8 Best Rowing Machines Under $500 Reviewed
Row At-Home and Get Fit With the Best Rowing Machines Under $500
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- Review and Comparison By BEMH Indoor Rowing Team • Updated: January 2023
Rowing can be one of the best full body workouts available to us as human beings. Unfortunately, not everyone can be so fortunate as to have a river or a lake nearby suitable for rowing. Rowing outside also happens to be vulnerable to conditions such as rain and snow.
Fortunately, thanks to modern technology, there’s a way around these holdups. That way is the indoor rowing machine. These machines can provide all the benefit of rowing outside while allowing you the luxury of never even leaving home. The downside is that some of these machines can get pretty expensive.
Since not everyone has the sort of cash to drop on high-end rowing machines in the US with the latest and greatest advancements, we decided to take a look at some of the cheaper, but still quality, rowing machines out on the market. Looking at a variety of factors that we shall list near the end of the article in our buyer’s guide, we have come up with our catalog of the best home rowing machines under $500.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, as there are plenty of magnetic, water, and air rowing machines out there that are quality and might fit your home better. But these are generally what we have found to have the most features and do the best job for the price range we looked at. With all that out of the way, let’s jump right into our list of best budget rowing machines under $500.
Best Rowing Machines Under $500 Comparison Table
|SereneLife Smart Air-Mag ERG700 Rower
|Standard power outlet
|Bright digital LCD, Bluetooth, elapsed time, stroke count, distance, calories, strokes/min, watts, resistance level, heart rate, 10 programs
|Non-coded chest trap (not included)
|No, and can't be stored standing
|16-Level Air and Electromagnetic Resistance
|Circuit Water Rowing Machine for Home
|No-Backlit, 9" LCD monitor, time, calories, rowing frequency, stroke count, rowed distance
|No, but can be stored standing
|Water Resistance (adjusts based on water level)
|JOROTO MR35 Magnetic Indoor Magnetic Rower
|No-Backlit, Scan, count, time, total count, calories
|No, but can be stored standing
|Marcy Turbine Air Rowing Machine NS-6050RE
|No-Backlit, time, speed, distance, calories burned, and SPM
|Yes, Frame folds up
|8-Levels of Air Resistance Setting
|Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Water Rowing Machine
|No-Backlit, rowing intensity, strokes, calories, and distance
|No, but can be stored standing
|Water Resistance (adjusts based on water level)
|Housefit Budget Water Rowing Machine
|No-Bakclit, distance, calories, strokes, splits, and watt
|No, but can be stored standing
|Water Resistance (adjusts based on water level)
|Stamina ATS air Indoor Rower
|No-Bakclit, distance, calories, strokes, and splits
|Yes, Frame folds up
|Dynamically Adjustable Air Resistance
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rower
|No-Backlit, scan, count, time, total count, calories
|Yes, Frame folds up
Editor’s Best Rowing Machine Choice Under $500
My colleagues at BEMH have already searched the market and picked to review the best rowing machines under $500. But due to the number of new budget home rowers under $500 that become available on a daily basis, I wanted to make sure you are up to date with your options.
Therefore, I created the Editor’s best rower under 500 choice. It’s where I often search the market to find the most up to date top of line indoor rowing machines under $500.
For this month, I picked the Circuit Fitness water rower for home under $500. It has a 300-lb weight capacity, a good computer, an ergonomically designed seat, and a dual-track aluminum beam.
However, if you think I should choose another rower for the best rowing machine under 500 in 2023, please leave your comment and recommended model below. We will check and if it’s better than the Circuit, we will definitely consider it the best home rowing machine under 500.
Overview of Best Home Rowers Under $500:
1. SereneLife Smart Air-Magnetic Rower
Coming in at the top of our list is the SereneLife Fitness Smart Rower. You really get quite the package with the SereneLife Smart. It has a large digital monitor in order to display distance, calories, and strokes per minute, plus your heart rate (though a chest strap is not included).
It also comes with impressive “Smart” preset workout programs including cardio, strength, interval, and fat burning workouts. The resistance automatically changes based on the workout you choose which is pretty unique. It also has Bluetooth technology to allow you to connect and workout online with other indoor rower users. This monitor does require a power source since it does not have a battery function. As for the machine itself, the steel frame and overall durability make it one of the best air-magnetic rowing machines.
Even the most intense workouts won’t make the SereneLife Smart wobble. It uses a combination of air and magnetic flywheel resistance mechanism. This combination means that it is a quieter machine than one with solely an air resistance system or any of those that use water resistance systems. The SereneLife Smart air-mag rower comes with 16 levels of difficulty.
