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A rowing machine offers a total body workout while still being low-impact. This makes it a perfect workout for those who suffer from joint pain, especially in the lower extremities.
If you are considering purchasing the best budget priced rowing machine for your home, it’s important not only to know which are the top makes and models so you know which you can choose from, but also what criteria should go into making the right choice.
In this buyer’s guide, we will show you the top value priced rowing machines on Amazon based on our own use of several models.
Best Value Rowing Machines
|JOROTO Rowing Machine||MaxKare Rowing Machine||Circuit Fitness Rowing Machine|
|Resistance:||Magnetic Resistance||Air Resistance||Water Resistance|
|Dimensions:||71" L x 21" W x 36" H||75.6” x 20” x 14.4”||78" x 22" x 42"|
|Weight:||53 Pounds||57 Pounds||105 Pounds|
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Budget Rowing Machines
- JOROTO Magnetic Rower – Rowing Machine
- Circuit Fitness Water Rowing Machine
- Merax Water Rowing Machine – Fitness Water Rower
- ECHANFIT Foldable Indoor Rowing Machine
- Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
- Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine
- Fitness Reality 4000MR Magnetic Rowing Machine
We will also discuss how you should go about choosing the right one for you. Let’s get started, shall we?
Budget Rowing Machine Reviews
We have tested several rowing machines to find the top rated budget rowing machines you should consider when buying one of your own for home use. Take a look at their reviews and choose the best one for your needs.
- Resistance Method: Magnetic Resistance w/ Aluminum Flywheel
- Dimensions: 71″ L x 21″ W x 36″ H
- Folding: Yes
- Weight: 53 Pounds
The JOROTO Magnetic Rower uses magnetic resistance and an aluminum flywheel to offer you a superior workout that is also low-impact.
With 10 levels of resistance and no need for electric power, you can choose the intensity of your workout. Choose a lower level to work out your heart and lungs. Turn it up a notch to build or strengthen muscle.
The adjustable LCD monitor on the JOROTO rowing machine has multiple functions so you can track how effective your workouts are.
Count, total count, time, and calories are all tracked and it also features a scan function.
This magnetic rower comes with several features that make it very comfortable to use so that you won’t be tempted to let it sit in the corner and gather dust.
The seat is ergonomic as well as wider than most for extra comfort during longer workouts. The non-slip footplates are designed for any user, regardless of their size. A soft handlebar prevents discomfort.
The seat rail is created with ease of use in mind – you can easily slide the seat to adjust for users of various heights. Made of aluminum, it also helps keep the machine lightweight.
The JOROTO Magnetic Rower folds for easy storage out of sight so you can pull it out when needed and get it out of the way when you need the space for other things. When folded, it takes up an area of just 22″ x 21″.
Built-in wheels make moving the rower a snap and it also comes with floor protectors to save your flooring whether you have hard wood, linoleum, or carpet. These protectors also work to keep the machine stable during intense workouts.
With a perfect blend of affordability and quality, JOROTO Rower is the best cheap rowing machine on our list!
- Resistance Method: Air Resistance
- Dimensions: 75.6” x 20” x 14.4”
- Folding: Yes
- Weight: 57 Pounds
The MaxKare Rowing Machine Air Rower is the same one used by professional athletes to train for big events, even the Olympics. It is air-resistance rower so it has a very smooth rowing motion.
The flywheel on the MaxKare Rowing Machine Air Rower allows you to be in complete control of the resistance while also minimizing the noise.
The display is small and functional and tells you the basics of your workout. I like the iPad holder so if you want to watch videos or other entertainment, its easy to mount.
It is backlit so you can always see your stats, even in low light conditions. You can store your workout data onto a USB flash drive to keep track of it over time.
The frame of this indoor rowing machine has a quick-release feature that allows you to separate it into two pieces.
These pieces are easily moved out of the way on caster wheels for storage, and you can quickly move the assembled machine wherever you’d like.
The footrests and handles are both ergonomic and adjustable. The footrests are designed to allow for many users’ sizes. The handles are bent slightly to allow for a more natural position when rowing.
Based on our testing of the Maxcare, we would say overall its the best budget air rowing machine based on its features, usability and reliability.
- Resistance Method: Water
- Dimensions: 78″ x 22″ x 42″
- Folding: No
- Weight: 105 Pounds
Not only is the Circuit Fitness Water Rowing Machine quite possibly the coolest looking rowing machine out there, it’s also one of the highest performing.
