best rowing machine under $500

7 Best Rowing Machines Under $500: Water, Air & Magnetic

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Hi friends! It’s Kathleen, your favorite blogger, and today, I want to talk about a subject that is close to my heart.

OK, two subjects, one close to my heart, and the other is close to my pocketbook.

I’m talking about rowing machines and money.

Over the years, I have come to really love and appreciate everything that my rowing machine has to offer.

I’m also a great fan of saving money whenever and wherever I can.

Best Rowing Machines Under $500:

Product Model & Features Price
Xterra Fitness Erg220 Check Price
Bluefin Fitness BLADE Folding Rowing Machine Check Price
Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge Water Rower Check Price
Snode Water Rowing Machine Check Price
Joroto Magnetic Rowing Machine Check Price
Pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machine Check Price
Yosuda Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine Check Price
Xterra Fitness Erg220
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Bluefin Fitness BLADE Folding Rowing Machine
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Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge Water Rower
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Snode Water Rowing Machine
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Joroto Magnetic Rowing Machine
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Pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machine
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Yosuda Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine
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Like many other people, I once was on an incredibly tight budget. To make my funds go further, I became a fan of coupons, sales, big box stores, and thrift stores.

It felt as if I was always juggling funds (If I can get $2 off of X, I can buy a slightly better X with the savings!) I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

In this article, I want to talk about the best piece of fitness equipment ever invented, rowing machines, but I also want to talk about price.

There are a great many expensive rowing machine models out there with subscription prices that are reasonable but might be out of the reach of many.

What can you do if you have a $500 budget, tops, but you want to invest in your health with a rowing machine? Are you just stuck paying for a gym membership or can you get a decent machine that will last for that price?

If you are nodding your head yes at everything I’ve been saying, then this article is for you.

The following is a list of the top 7 rowing machines that will give you a terrific full-body workout, will hold up to everyday use but won’t break the bank.

Sound good? Keep reading then because I’m about to bust a move and let the truth about inexpensive rowing machines out of the bag.

The Best Rowing Machines Under 500 Bucks

Let me be frank here. When you think of the word “inexpensive” or even “reasonably priced”, don’t you also think “cheap and won’t last more than a few months”?

I know, I certainly do when it comes to certain items, which is why I created this list with great care.

While I won’t say that these machines will last for decades, you should get several years’ worth of daily use out of them, which makes the price reasonable. If you pay $500 dollars for a rowing machine that you use almost daily and lasts 5 years, that breaks down to about $8 dollars a month (and some change).

That is certainly cheaper than a gym membership!

There are air resistance rowing machines, magnetic rowing machines, and water rowing machines, and if you aren’t familiar with the differences, you might want to read this first.

Now it’s time to talk turkey and discuss the best rowing machine you can get for under $500.

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine Under $500

The Xterra Fitness Erg220 Magnetic Rowing Machine

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The Xterra name isn’t as well known as others, but this company is making some of the most remarkable pieces of fitness equipment and for a reasonable price.

This is a magnetic rowing machine, which means it is super quiet. There are 8 manual resistance levels, so even advanced rowers should still feel challenged.

 

I like this rowing machine because it is already heart rate enabled. You need to provide your own heart rate monitor chest strap, but I believe most people have those already, or you can buy one almost anywhere for pocket change.

The monitor is directly below the handle, so unless you are very tall, you can read it quite easily. The 3.5-inch LCD display tracks all of your workout metrics, including total time, calories burned, strokes per minute, and more.

This rower is made with sturdy aluminum rails and three legs to ensure extra security on the floor.

The foot pedals pivot for comfort, and they have heel rests so you don’t have to worry about your feet sliding out from underneath.

The user weight capacity is 300 pounds, which is really substantial for a home rowing machine. You can check out other rowing machines designed for heavy people here.

The Drawbacks to the Xterra Fitness Erg 220 Rowing Machine

Some users have complained that when they unboxed this rowing machine, some pieces were missing and/or broken. Of course, the company will replace any missing or broken items, but it can be disappointing to wait for delivery, only to find you need to wait longer for replacement parts.

Who Should Buy This Rowing Machine?

While this magnetic resistance rowing machine may be inexpensive, it still offers you features that more expensive models have, including a padded handlebar, adjustable foot straps, and a solid steel frame.

