Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Review

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine ReviewThe Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine is not your average, run of the mill, hydraulic-piston rower.

It is a little pricier than its competitors, but the build quality and features far surpass them as well.

The Kettler Favorit is manufactured in Germany and the Germans know a thing or two about making high-quality products (does Mercedes & BMW ring a bell).

If you’re not convinced about the durability, the manufacturer sure is, because they offer a lifetime warranty on the frame!

Most rowing machine manufacturers only offer 2-5 year warranties.

The Kettler Favorit also comes fully equipped with a multi-functional fitness monitor and included pulse rate monitor. Plus, two adjustable resistance rowing arms and easy-fold storage!

If you are in the market for a high-quality hydraulic-piston rower, this may be the model for you. However is does have a few shortcomings.

Please read the full Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine review to learn about all the pros & cons.

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Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price

Resistance Type

The Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine is a hydraulic-piston rower.

This means resistance is controlled by 2 hydraulic-pistons attached to each rowing arm.

Inside the piston is hydraulic fluid which causes resistance when a user pulls the rowing arm back and the fluid is forced through a small opening.

I’m no engineer and I’ve never taken a hydraulic-piston apart, so I can’t explain how it works much further than this!

There are many benefits to hydraulic-piston resistance, which I will cover in more detail below.

Plus, you can read more about the general characteristics of hydraulic-piston rowers and other rowing machine resistance types in this article here.

Resistance Benefits

The Kettler Favorit has many advantages due to having hydraulic-piston resistance.

First off, hydraulic-piston rowers are usually on the lower-end of the price range due to their low manufacturing cost. Plus, they are very quiet and typically compact, making them ideal for smaller workout areas.

Each rowing arm on the Kettler Favorit has its own hydraulic piston, which gives you stronger, more reliable resistance.

The rowing machine has 50 different levels (this is not a typo)! This gives you an almost unlimited amount of resistance options.

The resistance can be easily adjusted by manually changing the position of the piston on the handle bar. Moving it up increases resistance, while moving it down decreases resistance.

The resistance increases due to an increase in angle being applied to the piston. Again, I’m not an engineer and not a physicist, so I’m not sure of the formula that explains this.

However, I do know the rower can be used by people off all fitness levels. Users from beginner to advanced and all age levels, commented they used the rower with no issues.

Kettler Favorit Resistance

The ‘Free Motion’ design of the Kettler Favorit is another great feature. Unlike other rowers where you can’t vary the angle at which you ‘pull back’ the handles, you can vary the angle on the Favorit.

For example, you can pull the arms straight back to work the inner back muscles or you can ‘swing out’ your arms, like rowing a boat, and work the outer back.

The ability to vary the angle makes rowing on the Kettler Favorit mimic the style of rowing you see on actual boats. Check out the video below in the ‘Build Quality’ section for a demonstration of this feature.

Resistance Negatives

When examining resistance on the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine I did find a few negative reviews.

There were a handful of people who complained it was difficult to adjust the resistance levels and the resistance is extremely strong, even at the lowest setting!

Although a majority of the users had no issues with the resistance, I still wanted to see what was going on.

After digging through well over a hundred reviews from various websites, it appears people that incorrectly assembled their rowers caused the issues.  I read a handful of reviews from people that initially complained about the “defective” resistance, only to come back to their original review and comment how they were able to fix the issues.

Two things I want to note here in case anyone needs the information.

  1. Several people commented that after they took off the “accordion plastic” on the handle, the resistance was much easier to adjust.
  2. It was easier to adjust the resistance when the handles are standing up.

On the contrary, a few users mentioned they don’t get enough of a leg workout with the Kettler Favorit. While most users felt the resistance was more than enough, if you consider yourself to be in very good shape, then this rowing machine may lack the appropriate resistance needed in your training.

I also know that some people who feel rowers lack a strong leg workout are rowing too much with their arms. They aren’t focusing on using their leg muscles for a majority of the rowing stroke. Legs should account for about 60% of the power!

Based on my research, I wouldn’t be concerned about the resistance issues.

Resistance Overall

Overall, the resistance on the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine is going to be some of the best hydraulic-piston resistance you are going to find.

The quality of the pistons are great, the resistance is strong, they are attached to orbital arms, and they have 50 different levels of adjustments!

