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BodyReviews

What’s The Best Rowing Machine Under $500? We Have 5 Recommendations

Best Rowing Machine Under $500 At A Glance

Best Compact Rowing Machine

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

The Stamina BodyTrac Glider has full-motion rowing arms that mimic rowing in the water and its hydraulic resistance can be easily adjusted using the hydraulic cylinder. Other key features include an easy-to-use LCD monitor that displays your workout time, stroke count, and calories burned.

Best Foldable Rowing Machine

Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine

This is the most visually appealing hydraulic rower we’ve seen so far. It has a manual control knob allowing you to customize resistance to meet your needs and you can store this anywhere in the house without taking up too much space.

Best Rowing Machine Under $300

Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

This rower features a digital monitor scan that can track your workout and it also comes with 16 adjustable resistance levels, a built-in bottle/device holder, and transportation wheels. It also has ergonomically designed pedals and ample seating.

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine Under $500

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower

This is the most advanced rower we’ve seen for this price point. It’s equipped with Bluetooth and comes with the free mycloud fitness app for iOs and Android. It also has a large LCD, 14 magnetic tension resistance, and front pads that allow you to do additional exercises.

Best Water Rowing Machine Under $500

Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge

This rower has hydro blades designed to withstand vigorous rowing strokes while maintaining multiple levels of water resistance. It also includes an R2 fitness meter that is compatible with ANT+ heart rate technology, allowing you to accurately measure your pulse and track the effectiveness of your workout.

These days, achieving your dream body is much easier than you might think as there are numerous tools available to help you reach your fitness goals. Gone are the days when your workout options were limited to going for a run or hitting the weights. Now, there is a vast array of machines for every possible workout, and the best part is that you can use many of these machines at home. 

When it comes to workout machines, one particular piece of equipment has become increasingly popular – the rowing machine. Rowing machines are designed to simulate the actions of rowing a boat through the water. They incorporate and develop the muscles in the upper back, rhomboid, and posterior deltoids, but also rely on core and lower body strength as well.

Should you add a rowing machine to your home workout routine? Let’s find out. 

Using A Rowing Machine For Weight Loss

While most exercise machines work only certain parts of your body, rowing machines come the closest to providing a full-body workout that can maximize weight loss. 

According to the American Council on Exercise, rowing is an excellent way to lose weight while conditioning and strengthening your arms, shoulders, legs, back, and cardiovascular system. 

A pilot study reported that there were changes in BMI among obese individuals that performed moderate-to-high-intensity indoor rowing exercises three times a week. 

It can also help improve posture and rehabilitation of individuals with spinal cord injury

Let’s compare rowing machines to other workout equipment to see if they truly provide more bang for your buck.

Rowing Machine Vs. Treadmill

Rowing machines provide a full-body workout, whereas treadmills are designed to strengthen lower-body muscles, such as the glutes, hamstrings, and calves, but do not work upper-body muscles directly. 

Although rowing machines can be used for highly intense workouts, they are low-impact in nature, making them ideal for overweight people who may experience joint strain from weight-bearing activities, such as walking or running on a treadmill. 

Some treadmills fold up for easy storage but given their weight, you won’t be able to move them around the house as easily. Rowing machines are the same length as treadmills but tend to be narrower and some can even be folded up when not in use, making them much easier to move around and reassemble.

Rowing Machine Vs. Elliptical

The elliptical machine outperforms the rowing machine when it comes to ease of use. The elliptical is your best bet if you have osteoporosis because it is a light, weight-bearing activity. 

Learning how to use a rowing machine correctly requires some instruction from a certified trainer for you to complete exercises correctly. This is because the bar you pull is not fixed in place and can move up, down, and side to side, so you need to use proper technique in order to avoid injury.

However, once you’ve mastered the proper technique, the amount of calories burned in an hour-long session is greater than that of an elliptical.

Both of these machines can burn calories, but they train different parts of the body. If you need a good arm and back workout that also trains your lower body, the rowing machine is the best option. On the other hand, if you need a more gentle form of exercise, an elliptical trainer might be a better option.

Rowing Machine Vs. Bike

Rowing machines and stationary bikes have one thing in common: they’re both excellent aerobic fitness machines. They offer non-weight-bearing, low-impact cardiovascular workouts that burn calories and aid in muscle building. 

However, according to one study, using concentric-only hydraulic-based high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise for 30 minutes increased caloric expenditure, heart rate (HR), and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) compared to running, biking, or lifting weights. 

With that said, rowing machines are the overall best choice. However, if you have back problems, a smart bike is a better option because rowing machine workouts, while low-impact, can still be taxing on your joints.

How Long Should You Use A Rowing Machine?

Everyone has different fitness goals and time frames for achieving their target. However, the most important aspect of losing weight is consistency.