As you can tell from the name, it relies on water for resistance, offering 6 different resistance levels, depending on how much water is used.
If you’re tight on space or don’t have a dedicated home gym, then you’ll also appreciate how easy and quick it is to fold up and stow it in a closet or behind a door.
Featuring quite a large 5.5-inch LCD screen, it’s crisp and clear, allowing you to quickly and easily see your stats. Stats displayed include total time, 500M time, calories burned, distance traveled, strokes, strokes per minute, date, room temperature, and clock.
You’ll also get some motivating modes like Race Against Computer, Time Countdown, Distance Countdown, Strokes Countdown, and Calories Countdown.
To ensure each workout is as comfortable as can be, the machine comes with ergonomic rowing handles which come both contoured and padded to eliminate blisters and discomfort.
The seat comes contoured as well, and due to the larger size, you’ll be able to move more confidently and workout longer.
The numbered, flexing pedals offer a more natural movement of your body, fitting all sizes of users and keeping you in with large Velcro straps.
- Resistance Method: Magnetic w/ Belt
- Dimensions: 75″ L x 20″ W x 33.5″ H
- Folding: Yes
- Weight: 61 Pounds
What sets the ENCHANFIT Foldable Indoor Rowing Machine apart is that it has 16 different intensity levels. This is achieved with a quiet-use magnetic and belt-drive system.
This magnetic system is designed with durability in mind, making this machine a great long-term investment in your health and fitness.
Easily fold the seat and slide rail up so the machine takes up less space. Need it out of the way? Two caster wheels in the front make moving it wherever you need a piece of cake.
With a molded, ergonomic seat as well as handlebar, you’ll be comfortable through even the longest and most intense workouts.
Keep your water bottle and device handy as well with convenient holders built-in.
The adjustable console provides you all the information you need to track your workout. Keep up with elapsed time, RPM, distance, calories and count through the helpful scan feature. Set your workout goals and meet them.
The ECHANFIT keeps safety in mind with non-slip grip on the foot pedals as well as easily adjustable foot straps.
This rowing machine is feature-rich for those wanting to get more out of their workout. The ECHANFIT was the best budget magnetic rowing machine that we tested and we highly recommend it.
- Resistance Method: Magnetic
- Dimensions: 6.75 x 1.5 feet
- Folding: Yes
- Weight: 55 Pounds
The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine allows you to adjust the magnetic tension system to 8 different levels of resistance.
This allows you to customize your rowing workout to exactly what you need when you need it. When your rowing machine is that customizable, you are able to get the full body workout that you expect from a magnetic rowing machine.
This magnetic rowing machine offers several handy features that allow you to get the most out of your workout. The seat is padded for comfort even on long workouts. The handlebars are equipped with non-slip grips.
The foot pedals allow for many different sizes and are also equipped with an anti-slip coating.
The LCD display that comes with the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 tracks the number of rowing movements, the calories you have burned, the time you’ve been exercising, and more.
Video: See the Sunny SF-RW5515 Rowing Machine in action.
With an improved tension system that is smoother than ever, you will have a much quieter workout as well as an easier, more comfortable workout on this magnetic rowing machine.
The Sunny SF-RW5515 is the best budget rowing machine that we tested based on the features we found useful and the ease of use.
- Resistance Method: Water
- Dimensions: 80″ x 22″ x 34″
- Folding: No
- Weight: 92 Pounds
If you are looking for a rowing machine that mimics the actual feel of outdoor rowing, then you need the Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine with 16 hydro blades.
Because it utilizes a water flywheel, you have the resistance of water even though you are rowing indoors. There aren’t many indoor rowing machines that can give you this same feel.
The Sunny Health & Fitness is constructed of steel for extreme strength and durability. The steel construction absorbs the vibration of your rowing motions as well as sound so you have a smoother and quieter workout.
The resistance is self-regulated so it’s not adjustable in the usual sense and like what we’ve seen from the magnetic rowing machines on this list but you can’t beat the natural feel of outdoor rowing while indoors.
This natural rowing machine also comes equipped with a R2 monitor that will track the intensity of your workout your heart rate, your stroke rate, as well as other things.
You want to now you are getting the most out of your workout and this monitor will allow you to do just that.
There’s nothing quite like the feel of rowing through water and the Sunny Health & Fitness allows you to feel that same smooth rowing motion right in your own home.
