Best Budget Rowing Machines 2017

Best Budget Rowing Machines

If you are looking for a rowing machine for home fitness, remember that there are various styles and features that you would want to consider before deciding to buy. If you are looking to buy an indoor rowing machine for your home that provides the same quality of workout as any gym, but you are on a budget. Do not worry as you need not spend a fortune on a good rowing machine. Yes, high quality does come with a price, but there are many great and reliable rowing machines at comparatively lower prices as well.

You can get very efficient and sturdy rowers that work just like any top-end product under your budget.

Indoor rowing machines have come a long way with a variety of sleek, refined and durable pieces of exercise equipment that are all set to get your cardio health on the right track. Rowing machines provide an outstanding way of increasing your fitness by burning calories and building muscle at the same time in a safe way.

Having a rowing machine at your home can be the push you need to get yourself moving in a comfortable way. For the mommies who stay-at-home to watch her kids or business executives who have very little time to spare, rowing is an ideal choice to help them stay fit.

Rowing machines provides an efficient and effective workout that gives significant results in a short time. It is a compound exercise which involves multiple muscle groups and promotes muscle buildup in all parts of your body. In short, it is a full body workout. It also burns a lot of calories every day and thus is a very good exercise equipment for cardio. One hour of rowing can help you burn up to 1000 calories.

The price can range from below $100 to well above $1500.  As you can estimate, you will be getting a totally different type of rowing machine at both ends of the spectrum, but do not worry, as there is something for everyone within that variety.

First, let me tell you about the benefits of rowing.

Benefits of Rowing Machine:

Rowing is a great workout cardiovascular health and is also a great way to strengthen major muscle groups of our body. It is basically a low-impact exercise that can be as beneficial as any other higher impact exercise with almost same results. It is easy on your joints and it can be done by people of any age and fitness level. It burns a lot of calories and tones your body based on the intensity of your workout.

Using the Rowing Machine:

Maintaining a good posture and correct form while rowing on the machine is the key to the best workout with most benefits. Proper posture also helps to avoid injuries.Starting with a low resistance level is another major factor. Make sure you are comfortable with the resistance and then gradually increase the resistance as required.

Best Budget Rowing Machines

Choosing the best rowing machine in your budget is a time taking a process as you need to check all the available machines and check their pros and cons. To make this process simpler, we have listed the machines based on user ratings and our over experience on using these machines.

Check out the the machines under $300

Rowing Machine with 12 Adjustable Resistance by Sunny Health & Fitness – SF-RW1205

Sunny Health & Fitness – SF-RW1205

The SF-RW1205 has set a new standard in home fitness rowing machines. It offers all the features that anyone can ask for at such a budgeted price. It provides amazing cardio workout along with building muscles and burning calories. This rowing machine is highly recommended because of its top-notch features at such an affordable price.

It is a hydraulic resistance rowing machine with 12 adjustable resistance levels to choose from. It is perfect for beginners and intermediates alike due to the adjustable levels. You can easily adjust it to your level and workout and gradually increase the levels, with the increase in your stamina. It provides low impact exercises which are great for a full body workout. It targets multiple muscle groups such as back, arms, legs, abs, gluts etc.

Pros and Cons


  • Great rower beginners
  • Affordable price
  • Ease of assembling
  • Smooth and sturdy with even rowing
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Adjustable resistance while on the seat


  • Insufficient resistance for professional rowers
  • Basic monitor with no backlit
  • Not comfortable for tall users

At such an unbelievable price, the SF-RW1205 rowing machine has received numerous praises for being easy to use, safe and extremely comfortable. It is one of the cheapest rowing machines you can find, but nevertheless, it is very stable and sturdy with a robust construction and can go on for years.

At such an affordable price, it offers great resistance with quiet and smooth rowing.

Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine

Stamina Air Rower

Stamina Air Rower also known as the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 is one of the most popular rowing machines for its price range and features it offers. It is an air resistance rowing machine which means the resistance will increase as you row faster. Even though it is less expensive and more on the budget side, it delivers amazing performance that you would get with any high-end rowing machine.



  • Low price for such a wonderful air resistance rower
  • Heavy-duty and sturdy steel frame
  • Awesome variable resistance
  • Good quality monitor for tracking progress
  • Easy storage and transport wheels
  • Comfortable seat
  • Wide footplates and supportive foot straps
  • Textured handles


  • Cannot adjust resistance manually
  • Monitor units are not in metric and no back-light
  • A little noise

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing MachineStamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is another best and the most affordable rowing machines in the market. It is a very strong contender in its price range for the features it offers. It has a hydraulic resistance that is usually quiet and makes no noise. The resistance is adjustable and the gas shock is placed just below your seat for your convenience while adjusting. It has 12 levels of resistance to choose from, that can suit needs of all body types and people. It is a low priced rowing machine with a lot of benefits.

You can adjust the resistance level according to your rowing speed, starting from level 1 and gradually up to the 12th level. This machine provides a stimulating full body workout and is a wonderful rowing machine with great resistance for beginners.


  • Solid and sturdy construction
  • Steel frame
  • Compact design
  • Very light weight
  • Easy storage facilities with transport wheels
  • Adjustable resistance for different fitness levels
  • Dual handles that simulate rowing with full range of motion
  • Long gliding track and comfortable seats
  • Safe hand gliders
  • Easy assembly


  • Foot-strap design which is rather uncomfortable for placing feet
  • Un-adjustable resistance level while the machine is in use as the gas shock gets heated up
  • Possible leakage of gas shock

Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms


The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine is an indoor hydraulic resistance rowing machine that is compact and budget-friendly. It has free moving bar handles that depict the feeling of actual water rowing. The free motion arms feature is the best of all in this rowing machine as it provides a workout to all the upper body muscles as well such as shoulders, abs, back, and arms. There are 2 handles, each of which has 5 resistance levels, making this rowing machine adaptable for all age groups.


