Best Rowing Machines Under £500 – Top 6 Picks in 2024

Rowing machines are the go-to for a full-body, low-impact workout, making them a fitness staple in the UK. The catch? Many come with a hefty price tag. But fear not—affordable options exist. Discover the best rowing machines under £500, ensuring a budget-friendly yet top-notch fitness investment.

In this guide, we navigate the realm of budget rowing machines, proving that quality doesn’t have to break the bank. Learn how to identify high-value options and make an informed purchase. Ready to find your ideal rower without overspending? Let’s dive into the top picks under £500 in the UK.

Best Overall Indoor Rowers Under £500

Joroto MR26 – Innovative Water Rower

Joroto water rower

My top choice among water rowers under 500 BP in the UK is the Joroto MR26. Its groundbreaking 50° inclined tank design delivers 30% more resistance than traditional flat tank rowers. Sturdy construction and a comprehensive workout tracking display set it apart. The added bonus of Bluetooth Connectivity for Kinomap, QZ, and Peloton App Integration enhances the overall experience. Keep in mind its non-foldable design and slightly heavier build due to a 15-kilogram water tank. While quieter than air rowers, it doesn’t match the silence of magnetic rowers.

V-fit Tornado – Compact Air Rower

V fit air rower

For those inclined towards air rowers under 500 British Pounds, the V-fit Tornado is my top recommendation. It’s not a commercial air rower like Concept2 but it also doesn’t cost as much. Its foldable and lightweight design makes storage a breeze, unlike the Joroto MR26. With no water tank, maintenance concerns are also minimal. However, it is a bit louder due to its chain transmission and wind resistance. Despite a basic fitness monitor lacking Bluetooth or a media shelf, it’s an excellent choice if these features are not a priority.

Echelon Smart – Silent Magnetic Rower

Echelon magnetic rower

The best pick for magnetic rowing machines under 500 in the UK is the Echelon Smart Rower. Its magnetic resistance system ensures a whisper-quiet operation, making it the quietest among all rower types. The convenience of automatic resistance controls on the handlebars allows seamless adjustments during workouts. It boasts a superior tablet holder accommodating up to 15-inch tablets, tilting back and forth for optimal viewing. While lacking a built-in monitor, its FTMS Bluetooth enables connectivity to the Echelonfit app, Kinomap, and Peloton via the QZ app as a bridge.

DescriptionJoroto MR26V-Fit TornadoEchelon Smart
ResistanceDynamic WaterDynamic AirElectronic Magnetic
Resistance adjustmentBased on your effortsBased on your effortsYou can change with controls
Noise levelLoudLoudestQuiets
MaintenanceRequires the mostRequires minimumRequires the least
Fitness monitor15 x 10 cm8 x 8 cmNo monitor
BluetoothFTMSNoneFTMS
Compatible appsJoroto, Kinomap, and Peloton via QZNoneEchelon, Kinomap, and Peloton via QZ
Tablet holderIncludedNot includedIncluded
Space-savingNot foldableFoldableFoldable
My ratings4.2/54/54.5/5

Joroto MR26: Innovative Water Resistance Rowing Machine under £500

£439.99
£288.99
 in stock
Amazon.co.uk
as of April 18, 2024 12:18 pm

Embarking on my quest for an affordable yet sophisticated rowing machine led me to the Joroto MR26. Promising steel craftsmanship, realistic water resistance, and a budget-friendly price, this rower captured my attention. Here’s my personal journey with the MR26—a blend of affordability and elegance.

Unpacking the MR26 revealed impeccable steel craftsmanship—a fitness equipment masterpiece. The FSC Certified frame not only exudes durability but also introduces a natural aesthetic to my workout space. It’s not just a machine; it’s a piece of artistic fitness equipment.

The MR26’s water resistance system provides a smooth and realistic rowing experience. With six water level markings, customization is at my fingertips, transforming each stroke into a pleasurable, fluid movement.

Fitness for all body types is a priority for me, and the MR26’s impressive 330lbs/150kg weight capacity provides peace of mind. It’s not just about lifting weights; it’s about knowing the equipment supports my fitness journey, no matter the intensity.

