BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rowing Machine Review

Are you looking to add a rowing machine to your home gym? If you are interested in investing in a high-end machine, consider the VR500 model by BodyCraft.

The rowing machine is a culmination of the latest technologies developed by the brand. It offers both air and magnetic resistance. Its premium construction can support up to 350 lbs.

BodyCraft VR500

4.6 Overall Editor Rating

BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rowing

  • Easy to Read Black Mask LCD w/LED Backlit Display and Keys.
  • Electronically Controlled Air
  • Ergonomically Correct Comfort Grip
  • Easy Fold and Roll System with child safety lock.
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It supports up to four user profiles. You can choose from any of the 12 workout programs. It comes with a built-in heart rate receiver.

The machine, though, can take up floor space and is expensive. So is the BodyCraft VR500 worth buying? Let us find out.

Product Overview
ModelBodyCraft VR500 Pro Rowing Machine
Assembled Dimensions98.5 L x 20 W x 38.5 H inches
Folded Dimensions58.5 L x 20 W x 77 H inches
Machine Weight101 lbs
Maximum User Weight350 lbs ( up to 5 hours daily)
Seat Height19 inches
Seat Travel38.5 inches
Resistance32 levels (BodyCraft Air + Magnetic Eddy Current Technology)
User Profile4
Package Dimension71.5 x 30 x 10 inches
Package Weight116 lbs
Frame - Lifetime
Parts - 7 years
Labor - 2 years
Wear Items - 1 year

Light Commercial:
Frame - 10 years
Parts - 3 years
Labor - 1 year (Up to 5 hours/day)
Wear Items - 1 year (Up to 5 hours/day)
Amazon Rating4.6 out of 5 (32 ratings)

About BodyCraft

BodyCraft is a well-known brand in the fitness industry with an experience of over 25 years. The company is headquartered in Ohio. They offer a wide range of residential and commercial gym equipment.

BodyCraft offers treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, bikes, benches, racks, multi-gyms and other accessories.

They offer free shipping for new equipment within the contiguous US. They also offer financing options that make investing in quality equipment easier.

BodyCraft provides users with detailed product manuals, user guides, and software updates on their website. They also offer product support videos on their YouTube channel.

Who is The BodyCraft VR500 Pro For?

Rowing is a good exercise that can help work on your total body. It can help target major muscles like arms, obliques, calves, and quadriceps.

The VR500 can be used by people of varying fitness levels, from a novice to an experienced athlete.

It is a comparatively low-impact exercise that is easier on your joints. It can also help strengthen your cardiovascular system.

One of the main issues with rowing machines is that they offer a limited range of motion to tall users. The VR500 overcomes this issue with a seat that can travel and suit users as tall as 6 feet 8 inches.

It offers 32 resistance levels, so experienced users can challenge themselves to build endurance.

It can be a good addition to family home gyms as you can create up to four unique user profiles.

6 Important Factors We Tested The Product On

The rowing machine is one of the elite models offered by BodyCraft. Considering its high price point, we tested the machine on various factors like design, features, resistance, and usability. Here are our findings.

1. Design

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The VR500 Pro is one of the most popular selling rowers by the brand. It is a result of the decade-long research and development done by BodyCraft.

The rower has a finish of powder-coated steel with anodized aluminum beam. The machine’s assembled dimensions are 98.5 L x 20 W x 38.5 H inches. It does take up a lot of floor space. So ensure you have enough room for the machine and a few inches around for you to move freely.

The aluminum handlebars on the rowers come with an ergonomically correct comfort grip. They also have a wireless remote control.

The rower has a contoured seat with heavy-duty roller bearings. This helps it support up to 350 lbs of weight for up to 5 hours daily.

The other design features of the machines include a heavy-duty i-beam monorail with high-strength T13 aluminum and the nylon belt drive, which has been tested at 580 lbs with 500,000 repetitions.

Overall, the rowing machine is well-designed, with quality materials and features that improve user experience.

2. Ease of Assembly

The VR500 has a pretty straightforward assembly. BodyCraft offers a detailed guide with parts lists and assembly instructions.

The assembly process is divided into 12 steps. It may take you anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to put together the machine. It would be best to start the assembly in the room where you will be placing the rower.

If you enlist the help of a family member or friend, the assembly time can be cut in half.

If you are not someone who is mechanically inclined, it would be best to get help from a professional.

3. Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Before you start using the rowing machine, I recommend you go through the owner’s manual. It provides information on how to get on the machine safely, make heel rest and foot trap adjustments, and the correct form and technique.

Once the machine is assembled, attach the adapter to the front of the rower and the other end to a power supply. The main screen will power up and ask you to select a program or begin rowing.

You can set up customized rowing workouts under the four user profiles. These profiles also store workout history so you can track your progress.

One of the distinguishing features of the VR500 is the handlebar controls. You can control the resistance of the machine straight from the handlebar. You do not have to stop mid-exercise, reach out to the monitor and make adjustments. It is a small design feature that adds value to the rower.

