The Best Budget Rowing Machine

Whether your clothes are a bit tighter or it’s your New Year’s resolution, getting in shape doesn’t necessarily mean going for a strenuous run or scaling up mountains. 

One great way to improve your overall health is by using a rowing machine. It’s easy for all fitness levels and ages and it’s low impact too! 

A rowing machine is a piece of workout equipment that allows you to do a full-body workout by mimicking the motion of a rowing boat in the water.

Keep reading our review of the five best budget rowing machines to learn everything you need to know before buying the exercise equipment. Great for increasing stamina, building and toning muscles, and great loss, these rowing machines are truly fitness game-changers.

Top 5 Best Budget Rowing Machine on the Market

1. ProGear 750 Rower 

PROGEAR 750 Rower Rowing Machine with Additional Multi Exercise Workout Capability - -

Product Description

Physical activity and exercises are great ways to boost one’s health, have fun, and feel better. 

Yet, people tend to limit themselves to one or two types of activity, focusing only on what they feel is most effective. With ProGear 750 Rower, you can do more than 10 workout exercises, including shoulder presses, ab workouts, pec flies, bent over rows, pull-downs, rows, curls, and more.

This rowing machine is unique as it is designed with a double cylindrical resistance as well as a long pad that can be used not only for rowing but for multiple exercises. For its material, it uses steel, is durable, and is quite versatile. 

This is one of the best rowing machines in the market today as it can accommodate taller and short stature with no trouble. Featuring a 37″ – 43″  inseam/slide rail, it allows enough space for your body to move during a workout. 

Moreover, the ProGear 750 Rower has 3 adjustable Hydraulic resistance levels on its handlebars, enabling a 180-degree rowing motion range for chest, shoulder, and full arm exercises. 

This rowing machine also has a 1.8” thick cushioned seat and backrest to keep you feel comfortable when exercising. It is the best rowing machine for those seeking a rower-style exercise!


  • Hydraulic Tension Resistance
  • Large Seat 
  • Steel Frame
  • Anti-Slip Foot Pedals
  • Over 10 Workout Exercises
  • Can be Folded for Storage
  • Allows 180-Degree Range Rowing Motion
  • 1.8” Thick Cushioned Seat
  • 0,3, and 5 Degrees – Stabilizer Angles
  • Affordable


  • No Backlight on Console, Not Ideal to Be Used in Pool Lit Rooms
  • Non-Adjustable Foot Platforms

2. XTERRA Fitness ERG200 : XTERRA Fitness ERG200 Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower : Sports & Outdoors

Product Description

Enjoy your workout with XTERRA Fitness ERG200 Folding Magnetic Resistance Rower. This rowing machine is well-built and is a great value for money. 

It is user-friendly and is comfortable to use, allowing you to get fit while watching TV or listening to music in the comfort of your home. 

It comes with a large 3.7-inch LCD monitor that displays the necessary information, such as elapsed time, calories count, SCAN, and stroke count. 

For specifications and technical details, the assembled dimensions of this rowing machine are 72L x 20.7W x 31.5H inches (183L x 52.5W x 80H cm) and have a flywheel weight of 9 lbs (4 kg). It has 250 lbs (113.3 kg) weight capacity. 

One of the best rowing machines in the market today, it is also built with a compact frame design. It can be folded, allowing easy transport or storage when not in use.

Another advantage of this exercise equipment compared to other rowing machines is that it comes with 8 levels (magnetic resistance), producing no friction thus allowing a silent workout.


  • Compact Frame Design
  • Smooth Rowing Action
  • Does Not Make Noise 
  • 8 Levels of Magnetic Resistance 
  • Easy to Operate and Transport
  • Foldable
  • Comfortable and Large Seat


  • Not as Compact as Hydraulic Rowers
  • Not for Heavier (250 lbs. and Up) Users
  • No Backlight on the Meter Unit
  • No Tablet Holder


Product Description

Why spend money going to the gym when you can purchase this FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS and enjoy a full-body workout right at the comfort of your home? 

This FITNESS REALITY 1000 PLUS is low-cost compared to other rowing machines in the market today but is of good quality for its price. In fact, it has been a top seller since its release in early 2019. 

This workout equipment is a magnetic rower, which means that the resistance is controlled by a magnet farther or closer from the metal flywheel. 

As you sit on this magnetic rowing machine, you pull the handle during the rowing stroke and the flywheel will begin to spin. The harder the resistance will be if the magnet is closer to the metal flywheel.

You can also use this rowing machine along with MyCloudFitness App. It has Bluetooth Connectivity and once connected to the app, you can track your workouts via your tablet or phone. 

What’s even more amazing is that it has 14 levels of magnetic resistance for a more challenging or easy workout session.


  • 14 Levels – Magnetic Resistance
  • Large Cushioned Seat
  • Bluetooth Connectivity with MyCloudFitness App Integration
  • 3. 5” LCD monitor display
  • Front Stabilizer Foot Pads
  • Recommended user height – 4’9” to 6’6”


  • Basic Monitor
  • No Pre-Set Programs

4. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine : Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower w/ LCD Monitor : Sports & Outdoors

Product Description

This Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine is one of the most affordable but good quality rowing machines. 

It’s easy to decrease or increase the 8 levels of magnetic resistance of this rowing machine with a simple twist. That way, your workout can remain effective and challenging throughout your fitness journey. 

This magnetic rower can complement your home gym as it has built-in transportation wheels. You can easily transfer this from one location to another. Simply tilt and roll it out. No heavy lifting is necessary. 

It also has a non-slip foot pedal to ensure safe footing during your exercises. Sunny Health also designed this magnetic rower with foot straps so your feet will be saddled and you can focus on the training while in balance. 