  • Solid and sturdy built frame
  • Free motion arms that give a feeling of rowing on water
  • 5 levels of adjustable resistance on handles
  • Independent rowing arms
  • Option to raise angle of seat rail


  • Footrests do not pivot very low
  • Cannot accommodate all heights
Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine with Free Motion Arms

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

stamina 5515 rowing machine review

Stay in shape with the top of the line Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine. This rowing machine provides a full body workout by targeting all the major muscle groups like arms, back, legs, abdominal area, glutes etc.,

It provides with an intense but enjoyable rowing experience in the comfort of your own home, at such a reasonable and unbelievable price. It provides all kinds of low impact aerobics and cardiovascular exercise and also allows you lose weight and keep in shape. It can burn a lot of calories in a single day.




  • Strong and smooth resistance
  • Reasonable price
  • Comfortable seat and sliding
  • All heights and weights capacity
  • Extremely quiet
  • Foldable and easy storage


  • No advanced features in monitor
  • Large footprint
  • Very small warranty period

Types of Rowing Machine:

There are 4 different types of rowing machines based on how they generate resistance, the intensity of the generated resistance and their functional design.All rowing machines have similar designs but what makes them different from each other is their way of providing resistance. Resistance is the most important factor which makes your workout effective. There are 4 types of resistance that rowing machines have:

  1. Air Resistance

This is the best kind of resistance with the best technology in the market right now. Air rowing machines are equipped with air flywheels and provide resistance through them. They come with a resistance tension option that helps in making the workout more difficult by adjusting the amount of air that is allowed to pass into the flywheel.

  1. Water Resistance

Water rowing machines are popular amongst athletes and professional rowers because of the friction and resistance it generates. They have a water-filled flywheel for increased resistance.It gives a similar experience of rowing in the water.

  1. Hydraulic Resistance

Hydraulic rowing machines are the most common ones. If you have just started rowing and are on a budget then these machines are the ones that you should go with. These machines are powered by cylinders with oil which makes them light weighted and easy to store. These machines also include handlebars that provide arm workout as well, that the other models are not equipped with.

  1. Magnetic Resistance

Magnetic rowing machines are the cheapest options, they are light and simple to use. They have an adjustable resistance system and are quiet and smooth. These are ideal for exact measuring of a workout and also provide very accurate resistance.

Each type of resistance has its own benefits and gives unique rowing experience, so choose the best that suits your comfort and needs.

Features of Rowing Machine:

When selecting a rowing machine it is very important to decide what features you want in your machine. Here is a list of few important features that you need to look for before buying a rowing machine:

  • Comfort and Adjustability

It is important to have a comfortable seat, good footrest and pads, smooth handlebars and a little adjustability. The quality of all these features should be considered.

  • Noise Level

While some people like silent machines, some appreciate the noise and take it as a feedback of their workout. Depending on your preference, you can choose whatever you like.

  • Space

You will need a dedicated floor space to place your rowing machine comfortably and safely. Lengths of different rowing machines vary a lot. Few might require less space, while others may need a lot of it. You can choose the rowing machine based on how much space you can spare for it in your home.

  • Max User Weight

Rowing machines can usually handle a higher weight as compared to other exercise equipment. Depending on your weight you can choose to buy whatever suits your needs best.

  • Storage Features

Easy storage is a huge plus in any rowing machine. There are two types of rowing machines, folding and fixed. Folding rowing machines take up less space and are easy to store. Fixed rowing machines take up more space. Make sure to know how well the machine can be stored either by folding it up or being able to take it apart easily and put it in your closet, under your bed or behind the couch. Transport wheels on the bottom make moving. So, also look for rowing machines that have transport wheels.

  • Monitor / Console

Most of the rowing machines usually come with an LCD display. This performance monitor is very helpful as it tracks distance, time, speed and calories burned during the workout session. Some rowing machines also have an adjustable arm monitor. The option of connecting the console to apps is very useful in tracking your progress by uploading data in your mobile app.

  • Price

The price of rowing machines varies widely from the budget level that comes in few hundred dollars to the high-end level that can go over a thousand dollars. Various features and components such as a stainless steel track, nickel-plated chain, footpads, and seats, monitor displays etc., increase a rowing machine’s price along with durability and performance. While higher priced models last a longer time, budget models also come with a good durability and help you in working out and staying fit.

  • Assembly

You will have to assemble your rowing machine only once, but you want that one time also to be a good experience and not a nightmare. Make sure you are getting something that you can deal with easily and also that it comes along with a well-written instruction manual.

  • Warranty

You will definitely want a decent and long term warranty which covers all the parts as well as the frame of the rowing machine. So enquire about the warranty period before you go for the deal.

My final Thoughts:

With all these amazing rowing machines at such reasonable prices, we can now say that you do not need thousands of dollars in order to purchase a good quality rowing machine. You can get a high-intensity full-body workout and all the other benefits of a rowing machine at much affordable prices. So, get one of these great rowers for your home gym and get started with your workout sessions. All the above-mentioned rowing machines are excellent for all your home-fitness needs and what’s more, they fit within your budget. These budget rowing machines will suit both your financial and exercise needs alike, giving you a fit body and well-maintained health.

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