The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower is currently the only budget air/magnetic rower on the market.
If you are looking for an inexpensive dual resistance rowing machine, then this is your model!
The SF-RW5623 comes fully equipped with “dynamic response” air resistance and 8 levels of adjustable magnetic tension.
It has a smooth, strong rowing stroke with excellent build quality and comfort.
While everything about this rowing machine sounds great, there are a few downsides. The Sunny SF-RW5623 has a very basic monitor and has issues with providing a full-range of rowing motion.
Continue reading this Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 review to find out the entire story.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower is exactly as the name describes – a combination of air & magnetic resistance.
Air and magnetic combination rowing machines are pretty rare, with only a handful of models on the market.
They are, however, becoming increasingly popular and the Sunny SF-RW5623 is the first budget model to be made available.
Air rowers operate by pulling a handle and spinning a fan flywheel. As you spin the flywheel faster, it must move more air, so the resistance becomes stronger.
We call this “variable” resistance because the faster you row, the more resistance you feel.
Magnetic rowers operate by moving a magnet closer or farther from the metal flywheel. The closer the magnet is to the flywheel, the harder the resistance.
We call this “adjustable” resistance because in order to change the resistance level you must “adjust” the tension knob. Rowing faster or slower will not change the resistance, only changing the level will.
I wrote an article comparing Air vs. Magnetic resistance, you can read the full article here. It will describe how both resistance types work and the SF-RW5623 is basically a blend of the two.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 has 8 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance. Users felt the tension was strong and smooth with no lag.
To adjust the resistance, a user just has to turn the tension knob located on the center console. Level 1 will be about 80% air resistance and 20% magnetic, while level 8 will be 20% air and 80% magnetic resistance.
Many users love the combination resistance because it provides an overall stronger rowing stroke than just a stand alone air or magnetic resistance rowing machine.
Most people felt the resistance was strong enough for any experience level. The air rowing portion also allows for users to have an infinite amount of resistance levels because to feel more resistance, you just need to row harder.
Users love the air vent that can direct the airflow towards them while they are rowing. You have the option to cool yourself down with the fan pointed towards you or direct it up towards the ceiling to break a sweat.
There were no real “negatives” about the resistance and only a few things worth mentioning.
One thing to note is the combination air & magnetic resistance will be louder than a magnetic-only rowing machine. This is due to the fan making a “whooshing” noise while spinning each stroke.
You will still be able to watch TV, but the volume may need to be turned up a few levels. One good thing is the noise will be slightly quieter than an air-only rower because the fan will not be spinning as fast due to the added magnetic resistance.
The only other thing to mention is that magnetic & air resistance combination rowers will not closely mimic the resistance felt while rowing on water.
Due to having two resistance types in one, the flywheel will slow down faster on the recovery and not mimic the “glide” forward of a rowing boat. To feel the same resistance as “on water” rowing you will need to buy an air-only or water rowing machine.
This really isn’t a negative and some people actually enjoy the added resistance of a combination machine. You can also always set the magnetic resistance to level 1 and have mostly air resistance only.
The resistance on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower is great for users of all ages and fitness levels. The combination of air & magnetic makes it a great choice for people who cannot decide between a “variable” or “adjustable” resistance rowing machine.
It is also a great choice for users who want to have a stronger overall resistance.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 comes with a basic multi-function monitor. It can track the following data:
- Count (# of strokes from current workout)
- Total Count (# of strokes all-time)
- Scan (rotate between data)
As you can see, the monitor is very basic, has no back light, and only tracks the very necessary information.
Many people complained there is no distance setting or a calculation for strokes per minute (SPM). While it is a let down these data points are missing, they are not always included on the budget rowing machine monitors.
One user commented that 1 stroke = about 1.5 meters and used that to estimate their distance.
It is also worth mentioning that calorie calculations on most budget rowing machines is not very accurate. You would need to add in your age, weight, and heart rate to accurately calculate calories burned.
The calorie count on this monitor should only be used to compare workouts and estimate calories burned. You can read more about this topic in my rowing machine calories article.
Overall, the SF-RW5623 monitor is about as basic as they come. Most people use their smartphone to track additional data if they feel the need. If an advanced monitor is an important feature you want on a rowing machine, then another model may be a better fit (although it will be more expensive).
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 is built with an aluminum seat rail on top of a steel frame. The rowing motion is smooth and strong, with no creaking or clinking noises.
Large users, almost 300 lbs., said they felt the rowing machine was strong and sturdy. They did not think it felt weak and thought the quality would hold up for a long time.
Not many budget rowing machines have a 300 lb. weight capacity like the Sunny SF-RW5623, so this is a testament to their strong build quality.
The handle is made of a durable rubber coating that is attached to the flywheel via a tough nylon rowing strap. The footrests are made from a durable plastic and the adjustable foot-straps are made from high quality velcro material.
Overall, there were almost no complaints about the build quality of this rowing machine.
Built with a fully-padded seat and a soft, non-slip grip handlebar, this rowing machine won’t leave you with a sore butt or blisters on your hands.
The ergonomic design of all the features allow for a smooth and comfortable rowing stroke.
