8 Best Rowing Machines Under $200 Reviewed in 2021
Start A Healthy Lifestyle With Budget Rowing Machines Under $200
Rowing machines can get pretty expensive, which is unfortunate because rowing is one of the best full body exercises available. Experts say that it can work as much as 84% of our total body muscles, which is incredible for just about anyone looking to improve their personal fitness.
There’s always the option of going rowing outside to achieve this incredible workout. However, for those of us who do not live next to a large river or other suitable area to go outdoor rowing, there are indoor rowing machines available. Unfortunately, when one is first searching for a suitable rowing machine, it can seem like they all cost a small fortune. That’s where we come in.
We’ve compiled a list of the best home rowing machines for under $200 available. Looking through a variety of factors, (which we shall go through after the list near the FAQ section) we’ve come up with the best rowers in their price category.
You won’t find any high-tech monitors that can connect you to every Bluetooth device in your house here, but you will most certainly find some extremely solid rowing machines that will be sure to improve your overall health. And without any further delay, let’s get into our list!
Best Rowing Machines Under $200 Comparison Chart:
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine||No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories||250 Lbs||Yes, Frame folds up||8-Level
|Merax Magnetic Exercise Rowing Machine With 15° Tilt Angle||No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories||264 Lbs||Yes, Frame folds up||8-Level
|MaxKare Magnetic Indoor Rower With 16 Resistance Levels||No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories||243 Lbs||Yes, Frame folds up||16-Level
|Fitness Reality 1000 Magnetic Rower With Extended Optional||No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories||250 Lbs||Yes, Frame folds up||14-Level
|MaxKare Dual Belt Dynamic Air Resistance Rower||No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories||264 Lbs||Yes, Frame folds up||Dynamic Air Resistance|
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5728 Air-Mag Rowing Machine||No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories||265 Lbs||Yes, Frame folds up||8-Level
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Resistance Rower||No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories||220 Lbs||Yes, Frame folds up||4-Level Elastic Cord Resistance|
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Hydraulic Resistance Rower||No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories||220 Lbs||No, Doesn't fold up||12-Level Hydraulic Resistance|
Editor’s Choice Under $200!
Our rowing experts at BEMH have already picked the best budget home rowers under $200. However, there 8 rowers which can make it a bit difficult to pick the one that suits your needs.
Therefore, I narrowed the options to one model that I think is the best rowing machine under $200 on the market. Sunny SFRW5515 is my pick for this month.
For the price point, this low-cost rowing machine provides lots of value. It’s compact, foldable, and has a smooth and quiet drive mechanism, thanks to its magnetic resistance system.
Our Top 8 Rowing Machine Picks Under $200:
1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine
Top of the list is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine. The name might be a mouthful, but the rower itself is a great one for the price. This is a magnetic rower which means it uses magnets placed over a flywheel to resist the pull on the handles. It’s quieter than an air machine, and smoother than a hydraulic one.
It has eight different levels of difficulty which can be selected using the knob beneath the display. These allow for a range of workouts from light to intense. The monitor on the rower displays the sort of basic information you would expect; the time, stroke count, calories burned and such.
Disappointingly, it does not display the distance traveled, which can be a useful metric to use while working out. The rower is foldable making it easier to store in a smaller house or apartment. Of course, the most noticeable aspect of the SF-RW5515 is how cheap it is. As of the time of this writing (during the COVID19 pandemic, with many rower prices inflated due to exporting issues) this rower can still be found for just above $200.
That is absurdly cheap for the level of quality that you are getting with this bike. There are a couple of issues that do seem to be a common occurrence with the SF-RW5515. The seat does squeak a little on the beam as the rollers do stick a little, so it isn’t silent. The seat can also be a bit uncomfortable at times. Fortunately, if you find yourself getting uncomfortable during longer workouts, then a foam rowing seat pad should fix it.
