A form of exercise that engages every major muscle group, from your legs to your arms to your core and back, rowing is the very definition of a full-body workout – which is why rowing machines are a staple of the gym floor.

In a commercial gym setting rowing machines are put under regular stress and strain. The best commercial rowers therefore need to be built to handle constant and often harsh use from gym members.

If you’re a commercial gym owner who is in the market for rowing equipment, what do the best commercial rowing machines look like? Let’s take a look at all you need to know about shopping for a commercial rower.

Types of commercial rowing machines

The defining feature of a rowing machine is that it replicates the action of rowing through water but in a stationary position on dry land. These machines accomplish this in a few different ways, including:

1. Air rowing machines

The most common form of rowing machine in a commercial gym, air rowers use friction from air to create resistance that the user rows against. This is usually done through a flywheel fitted with fan blades that catch the air. The faster you row, the more air you catch, and the greater the resistance you feel. You can also increase resistance by adjusting the dampers on the flywheel to catch even more air.

These machines see the user taking a seated position, with the flywheel near the feet, and a cable or chain connecting the rowing handle to the flywheel. The seat is designed to roll back and forth, which sees the user engage both their legs and arms (as well as back and core) during the workout.

2. Water rowing machines

Water rowers work in much the same way as air rowers, but as the name suggests, friction and rowing resistance are provided by water rather than air. A less common sight than air rowers in a commercial gym setting, water rowers feature a tub of water placed near the feet of the user. When a user pulls the cable, paddles spin within the tub.

As with an air rower, the faster you row, the greater the resistance you feel. Water rowers are the closest simulation before getting on the lake yourself.  The harder you row the more turbulence you create so you have an infinite resistance. Let's face it, if you want to increase your heart rate, you don't put more water in the lake, you row harder.

3. Ski machines

While not technically a rowing machine, a ski machine will often be placed in the same category, as it’s essentially an upright rower.

Ski machines are designed to replicate the action of propelling yourself down a ski run. A user stands in front of the machine and engages their whole body to pull two handles down. Like an air rower, ski machines use a flywheel to generate wind resistance.

What to look for in the best commercial rowing machines

No matter whether you choose to invest in an air rower, water rower or ski machine, or a mix of them all, your aim should be to secure the best piece of equipment possible – one that will deliver a return on your commercial gym investment. Here’s how to tell the best from the rest.

1. Quality

A high quality rower feels completely different to a cheap and cheerful machine. Rowing machines feature a lot of moving parts, and high quality rowers tend to feel far more smooth and sturdy than cheaper alternatives, which can feel fragile and clunky. If you want your members to keep coming back, you should invest in the best brands like Concept2 and Water Rower 

2. Durability and warranty

Quality and durability tend to go hand in hand, but it’s always wise to compare the warranties of your best commercial rowing machine options, as this will give you a sense of the longevity of the equipment.

3. Value

A commercial rowing machine is not a cost, but an investment that needs to pay itself back over time. This is why quality and durability are so important – spending more upfront can both save you more and earn you more in the future. Always consider the value over the lifetime of a piece of gym equipment.

4. Innovation and technology

From adjustable resistance to featured-packed touchscreen, the best commercial rowers now offer a wealth of high-end tech. Consider which features and functions your members will find most valuable.

5. Customer reviews

Before investing in a rowing machine, do a bit of research on the brand. See what other buyers—particularly other gym owners—have to say about potential machines.

6. Post-sales support

It’s also important to do your research on the supplier. A quality commercial gym equipment supplier will do more than sell machines. At GymQuip we offer ongoing support, delivering, installing, maintaining and repairing every machine we sell.

7. Aesthetics

Does your gym have a tough, industrial look? Is it softer or more feminine? Whatever the case, your chosen machine will ideally form an organic addition to your space, although aesthetics may be the last and least important concern for gym owners.

GymQuip: your commercial rowing machine specialists

Where can you find the best commercial rowing machines? At the best commercial rowing machine dealers, like GymQuip.

Home to Australia’s largest fitness showroom, and with over 30 years in the game, at GymQuip we’ve built an enviable reputation for delivering commercial gym owners the quality equipment they need to succeed.

Offering an extensive range of proven commercial rowers, we have machines that will last the distance and that your members will love using. What’s more, we can help design floor plans, we can conduct complete commercial gym fit outs, and can service and repair every piece of equipment we sell.

Browse our extensive range in-store or online, or let us come to you. Get in touch with our friendly team today.