Large anti-slip grip foot pedals will fit all shoe sizes and the adjustable foot straps securely hold your feet in place while rowing. Pivoting pedals allow for a more natural movement and a more comfortable rowing stroke.
The smooth ball bearing rollers allow the seat to glide smoothly up and down the rail each rowing stroke.
The biggest comfort complaint about the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 is the location of the rowing handle on the front “housing” that restricts a full range of motion.
Basically, the handle sits about even with the end of your feet at the start position (knees bent). This means when you bend your knees and reach forward with the handle, you cannot fully extend your arms because the “housing” is in the way.
Most rowing machines have the handle position at least 6 inches in front of your feet, so you can bend your knees all the way and have your arms fully extended.
This is a big design flaw that really upset some users. It may not be noticeable to beginner rowers, but people who have experience rowing on high-end models will notice the difference.
Everything about the comfort of the rowing stroke is great except this one design flaw.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower has a fully foldable seat rail for storage purposes.
Folding the seat rail is very easy and only requires a few steps. You must first unscrew the locking knob and remove the pull pin. Then you fold the seat rail, reinsert the pull pin, and screw in the locking knob.
The entire process takes about 20 seconds to complete and reduces the overall footprint in half. There isn’t a picture of a stored SF-RW5623 Rower so I took the instructional photo from the manual.
The SF-RW5623 also has built-in caster wheels that makes transporting the rowing machine to a different room very easy.
According to the manufacturer, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs..
Most budget rowing machines under $500 have a 250 lb. weight capacity, so being set at 300 lbs. is a huge plus. Most of the time users slightly over the weight limit can use the rowing machine without an issue, so the SF-RW5623 may even be able to accommodate users up to 325 lbs..
There have been users around 300 lbs. who have used this model and said the rowing machine felt strong and sturdy supporting their weight.
The seat rail length is also fairly large and users as tall as 6’4″ have used the rowing machine with no issues. The only downside is that taller users have longer arms that may be restricted from a full range of motion due to the flywheel housing being in the way.
While taller users can perform a full leg drive, they may have to bend their arms at the “catch” position (knees bent).
Short users will have no issues with this rowing machine and it can even be used by children.
When comparing dimensions, Amazon states one size while the Sunny Health & Fitness website states another. They are fairly close so I will list both dimensions.
- Amazon Assembled Dimensions:
- 86.0″ x 19.0″ x 28.0″ (L x W x H)
- Sunny Health Website Dimensions:
- 79.0″ x 30.3″ x 26.0″ (L x W x H)
- Product Weight:
- 59.5 lbs.
- Shipping Weight:
- 70 lbs.
- Shipping Dimensions:
- 41.3″ x 11.0″ x 33.5″ (L x W x H)
Assembly of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower is fast and easy.
Average total assembly time is around 30-40 minutes and can be done in less. There are 6 easy to read assembly steps and large instructional photos in the manual.
All the necessary tools for assembly come with the packaging, along with the required 2AA batteries.
Just follow the steps carefully while taking your time and you shouldn’t run into any issues.
Pros and Cons
- Dual air & magnetic resistance
- 8 magnetic “adjustable” resistance levels
- Strong overall resistance strength
- Easy assembly
- Folds for storage
- Strong build quality
- Good price point for dual resistance rowing machine
- High maximum weight capacity – 300 lbs.
- Very basic monitor
- Cannot record heart rate or distance
- Doesn’t provide full-range of motion
A large majority of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 reviews have been positive. Most users like the strong, smooth resistance that is provided at an affordable price. Currently there are no other combination air & magnetic rowers available for under $500.
Some users complained about the range of motion problem as well as the basic monitor. These are the two standout issues with this rowing machine. However, most people agreed that for 1/3 the price of a high end rower, it is an excellent value.
You can read more Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 reviews here.
Average Rating: 4.4
- Frame: 3-Years
- All Parts & Components: 90-Days
- Model #: SF-RW5623
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Price
Overall the price of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 is excellent. Coupled with the fact that it is a dual resistance rowing machine makes it even better. As I mentioned before, if you are looking for a budget air & magnetic resistance rowing machine, this is the only option.
Searching the internet you will see Sunny Health & Fitness products sold in some online retail stores, but they like to sell through Amazon. Their prices on Amazon seem to be best and have the most sales. I also like Amazon because it is a trusted company, has good buyer protection, and usually offers free shipping.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower is overall an excellent rowing machine. It provides an excellent rowing stroke that is smooth and strong. It’s strong build quality also allows larger users to enjoy a lower priced rowing machine.
People looking for an inexpensive dual-resistance rowing machine will greatly enjoy this model. Users looking for an advanced monitor or who think they will be annoyed by the lack of a full-range of motion should consider other models.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any other dual resistance rowing machines under $500 but there are some really good air-only and magnetic-only rowing machines.
The best budget air rower is the Stamina 1399 Air Rowing Machine. You can read my full Stamina Air Rower review here.
The best budget magnetic rowing machine is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rower. It is very similar to the Sunny SF-RW5623 but lacks the air resistance. This model will also have a larger range of motion. You can read my full SF-RW5515 review here.
I hope you enjoyed my Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5623 Air Magnetic Rower review! If you have any other questions please leave them in the comment section below.