Best Rowing Machines – Budget-Friendly Exercise Magnetic Rower For Beginners And Pros

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One of the most popular aerobic exercises these days is indoor rowing. It’s not only a great activity but also a fun way to build muscles and stay fit. This exercise is effective at burning calories and sculpting your hamstring, glutes, and back. You can alternate treadmill and indoor rowing in order to work your entire body out. This is why aside from having a reliable treadmill at home, you should also consider investing in the best rowing machines.

These machines are relatively compact so even if you have limited space in your home, you won’t have any issues. You can set it up in your bedroom, living room, or your home gym, along with your treadmill and other exercise equipment. If you’re thinking of buying a rowing machine, we recommend you read this buying guide first.

Benefits of Rowing Machines

Before you start shopping for the best home rowing machine, you should know what this machine really is and the benefits that come with using it. First of all, it’s a great machine for full body workout.

When you row, the muscles in your leg, calves, buttocks, including the big quad muscles will be worked out. Your upper body will also benefit greatly from this workout which strengthens your core muscles.

The rowing machine is also a great way to get a low impact aerobic exercise. Since it’s a low impact exercise, there will be less grinding and pressure on your joints, yet you still get a good cardio exercise.

If you use the machine regularly, your body will not only be toned, but you’ll also lose weight as well and you’ll get stronger and healthier. Since the machine is compact, you can easily move it from one place to another, allowing you to work out anywhere and at any time you want to.

Sure, the machine will require an initial investment, but that’s nothing compared to what you would be paying for a gym membership. Furthermore, it’s extremely easy to use and you don’t need to hire a professional trainer to guide you through it. Unlike other exercise machines, the rowing machine will not put you at any risk of injury.

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine is budget friendly


Can be adjusted to eight different resistance levels


Won't make any noise during operation

Kettler Home Kadett Outrigger Style Rower Rowing Machine

Biomechanically correct footplates


Equipped with high-resolution LCD


The hydraulic pistons can be adjusted to 12 different settings

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

Features a quick-release frame lock


Promotes natural hand and arm position during a rowing exercise


Solid construction, great quality, and very durable

LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine Review

Equipped with console monitor


Smooth rowing motions with no noise


LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine has a sturdy construction

Stamina ATS Air Rower Rowing Machine Review

Height of the performance monitor is adjustable allowing for easy reading


Made from a steel frame


Stamina ATS Air Rowing Machine seat is foldable

Choosing the Best Rowing Machine

Now that you know the many benefits of having a rowing machine at home, you’re probably convinced that this is the machine that you need to include in your home gym. When you start shopping for the best indoor rowing machine, you’ll find that there are actually many of them to choose from. But don’t be overwhelmed with the number of choices because we’ll make it easy for you.

Different Types of Rowing Machines

Below are the four major types of rowing machine to choose from:

A – Air Rower

Of all the major types of rowing machines, it is the air power that’s the most common. You’ll find the air rower in fitness gyms although it can also be used at home. This type of machine comes with fan blades, which is what creates resistance. The air rower is known for making a bit of noise during operation, yet you will be able to enjoy a smooth rowing experience.

B – Hydraulic Rowing Machine

For those who have limited space in their home, the hydraulic rowing machine might be a great choice. Aside from its compact design, this machine doesn’t cost a lot of money so it’s also great for budget customers.

It offers whole body workout and relies on a cylinder when compressing air for resistance. However, you won’t be able to execute a natural rowing motion with this machine. Thus, it’s not possible to synchronize the movement of your legs and arms when rowing.

C – Magnetic Resistance Indoor Rower

This machine relies on a magnetic brake system to produce resistance. Thus, it is very silent and you’ll enjoy a smooth rowing experience. If you hate the noise that the other rowing machines tend to make, then this is the best home rowing machine for you.

Most of the magnetic resistance indoor rowers come with programmed workouts that you can view at the performance monitors. Unlike the air rower, this machine stays within the resistance level that you set regardless of how slow or fast you will row.

