Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Rower Review

Meet the SF-RW5623 rowing machine, one of the best alternatives when looking for a rower that will complement your home gym. Price and rowing experience are two things I loved about this machine. Its price is about a 1/3 of what you would pay if you were to get the Concept2 and it has a smooth rowing motion.

But that’s not all; it has other features that will you may like for a rower with that price tag.


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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor
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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Rowing Machine Rower w/LCD Monitor
  • Belt tension system with 8 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Air rower provides additional resistance from the integrated fan creating a dynamic response with every pull
  • Fully padded seat and non-slip grip handlebars provide optimal comfort and support
  • Large anti-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps for secure footing
  • Digital computer displays: time, count, calories, total count, and scan

Dimensions and capacity

When assembled, the SF-TW5623 has a footprint with dimensions of 79L x 30.3W x 26H inches.  The side rail where the seat is anchored measures 46 inches long, such that someone around 5’11 will find it comfortable.

However, if you are a tall person with an inseam measuring more than 34”, you may find it hard to extend your legs all the way to the finish position. That’s because the footrests are positioned closer to the handlebar; such that it aligns with your feet whenever you bend the knees. This shortens the distance you need to exercise leg muscles because the handlebar keeps on bumping on the wheel housing. Sunny should set the handlebar a few feet away so that everyone can hit a full range motion.

As for its weight, it weighs around 60 pounds, and you can move with ease. 300 pounds is the maximum weight capacity the rower can accommodate.

We have more rowers covered in this rowing machine buying guide that have more capacity than this on.

Adjustable Resistance

First, let clear up something: people seem to confuse the SF-RW5623 for a rower that uses both air and magnetic resistance- it’s not so. It’s more like an air resistance with a combination of friction resistance.

The flywheel, which is wrapped with a belt tension, provides the required air resistance.  Then, as you increase the resistance level using the damper setting, a spring inside the wheel housing pulls the band closer to the flywheel; this provides the mechanical resistance needed. For that reason, this machine is perfectly suitable for a home gym; it's unlikely you will wear it out that fast.

 It has a damper setting for switching the resistance level, where you can vary the knob, on a scale of 1 to 8, to suit your different workout intensities. Overall, it has a decent resistance that feels natural. The lowest setting alone, which comprises about 80% air and 20% magnetic resistance, delivers a substantial resistance. You will notice this once your legs, glutes, and back begins to have the burning sensation.  

On top of that, the integrated fan offers additional air resistance, and it will keep you cool.  As you row, the whirling fan directs a breeze towards you, helping to keep your body cool with each pull – it’s like you are rowing in water. Also, you can set the air vent to blow the breeze towards you or direct to the ceiling.

Built Quality

The SF-RW5623 is a sturdy machine; the rail is constructed from an Aluminum material.  It provides a swift and smooth stroke action, and during workouts, you won’t hear squeaking noises because it’s a rigid machine. It’s wise to have a pad or mat underneath to make it sturdier, particularly when you plan to use it on hard floors.

Also, the beam is angled in a way that’s easy to get on and off. If you have injuries at the back or knees, this won’t be too hard to hop on and off.

Digital Monitor

Its digital monitor could use some improvements.  It lacks the technology you would desire, and it’s not easy to read the numbers on its small digital screen. Also, it seems to work only when you are forward enough when rowing. Unless you are near enough, about 5-inches or so, the counter goes off and time pauses. 

It’s not always accurate with the feedback it gives. The timer seems off and inconsistent, and so is the calorie counter. Also, it doesn’t show distance readings. However, the display is not entirely useless because it accurately shows the time, stroke count and scan mode. 

Portable wheels

It has tiny wheels at the bottom; so it’s easy to transport equipment wherever you want. When you want to train, simply tilt it and put it at your place of your choice; or you could fold it and roll it away to your place of choice.

Comfort

The SF-WE5623 will support someone who is 6’5” and weighing not more than 300 lbs. It’s comfortable to row with it because of the fully padded seat; during workouts, the machine remains stable, and it does not slide.

Then, it has large handles with a coating to make the grip firm; this makes it possible to grab the handles even with sweaty hands, and you won’t get blisters during exercises.   Then, its large foot pedals are textured, and each footrest has an adjustable strap to secure your feet when rowing.

Noise level

The fun on this machine is not that loud. It does make a “whooshing” sound although it’s not a disturbing noise.  You can listen to the TV from across the room, although you may have turn up the volume.

Assembling and storing it

You don’t have to keep the rower positioned in one place because the frame is foldable. Plus, once you receive the package, you just need an hour to assemble it.

Pros

•    Smooth functioning/motion.

•    Dynamic response because it combines air and friction resistance.

•    8-adjustment resistance levels.

•    Sturdy and robust frame construction.

•    Affordable price.

•    The cooling effect of the fan.

•    Little noise.

•    Instructions on manual are straightforward. 

Cons

•    Basic monitor; need improvement. 

•    Foot pedals are too near the flywheel.

•    Small display screen.

•    No heart-rate monitor.

•    Limited Sunny warranty.

Verdict

This purchase will not disappoint you, especially if you are looking for budget-friendly rower that will fit your home gym, and if you aren’t into elliptical or treadmills. The rower will not make you have big muscles, but it will surely tone your muscles; both upper and lower body. Plus, it’s good value for the money if you are just starting in rowing.