Sole SR500 Rower review
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SOLE SR500 Rower Review

The Sole SR500 Rower is the only rowing machine manufactured by SOLE Fitness.

SOLE is known for making high quality treadmills and ellipticals but have been trying break into the rowing machine market.

I feel they have been successful with the release of the SR500 Rowing Machine.

It provides excellent dual resistance technology with great build quality and comfort.

The SR500 is a rowing machine that will 100% give you a complete total-body workout. SOLE Fitness also does an excellent job of providing world class customer service which is sometimes hard to find.

The Sole SR500 Rower is an excellent high-end rowing machine but it does have its downsides. Please read the full Sole SR500 Rower review below for a complete list of pros & cons.

Sole SR500 Rower on Amazon: Check Reviews & Prices

Sole SR500 Rower on Check Reviews & Prices

Resistance Type

The Sole SR500 Rower is a dual air and magnetic resistance rowing machine.

This powerful eddy current magnetic-air system allows for “the best of both worlds” resistance.

Air resistance operates by pulling the handle and spinning the flywheel. The faster you row, the more resistance you create. This provides excellent high-end rowing resistance.

Magnetic resistance operates by moving a magnet closer or farther from the metal flywheel. As you pull the handle faster or slower you will feel the same amount of tension based on the resistance level. This provides great low-end rowing resistance.

The combination of excellent high and low end rowing resistance provides an overall great rowing stroke that is smooth and natural.

You can read more about air and magnetic resistance here to see how each operates.

There are also many other benefits of the Sole SR500 Rower resistance that I list below.

Resistance Benefits

The Sole SR500 Rowing Machine has 16 levels of adjustable resistance. As you change from level 1 up to 16, the rowing machine adds more and more magnetic resistance.

This is a great feature which allows any user to find a suitable resistance for them to achieve their desired workout. Users of any age or fitness level should have no problem finding the perfect resistance.

Sole SR500 Rower

Users can set the SR500 to higher levels and row slowly for more of a strength based workout or set it to a lower-level while rowing fast to target their cardio.

Having magnetic resistance is a great benefit for reducing noise due to a user not having to row as fast to feel greater resistance. This lowers the flywheel speed which reduces the noise caused by the air resistance. However, the noise can still be a bit high which I describe below.

Resistance “Negatives”

The SR500 Rower had a few comments about the resistance that are not exactly negatives but I felt they were worth mentioning.

Some users felt the SR500 was a bit louder than they expected and thought the noise would be closer to a magnetic-only rower.

The SR500 noise level really does depend on how fast you are rowing and the faster you row, the more noise you will hear. This is due to the air resistance flywheel creating a “whooshing” noise the faster you row.

Most users were not bothered by the noise and said they were still able to watch TV while rowing but had to turn the volume up. Some users said it was similar or even a little less noisy than the popular Concept2 models.

Another resistance issue is one that is seen on all combination air and magnetic rowers. The issue being the resistance does not closely mimic the resistance felt while rowing on water.

This is due to the magnetic resistance actually making the rowing stroke harder. For some users who like very strong resistance this can actually be seen as a positive.


The Sole SR500 Rower has excellent resistance overall and many users only had good things to say.

With 16 levels of adjustable resistance it can accommodate users of all ages and fitness levels.

Monitor/Control Panel

The Sole SR500 Rower comes equipped with a 5.5″ vibrant LCD monitor. The monitor has a lot of features and can track the following workout data:

  • Watts (power)
  • Calories
  • Meters (distance)
  • Pulse
  • Time/500m (split time)
  • SPM (strokes per minute)
  • Load (resistance level)
  • Strokes
  • Time

As you can see, the SR500 monitor has 8 different windows that tracks all of your data simultaneously!

Sole SR500 Rower Monitor

It also comes with an included heart rate chest strap to monitor your pulse and use with different workout programs.

The monitor arm can be adjusted up or down and the monitor angle can be moved for the best viewing position.

Workout Modes

The monitor includes 6 different modes to help keep you engaged and focused on reaching your target fitness goals.

Manual Mode

This mode allows you to begin rowing and control the settings as you go. You can select a target time, meters, or calories and watch the monitor count down from the target until it hits zero. You can also adjust the resistance levels during a workout.

Program Mode

Choose between 12 different preset workout programs that have varying intervals. You set the time, distance, and resistance before starting. The monitor will automatically adjust the resistance as the program progresses.