Connecting the MR26 to the Kinomap app via Bluetooth elevates my workouts. It’s not just about tracking numbers; it’s immersing myself in virtual rowing environments. The 30-day free subscription adds variety to each session, making workouts exciting.

The tablet holder and steel plate foot support enhance my workout experience, allowing me to enjoy shows or follow fitness apps comfortably. These additions make fitness a holistic and enjoyable journey.

Assembly is usually daunting, but not with the MR26. Coming 90% assembled, it lets me start my fitness journey almost right out of the box. The dedicated support team, responding within 24 hours, adds a personal touch to the entire experience.

The MR26, while £100 more expensive than its predecessor, boasts more comfortable pedals and a higher-quality tank with increased resistance. Opt for the MR23 if budget constraints are tight, as it requires less maintenance.

Pros:

  • A touch of elegance in my home gym with the FSC Certified frame.
  • A truly immersive rowing experience with the realistic water resistance system.
  • Sturdy construction with a 330lbs/150kg weight capacity, accommodating various body types.
  • Connectivity to the Kinomap app for virtual rowing environments and a 30-day free subscription.
  • Thoughtful upgrades like a tablet holder and steel plate foot support for enhanced comfort.
  • Hassle-free assembly, starting my fitness journey right out of the box.
  • Personalized support with a responsive customer service team.

Pros:

  • Mixed experience with the computer system, particularly accuracy in stroke count.
  • Initial challenges with Bluetooth connectivity, especially with the Kinomap app.
  • Full tank required for sufficient resistance in shorter workouts.
  • Can’t fold the machine when I am not using it and can’t store it standing.

Conclusion:

The Joroto MR26 Water Resistance Rower has transcended being a mere fitness machine—it’s become a companion on my journey to affordable and effective home workouts. Its blend of craftsmanship, functionality, and personal touches makes it a budget gem worth considering. While challenges exist, the overall experience of rowing on the MR26 is a journey I’m glad to be on.

JLL Ventus 2: Air Resistance Rowing Machine – Budget-Friendly Pick

£399.99
£389.99
 in stock
Amazon.co.uk
as of April 18, 2024 12:18 pm

Get ready to elevate your fitness game with the JLL Ventus 2, a design marvel and a favorite among fitness enthusiasts. Positioned as one of the best budget rowing machines in Britain, this air rower shines as a top choice for those seeking excellence without breaking the bank. If you’re on the hunt for one of the best air rowing machines under £500 in the UK, congratulations, your search ends here!

Crafted from alloy steel aluminum, the Ventus 2 boasts a sturdy frame with dimensions of 214 x 54 x 115 cm, weighing in at 34.7 kilograms. Its maximum weight capacity stands at an impressive 120 kilograms.

The Ventus 2 takes center stage with its dual adjustable 8-level resistance system, seamlessly combining air and magnetic elements. The result? A power-packed resistance that intensifies with each rowing stroke. The aluminum sliding rail enhances the smooth rowing feel, although taller individuals might find the rail slightly short for their comfort.

Rowing comfort is a priority with the Ventus 2, featuring a sweat-resistant ergonomic handlebar, a foam-padded seat, and a built-in self-generating fan to keep you cool during your workouts. The high-grade and adjustable foot platform, along with front and back wheels, contribute to easy transportation. Compact and space-saving, this rower delivers exceptional value for your money.

The adjustable LCD console is a standout feature, providing more than just the basics. Beyond traditional metrics, you can track temperature readings and check the time and date with clock and calendar functions. A device holder adds convenience for entertainment during your workout. Monitor display includes time, time for 500 meters, calories, distance in meters, strokes, strokes per minute (SPM), pulse (bpm), total strokes, clock, calendar, and temperature in degrees.

Assembly can be a bit challenging with microscopic diagrams and a guide that may require a degree in mechanical engineering. However, once assembled, the Ventus 2 proves extremely sturdy. Full assembly took approximately an hour with some guesswork. The rower comes with a 1-year warranty for home use.

The tablet/phone holder proves useful, accommodating tablets up to 10.1 inches and offering adjustability for optimal viewing during workouts.

