Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Rowing Machine Review

We are stopping now to a budget rowing machine that is relatively new in the market proposing a dual resistance mechanism combining air with magnetic. Currently, this is the only budget rower that is using air/magnetic as a system.

Sunny is in this business over 15 years and their growth was good as they become a really good competitor on this market. Even if their first products were not so good, but they have learned their lessons.

As we said many times when we are trying products we consider the brand that is behind any equipment because being on the market for so long on the market you need to invest. 

And that’s why we have the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 now. The only rowing machine under 300$ that is using an air/magnetic system. Let’s see what this rower will offer you

Delivery and Assembly

The box received from Amazon had a total weight of 70 pounds. Is not that heavy, but you can get the help of a friend to bring it in the house because the box dimensions are pretty big, 88.8 x 19.7 x 29.7 inches.

You will find that all parts are packed separately and the help of a friend is not needed to put the rower together. There are only 6 steps to follow in order to get the machine assembled and this operation will take around 30-40 minutes. If you think you’re missing parts that the booklet talks about, just check the extra baggies.

Because the first step can create a little confusion as they are stating to remove some pre-assembled part and those parts are not on the machine. But is still easy to do it by using step-by-step instruction provided by the user manual.

The footprint after the Sunny Health & Fitness  SF-RW5623 rower is assembled takes some space. In lengthwise, the most, with a total length of 86″ and 20’’ in wide.

This will require you to have or to create some space for your rowing machine. But after is used and your training is done, the machine can be folded and the occupied space will be much smaller with 36 x 24 inches.

To do this operation is very simple, the things that are needed are to pull out the Pull Pin that is situated on the mainframe near to the footrest, to raise vertically the gliding rail (the seat will glide down, be careful at your fingers) and to put back the pull pin. It will take no more than 20 seconds.

The rower is built with the front and rear stabilizers of steel and has on top a rail made of aluminum. This was done for two reasons, first was to reduce the total weight of the machine and to be more easy to raise the mainframe when folding and the second reason was to assure a smooth rowing motion without any clicking noises.


As you already saw, the resistance system is dual using air to create drag and magnets to create resistance. The air resistance is named “variable” and the magnetic resistance is known as adjustable”. The variable resistance is given when the machine is using the air that comes inside it.  

First, the resistance is given by the flywheel that is actioned by the pull handle. When the flywheel starts spinning, by pulling the handlebar, the wheel starts acting like a fan and create air resistance. In order to increase your resistance, the stroke pace needs to be higher and that creates this natural response that you have from any other air rowing machines.

For the traditional air rower machines to increase the pulling resistance and to keep the same cadence of your strokes, you need to know that those are the rowing machines that are using a damper system.

The damper system is controlling the air that is going through the flywheel cage. The more air let to go inside, the higher the resistance is and also vice-versa. The less amount of air is let to go through the rower flywheel, the less drag is creating.

And the damper system is more expensive and the price of the rower will grow exponentially. That is the reason why a magnetic system has been added to the rower.

Beside the air resistance, for a greater drag of the stroke cadence, the magnetic system adds a plus for the total resistance that you are feeling. The flywheel is made of metal and there are magnets which by getting closer to the wheel creates more “Eddy currents” and creates more resistance. So, the closer the magnet gets to the flywheel, the more work is needed to keep up the pace.

The advantage of this kind of dual system is that natural feeling of a stroke is mimicked better than a full magnetic resistance, as it is at the air rowers where you get a variable resistance and an adjustable resistance that is given by the magnet system. If you want to row slowly, at a slower pace, but at the same time to feel a greater resistance for every stroke you make, the magnetic system will do this for you.

Select a higher resistance, start the training and enjoy a natural rowing movement with higher resistance.

Having a dual system is that you can still do HIIT training or Tabata, where you can go as faster you can and after that to slow and have the recovery period. With the magnetic system, you can increase the difficulty of your training, to make you pull harder but keeping the same pace.

Doing HIIT or Tabata, it will burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, it will improve your heart rate and blood pressure and many more. If you don’t know about HIIT training you should check it, because it has a lot of benefits.

Technical Details and Specification


  • Assembled dimensions: 86L x 19W x 28H inches
  • Product weight: 59.5 lbs
  • Supported weight: 300 lbs 
  • Frame: Foldable, steel-made
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Air and magnetic, 8 levels
  • Fitness computer: Time, count, total count, calories, SCAN
  • Warranty: Frame 1 year / Parts 90 days

Using LifeSpan RW 1000 magnetic rower

Now that we have the machine ready to use and we know all these details about it, let’s see how it will feel when it is used. We don’t want to have just another closet hanger in our room 🙂

We can say that for the price range of this rowing machine the seat is good. Even if it doesn’t have air cell cushioning, the seat is padded and comfortable. In the back, it has an elevation to prevent you to slip from it.

