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Best Rowing Machine for Tall People

Best Rowing Machine for Tall PeopleIf you’re reading this post, you’re obviously tall, and you’re obviously looking for the best rowing machine for tall people.

Rowing has long been known to be a sport for the taller than average person.

Unfortunately, not all rowing machines will fit tall rowers.

I’ve been asked countless times, “what is the best rowing machine for tall people?”

So I’ve decided to break it down once and for all by listing the top rowing machines for tall people.

While it would be easy to name a few models that can fit rowers who are 6’8″ or 6’9″, it wouldn’t be fair to the price conscious buyer.

Most rowing machines with large height capacities cost a lot of money, so I will try to educate you on how to find models in the lower price ranges.

To cover the best rowing machine for a tall person, I will also have to explain how to find the right rower and how to tell if a rowing machine isn’t good for a tall user.

Overview

Considered to be one of the best full-body workout machines, a rowing machine (also known as an ERG) is truly a “one-stop shop”.  Rowing delivers a solid cardiovascular workout, while also building lean muscle.

There are a ton of different rowers to choose, which vary in price, resistance-type, and other preferences. This makes it a tough task trying to pick the right one!

To make things more difficult, it’s not a “one size fits all” machine because most have a height limitation.

Most rowers are suitable for the general population, but what about the people who are taller than the average person?

This concern begs the question – what is the best rowing machine for tall people?

NOTE:  To clarify, the height considered tall for this article is 6’2” or taller.  Reason being, based on my experience reviewing rowing machines, it’s usually around this height that I notice users mentioning issues pertaining to height.

A Tall Rower Scenario

Imagine this “tall rower” scenario.

First, you spend a lot of time researching a new rowing machine you want to buy. Then, you finally pull the trigger and buy one from your favorite online retailer.

When your shipment arrives, you unbox the rower, spend some time assembling it, and you give your new rower a “test drive”.

As you start to row, you notice you’re unable to straighten your legs all the way and you determine it’s because you’re too tall for the rower!

Now you have to disassemble the machine, fit it all back in the box (if you’re lucky), ship it back, and wait a few months for your refund! Plus, you may even me responsible for shipping costs!

The whole process could be a nightmare. Unfortunately, it happens a lot more often than you think.

I’ve reviewed several rowing machines with dozens of people who have experience this issue firsthand.

It’s difficult to determine if a rowing machine can accommodate your height because the information isn’t showcased by retailers like resistance-type and other features.

Also, it’s easy to get misled when you’re reading reviews of a rowing machine written by different users.

Rowing Machine vs. Inseam Length

The main measurement to use when looking for the best rowing machine for tall people is “inseam length”

Total height cannot be used because people of the same height can sometimes have different inseam lengths.

For example, let’s say you’re 6’9” and are wondering if you’d be able to use rowing machine “X” without any issues due to your height.

You read some reviews on Amazon and find out 2 users who are the same height as you are able to use the rower just fine. Therefore, you assume the rower would work for you too.

While this a good way to estimate if you can use the rower, you may have a different inseam length than the other users.

If your inseam lengths differ and yours is longer, you may not be able to fit on the rowing machine.

Inseam is the length of the inside of your leg. This is going to be the length of your leg while you are sitting down rowing.

Rowing Machine Inseam Length

Since most people have different inseams, it isn’t a good idea to assume one 6’7” person has the same leg length as another 6’7” person.

Here is a chart with a rough estimate of height vs. inseam length.

Rowing Machine Height vs. Inseam

Knowing what to focus on is great, but it doesn’t make the process any easier for finding the best rowing machine for tall people.

In addition to finding a rowing machine you like, you also have to see if it’s designed for a taller person.

Fortunately (for you tall people out there), I enjoy doing research. Which means when conducting a review I always look for height capacity information to find the best rowing machine for a tall person.

Important Criteria for Tall Person Rowing Machine

Not only does a rowing machine need to have a long enough seat rail for a tall user, but it must also possess some other features.

Tall people usually have longer arms and longer torsos. This means they must be able to comfortably see the monitor or be able to fully extend their arms forward.

Below is a short list of important criteria a rowing machine must have to be considered suitable for tall people:

Design

I’m stating the obvious here but I’ll go over the details to give you an idea of what I’m looking for:

  • It must have ample seat rail length so the user can fully extend their legs.
  • Rowing motion must not be compromised in any way (i.e. the rower must function and feel the same for a 5’8” and 6’7” person).
  • Users should be able to have a slight forward lean and extend their arms fully forward.
  • Users must be able to see the fitness monitor without having to bend their neck a special way.
  • The user must be able to access resistance-controls (if applicable) and other buttons without any issues.
  • The footrests must be able to fit the presumably larger foot/ shoe of the user.

