Are you looking for the best rowing machine for your home gym? This Concept 2 Model D vs NordicTrack RW900 comparison may have the details you need to find an impressive and reliable indoor rower.

After all, both rowing machines are from well-known and trusted brands.

Model D (also known as Concept2 RowErg) first came to the market in 2003 and was later updated in 2006. On the other hand, NordicTrack RW900 became available in 2020. It’s quite an age gap, but how does the newbie compare to its senior? Which rower model is better?

Let’s give these two a closer look to see if one of them is your ideal rowing machine.

Concept 2 Model D vs NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machines

Both are high-quality rowing machines. However, the NordicTrack RW900 is a better option for me. I like how it balanced traditional and modern features into one interactive indoor rower.

Still, we all have different needs and lifestyles, and our personal preferences are key to choosing the best rowing machine.

So, here’s a table highlighting the crucial features of these indoor rowers. Scroll further for an in-depth review and comparison.

ROWER FEATURESConcept 2 Model DNordicTrack RW900
Dimensions (LxWxH)244 x 61 x 36 cm210 x 56 x 137 cm
Monorail length137 cm135 cm
User weight limit227 kg115 kg
Resistance typeAirElectromagnetic
Resistance levels10 damper settings26 digital levels
Workout options5 standard, 5 custom, and 3 game workouts30 onboard workouts; limitless iFit workouts
SeatMoulded with a scooped-out back and textured finishLight padding with minimal contour
Seat height36 cm48 cm
Foot pedalsRidged pedals with multiple notched heel positions and adjustable foot strapsOversized footboards with sliding heel pads and Velcro straps
HandlebarSoft handle with a 10-degree bend and finger ventsOval and straight handle
Drive systemChainBelt
ScreenPM5 monitor22-inch tilt & pivot touchscreen
Noise levelHighLow
ConnectivityWi-Fi and BluetoothUSB, ANT+, and Bluetooth
Folding systemYes, the rail can be disconnected into two partsNone, but it can be stored upright
Power requirement2 D-cell batteriesElectric outlet
CostMore affordableCosts more

1. Appearance

The difference between Model D and RW900 is evident when you look at these machines side-by-side. Below are their notable appearance factors.


Indoor rowing machines are generally bulky and heavy. Whichever model you buy, your workout area should be large enough to use and store one without problems.

So, which between Model D and RW900 is more space-efficient? Size-wise, NordicTrack RW900 is shorter and narrower than Concept 2 Model D. However, it’s best to have a dedicated space for this rower as it is non-foldable.

You can store it upright, though. Just make sure you have the ceiling height and strength for it. Concept 2 Model D gets the upper hand if you prefer foldable rowers. While it takes up more space, you can disconnect the rail from the front section and store the machine as two parts after use.

Winner: Both. The choice depends on your home gym size and storage preference. Measure your area first and compare it with the dimensions of your chosen rower.

Concept2 Model D vs NordicTrack RW900 Rower - Footprint

Construction and Design

Concept 2 Model D and NordicTrack RW900 are solid, sleek, and sturdy machines.

Model D has an aluminium frame and front legs, while the rear legs are steel, all in powder coat finish. It also has a nickel-plated steel chain. RW900 is also a mix of aluminium and steel parts in a smooth, black finish. It also has a belt connected to its inertia-enhanced flywheel.

However, the main difference here is their maximum user weight limit. RW900 has a surprisingly low weight capacity of 115kg, while Model D has a whopping 227 kg load limit.

Higher maximum weight limits suggest valuable aspects, like better machine quality, stability, and longevity. Indoor rowers with higher weight capacities are also more shareable to multiple users with varying body weights.

Winner: Concept 2 Model D. Its considerably higher maximum weight limit makes it ideal for years of frequent or intense use.


The type and size of screens are another clear Concept 2 Model D vs NordicTrack RW900 difference.

Model D has a battery-operated performance monitor or PM5. It also gets power from the energy you make from rowing, meaning it automatically turns as soon as you start working out. It displays vital workout metrics, including your pace, watts, stroke rate, and calories.

Its menu lets you access some built-in programs, too. You can also use Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity to sync it with various fitness devices and apps.

