Best rower under 500
Did you know that rowing engages up to 90% of your body muscles? That’s about 65% legwork and 25% upper body making it one of the best full-body workouts you can do.
As you row, you’re toning and strengthening major upper body muscles such as the upper back, arms, pecs, and abdominal muscles. For the lower muscle, you’re strengthening your calves, glutes, and quads.
As a cardio exercise, it boosts your heart health by keeping your heart and lungs happy. Besides, rowing is a low-impact exercise making it a great option for all age groups and even those recovering from certain injuries.
The smooth gliding and repetitive motions can help relieve stress. Your mind and body are connected to the process making it a great way to calm your mind and improve your mental health.
Rowing machines are a great option for all fitness levels, beginners and professionals alike. As a beginner, you get to perfect your technique while professionals get to track their performance to improve your workouts.
These machines are also a great addition to your compact home gym collection as most are designed to be foldable and don’t take much space. Unlike home-use treadmills, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality unit.
In this post, we share with you the best rowing machines under 500. These machines provide great value for your money without compromising on quality.
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
If you’re curious or in a hurry:
SNODE Water Rowing Machine is the best rowing machine for home use!
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rower is the best rowing machine for the money!
Best rowing machines under 500
- Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
- Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Rower
- Stamina Body Rowing Machine
- MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine
- SNODE Water Rowing Machine
- Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine
1. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
- 250 lbs weight capacity
- Magnetic tension system
- Large pedals
- LCD monitor
- Non-slip handlebars
- Foldable design
- Transportation wheels
Sunny health SF-RW5515 is the machine for you if you’d like to put in the minimal effort for maximum results. This rowing machine will get you sweating even at the most moderate resistance setting. It won’t help you train for competitions, but it will help you burn calories and improve your stamina.
The SF-RW5515 comes tightly packaged in about 7-parts total. That is the mechanical drum, seat, side rail, front and back stabilizers, pair of footrests, 2 packages of bolts, knobs, screws, and tools.
Because these parts are so well-organized you can have it assembled in as fast as 45-minutes as the instructions manual is also very clear. Right off, you will notice that the alloy steel frame is very sturdy and well-built.
The front and back stabilizers also boost the heavy-duty frame to ensure no swaying, tipping or rocking on all surfaces no matter the user weight or distance covered.
With 8-levels 0f magnetic resistance, you can maximize your intensity for a serious workout session. You will notice how difficult it gets even at level 4, you won’t be able to maintain a conversation.
The magnetic resistance also ensures your workout is as smooth and quiet as can be. There isn’t any excess noise maybe just from the chair as it goes back and forth but it isn’t too loud either.
The seat is cushioned and textured to keep you in place as your row while angled back also helps to prevent any sliding. Footrests are comfortable and the adjustable straps provide for a snug fit.
A small digital monitor helps keep track of your time, total stroke count, and calories. However, it’s not backlit making it hard to read and it also doesn’t show distance or stroke rate.
After use, the seat part of the machine can be folded and the whole unit stored upright saving you precious floor space.
2. Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Rower
- 250 lbs weight capacity
- 14-levels magnetic resistance
- Extra-wide foam handlebar
- User height – 4’9” to 6’6”
- Multi-use foot stabilizer pads
- 3.5-inch LCD
- Bluetooth connectivity
Fitness reality rowing machines is the machine for you if you’d like something ultra-quiet and collapsable for your apartment. It also comes with a multi-use footpad that can be used for upper body exercises.
The machine comes well packages with lots of styrofoam to prevent any damage. All the different parts are well-numbered making assembly quick and easy. It shouldn’t take more than 30-minutes.
With 14-levels of magnetic resistance, you will improve your fitness and stamina with this rowing machine. Rowers of all fitness levels can also use the resistance setting without feeling they’ve reached their limit as it goes all the way up to level 14.
Rowing is almost dead-silent and the only noise comes from the seat. Even that, it’s barely noticeable. A lot quieter than even a spin bike or exercise bike.