H.R.C. Mode

The heart rate control mode allows you to enter your age and have the rowing machine keep you in a chosen target heart rate zone (55%, 75%, 90% and Target). The monitor will adjust the resistance up or down to keep you in your range.

Race Mode

Set the monitor to different times and distances to race against the PC boat.

User Mode

This is very similar to manual mode but saves data for a specific user.

Recovery Mode

After a workout you can hit the recovery button and have your heart rate recorded as the monitor counts down from 60 seconds. The monitor will then grade your “heart rate recovery”.

Handlebar Monitor

The Sole SR500 also has a monitor built-in to the handlebar for easy control of resistance settings.

This is a great feature because on most magnetic rowing machines the user has to stop to adjust the resistance which can ruin the flow of the workout.

Sole SR500 handlebar monitor

On the SR500 simply press the up or down button on the handlebar to increase or decrease resistance.

When looking at the SOLE Fitness website you will see them boast about being the only company with a monitor built-in to the handlebar. While having this feature is a really nice benefit, they are not the only one.

The BodyCraft VR500 Rowing Machine also has this feature but it is a bit more expensive.

Monitor Negatives

There are a few small negatives to point out about the Sole SR500 monitor.

The first one being that it needs to be plugged into an outlet at all times. While this isn’t a major issue, it shows the resistance is controlled electronically, meaning if anything were to malfunction you would not be able to adjust resistance.

Another issue is the monitor has no PC functionality. Meaning, it cannot be plugged into a computer to analyze workout data or play games like other monitors in this price range.

The last issue to be aware of is buying a model without the handlebar monitor. The handlebar monitor is seen on 2015 models but there are still retailers selling the 2014 models. Just make sure you are buying the latest model.


The SR500 Rower monitor can track a lot of data points and most users are happy with its functionality.

It has a few nice features like the handlebar controls but it would be nice if it could have a few more advanced features like PC functionality.

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Build Quality

Sole is most know for making high quality treadmills and their rowing machine is no different.

Made with high quality materials, the SR500 has a strong, sturdy rowing stroke even when used vigorously.

The steel frame and aluminum seat rail can support a wide range of users. There are even additional supports located at the focal point for extra strength.

Sole SR500 Rowing Machine

The handle, rowing strap, and footrests are all made from quality materials and are built to withstand many years of rowing use.

Another benefit of the strong build quality is that there is virtually no maintenance to do besides wiping dust off whenever it accumulates.

Overall, the Sole SR500 Rower has great build quality with no major flaws.

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The SR500 Rower’s build quality is complimented by its excellent comfort.

Built with a taller than average seat height, users can easily get on and off the rowing machine. This is great for people with bad knees or arthritis. The seat height sits anywhere between 19.0″ and 21.0″ depending on where the seat is along the rail.

An ergonomically designed seat and textured grip handle allows for a smooth, even rowing stroke. Adjustable footrests hold users feet firmly in place and can accommodate any foot size.

Users can also adjust the monitor for the best viewing position and not have to worry about moving around to view their data.

Overall users felt the Sole SR500 Rower provided a comfortable rowing stroke that is quiet with no clinking noises or jerky movements.

Sole SR500 Rower on Amazon: Check Reviews & Prices

Sole SR500 Rower on Check Reviews & Prices


At almost 8 feet long, the Sole SR500 Rower is a rowing machine that many users want to fold up and wheel away.

The SR500 has a quick-release frame lock design so users can quickly fold the rower up after they are finished.

To fold, a user must turn and pull down the knob, fold the seat rail up, and re-tighten the knob. The process can be done in less than 15 seconds.
SR500 Storage

Users can then wheel the rower away on the built in caster wheels.

While the storage function is nice and easy, the rowing machine is still almost 82.0″ tall when folded.

I also read a few Sole SR500 Rower reviews that said they were not able to fold their rower. I contacted Sole directly to understand the issue and I was informed that every rowing machine should have no issue with folding.

The few reviews did not elaborate on the problem and said it didn’t bother them because they don’t need to fold the rower anyway. Hopefully they just didn’t read the instructions properly and didn’t bother finding a solution because it wasn’t necessary.

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Being such a large rowing machine means the capacity is able to fit almost any user.

The manufacturer’s weight capacity is listed at 515 lbs. and many users say it barely moves when they row as hard as they can.

An overextended seat rail allows users as tall as 6’8″ to row without a problem.

There are no issues for shorter users and anyone under these limitations will be fine.

