At first glance, the Ultega Drafter 550 looks like any other ordinary rowing machine. But take a closer look and you’ll quickly realize that this is a versatile machine you can use for both rowing and upper-body strength training. Affordable in price and built with German-quality engineering, this is a rower that we enjoyed reviewing.
Is it perfect? No, but only a few rowers can ever achieve that status. It is, however, a great option for anyone on a tighter budget, living in a smaller space, or looking for a piece of workout equipment that can tackle multiple tasks.
- 2-in-1: rower and upper-body trainer
- Compact design allows for easy storage in small spaces
- Multiple resistance levels for strength-building
- German-quality engineering
- Heart rate monitor not included
Although this machine has a built-in pulse receiver, you will need to supply your own wireless heart rate monitor device.
Features at a Glance
- Compact, space-saving design
- 8 levels of resistance
- Rower and upper-body trainer in one
- Training computer tracks time, calories, beats, beats/min, total beats
- 226-lb maximum weight
- Built-in pulse receiver for heart rate monitoring (wireless)
The Drafter 550 has an added bonus as it also trains upper-body, too. To use this feature, all you have to do is stand on the specialized plates on the front of the machine, and lift the bar upward. You can perform bicep curls and a number of other upper-body exercises without ever having to switch machines or drag out your weights.
The eight levels of resistance make your workouts a little more challenging. I will note that if you’re at an advanced fitness level, this machine probably won’t give you the challenge you need to see any significant gains. But if you’re just getting started or at an intermediate level, this rower delivers an excellent workout.
A training computer is built into the machine. This computer displays important data, like calories burned, time, beats/min, etc. If you have a wireless pulse monitor, you’ll also be able to track your heart rate here.
I do have to note that while a pulse receiver is built-into the machine, you will need to supply your own wireless heart rate monitoring device.
Another great thing about this machine – one of our favorite features – is that it folds up after use. If you live in a small space, this rower’s compact design is incredibly beneficial. Simply fold it up into the corner when you’re done, and you regain all of that extra space. It has a relatively small footprint as is, with dimensions of 75” x 24” x 19” when opened.
For under $300, this rower is a smart buy for people who are just getting started or at an intermediate level. Its compact design is great for small spaces, and its eight resistance levels make your workouts more effective. As an added bonus, you can also use this machine for upper-body exercises to really get the most out of the Drafter 550.