Is the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Right for You? (Review)


Click here to buy the Kettler Favorit from Amazon.

The Kettler Favorit rowing machine is a hydraulic piston rowing machine. The Kettler Favorit rowing machine is made by Kettler. Kettler is a leisure fitness company in Germany that has a range of products from patio furniture to fitness equipment. They have been selling high-quality products for over 30 years and have established themselves as an industry leader.

A hydraulic rowing machine is at the lower price range of rowing machines and they are compact. This makes it ideal for usage in a small house or apartment.

Many people feel they waste money on fitness memberships because they don’t go. This way you can work out at home on your own time.

Hydraulic rowing machines also tend to have a lower resistance than other types of machines. This makes it good for people looking for an introductory rowing machine with beginner and intermediate fitness levels.  Short periods of use about 20-30 min workout a few times will help you get the best out of your rowing machine. It is not recommended for rowers looking for a machine to train on. It is not the right machine for experienced rowers.

The Kettler Favorit rowing machine is at a mid range price. The price is worth it to get a better quality product. It is a solid rowing machine that can back up the price. It is the least expensive machine that Kettler makes.

How do hydraulic machines work?

The Kettler Favorit is a hydraulic rowing machine. Pistons attached to the handles achieve the resistance. It works by pulling against the air or fluid inside the cylinders. The resistance is achieved by the leverage the user has based on the positioning of the clamps.

There have been complaints about the hydraulics losing resistance. This tends to happen when the hydraulics are getting warmed up or cooling down. The pistons get hot and they can leak oil so you may want to keep an exercise mat under your rowing machine.

What parts of the body does it work out?

To get the most out of a rowing machine workout you first need to make sure you have the proper form. The rowing movement is a continuous fluid motion. Make sure you push with your legs first, keeping your arms straight until your legs are fully extended, then pull the handles toward your torso.

When you row, the legs and back do much of the pulling during the first part of the stroke (Bend at the waist and the knees – do not bend your back!), and the arms finish the stroke. For variety, you can move the handgrips laterally and change your grip from overhand to underhand. Rowing works the upper and lower parts of your body to complete the stroke. Here is the rowing exercise information from the Kettler Favorit manual.

Leg Muscles

A rowing stroke starts with a powerful leg push called the catch. The sliding seat allows you to push-off by extending your knees and hips. In this movement you are using your quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus, thus strengthening the largest muscles in your body. For those with knee and leg issues, rowing is particularly beneficial because it is a low-impact exercise.

Core Muscles

The muscles in your abdomen and back are strengthening with movements of rowing. Your core muscles contract to stabilize your lumbar or lower spine. This prevents your lower back from collapsing and reduces your risk of back injury. If you have had back problems it is important to start slowly to make sure you have the proper technique as to not hurt your back.


By:paulsfca66 on Flickr

Upper Back Muscles

Pulling your arms and shoulders back and into your midsection works the muscles in your upper back and shoulders. Specifically the trapezius and rhomboids, located between your shoulder blades.

Arm Muscles

During rowing, your biceps and triceps in your arms are strengthened. Your biceps respond when you bend your elbows and pull the oar into your midsection. The triceps, anterior deltoids, and chest muscles, extend your arms forward to prepare for the next stroke.

Hip Muscles

Sliding the seat forward starts the stroke motion. This  strengthens your arms, hip flexor muscles, and hamstrings. Your hip flexors muscles work with your quadriceps, to flex your hip and pull you forward into your next stroke. To bend your knees during the stroke, your hamstrings contract to add to your forward momentum.

Does the rower fit all height and weight ranges?

The Kettler Favorit’s weight capacity is 285 lbs. As far as height range users from 5’ to 6’ were able to use the machine. The leg room on the machine measures 42” from the seat plate to the middle of the seat and 46” to the end of the seat. In this case, measure the length of your legs.  If your legs are longer than 40”, your legs won’t extend fully while using this machine.

Is the rower comfortable to use?

The Kettler Favorit’s ergonomic seat is comfortable with a heavy-duty padded covering that will keep it from depleting over the years.  It’s difficult for some to get on and off because the seat is only 11” from the floor. The gliding of the seat is smooth and quiet due to the top grade rollers and steel track. The seat does not lock.

