Rowing machine manufacturers never stop innovating. So here comes dual resistance-rowing machines with both air and magnetic resistance.

Table of contents

  • Top picks of dual resistance rowing machines
  • Workout programs on rowing machines
  • How to upgrade rowing experience

a) Benefits of dual resistance

By combining the two, you get the benefit of the high-end power of air and the low-end power of magnetic. Overall, this creates a stronger resistance.

b) disadvantages of dual resistance

Such dual resistance design causes a slight difference in stroke feeling and race times, which is called as recovery discrepancy.

When rowing a boat and pulling the oars, the boat glides forwards. As they recover to perform another stroke, the boat continues to glide forwards, only slowing down some due to resistance. The rower then pulls the oars through the water again as the boat is gliding forwards. To go faster and feel more resistance, the rower must row faster!

That’s exactly what users feel when using an air-only rower. As the user recovers to perform another stroke, the flywheel continues to spin and slows down some due to resistance. The flywheel is still spinning as the user pulls another stroke, making the resistance feel a little lighter but smooth.

But on dual resistance rowers, stroke feeling is different. When the rower pulls the handle, they spin the flywheel. On the recovery, the magnetic resistance slows the flywheel down more than normal and at high levels it completely stops the flywheel. This causes a heavy stroke and makes it feel like you are starting from a dead stop every stroke.

This is great for people who want strong/heavy resistance but not good for people who like the resistance felt while on water and accurate race times.

In need of knowing more about dual resistance? This resistance type introduction article might be informative.

Following are top recommended dual resistance rowing machines.

Top picks Rating
Bodycraft VR500 4.5/5
Aviron dual resistance rowing machine 4.8/5
SOLE SR500 Rower 4.5/5
The LifeCore R100 Rowing Machine 4.5/5

Bodycraft vr500 dual resistance rowing machine

Bodycraft vr500 dual resistance 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


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. Monorail might be a better choice for those who have big legs.

Wondering which one is more suitable for you? Monorail or dual rail? The article of rowing machine specific features might give you some insights.

This rowing machine also features wide footrests with sliding footpads. Sliding footpads are a really crucial feature that allows users to adjust foot placement according to their specific needs. For example, if you have big belly, you might need to lower your footpads.

Now, here is something that this rowing machine needs to work on. The space between housing and footrests is not as big as that on Concept 2. The space is where users stretch their arms to get a good rowing form.


seat of Bodycraft vr500 dual resistance 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.

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 dual resistance 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. Features like this help the VR500 stand out from other high-end rowing machines.


monitor of Bodycraft vr500 dual resistance 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
Games ×
Software/Apps ×
PC connectivity ×
Family sharing 4 separate user profiles

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. Such mode design allows you to customize your workout. It also features 12 pre-set programs and the ability to store up to 4 separate user profiles – great if more than one person will be using the machine.

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.


Bodycraft vr500 dual resistance rowing machine tilted into an upright position

After use, it can be easily folded.

It also features roll system with safety child lock.


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


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

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:

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.


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.

This monitor also features engaging and interactive games to spice up your rowing workout. There is no need to worry that you will feel bored during rowing.


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 dual resistance 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:


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.

Its footrests have sliding footpads, a necessary design allowing users to adjust footplacement to better perform rowing form. For example, rowers with knee pains need to raise footpads a little bit. The writing of rowing machine specific features give you a more detailed idea of the importance of sliding footpads.

However, some lower cost rowing machines don’t have sliding footpads. check the article of rowing machine buyer beware before making your investment.


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. 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

One design of Sole SR500 is that it has a monitor built-in to the handlebar for easy control of resistance settings Such design, honest, has its good and bad aspects.

On one hand, handlebar resistance control design makes for a seamless rowing workout. On the SR500 you can simply press the up or down button on the handlebar to increase or decrease resistance.

However, on the other hand, this may encourage wrong rowing form. The worry is that users may keep their hands in the middle of the handlebar. The correct way to hold the handlebar is to hold it by the side. Please keep that in mind.


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
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.

The Sole monitor has 12 Standard Programs, 1 custom programs and 1 heart programs. It also 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.

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.


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 Noisy
Handlebar resistance controls
Good warranty

LifeCore R100 dual resistance rowing machine

lifecore r100 rowing machine

Technical specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 92.0″ x 19.0″ x 36.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Folded dimensions: 52.0″ x 19.0″ x 67.0″(L x W x H)
  • Weight: 96 pounds (44 kg)
  • Maximum user weight: 600 lbs
  • Price: $1,000 – $1,499


Assembly of the Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine is fairly straightforward.

The assembling instruction of the LifeCore R100 Power is s very detailed and easy to read. The whole process requires no deep electrical or mechanical knowledge. Some users even commented they were able to put it together in under 10 minutes with the included allen wrench!

Build design & quality

Every part on the rower is made to last.

It’s coated with black semi-gloss paint and has an extruded aluminum frame with solid steel supports. The aluminium frame and solid steel supports give a rock solid feel and Lifecore claim it will handle a user of up to 600 lbs!

Also, the machine’s stabilizers are equipped with rubber pads, in order to deliver a superior grip onto the floor.

The gliding rail is long enough to accommodate tall users, up to 6’6″ (198 cm), promoting a complete leg extension.

