Best Rowing Machine Under $500 in 2022: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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Rowing machines are a good piece of fitness equipment for many reasons.

Not only do they provide a complete body workout but also take up only a few square meters of floor space.

Yet, as with anything these days, they don’t come cheap.

If you want an affordable piece of equipment that doesn’t compromise on quality, we’ve got your back.

We’ll review five models to help you find the best rowing machine under $500.

Comparison Chart

41iMWNmrI1L. SL500
Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine
XTERRA Fitness ERG500 Air Turbine Rower
41VqNmjXYXL. SL500
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower with LCD Monitor
31PtZ9kkv L. SL500
ECHANFIT Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine
41BZJbJI1aL. SL500
JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine with LCD Display

Best Rowing Machine Under $500 Reviews

1. Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge (SF-RW5713)

41iMWNmrI1L. SL500

In general, water rowers are pricey and are considered higher-end models.

For a practical and affordable alternative, check out the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge.

It boasts a robust steel frame, a heart rate monitor, and a solid warranty you don’t always get from cheaper models.

In fact, these are exactly what make it the best rowing machine under $500.

Review

As a good-quality water rower this cheap, the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge is an insanely good bargain.

Here’s why it is the best rowing machine you should buy if you’re on a budget:

  • Resistance

Since it’s a water rowing machine, the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge has a flywheel submerged in water.

This setup is what gives the machine the resistance needed in rowing exercises.

The machine’s flywheel has 16 blades attached to it. It spins as you tug on the handle, creating resistance.

Similar to making a rowing motion in a real boat, you get more resistance the stronger you pull.

That’s why having a water rowing machine is great because you have unlimited resistance, which is perfect for your cardiovascular health.

You may also change the water level depending on your preference.

This machine has six fill levels. Level 1 generates the least resistance, and level 6 the most resistance.

  • Steel Frame

Aside from looking at the price tag, you should also determine just how sturdy the rowing machine is.

You don’t want to shell out cash for one now only to find it broken after a few uses.

To get a precise idea of how strong the frame is, you must look at the indicated body weight capacity.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge can support up to 300 pounds while also being lightweight.

Most water rowing machines with a similar weight capacity cost twice as much.

  • Comfort and Convenience

This rower has non-slip pedals and a sweat-resistant handlebar, ensuring your comfort and safety at the same time.

Moreover, the seat is contoured and padded for maximum comfort. Its seat height is 16” above ground.

You can store this rowing machine vertically to free up space in your room when the rower is not in use.

Unfortunately, one downside of this model is that it does not fold for easier storage.

  • Special Features

The Obsidian Surge has one of the best consoles when it comes to rowers under the $500 price range.

It allows you to track and monitor strokes per minute, 500-meter split times, heart rate, and calories burnt.

Plus, it offers pre-programmed routines. If you dislike the pre-programmed workouts, you can easily customize a workout routine for yourself.

  • Warranty

The Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge has a three-year warranty on the frame and a 180-day warranty for the parts.

Three years for the frame is an outstanding deal, especially when you factor in the affordability of the rower.

Even high-end, expensive models only offer three to five years of warranty on the frame.

That said, six months warranty on the parts is okay. Of course, you would want a longer warranty for the parts, but we think 180 days is fair for its price.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and stores vertically
  • Changeable water levels
  • Superior R2 monitor
  • Racing and recovery mode
  • Compatible with heart rate monitors
  • Easy to assemble
  • Has a decent warranty

Cons:

  • No heart rate monitor
  • Pedals pivot

2. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine (SF-RW5515)

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is undoubtedly one of the best rowing machines out there.

When it comes to price and performance, there’s no denying that it is a good investment.

This specific model boasts a sturdy build made of alloy, an LCD monitor to track your progress, and uses magnetic resistance.

Review

This Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is an ideal affordable option for those looking for a magnetic type of rowing machine.

It does its job well, and you won’t have to put a dent in your wallet to own one.

Despite its sturdy frame, it remains lightweight at only 69 pounds. Surprisingly, it has a maximum user weight capacity of 250 pounds.

  • Resistance

Unlike hydraulic resistance rowing machines that use a hydraulic cylinder, magnetic resistance rowing machines generate a quieter sound.

As such, it is a better option if you want a quiet workout session or if you live in a small apartment.

As for the resistance level, it only has eight.

This should be good enough for beginners who just got into the rowing exercise and can’t afford to do an intense workout yet.

A realistic rowing workout is not just about how hard you can row. Instead, your lower and upper body will benefit more if you can do more reps.

To adjust the resistance level, you simply need to twist the knob beneath the LCD monitor.

  • Comfort

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 has a thinly padded seat, adding extra comfort during your training sessions.

Aside from the cushioned seat, it also has non-slip foot pedals that secure your feet in place.

  • Additional Features

Tracking your progress becomes easy because of the SF-RW5515’s built-in LCD display monitor.

It displays different performance metrics, such as estimated calories burned, strokes counted, and total time rowed.

Another welcome feature is the transportation wheels on each leg, which makes it effortless to move the machine from one place to another for storage.

 Pros:

  • Convenient display monitor
  • Built-in transport wheels
  • Easy to use and assemble
  • Lightweight build

Cons:

  • Low resistance levels for advanced rowers
  • Thinly padded seat

3. XTERRA Fitness ERG500 Rowing Machine

41VqNmjXYXL. SL500

XTERRA Fitness is well known for its different types of rowing machines with varying resistance mechanisms.

The ERG500 is XTERRA Fitness’ first rowing machine that uses air resistance. Even so, it does not disappoint when it comes to performance.

