Rowing Machine Under $500 (Top 5 With Real User Reviews)

Rowing machines are great because, contrary to what you may think, you get a full-body workout minus a lot of the impact compared to running or other exercise equipment. However, much like with any significant piece of fitness machine, these can be expensive. If you don’t want to spend much, today we’ll share the best rowing machine under $500 currently available on the market.

Indoor rowing gives you the benefit of a full body workout, plus these are fantastic as they provide the same cardio high from running, but without the impact; this means if you happen to suffer from plantar fasciitis, rowing machines are a great low-impact workout that will keep your heart rate going without hurting your feet.

Therefore a rowing machine is an excellent device to increase your heart rate and get you into the fat burn zone. So when you are on the market for a rower, money shouldn’t be an excuse. When you do your research, you’ll soon realize there are good quality machines that can certainly fit your budget, and for a solid rower under $500, it’s possible.

Whether you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars or can’t afford it, you do not have to give up on finding an affordable rowing machine. Stick around and learn more about the best rowing machine for under $500, where to find it, reviews from real users, tips, and more.

Rowing Machine Under $500 Reviewed In This Guide

  1. Best Overall Rowing Machine Under $500: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
  2. Best Seller on Amazon Rowing Machine Under $500: Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine
  3. Best Affordable Rowing Machine Under $500: Full Motion Rowing Machine Rower
  4. Best Smart Workout App Rowing Machine Under $500: Stamina BodyTrac Glider Hydraulic Rowing Machine
  5. Best Water Resistance Rowing Machine Under $500: Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge Rowing Machine

How To Choose The Perfect Rowing Machine Under $500?

A rowing machine under $500 has important features and criteria you need to be able to identify and match your specific needs. Understanding key terminology will help you make the best decision, as important features will help you get the most out of your equipment.

These features may look like small details that, for many people, can go unnoticed until they have them in their hands. You need to avoid it as you may end up disappointed in your purchase.

Looking specifically for a rower under $500, you must know that machines will have fewer features and simpler displays and be manufactured with cost-saving materials.

When searching for a rowing machine under $500, have in mind a variety of models and study water, air, magnetic, hydraulic, and dual resistance rowers with a known history of reliability and performance.

Additionally, you must remember that a rowing machine under $500 will offer you features like a digital monitor to display workout metrics, a slide rail, and footplates and straps. Ultimately, you’ll have to find the one that you like best.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is small performance monitors. It is also essential to choose an affordable rowing machine that’s relatively compact and doesn’t weigh a lot to transport it more easily.

Lastly, avoid a rowing machine under $500 that doesn’t come with a warranty.

Types Of Rowing Machines Under $500

Dual Resistance Rowing Machine Under $500

None of the names of these rowers should be surprising. Dual resistance rowers utilize at least two types of resistance to offer a broader range of difficulty. This is found most commonly in the form of air and magnets, but other types are possible.

Water Rowing Machine Under $500

Water rowers are a niche type of rower offering the most realistic rowing workout. These use water tanks with flywheels and blades to push water around the tank. The amount of water adjusts resistance in the tank.

This type of rower tends to be the most expensive, but affordable options can be found.

Air rowing machines under $500

One of the more common types of rowers is the air rower. This machine uses a fan to create resistance by pushing air. These tend to be noisy but also offer a neat breeze that can keep you cool during your workout.

Unlike other types of rowers, air rowers don’t offer the ability to adjust the resistance. More or less difficulty is achieved by how hard you pull the handle. Depending on the manufacturer, the rowing motion can be relatively smooth and realistic.

Hydraulic Rowing Machine Under $500

As the name implies, hydraulic rowers utilize a cylinder with pressurized liquid to create resistance. This design is relatively simple and allows the rowers to be lighter in weight and less bulky in design.

The cylinder is normally connected to a shaft and handle for you to row with. Because of the simple design, these tend to be the most affordable rowers.

Magnetic Rowing Machine Under $500

This is probably the most common type of rower because of how quiet it is and because it offers several difficulty levels. These rowers will have a dial to change the resistance level created by magnets within a front housing unit.

Magnetic rowers are probably the least realistic rowing workout, though, as they don’t offer as smooth of a rowing motion.

