Are you searching for the best rowing machines under $300? This article is for you. Choosing a beginner-friendly rowing machine can be overwhelming. There are dozens of options available.
The bad news, most of these highly-rated options are darn expensive. You may need to sell a kidney to acquire one. To make it worse, most of these cheap options are often either poorly made or ineffective. But I’ve got some exciting news for you. Finally, you can now enjoy rowing at home on a budget.
After scouring the internet and numerous gym equipment stores, we were able to find what we think are the 7 best rowing machines to buy on a budget.
Hopefully, by the end of this review, you’ll find something that you can add to your cart.
Let’s dive straight in!
Top 7 Rowing Machines Under $300
Read this in-depth review of the best budget rowing machines under $300.
First up is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF- RW5515 magnetic rowing machine. It is a cheap magnetic rowing machine that comes packed with everything you need for a complete cardiovascular workout, right at the comfort of your home gym. That’s why this machine is popular in its category.
Simply because it is a budget machine, you’d expect that not much consideration is put towards its effectiveness. On the contrary, this machine has several thoughtful features that make it ideal for both novices and intermediaries alike.
The SF – RW5515 rowing machine has an adjustable 8-level tension knob. Thus, with a simple twist of the knob, you can test out different difficulty levels to find out which one is the most ideal one for you.
And since it is a magnetic machine, it works quietly compared to hydraulic rowing machines. On top of that, the large digital monitor keeps you up to speed with your progress by displaying time, rows, and calories.
Are you searching for a portable machine that is easy to move around? Well, you’re in luck. The Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machine has built-in wheels making it easy to move from one place to another.
Assembling and disassembling is as well a breeze. And it packs down to a compact size that doesn’t take up much space. Another feature that makes the SF-RW5515 outshine the rest is anti-skid foot pedals. The pedals come in handy in ensuring that your feet are safe, even during a full-blown workout. There are also foot straps to ensure your feet are in their rightful places during your workout session.
Other useful features include comfy grip handlebars and an extra-long side rail, ideal for rowers of all sizes.
- Solid and sturdy
- Easy to use
- Easy assembly and disassembly
- Produces little noise
- Holds users weighing up to a maximum of 250 lbs.
- LCD monitor helps to track progress
- Built-in wheels for easy portability
- Long slide makes it ideal for use by a wide range of users
- The LCD could have been more detailed
- The handlebars could have been comfier
Coming in second is an equally great rowing machine. As a newcomer, released in 2019, this rowing machine has gained popularity pretty fast. It’s not only one of the best cheap rowing machines but its performance is as well great.
The MaxKare Rowing Machine is a fluid resistance rowing machine that is well designed with comfort and optimum efficiency in mind.
Its seat is large, soft, and comfortable. And the foot pedals are not only adjustable but have straps to ensure ultimate stability and comfort during workouts.
Measuring 51 inches, the rail is quite long and the machine can accommodate a maximum capacity of 220 lbs. The handles are long and padded for ultimate comfort regardless of your level of expertise.
You can adjust its resistance level manually to 15 whopping different levels either by either increasing or decreasing the amount of water in the water tank. However, always ensure the water level is below the 2/3 mark as recommended by the manufacturer.
The machine also has a large multi-window display that has all the crucial statistics you’d possibly need. Thus, there’s no need to scroll or change between screens. The LCD screen displays the time, strokes, distance, watts, pulse, and estimated calories burned.
The distance is displayed in meters and you’ll need a wireless HR chest strap (to be purchased separately) for the pulse reading. Though the display screen is quite detailed, it is not compatible with online fitness apps. It also doesn’t have any online connectivity.
On the bright side, this rowing machine has an iPad or phone holder. You can watch videos on your phone or iPad during your work out.
That’s not all. This rowing machine has transportation wheels that make transportation easier and more convenient.
And though it is not the most compact rowing machine out there, the MaxKare Rowing Machine is easy to fold and doesn’t take up too much space. This makes an ideal option for a beginner rowing machine.
- Made from high-quality steel
- Detailed multi-window display
- 15 manually adjustable difficulty levels
- Easy to assemble
- An iPad holder lets you enjoy videos on your phone during workout
- A little noisy (as expected with fluid resistance rowing machines)
- LCD could have been better
Without a doubt, Sunny Health & Fitness stands unbeaten in the manufacture of topnotch fitness equipment. Their equipment is practical, efficient, and extremely affordable. And the SF-RW1205 is no less.
