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7 Amazing Concept 2 Rower Alternatives

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Concept 2 rowers are great machines but you may want other options. What are some alternatives to Concept 2 rowing machines with similar benefits?

When it comes to rowing machines, Concept 2 rowing machines are considered one of the top picks. More specifically, rowing machines with an air fan as resistance.

These machines allow you to get in great rowing workouts which in turn benefit cardiovascular health, engage certain muscles, and help you stay at a healthy weight for many years to come.

Whether you don’t enjoy using a Concept 2 rowing machine, you want a cheaper alternative, you don’t want to wait for the end of the waiting list, or you want an alternative for any other reason, these Concept 2 alternatives can offer you similar benefits.

Top Concept 2 rower alternatives

Depending on things like your personal situation, training goals, workout room, budget, personal preferences, etc. Some of these substitutes for the Concept 2 rowing machines can be better than others.

How we selected our top picks

Our fitness experts spent a lot of time looking at and comparing all the different important factors of Concept 2 Rower alternatives. Some of the things that were taken into consideration when making our selection include:

  • Material, weight capacity, resistance type, resistance levels, etc.
  • User reviews
  • Anecdotal reviews from fitness experts
  • Price
  • Brand trustability

If a pick seems interesting click it to see the online prices.

7 Concept 2 rower alternatives reviewed in depth

Besides having an overall overview of the top picks, it can also be helpful to look at each of the options more in-depth. This way you can find the best Concept 2 rower alternative for your personal situation and training goals.

1. Murtisol Air

The Murtisol Air is an air rowing machine that resembles the Concept 2 rowing machines in a lot of ways. You can easily see where the designers of this rowing machine likely got their inspiration.

On the other hand, there are also some important differences. The Murtisol Air “only” has a weight limit of 350 pounds (158.76 kg) vs the 500-pound (226.8 kg) weight limit of the Concept 2 models.

This is partly the result of the material used. The Murtisol model only weighs 30.5 pounds (13.84 kg) vs the 57.32 pounds (26 kg) of the Concept 2 Model D.

Pros

  • Cheaper
  • Lighter weight of 30.5 pounds (13.84 kg)
  • 10 levels of difficulty
  • Basically the same dimensions
  • Air resistance with steel chain

Cons

  • Lower weight limit of 350 pounds (158.76 kg)
  • Monitor has fewer details
  • Users find it less smooth

This substitute for the Concept 2 Rowing machine is a steel construction of 98.4″ x 24.4″ x 44.5″ (249.94 cm x 61.98 cm x 113.03 cm) with a seat height of 14.6″ (37.08 cm). Concept 2 connoisseurs will recognize this is very similar to the Concept 2 Model D.

Also similar to that model, the Murtisol Air comes with a fan for air resistance with 10 adjustable levels of difficulty.

That being said, this machine is not a perfect copy. Its frame is less sturdy which makes it lighter but on the other hand, this does mean the user weight limit of 350 pounds (158.76 kg) is 150 pounds (68.04 kg) lighter than the Concept 2 rowers.

Users also mention that the chain system does not feel as smooth as the Concept 2 rowing machines. Additionally, there are still shipping errors that Concept 2 tends to avoid. Besides these, the monitor of this alternative is less detailed.

Overall, the Murtisol Air is not on the exact same level as the Concept 2 Model D but you can use this alternative instead if you have a lower budget, have lower body weight, and love the lighter frame.

2. STRONGICK Rowing Machine

This next option is the runner-up, the second-place top pick, when it comes to alternatives that are similar to the Concept 2 rowing machines. Similar to the previous option, this model looks very familiar.

The STRONGKICK rowing machine is even built with the same user weight limit of 500 pounds (226.8 kg) in mind.

To get this strength they did use more material which leads to a rower weight of 70 pounds (31.75 kg). Heavier than the 57.32 pounds (26 kg) of the Concept 2 Model D.

Pros

  • Cheaper
  • Weight limit of 500 pounds (226.8 kg)
  • 10 levels of difficulty
  • Basically the same dimensions
  • Air resistance with steel chain

Cons

  • Heavier weight of 70 pounds (31.75 kg)
  • Monitor has fewer details

The STRONGKICK rowing machine is a construction with dimensions of 96″ x 24″ x 45″ (243.84 cm x 60.96 cm x 114.3 cm) with a seat height of 14″ (37.08 cm). Again, basically the same dimensions as the Concept 2 Model D.

This alternative also comes with 10 levels of difficulty to the construction of an air fan in a cage with the option to change how much air can go into the cage.

In this model, the weight limit is similar to the Concept 2 rowers but the STRONGKICK is slightly harder to move around due to its higher weight.

Overall, users are relatively happy with the quality of the STRONGKICK. This model is not quite at the level of the Murtisol Air but also generally comes at a lower price than the Concept 2 rowing machines.

One thing users don’t enjoy about this Concept 2 substitute is the lack of features and suboptimal quality of the monitor. This is not essential to a good workout but a downside nonetheless.

