Now, it’s common to find rowing machines in home gyms because they are so much more affordable. While commercial rowing machines cost thousands of dollars, it’s easy to find rowing machines for your home for just a few hundred bucks.
The Ativafit Rowing Machine is just one of many options you can purchase at a low price for your home gym.
The question is: is it worth the money?
Budget rowing machines are known to have occasional defects, quality control issues, and design flaws, but the best options are definitely worth the price.
Below, I’ll dive into the Ativafit Magnetic Rowing Machine and take a look at all the pros, cons, strengths, and weaknesses.
By the end of this post, you’ll know for sure whether it’s one of the better choices for your gym, or if you should consider another budget rowing machine.
As the name suggests, the Ativafit Magnetic Rowing Machine features magnetic resistance.
Basically, a metal flywheel is attached to the front of the machine, and when you pull on the handle, it spins the wheel. Magnets located near the flywheel provide resistance. Essentially, the closer the magnets are to the metal wheel, the greater the magnetic force exerted on the metal, and the harder it is to spin.
This is known as “adjustable” resistance, because you literally use a dial to adjust the difficulty level.
The Ativafit Rower has eight levels you can choose from. Just spin the dial clockwise to increase the difficulty, or spin it counterclockwise to make the workout easier.
Check out a video of how they operate below:
A lot of people prefer adjustable resistance to “variable” resistance, or resistance that increases or decreases according to your workout speed (learn more about adjustable vs. variable resistance here).
Adjustable resistance lets you set how difficult you want the workout to be, and it will always be that difficult no matter how fast you row. If you’re feeling tired, you can slow your rowing pace, but the exertion on your muscles will remain the same. When you recover or feel ready to push yourself, you can speed up your pace and add in the cardiovascular endurance training component.
Magnetic resistance machines also offer a smooth, quiet stroke. Because the magnets never actually make contact with the flywheel, there is no grinding or friction. It’s just the quiet hum of the flywheel spinning, usually at a volume perfect for watching TV, listening to music, or carrying on a conversation.
Or, if you’re worried about waking up a sleeping child in the next room, magnetic rowing machines are an ultra-quiet option to consider.
Magnetic resistance machines do have a couple of drawbacks.
First, the rowing action doesn’t feel quite as natural. You don’t feel like you’re rowing on water (like you would with a water rower). That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable or smooth, just less natural.
Most rowers don’t actually mind the difference. It’s simply a factor to take into account.
Second, magnetic rowing machines are typically incapable of generating enough resistance for more athletic rowers.
If you read over all of the magnetic rowers I’ve reviewed here—especially the budget rowers—this is probably the most common complaint.
Magnetic rowing machines are great for beginners or anyone who just wants a “casual” workout. The adjustable resistance lets you pick how difficult or easy you want the rowing session, and you can row as fast or slow as you want.
But when you start pushing to more high-intensity or higher-difficult levels of training—think professional athletes or ultra-fit trainees—magnetic resistance can’t generate enough difficulty to make it a truly challenging workout.
Even on the highest setting, the difficulty level is “adequate” or “sufficient”, but nowhere near enough to properly push your fitness to its limits.
Overall, the Ativafit rower’s magnetic resistance is smooth, quiet, and ideal for any at-home use. The fact that it’s adjustable makes it easy for you to set it to your desired challenge level and get rowing. Beginner rowers will find it’s an excellent option to get them started training.
Strong or advanced rowers, however, may want to consider either a higher-end magnetic rower, or an air or water rower. These variable resistance machines are capable of generating a great deal of resistance, making for a much more challenging workout!
Like so many budget rowing machines, the Ativafit Magnetic Rower comes with a very simple LCD monitor that displays only the most important workout metrics, including:
- Total Count
- Calories Burned
The “scan” feature sets the monitor to automatically rotate through the various metrics so you can see your workout at a glance without having to take your hands off the handle to press any buttons.
Take a look at the image below, and you’ll see how simple the monitor is:
You won’t get any advanced tracking features, no heart rate integration, and no pre-programmed workouts. The stroke/distance calculator is also inaccurate—it always calculates 500 pulls to equal one mile, regardless of the length of the pull or the tension on the cable. This is a problem fairly common with the simple software and hardware used by budget rowing machines.
The majority of budget rowing machines will typically stick with a simple monitor in order to keep manufacturing costs low. Many brands rationalize that people who are buying a budget rowing machine don’t need more advanced features.
For competitive trainees, this is definitely a downside. Without more advanced metrics, there’s no way to easily compare workout performance, time, speed, etc.
However, for beginners, it’s simple enough to just press the button to turn on the screen and start rowing. You’ve got all the most important data for a simple workout right in front of you.
There were a couple of issues that reviewers pointed out about the monitor. Most users didn’t mind that the screen displayed only the most basic workout data, but they found other issues with the functionality.
First of all, there were a number of complaints that the numbers on the screen were “barely visible”. This was a problem not only in low-light settings but even in normally-lit rooms.
