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SkiErg vs Rower – Concept 2 Shootout

SkiErg vs Rower - which one of these fitness torture machines is best?

​Chances are if you have set foot inside any modern CrossFit box then you'll already be familiar with the Concept 2 rower.

​Rowing is hard, it'll beat you down and have you grasping for air especially if you are doing intervals on it.

However Concept 2 have another cardio machine that has slowly gained both fans and haters. That machine is the SkiErg.

The SkiErg is essentially the upper body portion of a traditional skiing machine that you might be familiar with, the type that made Nordictrack famous.

Both machines offer an intense workout. However it is the rower that will give you a full body workout from head to toe.

For most Crossfitter's that are purchasing equipment at home they will usually choose one or more of the following just like they have in their local box:

  • Air Bike
  • Rower
  • Elliptical
  • SkiErg

The choice of air bike will usually fall between the Airdyne or Assault Bike, whilst for a rower most will choose either the Concept 2 or a water rower.

SkiErg vs Rower Comparison



Works Upper Body



Works Lower Body



Arm Movement

Extend Behind


Digital Display



Fitness Level



Easy to move



Suitable for intervals



Concept 2 Model E Rower with PM5

The Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 is built for people of all fitness levels and may be the perfect addition to your home gym.

The Model E indoor rowing machine comes from a company called Concept2. They are one of the leading manufacturers of quality rowers and other gym equipment. You can rest assured that the Model E is not going to fall apart within a few weeks of use.

This is a flywheel rowing machine, which provides smooth motion and quieter operation when compared to a hydraulic rower.

Besides the flywheel, the Model E has several distinct features that help set it apart from the competition. It is easy to use and store and comes preloaded with a wide variety of workout options along with a PM5 Performance Monitor.

Assembling and Setting up the Model E Rower

One feature that customers always want to know more about is the assembly process. The Concept2 Model E rowing machine arrives in two large boxes. It comes partially assembled and typically only takes 15 to 20 minutes to put together.

You will need plenty of space to set up and use the rower. The recommended clearance space is 9’ x 4’. Luckily, the rower can be broken down into two separate sections, making storage a lot easier.

​Performance of the Model E Rowing Machine

Once you get on the Model E rowing machine, you feel secure and stable. The machine feels sturdy and capable of delivering a solid workout. This is reaffirmed once you start rowing. The motion of the flywheel is consistently smooth.

The Model E also includes a couple feature to help improve comfort while rowing. The footrests are adjustable, allowing you to find the most comfortable positioning for your height.

The handles are ergonomically designed, increasing the comfort of the rowing motion. However, there is one drawback. The seat is hard. Some people may become sore by the end of the first workout. Adding a small seat cushion may improve the overall comfort.

PM5 Performance Monitor

Most modern home gym equipment comes with a display and computer features for tracking your progress and your workouts. The Model E features a PM5 performance monitor that tracks a variety of useful data including calories burned, pace, speed, distance, and watts.

The display is large and rests on an adjustable arm. This lets you adjust the position of the monitor for easier reading while working out. The performance monitor also connects wirelessly to a Garmin heart rate monitor.

The data is stored in the machine. However, it also comes with a USB flash drive so you can easily transfer the data to your computer.

Pros and Cons of the Concept2 Model E Rower

There are many reasons to consider getting the Concept2 Model E rowing machine. The top benefit is the durability and performance of this flywheel rower. You can get a complete body workout with this machine.

It should offer years of exercise before showing signs of wear and tear. If you do experience any unnecessary wear or manufacturer defects, the parts are covered by a two-year warranty and the frame is covered for five years.

Other highlights include the PM5 performance monitor and the fact that the machine can separate into two parts for easier storage.

The only disadvantages include the comfort of the seat and the amount of space needed to set up the rower. However, these are issues that you will likely need to deal with, regardless of the rower.

Should You Buy the Concept2 Model E Rower?

