Best Rowing Machines Under $300
Selecting best rowing machines under $300 is challenging in some ways, and simple in others. On one hand, there are a good number of contenders in the category, but on the other there’s also quite a bit of junk out there. Thankfully even skimming Amazon reviews will help deter you from the obvious flops, but beyond that our expertise in the field gives us the upper hand when looking at the best and worst affordable rowers out there.
As you’ll see below, there’s quite a bit to consider in this price range, but at a fundamental level you can expect a low overall weight capacity (at best 250 lbs), little to no warranty support, and a very limited set of overall features when compared to higher price categories.
Best Rowing Machines Under $300
Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine
EFITMENT Aero Air Fan Rowing Machine
Meanwhile, magnetic resistance has come a long way in recent years, and the same way we’re seeing this technology trickle down into entry level exercise bikes, we’ve seen it take hold in low budget home rowing machines as well.
Features and Specs
As we’ve noted above, these machines are nothing like the feature-rich offerings at the top of the price scale, but they also aren’t completely devoid of functionality either. Just about every budget machine out there has a folding frame, which trades sturdiness for storage practicality. You’ll note in our observations below about the Sunny Health rowing machine in particular, the way these affordable folding frames are designed, in many cases you’re looking at a recipe for failure if you’re anywhere close to the machine’s 250-lb max weight capacity.
With magnetic resistance, generally some sort of digital display is necessary, and though they are very basic it’s nice to see that users can get some simple workout metrics out of their sub-$300 rowing machines. You’ll see things like stroke rate, distance covered, and elapsed time, but don’t expect any heart rate monitoring or built-in programming with these units.
What to Watch Out For
In this price category the first big hurdle is that you aren’t dealing with known or established brands in the fitness space. Even Stamina—one of the leading brands in affordable rowing machines—can’t be purchased in this price category. Because if that, you’re left with relative ‘no name’ brands, primarily offered via Amazon, Walmart, and occasionally other big-box retailers.
Because of this, Amazon reviews are your best friend, but be sure to dig deep and trust your gut. Any machine with less than 100 reviews requires an extra level of scrutiny, as we all know that there’s such a thing as false positive reviews on the ecomm giant. We had to look very carefully at this, especially with the inclusion of the EFITMENT air rower in our top three. With only 25 reviews thus far and a handful of failure complaints, we had to make sure the machine was up to the task, and as with any of the offerings in this list we ensure to remind our readers about the potential risks of defects and struggles with warranty items.
In many respects, at this price point, tread shopping for a rowing machine under $300 the same way you would treat shopping for a new car. Weigh out your needs and wants carefully, and don’t expect more than your budget can bear. These machines aren’t meant for heavy use (or heavy users for that matter), and if you stumble across something online that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
1. Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Machine
Connectivity has been huge in the fitness space lately, but we’re still surprised to see a rowing machine under $300 that has Bluetooth connectivity and its own fitness tracking app. That said, we’re still talking about a budget piece of equipment here, with little to no warranty—many have reported issues with trying to reach the manufacturer for any sort of defect support. That said, it seems those people are a minority compared to the volume of users satisfied with this little cost-effective rig. Again you’re looking at a low 250 lb weight capacity, which isn’t ideal for many looking to shed some pounds. Another advantage of this machine is the fact that it can also be used for high rows, bicep curls, and other strength training exercises by using the footrests at the front of the machine.
2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine
Sunny Fitness will occasionally surface on our site, albeit with the caveat of ‘it’s cheap, but…’—precisely the case with this entry into our best rowing machines under $300 list. This machine earns serious points, delivering an adjustable magnetic resistance setup and folding frame design for a VERY low sticker price, but it’s by no means a sturdy and long-lasting machine as we’ve learned from several reviews across the web. The frame is designed in a way where a single hinge point is tightened to have this joint ‘floating’ under the weight of its user—a recipe destined for failure. Further to this, several have reported the fact that its spring return mechanism can fail (as can other parts) well within the first year of use. If you just want to test out the idea of at-home rowing before investing big bucks in a quality machine, then give it a try. If you want something that lasts, then maybe not.
3. EFITMENT Aero Air Fan Rowing Machine
Surprisingly there is a half decent air resistance rowing machine under $300 out there that isn’t an absolute basket case—most of them are terrible. Looking at the EFITMENT Aero, the brand uses a smaller fan than some of its competitors, and forgoes the ‘floating joint’ frame design that leads most discount rowers to fail dramatically within their first year of operation. This model is still a lightweight, only capable of supporting users of up to 264.5lbs, but otherwise will get the job done reasonably well. Its LCD display provides a readout of elapsed time, stroke count, calories burned and reps/strokes per minute, and its folding construction will help you save space in your home workout area.