If you’re after a great home workout unit and need something suitable for a user of around 400 lb, you’re in luck! Much of the standard exercise kit has a relatively low capacity and isn’t great for anybody in a larger frame.
However, rowing is an excellent way to build your cardiovascular health, create muscle, and improve your lung capacity and endurance.
The common rowing machines offered for home use go up to 250 or 300 lb as a maximum, but some brands are making heavier-duty rowers appropriate for a more inclusive spectrum of user weights.
Today we’ve compiled a detailed list of the best rowing machines with a 400 lb weight capacity (and more, in some cases!) to help you find the right rower for you.
Here’s a shortcut to the best model we tested, with a user capacity of 400 lb or above for readers short on time.
Concept2 is a well-regarded brand in gym rowing machines and likely a company you’ll have heard of – with 40 years of building competitive rowers, it’s no surprise this model made it into first place.
The Best 400 LB Rowing Machines to Use at Home
Next, we’ll run through the top six rowing machines, all rated to a maximum user weight of 400 lb or above, following a tough 24-hour test run!
The Concept2 Model D comes with a 90-day return window, so if you decide it’s not for you at some point in the first three months, you can send it back for a no-quibble refund. Each unit incorporates the Performance Monitor 5, which connects to apps or heart rate belts to help you track your progress.
Most users will be comfortable working out on this rower, with a 14-inch seat height, ergonomic grip handles, and adjustable footrests.
When you’re done for the day, you can separate this rower into two pieces, wheel it into a cupboard on pre-fitted caster wheels, or tip it upright to take up minimal room.
You get a smartphone bracket, a quick start guide, an illustrated assembly manual, and the PM5 monitor with your rowing machine.
- Weight limit: 500 lb
- Rated five stars after 9,158 reviews
- Includes the self-calibrating Performance Monitor 5
- User-friendly with quick assembly time
- Separates into two pieces for storage
- Compatible with most popular fitness apps
- The warranty only runs for five years
Brand video link:
The Concept2 is suited to users of most heights, with a 14″ seat profile – however, if your inseam is over 38 inches, you may need to purchase an extended monorail to reach full extension.
The ECHANFIT Water Rower is in second place, with a 400 lb capacity and a water tank that provides variable resistance while feeling similar to rowing on real water.
There are six different resistance levels, although you need to check the water and change the volume in the tank – it’s often easier to row harder or for longer if you don’t want to keep adding to the tank.
This rower incorporates adjustable foot pedals and an oversized seat rail, made from reinforced steel with good support for faster rows or heavier users.
If you need a slim profile rower with a generous weight capacity, this model allows you to fold the frame up and store it away when not in use.
- Weight limit: 400 lb
- Rated four stars after 121 reviews
- Six adjustable resistance levels
- Electronic display tracker
- Raised seat for easy use
- Extended rail for flexibility
- Filling or changing the water tank is fiddly
- Overfilling the tank will cause spillages
Customer video link:
The ECHANFIT rower is easy to assemble and comes with the screws labeled, so you know which parts to fit in which order.
Our second WaterRower is something slightly different, made from solid Ash, and great for people who want to work out at home but don’t have a separate room or home gym to store their equipment in.
The frame is finished in a Honey Oak stain for durability and finished with an oil coating to maintain longevity and appearance.
This rower has a patented technology called WaterFlywheel, which aims to replicate the natural resistance when rowing on the water and maintains a quiet operation even when at full capacity.
You also get enhanced vibration control, so the rower won’t slip or feel unstable when rowing for longer or at a speedier pace – it’s rated to 700 lb, so it has a huge weight capacity.
- Weight limit: 700 lb
- Rated 4.9 stars after 157 reviews
- Classic natural wood finish
- S4 Performance Monitor included
- Reduced noise and vibration
- Comes with water purification tablets
- Some buyers report that the pre-drilled holes are too tight
The WaterRower takes just 30 to 40 minutes to assemble, and a handcrafted varnished wood makes it look like a piece of furniture that slots into your decor.
Back to air rowers, and the STRONGKICK machine has ten resistance levels to vary your workouts, with a 500 lb weight limit and portable features to help you move your rower into different rooms; tip it up for storage or stack it into a cupboard.
The LCD provides real-time tracking to check on the distance covered, calories burned and time spent working out, and you can connect with your apps through the Bluetooth feature.
Although you might need to research a workaround, you can bypass the main app (which isn’t as high-performance as others you might already use) and continue with a current workout program through the monitor.
This rower is quiet and has a noise reduction system that buffers the sound of the chain, so you don’t get a rattling sound each time you pull hard on your backward stroke.
