Concept 2 Model D now known as the RowErg
Home » Concept2 RowErg Model D Review

Concept2 RowErg Model D Review

Welcome to my Concept 2 RowErg review.

It’s one of the all-time great rowers and the one I currently own and use (I own the Model D which was a previous iteration).

It’s the industry standard rower and thus the go-to model for indoor rowing enthusiasts since Concept2 makes the machines you’ll find in rowing clubs, gyms, CrossFit studios, and indoor rowing competitions.

So you know, effective 2021, the Model D was renamed “RowErg” and the Model E was named, “RowErg with Tall Legs”. All info in this review applies to the RowErg and Model D.

In short, the Concept2 RowErg is the best all-around commercial-grade rower made for home use. All versions offer the same high-tech monitor, provide the same workout, and will last a lifetime.

While made for use at home, the RowErg is a piece of commercial-grade fitness equipment, meaning it’s equal to gym equipment in being able to endure continuous use. So, it’ll provide a lifetime of great workouts and maintain a great resale value should you choose to sell it later.

Finding a deal that includes shipping will save the most money. You can check for the best prices here.

In this review, we’ll go over the benefits of the RowERG indoor rowing machine, what it lacks compared to more expensive models, and how it compares to other rowers in the same price range.

Quick Note: Concept2 RowErg vs Model D

One common question is, “What is the difference between Concept2 RowErg and Model D?”

The Concept 2 RowErg is the Model D with standard legs and a 14-inch seat height. Before 2021, the Model D and E were available, with seat heights of 14″ and 20″, respectively. Hence, the Model E is now called the ‘RowErg with Tall Legs’.

(I think Model E was catchier, but they didn’t ask me, haha).

So, instead of marketing the Model D and E as two different rower models, the base model RowErg has two leg height options. (So you know, the leg height has nothing to do with the user’s height).

Other small differences did exist between the D and E but they were cancelled out upon being merged into the RowErg.

Also, while the Concept 2 Model D/E came in black or tan, the RowErg comes in black or matte.

The odd-looking Dynamic RowErg is a highly-specialized machine meant for on-water rowers.

So, the Model D and RowErg are the same and, of course, provide the same great full-body workout.

Concept2 RowErg Rower Review

Rowing Resistance Type

Concept2 Damper Settings
Adjustable Damper Setting (0-10) of my Concept2 Model D

The RowErg like the Model D rower is classified as an air-resistance rower.

Air resistance functions by pulling a handle that spins a fan flywheel. As the flywheel spins, it must displace the air in front of it, which causes the resistance.

The faster you spin the flywheel, the more air the fan must displace, and the more resistance you will feel.

In other words, your resistance level is determined by how hard you row! The faster/harder you row, the more resistance you will feel.

This is how water resistance operates, but is different from magnetic and hydraulic-piston rowers. Hence, why air rowers more accurately simulate rowing on water.

You can check out my full breakdown of resistance types here to learn more about each type.

You can also read my air vs. magnetic resistance article for a more detailed description of how the air resistance mechanism works.

Air resistance rowers provide a smooth overall resistance and are the preferred resistance type among rowing athletes.

For example, Olympic rowing teams have long used the Concept2 Model D and E for their off-water training because of how closely the machines mimic rowing on water–and how accurately their monitors track data.

If that’s not a great endorsement for a rowing machine, I don’t know what is!

Resistance Benefits

The RowErg air resistance provides a rowing motion that is very similar to rowing on the water without lag throughout the rowing stroke.

Meaning, you will feel smooth, even resistance from the start of the stroke all the way to the finish!

As mentioned above, the resistance level is determined by your rowing intensity. The faster you row, the more intensity you feel.

This automatic resistance adjustment is known as ‘variable’ resistance.

It’s not like a treadmill where you set it to level 5 and you have to keep running at that speed until you change the setting. Unlike a magnetic indoor rowing machine where you set the resistance to level 5, you feel the same resistance no matter how fast you row.

The Concept2 RowErg resistance allows you to row at your own intensity/pace and the resistance will adjust accordingly.

This ‘variable’ resistance is perfect for HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercises because you can row fast or slow and the resistance adjusts to your speed without you having to stop and change any settings. This is why you see Concept2 rowing machines in every Crossfit style gym.

Another great benefit of the RowErg resistance is that minimal maintenance is needed and how easy it is to fix if there is a problem.

Damper Settings

So, since the Concept2 Row Erg operates via ‘variable’ resistance, maximum resistance is achieved with max rowing speed. But, users can still adjust the “feel” of the stroke with the adjustable damper setting.

Higher damper settings let more air into the flywheel housing which (1) makes it more difficult to spin the flywheel against the air and (2) slows the flywheel down on the recovery, making it harder to accelerate on the next stroke.

Lower damper settings allow less air to enter the flywheel housing, making the flywheel easier to spin.

Concept2 Model D Damper

Users can change the damper settings from level 1 to 10 (as seen above) The numbers don’t represent different resistance levels, they represent the amount of air going into the flywheel, which affects the “feel” of the stroke.

Like gears on a bicycle, the different “gears” will give you a different feel when you’re rowing. The higher settings (6-10) give you the feeling of a slower, heavier boat, whereas the lower settings (1-5) give you the feeling of a sleeker, faster boat.

It really depends on your preference and it’s easy to figure out once you experiment with the different settings.

There are many YouTube videos and articles online that can explain this in more detail once you have your Concept2 Rower.

