Home » Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine Review

Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine Review

Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine ReviewThe LifeCore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine is a perfect blend of two great resistance types!

With both air & magnetic resistance, users are sure to receive a smooth, consistent rowing stroke.

Plus, LifeCore claims it is the only “commercial-grade” rowing machine to offer both air and magnetic resistance!

The 16 levels of air/magnetic resistance is controlled by a multi-functional fitness monitor with built-in heart rate receiver (wireless chest strap is included).

Now get ready for this, it also comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, whether it’s used for home or commercial use!

If that’s not enough for you, the Lifecore R100 is the winner of the “2013 Head of the Class Award” from Fitness Professor Review.

While there are a ton of great features on this rowing machine, there are also a few downsides. Please read the full Lifecore R100 Rower review below for the full list of pros & cons.

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Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price

Resistance Type

The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine is a dual-resistance rower that comes with air & magnetic resistance.

Most rowing machines have only one resistance type with each resistance type having its pros & cons (read about the different resistance types here).

Just in case you didn’t read the ‘resistance types’ link above, here are the cliff notes:

Air resistance is great because it provides a smooth rowing motion and variable resistance. ‘Variable’ resistance means the resistance level is based on your rowing intensity – the harder you row, the more resistance you feel. One downside is the fan can be noisy, especially when you row with a lot of intensity.

Magnetic resistance is great because it uses a magnetic brake system to create resistance. This is considered ‘adjustable’ resistance because you use the monitor or adjustment knob to increase or decrease resistance. Magnetic rowers are super quiet and have great resistance strength.

I have an article that compares the difference between air and magnetic rowing machines here.

Resistance Benefits

The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine combines the best of both worlds. You receive the smooth, ‘variable’ air resistance and the strong, ‘adjustable’ magnetic resistance.

The dual-resistance setup provides a smooth and consistent rowing motion so you feel resistance throughout the entire rowing stroke.

The R100 has 16 different levels of adjustable resistance, which makes this rower ideal for people of all fitness levels.

One great benefit of air & magnetic resistance is the overall resistance strength. If you want to row slowly but still have strong resistance, you can set the resistance to level 16. If you want light resistance but still want to row fast, just turn the magnetic resistance to level 1 and rely on the air resistance!

Lifecore Rower R100 Resistance

Both beginners and advanced athletes said they were able to find the perfect resistance level and never outgrew this machine! Meaning, it truly is a ‘one size fits all’ rower!

Users also mentioned they received a well balanced workout of both the upper and lower body.

The R100 resistance level can easily be changed by pressing buttons on the performance monitor. This allows a user to change resistance without stopping or removing their feet from the footstraps. A great feature for HIIT (high intensity interval training) or Crossfit-style workouts!

The noise level on the Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine is also not nearly as loud as an air-only rower because the fan does not need to spin as fast due to the added magnetic resistance.

Another great feature of the Lifecore R100 Rower is the adjustable cooling air vent. The vent allows users to point the air created by the rower towards them while working out, which can help keep them cool!

Overall Resistance

Overall, there were almost no complaints about the Lifecore Rowing Machine resistance. With 16 levels of magnetic resistance, combined with air resistance, there is a level for every user.

Most users complimented the smooth rowing stroke and the benefit of being quieter than an air-only rower.

If resistance strength or resistance quality was a concern, I can assure you the R100 will satisfy your needs.

Monitor/Control Panel

The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine comes with a multi-function performance monitor that has a large LCD blue/green backlit display.

The monitor tracks various fitness data such as:

  • Strokes per minute
  • Pulse rate
  • Watts
  • Time/500M
  • Total time
  • Total number of strokes
  • Meters rowed
  • Calories burned

All data is displayed simultaneously on the main screen. The monitor also displays battery level (if batteries are being used to power the monitor), workout resistance level, workout program, and user profile.

Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine Monitor

Users loved the large blue & green backlit display because it’s easy to read in any setting. Plus, it only has 5 buttons, which makes it super easy to use!

Users can adjust the monitor arm up and down, while also being able to pivot the monitor face. This can all be done while strapped into the footrests.

The monitor can be powered by either 4C batteries or with an included AC power adapter. Lifecore recommends that you only choose one power source at a time to prevent any issues with the monitor.

