Concept 2 vs WaterRower

The Concept 2 Model D and WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine are two of the best rowers you can buy. But they’re very different. Here we pitch the Concept 2 vs the WaterRower to help you decide which rowing machine is right for you.

Concept 2 vs WaterRower: Price

Let’s start with an easy one. The Concept 2 Model D is available to buy on Amazon for £859. The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine is £90 more expensive, available to buy on Amazon for £949. So it’s pretty negligible.

This puts both machines in the high-end range for rowing machines, but both warrant their asking prices as build the quality and rowing action’s of the two machines are market leading.

If price is a major concern, we suggest ignoring both these machines and taking a look at our Best Rowing Machines roundup. Here you’ll be able to pick up a solid rowing machine,  such as the JTX Freedom Air Rower (£495), for nearly half the price of the Concept 2 and WaterRower.

Winner: Draw

Concept 2 vs WaterRower: Rowing

These machines are different in nearly every department. But the biggest difference is how they recreate the feeling of rowing on water. The Concept 2 uses a combination of air and electromagnetic resistance, while the WaterRower has a cicular container of water.

Which is better? This depends on your personal preference. The Concept 2’s hybrid use of air and electromagnetic resistance gives users the best of both worlds. The use of air resistance mimics the drag created when an oar cuts through water, while the electromagnetic resistance allows users to set a consistent intensity level.

Concept 2 vs WaterRower 1

The WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine, as it name suggests, mimics a more natural rowing experience. This machine uses a cylindrical tank of water with two mini paddles to create resistance. The downside to this is that users can’t set a continuous resistance level. However, this design is more like the real thing, and the principles of rowing on water apply here too. Meaning the harder you pull, the more resistance you’ll meet.

Winner: Draw

Both machines are fantastic. And smooth. And capable of providing a good workout for rowers of all levels. If you’re looking for the smoothest action that replicates the real thing, the WaterRower just edges it. If you’re looking for a machine that offers more regarding strength training, while still providing an excellent action for a cardio workout too, then the Concept 2 is the better option.

Concept 2 vs WaterRower: Design

[amazon_link asins=’B004NNVSVK’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’techt06-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’4eae0ed9-cf07-11e7-8043-935241a97083′]Both machines are really well designed. They’re durable, easy to store and good looking too.

Comfort: Regarding comfort, they’re the best the industry has to offer. The rowing position on WaterRower is a little higher making it easier to get in and out of, and its seat is slightly more forgiving than the Concept 2. Making it a better choice for older or less flexible users.

Space: If you want a machine that’s easy to store and will take up as little floor space as possible, then the Concept 2 is the better option. It can be folded in half and/or stood on its end to save space. The WaterRower is a fixed machine, meaning it can’t be folded, although it can also be stored vertically.

Finish: The Concept 2 comes in two metallic finishes, black or grey. The WaterRower, on the other hand, has a lot of options. Ashwood, Cherry Wood, Walnut, Stained Ash or aluminium. Which is better? This is down to personal taste and your home’s decor.

Winner: WaterRower

The WaterRower is the more comfortable and better-looking rowing machine. However, the Concept 2 is the right choice for anyone with storage needs.

Concept 2 vs WaterRower: Monitor

[amazon_link asins=’B00NH9WEUA’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’techt06-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’444ce470-cf07-11e7-848c-a10075bae95c’]Both monitors have low-end monochrome LCD displays and offer largely the same features. They come with multiple workout modes and games to aid your workout. the machines offer the same data outputs too. These data points measure your strokes, calories, distance and time. Both are compatible with heart rate monitors.

The Concept2’s monitor can be paired over Bluetooth with your Android or iOS smartphone. This allows you to finetune your training and track your progress over time.

Neither are remarkable.

Winner: Concept 2

The Concept 2 has a slightly better monitor and UI. It offers more data points than the WaterRower and its smartphone compatibility is superior.

Best home rowing machine - Concept 2 Model D with PM5 Monitor

Concept 2 vs WaterRower: Verdict

This is impossible to call. Both rowing machines are well designed and will provide users with a great workout. The WaterRower is the better looking and more comfortable machine, whereas the Concept 2 is slightly better for those who want to get the most out of their rower in terms of elite performance.

Winner: Concept 2 for elite athletes; WaterRower for amateur- to intermediate-level rowers.

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David Court
David is a professional journalist. He's been reviewing lifestyle and technology products since 2007. His CV boasts a series of high-profile websites that he's previously edited and managed. These sites include,,, and is his new project.


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