A Guide To The Best Affordable Rowing Machines 2021

How To Find the Best Affordable Rowing Machines: The Ultimate Guide

Although rowing machines are among the more popular indoor fitness instruments available, the dizzying number of options available makes it extremely hard to choose the best rowing machine. Further, some wonder if the machines are better than treadmills in terms of exercise and calories burnt. The good news is, you’ve come to the right place for learning all about rowing machines, and what to keep in mind when deciding on the best rowing machine for your needs.

Rowing machines are always one of the most popular exercise machines (with both men and women) because they provide you with a cardiovascular workout that can help with fitness, toning, and weight loss.

Indeed a typical workout can burn up to 13 calories per minute and can strengthen and tone your arms, shoulders, back, abs, and leg muscles, for example. So it really does deliver an effective full-body workout, whilst being easy on the joints at the same time.

Product ImageProduct NameEditor's rating Price
Concept2 Model D4.9See latest price
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic
4.8See latest price
Stamina ATS Air Rower4.8See latest price
Stamina 1205 Precision Rower4.7See latest price
Waterrower Rowing machine Ash
4.7See latest price

If you are looking to buy one of these indoor rowers yourself, there are quite a few to choose from, but here are some of the best Affordable rowing machines for home use that are available to buy right now in 2021:

Top 5 Best Rowing Machines In 2021

We will introduce you to a comparison chart detailing the 5 products. This will be really useful for you because it provides a comprehensive view of both the pros and the cons of a certain product.

Every person may have his/her own ideas about the best rowing machine. However, to make life easier for you, we’ve run a survey of the market, and have carried out a review of some of the best rowing machines available. Read the full reviews of our top 5 rowing machines.

1. Concept2 Model D Indoor


If you are looking to buy the best indoor rowing machine on the market and have no budgetary constraints, then the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine has to be the number one choice.

This is reportedly the top-selling rowing machine in the world and it’s easy to see why because this is a firm favorite with gym chains and professional rowers, and is more than good enough for home use.

I have used this machine myself in my local gym and it’s quite simply the best rowing machine that I have ever used because it has intelligent resistance that actually responds to your every stroke in order to give you an optimal workout, and is a very strong and sturdy machine that can withstand regular everyday use.

In addition, it has a really quiet flywheel that delivers a smooth workout every time, and a good quality PM5 display monitor (with wireless capabilities) that provides you with all of the data you could possibly need when performing your workouts, such as distance, speed, pace, calories burned and watts, and includes a number of preset workouts and games.

What We Like:

PM3 or PM4 Monitor: Users are able to choose between two different types of monitors that will be able to help them track their progress and performance level. Users are able to track their progress and use that information to compare to other users who have purchased the machine.

Online Support: Unlike other brands, Concept2 offers online support to its users. Users are able to access an online tracking log, a training forum, and also racing competitions and challenges against other users. Concept2 offers prizes to those who complete different challenges.

Noise: This rowing machine comes with a flywheel design that will not only be able to provide a smooth rowing experience but will also be able to minimize any noise that the machine makes. This makes model D a model that is ideal for household usage.

Easy Set-Up: Model D comes in two pieces, and can be easily set up within half an hour. It comes with instructions that are easy to read and understand as well.

Compatibility: Although the machine takes up quite a lot of space when it is assembled, and ready to be used, it can be compacted down within minutes.

Mobility: The machine comes with caster wheels which increases its mobility. Transporting the machine from one location to another is extremely easy and simple.

Adjustability: The seats, handles, and footplates of model D can be adjusted in order to suit each user’s body size and preference.

Rowing Options: One of the more interesting options provided by Model D is that it will allow users to choose between different options of boat qualities.

Warranty and Guarantee: Concept2 has an excellent customer service support department, and are able to cater to each consumer’s needs.

What We Don’t Like:

Alignment Problems: Some users have complained that while the machine is extremely durable, and stable, there have been some alignment issues in regards to the parts.

Rowing Simulation: While Concept2 Model D is able to provide an exceptional workout session, those who are looking for a realistic rowing simulation may not be able to find what they are looking for in this rowing machine as while it does provide a rowing simulation, there are other machines on the market that are able to provide a more realistic depiction.

Calorie Expectations: The calorie burned feature assumes that all users are a 175-pound male which can be far from the truth. There is no way to change this assumption, and the calories burned feature may be a bit off for those who are of a different size or gender.

Our Verdict:

Overall, Concept2 Model D is definitely a worthwhile investment for those who are interested in losing weight or staying fit through rowing. Since rowing is a low-impact exercise, it is perfect for seniors and even those who are rehabilitating from injuries and wounds.

