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Stamina 1215 Orbital with Free Motion Arms Review

Quick Take

For the most part we avoid hydraulic rowers, as these machines are inherently substandard when compared to rowers using air or water resistance, however in some cases (especially when space and cost savings are a consideration) they can be a worthwhile consideration. Stamina is one of our go-to brands when it comes to affordable rowing options, and the Stamina 1215 Orbital rower is their best and most affordable entry into the hydraulic rower category.


We talk a lot about bells and whistles when it comes to rowing machines; be warned that this rower has none of those. You can adjust resistance by adjusting the hydraulic cylinder, and by adjusting the angle/slant of the rowing track. It’s an incredibly compact and quiet machine, best suited for those sharing compact quarters or living in a studio apartment. Beyond that, the school of thought is to spend a bit more and get a whole lot more machine for the money.



Incline Control
Quiet Resistance


Hydraulic Resistance
Cheap Handle
Not For All Heights

Our Review

For people with limited exercise space, the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower with Free Motion Arms provides a low-cost fitness solution. This small and foldable $229.99 rowing machine works the whole body for strength training and cardiovascular exercise. It is sized best for adults of average heights; people who are especially tall or short find this machine less comfortable. Unlike virtually all other rowers, the Stamina Orbital 1215 lets you customize the exercise challenge two ways: by adjusting resistance on the hydraulic cylinder, and by adjusting the incline of the aluminum beam.


Workout data are shown on a simple one-button monitor. It can show speed, distance, time, row count, miles rowed and calories burned. Other features of the Stamina 1215 Orbital are a padded seat and pivoting foot plates. The entire fitness machine is just 4 feet long and the oar-like arms can be folded inward for storage. Despite its dimensions, this rower is best for people of average heights; it isn’t sized comfortably for people with a shorter arms, and it is too small for tall riders.


Here are some pros and cons to consider.



  • Incline Control: Incline control is rarely found on rowing machines. By adjusting the tilt of the Orbital’s seat rail, you can increase resistance and further boost your metabolism.
  • Quiet Resistance: The 1215 Orbital Rower uses quiet hydraulic resistance. Using this machine, you can hear TV at the usual volume and won’t disturb others in your home.
  • Data Monitor: Stamina’s 1215 Orbital computer monitor provides readouts for speed, distance, time, row count, calories burned and miles rowed.
  • Padded Seat: This rower has a thickly padded seat to support low-impact exercise.
  • Strong Beam: The seat rail is made from aluminum. It has a five year warranty.
  • Compact Size: This rower is about half as long as others, and it weighs just 55 pounds. The arms can be folded inward for compact storage.
  • Price: At less than $250, at the very least it’s affordable.


  • Assembly: Assembling this rower takes a long time although the instructions are straightforward. Expect to spend about 90 minutes.
  • Hydraulic Resistance: Hydraulic resistance is the cheapest type available. The pistons on the 1215 Orbital Rower are prone to giving out, and they are only under warranty for 90 days. Some general problems with hydraulic resistance are that the hydraulic fluid can overheat and spill out, and it can become thick and sluggish with cold temperatures.
  • Cheap Handle: The handle is made from plastic and can easily be broken. Most rowing machines get more durable material such as aluminum for their handles.
  • Plastic Rollers: The seat glides on plastic rollers. For better durability, other rowing machines get sealed metal ball bearings.
  • Unreliable Monitor: In customer reviews of the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower, people have reported that their data monitors are inaccurate or don’t work at all because a wire comes loose.
  • Not for All Heights: Although the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower is small, its dimensions are awkward for shorter people because the handlebar length is too long. It also isn’t big enough for taller people… So consider this machine best for adults of medium height.
  • Warranty: Stamina Products gives short warranties with all their rowers. The Stamina 1215 Orbital gets five years of frame protection but only 90 days of coverage for parts.

Our Conclusion

The Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower is sized for average-height adults and meant for occasional use. It is targeted to shoppers who have limited space and don’t want to spend much. You’ll be taking a gamble if you choose this machine; some buyers are happy, but the product has substandard components. We’ve given higher ratings to other compact rowing machines by Stamina that cost the same or less

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower weigh?
A: The Stamina 1215 Orbital with Free Motion Arms weighs 52 lbs.
Q: What are the folded dimensions of the Stamina 1215 Orbital Rower?
A: The folded dimensions of the Stamina 1215 Orbital rowing machine are 48" x 32.5" x 10".

Rating: 50%

Resistance Type


Dimensions (inches)

48" L x 32.5" W x 27.75" H



Maximum User Weight Capacity

250 lbs

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