The 8 Best Budget Rowing Machines (Summer 2022 Update) | BarBend (2022)

Table of Contents
Best Budget Rowing Machines Best Budget Rowing Machine Overall Concept2 Rower Model D Who Should Buy The Concept2 Rower Model D Who Shouldn’t Buy The Concept2 Rower Model D Best Budget Rowing Machine for Home ProForm 750R Who Should Buy The ProForm 750R Who Shouldn’t Buy The ProForm 750R Best Budget All-in-One Rowing Machine Lit Method Strength Machine Who Should Buy The Lit Method Strength Machine Who Shouldn’t Buy The Lit Method Strength Machine Best Budget Rowing Machine for Small Spaces Concept2 Rower Model D Who Should Buy The Concept2 Rower Model D Who Shouldn’t Buy The Concept2 Rower Model D Best Budget Rowing Machine for Streaming ProForm Pro750R Who Should Buy The ProForm Pro750R Who Shouldn’t Buy The ProForm Pro750R Best Budget Water Rowing Machine Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine Who Should Buy The Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine Who Shouldn’t Buy The Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine Best Budget Magnetic Rowing Machine ProForm Pro750R Who Should Buy The ProForm Pro750R Who Shouldn’t Buy The ProForm Pro750R Best Budget Rowing Machine Under $300 Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Who Should Buy TheSunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Who Shouldn’t Buy TheSunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine How Much Do Rowing Machines Cost? Benefits of Rowing Machines Workout Variety Low Impact Exercise What to Consider Before Buying a Budget Rower Size and Foldability Type of Rower Features How We Decide the Best Price Features Size Final Word FAQs FAQs Videos

Rowing machines offer great low-impact cardio exercise.These “ergs”are much softer on your joints thantreadmills, and they can actually help work all of themuscles in your body. Your legs work during the drive (the first part of the stroke), and your back and armscover the finish (or last part of the stroke). But since rowers are such a great tool to have in your gym, they can be quite expensive — especially if you’re looking for the latest and greatest in technology. However, we did some serious digging, and found plenty of budget-friendly options that don’t skimp on features.

Since many rowers can cost up to about $3,000, we chopped that number in half, and kept all of these budget options under $1,500. But even within the lower price range, you still have a lot of information to sift through. Do you want a water rower, air resistance rower, or magnetic resistance rower? Do you want a machine that has high-tech features andstreaming options, or do you want something less complicated that just allows you to row at home? No matter your needs, we think this list can help you find the best budget option to suit yourfitness goals.

Best Budget Rowing Machines

  • Best Budget Rowing Machine Overall: Concept 2 Rower Model D
  • Best Budget Rowing Machine for Home: ProForm 750R
  • Best Budget All0-In-One Rowing Machine: Lit Method Strength Machine
  • Best Budget Rowing Machine for Small Spaces: Concept 2 Rower Model D
  • Best Budget Rowing Machine for Streaming: ProForm Pro750R
  • Best Budget Water Rowing Machine:
  • Best Budget Magnetic Rowing Machine: ProForm Pro750R
  • Best Budget Rowing Machine Under $300:

Best Budget Rowing Machine Overall

Rowing machines can be pricey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a high quality machine while on a budget. Our top pick is the go-to for professional rowers, and doesn’t skimp on features or durability either. Let us introduce you to the Concept2 Rower Model D.

Concept2 Rower Model D

The Concept2 Model D is a staple in many gyms, and you’d be hard pressed to find a CrossFit gym without one. This rower has set the standard for what a durable and high quality machine is for over 40 years with its simple, yet effective design. To track your stats, the Concept2 features a softly backlit LCD display that accepts a USB drive to save your workout progress. As you want to modulate the intensity of your workouts, simply move the damper between its 10 resistance levels to increase the difficulty.

Coming in at around $945 before taxes and possible shipping charges, this rower offers a smooth stroke thanks to the nickel-plated steel chain. The only service the chain requires is occasional oiling every 40 hours of training. The rower itself weighs 57 pounds and is easy to move around on its wheels. No need to worry about the Concept2 Model D’s longevity either thanks to its sturdy aluminum and steel construction with a powder-coated finish. When you’re done rowing simply fold up your rower by disconnecting the seat rail with a lift of the handle between the footrests for easy storage.

Concept2 Model D Rower

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The Concept2 is one of the most tried and true rowers on the market. The "erg" (as it's commonly known) provides a double-dose of conditioning and muscular endurance, and is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and a nifty monitor to track meters rowed and calories burned.

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Who Should Buy The Concept2 Rower Model D

  • Rowers who like minimal setup and don’t want to fuss with an app for virtual training. You can simply sit down and start rowing with this machine.
  • Those who prefer to alter the resistance on the fly. The resistance lever is conveniently placed, so you can reach it mid-row.
  • If you’re looking for a tough and sturdy machine that will last you many years this is the rower for you. These rowers are built to withstand abuse and have a 500 pound weight capacity.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Concept2 Rower Model D

  • Athletes who want high-tech features may want to opt for a different rower on this list.
  • Customers who are interested in following along with virtual classes may want to consider a rower that offers streaming options.
  • Extremely tall people may need to consider a specialized rower. This one can accommodate those with leg length up to a 38 inseam (which is approximately 6’9” depending on torso length).

If you’re looking to round out your gym’s cardio equipment or need a rower for your home gym, the Concept2 has been a go-to for decades for professional rowers and recreational athletes alike. It’s durable, works great, and stores easily, checking all the boxes we look for in a top product.

