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Home / Reviews / Best budget rowing machines for your home workouts

Best budget rowing machines for your home workouts in 2024

Looking to get your fitness up but don't feel like braving the winter weather? Rowing machines provide a perfect indoor alternative. Here are our picks of the best cheap rowing machines

Budget Rowing Machines compilation

These budget rowing machines are designed to offer a great full-body workout, providing low-impact cardio sessions that could save your joints from added stress.

Rowing machines can be a vital piece of kit for training in the comfort of your home, but they often come at a cost.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect machine for some active recovery, hoping to bolster your cardio or tone up with a higher resistance, we’ve scoured the online waters to help you find the right cheap rowing machine for your fitness needs.

Picks have been made based on in-depth research and analysis of user reviews.

Best budget rowing machines

JTX Surge: Compact Rowing Machine

  • Resistance type: magnetic
  • Resistance levels: 16
  • Power: mains

This magnetic rower from JXfitness comes with several workout options. There are 16 levels of magnetic resistance and 14 workout programmes, complete with a digital console for tracking your progress. These features mean this rower could be ideal for adding variance, keeping your sessions fresh and exciting.

It’s 152cm length is said to be great for smaller spaces and it comes complete with wheels and an upright storage function.

In terms of convenience, it may be important to bear in mind that this rower is mains powered, in case a battery-powered option would be more convenient for you.

Due to the extra compactness, this rower only supports a maximum user weight of up to 90kg and a max user height of 6ft 2in.

Most rowing machines on the market can support around the 110-120kg range, so this might not be the best machine for heavier, taller users.

Domyos Folding Rowing Machine 100

  • Resistance type: elastic
  • Resistance levels: two
  • Power: manual

This rowing machine from Domyos shoots for pure simplicity. It uses two interchangeable resistance bands to give you a choice of required level of resistance and there’s a handy phone holder, so you can follow a workout or keep up with your favourite TV show.

This could be an ideal machine if you don’t have much space to spare, weighing in at a light 13kg and fitted with two transport wheels so you can move adjust position and location as you see fit.

It’s stated this rower takes up about the same amount of space as a chair when folded and has just a five-second folding time.

The elastic resistance means this machine might not be the best option for more seasoned rowers looking for a wide variety of tensions.

However, Domyos’ creation is worth considering for beginners and those who want convenience and simplicity.

Dripex Magnetic Rowing Machine

  • Resistance type: magnetic
  • Resistance levels: 16
  • Power: battery powered

The Dripex Magnetic rowing machine offers 16 variable levels of resistance, which is great to see from a rowing machine that falls around the £300 mark.

Dripex claims its no-touch magnetic resistance is particularly quiet to minimise the risk of you disturbing your neighbours.

There’s also a smart monitor that allows you to keep track of your stroke rate, time, distance and calories. Plus, it’s battery powered, so you won’t need to work out near a plug socket.

With a PU feather seat for comfort and built-in wheels for easy moving and storage, this should be a good beginner rower to cover all the basics.

XS Sports R110 Home Rowing Machine

  • Resistance type: magnetic
  • Resistance levels: four
  • Power: battery powered

The XS Sports R110 Home Rowing Machine is a folding rower with magnetic resistance. It offers four levels of adjustable resistance, which makes it suitable for beginners and intermediate users, although it may not offer enough resistance options for more advanced rowers.

Measuring in at 38cm x 174cm x 54cm, it’s said to be easily folded and stored away when not in use, which would make it great for those with limited space.

The compact design also makes it easy to move around the house, as it weighs less than 15kg, but it can only be used by people weighing up to 100kg.

The machine has a padded seat, and adjustable foot straps, but the foot pads may be on the small side for some feet.

Meanwhile, the rail is on an inclined plane, which intensifies the load on the leg muscles, leading to a more challenging workout. However, it also raises pressure on the knees.

It’s essential to assess whether your primary goal is to build strength or stamina and to take any injuries into account before exerting pressure on your legs.

The computer screen displays the elapsed time, calories burned and rows per minute. It’s not specified whether it includes the distance measurement and the screen’s size may limit accessibility for some users.

Overall, this rower is worth considering for beginners with limited storage space, as it provides all the essential features of a rowing machine.

However, consider whether the inclined rail will be comfortable for you, and ensure that your height and weight align with the product specifications.

HOMCOM Rowing Machine

  • Resistance type: hydraulic
  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Power: battery powered

The HOMCOM Rowing Machine has a great price, and offers a hydraulic rowing system with 12 adjustable levels of resistance and a built-in LCD monitor. This is another indoor rower that aims to be lightweight and simplistic, offering a fold-away system and weighing in at 11kg.

