Concept2 Model D Review

Concept2 Model D Review

Are you looking for a practical commercial-grade rowing machine? One that offers all the bells and whistles necessary for peak performance? A Rower so good that Commercial Gyms even have these as their go-to option.

If so, the Concept2 Model D could be the indoor rower that you’re looking for. I must stress, this isn’t a budget rowing machine, it’s one of the best indoor rower machines that you’ll find on the market.

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Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower with PM5 Monitor, Black

Last update was on: July 17, 2024 3:45 am

The Concept2 is considered one of the best rowing machines in the world. This is the indoor rowing machine that Olympic athletes use to train off-water. When you buy a Concept2 model, you get the gold standard of indoor fitness and rowing machines.

Build Quality

The Model D offers more than just an impressive design as it also has a flawless build quality that can’t be beaten. With aluminum legs at the front and steel legs at the back, an aluminum monorail, and a stainless steel track, the Concept2 Model D indoor is a machine built to last decades.

The Model D is also sturdy and holds up to 500lbs. The 38-inch long inseam means that the rower also accommodates people up to 6.6 feet tall. Given that the average rowing machine has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds, the high weight limit of the Concept2 shows the superior build quality.

The Concept Model D is available in a black or matte finish. The warranty protects the frame for up to five years and parts for up to two years. The generous warranty is another sign of excellent build quality.


The comfort factor is another thing that sets the Model D rowing machine apart. Every stroke feels smooth as the seat glides up and down the rail without any noise or fuss. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a rowing machine as comfortable as the Model D indoor rowing machine. Please note that some users report the seat can stiffen up over time, meaning you might want to consider getting a seat pad for the Model D.

The Model D has anti-slip grips to ensure the grips don’t wear down and break because of sweat. Some people might need some time to adjust to the handles because they can feel uncomfortable at first. It would help if you considered wearing gloves until you get accustomed to the grips.

Foot Pedals

The foot pedals for the Concept2 Model D have been made with care and attention, as evidenced by the heel rests for extra comfort. Unlike other rowing machines, this one is comfortable enough to be used barefoot. The pedals on the indoor rowing machine are super comfortable with adjustable straps to suit your foot size.


Rowing machines use various methods to generate resistance and simulate rowing through the water. The Concept2 Model D uses air resistance. This means that a flywheel rotates as you pull the handle, pushing through the air in the machine. The more you row, the more air there is to displace, meaning more drag and resistance for a tougher workout.

While the Concept2 Model runs on air resistance, it also has dampeners to make some base resistance adjustments. There are ten levels of control in all. The higher the dampener, the more intense the workout becomes.

With ten levels of resistance, the Concept2 Model D is an excellent choice for beginners and experts alike. The versatility is one of the key benefits of purchasing the Model D as most rowing machines aren’t suited for professional users.

Given that the Concept2 Model D uses air resistance, the Concept2 Model D indoor rowing machine generates more noise than the average water or magnetic rower. However, it doesn’t generate any squeaking. The noise the Model D rowing machine makes is closer to that of a fan than anything else. The sound shouldn’t be too much for you and those around you, but it isn’t on the level of pure silence afforded by magnetic rowers.

The PM5 Monitor

The PM5 monitor is one of the key selling points of this indoor rowing machine. This sophisticated piece of technology tracks all the information you could need about your workouts. The monitor tracks distance, calorie burn, strokes per minute, watts, split times, and more.

The PM5 monitor lets you create customized workout routines, too, letting you use a preset workout, create your own, or make exercise more fun with a game that teaches you proper rowing technique.

Connect to Heart Rate Monitors

Don’t think the PM5 monitor is like the ones you see on other rowing machines. This monitor wirelessly connects to other devices, including your heart rate monitor, to give you accurate measurements of your heart rate during a workout.

The Concept Model D comes with Bluetooth technology to connect wirelessly to heart rate monitors. There are even third-party apps to get more details about how your workouts affect your heart rate and other vitals.

Data Storage

We love the Condept2 Model D indoor rowing machine because it lets you store data and track performance over months. You can even back up your workout data to a USB stick and keep an online logbook with Concept2 Utility.

The Good

  1. Sleek design
  2. Stunning build quality
  3. 10 air-resistance levels for customized workouts
  4. Bestselling renowned brand
  5. Quickly assemble in under 20 minutes
  6. Smooth rowing motions
  7. PM5 monitor is best-in-class
  8. Backlit display with large easy-to-read numbers
  9. Wireless connectivity
  10. Secure footrests
  11. Easy to disassemble and store
  12. Easy to move
  13. Extended rail makes Model D suitable for taller people

The Bad

  1. Display is old-school
  2. Some find the seat and handle uncomfortable.
  3. Not as quiet as a magnetic indoor rowing machine

Final Verdict On the Concept2 Model D

The Concept2 model combines a sturdy build with a smooth ride. The resistance is enough of a challenge for beginners and professional athletes alike. The state-of-the-art PM5 monitor makes it easy to track workout metrics, play rowing games, and create your own customized workouts. The machine is also super comfortable.

If you’re looking for a non-nonsense rowing machine built to last, then you need the Model D indoor rowing machine.

What are the Differences Between Magnetic, Air, and Water Resistance on a Rowing Machine?

The demand for an indoor rowing machine has grown exponentially in recent years. Many companies are creating and selling rowing machines. These machines come in three main varieties, based on the resistance mechanism.

As mentioned in our review, the Concept2 Model D rower is an air-resistance rowing machine. The other resistance types are magnetic and water resistance.

Here’s a look at the differences between magnetic, air, and water resistance on an indoor rowing machine.

Magnetic Rowing Machine

Magnetic rowing machines are some of the most common ones. These machines use strong magnetics to create resistance, meaning they don’t generate friction. No friction means you get quiet and consistent resistance during a workout. Magnetic resistance makes working out with an indoor rowing machine more fun, relaxing, and satisfying.

Magnetic rowers are generally more quiet and compact than other rowing machines, making them ideal for indoor rowing. The handles on magnetic rowers have a large metal flywheel connected with a chain. These machines offer varying resistance levels to give you more control over your workout.

Not only does a magnetic rowing machine offer an excellent cardiovascular workout, but they’re great for your muscles too. Some machines have up to 32 resistance levels. You can adjust the resistance level according to your fitness level and desired workout intensity.

Is a Magnetic Rowing Machine Right For You?

Magnetic rowers are an excellent choice for beginner rowing. These machines are compact and noiseless, making them one of the best choices for indoor rowing.


  1. Silent operation
  2. Variable resistance levels
  3. Less maintenance
  4. Compact


  1. It doesn’t accurately mimic rowing on water.

Water Rowing Machine

Water rowers are a recent innovation that creates resistance with water and paddles. Water rowers simulate the sound and feel of rowing on the water. While some people still prefer to use air-resistance machines over water-resistance ones, many prefer the quieter and smoother feeling of using a water one. Real water also offers near-infinite resistance potential. The intensity builds the harder you row and pushes against the water.

Water rowers require some basic setup and will need you to adjust the paddles. The rower has a water tank with a chain and handle. The flywheel is connected to the chain and handle and immersed in the water. There’s also a steel beam to create a smooth gliding experience. When you pull the handle, the paddle spins, moving water and creating pull on the paddles to generate resistance.

The fluid technology creates a realistic and smooth rowing experience. The mechanism catches against the water and applies resistance during each stroke. The smooth strokes prevent too much pressure from building up and working against your joints.

Is a Water Rowing Machine Right For You?

If you’re looking for quality equipment at home, water rowers are a great choice. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t take up much room, you should keep looking. These machines tend to be bulkier than others.


  1. Simulate real-life rowing
  2. Low-impact full-body workout
  3. It doesn’t need much maintenance.
  4. Quiet operation


  1. More expensive
  2. No “flat zone.”

Air Rowing Machine

The air rowing machine is the most common and popular type of rower. The Concept 2 mentioned in our review is an air rower. Many consider air rowing to be the best kind. These machines generate resistance by blowing air through the flywheel. Pull harder on the handles, and the fans spin faster, creating more resistance. Rowing clubs prefer machines like the Concept 2 model because they more accurately simulate the sound and feel of real rowing.

Air rowing uses up to 80% of the skeletal muscles with no impact on your body, meaning almost no stress to your joints. Rowing targets muscles in the back, core, shoulders, and legs. Rowing also increases cardiovascular endurance.

Some air-resistance models combine air resistance with magnetism for linear resistance. Some come with floor protectors to prevent slipping and keep your workout area clean.

Is an Air Rowing Machine Right For Me?

Machines like the Model D rower or Model E rower are made for people who want a more authentic rowing experience. These machines are ideal for professional rowers who need a machine to train with during the off-season because they perfectly mimic rowing on water. The only downside is that they get noisy, especially if you up the intensity.


  1. Best emulates the feeling of real rowing.
  2. It offers a smooth and balanced workout.
  3. Authentic resistance adjustment
  4. Great for home-use


  1. Generates noise

What Are The Key Features to Look For On a Rowing Machine?

There are several key things to look for with a rowing machine, including:

  • Resistance

How the machine generates resistance is one of the first things to consider. Do you want an air-powered machine? Water-powered? Think about which type makes the most sense for your budget and space.

  • Weight Capacity

Most machines can hold up to 300 pounds. If you weigh more than that, you’ll want to consider a sturdier machine like the Model D rower, which holds up to 500lbs comfortably.

  • Display Monitor

The display monitor on the Model D rower is the best around, but it isn’t the only option. Most rowers have some display monitor. The type of monitor, and the information it tracks and displays, can be an important consideration. The Concept2 Model D Rowing machine tracks everything you can imagine.

  • Comfort

It makes sense to choose a comfortable machine like the Model D rowing machine. The more comfortable you are, the easier it is to do longer workouts.

Q: How many calories can I burn on a rowing machine?

Using the Model D rowing machine, or indeed any rowing machine offers an incredible workout. You can expect to burn up to 1,000 calories per hour, depending on the resistance level.

Q: Is a rowing machine worth it for competitive rowers?

This depends on which machine you choose. A professional-grade air rower such as the Concept2 is an ideal choice for competitive rowers.

Q: Does the rowing machine build stamina?

Rowing is the ultimate exercise, building stamina, endurance, and muscle mass all in one go.

Q: What are some rowing machine workouts?

Most machines have workouts programmed into them, such as the ones in the Concept 2 Model and the Model E.

These workouts challenge you to do things like row a certain distance or reach a certain speed.

Concept2 Model D Review
Concept2 Model D Review

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