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Home

If you need a rowing machine that doesn’t take up too much space, but still provides a variety of features to keep you hooked on your workout routine in the comfort of your own home, this pick is your best bet.

ProForm 750R

The ProForm 750Rprovides most of the same features as more high-tech rowers, but its console doesn’t take up as much room, which can be great for those who are tight on space at home. This machine has 24 levels of silent magnetic resistance, and a console that can track all of your stats (calories, split time, strokes, distance, and time) as you row. The console also has a tablet holder to offer the same streaming options as you would find on high-tech, interactive rowers. This rower comes with afree month of iFit, and it even folds to save space when it’s not in use.

ProForm 750R Rowing Machine

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The ProForm 750R is a sturdy 116-pound magnetic resistance rower. It’s practically silent and offers 24 levels of resistance to challenge your strength and endurance throughout your workout. Plus, you’ll get three free years of iFit with it, so you can stream virtual rowing classes across the globe.

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Who Should Buy The ProForm 750R

  • Athletes who like the option to train virtually will appreciate the free month of iFit, and the tablet holder here.
  • Rowers who are looking to save a little space in their home with a machine that doesn’t have a large touchscreen display.
  • Anyone who wants a machine that can fold up for storage when it’s not in use.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The ProForm 750R

  • Fitness enthusiasts who want aninteractive touchscreen displayfor their home workouts.
  • Anyone who doesn’t need a tablet holder can find even smaller consoles out there for their home.

The ProForm 750R is ideal for those who want to save a little space in their home, but still want thefitness class experience.

Best Budget All-in-One Rowing Machine

While rowing machines do offer a solid full-body cardio burn and can build some pretty strong quads, additional strength training can help round out your fitness routine. The folks at Lit Method designed an all-in-one rowing machine to provide a complete workout with their Lit Strength Machine.

Lit Method Strength Machine

Lit Method took a rowing machine and turned it into a machine capable of delivering an intense full-body strength workout. This may look like a normal rower, but it’s much more. The Lit Strength Machine marries together a water rower and a pilates reformer with the use of resistance bands/tubes that are attached to the rower. The resistance band system allows you to perform over 500 exercises — many of which are low impact and easy on the joints.

The exercise selection from their on-demand membership offers options like strength training, rowing, cardio, barre, physical therapy, and pilates. The only downside here is that the resistance bands that come with this piece of equipment are quite light at 10 to 20 pounds of resistance, so stronger people may find them inadequate. They do offer upgraded bands with heavier resistance though (for an additional cost).

This machine is more costly than your typical rowing machine, but it offers significantly more value with three months of their training membership for free, free shipping, and everything you need to get started working out (resistance bands, ankle cuffs, handles, and a phone mount). All of that will run you $1,749 before taxes but if that’s too steep up front Lit Method offers financing through Bread as low as $36 per month, depending on credit. You can even try it for 30 days risk-free to make sure it’s the right rower for you.

Lit Method Strength Machine

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This rower from Lit Method is so much more than your typical rowing machine. It combines the cardio benefits of a rowing machine with the strength benefits of resistance band training to give you a full-body workout. If you like instructor-led workouts they have a membership which you receive three months of for free with purchase.

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Who Should Buy The Lit Method Strength Machine

  • Rowers who want to improve not only their cardiovascular fitness but their strength, as well. This machine offers it all.
  • If you’re not sure if a rower is the machine you want for your gym, Lit Method offers a 30-day in-home trial.
  • Those who prefer the feel of a water rower. They tend to be quieter than air rowers and provide more resistance at the beginning of the pull that then eases throughout the recovery.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Lit Method Strength Machine

  • Anyone who doesn’t want or need strength training equipment and just wants a rowing machine. There are other, simpler machines that are less expensive.
  • Rowers who are on a tight budget. Even though financing is available, there are cheaper options on this list.
  • Those who are quite strong may find the resistance bands/tubes provided to be too light.

As far as innovation goes, Lit Method was thinking outside of the box when they designed this machine and it shows. The Lit Strength Machine is a total fitness solution for anyone looking to get in shape and build some muscle. The resistance may be light for elite strength athletes, but recreational folks shouldn’t feel limited at all.

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Small Spaces

Figuring out how to organize your workout equipment can be a daunting task when dealing with small spaces. Thankfully, this rower has the ability to fold up, store away standing, or even hang up on the wall when not in use. Our top pick for this category is a tried and true rower — the Concept2 Rower Model D.

Concept2 Rower Model D

Even if you’ve never done a rowing workout in your life, you’ve likely still seen a Concept2 Model D rower before. Their space-saving design and time-tested durability have made them the go-to choice for gyms and rowers all over the world for decades. The Model D rower has a friendly price point of just under $1,000, and its LCD screen can connect with a variety of apps. This makes them a favorite for home gyms since other similar rowers can cost well over that amount — even double or triple.

The Concept2 Model D stores away in a variety of convenient ways — you can fold it up by using the handle provided to separate the seat rail from the rower, or it can stand upright on its own. You can even purchase a separate hanger for it if you want to mount it on a wall and free up even more precious floor space.Concept2 recommends a space of nine feet by four feet for use, and the machine has a set of wheels for easy mobility. When assembled, it measures eight feet by two feet, and when separated for storage, it measures 25 inches by 33 inches by 54 inches.

