After researching, we find that one of the most-asked questions is about monitor functions.

Are the data matrics accurate? Does it come with a backlight option cuz I’m not always rowing with bright light around me? Are there any pre-programmed workouts?

To help you choose one, followings are some of the good choices with well-functioned monitors.

Table of contents

  • Top picks of rowing machines with advanced monitor
  • Workout programs on rowing machines
  • Upgrade your rowing experience
  • Why do I write this review

Top picks Rating
Hydrow Magnetic Rower 4.7/5
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine 4.9/5
Ergatta Water Rowing Machine 4.8/5
SOLE SR500 Rower 4.5/5
Bodycraft VR500 4.5/5

Hydrow Magnetic Rowing Machine

This premium magnetic rower is seen as the Peloton of rowing machines. The machine itself is a stunning piece of equipment with a streamlined commercial-grade aluminium body, looking as if it is a spacecraft.

It is an exercise machine that will blow your mind away. With the help of your Hydrow Athlete and team, you’ll receive boatloads of support and motivation.

hydrow magnetic rowing machine

Rating 4.7

Technical Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 86.0″ x 25.0″ x 47.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Storing dimensions: 25.0″ x 33.0″ x 86.0″
  • Weight: 145 lbs (assembled)
  • Maximum user weight: 375 lbs
  • Price: $2,245.00
  • Monitor

    monitor of hydrow magnetic rower

    Monitor Specs
    Data SPM, Calories, Time, 500m Split, Avg Split, etc.
    Heart rate feature √ Work with most Bluetooth heart rate monitors like the Polar H7 or Wahoo TICKR
    Preset programs
    Preset workout Live and on-demand rowing workouts delivered by world-renowned athletes on the water. even includes yoga, pilates, and strength training sessions
    Software/Apps ×
    PC connectivity ×
    Family sharing √ unlimited user profiles
    Requirements Memebership fee / a standard WIFI connection / a standard outlet plug

    The Hydrow is a smart rower, with its focus on recreating the on-water experience.

    The monitor on the Hydrow Rower is probably the most sought after feature. It tracks all the necessary rowing data, including SPM, Calories, Time, 500m Split, Avg Split.

    Its monitor offers more than data.

    It is Bluetooth compatible, meaning it can work with most Bluetooth heart rate monitors like the Polar H7 or Wahoo TICKR.

    Being WIFI compatible , Hydrow is the first ( probably the only one) offering a Live Outdoor Reality™ experience consisting of live and on-demand rowing workouts delivered by world-renowned athletes on the water.

    You can listen to your virtual instructors and follow along with the program while listening to high-energy music that will pump you up.

    There is also “journey” mode by which you can enjoy serene river rowing and navigate your way through scenic routes at whatever pace you are comfortable with.

    There are four different workout levels that you can choose from: breathe, sweat, push, and drive.

    One more thing about Hydrow is they keep adding more and more sessions with each update!

    That being said, the monitor needs a standard WIFI connection to stream the in-app rowing sessions and a standard outlet plug to operate the screen and resistance.

    one person looks at the monitor screen and another person in the screen row on a lake

    Sounds awesome! But, it doesn’t come free.

    After paying a nice price for the Hydrow Rower, users will have to subscribe to a monthly membership $38/month (subject to change) to get access to all of the sessions. A membership allows for unlimited user profiles, which means every member of your household can enjoy Hydrow.


    When it comes to assembly, the Hydrow is in the category of “more difficult” to assemble.

    However, Hydrow does offer an assembly video on their website if you choose to purchase. Due to the heavy nature of some parts, you need some help from others during your assembly.

    Build design & quality

    It has an aluminium frame, with a high-quality plastic shell. All the bearings, footrests, handle, seat, etc. are made from commercial grade material.

    There is also a nylon belt used to attach the handle to the magnetic drive system that is similar to seatbelt material.

    One more important feature is that rowers can complete a full rowing stroke. This means you are able to have your knees bent, a slight lean forward, and your arms can fully extend forwards. This is the result of enough space between housing and the footrests.

