Concept2 Rowing Machine Reviews

10 Total Score
Concept2 Rowing Machine Reviews

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Concept2 produces the world’s best-selling rowing machine (the Model D Air Rower) and other fine air rowers for home or club use. More than any other air rowing machines, Concept2 rowers create an impressive on-the-water feel. They are made in the USA and are built to last.

Resistance on Concept2 air rowers occurs naturally; the more vigorously the rider rows, the more air will be resisted. Further adjustments can be made with a damper. This makes a Concept2 indoor rower suitable for people of all ability levels.

This brand supports team training in a unique way: All types of Concept2 rowing machines can be physically linked together with bungee cord slides. When linked, the rowing machines are lifted from the ground to enhance an on-the-water sensation.

Each Concept2 rower is sold with a computer monitor called the PM5. This performance monitor includes rowing games and preset workout routines. It is compatible with wireless heart rate transmitters too. Data from each session, such as calories burned and distance traveled, can be transferred to other devices wirelessly or via a flash drive.


Concept2 currently makes three models of air rowing machines. Each features a sturdy metal frame, a nickel plated chain and a durable air resistance system.

  • The Model D is the lowest priced Concept2. It sells for about $900 and is the world’s best-selling indoor rower. This is the best value for home gyms, although it’s hardy enough for commercial use. Measuring 96” long, it is one of the largest rowing machines on our review website.
  • The Model E is a great option for high traffic gyms. It is a more robust version of the Model D but also measures 96” long. It sits higher from the ground (20” versus 14”) to allow easier access for people with limited mobility.
  • The most elite Concept2 machine is called the Dynamic Indoor Rower. Thanks to its floating footrests, the Dynamic model is best at reproducing the sensation of actually rowing on water. However, all Concept2 rowers can be lifted from the ground with a bungee slide (sold separately) for a floating sensation. The Dynamic is a relatively compact air rower. It is 76” long and 24” wide.

The Great:
  • Made in the USA: Concept2 air rowers are made in the USA. The company is headquartered in Vermont and proudly offers tours of its state-of-the-art factory.
  • Easy Assembly: Assembling Concept2 rowing machines is very simple. These units can be assembled within 20 or 30 minutes.
  • Air Resistance: Air resistance makes a rowing machine appropriate for any skill level. The more intensely a person rows, the more resistance is generated. Resistance on Concept2 rowers can be further tailored with a manual damper.
  • Performance Monitor: The backlit Performance Monitor 5 or PM5 distinguishes Concept2 rowers from cheaper competitors. It includes games, workouts and session progress. The PM5 is compatible with ATN and Bluetooth to show heart rate data too. Wireless connectivity lets trainees easily export their session feedback.
  • Optional Slide: Concept2 slides are an optional addition that enhance on-water simulation. The slides attach beneath the rowing machines with bungee cords and suspend them for a floating sensation. These slides can connect multiple machines for team training.
  • Ergonomic: Concept2 rowing handles have a 10-degree bend, which supports a natural rowing position. They also have adjustable footrests to promote comfort.
  • Easy to Store: Concept2 rowers can easily be divided into two sections for easy storing. No tools are required. Attached wheels make the machines easy to move.
  • High Capacity: The maximum user weight capacity of each machine is 500 pounds.
  • Good Warranty: The purchase price includes a limited five-year warranty on the frame and a two-year warranty on the parts and electronics.

The Not-So-Great:
  • Size: Measuring 96” long and 24” wide, the Model D and Model E require lots of space when in use. The Concept2 Dynamic measures just 76” long by 24” wide.
  • Some Maintenance Required: Customers report that the Model D works best if its chain is oiled after each use. The Model E has a covered chain to avoid the maintenance issue.

Our Conclusion:

Concept2 is our favorite brand of air rower. It offers long-lasting rowing machines that feel great to use and can suit any skill level. The Concept2 PM5 computer system is among the best in the rowing industry, and no other brand lets riders connect their air rowers for team training. Concept2 provides top values for home gyms and commercial fitness centers.