Top 10 Best Budget Rowing Machine Review 2020 – Need Another Holiday

Best budget rowing machine means an affordable exercise equipment for your won gym and easily accessible indeed. Rowing Machines are one of the new-age workout machines used to stay fit. Photo from: Flickr.

It offers fantastic exercise to the upper body, helping in calorie-burning as well as strengthening the shoulders and arms.  When used for about 30 minutes, you can burn around 200 to 300 calories quite quickly on them.

Best Compact Rowing Machine: Quick View

If you are looking for the best compact rowing machine, take a peek at these fantastic ones and pick one of your likings.

10 Best Budget Rowing Machine Review 2020

In our list we have included those high quality rowing machines that come with great background such famous brands, hi-tech features, compatibility and all of them must be user friendly.

01. Concept2 Model D Adjustable Rowing Machine


Irrespective of how hard the machine is pulled, this air resistance rower from the brand Concept2 would match your level of strength. You can get seamless action that feels like rowing on water.

The quicker you row, the more the resistance will be. The air resistance can be controlled, and the adjustable footrests make the rowing action easier for you. But the flywheel is slightly noisier than other resistance rowers out there.

The machine is extremely solid in construction and can last for many years with no issues. It has been designed for gym use, so you can guess how strong and durable it is.

For most serious rowers and rowing clubs, this is the first training option. You can get a fantastic rowing position. The seating is extremely comfy, even for sessions that span long.

These are the rowers of choice in most gyms out there. It might be more expensive than other resistance rowers in the market, but when you check the features and performance, you are unlikely to complain.

It can be an appropriate rower for anybody. However, the appearance could be more stylish.

Highlighted Features

  • Can be separated into dual pieces for more accessible storage.
  • Can be assembled fast and easily.
  • Suits people of any level of fitness.
  • High accuracy of LCD console.
  • Performance is highly reliable.

02. Stamina Body Trac Unuque, Full-range-of-motion


If you want a rowing machine for the gym or home use that offers good stability and does not wobble or rock while exercising, Stamina has this one on offer for you. It is made of a solid steel frame. For the price it comes at, the quality is pretty good.

The equipment can offer you an efficient and effective exercise that can train your ab, arm, leg, and back muscles quite well. This is a reliable and stable rower that can easily be handled and has a firm construction.

There is a multi-purpose fitness monitor that lets you keep track of all your exercise sessions on it, set goals to attain a better body, and achieve the same. The machine can record data in detail and provide you with the same.

This is a perfect rowing machine for beginners and can also match the exercise needs of athletes of a more advanced level. However, it can support only up to 250-pound weight.

Also, your feet might slip out of the foot straps, which are not too secure. Still, at the price it comes at, this rowing machine is a steal!

Highlighted Features

  • Comes with adjustable tension controls.
  • Can be assembled with ease.
  • Compact and small in size.
  • Ideal for even beginner level users.
  • Comes at a high price.

03. Sonny Health Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine


Coming from the stable of Sunny Health & Fitness, this robust workout equipment can easily be used. It is designed to offer a direct and simple workout.

This one works very noiselessly, and neighbors are not going to be bothered when you use it in the early hours of the morning. The compact machine takes only a small amount of space. Due to this reason, it is ideal for people who wish to row-workout at home. 

You can assemble it easily when using it for the first time, and the whole setup process takes less than 30 minutes. Even you are a novice with exercise equipment assembly, and you will not struggle with the setup and usage of this machine.

But it can support up to 250 pounds only, which prevents its usage by many people out there.

There is a large-sized LCD console than can offer important data, such as how much time you spend exercising on it, how many calories you have burned, etc. For those with problems in vision, the machine’s monitor can be somewhat tough to read.

Highlighted Features

  • Very easy to use.
  • Quiet while in operations.
  • Comes with adjustable foot straps and anti-slip foot pedals.
  • Consists of non-slip grip bars, preventing risks of slippage.
  • Boasts of enough padding in the seat. 