    However, full rowing strokes are hard to get on a lot of lower cost rowers. Read the article of rowing machine buyer beware to avoid flaw-designed rowing machines


    seat of hydrow magnetic rowing machine

    Hydrow promises an awesome shopping experience.

    Users enjoy a comfortable seat, with their hands gripping an ergonomic handle.

    The footrests or footbeds are adjustable and can accommodate any shoe size.

    Therefore, comfort is not a problem for Hydrow.


    Hydrow’s resistance is “computer-controlled, electromagnetic resistance system “.

    Its awesome 22” HD sweat-proof touchscreen controls the resistance, an edge that help Hydrow stand out from its competitors. This provides one of the smoothest, quietest rowing strokes on the market! You can easily adjust the resistance by sliding a “resistance” bar on the touch-screen monitor.


    hydrow magnetic rowing machine tilted into an upright position

    While the Hydrow itself isn’t compact, it is easily storable.

    You can tilt the machine into an upright position. There is an upright storage kit (sold separately) that locks the product into the wall for safety.


  • Structural Frame & Upright Storage Kit: Five Years
  • All-Parts: 2 Years
  • Labor: 1 Year
  • Verdict

    One letdown of this machine is that it’s expensive even without considering the ongoing membership fees.

    But one thing worth mentioning is the brand’s philanthropic efforts.

    When you row 60 days with Hydrow, they donate to in your name to grant long-term access to safe water for an individual in the developing world. This demonstrates how the brand has considered the user’s whole experience of being part of the Hydrow community.

    You can also watch the video to have a look at this well-designed machine.

    It is also one of the best magnetic rowing machine picks. Read this review to know more about other magnetic rowing machines.

    Pros Cons
    Quiet, electromagnetic resistance Not easy to move around
    22.0″ touchscreen monitor Expensive price tag
    Adjustable resistance adequate for beginner to advanced Ongoing cost for membership
    Newly added workouts with each software update No Android app
    Great build quality and comfortable rowing stroke Needs to be plugged in and connected to Wi-Fi to work
    400+ rowing sessions with membership

    Concept2 model D with advanced monitor

    concept 2 model d air rowing machine

    It is a big-name among air rowing machine because it provides durability, unlimited resistance, and engaging programming at a manageable price point.

    Model D are used in gymnasiums all over the world and therefore built to last.

    They’re also first choice for the majority of rowing clubs and serious rowers.

    Rating: 4.9

    Technical Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 96.0″ x 24.0″ x 14.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Folded dimensions: 25.0″ x 33.0″ x 54.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Weight: 57 lb (26 kg)
  • Maximum user weight: 500 lb (227 kg) as tested by Concept2.* / *300 lb (135 kg) as tested per European Stationary Fitness Equipment Testing Standard EN 20957-7.
  • Price: $500 – $999
  • Monitor

    monitor of concept 2  model d air rowing machine

    Monitor Specs
    Data Distance, 500m split (speed), Time, SPM, Calories, Watts, etc.
    Heart rate feature √ The PM will show your heart rate, if you are using compatibale heart rate equipment
    Preset programs
    Preset workout
    PC connectivity

    Its performance monitor is where users lavish praises on Concept 2.

    The top section provides total time, number of strokes per minute, distance and 500m split time.

    You can choose from five different graphic displays for the bottom section:

    1. All Data (shows additional data)
    2. Force Curve (shows a graph for how force varies between your legs, back, and arms during the driving motion of your row [it basically tells you if your rowing motion is smooth or not])
    3. Paceboat (shows graphic display of your boat against a pre-programmed boat; you can also set a previous workout of yours as the paceboat so you can race against yourself)
    4. Bar Chart (shows graphic display in a bar chart format of the total watts of power generated during each phase of the workout)
    5. Large Print (shows data with larger font)

    If you’re looking to save your data and compare it with past or future sessions, don’t worry—the PM5 automatically stores your information in its internal memory.

