How to Buy a Used Rowing Machine

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How to Buy a Used Rowing Machine

Rowing machines are an extremely effective way of building and maintaining both cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone.

Most rowing machines aim to recreate the workout that comes with rowing a real life boat on water and are made to use both commercially, as well as in the home. They are used as a form of resistance training, a successful form of fitness training.

There are a number of different types of rowing machine available for purchase on the market and they are often found on auction sites such as eBay at reasonable and sensible prices. Not only are they available on eBay as new, they are also able to be acquired as used in order for those to purchase a rowing machine alongside particular budget constraints.

The following guide is written with the intention of helping those who wish to buy a used rowing machine through the purchasing process.

Components of a Rowing Machine 

There are several individual components that are of importance in making up the rowing machine as a whole. They each play a vital role in ensuring that the rowing machine provides an effective toning and cardiovascular workout.

By getting to know the individual components, one can then know what to look out for when buying a used rowing machine, something that will be detailed further on in the guide.

Here are the fundamental anatomical features of a rowing machine:


The seat is the place on which the person using the rowing machine will sit. Rowing machine seats often have cushioning to maximise comfortability whilst using this piece of equipment. The cushioning is important for those who wish to use the rowing machine for an extended period of time in order to build cardiovascular fitness.


The seat of the rowing machine is attached to this component. The slide of a rowing machine is the component that makes the rowing machines their length and allows the rower to act as if they were rowing an actual boat. The slide allows the seat to move towards the end of the rowing machine and back again. It will often have smooth ridges either side to allow for the seat to move up and down freely and efficiently.


The footplates sit either side of the slide and are the place at which the rower positions their feet. The footplates are static to allow for the majority of the movement and resistance to be controlled by the arms and core. The footplates on a rowing machine should be adjustable to cater to different heights, as well as foot sizes. This component will often have straps to restrict the movement of the feet and to further keep the resistance affecting the upper body.


The handle of a rowing machine is what the rower holds onto whilst rowing in order to pull themselves towards the end of the rowing machine. The handle will have a cord attached that is linked to the wheel of the rowing machine. There are number of materials used for handles of rowing machines, with some coming with rubber ridges to enhance the grip on the handle.


The wheel of a rowing machine is what controls the resistance level of the machine and allows for the resistance to occur in the first place. There are many different types of resistance wheels, which will be explained further in the guide. The wheel is controlled by a resistance level that determines how resistant the rowing machine will be.

Rowing Machine Resistance Type

Knowing which resistance type is most suitable can lead to a quicker and more efficient search and purchase. Here are the four main resistance types available for rowing machines:As mentioned in the table above, there are a number of different resistance types used amongst manufacturers of rowing machines. These different types of resistance offer varying advantages, as well as providing users with differing training methods.

Hydraulic Resistance

Hydraulic resistance rowing machines use hydraulic pistons as a means of creating resistance. This type of resistance is recognised as the least like rowing on water due to the roughness of the hydraulic resistance. This roughness is often counteracted through the use of oil but it still does not eradicate it totally. They do however have many advantages. The first of which is that, unlike all the other types of resistance for rowing machines, hydraulic resistance machines allow for the user to adjust the resistance setting for individual arms. This allows for the user to work harder on a separate side of the body in order to balance body strength. Hydraulic resistance rowing machines are also quiet, which means they can be used in the home and are able to be made compact, which is ideal for storage purposes. Rowing machines of this nature tend to be lower on the price scale than the others available on the market.

Water Resistance

Whilst not as popular as other rowing machine resistance types, mainly due to the noise they create, water resistance rowing machines are just as effective. The wheel is effectively a tank of water and the resistance is created by paddles that spin in the tank when the handle is pulled towards the body. The resistance created is exactly the same as that of when rowing a boat in real life, so water resistance rowing is more accurate in terms of recreating the workout that comes from rowing than any other resistance type. The adjustability of water resistance rowing machines comes from the rower. The harder one rows, the more resistance is created. More resistance can also be created by filling up the water tank with more water.

Air Resistance

Air resistance rowing machines are much like water resistance rowing machines in that the resistance is created by the rower. Rowing machines of this nature have a flywheel that spins when the handle is pulled and wind is created. The more wind that is created, the harder the handle is to pull and the larger the amount of resistance that is created. Again, much like water resistance rowing machines, this is where the resistance is created. One of the only problems with air resistance rowing machines is that due to the nature of the resistance creation, they are relatively loud in comparison to the others on the market. However, they are smooth to use and are accurate representations of the reality of rowing.

Magnetic Resistance

This type of resistance for rowing machines uses magnetic brake pads to cause the resistance. The way that further resistance can be created is usually via a resistance lever, which causes the magnets to create larger amounts of resistance when the handle is pulled back. Magnetic resistance rowing machines are appreciated for the fact that they do not make much noise and can be adjusted. Whilst the motion is not as smooth as air or water resistance rowing machines, it is smooth enough to be comfortable and not noticeable.

Further Considerations for Buying a Used Rowing Machine

There are also a number of further considerations, other than the resistance type, that need to be taken into account before settling for a purchase of a used rowing machine:

  • The Handle: The handle of the rowing machine needs to be in good condition still to allow for a high level of resistance to be created. If the handle does not function properly then the fundamental point of the rowing machine is lost.
  • The Slide: When looking at a used rowing machine online it is also wise to seek out information about the slide. The slide ensures that the row is smooth.
  • Storage: One should also give consideration to the size of the rowing machine. A lot of rowing machines are large in size and take up a lot of space, however there are those available that are more compact in size and can even be folded in half and stood upright to save space.

Buying a Used Rowing Machine on eBay

eBay is home to a number of rowing machines and caters for those who wish to buy one that has been pre-owned. To be able to see these used rowing machines on the site before they can be purchased, one should head to the Sporting Goods section of the site and click on the Exercise and Fitness link. This will lead to thousands of products from the exercise and fitness world. To narrow the search to rowing machines, choose the Cardiovascular Equipment link and select the Rowers option. Finally, there should be a filter tab to tailor the search to Used rowing machines.

It is vital to check the product description of a used rowing machine before finalising the transaction to ensure that its condition is worthy of a purchase. One should also check the images or ask for some more information by contacting the seller to ensure that the product description matches the reality of the rowing machine. It may also be wise to browse the seller’s previous transaction history as a means of finding out how positive their feedback is.

Once this has been done, either place a Bid, make a Best Offer or take advantage of the Buy It Now option and use PayPal as a secure payment method.


With all this taken into account, the best way to buy a used rowing machine is to know what is wanted previous to both beginning the search and making the purchase.

Be sure to know what type of resistance is best suited to your personal workout preferences, whether it is water resistance or hydraulic resistance. It is also important to look for certain conditional aspects that may affect the performance of the rowing machine, especially if it has had a previous owner.

Finally, once knowledge of rowing machines has been gained and one is informed on the products available then a secure and safe transaction can take place.

The wheel of a rowing machine is what controls the resistance level of the machine and allows for the resistance to occur in the first place. There are many different types of resistance wheels, which will be explained further in the guide. The wheel is controlled by a resistance level that determines how resistant the rowing machine will be.
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