Top 5 Best Rowing Machines under $500 – Review in 2021


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Do you love going to the gym, but you can’t find the time to go? Or is it just that you hate working out with other people? Whatever the excuse may be, these excuses end up hampering your health and your body shape.

So, we decided the best option would be to bring your gym at home. If you’re looking to improve your body, toning it to a shape that you’ve always aspired to be.

We recommend you have a look at the greatest rowing machines, helping you get the body you’ve always wanted right from home.

Who Should Buy This?

Making an investment this big isn’t a joke, and there’s no point in doing it if you’re going to discard it later on.

So, before you do make a purchase like this, make sure you fall into one of these categories.

Workout Fanatic

If you’re only starting out trying to get yourself in shape, we would not recommend you straight away going into purchasing a rowing machine. Rather, this is more suited for those who have an already established work out regime.

Those of you who’ve already worked out before, you know the drill and the dedication required. However, if you are just starting out, maybe consider joining a gym first, so that you can train under the supervision of those with experience.

Don’t Have the Time

If you love to take care of your body, however, are caught in the regime of office and family. You may want to consider getting yourself a machine that’ll allow you to get some me-time.

To be able to work out from home, you won’t have to drive all the way to your gym in the everyday traffic rush.

Thus, being able to do what you love from the comfort of your home, thus posing a great reason to go for the purchase.

Top 10 Rowing Machines under $500

Rowing Machines review

Purchasing a rowing machine isn’t as simple, plus considering this is an expensive investment, you don’t want to just buy anything.

To help you choose from the hundreds of choices that are available, we decided to pick out the 10 best.

These choices were made by keeping many factors in mind, and most importantly, the different needs that people have.

Stamina ATS Air Rower Rowing Machine

Stamina ATS Air Rower Rowing Machine

Stamina is a huge company in the home workout equipment industry, producing some of the best quality products.

This is why you might see quite a few of their models featured in this model. If you’re looking for an Air-powered rowing machine, this one is something we highly recommend.

For a good cardio workout, the airpower rower is a great tool to have at home. All you’ll have to do is pull; the harder you pull, the more resistance will be created, and vice versa.

There’s no need to set up required, or changing weights, making this air rower one of the more straightforward machines to have in hand.

The machine also comes with an LCD screen; this large monitor helps you keep track of your workout.

So, you’ll be able to keep a check on speed, distance, time and calories burned. Thus, you can set goals before you start your work out and try to attain them.

What’s great about this machine is that it is considerably durable, the rowing handles are attached to a Nylon strap, allowing you to use the device rigorously.

Plus, there’s the added durability that comes from the solid steel construction of the machine itself. So, the device should last you for quite some time without breaking down.

Additionally, the company has also put the user’s comfort into their account, by using padded seating and textured footplates that can be adjusted according to the user’s need.

Moreover, the machine has enough space, so users between the height of 4’9” and 6’4” can accommodate themselves quite comfortably within the machine.


  • Extremely simple to use
  • Durable and will survive for the long run
  • Dynamic Air Resistance system
  • Comfortable and Adjustable
  • Features an LCD screen


  • Complicated set-up process
  • Nylon strap for the rowing handles is not the best replacement for a chain

JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine

JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine

If you’re looking for a machine that doesn’t wake up the kids and lets you work out at night. Then this machine comes highly recommended to you, but it doesn’t end at just being quiet.

The device is also significantly effective, featuring high-quality mechanics that’ll help the Rower run without any issue for years to come.

Being a magnetic rower, allows the user to set the tension according to his or her requirement. Furthermore, being able to set your own tension makes sure that you have a more consistent workout, giving you quicker results.

Plus, to track your performance, the machine comes with an LCD to count calories, distance, speed, etc.

Whats gives this device an edge is its robust build-up; the inner flywheel that drives the row belt has been constructed out of aluminum.

Then you also have the sliding rail, which has also been made crafted using aluminum. Thus, this makes the machine extremely durable and lightweight.

The aluminum flywheel is also a big reason that allows the machine to be as quiet as it is. Additionally, the device uses a dual sensor system, ensuring the data that is displayed on the LCD is accurate.

The machine also includes a phone stand, you can hold up your iPad and stream a movie or a game on it as you work out.