04. Stamina ATS Air Rower Dynamic Resistance and Folding Desing


A Stamina product, this superior yet necessary rowing equipment, is for home gym users. The machine works with the help of air resistance and adjusts naturally to the efforts of users of most skill levels.

It uses a spinning fan’s wind resistance that offers very low-impact but seamless strength training and cardio workouts.

It has a computer monitor that can exhibit session data, although no preset workout data is there. But the monitor screen is primary in form, and there is an absence of heart rate monitor.

This superior rowing machine is slightly heavier than Stamina 1402, which makes it a better choice if you are taller. You may vertically fold it to save space.

This is a long-lasting and affordable workout machine that has a steel frame and larger chrome seat rail. There is high stability when you perform intense exercises on it.

There are many comfort features here, such as a large padded seat, an ergonomic handle, large-sized footrests comprising nylon straps, and more. But the chain tends to fall off the sprocket of the equipment.

Highlighted Features

  • Has a clean design and appearance.
  • Construction is robust in quality.
  • Air resistance is strong and smooth, making it ideal for HIIT exercises.
  • Wonderful value for money.
  • Backed by amazing customer service.
  • Can be folded and stored with ease.

05. Concept2 Model E Smooth and High Calorie-Burning Motion


A superior indoor rowing device from Concept2, this one has been created to offer a full-body workout for people of any fitness level or age.

It has a stylish flywheel design that makes the operation smoother, and the noise is reduced as much as possible. This is a very portable rowing machine that can be broken down into two sections.

The best budget rowing machine has a PM5 Performance Monitor that offers many options, such as games, workout settings, etc. that are per-loaded.

You can transfer its data to online apps and PC. There are plenty of features that let you track progress and optimize exercises. It is a long-lasting and well-designed product that is offered with decent quality.

You can assemble and use this rowing equipment with a lot of conveniences. There are features like in-built wireless capability, memory storage, heart monitor with chest-strap, and more.

This is a superior product that offers good value for money. But when used in small spaces, its flywheel can be noisy.

Highlighted Features

  • Seat is padded and of the proper height, making the equipment suitable for taller users.
  • Action is quite seamless.
  • Rowing position is higher.
  • Handle is of convenient shape and can be easy on hands.
  • Console offers more data than required.
  • Performance data can be stored online or on a PC.

06. Fitness Reality 1000 Magnetic Rower Machine Plus Bluetooth


Brought to you by Fitness Reality, this rowing machine is good value for money. It is solid in construction and has a long beam, which makes it perfect for tall rowers.

The monitor might be basic in form, but its Bluetooth app compensates for this. There are as many as 14 resistance levels in this full-magnetic equipment.

A foldable and strong frame makes it able to support as much weight as 250 pounds. It has compatibility with the MyCloudFitness app for Android and iOS, and there is internal Bluetooth connectivity.

This might not be a professional rower but can offer a full-body and regular cardio exercise, as well as other workouts such as front, raises, stand-up rows and bicep curls. This makes it a fantastic trainer for weight loss, development of Stamina, toning of muscles, and more.

There is a set of footrests in the front, which let you carry out tricep extensions, bicep curls, and various other arm workouts. You can get more settings for resistance in the rowing workout equipment. However, there is no backlight in the fitness monitor and a lack of pulse reading function.

Highlighted Features

  • Consists of a folding frame.
  • Rear base has adjustable stabilizers.
  • The magnetic resistance system is seamless.
  • As many as 14 resistance levels.
  • Machine is quite strong in form and can support as much as 250 pounds.
  • Seat is contoured and padded for a higher level of comfort.

07. Marcy Foldable 8-Level With Transport Wheels


The best compact rowing machine from Marcy, a reliable fitness brand that has been around for over 50 years, it can be folded with ease for secure storage. The magnetic resistance style rowing equipment comes at a budget price and is quite substantial in construction.

It has a basic LCD monitor and as many as eight adjustable resistance levels. You can fold the equipment easily just by taking out a fast-release pin.