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If you are looking for a magnetic rower that won’t break the bank but is made with a steel frame for extra durability, and if you want a rowing machine that is quiet, the Xterra Fitness ERG220 is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Walking vs Rowing Machine – Click Here to See Which Burns More Calories!

Bluefin Fitness BLADE Folding Rowing Machine

BLADE Home Gym Foldable Rowing Machine | Magnetic Resistance Rower | 8 x Tension Levels | Smooth Belt Drive | LCD Digital Fitness Console | Smartphone App | Black & Grey Silver

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I know, I know. You’re reading this and wondering, “Where are the tablets? Where are the big screens?”

It’s a fact that we have really come to expect a lot of electronic gadgets to entertain and help us along on our fitness journey.

Buying a budget rowing machine does not mean you have to go without gadgets! Check out this futuristic-looking rowing machine from Bluefin.

BLADE Home Gym Foldable Rowing Machine | Magnetic Resistance Rower | 8 x Tension Levels | Smooth Belt Drive | LCD Digital Fitness Console | Smartphone App | Black & Grey Silver

The Blade rowing machine features 8 magnetic resistance levels so you can get the rowing exercise you want and the quietness that you need if you live in an apartment or if you live with others.

I love that this rowing machine offers a 10-degree incline if you really want to up your game! You rarely come across that feature in a rower.

This rowing machine uses a belt-drive rather than a chain, so you not only have an incredibly smooth operation, but you’ll feel more like you’re actually rowing on the water.

BLADE Home Gym Foldable Rowing Machine | Magnetic Resistance Rower | 8 x Tension Levels | Smooth Belt Drive | LCD Digital Fitness Console | Smartphone App | Black & Grey Silver

The Bluefin indoor rower comes with a free Kinomap fitness app (read that word again: FREE!) that you can download to your tablet or cell phone and enjoy thousands of different workouts and options.

There is a media shelf so you can see the workouts, or you can cast them from your phone to your television. How’s that for a big screen?

BLADE Home Gym Foldable Rowing Machine | Magnetic Resistance Rower | 8 x Tension Levels | Smooth Belt Drive | LCD Digital Fitness Console | Smartphone App | Black & Grey Silver

This rowing machine also has an LCD multifunctional console that tracks all your metrics, including your speed, time, distance, strokes per minute, and calories burned. For even more features, use the Kinomap app!

The maximum user weight capacity is 250 pounds, which is very good. It can also be used by persons up to 6 feet 4 inches in height.

The Drawbacks to the Bluefin Fitness BLADE Rowing Machine

Some users have complained that they had issues downloading the app or that the app did not work properly.

BLADE Home Gym Foldable Rowing Machine | Magnetic Resistance Rower | 8 x Tension Levels | Smooth Belt Drive | LCD Digital Fitness Console | Smartphone App | Black & Grey Silver 

If you have been rowing for some time or you’re super-fit, you might find that this rowing machine does not offer enough resistance to challenge you.

Who Should Buy the Bluefin BLADE Rowing Machine?

For those who need a space-saving storage feature, you’re going to love this rower! The Bluefin folds in half and can be stored upright in a closet or under the bed.

BLADE Home Gym Foldable Rowing Machine | Magnetic Resistance Rower | 8 x Tension Levels | Smooth Belt Drive | LCD Digital Fitness Console | Smartphone App | Black & Grey Silver

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If you want a quiet rowing machine that doesn’t take up much room and still offers a free app for your workouts, the Bluefin Fitness BLADE rowing machine is everything you could ask for.

Best Water Rowing Machine Under $500

Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge Water Rower

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine - SF-RW5713 , Black

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Check out this rowing machine! One look and I bet you’re already thinking that you’ve gotta have it!

Sunny Health and Fitness is another name that isn’t well-known, but it makes some awesome home gym equipment that really holds up!

This incredible rowing machine is a water rower, which means that it uses water inside a housing or tank and a fan that pushes against the water. I love how a water rower sounds! Not noisy like an air resistance rowing machine, just the soft, gentle sound of moving water, like when you fill your bathtub.

 

There are 16 hydro blades mimicking the feel of rowing on the water, which, in addition to the sound of the water, makes for a fine rowing experience.

