Last updated: August 9th 2016
Established in Germany in 1949, the Kettler company is well-known for manufacturing high-quality fitness equipment. Currently, Kettler has production and sales in over 60 countries, including the United States where it has been distributing its products as Kettler USA for more than 30 years. The brand has won numerous, international awards for the quality and performance of its exercise equipment which includes cross-trainers, exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills and rowers. This rower made it to one of our top picks of the best rowing machine for this year.
The Kettler Stroker Rower and Multi-Trainer continues this tradition, with consumers first taking notice of it around 2013. The machine not only functions as a rower but as a multi-trainer, making it versatile to suit a variety of fitness needs. High quality construction from powder-coated steel gives this rower a sturdy, solid feel when in use, while padding in the seat and bio-mechanical footplates adds to the comfort and integrity of the experience. The unit retails for around $700.00 in the marketplace, weighs in at 86 pounds, and measures 86″(L) x 24″(W) x 32″(H).
The Stroker Rower has several important features that enhance its performance and set it apart from other machines. These include:
- Center-pull technology that allows for simultaneous cardio and strengthening exercises.
- Precise ball-bearing operation and bio-mechanical footplate action for smooth and quiet performance.
- An LCD six-function display and Polar T-34 chest strap to track fitness improvement and heart rate.
- A magnetic braking system which can be manually adjusted for a range of eight different fitness levels.
- Steel platform accessory attachments that provide 10 additional exercises.
- A space saving design and portability with built-in transport castors to provide placement and storage options.
With these features, beginners as well as experienced exercisers can enjoy productive workouts for fitness improvement. The unit comes pre-assembled and comfortably accommodates a variety of body types with a rated maximum use capacity up to 286 pounds. Taller individuals, 5’11” and over find that the bio-mechanical footplates provide a natural pivoting action for a full, longitudinal, rowing motion often lacking in other machines. Translated, this means that people with longer legs can now experience full leg extension when rowing and still maintain a smooth, gliding motion which won’t slow down rate of speed.
Users also state they can easily program various fitness levels by adjusting the manual, magnetic braking system. With eight levels of resistance possible, increasing the intensity of a workout is achieved by progressing from lower levels to higher ones as stamina and strength improve. And since motivation is also an important part of any exercise program, users benefit from the machine’s simultaneous visual tracking of time, calories, oar strokes, cumulative distance per training session, cadence (strokes rowed per minute), and heart rate to encourage their efforts.
With regard to heart rate, the Polar T-34 chest strap gives an additional cardio-wellness rating based on a graded index from one to six that is stored to the main computer and can be used to track daily cardio improvements. Since this particular piece of equipment usually comes with more expensive machines, consumers are happy to have it included with the Kettle Stroker Rower and Multi-Trainer.
Consumers also appreciate the solid construction, comfortable padding, space saving design and portability of this unit. For many, it is well worth the price of having such a versatile piece of quality exercise equipment in the home, saving time from gym visits and their associated costs. Another appealing aspect of this machine includes its capability to provide simultaneous cardio and strength workouts which saves time for users. Additionally, the machine requires no AC power source for use, only two AA batteries to operate the LCD display.
Drawbacks with this rower-trainer are related more to the aesthetics and function of supporting components as opposed to core machine operation. These would include concerns noted about: the readability of the LCD computer display during workouts; the accuracy of some of the workout readings with regard to the heart rate monitor; and the lack of detail in the instruction manual for understanding the LCD monitor. These concerns, however, seemed to be of minor importance compared to overall consumer satisfaction with the product.
For the price point offered, the Kettler Stroker Rower and Multi-Trainer compares favorably or better to similarly priced machines, such as the Concept 2 Model D traditional rowing machine. The Kettler includes high-end components usually found only on more expensive machines within the brand, such as the Polar T-34 heart-rate monitor and steel platform accessories. Other features, such as the bio-mechanical footplates and smooth, quiet operation, stand out as reasons why consumers prefer this unit. These strengths outweigh any concerns noted by consumers and bolster this unit’s appeal exercisers of all fitness levels.