Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
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Last updated: June 14, 2021
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Whether you’re stuck inside because of the weather or you simply don’t have the time or the finances to head to a gym, a rowing machine can be a simple solution to workout at home that really gets the body toned. The best rowing machine under $500 can also be a great go-to if you are also held back by a lower-body injury and can’t work out on your feet. Even though you might think that it’s almost impossible to get a quality fitness machine for such a cheap price, there are still really high-quality rowers that can meet you at your budget.
In this guide, we’re going to go ahead and do the work for you—so you can do the work on your new rowing machine later! We’ve taken each feature that is important to a rowing machine and broken the article down into important sections and pieces of information you’ll need to get the best rowing machine that money can buy (under $500, of course). From the size, the tension type, the various levels of resistance, weight capacity, console, and warranty, we’ve made sure that everything is covered in this article.
After hours of research through valuable and credible sources of experts who know rowing machines, this article can help you choose the best rowing machine under $500, easy. Just take a look at our comparison product table, the in-detail review of each product, and our buying guide at the end of the article. Happy reading and rowing!
The Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine has got our vote for one of the best rowing machines on the market today. There are various features that have helped it rank so high in our book.
For one, it is completely “wind resistant”, which might seem a little strange to you since you most likely will be rowing inside, however this just means that with every stroke, you’ll get a smooth and efficient movement.
You can also benefit from the multi-function monitor display that covers the various necessary information you’ll need while working out, like the speed, distance, time, and calories burned to make your workout the most efficient.
You also should always be comfortable—especially if you’re doing something that makes you uncomfortable in the first place. The Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine has got that covered, with an upholstered, padded, sliding seat, large footplates which can accommodate to any size user, and adjustable nylon foot straps hold feet securely in place while you’re really working out on the rower.
Not to mention, you will also love the oversized seat rail supports that make it extremely smooth-sliding while you’re rowing, an angled seat rail for easy seat return, and textured grips to keep hands stable and comfortable while rowing—no more calluses!
Storing is also made simple, since the Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine can easily be folded up and put away, with a floor protector to prevent skidding while moving it around. Finally, with a sturdy steel construction that’s built to last, you can enjoy this rowing machine for years to come.
Why did it make our list?
Sturdy frame built-to-last and able to support up to 220 lbs
Can be folded up to put away and even has transport wheels
Extremely comfortable ride with seat and foot pads
Can change and adjust through 10 levels of magnetic resistance
Detailed monitor display
What is not ideal about it?
There is no backlight on the display ergometer which makes it harder to see
If you are looking for the most advanced rowing machine, then XTERRA Fitness ERG700 has got you covered! Firstly, it is solid and sturdy. The machine combines aluminum, ABS, and steel parts in its construction frame. The metallic parts are coated with a chip-resistant and corrosion-resistant paint. This way, you will use your equipment for a long time without it getting damaged.
We love the fact that the machine can be folded and is easily assembled. You can do it alone, without needing help. Additionally, it can easily be relocated from one place to another, using the unit’s set of wheels. Let us not forget to mention that the machine provides you with perfect stability when rowing. Its bases incorporate adjustable levelers that possess rubberized pad.
As if it is not enough, the XTERRA Fitness ERG700 machine features an air & magnetic resistance system. This system delivers a firm response during working out or rowing. For more dynamism, the equipment provides you with 16 levels of resistance. As you start rowing, and according to your needs, the resistance level increases, offering you the ability to challenge yourself and achieve more.
The icing on the cake, the machine is equipped with a programmable console. This tool integrates an LCD screen where you can view all your workout information.
Unfortunately, we deplore the fact that it does not possess online or Bluetooth connectivity.
The Stamina ATS is another excellent model that runs on air. As one of the best air-powered machines on the market, this rowing machine is highly efficient, regardless of the ability to change the levels of resistance.
If you’re just looking for a machine to power through and get a workout in, this one is definitely for you. With the wind-resistance feature while you’re rowing, you can expect smoothness and efficiency with every stroke.
