Best 11 Affordable Rowing Machines That Won’t Break the Bank - October 2018

Best 11 Affordable Rowing Machines That Won’t Break the Bank

updated October 5, 2018

A rowing machine is an essential piece of home gym cardio equipment. It will fast track weight loss, build stamina and build muscle. But rowers can be expensive. Often cheap rowers are very low quality. Fortunately, we’ve gone in deep to bring you the 11 best value rowing machines that will deliver a great workout without breaking the bank.

A Quick Overview of the 11 Best Affordable Rowing Machines

Our favorite affordable rowing machine is the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5612. This dual function machine works as a rower and an upper body resistance machine. It offers 8 levels of smooth, adjustable resistance and extra comfortable settings. We were also very impressed with the Stamina Black Chrome air rower, which provides an excellent air resistance workout at a great price.

The cheapest quality rower of all is the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 hydraulic position driven machine, which gives you a smooth action, free seat glide and comfortable seat, all for under $100.

​To make it easy for you to compare the best priced rowing machines, we’ve rated the Top 11 in terms of price and durability, and then given them an overall quality rating. In the following section, we’ll provide in-depth reviews of our Top 11 affordable rowers.

Please read our in depth review about Xebex Rower.

The Top 11 Rowing Machines Review

Machine Rower Review

The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5639 is a quality compact hydraulic rower. It is a dual function affordable machine that will give you a great rowing workout as well as doubling as a resistance training machine for the muscles of your upper body. You get a hydraulic tension system with 12 levels of adjustable resistance. The movement of the cable is very smooth, allowing for a jerk free motion.

This Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5639 has a seat is extra wide and thickly padded for comfort. The footplates are dual function, providing an ideal rowing platform and then adjusting to hold you secure while performing resistance movements.

PROS

  • Compact
  • Great price
  • 12 levels of adjustable resistance

CONS

  • Rail doesn’t completely fold for storage
ATS Air Rower

At under $300, the Stamina Black Chrome is among the cheapest air rower machines that we have ever come across. Yet, you are not having to sacrifice quality for cost here. This is a wind resistance rower that packs in multi function performance. The large, easy to read monitor provides all the data you need. You also get a comfortable padded, upholstered seat which allows you to row for longer than 30 minutes without discomfort.

The wind resistance motion on this Stamina Black Chrome machine is very smooth. The faster you row, the more resistance you generate. The wind turbine is quite noisy, however. An angled seat rail allows for efficient gliding of the seat as you row. The unit has portable wheels and folds for easy storage.

PROS

  • Large, easy to read monitor
  • Large, padded upholstered seat
  • Smooth wind resistance

CONS

  • Band resistance doesn’t kick in during first third of the movement
Glider Machine Review

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a hydraulic piston controlled compact rower that provides you with two piece arms to provide a full range of rowing motion. The adjustable hydraulic resistance allows for a smooth rowing stroke, while the textured footplate with secure straps allow you to securely lock your lower body in place while exercising. 

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 has a sturdy steel frame. It also has a molded seat for comfort, and ball bearing rollers for smooth seat gliding. The multi function monitor gives you instant feedback on your workout. Foam padded hand grips provide extra comfort while rowing.

PROS

  • Very realistic rowing experience
  • Two piece rowing arms
  • Max user weight 250 pounds

CONS

  • Noisy
Water Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health and Fitness rowing machine is the best cheap rowing machine that we reviewed. It is the best machine that you’ll find for under $100. This hydraulic piston driven rower gives you 12 levels of adjustable resistance. The rowing motion is relatively smooth and jerk free. The seat glides smoothly and is comfortable to sit on. The foot plates pivot to position your legs better and add comfort.

A simple electronic monitor displays all of the workout data that you need to know. The unit is solid and compact and folds easily for storage. It is a reliable rower that will give you a decent workout at an unbeatable price.