  • Multifunctional Digital Monitor
  • 8 Levels of Magnetic Resistance 
  • Foldable Design
  • Steel Slide Rail
  • Adjustable Magnetic Tension System
  • Transportation Wheels
  • Pivoting Pedals
  • Floor Stabilizers
  • Ergonomic Seat 
  • Textured Handlebar


  • Noise Slide Mechanism on the Beam
  • Seat May Need Cushion 

5. Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine Foldable Exercise Rower : Merax Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine with Performance Monitor, Indoor Rower Machine with 46 Inch Slide Rail, 330 LB Max Weight for Home Use (Yellow) : Sports & Outdoors

Product Description

Another great indoor rowing machine to complement your home gym is the Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine Foldable Exercise Rower. 

It is built with an adjustable resistance tension knob so you can easily change the intensity of your rowing exercises. It also has a large LCD that shows your total workout time and calories burned. 

In addition, it has extra padding in the seat and has large strapping footplates to make sure that it will be suitable for users of different foot sizes. The cushioned seat supports your back and bottom, allowing proper blood flow for vigorous and prolonged workouts.

The Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine Foldable Exercise Rower may be ideal for beginners and home-use but it is built with a beautiful design and has excellent construction. 

Thus, it is also suitable for intermediate rowers. Furthermore, it has adjustable end-caps so users can balance the rower even if placed on an uneven surface.


  • Built-In Wheels
  • Padded Seat for Prolonged Rowing
  • Foldable Frame
  • 15-Degree Angled Seat Rail
  • Efficient and Smooth Gliding
  • LCD Display for Time, Count, and Calories Burned
  • Multiple Resistance Large LCD Display


  • For Advanced Users, Resistance Can be “Light”
  • Limited Forward Rowing Stroke 
  • Basic Monitor
  • Poor Footrest Design

What Workouts Can You Do?

Before, the row machines were only reserved for professional rowers but not anymore. The exercise equipment allows total body workout and targets most of the muscles in your body every stroke. 

It can help you burn fat while getting the benefit of muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness. You can build more power and strength while rowing compared to other full-body cardio sports, such as cross-country skiing and swimming, for example.

Some of the muscle-targeting rowing machine exercises that your body will thank you for includes:

  • Deadlift: Hamstrings & Glutes
  • Upright Row: Shoulders & Upper Back
  • Frontal Raise: Shoulders, Mid & Upper Back
  • Dead Row: Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower & Mid Back
  • Bicep Curl: Biceps
  • Seated Alternate Twist: Abs & Obliques
  • Seated One-Sided Twist: Abs, Obliques & Chest
  • Wide Chest Pull: Chest & Shoulders
  • Single Arm Chest Pull: Chest, Shoulders & Biceps
  • Seated Bicep Rise: Chest, Shoulders & Biceps
  • Seated Tricep Extension: Triceps

What to Look for When Buying a Budget Rowing Machine

rowing machine reviews

Convinced now to buy a rowing machine? In this review, we share the common features that you should look for to make sure that you will be investing in a well-built rower. 

1. Size

The average size of a rowing machine is about 8 feet long and when in use, you will need a good-sized exercise space. Before buying the rower, make sure to know where you will use it. 

You surely don’t want to purchase something that may not even fit your living room because you did not check the dimension or size of the product. 

However, in terms of width, most rowers are not often very wide so they can fit even in narrow space. Don’t forget to also leave room for your elbows and arms. 

2. Ability to Fold Up

It is best to get an indoor rowing machine that can be folded after your workout session. After all, life can be hectic and busy even for the most dedicated athletes. 

A rowing machine that can be folded up is a real benefit, especially for those living in tiny spaces, an apartment, or a condo. 

That way, they can move around the space just the way they normally do after their exercise routine. Ideally, a rower can be stored folded or vertically. 

3. Noise Levels

Some fitness enthusiasts cannot just use a noisy rowing machine because they workout when others are asleep. Choose a rower that is quieter or make almost no sound. 

Hydraulic resistance or magnetic resistance rowing machines are your best bet than water or air rowing machines that produce more noise compared to the hydraulic resistance ones.

4. Usability

The usability of the rowing machine is another important feature of a home rowing machine. The machine is classed by its resistance mechanism, and it includes magnetic, water/fluid, hydraulic, and air resistance. 

An air rower, for instance, utilizes a flywheel to generate air resistance as users pull away from the machine. The resistance depends on the strength and speeds you row. 

On the other hand, the magnet-based rowing machine uses a magnetic break in the flywheel to generate resistance. Depending on the level of resistance, rowing can strengthen glutes, calves, and quadriceps.

5. Quality

When shopping for a magnet-based or air rower, we suggest you check its built quality. Know the specific features of the product, such as resistance options, dashboard stats, and adjustable foot straps. 

The fitness industry now moves more and more toward digital so you may prefer a high quality yet affordable rower that has high-tech features, such as monitors or bigger screens.

Buying a rower is one of the best decisions you will make but it can be a complete waste of money if you don’t also consider these important features: the rowing action, your budget, and how often you will use it. 

The Bottomline: Which One Should You Buy?

top rowing machine

Our top pick is the FITNESS REALITY 1000. It only takes a minimal DIY skill to assemble the product and, for a budget machine, it is of good build quality. This rower is quiet. In fact, it’s a lot quieter than a moderate volume television, bike, or treadmill. So, if you’re living in a small space apartment, this magnetic resistance rower is an ideal choice.

The built-in LCD screen is also easy to see. It only has one button and you can easily toggle between time, meters, and calories. The most valuable functions on the screen are the time and meter display. It’s a great addition to a home gym. Perfect any fitness level today with FITNESS REALITY 1000 or other budget rowers we have included in the list above.

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