The LifeSpan RW1000 is in the mid-range price bracket. It's neither a budget model nor top of the range machine - and that makes it a difficult rower to assess in our view. If you're on a budget, this isn't a model we can recommend. For around $180 less you'll get a reasonably good machine - see the Stamina Air Rower for example. But if you're a serious rower and have the money to spend, you're far better off with the Concept2.
So what if you fit in the middle? Let's start with the positives. This rower is quiet - even when you up the stroke rate and resistance. So if you'll be using it in an apartment, or your home where you don't want to disturb your family, or watch TV when rowing, it's a good choice. It's also smooth and easy to use. The seat is comfortable, even when rowing for 30 minutes or more, and it folds up into a compact size for storing away when not in use.
It's quite a sturdy machine and will support a user up to 300lbs. However, some of our reviewers found the rower did move a little and we put this down to their rowing technique. With a smooth technique, it feels fine. But if you have a slightly jerking action, or don't pull the handles at a horizontal level, it does seem to move.
Okay, that's the good stuff. What about the not-so-good. The foot holds are shallow and again if you have bigger feet, you may find they don't hold as well as they should. We did find the foot straps had a tendency to come undone for people with bigger feet. This is a real pain if you're right in the middle of a challenging session. It's impossible to row if your foot comes loose, so you have to stop, strap in your feet and start again.
The pull chain is fabric and whilst it may contribute to the quiet operation, it will wear down and need replacing at times.
The biggest problem with the RW1000 in our view is the display data - see below. Whilst for many, the accuracy of the data may not be an issue (after all, it doesn't stop you getting a good workout) we feel with a machine costing this much, you'd expect more.
The Console/ Monitor
The display is okay and shows you speed, distance, time and estimated calories used. However, we suspect the data (especially the calorie counter) isn't very accurate. It doesn't appear to take into account the resistance level and is useful only for a comparison of your training sessions, and not for actual distance and calories used etc.
For light to medium usage this machine is up to the task and offers good value for money. It's neither a budget model, or a mid-range - it's sort of in the middle and will disappoint if you're expecting more. If you're intending to train 5 times or more a week, this isn't suitable. You'll have to spend more - see all our reviews here.
If you only have time to use it no more than three times in a week, and your budget is limited, this could be a good buy for you.