The nickel-plated steel chain provides a smooth stroke, and you can vary the resistance from one through 10 easily with the damper at the front of the machine. Even if you’re on the tall side, users with up to a 38 inch inseam (those who are approximately 6’9”) can use this machine with full extension. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting a piece of equipment that will last for years with Concept2’s extended five-year warranty.

Concept2 Model D Rower

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The Concept2 is one of the most tried and true rowers on the market. The "erg" (as it's commonly known) provides a double-dose of conditioning and muscular endurance, and is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and a nifty monitor to track meters rowed and calories burned.

(Video) Top 5: Best Rowing Machine Reviews Of 2022 | Best Budget Rowing Machine (Buying Guide)

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Who Should Buy The Concept2 Rower Model D

  • Rowers who want something that stores easily and saves space when you aren’t using it. This can stand upright, fold, hang on a wall, or be taken apart into two pieces with ease.
  • If you’re looking for a basic build without any technological frills, this rower is for you. The LCD screen connects to many apps, but you can also simply hop on and start rowing.
  • Those who like to vary the resistance often will like that the damper is within reach even mid-workout.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Concept2 Rower Model D

  • Anyone who likes to follow along with a class or receive personalized workouts may want a rower with more features.
  • Rowers who need a quiet machine should steer clear of this air rower — magnetic resistance can provide a more silent stroke.
  • Those with mobility issues may find the 14-inch seat height a bit too low and difficult to lower yourself down to.

The Concept2 Model D rower isn’t just a great rower for space-saving purposes, it’s a solid, reliable rower in general. If you’ve got minimal space to work with but still want a rower, this machine is trusted and offers multiple folding/storage options that can save you a ton of floor space.

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Streaming

Sometimes working out with the motivation of a trainer or competing against a group of other trainees can help kick up the intensity and make the experience more enjoyable. If you’re in the market for a rowing machine for streaming workouts, it’s hard to find a better option than the ProForm Pro750R.

ProForm Pro750R

You won’t always see high-tech streaming options on budget rowers, but the Pro750R has all of the tools you need to have the best experience while streaming on your rower. In addition to the five-inch high-contrast screen that comes included, there’s a large device shelf to set a phone or tablet on if you prefer to stream a podcast or show while you row. If you like to work along with a trainer, ProForm’s iFit studio features trainers from across the globe, and their machines can automatically adjust the magnetic resistance through 24 levels to follow along with the trainers for a more natural feeling workout — all you have to do is keep rowing.

The magnetic resistance helps to keep the noise levels down while you’re working out and provide smooth resistance along the length of each pull. Priced affordably at $749 before taxes with free shipping, this rower is a great deal. You’ll also receive 30 days of iFIT streaming included for free ($39 per month after) to help kickstart your rowing routine. One consideration is the lower than average weight capacity of 250 pounds, which larger athletes may find too low. If you decide to go with the Pro750R, you’ll get a five-year warranty on the frame, which can fold away for easy storage.

ProForm 750R Rowing Machine

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The ProForm 750R is a sturdy 116-pound magnetic resistance rower. It’s practically silent and offers 24 levels of resistance to challenge your strength and endurance throughout your workout. Plus, you’ll get three free years of iFit with it, so you can stream virtual rowing classes across the globe.

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Who Should Buy The ProForm Pro750R

  • Athletes who like to take virtual rowing and strength classes will like the iFit compatibility here.
  • People who need a near silent rower to keep the noise levels down. This magnetic rower is about as quiet as they come.
  • Anyone who wants a machine that comes with a free month of streaming to kick their workout routine off on the right foot.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The ProForm Pro750R

  • If you want a rower with minimal frills, there are more basic options on this list.
  • Athletes who prefer a water rower can find water rowers with streaming options on the market.
  • Larger athletes who may exceed the weight capacity of 250 pounds.

While budget rowers typically limit the technological features, this rower offers a lot of the streaming options you’ll find on much more expensive rowers — like iFit compatibility and magnetic resistance. With the free 30-day trial of iFit, you can get your routine started and make it a habit more easily.

Best Budget Water Rowing Machine

Those who row competitively often prefer water rowers because they more closely mimic the feel of rowing in a boat and the resistance of paddles in water. This rowing machine will provide you with that same familiar feeling without breaking the bank or taking up a ton of space. Meet the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500.

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine

The Obsidian Surge 500’s 16 fan blades that spin against water resistance provide a feeling that mimics that of rowing in a boat on the water. An LCD screen helps you keep track of key metrics while rowing, such as distance, time, and heart rate (if you have a compatible monitor). One thing you’ll notice when sitting on this machine is the molded seat that offers added comfort when rowing long distances. When not in use, this machine can be stored upright against a wall for space-saving purposes.

Sunny Health & Fitness priced this rower competitively at about $449 before taxes and possible shipping charges making it one of the most cost-effective rowers on this list. Even with a lower price point than many other rowers, the weight capacity is higher, coming in at 300 pounds with a max inseam length of 38 inches (or a height of approximately 6’9”), which is standard. If you like to follow along with a trainer, download the SunnyFit app for free on-demand exercise videos and workouts. Just be aware that you’ll likely need to acquire a separate phone mount as this rower does not come with one.

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine

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This rower from Sunny Health & Fitness is constructed with lightweight yet sturdy steel for solid performance and durability. The Obsidian Surge 500’s 16 hydro blades and water resistance work to mimic the movement and feel of competitive rowing making you feel more like you’re rowing on the water than magnetic or air resistance.

