WaterRower VS Concept2: Which Rowing Machine is Right for You?

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Are you in the market for a top of the line rowing machine? If you are, then you’ve probably come across two iconic brands: WaterRower and Conept2.

Each brand has its own lineup of popular models. But, if there is one thing that all potential buyers want to know, it’s which brand makes the better rowing machine.

In this article, we’re going to compare two of their key rowing machines: WaterRower and Conept2. I’ll breakdown all the features they both share as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each model so you can decide which one is best for your needs.

features comparison  Between WaterRower and Concept2  in an infographics

Design: WaterRower VS Concept2

Concept2 Design

When it comes to design, the WaterRower and Concept2 Rowers differ in multiple ways. The Concept2 Model D Rower looks more plain than the WaterRower in terms of aesthetics – although it has been trusted by commercial gyms for over 40 years, due to its reliable construction and high-quality design.

Measuring 24 inches by 54 inches (61x137cm), this model offers a quick release frame lock feature which allows you to easily dissemble and store away the Rower if space is limited.

WaterRower side by side aesthetic design
WaterRower aesthetic design

On the other hand, the WaterRower does not offer such a convenient storage feature since it cannot be dismantled. This is one major drawback of this model. However, it is made with sustainable hardwood sourced from the Appalachian Mountains, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing piece that can add an elegance to any room.

With measurements of 20 Inches x 22 inches x 82n inches (51×56.5x209cm), you wouldn’t have difficulty finding a place for it in your house – just make sure you measure your space first!

Our Pick: Concept2 with the functionality and storage ability sets it apart from the rest. 

Also Read: 10 Intense Crossfit Running Workouts to Boost Your Endurance and Stamina

Features: WaterRower VS Conept2

WaterRower and Conept2 are two of the best rowing machines on the market for performance monitoring and resistance. Let’s compare their features to see which is best for you.

The Concept2 rowing machine models come with a PM5 Exercise Tracking Device which will display your distance, speed, pace, calories and watts automatically. It also has wireless connectivity for easy synchronization of your data to various apps for more accuracy and convenience.

WaterRower machines come with an A1 monitor that tracks time, distance, speed, intensity and stroke rate. It also has a “workout program” option that lets you set an exercise for a specific amount of time.

Unlike Concept2 models, WaterRower machines do not offer customizable resistance but the harder you rower the higher the resistance will become, mimicking actual rowing vibrations.

The Concept2 models have a fan cage that creates resistance with every stroke, and its damper lever allows you to adjust levels of intensity from one to ten.

This feature provides users with the ability to customize their workout experience and creates a controllable difficulty level to their liking – something that not all gym equipment offer.

So, depending on your preference and needs when it comes to both monitoring progress and intensity level of your workout either one should offer great options in order to track accurate data while also providing a great way to stay fit!

Our Preference: Again here we go with the Concept2 because of the technology advances in the customizable resistances. 

Price: WaterRower VS Concept2

The WaterRower Club Rowing Machine and Conept2 Indoor Rower have similar prices, with the Conept2 currently available for about $1,030 and the WaterRower Club roughly $1,260 in the US.

Best: Not much difference here in price so we give this a tie. 

Differences Between WaterRower and Concept2


The major difference between a WaterRower and a Concept2 RowErg is the type of resistance used – WaterRowers utilize water for their resistance through a hydrofan spinning in a tank, whereas a Concept2 uses air for its resistive force.

Concept2 rowing machines don’t use water- they instead take advantage of the air resistance created by a wind flywheel. To customize your workout further, it has a damper which controls how much air enters the flywheel. This alters the feel of the stroke but doesn’t affect the level of resistance.


Regular maintenance of WaterRower machines is essential for optimal performance. To prevent mold growth, the water tank needs to be emptied and cleaned periodically. Additionally, chlorine tablets need to be placed in the tank every 6 months-2 years and replaced if the water has become discolored.

When it comes to maintenance, WaterRowers require more effort than air rowers like Concept2. You need to empty and clean the water tank regularly in order to avoid mold buildup.

With an air rowing machine like Concept2, you only need occasional oiling of the pull cord and occasional checking of all bolts and parts for every 250 hours of usage.


Noise levels can be a key difference between the WaterRower and Conept2 machines. Although the Concept2 isn’t obnoxiously loud, it can make some noise that may be disruptive if you live in close quarters with someone else.

WaterRowers, on the other hand, tend to be relatively quiet compared to air rowers like the Concept2. This is because water-powered flywheels produce less noise than wind-powered flywheels found in air rowers.

So if you’re looking for an exercise machine that won’t disturb anyone around you, then a WaterRower may be the better option for you.


When it comes to durability, both the WaterRower and Concept2 rower offer solid options that you can trust. The Concept2 is made of aluminum front legs and steel rear legs, an aluminum L-beam monorail, and a stainless steel seat track. This makes for an extremely strong product with a maximum user capacity of 500 pounds.

Meanwhile, the WaterRower is constructed from either solid ash wood (in its foundational models) or aluminum and steel in its upgraded models. These materials make it even more durable than the Concept2, with a maximum user capacity of up to 700 pounds!

No matter which one you choose, you won’t have to worry about durability issues as every model provides reliable construction for your exercise needs.

Size Difference

If you’re trying to decide between the two rowing machines, they both offer great features but one major difference is in size. The Concept2 RowErg is slightly longer than the WaterRower at 96 inches compared to 82 inches.