Comfort is something the company seems to take seriously, which is why you’ll also be getting an ergonomic seat cushion — ensuring that you can get a longer and more productive workout, without cramping up your legs.

Moreover, the inside bend design of the handlebar further ensures comfort by providing a firmer and more comfortable grip.


  • Magnetic Rowing
  • Extremely Quiet Workout machine
  • LCD with dual sensors
  • Ergonomic seating and handlebar
  • Aluminum Build


  • Not meant for those with experience
  • Isn’t as dynamic as an Air Rower

Related Guide: Elliptical under 400 Dollars

MaxKare Rowing Machine Air Rower Rowing Machine

MaxKare Rowing Machine Air Rower Rowing Machine

If you’ve been working out for some time and have experience in this, then a basic rower won’t do you right.

This Air Rower has been set for more extreme workouts, as it starts out with higher resistance, a 6 on a regular rower.

So, as you build up your muscles and row harder, the amount of resistance increases too much higher figures.

Such high levels of resistance are possible due to the twin-belt system that is featured on these rowers. For the Rower to support such extreme tension rowing, the device is made of a rugged steel framing.

Plus, the machine also features a unique triangular design; this allows it to better distribute weight, making the Rower much more stable.

For the comfort of its users, the Rower further includes an ergonomic seating pad made out of PU. Thus, allowing you to better grip on to the seats when things get a bit sweaty.

The large footplate installed, allow an all size fit, plus they come with a non-skid gripping, making sure your workout time is used effectively.

What’s great about this machine is that it’s foldable, once you’re done using you can pack it up into a much small size factor.

The wheels and pulley installed onto the device further allow you to transport it back into some corner of the room.

Thus, you won’t be needing a designated place for working out, preferably a small corner in the storeroom will do.

Moreover, to help you keep track of your targets, the machines include an LCD monitor. This monitor keeps a record of the speed, distance, and calories lost, helping you achieve your daily goals.

And to make things more fun, the machine includes a phone/tab holder, allowing you to watch movies or tv while you workout.


  • Stable and Durable structure
  • Higher resistance than other machines
  • LCD monitor with phone stand
  • Foldable and compact design
  • Ergonomic and comfortable seating


  • Starts off at a much higher resistance
  • The shorter frame makes it an issue for people beyond 6’4”

Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower 1405 Rowing Machine

Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower 1405 Rowing Machine

The ATS 1405 is a newer model introduced by Stamina, with updated specs and a completely new design for more efficient usage.

However, the company has still kept effective air rower technology alive, that is with a twist. This time the machine doesn’t only serve rowing; instead, it’s designed to help get you a full-body workout.

With the new and improved design of the Rower, you can now use it to perform bicep curls, push-ups, tricep dips, split squats, and your regular rowing.

Thus, making a great machine to have at home, and more importantly, it makes this a value for money product.

The entire body is now foldable, this will allow you to store the machine more effectively. Plus, since it has wheels attached to the base, you can more easily move it around, so if you ever feel like working out in the garden, you won’t have any issues.

The workout doesn’t necessarily have to be uncomfortable either; the molded foam padded seats make sure you’re comfortable.

And large footplates with nylon straps tightly secure you in, helping you to perform optimally during your workout.

The handlebar further adds on to this, by helping you keep a firm grip, even when your hands get sweaty.

There’s also an LCD screen installed onto the device; this helps keep track of how you’re performing.

Thus, you can keep goals before you start working out, making sure you get that toned body sooner. The machine is a bit more expensive than the previous model, but it still is worth it.


  • Dynamic Air Resistance technology is used
  • Compact and foldable design
  • Padded seats and handlebar for better grip
  • LCD Performance monitor
  • The versatile machine allows full-body workout


  • A bit more pricey
  • Tension cannot be adjusted according to your requirements

Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower

Merax Magnetic Exercise Rower

If you choose to go for a magnetic rowing machine, then the Merax Rower easily comes out as one of the best products available.

This Rower features one of the most unique and minimalistic designs you’ll come across in the market.

Furthermore, it not only looks great aesthetically but quality and durability wise it also tops the list.The machine also works soundlessly; it’s designed for people with kids at home who prefer to workout while their kids sleep.