The cable used is made of thick nylon and makes for a very clean catch and drive. This rower also comes with an elongated beam making it suitable for heights 4″9 up to 6″6.
Multi-use stabilizer footpads can be used for extra upper body exercises such as upright rows, front raises, bent-over rows, curls, and tricep extensions.
This makes it a convenient buy for beginners who want to get started with strength training. However, it’s not a replacement for a home gym cable machine and doesn’t provide enough resistance for serious strength training.
The LCD monitor is easy to read and helps keep track of your strokes, calories, and time.
Use the Bluetooth feature to connect your machine to the mycloudfitnness app to sync and store all your rowing data. On the app, you can also access workouts taught by world-class trainers. Explore different locations around the world as you row.
Once you’re done with your workout, the machine folds up nicely in half for vertical storage.
3. Stamina Body Rowing Machine
- 250lb weight capacity
- Full motion rowing
- Adjustable Hydraulic resistance
- LCD workout monitor
- Large footplates with adjustable straps
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 should be your machine of choice if you want to replicate the actual rowing experience with your arms moving outwards instead of pulling. It works especially well for those who in good shape and want to maintain.
Right off the box, you will notice that the machine is very lightweight yet sturdy enough to support your workout. Assembly is straightforward thanks to the well-detailed instruction booklet.
The rowing arms offer you a wide range of motions to work out different muscle groups. Pro-rowers will also enjoy this feature as they can easily practice different techniques.
The ride is smooth and quiet and even when rowing on a bare floor without a mat. You can comfortably listen to music or continue watching TV when in use.
Adjustable hydraulic resistance allows you to get a good workout. Even in a medium setting, you will feel the burn on your arm and leg muscles. Adjust resistance by turning the knob to increase or decrease difficulty.
The seat is well-padded and keeps you comfortable even after 45-minutes of rowing.
Footrests are textured with adjustable foot straps, however, they’re not the most secure. You might find your feet slipping off especially when you ride at higher resistance levels. To correct this, purchase some velcro straps to use instead of the straps provided.
Keep track of your workout with the LCD monitor that displays calories, time, and stroke count. After use, fold the arms and store in an upright position.
4. MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine
- 243lb weight capacity
- Magnetic resistance
- 16-levels of resistance
- Large LCD console
- User heights of up to 6″5
It comes well packaged with all parts well-organized and labeled. The assembly is straightforward and shouldn’t take you more than 30-minutes.
This rowming machine comes with 16-levels of magnetic resistance. You can feel the difference in resistance levels with every pull. Level 7 should be challenging enough for most people. To increase resistance, simply turn the tension knob for a fat-burning cardio workout.
The pull of the cord is nice and smooth. There is minimal noise when using the rower such that you can comfortably watch TV without the need to raise the volume.
The large cushioned seat is designed to keep you comfortable so you can row for longer without any discomfort no matter your size. Its long beam makes this rowing machine suitable for taller users of up to 6″5.
To keep your feet secure, the machine comes with a heel guard, adjustable straps, and a non-slip pedal surface.
The display panel keeps track of your calories, strokes per minute, and time count. However, it doesn’t keep track of the distance covered. For maintenance, all you need to do is keep it clean and periodically check for loose parts.
Its compact size allows you to fold and get it out of the way after exercise.
5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine
- 220lb weight capacity
- Hydraulic resistance
- 12-Levels of resistance
- Digital monitor
- Floor stabilizer
- 37-inch slide rail inseam
Sunny health SF-RW1205 offers a functional and practical way to burn calories but stays compact enough to fit any small space. It’s a minimalistic-built rower that will get the job done.
The machine comes pretty much assembled all you have to do is connect the handlebars, hydraulics, and back bar. Assembly should take about 20-minutes or less.
The machine comes with up to 12-levels of resistance. Some users found that it tends to lose its resistance after prolonged use. However, you can contour this by slowly increasing resistance one level at a time for prolonged use.
