Best Rowing Machines Under $ 600
Unlike several other fitness categories, the best rowing machines under $600 include a good number of high quality machines from known and well established fitness brands on the market. As with any product category, there are definitely some terrible machines in this price bracket as well, but we know what to look for, and how to steer you away from any poor choices in the category.
Once you’re in this price range, you can expect a fair bit more in terms of quality and features. Weight capacity rises, more air resistance rowers appear, digital consoles improve in quality, and general fit and finish of rowers increases significantly. All told, unless someone is on a paper thin budget, this is the price bracket that we recommend most people start their search in.
Best Rowing Machines Under $600
Air resistance rowers also start coming into play in this category, though at this level you’re still looking at air-only setups without variable resistance. Further up the price spectrum you’ll start to see rowing machines that combine air and magnetic resistance to add adjustability to the equation.
Magnetic resistance is the baseline in this category, though from here on up you’ll see fewer and fewer rowers that rely solely on magnetic resistance. Generally speaking magnetic resistance is the least accurate in replicating the feel of natural rowing, so unlike the world of exercise bikes, this is really an entry-level feature rather than a premium one.
Features and Specs
Things get a bit better once we get into the sub-$600 rowing machine category, as we start to see more adjustable resistance, better consoles, and even the addition of workout programs on occasion. That said, it’s also a category where these things are sometimes traded off to keep prices low. For example the Stamina X Air Rower is a bit more sturdy in construction than the ProForm offering, but in trade you don’t get adjustable resistance on the Stamina X. If you’re looking for more bells and whistles you’re going to have to look to a higher price bracket.
As we’ve noted a couple of times, the Xterra water rower that we’ve listed is the real winner in this price bracket. You get quite a bit of machine for an affordable price. The only place where the Xterra falls short when compared to other rowers is the fact that you have to adjust its water level in order to adjust its resistance. With more expensive water rowers, a mechanism is built into the tank to make these adjustments on the fly.
What to Watch Out For
Generally speaking, in the budget end of the spectrum the idea is to not get greedy in terms of features for the sticker price. Be mindful of brand name/reputation, warranty terms, after sales support, and of course notes from reviewers like us. It’s not a space with a ton of options in it, and much as some of the no-name brands on Amazon and elsewhere can seem enticing, there’s a reason those types of rowers aren’t making the review cut here.
The last thing you want is to buy a rower for this kind of money, only to have it fail on you within the first 4-6 months of use and leaving you spending countless hours trying to chase down the right point of contact to get the damned thing looked after.
1. Xterra ERG600W Water Rower
Xterra Fitness is a relatively unsung name in the fitness space, which is unfortunate because they’re another player in the space that’s doing a great job of delivering equipment that offers a fantastic value proposition. They’re not a bargain basement brand, they stand behind their product, and several of their offerings (including the ERG600W water rower) are real leaders in their competitive price brackets. Other than this there’s no such thing as a decent water rower under $945, and this unit is extremely well equipped for the price. Its resistance can be modified based on the fill level of its water tank. Its console can be programmed for 5 different types of training programs. Its weight limit is higher, and its warranty longer, than anything in its competitive field—all for an entry price of only $598.88.Read the Full Xterra ERG600W Water Rower Review
2. Stamina X Air Rower
In the budget category of best rowing machines under $600, the Stamina X Air Rower is damned hard to beat in many respects. First off, it’s an air resistance rower with more significant construction than any of the rowers that sell for even $100 or $150 less than its $399 sticker price. The folding point of its frame is at the base of the rail, so there’s none of that loose wobble you get from other budget machines. Its resistance isn’t adjustable on account of its fan drive, which is something that some rowers are quick to complain about, but if you’re just getting started that’s not a bad thing. Resistance will increase as you pick up the speed and push of your drive phase; the harder and faster you launch from catch position, the more resistance will be generated by the fan. The Stamina X Air Rower has a chain drive for its handle rather than a belt, which makes for slightly louder operation, but also means you don’t have a belt/strap that will need replacing before long.Read the Full Stamina X Air Rower Review
3. ProForm 440R Rower
For our last entrant, bridging this gap between the entry level and upper tier, we’ve opted for a somewhat basic offering from another longstanding name in the fitness space—Proform. The Proform 440R rower uses magnetic resistance with 8-step adjustability via a control knob. Its console, while still basic, is an improvement over the base level contenders. This unit takes a bit of flack for not being suited to taller rowers (it’s a touch short) but it also wins points for versatility. With its front footrests, the Proform 440R rowing machine can be used for other strength training exercises—bicep curls, front raises, upright rows, and the like.Read the Full ProForm 440R Rower Review