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Last updated: August 03, 2021
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Are you looking for a way to make your body stronger and boost endurance? Rowing machines are a great way to get fit because they put all major muscle groups to work without excessive strain on the joints. The machines are not noisy, and they allow you to choose from multiple resistance levels and enjoy smoother strokes.
But if you thought that choosing the best rowing machine under $200 would be easy, you’re in for a surprise. You need to consider multiple factors, including the amount of space you have at home, how much money you’re willing to spend, and what features are vital for you.
We looked at the best rowing machines under $200 available on the market and considered their most important features, including tension system, resistance levels, weight capacity, dimensions, and weight, to help you choose a budget-friendly rowing machine that will help you improve your cardiovascular fitness.
"This is an impressive indoor rower that features foldable arms, textured footplates with straps, and foam padded hand grips.12 resistance levels.250 lbs. weight capacity.Multi-function electronic monitor."
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a very popular choice among fitness enthusiasts, mainly due to its price. It packs a wide range of features that you can generally expect to find in similar models that are much more expensive, which is why we featured it as our Editor’s Choice. Next, this rowing machine uses a single piston to provide resistance, which makes it a hydraulic rower. It has 12 resistance levels and a weight capacity of 250 pounds, but what caught our attention most is the number of features it comes with.
The machine has foldable arms, a textured footplate with straps, a multi-function electronic monitor, and foam padded hand grips for extra comfort when you’re rowing. Thus, this is a good option for those who are looking to get a quality workout a couple of times a week.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 comes with a multi-function LCD display that allows you to track multiple meters, including time and calories.
What makes it stand out? The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is compact and easy to store away when not in use, which makes it ideal for small spaces. We also liked the solid steel frame that looks and feels durable.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? The seat of the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 might not be comfortable enough for everyone, especially when it comes to longer workouts.
An excellent choice for those who are looking for a rowing machine that offers great value for money, the Goplus Hydraulic Rowing Machine, is well crafted and doesn’t require lots of time or effort to put together. It comes with all the instructions you need for quick assembly in the pack, and it has multiple adjustable resistance levels, being a good option for households where more than one person uses the rowing machine.
The Goplus Hydraulic Rowing Machine has sturdy stainless steel construction and is specifically designed for small spaces. We liked that the machine is well built and very effective at training different sections of the body, including the biceps, forearms, belly region, shoulder, knees, and more. The anti-slip foot pedals make every workout safe and comfortable, and the easy-to-read LCD monitor makes it super easy to keep your progress in check.
Why is it special? The Goplus Hydraulic Rowing Machine has a good load/weight capacity and is also well-built and easy to assemble. We liked that it remains steady during use thanks to the anti-slip foot pedals.
What are the flaws? The Goplus Hydraulic Rowing Machine is a bit heavy, and some of the users who tested it mentioned that the resistance levels were a bit off, which makes the machine difficult to row for some.
Our budget choice is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639, a rowing machine that features a comfortable design and full-motion arms. This is a hydraulic rowing machine, and you can enjoy 12 different resistance levels, which can help you become fitter and fitter. The full-motion arms make it easy to achieve a complete workout.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 has hydraulic resistance pistons, but some cuts were made to lower the price, so you shouldn’t expect it to be highly durable. It is still ideal if you’re just starting with your training regimen and want a comfortable machine that can help you get to the next level.
This budget rowing machine comes with an LCD monitor that displays essential stats such as time count, basic stroke count, and calories burned. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 has a 350 lb. weight capacity and comes with adjustable foot straps on the pedals for a more comfortable workout.
Why did it make our list? The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 has an ergonomic design and is a great piece of equipment for those who are just starting out on their fitness journey.
What is not ideal about it? The build quality of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 could be better, and you shouldn’t expect a lot of durability from this machine.
This hydraulic rowing machine is highly functional and provides users with a full-body workout. It’s a lightweight machine that is easy to store away after each use, and it’s also pretty easy to assemble. The frame of the Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine is made from durable steel and makes the machine feel very sturdy overall.
The Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine comes with a small LCD screen that offers basic information about your workout, including stroke count, time, and calories. The folding arms do a good job of providing you with a full-body workout, and because the machine only weighs 34 lbs., it’s very easy to handle and store away when not in use.
This rowing machine offers adjustable resistance, so you can control your workout according to your level of fitness. You can change the resistance by turning the dial that’s located under the slide rail.
Why is it special? The Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine has a durable steel frame and a sturdy feel that will please beginners and more experienced users alike.
What are the flaws? The hydraulic cylinder heats up quite quickly, and the foot straps may not always lock in perfectly.
