Many people love the feeling of rowing outdoors. Unfortunately, not every day can be spent out on the water — that’s where rowing machines come in.
In addition to offering a solution for rainy days, rowing machines provide a low impact way to get a full-body workout.
The Concept 2 RowErg (previously known as the Model D Rower) is an indoor rowing machine that’s popular with serious rowers, Olympians, and CrossFit enthusiasts.
However, it isn’t cheap, and you may be wondering whether it’s worth the cost.
We’ve compiled all the essential information you need to know to determine whether the Concept 2 RowErg is the right fit for your home gym.
- well-known and respected brand
- easy to store between workouts
- simple assembly
- highly rated for its durability and ease of use
- doesn’t have to be plugged into an outlet
- takes up a large amount of floor space
- noisy when in use
- doesn’t include a touch screen for streaming
Concept 2 has been creating exercise equipment for more than 40 years.
The brand currently manufactures two indoor rowing machines: the classic RowErg and the Dynamic RowErg.
The models differ in price, features, and design, with the Dynamic RowErg being more expensive and intended for people who typically row on the water.
The RowErg is the company’s more popular model. Designed by rowers, it’s built to support heavy training by Olympic athletes and competitive rowers while also being approachable for beginners.
The RowErg is available with either Standard legs (previously known as the Model D) or Tall legs (previously known as the Model E).
The classic RowErg is commonly found in commercial gyms, yet its price and size also make it suitable for a home gym.
The Concept 2 RowErg currently retails for $900 with Standard legs and $1,050 with Tall legs.
Those prices don’t include taxes or shipping, both of which vary by location.
If you purchase a rower directly from the company, you can return the machine within 30 days for a full refund.
The Concept 2 RowErg is covered by a 5-year frame warranty and a 2-year limited warranty on parts.
To take advantage of the warranty, you’ll need to contact the company and reference the serial number on your machine.
The RowErg is built from durable aluminum and finished with a black powder coat. It’s also easy to assemble, requiring just a few steps and eight screws.
When fully assembled, the RowErg measures 8 feet × 2 feet (244 cm × 61 cm). For full range of motion, it’s recommended to have a 9-foot × 4-foot (274-cm × 122-cm) exercise space.
The RowErg is available with either Standard or Tall legs. Depending on the option you choose, the seat height measures 14 inches (36 cm) or 20 inches (51 cm) from the floor, respectively.
While it’s not foldable, the machine easily separates into two pieces for convenient storage.
The rower accommodates users of many sizes, with a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds (226.8 kg). Additionally, rowers with an inseam of 38 inches (96.5 cm) or longer can contact the company for an extra-long monorail.
While it doesn’t offer a touch screen, the RowErg is equipped with a powerful Performance Monitor (PM5) that can track and store key stats such as pace, power, stroke rate, and calories burned.
The monitor is able to self-calibrate and is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to connect to more than 30 training apps, including the company’s ErgData app.
You can also stream classes or TV shows on your own tablet using the rower’s built-in device holder.
Other notable features include adjustable footrests and an ergonomic handle.
The RowErg uses air resistance and offers 10 damper settings that allow you to change your resistance by adjusting the airflow to the flywheel.
While the flywheel design is meant to help reduce noise, one of the main complaints about the machine is that it’s still quite loud.
The Concept 2 RowErg has an average 4.9 rating from more than 8,000 reviews on Amazon and a 5-star rating from more than 1,200 reviews on Rogue Fitness.
The company itself is well respected, and customers confirm that the machine is sturdy and made to last.
Furthermore, customers who have experienced issues with the rower mention that Concept 2’s customer service team was highly responsive and quick to resolve the issue.
The main complaint about the RowErg is that it’s quite noisy.
In addition to cost, the major difference between the two models is how the machines move.
The RowErg operates similarly to other indoor rowers, with the seat gliding forward and back as you pull on the handles.
In contrast, the Dynamic RowErg is designed to more closely replicate the feel of rowing on the water — the seat is stationary, and your feet do the sliding.
The Dynamic RowErg also offers an adjustable monitor arm, comes in a silver powder-coated finish, and is slightly more compact.
While the RowErg costs $900 or $1,050, depending on the leg height, the Dynamic retails for $1,250.
Indoor rowing machines are not new, and while the Concept 2 RowErg is popular, it does have its fair share of competitors.
One of these is Xebex, which offers three rowing machines: the Xebex 2.0, Xebex Smart Connect, and Xebex 3.0.
Similar to the RowErg, Xebex rowers include a flywheel and damper for resistance. However, the Concept 2 RowErg has a more powerful motor, and many reviewers find the RowErg’s handlebars more comfortable to hold.
Still, because Xebex is less expensive and still gym-quality, it’s worth considering if the RowErg doesn’t fit your budget.
Another competitor is the Matrix Rower. One major difference between the RowErg and the Matrix Rower is the source of resistance. The Matrix uses magnetic resistance, rather than air, and is therefore much quieter.
The Matrix also offers more resistance levels, though its resistance doesn’t feel as similar to water rowing as the RowErg’s. Furthermore, the monitor on the Matrix is less powerful and not as precise as the RowErg’s PM5.
If you’re looking for a rower with more high tech features, you’ll want to consider the Hydrow Rower.
Both machines are high quality. However, the Hydrow offers a large touch screen that allows you to stream immersive on-the-water rowing videos and participate in team races.
Here’s a quick look at how these rowers compare:
|Concept 2 RowErg (Standard legs)||Xebex 2.0||Matrix||Hydrow|
|Size||96 × 24 inches (244 × 61 cm)||99 × 20 inches (251.5 × 50.8 cm)||87.6 × 21.5 inches (222.5 × 54.6 cm)||86 × 25 inches (218.4 × 63.5 cm)|
|Foldable||no, but can be separated into two pieces||yes||no||no, but compatible with upright storage kit|
|Display screen||Performance Monitor 5 LCD||digital display||backlit LCD||22-inch (56-cm) HD touch screen|
|Training options||compatible with more than 30 training apps||pre-built programs, such as intervals and competition racing||two built-in programs: interval and challenge||live and on-demand classes via Hydrow app|
|Weight capacity||500 pounds (226.8 kg)||500 pounds (226.8 kg)||350 pounds (158.76 kg)||375 pounds (170.1 kg)|
The Concept 2 RowErg is a favorite among people of all fitness levels. Whether you’re a professional athlete training for a race or you’re simply looking for a full-body workout from the comfort of home, the RowErg easily adjusts to meet your needs.
The rower features a solid, sturdy design; accurate performance metric tracking; and a smooth, fluid motion. It also offers Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in device holder, making it easy to track your stats and stream instructor-led classes.
With that said, it isn’t the most affordable option on the market. It’s also not a good fit if you prefer the high tech features of a smart machine.
However, if you’re looking for a gym-quality, no-frills rower, it’s hard to beat the Concept 2 RowErg.
The Concept 2 RowErg builds on the legacy of Concept 2 rowing machines. It’s easy to assemble, provides a challenging workout regardless of your fitness level, and is designed to last.
While it lacks high tech features such as a touch screen and built-in speakers, its accurate tracking and fluid motion make it a favorite among professional and novice rowers alike.
Designed by rowers for rowers, the RowErg may just make you feel a little closer to that day on the water that you’ve been dreaming of.