10 Best Budget Rowing Machines in 2024

Author: Ihor Shymechko (26 years of Oly Lifting & Training experience)

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy (Olympian with 21 years of Oly Lifting experience)

When it comes to choosing a rowing machine, you should think carefully about what factors are important for you. Then decide whether you opt for a cheaper or more expensive one. If you're not ready to spend a fortune on a rower, but want to get a model that will work for a long time, look at the list of the best budget rowing machines we prepared for you.

Pick up a model of any resistance type, with a wide range of functions and programs available, so you'll be able to track your progress over every training session.

 In a hurry? 

In a hurry?

In a hurry and can’t keep reading? How about you check out the Sunny Health & Fitness Programmable Rowing Machine.


Sunny Health & Fitness Programmable Rowing Machine bestrowing machine equipped with a digital monitor that displays your training duration, strokes, and calories burned.

Our team of professional athletes has rigorously tested 18 different branded rowing machines that you can acquire on a budget to create this list. 250+ hours have been invested to test all the products. Each rowing machine has been ranked/rated based on price/quality, design, comfort, portability, adjustability, and durability. The list below is the result of the testing.

10 Best Budget Rowing Machines

Top 10 Best Budget Rowing Machines Reviewed

ProductTotalPrice/QualityDesignComfortPortabilityAdjustabilityDurability
Sunny Health & Fitness59109.51010109.5
KingSmith5991010101010
ProForm58.59.5101091010
Rogue fitness58.59.510109.59.510
Sunny Health & Fitness Hydro+5810109.59.59.59.5
Stamina589.59.59.510109.5
Yosuda57.59.59.59.5109.59.5
Pooboo56.599.59.59.59.59.5
JKANGFIT56.599.59.59.59.59.5
Circuit Fitness569.59.59.59.599
Sunny Health & Fitness Programmable Rowing Machine
  • Item dimensions: 92” L x 20.5” W x 32” H (folded: 43” L x 20.5” W x 60.5” H)
  • Item weight: 75.8 lb
  • Resistance system: dual - flywheel and magnetic
  • Display: digital monitor
  • Slide rail length: 46.5”
  • Weight capacity: 300 lb
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth, ANT+ HR strap
  • Warranty: 3 years for the frame, 180 days for the parts and components

This rowing machine from Sunny Health & Fitness is believed to be the best affordable rowing machine that differs from the previous model with its dual resistance system. It comes with an 11lb flywheel and 16 levels of magnetic resistance. You can adjust the intensity level via the digital monitor as the resistance is managed electronically. 

It’s equipped with a digital monitor that displays your training duration, strokes, and calories burned. Also, it’ll show your heart rate when you connect the rowing machine to your HR strap via Bluetooth. There’s a built-in fitness program mode that includes 7 workout presets, 4 customizable presets, 2 challenge modes, and one recovery mode. The slide rail inseam of this rower is 45".

This affordable rower comes with non-slip swiveling foot pedals that can fit all sizes and foot straps that will keep you in place during the most active workouts. The handlebars are also comfortable to row with due to padded and slip-free handles.

59Expert Score

Sunny Health & Fitness Programmable Rowing Machine bestrowing machine equipped with a digital monitor that displays your training duration, strokes, and calories burned.

Price/Quality:
10
Design:
9.5
Comfort:
10
Portability:
10
Adjustability:
10
Durability:
9.5

Positives:

  • Comes with a flywheel and magnetic resistance system

  • Has 7 built-in workouts

  • Is a budget-friendly magnetic rower

Could be better:

  • Could be more resistance levels

  • Has a small monitor with default metrics

  • Needs to be connected to a power source

KingSmith WR1 Foldable Water Rowing Machine
  • Item dimensions: 76.3” L x 19.6” W x 22.0” H (folded: 26.7” L x 19.6” W x 22.8” H) 
  • Item weight: 63.93 lb
  • Resistancesystem: water
  • Display: LCD monitor
  • Slide rail length: -  
  • Weight capacity: 264.5 lb
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth, KS Fit app 
  • Warranty: 1 year

This water rowing machine from KingSmith is very different from other water-resistance tools available on our list due to its distinguishable design. It’s made from high-quality wood and has a 3-fold design, so it doesn’t look bulky like other models and takes no more space than a 26” travel bag.

Thanks to water resistance, you can enjoy rowing training just like you’re rowing on the water. The machine comes with a glass fiber paddle which is much better than other current market options like steel or PE blades. The resistance level depends on your rowing pace: the harder you pull, the greater tension you’ll get that is generated by the water flow inside the tank.

