Best Rowing Machine in South Africa 2024

Rowing machines have become an increasingly popular way for South Africans to get an effective full-body workout right at home. As interest grows, more high-quality rowing machines are entering the market with advanced features and technology. This makes it both exciting and challenging to determine which model best suits your fitness goals, space constraints, and budget.

To simplify your buying decision, we analyzed the top-ranking in south africa along with expert reviews and key product details to select the best rowing machines available in South Africa this year. Whether you’re a beginner seeking an affordable starter rower or a competitive athlete requiring durability for high-intensity training, you’ll discover the right fit on this definitive list of expert recommendations for 2024.

How We Selected the Best Rowing Machines

Our rigorous selection process aimed to provide well-rounded recommendations tailored to common requirements across all fitness levels and motivations. We evaluated over 15 different rowing machine models and brands against the following core criteria:

  • Price range: Models range from under R8,000 for basic magnetic rowers up to over R30,000 for premium smart rowers with advanced performance monitoring and interactive classes. Options at every price point are included.
  • Resistance type: Key options include air, magnetic, hydraulic, and water resistance. Each provides a distinct rowing feel.
  • Display/connectivity: Basic LCD performance monitors up to large HD touchscreens with app connectivity and immersive class content.
  • Size/storage: Footprint dimensions and folding/storage capabilities to suit tight spaces if needed.
  • Weight capacity: Typically 100kg up to 200kg for heavier individuals.
  • Build quality: Aluminum, steel, and other hardwearing construction for longevity.
  • Comfort and ergonomics: Adjustability of components and smoothness of operation.
  • Noise level: Quiet fluid operation is preferred in home environments.
  • Brand reputation and warranty: Established brands that offer at least a 1-year warranty inspire confidence.

Now let’s reveal the best rowing machines in South Africa for every fitness goal and budget!

Best Rowing Machines in South Africa

Best Overall: Concept2 RowErg

The Concept2 RowErg tops our list as the leading choice that combines elite quality with excellent value. Favored by Olympians and CrossFit athletes globally, the RowErg has earned its reputation for unmatched durability and a superb rowing feel that mimics actual on-water movement.

Key features:

  • Air resistance delivers smooth, consistent rowing stroke. Fan blade design minimizes noise .
  • PM5 performance monitor tracks and displays all key workout metrics. Automatically syncs data with Concept2 online logbook and rankings .
  • Durable construction engineered to handle daily high-intensity training.
  • Foldable frame with caster wheels for compact storage. 500lb user weight capacity .
  • Works with a wide variety of apps including Kinomap for scenic virtual reality rows.

With unmatched quality and competitive value pricing around R18,500, the Concept2 RowErg delivers an experience on par with far more expensive options. It’s the sensible choice suitable for all home gym settings.

Most Immersive: Hydrow Rower

Seeking a more entertaining and modern rowing workout? The Hydrow Rower enters our list as the top-rated immersive rowing machine on the market. Its stunning 22″ HD screen transports you to rowing locations worldwide while world-class athletes lead energetic classes to motivate your performance.

Key features:

  • Smooth near-silent electromagnetic resistance with adjustable drag levels .
  • Access to extensive library of on-demand rows, yoga, pilates and strength training classes with Hydrow All-Access Membership (R715/month) .
  • Ergonomic cushioned seat rolls smoothly and quietly on a 10-roller track .
  • Durable aluminum and steel frame finished in modern anthracite gray polymer .
  • 30-day home trial plus 1 year warranty included .

Priced around R37,000, the superb Hydrow Rower offers unmatched content and entertainment for your workouts. Upgrade to the Wave model for a smaller footprint at R29,000.

Best Smart Rower Under R15,000: Ergatta

The Ergatta Rower hits a sweet spot for budget-conscious buyers seeking a technology-enhanced rowing experience minus the premium price tag. For under R15,000, Ergatta packs smooth fluid performance and HD gaming content into a compact, elegantly-designed water resistance rower.

Key features:

  • Water resistance tank provides smooth consistent rowing motion .
  • 17.3” HD touchscreen with gaming features and personalized workouts calibrated to your fitness level .
  • Cherrywood finish adds warmth and refinement to any living space .
  • Folds vertically with stabilizing floor stand for storage .
  • Excellent value and far more affordable than comparable smart rowers.

For rowing enthusiasts seeking engaging technology under a budget, the superb quality and competitive pricing of Ergatta check all the boxes.

Most Affordable: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639

If you’re dipping a toe into rowing for the first time, consider an affordable no-frills model like the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 as a starter option. Priced below R5,000, it still delivers smooth magnetic resistance and basic workout monitoring to suit casual home use.