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Who Should Buy The Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine

  • Rowers who are specifically looking for a water rower to train for competitive rowing.
  • Athletes who are on a tight budget will like the lower price point here.
  • Anyone who wants a basic rower, and doesn’t need any of the high-tech features you typically find on more expensive rowers. Though this rower is simple when it comes to technology, it still provides a ton of information on its LCD screen.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine

  • If you want the quietest machine on the market, this water rower is not it. You’ll want to look at one of the magnetic resistance rowers on this list.
  • Athletes who want a rower with a phone/tablet mount built in. You’ll have to attach your phone in some other way as this machine does not come with a mount.
  • Anyone who is looking for a rower to save the most space may want to opt for a foldable rower, rather than one that just stands upright (like this one).

As far as water rowers go, this one ticks all the necessary boxes without blowing up the price with tons of features you may or may not use. If you’re looking for a basic water rower that won’t break the bank but still offers a high-quality build, this rower is for you.

Best Budget Magnetic Rowing Machine

Magnetic rowing machines are known for their quiet use (compared to water and air resistance rowers), as well as their continuous resistance throughout each pull. Typically, magnetic rowers can be quite expensive and go for well over $1,000, but this one packs in the features and still comes at an affordable price point.

ProForm Pro750R

This rower provides many of the same features as more high-tech rowers but in a smaller package, which is great for those who are tight on space. If you’re working out in your home and trying not to bother your partner who’s on a call or wake up a sleeping child, then the quietness of a magnetic rower will be a welcome benefit. This machine has 24 separate levels of silent magnetic resistance and a console that can track all of your stats, such as calories burned, split times, strokes, distance, and time rowing.

The phone/tablet holder that comes built-in offers you the ability to stream trainer-led workouts through iFit ($39 per month), which automatically adjusts resistance throughout the workout. Using the iFit app does provide a much better experience than the somewhat clunky display panel provided, and you get a month free to try it out for yourself to see how you prefer to work out. When not in use, this model folds up to about half its length for easy storage. The Pro750R’s footprint measures 22 inches wide by 86.5 inches long and 45.5 inches tall but only has a weight capacity of 250 pounds, so larger athletes may want to keep that in mind.

ProForm 750R Rowing Machine

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The ProForm 750R is a sturdy 116-pound magnetic resistance rower. It’s practically silent and offers 24 levels of resistance to challenge your strength and endurance throughout your workout. Plus, you’ll get three free years of iFit with it, so you can stream virtual rowing classes across the globe.

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Who Should Buy The ProForm Pro750R

  • Users who want a quiet magnetic resistance rower to accommodate their early morning or late night workouts.
  • Athletes who want streaming options will like that this machine comes with a free month of iFit to let you test the rowing waters with different types of workouts.
  • Customers who are limited on space will appreciate the collapsible body style here.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The ProForm Pro750R

  • Those concerned with the lower 250-pound weight capacity may want to look at other options on this list with higher weight capacities.
  • Rowers who want a water rower to more closely resemble their sport will want to look elsewhere.
  • Anyone who isn’t concerned with features or tech. You can find cheaper options on this list with less technology integrated.

The ProForm Pro750R is a great choice if you’re looking for a quiet, magnetic resistance rower to use when you need to keep the decibel level low. This machine provides just about the quietest experience you’ll find on the market thanks to the magnetic resistance and fabric pull band (instead of the chain that many other rowers use).

Best Budget Rowing Machine Under $300

Though all of these rowers are fairly inexpensive, this pick is under $300, which is just about as cost-effective as it gets when it comes to rowing machines — and on top of that, this is still a pretty high-quality machine.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine offers eight levels of magnetic resistance, an LCD display, and transportation wheels for portability. You can still track all your stats — including time, count, calories, total count, and scan — on the small LCD console. The non-slip foot pedals also help keep your feet securely in place while rowing. You can fold this rower up to store it when you’re not using it, as well. However, because this is a super-budget option, you won’t find a ton of high-tech features here. Though there are still eight levels of resistance, there are other rowers on the market that offer more than double that number of resistance options.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

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This machine offers eight levels of magnetic resistance, an LCD display, and transportation wheels for portability. You can track all your stats on the small LCD console, and the non-slip foot pedals also help keep your feet securely in place.

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Who Should Buy TheSunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

  • Users who don’t want anything fancy, and are just looking for a good deal.
  • Athletes who want a magnetic resistance rower, rather than a water rower or air resistance rower.
  • If you’re looking for a machine that can fold up for easy storage, this rower is for you.

Who Shouldn’t Buy TheSunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

  • If you’re looking for a rower that is compatible with a virtual streaming service, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
  • Anyone who wants all the high-tech features they could need in a rower.
  • If you’re looking for the most durable piece of equipment on the market, this isn’t it. While this is a pretty high-quality rower for the price point, if you spend a few hundred dollars more, you can probably get a rower that will last you much longer.

This rower is basic, but it still offers exactly what you need for a solid at-home workout — eight levels of resistance, stat-tracking, and non-slip footplates for stability.

How Much Do Rowing Machines Cost?

Rowing machines, like almost any piece of gym equipment, can vary drastically in price depending on a variety of factors. One of the biggest influences on the price are the features included, such as technology integration and a touchscreen display. Another often overlooked price influence is the design of the rower itself. Often highly stylized rowers that look futuristic or fit into a modern design will have higher price points.

