What is the Best Quiet Rowing Machine?

Last updated February 7, 2023

Many rowers want (or often need) a quiet rowing machine. They may live in an apartment block, where their neighbors don’t want to hear the sound of their workouts every day! They might have family members who feel the same.

There’s a bunch of different rowing machine technologies on the market today, each of them with their own unique character. One of these is how loud they are.

In this article, we’ll look at how loud the different rowers are, then draw conclusions about which one the best is. It’s not as simple as ‘the quietest is the best’ because if the quietest rowers are significantly worse than ones that are slightly louder, it’d be silly for me to suggest you buy it.

With that in mind, we’re going to look at the best quiet rowing machines on the market, analyzing the different models and making a suggestion for the best ones for you.

Noise levels and resistance type

Here’s a quick overview of the main rowing machines on the market. We’re looking at the models, the resistance types and the average volume in decibels.

Remember that in many cases, the harder you row, the louder the machine. That’s why we have a range of volumes - this represents the average high and low during normal, steady-state use.

Rowing machine Resistance Type How loud?
Concept2 (as a reference) Air 70-74
Hydrow Magnetic 63 - 70
Aviron Air and Magnetic 60-62
Ergatta Water 60-70
Echelon Magnetic Sub 50
Water Rower Water 62-69

How do the resistance types compare in case of noise?

If you want more detail on rower volume, I wrote a far more in-depth article on the topic here…

I explain the different technologies, how they feel and how loud they are. Here’s a quick reminder summary below…

Type Characteristics
Air Air resistance rowing machines work by allowing air to work against a flywheel. The harder you pull, the more air resistance the flywheel feels. Air resistance rowers are excellent, but they’re VERY loud and therefore can’t be considered in this list.
Water Water rowers have a water tank and a paddle. When the handle is pulled, the paddle is dragged through water in the tank. Resistance is managed by the amount of water allowed into the tank. More water = higher resistance levels. The water rowers are generally mid-range in terms of noise levels.
Magnetic The magnetic rowers tend to be the quietest of the resistance types. Resistance is created by magnets moving closer and further away from a flywheel. When the magnets are close to the flywheel, the resistance increases and the band is harder to pull. It’s not as natural an action as the others, which is the negative against the technology. 
Hydraulic Hydraulic rowers are very quiet in operation, much like a magnetic machine. Despite them being very quiet, they don’t have a particularly nice or smooth action. For this reason I won’t be considering them in this list. 

Do rowing mats help reduce the noise?

Rowing mats won’t reduce the noise that comes from the machine, but they are an extra layer of sound insulation under the machine. This means if you have people below you, the rowing machine will have some of the sounds that would travel through the floor taken away.

They’re also a very useful and inexpensive way to look after your floors, so I think they’re a good idea. Here’s an article on rowing mats, where I go into more detail about them…

#1 Pick best quiet rowing machine: Avrion Impact

I believe the Aviron is the best quiet rowing machine on the market. It combines the build quality of a premium rower with smooth, quiet action. The machine itself is feature-heavy, with games, a workout library, and training information included.


  • Fantastic build quality
  • Very quiet operation
  • Smooth action
  • Easy to store
  • Great in-built features


  • Not as cheap as other rowers
  • Lack of connected services


The Aviron impact is an easy machine to store because it folds up. It’s also possible to store the machine on its end, which makes life easier in a small apartment. 

The dimensions of the machine are 97"L x 21"W x 43"H (246 cm x 53 cm x 109 cm) when in normal operation and 54"L x 21"W x 62"H (137 cm x 53 cm x 157.5cm) when folded for storage.

#2 Pick best quiet rowing machine: Hydrow

The Hydrow is another fantastic rowing machine. Whilst it sits in the middle of the noise level table, it’s quiet enough to make the cut here. The build quality, noise levels, smooth use and excellent online offering are the reasons I love this machine. 


  • Fantastic build quality
  • Smooth, quiet operation - computer controlled
  • Excellent online classes (extra fee required)
  • Easy to set up
  • Constantly varied workouts thanks to online classes


  • Additional fees might be a problem for some
  • Inability to break the machine down to store easily


This is where the Hydrow slips into second place. It can’t be folded, which is a problem for many people. You can store it upright, but that might not always be a practical solution.

The standard dimensions of Hydrow during operation are 86″L x 25″W x 47″H (218cm x 63.5cm x 119cm). When stored upright, Hydrow's measurements are 33"L x 25"W x 86"H (84cm x 63.5cm x 218cm).

#3 Pick best quiet rowing machine: Ergatta

The Ergatta rowing machine is the best water rower on the market. It is a super-stylish machine made out of traditional wood and a contemporary monitor. The Ergatta is an incredibly quiet rowing machine, and the online connectivity makes it varied.


  • Great design
  • Excellent online offering (extra fee)
  • Very quiet
  • Wheels for the mobility of the machine
  • Calibrated for personal workout data


  • Doesn’t fold
  • Much heavier than other machines
  • Online function needs additional payment


A negative of the Ergatta is the storage challenge. In all fairness, you can stand it on its end, but at 103 lbs when filled with water, you’d need to be pretty strong. It does move around on wheels, which can help with moving the machine about. 

Its size in use is: 86” x 23” x 40” (218cm x 58cm x 102cm) and when stored upright: 23” x 22.5” x 86” (58cm x 57cm x 218cm).


When it comes to picking up a quiet rowing machine, you have to look beyond noise levels alone. Sure, a quiet rower is the aim, but if it has horrible action or it’s a poorly-built rowing machine, you’ll have wasted your money.

In this case, these rowers are a nice mix of acceptable noise levels combined with excellent build quality and functionality.

You’ll be happy with any of the three, I’m sure!

About Steve Hoyles
Steve Hoyles is a personal trainer and weightlifting coach with two decades in the industry. He is the owner of MyGym, a strength and conditioning facility in the UK. His fitness copywriting has been featured in magazines and websites all over the world.
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