For those looking for a solid mid-priced rowing machine, German recreational equipment manufacturer Kettler has two offerings worth considering. The Kattler Kadett and the Kettler Favorit both utilize hydraulic pistons in their resistance systems. Piston resistance systems are economical and serviceable for many users, but not the top choice of demanding users willing to pay up for magnetic or water resistance systems. Both Kettler models are well made and feature industrial quality pistons and durable powder coated high carbon steel frames.
The Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine
Priced around $399, the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine comes with an easy to read multifunctional fitness monitor powered by two AA batteries.The monitor tracks:
- Workout time
- Number of oar strokes
- Speed of strokes
- Distance rowed during rowing session
- Energy consumption
- Pulse rate
Pulse rate is monitored with an included plug in cable sensor attached to the ear, but the Favorit’s monitor is compatible with the popular Polar T34 chest strap heart rate monitor. The unit also features a post exercise recovery feature which generates a fitness measure which can be used to track improvement.
Kettler Favorite users often cite the unit’s comfortable seat and quiet operation as strong positives for the machine. Another frequently noted positive is the strong Kettler warrantee (lifetime on the frame and three years on parts).
Kettler Kadett Rowing Machine
The Kettler Kadett rower, priced at around $599, shares many of the same quality features as the Kettler Favorit, but comes equipped with outrigger style rowing arms that more closely model the “on the water” rowing motion and feel.
The outrigger rowing arms and the increased length (designed to accommodate taller users) require a larger floor space when the machine is in use, but the Kadett folds to a relatively compact 59” length X 20” height X 18” height. At 66 pounds the Kadett model is 16 pounds heavier than the the Favorit. Both units are designed to accommodate users weighing up to a robust 285 pounds.
Kettler Kadett Pros and Cons
The positive features of the Kettler Kadett most frequently cited by owners include:
- Excellent build quality and durability
- Realistic rowing motion
- Quiet operation
- Comfortable seat
- Quality warrantee and customer service
The small number of negatives reported by Kadett owners included:
- The lack of wheels to aid in moving the machine
- The assembly instructions are in German (though the pictures are usually sufficient)
- Some users report problems with the design and durability of the footrests and the attachment mechanism for the monitor
Both Kettler rowing machines provide real value to casual or entry level home rowing machine users, though the hydraulic piston based resistance system employed by both machines is less well regarded than the more costly air, magnetic, or water based systems favored by high intensity rowing machine users. Ketler’s commitment to sturdy construction and excellent customer service guarantee long years of reliable service. The Kadett’s unique outrigger design offers the additional advantage of a more natural rowing feel.