D – Water Rower

The water rower is highly recommended for athletes who are training for a water rowing competition. This device imitates the dynamics of a boat that moves along the water. It won’t produce any noise except the swooshing of water sound so you will feel like you are really rowing in the water.

Yet of all the different types of indoor rowing machines, it is the water rower that is the most expensive. If you’re not really an athlete and your main purpose is to simply lose weight, it might seem impractical to choose this machine.

Things to Look for When Buying a Rowing Machine

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Rower

Features an eight-level magnetic resistance


Foldable design


Made from durable aluminum and steel material

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

Aesthetically pleasing design


Equipped with a 15-inch ergonomic handle


This WaterRower features a dual rail design

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower has a foldable design


Includes a heart rate monitor strap


Very quiet operation

Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine

Goplus Rowing Machine has a lightweight design


High-quality construction and features a durable and robust frame


Very affordable

Merax Magnetic

Rowing Machine

Foldable design


The resistance level can be easily adjusted through a knob


Offering the best value for money

Features

Now that you are familiar with the main types of indoor rowing machines, you should now have an idea on the best rowing machines to buy. But have you ever thought about the features that these machines come with?

Just like the other exercise machines, the rowing machine also comes equipped with different features. In fact, some of the machines may have the same price yet they differ in terms of the type of features that they have.

To know which of these features are important to you, you must first determine what your goal is. If you’re using the rowing machine in order to lose weight by burning some calories, then the basic features should be enough.

However, if you are a fitness buff and you want to double your effort in toning your body, you should invest in the rowing machines that come with high-tech features, such as a performance monitor.

The monitor displays important data regarding your exercise, such as your heart rate, number of strokes per minute, and the distance rowed. Some of the machines also come with the ability to store data and save them into a flash drive.

It’s highly recommended to choose a machine that comes with a soft and firm padded seat to make your rowing experience more comfortable. The best rowing machines for indoor use feature an ergonomic design, which allows for a more comfortable rowing experience.

Price

Rowing machines have a varying price and you must be able to set a reasonable budget before you start shopping. For the best budget rowing machine, you’ll find some that cost between $100 and $400. But at this range, you’ll only get something with basic features. As for the quality, there are plenty of budget machines that have good quality. You just have to do your research well.

If you’re willing to spend more and invest in a good quality rowing machine with excellent features, prepare to spend $1,000 to as much as $3,000! At this range, you’ll already get a machine that comes with more features compared to a basic rowing machine.

But before you decide to spend this much, determine whether you can really maximize these features and benefit from them. It just doesn’t make sense to spend thousands of dollars on something you can’t even use.

Construction

The machine’s overall construction is an important factor to consider as well. Of course, you don’t want to end up getting injured while exercising because the machine’s overall construction is not that reliable.

Also, in order to get the best value for your money, you should choose a machine that is guaranteed to last for a long time and will not easily wear out despite the daily use. To determine if the machine’s overall construction is reliable, try to have a closer look at some of its most important parts.

Check the oars, seat, handlebars, foot pedals etc. Are they of good quality? You also need to determine the amount of maintenance required for the machine.

If the rowing machine that you plan on buying is made from lower quality parts, they might get worn out after only a short while and might require regular replacement and maintenance. It might be the best cheap rowing machine, but you could end up spending more in the long run.

Space

Space might not be that big of a deal but for those who have limited space in their home, this is an important factor to consider. It can be frustrating to purchase a rowing machine only to find out in the end that you cannot bring it inside since it won’t even pass through your door!

For those who live in a tiny apartment, you might not appreciate those high-end commercial grade rowing machines since they tend to be bulky and huge and will end up occupying a lot of space. In this case, the best rowing machines for you to buy are those that are compact and foldable.

