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Which rowing machines under $500 are best?

Rowing machines are unique from other fitness machines. They generally use resistance rather than weights. Workouts involving resistance can be just as effective as workouts with weights when using the proper technique.

If you want equipment that’s cheap and gives you a great workout, rowing machines under $500 can be a great fit. They’re compact, accessible and quiet.

If you’re looking for an interactive rowing machine that provides wireless features, the SNODE Water Rowing Machine is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a rowing machine under $500


Some rowing machines will have free subscriptions to workouts and workout plans that you can follow through a mobile app. If you’re a beginner, these free subscriptions can be very helpful and guide you along the way until you feel comfortable. There are also rowing machines that come with paid subscriptions. Those can be helpful, but if you don’t want to spend the extra money, they may not be.

Type of resistance

The most notable types of resistance in a rowing machine are air, water, magnetic and hydraulic. When using air and water models, the resistance depends on how fast you’re rowing the machine. Those types also tend to be more on the quiet side. Magnetic and hydraulic rowers tend to be slightly noisier, but the resistance is more manageable and accurate to adjust. If you want the most challenging resistance, water models provide the most resistance when increasing intensity.


If there are other people in your surrounding space, chances are you don’t want your rower to be loud. Rowers that use water, magnetic and hydraulic resistance tend to be quieter than other types. However, rowing machines can still be noisy, so be aware of your surroundings when working out.

What to look for in a quality rowing machine under $500

LED display

Monitors on a rowing machine can help you track of how many rows you’ve done, how long you’ve been working out and much more. LCD monitors are common in rowing machines under $500, but LED screens will provide a much clearer look and make reading the screen easier to read. LED screens will be much more useful than LCD monitors if the rowing machine can display videos, especially if they’re instructional videos that guide you through the workout.


While rowing machines are not the heaviest fitness machines out there, they can be difficult to move around your home if it doesn’t have an accessible build. If you want to move around your rower with ease, look for ones that have rear wheels that make pulling it easy and generally won’t damage your floors when pulling it to different areas.


If you plan on keeping a rowing machine in your home, you likely want to be able to store it away somewhere and keep it out of the way during non-workout hours. If standing the machine up isn’t possible or suitable for you, then a foldable rowing machine may be the ideal choice for you. These rowers are very easy to store away and can easily fold up when finished.

Smart capability

Rowing machines with smart features can make working out more fun and easier to manage. Some rowers come with an app that you can follow workouts and instructions through the monitor display. Or there will simply be Bluetooth capability that allows you to track your rowing progress each day on your mobile device. If you’re a beginner, some rowing machines have apps that can help guide you through the workout.

How much you can expect to spend on a rowing machine under $500

The lowest price you’ll find for a rowing machine is generally around $100. These standard rowing machines usually have a small LCD (or none at all) and tend to use more traditional resistance styles. From $200-$300, you’ll find rowing machines that may be foldable or capable of standing up while having a wider variety of resistance styles. Then from $300-$500, you can find a rower with LED monitors, water resistance, nonslip resistance and more.

Rowing machine under $500 FAQ

What does rowing do to your body?

A. Rowing can be a full-body workout when done correctly. The rowing machine can activate the arm, back and leg muscles, with the machine focusing more on the arm and back muscle groups. You can use rowing machines to build mass or burn fat, depending on how you’re using it. It’s best to consult a medical or fitness professional on how you can accurately attain your personal goals with a rower.

How long should I row for?

A. The duration of using a rowing machine depends on what kind of workout you want to do and if you’re doing any other workouts in a session. If you’re only using the rowing machine for your entire workout session, 30 minutes a day is suitable for a moderately intense workout.

If you prefer to have an intense workout, then 15 minutes can be good enough as well. However, if you’re combining the rowing machine with other workouts such as calisthenics or using barbells and dumbbells, it may be best to use them for only 5 minutes. Some manufacturers may provide instructions on what are the appropriate duration times for using their specific machine.

What’s the best rowing machine under $500 to buy?

Top rowing machine under $500

SNODE Water Rowing Machine

SNODE Water Rowing Machine

What you need to know: This rowing machine combines modern technology, comfortability and free mobile app workouts to give you one of the best experiences of a rowing machine you can find under $500.

What you’ll love: Along with built-in sweat resistance, the foot pedals use a nonslip material so that your hands and feet stay secure when doing an intense workout. Moving this rower around is easy with the transportation wheels. When you’re ready to place it down, the built-in floor stabilizers help prevent the machine from being wobbly.

What you should consider: This option is not foldable, and users report that the mobile app may crash sometimes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top rowing machine under $500 for the money

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639

What you need to know: Drawing a resemblance to a rowboat, the design of this rower requires more movement and activation of the muscles. This can make your workouts more intense and effective.

What you’ll love: Using a classic design, the full-motion arms activate more muscles, especially in the arm and back areas. For a rower that has such a low price tag, there are 12 different adjustable resistance levels to choose from, giving you various intensities with which to work.  

What you should consider: The LCD monitor is limited and very small. Those who are used to using rowing machines with cables may have to spend some time adjusting to this style of rowing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Merax Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

Merax Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

What you need to know: With an elegant-looking exterior, this rowing machine will give off a high-end look while having everything you need in a rower.

What you’ll love: The rower features offers eight levels of magnetic tension, making movements smooth and quiet when in use. It has a wide 17-inch foam handlebar and a large contoured foam seat.

What you should consider: The LCD monitor can be dim, depending on the lighting.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Ade Hennis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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