If you’re not a big fan of using the treadmill, then the good news is that there are other workout equipment alternatives that you can use, such as the rowing machine. Great for strengthening your muscles, increasing your stamina, and burning fat, this machine is truly a game-changer.
Now, if you’ve decided to give the rowing machine a try, then it’s time to pick the model that will work for you. Choosing the best rowing machine from the wide array of options in the market can be challenging, so we’ve narrowed it down to two models. In this article, we'll be looking at two rowers: the NordicTrack RW900 Rower and the Concept2 Model E Rower.
If you’re looking to get serious about your health and fitness and you want to buy a sturdy, commercial-grade quality rower, the NordicTrack RW900 is the better option for you.
Aside from giving you access to trainers and interactive workout programs, the RW900 is loaded with other benefits, such as having two types of resistance—silent magnetic and manual air resistance — as well as membership perks, among others.
But if you’re looking for a rower that will give you more value for your money while offering almost the exact same features as the more expensive models, then you can’t go wrong with the Model E.
NordicTrack RW900 Rower
The NordicTrack RW900 rowing machine includes a 1-year iFit membership that gives you access to an interactive trainer and over 12,000 instructor-led workout videos. These on-demand workouts also feature an iFit Coach program wherein your rower and resistance will change depending on the instructor’s workout. You can likewise transition to different degrees of resistance, thanks to the rower’s SMR (silent magnetic resistance) feature. And because of its portability, you can store it easily under your bed or inside the closet.
Concept2 Model E Rower
Proudly made in the USA, the Concept2 Model E has proved to be one of the best low-maintenance yet high-performing rowing machines on the market. Customers have also praised the company’s reliable customer service. The Model E has an option for team training with the Concept2 Slide, which is sold separately. Placed under the rowing machine, this optional slide is attached with bungee cords that simulate the sensation of floating on water. With the Concept2 Slide, you can connect to different Concept2 rower models for team training.
Side by Side Comparison: Nordictrack Rower vs Concept 2
Concept2 Model E
iFIT 1 year membership
Free Concept2 ErgData app
22" Smart HD
30 onboard workouts
Preset workouts and games
96” L x 24” W x 20” H; 54“ monorail length
oversized steel seat rail with an ergonomic molded seat
20” seat height with aluminum monorail and a stainless-steel track
quick-adjust pedals with pivoting footrests
10-degree bend designed handle
Maximum user weight:
Maximum user weight:
10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty
limited 2-year warranty for Monitor and moving parts and a 5-year frame warranty
Factor 1: Features
Aside from the iFit membership, the Nordictrack RW900 rower has the following features:
- Adjustable console
- 2 built-in speakers
- Auxiliary music port
- Global Workouts that allow you to explore different waterways without leaving home
The Model E sports the following features:
- PM5, an advanced performance monitor, which has Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity
- Free Concept2 ErgData app to help you keep track of your workouts
Factor 2: Display
The RW900 has a 22” Smart HD touchscreen display, while the Model E has an advanced Performance Monitor (PM), which allows you to store data using its internal memory or via a USB flash drive. If you’re looking for practical functionality, the Model E takes the cake for this one.
Factor 3: Workout Programs
The RW900 has 30 onboard workouts while the Model E’s PM gives you access to preset workouts and games.
Factor 4: Resistance Levels
The RW900 has 26 resistance levels that operate under dual resistance controls (manual air resistance and silent magnetic resistance). On the other hand, the Model E has a flywheel and damper, which give you full control of your exertion and resistance.
Factor 5: Dimensions and Foldability
The RW900 has a 86.5” L x 22” W x 50.4” H footprint. It also features a SpaceSaver design with front-mounted transport wheels that enable you to fold and store your rower in small spaces. The Model E sports dimensions of 96” L x 24” W x 20” H with a 54“monorail length. It also features caster wheels and a quick-release frame lock mechanism, which doesn’t require tools and separates the machine into two parts for easy storage.
Factor 6: Seating
The RW900 has an oversized steel seat rail with an ergonomic molded seat, while the Model E has a 20” seat height with aluminum monorail and a stainless-steel track. This allows the Model E to accommodate a wide range of users, even those who have issues with mobility or trainees who need more legroom.
Factor 7: Footrests
Aside from its oversized quick-adjust pedals, the RW900 also features pivoting footrests with adjustable foot straps. The Model E’s adjustable footrests allow for rowing in your natural foot position.
Factor 8: Handle
Both models feature ergonomic handles, but the Model E’s rowing handle features a 10-degree bend designed to support a natural rowing position.
Factor 9: Build Quality
The RW900 can support a maximum user weight of 250 lbs, while the Concept 2 rower can support up to 300-500 lbs. The RW900 has a sturdy, commercial-grade build, while the Model E sports a double powder coat finish for its welded steel construction.
Factor 10: Warranty
The RW900 has a 10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty. Meanwhile, the Model E has a limited 2-year warranty for its Performance Monitor and moving parts and a 5-year frame warranty.
Users praise the RW900’s and the Model E’s ease of assembly and sturdiness. However, the Model E has an added value to users for its maneuverability.
The Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine
1. It gives you a full-body, low-impact workout.
Rowing machines engage both your upper and lower body. A rowing machine workout targets your back, shoulder, and arm muscles. Your glutes and legs get their fair share of exercise too. You also get to engage your core muscles, since they crunch and relax when you glide along with the rowing machine.
2. It helps improve your cardiovascular health.
Aerobic exercises are known to not only help you lose weight but improve your cardiovascular health as well. Since rowing exercises are considered aerobic exercises, they help in boosting cardiovascular health.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, if you are a 185-pound person, you can burn 311 calories in 30 minutes doing moderate exercise on a rowing machine.
Aerobic exercises done on rowing machines are known to have numerous science-backed benefits such as increasing your stamina, fitness, and strength while increasing your heart and lung fitness. With home exercise equipment such as indoor rowing machines becoming readily available in the market, you can easily work your way towards a healthier you from the comfort of your own home.