This wide range is enough for beginners to really get into the workout routine and for experienced rowers to challenge themselves. The SereneLife Smart is not foldable and does take up a hefty amount of space. Toss in comfortable handlebars and a comfortable seat and you’ve got yourself a top-tier home rower for under 500 USD.
The rower has a max user weight of 250 lbs and weighs 73 lbs itself. Its dimensions are 83 inches long, 19 inches wide and 34 inches tall when fully assembled. It comes with a 1-year warranty on the parts and warranty. NOTE: This rower is advertised as foldable but it can’t be folded without using tools and removing screws.
- The monitor is a prime addition with its preset workouts and helpful statistics about the workout.
- Comfortable seating and a sturdy build make any of these workouts a pleasant experience.
- Bluetooth connectivity and Smart resistance systems.
- There’s also the minor inconvenience that the rower can track your heart rate but doesn’t come with a chest strap to do so.
2. Circuit Water Rowing Machine for Home
The Circuit Water Rowing Machine for Home comes in second on our list of the best home rowing machines for under $500. Why is that? Well that is because this is a very solid rower, and is also the best choice for those who prefer water resistance rowing machines.
It comes with a 22.5 inch water tank, which allows for a large variety of resistance levels depending on how much water is put in. It also comes with a handy LCD-backlit smart display, giving you access to information like calories burned, distance, time and speed.
A rather nifty feature is that this display is adjustable so that users of all different heights can put it to where it is most visible during the workout. The stainless steel structure of the rower also makes sure that it is stable even during the high end workouts.
During those longer and more intense workouts, you will find that the seat is actually one of the best out there. It is ergonomically designed to closely fit your hip curve, and does that job spectacularly. Adding in the fact that the rower is surprisingly portable and you have a really good machine for the home. All of these for a price of $499 is quite the deal.
The max user weight is 300 lbs (136 kg) and it weighs 92 lbs (42 kg). Unfortunately, we were not able to find the dimensions or warranties anywhere.
- For the price, you are getting a lot of top-end features with this rower.
- An adjustable monitor, comfortable seating, a large water tank for many resistance levels, and a sturdy frame mean that this rower is a really good deal.
- No preset workouts come with the monitor. Because it is based on water resistance, it can also get somewhat louder than other rowers that have magnetic or air resistance systems.
3. JOROTO MR35 Magnetic Indoor Magnetic Rower
Coming in at number three on our list of the best rowing machines under $500, the JOROTO MR35 Magnetic Rower does not sacrifice large amounts of quality on account of the price. Designed with a solid aluminum flywheel, aluminum slide rail, and magnetic resistance, which will make the workout quieter and smoother.
The frame unfortunately is unable to be folded, but can be stored in a vertical position in order to minimize the room it takes up. The magnetic resistance system that it comes with has 10 levels of resistance. The lower levels give pretty little resistance, though the upper ones can certainly provide a challenge even for experienced rowers.
One of cooler aspects of the rower is that the MR35 comes with a digital monitor to track the time, count, total count, and calorie data while also having a phone holder so that you can keep entertained while rowing indoor. It does lack preset workouts on it, as well as the ability to read the user’s pulse. However, these are usually features on the more expensive magnetic rowers, and not necessary for a good rowing experience.
The assembly of the rower is actually quite easy, requiring you to attach the seat to the rail, connect the rail to the front part of the frame, add the sear base stabilizer, the console, and the footrests. It really doesn’t take more than 30-40 minutes. The only maintenance that needs doing is to keep the rail clean and occasionally inspect the M35 for any parts that might come loose. With a retail price of $399, you really get a ton of quality features with this rower.
The M35 has a max user capacity of 220 lbs (100 kg) and weighs 53 lbs (24 kg). Its dimensions are 71 inches (180 cm) long, 21 inches (53 cm) wide and 36 inches (91 cm) tall. It comes with a 12-month free part replacement and warranty.
- You get a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride on the M35.
- Combine that with a monitor that gives you the stats and a phone holder for entertainment while you row, you have got yourself quite the deal for this rower.
- The only real nitpick is that there’s no pulse reader and that it doesn’t fold.
- Sometimes the phone can also get in the way of the monitor. Again, minor issues.
4. Marcy Turbine Air Rowing Machine NS-6050RE
The Marcy Turbine Rowing Machine NS-6050RE is a great example of a reasonably priced rower with plenty of quality features. The NS-6050RE uses a magnetic resistance system with 8 different resistance settings. This is a pretty good range of resistance, so users generally will be able to find a resistance setting that will work for them.