Resistance Negatives

Like the Concept2 Model D rower (and all air rowers), the RowErg noise level is a bit loud for some users.

You will hear a ‘whooshing’ noise every time you row, which is just the wind created inside the flywheel and the accompanying chain noise. You can listen to me row on my Concept2 Rower with and without a TV on.

Most users just listen to music or turn the TV volume up to drown out the noise. The Concept2 noise level should not be loud enough to disturb anyone in your house unless you are in an apartment rowing at odd hours.

Bottom Line

The resistance on the Concept2 RowErg is one of the best on the market. It provides smooth, strong, variable resistance and has the ability to adjust a damper setting.

Seeing it is the chosen rowing machine by Olympic athletes, who can say anything bad about it?

As long as you have the space requirement and can handle the Concept2 noise level, you will love the resistance provided by the RowErg rowing machine.

Here is a great video that shows the Concept2 RowErg in action (actually a Model E but they are virtually identical and have the same resistance flywheel):

(Back to Top)

Concept2 RowErg PM5 Monitor

Concept2 Model D PM5 Monitor

The Concept2 RowErg comes standard with a PM5 (which stands for “Performance Monitor 5”) monitor which is the poster child for rowing machine monitors.

It’s really hard to believe that a fitness company made this mini-computer. It’s simple to use but is loaded with options.

Out of all the features of this rower, users rave about this one the most!

Fitness Data Tracking

The Concept2 Row Erg PM5 monitor is advertised as a ‘training partner’ and they aren’t joking!

It tracks distance, 500m split (speed), time, strokes per minute (stroke rate), calories burned, watts, and so much more. It can also calculate the averages of all these metrics.

You have plenty of options when it comes to your workout preferences:

  • Immediately start rowing (as soon as the flywheel starts spinning the monitor will power up and provide data)
  • Select one of five preset workouts
  • Customize your own total body workout routine
  • Play a game and receive a brief rowing lesson with animation showing you the proper technique.

The display is big and the data is easy to read, whether you’re at the starting (catch) or finish position. It’s also backlit so you can see the data in low-light settings.

Concept2 Model D PM5 Size

The Concept2 PM5 monitor shows you everything you need to know while rowing.

The top section provides the total time, stroke rate (strokes per minute), distance rowed, and 500m split time.

You can choose from five different graphic displays for the bottom section:

  • All Data (shows additional data).
  • Force Curve shows a graph for how force varies between your legs, back, and arms during the driving motion of your row (it basically tells you if your stroke is smooth or not).
  • Paceboat that shows a graphic display of your boat against a pre-programmed boat; you can also set a previous workout of yours as the paceboat so you can race against yourself (compete with your performance from a previous session). You can also race online with other C2 users.
  • Bar Chart provides a graphic display in a bar chart format of the total watts of power generated during each phase of the workout.
  • Large Print shows data with larger font.
  • Click here to see the full breakdown on the Concept2 website.

Heart Rate Monitoring

In addition to the multiple display options, if you have a compatible chest strap and a heart rate attachment (around $50), your heart rate will be displayed on the monitor with the rest of your workout data!

The PM5 supports ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart for wireless heart rate monitoring. However, Concept does point out that “Bluetooth Smart” is a different technology than “Bluetooth”.

From what I could gather, they are technically the same thing. “Bluetooth” is a protocol used in more powerful technology with an enhanced data rate. “Bluetooth Smart” is used in devices for recording smaller, specific data like heart rate and blood-glucose meters.

Just make sure your heart rate monitor is Bluetooth Smart compatible!

Concept2 Model D PM5 Heart Rate Monitor

Tracking your heart rate gives you additional benefits like the ability to stay in target heart rate zones while exercising.

The PM5 monitor has programs that display a bar graph of your heart rate every 10 seconds while rowing and also stores heart rate data before and after workouts.

USB Drive & PC Connection

Another cool feature of the PM5 is the USB Drive. The USB Drive lets you save and store records of your workout data.

This comes in handy if you use more than one Concept2 RowErg rowing machine because the drive will allow you to record your workouts on different machines.

For management and further data analysis, you can transfer the data from your USB to Concept2’s online logbook called ‘Concept2 Utility’.

On top of uploading your data, other third-party programs are available that do even more while your Concept2 RowErg is connected to your PC.

One particular program shows a graphical representation of what you look like rowing in a rowboat at the same rhythm and speed you’re currently rowing on the rowing machine.

There are so many different 3rd party features for the Concept2 PM5 monitor – this section barely scratches the surface. You can find a ton of information on the Concept2 website.

Additional Features

The PM5 Monitor looks and feels durable. The buttons feel like really tough rubber that can take a lot of abuse and even the lettering on the buttons look like they won’t fade away.

It is attached to an adjustable monitor arm so you can move it up or down. It automatically turns on when you start to row and is powered by 2D batteries.

One additional bonus is the Concept2 RowErg comes with a power-generation feature that provides power to the monitor while you’re rowing, which helps preserve battery life.

PM5 Monitor Bottom Line

Overall, the Concept2 RowErg PM5 is an outstanding monitor that doesn’t receive any complaints. It is the best monitor on the market and it has an incredible amount of features.

If you are a data nut and love tracking progress, this is the rowing machine for you!

Here is a quick video that highlights some of the main features:

Build Quality/Durability

Post author riding Concept2 outside in the winter
Me on my Concept2 Model D roughing the elements.

