Last updated: August 9th 2016
The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower is a rowing machine from Stamina and it made it to one of our top picks of the best rowing machine for this year. The Stamina 1215 has adjustable resistance levels, a single-button screen that displays feedback, and a compact form factor. The resistance machinery consists of smooth hydraulic cylinders. The center beam is made of precision extruded aluminum. The seat is padded, and the seat’s movement system is a ball bearing assembly. The foot plates pivot with the user’s motions. The user can add incline to the machine for extra impact throughout the workout. The 1215 rower is 48 inches long, 32.5 inches wide, and 27.75 inches tall, and weighs 47 pounds, with a shipping weight of 54.8 pounds. It comes with a 5 year warranty on the frame and 90 days for the parts. The 1215 has a user weight limit of 250 pounds.
- 6 different kinds of feedback that can be displayed on the fly
- Foldable rowing arms for easy storage
- Full range of motion that mimics real rowing on the open water
- Small size lets it fit easily into a house for home use
- Padded seat and handgrip for comfort, promoting longer workouts
The Stamina 1215 is a good introductory row machine, and is particularly well-suited to customers with limited space for workout equipment. The machine is small enough to fit into an apartment or basement easily. Its comfortable seat and handgrips are excellent for prolonged sessions. Rowing is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise because it works all the major muscle groups without the impact of running. So having a machine that retails for $400, much less than a treadmill or elliptical machine, is a great option. Furthermore, the 1215 has some basic feedback features that ease new users into the basics of rowing. Time, distance, speed, and stroke count are all important to track when using a row machine, and the 1215 has a calories burned counter as well.
Some advanced machines tend to complicate the workout with exotic motions, but this rower does a good job at sticking close to the actual movements of rowing as it is done in rowing sports. This optimizes the user’s payoff in terms of cardio and muscular benefits. The incline and resistance controls are useful for customizing the machine to each user’s fitness needs, from basic to advanced. In addition, the Stamina 1215 has a reliable build quality that lets the machine keep functioning for years, if properly maintained and used in accordance with the manual. The rowing motion is smooth, natural, and a close approximation of true rowing. The machine should work properly for most heights.
The 1215 does require some assembly when it first arrives. A few users on the short side (5 foot 3 inches and below) report problems with getting the machine’s draw length to work for them. In addition, it is a fairly bare-bones machine. It has a basic display with, again, basic feedback mechanisms. There is no ability to program the machine for a certain workout, define user profiles, track goals and progress, or link the rower to a computer or device. It’s about as simple as a workout machine can get. On top of that, some users have complained that the machine’s rollers stopped working fairly soon and needed to be replaced. The fact that the 1215 is an entry level machine is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness, because it is not hard to find a rower machine that can do much more than the Stamina 1215 for anyone willing to spend more money.
Overall, the 1215 is a decent buy for someone looking to get a rowing machine, but not willing to commit to an expensive one. The size of the rower makes it easy to place in the house, and also makes assembly and moving easier. There are no data features for goals and performance tracking, but entering that kind of data manually into a computer’s spreadsheet software is always possible. The fact that this orbital rower normally sells for $400 and is currently on sale for $267 makes it easy to justify it as an experimental purchase. At that price, anyone who really likes the experience of rowing and wants a more involved machine can upgrade to a higher end model for more money without having lost anything by trying out the 1215 first.
The two groups that the 1215 orbital rower suits best are new users and people with a premium on space. In both cases, the 1215 does a workmanlike job for a great price. It is certainly a better buy than a home treadmill or elliptical machine- those can be replaced by simply going outside and jogging, but it isn’t easy to replicate the motion of rowing. That’s what makes a cheap rowing machine a good investment for home workouts, especially if the user doesn’t need or want advanced tracking features or data exchange.