The Concept2 Model E indoor rowing machine with PM5 possesses a lot of useful features. This indoor rowing machine provides the versatility needed for all fitness levels. The workout options and performance tracking provided by the PM5 monitor are great while the seat may need some extra cushioning.

Key Features:
  • Measures 8’ x 2’ 
  • Requires 9’ x 4’ of clearance space
  • Adjustable footrests 
  • Enclosed housing for the flywheel 20” seat height
  • Maximum user weight of 500 pounds

Concept2 SkiErg

The Concept2 SkiErg with PM5 ski machine is one of the top-rated ski machines available. Whether you want to improve your Nordic skiing techniques or simply build strength and endurance, this machine deserves a closer look.

Overview of the SkiErg Ski Machine

The SkiErg ski machine features a flywheel attached to a tall base. The handles are located at the top of the base, allowing you to mimic the motions used when Nordic skiing.

The SkiErg is designed for mounting on a wall. It comes with all the necessary hardware. However, you can also purchase a separate floor stand to make the SkiErg a free-standing piece of equipment.

Assembling the Concept2 SkiErg Ski Machine

The assembly of the Concept2 SkiErg ski machine can be complicated, especially when mounting the machine on the wall. When assembling the machine, you should set aside at least an hour to get it put together.

It is also important to carefully follow the assembly instructions. Properly assembling the machine will reduce the risk of injury and unnecessary wear on the machine.

The SkiErg ski machine does not take up a lot of floor space. Its footprint is much smaller than a rowing machine even if you choose to purchase the optional floor stand.

Performance of the SkiErg Ski Machine

The workout that you can get is one of the most important details when looking at a new piece of gym equipment. The SkiErg ski machine delivers an exceptional upper body workout, helping you to build more upper body strength and overall endurance.

As mentioned, the resistance offered by this machine is provided by a flywheel. You are in full control of the resistance that builds in the machine. You can also adjust the spiral damper to make the workout more resemble an uphill climb or skiing on flat terrain.

The handles are strapless and ergonomically designed for your comfort. You can get a secure, comfortable grip whether you have small or large hands.

The SkiErg ski machine is equipped with the PM5 performance monitor. This monitor is used in other Concept2 machines and offers a variety of useful data to help you track your progress.

You can monitor your total distance, time, calories burned, and more. You can even transfer your workout data to your computer via a USB flash drive.

The performance monitor provides accurate data and is also very easy to use. You even get a quick start guide to help you get started.

Pros and Cons of the SkiErg with PM5 Ski Machine

The SkiErg with PM5 ski machine offers a fantastic workout for your upper body. Once installed, you can begin building more muscle or focus on endurance. By adjusting your positioning, you can also work your legs and core muscles.

The SkiErg is also a durable machine. It is built to last and backed a warranty. The flywheel and moving parts are covered for two years while the frame is covered for five years.

Finding a disadvantage is difficult. The SkiErg delivers a great workout. However, it does require mounting to a wall or the purchase a separate floor stand.

If you choose to mount it on the wall, you will not be able to pack it up and store it when it is not in use. With the floor stand, the height of the unit still makes storage difficult.

Why Should You Consider Getting the SkiErg?

There are several great ski machines that you could consider getting for your home gym. However, the Concept2 SkiErg offers a variety of advantages for your workout.

The solid frame ensures that you are safe while pushing yourself to build more muscle or boost your endurance. You also get a PM5 performance monitor to help accurately track your workouts.

The only issue that some users may have is the size of the machine. While it does not require a lot of floor space, mounting the machine to your wall makes it a permanent fixture in your room.

Overall, this is one of the top ski machines and does a wonderful job of mimicking the motions of skiing. If you want an effective workout, the Concept2 SkiErg with PM5 ski machine deserves your consideration.

Key Features:
  • Flywheel and spiral damper
  • 19” x 16” footprint
  • Requires at least 7’ ceilings
  • Durable aluminum frame with powder-coat finish
  • A PM5 performance monitor for accurate tracking