Key features:

  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance adjust intensity .
  • LCD console tracks time, count, calories burned, and total count.
  • Comfortable padded seat and large anti-slip foot pedals.
  • Steel frame supports up to 100kg user weight.
  • Compact footprint with vertical storage capability.

For an introductory rowing machine under a tight budget, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 packs tremendous value without compromising quality.

Best Air Resistance: Concept2 Model D with PM5

Serious rowers favor air resistance for its smooth feel and dynamic response that closely mimics the catch and drive of on-water rowing. This makes the Concept2 Model D the top choice for its best-in-class Concept2 air flywheel engineered for stability and a consistent feel across each stroke.

Key features:

  • Utilizes advanced spiral damper to control airflow and rowing intensity .
  • Air resistance responds instantly to each stroke, engaging core muscles to balance.
  • PM5 monitor captures all workout data and syncs to online logbook .
  • Robust construction built for over 1 million meters of use .
  • Foldable with easy caster wheel mobility for storage .

For rowers wanting the dynamic feel of air resistance, the Concept2 Model D delivers the ultimate experience that fuels competitive motivation.

Best Magnetic Resistance: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205

If you prefer the smooth consistency of magnetic resistance, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 rower provides exceptional quality for under R5,000. Sunny Health & Fitness delivers exceptional value across its rower lineup.

Key features:

  • 12 levels of magnetic resistance to customize workout intensity .
  • LCD console tracks all essential metrics including time, count, total count, calories, and scan.
  • Padded seat and textured foot pedals enhance comfort.
  • Steel frame with extended weight capacity up to 120kg.
  • Folds vertically to reduce footprint. Transportation wheels included.

With its affordable pricing and sturdy construction, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 packs an impressive value for casual home rowers.

Best for Small Spaces: Hydrow Wave

Limited on space but eager to enjoy the superb Hydrow rowing experience? The Hydrow Wave delivers the same world-class high energy workouts as the standard Hydrow Rower in a smaller, streamlined package built for tight home gyms.

Key features:

  • Electromagnetic resistance for smooth, quiet rowing .
  • Access Hydrow’s full library of studio classes led by elite athletes .
  • 30% smaller footprint than Hydrow Rower. Easy upright storage .
  • 16” HD touchscreen with crystal clear class content .
  • Designed for spaces as small as 86cm x 210cm.

Priced around R29,000, the Hydrow Wave brings world-class rowing entertainment into studio apartments, small bedrooms, or any limited workout space.

What to Consider When Selecting a Rowing Machine

Beyond the recommendations above, keep these key factors in mind when choosing the best home rowing machine for your fitness objectives and environment:

Resistance Type

  • Air: Dynamic response. Mimics on-water rowing. Concept2 is the gold standard.
  • Magnetic: Smooth, consistent, and quiet. Most affordable resistance.
  • Water: Provides smooth fluid rowing feel. Large footprint. Higher cost.
  • Hydraulic: Self-regulating pistons. Compact vertical storage.

Size and Storage

Consider height, length, and width dimensions. Folding capability is ideal for tight spaces. Must accommodate users of all heights comfortably.

Display and Connectivity

Basic LCD consoles up through large HD touchscreens that enable interactive content, classes, and entertainment. Smart options motivate.

Special Features

  • Classes: Streaming on-demand rows, cross-training, yoga classes.
  • Games: Virtual races, ghost competitions, time trials.
  • Scenic rows: Apps like Kinomap enable rowing through VR locales.


Entry-level rowers start under R5,000. Mid-range models run R8,000 to R15,000. High-end smart rowers with large touchscreens cost over R25,000 or more. Determine how much you’re willing to invest upfront and consider operational costs (monthly class subscriptions, etc) as well.

Brand Reputation & Warranty

Established brands like Concept2, Hydrow, and NordicTrack are known for quality and durability. Aim for at least a 1 to 2 year manufacturer warranty.

Maintain Proper Rowing Technique

To maximize a rowing machine’s full-body fitness benefits while preventing injury, focus on developing proper technique across the key phases of each stroke:

Catch Phase

Sit tall with shoulders relaxed. Lean slightly forward from hips and push back with legs to straighten knees and start drive phase. Maintain straight back posture.

Drive Phase

Drive movement primarily with your legs, engaging core muscles for stability. Straighten legs then swing back slightly before leveraging arms to pull handle toward torso.

Finish Phase

Move hands below rib cage to fully engage abs and obliques. Straighten back to upright posture.

Recovery Phase

Extend arms forward and bend knees to return to starting “catch” position, ready to initiate next stroke. Allow handles to move forward slowly.

Maintaining proper technique prevents strain on the lower back and engages more muscle groups for maximum caloric burn. As your fitness level advances, continue focusing on posture and stroke refinement.

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