In addition to its awesome looks, this budget rowing machine is also sturdy. The frame is made from lightweight, yet very sturdy steel, so you know it can take a pounding.

The maximum weight capacity for this water rower is 300 pounds.

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine - SF-RW5713 , Black

The LCD screen is easy to read, and it tracks your progress and records the total time of your workout, 500 meters split times, strokes per minute, and the number of calories burned. It will also track your heart rate, but you need a third-party heart rate monitor with ANT.

The oversized foot pedals are easily adjusted to suit your shoe size, and they pivot for extra comfort. The seat is also molded and padded so your tush stays comfy as you row.

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine - SF-RW5713 , Black

The Drawbacks of the Sunny Health Fitness Obsidian Surge

Believe it or not, there are almost no complaints about this rowing machine. I have seen some people complain that the monitor does not have a backlight, so you need to have a bright space or a well-lit room to see it easily, but that’s about it!

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine - SF-RW5713 , Black

Who Should Buy the Sunny Health Fitness Obsidian Surge Rowing Machine?

You can easily store this water rower on one end, so it will fit even in small spaces. The transportation wheels make it easy to move and store.

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine - SF-RW5713 , Black

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If you have limited space for storage, and if you love the sound of swooshing water and want a sturdy, good-looking machine for far less than you might expect, you will be happy with the Sunny Health Fitness SF-RW5713 Obsidian Surge 500 rowing machine.

Snode Water Rowing Machine

 

SNODE WR100 Water Rowing Machine with Bluetooth APP (Free Tutorials), Rowing Machine for Home Use, Foldable Design & Heavy Duty Frame (Black)

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You might think that this rowing machine looks similar to the Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge listed above, and you would be right, they do look similar, but that’s about where the similarities end.

While this Snode water rower also offers a 16-blade hydro system, it’s made to handle more weight. The maximum user weight capacity of this rowing machine is 331 pounds! Pretty impressive for a budget rowing machine.

 

There are built-in transport wheels in the front so you can easily push the rower and store it upright against the wall.

This water rowing machine makes a nice sound, giving you the feeling that you’re rowing on the water. To increase the resistance, you can row faster or add more water to the tank. To reduce the resistance, you will need to remove water from the tank, but it’s been my experience that most people leave the water level at the recommended setting and simply row faster or slower.

SNODE WR100 Water Rowing Machine with Bluetooth APP (Free Tutorials), Rowing Machine for Home Use, Foldable Design & Heavy Duty Frame (Black)

This water rower features a large LCD monitor that is adjustable so you can read it from almost any position. It will display your total time, calories burned, strokes per minute, and total distance traveled. The scan mode displays all of the data in turn. You can also set a goal, such as 30 minutes, and the monitor will do a countdown.

There is a cell phone or tablet holder that allows you to easily access and see the free workout app called FitLog. By using this app, you will have access to other metrics, such as 500-meter time and watts used. There are hundreds of workouts and tutorials to ensure that you’re using the proper form when you row, which is super important.

SNODE WR100 Water Rowing Machine with Bluetooth APP (Free Tutorials), Rowing Machine for Home Use, Foldable Design & Heavy Duty Frame (Black)

If you like, you can also access the KinoMap workout app. If you download it to your device, you can always cast the workouts to your television for a larger, incredible viewing option.

The Drawbacks to the Snode Rowing Machine

There were a few issues with this rowing machine that you should know about.

SNODE WR100 Water Rowing Machine with Bluetooth APP (Free Tutorials), Rowing Machine for Home Use, Foldable Design & Heavy Duty Frame (Black)

There does not appear to be an easy-to-reach customer support method, and the warranty is pretty vague.

This rower also does not fold, so you will need plenty of space to use and store it.

Who Should Buy the Snode Rowing Machine?

There is so much more to this rower than meets the eye, including an ergonomic seat, a padded handle, floor stabilizers, and adjustable foot pedals.

SNODE WR100 Water Rowing Machine with Bluetooth APP (Free Tutorials), Rowing Machine for Home Use, Foldable Design & Heavy Duty Frame (Black)

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I believe that the Snode Water Rowing Machine is one of the best home rowing machines that you can buy for under 500 bucks.