The other difference in size comes from how it can be stored. The Concept2 can easily be separated into two pieces for easy storage, while the WaterRower doesn’t have that option; however the WaterRower does have an advantage since it can simply be stood upright when not in use to save more floor space.

The Feel

When you’re searching for the best rowing machine, it’s important to consider how it feels. WaterRower and Conept2 are two of the top indoor rowing machines on the market, but when it comes to that unique rower feel, there is no comparison between them.

The WaterRower is designed to most closely emulate the real-world experience of rowing and has a very natural feeling movement thanks to resistance created by water being pushed through the machine’s flywheel.

On the other hand, air rowers like Concept2 provide a slightly different feel – one which some people actually prefer! No matter what your preference is, either machine will do an excellent job of providing a smooth, realistic rowing experience.

 Who Should Buy A WaterRower

If you’re looking for a high-quality rowing machine to last you a long time, then the WaterRower is the perfect choice. Not only is it well built and reliable, it also has a beautiful design and smooth, quiet operation. It’s easy to move and store, with a comfortable seat and solid handle that can be adjusted for different heights.

So if you’re serious about getting an indoor rower, then the WaterRower is the ideal investment – even more so than its cheaper Chinese copies. The money spent will be worth it as not only are you getting a rowing machine that looks good in your home, but you’ll also benefit from excellent after sales support if any issues come up in future.

Who Should Buy A Concept2

The Concept2 is an air-resistance rower and is great for heavier users, but it does come with a slightly narrower seat. If that doesn’t bother you, then the Concept2 is an ideal addition to any home gym.

If you’re someone who needs a reliable machine that can handle plenty of daily use and holds up to 500 lbs of weight, then you should seriously consider the Concept2. This machine is built to last and can hold up to heavy wear and tear without breaking or losing its effectiveness.

For those athletes looking for a rower that won’t be overwhelmed by plenty of technological upgrades and frills, the Concept2 is definitely worth looking into. It’s simple yet effective design makes it perfect for serious athletes that want performance over style.

What’s better: WaterRower or Concept2?

When it comes down to making a choice between WaterRower and Concept2 rowing machines, it really depends on your specific needs. Both machines have their own unique features that make them superior for certain situations.

If you’re all about tracking your performance and metrics then Concept2 is the better option for you. The PM5 monitor lets you conveniently access your stats from all angles, which is great for tech-savvy competitive rowers.

However, if you’re looking for something that can perfectly blend in with your room and become an aesthetic piece of equipment then the WaterRower is ideal. It’s built with a replenished wood design and water fly wheel mechanism so it adds a calming effect to any space.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is WaterRower harder than Concept2

It is a common question among exercisers to ask which one is harder to use. In general, neither machine proves to be more difficult than the other. Both are excellent options when it comes to performance.

With that being said, however, some users may find that the WaterRower has footplates that are closer together in comparison to the Concept2. This can create an additional challenge for proper rowing mechanics with each stroke as opposed to using the Concept2 machine.

All in all, either option will provide a quality workout but you should know what to expect based on personal preference before making your selection.

Are water rowers better than regular rowers

The debate between water rowers and regular rowers has been ongoing for years. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what you are hoping to get out of your exercise routine.

A water rower provides an authentic rowing experience, but it’s larger, noisier and more expensive than other types of rowing machines. They require the use of more muscles to power the boat through water, however they may not be ideal for small home gyms.

On the other hand, if space or noise level is an issue, then magnetic rowers are usually your best bet as they are much quieter and easily fit into tight quarters. Although it isn’t as close to real-life as a water machine would be, magnetic rowing still provides an effective full-body workout while being basic enough that anyone can get started quickly.

Can you build muscle with water rower?

The WaterRower’s resistance is adjustable which allows you to tailor the intensity of your workout and make sure that you’re challenging yourself enough to build muscle. In addition, it works out many of the muscles in your upper back such as the rhomboids and trapezii.

This means that while working out on the WaterRower, you’ll be able to engage in targeted muscle growth in this area as well.So yes, you absolutely can build muscle with a WaterRower!

Do water rowers leak

When it comes to a WaterRower, one of the first questions that people often ask is “Do water rowers leak?” The answer to that is – yes, they may leak. However, with proper maintenance and care, most WaterRowers will last for years and minor leaks can be easily fixed.

So while it’s possible that your WaterRower may end up leaking at some point in its lifespan, don’t fret! With simple repairs and regular maintenance you can achieve optimal performance from your machine for many years to come.

Can I get in shape with just a rowing machine

Yes, you definitely can get in shape and stay in shape with just a rowing machine. This one piece of equipment is capable of providing a full-body workout plus excellent cardiovascular exercise for strong and defined muscles as well as overall improved health.

It’s also great for increasing lean muscle in the arms, legs, back, chest and core – something which not many pieces of gym equipment are able to achieve. Moreover, by utilizing the rowing motion, it helps build your stamina while toning your body at the same time.

With regular use of a rowing machine over an extended period of time, you will soon be able to reap all its fitness advantages.


When it comes to finding the perfect rowing machine, both the WaterRower and Conept2 provide great options. There is no definitive answer as to which one is better because each presents its own unique pros and cons.

Before making a purchase, take some time to weigh out your personal preferences against both machines’ features to determine which one suits you best.

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