As we know that comfort is a delicate subject, but this seat can take the weight from your lower back without putting extra pressure on your spine. From this point of view, it has a good design, helping you to stay more time on the rower without any discomfort.

The seat is secured to the rail with 4 balls bearings that ensure a smooth slide.


Having a sturdy building the rower has a 300 lb. weight capacity. There are just one or two rowing machines under 300$ that has this capacity. Some users that have slight over 300 lb have used without any issue the rower.

Also, this can accommodate tall persons, even at 6’ 4’’ as the gliding rail is long enough. A situation that can appear here is for tall people, having long arms, they will feel the need to bend the arms in the middle of the stroke when the knees are bent just before the leg extension.


Using the spinning wheel as a fan, it will produce some noise, louder than a magnetic only machine. you will notice the “whooshing” sound produced by the fan hitting the air. The machine doesn’t squeak or produce other sounds that can annoy you. This is another plus to have a sturdy frame and well-built rowing machine.

However, having the magnets the noise will be slightly reduced so you can watch a TV show with the volume a little bit higher than usual. Overall, for sure, it isn’t the loudest and it can be used indoor without creating issues with your neighbors.

Resistance Levels

First, you will see that the machine has 8 level of resistance that can be adjusted by rotating the knob clockwise, starting from 1, which has the lowest resistance. On the first level, the drag will be created, mostly, by the airwheel which will act as a fan and by the magnets. We think that the percentage at the first level is around 75% air and 25% magnetic.  Where resistance at level 8 is totally vice-versa. About the overall resistance, this will provide to intermediate users a very good workout.

The mainframe is not horizontal, it has a slight, being closer to the ground in the front and raised at the back. This is done in order to use more of your legs when you push and to have a smooth recovery motion. This is increasing the challenge for a rower, than the ones that have a horizontal rail.


Handle and Footrest

The  Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 comes large foot pedals, with anti-slipping material and adjustable straps. At the base of the pedals, there is an edging that is to prevent your legs to slips during an exercise. Both, the pedals and the Velcro straps are made quality and durable material, that will resist in time.

Also, the pedals give you some pivoting space, not being fixed. This can be a plus for some users, that helps to mimic better the movement of rowing on water.

Sunny created the handlebars with non-slip rubber foam with non-slip grip. The handles are made of rubber to be as comfortable as possible. Maybe, in time, you feel the need of using gym gloves to avoid blisters to your hand.

The handlebars are attached to the airwheel with a nylon strap made to resist for a long time. Using nylon instead of a chain, helped to reduce the total weight of the machine, no need for maintenance and reduce total costs.

Control Panel

Sure, you will not expect to have a high tech monitor to calculate everything in a budget machine. However, this Sunny is equipped with a basic monitor that will display the followings:

  • Count – the stroke numbers in a workout
  • Total Count – the stroke numbers in all workouts, max 9999
  • Time – the time of your training
  • Calories – Calories burned
  • Scan – display every function from above at every 7 seconds

There is no distance measured by this Monitor and also you will not have a Stroke per Minute display to help you in training. The Calories counter shows only an estimated count calculated based on an average user. To have a real counter the control panel should gender, age, weight, monitor the heart rate. Also, this display doesn’t have any backlight and this can affect the data visibility in a dim. As we said, this is a budget rowing machine, so they cut cost from the LCD in order to have a solid rowing machine.

If you need more information about your workout, you can use a smart band or a heart monitor strap. The advantage of these is that can be used over different workouts.

A last word

The  Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 rowing machine comes as a budget rower with the dual resistance system in order to offer you the natural movement that the air rowers have and the magnet system to increase the resistance.  It’s not exactly a machine recommended to pro athletes, but for beginners and intermediate, this product will be an excellent choice.

Overall it has very good construction and this is one of the key points that need to take in consideration because when you are rowing there are different physical  forces that are putting pressure on the device.

Before settling to this model, there are other options to consider. There is a very good model from Stamina, more exactly the Stamina X Air Rower.

Also, a little more expensive, but with a lot extra features is ProForm 550R Rowing machine. This one really need to be seen. 

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

Inform before, buy after!




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