Rowing machines are a great investment in a home gym, as they are an all-around way to get the most out of what your body is capable of. That said, they can be extraordinarily expensive.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are numerous affordable options out there which do a fantastic job of keeping you fit, without having to fork out too many bucks. In this article, we’ll be looking at the best cheap rowing machine options to show you that keeping fit doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

 

Quick Product Roundup

 

What Is a Rowing Machine?

Rowing machines mimic the usual motion of rowing on water, but at home! But why would you choose a rowing machine?

Well, rowing machines engage almost every muscle in your body, including your core, arms, legs, shoulders, and glutes. They also activate your cardio, so your heart gets a great workout as well. What better way to challenge yourself than by getting an all-body workout on just one machine?

What to Look for in the Best Cheap Rowing Machine

Rowing

Any gym equipment is a big investment for your home. Let’s take a look at some of the most important elements of a rowing machine, so you can make the most informed decision.

Comfortable

Comfort is key. Yes, it may seem indulgent to think about comfort when purchasing workout equipment, but what better way to remain motivated than to have a comfortable piece of equipment? This will ensure a much easier journey to reach your goals as, by keeping your body uninjured and happy, you’re much more likely to stay focused to keep hitting your targets.

Display Monitor

Another great way to keep motivated is by seeing your progress right in front of you. Most monitors will display your time, distance, and calories burned and, this way, you can take note of your progress. This is a fantastic opportunity to maintain a positive mindset when you’re working out regularly.

Easily Moved and Stored

A lot of rowing machines have wheels, which means they can be moved from room to room. Some are also foldable, and others can be stored in an upright position. This means that you can work out when you want, and don’t have to worry about your machine taking up too much space when you’re not using it.

Quiet

A quiet machine is not only useful to ensure your neighbors and family members stay undisturbed, but it also helps with focus and motivation. Why?

Well, if the machine is quiet, you can play your favorite music or watch TV to keep you going. Or, if you’d rather remain in silence to keep your mind on the workout, you can!

Durable

Finally, it’s important that the machine you use is made with materials that will last. Yes, we’re looking at the best cheap rowing machines, so this may not be the most important factor on your list. That said, you don’t want a machine that’ll break straight away.

Steel frames are a great way to promote a sturdy workout, and the inner mechanism material is also important. With the constant motion of “rowing,” it can erode the inside, so anything made from nylon, or the like, will do the trick.

The Five Best Cheap Rowing Machines

The more you know, the more informed a decision you can make, so I’m going to break down my choices of the five best cheap rowing machines to help you.

 

Our Overview

The Merax magnetic exercise rower allows an all-around exercise with smooth and quiet motion. No need to upset your neighbors or family members!

This machine really aims to promote comfort, through not just padded seats and handlebars, but the rotary design. What’s that? Well, the foot pedals and seat rotate to a number of angles to fit your body’s movement.

The foldable, wheelable machinery means that this rower doesn’t have to be a burden or an eyesore. By folding it away, you can remove it from sight, using it only when necessary.

Also, the LCD display monitor scans through all your stats, including your distance, time, and calories burned. This will help keep your motivation up, as there’s nothing better than knowing how well you’re doing to keep you going.

The factor that really makes this machine great is the eight adjustable resistance levels. This allows you to challenge yourself daily, and the simple twist action to change this resistance makes it as easy as pie.

Pros:
  • Eight levels of resistance.
  • Foldable.
  • Quiet and smooth.
  • Built-in wheels.
  • LCD monitor.
  • Rotary mechanism.
  • Promotes comfort.
  • Durable and sturdy.
Cons:
  • Monitor display is small and not easy to read for some users.
Our Overview

Looking for a cheap, wheelable, quiet, and popular rowing machine that has it all? Well, the Sunny Health & Fitness magnetic rowing machine might just do it for you.

First on our list is comfort—check! With the non-slip, foam grip handlebars, and padded seat, there’s no need to be concerned about blisters or the like. You can rest assured that this machine will keep you motivated to row longer each time, without discomfort.

The non-slip foot pedals also help with this by keeping your feet firmly secured. This will not only help to avoid injury but will ensure you maintain your focus—there’s nothing worse than being distracted by slipping feet.

Want another option which provides numerous resistance levels? Well, the SF-RW5515 has just that, to keep your exercise routine varied and interesting.

