Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower Review

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro RowerThe Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is considered an upgraded Sunny magnetic model.

But is it actually worth the increase in price?

A lot of time I see “upgrades” that fail to provide anything better at all.

Sometimes the only upgrade seems to be the price tag.  However, this is NOT the case with the SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower!

Key upgrades include 2 more levels of adjustable resistance, stronger build quality, and additional monitor features!

Even with the additional upgrades, the SF-RW5508 is still considered a low-cost rowing machine and is offered at a very competitive price.

Please read the full Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 review to learn about all the upgrades, 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
13. Overall Review

Resistance Type

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is as the name suggests – a magnetic resistance rowing machine.

Magnetic resistance rowing machines are gaining popularity because manufacturers are getting better at providing a consistent, smooth rowing stroke at a low cost.

Not to mention the resistance offered can be adjusted for any experience level!

There are many differences between magnetic rowers and the other three resistance types – air, water, and hydraulic-piston.

I will go over some of them below, but to get the full breakdown you can read my full resistance type article here.

Magnetic resistance operates by moving a magnetic closer or farther from a metal flywheel.

The closer the magnet is to the flywheel, the more resistance you will feel. The farther the magnetic is from the flywheel, the easier the resistance will feel.

Here is a video that describes the process:

Resistance Benefits

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower comes with 10 levels of adjustable resistance.

Users can easily adjust the resistance to their desired level by turning the knob to the right or left.  This moves a magnet closer to the the metal flywheel inside the resistance housing.

Sunny Health & Fitness keeps boasting that the SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower has an “upgraded tension system” compared to other rowing machines.

While they have not exactly spelled out what this upgraded system includes, I do know that it offers 2 more levels of resistance than the slightly downgraded Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine model.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Resistance

Users love that magnetic rowing machines offer a very quiet rowing experience and allows them to watch TV while exercising or use the rower early in the morning and not wake up the rest of their house.

Consumers also mentioned the resistance felt very smooth and the higher resistance levels were strong enough for people who are in very good shape.

This makes the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower a great choice for the entire family.

Resistance Downsides

The only downside of the SF-RW5508 magnetic resistance system is that it is not ideal for HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. This is because HIIT workouts require the user to do periods of “intense sprints” followed by periods of “light rowing” without stopping.

This would require a user on a magnetic rower to stop and adjust the resistance to an easier setting for the sprints and back to harder for the light rowing. It could also cause the user to constantly have to change resistance levels based on how tired they are.

This is not necessary on air or water rowers because the resistance automatically adjusts to the rowing speed. The faster you row, the more resistance you feel and vice versa. So there is no need to stop and change resistance levels.

This is really not a big downside and many people still perform HIIT exercises using a magnetic rowing machine. I just figured I would mention it in case you really love performing HIIT exercises.

Some users will even say this is not a downside and actually an upside because the magnetic rowers allow you to row slowly at a very hard resistance. Something that air and water rowers cannot do.

So if you want to watch TV and row slowly, while still feeling strong resistance, then a magnetic rower is the best option.


The resistance on the SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is excellent and has very few complaints, if any.

The 10 levels of adjustable resistance will suite almost any user and provide an extremely smooth, quiet rowing stroke.

Monitor/Control Panel

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower comes with a large LCD console that tracks all necessary fitness data.

The monitor tracks the following:

  • Time
  • 500m/Time (split time)
  • Strokes
  • Strokes/Min
  • Distance
  • Calories Burned
  • Pulse

As you can see this monitor tracks a good amount of data for being in this price range.  I have seen many rowers in this price range with monitors that only track half of these data points.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower Monitor

The monitor will turn on by pressing a button or moving the seat and will turn off after 4 minutes of inactivity. It is powered by 2AA batteries that are already installed when you receive the rower.

The separate windows with fairly large text make the monitor easy to read. You can also change the monitor angle by tilting it forwards or backwards to obtain the best possible view when rowing.

Heart Rate Monitor

The built in “Wireless Pulse Receiver” is a huge bonus that allows you to track your heart rate while working out.

Tracking your pulse is a necessity when trying to work out in different “heart rate zones” that help target specific goals like fat burning, anaerobic, aerobic, etc.. It can also allow for more accurate calorie burning calculations.

The monitor can also track your pulse recovery rate, which is the amount of time it takes for your heart to return to its normal resting heart rate. The faster you return to normal the better.

The only downside is that Sunny Health & Fitness does not provide the “chest strap” needed to track your heart rate and one must be purchased separately.

Some people complained about this but I like the option to buy one if I choose. The cost of the SF-RW5508 would have been raised by at least $50 to include the chest strap but instead Sunny Health & Fitness sold the rower at a lower price and gives you the option to buy one or not.

This is great for people who already own a compatible heart rate monitor.  If you don’t own one, make sure to purchase any transmitter belt with 5.3KHz frequency.  This will ensure there are no issues with syncing to the monitor

The Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor & Fitness Tracker is a popular HRM that works with the Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower monitor.


I feel the Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower monitor is an excellent feature on a rowing machine in this price range.  It is definitely an upgrade from the SF-RW5515 monitor on Sunny Health & Fitness’s lower priced magnetic rower.

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Build Quality

The Sunny Health & Fitness Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower has excellent build quality and is designed for light-commercial use.

It is constructed from steel and aluminum and has a higher rated maximum weight capacity than all the other rowers in this price range.

Having a 300 lb. weight capacity really demonstrates the confidence Sunny Health & Fitness has in the build quality of this model.

