Best Rowing Machine Under 500

It can be a real challenge for some people to find the time to work out, especially those living a busy life. Fitting in a workout routine on a regular basis requires lots of dedication and sacrifice. Those who want to provide a full workout to their body don't have plenty of stationary exercise equipment available. That's why many people go to the gym and work out with a broad range of exercise equipment, from ellipticals to treadmills.

The things get even harder if you want to build a home gym and exercise at home. That requires a significant investment and plenty of room. This is where a rowing machine comes in. Such a machine allows for an ultimate total-body workout, utilizing and working different muscles in an effective way.

Indoor rowing machine presents a highly-refined, sleek piece of exercise equipment that provides a great exercise station to move your muscles in a comfortable yet challenging way. It lets you burn calories and build muscles in a low-impact, safe way. You just need to choose a rower that suits your budget and your needs.

Top 5 Rowing Machines on the Market

Product Name
Resistance Type
Maximum User Weight (lbs)

Stamina 1399 ATS Air Rower

Dynamic Air


Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515



Stamina Orbital Rowing Machine 1215

Dual Piston Hydraulic


Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine

Hydraulic Piston


LifeSpan Indoor Rowing Machine RW1000



There are plenty of high-end workout machines with all the bells and whistles. However, not everyone can pay for these costly devices. Luckily, the budget-conscious customers can still afford a mid-range, solid rower that can meet their requirements. We have put together some reviews of the best rowing machines under 500 dollars.

Best 5 Rowing Machines Under $500 in 2017

1. Stamina 1399 ATS Air Rower

If you are seeking a high-quality yet affordable rowing machine, then check out the Stamina Air Rower and find out why many regard it as the best air-resistance rower under $500.

As its name suggests, this machine uses a motorized large fan to generate the resistance. It produces a quite realistic emulation of the real rowing experience for a complete smooth workout. You can quickly adjust your workouts on the fly thanks to variable resistance that alters according to the user's rowing intensity.

This device features a sturdy construction with durable steel frame. It is fitted with a surprisingly comfortable, padded sliding seat as well as big footpads and seat rail. There are also adjustable straps which ensure that your feet are secured when rowing. For the safety of your hands, the machine is equipped with the ergonomic handle that ensures a secure grip.

Easy portability and storage is another thumb up for the Stamina Air Rower. You can move it around easily thanks to the built-in wheels and store it anywhere when finishing your training. This is possible due to the compact dimensions and foldable frame. Moreover, you can reduce the footprint by half if needed.

As far as the monitor, it displays all the important data to track your progress while exercising, including covered distance, your speed, workout time, and calories burnt. By using the mode button, you can view and access data one at a time.

Despite the lightweight construction, this rowing machine can carry up to 250 pounds. It can support tall people above 6 feet.

Key features:

  • Air/wind resistance
  • Foldable steel frame
  • Upholstered seat
  • Floor protectors
  • Nylon rowing strap
  • Large footplates
  • Built-in wheels
  • LCD multi-function display
  • Weight limit: 250 lbs
  • Assembled size: 77 x 18.75 x 22 inches

Sunny SF-RW5515 is a magnetic rower that boasts a large LCD monitory, 8 levels of quiet adjustment, nonslip grip handlebars, and padded seat. These features make it a great rowing machine for long, smooth, full-body workouts.

What sets this machine apart from the other rowers in its class is magnetic resistance. That means it employs a magnet, which is placed inside the flywheel, to produce resistance against a metal spinning drum. It offers a realistic, smooth rowing motion while providing a silent row.

Most users find the resistance strong enough to support all fitness levels, which makes it suitable for people of all ages. There's a knob that regulates resistance level and let you switch between eight different options. Unlike air rowers, you can feel strong resistance while rowing slowly at high levels. All you need to do is push the knob left or right. Note that you must halt rowing in order to alter the resistance level.

It comes with a big LCD monitor that displays and tracks basic workout data like total strokes, time, count, and calories burnt.

Foldable design makes storage a breeze, whereas the built-in caster wheels allow for a great portability.

Key features:

  • Magnetic resistance
  • Heavy-duty steel mainframe
  • 8 resistance levels
  • Large basic LCD monitor
  • Nonslip handlebar grip
  • Fully padded seat
  • Adjustable foot straps
  • Anti-slip foot pedals
  • Built-in transportation wheels
  • Max user weight: 250 lbs
  • Assembled dimensions: 82 x 19 x 23 inches

Another great Stamina rowing machine, but this one provides somewhat different workout because of a novel concept. Actually, this compact machine features free-motion, orbital rowing arms to simulate rowing on the water.

It’s all about durability and comfort. On the contrary to plastic linkage parts in older models, this version has been reinforced and improved with a lot of steel parts. As for the comfort, there's the beam incline, pivoting footplates, thick padded seat, and alterable tension controls for optimal workout intensity.

The hydraulic cylinder generates a smooth resistance letting you have the noiseless workouts. There are a total of 5 resistance levels for the supreme output. It's easy to track the progress while exercising on the LCD monitor, which displays time, distance, speed, row count, and calories burnt.

The Stamina Orbital rower weights 67 pounds; it is rather wider but less tall. Keep in mind that it takes a bit more to assemble and can't be folded, which is on the low side when compared to other rowing machines.