The SF-RW5515 has a max user weight of 250 lbs (113 kg) and weighs 60 lbs (27 kg). Its dimensions are 82 inches (208 cm) long, 19 inches (48 cm) wide and 23 inches (58 cm) tall. When folded its dimensions are 37 inches (94 cm) long, 19 inches (48 cm) wide and 53.5 inches (136 cm) tall. It has a 3 month warranty on the frame and parts.
- With the 8 resistance levels, foldability and easy to read monitor, this rower will get the job done. Any flaws the SF-RW5515 has can be easily fixed. Seat cushions and a distance tracking app take care of the big two issues.
- The short warranty means that if something does go wrong on the rower, you won’t have much time to do anything about it. The seat might also feel a bit uncomfortable on the longer workouts or after prolonged use. The seemingly arbitrary absence of a distance stat on the monitor is also disappointing.
2. Merax Magnetic Exercise Rowing Machine With 15° Tilt Angle
The Merax Magnetic Exercise Rowing Machine is a great rower for those looking to enter into the world of rowing. It is (as the name implies) a magnetic resistance rower. This means a user can adjust a magnet inside the main housing to move it closer or farther from the metal flywheel, which increases or decreases the resistance.
This resistance comes in 8 different levels, which is a good variety for beginners. Expert rowers might find that the upper level resistance is a bit light. Due to the magnetic resistance system, the workouts are also quiet. The monitor shows the basic data that most of these rowers do. Time, calories, the rowing count and total count are all displayed.
The monitor does run on AA batteries. The Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine is fairly comfortable, though (like the SF-RW5515) the seat can become a bit less comfortable after a while. Again, this can be fixed with a seat cushion.
The footrest design is also somewhat questionable, as the feet seem to move around during intense workouts. This can become pretty inconvenient since you have to keep making sure that your feet stay in place. One of the nice aspects of this rower is that it can be folded up and take up a pretty small amount of space.
The Merax Magnetic rower has a max user weight of 264 lbs (120 kg) and weighs 74 lbs (34 kg) itself. Its dimensions are 73 inches (185 cm) long, 16 inches (41 cm) wide and 21 inches (53 cm) tall when fully assembled. When folded, its dimensions are 26 inches (66 cm) long, 16 inches (41 cm) wide, and 49 inches (124 cm) tall. It has a 3 year warranty on the frame and 180 day warranty on the parts and electronics.
- A solid bike for beginners. It’s cheap and has just enough resistance levels to provide a challenge while not overwhelming any newcomers with a variety of options.
- The resistance levels means that this bike is of limited use for advanced rowers. The basic seat can get uncomfortable at times. The footrest has some design issues as well.
3. MaxKare Magnetic Indoor Rower With 16 Resistance Levels
The MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine is one of the cheapest rowers on the market. Fortunately, this does not mean that it is one of the worst. Instead, you will find that it is actually a pretty solid rower that holds up pretty well to the competition. It features a frame made of steel tubing, while also having a long rail that can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm) with no problem.
The seat is padded foam and pretty comfortable, even on longer workouts. The footrests are made of nylon material and have a pivoting design that allows you to slightly adjust your feet on each pull while not making the motion distracting. The MaxKare rower is equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system.
This system offers an impressive 16 levels of resistance, with the 16th tension level definitely offering a competitive level for experienced rowers or athletes. Since this machine doesn’t have any air resistance elements, its usage generates very little noise.
This makes the machine suitable for apartment use. The monitor on the MaxKare rower is pretty basic. It offers time, count (strokes per session), strokes per minute (SPM), total strokes and calories burned. Like the SF-RW5515, it does not display the distance traveled, which is an annoyance. This brand has also made one of the best water rowers under $500, if you can afford it and don’t mind changing tank water every couple of months, check it out.
The rower has a max user weight of 243 lbs (110 kg) and weighs 64 lbs (29 kg) when fully assembled. Its dimensions are 76.4 inches (194 cm) long, 18.9 inches (48 cm) wide and 18.5 inches (47 cm) tall when fully assembled. It has a limited 1 year warranty.
