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Is ProForm’s 440R Rower A Good Buy? [A Review]

proform 440r rower review

ProForm’s 440R is a lightweight magnetic rowing machine that’s very budget friendly. It’s designed with versatility in mind, as it offers both traditional cardio training as well as the ability to perform some strength training options.

For the price, this rower is notably smooth and quiet, and its foldable frame comes in handy when space is limited. 

But that said, the 440R has more than its fair share of flaws.

The question is whether or not it makes sense to take a chance on this affordable rowing machine. Or should you pay extra for a better option instead?

There are several things you need to consider to make this decision. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.

In this review, I’ll show you everything you need to know about the 440R before you purchase. After reading, you should have a better idea of whether or not this is the right rower for your home.

The ProForm 440R Rower

ProForm is one of the most recognizable names in home fitness. It’s been in the industry for several years, and they never fail to amaze users with their feature-rich machines.

But what I love about them is that they’re not just about the bells and whistles. Their machines work as they should (usually), and they’re often priced reasonably in the market.

ProForm’s treadmills and HIIT trainers are a huge hit, but they offer a competitive selection for other cardio equipment as well.

Rowers make excellent cardio machines as they provide full-body workouts while improving strength as well. They work effectively for longer, more moderate workouts as well as more intense, HIIT style routines.

The 440R is ProForm’s most affordable rower to date. It’s the predecessor to the more sophisticated 550R. Even though the full retail price on this model is roughly $800, you should be able to find it for about half that online.

And I’m gonna be blunt here- this rower is not worth $800. 

Here’s a glimpse of what the 440R has to offer:

Pros

  • Magnetic resistance system
  • Versatile with dual training options (cardio and strength training)
  • 8 resistance levels
  • Folding frame
  • Large, comfortable pedals with straps
  • Reader-friendly monitor display

Cons

  • Weight capacity only 250 lb
  • No heart rate monitoring
  • Limited warranty
  • Uncomfortable handle
  • Small seat
  • No workout programs

Resistance

Let’s begin with resistance as it is a very important spec to consider when looking for a rower. 

In general, rowing machines come in 4 varieties based on the type of resistance system they use. These include: magnetic, air, hydraulic piston, and water.

Each type has their own benefits and disadvantages – for more info on the differences between them, check out our rowing machine guide.

The 440R is a magnetic rower, meaning it uses a rotating flywheel and magnets to create the resistance for you to work against.

Magnetic resistance is the preferred choice for a lot of home rowers because of how quiet it is. This type of system also provides consistent resistance regardless of how fast or hard you pull, which some rowers prefer.

Being a magnetic rower, the 440R is quiet during use- there is no background noise from a fan spinning or water slushing.

This rowing machine comes with 8 resistance levels that are adjusted by turning the large knob in the center of the console. 

ProForm advertises that this machine can provide light, medium, and heavy resistance based on your needs. However, most users agree the resistance is more in the light to medium range.

Experienced rowers will likely have issues with the resistance being too light. Eight resistance levels doesn’t give you a ton on control over your intensity, but it’s pretty standard for this price range (well, the sale price anyway).

Overall, the 440R comes with light resistance that is better suited for beginners. More experienced rowers or folks that are in pretty good shape will probably find this rower too easy.

Frame

Frame integrity can help draw the line between good quality rowers and the rest.

If it’s anything too flimsy, you’ll be risking your safety and the quality of your workout experience. It goes the same for machines that wobble or move as you exercise.

Look for rowing machines that have sturdy frames. They should not creak or tremble during heavy use. It’s tough to assess frame integrity without taking it for a ride, but there are a few things you can look for to get a good idea.

Inspect it visually. If it looks durable and robust, it probably is. But as they say, looks can be deceiving that’s why you need to look at its user weight capacity.

Higher weight limits directly relate to stronger, more heavy-duty frames. They have to be in order to handle heavier users working out on them.

