5 Best Cheap Rowing Machines 2017

By Chuck | Rowers

sample picture of the Stamina InMotion Rower2

What are the best cheap rowing machines available for sale right now? Sure, money may be tight at this point in time but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should just let yourself go until you win the lottery before embarking on fitness.

While a lot of people quickly target the most expensive models when looking for fitness equipment, the logic that gigantic price tags always translate to performance can be gravely flawed.

In fact, our mission is to uncover the best indoor rowers designed for consumers who are on the lookout for a bargain without sacrificing performance.

Here are the top rowing machines which will not force you to take a second mortgage on your home.

​Best Cheap Rowing Machines Comparison Table

Model

Rating

Price

Amazon

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine
image showing the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine
4.3
$$
Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399
the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 in full view
4.3
$$$

Stamina InMotion Rower
image showing the Stamina InMotion Rower
4.2
$

Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine with Full-Motion Arms
Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine with Full-Motion Arms in full display
4.3
$
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine pictured here is one of the best cheap rowing machines
3.7
$

​Top 5 Cheap Rowing Machine Reviews

Here's a lowdown of what each of the top 5 cheap rowing machines has to offer.  Just pay attention to them and select the best option for your needs and wallet.​

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

image showing the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is a highly astute machine that can make your cardio enjoyable again.

If you are tired of the ultra-cheap models loaded with legions of flimsy features, you are bound to fall in love with this budget-friendly indoor rower.

It is perfect for fitness buffs who are currently are on the hunt for smooth and quiet indoor rowers that can power up their bodies to fitness.

Powered by a built-in patented Magnetic Tension System, there’s no limit to how much your stamina can improve as long as you’re willing to put in the necessary shifts in your home gym.

Unlike other indoor rowers that start getting loud with increasing intensity, the belt-retrieval in this unit is designed to be slack-free.

So feel free to power up as much as your body can without worrying about waking your partner or disturbing the neighbors.

The machine gives you 8 levels of resistance to choose from so whenever the idea of ramping things up crosses your mind, just reach out to the tension knob and twist it to your preferred resistance level.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine is enhanced with multiple comfort features including a super cushioned 14-inch injected foam seat that can conveniently accommodate exercisers weighing up to 250 pounds.

The hand grips are an additional feature that allows you to row for hours without blisters and pain.

Need to move apartments or take your rower into storage? This machine comes with integrated transportation wheels to make the process easy.

For those stuck with limited floor space at home, this indoor rower can be an incredible purchase.

Buy the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine here.

PROS

  • Patented Magnetic Tension System guarantees exceptional levels of smoothness during rowing
  • 8 resistance levels to aid in cardio training and endurance
  • Easy to move from one apartment to another thanks to transportation wheels

CONS

  • Users have no way of knowing how many meters they have rowed
  • Not the best unit for those with very small feet

Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399

the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 in full view

The Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 is a great piece of equipment that delivers flawless performance at a fraction of the cost.

This top selling indoor rower does not only give you excellent cardiovascular health, it can also induce perfect toning of vital muscles such as glutes, quadriceps, back, shoulders, and hamstrings.

It is one of the few units on the market engineered with ultra-smooth and fluid wind resistance technology. The built-in versatile fitness monitor can be a great asset in pushing your body to the limit every single session.

The monitor displays performance stats ranging from Distance to Time as well as Calories Burned and of course, Speed. At every single point in time, you can take a look at the readings on the monitor to make the necessary adjustments.

Whether you are skinny or a bit overweight, the huge-sized seat guarantees user comfort no matter how long you have to sit on it. The seats have been specifically padded to give more support to the butt muscles.

The angled seat rail is another feature built with user ergonomics in mind. The special angled design guarantees smooth sliding throughout each workout session.

Skidding is one of the common problems associated with cheap indoor rowers so it is refreshing to know that the Stamina Air Rower comes with floor protectors.

It can be easily folded during storage while the transportation wheels make relocation to another apartment or movement from one part of the home to another a breeze.

Each purchase comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty for the frame and 90 days for the other parts.

Buy the ​Stamina ATS Air Rower 1399 here.

PROS

  • Wind resistance allows easy adjustments to meet your stamina needs
  • Large footplates designed to protect users of all sizes
  • Padded and upholstered seats enable consistent workouts for long periods

CONS

  • Can be a bit noisy during exercises
  • Not the most sophisticated digital interface around

Stamina InMotion Rower

image showing the Stamina InMotion Rower

The Stamina Inmotion Rower is definitely one of the best cheap rowers you could buy at the moment.

Endowed with a host of features as well as a solid frame and versatile complements, what have you got to lose?

What first hits you when you lay your hands on this indoor rower is the solid steel construction. You can tell by the quality of the parts that it has been technically enhanced with the necessary grit to withstand years of abuse.

Sure, this isn’t the most advanced rowing machine you could buy and doesn’t come with enough resistance for super-fit athletes. However, if you are just starting out on the journey to fitness or have intermediate levels of stamina, it can be a perfect fit for your body.

The seat has been conveniently stitched to allow comfortable sitting for long periods of time.

The manufacturer is aware of the fact no one wants seats that end up burning your butt muscles and therefore this design has been thoroughly tested to guarantee comfort.

To protect your feet from injury, the pivoting footplates that come with this machine gets the job done with ease.

Each footplate also comes with adjustable closure to ensure safety for everyone regardless of body weight, foot size, or the type of shoes being worn.

Storage is stress-free and aided by the fact that the Stamina Inmotion Rower comes with minimal footprints.

