Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5885 Magnetic Rower

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Sunny SF-RW5885

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285 lbs50.6 lbsMagneticFrame: 3 years
Parts: 90 days

The Sunny SF-RW5885 is one of the rowers released by Sunny Health & Fitness in 2019. It’s a manual magnetic rower made for home use, similar to the Sunny SF-RW5634, but has a different design, and offers a greater weight capacity. Also, as opposed to most other Sunny rowers with a magnetic resistance system, this particular model is not foldable.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 72L x 19W x 24H inches (183L x 48W x 61H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 50.6 lbs (23 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 285 lbs (129 kg)
  • Flywheel: 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg)
  • Frame: Steel
  • Resistance type: Magnetic, 8 levels
  • Console: Time, RPM, count, total count, calories, scan
  • Warranty: Frame 3 years / Parts 180 days

Frame construction

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5885 magnetic rower features a durable steel frame with a rail that can hold users up to 285 lbs (129 kg). However, it still is a fairly light fitness machine; with the frame fully assembled, it only weighs approx. 50.6 lbs (23 kg). This being said, it can be carried and assembled by only one person. Plus, once it is assembled, it can be easily moved as its front base is equipped with transport wheels.

The fully assembled machine isn’t extremely large compared to other rowers, such as the ASUNA Windmill, for example. However, it still is approx. 72″ (183 cm) long, and 19″ (48 cm) wide. It is also recommended to allow at least two feet of clearance on each side of the unit and at its rear, for safe usage and ease of access. Therefore, it may not fit too well in a small room.

As we’ve mentioned above, the Sunny SF-RW5885 does not have a folding frame. However, it can be stored vertically. The casing of the flywheel and resistance system features a small bumper on top which serves at a stabilizer for the unit when stored vertically. Also, the rear base of the unit features two adjustable stabilizers so you can perfectly level it on any type of floor.

The machine’s sliding rail is not completely horizontal. It is slightly inclined forward (by approx. 1°-2°), which adds a bit of difficulty to the leg push phase during the rowing motion. It is approx. 44″ (111.7 cm) long and provides approx. 39″ (99 cm) of travel for the seat. Therefore, the rower should accommodate users up to 6’4″ (193 cm).

All the steel bars in the rower’s frame construction are coated with a rust-resistant paint finish. The color used is gray, this being the only color available for the SF-RW5885. The covers of the drive and resistance elements are made of durable ABS material also gray in color to match the rest of the unit.

Seat and other parts

The Sunny SF-RW5885 rowing machine is equipped with a seat designed for comfort. To begin with, its top features a tough vinyl upholstery with approx. 1.5″ (4 cm) of foam cushioning which reduces the impact on your tailbone. The seat is fairly large, as well. It is 10.5″ (26.6 cm) long, and 15″ (38 cm) wide offering plenty of contact surface.

The base of the seat is steel-made. It integrates three sets of rollers equipped with industrial-grade ball bearings for a smooth movement of the seat. Two of them are placed on top of the rail, while the third is at the bottom under the rail for extra stability. Also, the rollers have a rubberized coating to reduce noise when the seat slides on the rail.

The Sunny SF-RW5885 rower is equipped with pivoting footrests. This means they can slightly change their angle in order to adapt better to your movement during the rowing motion. Of course, they also have stoppers which set a maximum incline limit for them of approx. 50°.

Although the footrests aren’t size-adjustable, they are fairly large, designed to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. They have a textured surface, heel guards, and adjustable straps for maximum foot stability.

The machine’s pulling handle is a short straight metallic bar. Its grips are rubberized to provide extra comfort. However, it does not have pulse sensors as the pulling handles of more expensive rowers, and the included meter cannot read your pulse.

The pulling handle is attached to a heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant nylon strap. This type of drive adds smoothness to the rowing motion. It also does not require any lubrication, as opposed to a chain.

