Air vs Magnetic Rowing Machines: The Key Differences

Rowing is a terrific low-impact cardio activity that will increase your endurance and get your heart racing. It’s a total-body workout; you don’t need a boat and can do it at home.

Rowing properly works around 86 percent of your muscles in each stroke, addressing all major muscle groups. All rowing will provide aerobic and entire body strength, but the results will vary based on how you utilize the rower.

Due to their resistance levels, air rowing machines provide a more accurate imitation of the actual rowing feel. Keep in mind that air-based rowing machines are louder. If noise is an essential factor for you, a magnetic rower is practically noiseless and ideal if you live in an apartment.

We’ve compared air vs magnetic rowing machines so you can determine which is ideal for you and your exercises. With so many top rowing machines to pick from, we’ll weigh the benefits and disadvantages to guarantee you purchase the best equipment for your money.

However, not all rowing machines are created equal!

What To Look For When Buying A Rowing Machine

Air vs Magnetic Rowing Machines

Rowing machines, which integrate weight training and aerobic exercise into a single piece of equipment, are beneficial for increasing muscle stamina, power, and endurance.

They can do wonders for your cardio as a form of low impact training.

In addition, rowing machines are excellent for improving overall fitness because they simultaneously engage a wide variety of muscle groups — large and tiny. 

The seat on either of these rowing machines is positioned on a steel rail while you row, allowing for a smooth and gliding action. Both variations demand you to “drive” or propel yourself forward with your legs while simultaneously pulling with your arms and letting your legs progressively relax. 

The most important characteristics include a clear monitor that displays pertinent data in an understandable format, a comfortable seat that can be adjusted in height, and the ability to evaluate your degree of resistance using the drag factor. 

By monitoring your drag factor, rather than depending on the damper adjustment, you can ensure that you are constantly operating with the same degree of resistance. In addition, it is possible to use a heart rate monitor with specific rowing machines. It is possible that doing so will be beneficial, mainly if you are aiming to increase your aerobic fitness. 

Some rowing machines can be folded or propped up on end when not used. If you don’t have a lot of room, this may be a game-changer for you. Rowers are often quite muscular and robust. When deciding how you want your packages delivered, it is crucial to keep this in mind, especially if you live on a higher floor. 

Examine the sound quality of the unit as the final step. For example, a magnetic rower is ideal if you want something that makes a soothing purring sound. On the other hand, some people find that the sound of an air rower is soothing.

Air-Based Rowing Machines

Rowing machines come in various designs, but the most typical one uses air currents or a fan as its propelling motor. These gadgets produce resistance by driving air in a circular motion via a flywheel in a device that is shaped like a wheel. 

When you pull with more power, the fans will spin faster, which will result in a more extensive degree of resistance on your part because of the increased resistance. Most of these machines include damper settings and levers that let more air enter the flywheel housing. These adjustments may be found in the damper settings. 

On the other hand, the amount of effort necessary to spin the flywheel increases in proportion to the amount of air that is present. Therefore, adjust the setting on the damper to permit less air into the flywheel’s housing by reducing the airflow. As a direct consequence, the flywheel will be simpler to turn. 

This apparatus allows you to modify the amount of difficulty provided by your workout in a manner comparable to how shifting gears on a bicycle varies the experience of pedaling the bike. However, the quantity of noise produced by air resistance rowing machines is the major drawback of these devices.

Advantages of Air Rowers

  • Air-based rowers are often smooth and provide a good balance of rowing.
  • It’s good at simulating actual rowing activity and is more affordable.
  • Provide a configurable and diverse selection of resistances.

Drawbacks of Air Rowers

  • It can be loud when in use.

The Best Air Rower – Concept 2 Model D Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine

The Concept 2 Model D is the most popular rowing machine in most gyms and fitness facilities worldwide. This smooth rower has exceptional upper body ergonomics, an effective rowing drive and release, and a lightly cushioned grip.

In addition, Concept 2 employs air resistance, meaning the user’s draw strength determines the resistance. 