Another issue was with the monitor’s performance. The rowing machine doesn’t come with batteries provided, and the monitor won’t turn on unless it has batteries inserted. However, a couple of reviewers found the monitor stopped working after just a couple of uses. Though they changed the batteries a number of times, the electronic components shorted out or just ceased functioning completely.
If you want more complex features, look elsewhere. There are many models in the mid and high-end price range that include advanced monitors with a broad range of functions. You’ll pay more but get more.
For those who don’t mind a simple monitor, the Ativafit Rower is a decent option. It’s pretty standard for rowing machines in the budget price range.
You can always download an app that lets you track your workout from your smartphone or tablet.
Build quality is always one of the most critical factors to evaluate when considering a new rowing machine. After all, it’s going to need to handle a lot of weight and stress from your repeated rowing strokes. A machine that’s not built to last isn’t worth your money!
The Ativafit Magnetic Rower is built using solid steel for the frame, and the majority of positive reviews remark that the frame itself feels sturdy and well-built.
I want to note that a lot of the rowing machines in this budget price range are built in China, so they’re typically manufactured using the same materials, just with different designs. Quality-wise, they tend to be identical despite cosmetic differences. And, as you’ll see from virtually all of my budget rowing machine reviews, the Chinese-manufactured steel frames are tough and hardy.
The frame sits on solid, stable legs that will keep the machine from rocking or sliding no matter how intense your rowing session is.
The slide rail will let the seat slide forward and backward smoothly—it’ll feel like you’re gliding on a cloud.
Build Quality Downsides
With most budget models, the “flaws” aren’t typically in the frame, but in the additional components.
In addition to the monitor-related issues mentioned in the previous section (monitor was hard to see and less-than-reliable operating on battery power), there were a couple of users who noticed the monitor’s plastic casing was particularly flimsy.
The plastic tab that holds the monitor in place also feels a bit cheap and weak. One reviewer found the tab broke during shipping and had to be “fixed” using household cement.
Quality control is also a huge issue with products made and shipped from China. A number of negative reviews mentioned parts arriving defective, damaged, or outright missing. Ativafit’s customer service helped to sort out the issues promptly enough and replace any broken components, but it’s just a hassle to have to deal with that kind of problem before you can even get rowing.
Build Quality Overall
The machine itself is solidly put together using quality materials that can withstand the test of time and intense rowing sessions. There are a couple of defects in the secondary components (especially the monitor), but otherwise, it’s a decently-built product worth the budget price tag.
Here is one video review and I also have another in the ‘Assembly’ section:
The Ativafit Magnetic Rowing Machine scores high marks with the majority of its users in terms of comfort.
A lot of positive reviews praised the over-sized saddle (seat), loving how comfortable it felt and how thick and supportive the cushioning was. Given that you’re going to be spending 20-45 minutes per workout sitting, the saddle has to be comfortable.
The seat features an ergonomic design that conforms to the shape of your bottom and lower body, helping to keep you firmly in your seat while reducing pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the backs of your legs (a problem typically experienced with flat seats).
The handle, too, is padded with easy-grip, non-slip foam cushioning that reduces strain on your wrists and hands while you row. Users loved how comfortable it felt rowing thanks to the padded handle, and there were no mentions of blisters or calluses.
There were a couple of comfort-related issues that users brought up in their reviews.
One commenter said that they felt the handle was too short, so they had to grip it too close together to feel like a natural shoulder-width position.
This issue may be easily fixed by correcting your grip. You can read more about the proper rowing machine hand grip in this article.
Another user struggled with the design of the foot pedals and their proximity to the wheel housing. The pedals are built into the side of the housing, which prevents rowers from extending their arms fully at the “catch” of the stroke.
Looking at this machine, it’s easy to see why reviewers praise its comfort. Between the over-sized saddle, padded handle, and textured foot pedals, it’s likely one of the most comfortable choices in the budget price range.
Like all home-use rowing machines, the Ativafit is designed to store in the upright position. Unlike the majority, however, there is no need to fold anything. Just slide the seat to the front of the rail, grab the rear supports, and lift. You’re done with your workout and ready to get on with your day in a matter of seconds.
The rowing machine does include built-in caster wheels that make storage a breeze. When it’s stored, it occupies just 2.69 square feet (0.25m2 ) of floor space and stands just over 60 inches tall. It’s certainly compact enough to fit anywhere in your home—tucked into a corner next to the TV, behind a couch, or in your garage gym.
But, if you ever need to carry it (to move it between rooms), it’s incredibly lightweight—under 40 pounds—so you can lift it easily.
The Ativafit has one of the lowest weight capacities of any budget rowing machines I’ve reviewed.It can handle just 220 pounds (100 kilograms). This means it’s not suitable for heavier rowers.
Taller rowers, on the other hand, may find it’s the perfect model for them. The rail length is just under 45 inches, which means it’s compatible with any inseam under 45”.
