My Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine Review

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Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine - heydayDo featured image

Hey there! Important note from yours truly…

…Way back on March 19th, 2020 I spoke with Kettler USA. They informed me that the Kettler Favorit rowing machine had been discontinued, and that they were out of stock at Kettler’s warehouse.

I see that the Kettler Favorit has finally run out of stock on Amazon too.

I’ll leave my Kettler review here up for now, in case any of you who are interested in this model are able to find it for sale somewhere, and want to read a little about it.



There are better cheap rowing machines available

I’m not surprised Kettler took it off the market to be honest.

There are better performing rowing machines out there for the same price as the Kettler Favorit, or less, and I’ve product-tested several of them.

A good example of this (for $150 less than the Favorit) is the Xterra Fitness ERG200:

XTERRA Fitness ERG200 Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower
  • Compact frame design folds up for easy storage or transport when not in use
  • Durable dual extruded aluminum seat slide rails mounted to a steel frame
  • Large adjustable 3.7” LCD monitor clearly displays elapsed time, stroke...

Last update on 2024-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For models priced above $400, I wrote this review: Best Rowing Machines. And for cheap rowing machines under $400, I covered them in this article: Best Budget Rowing Machine.



Here’s my Kettler Favorit review from 2019…😊

German-engineered compact rowing machine

Owner satisfaction rating 76% 3.8/5 stars (250+ online reviews)

The Kettler Favorit rowing machine is priced between the cheap rowing machines and (well below) the top of the line models from Concept2 & WaterRower.

It’s long-term durability falls between these two groups of rowing machines as well.

Overall it offers a number of quality features considering it’s a cheap rowing machine that uses hydraulic resistance to increase the workout intensity.

Be aware that a hydraulic rowing machine will have its shortcomings due to this choice of resistance type.

And so the Kettler Favorit is not a good choice for someone who is looking for a rowing machine to do HIIT workouts, intense cardio, or a muscle-building strength training program.

It also has a couple of other quirks that could cause it to be unsuitable for some people as well, & I go over those below.

Protect Your Investment

Do you need an exercise equipment mat to protect your floor from your home rowing machine?

A good mat also keeps floor dust or carpet fibers from getting into your equipment’s moving parts and causing problems.

I wrote this article Best Treadmill & Exercise Equipment Mats which features a buyer’s guide on what to look for quality-wise when buying a mat, & a review of the better equipment mats available for both carpet & hardwood floors.


What I like:

Sturdy & well-built -The build quality for the frame pieces is above average compared to rowing machines in the Kettler Favorit’s price range. The steel frame comes with a lifetime warranty.

Very quiet while in use.

Heart rate monitor – This Kettler rower comes with a heart rate monitor, another nice perk considering its price. There’s a clip that goes on your ear that uses infrared to connect to the console. If that’s not comfy, one of those Polar® chest straps can be purchased separately to use instead.

Compact – The Kettler Favorit is a compact rowing machine and weighs less than other rowers.

Multiple Resistance – 50 levels of adjustable resistance.

Better monitor – than others in its class, the console display on the Kettler Favorit has a wider variety of features than other cheap rowing machines. It is also easy to see and is power cord free (uses 2 AA batteries).

Seat’s better too – It’s more comfortable than you find on other cheap rowing machines.

What’s not so good:

* All hydraulic pistons have limitations when used in fitness machines. And they’re the cheapest form of resistance used in rowing machines compared to air rowers, water rowers, or magnetic rowing machines.

* Kettler Favorit’s hydraulics are no exception. This means you can expect that:

  1. when the pistons are a little too cold for their liking, resistance is abnormally high. When they get a little too hot, resistance is too low.
  2. after anywhere from 15-30 minutes of use (depending on your effort), your resistance level setting will become meaningless. The rowing machine won’t offer enough resistance and you’ll need to stop rowing until it cools down (30 minutes or so).

* Some owners have reported that the resistance settings they choose (by adjusting & tightening the piston height on the metal arm you row with) come loose during use.

* Another thing reported to come loose after repeated use are some bolts on the frame.

* No good if you’re tall – The Kettler Favorit is definitely not the greatest for taller people. At 6’2”, I felt a little cramped on this compact rowing machine that’s only 50” or so in length (by comparison, the Concept2 Model D is around 8 feet long).

* The Kettler Favorit does not fold up into a smaller size. You can fold down the metal rowing arms a few inches to about 9-10” of height. But the area footprint of the rowing machine (52” x 32”) stays the same.

* No wheels to roll it somewhere.

* Sprechen Sie Deutsch? -The owner’s manual, assembly instructions, and display console of the Kettler Favorit seem to indicate that Kettler isn’t interested in hand-holding the typical American consumer. Everything’s in German except for a few short phrases, and the diagrams are not something us regular USA folk can easily decipher.

Any engineer & mechanically-minded types probably need not worry, but for the rest of us – IKEA this is not.

* This means a longer assembly time compared to higher quality rowing machines. The Kettler Favorit rower’s assembly time for most Americans will be a lot longer than the time suggested in the owner’s manual (Kettler says “2 people x 35 minutes”).

And given the vagueness of some of the diagrams, you may join the other owners who built or attached a piece incorrectly, only to find that out a few steps down the road.

*Kilojoule v Calorie: Since there’s no “Calories Burned” on the Kettler Favorit console display (it uses the European unit of energy, the kilojoule), I thought I’d give you the conversion math: 1 calorie = 4.186 kilojoules (4.2, or 4 for short).


Kettler Favorit Technical Specifications:

  • Hydraulic piston resistance (2, L+R)
  • Max user weight: 285 lb.
  • Steel frame
  • Steel slide rail
  • Dimensions: 52”L x 32”W x 10”H (doesn’t fold)
  • Kettler Favorit Rower weight: 44 lbs
  • Warranty: Lifetime for frame, 3y parts excluding hydraulics and “normal wear & tear”


Here are answers to a couple of questions regarding the Kettler rowing machines.

Are Kettler rowing machines good?

Kettler rowing machines are decent machines, but in their price range are better high-quality competitors like Concept2 that also have superior warranties. There are cheaper alternatives as well.

Is Kettler still in business?

Kettler filed bankruptcy twice since 2015, & Wikipedia states that in 2019 the German division of the company ended production. They currently manufacture in China & have a US office in Virginia.

Where are Kettler rowing machines made?

Kettler was founded in Germany over 80 years ago by Heinz Kettler, and their rowing machines were originally made there, but are now manufactured in China.

green rowing machine icon

Wrapping up

Proper exercising form is real important when working out on a rowing machine, & I’ve seen lots of people getting it wrong.

I’ve written this article — A Helpful Guide To Rowing Machine Muscles — that has instructional how-to videos that explain & demonstrate correct rowing form, so you can & your muscles can get stronger safely without injury. Check it out if you’re interested.

I wish you well on your fitness journey!

– greg

About The Author

heydayDo author Greg Simon

Hi, I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition) Pro Member. MBA, B.Sc.

Author. Surfer. Organic food grower. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). is my wellness blog that’s about encouraging a healthy lifestyle as we age. 

I share my fitness training experience as well as the sports science research I’ve done on the many benefits strength building, exercise, & good eating habits offer us. 

I also write review articles after product testing and evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.

My hope is that you’ll find useful or encouraging information here on my website that will benefit your unique fitness journey.

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