Concept 2 Rower Model C, D, E Review and Comparisons

Built by rowers for rowers, Concept 2 has been around the health and fitness space for a considerable time-frame now and streamlined their craftsmanship to exemplary standards.

You will be easily forgiven for dying to own this heavenly combination of superior construction and outstanding, first-rate performance. Concept 2 indoor rowing machines will undoubtedly get the job done, and stand the test of time and deliver a lifetime of quality rowing.

For Concept 2, Simplicity is the surest way to go.

The manufacturer is a genius at keeping their products basic and simple while still maintaining the class and elegance at world-class standards, and introducing the luxury of high-end products.

Concept 2’s come in different models with varied features and diverse price points to suit different buyers out there.

As a pro or entry-level rowing enthusiast, every workout should be on nothing older than a Model C rowing machine. The companies have introduced different advanced tech and features on the Model C, Model D, and Model E and ensured they are up to the task.

This post will make it a walk in the park for you to choose which model works for you.

Concept 2 Rower Machines

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Is the concept 2 rower worth it? Which model to buy? Read the reviews below before making a purchase so you may not regret later.


1. Concept 2 Rower Model C Review

As rowers evolved through the Concept 2 rower Model A, B & C, the Model C came set course for success as a crowd pleaser and an all-time great.

First produced in the early ’90s, the Model C seemed untouchable and defined the company’s dominance in this niche.

Unfortunately, with Model Cs no longer in production, you can only buy it used or refurbished. Alternatively, most lovers of this old workhorse will order it in parts and then assemble it to a complete unit.

Built for Performance

The Model C introduced most of the core components and features you will find on the more current models D and E. The skeleton frame is created from premium grade aluminum that is sturdy enough to stand up to whatever you intend to throw at it while still keeping the weight on the low.

The robust build can withstand an ample 500 lbs. weight capacity, so every user’s weight is catered for.

If you are dealing with space constraints, fret not for you can separate it into two and store the unit without eating up much real estate. The best part is although the Model C typically came with a PM2 monitor, you can upgrade it to a PM5.


The sweet spot, we’d say, is the easily achievable price point.

At a tiny fraction of the price of the more current siblings, you still enjoy super smooth indoor rowing. It is well suited for personal training rather than rowing clubs and teams.

  • Compact and easy to store
  • Highly affordable
  • Compatible with PM5
  • Noisier than the rest


2. Concept 2 Rower Model D Review


Model D is the most popular for the simple reasons that it is reasonably priced and saves space. The company did little change on the main skeleton frame of the model C.


Sturdy Construction

You will get a comfortable 14-inch high seat supported by an aluminum I-beam monorail and stainless steel track that lends to the super-smooth back-and-forth sliding.


The manufacturer designed the flywheel to move smoothly and cut the noise to a minimum.


The unit is a product industrial grade aluminum that will stand up to decades of dedicated delivery. A Powder coat finish complements the robust build and gives the model D a luxurious appearance.


To save you the trouble of frequently servicing your chain, the makers used an unbreakable nickel-plated steel chain that can take a serious beating.



The rower allows you to choose your preferred work out option between time, distance, and intervals.


Feel free to adjust the airflow between 10 damper levels, depending on what works for you. The footrest is also adjustable to match your demands.


Additionally, the monitor arm allows you to adjust the height and angle and pivot it to your preferred position. It was thoughtful of the manufacturer to make it possible to tuck the monitor arm away for convenient storage.


Convenience and Ease of Use

This unit comes with a PM5 backlit display, which gives you quick access to different work out metrics such as time and distance.


The PM5 let you save your information to a USB flash drive and offers Wireless Bluetooth connectivity and ANT+ compatibility for heart rate monitoring or apps.


A lot of space in homes isn’t always possible for many people.


If this is you, you will be delighted to know that you can easily pull the Model D apart into two pieces for easy storage courtesy of the quick release, frame lock mechanism.


That is not all!


The included caster wheels make for easy maneuverability. Assembly is as easy as fastening eight screws, and you will be good to go. The 57 lbs. weight is a little on the high, but the industrial-grade quality justifies the rowers mass.


  • Games included to keep you hooked
  • Limited 2-year and 5-year warranty
  • Assembly tools and instructions included
  • PM5 batteries included
  • Heavy and cumbersome to transport


Recommended For You: Best Rowing Gloves


3. Concept 2 Rower Model E Review


The Model E well serves its intended purpose as a worthy replacement of the Model D, but all the additional features come at an extra cost.


If you are a professional indoor rowing athlete or regular gym-goer, then this machine should not sound alien to you. C2 managed to get a lot of things correct in this pick, making it the go-to option for veterans and newbie land-based-rowers alike.


Crisp and Practical Monitor

The PM5 monitor accompanying this rower promises self-calibration, wireless connectivity, and USB flash drive compatibility, among others.


Set your preferred resistance by adjusting the airflow to the flywheel as you please. And that’s not all. The fixed monitor arm plays to your advantage. You get quick and comfortable access to the data displayed on the monitor.


Thankfully, you can adjust the monitor angle to match your needs. Expect a couple of onboard games on the PM5 to keep you engaged and entertained.


Superior Construction

The model E seat stands 20 inches high off the ground, making it a breeze for people with mobility or flexibility issues to hop on and off.