Best Rowing Machine Under $500 List

1. Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine Under $500


  • Digital Monitor
  • Long Slide Rail
  • Non-Slip Pedals


  • Squeak Noises

The large LCD console displays time, count, calories, total count, and scan. The convenient scan mode displays your progress to assist you in tracking all your fitness goals.

With a simple twist, you can increase or decrease the eight levels of magnetic resistance, so your workout can remain challenging and effective throughout your fitness journey. Built-in transportation wheels for easy portability.

What Our Testers Say

I am 6’3 279 and pull this thing like I’m trying to row through a hurricane, and it’s done exceptionally well. So for the price, good workouts, and noise, it does what I need it to do. It’s worth it.

Simply tilt and roll out for use or away for storage; no need for heavy lifting or muscle strain.

Textured non-slip foot pedals will ensure safe footing during the most demanding and vigorous workouts. Foot straps keep your feet saddled so you can focus on the workout without feeling unbalanced.


Besides adding a resistance band(old bicycle tube) to the front footing and the seat. You can also raise up the rear footing with a 2×4 or 4×4.

2. Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine Under $500


  • Quiet Design
  • LCD Display
  • Bluetooth
  • Full Lenght Extension


  • Bulky Feet Straps
  • App Too Basic

The unique rowing machines for home use are popular for a reason. It’s a leg exerciser, butt workout, arms, and shoulder exerciser. The flippable pedals provide a stable workout platform when toning your arms, lats, shoulders, and more.

The best rowing machine for home use powered by MyCloudFitness gives you everything you need to start living a healthier life.

Designed to work with the MyCloudFitness App, available on IOS and Android. Track your Distance, Calories, Total Count, Strokes per Minute, and much more. Your data is always at your fingertips.

What Our Testers Say

The rower is quiet and smooth, feels robust, and comes with a handy phone/tablet holder. The only real difficulty with this machine was getting the Bluetooth to be detected and connected, but in the end, it was just a case of downloading the app and then moving the seat backward and forward a few times while it tried to connect. Overall, very happy with it.

You get a workout app that tracks your progress and an indoor rower that’s quiet, foldable, and offers multiple full-body workouts. You also have the option to stream classes taught by pros and track your food intake.


The wheel on the back allows you to adjust the level in case you’re on an uneven surface.

3. Full Motion Rowing Machine Under $500


  • 350 lb Weight Capacity
  • LCD Digital Monitor
  • Anti-Slip Foot Pedals


  • Arms Too Long

The rowing machine under $500 has hydraulic resistance and features full-motion arms that help burn more calories. Increase strength by activating your back, shoulders, and core muscles while you row.

What Our Testers Say

This is a lovely item. It’s sturdy. It has 12 different resistance levels. The machine seat is comfortable and is around a foot in height from the floor. I have a ruptured disc, cervical spondylosis, radiculopathy, and mild myelopathy. The reason for choosing this particular style is that I am in control. I can choose whether I do just legs, arms, or use as a whole while not having to get down on the floor.

With the problems I have, it’s important to try and keep the strength you have for as long as you have as it will deteriorate over time no matter what, and while I will never be able to get to number 12 on resistance or even probably 6, it is a smashing piece of easy to use the equipment. Very recommended. Thank you very much.

Exercising with your rowing screen display will showcase the count and time to keep you focused on achieving any type of personal fitness goal. With a convenient scan mode, you can choose to have these features continuously repeated.

A hydraulic rower works with fluid for resistance. The SF-RW5639 has one piston, which is a cylinder filled with hydraulic fluid that engages when the rider pulls back. The energy you exert with this machine will surely get your heart pumping!


Change your hand positions on the multi-grip rowing arms to intensify rowing resistance easily.

4. Stamina BodyTrac rowing machines under $500


  • LCD Monitor
  • Hydraulic Resistance
  • Space-Saving
  • Smart Fitness App


  • Slippery Foot Pedals

The full-motion rowing arms on the Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 provide a natural rowing movement, helping you realize the proven benefits that rowing provides for the entire body. Aids in burning calories, improving cardiovascular function, and strengthening major muscle groups.

Adjust the hydraulic cylinder resistance to match your desired workout intensity level. The multi-functional LCD monitor displays current workout time, stroke count, calories burned, and total stroke count. SCAN mode cycles through each of these metrics in real-time.

