Rowing machines can offer an amazing full-body workout, and are a valuable addition to any home gym setup. That said, they can be, like any gym equipment, expensive. You might be wondering: how do I buy a rowing machine secondhand? Or you might be asking yourself if it's possible to buy a good quality rowing machine secondhand for a number of reasons, from budget limitations to environmental concerns.
The short answer is yes! It is absolutely possible to buy a good quality rowing machine secondhand. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure you get the most benefit out of your purchase.
Table of contents
- Top tips
- What type of machine should you buy?
- Where should you buy a secondhand rowing machine?
- How much should I pay?
- What should you check before you buy a secondhand rowing machine?
- Selling your rowing machine
Here are our quick-fire top tips for buying a rowing machine secondhand!
Do your research
The first step is to do your research and find out which rowing machine best suits your needs. It's generally not worth compromising on what you want to be able to buy a secondhand model, but you may want to think about which features you'd be willing to compromise on. Consider the type of resistance, build quality, features, and size, and check out what might work best for you. Once you've narrowed down your choices, you can start looking for secondhand models.
In addition, it can be helpful to ask people about their experience of doing this. Check forums, reddit, YouTube, and ask other ASENSEI rowing members on our Facebook group.
Inspect the machine carefully
Once you've found a rowing machine you're interested in, it's important to inspect it carefully before you buy it. Never buy a rowing machine without looking at it in person first! Look for any signs of damage, such as scratches, dents, or missing parts.
You should also test the machine to make sure it works properly. Row for a few minutes and listen for any strange noises. If you notice anything that doesn't seem right, it's best to walk away.
Ask the seller questions
Find out how old the machine is, how often it was used, and if it's been well-maintained. A machine that was used regularly is likely to be in better condition than one that was only used occasionally.
It can be helpful to check the performance monitor, which will tell you how many meters total have been rowed. Whilst this isn't foolproof, it's worth doing.
- On the Main Menu, select More Options.
- Select Utilities.
- (PM5 Only) Select More Utilities.
- Select Product ID.
- Select More Information.
How to check the lifetime distance rowed on a WaterRower
On a WaterRower with an S4 performance monitor, press the Advance Program button 9 times and you should see the total number of meters rowed.
Negotiate the price
One of the major advantages of buying anything secondhand is that you can often negotiate the price. If you're happy with the condition of the rowing machine, discuss the price with the seller. Don't be afraid to offer a lower price than the asking price, or ask for delivery to be included.
Buy from a reputable seller
If you're buying a secondhand rowing machine online, it's important to buy from a reputable seller. Watch out for scams, do your research, and make sure you're dealing with a legitimate seller. You should check the seller's feedback rating and read reviews from other buyers before you make a purchase. Furthermore, you can contact the seller directly to ask questions about the machine. Do they reply to you quickly and in detail? Or do they try to hide details?
What type of machine should you buy?
When deciding what type of rowing machine you should buy, whether secondhand or new, there are a couple of points to bear in mind: if it suits you, and if it will last.
The first point comes down to personal preference. There are pros and cons to all rowing machines, and it's important to check out which may suit your needs in advance. We have an article here about getting started with indoor rowing, which explains the key details to help you on the way to choosing a brand. If you'd like more information, we have a guide on how to choose the best rowing machine for your home here. Whilst the Concept2 is the strongest brand name on the market, there is a huge range to choose from, although if you want to use your rower in conjunction with the ASENSEI rowing app, you'll need to make sure you have an ASENSEI-compatible machine.
We would recommend strong brands that have readily available spare parts. Concept2 is particularly good for this, as the availability of secondhand parts is widespread. WaterRower is also particularly strong in this regard. Both companies have been selling their models for years. Concept2 has a commitment to spare parts that means even the oldest machines can be updated, keeping your machine in top working order for longer. This also means they can be easier to repair and maintain, which is especially important for a secondhand purchase where existing wear and tear can impact your machine sooner than on a brand new model. These machines seem to last forever, even when not especially well cared for — they have been selling for more than 30 years, with models not changing frequently and being very robustly constructed. FluidRower and Life Fitness HX models are also compatible with ASENSEI and are reputable reliable brands.
