XTERRA ERG500 Air Turbine Rower Review and Personal Experience

Air turbine rowers don’t always get the same love that water resistance rowers get from rowing enthusiasts, or that magnetic rowers get from casual rowers who love the smooth and silent workout. But the XTERRA ERG500 air turbine rower shows that a home fitness machine can give you a great workout, while also looking sleek and sexy. The patented XTERRA blue and white color scheme is apparent on the ERG500 turbine casing and frame, and blends seamlessly in with the alloy steel slide rail. A couple of things I love about the Xterra ERG500: the frame folds up right in half so it tucks away nicely if you need to put it into storage. Another thing is that since it is an air turbine resistance machine, the ERG500 doesn’t use any electricity! You don’t even need to plug it into the wall, which is something that you need to do for magnetic rowers with electronic resistance levels.

The frame itself is solid, and can withstand a maximum user weight capacity of up to 300 lbs. If you really need a bit more weight capacity, taking a step up to the XTERRA ERG700 will get you an extra 50 lbs, but for most the bump up in price may not be worth it. The ERG500 measures in at 72” L x 19” W x 33” H, and weighs in at a very user friendly 79.4 lbs out of the box. This makes the ERG500 considerably more compact than other turbine rowers, which is definitely a plus if you don’t have much space to spare.

The air turbine resistance comes with 8 manually adjustable settings using the bright yellow lever that comes built into the frame. It’s definitely not as smooth as electronic levels of magnetic resistance, but on the other hand, it beats having to empty and refill the water tank on a water resistance rower. If you’ve never used an air turbine rower, be prepared for it to be louder than you expect. How loud? Definitely louder than a magnetic rower, so if you need a silent workout, I suggest checking out some of the magnetic rowers in this price range like the Joroto M35 or the Merax Magnetic rower.

Technology is definitely not one of the strong suits for the XTERRA ERG500, but for an entry-level price tag you really shouldn’t be expecting much. The machine comes with a decent, but unspectacular 2.5” x 2.5” LCD window that helps you to keep track of things like time, distance, count, calories burned, strokes per minute, and pulse. Other than that, there is no Bluetooth connectivity for integrated smartphone apps, and not even a shelf or tablet holder to keep you entertained.

Assembly is extremely easy and straightforward, and all of the instructions and parts are included. It took me about 30 minutes total to put this together, which seems about standard when I read customer reviews on Amazon. XTERRA does have its own dedicated site which even includes free shipping, but to be honest, the ERG500 is priced cheaper on Amazon where you know you will also get fast, free shipping.

As you might have guessed, the price for the XTERRA ERG500 varies depending on where you look. On the XTERRA site, it was listed for $599.99, but on Amazon it was selling for as low as $440.00. Obviously you don’t need me to tell you to shop around and see where you can find the best deal, but generally, you can’t go wrong with Amazon. XTERRA includes a respectable warranty as well, providing you with 5-years for the frame, 2-years for the parts, and 90 days for the labor. Even though it is not a top of the line model, it’s nice that the company believes in its products and backs up its customers with a good warranty.

XTERRA ERG500 Air Turbine Rower Pros

  • A reasonably low price, but shop around to find the best deal!
  • Nice weight capacity of 300 lbs
  • Innovative, sleek design with colorful blue and white scheme
  • Foldable frame makes storing the machine easier
  • Alloy steel frame and aluminum seat rail
  • 8 levels of manually adjustable air resistance
  • You don’t have to plug it in to the wall for electricity
  • Padded row handles
  • Easy assembly and good warranty

XTERRA ERG500 Air Turbine Rower Cons

  • No connected technology 
  • The monitor is very limited and not backlit
  • The air turbine can be louder than you think
  • Have to remove the monitor to change the batteries
6Expert Score
XTERRA ERG500 Air Turbine Rower

It’s easy to see that I am a fan of the XTERRA ERG500 air turbine rower, which is impressive because I am not usually into air turbine rowers. But XTERRA packs in enough features to more than justify the cheap price tag, and the innovative look to the machine adds some style to your home gym. Could it have more technology? Sure. Is the air turbine a little loud? Definitely. But at the end of the day, I was able to overlook these things to really enjoy my workout experience on the ERG500, and I couldn’t help but feel that I was using a very high quality rowing machine.

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny

Hi, my name is Sayed Hamed Hosseiny. I am a professional health and fitness trainer with nearly 20 years of experience using ellipticals, rowing machines, and spin bikes. I also have my own EU-based Rock Fitness Pro fitness brand where I design, import and sell exercise equipment such as rowing machines and spin bikes. I and writers on my team also often receive fitness equipment to review and evaluate their functionalities and performance from tens of different exercise machines manufacturers. Fitness equipment tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on this website are my opinion (and opinions of my fitness expert colleagues) based on tens of criteria. I never accept payment to write reviews of products or say positive things about fitness equipment products. If brands are interested to have me review their rowers, ellipticals, or spin bikes, they can get in touch with me via email provided on the contact page and send a sample of their product.