Sunny Health & Fitness Hydro+ Dual Resistance Rower SF-RW5809

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Sunny SF-RW5809

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275 lbs73.6 lbsWater &
16 levels

The Sunny Hydro+ SF-RW5809 is one of the rowing machines released by Sunny Health & Fitness in 2021. As opposed to the older Sunny SF-RW5910 which only has water resistance, the Hydro+ complements its water resistance system with a magnetic resistance system. It’s a rower made for home use, great for users of all levels.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 77.2L x 18.9W x 44.1H inches (196L x 48W x 112H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 73.6 lbs (33.3 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs (125 kg)
  • Frame: Steel
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance: Water & magnetic (16 levels)
  • Fitness monitor: Time, time/500m, SPM, distance, strokes, total strokes, calories, hrc/pulse (optional), calendar, temperature, clock, race program
  • Extras: Device holder
  • Warranty: Frame 3 years / Parts 180 days

Frame construction

The Sunny Health & Fitness Hydro+ SF-RW5809 rowing machine features a steel frame combining rectangular and oval tubing in its construction. All the steel bars are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish; the color used is gray, this being the only color available for this model. The front section of the frame is concealed by two large guards made of thermoplastic material. The two footrests are also plastic-made.

The rower is not too large compared with other models, such as the Murtisol air resistance rower, for example. With all the parts assembled, it is approx. 77.2″ (196 cm) long, and 18.9″ (48 cm) wide, while the top of the fitness meter reaches approx. 44″ (112 cm) above floor level. It is also recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance at the rear of the machine and on each side, for easy access and correct usage.

This Sunny Health & Fitness rower does not have a folding frame like the SF-RW5866 model. However, it can be stored vertically, resting on its front stabilizers. When stored vertically, its footprint becomes 44″L x 18.9″W (112 x 48 cm), while its height reaches 77.2″ (196 cm).

The unit is not super heavy. Its net weight is 73.6 lbs (33.3 kg). This being said, it can be carried and assembled by only one person. This is its “dry” weight, though. With water inside the tank, it weighs close to 100 lbs (45 kg).

The unit can easily be moved once it is assembled. Its front base integrates a set of small wheels. Also, its rear stabilizer features adjustable levelers.

Seat and other parts

The Sunny Hydro+ SF-RW5809 rower is equipped with a large, contoured seat designed for optimal comfort. Its top is made of high-density foam to reduce the impact on your tailbone. It is also textured to prevent slippage.

The base frame of the seat is steel-made. It integrates three sets of wheels. Two of them slide on top of the rail, the third slides under the rail for improved stability. The wheels are equipped with sealed ball bearings for a smooth seat movement. They also have a silicone rubber layer on the outside for reduced noise.

The machine’s rail is not perfectly horizontal. It is about 0.5° inclined forward. It is durable enough to support users up to 275 lbs (125 kg). It is fairly long, so the applicable inseam length for this Sunny rower is approx. 41″ (104 cm). In other words, the rower should be able to accommodate users up to 6’6″ (198 cm) with no problem.

The unit’s seat is fairly high above the floor. When extended all the way to the back its height is approx. 15.5″ (39 cm). This can be a plus for users with certain disabilities as it facilitates entry and exit.

The rower is equipped with a set of pivoting footrests. They’re made of durable thermoplastic material. They have heel guards and adjustable straps for superior foot stability. They are large enough to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes.

Last but not least, the unit’s pulling handle consists of a short straight bar. It does not have any sensors or resistance controls. However, it has thick PVC foam sleeves for an improved grip. It is attached to a heavy-duty nylon strap highly resistant to abrasion. This being said, its drive system does not require lubrication.

Resistance system

The Sunny Health & Fitness Hydro+ is one of the very few rowing machines (at least for the moment) that combine water resistance with magnetic resistance. To begin with, the rower is equipped with a water tank made of durable polycarbonate material. Its exact capacity is not specified by considering its size, it should be approx. 3 – 3.5 gallons (11 – 13 liters).

The tank integrates a 16-blade impeller which is attached to the machine’s pulley system. Thus, when you pull the handle, the impeller spins inside the tank through the water, generating resistance.

