Looking for a quiet rowing machine that won't disturb your neighbors in your apartment? Explore our range of space-saving rowing machines designed for quiet operation, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful workout at home. Find the ideal solution for your apartment fitness routine today.

The Best Compact Rowing Machines for your Apartment (2023)

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No one wants to hear pounding, banging, or clanking coming from their neighbors – especially when they’re trying to sleep. It leads to unsavory mental images.

Living in a small apartment where saving space and reducing noise can make it challenging to shop for home gym equipment.

A treadmill is out of the question – especially if you’ve got neighbors below you.

You’ll hit your head on the low ceiling with an elliptical.

A squat rack? You’re dreaming.

That’s why compact rowing machines are becoming increasingly popular with apartment owners. They’re low-impact. They’re quiet. They’re effective. And they can fold up and store easily when not in use.

In this post, I’ll give you my top picks for compact rowing machines for apartments and small spaces.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Rowing Machine for Apartment Use

When it comes to choosing a rowing machine for apartment-friendly exercise, there are several factors to consider. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Size and compactness: Living in an apartment often means limited space. It’s important to choose a rowing machine that is compact and can easily fit into your living area. Look for models that are foldable or have a small footprint when not in use.
  2. Noise level: As an apartment dweller, keeping noise to a minimum is crucial. Look for rowing machines that are specifically designed to be quiet and produce minimal noise and vibration during operation.
  3. Resistance type: Rowing machines come with different types of resistance systems, including air, magnetic, hydraulic, and water. Each type has its pros and cons in terms of noise level, smoothness of motion, and overall feel. Consider which type of resistance best suits your needs and preferences.
  4. Build quality and durability: Investing in a high-quality rowing machine is essential for long-term use. Look for models made from sturdy materials that can withstand frequent use and provide a smooth and stable rowing experience.
  5. Comfort and adjustability: A comfortable rowing experience is crucial for sticking to your workout routine. Look for machines with ergonomic and padded seats, adjustable footrests, and handles that provide a secure and comfortable grip.
  6. Display and tracking features: Many rowing machines come with built-in displays that track your workout metrics, such as time, distance, strokes per minute, and calories burned. Consider whether you prefer a simple display or more advanced features like connectivity to fitness apps or heart rate monitoring.

By considering these factors, you can find the perfect rowing machine that meets your apartment-friendly exercise needs.

Quiet Rowing Machines

The first thing to note is that if you’re looking for a compact rowing machine for an apartment, you likely need a quiet rowing machine. Each resistance type has its noise level.

There are four main types of rowing machine resistance – Air, Hydraulic, Magnetic, and Water.

Air Rowing Machines

These machines get their resistance from a flywheel fan. When the handle is engaged. The fan spins.

The greater the velocity at which the handle is pulled, the faster the fan flywheel spins. This fan creates the wind, which acts as resistance.

The harder you row, the harder it becomes. The idea of progressive resistance based on velocity is known as variable resistance.

If you could imagine a large fan spinning faster and faster, you can also imagine it’s not that quiet. There are a lot of things that an Air Rowing machine is – silent is not.

For that reason, air rowers are considered the loudest rowing machine.

Water Rowing machines

Water resistance is kind of like air resistance, except the fan is suspended in water like a propeller.

Water rowing machines also rely on variable resistance – the harder the handle is pulled the faster the underwater paddles spin.

As you probably guessed, the sound of water being swished around in circles is not quiet, although they sound cool – depending on the level of your apartment, or if you share any walls – this may or may not be a good compact rowing machine for an apartment.

Hydraulic Rowing Machines

Hydraulic rowing machines rely on a piston, usually two that occupy each arm of the rower. Yes, hydraulic rowing machines use arms instead of a handle and chain/belt. Resistance is usually controlled by a knob, which increases the resistance applied to each piston.

The hydraulic rowing machine is tied for quiet rowing machines with magnetic. They’re extremely affordable to boot.

I included more hydraulic rowers here.

