Concept2 Rower Evaluation (2023)

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Concept2 created the unique rowing ergometer in 1981 as a coaching instrument for aggressive athletes. It shortly grew to become one of many best rowing machines for the athletic inhabitants, and due to CrossFit, it’s an much more common coaching system than ever.

Throughout my years as a private coach, I used the Concept2 rower myself and for dozens of shoppers. Collectively, the Breaking Muscle workers additionally has a long time of expertise utilizing this rower of their house gyms, CrossFit bins, and different industrial gyms. We’re well-equipped to supply this in-depth Concept2 rower evaluation and communicate to its key options, professionals, cons, specs, and the way it compares to different common rowing machines.

Key Takeaways

  • The Concept2 rower, now referred to as the RowErg, is identical machine because the Mannequin D (the rower with a 14-inch seat top) and Mannequin E (the rower with a 20-inch seat top). Concept2 modified the machine’s identify in Could 2021. The Mannequin E rower has been discontinued. Nonetheless, the RowErg is obtainable with both a 14-inch seat top or a 20-inch seat top.
  • With a clear and efficient design, the Concept2 Rower is engineered for easy operation, straightforward upkeep, and long-lasting efficiency. This commercial-grade rowing machine includes a nickel-plated metal chain, aluminum entrance legs, and metal rear legs to make sure a sturdy, long-lasting construct. 
  • The Concept2 Rower comes with a PM5 efficiency monitor that tracks stats comparable to tempo, strokes per minute, estimated energy burned, and watts (energy output). The monitor additionally connects through Bluetooth to varied apps, together with ErgData.

Concept2 RowErg


  • Body is made of professional quality aluminum
  • Ergonomic handlebar and seat
  • PM5 monitor comes with Bluetooth capabilities
  • Accomodates customers as much as 6’6 and 500 kilos
  • Comes with a restricted five-year guarantee

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Concept2 Rower Professionals

  • The Concept2 Rower makes use of air resistance, which adjusts to your stroke price and energy. Air resistance additionally supplies smoother motion in comparison with magnetic and water-based rowers. I can attest to this, as I’ve used each air and magnetic rowers. 
  • The Concept2 can maintain customers as much as 500 kilos. Different manufacturers like NordicTrack, Peloton, and Hydrow can solely accommodate customers as much as 250 to 375 kilos. 
  • You may shortly break down the rower utilizing the quick-release characteristic and even mount it to the wall. Concept2 doesn’t promote a mounting instrument for the rower, however the Rogue Fitness wall hanger is obtainable for round $32.50.

Concept2 Rower Cons

  • As a result of it’s an air rower, it may be loud. The more durable you row, the louder the machine turns into. It would deter those that use it of their house gymnasium and don’t wish to disrupt their members of the family or roommates.
  • The Concept2 RowErg prices round $990 earlier than taxes and delivery. Whereas cheaper than different rowers available on the market with a number of high-end tech options (like touchscreen displays and on-screen exercise lessons, which Concept2 doesn’t provide), it nonetheless won’t be splendid for these searching for an ultra-budget-friendly machine.
  • The Concept2 rower could be very lengthy, reaching a complete size of 96 inches (eight ft) when assembled. These with restricted exercise house at house may have to have a look at extra compact rowing machines.

Concept2 Rower Overview

The Concept2 rower is arguably the preferred rowing machine at present accessible that’s appropriate for each house and industrial use. In 1981, Concept2 grew to become the primary model to create an indoor rowing machine. Since then, it has change into an iconic model within the health business. As a private coach who has labored in numerous industrial gyms comparable to Life Time Health and Anytime Health, I can attest to the ubiquitousness of the Concept2 Rower.

The Concept2 RowErg at Breaking Muscle's testing facility
The Concept2 RowErg arrange on the Breaking Muscle testing facility

In CrossFit, the Concept2 rower is among the preferred cardio machines for each informal and aggressive athletes. CrossFit values the Concept2 rower as a result of it gives a whole full-body exercise, making it an efficient instrument for assessing general health ranges. It accommodates customers as much as 500 kilos, so it may be appropriate for people of various sizes and health ranges. Plus, its sturdy building and minimal upkeep necessities imply it might face up to heavy use in CrossFit bins.

