Concept 2 Rowing Machine Review

Concept 2 Rowing Machine – Best rowing machine in the market!

The Concept 2 Rowing Machine is recognized as the best rowing machine available. This article will review them machine and give you information to help you decide if its for you or not.

TGR Rating:

Manufacturer Description

The dependable performance of our Model D RowErg has made it the best selling indoor rower in the world. Recognized by competitive rowers as the standard for indoor training, the Model D delivers an effective cardiovascular workout that will increase your fitness level and tone your physique. At a fraction of the cost of other home fitness equipment or a yearly gym membership, you can have the luxury of working out in your home whenever you choose…and get a great workout to boot.

We value practical design: our Model D is efficiently engineered and will last a lifetime. The Model D you buy is the same machine used by Olympic- and elite-level athletes to train for their sport—it’ll take the abuse of heavy training day after day. If you’re looking for a solid piece of exercise equipment at a great value, the Model D is the perfect choice.

Concept 2 Details

Overall Length96 in (244 cm)
Width24 in (61 cm)
Seat Height14 in (36 cm)
Monorail Length54 in (137 cm)
Users with an inseam of 38 inches (96.5 cm) or more may require an extra-long monorail. Contact Concept2 for more information.
Chain or CordNickel-plated steel chain
Chain/Cord HousingPartially enclosed
Power RequirementTakes two D cell batteries. During your workout, the monitor draws power from the spinning flywheel to extend battery life.
Maximum User Weight500 lb (227 kg) as tested by Concept2.*
*300 lb (135 kg) as tested per European Stationary Fitness Equipment Testing Standard EN 20957-7.
ConstructionAluminum front legs, steel rear legs
Monitor ArmABS plastic. Pivots for storage and to adjust monitor height. Monitor angle can also be adjusted.
FinishPowder coat
Color SchemeLight gray or black
StorageCan be separated into two parts for easy storage
Space RecommendationsAssembled: 8 ft x 2 ft (244 cm x 61 cm)
With Clearance for Use: 9 ft x 4 ft (274 cm x 122 cm)
For Storage: 25 in x 33 in x 54 in (63.5 cm x 83.8 cm x 137.2 cm)
Machine Weight57 lb (26 kg)
Shipping DimensionsOne box:
15 in x 21.5 in x 56 in
(38 cm x 55 cm x 142 cm)
Shipping Weight70 lb (32 kg)


CONCEPT 2 Rowing Machine Review

Concept2 is the original creator of the rowing ergometer (or rowing machine). Over the years, there has different Concept2  indoor rowers that have hit the market such as Model E and the Dynamic. This review will focus only on the Concept2 Model D indoor rower. Concept2 Model D is the most popular and affordable model which runs about $900.

My rational for purchasing an indoor rowing machine was looking for a machine that would allow me to build strength and endurance without having to put additional stress on my joints. An indoor rowing machine was the perfect choice due to its low impact activity. There are plenty of cardiovascular benefits since you’ll be performing aerobic exercises. I’ll explain further on why I think the Concept 2 Rowing Machine is the Best Rowing Machine in the market today.

Included with Purchase of the Concept2 Model D

  • Model D User manual
  • Performance Monitor Quick Start Guide
  • Tools and illustrated assembly instructions

Why Concept2?

After weeks of researching on the different types of Indoor rowers, I settled with the Concept2 brand since it was highly regarded by professionals and found it more appealing having used both Concept2 and the rowing machine with the “water flywheel” at a local gym. The main reason people consider a rowing machine with a “water flywheel” is to simulate the feel of real life rowing. To me they both felt very similar, giving the “water flywheel” a slight edge since it’s actually moving water (in the container). This however was not enough for me and the Concept2 has many great features.


Concept2 Indoor Rower came in a big box and was very easy to assemble. It took me about 20 minutes to assemble the legs with the eight screws.

The instruction manuals was also very easy to follow.

Instruction Manuals

Model D Reboxing Instructions (serial# 072206 to present)
Model D Reboxing Instructions (serial# 071403 to 072106)




Concept2 Model D comes in light gray (the same as the Model E and Dynamic Indoor Rower) or black. It has a very appealing look for any gym.

The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower has a 14” (35.6 cm) seat height, which is a low profile machine. This gives you the feel of sitting on a rowing boat.

There’s one thing to keep in mind is that it’s very long and requires enough space to keep one. It’s recommended that there is at least 9 feet in length and 4 feet wide available.  This will be the bare minimum and give adequate space to operate the rowing machine properly.



The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower is a very solid equipment is powder coated and the legs are aluminium. It’s not too heavy and easy to maneuver for storage. The craftsmanship is  engineered very well. Since owning it for a few years now, it has taken some beatings from my various users and to no surprise, it operates as it does the very first day.

