5 best rowing machines for Apple Fitness+ workouts

Apple Fitness plus Rowing machines

Rowing machines have been around for decades and provide a comprehensive full-body workout. Rowing exercises help you build overall endurance and strength and improve your overall cardio fitness levels.

Plus, rowing is an excellent option for all ages and types of people, from beginners to athletes, because it’s low intensity.

That’s why Apple includes rowing as a major Apple Fitness+ workout option. And for people new to Fitness+ or exercise in general, rowing is a good place to start since it works for people of any fitness level. 

So if you’re wondering what rowing machine works best for you and your family, we look at 5 affordable rowing machines that you can use with Apple Fitness+ classes.

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Rowing is great exercise!

The rowing stroke uses more than 75% of the Muscle Mass.

From the fingers’ tips holding the handle/oars to the balls of the feet connected to the footboard/boat, all the muscles between these two points contribute to the rowing stroke.

Since a user ends up using maximum muscle mass while rowing, it is one of the best exercises to burn calories at any given time.

7 Key Features to look for when buying Rowing machines

Seven major characteristics determine which rowing machine may best suit your use and budget.rowing machines for Apple Fitness+

Space Constraint

Is the Rowing machine foldable or fixed? 

This is an important factor for any exercise equipment at home.

If you have a dedicated exercise room with plenty of space, this may not be an issue, but if you are short on free space, you may want to look at rowing machines that can neatly be folded and stowed away, out of sight when not in use.

Some rowing machines can be quite heavy, which means that moving them from one position to another in a room is not easy without a set of wheels.    

Adjustable Tension

Determines the overall intensity of the exercise. Does the rowing machine have different tension levels so that you can adjust the intensity of the activity?

Some rowing machines allow you to adjust the intensity via a convenient tension knob. Simultaneously, advanced rowers have a feature that can help you electronically adjust the intensity of the workout.

The tension can be powered via magnetic, air, hydraulic, or a simple elastic cord.

Display Unit

Does the Rower have a display unit? Most rowing machines display how long you have been working out and how many calories you have burned, and more.

If you plan to use the machine exclusively with Apple Fitness+, you don’t have to worry about this since your metrics will be managed via your Apple Watch, and your Apple TV or iPad will help you follow the class.

The key is to check if the rowing machine has an option for adding your iPad as a display and or a water bottle.


The quality and options for pedals matter.

Any workout equipment such as a stationary bike or a rowing machine that needs good support for your feet has to provide options to ensure that your feet are comfortable and secure.

A non-slip surface on the pedal and high-quality straps will ensure that your feet remain in place throughout your rowing routine.


You will be sitting on the machine for most of your workout time.

Therefore you must look for a rowing machine that provides comfortable seating to suit your preferences.

Is the seat adjustable? Is it wide enough to be comfortable?

Powered or Self-Powered

Does the rower need electrical power?

Many rowing machines need electrical power to operate, while others do not require it.

If you plan to use the rowing machine outdoors, you may want to be mindful of the issue.

Rowing machines where the intensity of tension is electronically controlled (magnetic tension) would require access to an electrical outlet. In contrast, some traditional water-based rowers (hydraulic and air) do not have this requirement.

Price / Quality / Warranty

Rowing machines are typically heavier exercise equipment, and if and when they break down require some in-home servicing.

Understanding the maintenance requirements and the warranty service details is essential before buying a rowing machine for in-home exercise.

5 Best Rowing machines for Apple Fitness+ workouts

We looked for affordable rowing machines that are well made, easy to transport and store, have a decent warranty, and have enough options to take advantage of exciting Apple Fitness+ rowing exercise routines from Josh Crosby and crew.

Sunny Health Compact Magnetic Rowing Machine

Are you looking for a low-impact, full-body workout using a rowing machine? 

The SF-RW5801 Synergy Power, Motion Magnetic Rowing Machine by Sunny Health and Fitness, comes with oversized foot pedals that move with your feet to promote a powerful push.

The handlebar is foam padded, allowing for a comfortable grip.

This rowing machine provides up to 16 intensity levels via magnetic resistance and makes the workouts smooth and silent.

The easy-to-read monitor displays time, speed, count, calories burned, total count, and count per minute.

When folded upright, the folding rowing machine measures 77L x 23W x 22.5H inches and 36.3L x 23W x 47H.

Rubber end caps adjust to the floor for stability while protecting against possible scratches on floors. 

The RW5801 with 16 intensity levels comes at $249.98, while the RW5515 with 8 intensity levels is priced at $278.14

Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor, Bottle Holder, 43 Inch Slide Rail, 285 LB Max Weight - Synergy Power Motion - SF-RW5801, Gray
  • ERGONOMIC FOOT PEDALS: Engage your quads as you propel your legs back and forth on the pivoting foot...
  • OVERSIZED SEATING: Large padded seating smoothly glides along with the 43 slide rail inseam. The...

Apple Fitness+ fans will be happy to know that Sunny Health’s rowing machines have an easy provision that helps you place your iPad right on top of the rowing machine to follow along with the fitness+ videos. 

Sunny Health also makes other rowing machines, including this popular water resistance rowing machine, which happens to be Amazon’s choice for a water rowing machine.

