The Best Rowing Machines For The Money

Having a go-to at-home workout is key to staying healthy, especially since working out at gyms and group classes may not be an option for everyone during the pandemic. And if you live in a city or a cold climate, exercising outdoors may not happen either. Having an at-home workout at the ready that is efficient and works the body as a whole is critical. One of the few machines that can match these criteria is a rower. They deliver an effective, calorie-burning workout while having a lower impact on the body.

If running on a treadmill strains your joints or stationary biking isn't for you, rowing may be your best bet. Some doctors even say rowing provides more bang for your buck than other at-home cardio machines. Dr. Cameron Nichol, a former Olympic rower and two-time world silver medalist, told Insider that rowing is the "most time efficient total body workout" out there. There's no denying the benefit of a cardio workout that targets both the upper and lower body.

Even though most rowing machines provide comparable benefits, they're not all designed exactly the same. You'll find different levels of resistance and sizing, while some stow easily and others feature interactive technology. Whether you are new to rowing or on a budget, we've compiled the best rowing machines for your money.

Here are some of the best affordable rowing machines

Get a full-body workout on a budget with one of these two reasonably priced rowing machines. Falling just under $200, the Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine offers an authentic rowing workout with individually moving arms and a smooth hydraulic mechanism (via Insider). Even though the machine is compact and quiet, it still delivers an impactful and adjustable real boat-rowing experience. Users also love the sturdy frame that folds up for easy storage.

Rated by Start Rowing as the best rowing machine for beginners, the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine is also a great value at around $250. The quiet, smooth, and sturdy rower provides eight levels of magnetic resistance fit for any athletic ability. It is compact and great for small spaces, like the Stamina, but the rail might be too short for taller people. However, it does boast an ultra-cushioned seat and added smart features like time, distance, speed, and calorie count displayed on an LCD screen.

What is the best overall rowing machine?

Women's Health's top pick for the best overall rowing machine can last over 20 years and, surprisingly, isn't the most expensive choice on the market. The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine elevates your home gym with its solid frame, effortless glide, comfortable design, and exceptional quality. Rowers have long entrusted the Concept2 RowErg as the benchmark for indoor training. Starting at $900, this rower is the same machine used by both Olympic and elite-level athletes to train for endurance sports without straining their joints. However, everybody can use the machine, athlete or not, no matter what workout experience you are looking for (via Concept2). The Model D may be better for those with a designated home gym since it takes more assembly to take it apart and put it into storage.

Concept2's rowers may not be the most inexpensive, but if you are serious about your health and fitness, then it's a worthwhile investment. It's also pretty pared down, considering it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the newest Peloton-esque rowers on the market.