Concept 2 Rowing Machine Review

It is unwise to spend money on those expensive gym memberships that you barely use. But exercising is also essential to keep the body fit and healthy. The perfect solution to this problem is to buy your own equipment.

Rowing machines would be the best option to start your morning workout at home. Out of hundreds of rowers available in the market, Concept 2 has plenty to offer. Before learning about the Concept 2 rowing machine, you need to understand how rowers help you exercise better.   

What is a rowing machine?

A rowing machine is a piece of equipment that helps in a full-body workout. It imitates the motion of rowing an actual boat and uses about 86% of your body muscles. This machine builds strength, improves endurance, and tones your muscles.

Rowers develop both upper and lower body strength. They improve your lung function and heart pumping rate by providing you with an intense aerobic workout session. Here are the major body muscle groups a rower targets:

  • Upper back
  • Arms
  • Oblique
  • Triceps
  • Pectorals
  • Abdominal muscle
  • Calves
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Erector Spinae

About Concept 2 Rowing Machine

Concept 2 rowing machine is an indoor rower known for its extraordinary features. With ergonomic handles and an advanced PM5 performance monitor, it promises an extensive, flawless workout.

It keeps your movements smooth and maintains minimal noise levels as you row. The comfortable seat, along with the stainless steel track guarantees consistent sliding without any sudden breaks.

Most rowing exercises focus on upper arm strength, whereas the Concept 2 rower produces a more intense full-body workout. It is the most efficient machine that develops your core power and leg strength without demanding much effort from your back.

The Concept 2 rowing machine has a unique spiral damper that allows you to adjust the air entering the flywheel housing. You can set it from 1 to 10. It works just like bike gears that affect the energy level needed in accelerating every consecutive stroke.

Once you finish rowing, you can separate the rower into two parts to easily store or transport it. Lots of athletes use Concept 2 rower due to its longevity and remarkable functioning.


Following are the specifications of the Concept 2 rowing machine:

  • PM5 Performance Monitor
  • Flywheel design
  • Spiral Damper
  • Smartphone cradle
  • Ergonomic handles
  • 14-inch stainless steel seat
  • Adjustable monitor
  • Caster wheels
  • Flexible footrests

Features of Concept 2 Rowing Machine 

As mentioned above, the Concept 2 rower has some extraordinary features that make it different and way better than other rowing machines. Here are its features that will tell you how it stands out: 

PM5 Performance Monitor

The Concept 2 rowing machine has the most advanced monitor for a rower. The PM5 is a powerful monitor that records your rowing data and allows you to compare it with previous ones.

It displays speed, pace, distance, calories burned, and power on a clear backlit screen and stores the information in its internal memory. The PM5 uses either the flywheel or two D-cell batteries for power.

You can connect it via Bluetooth to the brand’s own mobile application, ErgData. The app will allow you to keep a record of data on your smartphone. Moreover, it also has ANT+ wireless connectivity that helps you to connect it to heart rate belts and other fitness devices.

Flywheel and Damper

The air-resistance system of the Concept 2 rowing machine uses an in-built flywheel. And to adjust how much air enters this flywheel at every stroke, use the spiral damper.

The settings are adjustable on a scale of 1 to 10. 10 means more air, whereas 1 allows less air for wind resistance. The ideal range for people, who are starting fresh, is between 3 and 6.

Both flywheel and damper give you full control of your exertion and air resistance. Moreover, the flywheel also minimizes the noise levels and ensures the smooth functioning of the machine. The sound mostly depends on the intensity of your workout. Usually, it is low enough for you to listen to some motivating music.

The damper is also known as Drag Factor. After adjusting the settings, the monitor will show you precise drag factor digits. 

Easy Storage and Handling

The Concept 2 rowing machine is easy to handle due to its two detachable parts – the front frame with flywheel housing and the monorail. You can split the rower into two parts and turn the monitor arm for storage.

Separating these parts is simple due to the specially designed frame lock mechanism of the Concept 2 rowing machine. Moreover, you can assemble it back within 30 seconds without using any tools.

The front foot comes with caster wheels, allowing you to move the machine from one place to another without much effort. The rower’s dimensions are 25″ x 33″ x 54″ or 63.5 cm x 83.8 cm x 137.2 cm. If you want to free up some more space, attach a rower ranger to the machine.

Sliding seat

The sliding seat of the rower applies its leg power while rowing. Its position makes the process a low impact sport. The seat is 14 inches or 35.6 cm above the ground.

Concept 2 designed the sliding seat for the rower after some intense tests and user feedback. It allows the rower to move more freely. The highest weight it can handle is 500 pounds or 227 kg.

The Semi-hard rubber material on its surface prevents you from numbness and low blood circulation. If you feel a little uncomfortable at first, add some light padding, like bubble wrap, towel, foam pad, on the seat. It will help you get used to the sliding surface.

