Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5856 Magnetic Rower

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Sunny SF-RW5856

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285 lbs55.7 lbsMagnetic,
8 levels

The Sunny SF-RW5856 is one of the newer rowing machines released by Sunny Health & Fitness at the end of 2018. It’s a full-magnetic rower similar to the Sunny SF-RW5801 but offers a slightly longer rail, a heavier flywheel, and a few other extra features. It’s also an affordable unit which can make a great addition to your home gym.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 78L x 22.5W x 22.6H inches (198L x 57W x 57H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 55.7 lbs (25 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 285 lbs (129 kg)
  • Frame: Steel
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Magnetic, 8 levels
  • Exercise meter: Time, RPM, distance, count, total count, calories, scan, goals
  • Warranty: Frame 3 years / Parts 180 days

Frame construction

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5856 features an all-steel frame, the only non-steel parts being the covers of the resistance system, the footrests, and the base bar caps. These are made of durable ABS material.

The machine’s steel parts are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish; the color used is gray, this being the only color available for this rower (at least for the moment). The flywheel is chrome-coated, and only partially concealed by the ABS covers.

Despite its full-steel construction, this Sunny rower is not extremely heavy. With the frame fully set up, it only weighs approx. 55.7 kg (25 kg). This being said, its assembly shouldn’t be a problem for only one person. Plus, its front base has transport wheels which ease its relocation once you have finished your workout.

Like most other rowing machines with a magnetic resistance system, the Sunny SF-RW5856 is a rather large fitness machine, especially lengthwise. It is approx. 78″ (198 cm) long, and 22.5″ (57 cm) wide. Plus, it is recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance at the rear and on each side, for ease of access and unhindered usage. However, just as the ASUNA Windmill 8570, this machine has a space-saving design. Its rail can be folded up to save space. And with the rail in folded position, the machine’s length is reduced to 36″ (91 cm), while its height becomes 47″ (119 cm).

As we’ve mentioned above, this rower has a slightly longer rail than the SF-5801 model. It is approx. 44″ (111.76 cm) long, and provides approx. 40″ (101.6 cm) of travel for the seat. This being said, the machine should be able to accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm) with no problem. Also, it should withstand users up to 285 lbs (129 kg).

The rail is also slightly inclined (approx. 3°). This being said, the machine provides a little extra difficulty during the leg push and a slightly faster recovery motion.

One last aspect to mention here regards the rear base stabilizer. This part is equipped with two adjustable levelers equipped with rubber pads. Thus, not only they allow you to perfectly stabilize the unit on any type of floor, but they also provide a superior grip on the floor.

Seat and other parts

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5856 features a large seat. Its top is approx. 14″ (35.5 cm) wide, and 11″ (28 cm) long, providing plenty of contact surface. Its top is made of high-density foam being considerably more comfortable than fiberglass or ABS seat. Its surface is textured and contoured in order to provide superior adherence and prevent the user from sliding off it during rowing.

The base of the seat is made of steel. It integrates three sets of rollers. Two are placed on top of the rail, the third is situated under the rail to maximize stability. All the rollers integrate steel ball bearings and have a tough nylon coating highly resistant to abrasion, in order to provide a smooth and quiet travel for the seat.

The rower’s seat is placed at approx. 12″ (30 cm) above floor level. It’s not too high, but not too low either, so entry and exit shouldn’t be too difficult even for users with certain disabilities.

The Sunny SF-RW5856 features a set of pivoting footrests. This allows a bit of freedom for your feet during each stroke, allowing a bit of forward movement if necessary. Also, their rear stopper sets them at a maximum angle of approx. 50°.

As we’ve mentioned above, the unit’s footrests are made of durable ABS material. Their length is not adjustable, but they’re long enough to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. They have heel guards and adjustable Velcro straps, so you can perfectly stabilize your feet on them.

The machine’s pulling handle is a simple, straight bar with rubberized grips. It is attached to a heavy-duty nylon strap which is highly resistant to abrasion. It does not integrate any pulse sensors or any other types of controls.

Drive and resistance

The Sunny SF-RW5856 is a full-magnetic rower. It does not have any air or water resistance elements. Its resistance-generating element is an internal magnetic brake which is connected to the tension knob on top of the front unit of the machine through a steel wire. When you turn the knob clockwise, the magnetic brake moves closer to the flywheel which increases the difficulty.