Because of the magnetic system, the rower also runs quietly and smoothly. Comfortable footpads and a well designed seat also accompany this rower, making those longer workouts easier on the feet and bottom respectively.
While the NS-6050RE comes with a monitor, it is rather basic. It will display the stats like time, calories burned, speed and distance, but won’t do much more. Admittedly, this is a common feature of rowers in this price range.
Finally, a nice little touch about the NS-6050RE is that it can be folded up nice and quickly. This means that it doesn’t take up too much space when not in use, which rowing machines have a tendency to do. For a retail price of $399, you’re getting a really solid rowing machine.
The rower has a max user weight of 300 lbs (136 kg) and weighs 87 lbs (39 kg). Its dimensions are 55 inches (140 cm) long, 12 inches (30.5 cm) wide and 24 inches (61 cm) tall. Its folded dimensions are 44.5 inches (113 cm) long, 20.5 inches (52 cm) wide and 58.75 inches (150 cm) tall. The warranty is only 30 days.
- Really solid quality for the price. Solid frame, comfortable seating, a variety of resistance settings and a smooth and quiet design for only $400.
- The monitor doesn’t give you much outside of the regular statistics.
- The warranty is also pretty terrible since it only allows for any refund or exchange within 30 days.
5. Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Water Rowing Machine
The Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Water Rowing Machine is a very solid rower for the price of $450. This rowing machine is nice and easy to assemble. Even those with no experience of assembling these rowers should find it pretty quick to assemble. As for the design of the rower, it has a solid steel frame which makes it very stable on those higher resistance levels.
One should keep in mind that this is designed as a compact rower to suit smaller spaces. Therefore, it has a short beam – this means it’s not that great for users over six feet tall.
The Obsidian rowing machine comes with a water resistance system. You can add or remove water to increase/ decrease the intensity of your workout, and there are different levels of workouts. A varied amount, but not as many options as some others.
The monitor that comes with the rower is similar to many of the others, except it has a tablet holder, displaying stats like time, distance, speed, and so on. However, the unique feature of this monitor is that it has a race program where you set a stroke-rate and compete against the computer. Just a fun little challenge to push yourself some more.
The rower holds a max user weight of 300 lbs and weighs 72 lbs (33 kg). Its dimensions are 77 inches long, 20 inches (51 cm) wide, and 34 inches tall. It has a 6 month warranty on the frame and other parts.
- Very sturdy frame that will support heavier users quite comfortably.
- The cool little feature that allows you to race against the computer adds a new level of challenge and fun.
- Bluetooth enabled monitor
- The price is a bit high compared to what other rowers in this price range are offering.
6. HouseFit Budget Water Rowing Machine
The HouseFit is one of the top water rowing machines under $500 on the market. But what you will find is that price doesn’t make it a piece of junk. In fact, it holds up pretty well to the competition. The rower is made of a steel frame that is fairly easy to put together, while the water-resistance system works to get some solid workouts in.
To set the resistance level, you need to add or remove water to find your optimum level. Then the harder you pull, the more the water resists you. The monitor on the rower is pretty simple, displaying information that includes 500 meter split times, strokes per minute and calories you’ve burned (all which are estimated).
Unfortunately, this monitor does not have any sort of Bluetooth or wireless connectivity capability. The most interesting part about this monitor is that it offers a man versus machine race mode in an effort to make the workouts more exciting. Race against the machine to prove your might as a rower! Turning to the comfort side of things, there is only one real standout issue with the rower.
The seat is rather basic, and can get somewhat uncomfortable during the longer workouts. Otherwise, the footrests are large and have sturdy straps, and the fully foam-padded handles are comfortable. In terms of maintenance, there is surprisingly little of it. Just a water purifier added every 2 months, and maybe replacing the water completely every 4 to 6 months.
The rower has a max user weight of 300 lbs and weighs 80 lbs (36 kg). Its dimensions are 79 inches (200 cm) long, 22 inches (59 cm) wide and 34 inches (86 cm) tall. It has a rather poor 3 month warranty on the frame and parts.
- Very good value for money. Good rower for not very much cash.
- You get a basic monitor and a unique racing mode with it.
- It can also be stored vertically without having to empty the water.
- The seat can be rather uncomfortable after a while.
- The warranty on the rower is also pretty terrible, so you had best hope it breaks quickly or not at all.