Monitor/Control Panel

The Kettler Favorit comes with a multi-functional fitness monitor that’s superior compared to monitors on other hydraulic piston rowing machines.

The monitor tracks the following data:

  • Workout time
  • Number of strokes
  • Speed of strokes
  • Distance
  • Energy consumption (Kilojoule)
  • Pulse rate

The fitness monitor is located near the user’s feet and can easily be seen while rowing.

Kettler Favorit Home Rowing Machine Monitor

It automatically turns on once you start rowing and automatically shuts off after a few minutes of inactivity.

The monitor is not backlit, so you will need some light to see while rowing. The monitor is powered by two AA batteries which are included with the rower.

All of the data is displayed simultaneously on the home screen with one of the metrics shown in large text in the middle of the display. By default, the monitor cycles through the different metrics on the larger part of the display in five second intervals.

Before and after a workout, the room temperature is displayed which is kind of cool.

Your pulse can be monitored by the machine in two ways:

In addition to pulse monitoring, the monitor can measure your recovery pulse rate after a workout.

You have three general options when working out with the monitor:

  • Just start rowing and the workout data will be counted
  • Set predetermined workout metrics and row until you hit your goal
  • Row in your preferred “aerobic zone” as suggested by the monitor (it’s based on your age)
Monitor Downsides

The one minor gripe users had with the monitor is the data is presented in the metric system. So if you want the number of miles you rowed, you’re going to have to convert the number of kilometers to miles yourself.

This is really not a big deal as most rowing parameters are based off the metric system anyway.

Another thing to be aware of is the Kilojoule calculator is based off an average user and not accurate to the person actually rowing.

According to the manual the calculation used is 1 hour of rowing, with a rate of 40 strokes per minute, will consume 2930 kJ. The calculation is based on a medium-strain level and is only changed by means of a variation of the stroke frequency.

1 calorie is equal to 4.186 kilojoules, meaning 1 hour of rowing at 40 SPM will burn 700 calories. To increase the amount of calories burned you will have to row at a higher SPM rate.

Technically an increase or decrease in the level of resistance should change these numbers. The monitor also doesn’t take into consideration other factors that effect the amount of calories burned like age and weight.

I wrote an article that further explains burning calories while rowing which you can read here.

Just know calculations aren’t 100% accurate and should be used as guidelines.


Overall, the monitor on the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine is considered very good, especially for a hydraulic-piston rowing machine.

If you aren’t looking for a lot of advanced features and just want basic fitness data monitored, you will be happy with this monitor.

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Build Quality

One of the most attractive features on the Kettler Favorit is the build quality. While it’s more expensive than most hydraulic piston rowers, it’s also built like a tank.

The manufacturer believes it’s indestructible too because the frame of the rower has a lifetime warranty and 3 years for parts. Other rowing machines only have a 2-5 year warranty on the frame and maybe 1 year or less on parts.

The frame is made of high carbon steel and is powder coated to provide a tougher exterior compared to traditional paint.

Kettler Favorit Review

I immediately noticed there were little-to-no complaints about the hydraulic-pistons or quality of the wheels underneath the seat. I’ve reviewed plenty of hydraulic-piston rowers and many have complaints about these features.

Users mentioned besides hearing the sound of the wheels rolling on the seat track, the rower is very quiet. This makes it a perfect option for rowing while watching TV, living in a small apartment, or near people sleeping.

You also won’t hear annoying squeaking noises commonly heard on cheaper rowing machines.

Users also felt the main components such as handles, seat, footrests, and foot straps were made from high quality materials.

As with all rowers, simple maintenance in the form of wiping down the seat track with a damp towel will keep this rower running smoothly for years.

Below is a video of the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine in action.

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There are many positive comfort features on the Kettler Favorit and a few things to note.

The seat  is heavily padded, wide, contoured and heavy duty, making it comfortable for long rowing sessions.

Users glide up and down the seat rail smoothly thanks to the top grade rollers used under the seat. In addition, the seat is made with sealed ball bearings to eliminate the need for any lubrication.

The handles are fairly comfortable, swivel, and are thicker than most handles, which could help reduce blisters.

A few users recommended using gloves when rowing, especially when you first start rowing. I personally thing you will be fine without gloves.

