WaterRower VS Concept 2 Model D

Rowing, as a sport or simply as an exercise, is known for the incredible amount of benefits that it gives. It’s a high intensity, low impact exercise which means that it burns fat and builds muscle while still keeping your joints healthy. Even though running is a great exercise, we all know what impact it has on the shins and knees. A while ago, we posted an article about the Top 5 Rowing Machines and in this article, we will be specifically comparing two of the best rowers that can be found on the market. Namely, the WaterRower and the Concept 2 D.


The WaterRower being used in the lounge

The WaterRower wins in the aesthetics department simply because the all-wood design looks great no matter where you use it.

Aesthetics are just as important as functionality since you’d want something that looks good in your home and adds to the décor that you might have.

The Concept 2 has an interesting design and comes in all black or light grey. It doesn’t look bad but the overall winner in this area is definitely the WaterRower. The all-wood design just looks good no matter where you place it and its perfect for use in your home whereas the Concept 2 would be better suited for a garage or the like. However, it is important to note that both of these can be stored upright.

Winner: WaterRower for its all-wood design.

Monitor efficiency and accuracy

The Concept 2 Model D with the PM5

The Concept 2 wins with monitor accuracy and efficiency because it simulates non-ideal real world water conditions and the log times are comparable to being in a real boat.

If you were training professionally, then monitor accuracy is a necessity. For a monitor to be completely efficient, it would need to be able to accurately log your times and also simulate real-world water conditions that are at times not ideal. Even though the WaterRower has an interesting feature with the WeRow, where you can “race” against other users in real time via the internet, the Concept 2’s monitor is just far more accurate since it has the ability to simulate real-world water conditions and comes with a variety of presets and wireless heart rate monitoring. They are both good but the Concept 2’s PM5 is just more accurate in logging times when compared to a real boat.

Winner: Concept 2’s Performance Monitor 5

Resistance and Rowing Mechanism

The WaterRower and the Concept 2 Model D being used by different men

There is no winner in this category and it all comes down to personal preference between water resistance or air resistance and if you’re just exercising or training professionally.

Both of these machines are exceptionally smooth and feels excellent on your body. However, there are two major differences between these two. The WaterRower uses actual water for rowing resistance that not only gives you the feeling that you are actually in the water but it also quiet since it delivers a gentle swishing sound that can help you to relax. The Concept 2, on the other hand, uses air resistance. In general, the WaterRower’s action is far smoother than the Concept 2’s but, the Concept 2 does manage to have more of a realistic drive and feels like it simulates water conditions in a non-ideal manner.

The two different mechanisms also means that there are quite a few differences in how the resistance works. For instance, the Concept 2 requires you to manually adjust the resistance level while the WaterRower doesn’t have a resistance setting. The WaterRower uses the natural resistance that the water has, to increase your performance, you just need to row harder and the resistance will increase. The WaterRower is also ideal for home use since it just that much quieter than the Concept 2 and it allows you to get into a “flow” mindzone.

In this category, it’s difficult to choose a winner since both of these machines operate on vastly different mechanisms. We think that it all comes down to a personal preference on your part, however, if we had to make a summary it would be like this:

Concept 2: If you’re training professionally since it simulates real-world water conditions.

WaterRower: If you’re a beginner or just purely want it for exercise since it offers an extremely smooth stroke and the resistance level is set by your current fitness level.


Concept 2 Model D with white background

The Concept 2 is slightly more durable than the WaterRower since it constructed completely out of metal. However, it is only slightly more durable.

The Concept 2 is constructed entirely out of metal while the WaterRower is made entirely from wood. Obviously, these differences would be mentioned in durability. Some people claim that the Concept 2, because of its entire metal construction, is more durable than the wood that is offered by the WaterRower but we couldn’t find any complaints from either one.

It is important to note, once again, that the rollers on the Concept 2 are much louder than the WaterRower since its steel on steel but not overly so.

Winner: The Concept 2 since a complete metal construction just seems to be more durable.


The maintenance that is required on both machines are pretty much equal: both need to be wiped down, some oil is required every now and then on critical joints and the roller bearings need to be replaced every few million meters. In maintenance, both of these machines are on equal grounds since both have been shown to perform optimally for millions of meters without any major problems apart from some minor maintenance.



  1. It’s quieter.
  2. The rowing action is smoother.
  3. The all-wood design looks good no matter where you put it.
  4. The water resistance feels like you are actually in the water.
  5. No need to adjust the resistance.
  6. Great for beginners or non-professional exercisers.

Concept 2:

  1. A better and more accurate monitor than the WaterRower.
  2. Simulates real-life water conditions.
  3. More durability because of the all-steel design.
  4. Cheaper than the WaterRower.
  5. Better for professional athletes who need to train with accuracy.


Even though we outlined some of the major differences between these two rowers, it is important to note that this is only our opinions regarding these machines. They are both excellent machines and it’s easy to see why people give both of these 5 star ratings. In many respects, it will all come down to personal preference and exactly what you need the machine for – be it for professional training or simply just as an exercise tool to get you fit and ripped.

Get the WaterRower from Amazon here.

Get the Concept 2 from Amazon here.

WaterRower on white background

The WaterRower has good aesthetics, feels smooth, is quiet and has a natural water feel to it.

Concept 2 Model D black against grey background

The Concept 2 Model D is excellent for professional athletes, has an extremely accurate monitor and is very durable with its steel construction.

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