For example, start at level 2/4, row for 5-minutes before increases it to the next level. Continue this cycle until you reach your desired resistance. This allows it to build up the resistance slowly allowing you to row for longer.
Workouts are nice and quiet. Use it in apartments and condos without worrying that you might be causing a disturbance.
It provides a low-impact aerobic workout that will strengthen your arms, back, legs, abs, and glutes simultaneously. It’s a great option for seniors and those just getting started with their fitness journey.
The LCD monitor is easy to use and keeps track of your time, calories, and total count.
Because the frame is very lightweight, you don’t want it on a smooth floor. If you do have a hardwood or cement floor, ensure you place it on top of a gym mat or carpet to improve its stability.
The lightweight frame folds up well and you can easily store it under your bed or closet after use.
6. SNODE Water Rowing Machine
- 330 lbs weight capacity
- 16-adjustable difficulty levels
- Smart App for workouts
- Adjustable LCD monitor
- LCD Monitor
- Can accommodate heights of up to 6″5
The Snode water rower is a great home fitness equipment for low-impact total-body workouts. If you want to improve your fitness with prolonged daily exercise, this rowing machine is for you.
Everything comes well labeled and well-packaged. The assembly instructions are very clear and well-detailed. You should have it put together in less than 45-minutes. To get started, simply add water to the drum and you start rowing.
This rowing machine comes with 16-levels of water resistance. As you pull the handle, you will notice the impeller inside the tank spins to generate resistance. While you can add water to create some resistance.
This rower offers a dynamic response when it comes to difficulty. How fast you pull will determine your resistance. The more strokes you can do per minute the greater resistance you’ll feel.
As you row, expect some swooshing sounds but not too much. This is the same pleasing and relaxing sound you’d hear while rowing outdoor. You can still enjoy some Netflix.
To ensure extra comfort, the contoured seat is designed with 2-inches of foam cushioning to help you maintain a good posture throughout your workout. The pivoting footrest allows you to tilt your foot to the most suitable angle when rowing.
Keep track of your progress via the LCD monitor and track your time, calories, distance, and strokes. Its smart connectivity allows you to connect the machine to the Fitshow app via Bluetooth.
Using the app you can calculate your distance, range, and calories. Or better yet, watch some of the most beautiful sceneries across the globe as you row.
While it cannot be folded, the machine can be stored upright against any wall to save space. Even with the water still in the tank you can store it upright as it rests on the front stabilizers.
7. Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine
- 300 lbs weight capacity
- Water resistance
- 16-levels of difficulty
- Fitness meter
- Can be stored upright
- Accommodate heights of up to 6″3
The Obsidian Surge 500 is a professional gym-quality rower at a budget price designed for home use. It’s well built and can be used by professional rowers as it has all the features you’d get with a commercial machine at half the price.
The package is well organized and numbered making the assembly process is easy. Assembly shouldn’t take more than 45-minutes as the instruction manual is well-detailed.
The frame is well designed to be 17-inches off the ground, you don’t have to bend or strain your back muscle as you get on and off.
Once you get started, you will notice that the slide is very smooth and the water drive is not so loud. The repetitive swooshing sound is very calming and pleasing.
With 16-levels of resistance, even professional rowers can expect some difficulty with this rowing machine. Feel up the tank to the highest level and work to make your strokes faster for great resistance.
The fitness meter helps keep track of your time, distance, and calories. It is also compatible with the ANT+ heart rate watch and belt that you can buy separately for more accurate data.
After use, safely store the Obsidian upright against the wall to save space.
Is 20-minutes of rowing enough?
If your goal is to keep fit and get in shape, 20-minutes of vigorous rowing a day is enough for a full-body workout. You can make this even more effective by incorporating HIIT.
However, if your goal is to lose weight, you want to aim for at least 30-minutes of rowing. According to this report, you can expect to burn as much as 369-calories in 30-minute of vigorous rowing if you weigh 155-pounds
Keep in mind that the number of calories burnt only goes higher the more you weigh.