The VR500 is easy to use. If you need help, go through the manuals and YouTube videos.

4. Resistance

The VR500 resistance deserves special mention as it offers a combination of air and magnetic mechanism.

With air resistance, the flywheel starts spinning when you pull the rowing handle. The motion brings more air into the flywheel, creating resistance. The faster you row, the higher the resistance.

With magnetic resistance, the position of the magnets from the flywheel decides the resistance level.

With both these mechanisms, the VR500 is able to offer a smooth and quiet operation. The 32 resistance levels can make even experienced athletes sweat.

5. Features


The VR500 is packed with features making it a good rowing machine for beginners and experienced users alike.

The machine has a seat height of 19 inches. The seat can travel up to 38.5 inches. This makes the machine usable for taller users with a height of up to 6 feet 8 inches.

The VR500 has a black mask LCD. It shows details like time/500m, meters, watts, pulse, profile, SPM, and strokes. You can set goals according to time, distance, and watts.

You can pause your workout for about 5 minutes using the pause feature. It is also equipped with a cool-down feature.

The rowing machine is foldable. If you are short on space, you can use the machine, fold it and store it away.

6. Programs

You can create up to 4 user profiles on the VR500. It also comes with 12 auto-resistance change profiles.

While working out, you can choose any of the six races, four HRC, three intervals, one custom, manual, and user mode programs.

For example, in race mode, you get programs like ‘beginner track’ that is 1000 m with a default time goal of 6:00. Then you have the ‘long track’ that is 5000 m with a default time goal of 30:00.

You can customize the interval mode programs by setting the number of intervals and interval time and distance.

What Sets The BodyCraft VR500 Pro Apart From its Competitors?

The VR500 is equipped with a wireless heart rate receiver. You must buy the chest strap transmitter separately.

You can choose any of the four HRC programs available with the chest strap on. The program aims to keep your heart rate at a constant level.

You can choose programs with a preset maximum heart rate of 60%, 75%, and 85%. Or you could set a custom target.

The machine will check your heart rate and adjust the resistance to meet the target.

Another distinguishing feature of the VR500 is the optional Connect-22 Android touchscreen. It is a 22 inches TFT LCD with a resolution of 1920 x1 080. It comes preloaded with Google and several fitness and entertainment apps. Or you could download an app of your choosing.

Apart from providing you with an immersive experience, it is compatible with data-sharing fitness apps.

Should You Purchase The BodyCraft VR500 Pro?

Should You Purchase The BodyCraft VR500 Pro?
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The VR500 is a good rowing machine for users with ample space and a high budget. It works well for users of all fitness levels.

It has a quality construction that can support up to 350 lbs (up to 5 hours/day). It can be used by tall users. It has a contoured seat for extra comfort. It offers several programs to keep the workout interesting.

Assembly can take a couple of hours. You can optionally purchase the Connect-22 touchscreen, but it will significantly increase the cost of the equipment.

Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.


  • It offers both air and magnetic resistance with 32 levels.
  • It can accommodate taller users, up to 6’8”.
  • Handlebars include a wireless remote control.
  • You can set up to 4 user profiles.
  • You can access 12 programs with modes like manual, race, and interval.
  • The rower can be folded for easy storage.
  • BodyCraft offers a good warranty on the rowing machine.


  • It takes up a lot of floor space.
  • It can be expensive home gym equipment.


The BodyCraft VR500 Pro can be considered a high-end rowing machine. It typically costs around $1599 to $1699.

If you purchase the Connect-22 touchscreen with the rower, the price can be around $2599 to $2998.

The brand offers financing options through Affirm. You can make monthly payments over 3, 6, or 12 months. A higher installment period will attract an APR%.

BodyCraft offers free shipping in the US when you make a full payment on your credit card.

Our Rating

BodyCraft VR500

Build Quality

Ease of Assembly

Ease of Use


Weight Capacity

Range of Motion

Value for Money

Overall Rating: 4.6

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What telemetry heart rate strap works with the VR500?

Any telemetry heart rate strap that transmits at 5 KHz will work with the VR500. Ensure you are within three feet of the console. And you be a minimum of four feet away from other electronic devices to avoid fluctuations.

I am 6 feet 4 inches tall. Can the rowing machine handle me?

Yes. The seat can travel up to 38.5 inches which helps accommodate users who are up to 6 feet and 8 inches tall.

What resistance level simulates the actual rowing experience?

The air resistance mechanism solely powers the level 1 resistance. So that should be able to simulate the authentic rowing experience. The magnetic resistance mechanism kicks in with level 2, adding more resistance to your moves.


The BodyCraft VR500 Pro is one of the premium rowing machines on offer. It offers a combination of air and magnetic resistance mechanisms. This helps it offer 32 challenging resistance levels but a smooth and quiet operation.

Some of its other notable features include an adjustable high-def black mask LCD, contoured seats, 12 programs, and up to four user profiles.

It offers a good residential and light commercial warranty which I consider a testament to its construction quality.

If you have the space in your home gym and have a good budget, the rowing machine can be a good buy.

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