2 Best Rowing Machines Under $500 (That Are Also Quality)

Steve Hoyles July 14, 2021

Rowing machines can be expensive–there is no way around it.

Most quality rowers will cost over $900 and–if you are a serious rower–many of them are worth the money.

**If you are a serious rower and want the top of the line rowing machine, the Model 2 Rower from Rogue, is the one you want. I personally own 3 of these.

For everyone else, however, keep reading as this article is for you.

If you are looking for a simple, quality rower under $500 without all the bells and whistles, I want to let you in on a secret–you don’t need to spend $1k to get a quality rower.

If you have a budget of $500, that is all you need to be able to purchase a quality rowing machine that will help you:

  • Lose weight and get into shape
  • Have a blast with a unique style of workout
  • Pretend to be a Viking for a workout (just kidding)

I’ve been a gym owner for over 10 years and know a thing or two about rowers–my gym has a ton of them. In short, I know a thing or two about rowers, and in this article, I will share that knowledge with you.

After you finish this article, you will have 2 options for a killer workout without breaking the bank.

**If you are in a rush, without question, the best rower under $500 is the Snode Water Rowing Machine.

 

  
 
Our Ranking
What we love about it
Who it’s best for
Ratings
Price
Shipping

Snode Water Rowing Machine

Our Ranking : #1
What we love about it : Hands down best option under $500
Who it’s best for : Amazing option for beginning and intermediate rowers
Ratings : 4.5 rating (49 reviews)
Price : $469
Shipping: Free (Amazon)

Sunny Magnetic Rowing Machine

Our Ranking : #2
What we love about it : Solid option, affordable, can have challenging workouts
Who it’s best for : Great option for those wanting greater resistance
Ratings : 4.7 rating (7 reviews)
Price : $499
Shipping: Free (Amazon)


Our #1 Pick: SNODE Water Rowing Machine ($430) – Good build quality and app support

Best Rowing Machines
Features
Our rating
Features
  • Allows for a full range of movement (unlike most other rowers at this price point)
  • Solid build quality that will last for years to come. 
  • Fantastic price – you won’t find a better value
  • Easy to put together – won’t take more than 30 minutes
Our Rating
Our #1 Best Rated Rowing Machine
5 out of 5

The SNODE water rower ticks all of the boxes you’d expect a rower at this price point to, and then some.

I love the fact that it’s a water rower because it offers a more natural resistance than the cheaper magnetic resistances.

It also offers a full stroke range, which isn’t always the case with cheaper rowers–this means you’ll get a full range of motion, which is a necessity for getting a quality workout in.

The build quality is excellent too, and with a maximum user weight of 331LB, it’s a solidpiece of equipment that will last you for years to come.

The workout experience is enhanced by the app, which I’d suggest you download. It has a bunch of great workout ideas to challenge you and have fun with.

SNODE Water Rowing Machine

The LCD screen itself is very basic (as you’d expect – it’s an affordable rower), but it still gives you information on time, calories, strokes, strokes per minute, and distance.

The usual benefits are in place with this rower–adjustable foot straps, easy storage, comfortable seat and handles.

Whilst I wouldn’t put these down as selling points exactly, they’re nice to have.

The resistance level on the machine isn’t too much of a challenge either, so it’s best suited to beginner/intermediate rowers. If you’re looking for a killer workout with high resistance, our #2 option will be more suited for you.

The user reviews are excellent, which is rare for home gym equipment at this price point. It says a lot about the build quality and how easy it is to put together, because this is almost always one of the downsides of the lower end gym equipment.

To be honest, I’m surprised at how affordable this option is considering the value you get. If you are looking for a quality rower under $500, it’s really a no-brainer. This is the one you want.

Pros

  • Allows for a full range of movement (unlike most other rowers at this price point)
  • Solid build quality that will last for years to come. 
  • Fantastic price – you won’t find a better value
  • Easy to put together – won’t take more than 30 minutes

Cons

  • Resistance is limited – not ideal for elite level rowers

Verdict

At less than $500, you won’t find a better rowing machine than this one from Snode. Yes, it’s affordable, but it’s also fantastic quality, well designed, and perfect for getting a great workout in, losing weight, and having fun working out. While it’s not going to win any rowing machine awards, it is the perfect option for those wanting a quality rowing machine under $500.


Our #2 Pick – Sunny Health & Fitness Hydro+ Dual Resistance Magnetic Water Rowing Machine ($499) – Good features, reasonable price, solid resistance

Best Rowing Machines
Features
Our rating
Features
  • Full range of movement
  • Multiple resistances – water and magnet
  • Smooth, adjustable water resistance
  • Reasonable price point
Our Rating
Our #2 Best Rated Rowing Machine
4.8 out of 5

Just like the SNODE, the Sunny Hydro+ has a lot of the features you should be looking for in a rower. It’s well-built, has the water action for resistance, a full range of movement and adjustable settings for the feet.

It has been marked second in this review because it’s more expensive than the SNODE, it’s not quite as sturdy and the upper weight limit is 100KG (220LB), so it doesn’t suit as many users.

That being said, there are features that make it potentially worth your while. It has a quiet, smooth action. The resistance is provided by a mixture of water and magnets, so there’s more resistance on offer than just water alone.

With the SNODE at #1 providing a limited resistance, this may suit more people. Foot straps are adjustable for different sizes.

The screen contains the usual info–time, distance, calories, stroke information. It also has a clip to attach a device to, so you can follow workout videos from Sunny health and fitness. These little features are really useful because when the intensity of the rower is limited, it’s helpful to have new workout ideas.

User reviews are generally very good and the rower is easy to assemble. Storage is simple because it tips up onto its end and the built-in wheels make it easy to move around. Outside of the SNODE, it’s the only other sub $500 rowing machine I think you should consider.

Pros

  • Full range of movement
  • Multiple resistances – water and magnet
  • Smooth, adjustable water resistance
  • Reasonable price point
  • Easy to put together

Cons

  • Limited max user weight
  • More expensive than the SNODE, with fewer features

Verdict

The Sunny is a decent rower at the price point. The features, build quality and the overall functionality of it stack up to make something worthwhile. You’ll be able to use the rower to good effect and it won’t break the bank. It’s easy to build, use and store. The combination of water and magnetic resistance makes for a challenging workout.


So Which Option Should You Buy

If you are on a budget and would love a rowing machine to add to your home gym–not to fret–the 2 rowers mentioned above will do the trick.

With that being stated, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t strongly recommend the Concept 2 Rower at $900. If you can afford to pay a little extra, it’s 100% worth the investment.  And this isn’t a sales pitch. I own 3 of these and they are the gold standard of rowing machines for good reason.

With that being stated, if you are a beginner or intermediate rower, you’ll get unbelievable value out of the Snode rowing machine at #1–more than enough for a solid workout.

Our #2 option, the rower from Sunny, has more resistance capabilities, so if you are looking for a bit more challenging workout, this is the one I’d go with.

Steve Hoyles

Steve is a Personal Trainer, Weightlifting Coach, and Gym Owner. He has written about fitness for over a decade. He lives with his girlfriend Rachel and their two sons.

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