In general, most rowing machines have the same size and dimensions as a loveseat sofa. Of all the different types of rowing machines mentioned above, it is the water rower that is the largest while the hydraulic machines are the smallest.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a spacious home and have ample space in your home gym, then choose the best performing rowing machines that have high-tech features. They might be bulkier, but they can offer the best rowing experience.

Weight

Aside from the size, weight is another factor to think of. Remember that not all rowing machines weigh the same. If you prefer a machine that you can easily move on your own, fold, and store in every use, then look for those that have compact designs. But if you want a machine that you can install permanently in the gym, the heavier ones should work best.

Your weight also plays a role in determining the weight of the rowing machine to buy. If you’re on the heavy side, then you need a sturdy and heavy rower machine, which you can install permanently in one place.

Furthermore, if you’re going to install the machine on the second floor of your home and the floor is not strong enough to accommodate heavy-duty rower machines, then you should choose a lighter one.

Usability

You definitely would want a machine that you can greatly benefit from. Thus, usability is something you need to think of. For those who can afford to spend on higher-end machines but are also thinking of choosing the mid-range ones in order to save, usability is a crucial factor to consider. The key is to figure out how often you expect to be using this machine for your exercise routine.

For those who are buying the machine solely for home use, the average models should be fine. However, if you’re planning to use the machine on a regular basis and there will be other people who will be using it as well, you might as well invest in a higher end model.

There are also machines that are designed for multiple users. These machines have different weight and height capacity. They might cost more than the standard models, but they are really worth investing for.

Adjustments

You may need to make adjustments on your rowing machine before every use so consider this factor too when buying one. Rowing machines that are too complicated to adjust are just not worth it. This might ruin your entire rowing experience.

If you’re someone who has very long legs, then the machine might need to be adjusted to accommodate you. Aside from this, the machine’s resistance levels might need to be modified as well depending on your personal preferences. Furthermore, it’s important that the pedals of the rower will fit you well so you might need to move or rotate it from time to time, especially if you’ve got wide feet.

Basically, it’s very important to think of the ability to make adjustments on your machine to guarantee a safer and more comfortable rowing experience.

Warranty

Rowing machines are usually covered with a warranty but the coverage is different from one machine to another. Therefore, when looking for the best rowing machines to buy, find out what the warranty is. It’s important that the manufacturer is able to stand behind their product. Otherwise, you’ll be at a loss when something happens to it only after a few uses.

Best Rowing Machine Reviews

Now that you know a lot about rowing machines, including the different types and the important factors to consider when buying, it’s time to find out which rowing machines are truly the best in the market.

There are plenty of rowing machines that you can buy these days, but we’ve narrowed down the list of the best rowing machines so you won’t have to spend a lot of time looking for the best one to buy.

1 – Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health and Fitness Rowing Machine is considered the best magnetic rowing machine to buy since it has everything that you need in a magnetic resistance indoor rower machine. Its resistance can be easily adjusted by turning the knob to the left or right direction.

For instance, level one is what’s suitable for beginners. It can go up to level eight, which is only recommended for experts since the workout can be pretty challenging at this level. You can also enjoy a smooth rowing experience with this machine. It’s ideal for those who would prefer a machine with easily adjustable resistance.

This makes it possible to increase the resistance even when rowing at a slower pace. However, this rowing machine is pretty basic, so you cannot really expect a lot from it. Nevertheless, it’s a great choice for beginners who need a heavy-duty rowing machine to get them started with the rowing exercise routine.

Pros:

Budget-friendly
Can be adjusted to eight different resistance levels
Won’t make any noise during operation

Cons:

Large footrest
Short warranty

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2 – Kettler Home Exercise/Fitness Equipment

For those who prefer a rowing machine that makes the rowing exercise pretty realistic, the Kettler Home Fitness Equipment is worth checking out. It’s the best affordable rowing machine in the market that is equipped with great features allowing for a more convenient and comfortable rowing exercise.

One of the great features that this machine comes with is the LCD display with a high resolution. It’s capable of measuring the strokes, distance, time, pulse rate, and frequency as you go on with your exercise.