The Concept2 rowing machine includes a nickel-plated metal chain, aluminum entrance legs, and metal rear legs. Whereas its worth of just below $1,000 locations it within the mid-range of rowing machine choices, it gives distinctive worth for its efficiency and sturdiness. It operates on air resistance, so it replicates the texture of open-water rowing and matches your depth as you row.

Who Ought to Purchase a Concept2 Rower

  • This indoor rower could possibly be good for many who need a full-body exercise to check each muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
  • The performance of the Concept2 rower is nice for many who are particularly into CrossFit-style coaching. Concept2 is the popular model for rowing machines within the CrossFit group.
  • The Concept2 RowErg could possibly be a wonderful low-impact cardio machine for many who endure from joint ache. In contrast to working, rowing doesn’t place an enormous quantity of stress on the knees, hips, and ankles.

Who Ought to Not Purchase a Concept2 Rower

  • The Concept2 rower won’t be splendid for many who are fearful about noise. That is an air resistance rower. The more durable you row, the extra air strikes across the flywheel, which makes the machine louder.
  • Although the Concept2 RowErg gives a 20-inch-high seat, people with extreme mobility restrictions should still discover it too low.
  • Utilizing this rower could possibly be robust for these with restricted house. When totally assembled, the Concept2 rower machine is 96 inches lengthy. Relying in your setup, you won’t have sufficient room to suit the erg comfortably and work out safely.

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Concept2 Rower In-Depth Evaluation

The evaluation beneath relies on insights I’ve gathered by way of my very own use of the Concept2 RowErg and suggestions I’ve acquired from the Breaking Muscle workers, which contains CrossFitters, licensed private trainers, and energy and conditioning coaches. We then used a proprietary scoring system to rank the machine on a scale of 1 to 5 in numerous classes, comparable to price, the standard of the supplies, monitoring capabilities, and meeting.


The Concept2 RowErg with the 14-inch seat top prices round $990 earlier than taxes and delivery. When you go for the 20-inch seat top, it can price round $1,155. Whereas the value could possibly be a disadvantage for anybody on a brilliant strict finances, we nonetheless gave it 4.8 stars. The general worth is excessive because of the machine’s commercial-quality building and sturdiness. Additionally, this rower machine is less expensive than different choices, just like the Peloton or Hydrow rowers, that are double the value (or extra).

Supplies, Construct, and Building High quality

The Concept2 rower consists of aluminum entrance legs, metal rear legs, a nickel-plated metal chain, an aluminum monorail, and a stainless-steel seat monitor.

As a consequence of this heavy-duty building, we rated the construct a 4.9 out of 5. Primarily based on my expertise with the Concept2 rower, it might tackle heavy abuse. Even in industrial gymnasium settings, it’s so sturdy it could by no means have to get replaced.

A blonde woman rowing on the Concept2 rower
A Breaking Muscle workforce member coaching on the Concept2 rower

Amanda Dvorak, Breaking Muscle’s Opinions Editor who began CrossFit in 2015 and now makes use of a Concept2 rower in her storage gymnasium, can attest to its sturdiness. She talked about that even after banging it on her squat rack by chance (on a number of events) whereas transferring it round her storage, she’s by no means observed a distinction in the way it seems or performs. The CrossFit gyms she’s skilled at beforehand additionally by no means had any main points with these rowers, regardless of them getting used six to seven occasions a day for years.

Supply and Meeting

After the erg arrived at our testing facility, our workforce ranked the supply and meeting course of a 5 out of 5. There was no injury upon supply.

I’ve constructed many items of house gymnasium gear, together with the Stamina Elite rower I exploit at house. I can truthfully say that one of many greatest points with all of my purchases is that it takes ceaselessly to construct them. The Concept2 rower, nonetheless, solely required a couple of minutes of sunshine effort from our testing workers earlier than they had been capable of hop on and begin rowing.

Amanda Dvorak, an editor on the Breaking Muscle workforce, agrees with the product testing workers’s evaluation. There was additionally no injury to her machine when she acquired it at house, and she or he and her husband had been capable of put the erg collectively in round 10 minutes.