To turn it on, all you need to do is press a button on the monitor or pull on the handle of the rower. It will automatically go into “sleep mode” after four minutes of inactivity.

Monitor Features

The Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine monitor allows users to create unique user profiles for 4 different users.

Certain user details such as gender information, age, weight, and height are requested and is used to calculate workout data more accurately and to provide better experiences with future workouts.

All user data is saved including historical workout data until the user profile information is manually erased.

It comes with a built-in heart rate receiver and includes a FREE wireless chest strap to record your pulse during workouts! The monitor is compatible with 5K Polar Heart Rate Monitor products.

This is a nice addition to the Lifecore Rower because I have seen my fair share of rowers with built-in heart rate receivers, but the owner usually has to purchase the chest strap separately (even at this price point).

In addition to monitoring your heart rate during workouts, the monitor can also check your recovery heart rate (the amount of time it takes for your heart to recover after a workout). Users can do this by simply pressing the ‘recovery’ button on the face of the monitor immediately after a workout.

After 60 seconds, the monitor will measure your heart rate and rank your fitness level accordingly in one of six levels. Level 1 means you’re in excellent shape and Level 6 means you’re in below average shape.

Workout Programs

Out of all the monitor features, users rave about the workout programs the most!

The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine offers 15 different workout programs. I’ll highlight the different program types below:

Manual Program

  • A quick start program where users select their resistance level
  • User then choose a target distance and time

White Water & Ramp Programs

  • These programs “simulate” rowing on white waters and ramps
  • The resistance levels will change as you go through the program and you can increase or decrease the resistance at any time
  • User choose a target distance and time

Pacer Program

  • Allows user to race against or row beside a pace boat
  • User determines the speed/pace of the pace boat
  • Boat icons will be displayed on the monitor to show where you are relative to the pace boat
  • The monitor will let you know how many meters you’re behind or ahead of the pace boat

Interval Programs

  • Users can set a time to row or a distance to row
  • Then you select the amount of rest period between the sets
  •  These are great for tabata or HIIT exercises

WATTS Control Program

  • Allows user to determine watt (power) goal
  • Resistance level is automatically determined by your rowing speed (manual selection of resistance is disabled)
  • User chooses a target distance, time, and watt level

Heart Rate Control Programs

  • Allows user to keep training at their desired heart rate level
  • Programs are based off of individual user profiles
  • Three heart rate level options: 60%, 75%, 85%
  • User chooses a target distance and time
Monitor Overall

As you can tell from the sections above, the Lifecore R100 Rower monitor is a great aspect of this commercial rowing machine.

With a ton of different options, users will never get bored and can accommodate all of their workout needs.

There were very few complaints about the monitor and it is one of the more advanced monitors on a combination air/magnetic rower.

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Build Quality

The Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine is a very solidly built rower, as it should be in this price range!

It’s coated with black semi-gloss paint and has an extruded aluminum frame with solid steel supports. Users absolutely loved how durable and bulletproof the LC R100 feels!

Being “commercial grade” means it’s is built like a tank. It’s designed to take daily abuse from being used multiple times a day in gyms and fitness centers. Every part on the rower is made to last from the solid steel fan and flywheel to the industrial grade nylon strap and seat.

If you’re still unsure about the durability of this rowing machine, Lifecore backs up their product with a lifetime warranty on the frame, whether it’s used for residential or commercial use! I wouldn’t worry about this puppy breaking down on you anytime soon!

No users complained about any annoying and creaking noises. Not a surprise given it’s a high-end, commercial-grade machine.

Check out the video below to see the Lifecore Rower in action:

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Comfort is always a big concern when buying a rowing machine, as it should be! You don’t want to be uncomfortable after exercising for 10 or 15 minutes!

Luckily, the LifeCore R100 has a ton of great comfort features that allows people to row for hours (seriously, people have rowed marathons on this machine).

The contoured, oversized seat has an ergonomic design and extra padding for maximum comfort. Users commented how “extremely” comfortable the seat is, even when rowing for long periods of time.

The handle has an ergonomic design and a slight angle, which allows users to have a comfortable grip. In addition, the angled design alleviates strain on your hands and wrists.