Quality

Besides being large enough to use, it must also be a good value rowing machine.  I’ll be looking at the following:

Resistance-type

  • Is it a good resistance-type?
  • Is the resistance smooth, adjustable, and strong?

Monitor/ Control Panel

  • Is it functional and will it keep track of vital workout statistics?

Build Quality

  • Is the frame solid or flimsy?
  • Is it durable?
  • Does it make squeaking noises?

Comfort

  • How comfortable is the seat and handle?

Storage Options

  • Does it fold up to save space?

Dimensions

  • Is the unit size adequate to fit in a bedroom/ basement?

Assembly

  • Is it easy or difficult to assemble?

Warranty

  • How long is my investment protected?

Price

  • Is the price reasonable?

Recommended Best Rowing Machine for a Tall Person

Best rowing machine for tall people

Based on my research, the best rowing machine for tall people is the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine.

It’s made by Concept2, a very reputable manufacturer that’s known for making high-quality rowers.

It’s commercial-grade, so it’s made to withstand punishment in health clubs and boathouses. However, it has the portability and flexibility to be used at home.

It’s an air-resistance rower, so resistance is based on rowing intensity. This makes it the perfect fit for people of all fitness-levels.

Concept2 rowers are the preferred rowing machine for Olympic rowers, so you know they are great for tall people!

It also comes standard with a state-of-the-art performance monitor that tracks vital workout statistics, gives you the option to race yourself from a previous workout, and even teaches you how to row with proper form.

Check out my complete Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine review here and see why I almost rated it a perfect 5 stars!

There is literally almost nothing bad to say about this rowing machine!

Concept2 RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Monitor
4.9
$1,259.99

The world's best-selling rowing machine. Adjustable air resistance & easy storage. Comes with a device holder for your smartphone. You can't go wrong with this rowing machine.

Pros:
  • Best overall rowing machine on the market
  • Connects with heart rate monitors
  • 5 year frame warranty
Cons:
  • Fan can be too noisy for some
  • Not the cheapest
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/12/2024 08:04 am GMT

Check lowest pricing

Why the Concept2 Model D?

The Concept2 Model D was chosen because it overwhelmingly meets the ‘important criteria’ listed above.

Design

According to Concept2, the stock monorail that comes with the Model D is long enough to accommodate inseams of 38.0″.  Users as tall as 6’9″ are able to row with no issues and even have a few inches to spare.

For additional length, the manufacturer separately sells an add-on to the monorail that adds another 5.0″ for ~$250.

So unless you’re taller than 7 feet, this rowing machine should work fine!

Professional rowers who train during the off-season commonly use this rower. Their average height is ~6’4″ and they’re able to use this machine without any issues.

It comes at no surprise that all the features on this rower comfortably suit all users – small and tall.

The performance monitor angle can be adjusted to accommodate users of all sizes, the rowing motion is the same regardless of your size, and the footrests can adjust to fit all shoes sizes.

The overall design is ideal for all users, which also includes tall people.

NOTE:  There are other rowers that can accommodate taller people (notably water-resistance rowers), but the Model D’s price-point is lower and overall popularity is higher.

Quality

This is where the Concept2 Model D shines.  It’s an extremely well-built machine and is regarded as one of the best on the market.

It received hundreds of 5-star reviews from multiple sources and will practically last you a lifetime.

Click here to see my full review of the Concept2 Model D.

Finding the right rowing machine is a tough task and it gets even tougher when your options are limited because of your height.

There are still a few good options out there, but when the dust settles – the Concept2 Model D is a clear winner!

Final Thoughts

As I previously mentioned, there are other models that can accommodate tall users.

WaterRowers are a great example and can fit users just as tall as the Concept2 Rowers. However, they cost a little more and are not as popular.

There are also lower cost rowing machines that can fit users around 6’5″ – 6’7″.

If you want to explore other options besides the Concept2 Rowers you can visit my Personal Rowing Machine Concierge Page.

Just fill out the form and make sure to mention your height. I will then select the rowing machine that best fits your preferences.

I hope you enjoyed my article and received some valuable information!

Do you agree that the Concept2 Model D is the best rowing machine for tall people? Let me know in the comments below!

33 Comments

  1. I recently bought a FUEL rowing machine from Dick’s and I am worried I am too tall for the machine. The rail length does not seem to be a problem, I can fully extend my legs. I feel like at the end of the recovery I can not extend my arms forward far enough before the handle runs out of room because of the wheel housing.

    I am new to rowing so I am confused and not sure if thats as far as I should go forward, or if the machine is preventing a full range of motion. Looking at the Concept 2 models it seems that the wheel is much further forward than my machine and seems like it would allow further arm extension.