We enjoyed that sensation when we tried this rowing machine. It is unique from all other machines on this list and the best budget water rowing machine for home use.
- Resistance Method: Magnetic
- Dimensions: 72″ x 25″ x 51.5″
- Folding: Yes
- Weight: 130 Pounds
Next up, we have the Fitness Reality 4000MR Magnetic Rowing Machine, which has the second highest review rating on Amazon.
It’s hands-down one of the best value rowing machines and one of the very few that truly offers a full upper-body workout and is unique in that more approximates real rowing motion with dual handles.
It’s on the heavy side at 130 pounds but it folds away easily and can be moved around with the transport wheels.
Far from your typical rowing machine, you can perform a wide selection of exercises, using the dual handlebars as a weighted workout machine.
Perform curls, upright rows, bent over rows, front raises, shrugs, triceps extensions, standing shoulder presses and more. Needless to say, you’ll be able to target the length of your spine, lats, traps, shoulders, biceps/triceps and more.
The handlebar is nice and comfy, even when you’re in the middle of an intense workout. Coming covered with a cushy foam, it molds to the shape of your fingers while preventing chafing and blisters. Foot pedals are slip-resistant, coming with adjustable strap rings.
As they pivot, you’ll always get a safe and natural movement and greater range of motion. The seat is similar to the previous model as it’s equally large and contoured to work with the shape of your body.
Aside from that, it’s one of the few Bluetooth rowers on the market! You can connect to the free My Cloud Fitness app to track your workout results and fitness goals, no matter where you are.
The included smartphone holder will ensure you get a clear view of the screen without worry of it dropping. However, you can also track your results with the 5” LCD display which shows distance, time, total count, calories burned, strokes per minute and scan.
Budget Rowing Machine Comparison Table
|JOROTO Magnetic Rower||Magnetic||71" x 21" x 36"||Yes||53 lbs||4.4 / 5.0|
|MaxKare Rowing Machine Air Rower||Air||75” x 20” x 14”||Yes||57 lbs||4.9 / 5.0|
|Circuit Fitness Water Rowing Machine||Water||78" x 22" x 42"||No||105 lbs||4.3 / 5.0|
|ECHANFIT Indoor Rowing Machine||Magnetic||75" x 20" x 33.5"||Yes||61 lbs||4.5 / 5.0|
|Sunny Water Rowing Machine||Water||80" x 22" x 34"||No||92 lbs||4.6 / 5.0|
|Merax Water Rowing Machine||Water||6.5 x 1.5 feet||Yes||77 lbs||4.7 / 5.0|
|Fitness Reality Rowing Machine||Magnetic||6 x 2 feet||Yes||130 lbs||4.8 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Cheap Rowing Machine for You
- Space and Size
- Type of Resistance
- Length and Weight
- FAQs For Rowing Machines
- Tips For Rowing Machines
Now that you’ve seen our top picks, let’s take a look at the vital questions you should ask when deciding to make this purchase. A good budget priced rowing machine isn’t a small purchase so you want to make sure you are choosing the right one for you the first time.
You should set the budget for your purchase before you even begin searching for one. If you know what you want to spend before you start looking, it is less likely that you will overspend.
However, the amount you set aside for this purchase should be directly influenced by how much you will be using the rowing machine.
Space and Size
Not all rowing machines break down or fold up for easy storage out of sight or out of the way.
If you don’t have room to keep a full-sized rowing machine in a designated home gym area or in another area of your home, you know you will need to look at rowing machines that store easily and are portable with wheels.
Type of Resistance
Rowing machines come with several different types of resistance. Depending on what you are looking for, you may choose any of these types.
Water Rowing Machine – The WaterRower featured above, uses water pressure to provide the resistance. These machines are usually heavier than other machines but usually require no maintenance because the resistance is water and not mechanical.
Air Rowing Machine – The first two on our list of featured air rowing machines, tend to be a bit louder since they use flywheels and the movement of air to provide the resistance. These resistance systems are very effective but sometimes the noise can be a deterrent.
Magnetic Rowing Machines – Like the Stamina Avari and the Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machines featured on our list, are known for their adjustability.
Rowing machines that use magnetic resistance are usually very light and not very loud at all. You could be using your machine while also watching TV if you wanted to and the noise wouldn’t be an issue.
One type of machine that we didn’t feature on our list were those with hydraulic resistance. With these types of machines, Hydraulic cylinders – those filled with oil – provide the resistance.