One 6’5” reviewer found that it was perfect for their needs, and they could extend their legs fully without the seat touching the rear of the rail. Other tall reviewers (6’2” and 6’3”) also praised the rowing machine for being compatible with their height.
If you haven’t read my other reviews, be aware that a lot of budget rowing machines are too short for taller users. Advanced rowing machines typically have longer slide rails, but budget rowing machines designed for at-home use need to be folded up small, so they often shorten the slide rail—too short for rowers with longer legs.
The fact that the Ativafit has a longer rail definitely makes it a good option for taller rowers.
- Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 60.6″ x 21.2″ x 26.0″
- Assembled Weight:
- 39.6 pounds
The majority of the reviews praised the Ativafit for being wonderfully easy to assemble.
The assembly process was described by a number of users as “straightforward”. One actually said, “it really is impossible to mess up”.
In addition to the accompanying printed instructions, there is an instructional video you can follow to see the assembly process step-by-step.
Instruction time ranged between 30 to 60 minutes. Tool-savvy users typically had no trouble assembling the various components using all the provided mounting hardware (nuts, bolts, etc.). Even those who claimed to be “tool-challenged” found it was a very user-friendly assembly process.
A few negative reviews spoke of missing or defective parts. One user actually received the machine without a single bolt, nut, or screw—all of the mounting hardware had been left out of the box.
Other reviews spoke of parts that had incorrectly drilled holes that made it impossible to assemble the machine.
These quality control issues are, unfortunately, fairly common among budget rowing machines. Quality control standards for products made/shipped from China are typically lower than Western-manufactured products. Thankfully, most brands are aware of this issue and have customer service departments that can sort out the issue and send replacement parts as needed.
Pros and Cons
- Very comfortable seat
- Solid construction
- Good adjustable magnetic resistance
- Smooth, quiet rowing stroke
- Easy assembly
- Compact and easy to store
- Low weight/height capacity
- Monitor prone to breaking/malfunction
- Display hard to see in low-light environments
- Quality control issues (parts arriving defective, damaged, or missing altogether)
Reading over the reviews posted on the Ativafit Rowing Machine’s Amazon page, it’s clear that the majority of users are satisfied with their purchase.
A number of the 4- and 5-star reviews did mention problems (like those I shared above), but still sang the Ativafit rower’s praises. Mostly, users were satisfied with the price, the solid build, easy assembly, and overall performance of the rowing machine.
Looking at the negative 1- and 2-star reviews, the biggest complaints seem to focus on:
- Insufficient resistance
- Poor monitor function and quality
- Quality control issues
- Broken or defective parts
All of these are, unfortunately, fairly common complaints among rowing machines in the budget price range. Even some of the mid- and high-end rowing machines get these complaints.
So it’s clear that overall, the Ativafit delivers quality on par with the “average” budget rowing machine.
Average Rating: 4.4
Ativafit offers a 1-year extended warranty, but (possibly) only on products purchased via their website. It’s also valid only from the date of purchase, not the date of delivery.
The warranty covers the rowing machine “against defects in material and workmanship under normal, non-commercial use”.
- Frame: 1 year
- Parts: 1 year
Anyone experiencing issues with their Ativafit products can contact customer support at [email protected] and send photos or videos showing the defect or damage.
Doing research on the Amazon page, I can’t find any information stating whether or not Ativafit will honor the warranty for products purchased via their Amazon webstore. Most of the reviewers seemed to have no trouble returning their machine or getting replacement parts, so it appears that the warranty also covers Amazon-bought products. However, I cannot say this with 100% certainty.
Ativafit Magnetic Rower Price
The Ativafit, like all the budget rowers I’ve reviewed, scores high marks in price. In fact, even in the budget range, it’s one of the better-priced models on the market.
Currently, the Ativafit Magnetic Rowing Machine is “sold out” on the Ativafit website, but it’s available on Amazon—not only with free shipping, but also a surprisingly fast delivery time compared to most rowing machines manufactured and shipped from overseas.
I do like the fact that it’s available on Amazon, because Amazon provides an extra layer of consumer protection and customer support to step in and help in case anything arrives damaged, defective, or missing, or the rowing machine suffers any of the above-mentioned quality control issues. Plus, the price on Amazon is usually unbeatable, so you get a decent rowing machine at a great budget cost.
The Ativafit Magnetic Rowing Machine doesn’t necessarily earn a place as the “best” budget rower I’ve reviewed, thanks to the issues I’ve discussed above. But after doing the research, I do think that it’s a decent option for anyone who wants a simple, easy-to-assemble, compact rowing machine well-suited for beginner rowers.
It’s sturdy, quiet, and smooth, exactly what you want from a rowing machine to use in your home gym.
If you want to see the other top-rated budget rowers, then visit my Main Rower Comparison Page here, and scroll down the list.
I hope you enjoyed this review and found the information I shared above helpful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!