Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine ReviewThe LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine is a super quiet rowing machine with a strong build quality.

Plus it won’t break the bank!

It’s a magnetic resistance rower with multiple levels of resistance that make it suitable for people of all fitness levels.

Equipped with a long seat rail makes it ideal for taller people but can also fold up and save plenty of floor space when not in use.

It’s comfortable to use, provides a very smooth rowing motion, and comes with a multi-function fitness monitor to track your workout statistics.

It also won the 2008 Gear Awards Seal of Excellence for being smooth, quiet, comfortable and easy to use.

It’s a very good rower… but it’s far from perfect. So before you drop everything you’re doing to buy it, there are a few things you should know about it first.

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Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price

Resistance Type

The Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine is a magnetic resistance rower.

Featuring an eddy current drive system with a 16.5 pound flywheel that contributes to the rower’s ultra-smooth rowing motion.

To find out more about the characteristics of magnetic rowing machines, read the article I wrote by clicking here.

There are 5 different levels of resistance to choose from making this machine ideal for people of most fitness levels (I’ll explain this below).

The resistance can be changed easily by selecting the desired level on a knob below the control panel.  The rower must be completely stopped before changing resistance levels.

The range of resistance available on the LifeSpan Rower is fine for most people (a few even mentioned it was challenging), but a few thought otherwise.

A small percentage of users mentioned the resistance tension is too weak on this rowing machine.

Although they mentioned the machine didn’t offer enough resistance, most of those users said they were still able to get a good workout and it appeared they just wished it had more resistance.

For the very few that said they weren’t able to get a good workout on the rower, either they’re in supreme shape or they did not use the RW1000 with proper form and/ or rowed with low intensity.

If you row with improper form your body is not working as hard as it should and you don’t fully benefit from the exercise.  In addition, if you’re not rowing with much intensity you won’t get that much of a workout regardless of the resistance level.

The resistance levels on the Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine will be fine for people at the beginner or intermediate fitness level, but not for the advanced rowers. They will either not get a challenging enough workout or they’ll eventually outgrow the machine within a few weeks.

If you feel this may be you then check out our rowing machine comparison review chart for more options.

Monitor/Control Panel

The RW1000 comes with a multi-screen LCD fitness monitor that keeps track of distance, time, calories, stroke count, and strokes per minute.

It’s powered by 1 (provided) AA battery and the monitor will turn on automatically when the rower is in use and will automatically turn off after 4 minutes of inactivity.

LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing MachineAs pictured, the workout data is split into 3 separate mini-LCD screens.

The data is easy to read since the numbers are fairly large but the monitor is not back-lit so some light is needed.

The monitor is simple to use given it only does its primary function of monitoring workout data.

It does not save workout information so if you would like to keep a record of your workouts, you will need to keep track of it separately in a journal or spreadsheet.

The overview of the fitness monitor may sound all fine and dandy, but there’s definitely room for improvement – starting with its placement.

Being affixed below the handle, every time you pull the handle to row you can’t see the monitor because the strap is blocking your view.  This isn’t a big deal since you can see the monitor once the handle is retracted but it makes you wonder why LifeSpan didn’t put the fitness monitor above the handle. Obviously they probably had their reasons but just a small nuisance.

Another issue is how the monitor records user data.  I noticed more than a handful of users complained that the calorie counter was inaccurate.  I didn’t think much of it at first because this is common on a lot of fitness machines.

They base their calculations on an average person’s physical condition and not on the actual person using the machine.

For these machines, the manufacturers usually state in the instruction manual that the calories burned is supposed to be used as a comparison metric so you can compare the effectiveness of each workout. In other words, the more “calories burned”, the more effective that workout was compared to the others.

LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowig Machine Fitness MonitorI thought to myself – that’s probably what was going on and this isn’t much of an issue.

However, one user complained that the monitor doesn’t even take into account resistance level. When they worked out at roughly the same amount of time at the same intensity but with a different resistance level, the monitor indicated they burned the same amount of calories every time.

This told me there must be an issue with the fitness monitor so I decided to do more research.

I noticed one user mentioned the fitness monitor was only attached to the seat and not the flywheel or anywhere else. This explains why the calories burned didn’t account for changes to the resistance level from earlier. It really only accounts for the amount of strokes your perform.

The user also tested to see how the machine counted rowing strokes and just pulled the handle and not the seat to see what happened. The fitness monitor didn’t even turn on.

But when they just moved the seat and not the handle, the fitness monitor was active meaning the fitness monitor only measures user data by seat movement and nothing else.

Because of how user data is recorded on the LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine, calories burned, speed, and distance will be inaccurate most of the time. However, time and stroke count should be unaffected.

Another issue users had with the monitor was simply having it function properly each workout. Sometimes it wouldn’t turn on or it would reset while in use.

Most of the time, a simple reset would fix the issue but for others said they had to have the unit replaced.

LifeSpan has a generous warranty with parts so I wouldn’t be too concerned about this issue.

For a rowing machine at this price point, you would expect a better control panel/ fitness monitor but despite the design and function flaws the fitness monitor does the bare minimum of what it’s expected to do. Which is track time and the number of strokes completed.

This is definitely the biggest weakness of the LifeSpan Fitness Rowing Machine but it has plenty of pros to offset the monitor so keep that in mind!

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Build Quality

The Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine comes equipped with a steel frame and overall solid build quality.