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine - SF-RW5713 , Black
  • WATER PERFORMANCE: Instant resistance is available with the flywheel and 16 fan blades. The faster...
  • DESIGN: Constructed with lightweight sturdy steel, for solid performance and durability. The 16...

HouseFit Water Rowing Machine

As the name suggests, this rowing machine from Housefit can be folded easily into a compact place in the stand-up mode.

Equipped with dual caster transportation wheels, the HouseFit water rowing machine can easily move around. 

Put it into the corner of a room or a large closet when not in use, and you can easily bring it out and place it at a suitable place with minimal effort, thanks to the built-in wheels.

With 6 water resistance levels, the water row machine will fit the different workout plans for beginners or experts. The pedals are adjustable non-slip pedals and can fit various sizes of feet.

The Housefit rowing machine comes with non-slip grip handlebars and a fully padded seat for that extra comfort.

This water rower rowing machine is designed with a high-quality Solid steel-covered stainless slide rail and no-touch magnetic resistance, making your workouts very smooth.

HouseFit Water Rower Rowing Machine with 330Lbs Weight Capacity for Home use Water Row Machine Exercise Equipment with iPad and Phone Support LCD Digital Monitor
  • Solid Build: The rowing machine is described as having a "solid build." This indicates that it is...
  • Solid Steel Covered Stainless Slide Rail: This rowing machine is equipped with a high-quality solid...

This rowing machine supports iPads and iPhones as displays. You can attach up to a 10.2″ tablet at the top to follow along with your Fitness videos.

As of writing, this rowing machine is priced at $359.99

BATTIFE Solid Wood water rowing machine

Since we are on the topic of Water-resistance based rowing machines, if your pockets are deep, you can explore some of the better and more attractive rowing machines built from natural wood.

Two affordable brands that offer solid wood and elegant design for rowing machines are Battife and Mr. Rudolf.

These entry-level solid wood rowers start at $700 and can go easily go into thousands of dollars.

The Battife is made of real solid black walnut wood, solid and sturdy. With beautiful curves, the nicely designed rowing machine will fit in your house like furniture. 

The advanced Bluetooth monitor keeps track of essential statistics during your workout like Strokes Per Minute (SPM), Time spent, Distance rowed, and Average Calories Burnt per hour. 

With the quiet sound of rushing water, you will never disturb your family or neighbors while giving yourself the real water rowing experience. The loudness levels on the Batiffe are below 65 DB.

A similar solid wood-based rowing machine from Hydropower would easily cost you  $2100 or more. 

This model doesn’t have a holder for your iPad or iPhone. The Solid wood rowing machines are better suited if your room has a TV for you to follow along with the Fitness+ sessions.

ECHANFIT Magnetic Power rowing machine

A very affordable rowing machine from ECHANFIT made of a solid steel frame and offers 16 magnetic resistance levels is the CRW 4901.

This rowing machine features foam handles made with polypropylene Fiber to help you maintain a comfortable grip.

The pivoting footplates allow for a more extensive range of motion, and adjustable foot straps help secure your feet. This rower comes with a comfortable large molded seat.iPad Holder on rowing machine

The tablet shelf is handy for your  Fitness+ requirements. Attach your iPad and follow along with the class.

ECHANFIT Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine for Home Use Foldable w/16 Level of Quiet Magnetic Resistance with LCD Monitor and Adjustable Console Angle for Cardio Training (CR49)
  • Choose Quality with ECHANFIT: For over a decade, ECHANFIT has been dedicated to crafting top-quality...
  • Precision Tracking: Equipped with a high-tech LCD display, track your strokes, distance, time,...

The ECHANFIT rowing machine is foldable as well. You can quickly lock or unlock your rowing frame with a quick-release pin. The rowing machine can fold upright to make storage.

This entry-level rowing machine costs about $277 at the time of writing.

Renting a rowing machine instead of buying?

Some high-end rowing machine manufacturers also rent out their rowing machines. One such company is the Rhode Island-based WaterRower.

WaterRower makes solid-built rowing machines that you can buy or rent. 

The current rental fee is $34.58 per month at the low end and goes up to $43.24 for Basic, $51.92 for Premium, and $64.91 for their M1 Equipment. There’s also a deposit of $200.00 per machine with a minimum rental of 3 months.

These are sophisticated professional rowing machines.

Meet your Apple Fitness+ Star Rowing Trainer

Josh Crosby is the man to watch for rowing exercises on Apple Fitness+. As an athlete, Josh Crosby is in a league of his own.

Born into a family of rowers, Josh first hit the waters when he was 8, became a part of the national rowing team, and retired after winning several World Championships.

But while John has earned enough accolades to fill a room, his biggest passion in life is teaching.

And so far, it seems he’s on the right path because his classes bring together people aged 10-94 in nearly 75 locations worldwide.


If you are new to rowing, your best bet is to get an affordable, comfortable machine that can be easily stored.

You can also look for used rowing machines out there on Playitagainsports or your local classifieds to land a good deal.

If you buy a new rowing machine, explore getting an extended warranty so that it can be repaired easily without headaches, and while at it, a floor mat might be another worthwhile purchase.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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