What Our Testers Say

This machine is quite the workout when you use proper form and put the resistance up. My legs and arms get a good burn- and I usually go for 40mins. I don’t have great posture, so I have to remind myself to sit up straight and not curve my back- but even then, my back gets sore from the motion of circular rowing towards my shoulder blades.

It’s great because I’m not a fan of the upper body, and this incorporates that without me hating life. Halfway through, I get up and stretch out a bit. So I haven’t experienced the resistance coming down as mentioned by others. But it really is a great workout. Slow and steady, good form- and you’ll feel the burn.

This compact yet full-featured rower is outfitted with a smooth ball-bearing roller system, comfortable molded seat, textured footplates with straps, and foam padded hand grips. After you’re done exercising, the full-motion arms fold into the frame to save you storage space.


If you have hardwood floors, the rower may slide across the room and rock without a floor mat underneath.

5. Water Rowing Machine Under $500


  • Water Performance
  • Efficient
  • Easy Storage
  • Fitness Technology


  • It May Leak

Instant resistance is available with the flywheel and 16 fan blades in this rowing machine for under $500. The faster the fan blades spin, the higher resistance and dynamic response caused by the harmonious interaction with the water, giving the user a unique experience.

It is constructed with lightweight, sturdy steel for solid performance and durability. The 16 hydro-blades mimic the dynamic movements of competitive rowing along with sweat-resistant handlebars.

What Our Testers Say

This is a true water rower. Easy to set up. Super smooth feel on the pulls. I love the sound of the water. Solid piece of equipment. It is the exact design as the brand Waterrower, but without the wood frame parts.

The molded padded seat is designed to be comfortable and functional. A high-profile seat design allows users to get on and off the seat without bending and straining their back.

The R2 fitness meter is designed to track all essential workout metrics, i.e., total time, 500 M time, SPM, strokes, calories, hr., ambient temperature, and more.


The rower can be stored upright when not in use. Recommended to be placed upright against the wall for storage.

rower under $500 Buying Guide

What Is The Best Rowing Machine Under $500?

Rowing machines, also known as ergometers or ergs, use both your upper and lower body on every stroke. This, in turn, strengthens and tones your muscles and improves your endurance. Plus, rowing provides some surprising benefits for your heart and lungs.

Rowing is a total-body workout, strengthening major muscle groups in your arms, legs, and core and increasing cardiovascular endurance.

How Does An affordable rowing machine Work?

While you can certainly purchase a solid rowing machine for under $500, these work differently than the more expensive options.

A rowing machine under $500 may lack special features like Bluetooth capability. Bluetooth capability can be beneficial when your rowing machine pairs with its respective app to track your performance so that you can keep track of your progress.

These also have a less advanced performance monitor that tracks fewer features and are most likely smaller.

Rowing machines under $500 typically have fewer resistance levels available. Some higher-end models may include 25+ resistance levels and smart technology that can auto-adjust your resistance for an optimized workout.

Features To Look For In A Rowing Machine Under $500

Resistance Type

Rowing machines have different resistance methods: hydraulic, air or flywheel, magnetic resistance, and water rowers. Some athletes may prefer water-based resistance models to simulate water rowing, while others prefer hydraulic rowers for their portability.


Most rowers will have a digital monitor to display workout metrics. Typically, these will be duration, speed, distance, and calories. Premium models will have other metrics or connect to apps for better tracking.

Slide Rail

The slide rail is the length of frame that the seat rolls or slides along. Traditionally, it’s a single-piece frame, but a more functional feature is the ability to fold. This is normally done to help you save space when not using your rower.

Footplates & Straps

There is nothing worse than crumby footplates during a rowing workout. These flat plates are positioned to keep your feet in place during the workout and often use an adjustable strap.

The footplates typically don’t move. However, some rowers have pivoting plates preventing extra ankle strain. Hook-and-loop Velcro is common for strapping in, but it can wear out over time.

Another commonly used strap is nylon with a tension loop, but these too can wear out or come loose. Ultimately, you’ll have to find the one that you like best.

Weight Capacity

Does the rowing machine you’re considering support a wide range of users? Check your rowing machine’s weight capacity and whether it’s high enough for everyone in your household to use.


Consider how does the seat feel? Are the handles and foot pads comfortable? You don’t want to be stuck training in an uncomfortable rowing machine.