The Concept 2 is more than a reliable rower. Though mostly used for indoor training, this machine can take some wear and tear and can hold its own outdoors as you can see from the image.

Like the Model D, the Concept 2 RowErg is a commercial-grade quality machine that uses an aluminum I-beam monorail, a durable stainless steel track, and a near-maintenance-free nickel-plated steel chain (a nickel-plated chain resists both wear and corrosion).

So, it’s built to withstand the punishment of constant use at gyms and Crossfit centers.

While the Concept 2 Model D came in black or tan, the RowErg is available in black or matte.

Anyway, don’t worry about it breaking on you any time soon, no matter how hard you try to beat it up!

Nothing on the machine feels cheap (there are no cheap plastic parts). The base has steel rear legs, aluminum front legs, and an aluminum monorail with a stainless-steel seat track.

Multiple users of varying strength levels have used this rower regularly for over 10 years and have mentioned it still performs like it did when they first bought the unit.

This speaks volumes about the Concept2 RowErg’s durability and longevity. You will get stronger as you use it, so it’s important the machine is strong enough to handle the increase in workload it will receive.

Based on its design, you will hear common noises such as the rolling of the seat, the pulling of the handle, and the fan. However, you will not hear any creaking and other annoying noises most commonly found on cheaper rowing machines.

Concept2 RowErg Noise Level

I know I mentioned this earlier but this is such an important issue to some users that I wanted to highlight it again.

The noise level of the Concept2 RowErg is what you would expect from any air-resistance rower.

The harder you row, the louder the fan gets. However, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

A good number of users actually like it when the noise is “loud” because it’s a sign they’re working out hard and it’s motivating!

You can read my noise level article here to actually hear me rowing my RowErg with the TV on & off.

Just know that 99.9% of users have no issue with the noise level on the Concept2 RowErg.


What good is an exercise machine built tough enough to withstand millions of meters of abuse but doesn’t make for a comfortable workout?

Luckily, you won’t have to worry about that issue.

Rowing Stroke

The motion when rowing with this machine is smooth and provides an experience similar to rowing on water. That’s one of the main reasons professional rowers use it.

The seat glides effortlessly on the monorail and the chain that pulls the flywheel doesn’t snag. This leads to a smooth catch, drive, finish, and recovery motion.

The only maintenance needed to ensure your machine maintains its performance is to keep the chain lubricated and clean the monorail periodically.

These actions are extremely easy to do and there are instructions in the RowErg manual to walk you through the process.

Comfortable Seat

The seat on the RowErg is contoured and padded, making it comfortable for most users.

However, depending on your weight and the average length of your workout, you may need to make some minor adjustments.

I’ve heard from super active users over the years how the seat gets harder over time. So expect some tweaking with your seat a few years down the road.

A few users fold a towel and place it over the seat for extra cushioning. Others have mentioned a removable seat pad has worked really well for them.

I wrote an article that highlights some of the best Concept2 seat pads here.

Handle Provides a Natural Grip

The handle is ergonomically designed and is covered with molded rubber grips. As far as the actual design of the handle (whether pulling the handle hurts the wrist, etc.), I’ve yet to hear a complaint.

The manufacturer states that new rowers could expect to get a few blisters on their hands during the first few weeks of use.

This is due to the handle being molded of rubber, which allows for a more efficient rowing stroke.

To help with the issue, I recommend wearing gloves to make the handle feel softer in your hands. See what gloves are the best in my rowing glove breakdown article.

I don’t think the handle is too hard, but if you aren’t used to gripping things on a regular basis you will have to give your hands a few weeks to adjust.

Adjustable Footrest

The machine comes with adjustable footrests that are flexible with a unique design that allows the rower to get their “shins vertical” even if they don’t have flexible ankles.

You won’t encounter any issues with your feet slipping out while rowing either!

One user even commented that he believes the heel rests were made for barefoot rowers because it feels so comfortable when he rows without shoes!

Whether you row barefoot or with shoes, the footrests appear to be comfortable for either preference.


The RowErg Rowing Machine folds for easy storage. So while it has a large footprint when in use, the size is basically cut in half when folded.

To save floor space, all you have to do is separate the monorail and the flywheel portion of the rower. Then rest the flywheel portion of the rower on its “head” and make the monorail section “stand up”.

Concept2 Model D Storage

It’s extremely easy to do and I’m honestly surprised that something so durable and big can be put away in a matter of seconds!

Users commented the process could take between 10-20 seconds to pull apart and another 10-20 seconds to put back together.

One user says when in “storage mode” the rower is equivalent to half the size of a standard refrigerator.

Stored Dimensions (L x W x H): 25.0″ x 33.0″ x 54.0″

You can also store the Concept2 RowErg rower upright if you have a tall enough ceiling. Many gyms (commercial and garage gyms) store their Concepts Rowers this way because it is fast and saves a ton of space.

Concept2 Model D Upright Storage

The Concept2 Rower has two caster wheels on the front end of the unit. Since the rower weighs less than 60 pounds it’s not that difficult to move around if needed.

The Concept2 storage feature is an excellent benefit, especially for a rower with this size footprint.

(Back to Top)


Per the instruction manual, the weight capacity for the unit is 500 pounds.

Many users well over 300 pounds have used this rowing machine with no problem and still felt the rower was strong and sturdy.

Some rowing machines are not fit for shorter users, so I decided to give Concept2 a call to make sure there were no height limitations.