    Wireless connectivity makes transferring workout data easy. You can also save the data to a flash drive for use. If you are a data nut and love tracking progress, then the Model D is a fantastic choice.

    Advanced funtions

    PM5 features heart rate feature as it can connect to heart rate monitors for easy tracking.

    To spice up rowing exercise, there are also some games, such as the fish eating game, included in it to lighten up your rowing.

    Additionally, PM5 is not only bluetooth enabled but also provides ANT+ connectivity as well. This gives you the freedom to connect wirelessly to fitness apps, including ErgData, asensei, Rowpro, Regatta among other apps.

    Backlit is also featured on PM5 to make reading easy on your eyes.

    These top-of-the-line features do come with a top-of-the-line price. However, its smart design and an impressive set of features totally worth it.

    Build design & quality

    This rowing machine is of commercial-grade quality. The construction is very solid and will put up with years of regular use.

    The machine has a powder coat finish and comes in both black and light grey hues. Its front legs are aluminium, its rear legs are steel, and its chain is nickel-plated steel.

    When it comes to design, Concept 2 is professional. One important feature is thatthe footrests feature sliding footpads. Such design allow users to adjust footplacement according to their specific needs. For example, for those who suffer knee pains, raising footpads up a little bit might a good idea. This will relieve strain on the Achilles tendon. Read the article of rowing machine specific features to learn more.

    Another good feature is the space between footrests & housing and footrests. This room is where users keep their shin vertical, maintain their body straight and stretch their arms. On Concept 2, this space is large enough.

    However, some lower-cost rowing machines have design flaws. For example, on Sunny Health Fitness SFRW5515, the housing & handlebar are almost right above the footrests, preventing users to be fully compressed. Read the article of buyer beware to learn more.

    One beef of Concept 2 is its monitor arm. The arm on the Model D is plastic, and therefore not particularly durable.


    The Concept2 is a ‘training’ rowing machine and it makes sense to have a seat that is optimized for shorter, faster sessions. The seat is made from firm rubber. The seat height of 35.5 cm is enough to provide a comfortable fit for people of different heights.

    The footrests are adjustable, which shows user-friendliness again, and the handle design is ergonomic. Because of such design, after you jump onto this machine and exercise for a long session, you still feel quite comfortable.


    The Concept2 is an air resistance rower, which means it’s action is smooth and will closely replicate rowing on water without any lag throughout the rowing stroke.

    The resistance level changes according to your rowing intensity. The faster you row, the more intensity you feel.

    The Concept2 Model D resistance allows you to row at your own intensity/pace and the resistance will adjust accordingly. This automatically adjusting resistance is know as ‘variable’ resistance.

    This ‘variable’ resistance is perfect for HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercises because you can row fast or slow and the resistance adjusts to your speed without having to stop and change any settings.

    But a little warning, air resistance is noisy. It will be a problem if you prefer a quiet and peaceful rowing experience.

    Damper settings

    damper settings of Concept2 air rowing machine

    Besides adjusting resistance, users can also adjust the “feel” of the rowing stroke with the damper setting.

    Users can change the damper settings from level 1 to 10 (as seen above). Instead of representing different resistance levels, they represent the amount of air going into the flywheel, which effects the “feel” of the rowing stroke. The higher settings (6-10) give you the feeling of a slower, heavier boat, whereas the lower settings (1-5) give you the feeling of a sleeker, faster boat.

    Concept 2 truly brings the on-the-water feeling into dry land and into your home.


    Concept2 air rowing machine tilted into an upright position

    The Model D Rowing Machine has a large footprint when in use, but the size is basically cut in half when it is separated and stands up.

    Yes, you read it right! All you have to do is separate the monorail and the flywheel portion of the rowing machine. Then rest the flywheel portion of the rower on its “head” and make the monorail section “stand up”.


    All in all, Concept 2 is known as the golden standard in the rowing industry. This video also gives you an idea of the top 3 reasons why you should buy a concept 2.