- Weight limit: 500 lb
- Rated four stars after 72 reviews
- Ten resistance levels
- Real-time performance tracker
- Quiet functionality
- Folds for easy storage
- The fitness app linked with the monitor isn’t great
Brand video link:
The monitor on the STRONGKICK rower is a little small, so it can be difficult to read if you struggle with your eyesight or prefer not to wear glasses when you work out.
In fifth place, the SOLE SR500 harnesses magnetic and air resistance in a dual motion which the brand says feels like being on the water – but without the faff of having to use water sterilization tablets or top up the tank through a funnel when you want greater resistance.
The LCD is backlit blue, so it is easy to read and comes in a decent 5.5″ screen with an arm and console holder that you can adjust to get a good view.
If you want to tweak the resistance mid-workout, you can do so with the wireless resistance settings and have a comfortable seat with a 39″ travel distance across an 81″ track.
You get a lifetime warranty on the frame, three years on the parts, and a one-year guarantee on any labor required.
- Weight limit: 515 lb
- Rated three stars after 17 reviews
- Lifetime frame warranty
- Wireless resistance control
- Foldable design and transport wheels
- Slick red, black and silver color
- The foot straps could be better quality
Great value rowing machine, with a silent motor, comfortable seat, and a long rail suited to users of any height.
The Row-s Connected Rower is a low-impact rowing kit with lots of added extras if you’re keen on gadgets! The screen rotates and has an HD display in a massive 22″ format, so you can see exactly how you’re doing even if your sight isn’t the best.
One membership on the Echelon Premier app allows up to five family members to create an account, although it’s free for 30 days and paid for after that if you want to keep going with the on-demand fitness classes.
You get resistance controls at your fingertips, positioned on the handlebars, and a smooth workout with an easy-glide seat, silent magnetic resistance, and ergonomic grips.
This rowing machine has a 100% money-back guarantee, but the warranty on parts and labor is only 12 months. If you change your mind, you need to return the rower within 30 days or claim on the guarantee within a year.
- Weight limit: 400 lb
- Rated 4.5 stars after 172 reviews
- Includes 30 days of free Echelon Premier
- Rotating 22″ screen
- 100% money-back guarantee
- 32 magnetic resistance levels
- Doesn’t integrate with any other fitness app
Customer video link:
Although the app is free for the first month, it’s pretty expensive if you decide to continue your subscription at $40 every 30 days.
The Benefits of a 400 LB Weight Limit Rowing Machine
Any exercise machine needs to have plenty of capacity to cater to your weight.
It’s no good buying a flimsy workout device because if it isn’t capable of managing the load, it’ll inevitably start to break and malfunction well before its time.
Rowers usually come with fairly low weight limits, so you must choose a robust model with a solid frame and a specification that goes up to 400 lb.
Heavy-weight rowers aren’t just the best bet for larger buyers because they’re built to last and have greater shock resistance, so even very light exercise lovers opt for a tough machine because it provides better value for money.
Benefits of a 400 lb rower include:
- Having a machine that anybody in your household can use – if you go by the heaviest person, you’ll get a rower suited to everyone of all ages and fitness levels.
- Larger rowers usually cost a bit more than lightweight models, which means you get better features, longer warranty periods, and enhanced screens to monitor your fitness and track progress.
- Most sturdy workout machines can handle a lot of stress before requiring maintenance, so you may need to grease the chain and tighten the nuts less regularly than a smaller rower.
Rowing is an exercise that is safe for everyone, so if you’re looking for a workout that won’t stress your joints and will help boost your fitness and heart health without damaging your knees, a rowing machine is a good call.
Safety Tips for Using a Heavy-Duty Rower at Home
Rowing as a sport dates back to the first Olympics, and it’s famously a racing event between US and British university teams; you’ll find tons of workouts and coaching advice online.
There are two main parts of your technique to focus on – the drive and the recovery.
You need to properly strap your feet into the footplates during the drive so they aren’t slipping and sliding. You also want a firm grip and to keep hold of the bar at each end of your pull.
As you move towards the flywheel, bend your knees to start moving your body, and then push back to flow the other way on the track.
When your legs are completely straight, you need to engage your core to pull your body back as far as possible and use your arms as the last part of the movement to bring the handle into your midsection.
Your elbows should bend to about 90 degrees, keeping your hands in line.
As you actively row, it’s important to try and keep your back straight without slumping forward over the chain – this can cause stress on your spine and mean you pull through your smaller back muscles rather than activating the stronger muscles in your lower body.
A great tip is to keep your eyes forward or focus on the monitor – longer rows can cause you to strain your neck, whereas looking at the flywheel will keep you focused.
What to Look for in a Rowing Machine Up to 400 LB
So, of all the features, additions, and properties we’ve looked at, what matters most in a rower with a weight capacity of up to 400 lb?
The first is the weight specification.
Heavy-duty rowers are engineered to offer greater weight limits and have better quality parts that outperform those on more fragile machines.
Other priorities to check out before you buy include:
- The warranty offer – a longer (or even lifetime) warranty demonstrates the manufacturers’ confidence in the materials and construction of their rower. If you’re spending a fair amount, you should ensure a decent guarantee is included.
- Heart rate monitors – rowing is a cardio workout, and monitoring your pulse and performance are important. Good rowers tend to come with cardio sensors that record your pulse and can even tell you if your heart rate is within your target parameters.
- Storage space – even some of the bulkier machines we’ve reviewed here can be folded or have wheels for transport. You can also purchase rowers with detachable parts or that split into two, which can make a big difference if you live in a compact home and need a workout machine that won’t need to sit in the middle of the room.
It’s also worth thinking about the type of rower you want before you start making a shortlist of models.
Water rowing is popular because it mimics the sound and feel of water, but they’re often a bit noisier and require more time and maintenance.
You need to top up the tank to increase the resistance, use purification tablets to prevent mold build-up, and periodically change the water.
Magnetic rowers are quieter, lighter, lower maintenance, and have easy controls to flick the resistance levels up or down as a more convenient workout option.
However, much depends on your personal preferences.
Air rowers aren’t as silent as magnetic rowing machines, so it’s worth trying out a couple of rowers in a gym to see which you find more enjoyable if you’re not settled on a particular rower type.
FAQs – Choosing the Best 400 LB Weight Capacity Rowing Machine
Below we’ve answered some commonly asked questions about buying a rowing machine to use at home and selecting a model with a weight capacity of 400 lb or above.
How Heavy is a Large Rowing Machine?
Each model is different, but you will usually find that larger rowing machine models are heavier to move and maneuver because of the density and thickness of the materials used in the frame.Of the 400 lb rowers we’ve reviewed here, the weights are as follows:
- Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine – 57.32 lb / 26 kg
- ECHANFIT Water Rowing Machine Rower – 60.27 lb / 27.34 kg
- WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor – 117 lb / 53.07 kg
- STRONGKICK – Foldable Rowing Machine – 77 lb / 34.93 kg
- SOLE SR500 Rower – 115 lb / 52 kg
- Echelon Smart Rower – 123 lb / 55.8 kg
If you buy a heavier rower, it’s wise to have a friend help move the machine or assemble the parts, especially if you need to move it up or down flights of stairs.
Is Rowing a Good Exercise for Overweight People?
Yes, definitely! If you’re struggling with your weight and need a home workout that is accessible and will work on all the big muscle groups, then a rower is an ideal choice.Because the workout is seated, you find less stress on your ankles, knees, and hips, can slow down or speed up simply by changing how hard you pull, or train in intervals to help improve your lung capacity without feeling uncomfortable.
What is the Hardest Resistance Level Possible on a Rower?
Different rowing machines have varying resistance levels, but you’ll normally find anything up to ten different settings – sometimes more with advanced quality machines.Look for easy resistance controls if you’re not familiar with rowing. That means you can quickly switch the level if you find the setting is too hard or too easy.
Can I Lose Weight Solely Through Rowing?
Although most workout programs include some resistance training, there are many scenarios in which free weights or loaded exercises aren’t possible.For example, rowing is a good solution if you have problems with your back, cannot stand for longer periods, or need to watch your heart rate.
Higher profile seats are a great feature since they’re a little elevated from the floor and are easier to get into and out of if your mobility is compromised.
While rowing is primarily a cardio workout, the fact that you are pulling against resistance puts a greater strain on your muscles than, say, walking.
You can build definition, burn calories and improve your overall health even if rowing is the only exercise you do.
How Many Calories Do You Burn on a Rowing Machine?
Of course, a hard and fast run at your maximum effort will burn more calories than a gentle, steady pace row – but you can burn as much as 250 calories in just half an hour if you maintain a constant speed.
Using a rower is beneficial for multiple aspects of your health and allows for a whole body workout in your own space and time.
Here we’ve looked at some of the best 400 lb capacity rowing machines on the market and hope you’ve got a better idea about which rowers are best suited to your needs and workout goals.