This is something that the company has achieved due to the 15-degree angle of the slider. And most importantly, their highly efficient magnetic flywheel, cutting out sound while also keeping the Rower smooth.

It’s a machine that is meant for all; for those looking for a cardio session, the 1-3 setting should do the trick. And for those who are seriously looking to improve on muscle mass, the resistance grade goes up to 8.

To better understand how you’re performing, the machine also includes an LCD monitor to keep you on track.

For more optimum performance, that’ll allow you to get into shape faster; you’ll need a machine that is stable when you workout.

And for this reason, the device includes an extra padded seat and multi-angle rotary footplates.
These help the user get a better grip of the device without compromising on comfort, giving you a good workout.

What’s great about the machine is that it is also compact, you can fold it down and leave it in a corner, stopping it from eating up space.

Its foldable design allows the machine to go from 73” width to 26” one, with a simple pull of the lever. The simplicity saves time and helps get you that effective and efficient workout.


  • Foldable and compact
  • Soundless
  • Unique and aesthetically pleasing design
  • Performance LCD monitor
  • Up-to 8 level resistance


  • Price is a bit high
  • Lacks phone/tab stand

Stamina 35-1402 ATS Air Rower

Stamina 35-1402 ATS Air Rower

This version of the ATS is much older than the previous ones we’ve reviewed; however, to this date, it still gets the job done just right.

If you’re looking to get a significant amount of value from a cheaper deal, then this is the way to go. The machine may be more affordable, but it still keeps to the vigorous quality standards.

It’s a great machine to purchase not only for a cardiovascular workout but also if you’re looking to develop some muscles.

The dynamic air resistance system allows the user to control the tension; harder you pull, the more resistance you’ll feel and vice versa.

For the machine to take the weight of its user and the tension generated, it needs to be built accordingly.

This is why the ATS 1402 feature a solid steel framing, which keeps the machine sturdy and stable. An aluminum seat rail further provides greater strength to the machine, while also allowing smoother sliding.For user comfort, the company has designed a soft padded seating and a textured handlebar.

The device also comes with textured footplates that include adjustable straps, to keep the user secured in one place. These help keep the user’s grip intact and allow for a more effective workout.

Additionally, since this is foldable design, it doesn’t take up much space at your home. And the wheels attached on the base further come to help allowing you to easily transport the machine.

You also get a basic LCD monitor; this enables you to keep track of your performance so that you can keep up with your goals.


  • Value for money product
  • Solid steel and aluminum build
  • Foldable design
  • Performance tracking monitor
  • Comfortable handle and seat


  • Older model
  • Can be a bit noisy

ShareVgo Smart Rower

ShareVgo Smart Rower

If you love hi-tech things that keep you up to date with technology, then you should give this machine a look.

At first look, it might seem like a regular rowing machine; however, the internals speaks for themselves — not only due to being hi-tech but also due to its amazing performance and durability.

What’s unique about this Rower is that you can connect the device directly with your phone using Bluetooth.

The app that comes with the machine allows you to track your performance, it keeps you updated on your goals how much you’ve covered and how far you still have to go.

Furthermore, the machine has also included sensors in its handlebar, a counter meter to calculate the number of rows you’ve done.

All these features help keep you in track and allow you to better adjust yourself, to be able to reach your body goals quicker.

The device further features a very sturdy design to incorporate almost anyone without issue. Plus, along with that, you’re also getting a very long rowing slide rail, thus making it an excellent purchase for the taller folk out there.

The machine also uses an 8-level magnetic resistance system, with a flywheel that minimizes sound.

Since the machine is designed to be folded, you’ll be able to save quite a lot of space and comfortably accommodate it in your house.

Additionally, for entertainment purposes, the machine comes with an iPad holder, allowing you to watch a movie as you workout. Thus, making working out, even more, exciting and fun.


  • Comfortable seating with abundant grip
  • Connectable to smartphones via Bluetooth
  • Extra-sensors included for better data collection
  • Long and sturdy sliding rail
  • The foldable design fits most households


  • Instructions for set-up aren’t included
  • Not the best footpads in the market

MaxKare Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine

MaxKare Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine

We’ve already reviewed the air rower machine from MaxKare, and even though that is a splendid product to have on hand, this magnetic Rower doesn’t fall behind.

