When it comes to burning fat and building muscle, not many exercise machines can compete with the full-body workout that a rowing machine provides. Not only that, they’re easier on the joints than exercises like running because there’s no jarring movement.
A good rowing machine doesn’t have to cost a thousand dollars – you can easily find one that doesn’t sacrifice quality or features for a lower price. There are several types of rowing machines available, including air, magnetic, and water resistance.
In this guide, we’ve covered all of the best budget rowing machines available on the market so you’ll be well-informed and ready to make your purchase.
The 5 Best Budget Rowing Machines For 2020
Sunny Health & Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine
About Sunny Health & Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine
First, we have a basic and compact rowing machine by Sunny Health and Fitness, the Full Motion Rowing Machine.
This machine uses a hydraulic resistance system with 12 adjustable resistance options so you can adjust the strength of your workout with the turn of a knob.
This machine can support users up to 350 lbs. and has a slide rail length of 40 inches, so it’s ideal for a wide range of weights and heights.
The foot pedals have straps and are textured to hold your feet securely in place during operation, and the handlebars have a non-slip grip. It also has an extra-cushioned seat to maintain circulation and prevent pain or loss of feeling in the tailbone.
The LCD monitor helps you keep track of your time spent, calories burned, stroke count, and total count.
The Sunny Health and Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine is a heavy-duty machine that supports a larger weight capacity than many other models, and it costs less than $200.
It’s very easy to assemble, and it provides a light to moderate rowing exercise and operates very smoothly and quietly. Even at the highest resistance level, it’s not too challenging for beginner users or those looking for an effective yet slightly gentler workout.
The machine is lightweight enough to move and store away if you don’t want to leave it out in the open.
The only real downside of this rowing machine is the fact that the highest resistance levels aren’t that tough, so if you’re already super strong or looking for something that provides a really intense workout, you might want to look at the next model.
- Heavy duty design
- Smooth operation
- Weaker resistance levels
GoPlus Water Rowing Machine
About GoPlus Water Rowing Machine
The next rowing machine we have is the GoPlus Water Rowing Machine, which mimics the natural feel of rowing on the water.
While this machine costs about $450, this is a budget option considering that most water rowing machines usually sell for over a thousand dollars.
This machine uses water resistance which you can control based on how much water you put in the tank. It comes with a hand pump to make filling and emptying the tank easier.
This rowing machine has a steel frame with an aluminum beam, and it can hold users up to 220 lbs. It has textured foot pedals and straps to hold your feet in place, as well as a non-slip rowing handle.
It comes with a chest strap heart rate monitor and an LCD screen that displays your time, calories burned, total count, count per minute, and distance. You can connect to the display with your phone through an app to save your workout stats, too.
The GoPlus Water Rowing Machine provides a very smooth workout, and the resistance varies from light to intense depending on the water level in the tank. It’s easy to fill and empty the water with
The sound of that the water makes is a pleasant and almost relaxing experience, and it adds to the overall appeal of the machine.
The machine isn’t too difficult to assemble, but the instructions can be a little confusing because of the wording. You can also store the machine vertically if you remove the water tank.
If you want a rowing machine that provides good resistance that you can easily fold up and store away, you should take a look at the next one on this list.
- Smooth operation
- Versatile resistance
- Allows vertical storage
- Replicates water rowing
- Confusing assembly instructions
Stamina ATS Air Rower
About Stamina ATS Air Rower
The next rowing machine on this list is the Stamina ATS Air Rower. This machine uses dynamic air resistance to power your workout, and it also mimics the feeling of rowing on water.
This type of machine allows you to intuitively vary your resistance depending on how fast you row. This makes it very easy to change up your workout intensity without having to stop to make adjustments.
It has an LCD display that shows your time spent, distance, calories burned, and speed. It’s made with a cushioned seat for extra comfort, as well as pivoting foot pedals and a single cushioned handle.
This machine is designed for users ranging in height from 4’9” to 6’4”, with a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs.
You can fold up this machine and roll it on the built-in wheels to store it out of the way or in a closet when it’s not in use.
