Home rowing machines are gaining prominence as a great and effective way to improve your fitness levels, lose weight and build muscle, all from the comfort of your own home. With the rise of home rowing machines, budget options are becoming more readily available to buy online. Whilst this can seem like a good thing by reducing the cost of home rowing machines, it can also impact the quality of the end product. So when you’re looking for the best budget rowing machine UK, you’ll want to have done your research before investing your hard-earned money. But how do you know which budget rowing machine to buy, with so many different options available?
Best Budget Rowing Machine UK
Fortunately, our experts have done all of the leg work for you. We’ve rigourously tested each and every rowing machine that features in this guide to determine which is the best budget rowing machine in the UK. From our testing, we’ve written the pros and cons of each rowing machine based upon a range of factors such as cost, build quality, features, comfort, customer satisfaction and more.
At this stage, it’s worth mentioning that we were expecting to see some absolutely abysmal budget rowing machines. And we did – some of them were frankly unusable, and they didn’t make it onto the list for that reason.
However, we were genuinely shocked by the incredible quality of some of these budget rowing machines. A few of them blew us away, and we couldn’t believe they were so cheap. Some of the features on the budget rowing machines below are typically only seen in models over £500, but you can get them at less than £200!
A final thing to note is our definition of budget in this guide, and what price ranges we’ve focussed on. Typically we’ve aimed to review rowing machines up to £250. Most of them are below £200, one is even below £100! We’ve also added a couple of rowing machines that are slightly more expensive for those who are able to spend a few extra pounds for a better budget rowing machine.
Let’s get stuck into the guide of our top 10 best budget rowing machines in the UK.
1. XS Sports Home Rowing Machine Our Top Pick
Our top pick for the best budget rowing machine UK is the XS Sports Home Rowing Machine. For less than £150 (at time of writing), this rowing machine completely blows similarly priced rowing machines out of the water. It’s built like a beast, so can withstand a significant amount of use, full of features, and easy to fold up and store when not in use.
Upon arrival, the rowing machine is securely stored inside a box. Unboxed, there’s a little bit of assembly required but it’s very quick and straightforward to set up. The rowing machine is pretty lightweight (just 15kg) and easy to move around the room, but feels strong and sturdy when in use. It can be quickly folded up when not in use (the height when folded is around 1 metre or 3 feet) and easily unfolded when you’re ready to do some rowing.
Upon using the rowing machine, you quickly begin to realise why this is our top pick of best budget rowing machine in the UK. It feels like a rowing machine that’s twice the price – the seat slides along the rail as you row, with everything feeling sturdy and seamless. It provides 4 different levels of resistance, which should be more than enough for any typical home user. The only thing we would say here is that if you’re more at an intermediate/expert level of fitness, we would suggest looking at some of the higher-priced rowing machines in our guide below, as you may find the resistance on this rowing machine a bit too low. For beginner/intermediate users, the 4 resistance levels are perfect and should give you a tough workout.
The LCD display gives you an overview of your workout, including calories burned, time, rows per minute and total row count. The seat is comfortable even during a long routine – we have spent hour-long workouts on this machine and haven’t had any comfort problems. The XS Sports rowing machine is also very quiet when in use, which makes it ideal for home use whilst watching TV or listening to music.
All of the above is why this is our top pick for the best budget rowing machine UK. With the main factor of looking for a budget rowing machine being the price, we’ve opted to select the XS Sports Home Rowing Machine as our top pick and it’s the perfect blend of low cost with sturdy build and plenty of features. If you’re looking for a budget home rowing machine and you don’t want to spend more than £150, then look no further.
2. Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine
Another excellent budget rowing machine is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 (a very catchy name). This was another contender for our top pick, but was pipped at the post solely based on the price.
Sunny Health & Fitness is a well-known trusted brand for fitness equipment, so you can rest assured that anything you buy from them will be of high quality and well-built. This rowing machine is no different. Made of high-grade steel, it’s a very sturdy rowing machine whilst still being light enough to fold up and move once you’re done exercising. Out of the box it’s very quick and easy to set up – we were up and rowing in just 20 minutes!