PROS

  • Cheapest value machine on the market
  • 12 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Foot plates pivot

CONS

  • Piston pin rubs on frame
Water Rowing Machine Rower

The Sunny Water Rower Obsidian Surge 500 uses the power of water resistance technology to deliver an incredibly smooth, fluid rowing experience. This is one of the most affordable water rowers that you’ll find on the market. Steel fan blades provide unlimited resistance and combine with the dynamic resistance of the water to provide a unique experience that more closely replicates on the water rowing than air or magnetic resistance rowers. The durable steel blades on the air resistance unit are rust resistance and built to go the distance.

The digital monitor screen on the Obsidian Surge 500 provides you with a comprehensive accounting of all of your key training statistics. It is fully equipped to take a telemetry heart rate strap, though this is not provided. It provides ongoing readouts of your total time, 500m time, SPM, total strokes, calories, heart rate, and ambient temperature. Non slip for pads with velcro nylon straps ensure that you are firmly locked into place while foot levellers at the bottom of the unit ensure that the machine is evenly placed regardless of what surface it is sitting on. This is a very impressive, fluid water rower at a great price.

PROS

  • Mooth water / air rowing action
  • 3 hydro blades
  • Molded padded seat
  • High spec monitor

CONS

  • Not foldable
Folding Rowing Machine

The GoPlus Magnetic Folding rowing machine provides ten levels of magnetic resistance with n elastic cord. While not as smooth as an air or flywheel based system, this rower does provide you with a full extension on each row and a relatively smooth rowing action. The sturdy beam on this unit is made from aluminum, providing a solid base to work from. Large, anti-slip foot pedals with adjustable straps give you a secure footing while you are exercising. Non-slip grip handles also ensure that you get a secure hold and the ergonomically designed seat has extra padding for comfort.

You get a functional monitor on this rower, with a large LCD screen that gives you readouts of your total calories, count per minute, count, scan and time. This is a simple, functional rower that gives you a smooth, fluid workout every time. It has built-in wheels for ease of transportation and folds for convenient storage. The maximum user weight on this machine is 220 pounds. 

PROS

  • 10 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Smooth rowing action
  • Large, anti-slip foot pedals
  • Large LCD screen

CONS

  • Max weight limited to 220 pounds
Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Sunny SF RW5515 is a magnetic tension budget rower that provides you with eight levels of magnetic resistance. The centrally located tension knob allows you to transition between resistance levels fluidly without any of the jerkiness that you often get with magnetic rowers within this price range. The cushioned seat on this model is ergonomically designed to enhance your exercising comfort, while the large sturdy pedals provide you with a non slip surface and sturdy velcro straps to keep you securely in place when you are rowing.

The RW5515 is solidly constructed to provide a durable rowing experience. It will not shake, regardless of how intensely you work out on it. The maximum user weight on the machine is 250 pounds. Tracking your progress is easy with the digital monitor screen which shows your speed ,count and time, along with a scan mode. The dimensions of this rower is 82 inches long by 19 inches high by 18 inches wide, making it impressively compact and able to be used in the most compact of workout areas. 

PROS

  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Smooth rowing action
  • Ergonomically designed cushioned seat
  • Compact design

CONS

  • Max user weight limited to 250 pounds

Rowing machines do a whole lot more than improve your cardiovascular endurance. The following clip provides 10 reasons why you need to make rowing a regular part of your training routine . . .

You want a rowing machine but you have limited space available. Check out our article on 9 Compact and Portable Rowing Machines for Small Spaces to find the ideal machine for your small space.

Folding Rowing Machine

The Merax Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine is a compact, smooth rower that provides you with 8 levels of magnetic resistance. The 15-degree angled seat rail provides you with the ideal positioning to provide maximum comfort and allow for a smooth and efficient return. The built-in magnetic flywheel minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel during the rowing motion. A convenient tension knob allows you to easily and quickly adjust the intensity of your workout. 

The sliding, extra padded seat on the Merax Magnetic Folding Rower provide comfort during those long training sessions. Large strapping footplates keep you securely locked n place. This machine has a built-in folding frame and transportation wheels. Floor protectors keep the machine from sliding round while also protecting your floor from damage. The maximum weight capacity of this rower is 264 pounds.

