The Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine is a great entry level rower.
With strong resistance and good build quality, many users give this model a favorable review.
It has a smooth, quiet rowing stroke that is great for people who like rowing while watching TV!
It’s also great for people who enjoy exercising early in the morning or who live in small apartments. Plus, it can fold up and roll away for easy storage!
While the reviews on the Merax Magnetic Rower have been good, they aren’t great. You also have to compare it to the other models you can purchase in the same price range.
I break down all the pros & cons in the full review below. Plus, I give some great alternative options in my final section!
The Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine is a magnetic resistance rower.
This means a user can adjust a magnet inside the main housing to move it closer or farther from the metal flywheel.
As you move the magnet closer to the metal flywheel, the magnet reacts more strongly with the metal and the resistance becomes harder.
As you move the magnet further from the flywheel, the resistance becomes easier.
To control the magnet’s distance from the flywheel, a user simply has to spin a knob on the center console.
The higher the resistance setting, the closer the magnet gets to the flywheel.
Here is a video to show what I have just described above:
Due to the resistance being controlled by turning a knob, we call this “adjustable” resistance. This differs from air or water resistance because resistance on those rowing machines is controlled by how fast or slow a user rows.
You can read more about the difference between magnetic and air rowing resistance here.
The Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower comes equipped with 8 different levels of adjustable resistance.
Simply twist the knob on the center console to increase or decrease the resistance.
Most users felt the resistance was strong and smooth with no jarring or jerkiness. A majority of users said the resistance was strong enough for their liking and kept the setting around 6 or 7.
I believe if you are an advanced athlete, you might think the resistance is a little light. Most of the lower-cost magnetic rowers do not have very high resistance and are catered more towards the beginner to intermediate rowing audience.
With that being said, a lot of women or people looking to have a moderate cardio workout felt the resistance was terrific.
To help with the rowing stroke, the seat rail is inclined at a 15 degree angle (see photo above). The angled seat rail will do 2 things:
- It slightly increases the resistance by causing a user to push themselves up a slight incline and having to use their muscles to control their decent.
- It allows for a smoother return by allowing a natural movement forward.
As previously mentioned in the intro, the resistance is super quiet so users can row while watching TV or they don’t have to worry about disturbing anyone else in their house.
Overall, the resistance on the Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine is suitable for most beginner to intermediate users.
If you are looking for a vigorous workout or already have a lot of experience lifting weights, you may want to check out some other rowers that offer stronger resistance.
Other than that, it provides a smooth and quiet rowing stroke!
The Merax Indoor Magnetic Rowing Machine comes fully equipped with a large LCD monitor.
The monitor displays the following data:
- Total Count
The monitor does not have a lot of bells and whistles but it does track the most basic workout data.
As you can see from the photo above, the monitor is super basic and is not what you would consider an “advanced monitor”
You can select which data point you want it to display or have it rotate through the data points using the scan function.
The monitor also allows you to set a Time, Count, or Calorie target and have the rower track until you hit that goal for the workout.
It turns on by rowing or pressing a button and will turn off automatically after 4-minutes of inactivity. It does not need to be plugged into an outlet and runs on 1AA battery.
For people who want a more advanced monitor, you can look into purchasing a separate heart rate monitor and using some fitness tracking apps on your smartphone.
Many people with lower cost rowers buy the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor and use an app on their phone to track their workouts.
It’s a great alternative, which can then be used for other exercises, and you don’t have to spend more on a rowing machine.
Overall, the monitor is fairly basic and definitely not a highlight of this model. Users understood it was basic and most didn’t mind the lack in features.
If you want a more advanced monitor, you will have to pay over $500 for a better quality rower or invest in a separately sold heart rate monitor.
Build quality is an important feature to analyze when looking at low-cost rowing machines. Most models are made in Taiwan or China, so lower quality manufacturing can sometimes be expected.
