Concept 2 Rowing Machine Reviews: Model D Tested!

Indoor rowing is one of the most beneficial types of exercise that you can do in your home gym. It helps increase your lung capacity, improves heart function, and promotes overall health.  

When it comes to rowing machines, the Concept2 Model D rowing machine is a fantastic rower for your home gym.  

In this detailed guide, I’ll be discussing everything you need to know about buying this popular product and letting you in on some insider information that you won’t see on any other Concept 2 rowing machine reviews.   

If you’ve been looking for a top of the range rowing machine that will provide you with a top-quality workout, then the Concept 2 rowing machine is an excellent choice for your home gym.  

It provides a smooth rowing action and a great range of resistance, even for beginners. Plus, it doesn’t cost over $1000, which is cheap for the quality you’re getting.  

PM5 Performance Monitor 

The Concept2’s backlit LCD PM5 performance monitor is fully adjustable and has many built-in features.  

The display is wireless Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible, allowing you to connect your Model D rower to your heart rate monitors and apps. You can also attach a USB flash drive to download your workout data for later analysis.  

concept 2 model d performance monitor

Fanned Flywheel 

The Concept2 Model D is an air rower, so the fanned flywheel creates more noise than other rowers that use water resistance. If you require a rowing machine that’s on the quieter side of things, then you’re best opting for another brand such as NordicTrack rowers.

Damper Levels 1-10 

When it comes to resistance, the Concept2 Model D has ten resistance settings ranging from 1 (easiest) to 10 (the hardest). The damper levels restrict the airflow into the rowing machine, allowing you to increase or decrease the resistance quickly 

You can also vary your resistance depending on the intensity that you row at. The more intense you row, the higher the resistance will be. This makes it ideal for all ranges of ability. 

Minimal Noise & Smooth Feel 

While the Concept2 Model D is louder than the magnetic resistance rowers, it is relatively quiet compared to other air resistance rowing machines. I found the machine to operate exceptionally smoothly, and if I couldn’t see the walls of my home gym, I’d think I was on the water.  

Easy To Assemble, Move & Store 
Concept2 Model D storage

Assembling the Model D rower was extremely easy. You’re provided with some fantastic instructions, and you’ll have the rower built within a handful of steps.  

The Concept2 rowing machine is easy to store as it can essentially split in half by using a lever, which is super helpful for small home gyms.

There are also two wheels on the bottom of the rower that can be used to roll the rower to wherever you’re storing it efficiently 

Connects With A Wide Range of Popular Apps 

As the Concept2 Model D has both Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, you can connect a selection of popular apps to your rowing machine. Rowing apps are extremely useful if you enjoy tracking your workouts or analyzing your performance. Compatible apps include Regatta, Kinomap, Krew, Zwift, ErgData, and many more. 


Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Reviewed 

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Product Specifications 

Assembled Dimensions 

96 x 24 x 14 inches (L x W x H) 

Folded Dimensions 

33 x 25 x 14 Inches (L x W x H) 

Machine Weight 

57.32 Lbs 

Maximum Weight Capacity 

500 Lbs 

Resistance Type (Levels) 

Air resistance (10 levels) 

Warranty 

Yes, you get 5-years frame warranty and 2-years on all other parts. 

Assembly & Maintenance  

When it came to the Concept 2 rowing machine assembly, it was super easy due to the fantastic instructions provided on the Concept2 websiteIn total, the assembly took me around 20 minutes and shouldn’t take you any longer than 30 minutes, even if you’re new to assembling gym equipment.  

Some rowing machines often require several people to assemble the machine due to awkward screen attachments etc., but this isn’t the case with the Concept 2 rowing machine. You’ll be able to build this rower by yourself and will only require some basic tools to do so.  

To keep the Concept 2 Model D rowing machine in top working order, I recommend that you use a damp cloth to clean the machine after you finish using it. 

Workouts & Performance  

concept 2 model d indoor rowing machine

The Concept 2 Model D has a highly smooth rowing action that feels close to rowing on water.

The resistance levels give you a tremendous variation allowing you to train from a beginner level to a more advanced level.   

The only negative that I can think of from using the Model D is that it does produce a lot more noise than the magnetic rowers do. This isn’t a huge problem but is something worth considering when you purchase this rowing machine.  

As the damper levels range from 1-10, the Model D is one of the best rowers around for your home gym. You’ll get years out of it, if not decades, so long as you look after it.

