Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5713 Rower Review

Obsidian Surge Rower Overview

Sunny Health and Fitness are known around the fitness industry as high quality and reasonably priced rowing machines for working out at home. Their Obsidian Surge Water Rower perfectly fits this description and offers users an excellent home water rowing machine for the entry-level market. The obsidian steel finish is as sleek as it is strong, with the ability to accommodate a maximum suggested user weight capacity of 300 lbs and slide rail length of 42” with an inseam of 38”. The SF-RW5713 comes equipped with a molded padded seat and non-slip, textured foot pedals to ensure both comfort and safety when rowing. This particular Sunny Health and Fitness water rower is not foldable though, so you are going to have to find some space in your house when it is not in use.

The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5713 water rower, like most rowers, has a sizable footprint that may take up more room in your home than you would expect. Measuring out at 80” L x 22” W x 34” H, users should expect to allocate a space of at least seven feet when rowing. While the solid steel frame provides stability and strength, it also means that the Obsidian Surge home water rower weighs slightly more than the average home rowing machine. Tipping the scales at 91.9 lbs with an empty water tank, the SF-RW5713 can easily weigh over 100 lbs if the tank has been filled. When the Obsidian Surge water rower ships, it will arrive in one long box that weighs approximately 116 lbs, so make sure you have some help before moving it around your house!

The SF-RW5713 home water rowing machine uses Sunny Health and Fitness’ innovative 16-fan blade resistance flywheel that allows for a dynamic response for the user along with a harmonious impact through the water. This system provides the SF-RW5713 with near-unlimited resistance levels although one drawback is that there is no manual resistance adjustment, so there is little variance in workout challenge. As with most rowing machines, the majority of the sound that is created comes from the sloshing of the water within the tank as it is propelled by the 16-fan blade resistance system. It would hardly be considered disruptive, and in fact many rowing enthusiasts prefer to row with the sound of water in the background, but in no way would the SF-RW5713 be as silent as say the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515 which is a magnetic resistance rower.

With an entry-level price level, users cannot expect to have the latest cutting edge technology of a high-end connected fitness machine. The SF-RW5713 from Sunny Health and Fitness falls into this category as the fairly basic monitor does not come with any sort of Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. The R2 Fitness Meter monitor does keep track of your distance, time, strokes per minute, and total strokes, as well as allowing compatibility for an ANT+ heart rate monitor which is sold separately. Sunny Health and Fitness does not provide any connectivity or integration with any smartphone fitness apps, nor does it even provide a media rack to place a tablet or smartphone while you workout.

As with most home water rowing machines, the Obsidian Surge from Sunny Health and Fitness is easy to assemble and actually comes more or less fully built in the box. You don’t even have to worry about attaching the water tank like you do with other home water rowers, so the SF-RW5713 is basically ready to go as soon as you unbox it. Sunny Health and Fitness does provide clear instructions and any tools that you may need, and if you lose them, the manuals are all available to download off of the Sunny Health and Fitness website. Maintenance is low key as the durable fan blades are actually built to resist rust and corrosion. All that may be required is a cleaning tablet in the water tank once in a while, and a total replacement of the water once every few months. You can purchase the Obsidian Surge water rower directly from the Sunny Health and Fitness website, or you can also easily find the machine on a third party site like Amazon. Sunny Health and Fitness will offer free shipping within the 48 continental states on orders of more than $99, although it uses economy shipping which generally takes 6-7 business days, so Amazon may be able to ship it to you faster!

The Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge water rower comes in at a very attractive price point of $469.98 on the company’s website. Sunny Health and Fitness are known for their economical fitness machines that appeal to people who wish to casually workout from the comfort of their own home. Any site you order from will accept major credit cards, but Sunny Health and Fitness also accepts methods like PayPal, although a financing option is not directly available on its site. The warranty is fine, but unspectacular, as Sunny Health and Fitness offers a 3-year warranty on the structural frame, but a paltry 180 days for the other parts and components.

Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge Rowing Machine Pros:

  • Excellent price point for a high-quality machine
  • Strong steel frame supports up to 300 lbs
  • Innovative 16-fan blade resistance system creates a dynamic rowing experience
  • Molded comfortable seat
  • Non-slip, adjustable foot pedals
  • R2 Fitness Meter with ANT+ heart rate monitor
  • Convenient transportation wheels
  • Easy to assemble
  • Ships in only one box
  • Fan blades are rust and corrosion resistant

Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge Rowing Machine Cons:

  • Not a great warranty
  • No manual resistance adjustment
  • Fairly heavy for a home rowing machine
  • Not foldable so storage may be an issue
  • Limited technology and basic monitor
  • No Bluetooth or WiFi integration or connectivity

Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge Rower Final Verdict

The bottom line for the SF-RW5713 home water rower is always going to come down to price versus functionality. Do you need a functioning home rowing machine at a reasonable price, or do you want all of the bells and whistles of a higher-end connected fitness rowing machine? If you are in the former, the Sunny Health and Fitness Obsidian Surge water rower may be perfect for you! At a very attractive price, with a highly reviewed water resistance system and a brand name that is trusted around the home fitness industry, the SF-RW5713 checks off a lot of boxes for the casual rower. If you do feel that having a water tank is more of a hassle, and creates more noise than you are used to, check out the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515 magnetic resistance rower, which actually comes in at a nice discount to the Obsidian Surge’s already reasonable price!

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny

Hi, my name is Sayed Hamed Hosseiny. I am a professional health and fitness trainer with nearly 20 years of experience using ellipticals, rowing machines, and spin bikes. I also have my own EU-based Rock Fitness Pro fitness brand where I design, import and sell exercise equipment such as rowing machines and spin bikes. I and writers on my team also often receive fitness equipment to review and evaluate their functionalities and performance from tens of different exercise machines manufacturers. Fitness equipment tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on this website are my opinion (and opinions of my fitness expert colleagues) based on tens of criteria. I never accept payment to write reviews of products or say positive things about fitness equipment products. If brands are interested to have me review their rowers, ellipticals, or spin bikes, they can get in touch with me via email provided on the contact page and send a sample of their product.