It has an LCD monitor located above the foot pedals that displays such metrics as time, speed, SPM, paddle frequency, distance, and calories. It can be connected to your gadget via Bluetooth and also synced with the KS fit application. Additionally, there’s a device shelf, so you can place a tablet and connect it to the KS Fit app to join exercise training classes and watch other online workouts while rowing.

59Expert Score

KingSmith WR1 Water Rowing Machine made from high-quality wood and has a 3-fold design, so it doesn’t look bulky like other models and takes no more space than a 26” travel bag.

Price/Quality:
9
Design:
10
Comfort:
10
Portability:
10
Adjustability:
10
Durability:
10

Positives:

  • Has tri-folded construction that takes no more than to save your space

  • Comes with a 3D ergonomic seat and grippy handles

  • Looks fancy, has a smooth wooden frame

Could be better:

  • A manufacturer provides a short warranty period

3. ProForm 750R Rower – Best Magnetic Rower

ProForm 750R Rower
  • Item dimensions: 86.5” L x 22” W x 45.5” H
  • Item weight: 116.6 lb
  • Resistancesystem: magnetic
  • Display: 5” high-contrast monitor
  • Slide rail length: no information   
  • Weight capacity: 250 lb
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth, iFit app
  • Warranty: 5 years for the frame, 1 year for the parts and labor

Let’s find out all the essential specs of this best value rowing machine created by ProForm which we have chosen as the top model of rowing machine with a superb ratio of price, quality, and functionality.

ProForm rower comes with a high contrast 5” monitor with quick control buttons, and a shelf for your device up to 7.5”. The display shows all your metrics while rowing, that is time, distance, SPM, resistance level, and calories. It features adjustable multi-grip handles and a 90”-length pulling strap to accommodate users of all heights.

Also, it has pivoting foot pedals with velcro straps that move back and forth with each stroke. Such a feature can be useful for athletes with limited ankle mobility.

It has a magnetic resistance system, with 24 levels of adjustable tension. Inertia-enhanced flywheel and magnetic resistance generate quiet and smooth rowing that can be compared to air rower performance.

ProForm 750R

The rower features Silent Magnetic Resistance performance that will bring you smooth and noiseless rowing. You’ll be able to work out every body muscle with a full stroke at your maximum efficiency.

This first-class rowing machine offers unlimited training opportunities without leaving your home. The machine is compatible with the iFit fitness application enabling you to join indoor rowing classes and coach-led outdoor training. By joining these workouts, a trainer will control the resistance and intensity of your rowing by himself considering your fitness goals and fitness level. 

Moreover, you’ll get a 30-day of unlimited iFit usage for free: the subscription includes studio training, on-demand workouts, and live events around the globe. The rower can be used without connecting to iFit: it comes with 20 built-in workout programs that you can benefit from as well. The training tool is crafted with a SpaceSaver Design which means you can fold it up easily getting a smaller footprint that won’t take too much room. 

58.5Expert Score

ProForm 750R Rower comes with a high contrast 5” monitor with quick control buttons, and a shelf for your device up to 7.5”.

Price/Quality:
9.5
Design:
10
Comfort:
10
Portability:
9
Adjustability:
10
Durability:
10

Positives:

  • Can be connected via Bluetooth and is compatible with the iFit app

  • Has pivoting foot pedals that are perfect for users with ankle mobility issues

  • Comes with adjustable handlebars

  • Provides smooth silent glide along the rail

  • Can be used without an iFit connection 

  • 24 levels of magnetic resistance

Could be better:

  • Could be more lightweight

  • Has some plastic elements, i.e., foot pedals

4. Concept2 RowErg Rower PM5 – Best Air Rower

Concept2 RowErg Rower PM5
  • Item dimensions: 96” L x 24” W x 14”/20” H
  • Item weight: 57 lb (with a standard seat height), 68 lb ( with an elevated seat height)
  • Resistance system: air
  • Display: PM5 
  • Slide rail length: 54”
  • Weight capacity: 500 lb 
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth, ErgData app, Online Logbook, and over 30 other apps
  • Warranty: 5 years for the frame, 2 years for the parts

The Concept2 RowErg is the industry standard for indoor rowing machines that is widely used by Olympic and seasoned rowers to train for their sport in the off-season period. 

This rower can suit everyone's training goals, whether you’re a beginner who's looking to start something new, or already an elite athlete. A big advantage of the rower is that it simulates rowing on the water as close as possible, making the machine meet the training needs of competitive rowers.

