Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Review

Get an excellent workout with this high-quality, easy-to-use rowing machine

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4.6

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Verywell Fit / Nick Ingalls

What We Like
  • Easy to assemble

  • Comfortable to use

  • Effective and customizable full-body workouts

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Large footprint

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a way to get excellent full-body workouts at home, check out the Model D Indoor Rowing Machine by Concept2. It’s easy to set up, offers tons of tracking and connectivity features, and it’s well built.

4.6

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Verywell Fit / Nick Ingalls

We purchased the Concept2’s Model D Indoor Rowing Machine so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.

If you’re looking for an alternative to running or you’re sick of paying for a gym membership you hardly ever use, a rowing machine could be an excellent addition to your home gym. While there are many options on the market, Concept2’s Model D Indoor Rowing Machine is a high-quality option with a versatile LCD display that tracks your performance. The catch? With an MSRP of $900 (plus shipping fees), it’s not exactly budget-friendly. To see if this machine is really worth the investment, we sent it home with one of our expert reviewers who assembled it, tested its settings, and evaluated its overall performance. Read on to see if the Model D lived up to all of its positive reviews. 

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Verywell Fit / Nick Ingalls

Setup Process: Quick and easy

Even though this rower is large (96 x 24 x 44.5 inches) and heavy (57 pounds), its assembly process is surprisingly easy. All you have to do is install the front legs using a total of eight screws (the necessary tools are included). Our expert tester found the setup to be very simple: “It took no more than a half-hour to assemble this machine once everything was removed from the box,” he said. “There were only a few pieces to screw together.” He also added that once it was assembled, he started using it right away: “You can literally sit down, strap your feet in, and start rowing without touching the screen or having to set anything up,” he explained. “You just grab the handlebar and go.”

Concept 2
 Verywell Fit / Nick Ingalls

Design: Sturdy but large

This rowing machine is commercial-grade quality. Its front legs are aluminum, its rear legs are steel, its chain is nickel-plated steel, and its seat is made from firm rubber. It also has built-in wheels for easy transportation, adjustable footrests, and a backlit LCD display to track progress. The machine has a powder coat finish and comes in both black and light grey hues. Maintenance-wise, the steel chain requires oil after every 40 hours of use.

It's very long, so it does require a fair bit of space to use, but it doesn't feel intrusive if it's kept in a space that is otherwise little-used.

In terms of ergonomics, our tester explained that “comfort in a rower seat comes down to whether or not it feels stable.” The verdict? “Since the first time I used the machine, [instability] has not been a problem and I’ve felt very comfortable in the seat.”

One negative, however, was its large footprint: “What I like the least is probably the size of the machine,” said our tester. “It's very long, so it does require a fair bit of space to use.” He did, however, note that because it was “pretty narrow and sleek, it doesn't feel intrusive if it's kept in a space that is otherwise little-used.”

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Verywell Fit / Nick Ingalls

Performance: Many ways to get an effective workout

This rowing machine offers a number of ways for you to customize your workout. You can manually adjust its resistance by changing its damper level between one to 10; the damper controls the airflow of the machine’s air-resistance flywheel. The machine also has a performance monitor called the PM5. It offers an automatic “Just Row” mode and a variety of preset workouts. You can also design your own workouts from scratch and save them for repeated use. Our tester, who had limited experience using an indoor rowing machine before testing the Model D, found that its performance monitor was “mostly very intuitive” to use: “I used some of the workouts—both time- and distance-based—as well as the ‘Just Row’ function,” he explained. “I also tested the ‘Darts’ game, which is a very clever way to help you become acquainted with using the machine and building a steady, consistent rowing rhythm.”

The PM5 also lets you track your data in real-time—including your pace, watts, strokes per minute, and calories burned. “The different screen options are also very useful depending on what kind of feedback you're looking for,” our tester explained. “You can set a pace boat to help push you farther and faster, check your strokes per minute, your wattage output, as well as time and distance. It’s also very easy to see while you’re rowing, so you know exactly where you stand at all times, which is great for knowing when to push yourself.” Plus, if you’re looking to save your data and compare it with past or future sessions, don’t worry—the PM5 automatically stores your information in its internal memory or on an optional USB flash drive.

It's fun to use, so it never feels like a chore.

Overall, our reviewer felt that the Model D provided a great full-body workout that gets even better with time: “You can get whatever you need out of it,” he explained. “After the first few uses—if you aren't used to rowing—you're guaranteed to feel sore (the good kind of sore) in muscles you may not be used to working, especially in the back and shoulders. But once you become acquainted with the machine and figure out how to get your whole body in sync, the ride becomes even smoother. It eventually comes to feel like a very natural, almost relaxing workout that also leads you to push harder to beat a previous pace or distance. Most importantly, it's fun to use, so it never feels like a chore.”

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Verywell Fit / Nick Ingalls

Compatibility: Bluetooth and app connectivity to make tracking progress easy

In addition to saving your data, the Model D is compatible with both Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity; this allows you to hook it up to many fitness devices, heart rate belts, and apps. Concept2 also has a free app, ErgData, which helps you organize your data and can sync with the Concept2 Online Logbook.

Power: Just batteries

It is very easy to power this machine. The PM5 tracker just takes two D cell batteries, which are included. Also, to extend battery life, the monitor draws power from the spinning flywheel during workouts.

It’s still cheaper than a year would cost at many gyms, while providing an excellent full-body workout without a steep learning curve.

Price: A worthwhile investment

There’s no getting around it, with an MSRP of $900, this machine is pricier than many of its competitors. Because of its versatility and excellent quality, however, we’d argue that it’s still a great investment. And, as our tester pointed out, “it’s still cheaper than a year would cost at many gyms, while providing an excellent full-body workout without a steep learning curve.”

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine vs. Sunny Health & Fitness Full Motion Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness, another home exercise equipment company, also offers an indoor rowing machine. Both models are top sellers online but they have a variety of differences. Sunny Health and Fitness’ model works via a hydraulic cylinder system with 12 levels, whereas Concept2’s option has an air-resistance flywheel with 10 levels. Their weight capacities are also contrasting: Sunny Health’s maximum user weight is 350 pounds, while Concept2’s is 500 pounds. Also, although they both have LCD screens to monitor progress, Sunny Health’s option displays simple metrics like time, count, and calories while Concept2’s screen is more versatile. The latter also boasts wireless Bluetooth and ANT+ compatibility, app connectivity, and preset workouts. Despite all those differences, the biggest factor here is price. While Concept2’s model goes for $900, Sunny Health’s machine is much more budget-friendly with an MSRP of less than $200. 

Take a peek at some of the other best indoor rowing machines you can buy. Or, if you’re looking for other ways to get in your cardio in the comfort of your own home, you can check out the best treadmills, best indoor cycling bikes, or best ellipticals

Final Verdict

Buy it if it’s in your budget.

Concept2’s Model D indoor rowing machine is expensive, no doubt. But because of its sturdy construction, numerous tracking and connectivity options, and effectiveness, it’s more than worth the investment.

Specs

  • Product Name Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
  • Product Brand Concept2
  • Price $900.00
  • Weight 57 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 96 x 24 x 44.5 in.
  • Seat Height 14 in.
  • Weight Capacity 500 lbs
  • Power Requirements Two D cell batteries (included)
  • Material Aluminum front legs, steel rear legs, ABS plastic monitor arm, nickel-plated steel chain
  • Warranty 2 years for all parts, 5 years for frame parts
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