The Best Budget Rowing Machine In 2021

The rowing machine is a magnificent piece of equipment that can help you stay fit.

Its multiple purposes include low-impact workouts, high-intensity sprint intervals, low-intensity endurance development, full-body strength training, core training, heart health, and posture control.

But do you want to buy one without having to break the bank?

Then you have come to the right place!

Because today I’ll show you the best budget rowing machine in 2021!

Contents

Quick Overview

If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, you can take a look at the best budget rowing machine here:

Quality

4/5

Price

5/5

Our Rating

4.5/5

Quality

4/5

Price

5/5

Our Rating

4.2/5

Quality

4/5

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4/5

Our Rating

4/5

Quality

4/5

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4/5

Our Rating

4/5

Quality

3.5/5

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4/5

Our Rating

3.5/5

Choosing The Best Rowing Machine

Which rowing machine is best for you depends on a number of factors, including your height, weight, the type of resistance you want, and the desired training options.

Below I’ll give you some tips to help you make the right choice!

Decide On The Resistance 

man sitting on rowing machine 2

A rowing machine with water resistance offers you an experience where both the sound and the feel are very close to the real thing (rowing). With water resistance, the resistance is supplied from the water tank. The more water you put in the tank and the harder you row, the harder your training will be.

When you opt for a rowing machine with air resistance, the resistance is determined by the force you exert on the device, just like on water. Rowing machines with air resistance make a relatively large amount of noise. That sound tells you exactly whether you are using the correct rowing technique.

Then you have rowing machines with magnetic resistance. With these, you determine the resistance with a single hand movement. If you want to make your workout more difficult, you’ll have to move the magnet located near the flywheel a tad closer to the wheel.

Rowing machines with elastic resistance are relatively simple. They often don’t have many training programs or resistance levels and are easy to use. Just enjoy rowing, with relatively little noise production during your training.

Pay Attention To Your Height And Weight

Your height and your weight are important when choosing a rowing machine. Not all devices are suitable for people heavier than a certain weight or longer than a specific height. In addition, it is important to look at the distance between the foot pedals and the seat.

For a smooth rowing motion, you must be able to fully extend your legs. That is why the distance between the foot pedals and the seat must be at least as long as the length of your legs.

Determine How Stable You Are While Rowing

Man sitting on a rowing machine

A rowing machine can have a single or a double rail system on which the seat moves. If you already know that you’re not that stable on these kinds of devices (or just value comfort a lot), a double rail system is recommended.

Choose The Right Training Options

With an ergometer function, you’ll be able to measure your efforts. It’s a device that tracks your work and lets you know if you’re reaching your goals. It also lets you compare your performances with friends 

Training programs help you work towards a personal goal. Do you want to train your stamina or do you want to cover a certain distance as quickly as possible? You can determine this yourself with the available training programs.

If a rowing machine has heart rate programs or can be connected to a heart rate belt, you can easily train in heart rate zones. This way you improve your fitness or you’ll be able to work on a weight loss goal more easily.

Can the rower be linked to an app? Then you can easily keep track of your training results on your smartphone or tablet. This way you have continuous insight on your progress.

Rowing Machine Benefits

It’s An Activity For Everyone

Have you just started exercising or are you a seasoned pro? It doesn’t really matter, after all, a rowing machine is suitable for every build and every physical condition. Man or woman, young or old, fit or aspiring to be, it can be a good solution for everyone!

The risk of injuries during training with a rowing machine is limited (however, training with a rowing machine is not recommended for people with conditions such as tendonitis).

You can adjust the strength and resistance according to the goals you have set for yourself. Do you want to build muscle, lose weight, get a toned body or do you just want to prepare for a swimming competition, for example? A rowing machine can be a perfect device for reaching your fitness goals!

Rowing Machine For Muscles

The rowing machine is a device that helps you train your entire body. You can improve your cardiovascular system as well as strengthen the muscles of your upper and lower body. 

It is important that you train your muscles to:

  • Improve your posture;
  • Reduce the risk of chronic joint pain;
  • Strengthen your bones;
  • and increase your basal metabolic rate (and thus your daily calorie consumption)

The beneficial effects of a rowing machine can be compared to those of competitive swimming. You train approximately 90% of your muscles during a session. That is a lot more than with sports such as cycling or running.

Your upper body, your abs, your lower body … they can’t escape! Because you don’t train with weights (something you do with strength training) you can strengthen and grow muscles without gaining extra mass.

You can Move Without Overloading Your Joints

Because you train in a sitting position and without weights, you can train your muscles and endurance without straining your joints. If you have problems with your knees, your hips or your ankles and you do not want to strain your joints, then a rowing machine is an excellent choice. 

Your joints won’t get any shocks (if you do it correctly 😉 ) which is why there is a very low risk of injury. But don’t panic, you will definitely notice that you that have worked out!

Rowing Can Help You Get Slimmer

Because you can work on both your endurance and your muscle strength with a rowing machine, it is an excellent device for getting slimmer. It combines cardio training to burn as many calories as possible, and a workout for your muscles to tone your body and increase your basal metabolic rate.

Basal metabolic rate refers to the number of calories your body needs to function at rest. The higher your basal metabolic rate, the more calories you need to function. So, slimming, cardio training and muscle strengthening actually go hand in hand. 

And you can do it all with a rowing machine! 

Rowing Can Help You Reduce Cellulite

You use a lot of energy during training with a rowing machine. Even more than during running, cycling or aqua gym (even double!). If you train at a certain intensity, a rowing machine helps with fat burning. 

After all, you train almost all the muscles in your body, so that you can tackle stubborn fat more efficiently and suppress cellulite. Because you train many muscles at the same time, you increase fat burning during and especially after exercise. That’s because your basal metabolic rate is higher (To achieve real results, a healthy diet is necessary, ofcourse). 

Rowing Machine Workout

Man flexing legs on rowing machine

Interval training on the rowing machine

Interval training on the rowing machine is recommended if you want to improve your fitness and increase your muscle strength. The training consists of periods in which you alternate very high intensity with very low intensity. The moments when you train at low intensity are your moments of rest.

Interval training for beginners

  • Start with a warm-up. Row at a leisurely pace for 5 minutes.
  • Start training. Row at a fast pace for 1 minute and continue by rowing at a very slow pace for 1 minute.
  • Hold the alternating fast and slow pace for 20 minutes.
  • Time for the cool-down! Row at a leisurely pace for 5 minutes.
  • If necessary, do stretching exercises or use a foam roller.

Increase interval training

When the workout becomes easy, it is time to make it a bit more difficult. Do this by implementing 1 of the following steps:

  • Increase the resistance of the rowing machine.
  • During the 1-minute fast pace rowing, try to train in one specific heart rate zone.
  • Try not to fall below a chosen wattage during this minute.
  • Extend your 1 minute of high-speed training to 2 minutes.

Endurance training on the rowing machine

You can work on your weight loss goal or improve your stamina with endurance training. You burn body fat, your stamina improves and you strengthen your heart muscle, which ensures better blood flow.

Endurance training on the rowing machine takes less time than, for example, on a treadmill or cross-trainer. This is because endurance training on the rowing machine is very intensive. During this workout, you row continuously at the same pace.

Endurance training beginners

  • Start with the warm-up. Use a foam roller or do some stretching exercises. Then start rowing at a leisurely pace for 5 minutes.
  • Start the workout. row for 10 minutes at a pace that keeps you going but is challenging.
  • After this, you row at a slow pace for 3 minutes.
  • Then row again for 10 minutes at the average pace. 
  • You end your workout with a cool-down. Row at a very slow pace for 5 minutes.
  • After your cool-down, do a few more stretching exercises or use a foam roller.

Increase endurance training

Is the above schedule very simple for you? Then you can make the training a bit heavier. Apply 1 of the following steps:

  • Increase the resistance of the rowing machine.
  • Extend your workout by rowing again for 3 minutes at a slow pace and 10 minutes at a moderate pace.
  • Train on wattage. Make sure to stay above a specific wattage during the 10 minutes.
  • Adjust your pace to your heart rate during the 10 minutes. Use heart rate zones that match your training goal.

What's The Best Affordable Rowing Machine In 2021?

We’ve searched high and low through many of the best cheap rowing machines and chosen five different models to compare. Have a look through all our pros and cons for each one to find your best value rowing machine.

#1 The best budget rowing machine

The 1000 plus from fitness reality is probably the best cheap rowing machine you can buy right now. 

Users were really impressed with the quality of the machine. It’s almost completely silent, very easy to assemble, and also very light and maneuverable so you can place it wherever you like.