    Pros Cons
    Accurate Performance Monitor Pricey
    Diverse functions and options Noisy-ish fan
    Easy to customise Rough rubber handle
    Great warranty and service

    Ergatta quiet rowing machine

    ergatta rowing machine

    Rating: 4.5

    Technical specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 86“ x 23” x 40“
  • Folded dimensions:
  • Weight: 103 lbs, 76.5 lbs without water
  • Maximum user weight: 500 pounds
  • Price: $2,199.00
  • Monitor

    Interfaces in the monitor of ergatta rowing machine

    Monitor Specs
    Data Calories, Distance, Stroke rate, Heart rate, Average split, etc.
    Heart rate feature
    Preset programs
    Software/Apps ×
    PC connectivity ×
    Backlit ×
    Family sharing √ unlimited user profiles

    The Ergatta comes with a 17.3″ HD touchscreen display which is bluetooth and wi-fi compatible (you actually need wi-fi to use it).

    The monitor tracks progress and metrics, making it easier for users to work towards goals.

    One big feature of this monitor is its gaming-inspired system allows you to compete against yourself and other rowers, pushing you to meet goals and challenge yourself to more intense workouts.

    At first use, you complete a 2,000 meter row to determine your level of performance allowing the software to personalize your workouts so they’re not too easy, or too hard.

    This calibrates what they call ‘Intensity Zones’, that is, representing your speed and endurance at paces of paddle, steady, race, and sprint.

    Workout programs

    There are hundreds of workouts to choose from, most with a game-like set up. Ergatta offers 4 different workout types:

  • Push programs- this section contains workout programs designed to help you reach a certain goal (improve endurance/power/or technique)
  • Interval workouts- these programs are designed around HIIT workouts and other interval based workouts and can be selected based on time, difficulty, or distance.
  • Race workouts- these programs allow you to compete against other Ergatta users that are at your skill level (your skill level is determined by the calibration workout you do at the beginning)
  • Open row- with open row you can simply row at your own pace, using either a time or distance as your goal
  • Unfortunately, there aren’t any live races on Ergatta quite yet, but this is something they plan on adding soon. Some folks might be disappointed that there aren’t any instructor-led courses, definitely something to consider.

    According to some customers, customers particularly like the idea of personal calibration.

    As compared to the Hydrow, they would prefer this as it is geared towards a more data based and personalized training program. Ergatta is a more analytical performance based approach, which is what this seems to be.

    However, for some customers, Ergatta is a little pressuring. Ergatta is a world full of metrics and pressure to perform, and some customers can’t enjoy a less connected and more meditative rowing.


    Assembly isn’t something you’ll have to worry about with the Ergatta.

    If you decide to purchase one, a $199 shipping fee will be added to your bill. That shipping fee covers the shipping of your rower, but it also covers professional assembly.

    So, your Ergatta will be assembled and installed by a professional, ensuring that your rower is put together in accordance with WaterRower guidelines and safety protocols.

    Build design & quality

    The Ergatta comes with a solid wood frame. To be exact, the Ergata is hand made out of American cherry wood.

    Not only does this give this rower a very distinctive look, but it also makes it quite durable. These rowers look more like pieces of art or furniture than exercise machines.

    Another thing worth mentioning is its dual rail. Such design definitely contributes to the overall sturdiness of the Ergatta (and be another factor that allows this rower to hold 500 lb safely).

    Like Waterrower, Ergatta also features important design as fixed footrests with sliding footpads and enough space for a full stroke.


    The machine has adjustable footboards and a comfortable seat with four small wheels on the bottom that allow it to roll on two rails.

    But some customers and rowing machine reviewers complain that the leg space is too close and the footpads don’t feel right, affecting catch position.


    ergatta water rowing machine placed against a wall beside a window in a bedroom

    Like Waterrower, Ergatta can’t be folded for storage (it’s solid wood after all), but it can be stored vertically. And, you don’t have to take the water out of the tank to store.

