model d review

Everything You Need To Know About the Concept 2 Model D rowing machine

If you’re looking for a low impact workout to help you improve your fitness, then using an indoor rowing machine, specifically a Concept 2 Model D rower is one of the best options on the market.

The Concept2 Model D has a great reputation in the rowing world, it’s one of the most widely used machines – and for good reason.

It’s a reliable rower that will last you for years, even with heavy use.

The Concept2 is an air resistance rower built around a flywheel. This means that it will have a buttery smooth rowing action, similar to rowing an actual boat (scull) on the water.

The Model D is designed to work at varying levels of resistance, you can increase the resistance for a harder pull, or lighten it up for a quick, easy pull. This produces different types of training stimulus, which allows for a variety of training styles.


The construction on Concept 2 machines is incredibly solid – these machines are designed to take years of abuse. There are machines out there with million of meters on them!

If you visit a rowing club, or even an olympic training facility, the odds are high that they’ll have a fleet of Concept 2 indoor rowers – these machines are that good!

In fact, if you’ve visited a gym (or Crossfit box) and used their rowing machines, it was probably a Concept 2 rower. C2 machines are the go-to rowers for gym facilities due to their longevity and minimal maintenance requirements.

If you’re used to using a Concept 2 machine at the gym, if you buy a different brand for your homegym, you’re probably going to be disappointed in how it feels. You also won’t be able to track your workouts 1-for-1…. More on that alter.

There are plenty of budget rowers out there, however, you’ll get less performance and more downtime with a low-cost option.

The Concept 2 Model D indoor rowing machine is very comfortable to sit on, even for long endurance-focused sessions. It has an ergonomically-designed seat plate that makes it easy to row for long periods of time. The frame is made of aluminum with a stainless steel capped track, this allows for a smooth glide with every stroke.

Note: If you’re a taller person, you might want to pick up the Model E rower. The Model E has a longer monorail, which allows for a better pull for people with longer legs/arms. The rule of thumb is that if you’re 6’4” or taller (or have an inseam of 38” or greater), you’ll want to consider upgrading to the Model E. In addition to the longer rail, the Model E also sits off the ground higher, this makes getting on and off the machine much easier.

Not sure which one to go for? ​Check our Model D vs Model E Guide.

All Concept 2 rowing ergs come with a nickel plated chain and an ergonomically shaped handle.

This helps to produce an even force distribution between all of your major muscle groups, which gives you a balanced workout.


Model D rowers come standard with the PM5 monitor (“PM” stands for Performance Monitor). Think of the PM5 as the computer of the machine, it logs your workouts and helps you keep track of your data.

You can actually transfer this data to your PC (or Mac) and input it to Concept 2’s online software, this will give you access to rowing performance graphs, different benchmarks, etc… 

If you’re a data nerd, you’re going to love the amount of info you can pull from this machine. You can even compare your rowing results against hundreds of thousands of other rowers on Concept 2’s online rowing platform.

When you get on a Concept 2 model D, as soon as you start rowing, the PM5 monitor will automatically turn on. While rowing, the LCD screen will show your workout data, such as calories burned, average strokes per minute, distance covered, time elapsed… You can even display a force curve showing your live stroke rate!

The PM5 is compatible with a variety of different heart rate monitors. Once you sync your heart rate monitor with the PM5 console, you can see live heart rate data right on the screen readout. This makes it very simple to track your heart rate while you row. This is a must-have feature for those that do heart rate zone training.

The PM5 monitor also has a couple of fun features; you can play various games, or even “race” against a pacer boat on your screen. Even though rowing can be a difficult exercise activity, these little tweaks help to pass the time.

As mentioned before, you can also race against other Concept2 users all around the world, if you’re competitive, you’re going to love this feature!


The Concept2 Model D is the best rowing rowing machine for the money. It’s why we rate it as the best rowing machine for the money. Concept2 has been trusted for years as the most reliable name in the rowing community. They stand behind their machines, and so do hundreds of thousands of athletes – from Olympic level athletes to weekend warriors.