Rowers are typically long and take up a lot of floor space, so if you live in a smaller area, you may want to consider a compact rowing machine under $500.

The importance of checking product dimensions and accurately measuring your space before buying is real. This is especially pertinent for small home gyms. Check the folded dimensions, too, if you plan on storing your rower differently when not in use.

Construction & Durability

Just because you want an affordable rowing machine doesn’t mean it should crumble under pressure. Look for rowing machines with aluminum and steel construction where it matters the slide rail and main frame, and durable plastic for other parts, like flywheel housing and caster covers.

When looking at a rower under $500, check the maximum user weight capacity. Often, cheaper rowers don’t have a full steel frame, which affects the weight capacity significantly.


How long is it going to take to set up your rowing machine? If you live alone, you may want to consider buying a rowing machine that comes partially assembled.

Common Questions About A rowing Machine under $500

Is rowing a good workout?

Rowing is a total-body workout, strengthening major muscle groups in your arms, legs, and core and increasing cardiovascular endurance. In short, if you consistently use the rowing machine, you’ll notice that you’ll become more robust and less out of breath. You may even notice some muscle gain.

What are the benefits of a rowing machine under $500?

  • Mental health: Physical exercise has been proven to directly impact our mindset and mental health. With an affordable rower machine, your physical exercise can improve your ability to remain disciplined and exert willpower.
  • Cardiovascular health: Rowing is easily recognized as a low-impact form of cardio. This lightweight, high repetition exercise is an excellent alternative to running since it doesn’t require jarring the knees or back. The intensity and duration easily get your heart pumping and can improve heart health when combined with an intelligent diet.
  • Strenght: Increasing the resistance can improve your workouts’ intensity. This will help build functional strength as well as aesthetically pleasing results.

Is rowing recommended for plantar fasciitis injuries?

Any type of rowing is a great way to work out when you have plantar fasciitis. Most gyms (especially CrossFit gyms) have rowing machines, which involve pulling on a handle to spin a flywheel. Actual rowing in a boat or kayaking is also a great exercise that is easy on the feet.

Are magnetic or air rowers better?

An air rower is a great fit if you’re looking for a basic machine with unlimited resistance levels. If you want a home rowing machine that’s more high-tech and/or the ability to control resistance levels, a magnetic rowing machine is the better choice.

Does an affordable rowing machine help lose belly fat?

Rowing can help you burn calories, leading to weight loss if accompanied by an overall caloric deficit. However, targeted fat loss is not controllable, so burning belly fat will come down to factors like genetics, not the type of exercise you’re doing.

Does rowing tone your arms?

Yes, absolutely. While the proper rowing exercise works the whole body, the arm and back muscles are the heavy lifters and get the most work.

How many minutes should I row at a time?

If you’re looking for cardio-based results, you’ll need to row for 30-60 minutes. However, if you’re looking for strength, conditioning, or intense fat burning, it is best to do interval training or row for 20 minutes.

Enjoy Your New Rowing Machine Under $500

Gone are the days when buying a rowing machine meant spending thousands of dollars. Remember, a rowing machine under $500 has everything you need for an effective and challenging workout.

So there you have it; with the top reviews and options in this guide, we hope your hunt for an affordable rowing machine gets much easier and that you can make the right choice for you and your fitness goals.

Feel free to reach out and send us your questions, suggestions, or comments. We are always here for you.


Photo of author
Emily Brown is a fitness expert based in San Francisco who studied kinesiology at San Francisco State University. is her platform for offering workout routines, product reviews, and expert advice for creating a home gym, with the goal of helping people achieve their fitness goals from the comfort of their own home. Emily's vision is to create a community where people can share their experiences, ask questions, and connect with others who are passionate about fitness and health. With her team of experienced writers and contributors, she strives to provide a comprehensive resource for all things related to home fitness, catering to both beginners and experienced athletes.
Photo of author
Emily Brown is a fitness expert based in San Francisco who studied kinesiology at San Francisco State University. is her platform for offering workout routines, product reviews, and expert advice for creating a home gym, with the goal of helping people achieve their fitness goals from the comfort of their own home. Emily's vision is to create a community where people can share their experiences, ask questions, and connect with others who are passionate about fitness and health. With her team of experienced writers and contributors, she strives to provide a comprehensive resource for all things related to home fitness, catering to both beginners and experienced athletes.