Many people ask me to compare the Xebex vs. Concept2 rowing machines. “Are they the same?”, “Which is better?”, “Which one should I buy?”
I own the Concep2 Model D (now called the RowErg), but have had a lot of experience with Xebex rowers at gyms and when training clients.
In the past, I didn’t think the Xebex vs. Concept2 comparison was a hard choice, with the C2 being a clear winner. But do the new Xebex improvements change my mind.
I’ve liked the newer Xebex models much better the times I’ve used them and have received a lot of positive feedback from clients and readers. However, my opinion hasn’t changed much given some of the factors discussed in this article.
For those in a rush:
In comparing the Concept2 vs the Xebex rowers, the Concept2 is the better choice. For example, the Concept2 offers more options for tracking data, Bluetooth, and a backlit monitor. Xebex only offers these features with their premium models (Smart Connect) which cancels out the savings.
If the Xebex were significantly less expensive, it would be a great option. But since you have to pay for shipping (typically $300), you usually end up paying about the same.
This varies I’m sure, and if you can catch one of the Xebex models at a steep discount, it might be worth picking one up.
I realized there are certain cases where one is a better fit for a person than the other. There is no cut-and-dry, “This one is best!”
Also, just in case you weren’t aware, Concept2 has two models of rowing machines: the Concept2 Model D and Concept2 Model E. Get RX’d has three models: the Xebex 2.0, Xebex Smart Connect, and Xebex 3.0.
The Model D and Model E have some small differences like price, seat height, and monitor arm. I have a link to my comparison at the end of this article.
The Xebex Rowers also have some small differences like monitor functionality and seat design.
Below I will go through each category, like I do in every review, and compare some of the similarities and differences of the Xebex vs. Concept2.
Due to there being SO many similarities, I will focus more on the differences that should be used when making a decision between the two.
To get an even better understanding of the differences, I would read the full reviews that are linked in the final section.
When comparing the resistance of the Xebex Rowers and Concept2 Rowers, it is easy to see they are both air resistance rowing machines.
It is so easy to see because they both use the exact same fan flywheel!
Originally I thought Concept2 had a patent on their flywheel, which is why there hasn’t been a close competitor in regard to performance and price.
However, when looking at diagrams and analyzing overall performance, you can see they are the same.
Both use “variable” resistance that gets stronger the faster you row. “Variable” air resistance is the chosen resistance type among Olympic rowers and professional athletes.
The Xebex and Concept2 also both include a damper setting. The settings (1-10) control the amount of air that is allowed to enter the flywheel while rowing.
This creates a heavier or lighter feeling of rowing but does not technically change the resistance.
Due to the resistances being the same, I will not go into much detail about them. If you want a more detailed description on the “resistance” of either rower, I suggest reading the full reviews that are linked below.
The monitor functionality is one of the main topics of discussion when comparing the Xebex vs. Concept2.
This is due to the Concept2 having the most powerful monitor on the market – the PM5. Most people compare it to a mini-computer because it can calculate so many data points and can connect to other devices.
On the other hand, the Xebex monitor used to be a lot more basic but they have added upgrades. They currently have 3 different monitors (the main differentiator between the 3 rowers).
There are so many features on the Concept2 PM5 and Xebex monitors that it would take a while to explain them all. However, I will highlight some of the main features included/not included below.
Concept2 PM5 vs. Xebex Monitor
When Get RX’d first came out with the Xebex Rower its monitor completely lagged behind the PM5.
The Xebex Rower monitor didn’t have a force curve, no watts graph, couldn’t connect to PC/Apps, no pace boat feature, and lacked a few other features.
Then – they got into a bit of muddy water with Crossfit. It turns out that Crossfit banned using any Xebex Rower in the Crossfit games due to the Xebex Rower giving better (easier) times to athletes. Essentially – it was easier/faster to row 500m on a Xebex than a Concept2.
This forced Xebex to upgrade their monitor, add some new features, and ensure the metrics were recording properly/accurately.
The Xebex Rowers now have most of the features of the PM5 but they don’t offer every feature on each model. Below is a quick breakdown of their differences:
Xebex 2.0: This is the base monitor with all the great features of force curve, watts, games, etc. The downsides are it’s not backlit and can’t connect to 3rd party apps (no Bluetooth)
Smart Connect: The Xebex Smart Connect has all the features of the Xebex 2.0 but it can also connect to 3rd party apps (has Bluetooth).
Xebex 3.0: This monitor is the same as the 2.0 but includes a backlight! However, it does not support 3rd party apps (no Bluetooth).
The cool thing about the PM5 is that it tracks all the metrics, supports 3rd party apps, and has a backlight. If you practice Crossfit, the PM5 is also the only monitor you can use to submit workout times.