In contrast to some competitors, the Ventus 2 does fold away. Its compact folded design ensures it doesn’t take up excessive space. The rower measures approximately 120 cm in length, 54 cm in width, and 140 cm in height when folded.

At £100 less than the Ventus 3, the Ventus 2 stands as the more budget-friendly option. The key difference lies in its combination of air resistance with manual magnetic resistance, while the Ventus 3 boasts electronic magnetic resistance. Additionally, the Ventus 3 features a clearer LED display and 22 workout programs, which the Ventus 2 lacks. What I didn’t like about Ventus 3 was the lack of foldability which is something you get with the Ventus 2 despite its lower price tag.

Pros:

  • Dual resistance system for a versatile workout.
  • Extra monitor display features for comprehensive tracking.
  • Well-written manual instructions for straightforward assembly.
  • Sturdy, stable, and smooth operation.
  • Space-saving design for homes with limited space.

Cons:

  • Resistance may not be sufficient for advanced rowers.
  • Slide rail may be too short for taller individuals.
  • The computer is integrated into the frame, requiring dismantling for battery changes.

Conclusion

In the competitive landscape of budget-friendly rowing machines, the JLL Ventus 2 stands out as one of the best home rowers under £500 in the UK. Boasting a dual resistance system and a design that marries functionality with affordability, it offers a versatile workout experience. Its comparison with the Ventus 3 underscores its value as a cost-effective choice in the UK market, aligning with the needs of users looking for insightful rowing machine reviews and comparisons.

V-Fit Tornado: Affordable Air Resistance Rowing Machine in the UK

£440.00
£274.99
 in stock
3 new from £274.99
Amazon.co.uk
as of April 18, 2024 12:18 pm

The V-Fit Tornado enters the scene as a commendable entry-level air rowing machine, presenting a solid option for those seeking an effective home workout without breaking the bank. While lacking some advanced features, it manages to deliver a decent performance at an attractive price point, securing its place among the best home rowing machines under £500.

Crafted with a sturdy steel slide rail, the V-Fit Tornado exudes a modern aesthetic with its red, black, and silver color scheme. Transport rollers facilitate easy movement, and the addition of floor levelers ensures stability during intense workouts, addressing a common concern in entry-level rowers.

With a maximum user weight capacity of 115 kg, the V-Fit Tornado offers reliability for a range of users. Its folded dimensions of 75cm depth, 60cm width, and 120cm height make it a space-saving option. Unfolded, it measures 220cm in length and 60cm in width, requiring minimal room for operation.

Employing an air resistance system, the V-Fit Tornado delivers a smooth and quiet rowing experience. While lacking adjustable resistance options, the dynamic nature provides a suitable cardio workout, though it falls short of the challenge offered by air+magnetic counterparts like Joroto. Notably, it produces more noise compared to water and magnetic rowers in the same price range.

The LCD display monitor reports essential workout metrics, including time elapsed, current speed, distance covered, and calories burned. While basic, it serves its purpose, but the absence of backlighting may pose a challenge in low-light conditions. Unfortunately, connectivity options are absent, limiting the ability to pair the rower with applications for enhanced tracking.

The slip-resistant footrests with pedal straps enhance stability during workouts, although the choice of Velcro could be improved for durability. The ergonomically designed seat ensures user comfort, minimizing the risk of aches and pains during extended use. However, users may consider adding a saddle cushion for additional support during longer sessions.

Assembling the V-Fit Tornado proves straightforward, taking approximately 30-40 minutes. Sturdy construction is highlighted, but you may find it beneficial to use personal tools for a smoother assembly process. The computer unit, while functional, is deemed somewhat flimsy, requiring careful handling to avoid potential issues.

Noteworthy is the absence of included accessories, necessitating separate purchases for a tablet holder. This stands in contrast to some competitors like Joroto and JLL, which include device shelves.

Pros:

  • Effortless setup for a quick introduction to home rowing.
  • Simple, sturdy, and stable design ensures long-lasting performance.
  • Compact and lightweight, making it an excellent choice for limited spaces.
  • Smooth and quiet operation allows focused and distraction-free workouts.