    When vertical, it only takes up a floor space of 23″ x 22.5″, which is less than 2′ x 2′.

    Ergatta is also designed to look great when in use, but they’re also designed to easily be put in storage and out of the way.


    The Ergatta comes with the following warranty:

  • 5 year frame
  • 3 year parts
  • 1 year labor
  • Verdict

    Pros Cons
    Support Bluetooth headphones and heart rate monitors Expensive
    Attractive design is compact, lightweight No instructor-led workouts
    Gaming-inspired monitor system No live races
    Good warranty
    Store vertically

    Aviron rowing machine

    Aviron dual resistance rowing machine

    Rating: 4.8

    Technical specifications

    • Assembled dimensions: 97.0″ x 22.0″ x 43.0″ (L x W x H)
    • Folded dimensions: 54.0″ x 22.0″ x 62.0″
    • Weight: 93LBS / 42KG
    • Maximum user weight: 397LBS / 180KG
    • Price:


    monitor of Aviron rowing machine

    Console is one of Aviron’s biggest features.

    This monitor is bluetooth-enabled. When synced with Bluetooth heart rate device, it helps you stay in your peak target zone for a more efficient workout.

    It comes with a 22” 1080P touchscreen. This monitor has 6 primary workout functions to motivate and guide your training.

    One function is that it offers videos, teaching you proper exercise technique to maximize your workouts. You can also set your goals and select personalized workouts to improve cardiovascular performance or increase strength, speed, and muscles.

    Another feature is that you can add, follow, and challenge your friends. This monitor can also spice up your rowing workout at it also has several rowing games.

    Build design & quality

    Aviron features a design that looks quite futuristic.

    It is constructed with a reinforced, anodized aluminum rail that ensures both stability and durability.

    The maximum inseam length that comes with this rowing machine is 97”. This is incredibly long, so Aviron is suitable for tall people.

    One good feature is its fixed footrests with sliding footpads. Fixed footrests spare users from finding the angle for feet – a good design especially for beginners.

    Sliding footpads help to accommodate feet of different sizes. What’s more, such design allows uers to adjust footplacement according to their specific needs.

    For example, for those who have big belly or are pregnant, lowering the footpads might provide more comfortable rowing posture.

    One more point worth mentioning is its monorail, which may provides bigger space between footrests compared with rowing machines with dual rails. This is particulary good for rowers who have big legs.

    However, there is one letdown – the space between the housing and handlebar is not as big as that on the Concept 2.


    The rowing position is very comfortable.

    Durable and easy to grip, its handle features its ergonomic design. One innovation of its handle is that it rotates during your rowing workout. This design may force users’ hands and wrists into a proper position.

    One drawback of the handlebar is that it is a little short.

    The footrests secure your feet while rowing and the nylon straps can be quickly adjusted to secure or loosen your feet.


    Aviron combines 16 level dual air resistance with magnetic one. There is big intensity difference between level 1 and level 16. With such a resistance design, users can get more intensive workout. However, after level 10, the stroke feeling gets insanely difficult, which is probably unnecessary.


    Aviron rowing machine tilted into an upright position

    Although can’t be seperated apart, Aviron features a foldable design.

    It also features transport wheel, so you can easily wheel it out of your way.


    This rowing machine comes with a 2-year limited warranty.


    With advanced monitor, high quality and good design, it does cost a lot. But you will get what you pay for.

    The video by Training Tall may give you a more detailed idea of Aviron rowing machine.