Key features:

  • Hydraulic piston resistance
  • Free-motion arms
  • Unfoldable compact design
  • 5 resistance levels
  • Adjustable tension controls
  • Pivoting foot plates
  • Thick, padded seat
  • Single button LCD monitor
  • Weight limit: 250 lbs
  • Assembled dimensions: 50 x 32.5 x 31 inches

The Kettler Favorit stands out from the rest with its sleek design, quality manufacturing, superior construction, and an ergonomic seat. That's why it is considered to be one of the toughest hydraulic rowing machines under $500. It is suitable for both beginners and professional athletes.

There are 2 hydraulic cylinders that are meant to maximize the output of your drills while offering continuous resistance. That results in a full body workout. The Kettler Favorit involves a self-adjustable resistance level, offering a wide range of resistance. You can switch between 50 levels by repositioning or resetting the knurl marks. That may bother you while adjusting the resistance, though.

The rower is equipped with an anti-slip base which ensures that the machine cannot skid while you exercise. In addition to the seat, the handles are also padded in order to provide a strong grip whilst preventing blistering at the same time.

LCD monitor is surely one of the most important improvements. It lets you customize and track your workout sessions displaying frequency, calories burned, pulse rate, strokes, distance, and time. Besides, it shows your heart rate utilizing a chest strap and wrist monitor.

Key features:

  • Hydraulic resistance
  • Modern, sleek design
  • Anti-slip base
  • Foldable padded handles
  • Adjustable straps
  • Biomechanical footplates
  • 50 resistance levels
  • High contrast 6-function LCD monitor
  • 2 AA batteries
  • Weight limit: 285 lbs
  • Assembled dimensions: 48.8 x 30.7 x 10.2 inches

To simulates nearly authentic water tension, this award-winning rowing machine utilizes an eddy flywheel drive system. With its sturdy construction that features a solid steel frame as well as a super-quiet motion that ensures a smooth workout, it is a great deal indeed.

The LifeSpan RW1000 is a perfect choice for both experts and beginners looking for a magnetic rower under $500. That's because there are 5 resistance levels to choose from. All you have to do is turn a knob beneath the monitor to change the level of resistance.

The machine boasts a three-LCD monitor that shows time, distance, stroke count, the number of strokes per minute, and calories burned. This control panel automatically turns off after several minutes of inactive use to save battery power. On the downside, there's no backlight, which can be a problem when exercising in a dark place.

Key features:

  • Magnetic resistance
  • Eddy drive system with 16.5lb flywheel
  • Solid steel frame
  • Portable and compact design with transport wheels
  • Adjustable comfortable seat
  • Long seat rail
  • 5 resistance levels
  • Spacious footrests
  • Grippy straight handle
  • Multi-screen LCD monitor
  • Weight limit: 300 lbs
  • Assembled dimensions: 90 x 18.5 x 23 inches

What to Consider When Buying a Rowing Machine

There are certain criteria you must consider when choosing the rowing machine. Those machines vary widely in price, ranging from a few hundred bucks to over a thousand dollars. Aside from a price, you should also know what type of resistance and action you are looking for.

Below, you can see some important criteria that can help you make a right decision.

Type of Resistance

While most rowing machines have similar designs, they differ in the way of providing resistance. You must take it into consideration if you want to get the most out of your workout. There are 4 different types of resistance:

Air resistance

Water resistance

Hydraulic (piston) resistance

Magnetic resistance

Bear in mind that all rowing machines are not built with equal resistance. Also, each of above-listed resistances has its unique rowing feel, as well as its weaknesses and strengths. In this price range, the majority of rowing machines have hydraulic resistance, but you can also find a few great magnetic and air resistance rowers.

A good rowing machine is one that provides smooth, equal resistance level throughout the stroke. That resistance level is supposed to be strong enough to cater to all fitness degrees.

Build Quality

Assuming that you're gonna use the rower regularly, it should last at least four years (hopefully 5-10 years). Therefore, make sure to chose a model that is constructed with durable materials and a strong frame.

Folding and Assembly

Space is one of the main concerns for those people who cannot set aside a whole room that would serve as a home gym. If you have the same concern, pick one that can be folded up easily. A folding rowing machine doesn’t take up much space. In addition, storing should be easy and fast too. That's why you need to examine how well the certain row machine folds up and stores.

Maybe you'll have to put together your machine only one time, however, that one time could be kind of like nightmare if get a puzzle-like model. The easier to assemble, the better.


The rower should be comfortable to operate and use because rowing implies repetitive motions. That said, the overall motion when rowing must feel smooth and natural all the while. The best machine will come with some adjustability, footrests or footpads that snugly secure your feet, as well as a comfortable seat and handle that won’t injure your hands.


You can't expect a product with a high-performance monitor in this price range. But it needs to come with a handy monitor which records some basic workout information such as distance rowed, workout time, calories burned, and the number of rowing strokes.


There are some things you should clear up before you go shopping. How many times are you going to use the rowing machine per week? How many people will use it? Are you purchasing a rower only for your personal use?

It's wise to consider the user capacity if the machine will be used by several people in your household. It should be capable of accommodating a broad range of heights and weights.

Our Final Review for the Best Rowing Machines Under $500

Both health professionals and fitness experts agree that a rowing machine provides one of the most effective workouts. You can target various muscle groups while exercising on such a machine, providing them with a formidable drill. But which one to choose? Pick one of the five rowers showcased above and we assure you that you won't have a second of regret. Each of them will fit your body while fitting your budget as well.

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