Cons:

  • Monitor provides limited performance stats, restricting in-depth workout tracking.
  • Absence of an included tablet holder may inconvenience users seeking entertainment.
  • Lack of Bluetooth or chest strap connection limits connectivity options.
  • Missing manual or automatic resistance controls reduce versatility in intensity adjustments.

Conclusion

Embarking on the journey of wallet-friendly home rowing gizmos in the UK under £500, the V-Fit Tornado steps up from just being fitness gear—it becomes your trusted workout mate. Settin’ it up is a doddle, making it spot on for those dipping their toes into home rowing. Its sturdy and pint-sized design slots right into your living space, proving that a top-notch home gym doesn’t have to be a right bother. However, if you’re keen on keeping things hush-hush and fancy a bit of Bluetooth action, you might want to check out alternatives like the Echelon.

JLL Ventus 3: High-Performance Air Resistance Rowing Machine under £500

£399.99  in stock
Amazon.co.uk
as of April 18, 2024 12:18 pm

Diving into the world of budget-friendly home rowing machines under £500, the JLL Ventus 3 emerges as a powerhouse, succeeding its popular predecessor, the Ventus 2. Crafted for comprehensive whole-body workouts and muscle-building, this rowing dynamo stands out in the crowded fitness arena.

The Ventus 3 packs a punch with its dual air and electronically adjustable magnetic resistance system. While I appreciate the upgraded magnetic feature, I can’t help but wish for handlebar controls. Adjusting resistance mid-workout requires a pause, which interrupts the flow. Despite offering 16 levels of electronic magnetic resistance, it doesn’t surpass the Ventus 2’s manual magnetic counterpart.

The console steals the spotlight, displaying vital workout metrics and boasting 22 diverse programs, including body fat, watt, heart rate, user mode, and manual control. The enhanced monitor clarity makes tracking progress a breeze compared to Ventus 2 and V-Fit rivals.

User comfort takes the forefront with foam-padded handlebars, a plush leather foam-filled seat, and adjustable toe straps on slip-resistant footplates. The rower’s stability is upheld by a dual aluminum plated slide rail, gliding smoothly on two wheeled rollers. A space-saving option comes in the form of upright storage, despite lacking foldability.

Measuring just under 220cm in length, 60cm in width, and 90cm in height, the Ventus 3 boasts a robust build. Package dimensions (length x width x height) come in at 47.047 inches x 34.252 inches x 11.024 inches. With an item weight of 33.8 kilograms, it accommodates a maximum weight recommendation of 120 kilograms.

Unlike its Ventus 2 counterpart, the Ventus 3 skips the fold-up feature. However, it can be stored upright, a convenience to note, though caution is advised if there are kids around for safety reasons.

Assembly took around an hour, leveraging a helpful YouTube video. The brand’s UK-based support stands ready for timely replacements or any queries, adding a reassuring touch.

While the phone or tablet holder may pose challenges for thicker devices, a nifty adjustable holder could solve this. Despite this minor hiccup, the Ventus 3 impresses with its upright storage option.

Pros:

  • Dual air and magnetic resistance for customizable workouts.
  • Robust resistance levels for varied fitness levels.
  • Diverse program options for a tailored experience.
  • Inclusion of a heart rate band.
  • Upright storage feature for space optimization.

Cons:

  • Lack of built-in resistance controls on handlebars.
  • Tablet holder’s struggle to secure tablets in place.

Conclusion:

In the realm of home rowers under £500, the JLL Ventus 3 shines. Quick connectivity to the Kinomap app, though a hiccup with the chest heart rate monitor arose after a few uses. The large, clear display offers a standalone experience, accompanied by the expected fan noise. Pre-programmed workouts, electromagnetic resistance adjustments, and an added flywheel for extra resistance create a challenging yet rewarding fitness journey. On the downside, the seat’s audible creaking can be a bothersome companion. Despite this, the Ventus 3 proves its mettle, making it a standout choice if you can overlook the seat noise and the tablet/phone holder’s design quirks.