The multi-function display monitor also gives you a heads up when it comes to the basic four pieces of information you need—speed, distance, time and calories burned. The Stamina ATS is also quite comfortable to use, with an upholstered, padded, molded, and sliding seat, you can ride in comfort.
Since it’s also capable of holding users up to 250 lbs, it comes with the large footplates that can accommodate any sized user, along with the adjustable nylon foot straps that hold your feet in place. Its nylon rowing strap with texture grips helps each stroke stay stable and keeps your hands comfortable while rowing.
You can also fold the frame right up after using the Stamina ATS, set it aside and store it away, where you can get it again for your next workout.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is a magnetic rowing machine that comes with all the features in a simple, efficient build. If you’re looking for a great rowing machine that can not only get your workout done at home but push you to be better, this is it.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 comes with the possibility of adjusting between eight different levels of tension, which can increase or decrease the intensity of your workout. Using magnetic capability, This at-home fitness machine can be easily adjusted at just the twist of the knob, so you can reach out and pull as you go—not even missing a beat in your workout.
It’s also designed for users up to 250 lbs, with large, textured pedals with safety straps so that you can feel safe while using the machine. The pedals are also anti-slip with a non-slip surface so you can feel extra ensured.
With the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515, you ride in comfort. The simple-solution seat is cushioned and padded so you can feel comfortable throughout your rowing training. Also, no more messing with complicated buttons and programs and watches to figure out the extent of your workout. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 comes with an LCD monitor that displays workout statistics continuously throughout your entire workout.
What makes it stand out?
Holds up to 250 lbs and design is adjustable for larger users
Works with magnetic resistance, which is quiet
Can adjust between eight different levels of intensity
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The LCD display doesn’t show other statistics like calories burnt and heart rate
The EFITMENT RW025 is a great solution if you’re looking for an at-home rowing machine with high capability. For an excellent aerobic workout and capable of building endurance, strengthening muscles, and building up stamina, this rowing machine is a perfect solution if you’re looking to get a quick workout in.
The EFITMENT RW025 comes capable of being adjusted between eight different levels of resistance to get a full-body, efficient workout, from your shoulders, back, abs all the way down your legs.
You can also ride in comfort, since the EFITMENT RW025 comes with a cushioned seat and with a handle that is sweat resistant—which is perfect for those sweaty trainees. Perfectly sized to fit lying down in any room, the 40” rail length is a great size to get that full extension you need to work your body to the fullest.
Using magnetic resistance, the EFITMENT RW025 is extremely silent—which means that you can workout in the early morning hours (even when your roommates or housemates are still sleeping!) The elastic cord that pulls and retracts is also heavy-duty and completely tear-resistant to last you while you row over the years.
To get that full body workout without the risk, the EFITMENT RW025 features a low-profile steel slide rail which means that your body is seated extremely close to the ground. If you’re ever worried about contact with the ground or are injured, this makes the workout completely safe.
It has a digital monitor that displays the scan, count, time, RPM, calories and distance and is compact enough to fit in small spaces.
Why did it make our list?
Lightweight and extremely compact for storage
Hard foam seat for a comfortable workout
Easy assembly right out of the box
Comes with a monitor display
What is not ideal about it?
Monitor display is a bit limited
There is no ribbed pattern on the bottom so it can slide depending on the flooring
The ProGear 750 Rower is one of the most interesting rowers we have here available on the market. With its 3-time adjustable incline, you really can choose what you want out of it and how you want to be positioned as you workout. The three different positions can not only help you ride more comfortably but also can simply be there for an adjustment in height.
On the ProGear 750 Rower, there are two independent hydraulic cylinders and three hydraulic resistance levels that can be switched to help increase your performance and really get your workout in. You can even adjust the tension during your workout. Since the controllers are strategically placed to be independently adjusted on the left and right handle bars, this makes for an easy switch.