- A durable, comfortable rower that can adapt to many riders of both shape and size. The many levels of resistance also means that this rower is good for those of all skill levels. Toss in the foldable capability and quiet nature of the rower and you’ve got one of the best home rowing machines in this price range.
- Like the SF-RW5515, the absence of a distance stat on the monitor is a curious omission. No adaptive resistance level is also a minor complaint, as it means that no matter how hard you pull, the resistance level will stay the same. The seat might also be a bit small for some people, but that’s a very minor nitpick.
4. Fitness Reality 1000 Magnetic Rower With Extended Optional
The Fitness Reality 1000 Magnetic Rowing Machine has been a top seller since it was released in early 2019, and for good reason. As one might have guessed from the name, this rower has a magnetic resistance system. Impressively, it also comes fully equipped with 14 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance.
While the highest resistance level isn’t necessarily stronger than its competitors, the variety does give you more options to find just that right level of resistance for your workouts. One of the more unique aspects about the Fitness Reality 1000 rower is that it comes with the ability to perform other exercises than rowing on it.
You can take the handle and perform exercises such as curls, upright rows, bent over rows, front raises, shrugs, triceps extensions and standing shoulder presses. The monitor that comes with the rower, again, provides the basic information that you would expect to find. Time, total stroke count, calories burned, strokes a minute and (unlike some other rowers) distance traveled.
The monitor also has “Bluetooth Smart Fitness” capabilities that can connect to the “MyCloudFitness” app. All you have to do is download the app, create a profile, and sync the app to your rower when you start a workout. Admittedly, this app does seem pretty inconsistent on when it wants to work and when it doesn’t. It is still a pretty advanced feature for a rower in this price range.
The Fitness Reality 1000 has a max user weight of 250 lbs (113 kg) and weighs 63.5 lbs (29 kg) when fully assembled. Its dimensions are 88.5 inches (225 cm) long, 21.5 inches (55 cm) wide and 21.5 inches (55 cm) tall. When folded, its dimensions are 39.5 inches (100 cm) long, 21.5 inches (55 cm) wide and 53.5 (136 cm) inches tall. It comes with a 1 year warranty on the frame, but only a 90 day warranty on both the wearable and regular parts.
- 14 levels of resistance allow for more customization in the workout routine. Unique Bluetooth and other exercise features with the monitor and handle respectively are also really cool pros that make this rower stand out from the crowd. Add a comfortable ride and cheap price point and you’ve got an excellent rower.
- The cool Bluetooth app really isn’t consistent in terms of how often you can actually get it to work. The additional workouts offered are also only really worth it if you don’t have free-weights already. The warranty is also rather short.
5. MaxKare Dual Belt Dynamic Air Resistance Rowing Machine
The MaxKare Air Resistance Rower is an extremely solid choice for anyone hunting for air rowers under $500. One of the first noticeable things is that it is a bit larger than some of these other rowers once fully assembled. While this does make it a bit tougher to fit in smaller apartments, it does mean that it can hold a larger variety of riders (both in size and shape).
As the name suggests, this rowing machine comes with an air fan resistance system. Its main resistance-generating element is the large fan at the front. Because of this, it does provide a dynamic resistance system that allows you to determine how much resistance you get by how hard you pull on the handle.
Since it’s an air resistance rower, the fan does generate some noise at high speeds. It’s not a crazy amount of noise, but certainly more than other types of resistance systems.
The LCD display that comes with the MaxKare Air Resistance Rower tracks time, distance, count (number of strokes), and calories burned. It does come with a tablet holder in case you want some entertainment while you row, which is a nice little touch.
The MaxKare Air Resistance Rower has a max user weight of 264 lbs and weighs 59 lbs itself. Its dimensions are 71.3 inches (181 cm) long, 20.1 inches (51 cm) wide and 14.2 inches (36 cm) tall when fully assembled. When folded, its dimensions are 40 inches long, (102 cm) 20.1 inches wide and 42.5 (108 cm) inches tall. It comes with a limited 1 year warranty.