If you are searching for a rowing machine under $100, this is a great machine to consider. It is extremely compact, lightweight, and has a total of 12 different adjustable levels of difficulty.
The resistance can be increased or decreased manually by simply turning a knob.
What’s more, the knob is strategically placed. You can change the levels at the “comfort” of your rower. With a single hydraulic piston, the SF-RW1205 provides relatively low resistance making it perfect for beginners.
The seat is padded. But let’s be honest: there is no single rower seat that feels comfortable after a long and intense workout. On the brighter side, this seat can be adjusted allowing for the most comfortable position.
One feature that we can’t possibly ignore is the lightweight of this machine. When fully assembled, this rower weighs just 20 lbs. Due to its weight, this rower is extremely portable. Plus, its compact size makes it a top choice among fitness enthusiasts with a small home or gym space.
Setting up this machine is as well a breeze. In just 4 easy steps, your rower will be assembled and ready to use. Plus, the machine is very quiet when in use. The only sound you’ll probably hear will is your heartbeat from the vigorous workout.
However, it is helpful to note that this rowing machine is only ideal for beginners. If you are an intermediate in rowing, the machine may not offer enough resistance for an intense workout.
- Simple and straightforward LCD monitor
- Made of high-quality steel for the price
- Padded seat and handle for better comfort
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to use
- Compact and ultra-light
- Could have been foldable for easier storage or transportation
- Tension knob gets hot when you’re using it
If you are searching for the best rowing machine under 200, the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is a great pick. This machine is designed to offer the closest experience possible to that of rowing a real boat.
Many who have used this machine report that it has a sturdy and well-made frame. Its arms are foldable for easy storage and transport. This makes it one of the most compact inexpensive hydraulic rowing machines.
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 has a basic performance meter. The monitor tracks time, calories, count, and total count. Being one of the most basic performance meters out there, it does not track speed, distance, or pulse.
On the bright side, the meter is extremely easy to operate. It only has one control button which you can press to select what you’d want to be displayed on the screen.
Alternatively, you can select the SCAN option which rotates through all the values. Each value will be displayed for 6 seconds before moving on to the next.
Assembling the Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 is also extremely easy. There is an instruction manual included in the pack that gives pretty straightforward guidelines.
The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 rowing machine is ideal for light to medium cardio training. And because it is easy to fold and takes up a very little footprint, this rowing machine is great for home use.
The quality and performance of this rower are well worth its price tag.
- Great design that simulates actual use of oars
- Foldable arms for easy storage and transportation
- Comfy padded hand grips
- Sturdy solid frame
- Easy to assemble
- Adjustable levels of resistance
- Footrests could have been better
- Losses resistance after intense use
- The seat has no cushion
Are you a workout enthusiast searching for an affordable yet reliable magnetic rowing machine to use at home? If that, the SF – RW5622, another contender from Sunny Health & Fitness, could be exactly what you are looking for.
Unlike most other options reviewed in this article, this rower features unique dual function plates. This allows you to either workout from the traditional position or in a stand-up. Thus, more muscles and other body parts such as the biceps, back, and shoulders are involved in the workout.
Not only does this rower help you shed off excess fat and burn extra calories, but it also promotes a strong cardiovascular.
To ensure your workout session is uninterrupted, Sunny Health & Fitness SF -RW5622 has a comfortable padded seat and anti-skid foot pedals. Handlebars are as well non-slip to ensure a firm grip when working out.
There is also a simple LCD screen that displays calorie count, time, distance, and other key statistics to show the progress of your workout session.
That’s not all. This rowing machine has transportation wheels to make moving from one place to another place effortless. This rower is easy to fold away and packs down into a small size that is easy to store away. This makes it perfect for use at home.
Resistance levels are as well adjustable to 8 different levels. A handy tension knob allows you to increase resistance as you get deeper into your workout for optimum results.
However, the resistance levels are not challenging enough for experts. Thus, this rowing machine is best suited for beginners.
The SF – RW5662 has a maximum weight rating of up to 275 lbs.
- LCD screen to show workout progress
- Anti-skid foot pedals
- Dual function plates allow versatility in workout positions
- Light and compact
- Quiet operation
- Padded seat for comfort
- Assembly instructions could have been clearer
Are you a bit skeptical to get a cheap rowing machine? Are you afraid that perhaps these budget machines are poorly made and will not serve you for long?