It's equipped with a Performance Monitor you can connect via Bluetooth numerous apps, i.e., a free app ErgData. This fitness app allows you to manage your workouts, participate in the Concept2 Workout of the Day, track your progress, and even row with other members of the community. The PM5 shows such vital data like pace, watts, stroke rate, and calorie burn.

Concept2 RowErg

photo by @progymsupply

Since it's an air-resistance rower, you can manage the intensity of your training on your own. You're in total control of your stroke pace and resistance. The spiral damper comes with adjustable 1-10 settings, and a flywheel brings relatively silent work and a smooth rowing experience.

The Concept2 rower is available with standard or tall legs with an elevated seat height: you can choose a 14" (36 cm) seat height for standard, and a bit larger model with 20" (51 cm) from the floor. Both machines are suitable for inseams up to 38" (96.5 cm).

58.5Expert Score

Concept2 RowErg Rower PM5 rower can suit everyone's training goals, whether you’re a beginner who's looking to start something new, or already an elite athlete.

Price/Quality:
9.5
Design:
10
Comfort:
10
Portability:
9.5
Adjustability:
9.5
Durability:
10

Positives:

  • A high-quality durable rower

  • Has two model options: for varying seat heights

  • Imitates real-water rowing

  • Can change the resistance with your own stroke pace 

Could be better:

  • Requires a lot of space

  • Expensive

Sunny Health & Fitness Hydro+ Dual Resistance Rower
  • Item dimensions: 77.2" L x 18.9" W x 44.1" H (folded: 44.1" L x 18.9" W x 77.2" H)
  • Item weight: 73.6 lb
  • Resistance system: water and magnetic resistance 
  • Display: digital monitor 
  • Slide rail length: 46.9"
  • Weight capacity: 275 lb
  • Compatibility: HR strap connectivity, Bluetooth, SunnyFit app
  • Warranty: 3 years for the frame, 180 days for the parts and components 

Sunny Health & Fitness produced another unique budget rower that is worth attention. This hydro rower has a dual resistance system: a water resistance that, like an airflow, adapts to your pace and workout intensity, and 16-level magnetic resistance.

16 hydro blades bring the intense feeling of rowing in water and vouch for the smooth and natural feeling like in the open water. Also, the hydro resistance system provides unlimited tension leveling, by making it possible to challenge your body.

The water tank is placed at a 60-degree angle which is effective in increasing the resistance efficiency by 45% more than its flat position.

It's equipped with a digital monitor that displays lots of workout stats: time, distance, HR, SPM, total strokes, calories, and race mode. A two-way swivel display enables you to adjust the angle according to your height.

The rower has 15 built-in racing programs that enable you to diversify your training.

58Expert Score

Sunny Health & Fitness Hydro+ Dual Resistance Rower unique budget rower has a dual resistance system: a water resistance that, like an airflow, adapts to your pace and workout intensity, and 16-level magnetic resistance.

Price/Quality:
10
Design:
10
Comfort:
9.5
Portability:
9.5
Adjustability:
9.5
Durability:
9.5

Positives:

  • Smooth glide that comes from the water in the tank

  • The water tank is angled at 60 degrees for better training efficiency

  • Has a sturdy and durable construction that doesn’t wobble

Could be better:

  • The resistance feels too light even on the highest setting 

6. Stamina ATS Air Rower – Best Budget Air Rower

Stamina ATS Air Rower
  • Item dimensions: 77" L x 18" W x 22" H
  • Itemweight: 54 lb
  • Resistancesystem: air
  • Display: LCD display 
  • Slide rail length: fits heights 4’9” to 6’4” 
  • Weight capacity: 250 lb
  • Compatibility: Müüv app 
  • Warranty: 3 years for the frame, 90 days for the parts

Being one of the cheapest rowing machines, this trainer can help you to tone major muscle groups by increasing or lowering the stroke intensity. To increase rowing intensity, you need to pull the cable harder and slow down the pace for less tension. Due to a multi-functional monitor, you can see your main performance data during exercising, like time, speed, distance, and calories.

It's equipped with a comfortable padded seat that is placed at 10" height of the ground. The trainer has comfort-grip handles and pivoting foot pedals with adjustable straps. The rower can fit users of different heights - from 4'9" to 6'4" tall.

Concerning connectivity, the Stamina rower is connected to the Müüv fitness application. It offers a great opportunity to join coach-guided classes, and get access to training videos, and other diverse HIT workouts to improve your rowing performance.

Overall, you'll get a decent air-resistance rower that will give you a great opportunity to learn rowing and advance your technique alike.

58Expert Score

Stamina ATS Air Rower one of the cheapest rowing machines, this trainer can help you to tone major muscle groups by increasing or lowering the stroke intensity.