Plenty of users praised how sturdy the machine feels but 2 users had a difference of opinion.  They both mentioned the rower would lift off of the ground and slide across the floor if the handle was not pulled horizontal to the machine.

I thought this was odd considering only 2 out of a few hundred people mentioned this.

LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing MachineAccording to one user (that replied directly to one of two above), this is happening to them because they’re not using the metal dowel that raises the middle legs off the ground to stabilize the rower.

The user went on to say that he’s 6’1” 200 pounds and when he rows at maximum intensity there’s no hint of instability whatsoever on the machine.

There have been even bigger people that used this machine and they didn’t mention anything about instability. So it appears the issue was caused by improper setup of the rowing machine and it has nothing to do with poor build quality.

The LifeSpan Fitness Rower comes with a very generous warranty and a higher-than-usual user weight capacity so that should give even more peace of mind that this machine should last a long time.

The most talked about characteristic of the RW1000 by far was how quiet the machine operates.

Magnetic resistance rowers are typically quiet so it’s no surprise users mentioned this about this rower. No one mentioned any unnecessary creaking and squeaking noises so that’s possibly why users praised the noise level.

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LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing MachineOne highlight is the softness and comfort of the padded seat.

A few users that liked the comfort level of the seat row for longer periods of time so that’s a bonus for all of you marathon rowers out there!

In addition, you can adjust the seat height from 11″ to 14.5″ for your preference.

The seat glides smoothly up and down the seat rail without any issues.

The nylon strap that’s pulled by the handle has a no-slack retrieval system that ensures the strap is never loose.  This means the strap won’t snag ensuring a smooth rowing motion.

The handle is straight, easy to grip, and padded to provide comfort.  Users liked the handle because it didn’t hurt their hands while rowing which can occur on less comfortable rowers.

The footrests swivel to allow natural foot movement while rowing.  Some users experienced issues with the footrests because sometimes their feet would slip out in the middle of a workout.

I know exactly what they’re talking about because I’ve used a similar LifeSpan Fitness Rower that has the exact same footrests and my feet fell out a couple of times during a workout.

The issue with the footrests is the heel holder (where your heel rests while in the footrests) is too shallow.

I quickly fixed this issue by moving my feet higher up the footrests and securing them tightly with the velcro straps so the bottom of my feet didn’t have to rest on the shallow heel holder. It’s not a major issue and there are plenty of other ways to fix it.

The rowing motion on the LifeSpan RW1000 is very smooth and users raved about it for good reason.

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LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine StorageThe RW1000 can easily fold up in seconds by removing a pin that secures the seat rail, folding up the seat rail, and re-inserting the pin to lock it in place.

It also comes with wheels to make it easy to move around when needed.

So once your finished with a workout just fold it up and roll it into a corner or closet.

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Per LifeSpan, the maximum user weight is 300 pounds.

A user weighing 330 pounds mentioned they used the machine for a few months with no issues.

Although the weight capacity given by the manufacturer is most likely a conservative number, I still wouldn’t advise to go over the maximum user limit because the machine will wear out faster and there’s a chance you could get hurt unexpectedly.

The seat moves up pretty far on this rower so shorter people shouldn’t have an issue using this machine.

The seat rail is fairly long which makes it ideal for taller people too.  There were plenty of taller people that commented on how surprised they were that this rower worked out for them.

A 6’4” man with 37” legs was able to use this rower after taking off the stopper with no issues. A user as tall as 6’7” was able to use this machine without any issues as well!

So unless you’re taller than 6’4” (that’s my conservative estimate) there shouldn’t be an issue with this rower.

Otherwise, if you’re taller than 6’4″, I recommend finding the RW1000 in your local fitness store and trying it out to make sure the seat rail is long enough for your legs.

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  • In-Use:
    • 87.0″ x 19.0″ x 23.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Storage/ Folded:
    • 34.0″ x 19.0″ x 64.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Weight:
    • 80 pounds (36 kg)

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Based on the diagram in the instruction manual, the rower doesn’t have that many parts to put together. It even comes with the necessary tools needed for assembly.

Irregardless of your experience putting things together, it should not take long to assemble this rowing machine.

One user mentioned their 10-year-old son was able to put the RW1000 together in a few minutes.  No one mentioned the machine was difficult to put together and most people were able to completely assemble the LifeSpan Fitness Rowing Machine in 20 – 30 minutes.

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Pros and Cons


  • Super-quiet
  • Solid Steel Frame
  • 5 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Winner of the 2008 Gear Awards Seal of Excellence
  • Good warranty
  • Easy to assemble
  • Can fold up in seconds for storage
  • Comes with wheels
  • Comfortable to use
  • Can be used by shorter and taller people
  • Smooth rowing motion


  • Below-average fitness monitor
  • Not suited for people of advanced fitness levels
  • Poorly written instructions
  • Foot pedal design makes it a little difficult to secure feet while rowing

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Consumer Reviews

Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing MachineThe majority of users praised the quiet-noise level, sturdy build, and smooth rowing motion of the LifeSpan Fitness RW1000.

Others were not so fond of the fitness monitor and some felt the rower lacked in overall resistance.

See what other consumers said in the full Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine review.

Average Rating: 3.9

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  • Frame: 5-years
  • Parts: 2-years
  • Labor: 1-year

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Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine Price

The price of the LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine varies depending on where you buy it but Amazon tends to have the lowest price.

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I hope you found my Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine review to be informative! If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below.

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