    I guess I need to know how far in front of my feet should my arms extend at the transition between the recovery motion and start of the pull motion?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Nick

    1. Hi Nick,

      Congratulations on your new rowing machine. I’m having a tough time picturing your issue with your arms during your rowing. Have you watched videos on how to row with proper form? Here’s a good video on how to row with proper form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqVmMd7FdAA

      I’m hoping that can help you. If you row with proper form, based on what you learn in the video, and you’re still encountering issues with your arms and apparent range of motion, please let me know.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’re able to use your rower without issues going forward. Edwin

  2. Hi,

    I’m interested in getting into rowing and am looking into purchasing a rower for my apartment. I was wondering if anyone has any insight into the best magnetic rowers for tall people (I’m 6’4″, for reference)? I need a magnetic rower because I live in an apartment so a noisy rower is not an option. Other features that matter to me are foldability (a foldable rower would be ideal) and degree of resistance (from what I’ve read, it appears some magnetic rowers have lower resistance than other types of rowers, but I’d prefer one with strong resistance). Any insights would be appreciated, thanks in advance!

    -Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew, Thanks for stopping by. Since you can’t have a noisy rower, your choices for machine types would be either hydraulic piston or magnetic and magnetic is the higher-quality type of the two so I’m glad you’re focused on owning that type of rower. As far as best magnetic rower for your size and living condition, bar none the best rower for you is the Lifecore R100 which I reviewed here: https://rowingmachineking.com/lifecore-r100-commercial-rowing-machine-review/. It’s a solid machine, it rows very smooth (which is ideal for someone new to rowing), and it will last you a lifetime. If you haven’t already, take a look at the review and hopefully that will answer any questions you may have about the Lifecore R100. Good luck, Andrew and I’m glad to hear you want to get into rowing!

  3. Hello,

    I am looking for a rowing machine for general exercise and weight loss. I am 6’2″ 250 lbs. I would like to spend around $500 or less. I am unsure if I should look for air, magnetic, pistons. I tried a Sole 500 and I liked the adjustable resistance but the cost of the machine is too high. Can you make a recemondation?

    Thank you

    1. Ken,

      Sorry for the delay in my response! Glad to hear you are looking to invest in a rowing machine!

      Personally I like air resistance rowing machines the best and they are the most popular among rowing gyms. You are also a bigger guy and probably want more resistance so I would recommend air because they can be purchased for a lower price and offer a higher resistance. However, if you want to read more about all the different resistance types just click the link to take you to my article for a complete breakdown.

      I would recommend taking a look at the Stamina Air Rower 1399. Check out my review here. Stamina has some of the best rowers on the market, great customer service, and you cannot beat the price of this machine. However, this is a compact rower so make sure you are comfortable with being on the top end of the capacity limits. Rowers with your height and weight have used the rower with no problems.

      If you really want an adjustable rower I would look into magnetic rowers. They still offer a great resistance and are very smooth and quiet. Your best bet for your preferences would be to check out my review on the LifeSpan Fitness Magnetic Rower.

      If you have anymore questions feel free to send me an email or leave a comment! I’m always glad to help.

    1. Hi Martha,

      Yes, you are correct that the WaterRower also offers an extended monorail. If you order the entire rower with the XL rail then the additional cost is only $100. If you already have the rower and need to order separately the cost is $450. An extended monorail is only available for the wooden rail rowers.

      Both the Concept2 and WaterRower models can fit users with a 38″ inseam and offer extended rails. So technically they are both equally as good for tall rowers. I guess I should add a section explaining this! Thanks for bringing it up :)

      However I do recommend the Concept2 Model D over WaterRowers because it cost less, has a better monitor, and I believe is a better overall rower for fitness. The WaterRower is great for users who want a more aesthetically pleasing rower and one that is quieter. Ultimately it comes down to what features the consumer prefers more.

      I hope this was able to clarify your question!

      1. Also to add to this- The cost of the XL rail on the Concept2 is only $5 if you order it with the original rower ($950), $175 for rail only and $275 for rail & seat. So the cost total cost of an extended rail Model D is $950 vs. an extended rail WaterRower Natural is $1260.

  4. Edwin – – very helpful, thank you for the thorough write-up! I’m new to rowing and am shopping around for a quiet magnetic rower comfortable for 6’3”. That said, I train by heart rate and am wondering if you have a recommendation that fits that criteria but also has a heart rate strap. Any suggestions? Any thoughts you might off would be most appreciated!

    1. Hi Jason,

      Thanks for the kind words! Looking to buy a magnetic rower at 6’3″ should not be a problem. Most magnetic rowing machines have longer seat rails and can accommodate users of your height. If looking to monitor your heart rate while rowing there are 2 options.

      The first option is to just pick a magnetic rower you like and buy a separate HRM and track the data via a smartphone. The most popular is the Polar H7 HRM.

      The best value magnetic rower with a heart rate strap is the Stamina Avari Magnetic Rower (click for review). The monitor can even automatically adjust resistance to keep you in your target heart rate range.

