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8 affordable rowing machines fitness buffs love — starting at $85

Your home gym is missing this piece of exercise equipment — here's why.
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If nailing down a fitness routine is one of your New Year's resolutions, we found the perfect addition to your home gym. A rowing machine is exactly what you need to reach your goals — but did you know how beneficial and affordable they are? Allow personal trainer Stephanie Mansour to explain.

Rowing machine benefits

"Rowing is a great option for someone looking for a full-body, at-home workout who wants cardio mixed with strength," said Mansour. Unlike a stationary bike that provides cardio without resistance, a rowing machine combines these two things, providing an effective workout from head to toe.

Rowing machines specifically target your butt, quads, hamstrings, arms and back, but they're especially great because they stretch out your hip flexors, too.

"The [rowing] motion is great for loosening up the hips, and for those looking to combat the at-home work posture. Rowing forces you to recruit the upper back and posture muscles," said Mansour.

A full-body workout that will also help on those slouching-over-the-computer days? We're in.

How to use a rowing machine

For those that haven't rowed before, Mansour recommends starting every other day in order to give your muscles time to repair. "You can build up to five or six days a week; it just depends on the type of rowing you're going to do," she said. "There are classes that focus on speed and others that focus on form, so depending on what you're interested in, I would say you can do it up to six days a week."

When it comes to sticking to your fitness resolutions, Mansour recommends to "keep yourself wanting more." In other terms, set realistic goals for yourself while hyping yourself up to get back to your next rowing session.

"Whether your goal is weight loss or better fitness, I don't care if you exercise in the morning or if you exercise at night It's whatever works best for your schedule," Mansour noted about when it's best in the day to row. "If you notice working out later in the day ramps you up too much, try to move your workout earlier in the day."

When can you start to see results?

Mansour said to give yourself three weeks of consistent rowing to start seeing results. "If you're seeing results in three weeks, then keep going. If not, amp it up or try assessing your diet or exercise."

Start hitting those goals or simply reinvent your at-home workout routine with our top-rated, shopper-approved rowing machine picks. Starting at just under $100, there's sure to be a pick that fits your home, lifestyle and budget.

Affordable rowing machines, recommended by shoppers

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Rowing Machine

This is the most affordable rower on our list and we can confirm it's well worth the purchase. This compact machine uses 12 levels of hydraulic resistance to create a quiet yet strength conditioning row. Amazon shoppers love it, too — it has over 8,400 five-star ratings.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine

This rower gives you the most bang for your buck: it costs under $180, but has a dozen levels of resistance and holds up to 350 pounds (100 pounds more than some of the other options on our list).

"The rower itself is a DREAM. It's WHISPER quiet and even on the first setting there's a fair amount of resistance," wrote one Amazon shopper who loved the quiet yet effective nature of this rower.

Stamina InMotion Rower

With five levels of resistance and an InTouch monitor to track your progress, you'll be seeing results in no time with Stamina's InMotion Rower. It's made from solid steel but promises to be light and small enough to store.

Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

This rowing machine is styled a bit differently from the others on our list. Its double-arm construction truly emulates the motion of rowing and the handles are even padded with foam. Shoppers seem to love this style, with one verified Amazon buyer saying, "I have owned all three styles of rowing machines. This is by far the best."

The Space Saving Rowing Machine

Thanks to its simple and light construction, this rowing machine is perfect for those who don't have a ton of space — it can literally be folded and stored away. It has a digital monitor and five resistance levels via hydraulics.

"It is as smooth and functional as some of the $1000+ rowing machines I've tried and fits the niche. Assembly was easy, it is sturdy, lightweight and easy to store," wrote one Hammacher Schlemmer shopper.

Sharper Image Portable Rowing Machine

A steel frame, five levels of resistance and a monitor tracks strokes per minute, rep count, workout time and calories burned? Yup, this rowing machine has it all. This is another great, portable option for those short on space. Plus, you also get free access to müüv, a smart audio coaching application, with your purchase.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower

This upgraded version of Sunny's basic rowing machine provides an even better workout experience if you're looking to spend a little more money. It has an LCD console that tracks your time and calories, a longer sliding rail and eight levels of magnetic resistance.

Fitness Reality Magnetic Rowing Machine

This is a pricier magnetic rowing option that's definitely worth the splurge. Fitness Reality engineered the nylon belt to be super quiet, while the machine itself has 14 resistance levels. This pick is even compatible with the MyCloudFitness app, where you can track your progress over time.

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