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That said, you can pick up a bargain rower for as little as $300 or spend up to $3,000 on an extremely high-end rower. The sweet spot for us (and this list) is right around the $1,000 mark — at this price, you’ll find a lot of high-quality rowers that offer some features but lack those that drive the price up high (like full-color LED displays).

Benefits of Rowing Machines

Rowing machines offer a great full body cardio workout, and can help increase strength in your quads, back, core, and arms. When looking at the stroke, it starts with the drive, which comes from power in your legs. Once your legs are extended, your back and core initiate the lean-back, and finally, the arms pull in for the finish. Rowing (especially sprint rowing) is one of the few types of cardiovascular exercise that may also improve your muscular fitness.

Workout Variety

There are a variety of workouts you can accomplish with a rowing machine. If you’re a fan of HIIT, you can do sprints with intervals. Say you prefer long-distance rowing, then you can crank out a 5,000m (or longer) timed row. Rowers are unique as far as cardio machines are concerned in that they can help build muscle, too. Simply crank up the resistance and focus on making deliberate and powerful strokes — you’ll be feeling a burn in your legs, back, core, and arms in no time.

Low Impact Exercise

Rowers are also low impact machines (unlike treadmills). Since the machine is supporting your weight and your muscles are working against resistance from either air, water, or magnets, your joints are taking less abuse than they would with a treadmill. Some folks may like them better than other cardio machines for that reason. Rowers are a great way to help improve fitness across the board — not just cardiovascular fitness, but muscular as well.

What to Consider Before Buying a Budget Rower

Even though the rowers on this list cost less than most on the market, any piece of gym equipment is going to be an investment. You’ll want to make all the proper considerations — like size, rower type, and features — before deciding which rower to purchase.

Size and Foldability

Both size and folding capabilities are important factors to consider when making your purchase. Many rowers with large displays take up a lot more space than rowers that just have a small, basic console. In addition, you can also save space by opting for a rower that folds in half (or at least has a console that folds down), so you can more easily store your equipment vertically. Be sure to measure your space, and choose a rower that will accommodate that space properly.

Type of Rower

You’ll find three main types of rowers across the market: water resistance rowers, magnetic resistance rowers, and air resistance rowers. Air and magnetic resistance rowers use a flywheel, but magnetic resistance is quieter than air resistance. Water resistance rowers use a tank of water to create resistance, but like air resistance rowers, water rowers tend to be louder.

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Another perk of water rowers is that they provide more of an on-water feel than the other two types of resistance. Of course, it doesn’t feel exactly like you’re rowing down the Charles, but it’s probably as close as you’ll get on a rowing machine.

The biggest thing to consider here is how quiet you want your machine. If you want the quietest machine on the market, you should opt for a magnetic resistance rower. If you’re going to besecluded to a garageand can afford to make some noise, you’ll have more options to choose from.

Features

Finding budget rowers that offer great features wasn’t actually as difficult as we thought it would be. Plenty of rowers below $1,500 have large touchscreen displays, streaming options, and over 20 levels of resistance. However, these rowers typically come with larger consoles, which not everyone may need (or want) in their space. There are also plenty of budget rowers with basic controls and stat tracking that offer just what you need for a solid workout at home. Before deciding which rower to buy, consider which features — streaming, resistance, stat tracking, large display screen, etc. — you may want tosupport your fitness goals.

How We Decide the Best

We know not everyone is going to be looking for the same specs and features on their rowing machine. That’s why we’ve included a variety of price points, features, and size options on this list — all of the highest quality within a lower budget.

Price

As you may have guessed, the number one factor we considered when making this list was price. Since rowers can cost up to about $3,000, we sliced that number in half for this budget list, and made sure all of the rowers we included here cost under $1,500. And even within that $1,500 budget, we included various price points.

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You’ll find rowers that have a lot of high-tech features closer to that $1,500 mark, rowers that maybe have some of the features around the $800 mark, and the most basic rowers that are just meant to allow you to crank out a solid workout around the $250 mark. We wanted to be sure to accommodate most price points, which is why you’ll see the costs swing so dramatically even within the realms of this lower budget.

Features

While some customers may be looking for lots of streaming options and an advanced touchscreen display, others may just want a rowing machine they can hop on and hop off of for a good sweat before or after their weight training. Many budget rowers offer virtual training and interactive touchscreens, which can be a great touch if you are trying to stay active at home. But there are also plenty of budget options where you can just row, track your split time, and work on your power andcardio endurance. No matter how many features you want on your rowing machine, we are confident we have found a budget option that can suit your needs.

Size

Here’s what you can expect from rowers as far as size goes: Water rowers will take up less vertical space than magnetic or air resistance rowers since their tanks lay flat on the ground. Any rower that has a large touchscreen display will take up more space in width than those that do not. On top of these size factors, you’ll also find that some rowers fold completely in half for storage, while others just have a display or console that folds down. We’ve included rowers of all of these varieties that can hopefully suit most space requirements.

Final Word

Even at a budget price point, purchasing a rowing machine foryour home gymis still a huge investment. Finding a durable machine that can suit your fitness goals, and fit in your space properly is no small feat. With a variety of features available, and three different types of resistance, you’ll want to be sure you know what you’re looking for when you hit the market.

Before you start your hunt, note the space you have, the money you’re willing to spend, the type of rower you want, and the number of features you need. Then, allow this list to act as your guide as you navigate the vast waters of the rowing machine market.