The Model D is built to last, from it’s re-enforced frame to it’s easy-to-use monitor, you can’t go wrong with this machine. It will endure years of intense workouts without problem. There’s a reason why it’s the machine of choice for olympic athletes and rowing enthusiasts. There’s even videos of Connor McGregor using a C2 machine as he prepared for a UFC fight!

Additionally, with it’s easy to fold up design, it’s a no-brainer for the home-gym user with space constraints.

Even though the price tag is towards the higher end, if you’re looking for a reliable, high end rower, the Concept 2 Model D is the rower for you.

•Easy to setup and use, comes with tools required to assemble.
•The smooth action and comfortable seat. Comfortable for long sessions.
•The PM5 Console displays a wealth of information Memory cards to store your workouts and performance.
•Durable machine that will last for years. Will last for millions of meters rowed. Easy to fold up and store.
•The quality finish and build – it will last for years!
•The air resistance mechanism can be a little noisy for some.
•If you’re on the large side you might want to upgrade the seat.
•While the machine folds up easily for storage, while in use, it needs about 9′ x 3′ space to use it
•Price, it’s one of the more expensive rowers (though the durability of the machine makes up for this)
•Otherwise, there’s not much to dislike about a Concept2 model D!


“The Concept 2 Model D is the Best Rowing Machine Money Can Buy

Coming from an Ivy League school with a stellar rowing team and living in Florida with both of my kids on rowing teams, the Concept 2 Model D is the best rowing machine money can buy. I can’t speak for other brands nor would I consider other brands, you simply get what you pay for and this is pro equipment that will last you a lifetime. If you are considering lower-end equipment based solely on cost it is understandable, but I would urge you to save up and invest in a Concept 2, hands down. The water rowers are nice but you have to replace belts, deal with potential wood deterioration and the water getting funky. While these issues may not be drastic they just don’t exist on a Concept 2. Now if you are in between a model D and E I would urge you to save the money and go with the Model D unless the 6′ increase in seat height is important, otherwise the differences are negligible and trust me you are not settling for a lesser machine in any way. Plus, I like the ability to fold the computer for a more compact storage, something only the Model D can do. Good luck and happy rowing. -Steve

The Top of the Line Indoor Rower in Quality and Performance!

Probably the best purchase I have ever made…. I researched all different indoor rowers and the ratings on it are correct…it is THE TOP OF THE LINE ROWER OF THEM ALL. You can buy more expensive machines, but the Concept 2 is the benchmark standard against which all others are measured. Two items I recommend you get with it are a Fit 2K seat cushion (makes the 5,000 and 10,000 meter rows a bit more comfortable), and a Polar H7 Heartrate monitor (if your are looking to really use it to its full potential, the H7 will help you stay in the zone). -Matt W.

One of the Best Purchases I’ve Ever Made

Just over the year mark with the rower. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I have logged 5,428,312 meters since purchase. Great workout. I’m coming from almost 40 years of running. Many knee, hip, ankle, foot problems. That’s over. There’s no impact rowing. I have put on some (needed) upper body muscle. I’m still skinny, but my shoulder, lats, biceps, and pecs are all bigger. Abs are more defined. The free C2 app is great. It keeps track of all of my workouts and shows my complete rowing history on the C2 website. This includes distance, time, pace, calories. C2 offers incentives for certain milestones (I just got a free 5 million meter club long sleeve T) and they have rowing challenges throughout the year. The rower is not cheap, but my wife has spent more on gym fees (OTF) over the past year than the rower cost. There’s almost no maintenance. Wipe it down every now and then and oil the chain one or twice a year. There are YouTube videos for C2 maintenance. I watch Netlflix or listen to podcasts while rowing. I use Bluetooth headphones for both…. Buy the rower and watch some videos on proper technique. You’ll love it. -Tom A.

You can read more Concept 2 Model D Reviews here (on Amazon).


If you’re ready to pull the trigger on getting a Model D rower, I recommend buying from Amazon.

It comes with fast, free shipping + Amazon has the best return policy out there.

It’s much easier to have it delivered direct to your door, versus having to go to a local fitness gear seller and have to lug it home.

Amazon also has the best price.