The 8 Best Budget Rowing Machines of 2023: All Options Under $1,500

Find out which of these cost effective rowing machines can help you perfect your stroke, and up your resistance.

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Rowing machines offer great low-impact cardio exercise. These “ergs” are much softer on your joints than treadmills, and they can actually help work all of the muscles in your body. Your legs work during the drive (the first part of the stroke), and your back and arms cover the last two parts of the stroke. But since rowers are such a great tool to have in your gym, they can be quite expensive — especially if you’re looking for the latest and greatest in technology. However, we did some serious digging and found plenty of budget-friendly options that don’t skimp on features. 

Since many rowers can cost up to about $3,000, we chopped that number in half and kept all of these budget options under $1,500. But even within the lower price range, you still have a lot of information to sift through. Do you want a water rower, air resistance rower, or magnetic resistance rower? Do you want a machine that has high-tech features and streaming services, or do you want something less complicated that just allows you to row at home? No matter your needs, we think this list can help you discover which one of the best budget rowing machines will suit your fitness goals

Best Budget Rowing Machines

Best Budget Rowing Machine Overall: SoleSR500

Sole SR500 Rower
Sole SR500 Rower
Sole SR500 Rower

The Sole SR500 is an advanced magnetic air resistance rower with a 5.5” display that tracks all your necessary stats, like heart rate, calories, wattage, strokes per minute and split time. It has a raised seat, making it easy to get in and out of and a high weight capacity of 515 pounds, which is ideal for larger users. 


  • Resistance Type: Magnetic/Fan
  • Display Type: 5.5 inch LCD
  • Weight Capacity: 375 pounds
  • Price: $749.99


  • The 11 preset workouts are great if you don’t want to spring for the monthly membership.
  • The resistance controls are conveniently placed on the handle itself, so you can change it up at any time.
  • The 515-pound weight capacity makes it ideal for most athletes, regardless of weight. 


  • The combination of air and magnetic resistance is louder than strictly magnetic resistance. 
  • This rower does not feature a lot of high-tech accessories (like a touchscreen).

Rowing machines can be pricey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a high-quality machine on a budget. Our top pick is a rower that recreates the feeling of rowing on water from the safety of dry land. Let us introduce you to the Sole SR500. 

If you’ve always dreamed of rowing on an Athenian Trireme in the Mediterranean Sea, you might have to keep dreaming — but you can certainly get the feeling of rowing on real water from the SR500. The combination of air and magnetic resistance works to mimic the feeling of rowing water for a unique challenge rarely afforded by budget rowers. The long aluminum rails are sturdy enough to accommodate users of varying heights. Plus, it can handle up to 515 pounds, so just about anyone can use this machine. 

Getting on and off the rower is easy, thanks to the 20-inch sitting position. Also, the adjustable foot support accommodates different heel angles and foot sizes. The controls on the rowing handle are a nice touch — this allows you to cycle between 16 resistance levels without losing your rhythm mid-workout. The SR500 comes with 11 pre-set workouts, including two heart rate programs for fat burning. You can also stream classes using the 90-day free trial of Studio™ for over 3,000 classes, so your workouts never become stale. 

If you want to round out your home gym’s cardio equipment with a rowing machine, the SR500 is a great option that includes a ton of features for both practicality and convenience. It’s heavy-duty, fits athletes of different sizes, and manages to stay budget-friendly.

Read our full Sole SR500 Rower Review.

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Home: ProForm 750R

ProForm 750R Rowing Machine
ProForm 750R Rowing Machine
ProForm 750R Rowing Machine

The ProForm 750R is a sturdy 116-pound magnetic resistance rower. It’s practically silent and offers 24 levels of resistance to challenge your strength and endurance throughout your workout. Plus, you’ll get three free years of iFit with it, so you can stream virtual rowing classes across the globe.


  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Display Type: 5 inch color display
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Price: $699.00


  • The tablet holder is useful for streaming workouts or entertainment.
  • It folds up for easy storage, which is great for home use.
  • At under $700, it’s one of the least expensive rowers you’ll find. 


  • Some people may have trouble getting into and out of the low seat. 
  • If you want a tech-heavy rower, you may be disappointed with the lack of a touchscreen. 

If you need a rowing machine that doesn’t take up too much space but still provides a variety of features to keep you hooked on your workout routine in the comfort of your own home, this pick is your best bet.

The ProForm 750R provides most of the same features as more high-tech rowers, but its console doesn’t take up as much room, which can be great for those who are tight on space at home. This machine has 24 levels of silent magnetic resistance and a console that can track all of your stats (calories, split time, strokes, distance, and time) as you row.

