Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine Review

Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine ReviewInterested in buying the Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine?

Look no further than this review for all the pros & cons of this model!

The Marcy NS-40503RW provides a great full body workout that will boost your cardio and have you burning fat in no time.

Plus, it will tone your upper and lower body at the same time!



While the Marcy Rowing Machine provides a lot of great features, does it provide the best for this price range?

I’ll go through all the pros & cons in my review and also list some other really great options in my final thoughts section.

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Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price
13. Overall Review

Resistance Type

The Marcy NS-40503RW Rower is a magnetic resistance rowing machine.

This means it uses a magnet and a metal flywheel to provide resistance to the user.

As the rower pulls the handle, the flywheel begins to spin in the “flywheel housing”. The flywheel is normally aligned with metal, which reacts with the magnet to create resistance.

A user can adjust a knob to move the magnet closer or farther from the flywheel.

The closer the magnet, the stronger the resistance. The further the magnet, the weaker the resistance.

It’s really that simple!

Below is a video to easily show how a magnetic resistance rowing machine operates:

If you are interested in learning more about other resistance types you can visit my different resistance type article here.

Resistance Benefits

There are a lot of benefits to magnetic rowers and some specifically pertaining to the Marcy Rowing Machine.

Firstly, the Marcy Rower has 8 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance. Simply spin the knob on the center console to increase or decrease the resistance.

Use a higher setting for a more strenuous, strength based workout or a lower resistance for a lighter, aerobic workout.

Marcy Rowing Machine Resistance

One great benefit of magnetic rowers is they are virtually silent because the magnets create no noise and don’t create resistance using friction. The only noise you will hear is the seat gliding up and down the seat rail.

This makes magnetic rowers great for apartments, watching TV while exercising, or people who enjoy working out early in the morning.

If you look at the photos of the NS-40503RW you will notice a slight incline in the seat rail. This helps add a small amount of resistance by forcing the user to push themselves up the incline and control themselves on the descent.

The incline also helps for a smoother rowing stroke and a more comfortable experience overall.

Resistance Negatives

Like all budget rowing machines, there are always a few downsides. When looking at the resistance of the Marcy Rowing Machine some people did complain about the overall resistance level for their experience level.

A few users who were in good shape, felt the resistance was not adequate for their fitness level and wished it was a bit stronger at the highest setting.

This is a common complaint on rowing machines and it should be mentioned that rowing is more of an aerobic exercise than strength based exercise.

However, I do think there could be some additional resistance levels added to this model.

I think if you consider yourself a beginner or intermediate level person, this model will be fine. It may be a bit easy for more advanced rowers looking for strong resistance.

Resistance Overall

Overall, the resistance on the NS-40503RW is smooth, strong, and quiet.

Most people found it to satisfy their needs, however, some felt it could have a few more resistance levels.

People looking for a beginner rower, that is very quiet, really enjoyed the resistance.

Monitor/Control Panel

The Marcy NS-40503RW comes equipped with an easy-to-read multi-function LCD fitness monitor. The monitor can record the following data:

  • Time
  • Count (# of Strokes)
  • Total Count
  • Calories Burned

The monitor also has a scan feature which rotates between the different stats. As you can see below, the monitor is fairly basic.

marcy magnetic rowing machine NS-40503RW Monitor

One thing you may notice is the monitor has a built in tablet-holder or reading rack. This is great for watching movies or TV shows while rowing!

While the monitor is fairly basic and only tracks the very essential workout data, you can’t expect much from a monitor in this price range.

Some downsides mentioned were that the monitor does not come with batteries (2AA required) and it does not record distance.

The monitor also doesn’t support bluetooth but this is normal for monitors in this price range.

Update: There are some users saying the monitor has recently been updated to include a distance readout. I contacted Marcy customer support and they did say the monitor has distance and it was also included in the manual. However, it does seem some retailers still have models without distance, so make sure you are purchasing the most recent model.

