Best Budget Rowing Machines for Home, Streaming, And More

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 finish (or last part 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 options, 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 find the best budget option to suit your fitness goals

Best Budget Rowing Machines

Best Budget Rowing Machine Overall

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you should have to skimp on features. Our top budget pick has streaming options, a touchscreen display, and 26 resistance levels.

NordicTrack RW700

The NordicTrack RW700 is equipped with a 14-inch rotating touchscreen display, and a free month of iFit — two features you won’t find in a lot of budget rowers. There are 26 levels of silent magnetic resistance, and the resistance will even change automatically with your instructor’s cues if you are taking an iFit class. You can also fold this rower up after you are done using it to save some space in your home, making it a pretty full package deal. It is worth noting that since the display on this rower is fairly large, it does take up a bit more space than a rower with a small, basic console would. 

NordicTrack RW700
NordicTrack RW700
NordicTrack RW700

This rower has a 14-inch rotating touchscreen display, and comes with a free month of iFit. There are 26 levels of silent magnetic resistance, which can change automatically with your instructor’s cues if you are taking an iFit class.

Who Should Buy The NordicTrack RW700

  • Rowers who like following along with virtual classes will like the free month of iFit here. 
  • Those who are trying to keep quiet at home should appreciate the silent magnetic resistance.
  • If you’re looking for a large touchscreen display, this machine is for you. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The NordicTrack RW700

  • Athletes who don’t need the high-tech features can find even less expensive rowers on the market. 
  • Customers who are concerned the display screen will take up too much space will want to look for a smaller console. 

If you need a quiet rower for your home gym, and love interactive technology and virtual classes, the NordicTrack RW700 is for you. 

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Home

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.

ProForm 750R

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. 

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.

Who Should Buy The ProForm 750R

  • Athletes who like the option to train virtually will appreciate the free month of iFit, and the tablet holder here. 
  • Rowers who are looking to save a little space in their home with a machine that doesn’t have a large touchscreen display. 
  • Anyone who wants a machine that can fold up for storage when it’s not in use. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The ProForm 750R

  • Fitness enthusiasts who want an interactive touchscreen display for their home workouts. 
  • Anyone who doesn’t need a tablet holder can find even smaller consoles out there for their home. 

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

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Small Spaces

Water rowers typically take up less space than magnetic or air resistance rowers as they are closer to the ground than other rowers. This pick is one of our favorite water rowers. 

CityRow Classic Rower

CityRow started as a fitness studio before they put their own rowing machine on the market. The CityRow Classic is the most basic rower they sell. It’s a water rower, which means the water tank lays virtually flat on the ground, saving a ton of vertical space. Plus, you can easily store it in a corner if you prop it up on its front wheels and fold down the console arm.

This arm, at the head of the rowing machine, provides a place for you to put your phone, which you can use to download the CityRow app. This app will allow you to follow along with virtual classes (like the ones they provide in-studio), and track your stats. However, you will have to pay $29 per month for a membership. 

CityRow Classic Rower
CityRow Classic Rower
CityRow Classic Rower

The CityRow classic is a compact water rower. It has an arm that can hold your mobile device at eye level, so you can stream classes off of their app. Plus, it has front wheels for easy portability. 

Who Should Buy The CityRow Classic Rower

  • Rowers who want something that stores easily, and saves space when you aren’t using it. 
  • If you’re looking for a basic build without any technological frills, this rower is for you. 
  • Those who prefer the feel of a water rower. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The CityRow Classic Rower

  • Anyone who doesn’t want to pay for the app subscription will want to look elsewhere, as even the “Just Row” feature is only accessible with the app. 
  • Rowers who need a quiet machine should steer clear of this water rower — magnetic resistance can provide a quieter stroke. 

As far as space-saving rowers go, the CityRow classic is a great option. It can store vertically in a tight corner, the device arm folds down, and the lie-flat water tank saves a ton of vertical space even when your machine is in use. 

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Streaming

This pick features a 14-inch rotating touchscreen display, so you can stream fitness classes both on and off the rower. 

NordicTrack RW700

You won’t always find high-tech streaming options with budget rowers, but this budget rower has almost all of the streaming features you would find in a much more expensive rower. For starters, this rower comes with a free month of iFit to kick off your virtual training journey. The NordicTrack RW700 has a 14-inch rotating touchscreen display, which means you can stream classes both on and off the rower — this is ideal since iFit also offers strengthyoga, and pilates classes to complement your rowing training. Plus, this machine offers 26 levels of silent magnetic resistance, and it can fold up for storage when not in use.

NordicTrack RW700
NordicTrack RW700
NordicTrack RW700

This rower has a 14-inch rotating touchscreen display, and comes with a free month of iFit. There are 26 levels of silent magnetic resistance, which can change automatically with your instructor’s cues if you are taking an iFit class.