The hydraulic system means you should be in for a quiet row. At this price point, it’s also great to see that the battery-powered monitor allows you to keep track of time, stroke count and calories burned.

V-fit Tornado Air Rower

  • Resistance type: air
  • Resistance levels: resistance increases with speed
  • Power: battery powered

It’s more difficult to get hold of an air rowing machine in the budget price bracket, but V-fit provide this, the Tornado Air Rower. This battery-powered air rower aims to replicate the experience of rowing on water more closely than magnetic and cord systems.

It includes a three-screen, six-function exercise monitor for recording strokes per minute, distance covered, calories and speed. The air-powered system means resistance will increase the harder the handle is pulled, which is not the case with elastic, hydraulic or magnetic systems.

However, it should be noted that this air system will cause some noise, so it may be better for the user who wants a realistic feel on a budget and may not be the best option for an active recovery row in front of the TV.

What to look for when buying a rowing machine

Are you looking to improve your endurance and stamina? Or perhaps you’re just seeking a new form of cardio to add to your fitness routine?

Whatever your reason, purchasing a rowing machine can be a great investment in your health and fitness.

But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one for you? Read on to find out!


A rowing machine can be a great tool to add to your training regimen, but the type of resistance it offers is a crucial factor to consider.

There’s no need to fork out for a state-of-the-art water rower if you’re a complete beginner, but then again, if you’re in the market for an upgrade, that satisfying slosh might be just what you’re after.

Air rowers

Air resistance is the most common type found in rowing machines. It simulates the feeling of rowing on water by using a flywheel to create resistance based on the speed of the user’s strokes.

This type of resistance can offer a smooth and natural feel to the rowing motion, and the intensity can be increased or decreased by rowing faster or slower.

Magnetic rowers

Magnetic resistance, on the other hand, uses a magnetic brake system to provide resistance. This type of machine is usually quieter and more compact than air resistance machines.

The resistance can be adjusted manually, but the range of resistance may be limited compared to air resistance machines.

Hydraulic rowers

Hydraulic resistance machines use pistons filled with fluid or air to provide resistance. These machines are often less expensive and more compact than other types of rowing machines, but the resistance can feel less natural and the range of resistance may be limited.

Water rowers

Finally, water resistance machines use a water tank to create resistance, providing a more realistic feeling of rowing on water.

The resistance can be adjusted by adding or removing water from the tank, and these machines can offer a smooth and natural feel to the rowing motion. However, they can be louder and more expensive than other types of rowing machines


Credit: Andres Ayrton/Pexels

When it comes to purchasing a rowing machine for your home gym, the size of the machine is an important factor to consider. Your living space must be large enough to accommodate it, but you also need to consider the breadth of motion it allows.

Folding vs non-folding

Non-folding machines typically have a longer and wider frame to accommodate the rowing motion, and they may not be as easy to store when not in use. However, they may offer a more stable and durable option, which can be important for rigorous training sessions.

On the other hand, folding machines are designed to be more compact and space-efficient. They typically have a smaller frame that can be folded up and stored when not in use. This can be especially helpful for those with limited space, as the machine can be easily tucked away in a closet or under a bed.


When selecting a rowing machine, make sure the design of the seat is comfortable and wide enough to accommodate your body size and allow for full range of motion.

The footrests should be adjustable to fit your shoe size, and should allow for proper alignment of your ankles and knees to prevent any strain or injury.

The handle of the rowing machine should be comfortable to grip and be positioned at a comfortable distance from your body to prevent any strain on your arms or shoulders.

Make sure to choose a machine with a monitor that’s easily visible and allows you to track important metrics such as stroke rate, distance and time.

Finally, make sure the machine is adjustable to fit your body size and preferences. This includes the resistance level, which should allow you to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout.


Look for machines with frames made from high-quality materials such as steel or aluminium, which can withstand heavy use and provide stability during rowing.

A good warranty can provide added peace of mind and ensure that any issues with the machine will be promptly addressed. Look for machines with warranties of at least one year, and consider purchasing an extended warranty if available.

You don’t need to break the bank to introduce some home rowing training into your life. If cycling through torrential rain isn’t your style, or you’re looking to expand your fitness horizons through a variation in activity, a home rower might be for you.

We hope you found something you liked in our roundup, but if you’re still browsing, why not check out the best workout benches for home training?

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Fin Cousins is a digital writer for Our Media’s special interest brands. He works across BBC Science Focus and 220 Triathlon, offering recommendations for the latest tech, innovative gadgets, and state-of-the-art training gear.