With the ProGear 750 Rower, you get 180 degrees of an absolute range of rowing motion, making it much easier to workout various muscle groups at different angles. You can also ride comfortably because of the cushioned seat and multi-exercise backrest (which you don’t normally see with other rowing machines!)—not to mention the foam-covered handle bars!
The ProGear 750 Rower also comes with an LCD display monitor that can indicate the scan, time, rep count, calories burned, and total rep count.
Even though it only has a weight capacity of 220 lbs, it still has large, pivoting and textured anti-slip foot pedals with adjustable straps so that no matter how hard you‘re rowing, you’ll still be secure in place.
The best part is?! You can tune into over 10 additional workout exercises including rows, curls, shoulder presses, pull downs, ab workouts, bent over rows, pec flies and more—all in one machine!
What makes it stand out?
Can be folded for storage and is extremely well-made
Has various resistance levels and can be used for additional exercises—not just a rowing machine
The Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine is warrantied for up to six months—which means that it definitely is backed and credited by its manufacturer—and for a good reason! This is one of the most fun-designed rowing machine on the market.
Not only does it have vibrant color, it is also unique because of its folding arms, which provide a full and complete range-of-motion while you’re working out. The folding arms also help keep it compact and make it easy to put away, while you’re not using it and want to put it in storage.
The Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine is designed with a steel frame that can last you many more years than the warranty includes since it has an extremely strong and durable build.
Although it is compact, the LCD display monitor is actually rather large, which helps when rowing and trying to view. It keeps track of time, stroke count, and calories burned—all cycling through every 4-6 seconds.
If you are looking for a compact rowing machine that doesn’t take up too much space regardless of its functinoality, the Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine is for you. Perfect for use for the average-sized adult, you can get a great workout in the comfort of your own home.
The Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine is also extremely easy to assemble and uses only a 1 AA battery, which isn’t included. Simplicity of exercise at its finest.
What are its best features?
Has an extremely unique design and color
Has pristine and exquisite range of motion for the rower
Compact and easy to assemble
What could be improved?
Can only hold up to 265 lbs
The only part of the machine that folds are the arms.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a great budget pick rowing machine—even if the budget is well under $500. For an affordable price, you can get the benefits of a good workout at home with hydraulic tension and even 12 levels of resistance—which is actually quite a few more than other rowers on the market which are more expensive.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 can hold up to 250 lbs of an individual even though it actually weighs just at around 40 lbs itself.
This machine is also really well designed and built, able to truly give you a beneficial workout that can get your lower and upper body working.
With its compact size, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is extremely easy to store. Even better—the arms actually fold down for storage, making the body of the Glider very slim and compact, simple to stow away.
While you‘re training, you will appreciate the dual handles (instead of just one), each with foam-padded hand grips and a full range-of-motion, which makes the entire exercise extremely realistic (as if you were really out there on the water rowing).
It amazingly even has TWELVE levels of resistance and the multi-functional fitness monitor to keep track of your workouts. You won’t ever NOT be challenged by this rowing machine, even if you’re on a budget. Especially if you are just starting to row or if you’re on a budget, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a great choice for you.
What are its best features?
Solid-construction even when on a budget
Foldable arms for a compact design
Extremely lightweight at 40 lbs, making it easy to move and store
Has twelve levels of resistance
Full range of motion dual handles
What could be improved?
The twelve resistance levels are not even enough for very strong rowers
Possibly heat up after 15 minutes and lose oil as it gets older
Purchasing the best rowing machine doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break your budget. Now that we’ve given you options for the best products out there when it comes to at-home fitness, now it’s on you to decide which one is right for you.
Useful and cheap – what to expect from a rowing machine under $500?
Just because you’re on a budget, that doesn’t mean you have to have low quality, and in some cases you can even find top-quality rowing machines under 300$. Having inexpensive exercise equipment around is not only good for your wallet but also good for you in more ways than one. And if you can afford one more exerciser, not for pumping up your back muscles this time, try looking through ellipticals, which go almost at the same price as rowing machines.