When looking at the Merax Rowing Machine, I definitely see some quality flaws that concern me compared to other rowing machines in this price range.
Build Quality Pros
We can start off with some positives.
I like the adjustable end-caps that allow a user to balance the rower on an uneven surface. This is great for a stable rowing stroke and ensures the rower does not move around while in-use.
I also like the center-support mechanism that adds another point of contact with the floor where the seat rail folds for storage. This is normally a weak point on rowers and the support helps for a sturdier frame and rowing stroke.
Users also mentioned the rowing handle and strap felt like they were decent quality and would hold up their quality for a long time.
Build Quality Cons
Now on to some of the negatives I noticed.
Some users mentioned the rower was made of cheap plastic and they didn’t feel it would last a long time. This is never a good sign but it can sometimes be expected on lower-cost models.
I also don’t like the look/design of the footrests. They just seem to be cheaply made and had no effort put into them. There’s very little grip, no ability to adjust, and the heel-cup seems like your foot could slip out.
Maybe I am being a bit tough on this model but I just wanted to point out what I noticed.
While my next comment has nothing to do with quality, I think it just adds to my overall uneasiness about this model. My issue is with their photos and lack of info on their website.
The photos on Amazon seemed to be photoshopped (photo above), you can’t find any info about this rower on their website, and they don’t have a promotional video. While this doesn’t mean it’s a bad rowing machine, it just seems to me that this isn’t one of their flagship products.
Overall, I think this rower gets a B for quality. Some consumers said it was good, while others said it was average.
I’m a bit on the fence about it but my gut feeling tells me there are better options in this price range.
Comfort is something I like to analyze similarly to build quality. It’s such an important feature on lower cost rowers and we need to be sure it passes all the checks.
If you buy a rowing machine that isn’t comfortable, you aren’t going to use it!
Users generally felt the Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine was comfortable to use and provided a smooth, quiet rowing stroke.
People looking to work out moderately for 15-30 minutes a day felt it was a comfortable rowing stroke.
Users felt the handle was comfortable and also enjoyed the pivoting foot pedals.
There were 3 recurring comfort issues I found when analyzing this rowing machine.
First, users mentioned their feet moving around a bit on the footrests, which I mentioned previously in the build quality section.
Second, users found the seat to be uncomfortable. This is common on a lot of rowing machines so it’s not that big of an issue. You can buy an after-market rowing seat cushion to very easily solve this problem.
The third issue is the biggest. If you look at where the handle goes into the housing, you will notice it is right above the users feet. On a natural rowing stroke, a user will slide forward by bending their knees, lean forward slightly, and having their arms fully extended forward. This means their hands should go past their feet in this position.
Due to the design of the rower, a users hands cannot go past their feet which limits their motion.
If you look at more advanced rowing machines, you will see that the handle can go much further in front of a users feet.
While beginner rowers will not notice this issue, if you have used an advanced rowing machine before, then it may feel a bit uncomfortable.
I also want to note this is a common issue on lower-cost rowing machines so please beware on other models as well.
Overall, I think the comfort of the Merax Indoor Magnetic Rower is in-line with other rowing machines in this price range.
It has a few flaws but these can also be found on a lot of other budget models.
The Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower has easy mobility and storage capabilities.
Luckily, the rowing machine can fold for storage in 3 simple steps:
- Remove the locking knob from the center seat rail and slide out the locking pin
- Fold the seat rail into the upright position
- Reinsert the locking knob and locking pin
That’s it! It’s super easy and takes about 15-30 seconds to complete.
You can also move the Merax Rowing Machine very easily on the built-in front caster wheels. Just tilt the rower forward until the wheels touch the ground and push the rower around.
It should fit nicely in the corner of a room or inside a large enough closet.
The Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine has a decent capacity, plus, I have a little tip to make it even better!
According to the manufacturer, users weighing up to 264 lbs. can use this model. I’m assuming the manufacturer in China or Taiwan set the limit at 120 kg and Merax just converted it into pounds.
