As Christmas 2012 rapidly approaches, you may be considering buying a new rowing machine, replacing an old model, or another piece of gym kit for the special one(s) in your family. December and January are especially busy for fitness retailers, as many are buying gifts pre-Christmas, or looking to shed the unwanted pounds shortly after - will we never learn :0)
But as you may have found out, there's a lot of choice out there! Machine's costing as little as $200 are available, or you can spend way over $1,000!
But does price guarantee quality? Not always. We've tried a few machines costing over $600 that were no better than models half that price. But you should also plan ahead. Quality rowers come with a long and extensive warranty for peace of mind. A budget model may end up costing you more, if it breaks down after it's short warranty and requires space parts - or even replacing. A broken rower does not get you fit!
As well as price, there are also different model types - based upon how it creates the resistance for your muscles to work against. You'll see hydraulic, air-resistance, magnetic and water machines advertised. If you're unsure, see my guide to rowing machine types here. Depending on what you need you rower for, or where you live, how much space you have, and how often you think you'll be using the machine - may determine what type you buy.
Rowing machines are a good choice of fitness equipment for many. In short, it's a relatively safe activity with good technique, it's an excellent fat-burning exercise - especially if you're currently over-weight. And with the exception of an exercise bike, a rower takes up much less space than a treadmill, or elliptical trainer.
So if you have the space, the motivation and the budget - go ahead - get a rower! You certainly won't be disappointed. To help, we've tested a number of the popular models on the market, ranging from the cheaper, budget models, up to the best home fitness rowers out today.
For more information, please see our unbiased reviews here.
Good luck :0) And here's to a happier, healthier and wealthier you in the New Year!
Roy Palmer is an athletics coach, teacher of The Alexander Technique and a rowing fanatic.