Who Should Buy The NordicTrack RW700

  • Athletes who like to take virtual rowing and strength classes will like the iFit compatibility here. 
  • Rowers who want a large touchscreen display to use with their iFit classes. 
  • Anyone who wants a machine that comes with a free month of streaming to start. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The NordicTrack RW700

  • If you want a rower with a small display, you’ll want to look elsewhere. 
  • Athletes who prefer a water rower can find water rowers with streaming options on the market. 

While budget rowers typically limit the technological features, this rower offers a lot of the streaming options you’ll find on much more expensive rowers — like a large touchscreen display, and iFit compatibility. 

Best Budget Water Rowing Machine

This water rower is compact, and offers streaming options you won’t find on more basic water rowers, which is what makes it our top pick in this category. 

CityRow Classic Rower

Many water rowers offer the most basic of features — meaning a small console that shows you your split time and distance, and that’s about it. The CityRow Classic has an arm that can hold your mobile device at eye level, so you can stream classes off of their app. Since CityRow started as a fitness studio, their classes are similar to the classes you would take with them in-studio — though you do have to pay a membership fee to access them.

This rower is easy to store vertically, and has a set of front wheels to provide great mobility. However, it is worth noting that since it’s a water rower, it’s going to be louder than most of the other picks on this list. 

CityRow Classic Rower
CityRow Classic Rower
CityRow Classic Rower

The CityRow classic is a compact water rower. It has an arm that can hold your mobile device at eye level, so you can stream classes off of their app. Plus, it has front wheels for easy portability. 

Who Should Buy The CityRow Classic Rower

  • Rowers who are specifically looking for a water rower. 
  • Athletes who want to stream classes on their water rower will like the CityRow app that is compatible with this machine. 
  • Anyone who wants a basic rower, and doesn’t need any of the high-tech features you typically find on more expensive rowers. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The CityRow Classic Rower

  • If you want the quietest machine on the market, this water rower is not it. 
  • Athletes who don’t want to have to pay extra for the streaming service can find rowers with a “Just Row” feature they can access without a fee.

This is one of our favorite water rowers because it provides an in-studio feel — not only is it similar to the rowers you will find in-studio at CityRow, but it is also compatible with an app full of rowing classes just like the ones you would take in-person. 

Best Budget Magnetic Rowing Machine

The ProForm Pro R10 is fairly quiet thanks to its magnetic resistance, and it also offers great streaming options for those who like virtual training.

ProForm Pro R10

The ProForm Pro R10 has silent magnetic resistance, which means it’s one of the quietest options you’ll find. All you’ll hear is a soft whirr as you take a stroke, rather than the loud spin you typically find with air resistance or water rowing machines. The ProForm Pro R10 also comes with one month of iFit classes for free, which is a huge perk since you can take not only rowing classes, but also strength, yoga, pilates, and even running classes through iFit. This machine features a 10-inch touchscreen display and 24 levels of resistance that can change automatically with your instructor’s cues if you are streaming an iFit class. 

ProForm Pro R10
ProForm Pro R10
ProForm Pro R10

The ProForm Pro R10 has silent magnetic resistance, and it comes with one month of iFit classes for free. It also features a 10-inch touchscreen display, and has 24 levels of resistance. 

Who Should Buy The ProForm Pro R10

  • Users who want a quiet magnetic resistance rower to accommodate their early morning workouts. 
  • Athletes who want streaming options will like that this machine comes with a free month of iFit. 
  • Customers who like a large touchscreen display will appreciate the 10-inch display here. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The ProForm Pro R10

  • Though this machine is still a budget option, you can find cheaper options out there if you don’t mind not having the high-tech features you’ll find here. 
  • Rowers who want a water rower will want to look elsewhere. 

The ProForm Pro R10 is a great choice if you’re looking for quiet, magnetic resistance to use in a large household and/or early in the morning — this machine provides just about the quietest resistance you’ll find across the market. 

Best Budget Rowing Machine Under $300

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. 

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine offers eight levels of magnetic resistance, an LCD display, and transportation wheels for portability. 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. 

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.

Who Should Buy The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

  • Users who don’t want anything fancy, and are just looking for a good deal. 
  • Athletes who want a magnetic resistance rower, rather than a water rower or air resistance rower. 
  • If you’re looking for a machine that can fold up for easy storage, this rower is for you. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

  • If you’re looking for a rower that is compatible with a virtual streaming service, you’ll want to look elsewhere. 
  • Anyone who wants all the high-tech features they could need in a rower. 
  • If you’re looking for the most durable piece of equipment on the market, this isn’t it. While this is a pretty high-quality rower for the price point, if you spend a few hundred dollars more, you can probably get a rower that will last you much longer. 

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. 

What to Consider Before Buying a Budget Rower

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 important 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 properly.

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.

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 to a garage and can afford to make some noise, you’ll have more options to choose from.

Features

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

How We Decide the Best

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.

Price

As you may have guessed, the number one factor we considered when making this list was 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. 

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.

Features

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. 

Size

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.

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. 

FAQs

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 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.