Best 5 Cheap Rowing Machines Under $500 To Buy In 2020 Reviews

If you’re looking for an affordable rowing machine under $500, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, I review the 5 best inexpensive rowing machine models that are currently available on the market. I go over their specifications, main features and design to help you compare the models. I write about everything you need to know to decide which exercise rower is the right one for you.

cheap-rowing-machine

Things To Know Before Buying An Inexpensive Rowing Machine

Do Lower Prices Mean Lower Quality?

You can find quality made exercise equipment for pretty affordable prices, like the machines listed here. You can even find a budget-friendly water rower model here that is made out of quality materials and is durable. Every resistance type is represented here so you can choose for yourself your best fit.

Price Range Of These Exercise Machines

Every fitness rower on this list is under $500 with the highest price having the Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rower. Some are priced even lower than Sunny like the Xterra ERG400 air and magnetic rowing machine. These are very budget-friendly rowers that you will be able to afford.

Where To Find A Cheap Rowing Machine For Sale?

Every rower on this list has an official manufacturer’s website where they are sold. There are other options, like for example online retail sites such as Amazon. Amazon has great deals and discounts and in addition, you can compare prices directly on there. You can also see what other user reviews are saying.

What To Look For When Buying Affordable Rower Models?

After price, it’s always best to look for the warranty period and what is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. It’s good to compare the construction quality and whether the machine will last you for a long time. Last but not least, it’s important to figure out which type of resistance you want.

Different Types Of Resistance In Fitness Rowers

There are 4 main types of resistance in rowers: water, air, magnetic and hydraulic. I cover all 4 here so you can choose the best rower for you according to your preferences. There is also one fitness machine that combines air and magnetic, the Xterra ERG400 rowing machine.

Best 5 Budget Rowing Machine Models

Best Cheap Air Rower Under 500$

Stamina X Air Rower

Air Resistance Fan Flywheel

The Stamina X Air Rower uses air that has to be displaced in front of the fan flywheel for resistance. It works similar in principle to the water rower in that you don’t have resistance levels to choose from. You create your own resistance level through the speed of your rowing.

Stamina X Air Rower

Multi-Level LCD Fitness Monitor

The performance monitor on this affordable rowing machine has 3 sub-windows that shows you multiple metrics. You can track your speed, distance, calories burned, workout time and your total strokes all at one glance. This monitor has everything you need to be able to progress with your workouts efficiently.

Build Quality And Specifications

This is one of the best budget rowing machines with a steel frame that can carry up to 250lbs of maximum weight. It can withstand some of your toughest workouts but is also ergonomically designed for comfort. The seat is padded and contoured while the footplates are textured so you don’t slip.

Stamina X Air Rower review

Foldable And Space-Saving Frame

This is a rowing machine that takes up quite some space with the dimensions of 78’’ L x 18’’ W x 29’’ H. But that poses no problem since you can easily fold the fan portion over the monorail portion. After you fold it, you can tilt it and transport it on built-in wheels to the desired place in the house.

Warranty Period Of The Stamina X

Stamina X has a solid warranty for its price range and it being an air rower. Some reviews recommend this rower as a cheap Concept2 rower alternative. The structural frame has a 3-year warranty while the parts have a 90-day warranty. You get a quality air rowing machine for this affordable price.

Why Buy This Product:

  • smooth and powerful air resistance
  • quality LCD performance monitor
  • strong and durable structural frame
  • easily foldable for storage

Best Affordable Water Rowing Machine Under 500$

Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rower Obsidian Surge

Water Resistance Exercise Machine

The Obsidian Surge has propellers immersed in a tank filled with water. There are 16 hydro blades interacting with water that create an authentic water rowing resistance. If you want to feel more resistance, you have to increase your rowing speed just like in air rowers. You decrease your speed for lighter resistance.

Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine RW5713

R2 Fitness Meter For Tracking Data

This is one of the best inexpensive rowing machine models with a great performance monitor. The monitor tracks important metrics like total time, distance rowed, calories burned and strokes per minute. The R2 Fitness Meter monitor is very well organized into several easily readable sections.

Construction Quality And Design

The 16 hydro blades in the water tank and the frame itself are made out of stainless steel. The frame can handle up to 250lbs and has a durable build. The seat is both molded and padded for comfortable workouts. The footpads on this cheap water rower are made out of non-slip material.

Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine RW5713 review

Easy Storage And Transport

The rowing machine, like most water rowers, doesn’t fold so you have to lift the rear end of the monorail. Once vertical, you can move it on built-in wheels to your storage space or a closet. You can store it standing up against a wall and its dimensions while in use are 78’’ L x 22’’ W x 33’’ H.

Warranty Period Of Sunny Obsidian Surge

The frame of this Sunny Health & Fitness budget rowing machine has a 3-year warranty. All the other parts and components have a 90-day warranty which is comparable to other similar rowers. This is one of the best budget rowing machine models with a solid warranty time.

Why Buy This Product:

  • 16 hydro blades for water resistance
  • R2 Fitness Meter Monitor
  • stands upright for easy storage
  • durable frame construction
  • ergonomic design for comfortable workouts

Best Affordable Home Rowing Machine Under 500$

Marcy Foldable Magnetic Rowing Machine

Eight Magnetic Resistance Levels

The Marcy magnetic rower has up to 8 different difficulty levels to choose from for your workout. Magnetic resistance rowers work with magnets that go farther away or closer to the metallic flywheel. The position of the C-shaped magnet depends on the resistance level you choose.