Below is a video comparing the Concept2 vs. Xebex monitors while rowing for calories. The experiment is not perfect but it does show the new Xebex monitors are more accurate than the old versions:
It’s pretty clear Get RX’d is trying to do some damage control because they also asked some athletes to do a Xebex vs. Concept2 comparison.
Here is the video they released:
Drag Factor Settings
Another important topic when comparing the Xebex Rower vs. Concept2 is the “Drag Factor”.
“Drag Factor” is the calculation of the deceleration rate of your flywheel with each stroke. The drag factor then determines the speed of the flywheel and the true amount of “work” you are performing every stroke.
This means true “work”, “distance”, “speed”, etc. are being calculated regardless of damper setting and other factors. Concept2 has an article about the drag factor here.
The drag factor on a Concept2 can be viewed before a rowing session and adjusted with the damper. A higher damper setting translates into a higher drag factor.
If you enjoy rowing at a drag factor of 130, you can find the exact drag factor on any Concept2 Rower. This is beneficial because a damper setting of 5 is not the same on every rowing machine due to factors like dust build-up, elevation, and humidity.
The drag factor is also the reason why Concept2 rowers can compare times on different rowing machines from around the world. There are no variables that will alter a person’s time because the drag factor recalculates on every stroke!
It really is such an important feature for analyzing different times and competing against people from around the world.
Xebex Drag Factor
Now don’t go thinking the Xebex Rower doesn’t use drag factor in its calculation because it does!
I spoke to a representative who said the Xebex Rower does not have a “viewable” drag factor setting but does use it in some way to distinguish between the different damper settings and the deceleration of the flywheel.
However, this means that two Xebex rowers both set to a damper setting of 5 may perform differently due to variables like dust build-up or elevation.
Whereas, on Concept2 you can view the drag factor and adjust both machines to a drag factor of 130 and know they are equal.
My concern with Xebex is the accuracy of their drag factor and the minimal information they provide about it.
However, some people do not even care about this type of data accuracy and therefore can overlook this feature.
If you want to see the complete features of each monitor, I suggest reading the individual reviews.
I just wanted to highlight the major differences that are often noted when comparing the Xebex vs. Concept2 monitors.
In my opinion, I feel the PM5 monitor is superior to the Xebex. However, this all depends on how much you enjoy tracking data.
The less you care about tracking and analyzing data, the less superior the PM5 monitor becomes.
Many people enjoy sharing times online and “competing” against their friends, which is why the PM5 is so popular.
If you just like exercising at home and are only using the rowing machine to stay in shape, then the Xebex monitor is sufficient for those purposes.
When comparing the Xebex vs. Concept2 it’s pretty obvious both are extremely durable rowing machines.
Both rowing machines are constructed from heavy-duty steel, high-grade aluminum, and durable plastic.
The Xebex is a little heavier because it has a larger base made from steel, which keeps it sturdy and well-grounded.
It was also tested with a robotic arm that did 1,000,000 strokes on the rowing machine without failure.
Below is a great review of the Xebex Rower 2.0 with comparisons to the Concept2 Model D.
While the Xebex Rower is durable, I have seen the World’s Strongest Man row on a Concept2 as hard as he can and the rower didn’t break!
There have also been Concept2 users who have rowed for millions of meters and have not had the machine fail.
Below is the video of the World’s Strongest Man rowing on the Concept2. The rower moves a little but just know when I row as hard as I can it doesn’t budge. Brian Shaw is just a monster!
I believe both rowing machines are extremely durable and no person will have an issue wit the build quality.
Build quality would not be a determining factor when deciding between the Xebex vs. Concept2. I consider this category to be a tie.
When it comes to comfort, there are only a few small differences between the Xebex vs. Concept2.
Both have a smooth, strong, comfortable rowing stroke without any lag. This means you will feel tension as soon as you start your stroke and all the way to the finish.
Both have great ball-bearing rollers for a smooth gliding seat and the metal rowing chains recoil nicely.
If looking at the Xebex Rower vs. Concept2, you will notice they have slightly different seats, handles, and monorail heights.
The seat on the Xebex can be described more as a “bucket” seat with thicker padding. A lot of users liked the softer seat with the “rimmed” edges.
The Concept2 seat is more ergonomically designed and resembles more of an actual “rowing” seat. It is a little stiffer and has a cutout in the rear to alleviate pressure on your tailbone.
A great thing about the Concept2 seat is there are many aftermarket seat cushions designed specifically to fit on a Concept2 rower. I wrote an article here describing the best rowing machine seat cushions.