Echelon Smart: Motorised Magnetic Rowing Machine – Top Tech Rower

£949.00  in stock
Amazon.co.uk
as of April 18, 2024 12:18 pm

Diving into the realm of home fitness, the Echelon Rowing Machine has been a revelation in my workout journey. As a fitness enthusiast, its foldable design seamlessly blends practicality with performance, earning its spot in my search for the best rowing machines under £500 in the UK. What this rower has that no other rowing machine under 500 comes with is its continently built resistance controls on the handlebars that I absolutely love.

The Echelon Rowing Machine boasts a robust build, supporting a maximum weight of 136.08 kilograms. The fingertip control handlebar, offering 32 levels of magnetic resistance, adds a layer of versatility to my workouts, adapting effortlessly to my evolving fitness levels.

The adjustable console not only accommodates my tablet or smartphone but also flips 180° for off-row workouts. The Echelon Fit app syncs flawlessly with the rower, providing real-time metrics like heart rate, calorie burn, and distance traveled. The Leaderboard feature adds a competitive edge, fueling my motivation.

With 32 silent magnetic resistance levels, the Echelon Rowing Machine delivers a low-impact yet challenging workout. Ergonomic handlebars, a smooth-gliding seat, and meticulous engineering contribute to a dynamic and comfortable exercise experience.

Assembly proved to be straightforward, and the built-in wheels enhance portability. The inclusion of resistance controls on the handlebars is a thoughtful touch, elevating the user experience. Backed by a 100 percent money-back guarantee and a 12-month limited parts and labor warranty, Echelon prioritizes customer satisfaction.

The swiveling and flipping tablet holder design provides versatility for off-row workouts, ensuring engagement and entertainment during exercise sessions.

The foldable design adds a practical dimension to the rower, facilitating space-saving storage. The built-in wheels further simplify the process of moving it around my home workout space.

Pros:

  • Impressive 32 levels of magnetic resistance.
  • Foldable design for convenient storage.
  • Interactive Echelon Fit app with Leaderboard functionality.
  • Considerate additions like resistance controls on handlebars.
  • Versatile tablet holder for off-row workouts.

Cons:

  • Limited on-board monitor features.
  • To connect with Peloton, you need to use the QZ app.

Conclusion

To sum up, the Echelon Rowing Machine emerges as a top-tier contender in the domain of connected fitness. Its fusion of technological innovation, considerate design, and robust performance places it at the forefront of my considerations for the best rowing machines under £500 in the UK. With a satisfaction guarantee, warranty, and stellar customer service, Echelon reaffirms its commitment to delivering a premium fitness solution. Undoubtedly, this rower has significantly enhanced my home workout routine, making it a standout choice in the competitive landscape of budget-friendly rowing machines.

Sportstech RSX500: Motorised Magnetic Rowing Machine – Affordable Excellence

 out of stock
Amazon.co.uk

The Sportstech RSX500 rowing machine is equipped with outstanding features that easily makes it one of the best rowing machines with magnetic resistance that is wallet-friendly. In fact, it is just as good as some high-end rowing machines. No jokes, let’s take a look at how.

For starters, it has a mind-blowing 16 computer-controlled resistance levels, and a 7kg flywheel _the combination of these two translates to an extremely smooth and quiet rowing action. Factor in the smart control panel with 12 pre-installed programs and we have a masterpiece. This panel gives you a variety of training options; competition mode, manual mode, and HRC training. Not to mention the smart device holder. The machine is also compatible with the e-health app.

Everything is top-notch with this rowing machine; the seat is slightly elevated to improve sitting posture. The slide rail is guided by a ball-bearing mounted 4 roller system for quiet operation. The pedals are flexible, non-slip, nap structured and have a belt-buckle to keep the feet in place. Additionally, it is equipped with a long pull mechanism that allows very tall individuals to effortlessly use the rowing machine.

The pull system is also whisper-quiet, which makes it perfect for home use. The machine is device compatible too and even has an extra USB port. How thoughtful. To crown it all, it is foldable and has inbuilt transport wheels to facilitate hassle-free movement and storage.

Pros:

  • Includes a heart rate belt, which is rare
  • Folds to save space.
  • Advanced monitor functions
  • Multi-resistant levels

Cons:

  • It is not compatible with kinomap unless used with QZ application.
  • No resistance controls on the handlebars to easy intensity adjustment.