3. Stamina ATS Air Rower

One downside of certain air rowers like the Concept 2 models is that they can be relatively pricey. This can lead to longer-lasting machines but that does not mean there are no good options at a lower price.

The Stamina ATS Air Rower is an example of this.

Some of the main downsides to keep in mind about this machine compared to the Concept 2 rowers is that the weight limit is a lot lower and that you can only adjust the resistance by pulling harder or softer.

Pros

  • Cheaper
  • Requires less room
  • Air resistance
  • Slightly lighter weight of 54 pounds (24.49 kg)

Cons

  • Lower weight limit of 250 pounds (113.4 kg)
  • Monitor has fewer details
  • No extra resistance adjustment
  • Does not last as long

This next Concept 2 Rowing machine alternative is a steel construction of 77″ x 18″ x 22″ (195.58 cm x 45.72 cm x 55.88 cm). The exact seat height is not mentioned, possibly because the seat rail is at an angle.

Besides being a lot more budget-friendly, another benefit of the Stamina ATS Air Rower is that it is more compact. This rower is 19″ (48.26 cm) shorter than the Concept 2 Model D and 6″ (15.24 cm) narrower. This can be helpful for individuals with limited room to work out.

On the other hand, for the price of the Stamina ATS Air Rower, you will obviously not get the same quality as the Concept 2 rowers. First of all, the weight limit of this model is only half that of the Concept 2 models.

Secondly, there is no additional way to adjust the resistance of the air fan. The monitor of the Stamina ATS Air Rower is also less detailed than the Concept 2 rowers.

Additionally, users make it clear that this machine is not as sturdy as the Concept 2 rowers. Reviews here and there mention that their Stamina ATS Air Rower got defects after a few months of use. Especially if it was used relatively intensely and a lot.

For individuals with a lower budget who don’t plan to row that much, the Stamina ATS Air Rower can be a good choice that doesn’t break the bank.

More active individuals may need to consider rowing machines at a higher price to avoid replacing (parts of) their machine every few months.

4. Merax Water Rowing Machine

The Concept 2 rowing machines and the previous alternatives are all air rowers, rowing machines with resistance from a fan turning against the air. There are also rowing machines with other types of resistance.

Besides air fans, water rowing machines tend to be the most popular. These are rowing machines where there is a flywheel turning against actual water. This Merax model is a great example of just how great these machines can be.

One benefit that stands out in water rowers vs air rowers like the Concept 2 Rowers is that they tend to be more silent. This can be helpful if you have family members or live in an apartment with thin walls.

Pros

  • Some people like water rowers more
  • Water rowers tend to be more silent
  • Can add more or less water to adjust resistance
  • Requires less room
  • Cheaper

Cons

  • Some people like water rowers less
  • Lower weight limit of 330 pounds (149.69 kg)
  • Monitor has fewer details
  • Heavier weight of 72 pounds (32.66 kg)

The Merax Water Rowing Machine is a construction of 78″ (198.12 cm) x 20″ (50.8 cm) x 25.5″ (64.77 cm). Seat height is not mentioned.

These dimensions are 18″ (45.72 cm) shorter and 4″ (10.16 cm) narrower than the Concept Model D. Not the biggest differences but for small spaces, these can be important enough.

At the end of the steel construction, there is a plastic container that can be filled with water. You can “adjust” the resistance by putting more or less water in it. This is not as convenient as the Concept 2 rowers but better than nothing.

Except for a few rare defects, users are very happy about the Merax Water Rowing Machine. Add to this the price that is a lot lower and you have a great Concept 2 rowing machine alternative.

Keep in mind that personal preference is a relatively big factor when comparing two models of a different type. Ideally, you would try out both an air and a water rower at your local gym to see if you like one or the other a lot more.

5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639

Another reason why people are interested in Concept 2 rower alternatives is that they have very limited space.

The Concept 2 models are not the biggest and can be disassembled for compact storage but even then they take up a good amount of space.

Luckily there are also relatively compact rowing machines like the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639. Keep in mind that the resistance of this machine is hydraulic.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Very low cost
  • Lighter weight of 35.8 pounds (13.84 kg)
  • Adjustable resistance

Cons

  • Monitor has fewer details
  • Lower weight limit of 350 pounds (158.76 kg)
  • Hydraulic resistance
  • Not made for really intense rowing workouts

Hydraulic resistance is not always the most favorite type of resistance of rowers. Even, so many people are fine with it, and if you are one of these people the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 can be a good choice.

This rowing machine stands out for its small dimensions of 52.2″ (132.59 cm) x 28.7″ (72.9 cm) x 11.8″ (29.97 cm). Compared to the Concept 2 Model D this is 43.8″ (111.25 cm) shorter and 4.7″ (11.94 cm) wider.

In addition to this compact construction, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 comes at an extremely low price compared to many rowing machines. Hydraulic resistance is also generally not that loud.

At this price point there are obviously a few downsides too. Not everyone likes the handles and the angles these go through.

More experienced users mention that the rowing machine can feel a bit too easy. Even when selecting the highest resistance levels.