Joroto Magnetic Rowing Machine

JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine with LCD Display 300LB Weight Capacity Row Machine Exercise Rower for Home Gym (MR35)

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While Joroto has been making quality products for more than 30 years, the name isn’t as well known in the US.

This Joroto rowing machine uses magnetic resistance, so you know that it will be whisper quiet.

Like many other magnetic rowing machines in this price range, the frame itself is steel, and the rails are high-quality aluminum. The steel portion of this rower has a black-colored powder-coated finish to prevent rust and give it a clean, fresh look.

 

This sturdy rowing machine has 10 resistance levels, so you should feel challenged when using it.

I like the large media shelf where you can securely place your tablet, cell phone, or even a book if you like. You can watch your favorite programs, listen to music, or use any number of workout apps.

JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine with LCD Display 300LB Weight Capacity Row Machine Exercise Rower for Home Gym (MR35)

There is also a large LCD digital monitor directly in front of the rower, which makes it super easy to read. This performance monitor will track your time, count, total count, and calories burned data.

This rowing machine is super comfortable as well, with a high-density foam seat that is contoured to prevent numbing or chafing. No one wants a chaffed behind, right? The handle is also slightly curved to prevent wrist or elbow overuse injuries.

JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine with LCD Display 300LB Weight Capacity Row Machine Exercise Rower for Home Gym (MR35)

You will find a water bottle holder on one side, something few rowing machines offer, and oversized foot pedals to fit everyone, no matter how big your feet might be.

The maximum user weight capacity is 300 pounds, which is excellent when speaking of home rowing machines.

The Drawbacks of the Joroto Magnetic Rowing Machine

I think the first big drawback that I immediately noticed was that if you’re using the media shelf for anything larger than an iPhone 6S Plus, the LCD digital monitor will be completely blocked.

It could be that people who plan on using a tablet to watch videos won’t care about constantly seeing their metrics, but if those matter to you, you should know about this issue.

This rowing machine also does not have any pulse meter; however, there are many inexpensive fitness watches or other types of heart rate monitors, so you can use one of those instead.

Who Should Buy the Joroto Rowing Machine?

This is a really good rowing machine that can be stored on its end, and while it might lack a few items (such as a heart rate monitor), it’s sturdy and offers quite a few features for the money.

JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine with LCD Display 300LB Weight Capacity Row Machine Exercise Rower for Home Gym (MR35)

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If you have been searching for a good-quality magnetic rowing machine that does the job without too many fancy gadgets, the Joroto rowing machine might be perfect for your home gym.

The Pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machine

pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machines Rower Foldable with 16 Level Resistance Indoor Rower Machines with Digital Monitor & Transport Wheels for Home Use

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Yeah, I know. You read that name once, then twice, then you decided it was a typo.

It’s not a typo, though. Don’t let the funny name fool you because this PooBoo rowing machine has a lot to offer. I can’t help but wonder how many people refer to this rowing machine as their Pooh Bear?

 

Anyway, this reasonably priced magnetic rowing machine has a steel frame and an aluminum slide rail, but while it can accommodate users up to 6’4″ tall, it isn’t very large overall.

There are 16 resistance levels, which is quite a bit compared to other machines.

You can store this machine on its end when not in use. While it doesn’t fold, the overall dimensions are only 60.2″ long, and 18.9″ wide, so it should fit even a smaller room or in an apartment.pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machines Rower Foldable with 16 Level Resistance Indoor Rower Machines with Digital Monitor & Transport Wheels for Home Use

This features a cushioned seat, cushioned handle, and adjustable foot pedals, which make for a comfortable rowing exercise, and a nylon corded belt for a smooth rowing motion.

The multifunction digital monitor will track your total meters rowed, total time spent, and calorie count, which is important for keeping tabs of your progress and fitness goals.

pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machines Rower Foldable with 16 Level Resistance Indoor Rower Machines with Digital Monitor & Transport Wheels for Home Use

The large tablet shelf is the perfect spot for your phone or tablet where you can see it, preventing your workout from becoming boring.

This indoor rower has a maximum user capacity of 300 pounds, so you know it must be pretty sturdy.