For example, a cheap rowing machine is the perfect solution for someone looking to get healthier, stronger, and even lose weight. This high-intensity workout can be done in a mere matter of minutes in the comfort of your own home.
If you are under stress at work, a quick half-hour workout on the rowing machine can help reduce any stress, release tension, and get your endorphin levels up and running to help you feel happy.
Your doctor is concerned with your diet and the health of your heart—well, having a low-budget rowing machine at home can help fix that. Daily exercise—even if it isn’t a lot can help improve your heart condition just as it can with the rest of your body. Healthy exercise will help lower the risk of heart disease—along with a ton of other benefits, too.
Walking or running might not be for you—or a lower-body injury might be holding you back. The rowing machine is the perfect solution if you’re looking for a low-impact and low-priced workout. Perfect for those who need to complete non-weight bearing exercise because of previous physical ailments or want to avoid developing pain in the joints.
Different Types of Rowing Machines
It’s more complicated than a one-size-fits-all rowing machine. When it comes to rowing, it’s all about personal preference. You might want to invest in an air rowing machine, like the Stamina ATS because of limited space and sound isn’t really an issue.
If you’re really on a budget, you should look into investing in the hydraulic piston rowing machines, like the ProGear 750 Rower, which is compact and easy to store when you’re not using it, and is also considered to be one of the best hydraulic rowing machines. Just like the ProGear 750 Rower, this type of rowing machine is easily adjustable and even has multi-functions—which means even more bang for your buck.
Magnetic are the quietest rowers of all. So, if you are looking to have one in your house and want to work out late at night or in the earliest hours of the morning, a magnetic resistance, like the one found in the EFITMENT RW025 Rower, will be the way to go. They are also a great buy if you don’t want to do any work maintaining the rower later on.
If you are an actual rower or if you’re looking for a realistic feel, you can try getting a water-powered rower. With this type, resistance is a little different since the user’s rowing intensity often determines it.
How can you use a rowing machine?
The answer to that is – any way you want! Once you‘ve set up your rowing machine at home (after you’ve purchased it, of course), there are so many different ways that you can get a great, low-impact workout that will really kick your butt. Rowing machines help you burn calories, keep joints stable and safe, and can be the perfect source of exercise—even when you’re injured.
You can use a rowing machine for a:
high-calorie burning workout. Since it is a high-intensity, aerobic workout, the rowing machine can be your source for maintaining or losing weight—even while sitting. This will help you inadvertently also lose weight—even burning from 600 to 1,000 calories an hour!
low-impact workout: Especially since it is non-weight bearing, this is a perfect choice if you’re suffering from a lower-body injury and still want to get an aerobic workout. The rowing machine is a popular choice among injured athletes, seniors, and those recovering from surgery.
full and complete body workout: You might think that the rowing machine only works your arms out—that’s not true! It works out your legs, arms, abs, upper body, and hips!
at-home workout: Want to continue on with your workout regimen without having to drive to the gym and even pay membership? Well, the rowing machine is a total body workout that can be done at home that helps you through convenience and time-saving elements.
highly-adjustable workout: You also don’t have to go hard or go home with a rowing machine. If you want an easy workout session simply to reduce stress, you can hop on the rowing machine even while watching TV.
Features to consider while buying an incredible rowing machine under $500
If you don’t want to settle for the basic standard, you should know exactly what you want. Before you invest in a rowing machine, it’s important to run through every detailed feature to recognize if it’s not only fit for you and your fitness goals but also your space at home!
For example, the size of the rowing machine is one of the most important features, especially since this can dictate whether or not you can actually have the rowing machine in your home. The length of a rowing machine (at least the ones on here) have been known to be from 50”, like the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 and the Harvil Hydraulic Rowing Machine up until 82”, like the Sunny Health & Fitness Rower. Between the two extremes, that’s almost 3 feet long! So, you definitely have to pay attention to the size of the machine and measure out the space you have at home to see if it will fit.
