The rowing machine is a great way to strengthen your cardiovascular health and to build most muscle groups. Combined with a healthy diet, it burns a lot of calories, which can help you lose weight. It is also easy to use and perform powerful sequences with a fast pace.
Choosing and buying the right device is not easy because a huge number of models available on the market. From the inexpensive entry-level to the high-performance, reliable and even luxury model, what is the top of current rowing machine under 500 dollars?
Here is our selection of the best rowing machines under 500 dollars in 2020, as well as a comparison, advice and our opinion. We work mainly with well-known brands, well established and recognized for the quality and their service.
- 1. Bluefin Fitness – Magnetic Resistance Rower Machine
- 2. SereneLife SLRWMC10 Rowing Machine – Editor’s Choice
- 3. Circuit Fitness AMZ-986R – Deluxe Rowing Machine
- 4. TUNTURI R30 – Cardio Fit Series Rowing Machine
- 5. XTERRA Fitness ERG200 – Folding Rowing Machine
- 6. Merax Magnetic Exercise – Adjustable Rowing Machine
- 7. Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW – Magnetic Rowing Machine
- 8. Goplus Magnetic Foldable Rower – Beautiful Design
- 9. Marcy ME-1018RE – Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine
- 10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 – Magnetic Rower
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Checkout: Our Comparison Table of Top 10 Best Rowing Machine Under $500
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1. Bluefin Fitness – Magnetic Resistance Rower Machine
This rowing machine from Bluefin Fitness is ideal for training in competition. You can train according to your level, from beginners to professionals. The quality of this indoor rowing machine is excellent. Its seat is very comfortable and the ball bearing makes the movement fluid and efficient.
It has a large LCD Display that tracks all the information necessary for a good workout: duration of the session, number of strokes, movements per minute, distance traveled and number of calories burned. The non-slip footrests provide good support and safety during exercise.
The rowing action is very smooth, the foot straps are also great. Its magnetic braking system makes it very quiet device offering eight resistance levels to be adjusted manually. Once your training is finished, you can simply fold and store your ergometer.
You can also easily stow the magnetic rowing machine away when not in use by gently lifting the base, which rotates on its axis and stands fully upright. I recommended that you unplug the machine after each use in order to protect it from power surges.
It is not very difficult to assemble because the instructions are very clear. The handle grips are comfortable and it is easy to use. One of the biggest perks is also that the display allows you to track your workout and even has an app.
2. SereneLife SLRWMC10 Rowing Machine – Editor’s Choice
The SereneLife rower has been designed by experts and offers unrivaled comfort. This rowing machine offers a top-down workout that sheds upper back fat. With 8 adjustable resistance levels, this is an indispensable piece of rowing machine that you will never outgrow.
It is also very quiet and the rolling seat is comfortable. The unit can hold up to 200 lbs. It takes around 20 to 40 minutes to assemble. The adjustable tension is a great feature and the digital readout helps to track each workout.
This rower has a solid appearance and allows smooth and constant rowing without jerking. For less than 500 dollars, the SereneLife is a professional rower that you can meet in the weights and fitness rooms. It’s an inexpensive way to get exercise while shelter in place is on.
It has wheels so it is easy to move out of the way when not in use and can be stood up on end to save space. One other thing they could have done though is have calories or miles per hour on the computer. It helps to motivate one if you can see what your rate is.
3. Circuit Fitness AMZ-986R – Deluxe Rowing Machine
The Circuit Fitness AMZ-986R is a folding rowing machine ideal for all types of training at home both for beginners and professionals. As well as, it is one of the most practical models for those with limited space available.
The design is simple with a stable and safe line. The comfortable ball-bearing seat slides on a 15 ° inclined high-quality steel rail and the feet rest on non-slip platforms held in place by adjustable straps. The handlebars are large and give rowing safety.
The resistance of this rowing machine is magnetic and therefore very silent and its intensity is manually adjustable according to the user’s level and the training to be carried out through 8 different levels. The pedals are 4.5 inches wide and 12 inches long.