FAQs

Can I still find high-tech features on budget rowing machines?

Yes. There are plenty of rowing machines that are under $1,500 that offer touchscreen displays, streaming options, tablet holders, Bluetooth compatibility, and more. You may not find them on the very low end of the budget spectrum (around $500), but if you are willing to dish out around $1,000, the options are there.

(Video) Top 5 Best Rowing Machines Review in 2022

What kind of resistance on a budget rower is best?

This all depends on personal preference. No resistance is going to be better than the other. If you want something quiet, opt for magnetic resistance. If you don’t mind the noise, a water rower or air resistance will do just fine. However, if you want a rower that offers plenty of resistance levels, you’ll want to opt for a magnetic or air resistance rower as most water rowers do not offer a change in resistance.

Do budget rowers fold?

Some do. Many rowers will actually fold right in half for storage, while others just have an arm for the display or console that will fold down, so you can easily store the machine vertically in a corner.

FAQs

Is a rowing machine good for a 70 year old? ›

Recent studies have proven that a older person using a rowing machine helps for building physical strength and stamina, stimulating growth of bone and bone mineral density increase. Indoor rowing is perfect for people aged 40, 50, 60 and even older.

How long should you use a rowing machine to lose weight? ›

When rowing for weight loss, workout consistency and duration are key. For maximum results, strive to complete 30–50 minutes of rowing five to six times per week. Aim for a comfortable intensity of moderate, steady work where you can still carry on a conversation.

Is rowing 3 times a week enough? ›

In terms of time, weight loss is best achieved with consistency, so aim for at least 30 minutes per day on a rower, anywhere from 4 to 6 times a week. Make sure you're getting enough rest days, especially if you're just getting started!

Does rowing machine burn belly fat? ›

Although rowing won't magically spot reduce your belly fat, it can be a very effective component of a fat-loss program that will, with a bit of time, slim you down everywhere — including your belly.

Which is better rowing or walking? ›

As we mentioned before, you burn more calories per hour on a treadmill than a rower. However, fat loss is a different matter. Using a rowing machine builds much more muscle than a treadmill, and we know this muscle will help you burn more calories throughout the day.

Can you get in shape by just rowing? ›

The main reason short workouts on a rowing machine are effective is that rowing is a full-body workout from the start. Rowing activates nearly twice the muscle mass as other activities like running and cycling. A single stroke on the rowing machine works your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, arms, and back muscles.

Does rowing tone your legs? ›

You'll get a full-body workout

But according to the American Fitness Professionals Association, rowing is 65 to 75 percent legs and 25 to 35 percent upper bod. It'll shred your upper back, pecs, arms, abs, and obliques. It'll also strengthen those quads, calves, and glutes.

Does rowing help with back fat? ›

Yes, rowing machine workout is a calorie burner, so you will lose upper back fat.

What happens if you row everyday? ›

But the benefits are many: rowing can improve stamina and overall fitness and strength, including strengthening the heart. It can also boost immune system function, mood, and even provide a calming, meditative effect on the mind due to its repetitive, low-impact movement and sounds.

How soon do you see results from rowing machine? ›

You can start to notice results from rowing within the first few weeks of starting a consistent rowing workout routine, but you often experience more dramatic results after 90 days. Rowing is a calorie-burning cardio workout that can quickly strengthen your body.

How many days a week should you use a rowing machine? ›

For beginners, aerobic exercises such as rowing are ideal to perform three times per week. Ideally, allow a rest day between workout days to give your muscles a chance to recover. As you raise your endurance, perform aerobic exercise three to five times per week.

Does rowing tone your stomach? ›

Rowing to the rescue, not only does this form of exercise strengthen your abdominals but it also provides an amazing calorie-burning, fat-busting workout.

Can rowing give you abs? ›

Do Rowing Machines Benefit Abs? The answer to the question is without-a-doubt YES. A rowing machine benefits abs by constantly engaging the core throughout every rowing stroke and being a full-body fat burning workout.

Is rowing better than running? ›

"In general, rowing builds muscle mass faster than running," Elmardi says. One study found that rowing utilizes nearly 85 percent of the body's muscles, while running is considered a lower-body exercise, meaning it uses fewer muscles overall, says Elmardi.

Is rowing machine hard on knees? ›

Many machines like indoor rowers, recumbent exercise bikes, or upright bikes require intense knee movement that can cause discomfort or worsening pain for those with existing knee problems.

What burns more fat rowing or walking? ›

Walking burns more fat than cycling. This may be because it's considered a weight-bearing activity, while cycling isn't.

Does a rowing machine tone arms? ›

Rowing To Tone And Sculpt Arms

Rowing tones your entire body. Not only is a rowing machine good for abs, but the engagement of the muscles in your upper body will also strengthen and develop your arm muscles. This will impact their size and shape.

What is the best exercise for a 70 year old woman? ›

Get aerobic exercise: Most older adults need about 2½ hours of aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, every week. That's about 30 minutes on most days. Endurance exercises like walking, dancing, and playing tennis help your breathing, heart rate, and energy. Stay flexible: Try stretching and yoga.

What is the best exercise equipment for arthritic knees? ›

Best Exercise Equipment for Arthritis
  • Rowing Machine. ...
  • Resistance Bands. ...
  • Resistance Bands. ...
  • Free Weights. ...
  • Free Weights. ...
  • Exercise Ball. ...
  • Exercise Ball. ...
  • Protect Joint Health. Preserving flexibility, range of motion and muscle strength are important ways to protect joint health.