Magnetic Rowing Machines

Magnetic rowing machines are the quietest. There is no friction created by the rowing mechanism. When the handle is pulled, a metal flywheel spins. A magnet, relative to how close it sits near the flywheel controls the resistance. The closer the magnet, the more resistance.

Most people who like to row while at home and do not want to disturb others, go with quiet magnetic rowers, that’s why I’ve included them in this review.

See also [Best Quiet Magnetic Rowing Machines]

Features to Look for in an Apartment-Friendly Rowing Machine

When choosing a rowing machine for apartment-friendly exercise, there are certain features to look for that can enhance your overall experience. Here are some key features to consider:

  • Foldable design: Look for rowing machines that offer a foldable design, as this allows for easy storage in small spaces. Foldable machines can be stored vertically or horizontally, depending on the model.
  • Transport wheels: Rowing machines equipped with transport wheels make it easy to move the machine around your apartment. This is especially useful if you need to store it in a different location or if you have limited space and need to move it out of the way after each use.
  • Adjustable resistance levels: Having adjustable resistance levels allows you to customize your workout intensity to suit your fitness level and goals. Look for rowing machines that offer multiple resistance levels, whether it’s through air, magnetic, hydraulic, or water resistance.
  • Comfortable seating and footrests: Comfort is key when it comes to rowing. Look for machines with comfortable and ergonomic seating, as well as adjustable footrests that can accommodate different foot sizes. This will ensure a comfortable and secure rowing experience.
  • Display and tracking features: Many rowing machines come with built-in displays that track your workout metrics, such as time, distance, strokes per minute, and calories burned. Some machines even offer connectivity to fitness apps or the ability to sync with heart rate monitors. Consider which tracking features are important to you and choose a machine that meets your preferences.

By considering these features, you can find an apartment-friendly rowing machine that suits your needs and provides an enjoyable workout experience.

Best Compact Rowing Machines for Apartments and Small Spaces

Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine (RW5515)

Foldable Dimensions:

43.3L X 18.9W X 52.4H In

Weight Capacity:

250 Lb

Sunny Health and Fitness dominates the world of rowing machines. In face, they dominate most cardio equipment. You’ll see them in gyms coast to coast, and for good reason. This is a very compact rowing machine, perfect for a small condo or apartment.

This LA based manufacturer delivers affordable and quality products with best-in-class customer service and warranties.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine offers an efficient full-body workout, with a smooth magnetic resistance system and a large, easy-to-read LCD monitor to track your progress. It’s a perfect rower for small spaces. The machine features 8 levels of adjustable resistance, comfortable non-slip handlebars, a large and comfortable seat and a sturdy but responsive steel frame. Recently re-designed, the SF-RW5515 is quieter than ever, with an improved, smoother magnetic tension system. Like most Sunny rowers, It also has a compact design for easy storage.

Actual Review
Actual Review
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I have always used the row machine at our local gym and after using the new Sunny Rower I have cancelled my membership!! I absolutely love this machine! The fact that the foot pedals rock forward and back it works the legs so much better! The rower is super quiet and sturdy. I love the feature of setting a time and the timer works backwards. IRead more about review stating I have always used the am 51 years old and I am looking to lose a little weight and get stronger. I feel this machine will be a huge benefit to reaching my goals!



Weight Capacity: 

220 Lb

This isn’t your typical row machine. At least one you don’t find in the gym. Hydraulic rowers use pistons to generate resistance. Instead of a handle and belt, this machine has a hydraulic arm, that sits between the users legs. Since it is hydraulic, it doesn’t rely on a large, bulky flywheel to operate. This means it’s super compact and crazy affordable to boot. It’s a perfect compact rowing machine for an apartment.

The SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine by Sunny Health & Fitness offers a smooth and durable workout experience. The machine is equipped with a smooth glide seat and 12 levels of hydraulic resistance, allowing for a quiet and enduring workout that targets the full body. The machine is also equipped with a cushioned seat and foam handlebars, which provide comfort during the workout. Although technically not foldable, standing on its end or leaning against the wall it would take up almost no floor space.