The footrests on the Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine are angled and wide. More importantly, it features an adjustable heelrests. This design can not only accommodate users of different feet size but also allow users to adjust foot placement according to their specific need.

However, this rowing machine also has the problem that the room between housing and handlebar is not as big as that on Concept 2. Generally, users may find the space is enough to get a full stroke. But for tall people, this might be a problem.


The LifeCore R100 has great comfort features that allows people to row for hours (seriously, people have rowed marathons on this machine).

The machine’s seat is fairly large, approx. 16″ (40.6 cm) wide, featuring a contoured, ergonomic surface. It’s built on a heavy-duty PVC frame. It glides on a set of 4 wheels which integrate industrial quality ball bearings for a prolonged lifespan and smooth operation.

The handle has an ergonomic design and a slight angle, which allows users to have a comfortable grip. The handle is attached to a heavy-duty nylon strap, not a chain, which results in a smoother and quieter operation.


The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine combines the smooth, ‘variable’ air resistance and the strong, ‘adjustable’ magnetic resistance.

The dual-resistance setup provides a smooth and consistent rowing motion so you feel resistance throughout the entire rowing stroke.

The R100 has 16 different levels of adjustable resistance, which makes this rower ideal for people of all fitness levels.

One great benefit of air & magnetic resistance is the overall resistance strength. If you want to row slowly but still have strong resistance, you can set the resistance to level 16. If you want light resistance but still want to row fast, just turn the magnetic resistance to level 1 and rely on the air resistance.

The R100 resistance level can easily be changed by pressing buttons on the performance monitor.

The noise level on the Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine is also not nearly as loud as an air-only rower because the fan does not need to spin as fast due to the added magnetic resistance.

Another great feature of the Lifecore R100 Rower is the adjustable cooling air vent. The vent allows users to point the air created by the rower towards them while working out, which can help keep them cool!


Console of LifeCore R100 dual resistance rowing machine

Monitor Specs
Data Strokes per minute, Pulse rate, Watts, Time/500M, Total time, Total number of strokes, Meters rowed, Calories
Heart rate feature
Preset programs
Games ×
Software/Apps ×
PC connectivity ×
Family sharing 4 separate user profiles

The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine comes with a multi-function performance monitor that has a large LCD blue/green backlit display.

It only has 5 buttons, which makes it super easy to use! It is attached to the front part of the frame through an angle adjustable arm, giving you the possibility to tilt it as you like, in order to benefit from the perfect view of your workout metrics.

The monitor tracks various fitness data and all data is displayed simultaneously on the main screen.

It also shows pulse since it comes with a built-in heart rate receiver and includes a FREE wireless chest strap to record your pulse during workouts!

The monitor is compatible with 5K Polar Heart Rate Monitor products.

It can also check your recovery heart rate (the amount of time it takes for your heart to recover after a workout). Users can do this by simply pressing the ‘recovery’ button on the face of the monitor immediately after a workout.

The Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine monitor allows users to create unique user profiles for 4 different users. Certain user details such as gender information, age, weight, and height are requested and is used to calculate workout data more accurately and to provide better experiences with future workouts.

All user data is saved including historical workout data until the users manually erase profile information.

Workout programs

Out of all the monitor features, users rave about the workout programs the most! The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine offers 15 different workout programs, including manual program, White Water & Ramp Programs, Manual Program, Pacer Program, Interval Programs, WATTS Control Program, Heart Rate Control Programs.

Manual Program

  • A quick start program where users select their resistance level
  • User then chooses a target distance and time

White water & ramp programs

  • These programs “simulate” rowing on white waters and ramps
  • The resistance levels will change as you go through the program and you can increase or decrease the resistance at any time
  • User chooses a target distance and time

Pacer program

  • Allows user to race against or row beside a pace boat
  • User determines the speed/pace of the pace boat
  • Boat icons will be displayed on the monitor to show where you are relative to the pace boat
  • The monitor will let you know how many meters you’re behind or ahead of the pace boat

Interval programs

  • Users can set a time to row or a distance to row
  • Then you select the amount of rest period between the sets
  • These are great for tabata or HIIT exercises

WATTS control program

  • Allows user to determine watt (power) goal
  • Resistance level is automatically determined by your rowing speed (manual selection of resistance is disabled)
  • User chooses a target distance, time, and watt level

Heart rate control programs

  • Allows user to keep training at their desired heart rate level
  • Programs are based off of individual user profiles
  • Three heart rate level options: 60%, 75%, 85%
  • User chooses a target distance and time


LifeCore R100 dual resistance rowing machine tilted into an upright position

The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine folds up in seconds by simply unscrewing a knob underneath the rower and standing up the seat rail.

When folded, the rower has the following dimensions: 52 x 19 x 67 inches (L x W x H)

The Lifecore Rower has dual caster wheels that make moving the rower around manageable when needed.


Residential Warranty

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Labor: 1-Year
  • Parts: 5-Years

Light Commercial Warranty

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Labor: 90-Days
  • Parts: 2-Years


Pros Cons
Large choice of pre-set programs (15 in total) Heavy & large dimensions
Solid construction (supports user up to 600 lbs!) Higher end price range
Wide range of resistance levels will challenge any rower
Lifetime warranty on the frame (both residential & commercial use)

Workout programs

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

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