Instead, it’s actually a better rower for those who are just getting into working out or have health conditions.

Unlike the air rower, this magnetic one allows users to adjust the resistance level on the device. These resistance levels range from 1-16 magnetic tension levels.

Thus, those that are physically unable to pull a high resistance band can start off at a lower level. Moving up to challenging levels as they keep building muscle strength.

The machine is also designed quite well, not only to be aesthetically pleasing but also to be extremely durable.

A steel framing and lower design, makes the machine much more sturdy, enough to handle the user and the tension that is generated. It also features a high tension rope, that can continuously operate without fail.

Additionally, you’ll also get a monitor with the machine, this will use a pair of sensors to collect data on your performance.

Giving you an idea about the distance you’ve covered, the speed you’re at, and the calories you’ve burnt.Thus, you’ll have a great way to keep track of your performance and accordingly adjust your goals.

Being foldable also comes as a humungous advantage, as it’ll save space when the machine is not in use.

Plus, since it has wheels on the base, you can keep the device stored safely in a storeroom, and pull it out only when needed.

Moreover, being an affordable product further adds to the advantages, giving you your money’s worth.


  • Affordable machine
  • Foldable and moveable design
  • 16-magnetic tension levels included
  • Convenient compartments for holdings water bottles
  • Durable and robust steel framing


  • Does not come with a phone/tab slot
  • Folding is a bit tricky

GYMAX Magnetic Rower

GYMAX Magnetic Rower

If you’re extremely low on space and in need of a rower that can be adjusted into what space is available, then the GYMAX is the best option.

Additionally, you can also fold up the device; once folded, it’ll take up the space that might be taken by a coat stand.

However, even though it’s small, the device manages to deliver as expected.
Since it smaller in size, it weighs quite less; this may be an advantage while moving it.

Posing a concern for stability, the company designed the machine from high-grade aluminum. This keeps machine durable and also stable so that while rowing at high tensions, it doesn’t wobble around.

The aluminum alloy rowing beam also makes it smoother and quieter for the seat to move along the pipe.

Making it a fantastic product for those who work out with kids in the house, you can row while the kids sleep, preventing disruptions. Additionally, having an 8-level tension system makes it an excellent addition for the beginners.

It’s a fantastic machine to have on hand if you’re looking for a cheap and effective way to get a full-body workout. Plus, the LCD attached to the front of the machine helps you keep a check on your progress.

You can set distance/time goals and accordingly work out to achieve them.
Furthermore, the U-shaped seat and non-slip handlebar, included with the machine, help improve the gripping.

There’s also the strap on footplates that come in the packaging. All these help maintain an optimum grip and control of the device, so your workouts can be as effective and efficient as possible.


  • Heavy Duty material is used
  • Takes up lower space than any other rower in the market
  • Smoother sliding bar
  • Performance monitor installed
  • High grip handles and seats


  • Noise reduction isn’t the best
  • Magnetic resistance levels only till 8

Bluefin Fitness Rower Machine

Bluefin Fitness Rower Machine

The Bluefin is a more sophisticated product for those who love to go out rowing but can’t. This device has been specially designed for them, ensuring that they get the most natural rowing experience available.

However, with that rowing experience, the machine also makes sure to complete its primary task, that is shaping their body.

For the user to achieve this natural rowing experience, the sliding belt has been adjusted at a 10-degree angle. This optimum angle is much more efficient to work out and helps give results at a much quicker rate.

Furthermore, being a smooth belt ensures the movement will be whisper-quiet, and far more stable.

Although just a natural movement isn’t enough if the results do not speak volumes, for this reason, the machine uses one of the most efficient flywheels that allows smooth movement.

With the added benefit of an 8-level magnetic resistance setting, allowing you to adjust what you’re looking to work on.

What makes the machine extremely special is its ability to connect to your smartphone. Even though the device includes a performance monitor, the performance app allows you to optimally use it.

You can adjust your goals and targets accordingly, helping you maintain a better workout regime.

This is also one of the quickest to fold machines available, it takes a simple lift and tilts to turn it from taking up 65” to only 29”.