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Actual Review
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It’s so perfect for a under $100 rower. I feel like a get a good workout. It’s quiet. I would say if it could have better levels it would be nice. If I wanted to go really fast to sweat a lot I can’t. Level one keeps the resistance on a little too strong still. But my husband and I both use it and really like it. And we’re tall. 6’ and 5’8”.

Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW Rowing Machine

Foldable Dimensions:

36 L x 19 W x 53.5 h

Weight Capacity:

275 Lb

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW rowing machine is designed to tone and define your upper and lower body while also increasing cardiovascular endurance. It features a 10-lb flywheel with eight levels of resistance for a customizable workout, an ergonomically designed contoured foam seat pad for comfort, and anti-slip foam-covered handles.

The machine also has a multi-angle monitor, adjustable foot pedal straps, and an easy-to-read LCD monitor that tracks workout progress. The frame is sleek and compact, allowing for minimal floor space, and it can be easily folded and stored with built-in transport wheels. The machine has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs and comes with a two-year limited warranty.

The Bluetooth version pairs with your tablet or phone and allows you to use Kinomap, a geolocation app that allows you to row anywhere in the world. 

So, don’t wake up the neighbors with this compact rowing machine.

Real Review
Real Review
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I purchased this rower 2 weeks ago, and I have been using it approximately 30 minutes per day for full body workout. This is a great rower at a very reasonable price. It is well built, sturdy and easy to use. The rowing mechanism is very smooth and quiet, I have no problem watching TV or listening to music while doing exercise. The rower is foldable, and it is easy to move because of the transport wheels. But one thing to note is the rower itself when fully assembled and in use – it’s quite long so you will need to have a minimum 6 ft of space to put it. Overall, it is a great piece of equipment to own at home instead of paying for gym membership, and I would definitely recommend this rower to others.

Dual Functioning Rowing Machine Mulit-Rower

Foldable dimensions:

32 L x 21W x 49.5H

Weight Capacity:

275 Lb

What’s better than a folding rowing machine? A multi-functioning rowing machine.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5622 versatile and perfect for someone who wants to be able
To target different muscle groups than normally targeted with the row machine. The adjustable footrest allows you to stand up and use the handle to do an upright row, shoulder raise, bicep curl, and other variations. It includes the same adjustable resistance and comfortable non-slip handlebars, and a sturdy steel frame for stability.

Most dual functioning rowers sacrifice a little to accommodate flexibility, but the SF-RW5622 doesn’t compromise. Best of all, it’s compact, with a small foldable surace area.

Real Review
Real Review
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I've been using the machine for three months now and I'm pretty happy with it. It is a simple rowing machine, nothing fancy about it, but it gets the job done. I live in a small house with roommates and this machine fits in my room well. It is a little hard for me to move around, but I have never had such a hard time with it that it keeps me from working out. It's not the stupidest machine, and for me that's fine since I have a petite frame, but if you are a large dude or something this may not be great for you. For where I am in life right now, and simply wanting the machine for a nice variation in my full body workouts, it's perfect. If you are simply wanting a small machine at a really economical price point that will simply just let you row and get the job done, this is the machine for you.

DMASUN Magnetic Rower Indoor Row Machine

Foldable Dimensions:

66.7″D x 19.7″W x 27.6″H

Weight Capacity:

350 Lb

DMASUN is a brand of fitness equipment that offers a range of products, including rowing machines and exercise bikes. The company claims to have served over 1 million homes worldwide. Their rowing machines are made with thicker raw materials and are heavier than similar products on the market. They also feature 16 levels of silent magnetic resistance and an oversized, ergonomic seat for comfort. The machine is easy to assemble and includes built-in transport wheels for easy movement.

The LCD monitor tracks rowing data, and the device holder allows the user to use their phone or tablet while working out. The company offers a 12-month components replacement service for customer satisfaction.