Price/Quality:
9.5
Design:
9.5
Comfort:
9.5
Portability:
10
Adjustability:
10
Durability:
9.5

Positives:

  • Has moveable footrests that don't limit your ankles

  • simulates real rowing very well

  • Fits users of different heights (from 4'9" to 6'4")

Could be better:

  • Has a noisy flywheel

  • No stroke rate displayed on the monitor 

7. Yosuda Magnetic Rower – Best Magnetic Rower

Yosuda Magnetic Rower
  • Item dimensions: 37” L x 20.3” W x 8.07” H 
  • Item weight: 50 lb
  • Resistance system: magnetic
  • Display: 3.45 LCD monitor
  • Slide rail length: 45.2”
  • Weight capacity: 350 lb
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth, Kinomap
  • Warranty: 3 years for the frame, 180 days for the parts, 12 months for labor

Yosuda magnetic-resistance rower is the best cheap rowing machine that can be your first rowing machine. It’s possible to start rowing on it without prior experience in sports and excel gradually at your overall power and endurance. Being an affordable trainer, you’ll benefit from its technical features and additional interactive perks. 

It’s equipped with 16 levels of magnetic resistance for smooth operation and a flywheel of 10 lb. These features will be enough for moderate to above-average tension that will fit users of different levels. Despite a low price, the rower has a high-density 5mm-thick steel rail that helps to reduce noise during intensive rowing. So, the noise of the machine work will be less than 25 dB. 

There’s also an LCD monitor of 3.45” which displays the key performance metrics. Additionally, you can sync your device with a rowing machine via Bluetooth, and connect with a Kinomap application enabling you to diversify your training routine and have some fun with rowing racing sessions. Additionally, you can place your device on the built-in shelf above the console and watch videos while rowing. 

This rowing machine won’t take up much living space, having 2.22 ft² of a footprint. You can fold it and store it upright, and it’s easy to move it around with the help of transportation wheels.

57.5Expert Score

Yosuda Magnetic Rower is the best cheap rowing machine that can be your first rowing machine.

Price/Quality:
9.5
Design:
9.5
Comfort:
9.5
Portability:
10
Adjustability:
9.5
Durability:
9.5

Positives:

  • Provides a full range of motion for users of different heights

  • Operates smoothly without loud noises

  • Offers good frame quality for this price rate

Could be better:

  • The handlebars and seat aren't padded enough

  • the digital display is hard to see during workouts because it’s placed below the nylon rope

  • Wrong indication of calories, by nearly double compared to the smartwatch

Pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machine
  • Item dimensions: 83.0” L x 21.2” W x 31.8” H (folded: 37.4” L x 21.2” W x 50.39” H)
  • Item weight: 61.7 lb - package weight
  • Resistancesystem: magnetic 
  • Display: LCD display
  • Slide rail length: no information
  • Weight capacity: 360 lb
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth, Kinomap app

This model of rowing machine with a magnetic resistance system comes with 14 levels of difficulty that will enable users to work out well at different training phases from a lighter to more challenging sessions.

It comes with an LCD monitor on the adjustable holder, which features a device shelf, making it possible to change the angle of the display for better comfort during the training. It indicates all essential stats - time, SPM, distance, and calories. 

Besides rowing training, this low-cost rowing machine is also designed for multi-purpose workouts. You’ll be able to add some strength training by adjusting the handlebar below the seat into the hook. So, you’ll be able to do numerous exercises to activate your triceps, lats, deltoids, and quadriceps. Use these exercises to activate smaller muscles: single arm row, bicep curls, bent-over rows, cable front and lateral raises, tricep extension, etc.

The rowing machine is compatible with the Kinomap fitness application through Bluetooth, which enables you to find a workout suited to your training plan and fitness goals.

56.5Expert Score

Pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machine comes with 14 levels of difficulty that will enable users to work out well at different training phases from a lighter to more challenging sessions.

Price/Quality:
9
Design:
9.5
Comfort:
9.5
Portability:
9.5
Adjustability:
9.5
Durability:
9.5

Positives:

  • The track and seat slide smoothly and without a lot of noise

  • Can perform various strength exercises by adjusting the cable below the seat

  • Has a sturdy frame without wobbling

Could be better:

  • No appropriate place for cables at the back, they lay on the floor when not in use

JKANGFIT Rowing Machine
  • Item dimensions: 44" L x 22" W x 8" H
  • Item weight: 59.5 lb - package weight 
  • Resistance system: magnetic
  • Display: LCD monitor
  • Slide rail length: 45.27”
  • Weight capacity: 350 lb
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth, Kinomap app

Due to a new design, the JKANGFIT magnetic rowing machine offers a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, meaning you’ll be able to perform multiple supplementary exercises to target smaller muscles. With additional cables attached below the seat, you can do cable squat exercises, arm, and back strength exercises.