Each representative I spoke to said they never heard of any size restrictions for shorter people and mentioned they know children who use the machines regularly.

For taller users, it’s difficult to determine what “too tall” would be for the rower because the key issue is leg inseam length and not overall height.

According to Concept2, the monorail length is 54.0″ (137cm) and can fit an inseam length of up to 38.0″.

A few users that are 6’8″ and 6’9″ were able to use the machine with no issues and claim they had a couple of inches to spare on the monorail.

In addition, to further ease your concerns (if there are any), Concept2 offers an add-on that extends the monorail by another 5.0″ for an additional cost of ~$250.

So unless you’re literally 9.0′ tall, this rower will work just fine!

(Back to Top)

Concept2 RowErg Dimensions

  • In-Use (L x W x H):
    • 96.0″ x 24.0″ x 14.0″
    • 244cm x 61cm x 36cm
  • Seat Height:
    • 14.0″
  • Stored Dimensions (L x W x H):
    • 25.0″ x 33.0″ x 54.0″
  • Machine Weight:
    • 57 Pounds [26 kg]
  • Space Recommended for Use (L x W):
    • 9.0′ x 4.0′

Just remember the Concept2 rower length is 96.0″ but you will need extra room for when you lean backward during your stroke (unless you are short!).

The Concept2 dimensions are fairly large so just make sure you have adequate room to row comfortably!

(Back to Top)


The Concept2 RowErg is easy to assemble and only requires eight screws and washers. Everything can be put together with the included wrench.

Not one user mentioned they had a difficult time assembling the Concept2 Row Erg Even people with no prior assembling experience were able to put this rower together!

The instructions are extremely easy to follow and most users are able to put the rowing machine together in 10-25 minutes.

When I got my Concept2 Rower I couldn’t believe how fast I put it together. I actually went over every step twice because I thought I was missing something.

Don’t believe me!?

Watch this video and see a man put together the rower in under 3 minutes. You can bookmark this page to refer back to after you receive your rower.

(Back to Top)

Pros and Cons


  • The Concept2 RowErg is made by one of the most respected brands in the rowing industry.
  • It’s solidly built for commercial use and requires a minimal amount of maintenance to keep it running smoothly for years.
  • Its reputation for being a solid rowing machine allows it to hold its value very well. You can resell it on Craigslist for only a small percentage less than the list price.
  • The rowing motion is very fluid and fits almost any user size.
  • The included PM5 monitor is one of the best workout monitors on the market!
  • It’s easy to assemble and takes seconds to store away.
  • Concept2 has a dedicated online community. Easy to find workout tutorials and instructions.
  • Its popularity allows for easy finding of spare parts and service companies.
  • The manufacturer provides a great warranty.
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee (see warranty for full details)
  • Best overall rowing machine on the market.


  • The unit is approximately 8 feet long so a lot of space is required to use this rower.
  • The seat can be uncomfortable for some people and it gets harder after years of use.
  • The handle can be a little rough on the hands.
  • The fan can be too noisy for some people. It will get louder the harder/faster your row.

(Back to Top)

Concept2 RowErg Warranty

  • Frame: 5-Year Limited Warranty
  • All parts : 2-Year Limited Warranty
    • Warranty is transferable to new the owner if you choose to sell or give away your rower.
    • The effective start date is the date of purchase.
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
    • Unsatisfied customers can simply pay to ship it back and their money will be refunded.
    • Double-check with the retailer that this option is available.
    • Concept2 states, “This offer applies to factory direct sales to our customers in US and Canada only.”

(Back to Top)

Concept2 RowErg Price

The price for the Concept2 RowErg rower with PM5 monitor is around $1300 for the machine. This would be the total price if shipping were included. If shipping is extra, you’ll pay around $1500 (or more) in total.

This is why I recommend going with a major retailer since they often offer free shipping.

So, the price equals that of the previous Concept2 Model D indoor rowing machine with PM5 performance monitor. If you choose the “RowErg with Tall Legs”, the price is around $1500 for the machine which is about what the Model E went for.

So, the price is about on par with other commercial-grade exercise equipment.

Earlier, I talked about (in great detail) how durable the rower is and how it will last you a lifetime. Adding to that, Concept2 Rowers have an extremely high resale value so if you decide to sell in a few years, you will have no problem recouping a good chunk of your original investment.

(Back to Top)

Concept 2 RowErg Model D Review – Final Thoughts

Now you know what all the hype is about. The Concept2 RowErg and its predecessor the Model D rower, offer an effective workout for people of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels.

Beginner and hardcore rowers have used this machine for over a decade and it’s still going strong!

The bottom lineI highly recommend this indoor rower!

The Concept2 RowErg will last you a lifetime, it has the best performance monitor, an extremely high resale value, and gives you a superb full-body workout!

I hope you enjoyed my Concept2 RowErg review! If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below.

(Back to Top)


  1. This rowing machine has been a GODSEND for me! I bought it over 6 years ago AND IT STILL functions like it’s brand new. The one thing people harp on about this machine is its noise but it isn’t bad at all. I can watch television with the volume turned up just a tad above “normal” while rowing. Plus I really like the air that blows when I’m working out, it cools me down! This is the best rowing machine I’ve ever used bar none. Really good review and you hit the nail on the head with many points. Keep up the good work and hail the Concept2 Model D!