However, if you prefer something more advanced and interactive, the 22-inch touchscreen of the RW900 has you covered. This massive display takes your data tracking to the next level and optimises iFit’s stunning workout videos. You can tilt the screen for a better angle or swivel it to the side for your off-rower exercises.

Winner: NordicTrack RW900. Aside from boosting the overall display quality, its screen enhances workout diversity and interest, which are crucial in a monotonous exercise like rowing.

2. Feel

Comfort and ease of use are essential considerations when getting an indoor rower. Beginners, in particular, need a machine that can help them master the proper form minus the body aches.

So, note the following factors when choosing between Model D and RW900.

Resistance Type

There are several kinds of indoor rowing machines, and their classification depends on their resistance type: air, magnetic, water, or hydraulic.

Concept 2 Model D is an air-resistance rower with a 10-level damper. You manually adjust the spiral damper setting to control the airflow coming into the flywheel.

Air rowers are good since the resistance depends on how intense your rowing stroke is. It generally creates a more natural rowing feel. It’s different with a magnetic rower, like the RW900. This one has 26 pre-set resistance levels you can control via its console or screen.

There are twin magnets next to its metallic flywheel. These magnets react with electricity and your resistance settings. It creates a smoother, more precise rowing session.

Winner: Both. Choose the rower that best suits your fitness level and rowing workout preference. For instance, the infinite resistance of Concept 2 Model D is ideal for athletes and seasoned riders. On the other hand, magnetic RW900 fits beginners and enthusiasts looking for more constant sessions.

Concept2 Model D vs NordicTrack RW900 Rower - Footplates

Seat, Handle, Footplates, and Rail

I find the Concept 2 Model D comfortable even during long rowing sessions. Its seat, for example, has a good shape that lessens tailbone strain. I also like its textured finish that prevents slipping, especially when rowing intensely.

Similarly, the footplates have extra ridging to keep the feet in place. They also allow the toes to flex as you push your body back and forth. The handlebar is soft on the hands, too. Its angled design also adds grip and comfort. I also like the finger vents at the centre of the handle, which lets me do one-handed strokes.

Its rail is pretty good and stable as well. Just a heads up, though. Model D is a low-profile machine, meaning its seat height is low. It can be difficult for users to get in and out of this rower, especially those with mobility issues.

As for the NordicTrack RW900, this model suits beginners and seniors better because of its rail and seat height. Compared with Model D, RW900 has a wider rail, which feels more stable and secure. Its higher seat height also means you don’t have to bend your legs too much each time you get in and out of the machine.

RW900 has adjustable footplates and a large padded seat. Its oval handlebar lacks the option for single-arm rowing, though. Nonetheless, its rubber padding keeps the hands comfortable.

Winner: Both. These rowers are equally comfortable, although they have distinct machine parts that suit specific users more. Ideally, give both a test drive to see how comfortable they are.

3. Performance

It’s easier to make indoor rowing a habit when you have a machine that encourages efficient and diverse workouts. So, which of these two models optimises indoor rowing benefits better?

Here are their key performance differences.

Connectivity and Workout Options

While indoor rowing is a full-body workout, the variety of movements you can make while rowing is limited. Daily sessions can become monotonous unless you spice them up with rowing variations or new instructor-led workouts.

These should be easy with the NordicTrack RW900. Once you link this rower machine to its iFit app, you can access tons of studio or outdoor-based rowing videos with professional instructors.

The app gets regular updates, too. So, you’ll never run out of new rowing programs to try. With the machine’s 22-inch screen, today’s session is as immersive as the last.

You can also achieve this rowing experience with the Concept 2 Model D, but probably on a less exciting level. Using its Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity, you can link its PM5 monitor to the free Concept2 ErgData app.

Doing so should let you track your workouts and access the Concept 2 Online Logbook. As for workout variety, Model D has a few built-in workouts. Plus, you can get an optional device holder, download your favourite fitness app, and use your smartphone as your screen.

Winner: NordicTrack RW900. A sophisticated iFit app with a large touchscreen is an appealing combo, especially for riders who prefer interactive workouts. Sticking to regular rowing sessions is also effortless with the extensive workout library and stunning videos integrated into this rower.

