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Which rowing machine should I choose?

Concept2 RowErg, WaterRower Performance and RP3T dynamic rowing machines compared.

Comprehensive overview

Rowing machines offer a joint-friendly and effective way to engage multiple muscle groups, improve cardiovascular fitness, and increase overall strength—simply excellent general endurance and strength training machines. Among the many options available, the Concept2 RowErg (Model D), WaterRower Performance, and RP3T Dynamic are three popular choices that cater to different preferences and fitness goals. In this article, we'll look at the features, pros, and cons of each rowing machine so you can make an informed decision.

Concept 2, WaterRower, RP3 rowing benches

Excellent apps are available for all three machines, which synchronize with various training and health apps. All models are compatible with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor.

Concept2 RowErg Model D:


  • Air resistance, adjustable resistance.
  • Performance Monitor 5 (PM5) with many metrics and wireless connectivity.
  • Durable construction, available in two seat heights of 14 and 20 inches and adjustable footrest.
  • It can be stored in an upright position and can be easily split in two for easy storage and transport.
  • Static rowing machine


  • Due to its durability and performance, it is widely used in gyms and rowing clubs. In practice, this is the gold standard for measuring rowing performance
  • Air resistance provides a dynamic and challenging workout.
  • The PM5 monitor offers detailed metrics and exercise tracking and can be connected to fitness apps
  • Suitable for both beginners and experienced rowers.
  • Drag factor - the stretch of the rubber rope can be measured, so you can always train at the same resistance during use


  • Air resistance is noisy during training.
  • Robust, difficult to fit into a home environment
  • Some users may find the seat uncomfortable during prolonged use.
  • The flywheel requires a consistent pulling motion to maintain resistance.

WaterRower SmartRow Performance Ergometer:


  • Waterproof system with water tank for a natural paddling experience.
  • The Performance model comes with the SmartRow accessory, a wider 17” handle, tablet holder and XL feet
  • Handmade wooden design, with a water tank in front, fits beautifully into the home environment
  • Minimal noise thanks to the waterproof system.
  • Static rowing machine


  • Smooth, smooth and relaxing paddling experience with the sound of water mimicking actual paddling.
  • The aesthetic appearance and elegant design make it a suitable addition to home gyms.
  • SmartrRow - smart features - the easiest shared rowing experience, beginner to advanced training plan, annual training log, with analytics - online ranking
  • Low load on the joints, so it is also suitable for users with joint problems.
  • Takes up little space when set up
  • The water resistance allows a gradual and sensitive change in intensity. It works according to the cubic rule: if you want to row 3x faster, you have to mobilize 8x more energy
  • Oil-free maintenance
  • Its data can be compared with C2 performance data (in the case of WaterRower S4 models, only watts can be compared)


  • Water tanks require regular maintenance to prevent algae growth and ensure clean water - change the water every 4 months or use a water purifier
  • Water resistance may not provide the same level of resistance as air or magnetic rowing machines. This happens when someone is looking for absolute resistance, which is already significantly greater than what is experienced in cultivation during rowing

RP3T dynamic rowing ergometer:


  • Dynamic rowing machine that closely simulates rowing on water, boat gliding, on water
  • Ergonomic design for optimal body mechanics and movement.
  • Advanced RP3+ Rowing application with real-time data and stroke analysis options - the most advanced rowing technique correction system
  • Adjustable footrests and a comfortable seat for longer workouts.


  • The unique dynamic system engages several muscle groups and approaches water rowing more closely, moves the muscles used during rowing more precisely, and puts less strain on the spine.
  • The advanced RP3 app provides detailed feedback for the development of the technique, with a real water speed indicator
  • Comfortable and ergonomic design for efficient rowing mechanics.
  • Suitable for paddlers looking for a more challenging and realistic paddling experience.


  • Potentially steeper learning curve due to dynamic movement, which requires good technique.
  • Compared to other rowing machines, the price may be higher.
  • Its maintenance is more difficult due to the larger number of moving parts
  • Heavy noise during exercise
  • Large size


Choosing the right rowing machine depends on your personal preference, fitness goals, and budget. The Concept2 Model D offers a reliable and versatile option with its drag system and performance tracking system. The WaterRower Performance stands out for its unique water resistance and aesthetic appeal. RP3T Dynamic provides an advanced dynamic paddling experience for those looking for a realistic water simulation.

Before making a decision, consider factors such as the type of resistance you prefer, the paddling experience you are looking for, and the features that are most important to you.

Our opinion

If you want to row 2-3 training sessions per week in a home environment and you don't have much space, choose the WaterRower - regardless, it can easily handle 6-7 training sessions per week.

If your budget is smaller, but you have space, or you are preparing for a Crossfit or C2 competition, then the Concept2 RowErg is the right choice.

If you want to row well and fast in the water, you have space and the neighbors' walls are also well soundproofed, then the RP3 is the right choice.

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