Best Rowing Machine Under $500- An Affordable Full Body Workout

Best Rowing Machine Under $500- An Affordable Full Body Workout

by Cole Matthews - Last Updated November 29, 2018

For an effective combination between cardio and resistance exercise, it’s hard to beat the rowing machine. As well as providing you with a great cardio workout, the rower will work the muscles of your lats, arms and quads. It also an excellent endurance exercise.

You don’t have to spend loads of money to get this amazing workout right at home. There are many high quality and low price options for the best rowers.

From air rowers to magnetic rowers, we’ve researched it all. In this article, we bring you the 6 best rowers under $500.

Image of the Stamina X Air Rower 

The Top 6 Rowers   What We Love About It  Our Rating

Stamina ATS 1405 Air Rower

 Large, easy to read monitor, Large, padded upholstered seat, Smooth wind resistance  ★★★★★

Soozier Magnetic Folding Machine

 Built-in shock absorption, 8 levels of magnetic resistance, Thick band strap, Compact footprint  ★★★★

Stamina X Rower

 Pivoting foot plates, Solid construction, Double rowing chain  ★★★★

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5612

 Dual function rower and resistance trainer, Great price, 8 levels of adjustable resistance  ★★★

GoPlus Magnetic Folding Rower

 8 variable shock resistance levels, Solid frame, Compact design  ★★★

Xterra Fitness ERG600W Water Rower

 Smooth, soothing row, Raised seat, 6 resistance levels  ★★★

The 6 Best Rowers Under 500

Stamina ATS 1405 Air Rower

Image of the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1405 Rowing Machine | Air Resistance | LCD Fitness Monitor | Folding and Built-In Wheels 

Pros

  • Large, easy to read monitor
  • Large, padded upholstered seat
  • Smooth wind resistance

Cons

  • Band resistance doesn’t kick in during first third of the movement

The Stamina ATS 1405 Air Rower comes in as our favorite home rower under $500 due to its fantastic value, quality build and user-friendly features.

Here’s what we love about this rowing machine . . .

Price

It is pretty rare to find an air rower under $500, so this one stands out at well under that price limit. Better yet, you’re not getting some cheap inferior quality machine for that reduced cost.

Smooth Resistance

The fan force flywheel provides an extremely smooth, natural rowing motion. With this type of resistance, your force is determined by the speed and effort of your row, so the more effort you put in, the more resistance will be generated. This puts you in total control of the intensity and resistance, which makes this rower suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Many users of this claim that the resistance it generates is just as fluid as what you get from the market leading Concept 2, which is a LOT more expensive.

Construction

Most rowers in this price category provide you with a nylon tension cord, yet the ATS 1405 comes with a metal chain. The frame is constructed of high tensile steel with a very robust central beam and the bearings that allows the seat to glide are made from metal as opposed to nylon, which you find on many competing budget rowers. The warranty on this rowing machine isn’t that impressive, but, due to its solid construction, reports of complaints are very rare on this machine.

Size

The ATS 1405 has a larger profile than the slightly cheaper ATS 1402. It has a weight limit of 250 pounds. It is designed to suit people up to 6’ 5” in height. It is slightly higher from the ground than the 1402. This makes the 1405 more accessible for people with restricted mobility.

Compactness

The Stamina ATS 1405 is a compact rowing machine that can be folded for ease of storage when not in use. It also comes with transportation wheels to make it easy to move around. The measurements of the Stamina ATS 1405 are 78.5 inches long x 19.75 inches wide and has a max height of 31.5 inches.

Seat and Footplates

The seat on the ATS 1405 is one of the most comfortable that we have found on a budget rower. It has been ergonomically designed to conform to your body. The large foot plates also allow for a secure foothold and feature secure straps.  On the downside, the footplates on the ATS 1405 do not pivot, which restricts your natural foot motion slightly when you are rowing.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Limited Warranty

The warranty period on the ATS 1405 is rather disappointing. You get 3 years coverage on the frame. However, the warranty on parts is just 3 months, including all moving parts and the monitor.

No Pulse Monitor

The ATS 1405 has no heart rate monitor.

No Built-In Programs

The monitor on the ATS 1405 shows the strokes per minute, total strokes, distance, time and calories burned. However, it does not have any built-in workout programs.

Soozier Magnetic Folding Machine

Image of the Soozier Adjustable Fitness Home Workout Rower Glider Machine 

Pros

  • Built-in shock absorption
  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Thick band strap
  • Compact footprint

Cons

  • Not overly sturdy

The Soozier Magnetic Rowing machine is the best magnetic rower we have come cross under $500. It provides you with 8 levels of smooth magnetic resistance. It also has a large, comfy seat and a sturdy angled slide rail that provides you with an easy return.

Let’s find out why we rated this rower so high . . .

Solid Build

This budget Soozier rower is a solidly build unit. The frame is robust, which the rowing strap is made from a thick rubber.

Smooth Resistance

As we’ve already indicted you get eight levels of magnetic resistance on the Soozier. That’s pretty impressive for a machine in this price range, with most of the competition offering no more than 6 levels. To adjust the resistance, you simply turn the centrally located knob. This rower is not as fluid as you’ll find on a top air rower such as the Stamina ATS 1405, but it is nowhere near as jerky as many other rowers at this price point.

Monitor

The Soozier magnetic rower comes with an easy to read ABS monitor display. Every six seconds the scan feature rotates through the following settings; workout time, calories burned, count and total count. There is no heart rate monitor function, which is pretty standard for a magnetic rower in this price range.

Comfort

This is a relatively comfortable rowing machine to sit on and operate. The seat rail is angled for an easy return and is custom molded for an ergonomic fit. NBR handle grips allow for a secure hold while the large footplates with adjustable straps provides you with a very secure foot hold.

