The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 is a unique rower – it offers both magnetic and air resistance. Comfortable and easy to use, it offers a great workout even for more advanced users.
The previous Sunny Health and Fitness models that I have had the pleasure of reviewing I have loved, so I am expecting great things from the RW5623.
Unboxing and Assembly
Compared to the 5508 and 5515 models from Sunny that I have put together, this model only took a couple of minutes longer to put together.
I was glad to see that the instructions were as clear as I expected and the parts required for each stage of the assembly process are separated into individual bags. By simply having the bolts organized as you take them from the box it saves a considerable amount of time and I never seem to be missing any parts which I do find happens from time to time with other brands.
There are 6 steps to complete to have your rower ready to go once it unboxed and go as follows:
Step 1 – Remove the Shipping tube mount on the front main frame, but keep the screws (This just prevents damage while being shipped).
Step 2 – Attach the front stabilizer from where you just removed the shipping tube.
Step 3 – Fix the foot pedals by bolting them to the main frame.
Step 4 – Slide the seat onto the rail and then attach the stopper which prevents the seat from coming off.
Step 5 – Attach the rear support to the seat rail by simply screwing them together.
Step 6 – Now we attach the rail to the main frame using the bolts and locking pins. Make sure that you also attach the wires that run inside of the rail to the monitor.
Note: all the tools require for assembly are provided.
Overall the assembly process only took me roughly 20 minutes. Even if you are not confident at DIY I am sure that you will be able to put this together.
- 8 levels of magnetic tension
- Additional air resistance
- Comfortable padded seat
- Non-slip handlebars
- Anti-slip foot pedals with straps
- Folds up for easy storage
- Digital console displays count, time, calories and total count
- Maximum weight limit: 300 pounds
For taller users, those who are 6-feet-tall or taller, may have a little trouble using this rower. While you can still get a great workout, some users said their knees were a few inches above the starting position.
For some reason, Sunny have put a shorter rail on this model than others I have tried. The 5508 and 5515 both have 54 inch rails whereas this model has 46 inches. However, this may be due to the rower including air resistance and they didn’t want it taking up too much room.
Aside from this minor issue, this rower is a great option for nearly all users of all fitness levels.
Air and Magnetic Resistance
The SF-RW5623 gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to resistance. It works as an air rower, but it also has a magnetic tension system with 8 adjustable levels to help make your workouts even more difficult.
If you have ever used a magnetic rowing machine before you will have noticed that the resistance feels constant the entire length of each stroke. Whereas on an air rower it starts off hard and to maintain the resistance you have to keep powering through the stroke.
Therefore, the integrated fan provides the air resistance and helps create a dynamic response with each row while the magnetic tension allows for quieter, smoother operation and the extra resistance.
One of my favorite workouts on a rower is high intensity interval training and I tend to find that I get more from an air rower while doing that particular workout. But having the air and magnetic resistance made it even more difficult and think I may have a new favorite resistance type.
The only downside of including the fan for air resistance is that it produces more noise than a magnetic rower would, but it is still quieter than most models. You do get the added bonus of some air movement towards you thanks to the fan vent being directed back towards the user. You can direct it away if you would rather it wasn’t blowing at you.
In the comfort department, the SF-RW5623 excels. The seat is fully padded, so you stay comfortable throughout your entire workout. I had no numb bum after a 30-minute rowing session.
The handlebars and the foot pedals both have non-slip properties, so you can concentrate on your workout and form – not on keeping your hands and feet securely in place. The foot pedals are larger in size, so they can accommodate users of all shapes and sizes. There are straps attached to the pedals to ensure that you fit stay in position helping you generate more power.
The only slight issue I can see some users having with the foot pedals is that they touch the floor so if you have a delicate floor you may want to have a mat underneath to protect it. But with that being said, you wouldn’t want to be rowing on a wood floor anyway as the rower will tend to slide around with each stroke and would require a mat anyway. If the floor is carpeted then you will have no issues to worry about.
With a maximum capacity of 300 pounds the majority of users will feel safe on this rower. If you happen to weigh more than 300 lbs then you may want to look at something like the concept2 which goes to 500 lbs or the WaterRower’s which go to 1000 lbs.
The built-in digital computer on the 5623 is the exact same as the one used on the 5515. It hasn’t got any better and is a very basic monitor and only tracks the following metrics:
- Stroke count (for your current workout)
- Total count (from first use)
- Scan (cycles through the different functions every 4 seconds)
You can set the time calories or stroke count to countdown from a value that you set at the beginning of the workout which can be a good motivator but there are not pre-programmed workouts.
I do wish that they would include a couple of extra metrics such as distance. I do like having a pulse count on my rowing machines as well but they don’t tend to be as accurate as the activity trackers you can get off of amazon for under $50. So, they are actually a better option if you are looking to track your pulse as you work out.
Storage and Warranty
Once you have finished your workout and want to pack it away until next time, you simply wheel it to wherever you want to store it using the Dolley wheels on the front then fold it up. To do so you have to first unscrew the knob on the rail and pull out the locking pin, fold up and then reinsert the knob and locking pin.
With this model, you also get a 3-year frame warranty and a 90-day parts warranty. I do wish they would extend the 90-day warranty on parts as I do feel it is a bit short. Sunny Health & Fitness are known for great customer service and quite often if you have a problem even outside of the 90-day parts warranty they will do their best to replace any faults free of charge.
- Magnetic (8 levels) and air resistance for a challenging workout
- Comfortable seat and handlebar
- Folds up for easy storage in between uses
- Smooth gliding
- Great customer service
- 300-pound weight capacity
- May not be suitable for taller users
- Basic Performance Monitor
The SF-RW5623 from Sunny Health & Fitness is an excellent mid-range rower that delivers a challenging workout for nearly all fitness levels. With a maximum weight limit of 300 pounds, this model can accommodate nearly all users, and when you’re done working out, you can fold up the machine and store it away.
I wanted to really test the quality of this rower so put it through some tough sprint sessions and it didn’t faultier at all. I highly recommend Sunny Health & Fitness products as they have such great customer service and will sometimes replace entire units out of their warranty if something major goes wrong.