You’ll get a smooth and silent indoor exercise experience due to 14-level magnetic settings, which can fit athletes of different levels. It’s possible to work out at various pulse zones by increasing the resistance gradually.

The LCD display shows your rowing time, count, distance, and calories, and you can change its angle thanks to a tilting mechanism in the holder it’s placed on. The length of the slide rail is 45.27” which provides plenty of room for leg extension, making it comfortable for users of all heights (under 6'3" feet).

The rowing machine also has adjustable foot pedals with security straps that can rotate and don’t limit ankle movements. It comes with a soft ergonomic seat, and like an extra perk, the frame construction has small angled platforms on the back to extend the ankles. This element can be utilized for stretching exercises to prevent muscle cramps after rowing exercise.

56.5Expert Score

Due to a new design, the JKANGFIT magnetic rowing machine offers a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, meaning you’ll be able to perform multiple supplementary exercises to target smaller muscles.

Price/Quality:
9
Design:
9.5
Comfort:
9.5
Portability:
9.5
Adjustability:
9.5
Durability:
9.5

Positives:

  • Provides a multi-purpose workout by adjusting the rear cables below the seat

  • The rowing itself feels natural, and smooth operating

  • Has platforms below the saddle for stretching

Could be better:

  • The rear cables lay on the floor because there’s no place to store when kept in the unfolded position

Circuit Fitness Magnetic Rower
  • Item dimensions: 72” L x 19” W x 38” H (folded: 36” L x 19” W x 53.5” H)
  • Item weight: 72 lb
  • Resistance system: magnetic
  • Display: LED monitor 
  • Slide rail length: no information
  • Weight capacity: 300 lb
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth, Kinomap
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty for the frame

The Circuit Fitness rower is equipped with magnetic resistance of 8 levels and a 9 lb flywheel, enabling you to adjust the needed intensity with the help of the lever. The LED monitor allows you to stay informed about key data of your performance like time, distance, RPM, and calories.

This simple rowing machine also brings comfort during long rowing sessions with an ergonomically designed mold-injected saddle, and foot pedals of non-slip design for secure and comfortable rowing, with customizable foot straps to accommodate all feet sizes.

The rower can be easily folded upright which allows it to store conveniently. Due to two built-in transport wheels, you can move the tool without asking for someone’s help.

56Expert Score

The Circuit Fitness rower is equipped with magnetic resistance of 8 levels and a 9 lb flywheel, enabling you to adjust the needed intensity with the help of the lever.

Price/Quality:
9.5
Design:
9.5
Comfort:
9.5
Portability:
9.5
Adjustability:
9
Durability:
9

Positives:

  • Seat and bar slide quietly and smoothly

  • Is better to use for moderate rowing

  • Easy to fold up and store, takes little space

Could be better:

  • Has a lower resistance range

  • The rail length may not be enough for taller users

  • Isn’t sturdy and durable enough

Budget Rowing Machines vs Expensive Models

What points you should know about cheap and expensive rowing machines before picking up a decent model that meets your goals? Rower's price is a crucial aspect when purchasing such a training tool. You shouldn't be misled by price rates because, in some cases, they don't relate to the product quality.

Some best budget rowing machines can serve for a long time compared to a smart high-priced rower that can break down after several training sessions. When you define what type of rower is a better option for you - expensive or budget-friendly, look at the resistance system it provides. 

SpecsBudget rowersExpensive rowers
Resistance mechanismHydraulic rowers tend to be cheaperWater and air-resistance rowers are pricier
InteractivityHave minimum options and default performance metrics to trackHave app/Bluetooth connectivity, built-in programs, and wider range of training data to follow
Price range$$$-$$$

This aspect can make a difference when it comes to selecting a more affordable rower. For example, hydraulic rowers tend to be cheaper than air and water ones. Water-resistance machines are believed to be the priciest because they have a water tank and offer the most realistic feel while rowing. The same is for air rowing machines: such tools also imitate real-life rowing on the water.

Nevertheless, the price depends on each model and its extra features. Expensive models can offer more interaction and can be connected with fitness applications for tracking performance metrics. 

Everything depends on your needs, preferences, and financial capability: if you're ready to invest a considerable amount of money on a rower, you'll have a full-fledged multifunctional piece of equipment for your home gym.