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine

The non-slip, pivoting footrests secure your feet with adjustable straps.  The pivoting movement allows natural foot movement when rowing.

I didn’t find any issues with the footrests while doing research, which is a great sign!

The rower has free motion handles meaning you can push/pull the handles towards and away from your body and you can also swing out the handles to the side. This is similar to the experience of rowing in a boat and helps target different muscles.

The rowing motion is smooth, strong and received very few complaints!

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There’s not much to the Kettler Favorit storage. Just loosen the resistance locking knobs, fold the rowing arms forward, and that’s it.

It should be able to store under most beds that have a slightly raised frame and easily in a closet.

The Kettler Favorit does not have wheels, but it only weighs 44 pounds, so it’s not too difficult to move around when needed.

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According to the Kettler homepage, in addition to other sources, the weight capacity is 285 pounds. This is a decent weight capacity and is inline with other models in this price range.

If you are under 300 lbs. I don’t think you will have any issues.

As far as height, many users from 5’0” to 6’1” tall were able to use this rower with no issues.

Users reported their pre-teen children use this rower, so there are no issues with the lower end of height limitation.

When it comes to a person’s height for a rower, the user’s inseam length is the most important measurement.

I called Kettler to ask about their height limits and although the customer representative didn’t have a definitive answer, she did measure the seat track:

  • 42 inches from the footplate to the middle of the seat

  • 46 inches from the footplate to the end of the seat

It appears if your legs or inseam is longer than 40 inches, the machine might not be long enough for you and your legs won’t fully extend when rowing.

If you’re taller than 6’3″, before purchasing the Kettler Favorit, I suggest measuring your inseam length and calling their customer service department.

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  • In-Use:
    • 52.0″ x 32.0″ x 10.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Storage:
    • 52.0″ x 32.0″ x 10.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Weight: 
    • 44 pounds

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According to Kettler, assembly of the unit should take roughly 35 minutes. I believe this estimate is with two people based on the pictures in the instruction manual.

Based on what users were saying, it should take about 1 hour to completely assemble the rower.

A few users had difficulty assembling the Kettler Favorit because the instructions are not in English and had to rely on the pictures to help them put the rower together.

I took a look at the instructions and it is given in several languages, including English. The people who were complaining just didn’t bother to keep reading and find the appropriate instructions.

Assembly of the unit doesn’t appear to be too difficult, but it appears it will take a fair amount of time.

The required tools for assembly are included but users mentioned they needed to use their own screw driver in addition to the provided tools. So having one handy if you purchase this rowing machine would be helpful.

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Pros and Cons


  • Solid build quality
  • Manufacturer provides great customer service
  • 50 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Quiet operation
  • Lifetime warranty on frame
  • Free motion arms resemble rowing on a boat
  • Multi-functional monitor with built-in pulse rate monitor
  • Compact design & lightweight


  • Might be difficult to assemble for some people
  • Unit of measurement for fitness monitor is in the metric system
  • Legs might not be getting as much of a workout compared to the upper-body
  • No wheels for transporting

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Consumer Reviews

Users loved the solid build quality and durability of the Kettler Favorit.  Owners commented the rower was quiet and provided a smooth rowing stroke.

A few users had difficulty adjusting the resistance and felt it didn’t provide them with a strong enough workout. Others had some difficulty assembling the unit.

See full list of consumer Kettler Favorit review here.

Average Rating: 4.2

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  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Parts: 3-years

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Kettler Favorit Price

The Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine is offered on a few online retailers but the prices usually seems to be about the same.

Amazon usually has great prices on rowing machines. Plus, they have an easy checkout process, great customer service and return policy, free shipping on qualified orders, and they add a layer of consumer protection.

Check lowest pricing

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Final Thoughts

If you are in the market for a high quality hydraulic-piston rower, then the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine is a great option.

It has awesome build quality, great resistance, a long warranty, and is backed by a great rowing machine company.

There are a few other hydraulic-piston rowers that are also decent and comparable to the Kettler Favorit.

If you want to go up slightly in price, you could check out the Kettler Kadett Rower. This model has outrigger styled rowing arms.

If you want to go lower in price but still try to keep the build quality, you can check out the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower. It is similar in style to the Kettler Favorit but will be less expensive, which means lower quality and less monitor features.

I hope you enjoyed this Kettler Favorit review! If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below.

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