Although several cheap rowing machines won’t last you even for one year, there are a good number of other rowers that are not only durable but also give an impressive performance.
One such rowing machine is the MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine. It is feature-packed fitness equipment that gives great value for its price.
And although rated as an entry-level rower, the MaxKare Magnetic Rowing machine has twice as many resistance levels.
With 16 unique levels of resistance settings, you’ll have more flexibility during workouts. This wide range makes this rower top on the list of the most affordable magnetic rowing machines ideal for whole family use. It is perfect for children and adults alike.
A larger part of its body is made of steel tubing. Thus, the rower is solid and durable. Plus, the corrosion-resistant paint finish allows the rower to withstand corrosion and damage from exposure to moisture.
Its seat is padded and slightly contoured to ensure maximum comfort for its users. The footrests are made of nylon and are as well very durable. Plus, the pivoting design allows you a more comfortable foot position with each stroke.
In addition, the handlebar of this rower is short and straight. It has an anti-skid grip for a firm and comfortable hold. The rail is fairly large and the rowing machine can accommodate users with a maximum weight of up to 243 lbs.
Packing away your machine is also easy. It is foldable into a small size for easier storage and portability.
To keep you at top pace with your progress, this rower has a digital LCD that shows total time, estimated calories burned, stroke per minute, and the total strokes. On the downside, it doesn’t show your pulse or distance covered.
- Easy to assemble
- A whopping 16 resistance levels
- Solid and durable steel tubing construction
- Quiet resistance system
- Pivoting nylon footrests allow comfortable foot position with each stroke
- Includes a bottle holder
- Fitness meter doesn’t include distance and pulse reading
- Initially, it is a little difficult to change resistance settings
To wrap up our list of the best rowing machines under $300 is another great product from Sunny Health & Fitness. This is the only air/ magnetic rower that has made it to this list of budget rowers. If you are searching for an affordable dual resistance rower, this if a great choice.
As the name suggests, the Sunny Health & Fitness Air magnetic Rowing Machine Rower combines both magnetic and air resistance systems. This means you’re getting the benefits of both the magnetic and air rower in one machine.
And although these kinds of machines are rare and often quite expensive, Sunny Health & Fitness has introduced an affordable choice that is quickly becoming a favorite among many.
It is made with versatile non-slip foot pedals that can accommodate feet of all sizes. And the included straps help to attach your feet securely to the pedals for full concentration on your workout.
On top of that, there is a well-cushioned and padded seat that eliminates glute numbness common in cheaply made seats.
That’s not all. This rowing machine also features transportation wheels for easy movement. And, the rails on the machine collapses to a small size for easy storage.
There’s also a large digital monitor that lets you track the progress of your workout based on calories burned, distance, stroke count, time, and rpm. Plus, the scan feature lets you scroll the entire stats of your workout.
- Easy to fold
- Tablet holder
- Decent display
- Easy to use
- Dual resistance rower
- Footrests could have been pivoted
- A little noisy
Buyers Guide: Factors to Consider When Buying A Rowing Machine
A rower is relatively pricy equipment and it would be unfortunate to make a wrong purchase decision.
To prevent this from happening, we’ve compiled a comprehensive buyer’s guide just for you. We’ve explained in detail the things you need to have in mind when shopping for a rower.
By the end of this section, it will be easier to choose a rower that matches your exact fitness needs. Let’s get straight in.
A product with a very short warranty period often raises questions on the durability of the product. On average, budget rowing machines have a warranty period of up to 3 years of frame warranty and up to 90 days warranty for the parts.
Ease of Use
As a general rule of thumb, when buying any fitness equipment, always ensure that it is easy to use.
If the machine is graded for experts, for a beginner it will be useless. It will be too complex for your level and you may actually end up shoving it in the corner of your garage – total waste of money!
Ensure that the machine is easy to assemble and disassemble.
And if possible, go for a machine that you can assemble without requiring assistance from another person. You should be able to work out at your convenience without having to call out for help to assemble your rower.
The design of a rowing machine is probably one of the features that people ignore the most when shopping for a rowing machine.
Imagine this for a second: You have bought what you think is the perfect rowing machine for you only to find that it doesn’t fit in your home gym. Frustrating, right?
That only emphasizes the importance of looking at the design of a rowing machine before making a purchase decision.
To begin with, how much space do you have in your home?
On average, a rowing machine will need a space that is 8ft long and 2ft wide. Before you buy a rower, ensure you have space that is large enough to fit it when in use.