7. Stamina Fitness ATS Air Indoor Rower
The Stamina ATS is a solid air rower for under $500. The reason that it is lower on our list is because it does the job required of it, and not much more. The resistance mechanism is air which means it will be noisy at high stroke rates/resistance levels.
This is something to bear in mind if you live in an apartment where noise could be an issue. The handle is well padded and protects against hand blisters, while the seat does its job to avoid too much discomfort.
The LCD monitor is easy to read while working out and displays the usual information from these rowers. Calories burned, time, distance, and strokes per minute are all on display.
A nice feature of the Stamina ATS Rower monitor is that it has the ability to set a goal such as how many calories you want to burn, or distance you want to row, and then watch your progress towards achieving it. The ATS is also foldable, so that you store it once you are done with the workout.
The ATS has a max user weight of 250 lbs (113 kg) and weighs 103 lbs (47 kg). The dimensions are 84.5 inches (215 cm) long, 22 inches (56 cm) wide and 25.5 (65 cm) inches tall. It has a nice 5 year warranty on the frame, while having a 90 day warranty on both the parts and the labor.
- A nice handle means there will be no hand blisters.
- The ATS also has a monitor that does more than simply keep track of workout statistics.
- The foldability is also rather convenient.
- The main con is that the ATS just doesn’t do all that much that is special.
- For under $500, there are other rowers that do just as much (if not more) and do it generally better.
8. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515 Rower
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine (or SF-RW5515 as we’re going to refer to it) rounds out our list of the best rowing machines under $500. The first noticeable thing about the SF-RW5515 is how absurdly cheap it is. As of the time of writing, the rower can be found for less than $300.
That is an insanely cheap price for one of these machines. But what about the rower itself? This is a magnetic rower under $300 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.
Admittedly, the seat does squeak a little on the beam as the rollers do stick a little, so it isn’t silent. It has eight different levels of difficulty which can be selected using the knob beneath the display. Again, these allow for a range of workouts from light to intense. The seat and foot positions both do their job, though are nothing special.
If you find yourself getting uncomfortable during longer workouts, then a foam cushion should fix it. The monitor on the rower is pretty basic. Displays mostly the same sort of information as every other rower has; the time, stroke count and so on. Somehow, it doesn’t display the distance traveled, which seems a rather odd one to leave out.
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.
- You also will be hard pressed to find a lower price out there for a rowing machine.
- 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 frame is also not the most sturdy out there, which can be a concern.
- The seat might also feel a bit uncomfortable on the longer workouts or after prolonged use.
- Its monitor is also not backlit and very small.
Buying Guide to Help You Find the Best Home Rowing Machine Under $500:
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 500. 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 under $500.
1: 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.
2: The seat, handlebar and footrest. Many of the rowers on this list have no problems with the handlebars or footrests. There are some with some rather uncomfortable seats, though that can usually be handled by putting some cushions on top of the regular seat.
3: The console. Many of the more advanced consoles and monitors that you will find on rowing machines come on those that are significantly more expensive than $500. However, there are certainly some on this list that do more than others, and this should be kept in mind when purchasing indoor rowers in the UK, US, and Canada.
4: The resistance system on the rower. There are magnetic resistance systems, 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 systems, which use a flywheel to spin the air and create resistance from that air. Finally, the other most common type of resistance is the water resistance. They work using paddles that are suspended inside an enclosed tank for resistance.
5: The warranty and weight capacity. A good warranty is always good to have. 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. Some of the best exercise rowers under $500 include up to 1-year warranty.
6: The assembly and maintenance. Most of the assembly of these budget rowers is pretty simple, and shouldn’t take more than 30-45 minutes. The maintenance is also generally pretty low. This also generally depends on the resistance system of the rower.
7: Folding: If you don’t have much floor space, when buying the best rowing machines under $1000, $500, or any other price range, it’s very important to see if the rower can be folded. This way, it takes less space and can be easily stored after rowing exercise.
FAQ When Buying Indoor Rowers Under $500:
Does rowing help lose weight?
Absolutely. Rowing is one of the most complete workouts out there and provides an excellent way to lose weight. Unlike spin bikes, rowing machines utilize upper and lower body muscles.
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 muscle mass! This is more than most types of cardio workout machines can offer.
What rower makes the least noise?
A: Certainly you can rule out air resistance types. Water and magnetic resistance type rowers are what you want to look for. The quiets options are magnetic rowers.
There you have it. Our list of the best rowing machines for under $500. As always, do some of your own research so that you can really get what rower best fits your situation. Now get out there and get rowing!