When you pull the handle, the fan blades inside the flywheel move, producing resistance proportionate to your exertion. Stronger rowers can create more power and hence more resistance. In other words, the Concept 2 Model D can match your power no matter how hard you pull. Air resistance rowers have a smooth movement that nearly mimics rowing on water. 

The Concept2 Model D is louder than equivalent magnetic rowers. Even over extended periods, the seat is curved and comfy. It boasts a sweat and moisture-resistant surface that is simple to clean after use. When not in use, the rower can be folded, lifted, and placed vertically to free up floor space. 

Angled footboards and adjustable pedal clips accommodate any size sports shoe, and velcro straps secure your foot throughout each stroke. The Model D’s handle and rowing cord are at the correct height for you to bring the chord to your chest and lean back for a full, expressive rowing stroke. The LCD screen includes a variety of screen configurations as well as rowing programs. 

It will show calories, strokes per minute, distance, time, and so on. In addition, you may save your exercise data on a USB drive (not included) and upload it to your PC or Mac for further analysis using Concept2’s performance graph software.

An excellent air rowing machine.

Magnetic Rowing Machines

A magnetic rower is a rowing machine that performs the same function as an air-driven rower, except it is propelled by magnetism rather than air. If you are disturbed about the amount of noise that will be made, a rowing machine that uses magnets could be a better option. 

In this arrangement, the flywheel is equipped with a magnetic brake, which is the component that is responsible for producing the resistance. Using the flywheel, which contains magnets, you can adjust the degree of resistance to suit your workout requirements. 

As a result, in contrast to rowing machines based on air resistance, magnetic rowing machines do not become increasingly challenging for the user as they pull more forcefully or quickly. On the other hand, magnetic rowing machines may provide a workout that is both physically hard and silent simultaneously. 

Because of this, they are a good choice for exercises that can be conducted in the convenience of one’s own home. However, using a magnetic rower is related to several essential benefits and cons, outlined in the following list.

Advantages of Magnetic Rowers

  • Extremely quiet.
  • Rowers of this type are often smaller and more compact than other types of rowers.
  • They don’t take a lot of upkeep.
  • They are often collapsible and lightweight when not in use, making them easy to store.

Drawbacks of Magnetic Rowers

  • Don’t recreate the sensation of rowing on water.

The Best Magnetic Rower – Fitness Reality 1000 Plus 

Magnetic Rowing Machine Fitness 1000

The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus is the only magnetic rower on the market with revolutionary front stabilizer foot pads, making it one of the finest magnetic rowing machines for home gyms.

Its extra-wide, foam-padded handlebar and ergonomic, cushioned seat with anti-slip pivot foot pedals provide a comfortable, high-intensity, low-impact indoor rowing experience that helps you burn plenty of calories. 

It’s also the top magnetic rower with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to set fitness goals and track progress using the free My Cloud Fitness app for iOS and Android. The Fitness Reality 1000 Plus features 14 resistance levels and a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds. It’s built to last, with a 39-inch sliding rail and a vast, clear 3.5-inch LCD display. 

A wide range of adjusted magnetic resistance provides quiet, challenging, and enjoyable exercises.

It is also collapsible, having a small footprint and transport wheels for convenient storage. The sole disadvantage is that professional rowers may not find the magnetic resistance strong enough.

Should I Get A Magnetic or Air Rowing Machine?

The effectiveness of each rowing machine varies greatly, even though they all provide a full-body exercise with a reduced risk of injury to the joints.

When choosing between magnetic and air-based variants, the most significant aspects to consider are how loud they run, how much they cost, whether or not the resistance can be adjusted, and the overall design.

We recommend the magnetic type if you want a quiet and robust rowing machine that you can easily store at home. On the other hand, if you want a more strenuous workout and don’t mind the extra noise, an air rowing machine is best.  

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Alex Randall

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Alex is the editor at Revel Sports. It was his idea to take our post-club-run chats and build a website out of them. He is responsible for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s when any of us have something to post. (Basically: it’s all his fault). A ferocious 5K powerhouse on his day, Alex is known for not understanding the meaning of the term ‘negative split‘.
Alex Randall

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