The Concept2 rower’s efficiency is precisely what you’d anticipate from a commercial-grade piece of kit. The seat slides over the monorail effortlessly, and the chain doesn’t snag in case you preserve it correctly by oiling it after each 50 hours of use.

Subscription Choices

It’s laborious to offer the Concept2 rower a score on subscription choices as a result of it doesn’t present any. This is among the drawbacks to this system, as different merchandise just like the Peloton or Hydrow rower present subscriptions for entry to stay and on-demand lessons. All of the Concept2 gives is a PM5 monitor. As I’ll focus on beneath, it tracks loads of data, however it’s not as fancy as a high-tech monitor that permits you to stream lessons.

One advantage of the dearth of subscription choices is that it might prevent cash. The subscriptions you’ll discover on Hydrow, Peloton, or NordicTrack rowers, for instance, can price $30 or extra per thirty days. It’s an added price it’s important to contemplate when shopping for a rowing machine.

To make up for the dearth of subscription choices, the Concept2 row erg features a system holder that may maintain your sensible system. You may then stream exercises from an app of your selection — however understand that this can be an additional month-to-month price.


Our workforce rated the ergonomics a 4.5 out of 5. The deal with includes a 10-degree bend to permit for a pure grip, and it’s lined with molded rubber to assist take in sweat. Nonetheless, it might trigger pores and skin discomfort, particularly for brand spanking new rowers.

Amanda Dvorak, Breaking Muscle Opinions Editor, hadn’t used a rower in over a yr earlier than she purchased a Concept2 erg for her house gymnasium. Regardless of already having calluses on her palms from lifting weights, her arms blistered regularly as soon as she began rowing once more.

Nonetheless, now that Amanda has been utilizing the rower at the least as soon as per week, her tailbone discomfort has lessened, and her arms now not blister. When you’ve got comparable experiences once you first begin rowing, we predict it’s secure to say that you just’ll regulate to the rower after a few months of constant use. If not, you possibly can put on exercise gloves or purchase a padded seat cushion on-line to make your rowing expertise extra nice.

Foot Pedals

The pedals accommodate a variety of foot sizes. We’ve seen customers with dimension 13 ft be capable of use the rower comfortably. The pedals don’t pivot like they do on different rowers, such because the NordicTrack RW600. Nonetheless, they’re designed that can assist you obtain a vertical shin angle for the catch part of the row (when your knees are bent, your arms are straight, and the seat is nearer to the entrance of the machine). That is particularly useful for rowers with poor ankle mobility.

A close-up of the foot pedals on the Concept2 rower
An in depth-up of the foot pedals on the Concept2 RowErg

Coronary heart Charge Monitoring

I’d price the center price monitoring capabilities of this rowing machine a 4 out of 5, because it doesn’t provide a direct method of monitoring coronary heart price. The one method to take action is to have a appropriate system to sync with utilizing ANT+ and Bluetooth, comparable to an Apple watch or a digital chest strap.

PM5 Monitor, Show, and Stats Monitoring

Whereas the monitor might seem easy, it supplies a ton of knowledge monitoring capabilities. In comparison with the older monitor (the PM4), the PM5 supplies Bluetooth connection capabilities to trace your exercises. General, we rated the monitor itself 4.7 out of 5 stars and the show 4 out of 5.

The PM5 monitor tracks a variety of metrics together with time, tempo, distance, strokes per minute (SPM), watts, energy burned, and coronary heart price (with a appropriate system).

We love its capacity to save lots of all of our exercise historical past, so we are able to see how we’re progressing and enhancing over time. And, as talked about, it might hook up with doubtlessly 30 totally different appropriate apps. ErgData is a favourite amongst the Breaking Muscle workers as a result of it permits us to create customized exercises, program the Concept2 Workout of the Day into the machine, and extra. Nonetheless, you too can use different apps like Regatta, RowHero, and Fiit.

Regardless of the spectacular quantity of data the monitor can present, the precise show is fairly primary. The monitor can also be fairly small, measuring simply seven inches diagonally. The dimensions pales compared to the NordicTrack RW900, for instance, which has a 22-inch monitor.

