Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower Review

Sunny has brought another rowing machine on the market, Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rowing Machine. This is upgraded version of Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 and we want to tell you that it wasn’t a disappointment.

The price is a slightly higher making it one of their heavier models, but still in a budget is a competitive machine in a low-range price.

There are some key features that were upgraded and we want to talk about, to present you all the details of this Sunny rowing machine. Because about Sunny Health & Fitness, you already know that is a company that has good customer service and they have created a name in this industry over time. 

We don’t make this as a commercial to Sunny, instead, we want to make sure that you know what you will buy, to have all the necessary details before clicking “Add to cart” button.

If we made you curious about the features that this magnetic rowing machine has, please read further the review.

Delivery and Assembly

The box that you will receive will be pretty hard, it will have 90 pounds. The package is big having around 5 feet long and about 10 inches thick. Also, due to the metal flywheel is heavy on a side. This is making carrying by yourself more difficult that’s why maybe asking a friend or a neighbor can help you bring the package in the house will be a good suggestion.

The assembling part is easy, but before starting to put the pieces together it will be wise to check and see if the components show signs of damage during transportation. This can happen because the packed is heavy and can be dropped or smashed when moving. If you find a damaged component you will need to get in touch with Sunny Customer Care service. They are doing a very good job and can replace the parts as soon as possible.

As we said, to assemble the rowing machine is an easy process. You already get the mainframe assembled, this is why the package is heavy on one side, and the first step is to attach the front stabilizer to it. The next steps will be to attach the seat to the rail frame and the rail frame to the main console. 

Before attaching the rail frame you should pay attention to the cable, to avoid any damage to them. As the user manual recommends, is to keep them under the rail when you attach it to the main console. The last operation is to mount the footrests. 

As time, all of this should take you around 15-30 minutes and it can be done by a single person. The user manual describes very well the operations should be done and all the necessary tools are included in the package.

Having all the components assembled, the machine looks and feels sturdy due to the combination of steel and aluminum components. More exactly the rail is made of steel and the gliding mechanism of the seat is made of aluminum. The handlebar is connected to the main frame by a quality nylon strap. 

The advantage of using the nylon strap to a magnetic rowing machine, instead of using a chain system, is that the generated noise when using is much lower. Also, being made of nylon it doesn’t need constant maintenance, as a chain, it needs to be lubricated from time to time.

The footprint of this rowing machine is a bit longer than SF-RW5515, with a total of 87 inches in length. Nevertheless, this is not a huge machine and can fit in almost all spaces having a total size of 87.0″ x 21.5″ x 23.0″ (L x W x H).

Unfortunately, the machine is not foldable and this due to the upgraded seat rail. Stamina gave up the fold option for a better seat rail and monitor information. Also, lacking the pivoting point in order to fold the total capacity of the machine has been increased.

But a user found out that he can store the machine quite easy. What he did is unplug the wires, that are just under the joint between the seat rail and main console and after that remove the pin. To put it together you need to do the same easy operations, line up the machine, put the pin back and connect the cable. The downside is that you will have two separated parts, but the main console, which is the heaviest can be moved by lifting up and using the built-in wheels.

Maybe not every day, but it is ok to have this option to store your machine once in a while.


The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is using a magnetic system, as the name tells us. What does a magnetic system ? As for traditional air rowers, the flywheel is acting as a fan to create air resistance. When you pull the “fan” starts to spin, the blades hit the air and therefore you have the drag created.

The magnetic system is also using a flywheel, but this one is made out of metal. And there is a system of magnets that are positioned in the proximity of the wheel. Now, let’s talk more about physics, the rowing machine is using the “Eddy currents” principles to create the resistance when the magnets are interacting with the spinning flywheel. The magnets are adjustable, by moving them closer or further you create more or less “Eddy Currents’”.

But to keep it simple, to adjust the resistance, the closer the magnets are from the spinning wheel the more resistance you have and vice versa, further, the magnets are from the flywheel you get less resistance.

A good demo of how this system works is this video:

One of the upgrades that need to mention here is that you get 10 levels of resistance from where you can adjust the desired one. This is great as having multiple resistance grades. You can choose the one that fits you the most. In the beginning, the best way is to choose a resistance level that will be your baseline. Let’s say you select level 3 and the this resistance you can complete your desired training. From there you will start increasing the resistance as you become more experienced and fit.

A major benefit of magnetic rowers is the noise it produces. Not having the “fan” to create the necessary resistance, all these machines are really quiet as the wheel is just spinning without creating air resistance. The sound level is low and it will not disturb you.

There are some downsize regarding the magnetic resistance. The one that we need to mention is that using magnets the resistance level will be constant. What does that mean? For air or water rowers, the resistance level is set by how hard and fast you pull. With the airwheel that is acting as a “fan” and create air drag, having a higher pace it translates in a greater resistance. 

For magnetic rowers, it doesn’t matter how rapid is the pace, the felt resistance is constant. This is happening because of the magnets that have the same distance from the airwheel.

Many pro athletes like the natural feel that an air rower is giving, by creating the resistance based on the pace, but this doesn’t mean that you will not a great training and your cardio level will not be improved. On the contrary, having the same resistance will make you work harder and increase your strength and stamina.

Another thing where a magnetic rower does not excel is when it is used for High-Intensity Interval Training training. HIIT, in a nutshell, means that you work in intervals, you have high intervals when your stroke pace is the maximum and recovery interval when the pace is more to none. 

Because when you enter in the “recovery” interval the pace will be lower and the felt resistance is less. This can be adapted, to have the recovery interval you just stop rowing and calm down your breathing.

