The Top 10 Rowing Machines Under $500

rowing machine reviews

Rowing machines have been steadily growing in popularity over the last couple of years, and no wonder. They are one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise that you can do, and better yet is that it can be done in the comfort of your own home.

This increase in demand for rowing machines has resulted in a huge amount being released onto the market, and choosing from all of these options can often be a hassle.

To help avoid spending hours of your time browsing through the hundreds of different products, we have created a list below of the Top 10 rowing machines to have in your home that are under $500.

Different Types of Rowing Machines

Before you start looking for your perfect rowing machine, it is of great importance that you understand that there are different kinds of resistance on rowing machines namely: Air Resistance, Water Resistance, Hydraulic Resistance and Magnetic Resistance.

  • Air resistance is created by a flywheel that is found in the rowing machine, and the harder you pull the bar the more resistance you will encounter.
  • Hydraulic machines are powered by pistons that are connected to the handlebars and they can be adjusted manually to the resistance that is suitable for your fitness levels. These are generally the most affordable machines.

  • Water resistance machines offer the most realistic rowing experience as the rower itself is placed in a tank of water. Resistance is created as you pull the blades through the body of water.

  • Electromagnets are used in magnetic resistance machines to slow down the flywheel. The slower the flywheel is spinning the more magnetic resistance you will feel.

Best Rowing Machines Under $500

1. Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine

Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine review

The Lifespan Fitness RW1000 has a magnetic brake system with a 16.5-pound flywheel. This is a quiet and smooth machine that also boasts manual adjustment options of 5 levels. The LCD on this rower calculates and tracks distance, calories, strokes, strokes per second and time. It is an affordable machine that is light and easy to pack away.

LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine
112 Reviews
LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine
  • Features a smooth and quiet eddy current drive system with a 16.5-pound flywheel
  • Solid steel frame; assembled dimensions measure 90 x 18.5 x 23 inches (L x W x H)
  • Folds to 34 by 19 by 64 inches (L x W x H) for easy storage
  • Three-LCD console provides distance, calories, time, strokes, and strokes per minute workout feedback
  • 300-pound maximum user weight; five-year frame warranty, two-year parts warranty, and one-year labor warranty

2. Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine review

Two hydraulic cylinders that work on continuous adjustment power this machine, and it has two circular rowing motion handles. The computer on the Kettler measures time, strokes, stroke rate, speed, calories used and distance. There is also an attachable heart monitor that allows the computer to keep track of your heart rate.

Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment: Favorit Rowing Machine
158 Reviews
Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment: Favorit Rowing Machine
  • Displays 6 functions simultaneously: Time, Distance, Energy Consumed, Strokes, Pulse Rate and Frequency; Includes a recovery feature which provides a cardio wellness grading indexed 1 to 6 to track improvement
  • Two industrial strength hydraulic pistons provide resistance which can be adjusted by repositioning the piston's clamps to the various knurl marks on each rower oar
  • Resistance levels can be set to any one of the 50 knurl marks on each oar to provide a wide and challenging range of resistance
  • Biomechanically correct footplates offer a natural pivoting action providing a full longitudinal rowing motion; Thick, padded seat with sealed ball bearings glides smoothly along a steel track
  • Includes an infrared earlobe clip sensor to measure pulse rate electronically; LCD display requires 2 "AA" batteries, has a weight capacity of 285 lbs.

3. Stamina Air Rower

Stamina Air Rower review

The Stamina Air Rower is powered by air resistance and this allows the user to determine the resistance level. The harder and faster you row, the more resistance you will encounter. The monitor on this machine tracks distance, calories, speed and time, and it boasts a large padded seat to make for a smooth and comfortable work out. The footstraps are adjustable and the frame is foldable for easy storage.

Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399
1,359 Reviews
Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399
  • EFFECTIVE CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE: Rowing on the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 helps burn calories, build total body strength and improve your hearth health.
  • DYNAMIC AIR RESISTANCE: One of the main benefits of air resistance is that it always matches your pace. Row harder if you desire more resistance and ease off if you want less.
  • LCD WORKOUT MONITOR: During your routine, track speed, distance, time and calories burned with the large, easy-to-read LCD display.
  • UPGRADED FEATURES: The upholstered, padded seat, adjustable footplates and padded rowing handle help keep you relaxed during your workouts. Built-in wheels and a folding frame make storage a breeze.
  • EASY ASSEMBLY: Once assembled, the rower is 77” long x 18” wide x 22” tall. Comes with three-year frame warranty and 90-day parts warranty.

4. Stamina Body Trac Glider

Stamina Body Trac Glider review

This is a small and compact machine that is easily foldable and fits into small spaces for storage. It runs on gas shock resistance, and has a sturdy steel frame. The monitor tracks your time, strokes and calories. It is not the most hardy of rowers but it is a good option for those with a lower budget range.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
3,011 Reviews
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
  • Unique, full-range-of-motion rowing mimics being on the water
  • Multi-function electronic monitor to keep you motivated
  • Comfortable molded seat
  • Adjustable, hydraulic cylinder resistance for a smooth rowing stroke
  • Foldable arms for compact storage

5. Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine With Free Motion Arms

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine With Free Motion Arms review

The main attraction on this machine is the full range of motion in the handles that mimics the exact motion of rowing itself. It works on a hydraulic resistance and the frame is height adjustable to make an incline for a harder workout. The monitor covers time, stroke rate, calories and distance and the frame itself is foldable and easy to store.

Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms
425 Reviews
Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms
  • Compact rowing machine with full range-of-motion rowing that mimics rowing on the water
  • Smooth hydraulic cylinder resistance; adjustable tension controls
  • Single button monitor shows speed, distance, time, row count, calories burned, and miles rowed
  • Thick, padded seat; pivoting foot plates;Assembled size: 48 inches long x 32.5 inches wide x 27.75 inches high
  • Some assembly required; 5-year warranty on frame, 90 days on parts

6. HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine

HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine review

This is a piston rower that is run off hydraulic power, and it has two hydraulic cylinders that can be set from resistance levels 1-12. The footpads have adjustable straps and also pivot as you row to suit your natural body position. It is easy to store this machine as it can fold to fit in a cupboard or other storage space.

HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine
72 Reviews
HCI Fitness Sprint Outrigger Scull Rowing Machine
  • High-quality piston rowing machine; 12 levels of hydraulic resistance
  • Strong, commercial-grade cylinders
  • Quickly folds into an ultra-compact unit
  • LCD display shows you time, stroke count, total strokes, and calories

7. Stamina 1205 Precision Rower

Stamina 1205 Precision Rower review

This rowing machine is a hydraulic resistance machine and it has adjustable resistance settings. It has a steel and aluminum center beam that provides comfort and stability, as well as durability. It comes with a multifunction electric monitor that will track stroke rate, time, distance and calories.

Stamina 1205 Precision Rower
345 Reviews
Stamina 1205 Precision Rower
  • Precision rowing machine with deluxe ball-bearing rolling system
  • Smooth hydraulic cylinder action with adjustable tension controls
  • Multifunction fitness monitor tracks speed, distance, strokes, and more
  • Thick padded seat and pivoting footplates for maximum comfort
  • Measures 32.5 x 27.75 x 48 inches (W x H x D); weighs 47 pounds. Weight Capacity: Less than 250 pounds

8. Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine review

This machine is run on shock resistance, and therefore you will find the resistance a little harder than something that uses air resistance. It has 12 levels of resistance and large footplates. It has a comfortable, large and well-padded seat and folds away easily.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor
2,797 Reviews
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor
  • DIGITAL MONITOR - The large LCD console displays time, count, calories, total count, scan. The convenient scan mode displays your progress to assist you in tracking all your fitness goals
  • EXTRA LONG SLIDE RAIL - At 48 inches in slide rail length and 44 inches in inseam length, the SF-RW5515 can accommodate rowers of nearly any size.
  • ADJUSTABLE MAGNETIC RESISTANCE - With a simple twist, you can increase or decrease the 8 levels of magnetic resistance, so your workout can remain challenging and effective throughout your fitness journey.
  • TRANSPORTATION WHEELS - Built in transportation wheels for easy portability. Simply tilt and roll out for use or away for storage, no need for heavy lifting or muscle strain. Folded Dimensions: 37L X 19W X 53. 5H inches
  • NON-SLIP FOOT PEDALS - Textured non-slip foot pedals will ensure safe footing during the most demanding and vigorous workouts! Foot straps keep your feet saddled in so you can focus on the workout without feeling unbalanced

9. Soozier Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine

Soozier Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine review

This is a magnetic resistance rowing machine with an inbuilt monitor system, large footplates and eight levels of shock resistance.

Soozier Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine
13 Reviews
Soozier Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine
  • ✅✔Shock resistant for smooth rowing stroke
  • ✅Large foot plates with adjustable straps
  • ✅Stores upright when not in use
  • ✅Easy-to-view ABS monitor displays Time, Calories, Count, Total Count and Scan
  • ✅Dimensions: 66.5"L x 21.5"W x 19"H

10. Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine

Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine review

This machine is shock resistant and sturdy, and it comes with an inbuilt electronic ABS to monitor stroke rate, calories, time and distance rowed. It can be stored upright making it easy to put away.

Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine (BK)
128 Reviews
Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine (BK)
  • 【Various Workout Equipment-8 Levels of Resistance 】Switch up the intensity of your rowing workout with the convenient 8 levels of adjustable resistance tension knob. With a simple twist, you can increase or decrease resistance so your rower workout can remain challenging and effective throughout your rowing fitness journey.
  • 【 Extra Padding & Rotary Design-Fully Padded Seat&Multi-angle Rotary Footplates 】A sliding, extra padded and upholstered seat to support your bottom and back, ensure proper blood flow in the glutes for prolonged and vigorous rowing workouts. Large strapping footplates that are suitable for users of different sizes provide optimal comfort and support on this indoor rowing machine.
  • 【Track Your Workout-Large LCD Display 】With convenient LCD monitor that displays your Time, Count, Calories, Total Count, you will be able to track your progress and modify your current routine appropriately and keep you further motivated and aim for improvement.
  • 【Comfortable and Silence-15 Degree Angled Seat Rail& Built-in Megnetic Flywheel】The 15 degree angled seat rail makes your seat return smooth and efficient so that you can get the most out of your rowing session. Built-in megnetic flywheel minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel during exercise process on this air rowing machine.
  • 【Durability&Portability-Folding Frame& Built-in Wheels】Equipped with built-in wheels and a foldable frame, this rowing machine for home aims at easy transport and storage. Merax rowing machine assembled dimensions: 73 L x 16 W x 21 H inches; Folded: 26 L x 16 W x 49 H inches; Weight Capacity: 264 lbs. Slide rail length: 43.3 inch


Remember when choosing a rowing machine that there are different factors to consider before deciding on one, such as your fitness levels, how often you plan to use the machine, how tall you are, what type of resistance you would prefer and most importantly your budget. That is why we have selected machines that are all under $500.

Choosing the right rowing machine for your house can be an exhausting and time consuming process, we hope that once you have read through the list above that the process will be easy and we are sure your decision will be a perfect fit for your home.

If you still aren’t convinced that you should invest in a rowing machine, this video talks about some of the benefits:

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