Moreover, it is smooth and quiet on the monorail attached with a stainless steel track. The carriage comes with top and bottom rollers. You have to be careful that loose clothing does not get caught in the seat rollers.

Footrests and Flexfoot Straps

The Concept 2 rowing machine has footrests with seven height position holes that can fit most shoe sizes. Their length is adjustable, and they come with a heel cup. Its foot straps allow you to change the foot width.

Just set the footrest in a hole number to make the foot strap cross over the ball of your feet. If you are rowing without shoes, adjust your feet higher. On the other hand, feet on a lower height is more suitable if you are less flexible.

You can easily tighten the straps by pulling them and release them by flipping the buckle.

Ergonomic Handle

The Concept 2 rower may not have a straight handle, but it can bend 10 degrees downward and offer a better arm position. Both of its sides have a rubber covering to maintain a solid grip while rowing. If you have a skin condition, wear gloves to avoid getting blisters in your hands.

The rowing machine’s ergonomic handles have a nickel-plated steel chain attached. Place the handle on the hook to easily reach it the next time you exercise. To ensure that the chain does not get rusty over time, let it rest against the fan cage you are not using the machine.

The handle does not require maintenance after every workout session. Just lubricate the chain with an oiled cloth after 50-60 hours of use.

Types of Concept 2 Rowing Machine

The Concept 2 rowing machine comes in two variants – Model D and Model E. both variants have their own advantages and disadvantages that may let you decide which one you can buy.

Model D

The Concept 2 Model D rower is a strongly-built machine that most professionals use for intensive training. Beginners, athletes, and even children can use this rower for exercise.

It consists of a flywheel and damper that allows the user to adjust the airflow according to your rowing intensity. It can handle up to 500 pounds of weight with zero effects on its performance. 

The PM5 monitor lets you record your fitness data, track your heart rate, and even upload that data on a logbook. It is a piece of ideal equipment for both gymnasiums and home due to its easy-to-store function.

More Information on Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor

Model E

Model E is a lot similar to its previous version. It has the same PM5 monitor, ergonomic handle, flywheel, and damper as Model 2.

However, the seat height, chain housing, and monitor arms are quite different in both models. Also, it is a better option if you consider machine durability as a significant factor.

More Information on Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5

Similarities between Model D and Model E

Both these models are somewhat similar to each other. Here are the similarities between these two rowers:

  • Air resistance
  • Advanced PM5 performance monitor
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Flex foot system
  • Detachable parts
  • Same dimensions
  • Damper settings
  • Same weight
  • Caster wheels

Difference between Model D and Model E

Following are the key differences between both Concept 2 rowing machine models:

Seat height

The seat height on the Model E is 6 inches higher than Model D. Concept 2 made it this way to make it adaptable to different balancing skills.

Elder people, handicapped, or people on crutches can use this feature for a better rowing experience.


There is a minimal amount of weight difference between Model D and Model E rowing machines. The former weighs 57 pounds, while the latter is 8 pounds heavier with 65 pounds.

The lighter weight makes the Model D easy to move. But both variants have caster wheels so, moving them is not much of a problem.

Chain and Chain Housing

Model E has a better chain housing if you are looking for durability. It also requires less maintenance than the Model D rower. It is an upgrade, but most people do not put the chain or chain housing on their priority list.

PM5 Performance Monitor

Both Model D and Model E have the same advanced PM5 performance monitor. The one on Model E has a clearer display, making it easy to see for the user. However, you cannot fold the monitor for storage that makes the Model D better for home storage.

The screen size is large enough on both variants, allowing the user to read the data from a distance. The monitor arm on the Model D is short but has an adjustable height and angle feature. On the other hand, Model E allows you to adjust its viewing angle but not the height.

Leg support

To complement the higher seat, Concept 2 designed additional leg support on the Model E rowing machine. But both rowers have strong legs that keep the equipment stable while you are rowing.

Model E is a more suitable option for those who have leg problems.


The finishing of the Model E rower guarantees a longer life than the Model D. Model D is still durable enough to use in commercial gymnasiums or home gyms.

Is Concept 2 Rowing Machine Good for you?

Rowing machines are a great addition to your exercise equipment as they are useful for a full-body workout. Their main focus is toning your muscles and building upper body strength.

The Concept 2 rowing machine is the best rower you can find in the market. From a powerful, effective monitor to an ergonomic design, they have everything that makes a rower perfect. You can even compare your exercise records using its advanced PM5 monitor.

With its detachable parts, you can store them anywhere around the house. You do not have to use any tools to unlock its frame lock mechanism. The caster wheels in front will help you move it smoothly from one place to another.

The only reason that might stop you from buying the Concept 2 rower is its high price. If you are looking for a low-budget rowing machine, then Concept 2 is not an ideal option for you. But it gives you great value for your money with all its premium features.

So, the Concept 2 rowing machine is an excellent rower for your intensive workout sessions at home.