This air rower comes with a 1-year parts warranty and a 3-year frame warranty.
The Stamina ATS Air Rower is an excellent rowing machine for under $300. It provides a smooth, steady workout and feels very sturdy during use.
It’s easy to assemble out of the box, and shouldn’t take more than 30 to 45 minutes from start to finish.
The heart rate monitor is generally very accurate, and the machine is easy to fold up for storage.
One minor issue of this machine is that the fan is a bit loud, so don’t expect to be able to watch TV or listen to music at a normal volume level without headphones. However, this is to be expected for air rowers.
Another possible issue is that the single handle can be too short for some people, but this also varies depending on your form.
- Smooth operation
- Sturdy build
- Accurate heart monitor
- Foldable for storage
- Loud operation
- Short handle
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
About the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
Next, we have another Sunny Health & Fitness model, but this one uses magnetic resistance. It offers strong, smooth rowing strokes and operates almost silently.
You can increase or decrease the resistance level by turning the tension knob on the machine.
This machine has an LCD display that lets you track your time, stroke count, and calories burned. It also has a cushioned seat for comfort, textured foot pedals, and a non-slip foam single handle.
This machine holds users up to 220 lbs. and is made with a heavy-duty steel frame. It folds up and has transportation wheels, so you can roll it into storage when you’re finished using it.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine has quite a sturdy build and provides a consistently smooth, powerful workout.
The machine operates very quietly and folds up small enough to store in a closet, so it’s ideal for smaller spaces and apartments.
One downside of the rower is that the display leaves much to be desired since it only measures total strokes, time spent, and calories. However, this is to be expected for a budget machine that allocated more quality to the overall frame and mechanics of the rower itself.
- Excellent performance
- Quiet operation
- Limited LCD display
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050
About Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050
Last but not least, we have the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050. This rower uses adjustable hydraulic resistance to power your workouts, allowing you to choose 8 different resistance levels.
This machine has a steel frame and aluminum slider beam, and it holds up to 250 lbs. It has a padded seat and textured foot pedals to provide a decent grip, as well as non-slip handles.
There is an LCD display that allows you keep track of your stroke count, accumulated total stroke count, time spent, and calories burned during each session.
This rower has foldable arms, which means you can save on space when you’re not using it.
The machine comes with a 1-year frame warranty and a 90-day parts warranty.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is the most affordable option on this list, but it still offers a smooth and steady workout in a compact machine.
If you just want to do some basic exercise that ranges from light to moderate in intensity, this machine fits the bill. It also operates quietly enough that you can easily have a conversation or watch TV while you’re working out.
The rower is very easy to assemble, and it shouldn’t take more than 30 to 45 minutes. The only downsides of the machine are the limited display options, and in some cases, the foot pedal straps don’t always securely hold your feet in place.
The fact that the arms fold up makes the machine more compact, but there are no wheels to transport it. The machine weighs 40 lbs. so this could be an issue for some.
- Quiet operation
- Low price
- Smooth workout
- Adjustable resistance
- Limited display options
- Foot pedals not always secure
- No transportation wheels
Best Budget Rowing Machine for 2020
The GoPlus Water Rowing Machine is undoubtedly the best rowing machine in this guide. It’s the only one that actually replicates the feel of rowing on the water, complete with the satisfying “whoosh” sound.
While the price on this machine is higher than others on this list, it’s a great deal for less than $500, and it provides a very smooth and effective workout.
If your budget is super tight, the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine is also a superior product for under $300. It provides a good range of resistance in a very sturdy frame, and the fact that it folds up for storage makes it an even better deal if you need to save on space.
While each rowing machine in this review has its pros and cons, they can all provide you with a good quality workout. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll be prepared to start your journey to better fitness.
Writer and Product Researcher
Spending the last 10 years researching and writing about various home, garden and electronics topics, Shelley is more than qualified to write for Meccano Home. Her work has been featured on eBay, Pottery Barn, SFGate, TheKnot, Williams-Sonoma and various other blogs and websites.