WaterRower vs. Concept2: WaterRower Rowing Machine Review 2017

[Last Updated Feb 06, 2017] If you are shopping for a water rowing machine that simulates rowing indoors, two popular machines you may find yourself looking at include the WaterRower and the Concept2. When comparing the WaterRower vs. Concept 2, it pays off to take a look at the key differences in construction, mechanics, price, and customer service between the two. This can help you make the very best purchase decision. Each water rower is a high-quality machine however, and you cannot really go wrong no matter which water rowing machine you purchase based on this WaterRower review. Either way, you will get an excellent full body workout which will boost your cardiovascular health while also building and sculpting muscle in your upper body, back, and legs.

Concept2 Water Rowing Machine

concept2 model d rowing machine reviewsThis water rower features a more typical, traditional design using a flywheel to offer resistance. This water rowing machine retails in the $900-$1,260 range. This makes it less expensive than the Concept2. The fan is a bit noisy, but it is otherwise very well-built, durable, and reliable. Resistance increases smoothly through your stroke on this water rower, and there is comprehensive feedback through the monitor. Ergonomically, the Concept2 puts less strain on your lower back than the WaterRower. It is however a little harder on the knees, which may not be best for all exercisers.


waterrower rowing machineNow it is time in our WaterRower review to discuss the WaterRower itself. One of the main differences in the WaterRower vs. Concept 2 is mechanics. Whereas the Concept2 uses a flywheel to produce resistance, the WaterRower uses actual water in a tank. It is the less noisy water rowing machine, but also more expensive in the $1,160-$1,560 range. It is durable and features solid construction, but offers a different feel. The resistance of this water rower is highest during the catch and drops off unevenly through the rest of your stroke. The monitor is less sophisticated, but the WaterRower is more compact for easy storage. If saving space is important to you, the WaterRower may be a better choice than the Concept2.

More than one WaterRower review emphasizes that the manufacturer of this particular machine provides top-shelf customer service, which is another major plus when comparing the WaterRower vs. Concept 2. This machine is not as easy on the lower back as the Concept2, but it does alleviate some of the strain on the knees.

Customer Service for the WaterRower vs. Concept 2

When trying to decide on an indoor rowing machine, you are probably giving most of your attention to the exercise machines themselves, and not to the companies that manufacture them. But it is important to read reviews on customer service, because odds are now and again that your machine will need maintenance. What can you expect if you have to call on either of these manufacturers for work or parts?

Buyers who mentioned calling Concept2 for help with setup or maintenance stated that the company was helpful, and that agents were patient, thorough, and informative. WaterRower on the other hand has even more superlative reviews! One customer mentioned that WaterRower has “the best customer service I have ever experienced,” and describes how helpful the company was in responding to a problem with the clutch. Even though the warranty was expired, the company sent him a new clutch for free, saving him $70 or so. While there is no guarantee that the company would always do something like this, it certainly is a great story, and indicative of a company that is willing to go above and beyond to ensure their customers are happy.

Summary of Features:

Concept2 Model D

  • Price: $900-$1,260 (less expensive than the WaterRower).
  • Noise: Loud fan, quiet chain.
  • Durability: Excellent, top-shelf craftsmanship.
  • Rowing experience: Light catch, smoothly increasing resistance throughout the rest of the stroke. The experience is not as realistic as using the WaterRower, but if you are used to the mechanics that power the Concept2 Model D, you may still prefer it over the WaterRower.
  • Aesthetics: Stylish and available in either black or grey.
  • Compact Design: Not particularly compact, but it can be broken into two components for easier storage.
  • Monitor: Sophisticated display of performance metrics.
  • Mechanics: Resistance is powered by a flywheel.
  • Ergonomic design: The rail is tilted slightly forward, which reduces the stress on your lower back. This machine puts more stress on the knees than the WaterRower, though, so you may prefer the WaterRower if you have chronic knee problems. This machine features comfortable, safe footrests for a natural arc of motion.
  • Customer service: Very good.


  • Price: $1,160-$1,560. More expensive than the Concept2, unless you find it at a bargain price at the lower end of this bracket.
  • Noise: Quieter than the Concept2. All you hear is the sound of the water in the tank which powers the resistance.
  • Durability: Very durable.
  • Rowing experience: Expect heavy resistance at the catch. Resistance is lighter through the rest of the stroke. What is really exciting about this is that you actually get the feeling you are pushing through water rather than simply moving air around. This is more satisfying and realistic, and if you close your eyes, you can much more easily imagine that you are actually rowing.
  • Aesthetics: The WaterRower is actually made with a wood finish and thus would look very stylish in any room of your house.
  • Compact Design: Does not fold or break into two halves, but does store very easily and compactly in an upright orientation. There are wheels which make it easy to move it to a wall or closet from the floor.
  • Monitor: Not as sophisticated or informative as the monitor included on the Concept2.
  • Mechanics: Resistance is powered by actual water in a tank, which makes this a very realistic rowing simulator.
  • Ergonomic design: The flat rail makes for less stress on the knees; however, the seat is tilted slightly backwards, which puts some strain on the lower back.       If you have chronic back problems, you probably want to avoid this machine and go for the Concept2 instead.       The foot pedals are poorly designed. There are sharp edges which force you to wear shoes (not a problem if you were going to do so anyway).
  • Customer service: Top-notch, above and beyond.

Which Rowing Machine is Right for You?

So which water rower should you buy? Comparing the WaterRower vs. Concept 2 in this WaterRower review, you probably have noticed that we are looking at two very high-quality machines. Either of them would make an excellent purchase. If you shop around, you can find the more expensive WaterRower for a price comparable to that you would pay for the Concept 2.

If compact storage and noise reduction are important to you, you might consider the WaterRower. If you have knee problems, you may also fare better with this machine. If however you are looking for a machine that will go easier on your lower back, you may find that the Concept2 provides you with a more intense yet satisfying workout. Thanks for checking out our WaterRower review, and happy rowing!

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