If you’re interested in trying a rowing machine with an elastic cord, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 could be a perfect option. This is one of the few models with this type of resistance on the market, and you get four levels of adjustable elastic tension with this machine.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 also comes with a wide range of features that make it ideal for complete home workouts. It has a comfortable rowing stroke, an easy-to-read monitor, and can also be easily folded and stored when not in use. The elastic cord, which is also called a bungee cord system, provides various levels of resistance to suit different fitness levels. You can choose from four levels by moving a lever located between the slots.
The monitor of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 shows you various data about your workout, including time, total stroke count, calories, and strokes per minute. The monitor is very easy to read and scans through the data every six seconds.
What do we love it for? The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 is an excellent choice for rowers who are looking for an alternative to hydraulic systems. It also produces almost zero noise, which comes in handy if you want to work out in an apartment setting.
What were we disappointed with? The resistance can be weak for some users, and it doesn’t mimic real rowing. It’s not ideal for athletic users because the resistance levels are not varied enough to suit stronger rowers.
Things to Consider
Indoor rowing machines are a good choice for fitness enthusiasts who want to be able to work almost every muscle in their body from the comfort of their home. Rowing machines are versatile pieces of equipment and allow you to get fit and toned without going to a gym.
But choosing a good rowing machine is not a very easy task, particularly if you’re not keen on spending too much on one. You don’t need to spend a fortune, either, so the best rowing machines under $200 are good options for beginners and more experienced rowers alike. This buying guide will explain the benefits of buying a rowing machine under $200 and what features to pay attention to when choosing one.
Reasons to go for a rowing machine under $200
When you have a set budget of $200, you need to consider your options well, so you purchase a rowing machine that suits your needs as well. The good news is that there are lots of rowing machines in this price range, and while they may not come with all the bells and whistles of premium models, they are the perfect choice for beginners.
Rowing machines offer a complete workout – they put most of the muscles in your body to work, including the back, arms, and legs. This means that you can hit all muscle areas in a single workout, and even affordable rowing machines are likely to get you fitter in no time. If you aren’t a pro athlete in need of the best equipment and don’t need a machine with shiny backlit LCD monitors and Wi-Fi connectivity, models under $200 would be ideal for you because they provide you with a quality full-body workout without breaking the bank.
How to pick the best rowing machine under $200?
In order to pick the best rowing machine under $200, it’s important to have a look at some essential features, such as tension system, resistance levels, weight capacity, rail length, comfort level, type of digital monitor, as well as dimensions and weight. You should also make sure that the model you go for suits your living arrangements, meaning that you need to decide whether you want it to have the capability to fold, so you can store it away when not in use.
The two main types of tension systems you can find in inexpensive rowing machines are hydraulic and corded.
Most of the models we tested feature a hydraulic system, which means that the rower gets the tension from the air or fluid that’s compressed in an adjustable piston.
Hydraulic machines are highly popular mostly because they allow rowers to pull in a straight line and can replicate the movements of real oars.
On the other hand, corded rowing machines, such as the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606, get their resistance from elastic bands that allow you to exercise with different tensions. These machines generally tend to be cheaper than air rowers, but they come with the drawback of not being able to increase the resistance when you pull harder.
There are other types of tension systems, including air and water resistance, but they are often more expensive than $200.
Having variable resistance levels is important for rowing machines because you may want to be able to increase the intensity of your workouts as you build up your body. Most of the models we reviewed, including the Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine, come complete with adjustable resistance levels, so you can choose to go all-in for a complete workout that leaves you sweaty or just row gently in front of the TV for a more relaxing workout.
The way you can adjust resistance levels varies from one rowing machine to another, but generally, you can do it with the help of a dial or lever. Lower resistance works well for your cardiovascular system, whereas high resistance provides an anaerobic session because the muscles work harder with the pull.
The weight capacity varies from one model to another, but generally, you can expect budget rowing machines under $200 to have a weight capacity of at least 250 lb. This means that you don’t have to pay a lot for a high weight capacity machines, as there are lots of options available out there for heavier users. For example, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 has a weight capacity of 350 lb.
The length and quality of rail are very important in a rowing machine. The length is particularly important if you’re taller than average (over 5’10), and in this case, you should try and find a rowing machine with a rail as long as possible, such as seen with the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639.
By having a long rail, you can achieve wider strokes, which is important for the quality of the workout. You should also look at the quality of the rail to make sure it is durable and doesn’t make too much noise.
A soft seat allows you to remain comfortable for the duration of your workout, so try to choose a machine that comes with one, like the Goplus Hydraulic Rowing Machine, for example. Other elements that make a rowing machine comfortable are the handles, which should feel fairly thick in your hand and come with a foam grip. You should also have a look at the pedals when assessing how comfortable a rowing machine is. Some models feature fixed pedals, whereas others have swiveling pedals to release pressure from your ankles.
