The 5 Best Smart Rowing Machines – I Tried Them All

Posted on: August 19, 2021 | Updated on: December 11, 2023 | Category: Rowing Machines

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For optimal health, it’s recommended that you get 150 minutes of mild or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity every week. It's best to combine this with strength training at least twice weekly. 

One of the exercises you can take up to satisfy these requirements is rowing. A rowing machine stimulates watercraft rowing and is the ideal go-to workout equipment for people looking to work out multiple muscles simultaneously.

What Is A Smart Rowing Machine (AKA Connected Rowing Machine)?

alex using ergatta's HD touchscreen (smart rower)
The interface on Ergatta is similar to the others on this list. They are all easy to touch and work around, it's like a tablet.

Smart rowers (or connected rowing machines) are indoor rowing machines with enhanced technology, like an HD touchscreen, workout programming (rowing apps) and data tracking, that are designed to create resistance in order to target and work out multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Some smart rowers can replace your home gym, like the ones on this list, as rowing apps are starting to incorporate on and off-rowing workout programs.

What Are The Benefits Of Having The Best Smart Rowing Machine?

A value-packed smart rowing machine offers all the workout benefits plus a few additions. These include a smart monitoring PMS system. Some of the metrics it can measure include calories burnt, distance, time, and stride.

These can also be connected to smartphones for users to access more metrics and track progress. 

benefits of smart rowers
Plenty of benefits to talk about, but I'd like to add that having 1 for gaming (ergatta) and 1 for class workouts (CITYROW GO Max) provides so many benefits for me as an athlete – it helps keep my competitive edge and cityrow has excellent instructors (shout out to Shaun Tubbs)!

Top 5 Smart Rowing Machines For Home Workouts

One thing's for sure – you won't find a better top 5 list of smart indoor rowing machines than here at Fitness Training Star. I've been purchasing at home rowing machines for a while now since the pandemic hit, and I want to give you a transparent opinion before you make a big purchase like this. That said, let's get right into it – I'll provide some images of myself with these smart rowers so you know this isn't BS!

top smart rowers for home workouts
Alex, from Fitness Training Star, rows with the Ergatta, which is one of the best indoor smart rowers on the market right now.

For starters, here's a useful table for anyone looking to get a (kick-a$$) smart indoor rower. To be transparent, I purchased the Ergatta and the CITYROW Go Max. What that means is that it was the best choice for me. It doesn't mean it's the best choice for you (it could). So, I decided to include something for everyone. They are all roughly the same price and are all worth every penny of the price tag. For those looking for the best deal / coupon, I'll have a floating banner on this page that has the hot deal going on.

Here's the table that shows my top 5, followed by the review section. Let's begin!

Top RankedBest ForHD TouchscreenGaming / RacingFTS RatingStarting PriceShop
HydrowThe river feel / classes4.9/5 ⭐$hydrow
ErgattaRacing / competition4.9/5 ⭐$ergatta
CITYROW GO MaxBeginners / classes4.9/5 ⭐$cityrow
AvironGaming + racing4.8/5 $aviron
LIT MethodOn and offer rower workouts4.7/5 $LIT

#1: Hydrow Connected Rower (Best Smart Magnetic Rower)

best connected rower - hydrow

The Hydrow is a great addition to any home gym. This cutting-edge indoor rower allows users to engage in on-demand and live workouts as they do their training. This engagement adds a fun and motivating element to any workout. This rower has foot adjustment to ensure you place your feet properly for maximum results. In addition, the handle comes with an ergonomic design. This allows a better, firmer, low-stress grip.

The indoor rower has responsive computer-controlled and dynamic resistance. The seat is ergonomically designed and features a ten roller cushion system that allows for a very smooth operation. This feature is ideal for people that love longer workouts but also tend to get sore afterward.  The Hydrow also has front-facing speakers where users can easily receive instructions for the duration of their workout.

You'll be able to mimic rowing and get a realistic rowing feel with the hydrow connected rower. It's a magnetic rower (magnetic resistance), which is going to be different than water rowers or flywheel resistance indoor rowing machines.

This smart rower is made from commercial-grade aluminum, which means it should hold up well over time. It’s also significantly quiet, meaning you can work out within your home without worrying about disturbing other members of the household.

I also compared hydrow to ergatta and cityrow go max (the top 3 smart rowers on this list), which can give you more insight if you're looking for it.

Hydrow usually has a good sale going on, so click the link below and it will take you to the best price.

Hydrow's Specs

Dimensions:86’’L × 25’’W × 47’’H
Screen resolution: 1920 × 1080 full HD. It has a 22’’ screen size
Stored dimensions:25’’W × 33’’D × 86’’H. You can purchase an upright storage kit if you need one
Height:145 lbs. 197 lbs boxed/ the height limit can fit up to a 36’’ inseam
Bluetooth:the Hydrow is Bluetooth 5.0 enabled. This monitors audio and heart rate
hydrow's specs

Pros of Hydrow

  • High quality, sturdy, silent machine
  • Easily adjustable to varying settings for individual comfort
  • 22’’ touch screen is sweat and dust resistant, making it much easy to maintain
  • You get linked up with the Hydrow community, which is great for support and accountability
  • The free-risk trial allows a user to determine whether it worked for them before committing to it

Cons of Hydrow

  • At $2,199 to purchase and $38 membership costs, this machine is not cheap
  • You can not pause a video, and the volume on the audios is not adjustable
  • The machine does not support an Apple watch and cannot be paired with other 3rd party devices
  • You have to purchase an additional kit to store the machine upright

#2: Ergatta Smart Rower (Best for Racing and Competition)

alex (FTS) races on the ergatta smart rower
Ergatta's new 3D racing is SWEET! Graphics are pretty dope and you can choose your own competition. Right now, I'm sticking to the shorter races (my stamina needs some work)!

The Ergatta is in no way your average piece of workout equipment. Instead, this smart rower is made of a clear water tank and a gorgeous cherry wood frame. This makes the Ergatta arguably one of the best-looking smart rowing machines in the market today. Instead of trainer-led classes, the Ergatta rowing machine uses competitions and games to keep users motivated. You can access the membership at $29 for monthly use or get the yearly package at $290.

This membership gives you access to a personal dashboard, competitions, goal-based training programs, a list of rowing workouts, and monthly fitness challenges. If you have several users on the same machine in your household, worry not. You can create multiple accounts on Ergatta once you pay for membership. By doing this, each member gets an account that is specifically calibrated for them. Personalization is important as each user can track their progress and get that indoor rowing experience.

Ergatta invests a lot in ensuring its users have new, fresh workouts and that the machine does not get monotonous. As such, it’s said to add as many as six new workouts for users to try out every week.

Ergatta's Specs

Dimensions:86’’L × 23’’W × 40’’H
Storage Dimensions:86’’× 23’’ × 22.5’’
Weight with water:103 lbs
Weight without water:76.5 lbs
Maximum user weight:500 lbs
Monitor:17.3-inch tablet display console
specs of ergatta's indoor smart rower
IMO, Ergatta is also the best looking rower if you're after aesthetics – this is what it looks like next to my TV set up in my living room.

Pros of Ergatta

  • It has a beautiful design that can easily blend in with other aesthetics in your home 
  • You can personalize workouts for multiple people according to their fitness levels
  • It offers data-driven workouts, games, and monthly challenges
  • Ergatta’s water resistance feature perfectly mimics rowing outside
  • The machine supports Bluetooth enabled headphones as well as heart rate monitors
  • It’s very light in weight and easily stands upright or storage
  • Ergatta releases a new race of the week every Sunday. This variety provides users with a fresh new workout for the following week
  • It delivers numerous metrics, including the number of completed workouts, best split, longest workout, average split times, and total distance rowed

Cons of Ergatta

  • Retailing at $2,199, this equipment is considered pricey
  • It does not come with live workouts, off the rower workouts, or trainer-instructed workouts
  • Its 17.3 screen is adequate for some but much smaller than screens in rowers of a similar price range

Another thing I adore about Ergatta's team is that they never run a “promo” or discount on the rower. The price “is what it is” and to me that goes a long way in how much the team believes in their product. If you're really interested in looking at more pics of it, here's a gallery I created:

#3: CITYROW GO Max Smart Indoor Rowing Machine (Best for beginners)

smart rower - cityrow go max

A key reason why people drop their fitness goals midway is monotony. This is not a concern with the CITYROW GO Max. This $2,195 rower will keep you coming back thanks to its wide array of trainer-led workouts. In essence, you get a boutique fitness experience in the comfort of your home. 

While this equipment will not provide live workouts or scenic outdoor rows like some machines, it has numerous desirable features. The CITYROW GO Max is a shoulder above the rest for its Signature HIIT. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) alternates distance and time-based rowing sessions with strength moves like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and so on. 

Most classes can be done by beginners, though CITYROW GO Max programs also offer specific workouts for beginners and advanced courses to challenge experienced rowers. 

CITYROW GO Max's specs

Dimensions:83.5’’L × 22.2’’5W × 45.25’’
Storage Dimensions:24’’D × 22.25W × 83.5H
Weight without water:75 lbs
Weight with water: 112 lbs
Maximum weight:375 lbs
Maximum height:39’’
Connectivity:two 10-watt speakers and connects to Bluetooth for heart rate monitoring and headphone use
specs of cityrow's max rower

Pros of CITYROW GO Max

  • It has instructor-led workouts that are both effective and fun
  • Offers different levels from beginner to advanced, as well as partner classes
  • Water-resistance simulates water body rowing
  • Users can rotate the screen to up to 30 degrees
  • The stand and store design makes it possible for users to row in multiple locations
  • Its lightweight, compact, and folds easily for upright storage
  • Its row stroke is even and silent
  • It has a search facility to access hundreds of workouts, including yoga, flexibility, and strength workouts
  • It features a 19.5’’ screen that’s interactive and sweat-resistant

Cons of CITYROW GO Max

  • The test unit had some defects
  • It does not have leaderboards or live classes
  • Buffers with poor internet connectivity
  • The app is subscription-based
  • It uses water which must be filled in the rower. Some rowers prefer magnetic or air resistance to water

#4: Aviron (Best Smart Air Resistance Rower)

aviron brand logo and woman rowing

The Aviron is a super-interactive rowing machine that accommodates everyone from Olympic athletes to everyday folks looking to meet their exercise needs. If you are just starting, the Aviron comes with comprehensive videos to teach you proper form. This ensures your physical safety and ensures you work out efficiently. 

Every tiny detail of this rower is well-thought-out and researched to deliver stellar customer experiences. Indeed, this machine has included more comfort and flexibility features to rival the best in the industry. For example, while some machines come with one resistance model, Aviron utilizes a 16-level magnetic and air system (yes, an air rower). It's a beast, and mine is coming to my house very soon.

Do you wish to work out and hold challenges with your friends? Well, this is doable with the Aviron as its system allows you and your friends to add, follow each other and track each other’s progress for accountability and motivation. Aviron’s screen is a 22’’ 1080p touchscreen that’s extremely easy for most people to read. You can get this at $2,199 and membership fees of $29 a month or $299 annually. 

Aviron's specs

Dimensions:97’’L × 22’’W × 43’’H
Storage dimensions:54’’L × 22’’W × 62’’H
Maximum weight:397 lbs
Connectivity:Bluetooth 4.1, 4GB RAM, and a 2×2 watt stereo as well
aviron's specs
The aviron is super unique and they are very new to the game, so if you haven't heard of them, that's probably why. But, they have a HUGE facebook group with hardcore rowing enthusiasts that 100% back this machine. I'm getting mine very soon – and I'm very excited!


  • You can connect to headphones and a heart rate monitor vis its Bluetooth
  • Has a 22’’ touchscreen that offers seamless navigation and is ideal for gamers
  • The Aviron replaces the typical rower machine chain with a nylon belt. This makes it much quieter when in use
  • It uses a fan and flywheel combination that’s much closer to the water rowing experience
  • Its dual resistance tech delivers heavy resistance
  • It has 16 settings, with the higher selling delivering 100+ lbs. of pulling
  • It has a pros vs. Joes application where you see how you stack up against professional rowers and Olympians


  • It is expensive (which piece of gym equipment isn't though?)

#5: The Lit Method Strength Machine

lit method strength machine

The Lit method strength machine is a smart, at-home fitness invention. It bills itself as an all-in-one cardio and strength system that helps people keep fit in the comfort of their homes. 

This equipment is essentially a water-powered rower that utilizes an anchor system where users can add other equipment like resistance or strength bars.

A common concern for beginners is where to start or how to use new equipment. However, this concern is negated by the machine's library of on-demand, and live-workout sessions. 

As simple as the machine looks, it will deliver a sweat-inducing, effective workout when you need it. After purchase, assembling the lit machine should be easy as it comes with everything provided, including a pump to help with the water tank. Lit will cost about $1,750 with membership at $24.99 a month or $240 a year.

Lit method strength machine's specs

Dimensions:84’’L × 21’’W × 19’’H
Weight with water:Weight with water: 89 lbs
Weight without water:70 lbs
Maximum weight:400 lbs.
specs of lit method


  • It’s an all in one fitness machine that offers over 500 individual workout moves
  • You can integrate other equipment to challenge yourself as you meet your fitness goals
  • It offers fun, upbeat classes


  • It can get noisy, especially on execution
  • It lacks an in-built monitor, which restricts some access
  • It does not offer workout output stats
  • The bulk of the machine’s value is pegged on the membership subscription

Who Should Buy An Indoor Connected Rowing Machine?

The key thing about rowing machines is versatility. Regardless of their fitness levels, people can use a rowing machine effectively since all the top ones come with a workout library to get you started.

Similarly, people looking to work out regularly but without going to the gym will find rowing machines ideal as they are perfect for indoor gyms.

Are Smart Rowers Worth It?

Yes – Smart rowers are #worthit. If you have the workout space and you're looking to engage 86% of your muscles in a fun, connected, workout experience, then smart rowers are 100% worth the price tag. What you get with a smart rower goes over and above a sweaty workout. Other primary benefits include workout data that show your progress and help you tighten your workouts.

The other aspect of rowing machines is that they are good for people at any fitness level. Most will have specific workouts catering to individuals at varying competency levels which makes rowers inclusive. Its inclusivity can also be seen in its low-impact nature. This makes it a great workout option for people with joint pain and conditions such as arthritis.

Can You Lose Belly Fat On A Rowing Machine?

If you incorporate rowing in your workout routine, you'll be guaranteed to trigger almost all muscles, including the abs, when rowing, as it engages 86% of muscles in your body. You'll also be burning calories and shredding fat in areas like your belly. Smart at home rowers like the Hydrow, Ergatta, CITYROW and Aviron have programs that target the stomach area to help you lose unwanted belly fat. Keep at it, and you could be on your way to that old 6 pack you once had (or always dreamed of having). Overall, rowing machines help you lose weight and burn calories.

What Will Rowing Do To My Body?

You can really expect to see a positive transformation of your body if you commit to indoor rowing on a consistent basis. But, there's plenty of benefits – rowing helps improve stamina, strength and tone of your muscles, including strengthening the heart. There have also been academic studies that support a boost of immune system, improved mood and calming effect on the mind because of the low-impact movement and sounds.

Do Rowing Machines Make Your Bum Bigger?

You do use your glutes (bum muscles) when rowing because it's a full body workout. The interactive workouts help you burn fat and calories. As you burn fat, you build muscle. Altogether, rowing machines help to sculpt, tone and define your muscles through cardiovascular fitness, building them a little bigger though not enormously.

How Much Does a Smart Rowing Machine Cost?

The best rowing machines (smart rowers) on this list start at just over $2,000, with all of them having a monthly subscription cost starting at $39 per month. These are the cream of the crop, with the best high quality materials, best weight capacity, value-packed programming that can only be streamed through the brand's app of your choosing, and they all specialize in indoor rowing.

What's The Best Rowing App?

As an avid indoor rower enthusiast and owning half of the rowers mentioned on this list, I have to say that Ergatta's app is the best for racing plus competition, Aviron's app is best for gaming, Hydrow's rowing app is better for those looking for studio-class experience, and CITYROW Go's app is excellent for beginners and instruction.

So What Is The Best Smart Rower?

There is no simple answer to this question, unfortunately. The best smart rower varies with an individual and what they are looking for.

If you love longer workouts, the Hydrow is the best smart rower since it has specific features that allow you to do this without getting sore. On the other hand, if interaction is key for you, the Ergatta is unparalleled in terms of connectivity and the metrics it relays back. Not to mention, Ergatta is easily the best looking water rower, so you can store it in your living room.

Similarly, if you are looking at something more affordable with great value, the Lit method strength machine fits the bill. The Aviron has a screen and gaming experience like no other, making it the go-to for people looking to combine their workouts with an unparalleled gaming experience. Finally, the CITYROW GO Max is the best smart rowing machine choice for beginners, as it has Peloton-like classes with world class instruction.

Get Hydrow

Get Ergatta


Go to Aviron


*Our editors research, review and recommend the best products we trust. We may receive a commission on some (but not all) links in our content. TRAIN HARD!
About the Author Alex Smith, CSCS

A former NCAA college football coach, an ACE Fitness NCAA Accredited Certification in Strength & Conditioning, Alex uses his expertise to create workouts focusing on strength, training focusing on speed, agility and skill, and motivation to help you crush your goals. He's here to help you get results! When he's not working out, he enjoys spending time with his two kiddos and playing golf.

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