Monitor Overall

Overall, the monitor on the NS-40503RW Rower is decent. It’s definitely not great but it does track a few necessary metrics and it does have a tablet holder.

Worst case scenario, you download a fitness app and use your tablet as a monitor!

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Build Quality

A questionable topic around all budget rowing machines is the build quality. It’s never easy to make a quality rower at an affordable price.

I feel the Marcy Rowing Machine does an “Ok” job of combining quality and price, which is proven by the mixed reviews.

Some users felt the rowing machine had great quality and was an excellent choice for the price. They felt it was sturdy, quiet, smooth, and gave them no issues.

Others felt is was cheaply made and didn’t last as long as they’d hoped.

I believe users who didn’t expect to receive a very high quality rowing machine were very happy with the purchase. I think the Marcy Rower matches the quality of other magnetic rowing machines in this price range and is great for moderate use by beginner to intermediate rowers.

For more advanced users looking to work out vigorously everyday, this model may not be the best option. I would advise these users to bump up to the next price range for higher quality machines.

The Marcy Rowing Machine does have 3 points of support (front, back, and one in the center) which makes a much stronger rowing machine overall.

Below is a good video of the Marcy NS-40503RW in action!

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When buying a rower you want to make sure it is comfortable, otherwise, you won’t use it! There are a few pros and cons to note about the Marcy Rowing Machine comfort.

First off, it comes with a contoured, padded seat which was praised by a few users for being very comfortable. It also has a padded handle to prevent blisters and prevent hand fatigue when rowing.

The foot pedals can accommodate any shoe size and the velcro straps fit comfortable over any shoe. The foot pedals can also be used barefoot which is a great feature!

Another thing to note is the foot pedals rotate which allows for greater comfort for people who do not have a lot of ankle flexibility.

Marcy Rower Foot Pedals

Marcy Rowing Machine Handle

One downside some users mentioned was not feeling like they could get a full rowing stroke. This was due mostly to a user not being able to move all the way forward and extend there arms fully out in front of them. This is due to the more compact nature of budget rowing machines and is seen on most lower cost models.

As previously mentioned, the inclined seat rail allows for a smoother return and very comfortable rowing motion.

Overall, most users were very happy with the comfort features of the Marcy NS-40503RW Rower.

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Storing the Marcy NS-40503RW Rower is very easy and can be done in a few simple steps.

Simply pull the locking pin from the seat rail, fold the seat rail vertical, and re-insert the pin. That’s it!

You can also fold the monitor forward so it is out of the way.

Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine Storage

After the seat rail is folded, you can transport the rower around on the two front wheels. The rowing machine is compact enough to store in the corner of the room and inside some closets.

The stored dimensions are: 37″ x 19.5″ x 46″ (L x W x H).

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Most compact rowers have a smaller capacity than the higher-end rowing machines. This is due to a small seat rail.

When searching for how tall a user can be on the NS-40503RW, I found a few examples of fairly tall people using this model. One user who was 6’4″ mentioned being able to use the rower and having about 2.0″ to spare on the back of the seat rail.

Another user mentioned their son who was 6’5″ being able to use the rowing machine.

One user even mentioned not installing the back two bumper knobs, which would give you another 1-2″ on the back of the seat rail.

Most rowing machines don’t have a lower end height limit so shorter user should be fine using this model.

Marcy Magnetic Rowing Machine

I will say a few users felt they couldn’t perform a full stroke on this rowing machine. Most were used to high-end rowing machines and felt their motion forward was limited. This could be due to the housing getting in the way of allowing your arms to fully extend forward and the “joint” where the seat rail folds up stopping you from sliding all the way forward.

For the average person, I don’t think this is an issue but if you are over 6’3″ and shorter than 5’2″, you may feel slightly limited by the motion.

The Marcy NS-40503RW does have a 300 lb. weight capacity which is excellent for models in this price range.

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  • Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H):
    • 74.5″ x 19.75″ x 32.0″
  • Folded Dimensions (L x W x H):
    • 37.0″ x 19.75″ x 48.0″

Marcy Rower Dimensions

  • Shipping Weight: 
    • 65 lbs.

