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I've looked at many rowing machines on the Internet. Now I do a lot of walking and some cycling (outdoors in good weather) but want to have an alternative to the treadmill and outside walking at home, particularly one that exercises the body as well as provides a cardio workout. I'm 75, have been in cardiac rehab for a year now, but am in good health and fitter than I was a year ago. Price is an issue, but anything less than $1,000 will be considered.

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    Unfortunately off topic - From the help section on what to avoid asking: every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?” Asking for a "best" anything is just going to result in personal opinion answers. – JohnP Feb 23 '15 at 20:40
  • Thanks, John, but in this case a good reviewer's opinion will likely be based on good reasons. I tried to give enough in my description for folks to see what I was looking for. – Old River Bob Feb 24 '15 at 21:57
  • I understand that, but on most SE sites across the board, "What ____ is best" questions are off topic as a rule. Even for a good reviewer, it's still a personal opinion. – JohnP Feb 24 '15 at 22:44
  • John, Do you have a suggestion for rephrasing the question to get the results I'm looking for? Thanks, Bob – Old River Bob Feb 24 '15 at 23:40
  • It's hard to phrase a shopping recommendation and be on topic, but if you put it a little more in the style of "here's my goals, and I'm looking at X, Y an Z. Which of these best supports achieving what I want", I'll retract my close vote. It's always a borderline question, but that would be much closer than the current form. – JohnP Feb 25 '15 at 3:08
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As a competitive rower, I think I can answer your question. I’m required to use an indoor rower in the “off-season” to improve my cardio fitness. There are several factors to consider when selecting a rowing machine (also Ergometer, or, “erg”). I’ll highlight what you should consider in making your decision and provide my recommendation (I have no affiliation with the company I recommend, but, I do own one of their rowers).

First, indoor rowers use different mechanisms to provide resistance. They range from air (fan wheel), piston, water, etc. Each one has its own “feel” with subtle differences. If you can, you should try each rower you are interested in to see how it "fits". Some more easily accommodate the training space where they will be used. For example, most fan wheel types can be stood on end vertically while not being used. I don’t think you’d want to stand the water version on end. You should also consider the support and community that is behind the rower you choose. Does the rower have a large base of users? Does the company provide tools, videos, training to use your rower? These are all things to consider.

Now, my recommendation. The recognized leader in the rower industry is Concept2. Their rowers are used by many clubs, colleges and universities. They’re not cheap and only available through Concept2. As of this post, the current price for a new model D rower is $900. However, it’s a machine that’s built to last with features that make using it enjoyable. It comes with a software enable monitor that can provide incentive and the ability to track your progress. Additionally, you can attach a heart monitor (available from Concept2) to it and display your bpm on the progress monitor. The rower can be stored vertically when not in use. I find that important because it takes up less space. The company’s web site provides a portal for you to record your progress and a forum to discuss and meet other users of their machines.

Lastly, if you haven’t already, I would recommend you check with your doctor before beginning to use a rower. If you’re interested in the Concetp2 rower, there tend to be used versions available as users upgrade their models.

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    Great answer, I'm glad someone on here has a lot of knowledge in the area. – Eric Feb 23 '15 at 18:46
  • Thank you, rrrover. It really helps to hear from someone with the depth of experience you have. I'll try a range of rowers before I buy, and based on your recommendation and my research, the Concept D will be the benchmark. I have already searched for a used one, but there are non available in my area and a waiting list at Play It Again Sports. – Old River Bob Feb 24 '15 at 21:50
  • +1 I don't know about other brands, but I've used the Concept2 and it's a great durable machine. I would recommend it as well. – Kneel-Before-ZOD Sep 22 '15 at 16:52
  • I realize this is an old post, but hope someone will answer! This rower looks really nice, but wouldn't I want one that has the handles that have your arms go in a circular motion? I also found one that you are rowing on an incline, kind of like the total body gym where you use your feet to push up your body, and was wondering if that was any good. I had no idea this would be such a hard decision to make! – Cindy Jan 3 at 14:01
  • @Cindy Not sure what you mean by a "circular motion". If you want the true feel of the rowing movement, your hands should travel in a level plane. There should be no up and down movement. Perhaps you should compose a question separate from this post. – rrirower Jan 3 at 15:46

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