    1. Landon,

      Thanks – I appreciate the complement! The Model D is a wonderful rower; it provides the best bang for your buck and it’s tough as nails (as you can tell since you have had it for 6 years without a hitch). The noise does not bother me at all and after a while you don’t even notice it. I actually like when it gets louder when I row with more intensity because when the noise level drops, it tells me I need to pick the pace back up!!! One of my favorite features is the PM3 monitor, I absolutely love racing against myself from previous workouts. Thanks for stopping by, Landon!

  2. I have over five million meters on my Model D in just about sixteen months. This machine has contributed to my improved health. As far as noise is concerned, I use inexpensive wireless headphones. This is an optimal solution, as my wife watches television in the next room with no interruption. The Model D is an amazing machine. My goal with it is to row forty million meters, the approximate circumference of the Earth.

    1. Hi Steve,

      That is an ASTONISHING accomplishment and you were able to row > five million meters in ONLY sixteen months?

      WOW!!! Thank you for sharing that with the community. You’re a “beast” (I mean that in a very good way, of course).

      Good tip on the wireless headphones to discourage noise on the rower and I agree, the Model D is an amazing rowing machine.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience with the Model D and at the rate you’re going, you will have no problem hitting that forty million meter mark in the near future!

  3. Thanks for your kind words, my wife was impressed! As I age, I am now fifty four years of age, I seek sustainable exercise. Rowing is best for this, and I know from experience that no rower is as good as Concept 2. As for my goal, I hope to finish before my sixty fifth birthday.

  4. Like all machines when new are reliable, but after a number of years use something will inevitably require replacing e.g. The main power cord! There was no mention in this spec sheet as to the expected availability of spare parts ( that do wear out) being accessible. This is critical to me when making decisions on purchasing products.
    Please advise

    1. Hi Glyn,

      In addition to personally knowing a lot of people that have owned a Model D for several years, I have read a ton and spoken to several other owners online and they never have issues with finding replacement parts. To be honest, they rarely replace anything other than the seats, handles; parts that are very easy to replace. The Model D is bulletproof – it will outlast you to be honest, buy it with confidence!

      Thanks fors stopping Glyn! Edwin

  5. My husband is wanting to get a rowing machine and we were told that you can connect the Concept2 machines to a laptop while you are rowing and row live against someone else. Is this true? Nothing is mentioned in the reviews. This is the main thing he is wanting from whatever rower he gets. Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Yes, the Concept2’s fitness monitor allows you to race other Concept2 owners in the same area via a wired connection or ‘wireless’ online. The newest fitness monitor (fitness monitors come with all Concept2 devices) for the Concept2’s is a PM5 (that’s the model number) and here’s an article taken directly from the Concept2’s website that explains how racing other Concept2 owners works:

      Here’s a link to the Concept2 Model D with PM5 on Amazon:

      Here’s a link to the Concept2 Model E with PM5 on Amazon:

      The main difference between the Model D and Model E is the seat height – the Model E has a higher seat height which caters to people with a bad back or other injuries that make it difficult to sit (it has the same seat height as a standard chair). If your husband doesn't have any issues with his back, I would go for the Model D – it's a few hundred dollars cheaper and it's just as solid as the Model E.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer. Let me know if you have any other questions. Edwin

      1. Do you have to have the PM5 to get online and if you have the PM3 can you upgrade it to the PM5?

        Thank you

        1. Hi Jennifer,

          Sorry for the late response! I have sent you an email with the information you requested.

          I hope this helps and don’t hesitate to ask me anything else.


  6. Hi
    I am in a wheelchair and have recently been in rehab at Stoke Mandeville rehab unit. We all used the Concept rower they had there by removing the seat and beam unit and rowing from the wheelchair. Can you confirm if the rower head can be used independent from the beam?


    1. Mark,

      Most rowers that are able to disconnect the beam from the rower head can be used from a wheelchair. It would be best to avoid the hydraulic piston rowers and stick with the air or magnetic. The concept rowers are known to be a favorite for adaptive rowing and even have a page on their site about it ( The Concept2 Model E and D would be best and I’m not sure if the Dynamic would work due to the flywheel being located next to the rower.

      If you are concerned about price, two good options would be the LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 or the Stamina Air Rower

      If you send me more of the specifics of what you are looking for I can recommend a machine that can be used from a wheelchair.

      Best of luck and thanks for checking in!


  7. Good review. My question is: what about the noise my downstairs neighbors might hear? I live in a condo and have a “picky” neighbor right under me. How will the Concept2 do?

    1. Hi Patrick,

      Thanks for the compliment! This question has come up a few times on forums and people have been able to significantly reduce the noise of the machine using rubber mats. A 1″ interlocking mat like this would help reduce noise- Interlocking Mats. A TV can easily be heard over the flywheel noise so I’m assuming if your neighbor can’t hear your TV they won’t be able to hear the rower.

      If you don’t have very thin floors then I wouldn’t be concerned. I know the Concept2 is very hard to pass up but if you feel they are going to complain, then have a looked into magnetic or water rowers? If not check out my section on Comparing Rowing Machines

      Thanks for checking in and let me know if you need anything else or more help on deciding!


      1. Thanks for the rapid response! I am leaning to a Water Rower because it is so quiet. A local store in Charleston has one on the floor. With a pad my neighbors should never hear a thing! I’ve even managed to get my wife to agree to it. I hope to have it delivered tomorrow. Thanks for the knowledge!

