Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine Review

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine ReviewThe Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine is one of the few “bungee” resistance rowing machines.

The 4 levels of adjustable elastic tension produces a “dual-direction” resistance.

This allows for more calories burned, leaner muscles, and a lower impact workout.

Users enjoyed the easy to read monitor, comfortable rowing stroke, and easy fold storage capabilities. It’s also super quiet, so you can row while watching TV!


The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 is an excellent rowing machine for the right person. However, there are some people who are not the right fit for this model.

Continue reading the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 review to see if this is the correct model for you!

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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-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine is controlled by a very different resistance than most other rowers.

Instead of air, water, magnetic, or hydraulic-piston resistance, this rowing machine uses an “elastic cord” or “bungee cord” system.

The rowing motion will be the same but users will now feel resistance on both the backwards and forwards motion.

For example, when a user drives with their legs, they will feel the resistance of the elastic cord getting tighter and tighter until their legs are fully extended and the handle is pulled to their chest.

When they perform their “recovery” stroke back to the beginning, they will feel the tension of the elastic cord wanting to “pull” them back. This means the user will have to use their muscles to control their return.

Due to there being resistance when moving forwards and backwards, we call this “dual-direction” resistance.

Resistance Benefits

The elastic cord resistance on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 has 4 different levels of adjustable tension.

To adjust, a user has to move a lever between the four different slots. This will move a wheel inside the “housing”, which will add or remove tension from the elastic cord.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Resistance

The elastic bungee cord produces almost zero noise, which makes this rowing machine perfect for using while watching TV, early in the morning, or in an apartment setting.

Another great benefit of the SF-RW5606 is the angled seat rail for greater resistance and a smoother return. As you may see from the photos in this review, the seat is set at an upward angle, so a user must push their weight up the rail when performing a rowing stroke. They also must control their motion back to the start position, which requires additional muscle usage.

With the angled seat rail and elastic cord both providing resistance during the forward and backward stroke, there is a constant tension through the entire range of motion.

Resistance Negatives

The few complaints about the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 resistance came from users who did not know what to expect when they were buying the rowing machine.

The resistance is not designed for someone who is very fit and is more suited for beginner rowers and people who are looking to get a light workout session everyday.

Older men and women will enjoy the resistance but a 30 year old who runs and lifts weights will most likely be disappointed.

Another thing worth mentioning is the resistance will not mimic the resistance of “on the water” rowing like an air or water rowing machine. This is due to the elastic bungee cord providing “dual-direction” resistance, whereas rowing on water you do not feel resistance on your “recovery” stroke (sliding back to the start).

So one of the positive features of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 resistance (dual-direction), can actually be a negative to some!


I feel the resistance on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine is great for the right person. People looking to moderately exercise for 20 minutes a day and not expect a very strong resistance will enjoy this rowing machine.

However, if you want a classic style rowing machine or strong resistance, I suggest checking out my “Overall Review” section at the bottom to see more recommendations.

Monitor/Control Panel

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine comes with a basic LCD monitor. It can track the following data:

  • Time
  • Count (strokes for current session)
  • Total Count (total strokes all-time)
  • Count/Min (strokes per minute)
  • Calories
  • Scan (rotate data every 6 sec.)

As you can see, the monitor is fairly basic but does track all the necessary fitness data. Including “count/min”, which is a nice feature on a monitor in this price range.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Monitor

There is a single button to control the monitor and rotate between the different data points. Most users had nothing bad to say about the monitor. They felt is was easy to read and was sufficient for the price of the rowing machine.

One thing to mention is the calorie count on basic monitors is just an estimate. Accurate calorie calculation would require an input of age, weight, and heart rate, which this monitor does not track.

If you are interested in getting a more accurate calorie calculation you can look into buying a Fitness Tracker Watch/ Chest Strap.

It is recommended to just use the calories as an estimate and another way to compare between workouts.

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Build Quality

When purchasing a budget rowing machine there is always the question of the model’s build quality rating.

Luckily, Sunny Health & Fitness specializes in making low cost, durable rowing machines like the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606.

Crafted from high grade steel and durable plastic components, the SF-RW5606 feels strong and stable while using.

Most users didn’t have any complaints and felt the rowing machine was well-made and had good build quality for the price.

However, a few users near the maximum weight capacity can hear some creaking noises and do begin to notice why the weight limit is set to 220 lbs..

One user commented, the SF-RW5606 Rowing Machine is great for using 3-4 times a week for 20 minutes but if you will be using it everyday for a strenuous 45 minute workout, then it may not be the best option.

Below is a video of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine to show some of the different features.

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Most users feel the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 is a comfortable rowing machine with a smooth rowing stroke.

The ergonomically designed seat has a contoured design to provide extra comfort and prevent a user from moving around too much while rowing. It is also fairly large, so an additional rowing seat pad can be added for more comfort.