Furthermore, this rowing machine has a recovery feature of cardio wellness grading allowing users to easily keep track of their progress. Above all, it’s very comfortable to use. Its reclined seat helps to create a better leg workout experience.

Unfortunately, this rowing machine is a bit complicated to set up. And since it’s a type of hydraulic rowing machine, it’s somewhat difficult to achieve consistent resistance when using this machine for your workout.

Pros:

Biomechanically correct footplates
Equipped with high-resolution LCD
The hydraulic pistons can be adjusted to 12 different settings

Cons:

A bit complicated to set up
Makes some noise during operation

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3 – Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

The Concept2 Model D Indoor is one of the best-rated rowing machines in the market today, which is why we included it on this list. This machine features a flywheel design, which allows a quieter and smoother motion.

The machine’s ergonomic seating makes exercising in this rowing machine very comfortable. Even if you spend the entire day seating on this machine, you won’t get sore.

Made by Cocept2, a company who is a trusted brand in the field of fitness equipment, this machine is guaranteed to be of good quality. And if you’re someone who lives in a tiny apartment, you’ll love the fact that this machine is easy to fold and store.

You also have the option to choose from a wide variety of workout programs with this device. Its monitor displays some important details, such as the number of calories burned, distance covered, and more. While it may be a little expensive, this device is a worthy investment.

Pros:

Features a quick-release frame lock
Promotes natural hand and arm position during a rowing exercise
Solid construction, great quality, and very durable

Cons:

A bit expensive
Bulky and long

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4 – LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine

For mid-range rowing machines, this LifeSpan indoor rowing machine is worth considering. In terms of quality and durability, this machine will not disappoint. Thus, it’s a great choice for those who are looking for the best inexpensive rowing machine.

The LifeSpan RW1000 is a pretty quiet machine with a comfortable seat. This machine can also be folded into a compact size for convenient and easy transportation or storage.

Thus, it can work well for those who live in small apartments or those who have limited space in their gym. For moderate use, this rowing machine can give you the best value for your money. However, if you take time to read rowing machine reviews, you’ll find some customers complaining about its monitor providing inaccurate information.

Furthermore, the footrest is pretty shallow and may not hold up well for those with bigger feet. In addition, the machine’s pull chain is made from fabric material. Although it’s quieter, it could easily get worn out and must be replaced regularly.

Pros:

Equipped with console monitor
Smooth rowing motions with no noise
Sturdy construction

Cons:

Footrests are shallow
Pull chain is made from fabric

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5 – Stamina ATS Air Rower Rowing Machine

The Stamina ATS Air Rowing Machine is another high-quality rowing machine in the mid-range price. Costing around $300, this is highly recommended if you’re looking for the best rowing machine under 500. It may have pretty basic functionality but it performs well compared to other machines at the mid-range price.

When it comes to setting up the machine, you won’t have a hard time with the Stamina ATS. It’s pretty easy to set up and it comes equipped with a padded seat that’s very comfortable to sit on.

You also won’t have a hard time moving or transporting this machine since it weighs only 63 pounds. Furthermore, the seat can be folded, which allows for easy storage. Unfortunately, the monitor of this rowing machine is not capable of tracking down your heart rate. Also, it doesn’t come with any pre-existing program for a workout.

Pros:

Height of the performance monitor is adjustable allowing for easy reading
Made from a steel frame
The seat is foldable

Cons:

Doesn’t come with any preexisting workout program
The footrest will not pivot
Monitor won’t be able to track heart rate

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6 – Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower

This rowing machine from Stamina offers the functionality of a rowing machine and bike. Thus, it targets your body’s major muscle groups, making it ideal for a full body workout. But aside from being a rower and a bike, this machine also functions as a pulley. Thus, you’ll be benefiting from all three workouts using only one machine.

However, since this machine works as a hybrid trainer, you cannot really expect more from it like a rowing machine. If you are a serious rower, you might as well just choose one of the other rowing machines.