And if storage space is a challenge, a good idea would be to choose collapsible rowing machines. These will fold up to smaller sizes that don’t take up a lot of space footprint.
Another extremely crucial thing that you must look at is the material used to make the machine. The majority of cheap rowing machines under $200 have a frame made using aluminum or steel. These materials are light making the rowing machines easy to carry as well.
If you have a small home, go for a rower that is easy to carry around.
A good idea would be to choose a rower that has transport wheels and collapses into a small size that is easy to pack and carry.
These features will come in handy when you need to pack away and carry your rower from one room to another.
To reap the best from any workout, your comfort is key. When you are comfortable, it is easier for you to channel all your energy to work out.
Thus, choose a rowing machine that has padded and nicely cushioned seats. The handles too should have an anti-slip grip that is gentle on your hands.
Also, ensure that the footplates are fitted with comfortable straps to secure your feet during workouts.
A resistance system is undoubtedly the most important part of a rowing machine. They’re several types of resistance systems used in rowers.
Water rower resistance systems are common in high-end rowing machines. They are a favorite among experts for their dynamic response.
Following closely is another awesome rower that although it can be found below the $300 price tag range, is not quite common as a beginner level rower.
Most beginner and intermediate users consider air resistance as the perfect choice for their rowers. Most options are way above $300 mark. Thus, if you want an air rower resistance system, be ready to shell out a few more extra dollars.
Although air rowers are very effective in what they do, they are pricier and produce a little noise as the fan spins air. They may not be ideal for anyone who loves to row in a quiet environment.
The most common type of resistance system common in beginner rowing machines is the magnetic resistance system. These rowers are quiet. On top of that, you can select a resistance level simply by turning a tension knob on the rower.
Although magnetic resistance rowers work flawlessly and quietly, they are only ideal for entry-level users as they do not provide the realist rowing feel similar to that provided by air and water resistance systems.
Next, we’ll look at another resistance system common in beginner level rowers.
The hydraulic resistance system usually has a hydraulic cylinder connected to one or two handles. These are usually cheap, quiet, and often very compact. On the flipside, hydraulic resistance systems are often unreliable.
When it comes to rowers, a quiet performance doesn’t necessarily equate to high performance. however, if you will be working out in a commonplace with other people around, you might want to consider getting a noiseless machine.
On the other hand, if you are going to be using your rowing machine in your home gym, the noise level is a non-issue.
For more convenience and to make your workout session easier, manufacturers often include a few additional features. But the presence of these features obviously demands a higher cost compared to that of your basic entry-level rower.
LCD Monitor – allows you to track the progress of your workout. This screen will mostly display the count, calorie count, speed, duration of the workout, distance, pulse, and more.
Scan feature – cycles through your workout metrics with a delay duration of a few seconds to allow you handsfree monitoring of the progress of your workout.
Transportation wheels – built-in transportation wheels come in very handy when you need to transport or store away your rower after a workout session.
Tension knob – a tension wheel helps to adjust the resistance levels of your rowing machine to the preferred setting.
The Bottom Line
Now that we have introduced you to the best rowing machines under $300 you can confidently decide on a rowing machine that will help you achieve your fitness goals.
You want it to be one that is comfortable, portable, and easy to use. Also, make sure that your choice has all the additional features you would need in your ideal rowing machine.
If you are still unsure of what option will work for you, consider the Sunny Health & Fitness SF- RW5515 magnetic rowing machine. Not only is it affordable but it is as well portable, easy to use, and sturdy.
Happy hunting! I hope you’ve enjoyed our reviews of the very best rowing machines under $300.
# Do Rowing Machines Help with Weight Loss?
According to research, exercise alone cannot guarantee weight loss. You need to couple it up with a healthy diet. And for these to be effective you must be consistent and intentional.
But on the brighter side, rowing is, in fact, said to be one of the best workout exercises that help to lose weight. This is because it is a low impact full-body workout that involves numerous body muscles and According to Harvard Health in just 30 minutes you can burn 255 calories.
However, being a low impact doesn’t mean that it is ineffective. On average, 600 calories are burnt after an hour of rowing.
# Will Rowing Build Muscles?
Rowing is better classified as an endurance exercise than a bodybuilding routine. It mainly focuses on toning legs and core muscles. Thus, although it can eventually increase body muscle, it won’t be as effective as weight training gymnastics.