Top 5 Best Rowing Machines Under $300 – Buyer’s Guide


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Rowing is a wonderful sport that trains a lot of muscles in your body. It not only improves your core strength but can help you lose body weight and tone your muscle. But not everyone can find the time to go out to a river and practice rowing every day.

That is where a rowing machine can come in handy. It is an excellent tool for any home gym, which helps you gain all the benefits of rowing in an open lake.

And the best part is, with a small budget of only three hundred dollars, you can grab yourself decent quality equipment.

That is why you need a clear knowledge about this machine before you can make an informed decision. In this article, we will give you a thorough rundown of everything you need to know when you are looking to buy a good rowing machine under $300.

But before you can just go out and buy it, you need to understand which products are worth your money.

There are many different models with different designs available in the market, but not all of them might be suitable for your requirements.

Top 5 Rowing Machine under $300 Review in 2021

Shopping in a tight budget is never easy as you cannot afford to make any mistakes. If you want to get the most value per dollar, you need to check the ins and outs of the unit that you are planning to buy. The process can get quite hectic and frustrating, especially if you are a complete beginner.

In the following section of this article, we will try to relieve some of the pressure by giving you our picks for the top five rowing machines under $300 that give you excellent performance for the price.

MaxKare Rowing Machine

MaxKare Rowing Machine

We are going to start things off with a unit that is meant for heavy-duty users. This rowing machine by the brand MaxKare is perfect for people who have some experience rowing.

If you thought you could not find a power rower at this budget, then this unit will surely change your mind.

The resistance of this unit is a bit higher than what you find in other units, thanks to the twin drive belt system that it uses.

This extra resistance might be a good or a bad thing, depending on the user. A beginner might struggle to use it at first, but it does add a bit more challenge to your workout routine, which is excellent.

Another excellent feature of the unit is its ergonomic design and excellent build quality. It comes with a strong and sturdy steel frame with a weight capacity of 264 pounds, which should be enough for most users.

In addition, you get thick padding on the seat, ensuring you will not suffer from any additional fatigue while working out.

Furthermore, the unit features a large digital monitor that provides you with real-time data about your calories, count, scan, distance, etc.

to help set your goals easily. It also features an iPad holder to play some music while you are working out. When you are done with your exercise, you can simply fold it up and store it easily.

Highlighted Features

  • Air resistance rowing machine
  • Weight capacity of 264 pounds
  • Comes with large digital display and iPad holder
  • Durable steel frame

Latest Guide: Best Rowing Machines under $500

Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine

Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine

Here, we will be looking at a magnetic rowing machine from the brand Merax. The best thing about this design is how quiet it operates, making it perfect for people to build a home gym. Despite its excellent features, this unit is surprisingly affordable, earning its place rightfully on our list.

The unit comes with eight levels of resistance that you can adjust using the tension knob conveniently located at the front.

The range is decent and allows both beginners and heavy workout enthusiasts to get a lot of flexibility out of it. You can go from relatively smooth to challenging resistances by simply twisting the knob.

The frame of the unit is made of alloy steel, ensuring a durable and strong performance. It comes with thick padding on the seat and has a maximum weight capacity of 264 pounds.

The seat you get with the unit comes with extra padding and ensures you have proper blood flow whenever you are working out.

The unit also features a display screen just above the tension knob. Although the screen is a bit smaller than we would like, it shows all the necessary information accurately.

It also features built-in wheels with the frame and can be folded up when you want to put it away after finishing your exercise.

Highlighted Features

  • Magnetic resistance rowing machine
  • Weight capacity of 264 pounds
  • Eight levels of adjustable resistance
  • Foldable and comes with transport wheels

ShareVgo Smart Rower Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

ShareVgo Smart Rower Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

This product on our list is from the brand ShareVgo. Yes, this one is another magnetic rowing machine, but it comes with some interesting features like app connectivity that gives you a little extra value for what you spend. For people who want a modern magnetic rower, this is an excellent investment.

The unit comes with eight levels of magnetic resistance that allows you to direct exactly how intense of a workout session you want.

In addition, the ShareVgo app that you can pair with the unit allows you to set different challenges and goals to bring further uniqueness to your exercise.

Durability-wise, you get a strong and sturdy steel construction. The flywheel is housed in the large compartment near the front of the unit.

One gripe that people often have with the unit is that the footrest can be quite squeaky right out of the box. But the best part with it is its massive weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The unit also features an onboard LCD screen if you do not want to pair it with your smartphone.

