Kettler is quickly becoming the rowing machine manufacturer of choice for affordable, feature-rich rowing machines rivalling some of the Stamina models in the same price range. The Kettler Favorit packs a great workout into a small rower and comes at a price that is exceptional for the quality seen.
While it cannot be compared to the higher-end rowers such as the WaterRower’s or Concept 2’s, this model offers great value for money.
- Resistance: Hydraulic cylinders provide the resistance
- 50 levels of resistance
- German manufacturing quality
- Weight Limit: This model can accommodate users of up to 250 pounds
- Comfort: The rowing handles are nicely padded and the seat is ergonomically designed
- Monitor that tracks 6 functions simultaneously: Time, distance, energy consumed, strokes, pulse rate and frequency
When it comes to assembling this rower, you will need a couple of extra tools that aren’t included. You will need a flat head and Philips screwdriver along with an adjustable spanner.
To completely assemble this model took me roughly 45 minutes. Sometimes the slightly cheaper models can be a bit fiddly to complete but this rower was straight forward.
If you are able to put together an Ikea cabinet you are more than capable of putting this together.
Some of the assembly picture diagrams could do with a little more explanation to help the less competent DIYers.
If you aren’t confident in assembling the rower yourself, quite often you can pay a bit extra and someone will assemble it for you. Amazon normally charge about $75 for the service.
Note: Make sure that the adjustable resistance clamps are at the same height on the arms to ensure the resistance is the same in both arms.
Two hydraulic cylinders provide the resistance while rowing. Hydraulic resistance is very fluid, which provides for a more natural rowing feel and adjustments can easily be made to fine-tune the resistance to your liking.
To alter the resistance, you simply loosen the clamps on the arms and move the piston up (harder) or down (easier) and tighten again. There are 50 “knurl marks” on the arms for the clamps to be tightened on, therefore you should be able to find a resistance that meets your needs.
The lower setting is great for the beginner wherein the highest setting is very difficult.
If you find it too hard even on the lowest notches you can squash the rubber stopper a bit to move the clamp even further down to make it easier.
I have seen a couple of people complain that is it difficult to change the resistance and seem to be fighting with the arms. However, the technique is to pull the arm to 90̊ so that that tension is released making it a lot easier to slide the clamp and then retighten at the desired resistance.
When you are rowing, you want to have a comfortable machine that provides the utmost benefits. The Favorit is designed with the user in mind, and comfort is this machine’s main strong point. The seat is ergonomic and padded so your bottom will hopefully never get sore when rowing.
The rowing arm handles are padded, the seat slides naturally and the foot pedals are on a pivot and have an anti-slip base.
A computerized monitor is available. While the monitor takes some time to figure out, it is very advanced and allows users to track data, such as:
- Distance rowed
- Number of strokes
- Stroke Frequency
- Time spent rowing
- Pulse monitoring
Users can also use this LCD screen monitor to set their current goals. For instance, you can choose to reach a certain distance or time as a goal.
There is also an advanced energy consumption calculation to tell you just how vigorous your workout is when rowing.
This model comes with an ear lobe heart rate monitor so that you can monitor your pulse on the monitor. This allows you to perform heart rate workouts where increase or decrease your intensity on how hard your heart is working.
I have seen a couple of people having issues getting the heart rate monitor to work correctly. However, in the instructions it tells you to rub your ear lobe first to get blood circulating, which can help the monitor. Also, direct sunlight can interfere with the readings, maybe this explains the problems people had as I didn’t have these issues.
If you don’t like the thought of having a clip on your ear you can get an extra of the “Cardio Pulse Set” which is a chest strap and is compatible with most Kettler exercise equipment.
If you are unfamiliar with training using a heart rate monitor, then do not worry as the instructions that come with the Favorit explaining the monitor explain exactly what to look for. They even help you see what heart rate you should be aiming for maximum results.
The one improvement that we would like to see is this model becoming foldable in the future. The machine is small in size and the handles fold down, but this does not provide the true foldable rowing machine that many users are looking for.
I wouldn’t make this my ultimate deciding factor, however. This model is still very small with a length 49 inches, a width of 31 inches and a total weight of just 50 pounds.
The manufacturer lists this model at having a maximum user weight of 250 pounds. Many users have stated that they are heavier and have used this model without issue.
Most likely Kettler have been conservative with their estimated max load as I weigh 210 pounds and it doesn’t struggle at all.
Piston rowers tend to have very little maintenance. The Favorit is no different, the only bit of maintenance I did was to wipe off the seat rail with a nonabrasive cloth.
Unlike air rowers there is no need to oil the chain. You will need to lightly oil some of the joints every 250 hours, but it only takes 5 minutes to do.
Kettler Favorit Compared to the Stamina 1215 Orbital
At first glance the Kettler Favorit and Stamina 1215 Orbital look very much alike. However, we want to take this chance to point out some of the differences to help you decided between the 2 models.
The first difference that most people will notice is that the Stamina model is about $100 cheaper than the Kettler. This may be a deciding factor for some people however you tend to get what you pay for.
With the Favorit you get strong German engineering that will last a long time. But with the Stamina some of the parts are made of plastic and there seems to have been several complaints that they break within the first few weeks of use.
The Orbital is made in China and you do get the feeling that it is cheap by the quality of some of the welding on the rower. I haven’t heard of anyone snapping the frame but when you consider that both models have a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds, I would feel safer on the Kettler. If I happened to weigh more than 250 lbs I would have more confident in the Kettler build quality than the Stamina Orbital.
The Orbital model has a very basic monitor that has one button to cycle through the different functions. The Stamina monitor works well and there is nothing wrong with it. The Kettler rower has a much more advanced monitor and has the heart rate monitor capability, which Stamina have left off.
In terms of rowing action, these 2 models are almost identical. Both have similar rowing arms and seem to smooth with the variable resistance.
So which is better?
In my opinion it is well worth spending the extra $100 dollars and getting a rower with far superior build quality that will last the test of time. Stamina do make very good fitness equipment and the Stamina Orbital is a good rower however, if price is your deciding factor that maybe the Stamina Body Trac Glider would be even better for you.
Overall the Kettler Favorit is a great little rower. With a great entry price and a durable frame, this model is perfect for someone new to exercise that wants to lose some weight, it is even suitable for a keen fitness enthusiast that doesn’t have the space or budget for a big expensive rower like the Concept 2.
Assembly is easy, the resistance is great and the monitor is perfect once you get accustomed to it. I haven’t yet used the chest strap heart rate monitor with this model however I am confident that it would work well.