Indoor Rowing for All Fitness Levels

Noise Level

There are two chief noise sources when using an indoor rower machine: the resistance type and its drive system.

Model D is an air-resistance rower with a chain drive, whereas RW900 is an electromagnetic machine with a belt drive system.

These aspects suggest that NordicTrack RW900 is a quieter rowing machine than Concept 2 Model D. Its motorised flywheel, magnetic resistance, and belt cord generate less friction, minimising the noise.

More importantly, you can enjoy virtually noise-free sessions with this machine, regardless of how forceful or quick your rowing strokes are.

With Model D, the spinning fan blades become louder as you row faster. The clinking chain drive also adds to the noise.

Winner: NordicTrack RW900. A low-noise machine is a plus because it lets you work out at day time or night. Also, you can position a quiet rowing machine anywhere in the house, even in apartment spaces.

4. Cost

Probably the most important question in this comparison article is, which is cheaper: Model D or RW900?There are a few factors to consider to answer this, though. Here are 2 of them.

Upfront Cost

If we compare the rowing machine prices alone, the Concept 2 Model D is more affordable than the NordicTrack RW900. As of writing, there’s a $500 difference between them in Australia.

In addition, remember that Model D is an air-resistance rower that works without electricity. Yes, its monitor needs batteries. However, you can save on battery life as the monitor can draw power from the spinning flywheel.

On the other hand, the RW900 needs electricity for its electromagnetic flywheel and touchscreen to work.

Winner: Concept 2 Model D. This rower has high value for money. With its price, beginners and experienced rowers can enjoy the features and benefits of a heavy-duty rowing machine.

App Subscription Cost

Investing in an indoor rower does not stop with the initial machine purchase. Potential long-term expenses should be taken into account, too.

For instance, does your chosen rower model need an app subscription? Concept 2 Model D and NordicTrack RW900 can function without one.

Both have a few built-in workouts that you can use. Model D has a Just Row mode, while RW900 has a manual mode. RW900 even includes a free 30-day iFit trial membership.

However, in my opinion, subscribing to iFit once the trial expires is a good move. The RW900 has built-in speakers, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a 22-inch touchscreen. An iFit subscription will significantly optimise these features.

Model D has none of these, though. Still, it gives you more options to upgrade your rowing experience with this machine based on your budget. For instance, you can secure a device holder atop the PM5 monitor. Then, with your smartphone, use rowing workout videos from streaming apps.

Alternatively, you can work out with a free or more affordable fitness app.

Winner: Concept 2 Model D. This rowing machine may lack the built-in features for highly immersive workouts. However, you can still enhance it and your workouts through methods that do not require expensive or long-term subscriptions.

Indoor Rowing Machine at Home

Bottom Line – Concept 2 Model D vs NordicTrack RW900

Which do you think comes on top in this Concept 2 Model D vs NordicTrack RW900 face-off? Here’s what I think. Model D trumps the appearance and cost aspect, while RW900 wins the performance and overall feel.

After comparing the two, it’s easy to see why experienced riders find Concept 2 Model D more appealing. It’s a well-built machine with straightforward operation at a reasonable price. However, if you prefer feature-packed machines that can provide immersive rowing workouts, the RW900 is undoubtedly the way to go.

Of course, the extra bells and whistles come with a hefty price tag. Still, it’s all worth it if it helps you stick to an active lifestyle. Whichever rowing machine you buy, always choose the model that fits your needs, goals, and budget.

1. Which is better: NordicTrack RW900 or ProForm Pro R10?

In my opinion, the NordicTrack RW900 is better because it has features that suit my preferences. Specifically, its 22-inch touchscreen makes rowing more immersive, whether you are doing it with iFit or an onboard workout. I also find it more stable and quieter than the ProForm Pro R10. It offers more resistance levels and workout options, too. Learn more about these machines from our NordicTrack RW900 or ProForm Pro R10 review.

2. What is a good rowing machine price point?

In Australia, a quality rower can cost between $1000 and $1900. This mid-range category has machine options with a robust frame, warranty, and feel. Also, these rowers often have balanced features that suit most fitness capacities or needs. Our article on rowing machine prices has more details and suggestions.