Length and Weight
Not all rowing machines are created for people who may need extra room for height, or even the ability to be closer to the footrests if they are shorter than average.
Many rowing machines also have weight limits and you will need to find out what these are before purchasing.
If you are over this weight limit for a certain machine, you will have to find one that offers a sturdier frame and a lower center of gravity.
If your rowing machine didn’t come with a display screen, you’d find it not only hard to stay motivated but hard to track your results. If you want to not only stay in shape, but improve your body composition and physical fitness level, you need to see real results. That’s why displays are so important.
However, not every screen is the same. Some are the older-looking gray and black screens which show the very basics. Others are colorful LCD, backlit displays which are a bit more engaging and easy to read. You can also select a model that comes with Bluetooth connectivity, where you can track all of your results through a free app on your smartphone.
That brings us to our next point, which is connectivity. There aren’t many models out there that come with Bluetooth, but it’s more than worth spending the extra money to get one for your home.
They allow you to connect to your smart devices to see your results in real time or track them whenever you feel like it. This makes for better goal setting and can also help to keep you accountable.
In addition, there are some which let you workout in other “worlds”, rowing alongside friends or strangers around the world!
While it may seem a bit counterintuitive, when we’re working out comfort should be one of your top priorities. There are a few different points to consider in terms of comfort in rowing machines: the footplates, seat, and handlebar.
Footplate: These should absolutely be non-slip and come with grooves to ensure your feet stay in place the entire time. They should be large enough to accommodate a wide variety of users as well. There are some which pivot, allowing for a more natural movement and greater range of motion which can bring you better results and lower the risk of injury. To help your efficiency, choose a model with foot straps that will keep you locked in snugly.
Seat: The seat should be large enough to properly support you without you having to keep adjusting yourself. You should be able to workout as hard as you want to without feeling uncomfortable, and ideally it will come contoured to work perfectly with the natural shape of your body.
Handlebars: These should also be comfortable throughout the entirety of your workout. These will often come covered with a thick foam material to protect your hands and fingers from the hard bar inside. The thick padding will help to prevent chafing and blisters, as well. Contoured bars help with this, too, and can help to provide a more solid grip.
FAQ’s About Budget Rowing Machines
There many variables between rowing machines and each users’ personal preferences, budgets and goals. Therefore, we will cover some common questions people have before purchasing, and provide the answers for you.
Q: How do I decide which mechanism of action is best for meeting my goals?
A: First, you need to define your specific goals/requirements. When defining these, consider the following:
- How much control you wish to have over the settings
- How smooth you’d like the motions to be
- How realistic you want the rowing to feel
- What your desired outcome from use is
For example; if you want your rowing workout to feel like you are actually out on the water, you would want to choose one which utilizes a water flywheel. However, you have only manual control over the resistance with this style and it won’t operate as quietly as the magnetic type.
See the supplied reference chart and reviews to get a clear idea of what each rowing machine offers. Choose the one that has the most benefits and features that you seek. Or eliminate the ones that do not offer a feature you deem necessary, from your possible choices.
Q: Which rowing machines operate most quietly?
A: If you prefer a quiet operation, then a rowing machine with magnetic resistance is the best choice for you. You can even listen to music or watch television when using this style, and not have to crank them up to hear well. The air powered are the next best choice, but do avoid the water resistance models, as they do produce more noise when in use.
Q: Are rowing machines made to be portable for storage?
A: Most models of home rowing workout machines are constructed to be folded and wheeled to another area if you don’t have dedicated space for one. However, the water rower does not offer this convenience, as it has a fixed wooden framework design. Also, keep in mind that the magnetic resistance type rowers, typically weigh a little less than the other styles.
Q: Will the budget friendly model, Sunny Rowing Machine, accommodate a man that’s 6’2” tall?
A: Yes, as long as he does not exceed the 250-lb. weight limit, or have disproportionately long legs. We tested this model with a man that is 6’3.5”, and he was able to fully extend his legs, with a few inches of space to spare.
Q: Will a rowing workout machine help me build my core muscle strength?
A: Rowing machines provide a thorough, full body workout, including core muscles. They are also great for toning, achieving aerobic heart rate for increased metabolism, and maintaining or improving flexibility. When you can’t be out on the water, they provide the perfect alternative to maintain, or even improve, your rowing efficiency and stamina.
Q: How many calories can I burn using a rowing machine?
