Portable Home Rowing Machine

Why Buy a Portable Home Rowing Machine? Do you need a space-saving model so you can move it every day? Do you need the space for things other than a workout, or do you want to store it out of sight? There are many rowers available that offer this as a solution. I have checked out the internet and am bringing you the best 2 portable rowing machines that I have found.


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What to Look for in a Rower?

There are many things you want to look for in a quality portable rower. Three things should be considered first. Does it have transport wheels, how heavy is it, and does it fold or come apart into smaller pieces? You want it to be light enough for you to move about, yet heavy enough to provide a stable workout.

If you want a portable home rowing machine that you can lift on your own, a hydraulic resistance rower is your best option. The downside of a hydraulic resistance rower is that the cylinder heats up over time. In about 20 minutes of use you must let it cool down. With a hydraulic cylinder, as it gets warmer and warmer, it gives you less and less resistance.

AT A GLANCESunny Health Magnetic Rower
Sunny Health Hydraulic Rower
Weight Capacity250 lb220 lb
Weight of Rower60.9 lb20.9 lb
Tension SystemMagneticHydraulic
Side Rail Length48 inches37 inches
Dimensions78L x 19W x 23.2 H
54L x 20W x 23H
Does It Fold?YesNo

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine SF-RW5515

My first-choice portable home rower is the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine with an LCD Monitor. It is one of the top brands and is very popular with rowers.

It has an adjustable knob you turn to one of 8 levels of magnetic resistance for your choice of workout intensity.

The handle is attached to a very flat and wide webbing and has a smooth and quiet pull.

The digital display is adequate to track time, count calories, total count, and scan.

Easy Assembly and Storage

It is very simple to set up. This unit is largely pre-assembled and does not take long to put together. Though it is the heavier of the two rowers I have reviewed, it is quite easy to move. The heavy-duty steel frame can be folded, and it has transport wheels. This makes it easy to store when you are not using it.

Sunny Health & Fitness
Magnetic Rowing Machine
Weight Capacity250 lbs
Weight of Rower60.9 lbs
Slide Rail Length48 Inches
Tension SystemMagnetic
Resistance Levels8
Folds, Anti-slip Handlebars, Floor Stabilizers
Transportation Wheels
Frame MaterialAlloy Steel
Rower Dimensions78L x 19W x 23.2H


  • Durable, folding steel frame
  • Easy to assemble
  • Adjustable magnetic resistance
  • Cushioned seat
  • 3-year manufacturer warranty on the frame; 90 days for parts and components.


  • It weighs 60lbs – a bit heavy

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW 1205 Rowing Machine

This rower works well for a beginning athlete. It is made of sturdy alloy steel, yet is light-weight and easy to move around. It is not the high-quality rower you may find in a gym, but for the price it will give you a good workout.

The movements of this portable home rowing machine are smooth, and they focus on your back and core muscles.

The digital monitor tracks time, count, count total, calories, and scan functions.  

You need to acquire correct form and timing for best rowing results. Try for 25 to 30 strokes per minute. By studying a variety of YouTube tutorials, you will get the knack.

Portable Home Rowing Machine

For someone who wants exercise, but is not training for the Olympics, this is a good piece of equipment. It will help you stay active. You can enjoy your favorite TV programs and get exercise at the same time.

If the rower sits too low to comfortably get on and off, some people have mounted it on 2x4s to raise it up to a more comfortable level.

Sunny Health & Fitness
Rowing Machine
Weight Capacity220 lbs
Weight of Rower20.9 lbs
Slide Rail Inseam37 Inches
Tension SystemHydraulic
Resistance Levels12
Rower Dimensions54L x 20W x 23H
Frame MaterialAlloy Steel


  • Lightweight
  • Durable steel frame
  • It is easy to assemble with good instructions.
  • Cushioned seat, floor stabilizers, foam handlebar, pivoting pedals
  • 18-year manufacturer warranty on the frame; 180 days for parts and components.