You can use this feature to put it almost anywhere to store it easily when you are not using it. But the manual instructions are not clear, making it tough for beginner level users.

Keep in mind that this is a simple rower that has been designed to offer an essential rowing exercise, and comes without fancy bells and whistles.

The compact and small size makes it perfect for most homes. The machine has a contoured design, and you can be assured of optimal comfort at the time of rowing.

There is a multi-angle monitor that lets you track your performance with accuracy while rowing. While rowing, however, it can be noisy in operations.

Highlighted Features

  • Padded seat is very comfy to use.
  • Intense exercise is assured due to continuous resistance.
  • Even heavier users may use the equipment.
  • Can easily fold up to be stored in a corner.

08. MaxKare Magnetic Rower With LCD Monitor for Home Use


A MaxKare product, this is a practical rower that can be set up with ease. This is light equipment that is not very heavy to move, but you can be assured of stability when you use it for rowing.

When you use the equipment, your whole body can move. There are as many as 16 levels of adjustable resistance, which makes it ideal to be used by various members of the same family.

There is a cylindrical notch located adjacent to the padded, where you can put kinds of stuff such as a water bottle or phone. This is a handy feature for all those who like to drink water or check news or mail while exercising.

The handles are completely padded with foam and can let you perform a more comprehensive range of movements more easily.

You can use it for exercising whenever you want, as it does not produce any noise while in the operational stage. There is no noise whatsoever, and this makes it perfect for early morning or even late-night workouts (if you come back home late). But users need some time to get used to it.

Highlighted Features

  • Exercise goals set can easily be attained.
  • Bottle, phone, etc. can be stored easily in the storage box.
  • Seat is large and padded and offers a comfier rowing experience.

09. XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Impellers Active Motion


An XTERRA best rowing machine under 500 dollars, it comes with high brand value. You can work out your full body much better with this equipment, and develop strength and flexibility.

There is a 5.5 inch sizeable sized LCD screen that shows the clock, room temperature, calories burned, total time exercised for, etc.

There are as many as 6 Resistance Levels, which is decided by how much water is there within the tank. You can find large Velcro straps that can securely fit users of any size.

The nylon straps used for spinning the water wheel do the job well. The unit has a roomy and contoured seat that can ensure an optimal level of performance and comfort for you.

Working out with this equipment is more comfortable, as its rowing handle has an ergonomic design and is padded for convenience. However, the foot pedals are made out of plastic, which makes it brittle.

Highlighted Features

  • There is rhythmic rowing ability, ensuring proper full-body workout.
  • Construction is solid, with robust dual aluminum slide rails and steel frame.
  • Consists of pressure tested water tank for durable performance.
  • When not used, the unit takes up minimal space due to folding up the design of a frame.
  • Nylon strap used for water wheel spinning is superior and well constructed.
  • Backed by efficient customer service.

10. Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine LCD Display and Adjustable Resistance


This is from the reputed brand Goplus and is perfect for beginners and home users. It has a strong construction, with a stable steel frame having a scratch-resistant and corrosion-resistant paint coat.

It can easily be moved from place to place, courtesy of its transport wheels. You can fold and store it away, which makes it ideal for small-sized apartments.

There are as many as ten levels of resistance. Therefore, it is appropriate for beginners. It has a bright and powerful LCD display that allows you to track the progress of your workout performance.

The seat is cushioned, and the ergonomic design allows good lower back support to you. But it takes long to be assembled.

An affordable rower, this one can save storage space for you. It is an entry-level workout device that has specifically been designed and created to be used at home.

There are many fabulous features, and solid construction makes it a good value for money product. Where resistance system, design, and specifications are concerned, this one resembles the likes of the Sunny SF-RW5515 and the Velocity CHR-2001. However, it can be used indoors only.

Highlighted Features

  • It comes with a wide range of features.
  • Setup is secure and can be done even by a single individual.
  • Available with clear and clean manual instructions.
  • Comes in all-steel construction, which makes it durable in form.
  • Takes up only a minimal amount of space.

