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Best Heavy Duty Rowing Machines (2024)

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If you are on the heavy side, you are probably wondering: Is there a proper rowing machine for big guys? Can it handle large people without collapsing?

And, yes, there are rowing machines for heavy guys. Some can even handle a whopping 1000 pounds without buckling!

Sometimes choosing the best rowing machine becomes tricky. Like an exercise bike, stationary bike, or an elliptical trainer, you will always find a rower in the market claiming to be the best. How do you go about it?

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639350 lbView
Sunny Health & Fitness Incline Full Motion350 lbView
Concept2 Model D500 lbView
Mr. Rudolf Water Rowing Machine320 lbView
CIRCUIT FITNESS Circuit Fitness Deluxe300 lbView

This article focuses on ways to get heavy-duty rowing machines or indoor rowers and reviews of the best ones in the market.

Let’s see what the experts have reviewed as the best rowing machines for big guys.

Heavy Duty Rowing Machines Reviews

The idea of a rowing machine for home use is not a new one. Ever since the first hydraulic and air powered models were introduced in the 1960s, rowing machines have been a popular choice for people looking to get a full-body workout.

With the many different types of rowing machines available today, it can be difficult and confusing to decide which type might be best for your needs.

This guide will help you choose the right plus size rowing machine for your home fitness needs.

Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5639

This is among the best fitness equipment for optimum fitness. Sunny and fitness have been in the fitness trade for over two decades. With it, you can have full motion of your arms which also facilitates a full-body workout of the back, leg muscles, biceps, and shoulders.

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The 12 resistance options are also excellent for every category from beginners to pros.

One great additional feature of this high weight capacity rower is the LCD display. You can track your calories / lose weight, time, and stroke count.


  • The best rowing machine for heavy person has a weight capacity of 350 lbs
  • Padded seats and non-slip handlebars
  • Anti-slip foot pedals
  • LCD display
  • 12-level adjustable system
  • Dimensions (L*W*H): 57*29*12


  • Compact
  • Comfortable
  • Simple design for indoor rowing
  • A digital monitor to track your progress
  • Easy to assemble for a home gym


If you are extremely strong the resistance of this cardio machine won’t be enough for you.

Related: Best Heavy Duty Elliptical

Sunny Health and Fitness Incline Full Motion Rower

Unlike the above model, this rower is inclined. When you row, the slide rail lifts up as a result of your arm movements. This range of motions works especially well for the leg and calf muscles while your arm and upper bodies control your movements and stability.

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Like an elliptical machine, the SF-RW 5720 has a 5-level incline adjustment for a stimulating full-body exercise. You also get a comfortable seat, a non-slip pedal that has an adjustable strap and an excellent LCD monitor.

This rowing machine for heavy guys is also compact and has wheels for easy transport.


  • Dimensions (L*W*H): 55*22*18
  • The best rowing machine for heavy person has a weight capacity of 350 lbs
  • Max incline: 29.5″
  • Digital Monitor
  • Mobile holder


  • Inclined for more challenge
  • Simple, light, and compact
  • A digital monitor
  • Engages more muscle


  • You don’t have the option to row without the incline.

Concept2 Model D Heavy Duty Rowing Machines

This is an air resistance rowing machine that comes from a renowned maker. The manufacturer has been making fitness equipment for over 40 years and their machines are among the best-selling ones.

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They can be used both commercially and at home because they are good for athletes. You can also connect with other fitness apps (like FitBit) to motivate yourself while exercising and check your heart rate.

This concept2 model is also easy to assemble. They can be used by anyone because the concept of air resistance works by the power you give it. Give it more power, you get more resistance.


  • Dimensions: 96*24*14
  • Product weight: 59.3 pounds
  • The heavy duty rower has a weight capacity of 500 pounds
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Has a monitor to track your data


  • The rowing machine for heavy person is easy to assemble
  • Easy to store since you can separate it into two pieces
  • Supports a higher weight category
  • Offers more resistance
  • Excellent customer reviews


The dimensions are big if you have a smaller apartment

Benefits of Rowing Machines

Full Body Exercise

Not many indoor machines can give you a full body workout. You find yourself forgetting your legs in almost every exercise. But with rowing machines, you will feel the pain and gain in every part of your body.

Rowing machine workout exerts both your lower body and upper body.

Strength Building

Your muscles and circulatory systems need constant exercise. If you want to build strength and have the best blood circulation, you will enjoy the best rowing machines. Many muscles are engaged when rowing meaning you will have body strength.

Rowing also has some resistance that builds your power.

Low Impact

Most of us envy the athletic guys on posters. But can we ever meet those standards? Rowing machines provide big guys with low-impact workouts that give you the optimal exercises. You won’t be very muscular but you will be fit.

If you are on rehabilitation you will benefit from this equipment. It is also perfect for older guys who would love an injury-free workout.


The sea gives us expanse. This means you’ve got to row your boat hard. However, you can also do hard rowing on your heavy duty rowing machine. It helps build your stamina the more you row.

