Proform 550r Rower Review

Do you want a high-end, low to mid-price range of rowing machines for a full-body workout?  That and, with low to moderate intensity exercises while you are inside your comfort zone.

Proform 550r rower is a suitable choice if you want durability, low budget, and high-end solid built. Also if you are considering specific health goals, available space, comfort, and ease of assembly. 

It is probably one of the best rowing machines and a greatly beneficial choice. We will dive right into the proform 550r rower review, to get a more informed perspective. 

But first, let us check out why one should even consider a rower. And then specifically why proform 550r rowing machine is worth it?   

What is a rowing machine good for?

Do you want to sufficiently burn out your calories? Are you eagerly searching for a proven and effective way to increase your stamina? Do you need a full-body workout in your home? 

Do you require such an exercise in which you can target as many muscle groups as you can? Do you want a high-intensity but low-impact workout without caring about joint issues and injury risks?  

Do you want to utilize your legs, core, and back to engage the posterior chain of the body? Are you someone in search of an active meditation to reduce stress? 

Have you noticed growing crowds around your local gym’s rowing machines, now wondering why?

If you say yes to any of the above questions, well then hurry up and get a rowing machine. A rower is, if not the only but surely the best answer to all of your prayers. 

What to look for when buying a rower?

You need to specifically check the following when buying a rower.

  • Modes of resistance 
  • Foldable frame.
  • Ease of maintenance. 
  • Ease to store. 
  • Noise level.
  • Comfortable seat. 
  • Adjustable foot straps. 
  • Dashboard displaying in-depth stats. 
  • Higher-tech features like big wide screens. 
  • Positioning of built-in screens. 
  • Streaming capabilities. 
  • Wi-Fi connection and third-party apps sync feature. 

Proform 550r Rower

Customizable rowing experience deemed ideal for beginners and intermediate level with an air resistance mechanism. 550r rower has decent specs with the build quality for a budget model. 550r comes with some significant upgrades over the less than impressive 440R. 

Proform 550r is a fine quality home fitness, a solidly built product of Proform. It is durable and spins for a long time. It has received impressive customer reviews due to its solid steel structure. 

The 550R rower simulates the resistance you would feel if you were moving through the water. Then, it has a fan in the flywheel, which spins to produce wind. And, to keep you cool as you row; its air is directed back at you. 

Also, 550r lets you go from light to heavy resistance by simply adjusting the handle. It allows you to track your progress with each stroke and shows stats of calories burned. Stats include distance, time, and strokes per minute. 

The space-saver design of Proform 550r does not let you worry about your precious floor space. As in one easy step; you can fold it up when you are done.

Let us dive into each feature with a little bit of in-depth observation. It is to see if this is what you need.

Resistance Type

The first thing you check when looking for a rowing machine is its different resistance modes. Each resistance type would provide you with different rowing experiences.  Also, resistance types have unique characteristics tied to them.

The type of resistance mode usually determines cost, size, build type, noise level, and storage capabilities. 

With the adjustable air resistance mechanism, the proform 550r rower is an air rowing machine. It operates by pulling the handle and spinning the flywheel.  Pulling the handle causes the flywheel to spin and create wind. 

The harder you pull the more resistance you get. This customizable feature allows users to control resistance level by how hard or slow they row. This is why this mode is also known as “variable resistance mode”. 

The air resistance mechanism mimics the feeling of rowing on the water. This is why air rowers are the first and ideal choice for athletes and professional rowers. 

Due to the HIIT (high-intensity interval training), Cross-fit enthusiasts also prefer a 550r rower. Because one can perform a series of faster and slower rowing without making any changes manually. The resistance would automatically adjust to the speed. 

Damper Setting

First of all, never confuse the damper setting with the resistance adjustment. It has a slight difference to it. Let us see how. 

Proform 550r rowing machine with “inertia enhanced flywheel” comes with damper setting included. This controls the amount of airflow into the flywheel housing. 

You can control the damper setting through the level on the top of the flywheel housing. Setting the lever down allows less airflow and makes you feel less resistance. Setting this up gives you the feeling of a heavier boat. 

Keep in mind that proform 550r rower reviews were negative about the resistance feature. Even when the level was all the way up. The resistance was too weak and felt like any resistance at all.  

If you need a rower with high resistance, this may not be the right choice for you. However, it is always a suitable choice for beginners and elderly people. And for people who use the rowing machine for warm-up. 


Proform550r rower has received a good user rating for its solid steel structure. It has an oversized rail welded onto the frame. To avoid scratching your flow the stands have a rubberized base. 

Especially during intense sessions, a good quality frame should be sturdy and should not move. It should support you safely as you exercise. More durable rower machines have the highest user weight capacity. 

Affordable to begin with, a proform 550r rower has a weight capacity of 250 lb. You can save a significant chunk of floor space by simply folding it up. 

