Brookstone Fold-A-Way Rowing Machine Review

Akbar's picture

Many exercise machine manufacturers advertise the benefits of their products not only in terms of what they do for your health, but what they can do for your budget and busy schedule.

Most machines on the market bill themselves as all-purpose alternatives to expensive gym memberships by promising to work out the parts of your body that need the most exercise without having to set foot outside your home. One such machine is Brookstone’s Fold-A-Way Rowing Machine.

How does the Fold-A-Way Rowing Machine Work?

Like most rowing machines designed for use at home, Brookstone’s model works by allowing you to engage in a full cardio workout that involves your entire body. You perform the exercise by sitting in the unit’s seat with your feet in the pedals and then performing a rowing motion with the handle bars at your side.

It comes equipped with a monitor that allows you to track not just how many calories are burned during your workout, but how many strokes and cadences you’ve performed. You can also control the intensity of your workout by adjusting the resistance of the tension cylinders as you attempt to build endurance and muscle tone simultaneously.

Does the Fold-A-Way Rowing Machine Work?

As you may have surmised from the product’s name, the main selling feature of Brookstone’s rowing machine is that it is easy to both construct and to store. It folds up into a compact form to enable storage in a relatively small space (though you may not be able to fit it under your bed depending on how high off the ground your bed frame is positioned). It can even fit into the trunk of your car.

Unfortunately, the unique benefits of this machine end there. It is a fairly simple machine that does not have many of the features found on other more expensive models. In fact, apart from the display monitor, there are remarkably few features and even less potential for workout variety with this machine.

You can basically perform only one or two basic rowing exercises. Unless you plan on performing the same exercise every time you work out, you will likely get tired of this model fairly quickly. It may be better suited for those looking to stretch their body muscles without building too much endurance.

One consumer who has tested the limits of the rowing machine notes that, “I have now used the machine for approximately a dozen workouts of 45 minutes each. I can get a marginally adequate workout using it, but I don't enjoy the experience because of machine’s design limitations.”

How Much Will I Lose?

The amount of weight you can expect to lose by using the Fold-A-Way Rowing Machine will likely not be much, as the machine provides only a limited variety of exercises. If anything, you should use it primarily as a primer for exercise with superior equipment. Most of the weight loss you experience while using this model will likely come from your diet, not from usage of the unit itself.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Convenient design for easy assembly, storage and transport. It fits under a bed
  • Good way to stretch muscles before intense workout.

Cons

  • Limited design does not allow for variety of workouts.
  • Weight limit of 220 lbs.
  • You get a marginally adequate workout

Problems and Complaints

The main problem cited by consumers is that the machine suffers from rather severe design limitations, thereby rendering it far less effective than pricier models on the market with many more features. The design also does not accommodate individuals above a certain height and weight. Nucpiper, an amazon reviewer claims that,

“he foot rests have an inadequate lip at the bottom of the heel that is supposed to keep your foot from slipping off. If you are tall (I'm 6'1"), good luck getting a full stroke without the seat slamming into one stop or the other.”

He then adds,

“The dashpot on one side squeaks unmercifully; foot placement & the rotating foot rests limit the workout that legs get.”


According to the owner’s manual, the unit only supports individuals who weigh 220 lbs. or less.

The Brookstone Fold-A-Way Rowing Machine is a model of curbed effectiveness that suffers from poor design resulting in minimal weight loss and endurance building. It should be viewed primarily as a unit intended for those who can only handle lighter exercise regimens or who value the convenience of its folding and storage capabilities above its workout potential.

This is the best (what I bought)

You may disagree with me but the Concept 2 Model D rowing machine is the best! I bought one 5 months ago and it works wonders for me!

Will check out this little baby

Although I prefer Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine, I will look into this. Thanks for sharing!

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