When trying to figure out how tall you can be and use the rower, I found users who were 6’1″ saying they felt they were at the top of the height capacity range.
However, after digging a bit deeper, I found a user who was 6’3″ that experimented with removing the end-cap to add a little extra length to the seat rail.
The user suggests that removing the end-cap and the small rubber stopper underneath the seat rail adds an extra 5-7″ of length!
I would advise anyone who does this to be extremely careful because once these are removed there is nothing from stopping you or the seat from falling off the back of the rower! This could cause injuries, so test this method very carefully!
With that being said, I think anyone who is shorter than 6’3″ and weighs less than 264 lbs. can use this rower without any issues.
- Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 73.0″ x 16.0″ x 21.0″
- Folded Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 26.0″ x 16.0″ x 49.0″
- One user mentioned the length of the stored dimensions is closer to 30.0″
- Shipping Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 48.0″ x 23.0″ x 16.0″
- Weight: 74 lbs.
Assembling the Merax Magnetic Rower appears to be fairly straightforward and should take about 30 minutes on average.
All of the tools come with the rower that are necessary for the assembly, including the 1AA battery for the monitor.
Just take your time, read the instructions, and everything should go together smoothly.
The only issue I read about was when it came time to replace the battery, it was a little difficult to pop the monitor out of the housing. A Merax Customer Service Rep said to use a flat-head screwdriver to help pop it out.
Pros and Cons
- 8 levels of adjustable resistance
- Multi-function fitness monitor
- Great entry level price
- Folds for storage
- Good warranty
- Lightweight & compact
- Resistance can be “light” for advanced users
- Basic monitor
- Poor footrest design
- “Forward” rowing stroke is limited
- Hard seat
The Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine reviews have been about average without too many good or bad ratings.
People who left a positive review were usually beginner rowers who were looking for an entry level magnetic rower. They weren’t expecting much and had little experience with other rowing machines.
People who left negative reviews usually had experience with higher quality rowing machine models, so they noticed some of the downsides such as a basic monitor, poorly designed footrests, and lack of forward reach.
One thing I did find is that Merax changed the sales page, which I never like. I feel manufacturers should have to keep the same sales page so they cannot hide any previous reviews. If they make a fundamental change to the model and it makes it a newer version, then I am ok with it. However, it appears there is an old sales page that sold the exact same model.
Check out the current Merax Magnetic Rower reviews here.
Check out the older Merax MS037153BAA Magnetic Rower reviews here.
Average Rating: 4.2
- Frame: 3-Years
- Parts & Electronics: 180-Days
- Model #: MS037153BAA
I actually think the warranty on the Merax Indoor Magnetic Rower is pretty good and I was happy to see a 180-day parts warranty.
As I’ve mentioned a few time throughout this review, the price of the Merax Rowing Machine is one of the most attractive features.
I haven’t found it offered on many online retailers (I actually only found it on Amazon but it may be available on Walmart.com sometimes). However, Amazon is a great place to buy rowing machines online and they offer one of, if not the largest, online selection of rowers.
They have great prices, offer free shipping on qualified orders, and they act as a layer of protection between consumers and the manufacturer.
Overall, the Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine is a decent entry level magnetic rower.
I would classify everything about it as average, which is why it got about an average review.
In my opinion, there are models that are slightly cheaper that offer the same quality and resistance. There are also models that cost a bit more but offer more resistance strength.
If you are set on magnetic resistance, then I would make sure to check out the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515. It is currently the bestselling budget magnetic rower. You can read my full review here.
Sunny Health & Fitness also offers a model that has stronger resistance strength but does cost a bit more. You can read my Ultra Tension Pro review here.
If you think you may want an air rowing machine, then I would start by looking at the Stamina 1399 Air Rower. It is the bestselling budget air rower and you can read my review here.
I hope you found my Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine review to be helpful! Please leave any questions in the comment section below