If your rowing machine can fold, that will be a huge help when it comes to storage. Especially if you are living with limited space or don’t have an at-home gym, you simply just cannot leave your rowing machine just lying out in the living room. Being able to fold it up, like with the ProGear 750 Rower, can help a ton with storing and finding the space in your home to fit it when not in use. If a rowing machine isn’t foldable, that can be a huge red flag for someone who may have limited space in their home.
The type of material that the rowing machine is designed with—like with a stainless steel frame—can increase the lifespan of your rowing machine and make the investment much more worth your while (even if it is a budgeted item). Speaking of, especially since it is budgeted, you will definitely have to watch out for flimsy material by manufacturers looking to save money that way.
The various levels of resistance can make a difference when it comes to getting a beneficial and efficient workout in. The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050, for example, has twelve different levels of resistance to make for a challenging workout, as well as the EFITMENT RW025 and the Sunny Health and Fitness rowers, which both have eight levels of resistance, respectively.
Want to work out in the early morning without disturbing your family? Do you live in an apartment with tenants below you? You will definitely want to invest in a rowing machine that has little to no noise—or at least keep the noise to a minimum! As we already mentioned before, rowing machines that are powered magnetically—they will function with the least amount of noise.
User weight capacity
Especially if you’re more comfortable working out at home because you are self-conscious about your starting weight, you will definitely want to check out the capacity of the rowing machine you want to purchase. If you are heavier than the maximum weight capacity, you won’t be able to use it properly.
The console is where these rowing machines will differ greatly from one another. For example, not every console is going to be state-of-the-art like the ones you see in gyms (you are looking for ones under $500, after all). Hydraulic rowers, for example, don’t even come with consoles or have very limited display monitors.
If keeping track of certain statistics while you’re working out is extremely important to you or using preset programs is necessary, you’ll want to make sure that the rowing machine in question has an adequate console with all the necessary data and program choices.
Okay, you’ve purchased your rowing machine and you’re ready to get started on your new workout regimen—the only problem is, you have no idea how to set it up! Investing in a rowing machine that is easy to assemble is also a highly-sought-out feature that can be a make or break deal for someone in training.
If you have just gotten surgery, have some sort of mobility issue or are a bit on the older side, you might want to avoid rowing machines that are low and close to the ground. This makes it extremely difficult to get on and off of!
If you are already investing in a piece of fitness equipment for your home, you might as well make it something worth your while! If the manufacturer puts out a longer warranty, like a 1-3 year warranty, this will definitely mean that your rowing machine is worth investing in and can fit the bill and last much longer during your fitness regimen, helping you stay fit for a long time.
Depending on the rowing machine you buy, you can simply get away with wiping it down with non-harmful or not-so-strong all-purpose cleaner. That’s normally the only thing you would need to do. However, if you get a water-powered machine, you’ll want to make sure you maintain the water with chlorine tablets for water purification.
Depending on the month you’re on, you should always consult with your doctor about what you can and cannot do while pregnant.
If you can remember anything from our guide, this is the most important section. Here is where we name the top three rowing machines, which are priced under $500.
The Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine is our editor’s choice for the best rowing machine while you’re on a budget. Magnetically powered, this rowing machine has ten different levels of resistance and can hold a rower up to 220 lbs. It also comes with a console that you can adjust and is designed to be a comfortable ride for various-sized riders, with non-slip grip handlebars, anti-slip foot pedals, with adjustable foot straps.
The XTERRA Fitness ERG700 is one of the most advanced rowing machines that you’ll be able to get for the price. As a magnetic machine, you can rest assured that it will function quietly. It is adjustable with 16 different levels of resistance, and has a weight capacity of 350 lbs.
The Stamina ATS is our best-ranked air-powered rowing machine. Capable of holding a rower up to 250 lbs and with a 3-year limited warranty on the frame, you can definitely feel like you invested in power with this comfortable ride.
We hope that this article has helped you pick out the best rowing machine under $500 to help you reach fitness goals you have.