  • Does not fold
  • Hydraulic Cylinder gets very hot

Stamina Fold-to-Fit Folding Equipment Mat (84-inx36-in)

To keep the rower in place, and to protect the floor, placing an equipment mat under the rower is recommended. This mat folds to fit rowers, exercise bikes, and more.

An Equipment Mat:

  • Protects floors from scuffs, and blemishes.
  • Works with rowing machines, stationary bikes, and more.
  • Absorbs impact and eliminates vibration.

The textured, nonslip pebble surface cleans easily and folds into twelve 7-inch segments. It weighs 7 lbs.

My Verdict

The Sunny Health &Fitness; Magnetic Rowing Machine is a great machine. It is heavier than the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1205, but it folds and has transport wheels, making it portable.

I would think it is sturdier than the SF-RW1205 and well-suited to someone who wants to get a good workout. It is at a good price point compared to a gym membership.

That being said…

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 has a hydraulic cylinder, making it light-weight and portable. It should give good service to the average person who wants to add more exercise to their life. It is not made for someone training for the Olympics.

For the price, it is a great device for a beginner – and comes at a good price point compared to a gym membership.

If you learn good form and timing, a rowing machine should give you a great workout!

Disclaimer: If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. No content on this site should be substituted for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified healthcare practitioner. The information contained here is for informational purposes only. It is from my research and personal experience.

8 thoughts on “Portable Home Rowing Machine”

  1. Excellent article and tips about rowing machines! I am a huge fan of rowing, but to be honest, when winter comes I have a hard time gathering energy and strength to go to the river…. Never had I thought that a rowing machine could solve that problem. It´s really important, the tip you provide about it having wheels, cause it´s something I never thought before and totally makes sense! thanks for the tips!

    • Hi Johnny, thanks for stopping by with a comment. I can understand that it is more difficult to exercise outside when it is cold. It amazes me of all the opportunities we can take advantage of right in our own home. A rowing machine that folds does not need to take up much room in the house when we are not using it. There are so many benefits to keeping our bodies moving in the summer or the winter!

  2. I have been looking for a new piece of workout equipment to keep in my office building for some time now, and I am super glad I stumbled upon your article!

    I bought an elliptical machine to use at my desk but I have only actually used it a few times. I need something that actually pulls me away from my work for a few minutes every few hours and the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW 1205 Rowing Machine looks like the best bet.

    It looks small and lightweight so I can probably pull it outside on nice days to get a few minutes of exercise and fresh air simultaneously!

    • Hi Jerromy, thanks for stopping by with a comment. It is a fantastic idea to take exercise breaks throughout the day. If you can fit a rowing machine in your daily routine, I say “go for it!” All the best on your way to good health!

  3. I think my best choice is the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine. I can easily carry 60lbs around the house. I know it may sound like boasting, but it’s not it. I also like that its slide rail length is 48 inches. Shorter would represent a challenge for my husband.

    • Hi Ann, thanks for stopping by with a comment. The 60 lb rowing machine should not be a problem to move since it has transport wheels. The folding option also makes it convenient. Good choice for the 48″ slide rail.

      Some people don’t mind the shorter rail and opt for the lighter weight rowing machine. I think the 60 lb rowing machine would have better stability than the lighter-weight one. 

  4. I have been thinking about buying a rowing machine for my home gym for some time now and I have not made a decision yet with all the information out there. This article really helped me narrow down my options and time spent searching. I definitely like the foldable ones and am willing to pay for good quality. Thank you for this post as now I can make an educated decision!

    • Hi Logan, thanks for stopping by with a comment. The folding rowing machines are great is you need the space when you are not exercising. Rowers make a very small footprint in your home when they are folded. If you will be using it on a regular basis a I would prefer a magnetic rower compared to a hydraulic rower. When the hydraulic cylinder gets hot, it is time to stop and allow it to cool down. That is not necessary with the magnetic rower. 


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