It has a very simple and intuitive multifunction display, which provides the main training data and a chest strap for detecting heart rate. The monitor operates with batteries and life can be up to 6 months. You can also watch TV or play music in the background without having to raise the volume.
It supports people up to 6 feet in height and 300 lbs in weight. For the rest, it is compact and moves easily thanks to the integrated wheels and is the ideal choice for those who do not have much space in the house and he wants to put it away after training.
4. TUNTURI R30 – Cardio Fit Series Rowing Machine
Tunturi R30 puts all the major muscle groups to work without the stress of high impact workouts. With this rowing machine, you work specifically on building muscle mass and endurance. It has 8 resistance levels which help you customize your workout and gain your target fitness goal.
It will allow you to enjoy high-end and professional equipment that you can use for at least 10 years. Another of its great advantages is to adapt to the activity of its user. This is a reliable rowing machine because it comes with 2 years warranty.
It allows to adapt your level and your progress by increasing the difficulty gradually. It also allows you to enjoy constant progression. You can use it to tone your body and improve your endurance as much as you want without fear of premature wear.
The easy-to-read monitor allows you not only to monitor your performance but also to create your own workouts adapted to your needs. This rowing machine also features a handy tablet holder that allows you to break up the monotony of indoor training with your favorite show or sports coverage.
You can easily store it because it disassembles into two parts and it will only take you a few minutes to fold and unfold. It is a perfect rower for small and medium-size people because its maximum capacity is 242 lbs.
5. XTERRA Fitness ERG200 – Folding Rowing Machine
The XTERRA Fitness ERG200 rowing machine has everything a rower looking for a full body exercise. It is quite durable & will remain sturdy for a long time. It is the best rower model on the market with a reasonable price considering the level of professional quality.
The XTERRA frame can be folded in half very easily and can be stored in a corner. This model has a robust form and aesthetics and exemplary professional quality. Although it is a little bulky, it is suitable for home use and you can install it in any room of the house.
The seat is at a height of 35 cm from the ground. The max user weight is 250 lb. The set-up dimensions are 73.2 x 20 x 31 inches, and the folded are 36.4 x 20 x 47.2 inches. It was designed to allow quality cardiovascular exercise and avoid injuries.
Its design is ergonomic and the position to adopt for the arms and legs allows really comfortable use. It is also designed to distribute the effort over as many muscles as possible in the body and thus allow balanced training.
The computer is very simple, and easy to set you time to count down. The screen keeps you constantly informed about your results during exercises and your goals. The highest resistance is not that high, but it doesn’t have to be if you are going for more than 15 – 20 minutes.
6. Merax Magnetic Exercise – Adjustable Rowing Machine
This rowing machine from Merax is ideal for home gym. It won numerous awards. It is equipped with a silent magnetic brake system and manually adjustable resistance on eight levels. The ball-bearing seat is very comfortable and slides smoothly on the aluminum rail.
Using the built-in display, you can choose one of the 6 pre-installed training programs, check the training time, distance, strokes per minute, total strokes, heart rate and calorie consumption. It is also combined with a standard quality chest strap.
This Merax magnetic exercise rowing machine weighs around 74 lbs. It also has wheels at the back for ease of movement and can be stored upright. The function is very straightforward, but the operation is quite. It also comes with 1 Year warranty.
It is easy to assemble and parts fit very well. The instruction simple and well-illustrated. It is an excellent quality rower, especially for the price. It is robust and space-saving. The max weight capacity is 264 lbs. This is a great functional piece of home equipment.
7. Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW – Magnetic Rowing Machine
The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW magnetic rowing machine is very simple to use, therefore perfect for beginners. It has a maximum capacity of 300 lbs. This rowing machine is ideal for home training because it is easy to use, well done and cheap.
It reinforced with a 9-pound flywheel. It allows you to regulate the intensity of training according to your preferences. This rower has 8 levels of magnetic resistance and a large screen that indicates the distance traveled, speed, training time, calories and beats per minute.