        1. Awesome Patrick! Glad I could help and let me know how the pad works out so I have even more proof that it eliminates noise.

          Happy rowing!


  8. Every gym I have used in my home town in the UK has these rowers or the model C. Your review justifies the experience I have had using both models. I will be buying a model D to save on travel time to and from the gym.

    1. Dirk,

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed and agreed with my reviews of the Concept2 Models. I try to have the most in-depth, honest reviews on the internet. Whenever I meet people who say they don’t have the time or money to go to a gym I tell them a rowing machine will solve both problems!

      Good luck on your new rower and thanks for the comment!

  9. In my continuing pursuit of 40 miliion meters, yesterday I surpassed the 14 million meter mark. I started in April of 2012, and my Concept 2 Model D works and looks as if new.The machine has required only monthly upkeep. I give it 3 drops of oil and clean it.

    1. Steve,

      Glad to hear you are still continuing your voyage of 40 million meters (the circumference of the earth at the equator!!). I wish you the best of luck to complete it by your time goal :) .

      As for everyone else reading this, I hope this serves as a testament for how well a Concept2 Model D is built. After 14 million meters Steve has had no issues and has done almost no maintenance!

      Steve, you are a true warrior and thanks for the inspiration!!


  10. Excellent review !!! I want to buy a used Concept 2 rower. There is one advertised locally which is owned by a Gym and has done 4000kms. It is PM3 model D.I want to know if 4000 kms is too much use or is it acceptable. I want to buy it for my personal use only. Also what do you think is a fair price for this? Will 33% ie 1/3rd of the current model PM5 be a fair price to pay for this? I
    have no experience at all of buying fitness equipment and therefore have absolutely no idea about how much should I pay. Please advise.

    1. Hi!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the review! The Concept2 Rowers will last extremely long time so I wouldn’t worry about lifetime meters. Just make sure it was properly maintained and everything is working.

      I would go lower than 1/3. The Rower is fairly old and has an old monitor. What is the current price of the listed rower?

      Go there with $300-$400 (USD) cash and see if you can get them to bite on a very low offer. It’s a negotiation so start low and feel them out.

      I wouldn’t pay more than $500 (USD) for a Concept2 PM3.

  11. Great review Edwin! One question I have: If my wife and I both use the same rower (Concept 2D PM5), how easy is it to keep track of our workouts separately? What do we have to do to “switch” from one rower to a different person?


    1. Hi Jeff,

      It’s super easy! Just have a USB flash drive for each user and insert it into the monitor when you are using. This will prompt the new user screen and you can save all your workouts and data on the flash drive. You can buy a flash drive for about $5.

      Good luck!

  12. I have an old C model Concept 2 but the monitor is missing. The PM2 did everything I needed it to and I’m not interested in all the bells and whistles of the PM5, esp. at $185. I can’t even find a used PM2 so am I out of luck? I found a Xebex 2.0 monitor for $95 that looks like it does everything I need but I’m wondering if it will work an a Concept 2?

    1. I’m not sure if a Xebex monitor will work on a C2 or how to even determine if it will work without actually trying it. I would keep search for used C2 monitors. It’s the only way you can guarantee it will work properly.

  13. I know the concept2 from my former crossfit box and it worked very well for me. As I moved to another city, where no crossfit box is available I want to build a garage gym in my house. I consider to buy the concept2 rowing machine (the price is just at my upper limit), but for space reasons (and because I am only 170 cm tall) I am looking for a smaller model which is very close to the concept2 regarding other specs. Do you have a recommendation for me? The model should be available in germany.

    I also thought about buying a rower with induction (eddy current) type resistance (if I understand it correctly this would give me a speed dependent resistance just like in the case of an air rower but much quieter). However I never tried such a rower up to now.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      It would be hard to find a comparable rower to the Concept2 that cost less. Some options are the Xebex Rower or the Stamina X (low cost and not very similar to the C2). I’m also not sure if they are available in Germany.

      I have an article about air vs magnetic rowers here.

      They are very different resistance types and magnetic rowers would not be “variable” resistance like an air rower. The resistance is only adjustable by setting the level and not how fast you row.

      1. Thanks for your response. The price might be the same (as I said it’s just my upper limit). The point is, if there is a shorter alternative out there.

        1. Hi Sarah,

          I am not familiar with any of the German brands. This is an air/magnetic rower though, so the resistance will feel a bit different.

          I think your best bet would be to try some out in person to make sure you like the feel of the rower. My concern is that many people who are familiar with the C2 and then use another resistance type or lower cost model, end up not liking their purchase because the rowing stroke does not feel the same.

  14. Thank you for your review. So very helpful. My husband and I want to purchase one piece of equipment for our home. We are debating between a treadmill and a rower. I love the rower and I believe that I can get my husband to switch from a TM to a rower. He is 6’4” and I am 5’4”. We are in our 60s. With aging and being that this is a lifetime purchase, do you recommend a model D or a model E. We have plenty of room for the rower. Thank you.

    1. Hi Anne,

      I would 100% recommend the rowing machine over a treadmill ;) but of course that’s a biased opinion.

      The major difference between the Model D and E is going to be the seat height. If you feel you may have difficulties getting on and off the rower, then I recommend the Model E.

      I have a full comparison of the Model D & E Rowers here.

      That should give you enough info to choose between the two.