Moving from one part of the home to another can be done by the average person with ease.

Buy the Stamina Inmotion Rower here.

PROS

  • Constructed from solid steel for long-term durability
  • Pivoting foot plates with adjustable closures to guarantee safety for users
  • Compact design promotes easy movement and storage

CONS

  • Many users have complained feeling like their arms are doing 80% of the work and would wish for more leg resistance
  • Row counter figures are a bit flimsy

Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine with Full-Motion Arms

Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine with Full-Motion Arms in full display

The Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine with Full Motion Arms is one of the few cheap rowing machines that give users complete range of motion to stretch their bodies during workouts.

Offering 12 levels of adjustable resistance, building up your stamina has never been easier even if you are a complete novice in the fitness world.

You should have little problems starting from the lowest level and moving up as you continue to take your workout sessions more serious.

You’d be surprised at how quick your fitness transformation will be.

The full thick-padded seat is constructed to give everyone optimal comfort regardless of their weight. The non-slip grip handlebars also enhance long-term rowing with zero discomfort in the arms.

In addition, the large anti-slip pedals and adjustable foot straps give you the convenience of rowing at maximum levels of intensity without risking foot slippage and resultant injuries.

All major muscle groups ranging from the abs to the legs as well as arms, back, and glutes are easily targeted thanks to the Full-Motion Arms design.

It essentially means this indoor rower has got you covered whether your goal is to burn more calories or tone vital areas of the body.

It comes in a solid Black colored finish complemented by the solid frame manufactured from pure steel.

The LCD display allows users to monitor readings of Row counts, Time, Total Count, and Calories Burned.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine with Full Motion Arms gives great insights into performance levels so you know when to slow down or take things to higher intensity levels.

Buy the Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine with Full Motion Arms here.

PROS

  • Full Motion Arms design enables full range reach during sessions to burn more calories and tone more muscles
  • Seat is thick-padded for optimal comfort during intensive and long-distance rowing sessions
  • Integrated LCD Display reveals Time, Calories Burned, Row Count, and Total Counts

CONS

  • Super-fit athletes find the resistance too low
  • Weight capacity is only 220 pounds

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine pictured here is one of the best cheap rowing machines

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine provides a world-class avenue for muscle building and calorie burning in a healthy, low-impact way.

Manufactured from high-grade steel, the level of sturdiness integrated into this model is amazing especially when you take a quick peek at the price tag. It ensures impressively smooth rowing without any form of noise at all.

The resistance type is elastic and consists of 4 levels of tension to allow everyone from beginners to intermediates to workout effectively.

It also allows you to put more heat into your sessions by adjusting resistance levels with ease to gain the necessary effect.

The integrated slip-free pedals are intentionally over-sized with foot straps perfect for all sizes of exercise shoes.

The non-slip handles are some of the extra features embedded into this indoor rower to ensure superior user comfort. The large cushioned seat is another one that enables everyone to row for as long as their bodies can take.

One of the pleasant surprises that come with the Sunny Health & Fitness SG-RW5606 is the large LCD display. It shows user rowing Strokes, Total Strokes, Time, Distance, and Strokes per minute, as well as Scan, and Calories Burned.

Users are able to switch to Scan Mode to see performance stats repeated over and over again to enable them keep up your calculations.

As long as your weight falls within the 220-pound limit, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 can be a perfect addition to any home gym.

Buy the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine here.

PROS

  • Adjusting built-in tension resistance is convenient
  • Large LCD display keeps calculating user performance stats while in the middle of an exercise session
  • Slip-free, over-sized, and textured pedals for safety and comfort

CONS

  • Arm bar angle looks quite odd
  • It would be great if there was more tension

Cheap Rowing Machine Buying Guide

Not all of us have $2,000 to invest in an elite rowing machine like the WaterRower or the slightly less expensive bestselling Model D from Concept2 .

Sadly, majority of those available at the lower-end of the market tend to be inferior models not worth the layers of Styrofoam they are packed into for shipping.

Here are the most critical factors to consider if you’d rather ignore the top recommended models above and search on your own.

Quality of Operation

While most of us would love to workout with whisper-quiet indoor rowers, this may not always be possible in the budget-friendly models.

Even if the one you end up with isn’t the most quiet on the market, make sure it’s not wobbly or emanating loud distracting squeaking sounds.

Resistance Levels

You have to be realistic by expecting that the level of resistance in the cheaper models won’t be as much as those offered by commercial-grade rowing machines.

However, you still have to find a unit that gives a considerable range of resistance for you to gain challenging workouts for a year or 2.

You can rely on the budget option to improve fitness while saving up for an upscale model with a significant price tag.

Sturdy Frame

Indoor rowers with sturdy frames allow even those with excess body weight to exercise to fitness.

As low as your budget may be, it is important to opt for a model that gives you the confidence to work out without fear of breaking the machine and getting injured.

Conclusion

The fact that you may be tight on money and looking for the best cheap rowing machine doesn’t mean you should end up with an inferior machine.

Most consumers make the mistake of ordering the first model they come across that fits within their budgets.

In fact, this could be a huge misstep that is sure to haunt you down the line. The truth is, it is better to hold out until you find the right one for your needs.

Fortunately, our list of the top cheap rowing machines reviewed above cuts across all budget levels.

This ensures that no matter how tight cash may be, you’ll get a model that helps improve your fitness and body size with minimal discomfort to you.


About the Author

Chuck is a lazy fitness enthusiast committed to sharing the latest tips and comprehensive gear reviews to help you work out smart instead of hard.

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