A: There are many factors to consider when determining how many calories you will burn while working out on a rowing machine. If you row at a consistent speed and at a resistance level that you find challenging, you could burn up to 600 calories in an hour. Many people don’t work use a rowing machine for an entire hour, however.
The exact number of calories will vary based on the person, machine, resistance, and even the temperature in the room. The best way to estimate the number of calories you’ve burned is to monitor your progress with your rower’s LCD display.
Tips For Rowing Machines
Tip #1: Personal Safety
Prior to engaging in the use of a rowing machine, be sure to consult your physician prior to doing so if you are pregnant or recently gave birth, if you suffer from any orthopedic or muscle condition or injury, or have other health concerns you feel may be adversely impacted by your use of a rowing machine.
Do not allow young children to play on your rowing machine, especially unattended. This could result in injury.
When your rower arrives to you be sure to have an extra set of hands around, or a wheeled dolly. The box is difficult for one person to move, given the size and weight of the machine.
Alternatively, you could open the box outdoors and bring the components indoors individually. When lifting the box, be sure to use your legs and not your back. This will help prevent back strain or injury.
Tip #2: Space Availability
If you have a dedicated workout space at home that can accommodate this new addition, great! But, if you do not, then you need to consider this fact prior to purchasing a new rowing machine for your home use.
Rowers come in different shapes and sizes. Be sure the room you intend to use it in can accommodate the rowing machine you choose and, leaves plenty of space for your movements to be unrestricted.
If the room you will be using the equipment in cannot permanently accommodate it, be sure to choose a portable model. This way, you can fold it and roll it into storage when not in use.
Tip #3: Budget Considerations
Rowing machines are not inexpensive investments. While there are those that are more budget friendly than others, they likely won’t have as many features available. If you just cannot afford a pricier model, you can still achieve great results with these. Use our comparison chart and product reviews to help you choose.
If you are new to rowing, one of the less expensive models is probably perfect for you. You can still get a great workout as you decide if you will continue with rowing, long-term. The Sunny SF-RW5515 is a perfect budget friendly model to consider. It offers 8 levels of resistance and can accommodate up to 250 lbs.
However, if you are already an extremely athletic person, and know you will be training vigorously and/or long-term, you should consider making a larger investment. We recommend our Editor’s Choice rowing machine, for you! Check out our review on it here.
Tip #4: Weight/Height Limitations
Different rowing machines offer different user weight limits. Be sure you do your due diligence when choosing, to be sure you select an appropriate model for your body weight. After all, you are making a big investment, and you want to ensure you receive years of reliable use.
Likewise, if you are very short, or very tall, you need to ensure the rowing machine you choose will be a good “fit” for you. You will need to be able to comfortably reach the hand-held components for safe and proper use. You also need to be able to fully extend your legs without hitting the bumper stop when doing so. It is important to be able to keep your motions smooth during your workout.
Tip #5: Programming and Monitoring
If you are serious about your rowing workout, we recommend that you carefully review the information we have provided on each model’s monitoring system.
You have so many options with our top 5 picks for rowing machines. Some come pre-programmed. Many also offer you the ability to program the rower to your specific desires. And, you can change the resistance settings on all, except the water resistance model, where you set the pace manually.
There are monitors that track and store your sessions, and even monitor your heart rate, calories burned, and more. So, be sure to check out our reviews on each of our top picks. Learn about what each model has to offer in the monitoring department.
It’s Time to Start Rowing!
Now that you know what to look for in your first – or next – rowing machine, and you even have ideas on which one to get from our list of the top rowing machines, it’s time to get one and start rowing!
You won’t regret your purchase of a rowing machine once you realize the workout potential. Getting a whole-body workout in just minutes a day and with little impact on your joints?
You couldn’t ask for more.
How We Researched
To come up with the top rowing machines, we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target and Sears along with our own personal experience.
The authors consulted sources such as online magazines for research and reviews unbiased information.
By using Fakespot.com we tried to eliminate fake reviews and use only genuine ones.
With so many options available, the authors narrowed down the selections by using products they felt were the best value for the money.
The staff authors have a wide and varied background as fitness trainers, yoga instructors and runners. The authors have decades of experience and are eager to share their knowledge with readers.
In order to narrow down the options, we used personal experiences plus recommendations from other trainers and instructors.
I hope this guide was helpful for finding a good rowing machine to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a rower I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
Enjoy your workout!