Life Fitness has gained a reputation in the industry for making high quality, well-designed exercise equipment for the commercial as well as the residential market.
They currently offer two rowing machines, one with water resistance, the other with a combination of air and magnetic resistance.
If you've ever been to a gym or health spa, you've probably come across Life Fitness machines. The company has been around for over 45 years and their treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, bikes and strength equipment has been a mainstay in higher end facilities ever since.
A part of the Brunswick Corporation since 1997, the company strives to create equipment that is ergonomically designed to provide the most natural movement possible, ensuring better results for those who use these machines.
As of our latest review, the current lineup consists of 2 Life Fitness rowing machines: the Row HX and the new Heat Row.
The Row HX is the lower-priced model, at around $1,699 when it's on sale. It has a wood and steel frame, similar to the WaterRower Natural, providing a warm, elegant feel which many users prefer for the home gym environment.
As we mention above, it uses water resistance to closely mimic an outdoor rowing experience, and this resistance can be adjusted with a dial that offers 4 different levels to choose from.
The Row HX has a compact size, less than 7 feet and only 108 lbs. with the chamber full of water. It accommodates a maximum user weight of 300 lbs.
The company also offers the up-level Heat Row, which starts at about $3000 on sale. Unlike the water resistance of the Row HX, the Heat Row offers a combination of air and magnetic resistance, as well as two console options: Standard or Performance. It's also a bit larger than the Row HX and can accommodate a heavier 330 lbs.
Life Fitness rowing machines have always received good reviews from both users and experts alike, as they are built really well and the company stands behind every product that they make.
The one sticking point seems to be the pricing, which although in line with the rest of their exercise equipment, is a bit high, especially since you can get some of the best rowing machines on the market for much less money.
For example, one of our top picks, the WaterRower Natural, is quiet similar to the Life Fitness Row HX, but it is about $500-$600 cheaper. For our money the WaterRower is a much smarter choice.
The Life Fitness Heat Row is even more expensive. It is very hard to justify paying over $3000 for a rowing machine when you can get an equally good unit, if not better in some regards, for $1000 less.
So the experts do like these machines, and they are well designed, but most note that you may be better off going with one of the brands that just makes rowing machines....WaterRower, Concept2, H2O Fitness, etc.
That way you are dealing with a company that fully concentrates on one product, rather than dozens of different offerings.
Still, we would never tell you not to buy a Life Fitness rowing machine or any other cardio equipment that they make. These are the cream of the crop, commercial-grade rowers, and some of the best water rowing machines on the market.
If money is no object, by all means go with either the Row HX if you like the look of wood or the Row GX if you prefer metal. You will not be unhappy with your purchase.
The fact that so many high end facilities feature Life Fitness exercise equipment definitely speaks volumes about the quality of the products and the stellar reputation of the company.
They have successfully ventured into the residential market with a direct to customer approach on their website and machines that are quite similar to their commercial offerings, which means they are top notch in every way.
Still, when it comes to rowing machines, although the HX and Heat Row are very good rowers, they may be out of reach price-wise for most consumers. As such, consider competitors like WaterRower who offer similar machines for several hundred dollars less.
UPDATE: October Rowing Machine Sales are going strong!
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OTHER PRICE RANGES