It will track your weight, distance level, calories burned, and all the other necessary information you might want to monitor.

The unit requires two AAA batteries to function and comes with a foldable design for easier storage.

Highlighted Features

  • Magnetic resistance rowing machine
  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds
  • Eight levels of adjustable resistance
  • Can be used with the ShareVgo app for additional features

Related Guide: Best Home Gym under $1000

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5624 Full Motion Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5624 Full Motion Magnetic Rowing Machine

If you prefer the feel of a magnetic rowing machine, another excellent unit that you should consider is the Full Motion SF-RW5624 by the brand Sunny Health & Fitness.

It comes at a smaller form-factor, which makes it perfect for people who do not have a lot of room to work with.

The unit boasts an adjustable resistance of eight levels that you can control with a handy tension knob at the front.

By turning the knob, you can instantly switch to higher or lower resistance easily. Its no-fuss design ensures that you will have a minimal distraction while training.

This unit comes with a strong and durable construction with the magnetic flywheel sitting right under the display screen.

Due to the compact nature of the flywheel, the overall size of the unit is quite small. It has a weight capacity of 300 pounds and comes with a comfortable seat with thick padded grips.

The digital display you get with the unit displays information such as time, count, calories, etc., to give you accurate data as you proceed with your workout.

Also, the side rail length of the unit is 37 inches that let you get the full motion of your rowing. Overall, it is a straightforward machine for people who want a simple and efficient workout tool.

Highlighted Features

  • Magnetic resistance rowing machine
  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds
  • Eight levels of adjustable resistance
  • Simple and straightforward design

Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine

Although hydraulic rowing machines are not as popular as magnetic or air units, they have their place in the industry.

And looking at the hydraulic unit by the brand Lanos, you will not have any reason to doubt the performance of a high-quality hydraulic rower.

Its price to performance ratio is way too good to pass up without serious consideration. The unit comes with an adjustable tension knob, which is conveniently located at the front – allowing you to manually select the resistance level on the fly.

With the comfortable padded handle that comes up from both sides, you can exercise for long hours without any additional strain or fatigue slowing you down.

It features a strong alloy steel construction and has a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds. So, you can be sure that the unit will not require replacing anytime soon.

In addition, it comes with a comfortable seat with thick padding that ensures you have proper blood flow throughout your body when you are working out.

To track your workout progress, the unit comes with an easy to read LCD display. It shows all your relevant workout data, such as calories burnt, distance traveled, etc.

As an added cherry on top, this unit only requires one AAA battery to run, which means you do not need to worry about too much upkeep cost.

Highlighted Features

  • Hydraulic resistance rowing machine
  • Weight capacity of 250 pounds
  • Small and compact design
  • Durable alloy steel construction

Things to Look for When Buying the Rowing Machines

Now that you have gone through our list of products, you should have a decent idea about which units are the best contenders when you are shopping on a budget.

When making this list, we took a lot of different factors in our considerations. If you want to understand what makes a good rower, these are the aspects that you need to understand.

Since you are on a tight budget, you need to be smart about where you place your money. To that end, here are a few things that you need to consider when you are buying rowing machines under $300.

Resistance Type

The first and most important aspect of a rowing machine is its resistance. By resistance, we mean the opposing force that comes from the machine when you are rowing it. Your entire experience with the device depends on how well it delivers the resistance.

There are four types of resistance mechanisms that are available in a rowing machine – air, magnetic, hydraulic, and water.

You need to understand how each of them works, their benefits, and the setbacks to understand which one will give you the best performance.

Air Resistance

The first variant that we are looking at is the air resistance rowing machines. This type of machine uses a flywheel located at the front or rear of the unit to generate the resisting force. The best thing about this design is that it is quite affordable. If you are on a very tight budget, air resistance units can be a good choice.

Magnetic Resistance

These rowers are more popular due to the fact that they are quiet and extremely efficient at generating resistance.

Instead of using a flywheel, this machine uses magnets. Price-wise it is quite budget-friendly. For people looking to build a home gym, the low-noise feature of this unit makes it a prime candidate.

Hydraulic Resistance

Hydraulic rowing machines offer a low-cost entry point to complete beginners, but for any fitness buff, it might not be the best choice.

This type of machine comes with pistons that generate the opposing resistance. However, if you have the budget to go for air or magnetic rower, it would offer better value compared to hydraulic units.

Water Resistance

Finally, for people who are serious about rowing and want the exact experience, water-resistance machines are the way to go.