The console also has a tablet holder to offer the same streaming options as you would find on high-tech, interactive rowers. This rower comes with a free month of iFit, and it even folds to save space when it’s not in use. 

The ProForm 750R is ideal for those who want to save a little space in their home but still want the fitness class experience.

Read our full ProForm 750R Review.

Best Budget All-in-One Rowing Machine: Lit Method Strength Machine

Lit Method Strength Machine
Lit Method Strength Machine
Lit Method Strength Machine

This rower from Lit Method is so much more than your typical rowing machine. It combines the cardio benefits of a rowing machine with the strength benefits of resistance band training to give you a full-body workout. If you like instructor-led workouts they have a membership which you receive three months of for free with purchase.


  • Resistance Type: Water
  • Display Type: None
  • Weight Capacity: 450 pounds
  • Price: $1,699.99


  • This machine’s triple-duty ability makes it ideal for someone who wants a one-device home gym setup.
  • The 30-day home trial lets you try it for a month before you totally commit. 
  • The water resistance provides a quieter experience than an air rower.


  • If you only want a rowing machine, this one’s going to be overkill.
  • It’s a bargain considering its features, but there are cheaper options on this list.
  • The included resistance bands may not provide enough resistance for stronger athletes.

While rowing machines do offer a solid full-body cardio burn and can build some pretty strong quads, additional strength training can help round out your fitness routine. The folks at Lit Method designed an all-in-one rowing machine to provide a complete workout with their Lit Strength Machine.

Lit Method took a rowing machine and turned it into a combination of cardio machine, resistance trainer, and Pilates reformer machine. This may look like a normal rower, but it’s much more. The Lit Strength Machine marries together a water rower and a pilates reformer with the use of resistance bands/tubes that are attached to the rower. The resistance band system allows you to perform over 500 exercises — many of which are low-impact and easy on the joints.

The exercise selection from their on-demand membership offers options like strength training, rowing, cardio, barre, physical therapy, and pilates. The resistance bands that come with this piece of equipment are pretty light at 10 to 20 pounds of resistance, so stronger people may find them inadequate, though you can purchase stronger bands. This machine is more costly than your typical rowing machine, but it offers significantly more value with three months of its training membership for free, free shipping, and everything you need to get started working out (resistance bands, ankle cuffs, handles, and a phone mount). 

As far as innovation goes, Lit Method was thinking outside of the box when they designed this machine, and it shows. The Lit Strength Machine is a total fitness solution for anyone looking to get in shape and build some muscle. The resistance may be light for elite strength athletes, but recreational folks shouldn’t feel limited at all.

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Small Spaces: Bell of Steel Blitz Air Rower

Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower
Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower
Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

The Bells of Steel Air Blitz Rower is one of the more affordable options on the market right now. This one is light and easy to roll around your home gym as needed or store away when you're expecting guests.


  • Resistance Type: Fan
  • Display Type: Small LCD
  • Weight Capacity: 320 pounds
  • Price: $799.99


  • With a minimal frame and highly-portable design (it can stand upright, wheel around, and easily disassemble into two halves), this machine is ideal for small spaces.
  • At less than 100 pounds, this is a lighter product.
  • The footrests are totally adjustable and easy to tighten or loosen while you train.


  • The tech is minimal, so you won’t be able to stream workouts.
  • You can’t store this machine vertically.

Figuring out how to organize your workout equipment can be a daunting task when dealing with small spaces. Thankfully, this rower has the ability to disassemble easily and roll in and out of spaces with no trouble. Our top pick for this category is a tried and true rower — the Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower. 

The Blitz Air Rower is just under eight feet in length and about two feet in width, so it doesn’t take up much floor space at all. But if you need to save precious square footage, this machine stores easily — it only takes a few moments to disassemble when you’re expecting guests and want more space. Or, you can easily roll the rower around when needed. 

Rowing for hundreds of meters is tough, especially if your machine doesn’t feel comfortable. Luckily, this machine’s seat is ergonomically-designed, so you’ll feel perfectly comfortable. And the footrests are easy to adjust, keeping your feet stable and locked in place. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting a piece of equipment that will last for years with Bells of Steel’s extended five-year warranty.

The Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower rower isn’t just a great rower for space-saving purposes, it’s just a reliable rower in general. If you’ve got minimal space to work with but still want a rower, this machine is trusted and offers multiple folding/storage options that can save you a ton of floor space.

