Best Rowing Machine for Older Adults? — Here’s 5!

woman on rowing machine

The consensus around here is the best rowing machine for seniors is the Teeter Power 10 Elliptical Rower.

We did the testing. We did the research. We did the rowing. We boiled it down to the top five! 

When using a rowing machine, you utilize gentle resistance that safely pushes your body but can allow you to go hard. The Teeter Power 10 focuses on a more gentle action that efficiently can work more muscles than the normal rower.

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While the Teeter Power 10 is our top choice for the older adult, the Concept 2 is undoubtedly an iconic machine ubiquitous in gyms and used by devotees from elite athletes to me.

The five top rowing machines for seniors are:

Best Rowing Machine for Seniors – The Reviews

With lowered energy levels, we need short but effective workouts. Rowing machines are excellent for this. But which one is best? 

1. Teeter Power10 Elliptical Rower – Best Overall

Let’s get right to it: the best of the best. The BMW of rowers is the Teeter Power10.

Man on the teeter Power10 rower

The Teeter provides a great workout but is also easy to set up, adjust, and store. The multi-grip handles offer arthritis sufferers flexibility.

A magnetic rower, the Teeter exercises group muscles through low impact, high-intensity training. There’s metric tracking for following the progress and effectively increases your workouts.

Pros:

  • Easy to mount and dismount
  • Train with Teeter Move app; no monthly subscription costs
  • Multi-grip handles are sweat-resistant and padded
  • Easy-to-read digital monitor tracks heart rate, calories, distance, and strokes 
  • Low-impact design means minor wear and tear on joints

Cons:

  • Requires two people to assemble 
  • Cardio machine might be challenging to fold and store

2. RowWarrior Fitness Rowing Machine – Best for Back Pain

Thankfully, the RowWarrior is separable and foldable because laid out, it’s a beast. It has one of the smoothest glide tracks and easy-to-follow monitoring progress features. You get a wrist heart monitor.

Woman on RpwWarrior fitness rower

Take advantage of four adjustable levels of resistance and the machine’s ability to combine strength training and cardiovascular fitness. The custom seat cushioning is perfect for the rider with lower back pain or sciatica.

Pros:

  • Separates into two parts and folds for storage
  • Anti-slip pedals and adjustable foot straps
  • LED tracking monitor
  • Promises full-body workout

Cons:

  • Device requires large area

3. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine – Best for Beginners

Affordable as it gets, the Sunny Health & Fitness magnetic rower is for the casual user. It has non-slip pedals for smooth operation. The machine is also adjustable to fit any size or height (a great feature if you’re sharing). 

Man on Sunny Fitness rowing machine

We especially appreciate the lightweight capacity. It’s easily moved and stored in small spaces. That’s cool for the senior who doesn’t want to turn maintenance into part of the workout.

Pros:

  • Eight levels of magnetic and air resistance
  • A great beginners’ rower
  • Affordable
  • Easy assembly

Cons:

  • Low impact may be insufficient for experienced users
  • Might be too small for some users

4. Concept2 Model D – Best for Health Monitoring

The Concept2 is an air rower and an excellent option but not necessarily for older adults. It has an advanced performance monitor. Health and performance tracking has never been easier!

Concept2 Model D rowing machine

The magnetic rower engages legs, arms, and core in a smooth, calorie-burning motion. It’s stored in two pieces and has caster wheels for better mobility. 

Take caution with Concept2. Olympians and pro athletes love the model for its intensity, and it comes with challenging exercises. Plus, its bare-bones design may lack comfort options us seniors might prefer.

But in a list of the best rowing machines, it undoubtedly comes top.

Pros:

  • Concept 2 Model is the world’s best selling rowing machine
  • Can accommodate rowers up to 6.6 feet tall and 500 pounds
  • Natural sweat-absorbing grip and cover

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive

5. Fitness Reality 1000 – Best for Advanced Workouts

The Fitness Reality 1000 is a top magnetic rower. Bluetooth capability tracks calorie burn, simulated distance, strokes per minute, and time. There are 14 resistance options, giving you a solid level of control.

Fitness Reality 1000 rowing machine

The stabilizers let you do bend-over rows, bicep curls, front and side raises, extensions, and more. All performed with low impact on joints. The foot pedals are anti-slip and pivot, providing a good range of motion.

Pros:

  • Very popular moderately priced machine
  • Ergonomic design
  • Durable and rugged frame
  • Productive workouts via My Cloud Fitness app

Cons:

  • Resistance and tension is insufficient for some 
  • 250 lbs weight capacity eliminates many users

Choosing a Rowing Machine: Your Buyer’s Guide

As we age, we need to exercise more than ever, be we also must be careful. The wrong exertion can do more harm than good, so we’re best with low-impact options. As such, rowing machines fit the bill.

Rowing machines use varying types of resistance. There are magnets, water, hydraulics, and air. Now, one isn’t necessarily better. Your choice depends on the experience you want to get out of the machine.

Magnetic Rowing 

Magnets generate resistance as you move away and towards the flywheel. It’s like pushing the same sides of two magnets together. You can change resistance to build muscle or improve cardiovascular fitness.

Water Rowing 

As water is an aspect of actual rowing, a machine running on water may create a natural feel. Fan blades sit in water, and you control resistance with speed and volume of water. The process minimizes strains and pressure.

Air Rowing 

These machines are standard in commercial fitness centers. The rowers provide resistance with air instead of water. There’s a flywheel, and when you pull the handles, it pushes out the air to create spin.

Hydraulic Rowing 

The hydraulic solution is a basic setup, making them the most affordable. As the name implies, the hydraulic cylinder operates on fluids or air.

What to Consider

Here’s what we took into account when testing and choosing the best rowing machines.

Noise Level

If you exercise in an open or community area, you want to consider how likely noise levels impact others. 

Maintenance

Look at the complexity of your rower. For instance, a water rower needs water changes and cleaning. A fan-based device will not.

Size

Rowers take up a noticeable amount of space. You can store them vertically or fold them. Find a model that’s easy to store.

Features

Rowers come with unique features to enhance the experience. 

Seating

Seating is critical. You sit in the same position throughout the workout. A low device may be challenging to get out of. 

Adjustable Foot Straps

You want a snug fit for your feet. That’s important if you have smaller or larger feet. Straps should be adjustable and padded.

Add-ons

A lot of companies engineering rowing machines for seniors are digital. Here are some high-tech options.

Community

The latest rowers offer streaming workouts that provide a lovely workout community for you.

Screen Positioning

If your device comes with a screen, make sure it’s at eye level or adjustable for comfortable viewing. Avoid compromising form or straining the neck.

Smart Features

There’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, preprogrammed workouts, streaming, syncing heart rate monitors, and third-party apps, all features that enhance the rowing experience.

Conclusion

It’s an affordable low-impact design promising less wear and tear on your joints. The digital monitor, along with the free Teeter Move app, makes sure you’re always performing at your best.

As stated, the Teeter Power 10 Elliptical Rower is our pick for the best. It has an easy setup, adjustments, and storage faculties. 

If it’s time to buy your rowing machine for seniors, check it out for yourself today. If the Teeter model isn’t quite what you’re looking for, try one of the other options above that surely won’t disappoint! 

For other low impact cardio machines for older adults we have also looked at best treadmills, comapact treadmills and best recumbent bikes.

Penny Cooper

Penny Cooper

Penny is a Personal Trainer currently training as a wellness coach. Redundancy from retail management meant an enforced move from helping women with sports shoes and apparel to helping people get fit and well.