Lifecore Rowing Machine R100 Comfort

The footrests on the Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine are angled, wide, and have pivoting heel support. The foot platforms are made of steel and have separate, durable heel supports.

The heel supports on a few other high-end, commercial grade rowing machines I reviewed are flimsy and made of plastic and it was a pleasant surprise to see Lifecore paid this much attention to detail to beef up this “minor” part on the machine.

A “quick-cinch” foot strap mechanism is used to secure users feet while rowing. Users commented how they liked that the foot straps didn’t loosen up while rowing.

Another feature users liked was the spacing of the footrests (on either side of the seat rail), which is ideal for people of all sizes, especially taller people.

Rowing Motion

Users mentioned the rowing motion is extremely smooth. The also mentioned the resistance strength is even throughout the entire rowing stroke due to the dual air & magnetic resistance setup.

The seat glides effortlessly up and down the rail on stainless-steel ball-bearing rollers. Plus, the commercial grade nylon strap doesn’t snag and reduces the amount of noise produced.

Overall, the rowing motion is very comfortable and there were almost no complaints!

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The Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine folds up in seconds by simply unscrewing a knob underneath the rower and standing up the seat rail.

Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine Storage

When folded, the rower has the following dimensions: 52 x 19 x 67 inches (L x W x H)

The Lifecore Rower has dual caster wheels that make moving the rower around manageable when
needed. However, it’s fairly heavy so keep that in mind if you plan to move the R100 around often.

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The maximum weight capacity on the Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine is 600 pounds (272 kg).

A user that weighed 300 pounds (136 kg) used this rower without any reservations and didn’t experience any issues. The rower is solidly built and could accommodate practically anyone.

LifeCore Rowing Machine Capacity

The R100 has a long seat rail that can accommodate most users. The seat can glide almost all the way to the footrests so shorter users don’t need to worry about being “too short” to use the machine.

Users as tall as 6’4″ have used this rower and commented they had a few more inches of space to spare. If you’re taller than 6’6″ or 6’7″ I would contact LifeCore Fitness to make sure the seat rail is long enough for your inseam.

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  • In-Use (L x W x H ):
    • 92.0″ x 19.0″ x 36.0″
    • 234 cm x 48 cm x 91 cm
  • Storage (L x W x H):
    • 52.0″ x 19.0″ x 67.0″
    • 132 cm X 48 cm X 170 cm
  • Weight:
    • 96 pounds (44 kg)

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Many users commented on how easy it was to put the Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine together. Some users even commented they were able to put it together in under 10 minutes with the included allen wrench!

The instruction manual is very detailed and easy to read, so even if you’re not the type of person that’s good at putting things together (yes, I fall in that category) it shouldn’t take you longer than 30 minutes.

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Pros and Cons


  • Commercial-grade build quality
  • Dual-resistance setup (air & magnetic)
  • Smooth rowing motion
  • Oversized, comfortable seat
  • Backlit performance monitor (15 preset workout programs)
  • Performance monitor can be powered by battery or AC adapter
  • 16 magnetic resistance levels
  • Included wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring
  • Detailed & easy to read instruction manual
  • Winner of the 2013 Head of the Class Award
  • Easy to assemble
  • Dual caster wheels
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame (both residential & commercial use)


  • Heavy & large dimensions
  • Footrest support pedals sometimes pinch your heels when lifted
  • Higher end price range

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Consumer Reviews

When checking out consumer reviews, one of the main comments came from users who love how the Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine feels indestructible.

They also love that the performance monitor offers so many different workout programs. Many users commented that it was the best piece of workout equipment they have used so far!

Some negative reviews deal a lot with price and comparing it to the Concept 2 Model D. Some users felt they didn’t get a better rower than the C2 Model D and that they should have because they payed more money. If you are interested in learning more about the Concept2, please see the link in my final section.

Check out the full Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine Review list here.

Average Rating: 4.4

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Residential Warranty

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Labor: 1-Year
  • Parts: 5-Years

Light Commercial Warranty

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Labor: 90-Days*
  • Parts: 2-Years

Another great feature of the warranty is that all purchases are covered by a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee!

*Amazon listed the labor as 1 year, but according to Lifecore’s website the labor is 90 days. Accordingly, I updated the information based on the manufacturer’s information.

