5 Best Foldable Rowing Machines – Save Space Without Troubles

Last updatedLast updated: July 25, 2021
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Foldable rowing machines are indoor exercise devices that replicate the movement of boat rowing. These machines are convenient, compact and easy to store. Furthermore, rowing machines tone and strengthen every muscle in your body for a complete workout.

Today, after having reviewed more than 20 models, we are giving you five reviews on premium rowing machines. Use our reviews to find the best foldable rowing machine on the market for your purpose. The first product on our list is the editor’s choice which is the Concept2 Model D foldable rowing machine. We love it because it has a streamlined design and provides a low impact workout. We gathered information on four additional foldable rowing machines so you can have more options to pick from.

In all five foldable rowing machine reviews we’ll be going through important features such as the resistance level, weight capacity, side rail length and more. Our researchers spent countless hours to provide you with the best information on foldable rowing machines. To further assist you with your buying decision read through the detailed reviews of each product and the buyer’s guide below. There is also a frequently asked questions section to clarify uncertainties about these exercise machines. First up is our comparison table where you’ll find ratings of each product and what their nominations are. The nominations give you an idea of why we chose these products to review. So are you ready to find the best foldable rowing machine on the market? Be sure to read the tables at the top of each review for quick information about the product. So without further ado, here are your options.

Top 5 Foldable Rowing Machines Review 2021


Concept2 Model DEditor’s Choice

  • Type: air-resistant flywheel
  • Resistance levels: 10
  • Stride rail length: not specified
  • Inseam rail length: 38 inches
  • Weight capacity: 500 lbs
  • Dimensions set-up: 96 x 24 inches
  • Dimensions folded: 25 x 33 x 54 inches (folded)
  • Weight: 57 lbs.

More features: connects with a wide range of popular fitness apps, wireless Bluetooth and ANT+ compatibility, online rankings, separates into 2 pieces for storage, frame parts 5-year warranty, all parts 2-year warranty

The Concept2 Model D foldable rowing machine is our editor’s choice because of the convenience it provides. It’s easy to fold so you can store it in a closet or under your bed. The streamlined design ensures the machine won’t take up a lot of floor space. It has a sturdy structure which means it won’t wobble while you’re working out. The legs of the Concept2 Model D rowing machine are made with aluminum and steel that’s powder-coated. It has a nickel-plated steel chain that requires minimum maintenance but it will need to be oiled every 40 hours of use.

Since the flywheel is air resistant it’s silent so you can enjoy listening to music while you exercise without any disrupting background noise.

The Concept2 Model D foldable rowing machine comes with a monitor that allows you to connect to an array of popular fitness apps. Use these apps to track your fitness progress and stay motivated. What’s more, the resistance levels give you more of a challenge during your workouts so you can strengthen and tone your muscles faster. You’ll love that this exercise machine provides a low impact workout so it won’t cause joint discomfort.

This foldable rowing machine is effortless to assemble. It comes with user-friendly instructions and all the tools you need to set it up.

Why are we impressed?

  • 10 resistance levels
  • Air resistant flywheel
  • Wireless Bluetooth monitor
  • Separates into two pieces for storage

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • The nuts and bolts are a bit loose
  • Bluetooth struggles to connect
RELATED: 5 Best Rowing Machines – Units That Correspond With Your Specific Needs

Merax Magnetic Exercise RowerBest Value

  • Type: magnetic
  • Resistance levels: 8
  • Stride rail length: 49 inches
  • Inseam rail length: not specified
  • Weight capacity: 264 lbs
  • Dimensions set-up: 73 x 16 x 21 inches
  • Dimensions folded: 26 x 16 x 49 inches (folded)
  • Weight: 74 lbs.

More features: 15 degrees angled seat rail, 1-year warranty

The Merax Magnetic exercise rower has a more rugged structure but it’s still streamlined and doesn’t take up floor space. This is our best value product because of the array of convenient features it provides. You’ll love the fully padded seat that gives you comfort while you exercise. It has multi-angle rotary footplates that help you target specific muscle groups in your legs. The footplates accommodate any foot size. These plates have treads to prevent your feet from sliding off while you row.