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Streaming: ProForm Pro750R

ProForm 750R Rowing Machine
ProForm 750R Rowing Machine
ProForm 750R Rowing Machine

The ProForm 750R is a sturdy 116-pound magnetic resistance rower. It’s practically silent and offers 24 levels of resistance to challenge your strength and endurance throughout your workout. Plus, you’ll get three free years of iFit with it, so you can stream virtual rowing classes across the globe.


  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Display Type: 5 inch color display
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Price: $699.00


  • The iFit compatibility offers thousands of streaming workouts. 
  • It uses magnetic resistance, which is the quietest option you’ll find. 
  • The tablet holder lets you stream classes or entertainment from the apps of your choosing.


  • If you don’t care about streaming classes, there are cheaper options on this list.
  • This one doesn’t have a touchscreen, so if you don’t have a tablet, you’ll be stuck using a phone to stream classes 
  • It has a relatively low weight capacity of 250 pounds.

Sometimes working out with the motivation of a trainer or competing against a group of other trainees can help kick up the intensity and make the experience more enjoyable. If you’re in the market for a rowing machine for streaming workouts, it’s hard to find a better option than the ProForm Pro750R. 

You won’t always see high-tech streaming options on budget rowers, but the Pro750R has all of the tools you need to have the best experience while streaming on your rower. In addition to the five-inch high-contrast screen that comes included, there’s a large device shelf to set a phone or tablet on if you prefer to stream a podcast or show while you row. If you like to work along with a trainer, ProForm’s iFit studio features trainers from across the globe, and their machines can automatically adjust the magnetic resistance through 24 levels to follow along with the trainers for a more natural feeling workout — all you have to do is keep rowing.

The magnetic resistance helps to keep the noise levels down while you’re working out and provide smooth resistance along the length of each pull. Priced affordably at $749 before taxes with free shipping, this rower is a great deal. You’ll also receive 30 days of iFIT streaming included for free ($39 per month after) to help kickstart your rowing routine. One consideration is the lower-than-average weight capacity of 250 pounds, which larger athletes may find too low. 

While budget rowers typically limit the technological features, this rower offers many streaming options typically found on much more expensive rowers — like iFit compatibility and magnetic resistance. With the free 30-day trial of iFit, you can get your routine started and make it a habit more easily. 

Best Budget Water Rowing Machine: Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine

This rower from Sunny Health & Fitness is constructed with lightweight yet sturdy steel for solid performance and durability. The Obsidian Surge 500’s 16 hydro blades and water resistance work to mimic the movement and feel of competitive rowing making you feel more like you’re rowing on the water than magnetic or air resistance.


  • Resistance Type: Water
  • Display Type: LCD
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Price: $375.32


  • The water resistance on this rower provides a smooth stroke and a quieter experience than an air rower. 
  • This price point is shockingly low, especially for a water rower. 
  • Though this rower is simple when it comes to technology, it still provides a ton of information on its LCD screen.


  • While quieter than air rowers, water rowers are still louder than magnetic rowers. 
  • This doesn’t have a screen or tablet holder, so there’s no way to stream classes. 
  • If you really need to save space, you may want to find a rower that folds in half when not in use.

Those who row competitively often prefer water rowers because they more closely mimic the feel of rowing in a boat and the resistance of paddles in the water. This rowing machine will provide you with that same familiar feeling without breaking the bank or taking up a ton of space. Meet the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500.

The Obsidian Surge 500’s 16 fan blades that spin against water resistance provide a feeling that mimics that of rowing in a boat on the water at an affordable price. An LCD screen helps you keep track of key metrics while rowing, such as distance, time, and heart rate (if you have a compatible monitor). One thing you’ll notice when sitting on this machine is the molded seat that offers added comfort when rowing long distances. When not in use, this machine can be stored upright against a wall for space-saving purposes.

Sunny Health & Fitness priced this rower competitively at about $449 before taxes and possible shipping charges making it one of the most cost-effective rowers on this list. Even with a lower price point than many other rowers, the weight capacity is higher, coming in at 300 pounds with a max inseam length of 38 inches (or a height of approximately 6’9”), which is standard. If you like to follow along with a personal trainer, download the SunnyFit app for free on-demand exercise videos and workouts. 

As far as water rowers go, this one ticks all the necessary boxes without blowing up the price with tons of features you may or may not use. If you’re looking for a basic water rower that won’t break the bank but still offers a high-quality build, this rower is for you.