The rowing machines also offer options for both anaerobic and aerobic exercises. If you need aerobic workouts you have the steady-state rowing. However, if you desire anaerobic exercises, you can use the HIIT.

Related: Heavy Duty Treadmill Mats

Weight Loss

Some machines are great for weight loss and the rowing machines top the list. When you work your whole body your fat ought to become muscle.

Rowing machines burn between 600-100 calories and body fat every 60 minutes. If you want to lose weight without much fuss, look no further.


Most of us love our peace when we work out. Rowing machines for big guys give you the perfect opportunity. You don’t have to endure the stares at the gym because you are a bit overweight.

You can exercise comfortably while feeling the calmness of the waters while at home.

Easy Assembly

Most rowing machines need to be assembled when delivered. There are machines that take you days to assemble.

But what if you can assemble one in under an hour?

Related: Best Heavy Duty Treadmills For Big Guys

Types of Rowing Machines


This is the best indoor exercise equipment that you can get at an affordable price. A hydraulic rower operates by the amount of pressure you put when rowing. The compressed air or fluid determines how much resistance you can get.

They may come cheap but they don’t offer maneuverability. You won’t be able to pull in a straight line. And this means you can’t replicate the sea motion.


This kind of rowing replicates the outdoor rowing motion. When you pull, you will receive some resistance motion which turns the attached fly wheels.

The flywheel rowing machine is designed to give you a natural rowing motion.

Magnetic Resistance

Magnetic resistant rowing machines get their whole functionality from the magnetic brake system. This means that they provide a smooth and quiet environment.

You should note that there are magnetic systems that blend both the air and the magnet system.

WaterRower Rowing Machines

Our forefathers got fit by rowing for food, war, immigration, or escape. The WaterRower is the epitome of sea life. If you want to feel how it feels to be on the water, look no further.

This exercise machine gets its resistance as water moves past the tank. It’s not as quiet as the magnetic rower but all you hear is a whistling sound.

Rowing Machine for Big Guys Buying Guide


If you feel uncomfortable while working out, you won’t work out to the maximum. Most machines are built with a certain body type in mind. This means that you should find one that will handle you without wobbling.

If it is multiuser, make sure it is adjustable and the padding fits your weight category.


The specs of your rowing machine determine your thrill. You can experience top heart rate monitors or preset exercise schedules with top machines.

Top features come at a bigger price, no doubt. But if you want the best of features you will have to part with more cash.

Storage Space

Size matters when you buy a rowing machine. Do you have a room set apart for exercise? Or do you live in a small room where space will be an issue? Having the best rowing machine is useless unless you have enough space to practice.

Either way, you have to have plenty of space to row however you like. The good thing is that there are foldable options in the market.

Hydraulic rowing machines have a smaller footprint than both water and air resistance ones. If you have a smaller room, consider the latter.

Weight Limit

The machine you buy must support your weight. If you weigh, say, 300 pounds go for a heavy duty rowing machine that supports more weight capacity.

User Experience

All rowers are made for work out, however, there are ones made for commercial use while others are made for home use. Commercial and semi-commercial ones may be good at home but home rowers can’t be used commercially.

Keep in mind the number of people who are going to use it and how often. Some people are stronger, heavier and taller than others and you have to consider them.

Also, its silence or noise matters. Some people want the clangs during workout while others prefer silence, especially in shared apartments.

Water Simulation

How do you like your rower? Is it just another work out equipment or do you want to feel the serenity of the sea? There are rowers in the market the replicate the feel of the waters.

You have to get a rower that gives you a life-like rowing motion. A water rower should also have various resistance options that replicate rowing over the ocean.

Types of Resistance

We mentioned the types of resistance above: magnetic, air, water and hydraulic. Each category has its pros and cons, which you should consider.

If you are planning to buy a budget-friendly rower ($400 or less), you can only afford the air and hydraulic version.

Air rowers are the commonest rowing machines found in gyms. Their function depends on user intensity, weight capacity, and rowing power. It means that the more intense your workout the harder the resistance. However, an air rower is noisy but has a nice rowing motion.

Hydraulic machines are the cheapest and the resistance is adjustable. They are also compact easy to store.

Magnetic rowers are durable and need little to no maintenance. They are also quieter with a very nice rowing motion. But they don’t have the huge magnetic resistance found in water or air types.

Water rowers are the most expensive ones because they give you the rowing feeling as if you are on the water. If you don’t mind the noisy feel of rowing, they will be perfect.


For most products, cost equals durability and quality. The same goes here. You will find budget rowers that fit every budget from $100-$3000. Affordable ones go for $400 or less, mid-range from $400-700 and high-end ones from $700 upwards.

But remember you may still find affordable machines that still have the kick. Just do your research on brands and read some online reviews.

Related: Best Plus Size Waist Trainer for Weight Loss


Rowing machines for heavy people come in different shapes and sizes. If rowing is your thing, you have several options from air resistance to magnetic resistance each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

When shopping for heavy duty rowing machines always consider the weight capacity, cost, warranty, comfort, compactness among other factors.

Find a reliable manufacturer and you will never want to part with your heavy duty rower.

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