This foldable rower has excellent back support to ensure you maintain your posture while you exercise. The Merax Magnetic exercise rower has a silent flywheel so you can exercise in silence. It comes with a display monitor to help you track your progress. Utilize the monitor to track how many calories you’ve burnt and how many miles you’ve rowed.

The Merax Magnetic exercise foldable machine is durable and sturdy so it won’t move around no matter how fast you’re rowing. The rowing machine gives you a full-body workout that tones your arms, legs, core and back. Every stroke you take engages 86% of muscles in your body. Exercising on the Merax Magnetic will improve your stamina and blood flow. It provides low impact exercise so it won’t cause joint discomfort.

What do we love it for?

  • 8 levels of resistance
  • Magnetic type
  • 15° angled seat rail
  • Great weight capacity

What were we disappointed with?

  • Faulty wires
  • Not easy to assemble
RELATED: 5 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines – Quiet Performance And High-Quality Workout

MaxKare Magnetic Rowing MachineBudget Pick

  • Type: magnetic
  • Resistance levels: 16
  • Stride rail length: 49 inches
  • Inseam rail length: 45 inches
  • Weight capacity: 264 lbs
  • Dimensions set-up: 76.4 x 19.7 inches
  • Dimensions folded: 42.3 x 19.7 x 37.4 inches (folded)
  • Weight: 57.3 lbs.

More features: suitable for whole family use, large seat, 1-year warranty

We know that foldable rowing machines can be extremely expensive. That’s why we’ve included the MaxKare Magnetic foldable rowing machine on our list which is our budget pick. You’ll enjoy all the benefits this fold up rowing machine has to offer at an affordable price. The structure of the MaxKare foldable magnetic rowing machine is durable and sturdy. It’s also lightweight which makes this one of the best portable rowing machines on the market.

For comfort, the MaxKare has a soft cushioned seat that also ensures you maintain your posture while you row. The footplates are large to accommodate various sized feet. Use the footplate straps to prevent your feet from sliding when you exercise.

The flywheel is silent so you can exercise in a noise-free environment. This rowing machine provides many benefits for the body. It relieves spinal pressure and alleviates shoulder & back pain. The low impact workout protects your knees and prevents joint discomfort. Every time you use the MaxKare Magnetic rower you’ll be strengthening your legs, core, back and arms.

What are our favorite features?

  • Excellent weight capacity
  • Suitable for the whole family
  • 16 resistance levels
  • Magnetic rower

What could be better?

  • Handle isn’t durable
  • Some hardware missing
RELATED: 5 Best Rowing Machines Under $300 – Realistic Experience for an Affordable Price

Velocity Exercise Magnetic RowerBest Magnetic Foldable Machine

  • Type: magnetic
  • Resistance levels: 6 in each of the 12 workout programs
  • Stride rail length: not specified
  • Inseam rail length: 44 inches
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs
  • Dimensions set-up: 80.71 x 25.2 x 20.08 inches
  • Dimensions folded: 4.5 x 3 x 2 feet (folded)
  • Weight: 74.94 lbs.

More features: extremely stable, built-in heart rate receiver

The Velocity is our best magnetic foldable machine. This is because it features a drum magnetic control system and electronic tension to provide optimal friction to build muscle strength. It’s comfortable to sit on because of the large seating that also ensures you maintain your posture. The footplates are large to accommodate any foot size. There are tread patterns and straps on the footplates to prevent your feet from sliding while you row. The large handrail has a non-slip grip to provide a sure grip. It has a soft foam cover to prevent calluses and skin chafing.

The structure of the Velocity foldaway rowing machine is sturdy and durable. It has an aluminum frame that’s resistant to wear. There’s rectangle tubing support throughout the frame to prevent it from bending. This indoor rowing machine comes with a heart rate monitor chest strap for intense cardiovascular workouts.

It’s easy to assemble the Velocity magnetic rowing machine. The streamlined structure ensures it won’t take up a lot of floor space. Fold it up for easy storage or take it with you on your vacations. It’s lightweight so you can transport it anywhere hassle-free.

Why is it special?