Additionally, it also includes an ergonomic seat and handlebar, allowing you to workout longer and harder. Plus, the anti-slip pedals are a great addition to keep you on the machine when things get fast.


  • Can be connected to a smartphone application
  • Comes with a phone/tab holder
  • Quiet and smooth
  • Natural rowing experience
  • Complete body workout


  • Far more expensive
  • The shorter length of the belt drive makes it difficult for taller people to use

Important Features to Look for Before Buying

Considering this machine concerns your health, it would not be wise to purchase the product without understanding what you’re getting into.

To help you out we’ve made this brief buying guide, that should give you an understanding about what you want

Air or Magnetic Rower

Air or Magnetic Rower

Even though both rowers do basically the same job, they’re actually very different and help achieve different needs. An air rower is an excellent machine for cardio, as it uses the pull force of the user to determine the amount of resistance to be applied.

You can also help improve muscle mass; however, staying at a constant resistance level might prove difficult.

A factor that is handled by the magnetic rowers, these can be set on a specific resistance level. So, if you’re looking to just improve on muscle mass or maybe do some cardio, you can select a level accordingly.

However, this may lose the dynamics ability of the machine, causing a rise in braking.


The noise level generated by a rowing machine can be extremely high, so high your working out could become an annoyance on your family.

If you’re looking for a rower that produces less sound, our first choice would be you go for a magnetic one.

Since the air rowers will produce quite some noise, we recommend not to go for them, that is if the sound is a significant factor for you.

On the magnetic rowers, the noise reduction is only fully effective when the company uses a smooth flywheel.

Those made out of aluminum, will be lighter and run smoother, lowering noise generation.
You must also look for the sliding rail installed on these devices.

Make sure the sliding track included is made out of an aluminum alloy. Thus, the seat will move on the bar in smoother and quieter action.


If you’re looking for an air rower, then this factor doesn’t apply to you. For you, the resistance is more dynamic; harder pulls will increase resistance, while softer ones will keep resistance low.

On a magnetic rowing device, however, the resistance will be adjustable. You’ll be able to fix a level that you’re comfortable with.

When you’re buying a magnetic rower, if you’re a beginner, a resistance range of 1-8 should be sufficient.

However, some manufacturers go up to 16-levels, if you have experience and 8 just doesn’t cut it for you.

Then we would only recommend you to go for one that ranges over 8-levels of magnetic resistance.

Comfort and Gripping

When you’re buying a rowing machine, make sure you test it out beforehand. See if the seat provided is comfortable for you, and offers excellent back support.

To better understand which one to pick, check for a seat that is not only padded but designed in an ergonomic way using anti-slip material.

While you’re at it also check for the handles, it’s better if the handlebars have gripping designs embedded into them.

Plus, the handlebar should also be designed ergonomically with anti-sweat material.
These will ensure that even when things get really fast, you aren’t thrown off the machine.

Moreover, you’ll also be able to complete your workout more effectively and much quicker.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I row to lose weight?

If you’re looking to cut down weight, using the machine for 15-20mins every day should be sufficient.
A 15-minute workout could help you cut off 150-300 calories at a time, depending on how intense your workout routine is.

How long should I row to lose weight

Can I build muscles using a rowing machine?

Yes, the rowing machine is an all body work out machine, it involves using 85% of your muscles.
High-intensity workouts should help you strengthen these muscles and build their size.

Is rowing better than running?

If your main goal is to cut off weight and improve cardio, then the rowing machine should do you much better.
Because compared to a treadmill, this cuts weight much faster, while also developing muscles.

Will rowing affect your back?

Those with weaker muscles in their lower spine are recommended not to use the machine as it could develop lower back pain.
However, if the proper posture is kept and the appropriate seat used, then this shouldn’t be an issue.

Should I be rowing every day?

If you’ve just started working out, then we don’t recommend you rowing every day as your muscles are still stiff.
Workout thrice a week until you get a good grip on it. Once you do, you can increase the frequency, however, make sure to keep a day or two for rest.

Final Words

A rowing machine is a great way to build strength and to lose weight. However, like all other exercises, it must be done right to ensure you’re hitting the right muscles.

Plus, you don’t need a fancy expensive gym, all you need is the good rowing machine under $500, and you’ll be good to go.


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