Learn Amazing Rowing Machine Techniques and Benefits

Buying Considerations of Best Rowing Machine Under 500

These are some top factors to consider when you choose a rowing machine for your workout needs.

Compact Design

You have to consider the dimensions or measurements of your potential workout rowing equipment. It has to fit your size as well as that of your indoor space, whether an apartment or home. Unless the rowing machine that you buy fits inside, it will not be useful even if it is a high-end rower.

Take your height into consideration. For instance, in case you are too tall for the equipment, you will have a cramped experience.

In case you happen to be short, you might not be capable of reaching some components comfortably. The rowing machine that you choose should be able to fit a wide range of heights and weights.

Make sure that it can support your body weight so that it does not buckle under your heft. The closer you are to your weight limit, the less the stability you will experience.


The resistance will determine the challenges you will get from your workout. You can find quite a few mid-range rowing machines to suit you.

Those that work with water resistance can let you have unmatched and genuine rowing experience. You can have authentic rowing sound and feel as there is the swishing of water around the machine tank. This is the closest you can get to genuine rowing, without getting out of your house.

With air resistance, you can enjoy a responsive and smooth feel at the time of rowing. These can also record your exercise data, such as distance rowed for strokes, speed, etc., a little more precisely than machines with water resistance can give you.

The primary benefit of air resistance rowing equipment is that these produce slightly less noise. You can enjoy conversations and TV shows, etc. better while rowing.


Each mid-range rowing workout machine consists of some type of central console, although this is based on how extensive and prominent the manufacturer is.

You can always get an LCD monitor that can offer feedback on your exercises. It often includes important information, such as:

  • Calories burned
  • Speed
  • Distance
  • Workout time

You may also get other metrics, like:

  • Heart rate
  • Room temperature
  • 500m time
  • Total strokes
  • Stroke per minute
  • RPM

You should finally check that quality and screen size varies across manufacturers, and not every brand offers backlit or adjustable screen. A backlight is essential in case you plan to use the rower at night or in a darker room with no external illumination.

The monitor should be able to show you at least the underlying data, such as the workout duration, no. of rowing strokes, and rowed distance.

Build Quality

You have to choose a rower having a durable build so that it can last for around 3 to 5 years or even more. Every material used for the construction has to be durable, reliable, and robust.

Brand Reputation

Before choosing a rowing machine, ensure that you check the quality of the product as well as the company. Take into consideration how long the brand has been around and also the products’ release date.

You also have to consider how reputed the brand/manufacturer is. Knowing the release date is essential, as you would like to know whether or not the machine has been tested for a sufficiently long time.

Noise Level

You would not like to have your rowing equipment produce noise as you row-workout. The amount of noise tolerance varies across people. However, if you live in a small-sized apartment and there are quite a few neighbors, you would like to keep sounds down as much as you want.

You would not like to have a machine that is too loud to cause problems for those living in adjacent rooms or apartments. In case you live in an isolated space, you might not like to consider the noise factor.

Comfort Level

Ensure that the rower of your choice can be used comfortably. The handle and seat have to be secure without causing any pain to your hands and back. Once you start using the equipment, you have to get a smoother and more natural feel.


In case of anything breaks, you have to make sure that the replacement components can be accessed easily. This should comprise of support material, like availability of replacement components, customer support, repair videos, etc.

User’s FAQs about Best Compact Rowing Machine

1. Which is the best rowing equipment for an apartment?

The best rowing machine to go for is the one that is compact enough to fit the internal space and produces the least noise while operating.

It can be tough to use a noisy rowing workout machine in an apartment, as you will be continuously worried about disturbing people and neighbors living above, below, or adjacent to you. Some of the rowing devices may vibrate while some can be noisier than others.

In case you happen to be concerned about the level of noise, rule out those with air resistance. The loudness of water resistance rowers is less than air resistance machines.