Pros:

Features an eight-level magnetic resistance
Foldable design
Made from durable aluminum and steel material

Cons:

Overall capacity is small
The monitor is pretty basic

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7 – WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

As stated above, one of the major types of rowing machine is the water rower. You might ask what is the rowing machine good for? It’s actually ideal for athletes who need to train for a water rowing competition since it mimics the dynamics of a boat that’s getting rowed along the water.

When it comes to this type of rowing machine, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine Ash Wood is highly recommended. This machine relies on the dynamic resistance water to imitate the movement of an actual boat getting rowed.

This water rowing machine is very stylish. It’s made from solid wood and produces less vibration and sound so you’ll have a smooth rowing experience. It comes equipped with an LCD S4 performance monitor that provides information on the duration of your workout, heart rate, and distance covered.

Pros:

Aesthetically pleasing design
Equipped with a 15-inch ergonomic handle
eatures a dual rail design

Cons:

Somewhat expensive
Huge and bulky
The performance monitor lacks advanced features

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8 – Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

This indoor rowing machine is equipped with an electronic tension control and drum magnetic control system. It allows you to easily adjust the resistance to the level that you prefer. Furthermore, it comes equipped with rectangular tubing support and polyurethane saddle, which makes exercising in this machine very comfortable.

The Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower machine operates with the help of a magnet and doesn’t make any noise during operation. It’s also easy to adjust and comes with easy controls that provide useful information regarding your exercise. Overall, this is a pretty good choice for an indoor rowing machine.

Pros:

Foldable design
Includes a heart rate monitor strap
Very quiet operation

Cons:

The warranty period has very short coverage

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9 – Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine is among the best rated in the market. It’s made by Goplus, one of the leading providers of high-quality fitness equipment. Indeed, this rowing machine is of high quality and offers exactly what you expect from a good rowing machine.

One of the things that customers love about this product is that it’s very lightweight. Thus, you can easily move or transfer it from one location to another without the assistance of anyone.

Furthermore, it has a robust and durable frame, which makes it last for a very long time despite the regular use. Featuring a generous seat, this rower machine is very comfortable to use for your daily rowing exercise.

Although this machine is equipped with a computer module, its resistance has to be manually adjusted through a resistance knob. The module that sits right into the device is designed to keep track of your workout progress. For customers who are looking for the best affordable rowing machine, this might be a great choice.

Pros:

Lightweight design
High-quality construction and features a durable and robust frame
Very affordable

Cons:

The monitor doesn’t work well

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10 – Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine

The Merax Exercise rower is certainly one of the best inexpensive rowing machines in the market today and that is due to a number of reasons. While you might not be able to appreciate the device at first look, this machine works really well and can truly make your rowing exercise more convenient and fun.

First of all, this rowing machine features a folding frame that makes transporting this device from one place to another even more convenient. This is therefore highly recommended if you’re living alone in a small apartment and you’ve got a limited space for your exercise equipment.

The rowing machine’s drive system features a manual resistance that you can adjust through a knob that you’ll find right below the console. It has a pretty looking console and can be easily adjusted, allowing you to keep track of your progress without any complication. Indeed, this machine gives you the best value for your money.

Pros:

Foldable design
The resistance level can be easily adjusted through a knob
Offering the best value for money

Cons:

Several parts are made of plastic

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Conclusion

When looking for the best rowing machine to buy, it’s important that you choose something that can give you the best value for your money. Rowing machines come with a high price usually so you need to make sure that you purchase something that is really worth what you pay for.

When it comes to this, the Concept2 Model D indoor rower machine is what we would highly recommend. Made by a company that’s known for producing high-quality equipment, you can be guaranteed that this product will last for a long time.

It works great as well and its hydraulic pistons can be adjusted up to 12 different settings. Furthermore, it has a high-resolution LCD display that provides information about some variables, allowing you to easily keep track of your workout routine.

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