Conclusion

Choosing the Sportstech RSX500 was a no-brainer for me, considering the unanimous praise for its sturdiness and space-saving design when folded. Residing on a narrow boat, space is a precious commodity, and the RSX500 fits the bill perfectly. As a German-engineered marvel, it lives up to the reputation of robustness and meticulous design, reinforcing my trust in the brand. Despite some reviewers lamenting about connectivity, it’s a non-issue for me, as my workout playlist takes precedence over virtual classes. The pulse monitor adds a hassle-free touch, seamlessly integrating into my routine. In my bubble of pumped-up rock tunes, this rower has become my ally in bidding farewell to my lockdown tummy. Overall, the Sportstech RSX500 stands tall in the roundup of the best rowing machines under £500 in the UK, delivering a high-tech monitor, electronic magnetic resistance, and the reliability that comes with German inspection and design.


When delving into the realm of budget-friendly rowing machines under £500, finding the right balance between affordability and quality is paramount. Let’s explore key factors that go beyond surface-level considerations to ensure you make an informed decision.

  1. Resistance Type: The Heart of Your Rowing Experience

Understanding the resistance type is pivotal. Air rowing machines utilize a flywheel against air for resistance, offering a dynamic workout with an audible drawback—noise. Water rowers mimic real rowing with paddles in water, providing a serene experience but can be hefty and extra maintenance to keep the water clean. Magnetic rowers, favored for their quiet operation, use magnets and a flywheel, often featuring a compact, foldable design.

  1. Monitor Display: Your Workout Companion

A digital display isn’t just a feature; it’s your workout companion. Opt for rowing machines that showcase vital data like time, calories burned, distance, and stroke/min. Those with additional features, such as heart rate monitoring, elevate the user experience, fostering motivation and performance tracking.

  1. Size/Foldability: Making Space Work for You

Consider the space factor. Water rowers, while immersive, might not be ideal for tight spaces due to their size. Magnetic rowing machines, known for their compactness and foldability, offer a space-efficient alternative. Some rowers also come with vertical storage options, optimizing your living space but not safe for households with kids because it can fall and hurt people.

  1. Noise: Rowing in Harmony

If noise disrupts your workout sanctuary or living situation, choose wisely. Air rowing machines, though effective, can be noisy. Opt for the tranquility of magnetic rowers or the soothing sounds of water rowers if auditory peace is a priority.

  1. Rail Length/User Weight Capacity: Tailoring the Experience to You

Ensure compatibility with your physique. Check the rail length and user weight capacity to avoid post-purchase regrets. A rowing machine should accommodate your height and weight for a comfortable and effective workout.

  1. Warranty: Safeguarding Your Investment

Don’t underestimate the power of a good warranty. It’s a testament to the machine’s durability and reliability. Some budget-friendly rowing machines under 500 in the UK offer warranties up to 10 years for frame, with coverage for part replacements for at least 1 year. Choosing a rowing machine with a solid warranty ensures your investment is well-protected.

Last Words

In the quest for the ultimate home rowing machine under £500, my top picks span three distinct categories of resistance systems, ensuring a diverse selection to cater to various fitness preferences. The Joroto MR26 takes the lead with its exceptional water resistance, providing a dynamic and lifelike rowing experience that simulates the feel of rowing on water. For enthusiasts of air resistance, the V-fit Tornado stands out, offering a smooth and effective workout with its straightforward yet sturdy design. Lastly, the Echelon Rowing Machine claims its spot for magnetic resistance, delivering 32 levels of precise control for a tailored and challenging exercise routine. These picks not only showcase versatility but also align with different user preferences, making them standout choices in the competitive landscape of home rowers under £500.

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny Author at cyclingindoor.co.uk

About The Author: Sayed Hamed Hosseiny

Hi, I'm Sayed Hamed Hosseiny, a seasoned semi-professional indoor cyclist with nearly two decades of experience in fitness equipment. Though retired from competitive cycling and rowing, I'm passionate about sharing my coaching expertise. Join me as I explore the world of indoor bikes and rowing machines in the UK, offering valuable insights to maximize your fitness journey.

Leave a Comment

You have doubts?

Ask us any questions

Get in touch