The unit’s resistance system makes available 8 distinct difficulty levels. The first one involves very little magnetic tension; you will basically be working out only with the momentum generated by the 11 lbs flywheel. Conversely, the top resistance setting is quite distinguishable from the 1st. It provides considerably more resistance and gives you the possibility to train at a higher level.

Since the machine does not have a fan like the ASUNA Ventus 8580, and the resistance is purely generated by the internal magnetic brake, it does not offer a dynamic response. This means the resistance remains constant for each stroke, determined by the selected tension level. It does not increase if you pull harder as for air resistance or water resistance rowers. But nonetheless, the machine still provides a consistent, full-body workout.

The usage of the machine is very quiet. The wheels of the seat are designed to minimize noise, while the magnetic brake elements do not touch, so there is very little noise generated by the internal elements.


This Sunny rower features a console without any preset programs or online connectivity. It’s battery-powered, requiring 2 AAA batteries. To power it on, you can either press one of the buttons or begin rowing. It also has a sleep mode to which it will enter if it doesn’t detect any activity on the rower for four minutes.

It features an LCD display which tracks time, distance, RPM, strokes, total strokes, and calories burned. The RPM metric indicates the number of strokes per minute, while the strokes metric indicates the number of strokes you have performed during the current workout. The total strokes metric shows the total amount of strokes performed on the machine since the first workout. Distance is shown in miles only.

The unit has a Scan mode and target settings. You can select any of the workout metrics to be shown on the display, or you can select the Scan mode which rotates all the workout metrics showing each one for 6 seconds. Targets can be assigned for time, count, and calories. If a target is selected, the console will show the remaining amount until you reach the selected target.

The console has three buttons. These are Set, Mode, and Reset. The Set button allows you to enter setup mode to select the desired target for time, count, or calories. The Mode button allows you to select one of the metrics to view at all time, or to select the Scan mode. The Reset button gives you the possibility to clear time, calories or count to zero.

One last aspect to mention here regards the tablet holder. This accessory consists of a small tray placed under the console. It can accommodate any smartphone or tablet, but if a tablet is placed on it, it will cover the console display.

Assembly and Maintenance

The front part of the rower with all the resistance elements is already assembled and covered by the ABS shrouds. Therefore, in terms of assembly, you only need to attach the front base, the footrests, place the seat onto the rail, attach the rail to the main part of the frame, and finally add the rear stabilizer. This shouldn’t take more than half an hour. The manual provides step-by-step assembly instructions and a basic toolkit is included.

For maintenance, it is recommended to keep the unit clean, especially the rail, to prevent any damage to the wheels of the seat. The internal elements do not require any maintenance. It is also recommended to periodically check for loose bolts and parts, and re-tighten them if necessary.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame for a light rower – can support users up to 285 lbs;
  • Folding design;
  • Adjustable levelers on the rear stabilizer;
  • Transport wheels integrated into the front base;
  • Padded and contoured seat for optimal comfort;
  • Pivoting footrests for a perfect foot position with each stroke;
  • Fairly long rail – can accommodate users up to 6’5″;
  • Quiet and smooth magnetic resistance system;
  • 8 levels of resistance, for light to medium workouts;
  • Exercise meter included – it can track time, count, total count, calories, distance, and RPM;
  • Goal setting functions for time, count, and calories;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Batteries for the console are included;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

  • No pulse reading function;
  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder will completely cover the console.


The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5856 is a mid-range magnetic rower made for home use. It offers 8 levels of resistance and a fitness meter with goal functions. Its rail is fairly long, offering approx. 40″ of travel for the seat, but it is also foldable, providing better storage possibilities. It’s a great machine for a full-body cardio workout, stamina development, and weight loss. And finally, it’s an affordable unit, currently available for less than $300, an excellent alternative to a gym-grade rower.

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4 thoughts on “Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5856 Magnetic Rower”

  1. william liebler

    Iam very interested in purchasing a sf 5856 but i was told it is not in stock for no reason.and i cant find one anywhere.please let me know if all of this true?

    1. Well, it’s one of the rowers released in 2018. And if they stopped making it, it may not be available anymore.

  2. william liebler

    please tell me if for any reason this rw-5856 is no longer being made,if so why? is there any other rower that uses a 11 lb. fly wheel

    1. It appears that the Sunny SF-RW5856 rower is out of stock on most retailers and on Sunny Health & Fitness as well. Not sure if it’s discontinued or not. Another Sunny Health & Fitness rower that for sure has an 11 lbs flywheel is the SF-RW5854, but this particular model has a motorized resistance system and costs quite a bit more.

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