Sunny Health & Fitness produced a great rowing machine with the RW5508 and I was looking forward to testing out the RW5515. This model is similar to the 5508 as it uses magnetic resistance but can be bought for a little less, so I was interested to see what compromises had been made.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
Sunny Health put a smile on my face once I started to unbox the unit. Normally, you’re left trying to figure out which screw or bolt goes where and matching different parts to different pictures to no avail.
Sounds fun, right?
Sunny have clearly taken the time to refine the process, making it as simple as possible. They have put all of the parts in their own individual bags labelled according to what step of assembly they are required.
In total, it took me about 15 minutes to have the rower unboxed and operational.
This model’s front is heavy, and the entire unit weighs just under 60 pounds in weight.
There were just 5 steps in the assembly process as is very similar to the 5508 model which we previously reviewed. Assembly went as follows:
- Fix the front stabilizer to the main frame (all materials and tools required are provided).
- Attach the pedals to the main frame by simply bolting them together.
- Slide the seat on to the rail and fix the stopper on the back end of the rail to prevent the seat coming off.
- Fix the rear support to the rail.
- Connect the rail to the main frame by the sliding the rail inside the and fixing using a bolt and pin. Make sure that you attached the wire that runs down the rail to main frame before you attach the rail.
If you are concerned that you won’t be able to put it together then you can pay roughly $80 to have it put together by a professional at your home.
Large, anti-slip foot pedals are present that allow for ergonomic positioning of the feet. A lot of other rowers have problems with their foot pedals, I am glad to say I had no such issue here and my foot stayed firmly in position. Just make sure that you have your foot in the correct position, as often this is the reason why people have problems.
The handlebar is comfortable and provides adequate padding, while the seat is fully padded for extended use comfort. There is nothing worse than wriggling about on the seat as you are rowing because you bum has gone numb.
The rower has a maximum capacity of 250 pounds but I am confident that it could take more as I weigh 210 and gave it some abuse and it didn’t budge at all.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have the space to be able to sacrifice an entire room for a home gym and want to be able to pack the rower away, then you are in luck as the 5515 folds up. Once folded up it dramatically reduces the rowers foot print and could easily be hidden away in your home.
The rower is easy to move around thanks to the Dolley wheels mounted in the front stabilizer. You simply lift the rear end of the rail and push it into position.
You get a 3-month warranty with the rower which is always reassuring. I must say that out of all the different brands of rowing machine I have tried I personally consider Sunny Health & Fitness to have the best customer service. There have even been cases where customers have had a serious issue with their rower outside of the warranty period and Sunny have replaced the entire rowing machine free of charge.
The rower has 8 levels of magnetic resistance that is easily adjusted by turning the knob located on the main frame in front of you. Something that often frustrates me about rowing machine is that they make it difficult to adjust the resistance while you are rowing. Concept2 are even guilty of this, you must unstrap your feet to adjust the resistance. However, the adjustment knob is within arm’s reach even while you are rowing on the 5515.
Sometimes magnetic rowers lack the resistance to give you a tough workout, but I was beaten by the end. You won’t get as much resistance as you would out of a more expensive model but they tend to have stronger magnets. Considering the price, you get great resistance.
The magnetic resistance is why this rowing machine is so quiet. There is no big fan generating a lot of noise and gives you a great workout while you can still hear what’s going on in the world around you.
The LCD display gets a lot of complaints from users, but I found it to suffice. The unit offers monitoring of your:
- Calories burned
- Time rowing
- Total count
The monitor is not backlit, so it can be very difficult to see in low light conditions.
It would have been nice if the monitor had few more features such as tracking your pulse, distance and speed/500m. It is a very basic display but if you don’t feel like you need the fancy features that some of the higher end models have then this isn’t an issue.
When I was reading through the product description on amazon I noticed that it said it had a “grip-pulse sensor,” but it doesn’t. I do wish they would correct it as there is nothing more frustrating than buying something and finding out it was wrong.
But if you would like a few more features on the monitor and don’t want to spend a fortune then it may be worth looking at the RW5508 which we have also reviewed. It doesn’t cost much more and has features like the wireless pulse receiver and you can program your own workouts on the monitor.
- 8 magnetic resistance levels
- Large LCD display
- One of the best seats in the industry for extended usage
- Very quiet – perfect for living room use
- Great Customer Service
- LCD display lacks a backlit feature
Minor complaints aside, you would be hard-pressed to find a rowing machine with this level of quality for a cheaper price.
Not only can you expect this model to last, the manufacturer is very responsive with customer support. If you have a problem or concern, you can expect a rather fast response, which is unusual in the world of rowing machines.
For an entry- to intermediate-level rower, it doesn’t get much better than the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515.
If you’ve never used a magnetic rower before, know that it has an odd feeling compared to its air counterparts. With air rowers, the harder you row, the more resistance is provided. Magnetic rowers operate differently, so it does take some time to get used to rowing on this model.
Again, this isn’t the Concept2 and you’re not spending an arm and a leg to purchase this rower. The only complaint I had is that the LCD display is not backlit. If you have a glare in the room or are in a dimly lit place, you’ll have a difficult time reading the display.
If you enjoyed our review, make sure to check out the Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower.