Water Rower Vs. Concept 2 2023 — Which Is Better For You? 

By Inge
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This is our comparison of the WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine vs. Concept2 RowErg. Both are excellent entry-level rowing machines for your home gym.

As a personal trainer, I have researched and compared both rowing equipment. Both brands bring something unique to the table, so I will help you settle on the best option for your needs.

The WaterRower fits your home gym well because it is quiet and has a luxury look with the wooden frame. 

WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine

The Concept2 rower has a better console than the WaterRower. This console is in my opinion a crucial factor when choosing your rowing machine. It can help you keep track of your performance.

Concept2 RowErg

Both brands produce fantastic equipment, but the right one for your home gym depends on your preferences.

In this review I compare functionality, construction and console. I find that Concept 2 is slightly better, for example due to the console. But much is dependent on your preferences.

Overall Winner

Winner: Concept 2 RowErg

Features an online community with competitions

Easier adjustment of workout level

Higher weight capacity

Let’s start the Water Rower vs. Concept 2 review.

Table of Contents

Features Concept2 RowErg vs. WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine

FeatureConcept2 RowErgWaterRower A1 Home
Rowing Machine
DimensionsLength:  96” (244 cm)
Width: 24” (61 cm)
14” (36 cm) for standard legs
20” (51 cm) for tall legs
Length: 83.5” (212 cm) 
Width: 22.25” (57 cm) 
Height: 20” (51 cm)
MonitorPM5A1 Quick-Start LCD monitor
Power Requirement2 D cell batteries2 AA size Batteries
Noise LevelLoudQuiet
MaterialAluminum and SteelAsh hardwood and Aluminum
Maximum User Weight500 lbs. (227 kg) as tested by Concept2.

300 lbs. (135 kg) as tested per
European Stationary Fitness
Equipment Testing Standard
EN 20957-7.
275 lbs.
Additional FeaturesBluetooth-enabled
Online Logbook
Siphon Pump
Chlorine Tablets
Warranty5 years for frame
2 years for parts
5 years for frame
3 years for parts
Water Rower vs. Concept 2 Features

Construction Comparison

Size and Storage

The Concept2 Rowing Machine has dimensions of 96 in L x 24 in W x 14 in H. On the other hand, WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine has dimensions of 83.5 in L x 22.5 in W x 20 in H. Therefore, Concept2 takes up more space than the WaterRower.

Both machines can be stored upright. They are easy to store if you have limited space or don’t want the equipment to stand out. 

Although Concept2 is longer, you can detach the parts into two, so it takes less room and is easier to move. It is also more convenient to transport, as it is easier to carry each part and fits in a car trunk. 

The WaterRower is less practical to move, since the tank contains water, making it heavier. You have to remove the water first, before transporting. 

Winner Size and Storage Comparison

Concept2 RowErg is the winner, because you can detach the parts which makes it easier to move and store.


The Concept2 machine uses aluminum and steel. Most gym equipment are made of these materials, because they are both light and durable.

The WaterRower uses ash hardwood and aluminum. Ash is a premium hardwood with incredible durability, longevity, and dimensional stability. 

Ash is a light-colored hardwood commonly used in furniture, as it gives off a clean and modern look. Using this type of wood on a rower will give it a natural and luxurious appearance that will fit well in your home.

This type of hardwood  is often used to make baseball bats, because it is almost shock-resistant [1]. If you are eco-conscious, the hardwood used for the frame came from sustainable forests. 

Some users prefer their equipment to blend with the furnishings in their homes. The Concept2 is available only in black color. So if you want your equipment to have a luxury look, go for the WaterRower.

Both frames are durable, and it stands the test of time.

Winner Material Comparison

This one will have to be a draw, as it all comes down to preference.


The brands chosen have different inclines for the monorail. The WaterRower has a horizontal monorail. That could make it harder for you to row forward, because your knees get in the way.

Rowing on Concept2 is easier because the rail is inclined and the pedal is lower than your seat. So if you row forward, your knees will be lower, and it won’t bother you that much.

Winner Monorail Comparison

Concept2 RowErg is the winner, because it is more comfortable to use and helps you row smoothly.


Console Layout

Consoles are an essential feature when choosing a rower. It will help you achieve your workout goals, as it will show your results and improvements. These rowers have a huge difference in their console, and this might be a deal-breaker for you. 

Concept2 RowErg
  • Rowing Monitor

The PM5 monitor will show your metrics like pace, watts, stroke rate, and calories. You can program a variety of workouts as well. The console draws power from the flywheel during your workout to extend the battery life.

  • Connectivity

It can connect to your smartphone or tablet and is compatible with 30 different apps.

  • Online Logbook

Concept 2 Logbook allows you to join their online community and compete with other rowers. Check out the features you can enjoy in their logbook below.

