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Sole Fitness Review

Friday, March 1st

2024 Rowing Machine Reviews

Sole Fitness Review 1 Star Rating

Sole Fitness

1 Star Rating
  • Rower Type: Air & Magnetic
  • Price Range: $1,599
  • Different Models: 1
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, 1 year labor, 2 years parts
  • Shipping: Fre

Originally designed for use in hotels, Sole Fitness cardio machines are now sold worldwide. The company claims to be dedicated to providing strong and reliable equipment at reasonable prices, and to prioritize integrity in their business practices. They say they strive to improve the quality of their equipment without increasing the cost. This review will be short and sweet, because Sole Fitness only has one rower in their product line.

Nothing special

The Sole SR550 is a combination air and water resistance rower with a 10.1 inch touchscreen, a handlebar with resistance controls, and built-in fitness programs. (Note: in the product description, the brand claims that their rower is the only rower with handlebar controls, but we found at least one other model from a different brand with this feature.) When not in use, the SR550 can be folded up and stored away. Like most newer models of rowing machines, it is Bluetooth-compatible and has fitness tracking features. For $1,599, we aren't particularly impressed with this rower's offerings.

Poor reputation

At the time of our last review, we expressed concern about Sole Fitness's "C+" rating with the Better Business Bureau. Unfortunately, their rating has since dropped further to an "F". Unhappy customers complain about poor customer service and lack of response from Sole Fitness when dealing with issues with their equipment. They also express frustration with the company not honoring their warranty, even in cases where the damage to the equipment was not due to any fault of the customer.

Typical warranty

The default warranty that comes with your rower is Lifetime for the frame, 1 year for labor, and 2 years for all other parts. The Lifetime frame warranty is nice, but we don't entirely trust Sole Fitness to honor it based on common customer complaints.

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Shipping (should be) free

Upon visiting the Sole Fitness website, you will be greeted with a pop-up offering free curbside shipping. To take advantage of this offer, you have to enter your email address first. Your Sole Fitness package will be shipped within 2-4 business days and delivered within 10-14 business days. A tracking number will be emailed to you once the item has been shipped. They do ship to Alaska and Hawaii, but you'll have to contact Customer Service for a quote on the cost.

Great return policy, but there are trust issues

Sole Fitness offers a satisfaction guarantee on all products with a 30-day return policy. All equipment has a lifetime guarantee on frames and motors, and multi-year warranties on parts and labor. Open box returns are accepted with no cost for return shipping and no restocking fee - one of the best return policies we've seen. That is, if you can get a customer service representative to process the return within the 30-day window: complaints on their Better Business Bureau listing reveal some customers have been given the runaround about their defective Sole Fitness purchases, only to be told in the end that the return timeframe has passed.

Better options elsewhere

Sole Fitness' rowing machine doesn't win us over for several reasons. While their return policy is commendable, they don't have a great track record when it comes to honoring it. A better response to complaints about defective machinery would also be necessary for them to climb higher in our rankings. The limited variety of rowers is also a drawback. If the SR500 is your top pick, then sure, go for it. However, we believe that most buyers would appreciate a broader selection of rowing machines before finalizing their choice.

Where Can You Find the Best Rowing Machines?

Rowing machines, or "rowers," have swiftly sailed into the mainstream fitness world, gaining traction as a one-stop solution for a comprehensive workout. They're not just about the sport of rowing anymore; they're about sculpting your body, boosting your cardio, and getting fit in a fun way. Rowing machines provide an all-in-one workout, working the legs, back, arms, and core.

So it should come as no surprise that rowing machines have become so popular. With rowing, you can elevate your heart rate and improve endurance without stepping outside. What's more, rowing is gentle on your knees and joints, thanks to the smooth motion and the seated position. The resistance can be adjusted to tailor the session - amp up the intensity for a challenge or keep it light and steady.

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Rowing Machine FAQ

There are four basic types, all classified by the type of resistance they provide. The rowers you may have seen at your local gym, CrossFit box or Orangetheory studio probably used flywheel or water resistance. Other rowing machines use magnetic or piston/cylinder resistance mechanisms.
Absolutely! Rowing machines use up to 85% of your body, from the effort it takes to push backwards to the core strength needed to go back and forth and, of course, all of the upper body in the pull. Like any new exercise routine, you may find there's a learning curve to developing proper form, but it's one of the best low-impact workouts you can get.
Yes! There are many workouts designed for all levels of fitness, including yours. You can also find communities that share rowing challenges -even worldwide! This is especially true if you use a Concept2 rower, which is considered as the "gold standard" when entering competitive times for races and recruiting.
Sometimes, depending on the model you select and how many features it offers. You'll see rowers ranging from under $300 to over $2500. You might be able to get low-interest financing from the retailer of the rowing machine you select.
Most styles will have a certain minimum floor space when in use: you're pushing yourself back and forth along a track, so think about how long your legs extend from a bent position to a fully-extended one. However, if space is an issue, there are rowing machines that can be folded up when not in use (usually by placing the track in a vertical position).
Most retailers of Rowing Machines offer a return period of at least 30 days. But, keep in mind that you're usually going to be on the hook for return shipping fees, which can get expensive.
Some rowers are delivered for free. Don't be surprised to see shipping costs upwards of $130, though: rowing machines are oversized and heavy.
Generally speaking, you'll be the one setting up your rower. A few retailers might be able to connect you with a local professional who can do it for you, but you might want to try it yourself first. These machines are typically straightforward to get up and rowing.
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Continued from above...

What are the different styles of rowing machines? Rowers come equipped with a variety of resistance types, each offering a distinct rowing experience. Each type caters to different preferences in terms of workout dynamics, noise levels, and maintenance needs.

  • Air (flywheel) resistance uses a spinning fan, and the intensity grows as you row harder, although it can be a tad noisy.
  • Magnetic resistance, on the other hand, employs magnets, allowing for a quieter, smoother row where resistance is manually adjusted and stays consistent regardless of how fast you row.
  • Machines with pistons or hydraulic cylinders create resistance through air or fluid-filled components, making them more compact and often more affordable, but they might not mimic the traditional rowing feel as closely.
  • Finally, water resistance models, featuring paddles moving through a water tank, will give you an experience closest to actual rowing, including the calming sound of water, but they're typically heavier due to the water component.

Are you seeking the ideal rowing machine for your personal gym space? Here's what you should consider as you shop:

  • Budget. Rower prices span a broad spectrum. While the high-end models (exceeding $2,500) boast state-of-the-art features, you can snag a reliable machine for under $300. No need to splurge to ensure a solid workout session.
  • Features. Think about what you really want in a rower. Is space-saving important? Do you want the ability to join real-time classes, akin to Peloton? Or maybe the aesthetic matters, with the machine's look needing to mesh with your existing gym equipment?
  • Return policy and warranty. Be future-ready. If your chosen rower isn't the right fit for your space or if you end up wanting a different resistance type, can you send it back? Beware of potential hidden costs like restocking or return shipping charges. Moreover, get clarity on the warranty - what's covered, from the frame to electronics?
  • Company credibility. Dig into user feedback. What's the buzz about the brand? Will they step up if challenges arise during shipment, setup, or regular use? Given that a rowing machine isn't a trivial expense, you want to ensure you're placing your trust in the right hands.

If you're looking for a comprehensive breakdown of the top machines on the market, Top Consumer Reviews is the right place to be. We hope these ranked reviews will help steer you toward a rowing machine that aligns with your fitness aspirations!

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