The handles have extra thick padding to protect your hands against blisters. You can wear gloves if you have overly sensitive hands. The footrests secure your feet with straps and pivot with your feet movement while rowing.

The rowing motion is a smooth circular motion, what you would expect from a hydraulic piston rower. Not only can you push and pull the handles towards and away from you but you can also swing the handles out to the side as you would with real rowing.

Is it easy to assemble?

The Kettler Favorit is not fully assembled when you receive it. Some people have found it difficult to assemble. It comes with instructions that are picture based. The detailed images are easy to follow.

The directions are in different languages. English is one of them. I recommend highlighting the English parts so it’s easier to read. With some mechanical experience, a flat head and Phillips screwdriver, assembly should take an hour or 2. Some advice I found was to leave the plastic boots that are on the rowing machine off. They are not necessary. The manual includes instructions on how to adjust the resistance to accommodate your strength level.

Here is a link to the instruction manual.

How to adjust the resistance?

First, remember to point the rowing arms vertically before loosening the clamp. It is very difficult to adjust the resistance when the arms are horizontal. Also, it is easier to make adjustments by taking off the plastic on the handles.

The positioning of the clamps changes the resistance and leverage for the user. On the lower half of the rowing arms are ridges called “knurl marks”. The marks are in a group of ten with gaps between each set of ten. There are fifty knurls on each arm to make resistance equal and flexible for different strength types.

Start with the clamps at the lower kurl marks, between 1-10 to check the resistance and then work up from there. This will be the easiest resistance. If you are in very good shape, you may want to look into another rower.

Detailed instructions are at the end of the Kettler Favorit assembly booklet. Kettler customer service is also an option for help.

Does it fold up, and is it easy to store?

No, the Kettler Favorit folds down so it lays flat on the ground. It compresses enough so you can slide it under a bed or possibly a sofa. There is also the option to stand it up and lean it against a wall or in a closet. The dimensions are 52″ X 32″ X 10”. While in use you will need 4.5×2 foot space plus the room for swinging out the oars. It weighs 44lbs so it not too heavy to move around but it does not have wheels.

What does the fitness monitor track and does it use a lot of power?

The Kettler Favorit comes with a multifunctional fitness monitor. It tracks workout time, number and speed of strokes, distance, energy consumptiokettlerFmonitorn, and pulse rate.

Your pulse is monitored with the included ear clip or the optional Polar T34 chest strap heart rate monitor. There had been complaints that the ear clip is too short.  Purchasing a stereo extension cable will fix this problem.

The data is all displayed in the metric system so you will need to convert the kilometers in o miles to see how far you rowed. Also, the temperature is in Celsius, not Fahrenheit.

The display does not use a lot of power, and it uses AA batteries. It automatically turns on when you start rowing and turns off when you stop. It will also go into a dormant state to save battery life. Change the factory batteries with a good name brand, which should last for years.

Here are the instructions for the Kettler Favorit fitness monitor.

Instructions to change the batteries:

  1. Just slide and lift the monitor off the frame and unplug it. It comes off easily.
  2. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the large screw in the center back of the unit. You do not need to remove the two smaller screws in the corners. The display will drop right out.
  3. On the back of the display is a rectangular battery door. Place your fingertip on the end of the small tab in the center then lightly press in and lift. This is not obvious so take your time. Do not use any tools to pry it open.
  4. Install a fresh pair of name brand AA batteries to increase the length of use.

Do you need to lubricate the cylinders?

A few drops of lubricating oil should put on the bearing sleeves of the hydraulic absorbers and the rowing levers. Make sure the oil does not drip on the floor! Purchasing an exercise mat to put under your machine will protect your floor. After long periods of disuse, the hydraulic absorbers may not perform at their best. Before exercising or after a period of disuse, activate the absorbers by several pumping movements.

Is the durability comparable for the price?

The Kettler Favorit rowing machine is made in Germany, which is known for high-quality products. Kettler has put a lifetime warranty on the frame against breakage. Which proves their confidence in their product. The frame is steel and they use high-quality parts for durability. The durability of the roller wheels and the hydraulic pistons have had few complaints. Simple maintenance such as whipping it down after use should keep your machine in use for years.

Where do you buy replacement parts?

Kettler carries many replacement parts. They only show two products on their website. Contact them directly to find out if they have the part you need. There have been great reviews on Kettler’s customer service.



