The most popular rowing machines are quite expensive. Can you find good indoor rowing machines for less than $400? What’s the best option that fits inside this budget?
For $400 or less you can find a decent indoor rowing machine. While the most popular and best models don’t fit inside this budget, you can still find an indoor rower that can provide a great workout for $400 and less. You might have to make some compromises on features or quality though.
Below we’ll go into what you can expect for $400 and what the best options are.
Indoor rowers under $400
Before we pick the best indoor rower, let’s take a look at which options there are in this budget. Below you can find a list of the rowers currently available under $400. This is the price without shipping, handling and/or extended warranty.
|Sunny Health||SF-RW5728||Air + Magnetic||$$$$|
|Sunny Health||SF-RW5730||Air + Magnetic||$$$$|
Prices are subject to change so that’s why I prefer to give a range instead of an exact number. Check the chart below to get an idea of what the dollar signs mean;
- $ = $50 – $100
- $$ = $100 – $150
- $$$ = $150 – $250
- $$$$ = $250 – $350
- $$$$$ = $350 – $400
As you can see, this list is dominated by hydraulic and magnetic resistance type rowers. A few entry level air rowers are also available. At this price there is still quite a lot of choice. Sure, the top brands and models are missing but that doesn’t mean you can’t get something good. Let’s get into what the best choice is.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of indoor rowing machines because there are significant differences between them. Click here to find a full explanation of the four different types.
If you want an actual ‘real’ rowing experience, it’s better to leave the hydraulic rowers alone. They have a few benefits like price, size and noise but they don’t really deliver a realistic rowing experience since the movement is different.
For most people it will be better to get an air or water rower for the most realistic rowing movement and toughest workout. Magnetic rowers are more affordable and can still provide a great workout although they feel a bit different.
For $400 you can’t expect the best rowing machine in the world. The best rowers are $1000+. That doesn’t mean you can’t get anything good however. Let’s see what you best option is in this price range.
What can you expect in a rower under $400
Indoor rowing machines should do a few things right however much they cost. Can you expect the same from a machine that costs three times as much? No, but there are some things that both a cheaper and more expensive rower should do right.
Here’s what you should look for in an indoor rower;
- Sturdy (enough to handle your weight)
- Sufficient resistance
- Natural movement pattern
- Some form of performance monitoring
Nice to have but not absolutely necessary;
- Good warranty conditions
- Good customer service
For $400 or less you can expect a machine that has a good movement pattern and has a pretty smooth, natural movement pattern although not as good as the more expensive models. The performance monitoring will be quite rudimentary.
In this price range, the user weight limits aren’t as high as with high end machines so the construction and build quality is at a lower level. However, if you don’t need the higher load limit this isn’t a big problem although the construction might not be as stable and/or durable.
All in all you should be able to buy a rowing machine that provides you with good workouts for at least a few years but maybe not something that will last for decades and stands up to high levels of tough use for a long time.
The best indoor rower under $400
Now we know what we are looking for, let’s see if we can find the best indoor rower for under $400.
The best rower under $400 is the Marcy NS-6050RE
If you want a full guide of what to look for when buying a rowing machine, click here. You’ll find a full beginners guide that tells you everything you need to know.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re a beginner or experienced, this is a good rowing machine in this price range. Why is this?
- Air resistance for a natural feel
- Added magnetic resistance in 8 levels for extra control over resistance
- Can fold up for easy storage
- 300 lbs. weight limit
- Digital display that can show; Total strokes, Time, Distance, Calories, Strokes per minute.
- Comfortable seat
- Non-slip pedals with strap
- Aluminum slide rail with rollers
This is a very solid rowing machine with a solid construction, smooth movement and good movement pattern that’s hard to beat for the price.
Suggested post: 9 Amazing Benefits Rowing Has On Your Body
Air resistance gives you a natural feel because the harder you pull, the higher the resistance becomes. The magnetic resistance allows you to adjust the base level of resistance. This gives you the best of both worlds.
Besides that, it stores easily since you can fold it up and has built in wheels so you can easily put it away.
The warranty isn’t great but neither are the ones of competing brands so this is one of the sacrifices you make with a cheaper model. Otherwise this machine does its job. It’s durable, pretty smooth and comfortable to use. There aren’t any bells and whistles but does the basics well.
The quality is good and you shouldn’t have any significant problems within the lifespan of the machine. Of course maintenance is important for every rowing machine. No matter how much it costs, there are certain things you have to do to keep it in tip top shape.
Do expensive rowing machines give you a better workout? Better/more expensive rowers are less likely to get in the way of your workout. They can provide a smoother and more natural movement which is less likely to distract you from your workout. Additionally, some expensive rowers have different resistance types which makes them feel more natural and have higher resistance.
Which muscles does rowing work the most? Rowing works a lot of muscles all over your body but some are used more than others. For the leg extension part of the stroke, the hardest hit are the quadriceps and glutes in the legs while for the last part of the stroke you heavily contract the biceps, forearms, rear deltoid and trapezius.
Is it worth paying $1000 for a rowing machine? The best and most popular rowing machines in the world are around the $1000 mark. If you’re an avid and/or intermediate to advanced rower, paying that amount is worth it. Especially since at that price point you can find machines that don’t lose much value second hand.
Favorite Cardio Machine Accessories
Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:
- Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high quality choice.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and workouts, there is no better choice than the GymNext Flex. It’s super easy to use and set up with a phone app.
- Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
- Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.
To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.