A few notable makeup of the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine:

  • The nickle plated chain, which requires minimal oiling is heavy duty. It allows for pulling your body back and forth smoothly. Having owned this machine for 5 years and constant use, I have not need to oil it yet. It’s partially enclosed; the chain is exposed while extended, but goes into a dedicated compartment out of sight.
  • Durable construction, I cannot tell you how many times my kids including myself have snapped the handle back banging into the machine.  I have yet to see a scratch, these things are built tough! I have seen them at local gyms and hotel gyms as well. This alone should give you the assurance of the quality the Concept2 Model D was built on.


Operation & Performance


Olympic rowing teams uses the Concept2 Model D or E for their off-water training. This is a testament to how realistic the Concept2 Models are to mimicking the resistance felt in the water.

Seat & Glide

The operation is very smooth. The hard plastic wheel beneath the seats allow you to glide back and forth seamlessly. You’re able to get a full workout in under 10 minutes for those who are in a time crunch.  I have never had to re-oil the wheels beneath the seat and it still operates as normal. While there’s no padding on the seats, I had never had issue and has been comfortable enough to sustain up to 90 minutes of rowing with no complaints. However, for those who may be interested, there are seat padding available in the market today.


The handle is attached to the chain and is made of hard plastic, with an ergonomic design, featuring a 10° curve, which results in a more natural grip. This reduces some of the stress on your wrists and forearms when rowing. I personally have used rowing gloves to row for extra comfort.

Foot Rest

Best rowing machine foot pedals.

The Concept2 Model D’s  footrests with it’s strap can be adjusted at many angles allowing the rower to find their perfect fit.  With the footrest width and length, it’s long enough to accommodate any foot size.

Flywheel and Damper

The Concept2 Model D’s Flywheel and Damper is very responsive allowing you to be in total control of your exertion and resistance at all times. This allows you to manage your workout much more effectively. You can easily adjust how much air is drawn into the cage on each stroke. The lever on the damper ranges from 1 to 10. This is not to be mistaken with resistance level, which is controlled by you when pulling the bar!


Other Cool Features


Performance Monitor (PM5)

Concept 2 rowing machine includes the PM5.

The Concept2 Model D’s PM5 has been designed to capture all of your exercise activities. It has rubber buttons making it comfortable to work with and is a digital screen.

The Concept2 Model D’s PM5 allows for  you to easily track progress and compare data based on your performance. It also includes pace, watts, stroke (spm) and calories. With the internal memory or optional USB flash drive, you can continue or perform a previous exercise. The PM uses power from 2 D-cell batteries or  whenever it is not being powered by the flywheel.

There are a few presets for your routine work outs and my personal favorite is the Pace boat. This is a graphic display of your boat against a pre-programmed boat which can either be set to a previous workout of yours so you can race against yourself.

With the Concept2 Model D’s PM5, there’s Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity. You are able to connect to many heart rate belts, fitness devices and apps such as the Concept2 ErgData  which helps you track your workouts and can sync with the Concept2 Online Logbook. Other 3rd party apps are also available for download.

Flywheel & Damper

Concept 2 rowing machine's flywheel.

The Concept2 is an air resistance rower which relies on how much air is drawn into the damper and the resistance applied to each pull.  With the response coming from the Flywheel & Damper, this closely replicate rowing on water. This also means the faster you row, the higher the resistance.


Concept 2 rowing machine can be folded up easily.

The Concept2 Model D features a quick-release (no tools required!) framelock mechanism. This will allow you to easily separate the machine into two pieces for storage and the caster wheels on the front foot allow you to roll the fully-assembled machine into position.


Comparable with other water based indoor rower?

I’ve had two exposures to other indoor rowing machines at local hotel gyms when traveling. I honestly would say the Concept2 models has an advantage. The other machines did not respond as well as the Concept2 machines. While they were quality machines, I just knew the Concept2 is the best rowing machine for me.

Warranty & Customer Service


I have been fortunate enough to not have to reach out to their Customer Service team. However, I would imagine they are awesome since there’s so many people using their machines today.

As of July 2019,  Concept2 are backing up their products with a limited 2 year warranty, and 5 year warranty.

Full warranty Information can be found here.

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Concept2 will give back your money within 30 days of shipment of your Indoor Rower you are not satisfied with it.  To learn more, visit their site for more information.

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Final Thoughts on the Concept 2 Rowing Machine (Best Rowing Machine)


I love the Concept 2 Rowing Machine since it provides an overall body workout without impacting your joints the way running or biking does and you’re able to achieve the results you want.

The Concept2 Model D has been utilized for many different workouts such as back and arm days and it’s perfect for HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercises. You can row at the pace you want and the resistance adjusts to your speed without having to stop and change any settings. If you haven’t noticed already, many local gyms especially in CrossFit,  you’ll see a few  Concept2 rowing machines setup.

For the price, its quality and the community support is worth it.

As an avid gym equipment owner, this is one of the few equipment that I would want to keep around if I had to downsize. It’s also one of the few equipment I would give a near perfect 5 star rating for. You can’t go wrong with selecting a Concept2 Rowing Machine.



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