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Lifecore R100 Rowing Machine Price

The price of the LC R100 is at the higher end of most rowing machines, however, the cost is definitely justifiable.

It has extremely good build quality and amazing resistance strength with both air & magnetic resistance. It is built for commercial use and can satisfy the needs of any person and multiple users.

I’ve looked at most online retailers and the price is generally the same on each website. Amazon tends to be the most popular place to buy rowers and has the largest selection of models. I like Amazon as well because they offer free shipping on qualified purchases, fast delivery times, and act as a layer of protection between the consumer and manufacturer.

Check out the Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine price below.

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Overall Review

As you can see from the review, the Lifecore R100 Rower is an excellent rowing machine and one of the best models on the market!

It’s actually difficult to find any negative about this rower!

The only downside is the cost compared to other rowing machines on the market. Some consumers felt they could get a comparable or better rower for slightly less.

One model that comes to mind is the Concept2 Model D. It is an air-only rower but it is the “Gold Standard” of rowing machines. It’s used by Olympic rowers and professional athletes due to the great air resistance and extremely accurate monitor. You can read my full Model D Rower review here.

Another great model that competes with the Lifecore R100 is the Sole SR500 Rower. This model is also a combination air & magnetic rower and cost slightly less. There are some differences with the monitor and warranty so you will want to check out the full Sole SR500 review here.

While there are a few comparable rowers on the market, I don’t think you can go wrong with purchasing the Lifecore R100. It has great resistance strength, a high-quality monitor, strong build quality, and a comfortable rowing stroke.

I hope you enjoyed my Lifecore R100 Rower review! Please leave me any questions in the comment section below.

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    1. Hi John,

      I would read my article about the difference between air and magnetic rowers.

      The Concept2 will be air-only and the LifeCore R100 will be a blend of each. The LifeCore will have stronger overall resistance on a high magnetic level but the Concept2 will more closely mimic the resistance felt while rowing on water.

      The Concept2 will also have a better monitor for tracking fitness metrics and be the most accurate monitor for tracking time, distance, power, etc.

      In my opinion, I would choose the Model E because I enjoy the monitor functionality and it is the chosen rowing machine by Olympic rowers and Crossfit athletes.

      Check out my full C2 Model E review here.

      1. I love my machine but am moving it from an 2nd story room in our house to basement workout room. Is there a simple way to break down the assembly in 2 pieces to carry down 2 flights of stairs. We have help to move this tomorrow so can you give me a quick response. My email address is jigster1209@windstream.net

  1. Hello! Do you have the info about the height of the seat from ground? I’m interested because I’m heavy weight…it looks lower than the Sole and the Sole seems to be limit for me as regards to height of seat (I tried it).

    1. Hi Carole,

      According to some sellers, the seat height of the LifeCORE R100 Commercial Rower is about 13.0″ – 13.5″ inches from ground to top of seat pad.

  2. Hi Edwin,
    Having taken your wonderful recommendation to go for this machine and now being one of its happy and satisfied owners, I wonder if you could help me? As far as you know, would it be okay to raise up the seat slide at the back end to increase leg force required? Obviously this would mean keeping the locking pin disengaged and I am concerned that this may increase stress on the seat slide hinge. As always, your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Craig – glad to hear you are enjoying your Lifecore R100!

      To be honest, I don’t think it’s a good idea. The model has the 3 points of contact (one in the middle) due to the longer seat rail and I don’t think it would be good to have that added stress over time. I also don’t see much benefit of raising up the back-end. I would just increase the resistance or row faster.

      To increase the height of the back-end to actually cause a noticeable difference would not be good for the machine in my opinion.

  3. I feel like my rower is hard to pull and lowering the level of intensity doesn’t seem to make a difference? I am wondering if something is wrong. When I change the level I can hear it making noise but it just feels harder than it did when I bought it

    1. Hi Jessica – I would reach out to Lifecore Fitness customer support and let them troubleshoot your issue. You may have to open the cover to see if the magnet is in fact moving when you adjust the level.

  4. I love my LifeCore r100, it has given me many years of trouble free workouts. But can you set it the distance to anything other than 100 meter increments? For example 250 or only 200; 300, etc?

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