It comes with a water tank where it stores the water to generate its resistance. These units tend to be quiet expensive but can replicate the feeling of rowing in real life.

With a practical budget of $300, you are unlikely to find any water resistance machines. Your best way to go would be a magnetic resistance rowing machine because of the utility it provides.

However, there are also some decent hydraulic models you could look into that might give you a good value, especially if you are a beginner.

Resistance Level

Now that you know the different types of resistance mechanisms you have available, you also need to know about the resistance levels that you get with it.

The available resistance levels can vary from one unit to another. But it is crucial for you to give it some thought as your entire workout experience depends on it.

As a rule of thumb, the more options you have, the better of a performance it will deliver. With more adjustability options, you will be able to experiment with your workout routine and find one that suits you perfectly.

Regardless of which resistance design you choose, make sure it comes with different levels of resistance for you to work with.

Rail Length

When picking out your rowing machine, also remember to check the length of the rail. This is an essential factor to consider, especially if you are on the taller side.

Generally, if you are taller than 6 feet, you should go with a unit that has at least 45 inches of rail length.

With shorter rails, you will not be able to extend your arms and, in turn, feel congested when using it. Even with shorter people, longer rail offers a lot of benefits.

The longer the rail, the more space for the motion you have available that would ensure you get the full effect of your workout.

Seating Options and Weight Capacity

Seating Options and Weight Capacity

One thing that most buyers tend to overlook when choosing a rowing machine on a budget is the seating arrangements.

Just because you are on a budget does not mean you have to settle for an uncomfortable machine. If you are not fully relaxed when you are working out, you will not have a pleasant session.

Make sure your body is proportionate to the rower that you are buying and the seat you get with the machine is comfy.

It should feature comfortable padding that’s thick enough to endure your body weight for longer periods.

If it cannot handle your total body weight, you will have a lot of concerns in your mind about its durability.

Storage Options

If you are building a home gym, space can always be a big issue. Not everyone can afford to keep a bulky rowing machine in the middle of the room.

In that case, you should look into units that come with a smaller form-factor. There are still foldable machines available in the market that can be of use in these situations.

The good news is that when you are shopping in the $300 price range, you can find plenty of magnetic or hydraulic units with the foldable feature.

In addition, you could look into some models that feature transport wheels, as it would help you move it around when you want to store it away.

Display Options

The last critical element you want to check when buying your rowing machine is its display capabilities.

All of the units that we featured in our review comes with LCD displays that allow you to monitor your workout data.

You can monitor elements such as stroke rate, calories burnt, distance travel, etc. quite easily from the screen.

Some models even allow you to set specific goals that can help drastically in your workout routine.

Having constant feedback on your progress definitely helps when you are trying to reach a specific point.

Heart rate monitoring is another excellent tracking feature that comes with some excellent rowing machines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth buying a rowing machine if I have a treadmill?

A treadmill and a rowing machine are two entirely different gym equipment that focuses on different body parts and growth.

If you want to train muscles in the leg area like calves, hamstrings, etc. then a treadmill is the better choice.

However, if you want to train your core muscles in the middle section of your body, you need to buy a rowing machine. Although both tools are excellent for cardio, they impact different parts of the body.

Will a rowing machine help develop body muscle?

Yes, it will. Rowing is a full-body workout that affects the chest, abdomen, and shoulder region.

Regularly working out on a rowing machine will develop muscles in all these regions along with improving your stamina.

What type of rowing machine is best in a budget?

When you are on a budget, you need to be careful about the type of rowing machine you choose.

We have already discussed the four types of resistance in our buying guide section. Apart from water resistance units, you should be able to afford the other variants quite easily.

However, getting a magnetic rowing machine might give you a better value in the long run.

They offer a lot of benefits such as quiet operation and flexible resistance adjustments, which can really come in handy for a home gym.

Even as a beginner, a magnetic rowing machine will give you the best value.

How long should I train in a rowing machine?

Your workout duration depends on what results you are hoping to get from it. For instance, if you are trying to lose weight, you should train for an hour every other day at a medium speed.

For gaining muscle, thirty minutes of workout each day at high speed will give you quicker results.

Final Thoughts

With a rowing machine, you can keep yourself fit and your core strengths up without having to hit the gym every day. Whenever you find free time, you can train yourself without leaving the comfort of your home.

Our list of the rowing machine under $300 should give you a lot of options when you are stuck with a low budget.


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