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Stamina 1215 Orbital Rowing Machine

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Stamina 1215
stamina 1215 orbital rower
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250 lbs47 lbsHydraulic
Frame: 5 years
Parts: 90 days

Stamina offers quite a few solid rowers for home use, and the 1215 Orbital model is one of them. This rower features a hydraulic resistance system, pretty similar with the one used by the Stamina 1205, but with a “twist”. In other words, the hydraulic cylinders are not fixed to the machine’s frame. They’re welded to pivoting bars, aspect that enable the oars to offer a natural motion, similar to rowing an actual boat.

Although it’s quite an affordable rowing machine, this Stamina model is far from being one of the cheapies. It’s built to last, and has quite a lot to offer. Therefore, in this post we’ll try to cover each and every aspect regarding it, offering as much information as possible.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 48L x 32.5W x 27.75H inches (122L x 82.5W x 70.4H cm)
  • Product weight: 47 lbs (21.3 kg)
  • Max. weight capacity: 250 lbs (113.3 kg)
  • Frame: Steel frame, extruded aluminum beam
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with adjustable straps
  • Resistance type: Hydraulic
  • Fitness meter: Included
  • Warranty: Frame 5 years / Parts 90 days

Frame construction

Two of the main aspects that make this rowing machine an excellent choice for home use, are its small footprint, and its foldability. The completely assembled machine features a footprint of 48″L x 32.5″ (122 x 82.5), way smaller than most air rowers or water rowers, such as Stamina X, or First Degree Fitness Newport. On top of that, its oars can fold all the way down and inwards, while the rear base folds as well. When completely folded, the machine’s total height is 8″ (20 cm). Therefore, you just may be able to fit it under your bed to save space. Other than this, it can also be stored vertically, leaned against a wall.

The machine’s main frame is made of steel tubing, coated with silver, anti-corrosive paint. The gliding beam of the seat on the other hand, is made of extruded aluminium. Overall, the assembled machine is far from being heavy. It weighs approx. 47 lbs (21.3 kg), and almost anyone should be able to easily handle it, fold it, and store it away.

As we’ve mentioned above, the rear base of the frame can be folded, giving the rower’s gliding beam two positions for use. Evidently, it you’re going to row with the rear base up, the gliding beam will be slightly inclined, and you will benefit from a better leg workout. With the rear base up, the top of the seat is approx. 12″ (30 cm) above floor level, which can also help with standing up. Users with disabilities may find this as a plus.

The aluminium gliding beam is long enough to accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’3″ (153 – 190 cm), or differently put, users with an inseam up to 33″ (84 cm). Taller users may not benefit from a complete leg extension, while shorter users may find the oars of the machine a bit high and awkward for a correct form.

Seat, oars, and footrests

The Stamina 1215 Orbital rowing machine features an extremely comfortable seat, with foam padding, designed to alleviate the workout impact on your tailbone and lower back. seat - stamina 1215It glides on 4 rollers which integrate industrial quality, sealed ball bearings, made to last.

The footrests feature a pivoting design, which is also a plus, as not everyone may be comfortable with a fixed angle for their feet during a workout. They’re made of durable polyurethane material, and feature adjustable straps, to prevent feet from slipping off.

Last but not least, the oars of this Stamina rower are also made of steel tubing just as the frame. However, they feature a chrome finish, rather than paint. Their grips are made of rubber foam material, to absorb perspiration, and prevent hands from blistering due to prolonged use. As we’ve mentioned above, the oars fold all the way down, and inwards, reducing the machine’s overall height by a lot. In vertical position, the grips of the oars stand approx. 27″ (70 cm) above floor level.

Resistance system

This Stamina rowing machine features a hydraulic resistance system, consisting of two cylinders, one for each oar. Resistance for each cylinder is adjustable. They lock onto the oars via turn-knobs, and by securing them in position all the way up, you will benefit from maximum resistance. Conversely, by locking the cylinders at the lowest point on the oars, you will get minimum resistance.

There are markings on each oar, for locking the cylinder in position. Evidently, for the resistance to be even on each oar, they must be locked on the same setting.stamina 1215 rower - resistance knob

Overall, the resistance offered by this machine is rather high, compared with other rowers. Even at the lowest settings, for a user with a lower level of fitness, rowing on this machine may be quite a challenge. However, as the cylinders warm up, they will loosen a bit. That’s why it’s recommended to begin your workout on the lowest resistance setting, and after a few minutes, raise it up one, or more levels. This being said, not only that the machine can supply an excellent cardio workout, it also offer a really consistent workout for the upper body.

One of the most important features which actually defines this Stamina rower, is given by the pivoting design of the oars. As we’ve mentioned in the introductory part of this post, the resistance cylinders are welded to pivoting bars, aspect that enables the oars to also pivot inward and outward as you row. This promotes a natural rowing motion, similar to the use of actual oars on a boat.

This rowing machine offers a pretty quiet operation. As you row, you will only hear a soft whirring noise generated by the rollers of the seat, and the characteristic “woosh” made by the resistance cylinders.

Fitness meter

The fitness meter supplied with the Stamina 1215 Orbital rower is not a very sophisticated unit. However, it does keep track of your rowing speed, distance, count (number of strokes), time and calories. It also has a SCAN function which cycles through these fitness computer - stamina orbital 1215values, keeping each one on screen for 6 seconds. Distance is measured in miles, and speed in MPH.

The meter unit uses one AA-type battery. It’s quite easy to use, as it features only one button. It turns on when it detects seat movement, but can also be turned on by pressing the button once. It automatically shuts off to save battery, after 4 minutes of inactivity on the machine. Also, it remembers the values from your previous workout, so, in order to reset it, you will have to press and hold the button for 4 seconds.

In case you’re wondering, the fitness meter is not telemetry enabled. In other words, it cannot read pulse.

Assembly and Maintenance

The assembly of this Stamina rowing machine is pretty much a straightforward process, and shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes. The assembly has several steps, and the supplied manual will guide you through them. You basically have to attach the footrests to the aluminium beam, then the steel parts, the cylinders with the oars, the rear base, the seat, and finally the console.

Maintenance for this machine is almost inexistent. It requires you to keep the machine clean, especially the gliding beam of the seat, to make sure there are no foreign objects, pebbles or sand on it, which may damage the rollers or the beam itself. Also, in case the joints develop squeaks, a little greasing should fix the problem.

The Pros

  • Solid frame construction;
  • Small footprint;
  • Folding rear base, offering two workout positions for the gliding beam;
  • Can be stored vertically;
  • Generously padded seat with excellent ergonomics;
  • Unrestrained, ampler rowing motion, as it uses two arms (oars), instead of a transversal handlebar;
  • Pivoting oars, promoting a motion similar to rowing an actual boat;
  • Angle-adjustable footrests with straps;
  • Adjustable resistance;
  • Fitness meter included;
  • Quiet operation;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.stamina rowing machine - orbital 1215

The Cons

  • Cylinders heat up and lose some resistance after a few minutes, so you may have to readjust;
  • Fitness meter cannot read pulse.


The Stamina 1215 Orbital is quite a versatile model for an entry level rower. Since it offers two positions for the gliding beam, and pivoting oars, it gives you the possibility to add some diversity to your workouts. Even though it may not be the best choice for a professional rower, it’s still an excellent machine for a full body workout, superior cardio training, stamina building and weight loss, with a low impact on the joints. Also, due to its rather high resistance levels, it’s a great machine for strength training as well. All in all, it’s a durable, well-constructed machine, offering a higher level of comfort compared with other rowers, a machine with an excellent price / quality ratio.

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