Foldable Rowers VS Non-Foldable Rowers

Shopping for a new rower is never easy, and one feature that people often overlook is a foldable frame. Now, for any exercise machine, a foldable frame may not be at the top of your list of priorities. After all, you are fully expecting to have this large machine sitting in your house at all times. Can folding it away really make that much of a difference? Luckily for you, we’re about to break down the pros and cons of both non-foldable and foldable rowing machines.

Foldable Rowing Machines

Housefit water rowing machine review

There are some obvious benefits to having a foldable or collapsible rowing machine. When we say foldable rowing machine, keep in mind that for the majority of rowers, the frame only folds once in half. There very well may not be much of a difference in terms of how much space a folded or unfolded rower takes up. A lot of it also depends on how much space you have in your home.

If you are in a tiny apartment, then obviously having a foldable rower will have its benefits. At the very least you can tuck your rowing machine away when you need the space. If you live in a large home and have enough room for your rower to be out at all times, then maybe you don’t really need a foldable rower.

With foldable rowers, the main benefit is saving space. For many rowers, the alternative is to stand the machine up against the wall. That might be fine for some people, but others will find it a little unsightly. In the case of some rower models like the very popular Concept2 Model D, the frame is a whopping 96 inches or eight feet long when in use. I don’t know about you, but most people do not have the extra space to house an eight foot long rowing machine.

Also keep in mind that if you want a foldable rowing machine, your choice is going to be limited. Very few rowers are foldable, and the ones that can fold are generally magnetic resistance rowers. This is because magnetic resistance rowing machines only have the magnetic flywheel and do not need to account for the water tank on a water resistance machine or a turbine on an air resistance machine.


  • A foldable rower can take up less for those living in smaller living spaces.
  • The foldable frame has no effect on the functionality of the rower.
  • Some foldable rowers can be easier to transport when folded.


  • Limited selection of foldable rowers will restrict your choices.
  • Most foldable rowers are magnetic resistance rowers, so you may be out of luck if you need a water rower.

Non-Foldable Rowing Machines


Of course, the benefits of a non-foldable rowing machine are straightforward. In terms of performance, there is no real difference in how a foldable and non-foldable machine operate. The foldable frame is mostly a convenience feature that helps users save on space in their homes. Keep in mind that if you can choose a non-folding rowing machine, then you have the entire market of rowers to choose from.

This allows you to include popular rowers like the Club wooden water rower to your search criteria. One thing to note, there is generally not a higher level of difficulty in assembling and maintaining foldable rowers. Some users assume that since a foldable rower has more moving parts, that it is a more complex machine to operate and maintain. Don’t worry! Rowing machines are among the easiest and low-maintenance fitness machines you can own!


  • If you do not need a folding rower, you can choose from the entire market and pretty much any fitness equipment brand.
  • Using a non-foldable rower allows you to use any type of resistance (more resistance type verity in non-folding rowing machines).


  • When rowers are not foldable, they can take up a lot of space and are hard to store.
  • Transporting a non-foldable rower is difficult, even if there are built-in wheels.


Ultimately, the choice for the right rowing machine depends on your situation. As I have covered, the foldable frame feature is more a matter of convenience than one of performance or esthetics. Foldable rowing machines are great for users who simply do not have the room for a home gym setup at home. Other than that, the main benefit of being able to choose a non-foldable rower is that you have the entire catalogue of indoor rowing machines to choose from. Best of luck with your rowing machine shopping!

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny

Hi, my name is Sayed Hamed Hosseiny. I am a professional health and fitness trainer with nearly 20 years of experience using ellipticals, rowing machines, and spin bikes. I also have my own EU-based Rock Fitness Pro fitness brand where I design, import and sell exercise equipment such as rowing machines and spin bikes. I and writers on my team also often receive fitness equipment to review and evaluate their functionalities and performance from tens of different exercise machines manufacturers. Fitness equipment tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on this website are my opinion (and opinions of my fitness expert colleagues) based on tens of criteria. I never accept payment to write reviews of products or say positive things about fitness equipment products. If brands are interested to have me review their rowers, ellipticals, or spin bikes, they can get in touch with me via email provided on the contact page and send a sample of their product.