    SOLE SR500 dual resistance rowing machine

    sole sr500 rowing machine

    Rating: 4.5

    Technical specifications

    • Assembled dimensions: 94.0″ x 18.0″ x 46.0″ (L x W x H)
    • Folded dimensions:
    • Weight: 115 lbs
    • Maximum user weight: 515 lbs
    • Price:


    console of SOLE SR500 rowing machine

    Monitor Specs
    Data Watts (power), Calories, Meters (distance), Pulse, Time/500m (split time), SPM (strokes per minute), Load (resistance level), Strokes and Time
    Bluetooth ×
    Heart rate feature
    Preset programs
    Preset workout
    Games ×
    Software/Apps ×
    PC connectivity ×
    Requirements Need to be plugged into an outlet at all times

    The Sole SR500 Rower comes with a 5.5″ vibrant LCD monitor with 8 different windows that tracks all of your data simultaneously. Readout includes Watts (power), Calories, Meters (distance), Pulse, Time/500m (split time), SPM (strokes per minute), Load (resistance level), Strokes and Time.

    Advanced function

    It includes 6 different modes to help keep you engaged and focused on reaching your target fitness goals. 6 modes are: Manual Mode, Program Mode, H.R.C. Mode, Race Mode, User Mode, Recovery Mode.

    Manual Mode: This mode allows you to begin rowing, control the settings and adjust the resistance during rowing.

    User Mode: This is very similar to manual mode but saves data for a specific user.

    Program Mode: With this mode, you can choose from 12 different preset workout programs that have varying intervals. The monitor will automatically adjust the resistance as the program progresses.

    Race Mode: This mode will upgrade rowing experience by engaging you in a race against the PC boat.

    H.R.C. Mode: The heart rate control mode allows you to enter your age and choose target heart rate zone (55%, 75%, 90% and Target). The monitor will adjust the resistance up or down to keep you in your range. Such program can help you achieve the goal of fat burning, cardiovascular improvement and anaerobic improvement.

    Recovery Mode: After a workout you can hit the recovery button. This function will record your heart rate as the monitor counts down from 60 seconds. The monitor will then grade your “heart rate recovery”.

    One issue of the monitor is the lack of PC functionality. Meaning, it cannot be plugged into a computer to analyze workout data or play games like other monitors in this price range.

    The other issue is that it needs to be plugged into an outlet at all times.


    Assembly is easy as long as you follow the instruction. The rowing machine is heavy and comes wrapped in poly-foam supports, which allows you to balance different pieces as you connect and screw them together.

    Assembly should take about 30 minutes and all the necessary tools are included in the packaging.

    Build design & quality

    Sole is most known for making high quality treadmills and their rowing machine is no exception.

    With most of the frame pieces made of durable aluminum, the SR500 has a strong, sturdy rowing stroke even when used vigorously. There are even additional supports located at the focal point for extra strength.

    Its frame is quite long, requiring about 9’L x 4’W floor space. It also features a slight slope, offering a better workout for the legs, supplying a faster recovery motion and a more demanding drive motion.

    The handle, rowing strap, and footrests are all made from quality materials and are built to withstand many years of rowing use.

    One more feature much favoured by users is its relatively high and slightly tilted seat. It’s 19” high at one end and 21” at the other. For people with arthritis or other movement limitations, it’s far easier to get on and off.

    However, here comes one serious letdown. The space between housing and footrests is not as big as that on Concept 2. Some (tall) users may find it difficult to be fully compressed and get a full stroke. Please beware.


    The SR500 Rower’s build quality is complimented by its excellent comfort.

    One feature worth mentioning is that the seat height of 20″ makes for easy getting on and off. This is great for people with bad knees or arthritis.

    An ergonomically designed seat and textured grip handle allows for a smooth, even rowing stroke.

    Adjustable footrests hold users feet firmly in place and can accommodate any foot size – there’s nothing worse than slipping feet when trying to workout!

    Overall users felt the Sole SR500 Rower provided a comfortable rowing stroke that is quiet with no clinking noises or jerky movements.


    The Sole SR500 Rower is a dual resistance rowing machine, combining air and magnetic resistance. It has 16 levels of adjustable resistance.