Overall the magnetic resistance is great and the upgrade from SF-RW5515 is significant. And the rower is still kept in a budget price range.

Technical Details and Specification

  • Assembled dimensions: 87L x 21.5W x 23H inches
  • Assembled weight: 80 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Frame: Steel and aluminum
  • Footrests: With straps
  • Resistance type: Magnetic, 10 levels
  • Performance monitor: Time, time 500m strokes, strokes per minute, distance, calories, pulse, recovery function
  • Warranty: 90 days

Using Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 magnetic rower

Now it’s time to see and to enjoy what this Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro can do for you. The first thing that will be noticed that the machine is silent and everything moves smoothly and works together as it should.

The seat, after the main console, is maybe the most important piece of a rowing machine. We are saying this that the seat is taking almost all of your weight and is the pivoting point during a stroke. This means that your lower-back is worked and there is pressure on your tail, but it shouldn’t be forced, and that’s why a good seat helps here.

During a stroke, leaning too far in the back or forward it will increase the pressure on your tailbone. If this happens, try to adjust your position on the seat by moving forward or backward by 2-3 inches. And the seat of this Sunny is perfect for a good posture as it is equipped with a fairly large seat, 12’’ x 15’’.

It is padded for creating the comfort needed in a long workout, with the surface contoured for better stability. Also, The seat is gliding on the rail on 3 PVC ball bearing rollers providing stability and lowers the noise.


As we explained early this rowing machines is equipped with 10 levels of manual magnetic resistance systems. This means that there is no need to connect the rower to power, it doesn’t have any power cords to do this.

To change the resistance level you will need to rotate the knob clockwise to increase the resistance. But remember, you will need to be in a full stop before changing the resistance.

This is one of the important parts of this upgraded model, that these 10 resistance levels are suited almost for every user. Every stroke will be smooth and it will put to work the entire body.


The big advantage of the magnetic rowing is that will be really quiet. You will not hear any rumble squeaking sounds, the only sound which will stand out is the seat moving forward and backward. This is an advantage that you can use when your kids are sleeping and you have a free window to do a  workout or you can open Netflix to view your favorite TV shows (Is not Netflix and chill is Netflix and workout).

Resistance Levels

As we explained early this rowing machines is equipped with 10 levels of manual magnetic resistance systems. This means that there is no need to connect the rower to power, it doesn’t have any power cords to do this.

To change the resistance level you will need to rotate the knob clockwise to increase the resistance. But remember, you will need to be in a full stop before changing the resistance.

This is one of the important parts of this upgraded model, that these 10 resistance levels are suited almost for every user. Every stroke will be smooth and it will put to work the entire body.

Handle and Footrest

The handlebar of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rowing Machine is not straight, it is slightly curved. This is a good feature because is creating a better grip on the handle and the move will be more natural. The grip is done over a sheet of rubber foam material with which the pulling handle is padded. The rubber is good for long workout and it will prevent blisters.

The handle is connected to the magnetic airwheel by a strong nylon strap. The nylon strap will ensure a low noise level.

The rowing machine is equipped with large footrests that can accommodate all sizes and have heel guards to prevent slipping from the plate. The foot is held in position by the adjustable straps. The footrests are not fixed, they are pivoting to an angle of maximum 60°. This will make the stroke to feel more natural and it will keep the shoe on the plate.

Control Panel

The LCD Monitor that the Sunny rower is equipped, we can say, is a mid-range monitor. It has more functions than a basic control panel has, but can’t be connected only or it has a color display. Also, like on higher end rowing machines it doesn’t have a pre-set workout training, but on this, you can set goals functions for distance, time or calories. It works by setting a value of one the previous options and when you start the training, the configured value is shown on the monitor and it will start counting backward.

The monitor is displaying 7 workout values at the same time and you can choose from:

  • Time
  • 500m/Time (split time)
  • Strokes
  • Strokes/Min
  • Distance
  • Calories Burned
  • Pulse

To operate the console, you will have 4 buttons to navigate MODE, SET, RESET and RECOVERY.

MODE is used to set a value or reset values. With SET you can values for time, distance or calories. RESET, we all know what a reset does and RECOVERY will be used for recovery functions.

The unit is using 2AA batteries that are preinstalled to the console.

We said that is a mid-range panel that it has another function that the basic monitors don’t, it can track the pulse with heart rate strap. The rowing machine doesn’t come with this strap, it needs to be purchased separately. The option is very good for the ones that need to keep a track of their heart rate during training.

The machine isn’t equipped with a heart rate belt, because the total cost will be higher. The good thing is that you can choose any kind of strap you want or if you already have a heart rate strap it can be connected to the rower.

The only condition for the pulse monitor to work is that the strap to transmit with 5.3KHz frequency.

A last word

We can say it that Sunny with Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rowing Machine did an excellent job.

It has all the necessary elements for an indoor heavy-duty machine. Its features 10 tension levels, and this is telling us that the main focus was that this rowing machine to be used by everyone, on every fitness level.

The max weight limit of 300lbs made this one be very sturdy and solid. And the mid-range monitor is like a bonus for an affordable rowing machine.

Sunny has also a cheaper rowing machine that can provide a good workout and if this is above your budget or you don’t want to spend to much money, then Sun SF-RW5515 magnetic is worth to be checked. 

Another rowing machine that is in the same budged and a must to be considered is LifeSpan RW1000 Magnetic Rower

 We don’t want to spoil, so read before all the things about what you want before “Add to cart”.

Inform before, buy after!



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