Best Budget Magnetic Rowing Machine: ProForm Pro750R

ProForm 750R Rowing Machine
ProForm 750R Rowing Machine
ProForm 750R Rowing Machine

The ProForm 750R is a sturdy 116-pound magnetic resistance rower. It’s practically silent and offers 24 levels of resistance to challenge your strength and endurance throughout your workout. Plus, you’ll get three free years of iFit with it, so you can stream virtual rowing classes across the globe.


  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Display Type: 5 inch color display
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Price: $699.00


  • The magnetic resistance is extremely quiet, making it ideal for indoor use. 
  • This comes with a free month of iFit, so you can try the app out before you commit.
  • At under $700, this is a great price for a magnetic rower.


  • The 250-pound capacity may not work for heavier athletes. 
  • If you don’t care about tech features, you could find a cheaper magnetic rower on the market. 
  • You’ll have to pay a monthly fee to access the live and on-demand workouts.

Magnetic rowing machines are known for their quiet use (compared to water and air resistance rowers), as well as their continuous resistance throughout each pull. Typically, magnetic rowers can be quite expensive and go for well over $1,000, but this one packs in the features and still comes at an affordable price point.

This rower provides many of the same features as more high-tech rowers but in a more affordable package, which is great for those who are on tight budgets. If you’re working out in your home and trying not to bother your partner who’s on a call or wake up a sleeping child, then the quietness of a magnetic rower will be a welcome benefit. This machine has 24 separate levels of silent magnetic resistance and a console that can track all of your stats, such as calories burned, split times, strokes, distance, and time rowing. 

The phone/tablet holder that comes built-in offers you the ability to stream trainer-led workouts through iFit ($39 per month), which automatically adjusts resistance throughout the workout. Using the iFit app does provide a much better experience than the somewhat clunky display panel provided, and you get a month free to try it out for yourself to see how you prefer to work out. When not in use, this model folds up to about half its length for easy storage. The Pro750R’s footprint measures 22 inches wide by 86.5 inches long and 45.5 inches tall but only has a weight capacity of 250 pounds, so larger athletes may want to keep that in mind.

The ProForm Pro750R is a great choice if you’re looking for a quiet, magnetic resistance rower to use when you need to keep the decibel level low. This machine provides just about the quietest experience you’ll find on the market, thanks to the magnetic resistance and fabric pull band (instead of the chain that many other rowers use). 

Best Budget Rowing Machine Under $300: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

This machine offers eight levels of magnetic resistance, an LCD display, and transportation wheels for portability. You can track all your stats on the small LCD console, and the non-slip foot pedals also help keep your feet securely in place.


  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Display Type: LCD
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Price: $239.97


  • You’re not going to find a better magnetic rower for under $300. 
  • The magnetic resistance is extremely quiet. 
  • This rower folds up for easy storage when not in use. 


  • This isn’t compatible with streaming services. 
  • If you want a screen or tablet holder, you’ll have to find a different rower. 
  • The eight levels of resistance are less than you’ll find on other rowers on this list.

Though all of these rowers are fairly inexpensive, this pick is under $300, which is just about as cost-effective as it gets when it comes to rowing machines — and on top of that, this is still a pretty high-quality machine. 

The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine offers eight levels of magnetic resistance, an LCD display, and transportation wheels for portability, all for well under $300. You can still track all your stats — including time, count, calories, total count, and scan — on the small LCD console. The non-slip foot pedals also help keep your feet securely in place while rowing.

You can fold this rower up to store it when you’re not using it, as well. However, because this is a super-budget option, you won’t find a ton of high-tech features here. Though there are still eight levels of resistance, there are other rowers on the market that offer more than double that number of resistance options. 

This rower is basic, but it still offers exactly what you need for a solid at-home workout — eight levels of resistance, stat-tracking, and non-slip footplates for stability. 

Benefits of Budget Rowing Machines

Rowing machines have many benefits — they offer great full-body cardio exercise, a solid variety of workouts, and less impact on the joints. 

Full-Body Workouts

Unlike bikes and treadmills, rowers can help increase strength in your quads, back, core, and arms. When looking at the stroke, it starts with the drive, which comes from power in your legs.

Fit Man Rowing
Image via Shutterstock/ Lucky Business

Once your legs are extended, your back and core initiate the lean-back, and finally, the arms pull in for the finish. Rowing (especially sprint rowing) is one of the few types of cardiovascular exercise that may also improve your muscular fitness.

