The best budget rowing machines for under £500

Invest in your fitness and wellbeing with the best budget rowing machines.

Mature man working out on a rowing machine

by Angelica Daujotas |
Updated on

If you're looking for a piece of equipment that gives you a full-body workout on a budget, then look no further than the best budget rowing machines for under £500. If used correctly, a rowing machine will work the muscles in your core, upper and lower body, as well as help you burn some serious calories.

The versatility of rowing makes it accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels, offering a practical and efficient exercise option. With the convenience of in-home rowing, you can achieve a full-body workout, targeting various muscle groups while enjoying the benefits of low-impact exercise.

Best budget rowing machines for under £500 at a glance

• Best rowing machine for small spaces: Sunny Health + Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine – View on Amazon
• Best rowing machine for tall users: Pro Fitness Air and Magnetic Rowing Machine – View on Argos
• Best rowing machine for comfort: GymboPro Water Resistance Rowing Machine – View on Sport and Leisure

Don't worry about the hefty price tag either, we've sourced some of the best rowing machines for under £500, proving the equipment can be a budget-friendly option for enthusiasts. Looking for an even more enjoyable way to work out without exerting yourself too much? Here are our top picks for the best vibration plates for home workouts. Or, perhaps, you want to kit out your home gym a little further. In that case, an exercise bike can rack up some fantastic cardio.

Don't let budget constraints limit your fitness journey; explore the affordable options available, making rowing an accessible and effective choice for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned fitness enthusiast with a home gym or a beginner, incorporating a rowing machine into your routine provides an opportunity for a well-rounded workout that contributes to overall health and fitness goals.

The best rowing machines for under £500

Best rowing machine for small spaces

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine

Rrp: $129.99

Price: $89.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$89.99View offer
DICK'S Sporting Goods$99.99View offer
Overstock$109.99View offer
Target$119.99View offer

A user-friendly rower at its most basic. Unlike most rowing machines, this Sunny Health + Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine uses a hydraulic cylinder to generate resistance. With ergonomic foot pedals and large padded seating, it's amazing value for the budget-friendly price!

Customer review: "Easy to assemble and very quiet in use. Even the easiest setting will test you. Great all round exercise machine."


  • Excellent price
  • Functions well
  • Compact


  • Not ideal for 6ft+ people


JTX Freedom Air Rowing Machine
Price: £459 (was £499)

Smash your fitness goals on the best-selling JTX Freedom Air Rowing Machine. Dual air and magnetic resistance help you achieve a powerful, even stroke. The sleek, durable design makes this folding rowing machine a stylish addition to your home gym. With a robust, frame and monorail, this home rowing machine is built to last. The cushioned seat uses a gym-style roller mechanism. Enjoy long, rewarding workouts with a smooth rowing motion and ultimate comfort.

Customer review: "Really love this machine. Great value for money, solid, well built kit with everything I need from a rowing machine. Would recommend."


  • Smooth and silent
  • Good length for taller people
  • Folds away easily for storage


  • Bulkier design, requires more room

Best rowing machine for tall users

The air and magnetic resistance on this Pro Fitness Air and Magnetic Rowing Machine gives you eight levels of resistance to choose from by adjusting the air outlet. Though not as quiet as a magnetic machine, it isn’t too bad. It's worth having in a closed-off dedicated space, however. It’s almost two metres long which is noticeably more than those above, but it does allow for users up to about 6ft 4. It comes with a one-year manufacturer’s guarantee.

Customer review: "It took me about an hour to set it up but well worth it! I use it most days, very good exercise machine."


  • Well-made, basic unit
  • Good for taller users


  • No batteries were supplied for the screen

Best value rowing machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Elastic Cord Rowing Machine - SF-RW5606

Rrp: $199.00

Price: $120.99
Alternative retailers
Target$120.99View offer
Lowe's$131.59View offer
Walmart$132.55View offer
Overstock$140.99View offer

A highly-rated magnetic rowing machine for under £200, this is arguably the best value of the lot. It's basic but sturdy, and that is exactly what you want. The frame is alloy steel and is suitable for taller users thanks to the generous slide rail inseam. The display monitor sits just below the bar holder. It’s foldable too, which helps when tidying it away.

Customer review: "Bought it for a full body workout and I am pleased how good it is for the price"


  • Great value rowing machine
  • Durable and sturdy built
  • Silent and saves space


  • No mention of a warranty

Best rowing machine for comfort

Magnetic machines are smooth but rowers that use water resistance give the most realistic rowing simulation. Like air machines, it’s also very reliable. On this GymboPro Water Resistance Rowing Machine, the screen is adjustable to suit your height, and the wide seat is very comfortable. Just be aware that this is also a larger unit thanks to the water barrel, but it does have wheels at the end to make it easier to move. Comes with a one-year retail warranty.

Customer review: "Very impressed, top item for an excellent price. very pleased."


  • Fits taller people
  • Best rowing simulation
  • Water resistant


  • Not as compact as some other models

Best for beginners

This magnetic JLL® R200 Luxury Home Rowing Machine is one of Amazon's top sellers and is ideal for beginners who don't want to spend too much on a rowing machine, but equally don't want to skimp out. It has 10 levels of resistance for a light cardiovascular workout and the 3” LCD screen clearly displays your count, calories, time and distance. If you're short on space then you'll also be pleased to know this rower folds up, so it won't take up too much room.

Customer review: "I found it easy to put together and having tried it out, it’s as solid as a rock - and I’m at the top of the stated weight limit for the device. Easy to fold up and put back. It has a good range of effort settings. It is just what I hoped for when I bought it."


  • Easy to set up
  • Mid price, not too expensive
  • 10 levels of magnetic resistance


  • Maximum weight not as heavy as some competitors

The best rowing machines for under £500: FAQs

Rowing machine for beginners: Five tips to get started

Form is super important when using a rowing machine to ensure a successful full-body workout. To understand how to use and get the most out of your new rowing machine, watch this super handy Beginner’s Guide to Rowing video, which includes five top tips to get you started.

Benefits of using the best rowing machine for under £500

So, if you're looking to expand your garage gym setup or want to invest in one piece of equipment to elevate your at-home workouts, invest in one of our picks of the best rowing machines in the UK for less than £500.

Full-body workout – Rowing is a full-body workout, that uses around 86 per cent of your body’s muscles, from your upper back to your calves.

Low impact – Rowing can burn some serious calories without added stress on your joints, it’s even recommended as an exercise option for those with early stages of osteoarthritis.

Great for everyone – Rowing is great for people of all ages and all fitness abilities!

What area of the body does a rowing machine primarily target?

Many people believe rowing machines purely just target your lower body, but this couldn't be further from the truth. While rowing machines primarily target your quads, hamstrings and glutes, they're also great for engaging your core and working your upper body muscles, including your deltoids and lats. Overall, it's a great all-round workout, as well as strengthening those essential workout muscle groups.

How many calories do you burn while rowing?

Just ten minutes of rowing at a steady speed can burn upwards of 200 calories, which is pretty fantastic for burning fat and getting your blood pumping.

What's better? Water rowing vs magnetic rowing

Water rowing is generally considered better by athletes, they're more difficult to use, they're more durable and gives you a more accurate sensation of rowing. Magnetic rowers, however, are more affordable, quieter, and lighter than water rowers, so that might just win you over.

Angelica Daujotas has contributed to various Bauer Media brands such as Yours, heat, Closer, Grazia and What’s The Best as a Commercial Content Writer since 2020. Angelica has a BA in Fashion Communication and Promotion from Norwich University of the Arts. She is now the Commerce Editor at Footballco.

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