Health Benefits/Exercises 

Using this rower to build up muscular fitness is more common than you might think. It’s a low impact way of building up your lung capacity and overall heart health. There’s no impact on your joints, making it perfect for all ages. 

Like with any exercise, using the correct rowing form is crucial. Always ensure you remain in a good position with a neutral spine. This will help prevent any injuries and will allow you to get the most out of your workout.  

Design & Features  

While the Model D does look great, I can’t help but feel that it’s rather basic looking compared to other rowing machines on the market.  

But, for some of you, it will be part of the Model D’s charm. It does a brilliant job without all of the fuss. So if you want something that packs a punch without all the drama, then the Concept2 Model D is perfect for your home gym. 

Using The Console/Monitor 

For a Concept2 rowing machine, the PM5 display screen is as high-tech as you'll get, at least for the time being. 

While it does boast Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, the display does feel somewhat dated compared to other rowing machines that offer HD screens. It does not have very many customization options.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine console

This isn’t a deal-breaker, and if I’m honest, I quite liked the fact that I could hop onto the Concept 2 and row without needing to look at any technology.  

Price & Warranty 

Priced at about $900, the Concept2 Model D isn’t a cheap rowing machine, but it’s not one of the most expensive either. If you’re on a budget, it might not be for you, but if you can spare the cash, then it’s a rowing machine you should consider. 

The Concept2 Model D warranty is pretty decent, providing you with five-year frame cover and two years on all other parts. While the warranty isn’t bad, I think that the “all other parts” cover could be longer. 


Pros & Cons Of The Concept2 Model D Rower 

The Concept 2 Model D is a brilliant rowing machine for both beginners and advanced users. It has an excellent range of resistance that provides you with a smooth rowing action close to what you’d feel on the water.  

Both the handle and seat have been designed to provide maximum comfort for the user and allow you to work out for longer without getting uncomfortable. Concept 2 has provided a great set of instruction manuals to help with the assembly and maintenance, and the machines construction is robust.  

The only real downside is that the air resistance is louder than most other magnetic rowers. But, this isn’t a deal-breaker, just something to consider when purchasing this fantastic rowing machine. 

The Good 

  • Excellent instruction manuals are available online 
  • Extremely easy to assemble 
  • Fantastic handle that’s comfortable to hold
  • Great range of resistance  
  • Great price for the quality you’re getting

The Bad 

  • The air resistance is a bit loud compared to magnetic rowers 
  • Might need to upgrade the seat if you’re on the large side
  • It doesn’t look as slick when folded up

Comparing Model D With Other Concept2 Rowers 

Concept2 Model D Vs Model E 

When you compare the Concept 2 Model D vs E, there is barely any difference at all. You'll get the same workout quality on each rowing machine, and it includes the same display. The only notable differences are the following: 

The Concept Model E has a nickel-plated steel chain that will require less oiling than the Model D; the Model E has welded steel legs and is 6 inches taller than the Model D. The Model E will set you back around $1200, whereas the D will cost you roughly $900.  

It will come down to a matter of preference; if you need a taller rower that’s higher from the ground, then the Model E is the one for you. If not, then the Model D is excellent 

Concept2 Model D Vs Model C 

By looking at the Concept 2 Model C vs. D, you'll notice a few differences right away. The Model C has a different flywheel than the Model D, and unfortunately, the Model C is a lot louder during usage.  

I also noticed that the Model C display screen was either a PM2 or PM3 instead of the PM5 that the Model D uses. One benefit to PM2 and PM3 is that they don’t use up batteries as quickly as the PM5. But, as Concept2 no longer supports them, you might find it challenging to troubleshoot the screen if you encounter faults.  

When it comes to price, the Model C will cost you only $300 while the Model D is $900. If you don’t have a large budget, the Model C will be a great choice. 


Comparisons With Alternative Rowing Machine Brands 

Concept2 Model D Vs WaterRower 

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Straight away, when you compare the WaterRower vs Concept 2 Model D, you'll notice a massive difference in the aesthetics of the machines.  

The WaterRower is constructed out of wood, and it looks fantastic and is one of the most unique-looking rowers I've come across. It has a water flywheel that simulates rowing on actual water, and the operation is smooth, quiet, and rather satisfying.  

The WaterRower comes with a built-in display that tracks your intensity, heart rate, calories, and more. It costs over $1200, which is towards the upper end of the market for a rowing machine.  