Phone: 866-804-0440

M-F 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST

What kind of warranty does the Kettler Favorit have?

The frame is  high-carbon steel and is powder coated. The frame has a lifetime warranty against breakage and a 3-year residential warranty on parts. However, the hydraulic system is not under warranty. Other rowing machines come with a 2-5 year warranty on the frame.

What is the Price?

The best price I found was on amazon. Click here to check the price. Some sites may have special offers and deals for a percentage off. You want to make sure the Kettler Favorit is in stock before you order.  I would also make sure the website is reliable and check the shipping costs. Some sites have free shipping when you spend over a certain amount.


The Kettler Favorit rowing machine is durable and high quality. It comes with a multifunctional monitor. Kettler provides great customer service and there is a lifetime warranty on the frame. There are 50 levels of resistance. It is quite, light and compact.

The Kettler Favorit rowing machine is difficult to put together for some. The fitness monitor is in the metric system. The upper body may get more work than the legs and it may not fit taller people. There are also no wheels for transportation.

If the Kettler Favorit is right for you I recommend purchasing it from Amazon. Amazon is a reputable site and they offer 6-month financing with the store card.  There is free shipping available. You can also get it assembled at home through Amazon. This is helpful if you are mechanically challenged.  Look under Amazon home service for more information. You can also get a 2-year protection plan but I don’t think that is necessary. I also like that they have the” frequently bought together” section. Right now they advertise an equipment mat you can buy to protect your floors.

18 response on “Is the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Right for You? (Review)

  1. Wow this seems like the perfect workout machine for any home as its easy to put away and does not take huge amounts of space like a lot of the machines. I also love that it works out such a huge range of the body and that its low impact on the body so i can use it even with my injuries. Thanks for the excellent review!


    • Alex, I have injuries also and it is the perfect workout because it is low impact. It is definitely not hard on your joints, especially your back.

  2. Hi! This looks really nice and the price isn’t bad, either! I’ve used rowing machines in the past and I know they give you a good workout. I’m wondering if it stays put on the floor. Does it have rubber feet or anything like that? I also wonder if it would scratch up hardwood floors.

    • Marge, good question. Yes, it stays put on the floor while in use. It is a solid rowing machine. It has hard plastic feet, so I would also recommend an exercise mat to keep under it. This way it will not only protect your floors but it will also keep them clean from sweat.

  3. Thanks for this information. I’m looking for a rower, so as well as info on that, I appreciated you telling me about the 6 month financing with the Amazon Store Card – thank you.

  4. I’m looking for something for my husband but he is 6’4″. Is there by any chance a version for someone this tall?

  5. Hey! Thanks for the informative post. I was interested in the warranty but was a bit confused. What is a ‘residential warranty’?

    • Lauren, A “residential warranty” is the warranty that would apply to you if you are purchasing it for home use. The warranty would be different if you were purchasing it for a public gym, where it would get a lot of use. The warranty is 3 years on parts, not including the hydraulics.

  6. This is a really well detailed review – you’ve covered most questions people would think to ask. I really like that it works out so many different muscles in the body – I didn’t realise rowing was so comprehensive. I have had some muscle weakness in my back, so this could be a good low impact option to develop those back muscles especially.

  7. Good to know you can adjust the resistance, and that you need to lubricate the cylinders. Often when we get equipment like this it is easy to forget the little things that make it last. With a lifetime guarantee on the frame it sounds worthwhile taking care of thanks for the tips!

  8. This looks like great workout equipment for home and not as expensive as I thought! I like how it can be folded down and stored under the bed… that’s a big deal in my home 🙂 Thanks for the post!

  9. I’ve read all of your reviews and really like the Kadett. I like that it simulates rowing more authentically. I have used a rowing machine when I belonged to a gym but I wouldn’t say I’m an expert. Would this still be a good choice for me?

    • Suze, The Kadett is still a good choice for beginners. Most people who have rowed on the water, particularly like the Kadett because it simulates that feeling.

  10. Thanks for your great review, this is something I think I need to get for my home gym. An equipment mat for under the rower sounds like the way to go, thanks for the tip

  11. I love rowing and this seems like a great option for those who are interested in ‘getting into’ the sport or simply would like a good machine for a full body workout! Thanks for the informative post!

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