The market is saturated with rowing machine brands, so it's important to check how available spare parts are, how reliable the machines are, and how much support is available. If you know the brand, or have seen them in the gym, that's a good start, but you might want to check up on if you can buy replacement parts online easily before you dive in.
Once you've worked out what you value in a rowing machine, you can decide where you'd be happy to compromise. If your main priority is cost and you don't mind which brand you go for, then you will have a little more choice available to you, but remember: buying cheap can mean buying twice!
If you can afford to, we recommend getting a PM5 or Bluetooth console, as it opens up a world of apps. If you can't afford it then you can always do it later with an upgrade — you'll likely be able to sell your existing console which will bring the cost down.
Where should you buy a secondhand rowing machine?
There are a number of places you can buy a secondhand rowing machine! From eBay to Facebook Marketplace, you have plenty of options. There are pros and cons to every marketplace (sometimes literal cons!), and we will look at what you should be wary of. It's worth keeping an eye on more unconventional sources too: a recent post on the Concept2 Community Facebook group showed a rower picking one up for $100 when their local gym was replacing equipment — it's not always too good to be true!
It is however very important to best equip yourself to avoid scams, and the easiest way to do this is to buy from a reputable marketplace, ideally with buyer protections in place. eBay is notably good for this, with buyer protections built in. Amazon Marketplace also has a range of buyer protections. Other options around the world include Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Preloved, and usedgymequipment.com, all of which allow you to set location settings to your local area. Consider how far you're willing to travel to either pick up a rowing machine, or how much you're willing to pay for delivery, and narrow down your locale accordingly. Plus, the more local you go, the easier it is to check out the condition of the machine before you buy.
To avoid scams or even just flaky sellers, you should make sure to check the seller rating before you even think about buying. Don't be afraid to walk away and wait for something you trust — listen to your gut!
How much should I pay?
Rowing machines tend to hold their value well, with a typical 20%-50% discount on new models, dependent on condition and type. For example, while a brand new Concept2 RowErg costs $990/£990, those listed on resale and secondhand online marketplaces, such as eBay, Gumtree, and usedgymequipment.com, tend to range from $250 to $850/£150 to £800 - those with older PM2 or PM3 consoles being cheaper than PM4 or PM5 models.
Listed prices are very much down to the seller's discretion, and many will have different standards of what constitutes 'good condition', so make sure you read our 'What should you check before you buy a secondhand rowing machine?' section, and try not to buy unseen.
Beware of scams that seem too good to be true — they often are!
What should you check before you buy a secondhand rowing machine?
When viewing your rowing machine, make sure to try it out and look for any problems. While many parts can be repaired or replaced, it can be expensive to do so. Replacing a console, for example, is an easy upgrade, at moderate cost, and many parts can be acquired cheaply, especially for Concept2 machines. Bungee cords, equally, are cheap and easily replaced. WaterRower water tanks, however, can cost upwards of £250 to replace. So make sure to keep an eye out for leaks, which can indicate damage.
Key points to check
- How is the frame integrity (WaterRower)? You might just need to tighten the screws if it feels a bit shaky.
- Is there damage to the wood (WaterRower)? Water damage might indicate a problem with the tank.
- Is there any corrosion on the metal frame (Concept2)?
- Does anything stick when you take a stroke? This might just be the chain needing to be oiled, or the flywheel needing to be cleaned out. All these things can usually be solved if the machine is structurally sound. Consider trying before you buy at a gym, so you know what rowing on a good machine that has been looked after feels like.
- Does the seat run smoothly up and down the slide? It might need to be cleaned, but it can also be replaced easily.
- Is the paintwork damaged or significantly chipped? This could indicate mistreatment or storage in a damp environment, so take extra care. This is mostly cosmetic, so consider if the appearance matters to you.
- Does the console work? If not, it could be down to flat batteries, so consider taking your own batteries so you can try before you buy.
- How many meters have been rowed? Like a car, if the mileage is high you might start to see more signs of wear and tear.
Selling your rowing machine
If you're looking to sell your rowing machine, bear all of this in mind! Make sure to give your machine a quick clean, and replace the batteries in the console if needed.
And if you're buying, and you view a machine and think 'I wouldn't put it up for sale like that', don't buy it!