Rowing Machine

Factors Affecting the Price of a Rowing Machine

The more bucks you can spend on a rowing machine, the wider range of features you can get. If you want to get more comfort, make a rower more personalized, and enjoy smooth rowing in a group of like-minded rowers or being coached by a trainer, then pricier models may be your best option. 

Bear in mind that these factors affect the cost of a rowing machine and the quality of rowing generally.

1. Materials and Configuration

Usually, basic rowers have hard plastic details in the design like main panels covering a working mechanism, seat, footrests, and handles. Also, they have a basic console with default metrics, such as speed, time, and distance. Nothing interesting. Spend more and you'll get better metrics showings, a more durable frame, and adjustable seats. 

2. Interactivity and Compatibility

Rowers of a higher price rate dominantly have larger displays and offer a wide range of built-in training programs and online classes led by fitness coaches. It's possible to join these workouts and even compete with other rowers. You can create a customized training program, record, and track your progress after every workout and also sync and download on your device.

simulator settings

3. Frame Sturdiness

High-priced rowers are crafted from better and more durable materials. The manufacturers use specific technologies to provide users with exceptional quality rowing out of issues. Hydraulic rowers tend to be less durable and that is reflected in a lower price. If you want a long-lasting sturdy rowing trainer, choose a water, magnetic, or air-resistance rower. They'll serve longer with no signs of wear as they come with construction components of a higher level.

Benefits of Rowing Machines

No matter what type of rowing machine you prefer, it brings you a low-impact workout that is great for a wide range of users: both beginners and advanced athletes will find it beneficial for their body and mind. Rowing has gained popularity due to being a great combo addition to cross-training workouts and also being a method of high-intensity interval training, which can improve your split time and speed of rowing.

Due to great power output, scaling up endurance, and technique, you'll know the real water rowing feel during challenging indoor rowing sessions. Let's enumerate the key benefits of budget rowers you'll enjoy for sure:

✅ Engage the Whole Body

Despite some saying it's totally leg or arm work, in fact, rowing involves almost all main muscle groups. You'll work out shoulders, back muscles, core, and glutes alike. The vast volume of power is generated by the legs (for pushing motion), then the lesser ratio comes to your arms (for pulling), and the rest is for your core for extra stabilization.

✅ Enhance Overall Power and Endurance

By utilizing different muscles, rowing can build both strength and stamina. You can improve these indicators by combining rowing with weight and strength training. A good sample of a strength workout is using free weights, leg presses, and seated arm pulls to improve your repetition maximum. These exercises will help you to gain peak stroke power performance measures.

Benefits of Rowing Machines

✅ It’s a High-Intensity Low-Impact Alternative to Other Exercises

High-priced rowers are crafted from better and more durable materials. The manufacturers use specific technologies to provide users with exceptional quality rowing out of issues. Hydraulic rowers tend to be less durable and that is reflected in a lower price. If you want a long-lasting sturdy rowing trainer, choose a water, magnetic, or air-resistance rower. They'll serve longer with no signs of wear as they come with construction components of a higher level.

✅ It’s Perfect for All-Fitness-Level Rowers

Rowing is easy to learn, but not every athlete can master it. All you need to control is the technique and body position ensuring stability during the entire rowing session. Beginners, recreational and professional rowers can get the same results with a consistent rowing regimen and overall physical activity. Rowing will meet your personal goals at any stage of your progress. You'll become more confident in increasing your rowing speed and power with every training.

✅ It’s Superb Cardio Training

Rowing strengthens the cardiovascular system, namely your heart, vessels, and accelerates your blood flow. Make your rowing session more intensive by adding speed-ups, so your heart will work harder to transport oxygen throughout the body. As a result, your body will get a real challenge and you’ll improve your aerobic and anaerobic skills as well.

Benefits of Rowing Machines

Benefits of Budget Rowing Machines

Speaking about cheap rowers, you'll get the following perks of using it:

  • Low price. If you're a beginner in rowing and don't want to spend a fortune on this tool, a cheap rowing machine is exactly for you. You can buy a good rower for $300 and it'll fully meet your needs and fitness goals, without sacrificing the quality.
  • Follow key metrics. With an affordable rower, you'll be able to track key performance data like time, distance, calories, SPM, and split time. These indicators are enough for a starter.
  • Easy usage. As usual, budget-friendly rowing machines don't have sophisticated construction and quite complex operating features. As it targets beginners in rowing or intermediate users who don't need extra perks, it'll be easy to adjust.

What to Look For in a Budget Rowing Machine?