One of many redeeming qualities, although, is the backlit show, which didn’t exist on earlier iterations of the monitor. Breaking Muscle Editor Amanda Dvorak says it’s considered one of her favourite issues concerning the PM5 monitor. She trains early in the morning and hates turning on vibrant lights throughout her exercises. The backlit show makes it simpler for her to learn the display when she’s figuring out earlier than dawn.

Included Exercises

For the included exercises, we rank this characteristic a 4.8 out of 5. The Concept2 rower comes with a number of preset exercises, comparable to distance coaching for two,000 meters or interval coaching modes with 500 meters of labor and one minute of relaxation. The preset choices are nice for beginner rowers who might not know easy methods to get began or superior athletes who wish to comply with structured packages.

Bluetooth Connectivity

The Concept2 rower’s PM5 monitor helps Bluetooth connectivity to appropriate heart rate monitors. You can even sync exercise knowledge to Concept2’s ErgData app or dozens of different apps to trace your exercise historical past.

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Concept2 Rower Specs

When contemplating the Concept2 rower, it’s vital to know the specs and options that make it stand out. From the fundamental dimensions to {the electrical} necessities, we’ll break down the important thing particulars that outline it and set it aside on this planet of rowing machines.

Rower Kind

The Concept2 rower is an air rower. The air resistance works by way of using the handles and the machine’s fanwheel. Once you pull the deal with, the flywheel traps air inside to supply resistance. The resistance then adjusts to your stroke price and energy output.

Primarily based on our expertise, air rowers emulate the sensation of rowing on open water extra authentically than magnetic rowers. This is among the many the explanation why skilled rowers typically full their indoor coaching on a Concept2 erg.

General Dimensions

The Concept2 rower is 96 inches lengthy, 24 inches huge, and both 14 or 20 inches excessive. The peak is determined by whether or not you purchase the usual mannequin or the one with taller legs.

Monitor Size

The monitor size, also referred to as the monorail size, is 54 inches. This size helps to accommodate athletes as much as 6’6.

Seat Peak

The RowErg comes with a 14-inch seat top. When you suppose this will likely be too low for you, you’ve got the choice of buying an erg with taller legs that elevate the seat to twenty inches. Nonetheless, the taller rower modifications the associated fee from about $990 to about $1,155.

Weight Capability

The load capability of the Concept2 rower is 500 kilos, which is nicely above different rowing machines like those from NordicTrack and Peloton. All three rower fashions from NordicTrack have a weight capability of 250 kilos, whereas the Peloton rower has a weight restrict of 300 kilos.

Resistance Ranges

The Concept2 rower gives variable resistance. The resistance depends on the forcefulness of every row. That is totally different from magnetic rowers, which give fastened resistance ranges, and water rowers, whose resistance ranges change based mostly on how a lot water is in a water tank connected to the machine.

Concept2 rowers additionally make the most of a damper setting. The damper is an adjustment that lets you present “extra” or “much less” resistance based mostly on the supply of airflow. The damper ranges from one to 10 — one means the flywheel is totally closed, and 10 means it’s totally open. Once you enhance the damper setting, you open the damper and permit extra air into the flywheel. The next damper setting leads to a sooner deceleration of the flywheel, making the rowing movement more durable to carry out.

Electrical Necessities

This rower machine takes two D-cell batteries, that are included together with your buy. There’s no have to situate the rower close to an outlet, so you possibly can transfer it round any room in your home or take it outside (one thing the Breaking Muscle workers members like to do when the climate permits).

Noise Degree

The Concept2 rower will be loud as a result of it’s an air resistance rower. The rower recruits air from the fan flywheel, and the extra air it recruits, the louder the sound turns into. A web-based evaluation signifies that the Concept2 rower has a decibel stage between 67 and 74, barely quieter than a vacuum cleaner.