With that said, model D is a great investment due to its durability, and the numerous features that it is able to provide to users


2. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine


This Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is an excellent choice when it comes to meeting the needs of a complete cardiovascular workout for fitness lovers. With its eight-level tension knob, the user can set the intensity of the workout according to his /her need. You can make your workout more challenging with easily adjustable magnetic resistance. Changing the level of resistance will completely change your experience and would make your workout more interesting every time you step on this machine. Moreover, the user gets complete details of his workout with its large conveniently placed LCD console. If you opt to buy this rowing machine, you get a sturdy, stable, and fully functional workout machine without even breaking your money bank. The maximum user weight capacity of this machine is 250 pounds which are fairly sufficient for fitness enthusiasts

Its fully padded comfortable seat gives you complete comfort during a workout. Additionally, its anti-slip foot pedals and adjustable foot straps give you secure foot placement during workouts. Also, it has non-slip handlebars that give your hands a good grip and prevent them from flying off. Another positive aspect of this rowing machine is that it is easily transportable with its built-in wheels so you can move it for a workout at any place of your choice with ease

3.Stamina ATS Air Rower 


Coming from a company that supplies high-quality products at excellent value to the fitness and leisure markets, showcasing hundreds of products around the world over the past two decades, you will find many attractive features in the Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine. It is so strong steel frame (with a three-year warranty on the frame), a sturdy cord, and a good flywheel, quite smooth and highly comfortable. Besides, it has a simple control panel, which records distance traveled, speed, stroke count, and calories burnt.

The Stamina Air Rower Rowing Machine is perfect for anyone who wants to experience all the benefits of an air resistance rowing machine for a fraction of the price of the average rowing machine in the category.

This wind resistance rower responds to the intensity and the speed of your rowing stroke and adjusts the resistance accordingly, so it is just like the top-end rowing machines in that respect.

It also comes equipped with a multi-function monitor that indicates time, speed, distance and calories burned and includes a comfortable padded seat for added comfort.

So when you consider that the rowing action is extremely smooth and responsive, it is easy to see why this machine is said to offer excellent value for money.

4. Stamina 1205 Precision Rower


Rowing is a great exercise that is able to combine both strength and aerobic training in one making it perfect for all ages; with this in mind, a rowing machine is a great addition to any home gym due to its simplicity, and ability to work out and target numerous different muscles. The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is considered a simple, efficient, and compact equipment that is able to provide exercisers with the type of exercise that they require.

The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower provides exercisers with the simulation of actual rowing, and the smooth motion is not only comfortable but also quite realistic. The product is from a reputable manufacturer, Stamina, which has been known for producing high-quality home fitness equipment for over two decades.

What We Like About The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower

Durability: All Stamina products have been known for their durability, and the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is no different.

Comfort: The 1205 Precision Rower has been known for its comfort as it has thick padded seats that are able to provide just the right type of cushion.

Multi-function monitor: Like most home fitness exercise machines, the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower has a high-tech monitor that will be able to provide information regarding stroke count, total stroke count on the machine, calories burned, time spent on the machine.

Adjustable Customizations: Like all exercises, different people will have different abilities, and the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower will ensure that exercisers are able to adjust the resistance of the machine using the hydraulic cylinders.

Warranty: Stamina is a reputable company, and they are more than happy to stand by the products that they manufacture. With this in mind, they are able to provide a 5-year warranty on the frame and a 90-day warranty on the parts of the machine.

Noise: While most rowing machines have been known to be quite loud in general, the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower has been known to be quite quiet, and can be perfect for household usage.

Cost: The machine costs only a fraction of what other rowing machines do making it extremely affordable. It’s a great investment for the future, and definitely well worth the price.

What We Don’t Like

Foldability: While most machines can be folded up, and stored in smaller spaces, the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower cannot be folded up at all. Those who do not own their own home gym may have problems storing the machine as it cannot be disassembled.

Unadjustable arms: The arms of the machine are unadjustable which has been problematic for some consumers who are looking for more customizations on their home fitness machine.

Our Verdict

In general, the Stamina 1205 Precision Rower has been quite popular on the market and known to be able to help many get the type of exercise that they need without going to a gym. It’s not only durable, and able to last for years to come, but it also has numerous functions, and the multi-function monitor makes it easy to track and log progress. It’s the perfect machine for homeowners looking to quietly get the exercise they need while watching television.

5.Waterrower Rowing machine Ash

Waterrower Rowing machine Ash


Another rower that you might want to consider is the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine because this is handcrafted using solid ash wood, and actually includes a water tank in order to offer a very realistic rowing experience.

The flywheel actually sits within this water tank but is still able to provide a smooth and quiet workout, and the resistance is really easy to control because just like the Concept 2 rowers above, it is determined by the intensity of your rowing strokes.