Also, the 3.5 inch LCD display is easy to read and is actually linkable with an app so you can track your progress. 

The downside of this is that some users thought the tracing features were a bit underwhelming as the machine only tracks seat movement and not the movement of the belt or the resistance settings.

Other cons for this model are that the machine might be difficult to fold for some (you have to unscrew something and then remove a safety pin) and the footrest position might be a bit awkward depending on your height.

However, users agreed that considering the price, you actually get a lot of value for your money. So if you want a cheap rowing machine that gets the job done and can be linked to your smartphone, this model is probably the best option out there.

Quality

4/5

Price

5/5

Our Rating

4.5/5

Pro's

Cons

Specs

#2

Overall, users were very impressed with the price quality ratio of the Sunny health & fitness magnetic rowing machine.

It’s the cheapest rowing machine on this list, but it still scores pretty high on factors such as comfort, solidity, and ease of assembly.

People were happy to see that the rowing machine comes with a very comfortable seat that slides on the rail smoothly. 

People also said it’s relatively quiet for a rowing machine and it offers plenty of resistance settings.

Assembly only takes about 30 mins, and the rowing machine is light enough to carry it upstairs if needed.

The main thing that most users seemed to have a problem with was the LCD screen. The position of the screen was a bit awkward for some and the fact that it isn’t back-lit is a bit inconvenient.

Also, the info that is displayed on the screen was seen as redundant by some, and the footrest position could also have been better.

However, most users agreed that at this price point, it offers you a lot of value for your money. If you want a cheap but reliable rowing machine without any fancy bells and whistles, this model is a really great choice.

Quality

4/5

Price

5/5

Our Rating

4.2/5

Pro's

Cons

Specs

#3

Users were very impressed with the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 water rowing machine.

The price seemed to be the decisive factor for most users in buying this model, as it’s pretty cheap for a water rowing machine (although more expensive than the magnetic rowing machines).

People also praised its solid design, sturdiness, relative silence, easy assembly, maneuverability, and storage capabilities.

People were less enthusiastic about the position and rotation of the footrests. It’s therefore recommended to watch and adapt your posture to make sure you don’t develop bad form.

Logically, increasing and decreasing resistance takes more time as with other types of rowing machines as you need to increase or decrease the water level, this was seen as a con by some users.

Also, the screen isn’t backlit which might make it a bit harder to read at times.

But overall, users were very satisfied with their purchase. People agreed that (at this price point), it’s one of the best water rowing machines you can buy.

Quality

4/5

Price

4/5

Our Rating

4/5

Pro's

Cons

Specs

#4

The Maxkare water rowing machine exceeded the expectations of many users. Many people thought this rowing machine is very well built and provides excellent value for money.

In contrast to the other rowing machines on this list, the footrests are actually really sturdy. It’s also easy to assemble, it has a comfortable seat with smooth rowing strokes and it’s relatively quiet.

It is charecteristic of water rowing machines that changing the level of resistance takes a bit more effort than other models. This seemed to annoy some users. 

Some people also stated that the resistance is a bit underwhelming, even when filled to the max. They said that this rowing machine is better for stamina than for resistance.

Similar to other rowing machines at this price point, some users thought the display was a bit basic.

Nevertheless, users agreed that this model holds up pretty well against even more expensive water rowing machines. So if you want a cheap water rowing machine that is well built and lets you work on your stamina (and you don’t need a lot of resistance or fancy displays), than this might be a good choice for you. 

Quality

4/5

Price

4/5

Our Rating

4/5

Pro's

Cons

Specs

#5

Users praised the Joroto Magnetic rowing machine on it’s low noise production. People agreed that this is probably one of the most silent budget rowing machines you can buy.

People were also pleased with the fact that it’s very easy to assemble, it’s very smooth in operation and it’s very compact in size and therefore easy to store.

However, a lot of users were a bit disappointed with the quality of the display, it’s a bit basic and it doesn’t show a lot of information.

Also, the flywheel is exposed which is something that annoyed some pet owners. 

With regards to comfort, the seat and handlebar could use a bit more cushioning according to some users.

However, all in all, this budget rowing machine is a very good choice if you value durability and silence above all kinds of fancy features. 

Quality

3.5/5

Price

4/5

Our Rating

3.5/5

Pro's

Cons

Specs

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