Today, we’re reviewing the ProForm 440R rower. At around $400, it’s getting close to the mid-range price category, so expectations are a bit higher for this particular “budget” rower.
Update: availability varies with this machine and it seems the company website no longer offers it. You might be able to find it at major retailers, but it varies, in my experience. Their cheapest widely available model is the 750R which is around $700.
For a cheaper (and in many ways better) option, see the Sunny Health & Fitness magnetic rower review. It’s less expensive and many consider it the best budget magnetic rowing machine.
If the ProForm 440 is available upon reading this and you’re still interested, make sure to check out the review.
In short, the ProForm 440R rower is a well-built magnetic rower. It’s space-saving, offers smooth, quiet resistance, and uses a low pulley station for the option to perform strength training exercises like curls and tricep extensions.
Downsides include availability, cost, poor handle design, and antiquated design.
If you’re mostly looking for a rower–and the strength training option doesn’t interest you–you can save a lot by going with a more traditional magnetic rower in the budget price range (see the linked review above).
I had a chance to use it and thought it rode smoothly. I also liked the compact design.
My first impression was that the resistance was smooth and quiet. On the downside, it seemed the handle would get uncomfortable pretty fast. It’s thin and not very ergonomically designed and I could feel a touch of discomfort in my wrists after only a few minutes.
I didn’t get a chance to use it long, but I’m guessing I could probably use it pretty comfortably for about 40 minutes to an hour. So, if you like longer sessions it could be an issue.
The ProForm 440R Rower is a magnetic resistance rowing machine offering 8 different resistance levels.
It utilizes a C-magnet that moves to and from the flywheel thus increasing or decreasing resistance.
The closer the magnetic is to the flywheel, the harder the resistance. The farther away, the easier the resistance.
Check out the video below for a visual representation of how magnetic resistance operates.
To find out more about magnetic resistance rowers read my article on different resistance types.
Instead of damper settings like the air-resistance ProForm 550R rower, the 440R has 8 different magnetic resistance levels that can be easily adjusted by turning a large red knob on the console.
The resistance feels strong, and smooth, and makes very little noise. The quiet operation makes it great for rowing early in the AM or while watching TV.
Most will find the resistance levels strong enough. But for the most progress over the long term, it’s better to go with an air rower like the Concept2 or Xebex rowing machine.
Throw In Some Strength Training
The ProForm 440R does have a low pulley station and foot pads in the front that allow you to do a variety of other strength training exercises.
You can perform squats, bicep curls, upright rows, tricep extensions–most of the stuff you could do with a low pulley at the gym.
Aside from the brand (their machines are pricier, IME), I’m guessing this is the main (or only) feature that accounts for the difference in price between the 440R and other budget magnetic rowers.
The ProForm 440R Rower has a large LCD monitor on the center console.
The 440R monitor can track the following data:
- Strokes Per Minute
- Total Strokes
- Calories Burned
While the monitor is fairly basic, it tracks the same data as other rowing machine models in its price range.
As you can see, the 440R’s monitor is large enough to read and has the ability to go into scan mode, rotating between each of the data sets every 6 seconds. So, there’s no need to stop or slow down to see the data.
The monitor will need 2AA batteries that are not included, so be sure to pick these up before you have your rower delivered!
I noticed the machine slipping a bit when rowing, perhaps due to the hard, smooth floor surface. Others, too, have commented that the machine moved slightly while rowing.
If you have hardwood floors or any surface besides carpet, you might need to use a rowing machine mat to the floor to help secure it in place. The Stamina Fold-to-Fit Equipment Mat is a great choice.
Others mentioned when trying to fold the unit for storage, the pin would not align with the proper hole to secure it in place.
Another quality issue was with the bungee rope fraying where it attached to the handle and having issues retracting back into the machine.
ProForm boasts of the soft-touch ergonomic handle on the 440R, which I did not find to be accurate. It was soft enough, I suppose, but not anything resembling ergonomic.
I’m guessing it has to do with how the handle is meant to double as a strength training bar for curls and tricep extensions.
Many (but not all) users seem to agree, commenting that the handle is too straight. Others mentioned the handle diameter being a little small which might form blisters.
The adjustable, ergonomically-molded seat (as they advertise) I found to be pretty comfortable. User feedback seems to concur.
The pivoting pedals with adjustable foot straps kept my feet in place pretty well. Pivoting pedals allow your feet to rotate back and forth with your rowing motion.
The seat slides very smoothly along the rail via 4 wheels. Most users said they felt the rowing motion to be strong and smooth, which is exactly what you want. The 440R does come with extra grease for the rail to keep it well-maintained and performing properly.
The ProForm 440R Rower was built with a Space-Saver design which allows for easy mobility and storage.
Folding the unit up is as easy as removing one pin, folding, and reinserting the pin!
The only problem is that some users said the safety pin did not line up with the hole when folded but it wasn’t a big problem because the unit still remained in the folded position.
Basically, the pin is a locking device to keep the unit folded. The unit does not need the pin to be inserted to be stored, but it does lock it securely into position.
The rower has 2 transport wheels in front that allow it to very easily be moved. Overall, it has a small storage footprint of about 2.5′ L X 2.5′ W x 4.0′ H.
The ProForm 440R is a compact rowing machine but can still fit a wide range of users.
Per the manufacturer, the ProForm 440R weight capacity is 250 lbs. I found one 6’4″ 225 lbs. owner who said he used the rower with no problem.
There are no low-end height restrictions issues, so even kids can use the machine.
- Assembled dimensions:
- 76.6″L x 20.5″H x 38.3″W
- Storage Dimensions:
- 30.0″L x 38.3″W x 48.0″H
- Shipping weight: 71LBS
- Assembled weight: 68LBS
The ProForm 440R comes in quite a few pieces and assembling the unit can take a little longer than average.
If you’ve put stuff like this together before, you can probably knock it out in 45 minutes.
Several users said they found it difficult, but a few were able to put it together in 20 minutes. For others, it took an hour.
The unit does come with all the tools necessary to assemble the rowing machine except a small Phillips head screwdriver to install the 2AA batteries (not included).
Pros and Cons
- Great SpaceSaver design
- Smooth rowing motion
- 2-in-1 workout equipment: rowing machine and strength training
- Large LCD Monitor
- Cheaper budget magnetic rowers exist (of equal quality)
- Hard to find (perhaps discontinued)
- Some users found the rowing machine difficult to assemble
- Resistance level was not strong enough for advanced rowers
The ProForm 440R Rower is a good magnetic rowing machine. It’s far from a high-end magnetic rowing machine like the Matrix rower, but fine for a budget option.
Though officially a budget rowing machine, it’s far from the cheapest, which likely has to do with the strength training feature. If the low pulley/strength training feature isn’t of interest, you could do better for the money by going with a traditional magnetic rower.
On that note, consider the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 magnetic rower. It’s widely available and provides the same quality as the Proform 440R at a much lower cost. Many consider it the best budget magnetic rowing machine. See my review here.
Another to consider is the Stamina Air Rower 1399. It is similar in price but an air-resistance rower. Many consider it the best budget rowing machine. Read my review here.
I hope you enjoyed my ProForm 440R Rower review. If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below!
Rowing Machine King Founder and Author.