The Drawbacks of the Pooboo Magnetic Rower

Like the Joroto listed above, the tablet shelf will cover the digital monitor if you use anything larger than an iPhone, but if this isn’t important to you (you can still read your metrics when you are finished), then it’s not a problem.pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machines Rower Foldable with 16 Level Resistance Indoor Rower Machines with Digital Monitor & Transport Wheels for Home Use

The monitor is also not backlit, so you may need to place the machine in front of a window or turn on the indoor lights to read it easily.

Who Should Buy the Pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machine?

pooboo Magnetic Rowing Machines Rower Foldable with 16 Level Resistance Indoor Rower Machines with Digital Monitor & Transport Wheels for Home Use

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 This is an excellent machine for a full-body cardio workout, interval training, stamina development, and/ or weight loss. It definitely offers decent quality for the price, and if you have been looking for a cheap rowing machine under 500 bucks that will hold up to daily use, the Pooboo rower might be just what you’re looking for.

The Yosuda Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine

 

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I know, some of you are reading this review saying, “What if I want it all?”

It might be that the Yosuda has everything you could want in a rowing machine under 500 bucks.

First, this magnetic rower is a true heavyweight, with a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds and user height of up to 6’6″ tall! The Yosuda has the heaviest weight capacity on this list, so you know it will give you a great workout, time and time again without breaking.

 

Want a sturdy frame? This rowing machine features a steel frame covered with an anti-corrosive black finish, so it will always look good. There are foot stabilizers so even if your surface is uneven, this indoor rower will not move or rock.

Want an indoor rower that folds? The Yosuda folds in half and has transport wheels so you can roll it away to a corner or behind a door for storage.

Want a contoured, textured, padded seat so your tush is comfy? The Yosuda has that!

Image from Yasuda

The handlebar is also padded and is attached with a thick nylon cord for quiet operation and no maintenance. You can’t say that about a chain-driven air resistance rowing machine!

Since it uses magnetic resistance, this indoor rower is super quiet and has a smooth rowing motion. There are 8 resistance levels that should challenge all but the most advanced users.

Image from Yosuda

There is a 3.5’’ LCD monitor that tracks your workout stats such as time, count, total count, and the number of calories burned, along with a scan function so you can see all your stats quickly.

There is also a media shelf that, unlike some of the rowers listed above, won’t get in the way of the performance monitor.

Lastly, you will find that this indoor rower has large, adjustable, anti-slip foot pedals for a secure rowing workout.

This is perhaps the best rowing machine under 500 bucks for all-around home use.

The Drawbacks of the Yosuda 100 Rowing Machine

The only real drawbacks that I could find would be that there is no heart rate monitor (but you can use your third-party one or your fitness watch), and there is no water bottle holder.

That’s it!

Who Should Buy the Yosida 100 Rowing Machine

If you’re on a tight budget but you want a machine that has just about everything that more expensive rowing machines offer, including a 350-pound weight capacity, this is the one you’ve been waiting for.

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This is the best budget rowing machine with a high weight capacity that you can buy for less than $500.

The Final Takeaway

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All of the above rowing machines will give you at least several years of good service, and you can’t ask for more than that.

Your choice will depend on whether you need a folding machine, a super quiet rowing machine, or one with high weight capacity.

I’ve highlighted those qualities in the rowing machines listed above, so I hope you found this review helpful. Remember that the best home rowing machine is the one that you will commit to using most days of the week, so be sure to get the new rowing machine you really want.

Stay happy and healthy, friends. Life is too short for anything else.

FAQs

1. Which is the best magnetic rower under $500?

Almost any of the above-listed rowing machines are a good buy, but if I had to choose one, I would probably go for the Xterra Fitness Erg220 since it not only folds but has a high weight capacity.

2. Is it OK to row every day?

No matter how good your rowing workout may feel, a good workout deserves a good rest. You should always give your body at least one day per week to rest, repair, and build new muscle.

3. Is it worth getting a rowing machine?

It absolutely is! No more paying for gym memberships, no more traffic and searching for a parking space, and no more waiting to use a machine! With your own home rowing machine, all you need is a bit of space to make your fitness reality come to life! Whether you want a quiet magnetic rower or an indoor water rower, you’re going to be so happy to make workout time your time, whenever you have time!