    As you change from level 1 up to 16, the rowing machine adds more and more magnetic resistance. This is a great feature which allows any user to find a suitable resistance for them to achieve workout.

    monitor built-in to the handlebar of SOLE SR500 rowing machine

    Another good feature is that the Sole SR500 also has a monitor built-in to the handlebar for easy control of resistance settings. Such design makes for a seamless rowing workout. On the SR500 simply press the up or down button on the handlebar to increase or decrease resistance.

    However, this design do have a dark side – encourage users to hold the center of the handlebar during rowing, which is not a correct way to hold it. The correct way is to hold the handlebar by the side.

    On the other hand, one issue is that the resistance does not closely mimic the resistance felt while rowing on water.


    SOLE SR500 rowing machine tilted into an upright position
    This rowing machine is foldable with a quick-release frame lock design. Users can quickly fold the rower up after they are finished. To fold, a user must turn and pull down the knob, fold the seat rail up, and re-tighten the knob. The process can be done in less than 15 seconds. Users can then wheel the rower away on the built in caster wheels.


    • Frame: Lifetime
    • Electronics: 3 Years
    • Parts: 3 Years
    • Labor: 1 Year
    • Frame (Light Commercial): 1 Year
    • Electronics (Light Commercial) 1 Year
    • Parts (Light Commercial): 1 Year
    • Labor (Light Commercial): 1 Year


    Pros Cons
    16 levels of strong, adjustable resistance Monitor has no PC functionality
    built-in pulse receiver Louder than some dual resistance rowers
    Handlebar resistance controls
    Excellent build quality
    Good warranty

    Bodycraft vr500

    bodycraft vr500 rowing machine

    Boasting of more than a decade of development and technical research, the BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower is one of the most professional pieces of fitness equipment on the market.

    Efficient, durable and equipped with handy features, this particular machine is often used by professional athletes during their training sessions.

    But, as you can expect, this rowing machine costs around $1,500! Such a high price often puts customers away. But, honest, you will get what you pay for.

    Let’s get onto the nuts and bolts.

    You can also watch the video to get quicker knowledge of this rowing machine.

    Rating: 4.5

    Technical Specifications

  • Assembled Dimensions : 98.5″ x 20.0″ x 38.5″(L x W x H)
  • Folded Dimensions: 58.5″ x 20.0″ x 77.0″ (L x W x H):
  • Assembled Weight: 101 lbs.
  • Maximum user weight: 350 pounds
  • Price: $1,500 – $1,999
  • Monitor

    a finger pointing at the monitor of Bodycraft vr500 rowing machine

    Monitor Specs
    Data Time/500m (Split time), Meters (Distance), Watts (Power output per stroke), Pulse (With optional chest strap), Time, SPM (Strokes per minute), Strokes (Total for workout), Calories, Resistance Level
    Bluetooth ×
    Heart rate feature
    Preset programs
    Preset workout
    Games ×
    Software/Apps ×
    PC connectivity ×
    Requirements Need to be plugged into an outlet at all times

    The monitor has an easy-to-read LCD screen with a backlit LED display. It has 8 modes, which is Manual Mode, Profile Mode, Race Mode, Interval Mode, User Data Mode, Custom Program Mode, H.R.C. Mode, Watt Mode.

    User Data Mode: Users can save all of their workout data and settings to avoid reprogramming each workout. There are 4 user profiles and 1 guest profile.

    Manual Mode: Simply start rowing or select a user profile. You can set a goal such as “500 calories” and adjust the resistance while rowing.

    Profile Mode: There are 12 different preset workout available. Resistance is automatically adjusted throughout the session.

    Custom Program Mode: Users can create or save their favorite workout programs to revisit later.

    Interval Mode: To be goal-oriented, users can set or create different interval workouts based on time, distance, and level.

    Race Mode: Users can choose between 5 different preset race workouts with set distance and times to beat.

    H.R.C. Mode: This program is excellent for HIIT workouts. The heart rate control mode allows users to set a target heart rate zone. You can choose between 60%, 75%, 85% max heart rate or choose your own target. The rowing machine will automatically adjust the resistance to keep in that zone.