  • Comes with 12 workout programs
  • 6 resistance settings
  • Extremely stable
  • Comes with heart rate monitor

What are the flaws?

  • Poor packaging
  • Faulty timer
RELATED: 5 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines – Quiet Performance And High-Quality Workout

NordicTrack RW900 RowerBest High-Tech Unit

  • Type: magnetic
  • Resistance levels: 26 manual
  • Stride rail length: not specified
  • Inseam rail length: not specified
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs
  • Dimensions set-up: 86.5 x 22 x 50.4 inches
  • Dimensions folded: not specified
  • Weight: 130.6 lbs.

More features: 1-year iFit membership, 22 inches HD SMART Touchscreen Display, adjustable console angle

NordicTrack is a popular brand that makes a range of high-quality home fitness machines. We simply had to include the NordicTrack RW900 as the best high-tech unit on our list. It comes with a large 22″ touch screen display with an adjustable console angle. You’ll receive a 1-year iFit membership with your display that will assist in tracking your fitness progress. There will be many fitness programs you’ll have access to that will teach you rowing workouts you can perform every day.

The structure of the NordicTrack RW900 is incredibly sturdy and robust. It has a silent magnetic resistance and inertia enhanced flywheel to give you a noise-free environment when you workout. The ergonomic seat provides comfort while you row. There are sections at the rear of the footplates that secure your feet in place. The treads and foot straps also hold your feet in place while you move.

This is a premium collapsible rowing machine that’s easy to store and travel with.

What do we love it for?

  • Powered by iFit
  • 26 manual resistance levels
  • Best foldable rowing machine
  • Magnetic type

What were we disappointed with?

  • Poor packaging
RELATED: 5 Best Rowing Machines – Units That Correspond With Your Specific Needs

Things to Consider

A buying guide is crucial when purchasing any product. It provides information that you must look at before you buy your foldable rowing machine. The buyer’s guide assists you with making your final decision on which is the ideal product to pick for your workouts.
Read through our buyer’s guide carefully so you know exactly what specs and features to consider before you make your final purchase decision.

Benefits of the foldable rowing machines

5 Best Foldable Rowing Machines - Save Space Without Troubles

Before we discuss the health benefits of a foldable rowing machine, let’s go through the advantages of its structure. Typically a folding rowing machine is compact and lightweight. It doesn’t take up a lot of floor space and it’s easy to transport.

Foldable rowing machines are made with durable materials such as aluminum and steel. They are powder coated to prevent corrosion.

Now for the health benefits of these innovative exercise machines. Rowing is known as a low impact exercise which means it’s easy on the joints. A rowing machine provides effective aerobics exercises that are suitable for all ages. Aerobics exercises burn calories, increase your stamina, strengthen your immune system and release endorphins. This type of exercise improves your sleep quality and mental health.

Since a rowing machine targets major muscle groups it’s an effective way to raise your heart rate which has the following health benefits:

  • Increases weight loss
  • Improves blood flow
  • Increases oxygen flow to the muscles
  • Improves muscle flexibility

Rowing gives you a full-body workout that tones and strengthens the muscles in your legs, arms, core, back & shoulders. A folding rowing machine for the home is affordable, easy to assemble and extremely convenient.

Some foldable rowers come with display monitors with fitness programs that teach you how to perform various workouts. Some of these workouts are challenging and can increase your fitness levels in less than two months. You’ll notice an improvement in your posture because it teaches you the correct way to sit when rowing.

The resistance levels on your rowing machine will strengthen your arms and improve your muscle to fat ratios. That’s why it’s important to purchase a machine that has at least 10 resistance levels so you can continue to optimize your fitness levels.

Features to consider while choosing a foldable rowing machine

5 Best Foldable Rowing Machines - Save Space Without Troubles

It’s important to consider all the features of a foldable rowing machine before you buy one. In this next section we’ll be going through the various types of rowing machines you can buy and the adjustments they provide. We’ll also give you information on the importance of weight capacity, rail length and dimensions. This section will help you pick the best rowing machine for your unique requirements.