  15. Though it has taken longer than I thought it might, I am halfway to 40 million meters finally. I cannot lament the amount of time delay, for my life is in a far better place than it has been. With respect to C2 rowing things have taken a turn for the better also. You see, in addition to the machine I already own, I will soon be living in a 55+ community that has two Model D. So, the next twenty million meters ought to go even smoother. I cannot wait to get started on the next twenty million meters!

  16. I am about to buy my first rower. I have looked at and tried water, air, and combo-magnetic rowers (including C2 Model D).

    So far, my order of preference by type is Combo-magnetic, water, air. The combo and water just seemed to give a more consistent resistance.

    The main reason I didn’t like air only rowers I tried was because of the weird, inconsistent pull resistance. This happened on *every* air-only rower I tried, including the C2D:

    I get on the machine, strap in, and then extend my legs for the first pull. Feels great! Then I slide forward to restart. I then begin the next pull, and it feels like MUSH! Almost no resistance at all. Slide forward, repeat. Then the third pull gets more resistance, etc, etc. Some pulls full resistance, some middle, some virtually none.

    It seemed like the only way I could get consistent pull resistance was to pause for a 3 or 4 seconds after I slide forward before I started the next pull. I had to give the paddle wheel time to slow down before I started the next pull.

    I found the unpredictable resistance to be very distracting and unpleasant.

    Was I using the machine incorrectly?

    What do I need to do to get consistent pull resistance on an air-only rower?

    Feedback appreciated.

    1. Hi David,

      I would say you must have been using the machine incorrectly. Air rower, specifically the Concept2 Rowers, are the most common rowing machines seen in training facilities for Olympic rowers, collegiate rowers, and Crossfit. There is no way they would make the Concept2 their go-to rower if there was that big of a lag in the stroke. I also use a Concept2 and don’t notice that big of a lag.

      Here is a video of the World’s Strongest Man using a Concept2 and there is not a 3-4 second delay in resistance:

      I would check out some other Concept2 technique videos on Youtube as well, but if you don’t like air resistance then as you mentioned, water and combination rowers are great as well!

  17. I’ve been using a water rower at my trainers. I’ve been searching for one for my house. I ordered my model D from Amazon today. It arrives Friday. I read your review and discussed it with my trainer. I look forward to using it for many years.

  18. Thanks for your reviews and insights! I’m a complete beginner, and the information is incredibly helpful in selecting a rowing machine.

    It seems clear from your reviews that the Concept2 machines are the gold standard in terms of quality and durability. For someone who’s just starting out and not willing to invest $1K though, would you recommend a new non-Concept2 machine (such as the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515), or an older used Concept2 Model C?

    1. Hi Aria,

      I would first read my comparison article of air vs magnetic rowers by clicking here. The SF-RW5515 is a magnetic rower and the Concept2 is an air rower.

      It would really depend on the cost of the Model C. If the used Model C was going to cost $300-$400, then I would probably choose the Stamina Air Rower 1399, Stamina X Air Rower, or Sunny Health SF-RW5515 if you want magnetic.

      The Stamina X is a great model if you are looking to save some money and test out whether you want to invest in a higher cost rowing machine down the road.

  19. Now well past half way on my Imaginary Voyage of indoor rowing, my C2 still performs as if new. I have more than seven years of using this machine and it shows no sign of faltering. My goal is unchanged, 40 million meters rowed by my 65th Birthday, one imaginary voyage around the Equator.

  20. Thanks for a great discussion, along with the other one comparing air and magnetic resistance. I have been shopping and learning and comparing for a couple of days, and got thoroughly confused. Now, I THINK, I get it. And I am going to buy the Concept 2 comfortable in my own mind that, although it is not the least expensive, it is the right way to go.
    I really appreciate the thoughtfulness, completeness, and support of our articles.

    1. Hi Bob – thank you for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed my articles.

      I’m 100% confident that you will love the Concept2!

  21. I am pleased to report that well past halfway on my indoor rowing voyage, my 2012 Model D still looks and functions as if new. Used daily, this machine has never required parts replacement. In these times of Social Distancing the ability to row at home but be connected to the Concept 2 online community is even more valuable.

  22. Thanks, Edwin for the comprehensive review. It seems to be a much better deal than the NordicTrack RW200, which is what I was considering. (It’s unfortunate that they’re back-ordered at the moment, but am willing to wait). I’m looking to lose the little belly fat I have remaining and hopefully build a bit more muscle mass in the process. My question is about using the PM5. Can you create and save custom workouts on the monitor, rather than have to set it up each time? The online pdf manual doesn’t seem to be detailed enough to answer my question.

    Again, thank you!


      1. Hi Edwin-

        Appreciate the reply. I was looking to see if a user-defined interval workout could be saved for future use and after reviewing the link you provided, apparently it can as a “Favorite”.

        Thank you again for your help!

  23. Hi Edwin,

    Great reviews on your website. I’m a beginner and want to invest in a rower for home (like so many others right now). Was looking at the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus (which Costco sells in Canada and it just came back in stock) but as I did more research it’s pretty obvious that the Concept 2 is a real winner. It costs about 3x the Fitness Reality here and it’s not even available right now. Price is not an issue, so wondering if you would advise holding out for the Concept 2 (I am on the wait list and was told approx. September) or grabbing the Fitness Reality. As a beginner am I getting ahead of myself with the Concept 2 or is it a good investment in any case? I don’t want to be in a position in a year or two where I regret not springing for the Concept 2.

    Thank you for your insight!