The 440R has a 250 lb weight capacity, which is a bit disappointing, considering that other rowers can accommodate at least 300 lb. 

The weight limit of the 440R is a bummer- larger users are not going to be able to use this model. The shorter rail also makes it difficult for people over 6′ to use comfortably. 

On the positive side, the 440R is foldable, which makes it ideal for apartments and small spaces. It comes with ProForm’s SpaceSaver® Design, letting you fold it up and walk away in seconds.

Its versatile design allows the 440R to be used in two very different exercises. It’s obviously used as a typical rower, but it can also be used as a stand-up strength trainer. 

You can stand above the console and do exercises like bicep curls and upright rows with the handle. Honestly, you can do this with pretty much any rower, so this isn’t really anything special.

The handle on this rower is pretty weak too. It’s basically just a straight bar that isn’t contoured or particularly textured, making it uncomfortable to use.

Many users have also reported issues with the strap connecting to the handle snapping or fraying during use- definitely not something you wanna see in your rower.

The seat is padded, but it’s small. Larger people may not find it comfortable to sit on for extended use.

The large, pivoting footrests accommodate shoes of all sizes. They are built with adjustable nylon foot straps to give you more stability as you work out. You can flex and extend your ankles, keeping them in comfortable positions while you row.

Overall, the 440R falls short in the frame department. It’s small and lightweight, making it a poor choice for larger users. There have also been a lot of complaints regarding the quality of parts involved.

Monitor

Home rowers in this price range often come with tiny LCD screens for a monitor. They’re nothing fancy but are enough to perform their function, and that’s displaying your workout metrics. 

Monitors can show you your distance, time, stroke, calories, and etc. The 440R has a budget monitor. It features a large, readable display. The useful scan mode will display each data set for a few seconds before moving onto the next.

You can scan through all of the settings, and that’s it. It has no advanced function that can sweep you off your feet.

There’s nothing wrong with this. But if you’re a tech lover guy, you’re better off with the more expensive rowers that come with huge touchscreen displays.

Other rowers in this price range already provide advanced perks, such as heart rate monitoring and workout programs. The 440R doesn’t.

You wouldn’t have any problem reading the outputs while working out with the 440R, and I think it’s all that matters. You can see your progress at the same time on the same screen; no scrolling needed.

Overall, the 440R has a basic monitor but it’s reader-friendly and does its job fairly well.

Assembly

I wish I can say that the 440R comes with a straightforward assembly process. But unfortunately, it seems to take a lot of fixing.

Many users shared the same sentiments regarding 440R’s assembly. Even if ProForm has already included illustrations on the manual, the rowing machine is quite challenging to put together.

There are quite a few steps involved to get this rower ready for use. The instruction manual is pretty easy to follow, but it seems like there are more steps than there should be for such a simple rower.

The good news is that this is a lightweight rower, so there aren’t any heavy pieces to move around.

Expect to spend an hour or so getting this rower put together.

Warranty

ProForm backs their 440R rower with the following warranty:

  • Frame: 5 years 
  • Parts: 90 days
  • Labor: 90 days

Five years on the frame is good enough considering the price. Other more expensive units come with the same frame warranty.

However, it would be nice to see longer warranties for their parts and labor than just 90 days. I always prefer years on warranty offerings. 

Overall, the warranty could be better.

Final Thoughts

ProForm’s 440R Rower has a lot of issues. The magnetic resistance system isn’t capable of providing a lot of tension and the frame is lightweight and not suitable for larger users.

There have also been a lot of complaints regarding the handle and strap being low quality (including many users actually having the strap snap during use).

Combine all this with the lackluster warranty and I can’t say the 440R is a good buy.

I’m a fan of the ProForm brand, but they can’t all be winners.

I think it would be madness to spend the full asking price on this model. And honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this rower at its sale price either.

Even as budget rowers go, there are better options (like Sunny Health & Fitness’s SF-RW5854).

Roann

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