There are four types of rowing machines that you can consider. Each of these types has various specifications that will affect the weight, dimensions and fitness options on the machine. Let’s go through these four types of rowing machines starting with magnetic devices.

  • Magnetic rowing machines: This type of rowing machine operates on an electromagnetic brake system. These machines are the most popular because they produce less noise and allow the user to adjust the resistance before utilizing the machine. Adjustable resistance settings provide a consistent workout. If you’re looking for this type of exercise machine opt for the Velocity rower which is the best foldable magnetic rowing device on our list. An excellent alternative to the Velocity is the Everlast foldable magnetic rowing machine.
  • Hydraulic rowing machine: A hydraulic rowing machine has a smaller frame and they are much more affordable than magnetic devices. These machines operate on pistons and can work with fluid or air. They have resistance settings so you can have a more challenging workout. Hydraulic machines are compact, lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Air rowing machine: An air operated rowing machine has optimal resistance features. These machines have flywheels that create the resistance according to the intensity of your rowing strokes. They come in various designs that closely mimic the feeling of being in an actual rowboat. If you’re looking for a premium air row machine opt for our editor’s choice which is the Concept2 Model D foldable device.
  • Water rowing machine: If you want a real rowing experience then opt for a water operated machine. It utilizes water to add resistance by pushing the flywheel through water inside a tank. The downside to this machine is that it’s extremely costly. But the durability, high weight capacity and sturdy structure make this machine ideal for professional rowers who need to train daily. For people who simply want a home workout, it’s best to purchase a magnetic foldable rowing machine.

Hydraulic, air and magnetic operated machines come in foldable & non-foldable devices. The water rowing machine may not come in a foldable design because of the water tank attached to the flywheel. Water rowers are quite popular because they provide strong and quiet resistance. But they’re more difficult to assemble and they are bigger than fold up rowing machines.

Resistance levels

Foldable rowing machines are popular because they come with multiple levels of resistance that you can adjust easily. These foldable rowers are typically magnetic or hydraulic powered machines that have resistance settings. Water and air rowers don’t come with resistance settings so you’ll have to adjust your stroke intensity to regulate the tension.

A premium rowing machine should have resistance settings between 4.5 and 6.5. But most foldable rowing machines come with 10 or more resistance settings which is ideal if you want to keep challenging yourself with a stronger tension as you become more fit. And for example the NordicTrack RW900 model features as many as 26 resistance levels.

Rail length

5 Best Foldable Rowing Machines - Save Space Without Troubles

Selecting a rowing machine with the proper rail length is important especially if you’re a tall person. With that in mind, hydraulic operated rowing machines are not ideal because they have smaller frames with shorter rail lengths. The longer the rail length is the wider your strokes will be.

It’s important to purchase a rowing machine that has the longest rail length possible to accommodate short and tall people. Purchase a rowing machine that has a rail length between 40″ and 50″ for best value for money.

Another important aspect to consider is the type of material the rail is made of for durability and the resistance it provides. Cheap plastic rails will wear fast and they produce the most noise. Steel, aluminum or nickel rails have a longer service life and they’re easy to maintain. Simply oil them regularly for a smoother and quieter pull.

Weight capacity

The weight capacity of the machine will determine the pounds it can withstand from one person. Smaller foldable rowing machines are surprisingly strong and sturdy so they’re able to withstand weight capacities between 200lbs and 260lbs. The benefit of these smaller machines is that they’re excellent for home use and they’re suitable for the entire family to use.

But if you’re looking for a machine that accommodates larger weight capacities you may have to purchase a bigger machine that might take up more floor space. Expensive machines are heavier and difficult to move but they can accommodate people who weigh up to 400lbs.

Purchasing a machine that can’t accommodate your weight can be dangerous and it can damage the rower. Weigh yourself before you purchase your rowing machine so you know exactly which one to buy.

The Concept2 Model D on our review list has a weight capacity of 500lbs. It’s a portable device that doesn’t take up a lot of space. This fold-up rowing machine is affordable and it’s suitable for indoor & outdoor use. With all of this available in one machine it’s clear that you can get value for money no matter your needs.