Go light if you want to work on endurance, go heavy if you want to tone. It is even reasonably easy to put together. The pedals are non-slip and have adjustable straps. It is a folding rowing machine with wheels, so you can easily store after use.
The rowing machine is very smooth and quiet, you won’t have any problem watching TV or listening to music while doing exercise. This budget rowing machine features a space-saving design and you require minimal floor space. It is also well built and sturdy.
It features a foldable design that allows you to store it conveniently. And it is easy to move because of the transport wheels. But one thing to note is the rower itself when fully assembled and in use – it’s quite long so you will need to have a minimum 6 feet of space to put it.
8. Goplus Magnetic Foldable Rower – Beautiful Design
The Goplus rowing machine is designed for regular home training. Works with magnetic brake with 10 lbs inertia flywheel and central pull oar. The tension control settings go from 1 to 10, and while the top setting isn’t super hard, you definitely feel the burn with repetitions.
The electronic screen indicates the number of rowing per minute, the total number of rowing, the training time, the consumption of calories and the pulse. It closes easily and has practical wheels that facilitate transportation.
The rower has solid performance and durability and is constructed with iron material. It comes with soft and durable seat and large pivot footplates with safety strap that fit different foot sizes perfectly. The handle is also non-slip for better handling.
The weight limit is 265, and it is very lightweight. If you aren’t a body builder this machine is more than sufficient. The movement is smooth and silent with a comfortable workout. This rowing machine also provides you long time service.
9. Marcy ME-1018RE – Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine
The Marcy ME-1018RE folding rowing machine features a permanent magnetic brake with 8 computer-adjustable resistance levels. Because of its magnetic resistance, it is limited in its actual ability to resist. But that also means it will never really lose its resistance.
The large display monitors all training parameters and allows you to choose from 12 pre-set training. This durable rower machine built with safety features and the handles provides a solid and comfortable grip. The pedals are large enough to get a firm footing while rowing.
It has a convenient tablet holder. The ball-bearing seat on an aluminum rail is very comfortable. This rower is a sturdy, tough, monster. It is a great magnetic rower on the market at a reasonable price point. The rowing machine has a maximum capacity of 300 lbs.
The foot pedals also can be moved forward and back to adjust for stride length. Quietness is one of the strengths of this device, and its stability is excellent. This rower is ideal for losing weight, burning calories and keeping fit
When folded for storage, the assembled dimension for this unit is L. 37 x W. 19.5 x H. 46 inches. The machine is designed to accommodate individuals 5ft to 6ft tall. It is very easy to put together. The only part you really have to put together is the area where the seat goes.
10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 – Magnetic Rower
Last but not least, we think the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is the best rower for beginners. It has a very good quality/price ratio and several interesting features. Its adjustable elastic resistance offers 8 different levels. It allows fluid movement and deep muscle work.
The LCD monitor of this ergometer is placed under the pull handle. This allows you to follow all the useful information during training: speed, duration, distance traveled, heart rate and calories burned. The noise level is minimal and would be perfect for a living situation.
This indoor rowing device is ergonomic and functional. The cushioned seat gives you a comfortable rowing experience. The quality of the machine for the price is pretty amazing. The strap is made of reinforced nylon and durable.
This rowing machine can be stored very easily. Indeed, it is a foldable rower, it can slip into a closet or a corner of the house. Casters also make it easy to move. The pulling motion is also stable, smooth and quiet. We recommend lubricating the monorail regularly to avoid squeaking.
Finally, it is interesting to note that this apartment rower is powered by battery. That means you won’t need to connect it to the mains and you can therefore use it anywhere, even outside. This rower comes with a 180 warranty for parts and a 3-year structural frame warranty.
We evaluate each rowing machine according to its characteristics for its price range (entry, middle, high-end) and select those which seem to us to be better value for money. See the criteria to take into account when choosing your rower.
Type of resistance
While the rowing machine is a fairly standard in design, one of the most variable features is the type of resistance it uses. Each type of resistance has its own advantages and sensations, and you will have to decide which one will suit you best.