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  • Assembled Dimensions:
    • 94.0″ x 18.0″ x 46.0″ (L x W x H)
  • Assembled Weight:
    • 115 lbs.

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Assembling the Sole SR500 Rower is easy as long as you make sure to read all the instructions first!

The rowing machine is heavy and comes wrapped in poly-foam supports to aid in assembly.

The poly-foam allows you to balance different pieces as you connect and screw them together.

All together assembly should take about 30 minutes and all the necessary tools are included in the packaging. Only 1 person is required for assembly.

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Pros and Cons


  • 16 levels of strong, adjustable resistance
  • Included heart rate monitor
  • Multi-function fitness monitor
  • Handlebar resistance controls
  • Excellent build quality
  • Poly-foam supports for easy assembly
  • Good warranty
  • Outstanding customer service


  • Monitor has no PC functionality
  • Monitor lacks some advanced features
  • Louder than some dual resistance rowers
  • Large overall size

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Consumer Reviews

Overall the Sole SR500 Rower reviews have been very positive and it is difficult to find people saying anything negative.

One thing that really stood out was the excellent customer service provided by SOLE. Anytime there was an issue with a rowing machine SOLE was able to fix the issue fast or send the customer a brand new rowing machine. This type of service is something that is hard to find today.

Customer reviews were hard to come by mainly because the Sole SR500 is sold in the most competitive price range with the most popular rowing machines. This high competition means Sole is fighting for every sale it can get, especially when it is priced so close to the Concept2 Model D.

You can read more SOLE SR500 Rower reviews here.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a place to review the Sole SR500 Rower on the Sole Fitness website, so we will have to rely on Amazon reviews.

Average Rating: 4.5

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  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Parts: 3-years
  • Electronics: 3-years
  • Labor: 1-year

The Sole SR500 Rower has a great warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee! (may not be available at all retailers)

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SOLE SR500 Rower Price

When looking at the price of the Sole SR500 you will see that it’s in a very competitive place. Most people looking to buy a high-end rowing machine are willing to spend up to $1,000 for a good quality rower.

I believe the SR500 can sell for between $800-$1,000 due to its great features and being backed by a reputable company.

When searching the internet for the best prices there have been some discrepancies on price. It is offered on Amazon but can sometimes be sold directly from SOLE for less. Just make sure to check both sites.

Sole SR500 Rower on Amazon: Check Reviews & Prices

Sole SR500 Rower on Check Reviews & Prices

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Overall Review

I believe the Sole SR500 Rower is an excellent rowing machine that will definitely give you a great total body workout.

It has many excellent features such as strong resistance and a monitor that will satisfy most users.

If the price is anywhere over $900 I would recommend looking at the Concept2 Model D. It is the #1 selling rowing machine that has almost a perfect 5-star review. You can see my complete Model D review here.

If the SR500 is being sold for $800 and you really can’t spend anymore, then I feel it is a good option. Most users were very happy with their purchase and have no regrets about buying one.

I hope you enjoyed my Sole SR500 Rower review! If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below.

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    1. The Sole SR500 sells for less (saving about $400) so I would probably choose the SR500 because I don’t thing the LifeCore R100 adds that much more in value.

      Your main decision will also be if you like air/magnetic resistance the best. The Concept2, which I Like the best, is only slightly more than the Sole SR500 and in my opinion is the best overall.

  1. Hi Edwin, thank you for your reviews I’ve found them very helpful but I’m stuck choosing between 2 models:

    Sole SR500 vs. Sunny Health SF-RW5508

    Both models have excellent ratings, the biggest difference is that the Sole is almost double the price. What I would like to know is why? Are there better features, etc. I was leaning towards the Sole but now I’m not sure.

    PS. Would be easy if I wanted only an air resistant rower the Concept 2 is clearly the best choice.

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thank you for the positive feedback! Glad my reviews have been helpful.

      Both models you have selected are great rowing machines but there are a lot of differences that make up the price gap. If you review each category side by side you would see the Sole SR500 has a combination air/magnetic resistance and stronger resistance overall. You can also control the resistance levels using the handle. The monitor can also track more features and is a bit more advanced than the SF-RW5508.

      I would also say the build quality it a bit better on the SR500 and has a higher weight capacity. The warranty is also longer on the SR500. If you look at where the handle enters the housing on both models, you will see it is much further in front of the feet on the SR500 than the SF-RW5508. This means your reach forward can be greater and allow for taller rowers to use the machine more comfortably and for a more complete rowing stroke.