This rowing machine has a maximum weight limit of 100kg (around 15 stone) and a total of 4 resistance levels to allow you to tailor your workout to suit you. The digital LCD display provides you with live stats tracking your overall time, row count, total row count, row count per minute and calories burned. This rowing machine also comes fitted with an extra-wide seat which is super comfortable to sit on, plus footrests with straps that keep your feet in place throughout the workout.
After a couple of weeks of testing, we loved this rowing machine. It’s a perfect blend of quality, features, build and cost, and is a great option if you’re looking for a home rowing machine. As mentioned above, the only reason why this rowing machine wasn’t our top pick simply came down to price, so if you can spend a little bit more, we would recommend giving this rowing machine a look.
3. XS Sports Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine Best £200 Rowing Machine
The second XS Sports rowing machine on our list, this is the bigger brother of our top pick! The reason it doesn’t hold the coveted top pick spot is due to price, but if you’re able to stretch to £200, this is our best £200 rowing machine.
The most important thing to note about the XS Sports R310 is that it is a magnetic rowing machine. Whilst the majority of budget rowing machines simply use tension to create resistance, more expensive professional rowing machines utilise magnets to create additional resistance. That’s what this does, and for less than £200! The difference between magnetic resistance and banded resistance is quite signficiant, so if you are able to spend a little more, we absolutely recommend the R310.
In addition, it has 10 levels of increasing resistance, allowing you to tailor the difficulty of the rowing to suit you and anyone else who may be sharing the rowing machine. The LCD display provides the usual information that you’d want to see on a rowing machine – total time, row count, rows per minute and calories burned. Out of the box, it’s quick and easy to assemble without any hassle (takes about 30 minutes) and can be moved around easily thanks to its folding mechanism (you fold it upright and can roll it around the room). It has a recommended maximum user capacity of 100kg (~15.5 stone).
Once you get on the rowing machine, you can feel the difference between this and other non-magnetic resistance machines. Whilst other machines do a brilliant job at providing good resistance when rowing, this feels like another level – even more so when you crank the resistance up to 10! However, this is a guide to the best budget rowing machines in the UK, and at just under £200, the R310 is affordable but not as affordable as several other rowing machines, hence why it isn’t our top pick.
If you are able to spend a little bit more though, this is our pick of best rowing machine for £200.
4. JLL® R200 Luxury Magnetic Rowing Machine
This premium rowing machine is a great choice if you’re able to push your budget a little bit further. It uses magnetic resistance as opposed to elastic band resistance, which gives this rowing machine a more natural feel when rowing. It comes loaded with 10 levels of resistance, allowing you to progressively overload as you get stronger. Personally, we found that these levels were more than enough – the highest level of resistance felt very difficult, which is exactly what you want from a home rowing machine.
Set up takes around 30 minutes or so, and the instructions are easy to follow. This rowing machine has a total weight of 26kg so is heavier than most of the others on our list, but can still be easily moved around your room as it’s foldable and has little roller wheels at the front.
Upon use, the rowing movement feels very smooth and the machine feels stable, even after a full 60-minute workout. The seat is comfortable and it’s quick and easy to up the resistance on the fly. The LCD at the front of the rowing machine gives you live stats detailing your total row count, calories burned, rows per minute, total distance covered (in km) and the total time you’ve been rowing.
One big advantage of this rowing machine is the noise – it’s super quiet! So if noise is an important factor for determining which budget rowing machine is best for you, this rowing machine is an excellent option.
5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine For Budget buyers
This is the second Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machine on our guide of the best budget rowing machine UK. And for good reason – they’re an incredible fitness company making professional, high-quality equipment for the home.
This rowing machine is no different, and is our pick for budget buyers who want to spend as little as possible. This rowing machine is available for less than £90 (you read that right!), so you can’t go wrong with the price. It’s a fairly simple rowing machine with few moving parts – this works to its advantage in a lot of ways, as it reduces the chances of things breaking and the rowing machine becoming unusable. The total weight is less than 10kg (~20lb), and it’s very easy to pick up and move.