Review

A common complaint about air rowing machines is the noise they generate, which some may find annoying and distracting.

This is why many prefer a magnetic rowing machine over its air counterparts.

While an air rower, the ERG500 promises a smooth rowing experience minus the noise.

  • Resistance

The XTERRA Fitness ERG500 gives you an authentic rowing experience by letting you feel more resistance the faster and harder you row.

This is a standard feature found in air and water resistance machines.

The machine also has adjustable resistance levels, which you can adjust using a lever.

Like the one before it, this machine comes with eight levels of resistance.

  • Frame

The XTERRA Fitness ERG500 boasts a heavy-duty steel frame.

This means you can do a challenging workout day in and day out without worrying about the frame giving out.

  • Comfort

To keep your feet in place while working out, the ERG500 comes equipped with adjustable foot straps.

Not only does it make for a smooth-sailing daily workout routine but also ensures your safety.

Moreover, you will find it easy to assemble, thanks to the well-written assembly instruction manual.

  • Additional Features

The ERG500’s digital display keeps you updated on important metrics, such as calories burned, stroke count, and distance.

You can pair it with a heart rate monitor for even more in-depth progress tracking.

Again, please note that it doesn’t come with one; after all, it is a budget rowing machine designed for beginners.

Pros:

  • Lightweight construction
  • Easy to move using built-in wheels
  • Convenient display monitor
  • Comfortable seat
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Easy to switch between resistance levels

Cons:

  • Still louder than other options
  • The monitor needs batteries to run
  • Looks bulky even after folded

4. ECHANFIT Magnetic Rowing Machine

31PtZ9kkv L. SL500

Indoor rowing machines have been around for several years. The problem is that they aren’t budget-friendly.

If you don’t have the budget for expensive models, you will find the ENCHANFIT Magnetic Rowing Machine ideal.

Review

For its price, it’s surprising that the ENCHANFIT Magnetic Rowing Machine has as many features as it does.

That said, you also can’t deny that it is a budget rowing machine with limited functionalities.

  • Resistance

Whether you’re training for a race or simply looking for additional exercises to do at home, the ENCHANFIT Magnetic Rowing Machine is perfect for you.

It produces little to no sounds, so it is a good indoor training equipment if you live in a small space.

Despite being a budget rower, it has 16 levels of resistance. This is impressive considering that more expensive magnetic rowers only offer half as many

  • Comfort

The ENCHANFIT Magnetic Rowing Machine might look compact and lightweight, but it can support users up to 350 pounds.

Plus, it has an ergonomically contoured seat that adds to its overall comfort.

  • Storage

Perhaps the best thing about this fitness machine is the fact that it folds and stores upright, perfect for tight and limited spaces.

In fact, ENCHANFIT claims you’d be saving up to 60% of storage space compared to other rowing machines.

When it comes to setting it up, you won’t even have to worry about uneven surfaces because it has a built-in stabilizer.

  • Warranty

Since it is not a small investment, it helps to know that the ENCHANFIT Magnetic Rowing Machine comes with a warranty.

A one-year warranty covers the parts replacement, and you have up to 30 days to get your money back in case you encounter quality issues.

Pros:

  • Affordable and easy to assemble
  • Foldable and space saver
  • Ergonomic design for a comfortable training
  • 16 levels of magnetic resistance
  • With a built-in floor stabilizer
  • No electricity needed

Cons:

  • Not for 6-foot and taller users
  • Smaller LCD screen
  • No pre-set training programs

5. JOROTO Magnetic Rowing Machine

41BZJbJI1aL. SL500

JOROTO has been in the fitness industry for over 30 years, so you can trust that this magnetic rowing machine is a good deal.

Aside from rowing machines, the brand also offers a variety of fitness equipment like exercise bikes and treadmills.

Review

This JOROTO rowing machine is another inexpensive piece of equipment that is great for non-professional users.

It has all the basic features for a full-body workout you can perform in the comfort of your home.

  • Resistance

The machine has a 4.4-pound aluminum flywheel, making it durable enough to carry up to 300 pounds of max user weight.

What we also appreciate about the JOROTO Magnetic Rowing Machine is its 10 levels of resistance.

With this many options, you can choose whether to do an intense routine or a low-impact workout. This also means users with varying fitness levels can use the same machine.

Plus, since it has a magnetic resistance mechanism, you won’t need to worry about disturbing the neighbors because of the noise.

  • Comfort

In terms of comfort, you will like that the machine has an ergonomic and wide cushioned seat.

There are also built-in floor protectors, not only to keep your floor safe from scratches but also to ensure the machine is stable and leveled during your workouts.

Another convenient feature is a phone or tablet holder, allowing you to play music or watch videos while working out.

  • Storage

The JOROTO Magnetic Rowing Machine has a sleek design that allows you to store it in a standing position to save space.

You can also put it away under a desk or slide it under your bed when not in use.

  • Warranty

Any good magnetic rower must come with at least a one-year warranty, which shows how confident the manufacturer is about the quality of its product.

Every purchase of the JOROTO Magnetic Rowing Machine comes with a free parts replacement warranty spanning 12 months.

Pros:

  • Almost silent
  • Fully adjustable
  • With floor protector and stabilizer
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Easy to install
  • User-friendly

Cons:

  • Basic monitor
  • Not foldable
  • Resistance level is on the light side

Which Rowing Machine Is Best for You?

When trying to find the best rowing machine for you, it’s important to consider several factors.

More than just the budget, compare what each model has to offer and whether or not these features match your needs.

From these five options, we think the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge wins the top spot.

Looking at its features, you’ll find that it has more than just the essentials, ensuring you get the most value for your money.

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