With the added padding for a firm grip, its non-slip handles offer a pleasant workout experience. Proform 550r has an ergonomic cushioned seat. That adjusts itself to find the perfect fit for your comfort unless you are overweight. 

Designed to keep your feet in place and safely holds shoes of all sizes. Proform 550r has a large pivoting pedal with adjustable straps. It allows you to row more stably as you extend your ankles for a perfect fit.  


550r has no heart rate monitoring feature and no built-in workout programs. Still, it has a decent monitor that calculates common fitness data.

Proform 550r Rower Monitor

It has a large and readable LCD screen that allows you a glance at your stats. Such as stroke per minute, total strokes, distance, time, and calories burned. 

A bonus feature is its ability to let you set a goal. How many calories do you want to burn? Or the distance you want to row? So you can watch your progress as you achieve.   


Proform 550r is quite straightforward to assemble. It should only take a few minutes to have it unpacked and running. Come with it step by step process with easy to get written descriptions and images. 

Except for the seat and a few other small parts, it comes pretty much preassembled.  The package has everything you need. Except for the batteries that you need to buy separately. 

Battery Replacement

One of the most asked questions related to the rower machine is about its battery replacement. The same is the case about proform 550r rower battery replacement. 

batterymanual proform 550r.png

Proform 550r rower battery replacement visual guide

Proform batteries come separately, not with the package as we have already mentioned. These batteries are used to provide power to the console (51). This Console requires four AA batteries. 

Alkaline batteries are recommended officially by Proform in their Proform 550r user manual. They have provided every tiny bit of detail about proform 550r parts, assembly, warnings, and precautions to take. 

While also providing a clear warning about inserting batteries only when the console is warm enough. You should never insert batteries when it has been exposed to cold temperature. Otherwise, the console and other electronic parts could be damaged.

For battery replacement, remove the screw and battery cover from the top of the console. Pull out the battery holder and insert batteries into the holder. Then reinsert the battery holder and reattach the battery cover. 

You have to make sure that batteries are facing upward. Contacts on the battery holder should face downwards when you insert the battery cover.    


The Proform 550R is protected with a 5-Year Frame Warranty and 90-Day Parts & Labor Warranty. On the frame, it’s more than decent but on labor and parts, their guarantees are short. 

Proform 550r Specs Overview Table

BrandProform 550r Rower
Resistance ModeAir Resistance
Max User Weight Capacity250 pounds.
Machine Weight103 lbs
FlywheelInertia enhanced flywheel
HandleSoft Touch Ergonomic Non-slip handles
SeatErgonomic Cushioned Seat
PedalsPivoting Pedals with Adjustable Straps
FrameOversized steel seat rail
MaterialSteel frame, aluminum seat rail
Dimensions84.5″ L  x 22″ W x 25.5″ H
ColorBlack painted rail, silver flywheel, and red stands
Warranty5-Year Frame Warranty and 90-Day Parts & Labor
PriceRoughly $1000


  • Air Resistance System
  • Foldable and Space Saver Frame
  • Large pedals with Adjustable Straps
  • Soft Touch Non-Slip Handles
  • Easy to Read Large LCD Display
  • Ability to set out workout goals
  • Acceptable Seat
  • Good Warranty on (Just Frame)
  • Good Rowing Position Even for Taller User.


  • Lower Weight Capacity
  • No Heart Rate Monitor
  • Limited Warranty on Parts and Labor (only 90 days)
  • Uncomfortable seat for the larger user
  • Disappointing Cooling Fan


No doubt that a 550r rower is a decent choice for a reasonable price. For it will surely help you to get in shape. It will be up to the job for most beginners and intermediate users.

550r is a significant upgrade to 440r but it didn’t excite users at all. It will cost you roughly $1000 bucks. If you are considering buying it on sale it will cost you around about $600.

But even at the sale price, this rower is overpriced.


Why purchase this proform 550r rower?

550r will provide you with a customizable rowing experience with an air resistance mechanism. It has pretty decent specs with the build quality for a budget model. 

It is a decent choice for beginners and intermediate users at a reasonable price. Plus, it has received impressive customer reviews.

Why are air rowers best suited for Olympic athletes and professional rowers?

Air rower machines have customizable features. It allows users to control resistance levels by how hard or slow they grow. This is why this mode is also known as “variable resistance mode”. 

It will provide you with the feeling of rowing on the water. This is the reason that air rowers are the first and ideal choice for athletes and professional rowers.

Problems with proform 550r rower?

Proform 550r rower reviews were on the negative side about the resistance feature. Even when the level was up, the highest damper setting; still the resistance was too weak.

Users reported that it felt like any resistance at all. On the frame, it’s satisfying but on labor and parts, their guarantees are very short.


  • Kelly Clanton

    Hi there! I'm Kelly Clanton. I am an educated fitness coach with a master degree in Sports Education, and more than ​9 years of working in fitness industry. I love doing and teaching fitness because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health back into their own hands. I'm a Mom,Wife, Fitness Instructor at Fitness Instructor.

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