Amanda Dvorak, considered one of Breaking Muscle’s editors, typically brings her rower indoors when her storage will get too chilly within the winter. Her husband, who’s a light-weight sleeper and often nonetheless in mattress when Amanda works out within the morning, has claimed that the noise doesn’t hassle him in any respect. Nonetheless, Amanda retains the rower on the primary stage of her house, whereas her husband sleeps of their bed room on the second stage. When you stay in a one-story house or a small house, the noise could also be extra bothersome to different folks.


The Concept2 RowErg options two curler wheels on the entrance for portability. There is no such thing as a deal with on the again, however because the machine weighs simply 57 to 68 kilos (relying on whether or not you get the usual top or the tall legs), it’s straightforward to put your hand below the monorail to raise it up.

The rower additionally breaks down into two items in case you don’t have sufficient room to go away it totally assembled on a regular basis. The house gymnasium homeowners on the Breaking Muscle workers do that regularly and be aware that it takes just some seconds to disassemble the rail from the flywheel piece and reconnect them once more when wanted.

A woman breaking down the Concept2 rower into two pieces
Breaking down the Concept2 rower on the Breaking Muscle testing facility


Each Idea 2 rower features a five-year guarantee for the body and a two-year guarantee for all different parts, which we contemplate fairly commonplace for the business. Some rowers we’ve examined, just like the Echelon Row-S, solely have a 12-month guarantee. Nonetheless, different rowing machines, just like the CITYROW GoMax, provide a five-year body guarantee like Concept2 does.

Concept2 Rower vs. NordicTrack Rower

When evaluating the Concept2 rower and the NordicTrack rowers, a number of key variations stand out. Whereas the Concept2 RowErg has a easy show with no video lessons, NordicTrack rowers include interactive displays. These displays vary from 10 to 22 inches and provide instructor-led stay and on-demand lessons. These packages will be partaking and motivating for customers who get pleasure from structured exercises and following together with an teacher.

To entry this library of exercises, you will want an iFit subscription for about $39 a month. You don’t essentially want the subscription to make use of NordicTrack rowers, however you can be very restricted in utilizing all of the options of your interactive display.

Each manufacturers’ rowers additionally use air resistance, which supplies a easy and dynamic rowing expertise. Nonetheless, NordicTrack rowers add an additional layer of versatility with 26 digital resistance ranges. Concept2 doesn’t have conventional resistance ranges; the resistance is determined by how a lot air you enable into the flywheel based mostly in your damper setting and the way laborious you row.

By way of dimension, the Concept2 rower is 94 inches lengthy, whereas NordicTrack rowers vary from 82 to 87 inches lengthy. The Concept2 rower excels in energy, because it helps customers of as much as 500 kilos. That is twice the burden capability of the NordicTrack rowers.

The Concept2 rower additionally comes at a extra reasonably priced worth than the NordicTrack RW700 and RW900, which price round $1,499 and $1,999, respectively. Nonetheless, as of this writing, the NordicTrack RW600 is on sale for round $900, about $90 cheaper than the Concept2 rower.

NordicTrack RW600

Dimensions: 87.02″ L x 22.0″ W x 47.24″ H

Storage: Folds in half for vertical storage

Resistance: Air and magnetic

Weight capability: 250 kilos

Show: 10-inch sensible HD touchscreen

Accessible programming: Stay and on-demand exercises, scenic rows

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Concept2 Rower vs. Peloton

One of many first noticeable variations between the Concept2 rower and the Peloton is the interactive monitor display. Peloton’s rowers characteristic a large 23.8-inch swivel interactive monitor, which lets you interact in video-led classes. Nonetheless, accessing these lessons requires a month-to-month subscription charge of round $44.

That is very totally different from the PM5 monitor offered by Concept2, which doesn’t have video-led classes or subscription necessities. If interactive exercises and entry to an enormous library of coaching content material are your priorities, the Peloton rowers may be extra interesting.

Each rowers share comparable dimensions, guaranteeing a constant rowing expertise by way of house necessities and general setup. Nonetheless, the Concept2 rower has a exceptional weight capability of as much as 500 kilos. The Peloton rower, in distinction, has a decrease weight capability of 300 kilos, which may restrict its suitability for people with better physique weight.

By way of worth, Concept2 is the extra budget-friendly choice. The Peloton rower prices round $2,995, almost thrice the price of the Concept2 erg.