Buying an inexpensive rowing machine isn't an easy task, it requires a thorough investigation of the models you choose from. As you're searching for this tool for home training, it's important to consider its dimensions first and foldability. But, overall, there's a huge list of specs you should keep in mind.

When picking up a budget rower you need to consider the following points:

1. Price/Quality

Price and quality ratio is one of the most important things you should check before the purchase. Despite the price tag being affordable, it shouldn't translate to its quality and performance. Therefore, it's better to consider rowers from reliable and trusted manufacturers responsible for their products. By the way, it's possible to find rowers up to $400 that are a perfect option for home gyms.

Budget Rowing Machine at Home

2. design

It's obvious that a rower's design and construction depends on its type, meaning whether you choose a magnetic, air, or water rowing machine. Although, the common features of all rowers are a steel rail, handlebars, foot pedals, and console. Then, depending on the resistance type, a rower can be equipped with a flywheel with a damper, or magnets, or a water tank.

3. Comfort

Check whether a rowing machine has a comfortable seat and adjustable handles. Also, look for rowers with a tilting monitor you can change the angle to fit your height - that will add more comfort for you while rowing and watching your speed and pulse is increasing. Don't forget to check the seat height from the floor and the inseam length to accommodate your leg length.

4. Portability 

Sure, when choosing a fitting rowing machine you'd like to find a moderately lightweight tool you'll be able to move around the apartment and store it in any tiny corner. The majority of rowers can be easily folded upright, so you'll get a smaller footprint and it won't take up too much space. Check also the availability of transport wheels.

indoor rowing machine

5. Adjustability (Seat and Programming) 

Apparently all rowing machines have adjustable seats since you can simply glide backward or forward on the rail and fix the foot pedals in a position that feels comfortable and appropriate for your height and legs.

Another spec to check is built-in program availability. Generally, it's a great advantage to have several training modes besides having access to specific fitness applications. Built-in programs, compatibility with different devices and applications will transform your training into a real rowing experience full of challenges.

6. Durability

Prefer rowing machines that have durable stainless steel components and construction elements, but not plastic parts. Steel construction adds up to more durability and sturdiness. Check the quality of the flywheel, damper, and pulling cable, which should bring you fluid motion and functionality.

Tips From the Champ

Check whether a rowing machine has a comfortable seat and adjustable handles. Also, look for rowers with a tilting monitor you can change the angle to fit your height - that will add more comfort for you while rowing and watching your speed and pulse is increasing.

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

How to Use a Rowing Machine Properly?

Utilize a rowing machine correctly to get the maximum out of workout and strengthen your performance indicators. Set it up properly, and perform rowing with the right technique and body form.

The first-time rowing may be intimidating, but you’ll excel at this full-body workout in several sessions. Keep in mind that rowing is about strength, not speed, and most power is generated by your legs, not your arms.

When you start learning to row properly, focus on using the power of your lower muscles, i.e., glutes, hamstrings, and quads, to push yourself and glide back. Also, you should know the key terms to tune in your rowing, namely:

  • SPM (stroke per minute) which should be around 30 strokes per minute.
  • Split time means the amount of time you row 500 meters, you should aim to get 2 minutes or less.
  • Stroke is a full range of rowing motion which includes catch, drive, finish, and recovery.

First, you need to choose the rowing machine concerning your height: mind the seat and inseam height, and sliding rail length, and check whether it’s possible to change or swivel the handlebars and the angle of the monitor. 

1. Start With a Warming-up

Each training requires warming-up exercises, i.e., some stretching, or light cardio, to activate your body. This short set of exercises will help you to avoid injuries and strains and also will set you to productive work. A dynamic warm-up will help you to prepare your body for a rowing session within a full range of motion without restrictions.

You can do squats, lunges, heel flicks, arm circles, or light jogging on a treadmill. It’s also useful to do a technical warm-up on a rowing machine: first, you can do pulling motions with your arms only by keeping your back and legs straight. Next, perform a body swing: lean forward and go back by engaging the trunk keeping the core tight, with a flat back and straight legs.

2. Adjust the Rower and Position the Body Properly

Secure your feet in the foot pedals and fix them with the straps. Now you’re ready to start rowing. Set up the proper resistance level: you can manage it by changing the tension of the damper that is placed on the side of the flywheel. A damper is a lever that regulates the amount of air that moves through the flywheel. 

Progressive load is a key to gradual strength development and muscle mass increase. Adding more tension over time is an effective way to become stronger.

