LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine Review

Lifespan RW1000 Rowing Machine ReviewThe LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine is a very quiet rower with strong build quality and a smooth rowing stroke.

Plus, it won’t break the bank like other models!

It’s multiple levels of magnetic resistance makes it suitable for people of all fitness levels.

The long seat rail also makes it ideal for taller people, but it 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 even won the 2008 Gear Awards Seal of Excellence for being smooth, quiet, comfortable and easy to use!

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

Please read my full LifeSpan RW1000 review below for all the pros and cons!

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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.

This means a magnet is used to control the different resistance levels.

By simply moving a magnetic closer or farther from the metal flywheel, you can increase or decrease the resistance.

Move the magnet closer to the flywheel and feel more resistance, move it farther from the flywheel and feel less resistance!

The RW1000 Rower has a 16.5 pound flywheel that contributes to the rower’s ultra-smooth rowing motion.

Below is a video that demonstrates how a magnetic resistance rowing machine operates:

You can read about all the different resistance types by visiting this article here.

You can also check out how air and magnetic resistance rowing machines differ by clicking here.

Resistance Benefits

There are 5 different levels of resistance, 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.

LifeSpan RW1000 Rower Resistance

Users mentioned the resistance felt strong, smooth, and quiet. A major benefit was being able to row without turning the TV volume up.

This means the rower is also great for people who like to row early in the morning or who live in an apartment.

Another benefit of the “resistance” is the slightly inclined seat rail. Basically, the seat rail is inclined and goes from 11.0″ in height to 14.5″ at the back of the rail.

This allows for a smoother return of the rowing stroke but also adds a bit of “tension” as a user must push themselves up the incline and control there movement back down on the descent.

Resistance Negatives

While a majority of users had no complaints about the resistance, a few mentioned the resistance being a little “light”.

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.

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 as they get stronger.

Resistance Overall

Overall, the resistance is great for a majority of people. It is smooth, quiet, and offers a variety of different resistance levels.

For the more advanced workout enthusiast, the resistance can become a little light as they get in better shape. For these rowers, I would recommend going up in price or switching to an air (variable) resistance rower. I make a few recommendations in my final thoughts section.

Monitor/Control Panel

The RW1000 comes with a multi-screen LCD fitness monitor. This monitor tracks the following data:

  • Distance
  • Calories
  • Time
  • Strokes
  • Strokes per Minute

As you can see below, the monitor is easy to use and easy to read.

LifeSpan RW1000 Rowing Machine Monitor

It’s powered by 2 AAA batteries (provided). The monitor will turn on automatically when the rower is in use and will automatically turn off after 4 minutes of inactivity.

As 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.

Monitor Cons

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

Due to the monitor being placed under the rowing strap, it can be difficult to read. However, there are plenty of rowing machines that have the same placement due to helping keep the rower more compact.

Another issue is how the monitor records user data. Basically, most of the stats are just an estimate because the data is recorded based on how many strokes you perform.

For example, when calculating calories burned, a monitor should take into account the users age, heart rate, weight, etc. Most lower cost rowing machines use a simple formula to calculate an average number of calories burned per stroke based on the statistics of an “average” person.

This means the stats can be used to compare between workouts but they aren’t very accurate.

Another good thing to know is the monitor is activated by a sensor on the seat rail, so if the monitor is not working, it could have to do with the sensor.

Another issue users had with the monitor was simply having it not 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 needed to have the unit replaced.

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

Monitor Overall

While the monitor records most of the basic data, you could expect to have a slightly better monitor at this price point.

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!

Plus, so many people use fitness watches and apps now that these pieces of technology would be far better than a built-in monitor anyway!

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Build Quality

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

Users mentioned the parts felt like they were high quality and liked the 3-points of ground contact the rowing machine has for stability.

This allows for bigger people to use the rower over the less expensive models with only 2-points of ground contact.

Users also mentioned the seat, handle, rowing strap, and foot pedals all felt like they were made of quality materials and would last a long time

LifeSpan RW1000 Rowing Machine Quality

Negative Quality Reviews

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

I thought this was odd considering only a few users out of over one-hundred reviews mentioned this issue.

