The best rowing machine under 500 pounds or dollars can be a little tricky to find at times because knowing what sort of quality you're getting for your cash isn't always so straightforward.
Fortunately, we've compiled a list of our top budget picks, based on features, price, and reviews, to help take your home gym setup to the next level.
However, we'd argue that a rowing machine offers, not only a great form of cardio, but also an effective way of building muscle in both your upper and lower body at the same time.
So whether you're after something fan-driven, like this Stamina ATS Air Rower, or one of the best rowing machines around, like this XTERRA Fitness ERG600W, then we've got everything you need right here.
We also discuss some of the latest news surrounding rowing machines so you can keep up-to-date with all the upcoming releases.
Best Rowing Machine Under 500
- Fitness Reality 100 Plus
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606
- XTERRA Fitness ERG600W
- Stamina ATS Air Rower
- SNODE WR100
Best All-Round Rowing Machine Under 500 - Fitness Reality 100 Plus
You get 14 levels of dual-transmission magnetic resistance, so you should be able to keep your workouts engaging whilst you make progress towards your fitness goals.
In addition, this package includes six months of access to the MyCloudFitness app, which offers a selection of pre-made workout programmes and scenic routes to change up your sessions and keep your workouts interesting.
It's also foldable, making it a great option to consider if you're limited to space. All in all, a strong contender that we believe deserves a place on our list.
Best Foldable Rowing Machine Under 500 - Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606
Sunny Health & Fitness is a brand synonymous with excellent budget cardio equipment.
This SF-RW5606 machine, for example, may be the rowing machine for you if you want to make space for other gym equipment in your home or garage setup.
It comes with dual directional resistance with 4 levels of adjustable tension so you can alter the difficulty of your workouts whenever you need to.
The large LCD display provides information on your time, count, total count, calories burned, count per minute, and scan, so should be a great option for those who like to know their workout stats to keep track of progression.
Ultimately, if you're looking for a foldable bit of kit on a budget, then we feel this Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 is well worth considering.
Best Hydraulic Rowing Machine Under 500 - XTERRA Fitness ERG600W
The XTERRA Fitness ERG600W looks to be one of the best rowing machines on the market right now.
What we like about the ERG600W is that it is water-driven, using impellers to actively move through the water tank with the intent of recreating the peaceful sounds of real rowing.
Additionally, this machine comes with an adjustable 5.5" LCD console, plus 6 resistance levels which are determined by the amount of water inside the tank and can provide some variation to the intensity of your workouts.
Ultimately, we feel this water-driven machine is a strong contender for consideration, especially given its relatively inexpensive price.
Best Air-Driven Rowing Machine Under 500 - Stamina ATS Air Rower
As its name suggests, the ATS Air Rower creates its resistance through wind which, Stamina boasts, provides a smoother rowing stroke.
Furthermore, it features a monitor which displays your speed, distance, time, and calories burned, helping you to keep track of how hard you're working during exercise.
It's also worth mentioning you get free access to Müüv, a smart audio coaching app designed to give you training tips and advice if you're new to rowing.
All in all, a solid option to consider if you're after an air-powered machine.
Best Rowing Machine Under 500 For Live Workouts - SNODE WR100
The SNODE WR100 looks to be a great rowing machine, with its defining feature being the interactive personal training videos you can access via the free FITLOG app to help keep you motivated whilst exercising.
Within the app, you can also find many tutorials which may be helpful if you're and a beginner, and you can even set training plans to help you keep on top of your fitness regime.
On the performance side, it comes with a water-driven resistance mechanism, designed to simulate the real rowing experience as accurately as possible.
On the whole, if you're looking for something to keep you motivated, then this relatively inexpensive SNODE WR100 could be the machine for you.
Latest Rowing Machine News
With fitness technology constantly improving, we've included some of the latest news surroundings rowing machines to keep you in the loop with what's going on in the exercise space.
First Look At Peloton's New Rowing Machine
A first look at the long-rumoured Peloton rowing machine has finally arrived after the company dropped a fleeting trailer at its Homecoming 2022 event.
Very little information is available regarding what features this new connected rower will include.
However, brief screenshots from the trailer show the machine comes with a large HD screen for guided workouts.
Much like the features, the release date and price remain a mystery at this moment in time, so stay tuned for further updates right here.
For context though, the Peloton Guide was revealed on 9 November 2021 but wasn't available to buy until 5 April 2022, so there may still be some way to go yet before we see this Connect rowing machine launch.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rowing Machines Under 500
Rowing machines can sometimes come with a lot of questions, but we're here to clear up a few common queries to help you make your purchase.
Is A Rowing Machine Worth It?
A rowing machine is a great option to have for the winter months for indoor cardio-based training, however, it also makes for a great option all year round as rowing in real life is not as simple as putting on some trainers and stepping outside.
This is one of the reasons why we feel a rowing machine is worth having in your home gym, but we also think it's a great way of working out your whole body whilst also improving your cardio as well.
Can You Lose Weight Using A Rowing Machine?
A rowing machine offers an extremely effective way of burning calories and, therefore, can be used to lose weight if paired with the right diet.
In fact, a study conducted by the University of Roehampton compared running on a treadmill to rowing on a machine and found participants burnt 300 calories whilst rowing.
The results also showed that rowing activated more muscle groups than running, making it an efficient way of improving your cardio whilst also exercising your entire body.
How Long Should You Use A Rowing Machine?
There is no universal answer to this question as it will vary depending on your fitness levels and how often you plan on exercising.
That said, Livestrong recommends, if you're working out for health, you use a rowing machine for 30 minutes a day at a moderate intensity, or 15 minutes per day at a vigorous intensity.
It is important to incorporate rest days into your week though in order for you to allow your body to recover. We'd recommend rowing between 3 to 5 days a week in order to maximise your health benefits.
Is A Rowing Machine Better Than A Treadmill?
We've previously discussed whether treadmills are better than rowing machines and, in said article, we conclude that a rowing machine is a great choice for an all-around full-body workout.
In fact, a 2015 study into rowing machines found that rowing 5 days a week for 6 weeks led to a significant decrease in fat mass and total body fat percentage which, we feel, is a strong indication of the benefits of rowing.
How Do You Use A Rowing Machine?
A rowing machine is a great bit of kit for cardio, but it's important to get the technique right to maximise your efficiency and avoid injury.
To properly use a rowing machine, you must first secure your feet in and sit on the sliding seat so that your knees are bent at a 90° angle. This is then your starting position as your arms are locked out straight.
Then, drive back with your legs until they are fully extended. At this point, lean back slightly and bend your arms towards your ribs before straightening them back out and leaning forward until you return to the starting position so you're ready for the next rep.
Is A Rowing Machine Good For Building Muscle?
A rowing machine is an extremely versatile bit of kit as it is an effective way of improving your cardio and building muscle because you utilise almost your entire body during the movement.
That said, a rowing machine isn't as effective when it comes to building and sustaining muscle mass over time as you're often limited by the resistance.
Is A Magnetic Rowing Machine Better Than Air?
Generally speaking, both magnetic and air rowing machines are relatively well-matched as they offer a smooth, strong rowing stroke that is excellent for all types of workouts.
Most air-driven machines feature damper settings. This essentially involves a lever that allows more air into the flywheel housing, thus allowing you to control the resistance of your workout.
Magnetic machines also usually feature adjustable resistance levels; however, they're widely regarded as much quieter and smoother than air rowing machines.
That said, they perhaps don't replicate the feeling of rowing on the water in quite the same way as an air-driven machine does.
Ultimately, the choice comes down to you and your personal preference as we feel there's an argument to be made for both types of machines.
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