Marcy Foldable 8-Level Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine with Transport Wheels

Multi-Angle Performance Monitor

You can fold the Marcy monitor forwards or backward so you can position it easily to fit your needs. The monitor tracks all the important metrics such as time, total row count, row count of your current workout and calories. It’s a basic monitor but you can achieve great results with the data.

Build Quality And Specifications

This inexpensive rowing machine can support up to 300lbs on its sturdy frame. It has ergonomically designed parts that make your long workouts comfortable. The seat is padded and also molded and the handlebar is covered in foam so you won’t slip. The footpads are textured with adjustable straps.

Marcy Foldable 8-Level Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine with Transport Wheels review

Easily Foldable For Storage

Magnetic rowers are well known for being compact rowers, to begin with, but you can also easily fold them. Just fold the monorail towards the front part where the magnetic flywheel is. When you want to move it, tilt it forward on its built-in rollers. The dimensions of this machine are 74’’ L x 19’’ W x 32’’ H.

Warranty Period For The Marcy Model

Marcy magnetic rower has a pretty solid warranty considering the price range. It’s a good cheap rowing machine with a frame warranty that lasts for 2 years. The parts have a 1-year warranty which is quite an improvement for this type of rower which usually has only 3 months.

Why Buy This Product:

  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • multi-functional performance monitor
  • easily foldable for storage

Best Cheap Compact Rower Under 500$

Kettler Favorit Hydraulic Rowing Machine

Fifty Hydraulic Resistance Levels

Kettler Favorit has 2 hydraulic-pistons that move the hydraulic fluid between chambers through an opening. You can choose between 50 resistance levels and can find the best level to match your fitness ability. You can easily change the level by repositioning the piston clamps.

Kettler Home ExerciseFitness Equipment

LCD Performance Monitor For Tracking

While Kettler’s monitor is quite basic, it nonetheless tracks every important bit of workout information. It tracks distance rowed, time, calories burned, pulse and strokes. It even has a recovery feature that rates your cardiovascular fitness from 1 to 6. All in all, a very useful monitor with important features.

Build Quality And Technical Specifications

This budget home rowing machine has a frame made out of high carbon steel. It’s very tough and durable and can support up to 285lbs. It has a thick and padded seat that’s designed for comfort while it glides on sealed ball bearings. The foot pedals are biomechanically correct and textured.

Kettler Home ExerciseFitness Equipment review

Compact Design For Easy Storage

This cheap rower is very compact to begin with like most hydraulic-piston resistance rowers. Its dimensions while in use are 52’’ L x 32’’ W x 10’’ H and the best part is that the rowing arms can be folded. The rower is lightweight enough so you can pick it up and store it against a wall or under the bed.

Warranty Period Of the Kettler Favorit

Kettler has confidence in its product and so it backed the frame with a lifetime warranty. The parts and other components have a 3-year warranty which is pretty solid. This is one of the best inexpensive rowing machine models that have this kind of warranty and industrial-strength build.

Why Buy This Product:

  • 50 hydraulic resistance levels
  • multi-purpose performance monitor
  • compact and easy to fold
  • lightweight and easy to transport
  • lifetime frame warranty

Best Cheap Foldable Rowing Machine Under 500$

Xterra ERG400 Rowing Machine

Combination Air And Magnetic Resistance

Xterra ERG400 has a dual resistance system in the form of air and magnets. The air provides you with a strong and smooth rowing stroke and works mainly as the base for lower levels. Higher levels have quiet magnetic resistance where you have 16 levels to choose from.

XTERRA Fitness ERG400

Multi-Function LCD Fitness Monitor

The monitor on this affordable rowing machine is easily readable and you can adjust its angle. It’s divided into several sections and shows you the most important metrics. It monitors watts, distance rowed, time, stroke number and strokes per minute. It also has several preset workout programs.

Construction Quality And Design

The seat monorail is made out of aluminum with steel supports and can carry up to 250lbs. The seat is large and contoured and the row handle is padded so you can have longer and more comfortable workouts. The pedals are textured with an adjustable strap and they can pivot for proper form.

XTERRA Fitness ERG400 review

Foldable For Easy Storage

This affordable rowing machine has a standard foldable design so you can store the rower properly. You fold the monorail towards the front, flywheel part and leave it vertically. You can also move the rower on its built-in rollers. The dimensions of the rowing machine while in use are 72’’ L x 18’’ W x 31’’ H.

Warranty Period Of The Xterra ERG400

Xterra backed its rower with a solid warranty and so the structural frame has a 5-year warranty period. The components have a 1-year warranty. With this being a budget friendly rowing machine, you get a good warranty and also a very strong combination exercise rower.

Why Buy This Product:

  • 16 air and magnetic resistance levels
  • multi-function performance monitor
  • foldable for easy storage

Conclusion: Which Two Best Cheap Rowing Machine Models Should You Buy?

Stamina X Air Rower and Sunny Obsidian Surge are in my opinion the best affordable rowing machine models. Stamina X Air Rower is a strong and smooth air resistance rowing machine for a great price. The Obsidian Surge model is a very affordable water rower with great performance.

If you want to know more about water rowing machines, we wrote about them in the best water rower article. In case you want to find out more about home rowers, we have an article about best-rated rowing machine models. We also wrote an article about foldable rowing machines.