The tank itself does not have any mechanical adjustment elements for the water level. So, in case you want to add or remove water you will have to use the provided pump. The tank has a maximum water level marked on it which should not be exceeded, in order to avoid overflowing or internal part damage.

The magnetic resistance system is pretty similar to the one on standard upright bikes. It offers 16 distinct levels. It consists of a small magnetic brake and a flywheel at the base of the tank. The brake is connected to the tension knob on the front unit of the rower. Thus, when you turn the knob, the brake will cover more or less from the flywheel in order to increase or decrease the workout load.

Of course, since the main resistance system of the machine use water, the rower provides a dynamic response. In other words, if you stroke at a faster rate, the hydro blade will spin faster inside the tank and provide more resistance. This effect is pretty close to rowing a real boat through water which can be a plus, especially for users who are training for professional competitions.

Fitness monitor

The Sunny SF-RW5809 rower is equipped with a mid-range fitness monitor. It features an LCD display that tracks time, time/500 m, strokes, strokes per minute, total strokes, calories burned, distance, and pulse. The distance is shown in meters only; there is no option for changing it to yards or miles. The pulse reading function requires a 5 kHz wireless HR chest strap (not included) as the machine does not have any integrated contact sensors. A pulse recovery function is also available.

The monitor unit has two workout modes. These are Manual and Race. The Manual mode offers two options. For the first one, you can simply row and the unit will record your completed strokes, strokes per minute, distance traveled, etc. For the second option, you can select goals for time, distance, strokes, calories, and pulse. If a goal is selected for any of these metrics, the unit will indicate the remaining value from your goal and notify you when you have completed your goal.

The Race mode has 15 levels of difficulty. For level 1 (L1) the Time/500m is set at 8:00, while for level 15 (L15) it is set at 1:00. If the Race mode is on, you will basically race with the computer for the set time/distance. The center display will indicate the user and the PC on two separate lanes. Each virtual boat advances towards the set goal, and the meter will end when either your boat, or the PC boat reaches the goal.

The monitor unit is battery-powered. It requires two AA batteries which are included. It begins counting your data when you begin rowing, and also automatically turns off after four minutes of inactivity on the machine. When in sleep (or idle) mode, the unit indicates the current date (year, month, day), as well as room temperature, and clock.

Assembly and Maintenance

The front section of the rower with the magnetic resistance elements comes pre-assembled. The other parts do require user assembly. You will have to insert the seat onto the rail, connect the rail to the front frame section, connect the rear stabilizer, attach the water tank, the footrests, and the fitness monitor. This shouldn’t take more than an hour of your time. All the necessary tools are included and the manual provides clear assembly instructions.

For maintenance, it is recommended to keep the machine clean and periodically inspect it for loose or damaged parts to make sure it still functions properly. The water inside the tank requires chlorine purification every 6 months; a pack of rower chlorine pills is included. The internal parts do not require any lubrication.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame – can support users up to 275 lbs (125 kg);
  • Aesthetic design;
  • Can be stored vertically;
  • Transport wheels on the front base;
  • Adjustable stabilizers on the rear base;
  • Ergonomic, contoured seat;
  • Pivoting footrests with heel guards and straps;
  • Long rail for users with an inseam up to 41″ (104 cm);
  • Water resistance system, providing the most natural rowing feel that you can get;
  • Magnetic resistance for improved adjustability (16 levels);
  • Performance monitor with a multi-window LCD display that tracks time, 500m/time, pulse, distance, strokes, strokes per minute, total strokes, calories;
  • Two workout programs – Manual and Race;
  • Recovery function;
  • Angle-adjustable mount for performance monitor;
  • Device holder included;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Easy to assemble.
  • Chlorine pills for water purification are included;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • The performance monitor does not have backlight;
  • An HR chest strap is not included.


The Sunny Health & Fitness Hydro+ SF-RW5809 is a water and magnetic resistance rower made for home use. It features a large water tank and a 16-level magnetic resistance system, a large comfortable seat, a set of pivoting footrests, and a fitness monitor with two workout modes (manual and race). It’s a great fitness machine for a full-body cardio workout, muscle toning, weight loss, stamina, and strength development. It’s also considerably more affordable than a commercial-grade water rower and offers excellent value for the price.

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