    2. Is rowing workout equipment perfect for cardio workouts and muscle building?

Yes! With a rower, you can build lean muscle and not have to be concerned about getting a ‘bulky’ look. When you carry out a very high number of repetitions, it is contrary to what is done for getting ‘bulky’ or to have ‘muscle hypertrophy.’

When you do very high repetitions with resistance, you can get fantastic cardiovascular exercise. This is why rowing machines are Crossfit-favorite.

    3. How many calories are burned by a rower?

It has been estimated that a rower can burn as many as a thousand calories per hour. You could burn even more, based on how intense your workout is. A treadmill on an incline happens to be the only other workout equipment than can compete with a rower.

But calorie burning is not the sole factor to consider during weight loss. You also have to find other factors, such as lean muscle building and raising metabolic rate.

    4. Which are the best rowing exercises for weight loss?

Two exercise routines are known to offer the best weight loss benefits to people who work out on these machines. These include High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) rowing and Steady-State rowing.

However, other than such exercises, you have to also focus on your diet for fast weight loss and keeping your body weight in check.

    5. Which is the best row-workout equipment to lose weight?

Most people who wish to buy a rower are interested in losing weight first and foremost. A rowing machine is the best weight loss equipment, but the best one to help you in losing weight will be one that you will enjoy the most while using.

It should have padded seats and ergonomic handles, support your body weight properly, fit your legs quite well, has a bright monitor that shows all the data, and also lets you perform workouts noiselessly.

It has to fit the interior space well enough and offer good resistance to make workouts challenging for you.

Unless you buy a rower that is not up to your preferences, you will not love to use it and be unable to lose weight.

    6. Which muscles are exercised by rowing machine workouts?

Rowing equipment happens to be quite popular among fitness enthusiasts, given that these offer the chance to exercise the whole body.

According to estimates, a rowing workout can burn as many as a thousand calories in 1 hour. It can apply as much as 84% of your whole muscle mass. Various muscles are exercised through every rowing stroke stage.

    7. What are the advantages of a rower?

There are plenty of advantages when you use a row-workout machine. Many consider this as among the best workout equipment. A rower can burn as many as a thousand calories in just 1 hour.

You can increase metabolic rate for many hours, following a workout. This is also a fantastic cardiovascular exercise and happens to be the only workout equipment that can help exercise the lower body as well as upper body muscle groups.

    8. What is the best rowing technique and form?

Many people who begin using rowing machines are not sure how to properly row them. Due to this reason, they look for the best row-workout methods and forms to employ.

It is imperative to have proper technique and style, to make sure that you can have the best exercise and can prevent injury. You can find many videos on the best row-workout techniques on YouTube and other websites.

    9. Is Water Resistance Equipment Better than Air Resistance Equipment?

Both come with their benefits. Generally, water resistance rowers have wooden frames and look more elegant. These may have more heft due to a full tank. Water levels can be adjusted more easily while in motion.

These are slightly more noiseless and offer more seamless rowing motions than air resistance rowers. However, the monitors are not very accurate, and the price tag is also higher than air rowers.

Air rowers, on the other hand, are slightly louder than water rowers. But these have more sophisticated monitors and are generally cheaper to buy.

The drag of these machines can be adjusted more easily. These are also lighter in weight and can be folded and stored with more convenience.

   10. Can you get better exercise than a treadmill?

Muscles of the entire body can be activated much better on rowers. Treadmills work out the upper body much less, and the lower body, especially the legs – is mainly exercised.

When compared to a treadmill, a rower is also significantly better for the joints. Rowing is an exercise that does not involve bearing weight. As compared to running, there is a substantially lower impact on the connective tissues and joints.

Final Word

When it comes to the best budget rowing machine, any of these can justify your investment and prove to be a tremendous value-for-money offering for you.

These 10 models hit that sweet spot between budget and value, offer you a good idea of what the market has on offer for fitness enthusiasts, and can help you to get great workout sessions that can let you have that dream body you have long been aspiring for!