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Real Review
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Normally, I work out in my garage, but living in the north, that gets unpleasant in the winter. I bought this rower to provide a decent alternative for inside workouts, and for that, it's been great. Assembly was straightforward--this is not a complex machine, and the directions were perfectly adequate. I was worried about two things: 1. Inadequate resistance for a decent workout--this has not been a problem. I'm 5'10", 200 lbs, and I'm in decent shape and reasonably strong. No difficulty getting my heart rate up or working up a good sweat on this machine. 2. That the machine would be too short for a comfortable stroke--so all else being equal, a larger machine IS more comfortable to row on, but this is perfectly adequate, and I don't feel cramped or as though there's any danger of injury from altering my form. Also, this machine folds up small enough that I can actually find a place to store it in a smallish apartment, which would not be true of a larger machine like a Concept2. I've had this for almost 3 months, and I row 3-4X week, 30-45 minutes. No problems with durability so far, and as long as this thing lasts until it warms up, I'll consider it money well spent. Would definitely recommend using some thread-locker during assembly to make sure the bolts don't work loose, but that's just a good general practice. Summary: This is NOT a high-end rower--something like a Concept2 is functionally superior in every respect except ease of storage. However, the DMASUN is 5X cheaper, and is more than adequate for getting a decent workout. As a magnetic rower, it is also very quiet, which is a definite plus for a lot of folks.

Stamina Body Trac Glider

Foldable Dimension:

So small, its not even worth measuring!

Weight Capacity:

250 Lb

The Stamina Body Trac Glider is a highly versatile and compact rowing machine that is perfect for those who have limited workout space but plenty of motivation. With a footprint of only 23.5 inches wide by 46 inches long, this machine offers the same terrific workout performance as machines twice its size.

The Body Trac Glider is constructed with a tough steel frame and an aluminum center beam that is designed to withstand years of use. The machine’s ball-bearing roller system and adjustable cylinder resistance arms mimic the smooth motion of rowing on the water, providing a low-impact, full-body workout that utilizes all the major muscle groups, including the back, legs, arms, abdominals, and buttocks. Rowing is widely recognized as one of the best all-around activities for cardiovascular fitness and strength, making the Body Trac Glider an ideal workout accessory for anyone who wants to get in tip-top shape.

When you’re done with your workout, the Body Trac Glider can be easily folded up and stored in a closet, saving valuable space in your home. The machine is also designed for comfort, featuring a comfortable molded and padded seat, and foam-padded hand grips for added support and stability.

The Body Trac Glider also features a multifunction fitness monitor that tracks your workout time, stroke count, and calories burned during your workout, along with the total strokes you’ve accumulated since owing the machine. The monitor displays each data point for six seconds before rotating to the next, giving you the ability to track your progress and make adjustments to your workout routine as needed.

In addition to its compact size and versatile workout options, the Body Trac Glider also includes other features like gas shock resistance and a manual resistance control knob. The machine has a weight capacity of 250 pounds and comes with a one-year warranty on the frame and a 90-day warranty on parts.

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Bought this to have some low impact cardio in my apartment. I love rowing, but felt the standard machines would be too noisy for an apartment setup. Found this and seemed like a solid choice from the reviews. The hydraulic function is fairly quiet (not silent), and the range of motion works well for me. I'm 5'11" and think this may not have as much range for someone much taller. It was pretty easy to assemble (took about 45 minutes), and feels sturdy overall. Have been using it almost daily since I bought it.

Conclusion: Enjoying Quiet and Effective Workouts in Your Apartment


Finding the perfect exercise equipment for apartment living can be a challenge, but with rowing machines, you can enjoy quiet and effective workouts without disturbing your surroundings. Rowing machines offer a full-body workout, low impact on the joints, and excellent cardiovascular benefits. By considering factors such as size, noise level, resistance type, and comfort, you can find the ideal rowing machine for your apartment.

Compact and foldable rowing machines are perfect for small spaces, while choosing a machine with a quiet operation ensures a peaceful workout environment. Maintenance tips such as regular cleaning, lubrication, and proper storage will keep your rowing machine in top condition. And with the best rowing machines and accessories on the market, you can create a comfortable and enjoyable workout space in your apartment.

So, don’t let limited space or noise concerns hold you back from achieving your fitness goals. Invest in a whisper-quiet rowing machine, follow our tips, and row your way to fitness in

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