In terms of features, we were pleasantly surprised! This budget rowing machine has 12, yes 12, levels of resistance, each of them adding a noticeable level of difficulty to your workout. It works using hydraulics, whereas the other rowing machines on our list use elastic bands and magnets to create resistance. And you know what? We have nothing bad to say about it – it’s incredible for the cost. Just be careful not to touch the hydraulic piston after a big workout, as it can get quite hot.
The wide cushioned seat is comfortable to sit on for long periods of time, and the pedals feel strong and secure. Overall the machine feels good and sturdy to use, with a maximum user weight of 15 stone (~220lb). We would suggest putting it on top of a mat or a rug for improved stability when in use.
The display monitor provides you with a readout of time, row count and calories burned. It’s fairly simple but perfect for a budget machine. One of the biggest benefits of this budget rowing machine is the lack of noise – it’s very very quiet. As it uses hydraulic pressure to generate resistance, there are no noisy bands generating noise, so you can easily get a great workout whilst watching TV!
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible, then look no further – this is the rowing machine for you.
6. We R Sports Premium Rowing Machine
This budget rowing machine comes with a range of great features, most notably the 4 levels of resistance provided by the elastic band resistance. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a rowing machine that does the basics well, and gets them right. 4 resistance levels should be enough for most beginner home users, but if you feel like you might need a tougher workout, opt for one of the other rowing machines on our list of best budget rowing machine UK.
The We R Sports rowing machine is quick to set up and get started, and once you’re underway you’ll notice that everything feels smooth to use and has a sturdy build. The rowing motion feels super smooth – some budget rowing machines can start to get a little bit of friction between the seat and the rail with time, but after weeks of testing, we’ve not seen any negatives on this rowing machine.
The LCD display gives you the usual suspects of data – namely time, distance and speed. The foot straps feel strong and unlikely to fail, and kept our feel fully secure after our 40-minute workouts. The seat is wide and comfortable which is something to look out for when choosing a budget rowing machine – the last thing you want is an uncomfortable seat!
As an added little bonus, it can be folded up by removing one screw (you can unscrew it by hand) and it’s very quiet when in use – perfect for getting your home workout in whilst watching TV or listening to music.
7. Dripex Magnetic Rowing Machine Big & Tall
Our top choice of the best budget rowing machine in the UK for those who are bigger and taller is the Dripex Magnetic Rowing Machine. Whilst it does have a slightly higher price point in comparison to the other rowing machines on our list, it’s well worth the extra investment as we’ve detailed below.
This rowing machine is the most premium option on our list, so if you’ve got the budget, this is the one to go for. With a maximum weight capacity of 120kg (just under 19 stone), this is the go-to for heavier users. I tested this rowing machine and I’m 6′ 3″, and using it felt comfortable and reassuring that nothing was going to suddenly break.
It has 15 levels of magnetic resistance, with the highest levels giving a difficult workout for even the strongest of users. The resistance is adjusted from a tension controller at the end of the rail – with a quick twist of the knob you can crank up the difficulty mid-workout. The seat is very comfortable and feels smooth when rowing, with the added benefit of adjustable foot straps and even the angle of the footrests/pedals to suit you.
One of the biggest features that sets this rowing machine apart from a lot of the others on our list is the rear stabiliser. The back of the rowing machine sits on the floor via a large triangular piece of metal, which offers unparalleled sturdiness. This rowing machine felt the sturdiest out of all of the machines we tested on this list, so it’s clear that your money is being spent wisely if you opt for this rowing machine.
The LCD display is on an arm that can be moved up and down depending on your height – another reason why this is our big and tall pick for best budget rowing machine. The display itself provides information on row count, time, total distance and your calories burned. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s surprisingly quiet! A mat or rug will help to further dampen any residual noise, but out of the box this is a very quiet home rowing machine.
If you’re around 6 foot tall or higher, or if you weigh 15 stone+, this is the rowing machine for you. Likewise if you’re looking for a rowing machine to last a lifetime and give you resistance levels that are truly difficult and are effective strength training exercises, go for this one. Whilst it does come at a premium, trust us, it’s 100% worth it.