Resistance system

The Sunny SF-RW5885 is a full-magnetic rower. It does not have any air or water resistance elements. Its internal magnetic resistance system is somewhat similar to the one on magnetic upright bikes. It consists of a magnetic brake connected to the tension knob on the front unit. As you turn this knob clockwise, the brake moves closer to the flywheel which increases the resistance.

Since the resistance system is fully manual, the rower does not require an external power source. But on the other hand, the integrated computer does not have preset programs.

There are 8 levels of resistance available on this rower. The first one delivers very little magnetic tension; you will basically be working out only with the momentum generated by the 5.5 lbs flywheel. Conversely, the top resistance setting is quite distinguishable from the 1st. But as a general idea, this Sunny Health & Fitness rower does not offer an extreme workout difficulty. It’s designed for light cardio workouts.

Similar to other full-magnetic rowers, the SF-RW5885 does not generate a dynamic response during rowing. This means the rowing difficulty 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.

Last but not least, one of the main advantages of a full-magnetic rower that apply to this particular model as well, is the reduced noise generated during usage. Since the machine doesn’t have a fan resistance element or a water tank, and the internal brake does not touch the flywheel, the rowing motion is extremely quiet. Basically, you can only hear the movement of the seat during rowing, and its rollers are also designed to minimize noise.

Exercise meter

Since it’s a rather basic rowing machine, the performance computer included with the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5885 does not have preset programs, nor it can connect online. It also does not have a pulse reading function.

The unit features an LCD display that indicates time, distance, count (strokes per session), RPM (strokes per minute), total count (total strokes), and calories burned. It’s very easy to use; it has three buttons – Mode, Set, and Reset. The Mode button allows you to select one of the workout metrics that you want to view on the display or select the Scan Mode which rotates all the metrics showing each one for 6 seconds. The Set button gives you the possibility to select a workout goal for time, count or calories. And finally, the Reset button clears all the values on the meter to zero, except the total count value.

The meter unit requires two AAA batteries to function (which are included). It starts up if you press the Mode button, or if you begin rowing. It also has a sleep mode to which it will enter if it does not detect any movement on the machine for 4 minutes.

The meter unit also integrates a tablet or phone holder. However, it does not have Bluetooth or online connectivity.

Assembly and Maintenance

The drive and resistance unit of the machine comes pre-assembled and already attached to the front piece of the frame. However, the rest of the rower still requires assembly. You will have to connect the rail with the seat to the front unit, attach the two base bars, the footrests, and the meter. This is a pretty simple task, though, and shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. All the tools for it are included, and the manual provides pretty clear assembly instructions.

For maintenance, it is recommended to keep the machine’s rail clean to prevent any damage to the seat rollers. Other than this, you only have to check for loose bolts from time to time and keep liquids away from the exercise meter unit.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame for a home-use machine – can hold users up to 285 lbs;
  • Can be stored vertically;
  • Transport wheels on the front base;
  • Adjustable stabilizers on the rear base;
  • Large, padded seat for improved comfort;
  • Fairly long rail – can accommodate users up to 6’4″;
  • Pivoting footrests with adjustable straps;
  • Quiet magnetic resistance with 8 distinct levels;
  • Exercise meter included – it tracks time, distance, count, total count, RPM, and calories burned;
  • Goal settings for time, count, and calories;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the exercise meter display;
  • No backlight on the exercise meter;
  • No pulse reading function.


The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5885 is a rowing machine made for home use. It offers 8 levels of resistance and a fitness meter with goal functions. It can be stored vertically to save space. Its rail is fairly long, offering approx. 39″ of travel for the seat. It’s a fairly decent rower for a full-body cardio workout, stamina development, and weight loss. And finally, it’s an affordable unit, currently available for less than $250, an excellent alternative to a more expensive commercial rower.

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1 thought on “Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5885 Magnetic Rower”

  1. Edwin Horsley

    Thank you for this highly detailed and informative review. I looked at several different rower models, when this one grabbed my attention. I read other reviews but none gave me the amount of information I needed to make a decision, until now. I plan to purchase.

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