Workout Variety

There are a variety of rowing machine workouts you can accomplish. If you’re a fan of HIIT workouts, you can do sprints with intervals. Say you prefer long-distance rowing, then you can crank out a 5,000m (or longer) timed row. Rowers are unique as far as cardio machines are concerned in that they can help build muscle, too. Simply crank up the resistance and focus on making deliberate and powerful strokes — you’ll be feeling a burn in your legs, back, core, and arms in no time. 

Low Impact Exercise

Rowers are also low-impact machines (unlike treadmills). Since the machine is supporting your weight and your muscles are working against resistance from either air, water, or magnets, your joints are taking less abuse than they would with a treadmill. Some folks may like them better than other cardio machines for that reason. Rowers are a great way to help improve fitness across the board — not just cardiovascular fitness, but muscular, as well. 

How We Chose the Best Budget Rowing Machine

We know not everyone is going to be looking for the same specs and features on their rowing machine. That’s why we’ve included a variety of price points, features, and size options on this list — all of the highest quality within a lower budget.


As you may have guessed, the number one factor we considered when making this list was the price. Since rowers can cost up to about $3,000, we sliced that number in half for this budget list and made sure all of the rowers we included here cost under $1,500. And even within that $1,500 budget, we included various price points. 

Man On Water Rowing Machine
Image via Shutterstock/ Raul Mellado Ortiz

You’ll find rowers that have a lot of high-tech features closer to that $1,500 mark, rowers that maybe have some of the features around the $800 mark, and the most basic rowers that are just meant to allow you to crank out a solid workout around the $250 mark. We wanted to be sure to accommodate most price points, which is why you’ll see the costs swing so dramatically even within the realms of this lower budget.


While some customers may be looking for lots of streaming options and an advanced touchscreen display, others may just want a rowing machine they can hop on and hop off of for a good sweat before or after their weight training. Many budget rowers offer virtual training and interactive touchscreens, which can be a great touch if you are trying to stay active at home. But there are also plenty of budget options where you can just row, track your split time, and work on your power and cardio endurance. No matter how many features you want on your rowing machine, we are confident we have found a budget option that can suit your needs. 


Here’s what you can expect from rowers as far as size goes: Water rowers will take up less vertical space than magnetic or air resistance rowers since their tanks lay flat on the ground. Any rower that has a large touchscreen display will take up more space in width than those that do not. On top of these size factors, you’ll also find that some rowers fold completely in half for storage, while others just have a display or console that folds down. We’ve included rowers of all of these varieties that can hopefully suit most space requirements.

How to Use a Budget Rowing Machine

You can hop on a budget rower and start pulling away, but if you want to get the most out of each pull, it’s key to master the art of the efficient stroke. To do this, you’ll want to focus on having the proper starting position, mastering the three-stage pull, and dialing in your return. 

Starting Position

To start the pull, crouch down, grab the handle, and pull it to mid-shin. In this position, you should look like you’re getting ready to do a deadlift: Your back is straight, your knees bent, and you’re bent forward at the waist.


For maximum efficiency, you’ll want to divide your pull into three parts: the drive, the lean, and the pull. First, straighten your legs, driving primarily with your heels. Then, lean your torso back to about a 45-degree angle from the floor. Then, while you’re still leaning back, pull the handle to your chest. As you practice, work on doing this sequence in one fluid motion.


To return to the start for another pull, reverse the pull movements. First, straighten your arms. Then, bend at the waist, keeping your back straight until you’re leaning forward like you were at the start. Finally, bend your knees until you’re back to where you started. Repeat until your workout is over. 

How Much Do Budget Rowing Machines Cost?

Rowing machines, like almost any piece of gym equipment, can vary drastically in price depending on a variety of factors. One of the biggest influences on the price are the features included, such as technology integration and a touchscreen display. Another sometimes overlooked price influence is the design of the rower itself. Often, highly stylized rowers that look futuristic or fit into a modern design will have higher price points. 

Best Budget Rowing Machine Overall Sole SR500 $749.99
Best Budget Rowing Machine for Home ProForm Pro750R $699
Best Budget All-In-One Rowing Machine Lit Method Strength Machine $1,499
Best Budget Rowing Machine for Small Spaces Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower $799.99
Best Budget Rowing Machine for Streaming ProForm Pro750R $699
Best Budget Water Rowing Machine Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine $499.98
Best Budget Magnetic Rowing Machine ProForm Pro750R $699
Best Budget Rowing Machine Under $300 Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine $249.99

That said, you can pick up a bargain rower for as little as $300 or spend up to $3,000 on an extremely high-end rower. The sweet spot for us (and this list) is right around the $1,000 mark — at this price, you’ll find a lot of high-quality rowers that offer some features but lack those that drive the price up high (like full-color LED displays). 

