
  • Follow-along real river-based rowing classes
  • 1-year free access to online rowing classes
  • 10-year frame warranty

3. Fitness Reality 4000MR Magnetic Rower Review – Best for Independent Handles

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There’s no clear evidence to support the idea that independent handles on a rower are better. But as a matter of personal preference, independent handlebars rowers can get you in shape faster if you like them more. This is the situation of the 4000MR rower from Fitness Reality. Its independent handlebars are ideal for developing maximums strength and increasing shoulder muscles as well.

There are 16 levels of resistance that back this rugged, heavy-duty rowing machine. It offers all of the main training programs, such as calorie burning, efficient workouts, and ultimately help you get in shape.

With 300lbs maximum weight capacity, this durable rower is ready to be considered by all family members. Since user weight varies, it’s best to prioritize such a high-capacity resistant rowing machine when used by the entire family.

Other features

  • It folds for storage
  • Recommended for the full range of motion
  • It saves up to 5 customizable programs
  • Made with adjustable console angles

4. Marcy Pro Water Resistance Rowing Machine Review – Best Water Rower

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This heavy water rowing machine is among the simplest choices if you like the feeling of real rowing. Since weather and practicality keep many away from rowing on lakes or rivers, the indoor rowing machine from Marcy is an ideal replacement.

Apart from the smooth water rowing feeling, this sturdy home rower is ideal for all looking to stay in shape. Adjusting resistance levels is a bit more interesting with this water rower than with a magnetic rower. You need to add water to the water tank to increase resistance and remove water using a special pump to decrease rowing resistance.

Like almost all other heavy-duty home rowing machines, this Marcy Pro also comes with an adjustable-angle console. Regardless of your height, you can easily read workout indicators such as the estimated calorie burn within a training session.

Other features

  • It only weighs 50lbs
  • Designed with built-in transportation wheels
  • Included media rack for smartphones and tablets
  • It holds weights of up to 300lbs

5. Xterra Fitness ERG700 Rower – Best Hybrid Rower

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The Xterra Fitness ERG700 is a rugged 350lbs weight capacity heavy-duty rowing machine combining both air and magnetic resistance. It has a 20” frame height, which is ideal for different user heights if you value getting on and off the rowing machine easily.

Made with a long rail of over 80”, the rower allows you to glide completely with each stroke even when you’re the tallest in the house. Interval, fat burn, and distance are just a few of its training modes, and you can use them alternatively to get in shape and build cardiovascular endurance.

This capable rower also comes with a folding design. The long rail part flips up so that you can save space while placing your cardio machine in storage. Its design is ideal for small spaces or for those training in apartments where space isn’t easy to find.

Other features

  • Made with flexing foot pedals
  • Contoured seat design
  • Designed with an adjustable-angle console
  • Made with a heavy-duty 7.7lbs flywheel

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Both Concept2 and NordicTrack’s rowing machines are ideal for those who need heavy-duty rowing machines without worrying about possible lack of features of poor build quality.

For a full range of motion with more attention to movements (ideal for those training with injuries), Fitness Reality’s rower might be the inspired choice.

For versatility, the ERG700 rower reviewed above seems like the top choice regardless of your fitness level.

A heavy-duty rower is also a futureproof purchase. You don’t need to upgrade these rowers as most are made to last for years and even decades as backed by generous warranty plans. You can use them to lose excess body weight, and keeping an eye on the burned calories on the main console of these rowers will be the first step towards improved health and fitness.

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