Like its earlier sibling, this piece can be taken apart into two and folds up to a compact unit for secure storage and transportation. As you’d wish, moving the unit to the position will be effortless thanks to front caster wheels.


Assembling this unit could not be easier. All that is required of you is to fasten ten screws.


Model E looks as good as it functions.


The Double powder coat with glossy finish gives the product a sleek and elegant look that will elevate the décor of any setting.


Other functional features the company carried on with include the nickel-plated chain, which demands less-frequent oiling and is covered by a protective finish to prevent scratching, wear, and corrosion. The company recommends the equipment for users not exceeding 500 lbs.


  • Limited 2-year and 5-year warranty
  • Multiple color options available
  • Assembly tools and instructions included
  • Low noise levels
  • Highly-priced


Concept 2 Model C vs. D vs. E Comparison Tables

Comparison tables help make the decision-making process easier. So, we’ve created a feature comparison table just for you!

Here’s a look:

Features Model C Model D Model E
Construction Material Aluminum front legs, steel rear legs Aluminum front legs, steel rear legs Welded steel
Monitor Performance Monitor 2 Performance Monitor 5 Performance Monitor 5
Seat Height 14 inches 14 inches 20 inches
Machine Weight 57lbs 57lbs 65lbs
Monitor Arm Short with adjustable height and viewing angle Short with adjustable height and viewing angle Long and fixed with an adjustable viewing angle.


Chain Nickel-plated Nickel-plated steel chain Nickel-plated steel chain
Chain Housing Partially enclosed Partially enclosed Fully enclosed
User Weight Capacity 500lbs 500lbs 500lbs
Finish Powder Coat Powder Coat


Double powder coat with a glossy finish


Warranty Limited 5-year warranty on frame and 2-year warranty on the PM5 and moving parts. Limited 5-year warranty on frame and 2-year warranty on the PM5 and moving parts. Limited 5-year warranty on frame and 2-year warranty on the PM5 and moving parts.


Where can you Buy Concept 2 Rower Machines?

Concept 2 rowers don’t come cheap.

The price point is in line with the high-end products that they are. If the price is anything to go by, the difference between the Model D and Model E is a few couples of hundred.

If you can sacrifice the extra bucks for the few exclusive features, then go for the model E.

However, if your wallet disagrees, get yourself a brand new Model D that functions just like the best there is. If you have finally put your fitness and health first and decided to get yourself one, check the following trusted sites.

For the best bargains, check out Concept 2 rower black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Besides, rowing masters on a budget will be pleased to know that you can purchase refurbished or used Concept 2s without spending a ton.

Visit or contact local indoor rowing clubs and gyms and find out if they have any Concept 2 rowers on sale. Request them to notify you should there be any. Alternatively, find refurbished and second-hand C2 rowers for purchase from the following reputable platforms.

Should you notice any worn or weakened part like the chain, sprockets, shock cord, or swivel connector, order for a replacement immediately to prevent inflicting injury to the users.

For more details check Refurbished Concept 2 Rowers.

A Peek at the Types of Concept 2 Monitors

Let’s take a quick look at the types of monitors, shall we?

Performance Monitor 3

Concept 2 halted the production of the PM3. Therefore, buyers are advised to upgrade to the PM5. To get the best out of your PM3 monitor, you will need to update the firmware version to the latest available.

One drawback is that unlike its modern successors, the PM3 lacks Bluetooth and ANT+ capabilities. Consequently, you cannot connect it to a wireless heart rate monitor. You can only connect it to outdated Heart Rate straps with a receiver dongle.

Performance Monitor 5

  • Instant Startup – Quick start-up saves you the frustration of waiting for the display to power on
  • Super bright, backlit LCD display – deliver crisp visuals and lets you easily switch between different modes and settings
  • Internal Memory – The pM5 offers sufficient built-in space to accommodate info for up to 1000 workouts
  • USB flash drives compatibility – you will be able to store your work out data for tracking and convenience when pursuing your long-term health and fitness goals from other Concept 2 rowers
  • Connectivity – you can sync your rower with wireless heart rate strap monitors with the ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart connectivity. To connect the monitor with your phone and sync your data, you will need to install the Ergdata app
  • Built-in games – The Company included four games, including darts, the fish game, and target training to make working out exciting and fun


A Quick Comparison: Concept 2 PM3 vs. PM5

Feature PM3 PM5
Function works on Model A, B, and C


Works on all models
Backlight No Yes
Compatibility Concept 2 LogCard for storing workout data

Polar heart rate equipment

ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart wireless heart rate monitoring

USB flash drive for storing workout data and updating firmware

Direct machine-to-machine racing No Yes
ANT™ Wireless and RJ45 connection No Yes
Internal Memory Stores data for 10 workouts Stores data for 1000 workouts
Self-Calibrating Yes Yes
Games 1 4



Concept 2’s and indoor rowing are now inextricably bound, and their equipment has been crucial in keeping the sport afloat.

The models mentioned here are perfect for you if you appreciate a little more practicality and performance. Save for the price you are required to pay, there isn’t much difference between the Model D and the Model E.

How capable the mentioned machines are at keeping you on top of your game physically is something you need to find out for yourself by finally getting serious and grabbing one of these units of goodness for yourself.

Last update on 2022-11-20 at 23:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API