Again, the handle on the Xebex rower has a bit more padding than the Concept2 and is constructed with more of a “foam grip” material.
The Concept2 handle is made from a semi-soft rubber material but is “harder” than the Xebex handle.
People had different views on what handle they enjoyed more and it really comes down to personal preference.
I have never had any issues with blisters from a rowing machine. If you feel you might, you can always buy an inexpensive pair of workout gloves.
The Xebex Rower has a “one-touch” design for adjusting footplates which makes it easy if you are switching between different users.
Some people highlight this as a “great” difference between the Concept2 but in reality I don’t think it makes a difference.
Concept2 uses a slightly different mechanism where you must slide and align the footrests in the proper holes.
If you enjoy rowing barefoot you may be able to claim the Concept2 footrests are more comfortable due to the rounded heel.
Both are extremely fast and easy to use. Both footrests have similar levels of comfort and can fit any shoe size.
Monorail Height Comparison
A great benefit of the Xebex rower is the monorail/seat height is 20.0″ off the floor. This makes getting on and off the rowing machine easier due to not having to bend down as far.
A taller seat height is a great benefit for older individuals who may have knee or joint issues.
The Concept2 Model D has a seat height of 14.0″. This may be fine for some users but if you are specifically looking for a taller seat it could be an issue.
The slightly more expensive Concept2 Model E has a 20.0″ monorail/seat height. People looking for a Concept2 with a higher seat often choose this model.
When comparing the comfort of the Xebex vs. Concept2 it really comes down to personal preference.
The Xebex is built with more padding but could be considered to have a less ergonomic design. Meaning, it is built for comfort but not for efficiency and faster performance.
I believe this is why the Concept2 has a slightly harder seat and handle. The more cushion you have, the more power you lose when performing your rowing drive.
The firmer features on the Concept2 enable a stronger and more direct connection to the machine, which leads to a more efficient rowing stroke.
The Xebex was built with the comfort of the average at-home user in mind who doesn’t care as much about performance.
Obviously, the differences would come down to a personal choice of which suits you best.
At the end of the day, there are inexpensive aftermarket seat pads and rowing gloves for each machine if you ever feel the need for a comfort improvement.
Finally, an obvious visual difference between the Xebex vs. Concept2 rowing machine!
However, it is again difficult to say which storage is better because both have their advantages.
The Xebex rower folds in half by pulling out a locking pin and folding up the seat rail. Once folded, the Xebex rower can be rolled on its 4 built-in caster wheels.
Moving the Xebex rower is so easy you can push it with one hand! This makes it great for people who need to constantly move their rowing machine around to save space.
One downside to the Xebex storage is the machine is very heavy so it is not easy to move up and down stairs or place in your car to move to a different location.
The Concept2 has 2 methods for moving and storage.
First, users can easily separate the seat rail from the fan flywheel and place the pieces in the corner of the room or closet.
The machine is fairly light, so moving is very easy for any person and the main flywheel also has wheels so it can be rolled around.
Having the ability to separate also makes moving the Concept2 up and down stairs very easy. It also means you can put the rowing machine in the back of most cars and all SUVs if you ever have to transport it.
The second way a Concept2 can be stored is by standing it up on one end. This is a great way to save space if you have high ceilings or are in a gym setting.
Below are pictures to describe the storage methods. The upright storage photo basically shows you can push the rower onto its front end with the seat rail facing upwards.
Again, storage is a personal preference but it is nice to know there are two options to choose from.
I would pick the option that best fits you and which one you feel will work better for your personal situation.
Many people never store their rowers so this section may not make a difference anyway!
The capacity of the Concept2 and Xebex rowers are also very similar in comparison.
Both have 500 lb. weight capacities and are still very sturdy when used by people over 350 lbs..
When comparing the Xebex vs. Concept2 monorail lengths you will see the Xebex is listed at 55.0″ and the Concept2 is listed at 54.0″.
Monorails of this length can usually fit users who are about 6’7″ – 6’8″ or have a 38.0″ inseam.
So most users will not have to worry about a weight or height capacity!
The Concept2 does come with the option to buy an extended seat rail for any user over 6’8″. This would be one benefit for the few users out there who are this tall.
There is no lower limits to the height or weight capacity of these rowing machines and children have used both.
- Assembled (L x W x H):
- 96.0″ x 24.0″ x 14.0″
- Storage (L x W x H):
- 25.0″ x 33.0″ x 54.0″
- 57 lbs.
Xebex Rower Dimension
- Assembled (L x W x H):
- 99.0″ x 20.0″ 45.0″
- Storage (L x W x H):
- 36.0″ x 20.0″ x 55.0″
- 93 lbs.
When comparing the assembly of the Xebex vs. Concept2, it’s clear to see the Concept2 is easier.
The Concept2 comes almost fully assembled and can be put together in under 10 minutes. It was one of the easiest assemblies ever and I didn’t even need to follow the instructions.
There is no need to attach the monitor, footrests, or seat on the Concept2 like you have to on the Xebex Rower.
Assembling the Xebex Rower is fairly straightforward, but it will take about 30-45 minutes to complete.
Both rowing machines come with all the necessary tools for assembly.
Overall, you only have to assemble the rowing machine one time so I don’t think spending an extra 20-35 minutes is a big deal.
I wouldn’t let the “shorter” assembly time persuade you to choose the Concept2 over the Xebex.
I’ve read every review available when comparing the Xebex vs. Concept2 rowing machines and there are very few complaints about either model.
Most consumers loved the Xebex Rower because it offers the same resistance as the Concept2 but is listed at a lower price. They also enjoyed the easy-fold storage, free gifts, and taller seat height.
Concept2 users love their rower because it is the gold standard of rowing machines. There isn’t much to complain about besides a firm seat. It has the best monitor on the market and the largest community of active rowers from all over the world. The Concept2 has received an almost perfect 5-star rating from over 1,000 consumers on Amazon.
You can read more Concept2 Model D reviews here.
You can read more Xebex Rower reviews here.
- Frame: 5-Years
- All Parts: 2-Years
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Frame: 5-Years
- All Parts: 2-Years
Both rowing machines offer great warranties on very high-quality items. I have heard no complaints about customer service and both companies have been great to work with in the past.
The 30-Day Money Back Guarantee on the Concept2 is a nice bonus that helps give people some peace of mind. I would like to see “Get RXd” offer this for the Xebex.
Now the section we have all been waiting for! The price comparison of the Xebex vs. Concept2 rowing machines.
Most people are aware the “sticker price” of the Xebex Rower is less than the Concept2. However, there is a huge kicker!
Concept2 offers their rower on Amazon, which offers free shipping on qualified orders (a rowing machine should count as free shipping due to the cost).
When visiting Get RX’d, the Xebex Rower 2.0 was about $200 cheaper than the Concept2 (when I chose the $50 discount instead of the “free” gifts). However, they wanted to charge me slightly over $300 to ship the rower to my house (including taxes)! This put their base model at a higher price than the Concept2 Model D (or about the same). Plus, the Xebex 2.0 doesn’t have the Bluetooth feature or the backlit monitor!
This was a bit of a shock to me since in the past I believe Get RX’d was only charging $50 for shipping (which meant the rower came out cheaper than the Concept2).
FULL DISCLAIMER – prices can change so I suggest following the links below, adding the rower to your cart, entering your address, and comparing current pricing.
Below are the best places to check for pricing when comparing the Xebex vs. Concept2. Remember to actually check out with the item to compare pricing.
Final Verdict: Xebex vs. Concept2
When comparing the Xebex Rower vs. Concept2 it really comes down to personal preference.
Each person puts more “weight” on some features than the other.
For example, if you are training to join a collegiate crew team or training for any sport, then choosing the Concept2 is a no brainer.
The Concept2 is also a better option for people who enjoy tracking data and comparing it to people from around the world. If you purchase a Concept2, you will belong to a very large community of rowers who enjoy sharing information with one another.
When looking for workouts online or technique videos, they will all be done on a Concept2. If you are into Crossfit or want to join one day, you will be using a Concept2.
The Concept2 is the #1 bestselling rowing machine for a reason and also comes with many benefits with being the most popular model. A great benefit is being able to resell it easily for a very high price on Craigslist if you no longer want it!
You can read my complete Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower review here.
If you are interested in looking into the Concept2 Model E Rowing Machine you can read my Model D vs. Model E Comparison here. There will also be a link to my full Model E review.
The Xebex Rower is perfect for someone who just wants a good-quality air rowing machine to exercise in the comfort of their own home. They don’t care as much about tracking data and comparing it to others.
Another big “IF” factor comes down to price. I would check the final price of each rower and make a decision based on that.
You can read my full Xebex Rower review breakdown here to learn more about the 3 models
When looking at the Xebex vs. Concept2 at the most basic level you will see they are almost exactly the same. In my opinion, the Concept2 is perceived as being better due to the better quality monitor, long outstanding performance record, and support you will receive online from the Concept2 community and website.
I hope you enjoyed my comparison of the Xebex Rower vs. Concept2 Rower. If you have used both and care to share your thoughts, please leave them in the comment section below! Thank you :)
Rowing Machine King Founder and Author.