Peloton Rower

Dimensions: 7’10” L x 24” W

Storage: Shops upright with the Upright Wall Anchor (included with buy)

Resistance: Electronically managed

Weight capability: 300 kilos

Show: 23.8-inch 1080p HD touchscreen

Accessible programming: Stay and on-demand exercises, scenic rows

Check Price

Concept2 Rower vs. Hydrow

One other nice model of rowing machines is Hydrow. Hydrow’s authentic rower and the extra compact Wave rower provide an fulfilling journey because of their use of magnetic resistance. Like Peloton, Hydrow rowers have built-in displays for streaming partaking, motivating exercise lessons.

Hydrow’s superior expertise and immersive expertise include the next price ticket. Their rowers begin at just below $1,900. The Concept2 rower gives a extra budget-friendly choice beginning at about $990. So as to entry Hydrow’s library of exercises, you additionally have to pay a month-to-month subscription of round $42.

Like Concept2, Hydrow’s rowers provide Bluetooth connectivity, permitting you to connect with coronary heart price displays and sync with health apps. By way of dimensions, the Hydrow rower measures 86 inches in size, 25 inches in width, and 47 inches in top, making it barely extra compact than the Concept2 rower. It additionally has a lighter weight capability of 375 kilos. This doesn’t come close to the energy of the Concept2 rower, which has a weight capability of 500 kilos.

Hydrow Wave Rower

Dimensions: 80″ L x 19″ W x 43″ H

Storage: Shops upright

Resistance: Magnetic

Weight capability: 375 kilos

Show: 16-inch HD touchscreen

Accessible programming: Stay and on-demand exercises, scenic rows

Check Price

Concept2 Rower Buyer Opinions

On 4 websites, together with Amazon, the typical score for the Concept2 rower is 4.8 out of 5 stars. Many individuals praised it for its sturdiness, fast setup, and storage capabilities. 

Regardless of the entire reward, some prospects did be aware a couple of drawbacks. A couple of prospects discovered the noise stage regarding for at-home exercises. Others additionally famous the limitation of the PM5 display and would like to have a bigger monitor that offered tutorial movies as an alternative.

Remaining Verdict: Is the Concept2 Rower Price It?

When you think about all of the options of a top-tier rower, the Concept2 rower is among the greatest. Concept2 has constructed a stable status of high quality and dependability with aggressive rowers, the CrossFit group, and residential gymnasium customers who need gear that gained’t cease working after a couple of months.

By an intensive evaluation by our knowledgeable workforce, it’s clear that the Concept2 rower will be nicely well worth the funding. It supplies a easy, life like rowing expertise. It’s straightforward to construct and will final for years, particularly in a house gymnasium. Figuring out that this product exists in lots of properties and a number of industrial gyms, it’s laborious to search out one other rower that may push the Concept2 rower off the highest of the rostrum.


Is the Concept2 rowing machine well worth the cash?

The Concept2 rowing machine is well worth the cash, as this piece of health gear supplies a easy, genuine rowing expertise. Upkeep is straightforward, and the machine is constructed to final for years. This may seemingly be the one time you’ll have to buy a rowing machine.

Why are Concept2 rowers so costly?

The Concept2 rower is pricey because of its robust and sturdy design. It features a nickel-plated metal chain, aluminum entrance legs, and metal rear legs to make sure a sturdy and long-lasting construct.

Is Concept2 rowing any good?

The Concept2 rower is arguably one of the best rowing machine accessible. This model pioneered the primary RowErg that was constructed by rowers, for rowers, to supply a full-body, low-impact exercise. It’s been utilized by informal gym-goers, CrossFitters, Olympians, and elite-level athletes. It’s positively product that many contemplate the gold commonplace.

Are you able to shed pounds with a Concept2 rower?

Utilizing a rowing machine just like the Concept2 rower is a good way to shed pounds. As a result of it gives a full-body exercise, it has the power to expend extra energy than different types of cardiovascular coaching. Take note, although, that weight reduction will even rely in your weight loss plan, your exercise ranges exterior of the gymnasium, and different life-style components.

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