What exercise machine is easiest on joints? ›

Elliptical pros

Low-impact exercise typically puts less stress on your joints than high-impact exercise. This makes the elliptical a safer option if you have a musculoskeletal condition such as low-back pain, knee or hip pain, or other health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis.

How does rowing change a woman's body? ›

The muscles in your arms, legs, glutes, back, abs and core are all activated during rowing. Yes, it's a bit like doing powerful crunches, leg lifts and arm curls all at the same time. One unexpected perk that many women experience after getting into rowing is that they see a significant improvement in posture.

Can rowing replace weightlifting? ›

While a rowing machine can be used to strengthen muscles, lifting weights is a more effective way to achieve this in a shorter span of time. But, while weights are better for targeting and growing specific muscles, rowing is better for a full-body workout.

Is rowing enough cardio? ›

Rowing is an amazing aerobic exercise, which means it can help you with weight loss, increase your stamina, and even boost your immune system. Rowing also requires you to use a lot of major muscle groups, so it's also an effective cardio workout.

What should be sore after rowing? ›

Your muscles will feel tired (unrecovered) and sore to the touch. After rowing, you may feel this in your back, glutes, or shoulders. This muscle soreness should be in the thicker, middle region of the muscle (not near joints and tendons) and should go away within 48-72 hours.

Is rowing good for lower back pain? ›

Rowing, along with a sensible and disciplined nutrition plan, will help reduce that waistline. And less weight on the front means less weight pulling on the back. Using rowing as part of a weight loss plan can help reduce your back pain.

Why is rowing so hard? ›

Rowing is hard and utilizes every major muscle of you body- your arms, legs, abdomen, even the tips of your fingers. Every muscle counts. A rower must push with their legs, pull with their arms, and remain strong and steady through their core. Even a sudden head tilt will offset the boat and cause a dip to one side.

What exercise burns the most back fat? ›

These resistance training exercises work to strengthen your posterior muscles, which will not only change their appearance but also help to lower the risk of injury.
  1. Reverse fly. ...
  2. Resistance band pull-down. ...
  3. Barbell bent over rows. ...
  4. Back extension. ...
  5. Dumbbell swing. ...
  6. Side plank variations.
5 Jul 2022

What is the fastest way to lose weight on a rowing machine? ›

Working at 85% of your max heart rate for a longer period of time can help you to burn loads of calories. Use medium intensity rowing at a rate of 26 strokes per minute for roughly 8 to 10 minutes at a constant pace.

What exercises burn stomach fat? ›

There are many exercises out there, but not all are created equal when it comes to banishing belly fat.
...
Some great cardio of aerobic exercises for belly fat include:
  • Walking, especially at a quick pace.
  • Running.
  • Biking.
  • Rowing.
  • Swimming.
  • Cycling.
  • Group fitness classes.

Can rowing alone build muscle? ›

The rowing machine engages all of your major muscle groups during each stroke, making it an extremely effective way to gain muscle mass. In addition, rowing comes with some pretty exceptional benefits like tying both cardiovascular exercise and strength training into one effective and efficient calorie-burning workout.

Does rowing help love handles? ›

But rowing can indeed help to reduce your love handles significantly. Similar to what was stated above about belly fat loss, you can't just target fat loss on your hips by using a rowing machine. Eventually, you will notice fat loss in all areas of your body if you are consistent enough in your exercise routine.

What is the best rowing technique? ›

Correct Rowing Technique - YouTube

What happens if I row 30 minutes a day? ›

A 30-minute rowing workout will strengthen the muscles in your upper body, lower body, and core, as well as increase your cardiovascular endurance. Also, according to Harvard Health, a 125-pound person can burn 255 calories in 30 minutes of a vigorous rowing workout.

Does rowing tone your back? ›

Fact#1: Can You Use a Rowing Machine for Muscle Toning

According to the English Institute of Sport, the rowing machine engages 86% of the muscles in your body. It activates the abs, back, shoulders, chest, triceps, wrists, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

What is a good distance for 30 minutes on a rowing machine? ›

(It is not the average of all results added to the database, which would be skewed by extremes.) The Rankings also show an average, 6221 meters. It feels good to put workout data in perspective. For beginners, it would be exceptional to row over 7000 meters in 30 minutes.

What resistance should I row at? ›

Changing the position of the handle alters the amount of air flowing into the flywheel. A “10” setting allows the most airflow and therefore the highest resistance. A “1” permits little airflow and minimizes resistance. Beginner rowers should start in the 3-5 range.

What is a good distance for 20 minutes on a rowing machine? ›

8. Row 20 Minutes. This a very standard rowing workout, designed to stretch volume at a steady, attainable pace. The focus should be on maintaining a solid 500-meter split (not too high, not too low) and working on technique and length.

How much weight should you row? ›

Entire Community
Strength LevelWeight
Beginner37 lb
Novice71 lb
Intermediate117 lb
Advanced175 lb
1 more row

What is the best machine for belly fat? ›

  1. Treadmills. Treadmills are one of the best exercise machines to lose belly fat because you're doing cardio on them. ...
  2. Elliptical Trainers. ...
  3. Spin Bikes. ...
  4. Rowing Machines. ...
  5. Stair Climbers. ...
  6. Captain's Chairs. ...
  7. Vibration Plates.