Most rowing machines come with a display monitor, such as the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050, which comes in very handy during your workout because it shows you information about time, distance, calories, rpm, and more. Some of the best models also give you extra information, including split time and average intensity.
The dimensions of the rowing machines are important because they determine whether you have enough room in our home to use the machine and store it away when not in use if it’s a foldable model. For example, our Editor’s Choice model is quite large at 50″ x 24″ x 18.5″, but you can choose from models with reduced dimensions as well if you don’t have space for a full-sized rowing machine. For example, the Goplus Hydraulic Rowing Machine has dimensions of just 42.5″ x 33″ x 8″.
Just like in the case of dimensions, it’s important to consider the weight of the machine as well. The weight determines how easy it is to assemble and move the machine, but also how stable it is when you use it. For a lighter model that you won’t have trouble moving around by yourself, consider the Goplus Hydraulic Rowing Machine, which only weighs 30 lb. But if you’re interested in a model that’s more stable, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a better choice at 39 lb.
What else can be important?
When shopping for a rowing machine, it’s also important to look at other features, such as the existence of transport wheels, for example. These come in very handy if you intend to move the machine around the house often, as you won’t have to drag it around.
Some models are easy to fold, which is great because they won’t be in your way when you exercise. These rowing machines may be less robust than fixed models, but they are the perfect choice for those who don’t have a lot of space at home.
Finally, don’t forget to look at the overall build quality of the rowing machine you’re purchasing. Models made from steel, such as the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050, are highly durable and are bound to last longer than models that are made from lighter and cheaper materials.
Rowing machines with a price tag under $200 are generally entry-level machines that are best suited for beginners. You should expect these machines to do the job when it comes to providing you with a high-quality workout, but you need to keep in mind that their build might not be in the range of the professional machines you may have seen in the gym. These machines are well worth your money if you are looking for a basic workout machine to keep you fit without leaving your home, but you shouldn’t expect them to have all the bells and whistles of premium models.
Rowing machines are generally bulky and heavy, and the truth is that the larger and heavier a rowing machine is, the better the workout you will get on it. Space might be at a premium in many people’s homes, which means that the best option is to look for a rowing machine that can be folded and stored away when not in use. Our Editor’s Choice, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050, is a good option if you don’t have much space in your home, as you can fold it easily. Heavier models are a good option for those who don’t plan to move the machine and keep it in a stationary position.
The level of noise produced by a rowing machine is an important deciding factor for many people when purchasing this type of machine. Whether you live in a small apartment and you’re afraid that you are going to bother your neighbors or wants to exercise in your home while others are sleeping, it’s important to go for a machine that doesn’t make much noise. The reality of choosing a model that is as quiet as possible is a different story. It’s true that certain resistance types are quieter than others, with magnetic and hydraulic piston rowers making close to no sound. If you opt for water or air machine, you should expect it to produce a bit more noise.
Even though it is highly likely that you will only need to assemble your rowing machine once, it’s important to look at the ease of assembly before making a purchase, especially if you’re planning on putting it together alone. All the rowing machines we reviewed come with all instructions you need to set them up quickly, but some models may require more effort to put together. As a rule of thumb, you should expect to be able to assemble a rowing machine in 20 to 30 minutes, and in some cases, you may need the help of another person, particularly if the machine is very heavy.
Rowing machines are usually easy to maintain. It’s always a good idea to wipe the machine down after every use. Living sweat on the machine will make it dirty for the next time you use it, but it will also make it collect dust, dirt, and germs. Moreover, sweat is corrosive, so it can damage your machine if you leave it for too long on it. Try not to use any chemical cleaners, particularly aggressive plans, because they can damage the finish of the rowing machine. Some rowers come with a chain between the flywheel and the handles, and you should avoid cleaning it with any solvents. Instead, simply spray some lubricant on a paper towel and rub it along the length of the chain.
After reviewing most of the rowing machines available on the market for under $200, we concluded that the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is the best option for most users. This rowing machine has 12 resistance levels and foam-padded hand grips for extra comfort when you’re rowing and boasts a durable construction, too.
In rgw second place, we have the Goplus Hydraulic Rowing Machine, which has multiple adjustable resistance levels, being perfect for homes where more than one person uses the rowing machine. This model offers good value for money and is also well-built and very effective at training different sections of the body.
Finally, if you’re looking for the best rowing machine under $200 that will offer maximum comfort, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 is a perfect choice. This machine is ideal for beginners and sports full-motion arms that make it easy to achieve a complete workout.