On the other hand, the Model D looks like most other rowing machines, but I found that the resistance levels are much better and best suited for all levels. It costs around $900 for the Model D making it cheaper than the WaterRower.  

Overall, if you want something that sets you apart, then the WaterRower is undoubtedly the machine for you, but if you want a complete rowing machine, then the Model D is the best option and is less money.   

Concept2 Model D Vs Nordictrack RW200 Rower 

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From looking at the NordicTrack rower vs Concept 2, both machines are of excellent quality and would make a great addition to your home gym.  

The NordicTrack comes with iFit membership, and it's fantastic. It includes over 3000 ready-to-watch workouts that are updated daily and plenty of live workouts for you to join in with. It includes a slick-looking smart device holder and some brilliantly designed pivoting pedals for extra comfort.  

On the other hand, the Concept 2 Model D doesn’t have any fitness app memberships, but it has a built-in smartphone holder. One thing that sets the two rowers apart is the resistance. The Concept 2 uses air resistance, while the NordicTrack uses magnetic resistance. The magnetic resistance is quieter but may not be enough for more advanced users.  

If you want a rower that will give you a great workout no matter you’re level, then the Concept 2 Model D is the best choice for you. 

Concept2 Model D Vs Hydrow Rower 

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The Hydrow rower Vs Concept 2 Model D is like comparing day and night; they are so far apart and for totally different people. The Hydrow is a state-of-the-art futuristic-looking rowing machine that comes with a 22 inch HD screen with built-in speakers. You can also upgrade to a $38/month membership to the training programs that are designed for the rower.  

However, without paying for the membership, this rowing machine doesn’t have many functions or settings. The Concept 2 Model D is a basic-looking rowing machine that gets the job done without looking fancy.  

Plus, it will cost you under half the price of the Hydrow (which is over $2000). If you’re on a budget and want a great rowing machine, then the Concept2 is the perfect rowing machine.  

Concept2 Model D Vs Proform 750R 

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After comparing the Proform 750R vs Concept 2 Model D, I found that while the Proform 750R is a great looking rowing machine, it lacks the same standard of resistance that the Concept 2 has. So if you’re an advanced user, you might find it too easy to use. I love the 750R’s tablet holder and the fact that it works with the iFit app, which the Concept 2 doesn’t do, unfortunately.  

When it comes to pricing, the Concept2 is around $300 more expensive than the Proform 750R, so your budget will be a deciding factor on which rower is best suited for you.  


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What other accessories should I buy with my Model D?  

You might want to consider purchasing a mat for underneath your rowing machine, mainly to protect your floor in your home gym. However, you could buy the Concept2 Slide, which makes the rowing machine glide back and forth as if you’re on the water. 

Another accessory you might like is workout gloves; these will help prevent your hands from developing calluses and rubbing.  

Where is the best place to buy a Concept 2 rowing machine? 

Two of the best places for you to purchase the Concept2 Model D are either Amazon or Rogue Fitness. These two sites will provide you with the best prices and have excellent reputations with thousands of positive reviews.  

The last thing you want is to order from a dodgy looking website.   

How do you assemble Concept2 rowing machines? 

The Concept 2 rowing machine assembly is one of the easiest I’ve come across. Their instruction manual is excellent and easy to follow.  

You’ll only need basic tools and can be built by one person alone. The assembly process shouldn’t take you any longer than 30 minutes. If you have any other queries about the assembly of the Model D, check out the Concept2 Model D instruction manual. 

Is the Concept2 Model D Rower good for home use?  

The Concept2 does an excellent job of being suitable for both beginners and advanced users. Its air resistance allows you to choose between 10 settings that will adjust the amount of air the rower takes in; increasing the airflow increases the resistance and vice versa.  

If you’re new to rowing, the Concept2 Model D will be a great place to start and will allow you to keep progressing until you’re advanced. 


Conclusion

Overall, the Concept 2 Model D is a fantastic rowing machine for your home gym and is best suited for those of you who want a rowing machine that will last. It's suitable for anyone from beginners to Olympic-level athletes, so you know you'll get your money's worth out of this machine.  

I love the air resistance flywheel and the smooth rowing action that it creates. The only downside is that it produces more noise than the magnetic resistance rowers. If you want a home gym rowing machine, then you can’t go wrong with Concept 2.  

Paul J

Last Updated on April 19, 2022