The simple LCD monitor on the Merax Magnetic rower displays your time, count,calories and total count, presented on a simple, easy to use screen. The foldable nature of this machine makes it an ideal choice for those with limited room to exercise.

PROS

  • Smooth operation
  • 15-degree seat angle
  • Extra padded seat
  • Ax weight 264 pounds

CONS

  • Not overly durable

Please read our in depth review about Xebex Rower.

The most popular rowing machines on the planet are in the Concept 2 range. Find out if Concept 2 deserves its reputation as the best with our Concept 2 Rowing Machines 2018 - it’s an eye opener!

For a full overview of the best rowers on the home fitness market, regardless of price, check out our Best Rowing Machines Review 2018 - you are bound to find what you need!

Affordable Rower

The Xterra Fitness ERG200 Rower provides a drum magnetic control resistance to give you a smoother, more natural rowing experience. It also features electronic tension to maintain the ideal strap tension at all times. There are 8 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance. The dual extruded aluminium slide rails are mounted to the steel frame to provide an impressively smooth and stable motion.

The monitor on the Xterra Fitness ERG200 Rower features a large LCD screen. It provides a rolling readout of time, count, stroke/minutes, distance, calories, watts and pulse. The saddle is made from molded polyurethane to give and ergonomic feel that is also comfortable. It also has a space saving, foldable design.

PROS

  • Drum magnetic roll resistance
  • Electronic tension
  • Smooth seat glide

CONS

  • Frame may start to wear after several months
Sunny Incline Magnetic rower

The Sunny Incline Magnetic rower has a unique incline rail feature which inclines your body as you row. This provides an increased challenge and puts more workout stress on the abs and thighs. There are 5 levels of incline to suit people of all ages and fitness levels. This is a lightweight. Compact unit but it still allows for a maximum user weight of 300 pounds, which attests to its sturdy design. Unlike most magnetic rowers, this machine provides you with full motion arms in order to simulate an authentic rowing motion. When you’re done you can fold it away for easy storage.

The digital monitor screen on the Sunny Incline Magnetic rower provides you with a comprehensive accounting of all of your key training statistics. Non slip for pads with velcro nylon straps ensure that you are firmly locked into place while foot levellers at the bottom of the unit ensure that the machine is evenly placed regardless of what surface it is sitting on. This is a very impressive little rower rower at a great price.

PROS

  • Incline feature
  • Compact
  • 300 pound max user weight
  • ​Foldable

CONS

  • Slides on the floor
Rowing Machine Review

The Efitment Total Motion Rowing Machine is a hydraulic piston controlled rowing machine that provides full arm extension. The heavy duty steel frame construction provides you with an impressive max user weight of 350 pounds. A large padded seat glides freely up and down the 38 inch glide rail. The comfortable, slip resistant handles enhances your user experience. 

The Efitment Total Motion Rowing Machine provides you with 12 levels of hydraulic resistance. Large anti slip foot pedals conform to your foot and ensure a secure hold. The digital monitor included a tablet bracket and tracks your calories, time, count, total count and RPM.

PROS

  • Full arm extension
  • Max weight 350 pounds
  • Tablet holder

CONS

  • Hydraulic cylinder get hot

Water rowing is the most realistic, soothing way to row. Check out the best waterrowers on the planet with our Waterrower Machines Review 2018 - you’ll be glad you did!

Conclusion

The best value rowing machine that we found in our review is the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5612, a dual function rower and upper body trainer. This affordable magnetic rower provides a very natural action and is very solid and compact. Our second best value machine is the Stamina Black chrome air rower, which offers high end air rower specs at a budget price.

The best good cheap rowing machine that we reviewed was the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Machine, a hydraulic tension machine that provides a quality workout at an unbeatable price.

Best 11 Affordable Rowing Machines That Won’t Break the Bank
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