Is 15 minutes of rowing enough? ›

Indoor rowing is perfect for those who have a busy schedule and don't have a full hour for gym visits. If you focus your mind on putting in maximum effort from start to finish, you can squeeze in a great 15-minute or 20-minute full body workout that will burn more than 200 calories. All you need is a little motivation!

How do you properly row? ›

Correct Rowing Machine Technique, Improve Your Rowing | Concept2

What muscles get toned from rowing? ›

Rowing gives the upper and lower back and the shoulder muscles an excellent workout. Plus, the sliding seat provides a lower body workout too. Every stroke engages the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abs, obliques, pecs, biceps, triceps, deltoids, upper back, and lats.

How many strokes per minute should I row? ›

For rowing, a stroke rate between 24 and 30 strokes per minute is typical for most workouts. When racing, stroke rates are generally a bit higher but usually still below 36.

Is rowing like sit ups? ›

The motion you repeat over and over on the rowing machine strengthens that whole center section of your body. “The end of each stroke, when you're sliding forward, works your abs like a sit-up and as you push back out, that engages your lower back,” he explains.

Does rowing help burn belly fat? ›

Rowing is an efficient way to burn calories, as well as build strong and defined muscles — but is it enough to help you shed stubborn belly fat, compared to other forms of cardio like running? The short answer is yes.

Is rowing better than walking? ›

Rowing activates nine muscle groups and 85% of the body's musculature, according to Nichol. It will work your upper and lower body, tone your arms, and strengthen your back. He concludes that you'll get more "bang for your buck" working out on the rowing machine than on the treadmill.

Is a rowing machine good for seniors? ›

Recent studies have proven that a older person using a rowing machine helps for building physical strength and stamina, stimulating growth of bone and bone mineral density increase. Indoor rowing is perfect for people aged 40, 50, 60 and even older.

Should seniors use rowing machines? ›

In summary, here is what I found out: Using a rowing machine can help to build and tone your muscles, strengthen your cardiovascular function and increase your stamina. Rowing machines are particularly effective for older fitness enthusiasts because they place no strain on your back and joints.

Is rowing safe for seniors? ›

A study published in the Journal of Physical Fitness And Sports Medicine found that “Rowing exercise has both aerobic and resistance exercise health benefits in elderly people.”

Is rowing a good exercise for lower back pain? ›

Rowing, along with a sensible and disciplined nutrition plan, will help reduce that waistline. And less weight on the front means less weight pulling on the back. Using rowing as part of a weight loss plan can help reduce your back pain.

What is the proper way to exercise on a rowing machine? ›

How To Use A Rowing Machine PROPERLY | Beginners Guide

Is the rowing machine good for osteoporosis? ›

Past research done by Washington University's School of Medicine points to rowing as an effective exercise for managing osteoporosis.

Can rowing get you in shape? ›

Rowing is a total-body workout, meaning it will strengthen major muscle groups in your arms, legs, and core and increase cardiovascular endurance. In short, if you consistently use the rowing machine, you'll notice that you'll become stronger and less out of breath. You may even notice some muscle gain.

Should I use a rowing machine every day? ›

If you want to use a rowing machine daily to achieve an incredible fitness level, moderate the rowing session to 15 minutes. But you can also row for 30 minutes for vigorous rowing, keeping it at least 24 strokes per minute. So, it is possible to use a rowing machine daily.

Can rowing lower cholesterol? ›

Rowing can strengthen your cardiovascular system, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, promote weight loss, and reduce stress. Rowing on water has the added advantage of interesting scenery, making it a pleasant recreation as well as a strenuous workout.

Is rowing good for middle aged woman? ›

Rowing is excellent for just about anyone, but I think it has incredible benefits for women over 40. It's an efficient full-body workout (20-30 minute sessions are all it takes), providing both cardio and strength-training benefits.

Is a rowing machine good for over 50? ›

Rowing machines are great for people 50 years old and up. Since the workout is done seated, it's considered low impact, which means it's easy on the joints.

Is a rowing machine good for back arthritis? ›

A rowing machine used to simulate the action of rowing a boat can provide a great cardiovascular and strength workout for people with arthritis — working both your upper and lower body.

Is rowing OK for sciatica? ›

Rowing can disrupt the spines structure and lead to inflammation on your sciatic nerve. Sciatica pain causes constant discomfort and can impact the quality of your daily life. It's important you seek medical attention at the early signs of nerve pain to avoid further injury.

Why does my back hurt when using the rowing machine? ›

Fatigue and poor technique during rowing contribute to more spine flexion and less hip movement during the rowing stroke. These changes in body position may be exaggerated during ergometer rowing, which may be why ergometer training increases the risk for back pain.

Do you move your legs on a rowing machine? ›

Rowing Benefits

“Nearly every muscle is used for rowing,” Karp says. “It works your legs primarily, but you're also using your upper body and arms.” When you row with proper form, you push with your legs and pull with your arms. This recruits your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, lats, rhomboids and biceps.

How long should a beginner row on a rowing machine? ›

Start with a row of 3–5 minutes. Then take a break to stretch and walk around. If you feel good, do up to four of these short intervals of rowing.

Is rowing better than running? ›

"In general, rowing builds muscle mass faster than running," Elmardi says. One study found that rowing utilizes nearly 85 percent of the body's muscles, while running is considered a lower-body exercise, meaning it uses fewer muscles overall, says Elmardi.

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