- A sturdy and adaptable construction means that it is good for a variety of users. The air resistance system also provides the rather satisfying dynamic resistance system. An easy to read monitor and tablet holder means that the technological side also holds up while exercising.
- The seat sometimes doesn’t roll as smoothly as one would expect it to. There have also been reports of the resistance adjust not working initially, though MaxKare is usually pretty good about responding to such things.
6. Sunny Health Fitness SF-RW5728 Air-Mag Rowing Machine
Another mouthful, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5728 Air Magnetic Rowing Machine delivers another solid workout. Another rower with an air resistance system, the SF-RW5728 provides dynamic resistance that is really satisfying to take advantage of.
It also comes with 8 levels of that resistance, which allows for a pretty good range of workout resistance. The lower level basically uses only the resistance generated by the fan. Conversely, the 8th tension level does add a pretty distinguishable extra level of resistance, for those seeking more intense training.
The monitor on the SF-RW5728 is pretty basic. It doesn’t provide Bluetooth or any other advanced features, instead only showing time, stroke count, strokes per minute (RPM), distance traveled, and calories burned on a small LCD screen.
The screen itself is pretty hard to read during workouts, though it does the job well enough. The seat on the SF-RW5728 is pretty large and comfortable, though nothing special.
The max user weight is 265 lbs (120 kg) while the rower weighs 44 lbs (20 kg). Its dimensions are 75.8 inches (192 cm) long, 20 inches (51 cm) wide and 26 inches (66 cm) tall. It has a 3 year warranty on the frame and 180 day warranty on the parts.
- The dynamic air resistance system gives a really satisfying feel to the workouts. The various levels of intensity provide a nice level of customization to those workouts. Adding in a comfortable seat and monitor that gives all the necessary stats makes this a pretty solid rowing machine all around.
- It doesn’t do anything particularly different or special. The monitor can be pretty hard to read while the workout is ongoing.
7. Sunny Health SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Resistance Rower
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine was released in 2016. So it’s both an older and cheaper rowing machine from Sunny Health & Fitness. This rower is most definitely for beginners.
Those looking to consistently use this machine for more intense workouts should look elsewhere. It just isn’t made of the same durable materials as some of the other rowing machines on this list.
The large, adjustable footrests are good for a budget machine and hold the feet nicely in place when rowing. The seat also slides nicely along the rail and is comfortable enough, though those with less than great knees or joints might find it difficult to get on and off the low seat.
The LCD screen is extremely basic and displays time, stroke count, strokes per minute (RPM), distance traveled, and calories burned on a small screen.
It has a max user weight of 220 lbs (100 kg) and weighs 64 lbs (29 kg). Its dimensions are 68 inches (173 cm) long, 14 inches (36 cm) wide and 21 inches (53 cm) tall. It comes with a 3-month warranty on both the frame and parts.
- Low-price rowing machine for beginners. Does its job for the target audience very well. The data on the screen is pretty easy to read, but the screen itself is still pretty small.
- If you are looking to do anything other than light workouts, this really isn’t a good machine to invest in. It uses an elastic cord to provide the resistance, making the durability questionable.
8. Sunny Health Fitness SF-RW1205 Hydraulic Resistance Rower
8 used from $83.73
The cheapest rowing machine on this list and one of the cheapest rowers period, this is still a pretty solid product for certain audiences. At first glance, you might even struggle to see the SF-RW1205 as a rower.
That’s because it is a hydraulic rower. Hydraulic rowers are known for being affordable, but they’re also well known for being compact. The SF-RW1205 has a single hydraulic piston providing the resistance for your workouts.
It’s adjustable, with 12 levels of resistance to choose from. One of the issues with the hydraulic resistance system is that the piston warms up with extensive use, lowering the resistance on longer workouts.