What to Consider Before Buying a Budget Rowing Machine

Even though the rowers on this list cost less than most on the market, any piece of gym equipment is going to be an investment. You’ll want to make all the proper considerations — like size, rower type, and features — before deciding which rower to purchase. 

Size and Foldability

Both size and folding capabilities are essential factors to consider when making your purchase. Many rowers with large displays take up a lot more space than rowers that just have a small, basic console. In addition, you can also save space by opting for a rower that folds in half (or at least has a console that folds down), so you can more easily store your equipment vertically. Be sure to measure your space and choose a rower that will accommodate that space adequately.

Type of Rower

You’ll find three main types of rowers across the market: water resistance rowers, magnetic resistance rowers, and air resistance rowers. Air and magnetic resistance rowers use a flywheel, but magnetic resistance is quieter than air resistance. Water resistance rowers use a tank of water to create resistance, but like air resistance rowers, water rowers tend to be louder.

Woman Rowing
Image via Shutterstock/ Microgen

Another perk of water rowers is that they provide more of an on-water feel than the other two types of resistance. Of course, it doesn’t feel exactly like you’re rowing down the Charles, but it’s probably as close as you’ll get on a rowing machine. 

The biggest thing to consider here is how quiet you want your machine. If you want the quietest machine on the market, you should opt for a magnetic resistance rower. If you’re going to be secluded in a garage and can afford to make some noise, you’ll have more options to choose from.


Finding budget rowers that offer great features wasn’t actually as difficult as we thought it would be. Plenty of rowers below $1,500 have large touchscreen displays, streaming options, and over 20 levels of resistance. However, these rowers typically come with larger consoles, which not everyone may need (or want) in their space. There are also plenty of budget rowers with basic controls and stat tracking that offer just what you need for a solid workout at home. Before deciding which rower to buy, consider which features — streaming, resistance, stat tracking, large display screen, etc. — you may want to support your fitness goals

Final Word

Even at a budget price point, purchasing a rowing machine for your home gym is still a huge investment. Finding a durable machine that can suit your fitness goals, and fit in your space properly is no small feat. With a variety of features available and three different types of resistance, you’ll want to be sure you know what you’re looking for when you hit the market.

Before you start your hunt, note the space you have, the money you’re willing to spend, the type of rower you want, and the number of features you need. Then, allow this list to act as your guide as you navigate the vast waters of the rowing machine market. 


Can I still find high-tech features on budget rowing machines?

Yes. There are plenty of rowing machines that are under $1,500 that offer touchscreen displays, streaming options, tablet holders, Bluetooth compatibility, and more. You may not find them on the very low end of the budget spectrum (around $500), but if you are willing to dish out around $1,000, the options are there.

What is the best budget rowing machine?

There’s a lot that goes into selecting the best budget rower for you, like your space, the type of resistance you prefer, and your budget. That said, we’re big fans of the Sole SR500. It provides a realistic feeling of rowing on the water and is comfortable to use, even during longer sessions. Plus, it comes with some nice features without going overboard and jacking up the price.

How much do budget rowing machines cost?

Budget rowing machines can range in price from around $300 on the low end for a basic unit to around $1,500 for a higher-end but still not a crazy expensive machine. If you want a balance of value and features, you can expect to spend between $600 and $800.

What kind of resistance on a budget rower is best?

This all depends on personal preference. No resistance is going to be better than the other. If you want something quiet, opt for magnetic resistance. If you don’t mind the noise, a water rower or air resistance will do just fine. However, if you want a rower that offers plenty of resistance levels, you’ll want to opt for a magnetic or air resistance rower as most water rowers do not offer a change in resistance.

Do budget rowers fold?

Some do. Many rowers will actually fold right in half for storage, while others just have an arm for the display or console that will fold down, so you can easily store the machine vertically in a corner.

What muscles do a budget rower work?

Unlike a treadmill or exercise bike, a budget rower works your whole body. The first part of the pull works your legs, the second part works your abs and lower back, and the third part works your biceps and upper back. Plus, holding on to the handle for long workouts will also work your forearms.

Is a budget rower good for weight loss?

Since it recruits such a large amount of muscle to do, rowing burns a lot of calories, compared to a treadmill or exercise bike, which primarily require your legs to move. In fact, an article published by Harvard Health showed that a 155-pound individual can burn around 252 calories during 30 minutes of rowing. (1)