According to one user (that replied directly to one of two above), this is happening to them because they’re not inserting the locking pin before using. This means the rower is still able to fold and is causing the front to lift off the ground

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.

It may also be a good idea to put your LifeSpan RW1000 Rower on a Fold-to-Fit Fitness Mat to prevent it from sliding.

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.


Overall, I feel the build quality on the LifeSpan Fitness Rowing Machine is decent for the price. While there are a few issues, it can’t be compared to the build quality of rowing machines that cost twice as much!

If quality is a concern, it’s good to know there is a fantastic warranty on the RW1000 model!

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Comfort is always a big topic when talking about buying a rower. Who wants to purchase something that is uncomfortable to use for more than 10 minutes!

One highlight of the comfort on the RW1000 Rower is the softness and comfort of the padded seat.

A few users who row for long periods of time mentioned the seat was very comfortable, so that’s a bonus for all of you marathon rowers out there!

LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine

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 and help people get into the proper position without being very flexible.

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

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The RW1000 can fold up in seconds. Simply remove a pin that secures the seat rail, fold up the seat rail, and re-insert the pin to lock it in place.

That’s it! Super easy!

LifeSpan Rowing Machine RW1000 Storage

It also comes with wheels to make it easy to move. The wheels are difficult to see but are located beneath the footpads

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

Another feature I really like is the back support beam also folds which reduces the folded footprint even more!

The stored dimensions of this model are: 34″ x 19″ x 64″ (L x W x H)

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Per LifeSpan Fitness, the maximum user weight capacity is 300 pounds.

A user weighing 330 pounds mentioned they used the rowing 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.

LifeSpan RW1000 Rower Capacity

The seat moves all the way forward on this rower, so shorter people shouldn’t have an issue using this machine.

The seat rail is also 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.

LifeSpan Fitness lists the sea trail as 53″ long and can accommodate a 38″ inseam.

A man 6’4″ with a 37″ inseam 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!

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 (L x W x H):
    • 90.0″ x 18.5″ x 23.0″
  • Storage/Folded (L x W x H):
    • 34.0″ x 19.0″ x 64.0″
  • Seat Height:
    • 11.0″ to 14.5″
  • Weight:
    • 80 pounds (36 kg)

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Assembling fitness equipment can be a pain and it helps to know what you are getting yourself into.

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 20 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
  • 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
  • Foot pedal design makes it a little difficult to secure feet while rowing

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Consumer Reviews

The majority of users praised the quiet-noise level, sturdy build quality, 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.

Most users were happy with the overall performance but some people though they could purchase a better model for the money or felt they should have just spent the extra money for a high-quality rower.

See what other consumers said: Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine reviews

Average Rating: 3.9

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

A major benefit of the LifeSpan Fitness Rower is the warranty. Most rowing machines have a fairly short warranty period and some even have a 90-day warranty in this price range!

I’m glad to see LifeSpan Fitness having a 2-year parts warranty which is great.

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Lifespan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine Price

The price of the LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 Rowing Machine does not vary much depending on where you buy it. It’s available in most of the large online retailers and has been sold on Amazon for many years!

Back in 2008, when it won the Gear Awards Seal of Excellence, it was a top seller on Amazon! I think Amazon is the best place to buy rowing machines because they have competitive pricing, free shipping on qualified orders, and they act as a layer of protection between yourself and the manufacturer.

Check lowest pricing

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Final Thoughts

When looking at the reviews of the LifeSpan RW1000 Rower you will see many people enjoy this model and think it was well worth the price. However, there are quite a few people who had some negative things to say.

This is why you will see a slightly below average rating.

If you are set on buying a magnetic rower then I have some other options you may want to check out:

  1. The Sunny Health & Fitness Ultra Tension Pro Rower is similar in price and functionality but will have stronger resistance overall. You can read my full review here.
  2. If you are looking for a lower priced model, I would look at the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515. This is the bestselling budget magnetic rower. You can read my review here.
  3. If you want a more advanced model that will be in a higher price range, you can check out the Stamina Avari Rower. This is the bestselling rowing machine under $1,000. Check out my review here.

Those would be my 3 options to choose if you want a solid magnetic rower. Of course, there are other resistance types such as air or water, which you can also explore.

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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