Additionally, the machine is not built for hours of heavy rowing sessions every day. For really intense rowing workouts you may want to consider some of the other alternatives.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 is definitely not the perfect substitute for the Concept 2 rowing machines. Even so, this machine can offer you compact rowing workouts at a low price.

6. JKANGFIT Rowing Machine

Besides air fans and water, there are also rowing machine models with magnets as resistance.

This type may not have the same fanatic supporters as air and water rowing machines but it is relatively common and can still offer great rowing workouts.

In this category, a model that positively stands out is the JKANGFIT. This concept 2 rower alternative is not the same but it offers a few benefits of its own.

Pros

  • Some people like magnetic rowers more
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Cheaper
  • Requires less room
  • Magnetic rowers are more silent
  • One-year free replacement parts warranty

Cons

  • Some people like magnetic rowers less
  • Heavier weight of 61 pounds (27.67 kg)
  • Lower weight limit of 300 pounds (136.08 kg)
  • Monitor has fewer details

First of all, the JKANGFIT rowing machine has dimensions of 72.44″ (184 cm) x 22.83″ (58 cm) x 33.85″ (85.98 cm). This is 23.56″ (59.84 cm) shorter and 1.17″ (2.97 cm) narrower than the Concept 2 Model D.

Next, the difference between magnetic rowing machines and the other types depends a lot on personal preference. One benefit of magnetic rowing machines is that they tend to be relatively quiet.

Additionally, the JKANGFIT is a lot cheaper than the Concept 2 models and offers 16 levels of adjustable resistance.

You will likely not be able to use this alternative for as long as the Concept 2 models but JKANGFIT does offer a one-year free placement parts warranty. This indicates at least some confidence in the quality of their rowing machine.

Overall, users are really happy with this rowing machine. If you don’t mind the heavier weights, lower weight limit, and monitor with fewer details, the JKANGFIT can be a good alternative to the Concept 2 rowers.

7. WaterRower Classic

One of the things where the Concept 2 rowing machines stand out is their relatively high user weight limits of 500 pounds (226.8 kg). There are however rowing machines like this WaterRower Classic that can hold even more.

This is not the only positive quality of the rowing machine. Many users love the workouts, sounds, sturdiness, visuals, ease of construction, etc of the WaterRower Classic

Pros

  • Some people like water rowers more
  • Weight limit of 992.08 pounds (450 kg)
  • Sturdy option
  • Considered visually pleasing
  • Requires less room

Cons

  • Some people like water rowers less
  • Monitor not connectable to Bluetooth
  • Comes at a higher price
  • Heavier weight of 61.73 pounds (28 kg)

At first, the WaterRower Classic may not look like it, but it is 13″ (33.02 cm) shorter than the Concept 2 Model D rowing machine. In total, this water rower has dimensions of 83″ x 24″ x 21″ (210.82 cm x 60.96 cm x 53.34 cm).

Compared to the other alternatives on this list, the monitor of the WaterRower Classic is relatively extensive. One downside of this monitor is that it is not connectable to apps similar to the Concept 2 monitors.

Additionally, you also have to keep the higher price and the heavier weight of the WaterRower Classic in mind.

However, if you do have the budget and preference for water rowing machines, the WaterRower Classic can be a sturdy alternative to Concept 2 rowing machines with a user limit many people won’t come close to crossing.

Something relatively unique to the WaterRower Classic is that many people find the wooden design visually pleasing. This can be desirable in a home environment.

How to choose a Concept 2 rower alternative

There are a few things that can be important to consider before investing in a Concept 2 rowing machine alternative.

Choosing a good substitute for the Concept 2 rowing machines is not the most challenging thing ever but it is a good idea to keep the below key points in mind when making a choice.

Weight limit

Concept 2 rowing machines stand out for their relatively high weight limits. When choosing a substitute you want to make sure the model you have in mind can hold your weight.

While rowing machine weight limits are generally not as strict as pound-for-pound, you generally want to respect them anyway. This is for reasons like warranty voids, wear and tear, and simply being able to hold your weight.

Type of resistance

One of the reasons the Concept 2 rowers have so many fans, is because of their air resistance with steel chain system. Even so, not everyone likes this system as much and there are plenty of other options to choose from.

Many people also like water rowers, magnetic rowers, and hydraulic rowers. Which one is right for you mostly depends on personal preference but also how much noise you can tolerate.

Intensity of use

Concept 2 rowing machines are made to sustain heavy use. Even in commercial settings like a gym. This is not the same for every rowing machine out there.

For light rowing workouts every once in a while at home, you don’t have to be as picky. This can lead to many saved dollars.

On the other hand, even somewhat experienced individuals who want to implement moderate-intensity workouts, generally want to stay away from some of the cheaper rowing machines. These tend to break down faster.

Price

The above-average price of the Concept 2 rowing machines can be more than worth it. However, sometimes you can get similar benefits for a lower price.

Especially if you plan to use your rowing machine for less intense workouts and not that often, a lower-priced rowing machine may be a better choice.