  • Log: You can upload and access all your workout history. 
  • Rankings: You can rank your workouts and compare them to other users worldwide. 
  • Training Partners: You can add other users and compare results for extra challenge and encouragement. 
  • Challenges: Then Concept 2 logbook offers individual and team challenges all year round. 
  • Social Share: You can share your workout data to your social media accounts to celebrate your achievements.
WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine
  • Rowing Monitor 

The A1 Quick-Start LCD monitor will show your metrics, such as time, distance, stroke rate, and watts. It can store and program your workouts.

Winner Console Comparison

Concept2 RowErg is the winner, because it offers more features than the WaterRower. It is efficient to use, as it draws extra power from the spinning flywheel. Also, it can give you the motivation to workout with the online community and challenges.



The WaterRower uses water to provide resistance, as the name suggests. This is the smoothest resistance among rowing types. The amount of resistance depends on the amount of water on the flywheel. You have to add or drain water on the tank to adjust.

Concept2 uses the traditional air resistance. The flywheel uses air sucked into its housing to work against. It has damper settings on the side, where you can easily adjust the resistance level from 1 up to 10. 

Both machines row smoothly.

Winner Resistance Comparison

Concept2 RowErg is the winner, because it is easier to adjust the difficulty in your workout. 

Noise Level

The WaterRower is quiet and soothing. The gliding movement with the water gives off a realistic feel of actual rowing.  According to some users, the sound is meditative. 

All air-powered rowers are louder by nature. That is why Concept 2 is significantly louder than the WaterRower. The harder you row, the louder the noise. You’re likely to make a lot of noise with Concept2. It might disturb your neighbors, especially if you plan to do lots of rowing.  

Winner Noise Level Comparison

WaterRower A1 Home Rowing Machine is the winner, because it is quieter to use than Concept2. It will fit well in your home gym.

Maximum User Capacity

According to Concept2, the weight capacity for this rower is 500 lb or 227 kilograms. They had it tested to the European Stationary Fitness Equipment Testing Standard ( EN 20957-7) and the weight capacity was 300 lbs. While the maximum weight capacity for the WaterRower is 275 lbs or 125 kilograms.

Winner Maximum User Capacity Comparison

Concept2 RowErg is the winner, because it has a higher weight capacity.


When you buy a WaterRower, it includes chlorine tablets and a hand siphon pump. You have to mix 1 chlorine tablet in the water every six months, or if the water turns cloudy. If after 2 weeks the discoloration does not subside, it is recommended to change the water using the pump. 

To maintain Concept 2, oil the chain every 50 hours, and keep the fan free from dust build up, and you’re good to go.

Winner Maintenance Comparison

Concept2 RowErg is the winner, because it is easier to maintain.

Water Rower vs. Concept 2: The Winner

Which rower is the best overall?

This Water Rower vs. Concept 2 review shows that  Concept 2 is the superior choice between the two for various reasons. 

  • It is easier to store and transport.
  • It has an inclined monorail to help you row smoothly.
  • It is more efficient in terms of battery life.
  • It has more features and an online community with competitions.
  • It is easier to adjust the difficulty of your workout. 
  • It has a higher weight capacity.
  • It is easier to clean and maintain.
Water Rower vs. Concept 2
Water Rower Vs. Concept 2 : Choose the one that fits your budget and needs.

Which rower is best for YOU?

If you need more help in choosing the right rowing machine, check out this home gym equipment guide.

Which rower is best for your Budget?

The prices change regularly. At the time of writing the WaterRower is cheaper than Concept2.

Additional cost for the WaterRower is the chlorine tablet for cleaning the water.  They will give you extra tablets during your purchase. But if you use the rower for a long time you might run out and have to buy more.  

If you are budget conscious, WaterRower is your choice.

Which rower is best for your Fitness Goals?

WaterRower is great for recreational rowing. It is quiet, soothing, and the sound is meditative. The material is wood, which gives it luxury style that fits the ambiance of your home. 

Concept2 is for those looking for a challenge and want to improve their rowing skills. It has tons of features that can help you level up. You can team up with others and join competitions.

FAQ about Water Rower Vs. Concept 2

  • Is a WaterRower better than Concept2?

    WaterRower is better than Concept2 in terms of noise level and aesthetics. But Concept2 also has its own strong points, like console functionality, resistance adjustment, and maintenance, and it has a higher weight capacity.

  • Is Concept2 rower harder than WaterRower?

    Generally, the two machines are about equal in difficulty and intensity. But their resistance adjustments are different. You can adjust Concept2 using the damper setting. While on WaterRower, you have to add or drain water from the tank.

  • Is it worth buying a WaterRower?

    WaterRower has an elegant design that fits nicely with the decor of your home. And it simulates the natural feeling of rowing on water. So yes, it’s worth buying. 

What to do next?

When you choose a rowing machine for your home gym, make sure you get one that suits your budget and your needs. Think about how much you’ll use it and whether you’ll get the most out of it long-term.

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Inge van Haselen is a certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach. For over 17 years, she has been coaching hundreds of clients in her gym. Inge published several programs on health and fitness. It is her passion to help you have the best Home Gym for your needs. So you can be in the best shape of your life.

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