Foldable

The Soozier magnetic rower is a compact unit that can be folded for easy storage. Unlike many magnetic rowers, this one can be stored in an upright position.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Soozier is not an overly familiar brand to most people. As a result, people are not confident with the quality of their machines. Even though this rower boasts a solid build, it doesn’t have a very clear or generous warranty policy.

Stamina X Rower

Image of the Stamina X Air Rower 

Pros

  • Pivoting foot plates
  • Solid construction
  • Double rowing chain

Cons

  • Fan too loud

The Stamina X Rower is a slightly beefier and slightly more expensive upgrade of the ATS 1405 air rowing machine. For that extra price you get some extra features and capacity.

Here’s what we really liked about the X Rower . . .

Pivoting Foot Plates

The foot plates on the X Rower are large, sturdy and pivotal. This allows you to move your feet naturally as you row, eliminating inconvenience of the ankle joint.

Strength

The body of this rowing machine is impressively rugged, bring made from high gauge steel. The maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds is more than you get from most other models in this price range.

Double Rowing Chain

The Stamina X Rower provides you with a double rowing chain. This allows you to more effectively use both arms to work the body unilaterally.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Fan Too Loud

Being an air rower, you’re always going to have more noise than with a magnetic rower. However, this one seems to be a little more noisy than most. That makes it a problem if you’re planning to locate your Stamina X Rower in the same room as your TV.

Check out our full review of the Stamina X Air Rower here.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5612

Image of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5612 Dual Function Rowing Machine Rower w/ LCD Monitor 

Pros

  • Dual function rower and resistance trainer
  • Great price
  • 8 levels of adjustable resistance

Cons

  • Rail doesn’t completely fold for storage

Here’s what we liked about the Sunny SF-RW5612 Rower. . .

Double Function

The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5612 is a two in one machine that allows you to work both your upper and lower body at the same time. The rowing function allows you to get a great cardio workout while also hitting the muscles of your lats, shoulder, biceps, quads and hamstrings through the resistance required to perform the action.

8 Levels of Resistance

The Sunny SF-RW5612 provides you with 8 levels of magnetic resistance to allow you adjust your tension to suit your ability and workout requirements.

Smooth Resistance

You get a fluid, jerk free rowing action on this machine.

Dual Function Foot Plates

The footplates on the SF-RW5612 are wider than normal. They are also dual function, providing you with a secure base from which to row as well as a secure hold as you perform the resistance part of the movement.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Although this rower is promoted as a foldable, it does not fold completely. The central rail will only partially fold, preventing your from getting a truly compact storage unit.

GoPlus Magnetic Folding Rower

Image of the Goplus Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine Row Machine Rower Exercise Cardio Fitness Equipment W/LCD Monitor 

Pros

  • 8 variable shock resistance levels
  • Solid frame
  • Compact design

Cons

  • A little noisy

The GoPlus Magnetic Folding Rowing machine is an impressive budget model home rower that impresses us with the following features . . .

ABS Monitor

The ABS display monitor on this rowing machine is basic but functional. It has a scroll function that allows you to view your essential training data as you are working out. These include calories burned, time spent, count per minute, total count, and scan mode. The monitor is well sized and the digits easy to read.

8 Levels of Shock Resistance

The GoPlus provides you with 8 levels of magnetic resistance with shock resistance to ensure a very smooth transition between the levels.

Padded Seat

The large, contoured seat on the GoPlus features generous padding. You are really going to appreciate this when you’ve been on it for at least 30 minutes. You will also appreciate the anti-slip handle grips that will allow you to get a secure hold on the bar.

Transportation Wheels

This is a compact, easily transportable unit that comes with wheels. It is also foldable for ease of storage.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Even though the GoPlus Magnetic is a solid unit, if you row at max speed for an extended period of time, it may move around a little. The GoPlus Magnetic rower weighs in at just 57.2 pounds.

Xterra Fitness ERG600W Water Rower

Image of the XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower 

Pros

  • Smooth, soothing row
  • Raised seat
  • 6 resistance levels

Cons

  • Difficult to monitor water level

Water rowers are a relatively recent entry into the home rowing market. They are usually among the most pricey rowers, but the Xterra Fitness ERG600W has cut through the price barrier.

Let’s see what’s so good about this machine . . .

Smooth, Realistic Row

The ERG600W provides you with a great water resistance based rowing experience. You will get as close to an on the water experience as you’ll get without actually getting on the water. In addition, the flowing motion of the water in the tank is very soothing. The double bladed Xterra multi-bladed impeller generates a smooth and uniform stroke.

Seat

The raised height of the seat of the ERG600W allows you to get on and off the rower with ease. The seat is large and contoured to your body to enable you row in comfort.

6 Resistance Levels

The ERG600W provides you with six levels of resistance, each of which are determined by the level of water in the tank.

Monitor

The display monitor in the ERG600W gives you an ongoing readout of your key training diagnostics. It provides you with Total Time, 500M Time, Calories, Distance, Strokes, Strokes/Minute, Date, Room Temperature and Clock. Programmable modes include: Race Against Computer, Time Countdown, Distance Countdown, Strokes Countdown and Calories Countdown.

Flex Pedals

The ERG600W provides you with Flex Pedals which are easy to adjust (numbered size settings) with large Velcro straps and they flex with your every movement. This enables you to move naturally so as to avoid ankle problems.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Water Level

It is quite difficult to tell how much water is in the tank and, therefore, to adjust your training resistance level.

Now that you’ve seen all the best rowing machines under $500, make your choice and get your workout on!

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