With an elevated magnetic tension system, the SF-RW5508 rower from Sunny Health & Fitness delivers a challenging workout for users of all levels. A durable frame and an accurate tracking system will help you improve your fitness level for years to come.
- Elevated magnetic tension with 10 levels of resistance
- Wireless pulse receiver
- Non-slip handlebars and fully padded seat
- LCD console displays strokes, time, calories burned, and heart rate
- Aluminum and steel frame
- Maximum user weight of 300 pounds
Made with high quality steel and aluminum, the SF-RW5508 is quiet and smooth, but don’t let that fool you – this machine delivers a great workout. Let’s take a closer look at what this model has to offer.
Before jumping on and getting rowing the first thing to do is quickly throw it together. I think I possibly set a record with how fast I assembled this model. I actually managed to complete it in 12 minutes! There was only really 4 steps to having the machine ready to row thanks to Sunny’s easy instructions. They went roughly as follows:
- Attach the front stabilizer to the main frame. (all required tools are provided)
- Undo the seat stopper on the rail and slide the seat onto the rail and then put the stopper back. Then attach the plastic stand which is just to cover the steel support leg.
- Now you just connect the main frame to the rail using the simple catch system (so you can take it apart when you are not working out). As you are doing this just make sure that you connect the 2 wires underneath the rail for the monitor.
- Attach the pedals to the main frame using 4 bolts.
There you have it, you’re ready to row. Even if you are not a great DIYer you should be able to put this together.
The most difficult part of the process was getting the box inside my home as it is quite lumpy and you may need an extra pair of hands to carry it.
To keep your workouts challenging and fun, there are 10 levels of magnetic resistance through the machine’s elevated magnetic tension system.
There is a dial on the main frame which you rotate clockwise to increase the resistance or anti-clockwise to decrease.
Sometimes the resistance can be poor on the magnetic resistance but this model has a good amount of resistance at level 10 and is more than enough to give you a good cardiovascular workout.
Whether you’re just starting a fitness routine or have been training for years, this unit will help you reach your fitness goals.
Accurate LCD Display
Equipped with a built-in LCD monitor it displays the following metrics:
- Time/ 500m
- Total strokes
- Strokes per minute
- Calories burned
- Heart rate (heart rate monitor not included)
You can set values for all the different functions apart from strokes per minute and time/500m.
This means if you want to row for 20 minutes you enter that time and it will count down from 20 minutes to 0. Or for example if you want to do 1000 strokes it works in the same way.
Although it doesn’t come with a heart rate monitor they have built in a wireless receiver and can be used with other types of wireless monitors.
If you do have the monitor you can use the recovery feature. Once you press the recovery button a timer starts counting down from 1 minute. Once it reaches zero the monitor will grade your recovery by displaying a value from F1 (excellent) to F6 (poor). This indicates how well your heart rate returns to its resting rate.
The performance monitor is nothing too fancy compared to the high-end models but I wasn’t expecting it to be. For the price range, you get all the functions that you need to have a great workout.
I heard of other users having a problem where the monitor would turn itself off randomly after 10 minutes. I didn’t experience the issues myself and the manufacturer may have done something to correct the issue. To me it sounds like a loose connection somewhere.
Comfortable Seat, Handlebars and Foot Pedals
An uncomfortable rower is one that never gets used. However, this model is designed to be comfortable, so you can stay focused on your goals.
The large, anti-slip foot pedals are easily adjustable and include foot straps, so your feet stay in place throughout your workout. I have never had a problem with the foot pedals on this machine unlike the Stamina models which seem to constantly have people complaining about them.
The fully padded seat keeps your bottom comfortable, while the anti-slip hand grips keep your hands in place no matter how intense your workout gets.
Built with a steel and aluminum frame, it is highly durable and will provide you with years of use.
Because of its durable frame, this model can also support up to 300 pounds. With a higher weight limit, it can accommodate most users with ease. The majority of units in the same price range don’t offer anywhere near the capacity you get with the 5508.
Although a number of people seem to say this model is “foldable” it actually isn’t. Instead you simply do the reverse of step 3 of the assembly process and separate the rail from the main frame by simply pulling out the locking pin and disconnecting the wires.
This does reduce its size drastically and makes it easier to store. There are also wheels mounted into the front stabilizer which makes it easy to wheel to where you wish to store it.
On a number of models, you will see that they have a chain connecting the handlebar to the main drive mechanism, then some have a nylon strap instead.
This model has the strap which I am not particularly a fan of as sometimes they can start to fray. However, the one benefit of having a strap over a chain is that it does help to reduce the noise produced. Maybe this is one of the reasons it is so quiet.
The strap didn’t fray in the time that I was using it, but if it did I wouldn’t be too concerned as I know Sunny Health & Fitness offer great customer service and they would sort the issue ASAP.
There is a 90-day warranty giving you a bit of extra peace of mind. It would be nice if the warranty was a bit longer.
Is it Noisy?
This is question that we often get asked when reviewing equipment. With the 5508 the answer is a definite NO. The only part which makes any noise seems to be the seat rollers on the aluminium rail which is not very loud at all.
- Wide range of resistance levels
- Easy to assemble
- Quiet and smooth
- Tension is easy to adjust with a simple twist of a knob
- Monitor has been known to turn itself off.
- Drive strap could possibly fray (mine didn’t)
The monitor is accurate when it stays on, but quite a few people have had trouble with the display. With some models, the LCD monitor just turns off randomly after ten minutes of use.
I didn’t have this issue and maybe Sunny have tweaked it to prevent this from happening anymore.
It is a great mid-range model that offers plenty of room for growth in your fitness level. With 10 levels of resistance and a sturdy frame, this will help you go from beginner to athlete without breaking a sweat.
The overall quality feels great and will last you for many years so I wouldn’t be too concerned about the short warranty. Sunny do have great customer service which makes life a lot easier if something does happen to go wrong.
This is my personal favourite magnetic model. However, the SF-RW5515 is another great model also made by Sunny Health & Fitness. The 5515 can be picked up for slightly less than the 5508 model. So, if you are looking to save a few pennies then it might be a good choice for you.