Dimensions and weight

If you don’t have much space you must consider the dimensions of your rowing machine. Fortunately, foldable rowing machines are compact so they don’t take up space. But it’s still important to measure the space you’ll be using so you know not to purchase a rowing machine that’s too big.

It’s advised that you also check the dimensions of the product when it’s folded so you know where you can store it.
If it’s too big even when folded you won’t be able to store it in a closet or under your bed. Not everyone wants to sacrifice floor space permanently, right?

The weight of the rowing machine is also important if you’re going to move it around often. If you want to take it with you on vacations then the machine must be light enough to transport in a trailer or truck. All our portable rowing machines are lightweight weighing between 50lbs and 100lbs, as for example MaxKare Magnetic foldable rowing machine.

One aspect to remember is that the bigger the machine is the heavier it will be and the more space it will accommodate. You simply don’t need a big heavy machine for home workouts. All you need is a robust rowing machine that’s compact and sturdy that lets you exercise in the comfort of your own home.


5 Best Foldable Rowing Machines - Save Space Without Troubles

Since rowing machines come with many parts including display monitors it’s important to opt for a device that’s covered by a long warranty period. If a component malfunctions you want to be able to replace it, right? Some machines will come with various warranties on all the parts. A premium machine will come with a warranty between 1 and 5 years on the entire machine.

Most of our machines on our review list come with a 1-year warranty except for the Concept2 Model D. The Concept2 Model D comes with a 5-year warranty on the frame and 2 years on all other parts. And it’s often worth spending more to get this longer coverage on a machine that you’ll use often.


Compact foldable rowing machines’ price tags can range between $900 and $1200 depending on the materials used to manufacture them & the extra parts they come with. Machines that come with big displays such as the NordicTrack RW900 costs $1,599 which is actually a bargain.

Lower-grade machines will cost between $180 and $300 but they’re not as sturdy, durable or reliable. If you’re looking for a premium foldable rowing machine then buy the MaxKare device. All the foldable rowing machines on our list are made with durable materials and they come with beneficial features at premium prices.


All foldable rowing machines come with a user-friendly manual to help you assemble your device. They come with all the parts and tools you need too. Simply follow the instructions in your manual to assemble your rowing machine correctly. Some foldable rowing machines such as the Concept2 Model D come with fewer parts to make it effortless to assemble. Setting up the Concept2 Model D will take less than 15 minutes.

All rowing machines should have proper nuts and bolts to secure each piece in place. It’s advised that you count all the parts you have and check them against your manual to ensure you have everything. This is because some people complain about missing parts after they’ve assembled most of the machine, which can be frustrating. So ensure you have all the parts and tools you need to assemble your machine before you start building it.

This depends on the model and brand of your machine & if you’ve assembled it correctly. If you forget to secure a certain part of the machine it can cause instability. After you’ve assembled your rowing machine, give it a test. If the rowing machine wobbles, check that all the parts are secured properly. Tighten any nuts and bolts & test the machine again. You may have to take the machine apart and re-assemble it if it’s still not stable.

Make sure that the machine is placed on a flat surface because uneven surfaces can cause the rower to wobble when you work out.

Some lower quality machines are naturally rickety. That’s why it’s important to purchase a premium rowing machine so it doesn’t cause any hassles for you when you work out.

Our Verdict

Now that you’ve gone through the reviews and our buyer’s guide it’s time to narrow down these machines down to our best three. First is our editor’s choice which is the Concept2 Model D. This machine is a magnetic type of rower with a large weight capacity of 500lbs. This machine has a rail length of 38″ which is suitable for tall and short people. You’ll also love the display monitor that tracks your fitness progress.

Our best-valued product is the Merax Magnetic exercise machine. It has eight resistance settings and a 15° angled seat rail. It has a long 49″ stride rail length and a weight capacity of 264lbs.

If you’re looking for an affordable rowing machine you’ll love the MaxKare Magnetic foldable rowing machine. This is our budget pick and it comes with many features at a premium price. It comes with 16 resistance settings, a 49″ stride rail length and 264lbs weight capacity.

So which do you think is the best foldable rowing machine? We hope our guide helped you pick a suitable machine for your workout routines to ensure fitness for the future.

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