What else? Well, the LCD monitor will further this motivation by keeping you in-the-know about your stats. With a scanning function, you’ll be able to see your time taken, distance rowed, calories burnt, and more, so you can keep track of your progress.

Pros:
  • Transportable, with wheels.
  • Large LCD scanning monitor, displaying your stats.
  • Ensures comfort.
  • Avoids distractions.
  • Eight resistance levels.
  • Quiet and smooth.
  • Steel frame.
  • Wheels.
Cons:
  • Doesn’t fold up, so cannot be as easily stored away.
  • No backlight on the display makes it hard to see in poor lighting.
Our Overview

This rowing machine may look a little different to what you’d expect, but it’s still a popular option, with a budget-friendly price. In fact, it’s got some pretty unique factors which really make it stand out from the crowd.

Firstly, instead of the usual pulling motion needed, this one has two bars to pull back and forth. This allows for a complete extension of your arms, just like actual rowing does, providing even more of an all-round workout than the usual rowing machine.

The 12 resistance levels further this all-around exercise, providing a tough workout for even the most experienced rower. Also, comfort is key, and this machine doesn’t lack here—the padded seat and hand-grips ensure this.

What really sets this one apart, though, is that it not only has an LCD scanning monitor, displaying the usual stats, but it has a digital device holder. This allows you to watch your favorite TV program, or even workout routines, to keep you going for longer.

Pros:
  • 12 resistance levels.
  • Mobile or tablet holder.
  • Sturdy steel frame.
  • 350-pound capacity.
  • Full arm motions.
  • Comfortable.
  • Displays stats.
Cons:
  • The cylinder becomes hot with vigorous rowing.
Our Overview

We’ve already seen an ideal Sunny Health and Fitness rowing machine, but this one also has a great track record. This model, though, has a mobile or tablet holder, which I think is a really great addition, providing an entertaining workout for you.

This particular machine is actually foldable which, as we have seen, provides the option of storage. Also, the oversized seating, which protects against sweat, enables almost anyone to use it.

What’s more, the eight levels of tension will keep your routine varied, and the pedals pivot to allow natural movement of the feet. Also, the LCD monitor displaying all your stats means you can keep track of your progress easily. This is a great way to remain focused and motivated to reach all your fitness goals.

Pros:
  • Foldable.
  • Display monitor with all the usual stats.
  • Eight tension levels.
  • Oversized seating for comfort.
  • Device holder.
  • Pivoting pedals to keep your angles moving naturally.
  • Sweat resistant seat.
Cons:
  • Doesn’t display the distance rowed.
Our Overview

Last but not least, we have the Efitment magnetic rowing machine, and this one certainly ticks the boxes in our list of requirements. In fact, it even promises a silent workout! That’s great for anyone with small children or fussy neighbors.

With a lower frame than the usual machine, and textured foot pads, this reduces the risk of injury. It also allows for comfort with its cushioned seating.

It has the usual LCD monitor, displaying all your stats to keep you motivated. However, the nylon cord within the machine sets it apart. It prevents damage, as the material is durable and thick.

Although it doesn’t fold, this is not a problem for the rowing machine. The compact design means it can actually be stored upright, so it doesn’t have to remain a permanent fixture in your living room.

Pros:
  • Very quiet.
  • Steel frame.
  • Easy to store upright.
  • LCD monitor displaying usual stats.
  • Plenty of room for leg extension.
  • Durable machinery.
Cons:
  • Moves easily on hardwood floors.
  • No instructions for inserting batteries on monitor.

 

My Choice

This one was a pretty tough decision to make, as all these machines have their respective benefits. That said, I have to say that my favorite machine of the five best cheap rowing machines is the Merax magnetic exercise rower.

It has the usual LCD monitor, which almost every rowing machine has. But being foldable and wheelable means it doesn’t have to stay in one place and it can be put away when needed. Also, with multiple resistance levels, you can challenge yourself further.

The excellent comfort levels make all the difference to your motivation. Most importantly, the rotating foot pedals mean you can get the most natural movement possible, so your body isn’t strained. This will allow you to remain focused on what you’re doing, helping you achieve all your fitness goals.

Also, the flywheel mechanism allows for a smooth and quiet ride, so you don’t have to worry about disturbing anyone nearby. It’ll also help to maintain your focus, as you’ll be able to hear your TV, music, or your thoughts much easier.

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Johnny Gallagher

Johnny Gallagher is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist.

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