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

updated August 2, 2017

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 Sunny Health and Fitness 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.

The Top 11 In Depth

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5612

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5612.

The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5612 is the best rowing machine under $500. 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 magnetic tension system with 8 levels of adjustable resistance. The movement of the cable is very smooth, allowing for a jerk free motion.

This Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5612 has high spec fittings that you normally wouldn’t see in rower under $400. The 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

  • Dual function wrower and resistance trainer 
  • Great price
  • 8 levels of adjustable resistance

CONS

  • Rail doesn’t completely fold for storage

Stamina Black Chrome Air Rower

Stamina Black Chrome 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

Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205

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

Soozier Magnetic Folding Rower

Soozier Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine

The Soozier magnetic folding rower is the best rowing machine under $200 that we have found. It has built-in shock absorption, preventing vibration as you row. 8 levels of magnetic resistance provide you plenty of resistance options. While the rowing motion is not totally smooth, it is nowhere near as jerky as you find in other models at this price point. The Soozier has a thick rubber band rowing strap and a rugged, steel frame.

The angled seat on this inexpensive Soozier magnetic folding rower allows for an easy, natural return. A simple but functional ABS monitor provides the data that you need to know. When not being used, the unit can be stored in an upright position, giving it an amazingly compact foot print.

PROS

  • Built-in shock absorption
  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Thick band strap
  • Compact footprint

CONS

  • Not overly sturdy

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060

The Stamina Body Trac Glider 160 is a compressor rowing machine with a difference. It features full range of motion two piece arms to gives you an authentic arm rowing motion. You also get a quality ball bearing seat roller system that provides you with a smooth back and forth glide. A solid steel frame and aluminum glide rail ensure that the Glider 160 will last the distance.

The monitor on the Stamina Body Trac Glider 160 has recently been upgraded to provide you with tracking time, stroke count, calories burned and total scan in a scan function format. You also get a handy tablet holder to hold your device securely in place while you row. The whole things folds up compactly for easy storage.

PROS

  • Two-piece arms
  • Ball bearing seat roller system
  • Upgraded monitor

CONS

  • After a period of use, a squealing noise can be heard when you row

Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine

Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine

The Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine is a solid, compact unit that provides you with 8 pre-set levels of resistance. It has a large central resistance knob for easy access. The seat glides effortlessly up and down the full length of the movement range. An ergonomically designed contoured foam set pd ensures you comfort while you’re working out. Anti slip foam covered handles make sure that your grip won’t fail.

The Marcy NS-40503RW is made to accommodate wide range users, with a multi angle adjustable monitor, and adjustable foot straps to provide customized fit.

PROS

  • 8 resistance levels
  • Multi angle adjustable monitor
  • Anti slip handles

CONS

  • A little noisy

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.

Stamina In Motion Rower

Stamina In Motion Rower

The Stamina in-motion rower is our best value compressor driven rowing motion. The rowing action is not as fluid as you get from a magnetic or air resistance machine, but still provides a quality row. This unit is made with a solid steel frame and features 5 levels of adjustable resistance. A bright, clear monitor will keep you up-to-date with your training data, scanning through as you are training.

The oversized footplates have pivots, as well as adjustable straps to lock you into position. The seat is very comfortable, featuring thick padding at double stitching. Foam grip handles provide a sweat free, secure grip. Stamina in-motion rower is able to be stored on it’s end, providing a very small footprint.

PROS

  • Solid steel frame
  • Pivoting foot plates
  • Comfortable seat

CONS

  • Need to lubricate the compressor and handles

Body Extreme Fitness Rowing Machine

Body Extreme Fitness Rowing Machine

The Body Extreme Fitness Rowing Machine is a budget rower that does its job well. It makes use of 16 pound inner magnetic system to provide you with a smooth, fluid rowing experience. A large knob allows for easy adjustment of tension control, while the comfortable ergonomic seat is ideal for all intensity levels of exercise. The pedals are secured with secure toe straps and your hands are protected with non slip foam handles.

Body Extreme Fitness Rowing Machine comes with a large sized LCD display, providing you with an ongoing readout of your time, scan, count, calories and calories per minute. When you’re finished working out, you can easily fold this unit way for storage.

PROS

  • Large LCD screen
  • 16 pound magnetic resistance
  • Folds wy for easy storage

CONS

  • A little bulky

Leopold Rowing Machine

Leopold Rowing Machine

The Leopold compression rowing machine is a good basic rower that provides you with 12 levels of resistance, operated from a centrally located dial adjustment. The hydraulic arm provides a decent simulation of rowing, though it can be a little jerky. You can adjust the seat to three angles to increase the intensity of the workout. A simple LCD monitor track all of your vital training statistics.

The body of the Leopold compression rower is made from sturdy steel. It is very compact, with its foldable storage dimensions going down to 51 x 12 x 6.5 inches. Assembly of the unit is very easy, making this is a good value basic rower that should give you years of faithful service.

PROS

  • 12 levels of resistance
  • Seat adjustable to 3 angles
  • Very compact

CONS

  • The handles are a little narrow

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 2017 - it’s an eye opener!

Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower

Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower

The Velocity Fitness Magnetic 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. A great feature of this machine is that it comes complete with a chest strap heart rate monitor to allow for the most accurate pulse monitoring. You get of 12 exercise programs on this machine, with 6 of them customizable.

The monitor on the Velocity Fitness Magnetic 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
  • Comes with chest strap heart rate monitor

CONS

  • Frame may start to wear after several months

For a full overview of the best rowers on the home fitness market, regardless of price, check out our Best Rowing Machines Review 2017 - you are bound to find what you need!

Stamina 1445 Wave Water Rowing Machine

Stamina 1445 Wave Water Rowing Machine

The Stamina 1445 Wave Water Rowing Machine is the best priced quality water rowing machine you are likely to find. It provides you with as close an experience as you’ll get to rowing on water. Water resistance provides you with a dynamic rowing stroke that is different to mechanical resistance. In addition, it gives you an infinite variety of resistance levels.

Stamina 1445 Wave Water Rowing Machine comes with a siphon to facilitate the addition and removal of water from the reservoir. 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. You even get wheels for easy transport around your training facility.

PROS

  • Very realistic rowing experience
  • Soothing and calming
  • Padded seat and pivoting footplates
  • Max user weight 350 pounds

CONS

  • Noisy

Water rowing is the most realistic, soothing way to row. Check out the best waterrowers on the planet with our Waterrower Machines Review 2017 - you’ll be glad you did!

Conclusion

The best value rowing machine that we found is the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5612, a dual function rower and upper body trainer. This 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 Sunny Health and Fitness Rower, a hydraulic tension machine that provides a quality workout at an unbeatable price.