The SF-RW1205 comes with a simple monitor that will track time, row count, total count, and calories. Nothing special, but for this level of rower, having a monitor at all is actually pretty impressive. Considering the features and the price, it is one of the best cheap rowing machines under 200.
It has a max user weight of 220 lbs (100 kg) and weighs 22 lbs (10 kg). Its dimensions are 54 inches long (137 cm) 20 inches (51 cm) wide and 23 inches (58 cm) tall. It comes with a 3 year warranty on the frame and a 6 month warranty on the parts, which is actually rather impressive for the price of the rower.
- For an absurdly small price, you get a decent amount of features for this rower. Comfortable enough seat and footrests, a resistance system that works as long as you don’t overuse it, and the nice addition of a monitor makes it a pretty nice steal.
- It really is a budget rower. If you’re looking for any more than the bare minimum in terms of features, you’d best look elsewhere, maybe one of the best rowing machines under $500? The piston heating up and lowering resistance is somewhat annoying.
Buying Guide to Find the Best Rowing Machine Under $200:
Now we’re going to go over some of the factors that we took into account when compiling this list of best rowing machines under 200 US dollars. While this is the order we recommend, we also realise that the top rowers might not fit everyone. Therefore it is important to take these factors into account when looking to buy your own rower.
The frame. A rower with a solid frame is important in deciding how the machine handles under intense workouts. The frame also helps determine whether or not the rower is foldable.
The seat, handlebar and footrest. Many of the rowers on this list have no problems with the handlebars or footrests. However, with these budget rowing machines, you might find some more issues with them than those that cost more. There are some with some rather uncomfortable seats, though that can usually be handled by putting some cushions on top of the regular seat.
The monitor. Many of the more advanced consoles and monitors that you will find on rowing machines come on those that are significantly more expensive than $200. In this range you will mostly find those air and magnetic rowers under 200 that can give you the basic statistics, though there are a few exceptions.
The user weight and warranty. A good warranty is always good to have when looking to find the best rowing machines to buy under 200. Nobody wants to pay for a whole new rower once theirs breaks. The weight capacity is also important to determine how solid the ride is and how many users can safely use the rower.
The resistance system. There are magnetic resistance rowers, which are typically quiet and compact. These have a magnetic brake that controls the amount of resistance that you get when you are rowing. Then there are air resistance rowers, which use a flywheel to spin the air and create resistance from that air. There are also water resistance rowers but unfortunately they are not available for this price range. Finally, as can be seen with the SF-RW1205, there are piston resistance systems.
Q: Does rowing help lose weight?
A: It most certainly does. Many of these indoor exercise rowers under $200 are capable of handling both lower intensity and higher intensity workouts. They can help lose and maintain weight.
Q: What muscles does a rower workout?
A: Some estimates state a rowing machine can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour and can work out 84% of your muscles mass! Even some of the budget rowers under 200 are capable of burning that amount of calories.
Q: What rower makes the least noise?
A: Certainly you can rule out air resistance types. Magnetic and hydraulic resistance type rowers are what you are going to be looking for in this class.
Q: How much does a good rowing machine cost?
A: It depends on the features and durability. There are top indoor rowers in the US that cost more than $2000 and there are these best budget rowing machines under $200.
Q: What is the best rower under $200?
A: Based on several features, we believe the Sunny Health SF-RW5515 is the best rowing machine for home use under 200 USD. It has a quiet drive system and an excellent track record.
Q: What are the best rowers in other price points?
A: We have already picked and reviewed the best rowing machines under $2000 and the top home rowers under $1000. You can see those articles and find out the best indoor rowing machine in each price point.
There it is. Our top list of the best rowing machines under $200. Remember, each rowing machine should fit its user. So depending on what you are looking for, one of these should really help you get to that level of health and fitness you are looking for.
NOTE: We should mention that with the current outbreak of COVID19, that some of these rowers might be going for more than $200 because of the export shutdowns and other economic issues. However, once these issues recede, they should return back to their normal, cheaper prices.