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Most fitness equipment is a pain to assemble and all you can do is hope for some easy to read directions! Unfortunately, a lot of consumers felt the instructions were very bad on this model.

Users took on average between 30 minutes and 1 hour to assemble the model.

Consumers mentioned the parts are came in the same bag and were not labeled properly. This means it would be best to have a large, clear space to assemble the rower.

First lay out all the pieces and read over the instructions. Then try to match-up each piece with each set of instructions.

Once you have everything laid out it will be much easier to put together. There are even some YouTube videos you can watch first, which will show you how to put it together.

You WILL need 2AA batteries for the monitor, so don’t forget to have these on hand!

Just remember to take your time, stay organized, and maybe have some music playing!

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Pros and Cons


  • 8 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance
  • Padded seat & rowing handle
  • Holder for tablet or book on monitor
  • Solid rowing base with 3-points of ground contact
  • Great price!
  • Easy fold storage
  • 300 lb. weight capacity
  • Good home warranty


  • Very basic monitor
  • Limit capacity (people over 6’3″)
  • Experienced people will feel light resistance
  • Assembly can be frustrating

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Consumer Reviews

Consumer reviews of the Marcy NS-40503RW Rower are a bit mixed but I think it is a great model for the right person.

Most consumers who were beginners or understood they were buying a budget rowing machine felt the Marcy Rower was great. They thought it provided a smooth, quiet, and comfortable rowing stroke with an intermediate level of resistance.

Other workout enthusiasts felt the machine had weak resistance and didn’t provide a great rowing stroke. This is most likely due to having some experience on commercial rowers in the gym and comparing the two. It’s just not possible to compare a model that cost $1,000 to a model that cost around $200.

You can check out more Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine reviews here to see what consumers had to say.

Average Rating: 4.0

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A benefit of the Marcy NS-40503RW is the home warranty. I’ve seen a lot of budget rowers have a 90-day warranty, so it’s nice to see something with a bit more time.

  • Frame: 2-Years
  • Parts: 1-Year
  • Model #: NS-40503RW

The only thing I do not like about the warranty is that it excludes freight damage. This would have to be taken up with Amazon and Marcy. I can’t understand why a manufacturer wouldn’t include freight damage in a warranty when that is where a lot of damage can occur.

Lucky, most people are able to get the issue resolved through Amazon customer support if anything does happen.

Some users did recommend buying the extended warranty or contacting the customer service department as soon as there is an issue (800-999-8899).

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Price is always a big factor when purchasing a piece of fitness equipment. You want to make sure you are sticking within your budget and also buying something you are going to use! How often does a treadmill turn into a place to pile laundry!?

Luckily, the Marcy NS-40503RW is a well priced rowing machine and one of the lowest priced magnetic rowers. It sells for pretty much the same price on all online retailers and seems to be sold the most on Amazon.

Amazon is one of the best places to buy rowing machines because it has easy checkout, free shipping on qualified orders, fast shipping, and a layer of protection between the manufacturer and consumer.

Check current pricing discounts:

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Overall Review

Overall, the Marcy NS-40503RW Rowing Machine is an average budget rower. In my opinion, there isn’t anything great about this model, but there also isn’t anything terrible.

While I think it looks great and can get the job done for most users, I feel there are better rowers in this price range.

If you are looking for a budget magnetic rowing machine that is under $300, then I would consider looking into the Sunny Health & Fitness Rowers.

The #1 bestselling budget magnetic rower is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515. You can check out my review here.

Another great model is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5634. You can read my full review here.

If you aren’t as concerned with noise level, you may want to think about buying an air rowing machine. These rowers are great for HIIT style workouts and are the most popular resistance type. The best budget air rower is the Stamina 1399 ATS Air Rower. You can read my review on that model here.

I hope you enjoyed my Marcy Rowing Machine NS-40503RW review! Please leave me any questions in the comment section below.

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