Most people who are trying to lose weight should aim for at least 30 minutes per day on a rower at a frequency of four to six times per week, or more. Some people do high-intensity workouts for 15 minutes every day instead which can be just as or even more effective for weight loss.

What To Look For When Buying A Rowing Machine

When buying a rowing machine, you may consider the following factors:

  • Resistance: Rowing machines have different resistance methods: hydraulic, air or flywheel, magnetic resistance, and water rowers. Some athletes may prefer water-based resistance models to simulate water rowing, while others prefer hydraulic rowers for their portability.
  • Size: Rowers are typically long and take up a lot of floor space, so if you live in a smaller area, you may want to consider a more compact model.
  • Price: Rowing machines vary in price depending on the brand, size, resistance method, and additional features. Low-cost models typically have fewer features.
  • Fitness Goals: Some people prefer rowers with built-in programs and displays to help them stay motivated in reaching their fitness goals.

Our Review Of The Best Rowing Machines Under $500

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

Best Compact Rowing Machine

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

The Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 is the best compact rowing machine you can buy at this price point. The brand has been tried and tested for many years, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking down after a month of use.

We like this machine because it has full-motion rowing arms that mimic rowing in the water. Its hydraulic resistance can also be easily adjusted using the hydraulic cylinder. It also has an easy-to-use LCD monitor that displays your workout time, stroke count, and calories burned. 

This machine also has foldable arms allowing portable storage, which is not possible with bulky rowers. Finally, it is supported by müüv, an intelligent audio coaching app. 


Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine

Best Foldable Rowing Machine

Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine

The Lanos Hydraulic Rowing Machine is by far the most attractive rowing machine we’ve ever seen. The color combination of red and black is very appealing, making you want to use it frequently. Aside from its appearance, we were impressed by the rower’s quality and strength. It’s also durable and made of high-quality metal. 

Many rowers can be folded, so what makes this rowing machine the best foldable rowing machine? In addition to the features I mentioned above, it doesn’t take up much space, making it ideal for setting up anywhere in the house.

It’s also light enough to be moved by lifting or sliding and is suitable for use by people in the following range of height: 4’2″ to 6’7″. 


Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

Best Rowing Machine Under $300

Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine

Our top pick for rowing machines under $300 is the Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine. That’s because it’s difficult to find a rower with so many features that don’t sacrifice performance at this price point.

This rower features a digital monitor scan to track your workout, 16 adjustable resistance levels, a built-in bottle/device holder, and transportation wheels. It also has ergonomically designed pedals and oversized seating- just the ideal features for a rower.

Another advantage of this rower is that it works well quietly. It’s also very light and simple to assemble. This can pass as the best compact rower, but it lacks Bluetooth and cannot be connected to smart audio coaching apps.


Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine Under $500

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower

If you’re tech-savvy and religiously follow a workout routine, this is the best rower you can buy at this price point. It promotes a vigorous workout for fitness enthusiasts of all levels.

It has Bluetooth and comes with the free mycloud fitness app for iOS and Android, which allows you to track your workout results. It has a phone or bottle holder, a large LCD that shows your total calories burned, rowing count, and more, in addition to Bluetooth connectivity. Users can choose from 14 different magnetic tension resistance.

Aside from the digital features, we loved the stabilizer front pads that allow you to do additional exercises like curls, upright rows, triceps extensions, and more. This will also pass as the best compact rowing machine, but we believe it’s still bulky when folded and stored.

However, if you don’t mind its bulkiness and unappealing look, then this rower is the best magnetic rower available at this price point.


Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge

Best Water Rowing Machine Under $500

Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge

Water rowers are ideal if you want a rower that is pleasing to the eyes and ears. The Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine is the best budget-friendly water rowing machine for us.

The water tub is large enough to provide significant resistance while not being too bulky to be in the way. The sound it makes is soothing and adds to the experience of open-water rowing. 

This rower has hydro blades designed to withstand vigorous rowing strokes while maintaining multiple levels of water resistance. It also includes an R2 fitness meter that is compatible with ANT+ heart rate technology, allowing you to accurately measure your pulse and track the effectiveness of your workout.

Another feature we like about this rower is the floor stabilizers on the bottom, which keep the obsidian from wobbling while you work out. Due to its high-density non-marking rubber wheels, it is also simple to store.


Studies And Research Related To Rowing Machine Training And Its Caloric Expenditure


Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to hello@the-unwinder.com.

Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

About the author

Vella is a freelance content writer specializing in health and wellness, fitness, lifestyle, and CBD, among others. She worked as a journalist for a radio station before venturing into freelance writing. In her free time, she travels and explores nature and beaches. She can be reached via email at vellagonzaga@gmail.com.

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