Magnetic rowing machines are very quiet if they are well made. These models control the resistance using electromagnets which actuate a mechanical brake. The disadvantage of a magnetic rowing machine is that their resistance is constant and does not change if you pull harder on the handle.
Size & dimension
When thinking about your rower model, you will need to consider its size and the space in which you want to install it. The typical size of rowers is at least 2 m in length and around 60 cm in width.
Many rowing machines are foldable and therefore easy to store. Others are also fitted with wheels which facilitate their movement. Some of the larger rowers also offer many ergonomic possibilities that make them more compact once you have finished your workout.
Namely, small rowers are certainly less bulky, but they generally use a resistance with hydraulic pistons, less qualitative in terms of feeling. That said, don’t forget to take a look at the space you have for your legs before choosing a rower.
Comfort & ease of use
Some apartment rowing machines are designed to be both easy to install and to use. If you are looking for an easy-to-use rower, make sure to check its simplicity of installation and the features it has to facilitate its storage and use. It can be interesting to look at the comments of customers who give their own feedback.
If you want an easy-to-see screen and an easy-to-use rower, look at the models with a large screen and large buttons. Also, if you plan to put away your rowing machine after using it, check if you can easily fold or put it away. Even some large rowers fold easily or stand upright which make it easier to store in a small space.
The price varies according to the models of rowing machine. If your budget is tight, there are many affordable rowing machines that will not ruin you. If you are looking for a cheaper rower, you still have to keep in mind that it will probably have a shorter lifespan.
- Data screen: the monitors on the rowers display different types of data. The cheapest rowers tend to provide only a few pieces of information, such as time, distance, and calories burned. More expensive machines generally provide much more information, including the total number of repetitions, the number of repetitions per minute, heart rate, etc.
- Training programs: many rowers have integrated training programs. They help make a session more fun by setting specific goals in terms of calories burned, elapsed time, number of strokes, and much more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why buy a rowing machine?
What could be better than waking up one morning especially on a cold winter morning, and knowing that you have your own gym at home. No need to get in the car, drive in traffic in the morning, park and wait for a machine to be released in a gym. Instead, you take advantage of your own installation in the warmth of your home with the purchase of quality equipment.
If you’ve never rowed before, you may don’t know how enjoyable and relaxing a good rowing session can be. While it’s not as relaxing as a good nap, once you’ve hit your pace, it’s easy to forget that you’re doing cardio.
What are the most durable rowing machines?
Most rowing machines using water-resistance are manufactured to have a long service life. They are distinguished by their quality design and doesn’t require much maintenance.
However, most of them are very expensive. If you cannot afford to take one of these water rowing machines, look instead at the magnetic rowers. These rowers are also durable and can save you a lot of money.
Should I check the height of rowing machines?
It depends on the space you plan to install your rower. If your space is limited, you will need to make sure that the height of the rowing machines meets your needs. Some rowing machines are not very tall, while others can be quite tall if they are on raised feet.
How much weight allowed on a rower?
Most rowers are very resistant, even if they are not expensive, and they generally offer a load capacity of at least 300 lbs. The maximum load indicates the weight that the device can support when you exercise. So you have to make sure you buy one that can support your weight.
If you want a rower that allows a heavier weight (some go up to 500 lbs), you will probably have to turn to a high-end device.
Fitness experts and professional athletes agree that rowers are the best training equipment available. Training on a rowing machine allows you to target the vast majority of the muscles in the body and makes them work. Compared to treadmills, rowers work more muscles and have a lower negative impact on the joints.
If you want to buy a rower, you are likely to be a little lost with all this choice of rowers. At the start of the article, we pre-selected the rowers with the best ratings in their price categories. Choosing from this selection guarantees you satisfaction in use.
Sabbir Hossain obtained an Honors degree in Marketing, then specialized in training in blog writing, reporting and digital communication. Currently doing Masters in Digital Marketing. Read more about him.