8. Buyer Empire Rowing Machine
This rowing machine comes with a range of great features, most of which only found on rowing machines typically over £300. So for less than £200, it’s well worth considering for your home workouts.
The Buyer Empire rowing machine comes with 8 levels of adjustable resistance, each of which feels smooth and has a good motion when in use. The seat is comfortable, although maybe a tad too hard for our liking, and the footrests are wide and comfortable for even the largest of feet.
The display gives you up to date information tracking your speed, calories, distance and time. The machine itself is of steel construction and feels solid enough, and can be folded up and moved around for storage purposes.
9. Charles Bentley Home Rowing Machine
Our penultimate rowing machine on our definitive guide of the best budget rowing machine UK is the Charles Bentley home rowing machine. Whilst Charles Bentley are known primarily for their homeware, they do sell a couple of pieces of home fitness equipment and this is one of them. We decided we would give it a try and you know what? It’s genuinely a great budget home rowing machine.
Out of the box it’s very easy to assemble – it has a total weight of 14kg (30 lb) so it’s easy to pick up and move around. It can also be folded upright to help with storage when you’re not using it.
The steel-framed rowing machine feels fairly sturdy when in use, although we did find ourselves moving along the floor slightly over a period of time. To counteract this, we place the rowing machine on top of a mat which helped fix the issue. It has a total of 4 resistance levels powered by elastic resistance – the highest level does give you a good level of resistance, but it might not be the best choice for stronger users.
The seat is comfortable but we did start getting a little bit of discomfort after a longer session (30+ minutes or so). The display gives you at-a-glance details on your number of strokes, calories burned and total duration spent rowing. It has a maximum user weight of 100kg (just over 15.5 stone).
10. Body Sculpture Rower & Gym
Last but certainly not least on our guide to the best budget rowing machines in the UK is the Body Sculpture Rower & Gym. This is quite a clever bit of kit in that it’s both a rowing machine and a semi-home gym. Essentially, it provides your standard rowing machine features, but you can also use it to perform upper body exercises such as chest presses and arm/shoulder exercises.
It has 3 levels of resistance, but we found ourselves sticking to the highest level and wishing it had just one or two more levels to really get the most out of the exercise. During use, the seat felt a little bit stiff against the rail and wasn’t particularly smooth – this could simply be down to the fact that it’s brand new and out of the box, and it might improve with time (we’ll update our review if so). The display gives you information on your calories burned, total row count and total time so you can keep track of your progress.
Out of the box, it can look quite daunting and difficult to assemble, but the instructions are very clear and it should take around 30 to 45 minutes to set up. It’s also foldable and very lightweight so can be put away for storage without any hassle. The only real downside we found was that it might not be suitable for taller users – if you’re over 6 foot tall, we would recommend looking at our Big & Tall pick on this guide.
A couple of great bonuses is that Body Sculpture is a British company and has exceptional customer service – if you have any queries or issues at all with your rowing machine, just drop them a call and they will be happy to help. The rowing machine also comes with an instructional DVD that walks you through everything you need to know with regards to optimum exercises you can do with the machine.
That’s the end of our definitive buyers guide of the best budget rowing machines in the UK. We hope you’ve found some use from our guide, and hopefully have been able to make an informed decision as to which rowing machine you should buy for home use in the UK. We’ve tried to cover as much detail as possible, and each and every rowing machine was reviewed by our team at Best Exercise.
We’ve given added weight to factors such as cost as this was specifically about the best budget rowing machine, but if you’re able to push your budget, we’ve highlighted some of the other best rowing machines which are better suited to you. We’ve also highlighted our top picks for factors such as best rowing machine for £200, best for budget buyers (i.e. the absolute best cheap rowing machine money can buy) and more.
We hope you found our best budget rowing machine buyers guide useful. If you have any questions for us, please feel free to leave them as a comment below and we’ll answer them as soon as we can. And most importantly, enjoy your new home rowing machine!