Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine

9.8 score
[Editors rating (9.8)] = (Garage Gym Ideas - Ultimate Home Gym Design) score (9.8)/10

Editor rating: 9.8 / 10
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Editor’s Conclusion
The Concept 2 Model D is one of the most popular pieces of home exercise equipment for a very good reason. This machine checks all of the boxes as to what makes a great cardio machine. It is built solid as a rock, which means there will be no wobbling as you pick up the pace, and the frame all the way to the wire is made from high-end materials that not only look sharp but hold up well over time. I also love that the PM5 monitor is really easy to use and is packed with fun and helpful features to keep your workouts fun and engaging.

Plus, this machine is Bluetooth compatible and works with heart rate monitors and the free ErgData fitness app. There is one more feature about the PM5 that pushes this machine over the top (at least for me), and you will have to scroll down to the LCD monitor section to find out what it is!

Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the features that earn the Concept2 Model D one of the best rowing machines out there on the market.
Editor's Pros & Cons

Bluetooth compatible
Detailed LCD monitor
Nickel-plated steel chain
Very strong and stable aluminum frame
Very comfortable seat and handlebars


Difficult to remove slide rail for storage
LCD monitor requires 2 D batteries

Key Features


Concept2 doesn’t skimp on the quality of materials on their workout machine. The entire frame of this design is composed of high-end aluminum that is coated with a powder-coated finish that looks sharp and is resistant to corrosion and rust. The aluminum frame makes this design much lighter than other designs out there on the market. While it has a large footprint, the entire unit weighs just over 57 pounds, which makes it easy to move as well as disassemble to clear up floor space as needed.

This rowing machine also requires very little annual maintenance. The enclosed flywheel helps to block out dust and debris that can slow you down, and the handlebars and seat are moisture-resistant. The only maintenance this machine requires to run like new for years is that the nickel-plated chain needs to be oiled after 40 hours of use.


While some rowers are designed more for cardio workouts to shed calories and elevate your heart rate, this design is made to build muscle as well. The long frame allows for a full range of motion to help activate every muscle group in your body with a single row.

Also, it utilizes fan-driven resistance that you can also manually adjust to raise or lower the difficultly on the line. What’s great about wind resistance is that there is no maximum resistance level. The faster you row creates more resistance on the line, which makes this machine perfect for building strength as you shed calories.


This design utilizes a fan-driven resistance belt that is small yet mighty. It is important to note that unlike belt or friction-driven models, the fan on this design can get a little noisy. While it isn’t as noisy as a motor on a treadmill, it’s just loud enough to make holding a normal conversation a little difficult. It’s not a deal-breaker, but something that is with mentioning.

What I also love about this design is that there is a small lever on the fan chamber that allows you to manually raise or lower the difficulty. If you are just starting out, I suggest closing the fan chamber to reduce the air resistance on the line. As you start to build strength and confidence in your rowing, you can open up the chamber for a more challenging ride.


The backlit LCD monitor looks like an old TI-80 graphing calculator, but it is packed with a ton of helpful and fun features to keep track of your progress and keep your workouts exciting. Once it is turned on, it takes you to a central menu that gives you the option to select Just Row, Select Workout, Games, Memory, and Other Options.

The ‘Just Row’ option takes you to a screen that shows you your row count, calories burned, time spend on the bike, and distance. The ‘Select Workout’ option takes you to a screen where you can pick from a variety of workout programs that span from beginner to expert.

My favorite feature (the one I teased in my opening) is the Games option. Even as an adult, I get very excited when games are involved. The games on this device are fairly simple and play like an olf Tiger Electronics game.

However, they work really well at integrating your rowing into the games. The fishing game, for instance, rewards you with points for every fish that you catch. The faster you row, the more points you collect. It’s simple and a little silly, but nothing motivates me more than gamifying my workouts!


Concept2 has super comfortable features that will make your ride a little bit more enjoyable. The seat has an ergonomic design that contours the shape of your body. It doesn’t have that soft squish like some of the other designs out there on the market, but the slightly rigid materials mean that the seat won’t break down over time.

I also like that a good deal of thought was put into the construction of the handlebars. These handlebars boast an ergonomic grip and are coated with a material that feels similar to your skin.

What’s great about this grip material is that these handles will never feel like they are going to slip right out of your hands as you work up a sweat, and they also help to fight off blisters and callouses.


Overall, the dimensions of the design run par for the course. The biggest size difference is that the Concept2 Model 2 is very long. While this allows for a fuller range of motion for users with legs for days, it also means that it will take up a lot of precious real estate in your home gym.

This unit measures to be 96 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 14 inches tall. One thing that I love about the overall design of this machine is that all of the components look very slim, and there isn’t one blocky or bulky angle on this entire machine.


While the Concept2 Model D is has a much longer glide track than other models, it can be disassembled for compact storage. Unlike other foldable models that allow users to fold the glider track against the base, this design requires users to remove the track from the central base. What I found in my research is that disassembling the track is a little complicated the time consuming, and most users don’t even bother.

I suggest finding a forever home for this piece of equipment that is out of the way so you don’t need to take the time to remove the base when you need to clear up some floor space.


The frame may look like it may be difficult to assemble, but Concept2 has designed this home rower to be able to be assembled super fast! Many of the components come pre-assembled prior to shipping, and all your need to do is tighten a few screws. This machine comes with exactly 8 screws that need to be tightened in place before you set out on your maiden voyage.

In fact, there are quite a few users that found that this rower is one of the easier pieces of home exercise equipment that they have ever assembled. Even if your handyman skills are a little lacking, you will likely have no problem putting this machine together in under an hour.


When compared to other budget-friend designs out there on the market, the Model 2 comes in at a pretty intimidating price point. However, if you are in the market for the best of the best, it is worth every penny.

There are few machines out there on the market that are able to provide a total body workout the builds strength and sheds pounds quite like this rowing machine. Plus, the innovative features and built-in programs will keep your workout challenging, fresh, and exciting.


If you are in the market for one of the best home rowing machines that money can buy, this is certainly one of your best options. I love that it is super easy to put together, and it is packed with a ton of helpful features to keep your workouts fun and engaging. While it may come in at a pretty steep price point, it is certainly worth every penny. Plus, Concept2 backs their products with an extended 90-day return window in case you feel that this exercise machine just isn’t right for you.

I would recommend this machine for those that are looking for a great cardio machine that triggers just about every muscle group in your body to help shed pounds while building muscle at the same time. The overall design makes it approachable for beginners, and the intensity is easily able to be adjusted for veteran rowers.