After testing a lot of products, we have selected the 8 best rowing machines under $250 for 2018 which are mentioned below. In our experiments, we have found these products most consistent in performance and true value for the money.
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
The Stamina Trac Glider is a big seller on the internet – due mainly to its price. But beware, it does have its weaknesses. For some these will definitely be a deal-breaker, but for others it will be a low-cost way to stay in shape.
It does look very dated these days… – almost retro even, but then others might call it crude with its mechanical resistance system. This is a hydraulic rower that uses a single piston underneath the main column to provide the resistance. Some of our reviewers found regular heavy use caused problems with the piston. After about 15 minutes of use the resistance drops and it hardly takes any effort to row.
Another deal-breaker for us is the foot rests. Three out of our five testers had problems keeping their feet strapped in – which means you have to keep stopping to strap them back in position. It also means every time you try to row faster, you’re waiting for your feet to pop out again! A big and unwelcome distraction and one of the most frustrating things to suffer when you’re trying to put in a good session.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
This rower comes with plenty of levels and features for a comprehensive workout. It has 8 different levels and modes you can try out, allowing you to customize your regimen the way you want to, and to the level most suitable to your skills. It operates very smoothly and silently, making it great for indoor use and personal use.
The machine has a great,… soft and sturdy seat that is mounted on a monorail that moves up and down very easily, removing additional, unnecessary strain on your lower back, avoiding, thus, potential injury. It also features large footpads with adjustable straps that fit all but the largest of feet. The handlebar is lined with an awesome anti-slip grip.
And finally, the machine has been outfitted with a great all-purpose LCD monitor. It is made to be easy to read, as all the numbers displayed are of substantial size. It displays all the vital information, like calories burned, distance, stroke count, and, if you wish to know, total stroke count across all sessions. All in all, this is a very well built machine that will serve you well and, hopefully, bring about a much desired change in your life.
Stamina 1110 Magnetic Rowing Machine
So if you’re looking for an affordable rower to get fit, does this do the job? Of course you get what you pay for so you can’t expect much from a model costing under $200, but the Stamina 1110 has just about enough features to make it worth a look.
But… before you continue,… because this is a compact machine I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re over 5′ 10″ and/ or already in good shape. The short beam just doesn’t allow for a full stroke and would limit the benefits. And if you’re fit and looking for a rower for use at home this wouldn’t deliver the sort of workout you need. If you fall into those two categories check out the ‘Also worth a look’ section below.
As mention earlier, this is possibly one of the lightest rowing machines we’ve reviewed on this site. While this may be a bonus if you’re slightly built, it’s definitely a big no-no if you’re the sturdy, solid type yourself. Because while the Stamina 1110 comes with good supports to protect your floor, if you’re over 190lbs you’re going to feel the machine straining to deal a high stroke rate beneath you.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion
To begin with, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion rowing machine features a construction similar to the Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1060. But its frame is sunny sf-rw5639 – hydraulic rowercompletely made of steel, including the seat rail. But nonetheless,
The frame doesn’t have a folding… design like most air or magnetic rowers, such as the LifeCore R100 or Marcy NS40503RW. However, it’s far from being as large as these machines. It’s only 51.5″ (131 cm) long, 24″ (61 cm) wide, and can be stored vertically, or even under the bed, as its highest point reaches only 14″ (36 cm) above floor level.
As we’ve mentioned above, the rail of the seat is steel-made like the rest of the frame, not made of aluminum as for other machines. It’s quite sturdy, though, the seat and the rail being able to support users up to 350 lbs (159 kg). The rail is not completely horizontal; it’s slightly higher at the rear, which means the machine provides a slightly better workout for the leg muscles, and the recovery part of the rowing motion is faster.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower is currently the only budget air/magnetic rower on the market. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower is exactly as the name describes – a combination of air & magnetic resistance. Air and magnetic combination rowing machines are pretty rare, with only a handful of models on the market.
Due to having two resistance… types in one, the flywheel will slow down faster on the recovery and not mimic the “glide” forward of a rowing boat. To feel the same resistance as “on water” rowing you will need to buy an air-only or water rowing machine. This really isn’t a negative and some people actually enjoy the added resistance of a combination machine. You can also always set the magnetic resistance to level 1 and have mostly air resistance only.
Stamina InMotion Rower
Machine size matters to lots of shoppers, and the Stamina InMotion is selected for its compact dimensions along with the low price. It has a footprint of 56.5″ L x 23.5″ when unfolded, whereas most rowing machines are about two feet longer. Even so, it is sized just fine for people up to 6 feet tall. The machine is very lightweight as well — just 27 pounds — but has an official weight capacity of 250 pounds. Customers have reported that 300 pounds won’t break the machine.
Hydraulic resistance is used,… This is the cheapest type of resistance available on rowing machines, yet most customers report that the Stamina remains quiet and smooth even after many months of regular use. There are five challenge levels. An LCD monitor shows speed, distance, time, row count, calories burned and miles rowed.
Stamina 1205 Precision Rower
The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower is a hydraulic-piston resistance rower machine that comes in at a great price. This particular model is relatively compact, which is a nice bonus especially in regards to storage. The frame is sturdy and the handles can be adjusted to best suit the user’s preferences. This makes the machine a strong choice for people who like to have a bit more control over their workouts.
The Stamina 1205 Precision Rower… mimics the smooth motion of rowing on the water with a padded seat that glides on a ball bearing roller system, rowing arms whose resistance is adjusted by hydraulic cylinders and foam grips that keep the hands stable and comfortable.
Even though the frame is solid, the Stamina rower weighs only 47 pounds. Despite it’s light weight, the rowing machine is strong and has a maximum capacity is 250lbs. The seat is very comfortable and allows for prolonged workouts. A pleasant surprise is how comfortable the handles feel, unlike many models of the same price range. The console is fairly impressive for a product of this class.
Goplus Magnetic Folding Rowing Machine
The Goplus magnetic rower is an entry-level fitness machine made for home use only. Although it’s a rather new product available since 2017, it continues to benefit from 5-star reviews from users, as it offers excellent value for the price. It’s similar in specs, design, and resistance system to the Velocity CHR-2001 and the Sunny SF-RW5515. So, if you’re looking for an affordable rowing machine, here’s what the Goplus model can offer.
The Goplus magnetic rowing machine… features an all-steel frame, but despite its steel construction, it’s not an extremely heavy unit. With the frame fully assembled it weighs only approx. 49 lbs (22.2 kg). Thus, it can be easily assembled and carried by one person. Its front base is equipped with transport wheels which also facilitate its relocation.
The guards of the internal elements, as well as several other protective parts, are made of hard plastic. However, they don’t affect the overall sturdiness of the machine. And when it comes to that, the Goplus rower can support users up to 220 lbs (100 kg).