Plus just like an ordinary rowing machine, it comes equipped with its own Series 4 performance monitor that displays stroke rate, time, distance and pulse, so that you can keep track of your performance when working out.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that this machine has no moving parts that can wear out over time. So it should last you many years without any problems.

Choosing the Best Rowing Machines for Fitness and Health

A rowing machine is one of the best items of equipment for all-round fitness available due to its ability to work in many major muscle groups of the body.

Rowing machines are also popular because they can provide a low-impact form of exercise to improve strength and cardiovascular fitness. In addition, they are relatively cheap to buy at starting prices at around $100; although more advanced rowing machines can cost a few thousand dollars. This makes them ideal for the home fitness enthusiast, providing you buy wisely, and not a poor-quality rowing machine that is prone to break easily.

Before going ahead and buying a home rowing machine you will need to consider the size for usage and storage. At six feet long, rowing machines are quite sizeable, although many can be folded away or stored underneath a couch or bed.

Despite the obvious motion of rowing, rowing equipment is actually very beneficial for anyone, rower or not. Rowing machine equipment is perfect for improving stamina, burning calories, losing weight, and is often used by people recovering from injuries in order to rehabilitate ligaments, muscles, and joints back to full fitness.

Rowing machines are available with resistance from four methods:

  • Water rowing machine
  • Air rowing machine
  • Piston rowing machine
  • Magnetic rowing machine


The first two (water and air resistance) are the two most popular rowing machines, although they tend to be slightly more expensive than piston rowing machines. They are however very durable and reliable.

The fitness equipment industry is huge and there is no shortage of rowing machines, treadmills, elliptical trainers, and many more machines that can be bought for home fitness. There is an endless number of models and types of rowing machines available at a wide price range. The Concept 2 rowing machine, Integrity 3000 rowing machine, Kettler rowing machine, Tunturi rowing machine, Lifecore rower, Bodycraft, and York rowing machine, are just a few of many that immediately come to mind. However, it is important that you take the time to review several models of rowing machines so that you do not find yourself wasting money on cheap and poorly-built equipment.

The internet is ideal for finding a rowing machine that is within your budget and full of the features you want from your rower. It’s often the case that online retailers will outprice an offline store so look around and compare suppliers before purchasing.

Obvious question maybe….But What Exactly is Rowing?

Rowing is considered as one of the best low-impact exercises as it is not only suitable for all ages and all expertise levels, but it is also able to provide exercisers with a full-body workout that can target back and shoulder muscles. Rowing is a combination of aerobic and strength training, and while rowing outdoors is not a practical daily exercise, rowing machines have been designed to be able to provide users with the simulation of rowing on water.

Can Anyone Benefit From These Rowing Machines?

This type of exercise is ideal for those who are interested in being able to rehabilitate from an injury or for those who are looking to strengthen and build muscle tone in their back and shoulders. Some rowing machines will also target one’s biceps. Due to the nature of rowing, rowing machines are also able to provide an outstanding full-body workout that is perfect for those looking to either slim down or become more active. It is also a great stepping stone for those who are interested in beginning advanced free weight training exercises. It is a great endurance exercise, and due to its simple nature, it has also been recommended for senior living as well. Rowing machines are suitable for all ages and for all expertise levels making them ideal for home gyms since the equipment is perfect for the whole family.

How Do Rowing Machines Work?

Generally speaking, most rowing machines on the market will allow users to straddle or sit on a cushioned seat, and place their feet on footpads that are located on either side of the machine. These features help users feel comfortable while maintaining good posture.

Machines are either powered through hydraulic cylinder systems, magnetic resistance systems, variable fluid resistance systems, or other types of mechanisms that involve pulleys and weights. Each rowing machine will have oars on either side that will allow users to perform a rowing action or motion. The user will have to use their entire body in order to row the machine.

When choosing rowing machines that are able to best simulate a rowing motion, it is generally best to consider machines that are well-built, and not loud. Machines that allow users to build up momentum are generally the most realistic.

What are the Different Types of Rowing Machines?

Hydraulic Cylinder Systems – These are generally extremely easily adjustable, and users are generally able to customize the resistance that they experience quite easily.  Most hydraulic cylinder systems have been known to be able to last for long periods of time although they will generally require a monitor control.

Variable Fluid Resistance System – This new patent involves a new technology that is able to provide users with the watery sounds of rowing a boat. Not only is the water tank a great way to build momentum and mimic the actuality of rowing, but it has also been known to be rather easy to use, and the whole system is also easy to maintain as well. The variable fluid resistance system is unique only to First Degree Fitness which limits the choices that consumers have; however, most reviews on these systems have been quite positive.