      If you have the money I would choose the Sole SR500 over the SF-RW5508 because I think the features are just all around a bit better. I don’t think the SF-RW5508 is a bad machine by any means, it’s just you get what you pay for.

      As far as choosing between the Concept2 and the Sole SR500. That is a little more difficult of a choice. I would personally go with the Concept2 because I think it has the best/most accurate monitor and I enjoy comparing my times to other people. Also, every workout online is based on the Concept2 monitor so you can easily see how you should be doing each workout and seeing how you progress. I have never felt like the Concept2 lacked any resistance.

      With that said, the Sole SR500 would have the ability to have stronger resistance if you set the magnetic tension as high as it can go. The only benefit of this is if you like to row slowly with high resistance.

      Seeing the Sole SR500 is sold in Costco in CA, you should be able to go test one out and it should be very easy to find a Concept2 since they are in all Crossfit gyms and most other fitness centers.

      I hope this helps make your decision a little easier!

      1. Thanks again for your help. I have one more question, Costco also sells the Lifecore R100 for the same price as the Sole SR500, $1,000.00.
        What would your preference be?
        Note that my partner and I are over 60 yrs. old and will be using the machines for 4-5 days per week for a total of approx. 10 hours. We only will use it to keep fit, no competing.

        1. Hi Dan,

          That’s a tough one because usually I would recommend the Sole SR500 because it can be found for a few hundred dollars less. However, with them being the same price I would choose which model has a better monitor. Both monitors are pretty advanced but will have slightly different features. I would review the features and see which one has more features you like.

          Both will have excellent resistance and build quality and both will have a good warranty due to being purchased from Costco.

          Maybe they have some store models you can test out and make a decision based on trying both of them?

  2. Hi Edwin!

    Thank you for all your great input into these machines. I need your advice!

    I was gifted an ancient (1996 lol) Concept 2 Model C machine. I didn’t realize how hard it was to pull because I am new to rowing, but I knew something wasn’t right because it felt like pulling the front end of a monster truck at times and I could not get splits below 2:50/500. Friends who use C2 machines tried it and confirmed something was wrong. Customer support at C2 has been amazing and so far we have tried changing out the pulleys and bearing packs. All were bent. The machine has only gotten marginally better tho, so now it’s a matter of either trying a whole new flywheel and sprocket/chain or just getting a new model. I don’t really want to keep throwing money at this older machine and kind of just want to go ahead and get a Model D but we are looking at months of wait time because of the Coronavirus impact. I’ve been reading up a lot on this Sole SR500 model that is available much sooner. I’m just concerned that with it being magnetic there is more of a chance of something mechanical breaking down (I had a bad experience with a Nordictrack bike that we dragged up 4 flights of stairs and put together only to discover it had a defective eddy current motor and the part wasnt going to be available for 6 months! They refunded my money quickly but we still had to drag the machine back down 4 flights of stairs again lol.)

    Do you believe the Sole Fitness rower would be a solid investment and a relatively worry-free choice? Or do you think I should wait until the C2 becomes available later this summer? I intend to use the machine 4-6 times a week. I also use free wights and a spin bike, so I intend to put it thru its paces. I figured the Sole rower might also be a bit quieter and able to be used a little later in the day for when I go back to a regular commuting work schedule and may have to wait until early evening to use it.

    I appreciate your input and whatever guidance you can give!



    1. Hi Stacy – thank you for reaching out! I think the Sole SR500 is the best air/magnetic option that is priced close to the Cocnept2. I don’t think you will run into any quality issues as it’s very well built.

      You can also look into the Xebex Air Rower or the Endurance R300 Rower. They are very similar to the Concept2 and may be in stock.

  3. Thanks for the review. Hard to find too many reviews online of this machine. I ordered one that will be delivered on Thursday. I got tired of waiting months for the concept2, and also seeing the online gouging by 3rd party sellers. I have seen a little online hate for Sole as a company that made me nervous about my purchase. You have given me peace. My wife and I are getting back into shape. I hope the machine helps us get there.

    1. Hi Godrey – thanks for reaching out and glad you enjoyed the review! I’d love to hear your feedback after you’ve had the chance to use it.

      I hope you enjoy your new rower!

      1. The rower arrived yesterday morning. It took me about 45 minutes to set it up. Instructions are straightforward and they provide all the hardware you need. I am impressed with this machine. It is bigger than pictures really show. And the seat is comfortable. And the height makes for easy on and off. My wife is new to rowing machines and she loves it. We look forward to using it tonight.

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