The seat glides up and down the rail using high-grade steel bearing rollers. This provides a smooth, quiet motion without any bumps or noises.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine

A soft, non-slip grip handle allows for a comfortable grip that won’t produce any blisters. The elastic bungee cord won’t produce any noise either, so the rowing machine is very quiet!

The footrests provide a pivoting motion to allow for a more natural movement and are large enough to fit any shoe size. The textured grip, strong velcro straps, and rimmed edge will make sure your feet are securely in place and won’t slip while rowing!

Overall, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine provides a comfortable, smooth, and quiet rowing stroke!

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Storing the SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine is incredibly easy and can be done in seconds!

Just remove the locking bolt, fold the seat rail into the vertical position, and reinsert the bolt. Storing the rowing machine should take no more than 10 seconds!

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine Storage

With no heavy resistance components, the SF-RW5606 is a fairly light rowing machine (35 lbs.) and very easy to move around. This is good considering there are no wheels to allow for easy mobility of the rowing machine.

When folded the rower will take up 32.0″ x 16.0″ x 42.0″ (L x W x H) of space.

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The recommended maximum weight capacity for the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 is 220 lbs..

This is fairly low for a rowing machine but understandable for a model in this price range.

There haven’t been many people over 220 lbs. who have used this rower, so if you are more than 15 lbs. above this weight, I would look into some of my options listed in the final section.

People who are over 220 lbs. are often quite strong as well, which may not make the SF-RW5606 a great option anyway.

User who are 6’3″ can use this model without an issue and there is no low-end height restrictions. There is a “stopper” at the back of the seat rail that can be removed to add a few more inches of length if need be.

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  • Assembled Dimensions:
    • 68.0″ x 14.0″ x 21.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Folded Dimensions:
    • 32.0″ x 16.0″ x 42.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Weight:
    • 35 lbs.
  • Shipping Dimensions:
    • 40.0″ x 22.5″ x 6.5″ (L x W x H)

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Assembly of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine is fairly easy and should take roughly 30 minutes.

The task may look daunting due to the amount of pieces, but I can assure you it is not. Just make sure to have a clear, open area and keep everything neat.

There are only 5 required steps with instructional photos. All the necessary tools come with the packaging, along with the batteries for the monitor.

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Pros and Cons


  • 4 levels of adjustable resistance
  • Dual-direction resistance – (elastic cord)
  • Quiet rowing stroke
  • Large, comfortable seat
  • Easy to read monitor
  • Inexpensive price point
  • Easy fold storage


  • Resistance can be weak for some users
  • Resistance does not mimic “on water” rowing
  • Low weight capacity (220 lbs.)
  • May not be durable for everyday use
  • Not fit for advanced/athletic users

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Consumer Reviews

When reading through the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 reviews, I noticed some people who were a perfect fit for this rowing machine and others who had no business buying it in the first place.

Most people who rated this model highly were past middle aged, new to rowing, or looking to get back into shape. They were not looking for a high-end rowing machine or very strong resistance.

People who rated this machine poorly thought they were getting a high quality rowing machine with strong resistance.

I did, however, notice there were many reviews left by people who were given a free rowing machine in exchange for an “honest review”. Just be aware when reading reviews and looking at overall ratings that some reviews may not be so “honest”.

To read more Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine Reviews click here.

Average Rating: 3.9

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A new warranty system went into effect for Sunny Health & Fitness on January 1, 2017. Due to their increased success they were able to increase warranties on many of their lower cost items.

  • Frame: 1-Year
  • All Parts & Components: 90-Days
  • Model #: SF-RW5606

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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Price

One feature many individuals like about the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 is the price!

It is one of the least expensive rowing machines that has a “handle & strap” pull mechanism. Most other budget rowing machines have a “fixed arm” attached to a hydraulic-piston.

Having a “classic style” rowing motion, combined with an inexpensive price point, really attracted a lot of buyers!

Sunny Health & Fitness does not sell direct and must be purchased through an online retailer. Amazon usually has great prices on rowing machines and offers free shipping on qualified orders. They also have easy checkout and great customer service.

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Overall Review

For the right person, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine can be an excellent choice. You just have to make sure the features align with what you are looking for.

Users looking to exercise a little bit everyday and not get a very strenuous workout will enjoy this model.

If you are looking for a little more resistance and build quality, I recommend checking out the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine. It has 8 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance, better build quality, and is one of the top selling budget rowing machines.

You can read my full SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine review here.

Another model you may be interested in is the Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine with Free-Motion Arms. It is controlled by hydraulic-pistons so it is quiet but has two independently moving arms. You can read my full SF-RW1410 review here.

I hope you enjoyed my Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5606 Elastic Cord Rowing Machine review! If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below.

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