    Watt Mode: Users can input a watt target goal that is calculated off their speed and workload. The monitor will then adjust workload to keep them in their target range.

    That being said, the VR500 doesn’t have PC functionality meaning you can’t connect to a computer to analyze workout data with 3rd party apps or race against other rowers from around the world.

    Plus, the VR500 Pro Rowing Machines requires a standard outlet plug to operate. This might be inconvenient for some users.


    Assembly time of the BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower is different among people – some taking some 30 minutes and others 2 hours.

    Build design & quality

    Firstly, The build-quality is excellent and you get the impression this is a machine that will go on for years.

    It has a lightweight anodised aluminium frame and its support legs are constructed from high-strength powder-coated steel, giving the rowing machine a sturdy base.

    The mono-rail seat track is also very strong, being made of high-strength T13 aluminium.

    One serious letdown is that the space between housing and footrests is not as big as that on Concept 2. Some users may find it difficult to be fully compressed and get a full stroke.


    seat of Bodycraft vr500 rowing machine

    The seat at first look doesn’t look as if it will be comfortable, but look can be deceptive. The seat sits on top of heavy-duty friction-free rollers that use ultra smooth industrial grade bearings. This allows a very smooth and quiet rowing stroke.

    Footrests come with adjustable heel rests and quick-adjust foot straps.

    The lightweight aluminum handlebar also allows for a comfortable grip that reduces blisters.

    Another great comfort feature is the seat height of 19.0″ off the floor, which allows users to easily get on and off the rowing machine.


    The VR500 uses a combination of air and magnets to provide the resistance. Read the blog of resistance types to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of dual resistance.

    It fuses essentially unlimited air resistance with 32 levels of magnetic resistance. Such innovation gives the advantage of air – a realistic rowing feel of increasing resistance as you pull harder, with the functionality of a magnetic mechanism, that is, the ability for the computer to change the level of resistance – very useful for heart rate programs.

    At lower levels, the VR500 uses more air than magnetic resistance and as the levels increase, more magnetic resistance is incorporated.

    handlebar resistance control of Bodycraft vr500 rowing machine

    Another great feature of this machine is its handlebar resistance control.

    Users are able to control the rowing machine resistance straight from the handlebar without having to stop in the middle of workout. This allows seamless rowing without any unnecessary interruptions.

    However, there is a dark side of this design. Such design may end up encouraging users to hold the center of the handlebar, which is a wrong way to hold it. The correct way is to hold the handlebar by its side. Read the article of indoor rowing machine technique 101 to learn more.


    Bodycraft vr500 rowing machine tilted into an upright position

    After use, you can easily fold it.

    It also features roll system with safety child lock.


  • Frame: 10 years
  • Parts: 2 years
  • Labor: 90 days
  • Verdict

    Pros Cons
    Great display – very informative but easy to use No online facility (or ability to store workout data to a PC or tablet)
    Whisper quiet – combines air and magnets to good effect expensive
    Resistance controls on handle Chest strap is an optional extra
    Long beam – suits up to 6′ 6″ user
    4 user profiles

    Workout programs

    a woman doing single arm plank beside a blue-dyed rowing machine in a room

    Rowing machine is a lifelone investment. Reading reviews and buying one rowing machine is only one step. More important step is to do workouts for your preferences and specific goals.

    If you wanna lose weight, the article of guide of weight loss is helpful.

    How about getting beautiful muscles? The article of workouts to tone muscles on rowing machines is what you need.

    Upgrade rowing experience

    a man wears a pair of Topiom rowing gloves

    Rowing gloves can certainly help you from getting blisters, upgraing rowing workout to a more comfortable level.

    Wanna bring picturesque lake scene to your home? VR rowing of Holofit provides total immersion in exceptional environments and a unique experience where wonder, change of scenery do not leave any place to boredom.

    Do you know you can make a difference just by rowing at home? Rowing for charity is now on the swing.

    Here are some ways to upgrade your rowing experience.