3. Preserve the Rowing Technique

Next, you need to know all phases of the full stroke and how to perform each step correctly:

  • Finish phase: as usual, you start with the "finish" phase. You sit on the saddle with your legs fully straightened. Strap them on the foot pedals. Grab the handle, so it’s placed at your lower ribs with your palms facing down. Lean your body slightly back.
  • Catch phase: move your body forward to reach the position when you bend your legs in the knees and your shins are perpendicular to the ground with your knees in line over the ankles. The shoulders are in front of the hips. Your chest touches your thighs, avoid your body leaning too far. At this phase, the seat is as close as possible to the flywheel.
  • Drive phase: push your feet to straighten your legs. Then pull your trunk from the 1 o’clock position to the 11 o'clock position. Keep shoulders relaxed and back in the neutral position. Finish the movement by pulling the handle with your arms to your lower ribs, keeping your core tight.

4. Cool Down After Rowing

Like a warming-up part at the beginning, cooling down is also vital to calm your body gradually in order not to harm your cardiovascular system and help your pulse return to its stable rate. You'll help your body to return to its usual state naturally without sharp jumps.

Cooling down with some stretching decreases muscle soreness and tension after an intensive workout. Even a few minutes of deep breathing, cool-down stretching, and muscle relaxation will enhance your post-training recovery and will result in greater physical success.

Static stretching is a perfect way to cool down after rowing: you can do tricep and bicep stretch, arm crossovers, trunk rotation, hamstring, and hamstring groin stretch. This set of movements will be enough to elongate your muscles, increase joint flexibility, and facilitate recovery.

FAQ

Is a Budget Rowing Machine Worth It?

Yes, if you're new to rowing and want to get a low-impact full-body workout that will strengthen both cardiovascular capabilities and muscles, then a budget-friendly rower is a good option for your purposes. A cheap rowing machine will be enough for challenging and effective workouts.

Why Are Rowers So Expensive?

Some models of rowers can be more expensive because of the mechanism and resistance system it's equipped with. Also, they can have larger displays with more interactive options and app compatibility. Material quality, the number of built-in programs, and the ability to sync with various devices can also influence the price rate.

Conclusion

Having made a detailed analysis of the best budget rowing machines on the market, we weighed all positives and negatives of each rower, and are ready to advise you to pay your attention to ProForm 750R which is a stellar model of a rowing machine for those who are ready to move further in their fitness journey. This rowing tool has an incredible 24 levels of magnetic resistance which is the highest indicator of tension among other machines on our list. Despite being quite bulky, it’ll bring you an ultimate rowing experience due to a large LCD monitor and the iFit membership with unlimited training opportunities.

Want to get a more personalized consultation regarding the chosen model of a rowing machine? Feel free to contact us directly by leaving a comment below the article. We’ll get in touch with you in the shortest time possible to help you choose a decent rower that will meet your budget and fitness preferences. 

Also read:

References:

  • Effect of stroke rate on the distribution of net mechanical power in rowing // Tandfonline: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02640410600718046
  • Comparison of Rowing Performance Improvements Following Various High-Intensity Interval Trainings // Journals: https://inlnk.ru/9P5R6o
  • The effects of high-intensity interval training in well-trained rowers // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19417232/
  • Relationships Among Muscle Characteristics and Rowing Performance in Collegiate Crew Members // Thesportjournal: https://inlnk.ru/agyml2
  • Strength, Power, and Muscular Endurance Exercise and Elite Rowing Ergometer Performance // Journals: https://inlnk.ru/57p85J
  • The effect of velocity‐specific strength training on peak torque and anaerobic rowing power // Tandfonline: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02640418908729841

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Coach, PRO Olympic Weightlifter

Experience: 26 years

Best Results: Snatch - 208 kg,

C&J - 240 kg

My name is Ihor and I have been a professional weightlifter since 1996. With over 20 years of competition experience, my resume includes European Champion in 2009 and the silver medalist at 2011's Senior World Championships – 105kg division.

I competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

After hanging up my own competitive lifting shoes, I decided to share my huge background as a coach. I am currently coaching multiple athletes who are competing at national and international competitions.


Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years

Best Results: Snatch – 200 kg,

C&J - 240 kg

My name is Oleksiy Torokhtiy. I am a professional athlete with 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. I have won multiple European, and World titles and have taken part in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012).

After finishing my career, I have committed myself to coach, and as of 2022, I’ve hosted 200+ weightlifting seminars all over the globe. I’m the founder of an international sportswear and accessories brand, Warm Body Cold Mind (my motto), author, and creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.


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This article was written by our qualified author and proofread by expert with proven experience. When writing the article we use our expertise and data from open sources with strong reputation, scientific or medical based. The list of references is provided at the end of the article.


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