BEST ROWING MACHINES UNDER $500

Kettler Favorite

Made by a German company, the Kettler Favorite offers many benefits from a hydraulic indoor rowing machine. The resistance is supplied by two hydraulic tubes which do not emit much noise. You can use this machine at home or work at any time of the day and not bother others. You change the level of resistance by adjusting the clamps on the tubes. Some users report the resistance changing automatically during a workout, so be mindful that both of your handles are set to and remain at the same resistance level. The two handles on the Kettler Favorite are independent, which means you are training both arms and both sides of your back equally. Instead of pulling on one handle, in which your stronger arm may provide more of the power, the individual handles on the Kettler let you work both sides equally. The handles rotate which reduce wrist stress and allow you to row for longer durations. Another benefit of the handle set up is you can change the position of your arms with each stroke. For instance, raise your elbows wide and pull your hands rather apart to target your Lats, or keep your elbows and hands close to engage your Rhomboids. The seat is made of a thick pad which will not rip or tear. It slides smoothly on covered ball bearings across a frame made of high carbon steel and powder coated to protect against scratches. The foot plates pivot which allow for a full range of motion without compromising your ankles or knees. The foot plates have adjustable straps to keep you securely in place during your rowing session. The monitor displays time, strokes, distance, frequency, pulse and calories. The enclosed ear clip attaches to the monitor to track your pulse and help you remain within your appropriate target heart rate range. The monitor also shows you a wellness grading between 1 and 6 so you can compare each workout and your weekly progress. It operates on 2 “AA” batteries. The Kettler Favorite requires a space of 52 inches by 32 inches by 10 inches so it easily fits into smaller at-home workout areas. The Favorite supports users of up to 285 pounds and comes with a lifetime warranty. For the cost, comfort and noise reduction, the Kettler is beneficial for the beginner or occasional fitness rower.

Kettler-favorit BEST ROWING MACHINES UNDER $500

PROS

  • Independent oar handles
  • Full rotation in the arms
  • Wellness gradings
  • Quiet rowing session
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Various arm positions for targeting different muscle groups
  • Ear-clip heart rate monitor

CONS

  • Does not monitor watts or strokes per minute
  • The hydraulic resistance may change during your workout
  • Does not fold for storage

Summary

The Kettler Favorite receives 3 out of 5 stars for cost, workout quality, storage, sound and warranty. The limitations are the storage capabilities and the hydraulics that tend to reset on their own. The benefits are the independent arm functions and quietness of the machine.

Stamina ATS Air Rower 1405

Stamina makes a few indoor rowing exercise machines. The 1405 is a sturdy version for home use, but would not stand up well for multiple daily users. If you want a rower for moderate use for your at-home workouts, the 1405 is affordable, convenient and offers a smooth workout session. The flywheel resistance uses air to provide workout tension. The faster your stroke and the more power you use in the drive, the more difficult the resistance. If you require less resistance, simply slow down your stroke and decrease your pull on the handle. On the built-in display, you monitor your distance, time, calories burned, speed, number of strokes and strokes per minute. The seat is comfortable and made of foam. It is molded to fit most shapes. If you are on the larger size, you may find the seat uncomfortable. The seat slides on ball-bearing rollers for a smooth paddle across an oversized, angled rail. It uses a metal rowing chain which requires lubrication and a concentrated effort to not twist or rotate the chain during use. The handle is straight, but allows for a solid grip during your workout. The foot rests are oversized to accommodate most users. The foot rests are flexible, so as you return to the Catch, your ankles and knees remain in a protected alignment. The foot pads have an adjustable nylon strap to securely keep you in place. The machine rests securely on floor pads which help reduce slipping and also protect your flooring. It requires a space of 78.5 inches by 19.75 inches by 31.5 inches in which to operate efficiently. For storage, the 1405 easily folds in half and slides on the built-in casters. You can quickly roll it into a closet during the day and then roll it out for your workouts. The 1405 indoor rowing machine supports users who weigh up to 250 pounds. You receive a 3-year warranty with this rowing machine. For the price, the Stamina 1405 is nice for private at-home use. The flywheel can be noisy so expect to wear headphones to hear your music or turn up the volume on your television.

Stamina-ATS-Air-Rower-1405-1 BEST ROWING MACHINES UNDER $500

PROS

  • Tension adjusts according to your speed
  • Comfortable seat that easily glides across the rail
  • Oversized, pivoting foot rests
  • Folds for storage

CONS

  • Chain requires maintenance and may twist
  • Louder rowing machine
  • Seat may not accommodate users of all sizes
  • Does not display watts
  • May not withstand multiple users on a daily basis

Summary

The Stamina 1405 receives 2 out of 5 stars. The folding capabilities and flywheel tension are positives, but the limited warranty, chain and inability to withstand hours of daily use may not be the best choice for anyone other than a beginning rower.