Magnetic Resistance System – These are quite easy to use and require fabric or chain as a pulley system. These systems are generally a lot more affordable in comparison to the other systems; however, they tend to be a tad noisier, and the pulley system is subject to accelerated wear and tear that is affected by usage of the machine.

What are the Benefits of a Rowing Machine?

In comparison to other home fitness machines, rowing machines excel in the fact that they are a low-impact exercise that is suitable for everyone in the household. Not only does it place minimal amounts of strain on muscles, and injuries are not common on the machine, but this piece of equipment is most recommended for those who are attempting to rehabilitate from an injury. Most rowing machines can be folded up and stores in smaller spaces, and they are also known to be quite quiet in nature. In addition, most rowing machines do not require to be plugged in. Some have battery-operated monitors that will allow users to track their progress and performance levels.

Rowing machines are a great addition to home gyms for several reasons. Not only are they compactable, and able to offer a great workout, but they are also rather affordable and simple to use. The chances of sustaining any injury from the machine are rather minimal, and there are numerous different types of selections and customizations that are available on the market. The machines are considered very quiet in comparison to other types of home fitness equipment.

Each rowing machine will have a different type of system, and different types of oars and footplates attached to them. The footplates, straps, and cushioned seats are to ensure that users will be in the most ideal posture and position during the workout. This will maximize the results on the muscles. Most rowing machines will come with a monitor that will be able to provide information regarding stroke count, total stroke count, calories burned, distance traveled, and more. Some rowing machines will also have chest straps that will track the heartbeat rate for an even more efficient workout.

There are numerous different types of rowing machines that are available manufactured by different companies. When looking for the ideal machine, compare the benefits of each machine, the price, and the type of quality that each brand is able to provide. This type of home fitness equipment is considered one of the best types on the market and has numerous benefits.

The Tips on Choosing a Best Rowing Machine

Get an idea from the local gym: It is always better to begin with a gym, so you get an idea of a rowing machine. Most gyms have a rowing machine, so you can do a routine or two on it, and ask the instructor how to use a rowing machine correctly. This ensures that once you’re on your own, you don’t hurt yourself or damage the machine through incorrect usage. You could however get a personal trainer for the purpose, who will guide you through the purchase and usage of a rowing machine.

Available space: Assuming, however, that you’re not taking any expert help on purchasing the rowing machine, it would be advisable to decide exactly how much space you have. As indicated above, different rowing machines have different levels of portability, so if you’re short of space, an air or piston rowing machine might be ideal.

Type of Workout: The second consideration is the type of workout you’re aiming at. Do you want a well-rounded and comfortable workout, or do you need an intensive workout that will be part of an athletic routine? Or perhaps you would prefer to enjoy the actual sensation of rowing without getting your feet wet?

If you want the complete rowing experience, you would be advised to go for a machine that has a Scandinavian/Latin pull system, which reproduces the rowing method as faithfully as possible. However, this is especially difficult to master, requiring excellent coordination between the different parts of the body. The benefit is that it provides a workout for the entire back, as well as the limbs. Coupled with the water-resistance type, this pull system can produce the best rowing machine for anyone seeking the actual experience of rowing.

However, for those simply seeking the best workout, the Central Pull system is ideal, since it provides a fluid movement and a more symmetric motion. This has made it highly popular in gyms and homes and is currently available with virtually every type of resistance. If you want to use it for an athletic training program, it is advisable to buy one which has a high number of resistance settings, such as a magnetic or air resistance rowing machine.

Type of Console/Control Panel: Depending upon your needs, you can choose the right type of console. Even the basic consoles these days display exercise time, calories burned and distance traveled, but there are many more sophisticated consoles. Some machines allow you to attach a heart belt and measure the heart rate using it. Finally, some machines also provide inbuilt training programs.

Consult your doctorLike every type of exercise, rowing puts stress on certain specific muscles, though it is more well-rounded than other types of exercise. However, before going in for a specific machine, it would be worthwhile to inquire whether you have any type of limitation which may prevent you from using rowing machines in general or a particular type of rowing machine, so that you do not have to regret your decision later.

Pricing: It is wise to decide on a budget range before checking out the available rowing machines, not only because you may end up burning a hole in your pocket, but also because it is difficult to choose the right machine as each has a different price range, with piston resistance machines being the cheapest and water resistance machines the costliest.


In this article, we’ve covered all that is required for you to make an informed decision when choosing your rowing machine. We could tell you that X is the best rowing machine, but that would be unfair of us since every rowing machine comes with its own specialties and shortcomings. Hence, all that we can ask you is to keep these points in mind, and then carefully decide which rowing machine is best suited to your requirements.

Further Reading :The Great Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine

Leave a Comment