    1. Hi Jenny- thanks for reaching out! The Concept2 is definitely a much better rower than the Fitness Reality so if you are planning to make rowing a part of your daily routine it is definitely worth the wait. The only issue is they have been sold out for a while so I’m not sure how accurate their “in-stock” date is but if you are on a waitlist then maybe it’s fairly accurate. I would personally wait if I could get one in September.

      The other option is to buy the Fitness Reality Rower from Costco and if you feel like a higher quality rower would suit you better then you could always return it.

  24. Hi Edwin,

    Firstly great article, very informative. I have rowed from time to time in various gyms. I have set up a home gym now for long term use and the rowing machine is the only cardio machine I really want to add to it. The concept2 d, is a great rower and its perfect for what I want, if they ever come back into stock mind.

    1. With the space requirement of 9ft, I might have to have it near a wall(the fan part). Would this be a big issue?
    2. With this rower being around for the best part of 20 years, what are the main improvements, it seems its the monitors and connectivity that are the main changes over the years, while the rower itself is the same as it always was?

    1. Hi John – thanks for reaching out!

      1) I don’t see any issues with this. It brings in air from the sides so it will be fine.
      2) The monitor has improved the most and is a lot more accurate – with a few additional features. The components are also a bit better which has significantly reduced the noise. Older C2s where much louder and the rowing stroke didn’t feel as smooth.

      Hope that helps answer your questions!

      1. Thanks Edwin, appreciate the help and answers. Def will be picking one up if I can source it, but everywhere is sold out.


  25. Hi Edwin

    I just bought a Concept2 (Thanks to your reviews). I was looking for an erg since August and added myself on waitlist just like that, and luckily it was available to order. I have used ergs at gym for quick cardio sessions. Now, I would like to learn some technical aspects and use it for workout. Do you know or recommend someone who can give feedback on my form if I send a video ? I know this is a slightly off-topic, but I don’t know where else to start asking questions.


    1. Hey Harry – great to hear you got a rower! I would start looking up some technique videos on YouTube and start asking there. That would be my best guess on where to look for some coaching

  26. As we approach the last 80 or so days of this Concept 2 rowing season, and I am well past half way in my ongoing quest to reach 40 million meters, I have several observations about my 2012 model D. It still looks and performs as if new. What is truly remarkable about this machine is how versatile it is. My career has had a revival and I work more now than in previous years. Still, 7000 meters per workout and both exercise and stress reduction needs are met. This is quite beneficial in these times, the C2 is just an amazing rowing machine. Still, this many years later, now parts failures to report.

  27. My wife and son are kind of convinced that they need that “Peleton” like experience. With the classes and the measuring against others that Peleton offers. It feels like the C2 is the end all be all for rock solid performance that lasts forever. And we can easily find one locally for $700 or so.

    My son stayed with some friends for a couple of months, and it was the only time he was motivated to jump on the machine daily with the Peleton. Given that worked for him, is there something equivalent with the C2 or is there a machine like the Hydrow Row or Nordic Track ones that you might recommend?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Marcos – there are a lot of 3rd party apps that work with the Concept2 so that might be your best option if you don’t want the NordicTrack or Hydrow machines. There’s a company called CityRow that has an app similar to Hydrow and NordicTrack that can sync with the PM5 monitor. Check out my review of it here.

      I also have an article about different rowing machine apps. There are new apps coming out every day as well!

      There isn’t going to be a rower similar to the C2 that has a built-in app so I understand it’s a tough decision! At the end of the day, the best rower is going to be the one that gets used the most!

  28. Hard to believe, but my 2012 Model D will soon be 10 years old. As I progress on my indoor rowing voyage of 40 million meters, I am amazed at just how durable this machine truly is. It works and looks as if new. I must wonder if in the remaining distance of this voyage, if I will ever give it anything more than routine care? Amazing!

  29. Hi Edwin,
    Great review on the Concept2; and just about coming up to my first year’s anniversary of owning one, thought I would throw in a couple of comments!
    1. As just about every says – rock solid machine – it just goes on and on!
    2. When I started, I couldn’t row 1,500m before stopping, now I do 15Km without thinking about it.. It is just so good for your fitness
    3. The seat could be better. Over 40 minutes and I certainly get a “numb bum”. Tried a seat cushion and it does help, but is not perfect. After rowing a couple of half marathons, I have found that you just have to grin and bear it for the last 30 minutes or so.
    4. The Concept2 online Logbook is brilliant. Looking at how others are doing around the world is such a great way to keep yourself motivated.
    5. The Bluetooth sync to your phone is brilliant, such an easy way to upload your sessions and gives you the chance to display other factors when you are rowing – or maybe I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to content? Even better – you don’t need to use a USB stick – the sessions can be uploaded straight away.
    Not sure why you don’t recommend this as an option, it is soo cool!
    6. The Concept2 challenges online are also a great way to keep motivated – check them out. They are regular throughout the year – again a real plus in my book.

    I hope this offers some benefit to newbie rowers.


  30. Ten years on, my 2012 Model D still performs and looks as if new. Still in daily use, it is the anchor of my fitness. I am still working to complete my goal of rowing 40,000,000 meters, the circumference of Earth at the Equator. So, now it is known as RowErg, and I believe is no longer available in light brown. No matter, the machine and I just keep on keeping on. Oh, the only part I have replaced was the PM3. My wife upgraded me to PM5 several years ago. I will update as my voyage continues, but I am inclined to believe this machine will outlive me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *