The Best Compact Rowing Machine Reviews Guide for 2020

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Read Our Picks of the Best Compact Rowing Machines On the Market

So you want to buy a rowing machine, but think you don’t have the space for one. And you’d probably be right if you were looking at some of the high-end models on the market. There are compact rowers on the market – you just have to know where to look.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

Our favorite for 2020

Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine

A great value option

Stamina InMotion Rower

Feautres five levels of resistance

We’ve done the hard work and found five excellent models that will give you a great workout without taking up half the room. But before we get into our reviews, we want you to know how to compare these models. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Rower Type: In the compact range, there are two general types of rowers: hydraulic and air resistance, although you may also find some magnetic models as well. With air rowers, the resistance increases in intensity the harder and faster you row. In other words, there are no set resistance levels, like what you’d find with a hydraulic or magnetic resistance model. Determine which one you prefer, and that will help you narrow down your choices.
  • Foldability: Some rowers are just compact in size, while others fold up. Others are both compact and foldable. Decide which option is right for you and your home to help find the ideal rower for your needs.
  • Quality: The quality and durability of the rower is important. Look for models made with durable materials, like steel, to ensure that you get years of use out of the machine. A great way to check on the quality of the machine is to read through user reviews. If there are complaints about the rower, you’re sure to find them here.

Top Portable Rowing Machine Reviews for 2020

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 – The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is the best rowing machine for home use if size is your biggest concern. With a footprint of 23.5” x 46”, this model is compact enough to fit into just about any size home.

But don’t let its small size fool you – this rower comes with all the essentials you need to get a great workout. Gas shock resistance levels allow you to make your workouts more challenging, while the LCD monitor keeps track of your workout stats.

The molded and padded seat is comfortable, and the foot pedals are just the right size. With a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds, this machine can accommodate just about everyone.

For extreme durability, the rower’s frame is constructed with steel, and it folds up for easy storage in between workouts.

Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine – If your budget is just as compact as your space, the Sunny Health and Fitness rower is a great choice. An impressive budget unit, this is one of the most affordable rowers on the market.

It’s also incredibly compact, with dimensions of 53”L x 20”W x 22”H.

And it doesn’t skimp on quality either. While minimalistic, this rower will still deliver a great workout.

There are 12 resistance levels available, and an electronic monitor keeps track of your strokes, time, count and calories burned. Pivoting foot plates and a padded seat make this rower a pleasure to use.

When you’re done with your workout, this machine folds flat to fit underneath the bed – or wherever you can fit it.

Stamina InMotion Rower – The Stamina InMotion rower features a solid steel construction and an easy-store design that makes this a great choice for anyone who doesn’t have the space for a full-size rower.

Only five resistance levels are offered, but this model still delivers a great workout if you’re a beginner.

The stitched seat adds comfort, while the pivoting footplates allow for natural movement while you row.

The InMotion rower comes with a built-in LCD monitor, so you can keep track of your most important workout stats.

Like other models on our list, this rower folds up for compact storage in between your workouts.

Stamina Air Rower – The Stamina Air Rower is one of the more high-end rowers on our list, but it’s also one of the best in terms of value. Because this rower uses air resistance, it can be used by beginner, intermediate and advanced users alike – and it will progress with you as your fitness level increases.

The faster and harder you row, the more difficult the resistance will be, which is similar to how it works when you’re rowing on the water.

A multi-function LCD monitor is included, which tracks your distance, time, speed, and number of calories burned.

A padded seat is also built into the machine for added comfort. The seat is oversized and angled to allow for smooth, natural movement as you row.

The Air Rower folds up for quick and easy storage in between uses, and a set of floor protectors helps prevent skidding if you have hard flooring.

Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine – Our final pick also comes from Sunny Health & Fitness, and this rower is a little more advanced than the other model from this brand.

With full motion arms, this rower allows you to get a complete range of motion as you row. It also offers 12 resistance levels for an added challenge.

The full-motion arms allow you to target a variety of major muscle groups, including your arms, legs, abs, back, glutes and more. The built-in LCD monitor displays your stroke count, time and calories.

With a thick-padded seat, non-slip handlebars and adjustable foot straps, this rower is comfortable to use and keeps your feet securely in place.

Buyer’s Guide –  How to Choose the Best Small Rowing Machine for You

Buying a rower doesn’t have to be complicated – even if you’re looking for a compact model. Small rowers offer most of the same features that larger rowers offer. The primary difference is the resistance type. Rarely will you find a water rower that’s compact in size. Rarer still is one that will fold up for storage.

Compact rowing machine


Still, even though compact models can deliver great workouts, you may be unsure of which features to look for when choosing a model. We talked about the importance of quality, foldability and rower type earlier. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Footprint: All of the models on our list are compact in size, but you still need to consider their individual footprints. Are you looking for a really compact rower, or are you looking for a model that falls on the larger end of the spectrum? Check the rower’s dimensions before buying, and find out if the model has a foldable design.
  • Monitoring: Nearly all rowers offer some type of monitoring, even if it’s an incredibly simple display. Monitoring is important because it gauges how many calories you’ve burned while helping you keep track of your time and strokes. Each of these metrics can help you track your overall progress to see how your strength and endurance are improving. All of the rowers on our list offer a monitor of some kind.
  • Weight Capacity: Another important thing to consider, which many people overlook, is the machine’s weight capacity. Most rowers can accommodate the majority of users, but if you fall into the obese range, you may need to pay special attention to the weight capacity.

Finally, don’t forget to consider the cost of the machine. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to consider quality over price to ensure you purchase a rower that will give you more than just a month of use.