Xterra ERG400 Rower

For an at-home rower, the Xterra ERG400 is built to last and provides a quality workout. This lower priced rower, uses air and magnetic resistance to offer a smooth ride that is mainly quiet. The ERG400 can get loud as you increase your speed, so be mindful of where and how you use this indoor rowing machine. This type of resistance is friction free so your rowing session is smooth. The machine does not require any maintenance making it convenient for those with limited workout time. The magnetic and air tension levels are electronically adjusted on your monitor for up to 16 different resistance levels. The ERG400 offers pre-set workouts to challenge your body or you can develop your own exercise routine with various tensions and intervals. The monitor is 3.5 inches and is adjustable for easy viewing. The LCD displays time, strokes, distance, calories, strokes per minute and watts. Your hands enjoy the feel of the padded handle as you row your way to better health. The seat is made of high-density foam and is molded for a comfortable feel. It measures approximately 15 inches across and 10 inches front to back so may not accommodate users of all sizes. The seat pad gently slides forward and backward on the aluminum slide rail which feel surprisingly sturdy for a lower priced rowing machine. The foot pads are oversized and your feet are secured by a hook and loop strap. This Xterra ERG400 does require an 110V outlet for use, so be aware of where you are using the machine. It will not fit discreetly in the middle of the room. The ERG400 measures 72 inches by 18.9 inches by 31 inches and easily folds for storage. It has a maximum weight of 250 pounds and comes with a 1-year parts warranty and a 5-year warranty on the frame.

Xterra-ERG400-Rower BEST ROWING MACHINES UNDER $500

PROS

  • Air and magnetic resistance for quiet rows
  • Easily adjusted resistance levels
  • Folds for storage
  • Pre-set workouts
  • Oversized foot pads

CONS


  • Requires electronic power
  • Gets louder with increased speed
  • Smaller seat may be uncomfortable for some users

Summary

The Xterra ERG400 receives 3 out of 5 stars for its easily adjusted resistance levels, but potentially loud workouts. The machines requires an electrical outlet which does not make it easily fit into all spaces, yet it folds conveniently for storage.

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

The Body Trac Glider 1050 is made for you if you want an effective workout, have a tight budget and a small space in which to exercise. The Trac Glider 1050 uses hydraulic resistance to challenge your arms and provides adjustable tension levels. One hydraulic tube is positioned under the slide rail and provides equal resistance in both arms. The handles are padded to increase your comfort level. One of the benefits of a rowing machine with two handles is equal muscle development in your arms and back. Both sides of your body have to produce the same amount of effort to perform the rowing motion, compared with a one-handled machine in which your stronger arm may produce the majority of the effort. The ball-bearing design of the individual arm handles allows for a full range of motion in your shoulder joint and a movement that more accurately mimics rowing a boat with two separate oars. The foot rests have a non-slip surface, secure strap and pivot to support your flexibility. This also eliminates extra stress on your knees and ankles. The Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 has a contoured, padded seat that slides easily along the aluminum frame with steel foot supports. This rower has foot covers to protect your flooring. The minimal display provides needed information regarding your time, strokes and calories burned. It also keeps a running tally of the total number of strokes since you began using the indoor rowing machine. The 1050 fits easily into small areas as it measures 23.5 inches by 46 inches. Plus, the arms fold in and the rower easily stands for storage. This machine is light weight, so those of all fitness levels can maneuver it, yet it is sturdy enough to support users of up to 250 pounds. It comes with a 1-year warranty on the frame and 90-day warranty on parts.

Stamina-Body-Trac-Glider-1050-Rowing-Machine BEST ROWING MACHINES UNDER $500

PROS

  • Independent handles for equal muscular development
  • Adjusted hydraulic resistance
  • Light weight and easy to move
  • Smaller frame fits into all workout areas

CONS

  • May receive more of an upper body workout than a total body exercise
  • Minimal display does not show distance, watts or strokes per minute

Summary

The Stamina 1050 receives 2 out of 5 stars. It is a nice rowing machine for a beginner but will not grow with you if you continue rowing for exercise. Although it is small and easy to move, the warranty is limited.

Stamina Air Rower 1399

Slightly less expensive than Stamina’s 1405 rower, the Air Rower 1399 is a nice basic option for the beginner or occasional user. The Air Rower uses air as your resistance. You adjust the intensity level based on the force and speed behind each stroke. The nylon rowing strap adds to the quietness of this indoor rowing machine. The 1399 requires a space of 77 inches by 18 inches by 22 inches and folds up for easy storage. The built in wheels help you slide it into a closet or corner of the room when not in use. The monitor provides basic information such as time, distance, speed and calories for a no-nonsense workout. You simply sit on the padded cushion, grasp the textured handle and go. Your feet rest comfortably in the oversized, pivoting foot pedals that have a nylon strap for secure fit. The seat is slightly angled which reduces the pressure on your back as you slide forward and backward across the sturdy steel frame. The Stamina 1399 is good for users who weigh up to 250 pounds. It comes with a 3-year warranty.

Stamina-Air-Rower-1399 BEST ROWING MACHINES UNDER $500

PROS

  • No-fuss workout and easy to use
  • Angled rail to protect your lower back
  • Oversized foot pedals
  • Folds for storage

CONS

  • Resistance is adjusted only by the force of your stroke
  • Limited display information does not include strokes, strokes per minute or watts

Summary

The Stamina 1399 receives 3 out of 5 stars. It is a less expensive rower that uses air as resistance. You do not have to think about how to operate this rower. Instead, you sit, grab the handle, secure your feet and go. If you are searching for a basic, non-nonsense machine, this is it.

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