Sunny Health & Fitness Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower Comfort

A strong nylon strap connects the handle to the magnetic flywheel allowing a strong and quiet rowing stroke.

The foot pedals are made from strong, durable plastic and the foot straps securely hold your feet in place.

The entire rowing machine is made from high quality materials and is built to last a long time.

Check out the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Pro in the video below:

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The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 has a large, fully padded seat and soft, non-slip grip handlebars for optimal comfort.

The handlebar is slightly curved to allow for a more comfortable rowing stroke and help prevent hand and arm fatigue. The soft grip also prevents any blisters from forming.

The seat is larger than most rowing machine seats which makes it a little more comfortable for larger users.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower

The SF-RW5508 has oversized foot pedals to accommodate any foot size and the large cups at the bottom allow users to row barefoot if they choose.

Due to the SF-RW5508 being a very quiet magnetic machine, Sunny Health & Fitness had to make sure the rest of the rower was also very quiet. User mentioned the seat glides smoothly up and down the seat rail and the nylon strap is silent when pulled.

One gentleman did suggest putting down an exercise mat to absorb any additional sounds from the rowing machine moving on top of a hard surface like wood floors.

Overall the upgraded features provided a very comfortable rowing experience.

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Many potential buyers were confused when looking at how to store the Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower.

With little information available, I had to dig a little deeper.

I was able to email customer service to receive a manual and I can confirm that the SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower does not fold for storage like the SF-RW5515.

I believe this is due to the upgraded seat rail design and additional monitor features that require electronics to be attached to the seat rail. It also may help with increasing the weight capacity.

SF-RW5508 Seat Rail

We are very lucky that one customer posted a review about how to take the seat rail apart and easily store the rower.

Taking the seat rail apart is essentially the same as folding it up.  Just remove the pull pin,  detach the wires, lift, and separate.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508

Sunny Health & Fitness Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower Pin


After removing the seat rail, the heavy front piece with the monitor can be moved by using the built in caster wheels. You can then place the seat rail upright on a wall or along the side.

This will decrease the overall footprint by a lot and allows the rowing machine to fit in a closet.

It can become a hassle to do everyday but the one user felt it required about the same time and difficulty as folding a rower that was built specifically for foldable storage.

Either way it is nice to know that there is an easy storage option and that the SF-RW5508 can easily be moved on the built in caster wheels.

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The capacity on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is one of its strongest selling points.

People who were over 250 lbs. used to spend over $500 to get a rowing machine that was certified to handle their weight or trust that some of the lower capacity machines could handle their size.

Sunny Health & Fitness Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower

Sunny Health & Fitness was able to make a stronger machine at an affordable price and offer a weight limit of 300 lbs.

It also offers a fairly long seat rail and can fit rowers as tall as 6’6″. According to the manufacturer, the seat rail length is 38.0″ long.

There is no lower limit on height and users 5.0′ or shorter can use the SF-RW5508 with no problems.

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  • Assembled Dimension:
    • 87.0″ x 21.5″ x 23.0″ (L x W x H)

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Capacity

  • Seat Size:
    • 12.0″ x 15.0″ 2.5″ (L x W x H)
  • Shipping Dimensions:
    • 49.0″ x 10.0″ x 27.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Assembled Weight:
    • 80 lbs.
  • Shipping Weight:
    • 92 lbs.

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Assembling the SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is fairly straightforward and simple.

After reviewing the manual, I see the rowing machine comes partially assembled and only has 4 steps.

The easy to follow instructions should have you up and ready to row in about 15-30 minutes.

All the necessary tools are included for assembly and should only require 1 person.

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Pros and Cons


  • Strong resistance
  • Smooth, quiet rowing stroke
  • Great monitor for price range
  • 10 adjustable resistance levels
  • High build quality
  • Easy assembly
  • Large capacity
  • Comfortable features


  • Cannot fold for storage
  • Short warranty period
  • Large footprint
  • Slightly difficult to move & store

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Consumer Reviews

Overall the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower reviews have been positive.

Consumers like the excellent magnetic resistance and feel it provides a smooth, quiet rowing stroke.

A lot of times manufacturers try to release an upgraded model in their lineup at a higher price but the upgrades fail to be worth the increase in cost.  This does not seem to be the case for the SF-RW5508 Rower.  Consumers seem to feel the upgrades warrant a higher price and enjoy the perks they receive.

See more Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower Reviews here.

Average Rating: 4.6

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  • Frame:
    • 1 Year
  • Parts:
    • 90 Days

Sunny Health & Fitness has great customer service and does a good job getting customers replacement parts as soon as possible.

Just remember to reference Model #: SF-RW5508 and have all of your information ready before calling.

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SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower Price

The Sunny Health & Fitness Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is an excellent low-cost magnetic rowing machine. It’s price positions it perfectly in-between the budget and high-end rowing machines.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower can be found on a few online retailers. However, I feel Amazon is the best place for buying rowing machines and they offer great prices. They also offer good customer service, easy check out, a great return policy, and free shipping on qualified orders.

Check lowest pricing

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Overall Review

Overall the SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower is an excellent rowing machine. Sunny Health & Fitness has a done a phenomenal job with providing high quality, low cost magnetic rowing machines which weren’t always available.

You can compare it to the lower cost Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine whichis the bestselling budget magnetic rowing machine.

You can also move up to the more advanced magnetic rowers and check out the Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rowing Machine.

I hope you enjoyed my Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower review.  If you have any questions or concerns please leave them in the comment section below!

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