      Another option would be the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower. It is a downgrade from the Stamina Avari, in my opinion, and the height capacity is slightly less. I wrote that 6’2″ is the upper limit but I was definitely being conservative. There was a person who claimed to be 6’6″ and use the rower with no issue.

      Hope this helped! If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask!

    1. Hi Connie,

      I think you’re two best options for rowing machines under $350 would be the Stamina X Air Rower or the Stamina 1402 ATS Rower.

      I’m usually conservative and have them listed at 6’4″ but I believe a user who is 6’5″ would be fine. If you know his inseam length you can also call Stamina to verify. They will also give a conservative height limit.

      Hope this helped!

  5. I am 5’2 and my husband is 6’8; is there any rower out there that would accommodate both of our needs and won’t break the bank?

    1. Hi Tina,

      Your height of 5’2″ will allow you to use any rowing machine on the market. Your husbands height of 6’8″ is where the problem lies.

      The Concept2 Model D is going to be your best option for a rowing machine that is proven to work with users who are 6’8″. The budget rowers are more compact and he will most likely hit the back stopper.

      If you are looking for something less expensive you can see what your local retail stores offer and try them out in person. I know Costco, Walmart, and Dick’s all have rowing machines. I would also measure your husbands inseam length so you have an exact measurement of how long you need the rowing rail to be.

      Once you know the inseam length you can then call manufacturers to verify if the rower can accommodate that length. Sorry but I am just not aware of any rowing machine in the mid/low price range that fits someone 6’8″

      Good luck! I would love to hear back if you find a great rowing machine that I missed.

  6. Does wearing shoes impact inseam length? My husband is 6’5″ 37.5 inseam. So… these rowers should fit him. What if he’s wearing shoes? Will that make him too tall?

    1. Hi Hannah,

      Wearing shoes will effect inseam length a little and it depends on the shoe. You inseam length will be effected by the amount of rubber/cushion on the shoe.

      Its the same as measuring your height with your shoes on and shoes off. A thinner soled shoe will have less effect on the inseam length.

      You husband will be fine on any of the Concept2 Rowers. They are all used by Olympic Rowers, many of them well over 6’5″.

  7. Hi, I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the effort of researching and putting this very useful information out there. It helped me to make an informed choice.

  8. I have one question please? Does it matter if the actuall weight of the product is not much. I am looking at buying a rowing machine which appears to be of good quality, however, it is concerning that it weighs just 20.5kg / 45.2lbs. The flywheel is 2kg, so I assume the lighter flywheel contributes to the light weight. But I am wondering if it will remain stable while exercising if the machine is that light?

    1. Weight of the rowing machine can have a little to do with build quality. Rowing machines made of steel or more metal parts will have better quality and weigh more than rowing machines with plastic or aluminum pieces. You’ll have to test it out or read some reviews to see what the build quality is like.

    1. Hi Ash,

      One of the most popular models that sits high off the floor is the Concept2 Model E. However, you should first choose which resistance type you like best and then have a price range.

      You can visit my Rowing Concierge page and fill out the form with as much detail as possible and I can help find you a good model.

  9. I just tried a row machine for the first time(Concept2) a few days ago. I still have plenty to learn. Your review on Lifecore R100 is very interesting. I like the dual resistance factor, which sounds like it would be great to build strength and muscle along with cardio. I am a bit torn between these two machines as I might be able to find a used Lifecore at a lower price than a used Concept2. I am wondering your thoughts if price was on an even playing field or in favor of one machine. The Waterrower M1 Hirise is another machine I am interested in, but I would like a machine that has resistance variability for cardio and strength training rather than only relying on how intense a person rows.

    1. Hi Tony,

      I personally like the Concept2 Rowers the best but it is a personal opinion. If you can find a used LifeCore I would test them both out and see what you like better. It should be easy to find a Concept2 at a local gym near you.

      The Concept2’s are the most popular and have monitors that can be used to compare times to anyone in the world (which is why I like them)

  10. Hello Edwin,

    I am 6’8″ with a 39″ inseam. I have shoulder and back problems and I know that a rower will help a lot but I struggle to find one I fit on. I was very excited when I started reading your article and you mentioned heights of 6’8 and 6’9 until you mentioned an inseam of 38″ inches. It would be a shame to be 1 inch too long! Will the ConceptD or any other affordable rower work for me and my measurements?

    1. Hi Greg,

      I’m confident you will be fine but I would call Concept2 and double check. They have a great customer service team and I’m sure they get this question a lot.

      This rowing machine is used by Olympic rowers all the time, so I’m sure there are a few 6’8″ guys out there with a 39″ inseam using the C2

  11. Hi Edwin,

    I am looking for a rowing machine that could fit for both my height and weight.
    I am 6’11” and 510lbs.

    Would you have any idea which one of existing rowing machine could fit my strong and heavy body ?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Julien

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