Home » Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E

Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E

Concept2 Model D vs. Model EChoosing between the Concept2 Model D vs. the Concept2 Model E may be one of the hardest decisions in the world!

Ok, obviously not true but still very difficult.

It’s never an easy decision to narrow down your choices when making a big-ticket purchase such as a rowing machine.

It’s even more difficult when the two items are very similar!

When comparing the Concept2 Model D vs. E you will see a lot of similarities but there are some key differences.

In this article, I will breakdown the major similarities and differences between both Concept2 rowing machines.

You will then be able to answer the question: Which is better, the Model D or Model E?

Concept2 Model D vs. E

Comparing these two rowing machines is more difficult because of the vast similarities between the two rowers.

When looking at them you may think, “wow these look pretty much the same. Why then is the Model E considered an upgrade of the Model D?”

It’s a good question and one that will be answered in this article.

The first major difference is the biggest difference. Price. The Model E cost about 20% more than the Model D.

Due to the current situation – some retailers are experiencing delayed shipping times/stock outages. Please check Rogue Fitness as well for pricing/shipping times. I hope you and your family are staying safe during these times.

While this may seem like a big deal, I believe it is only a small factor in the comparison. When making a purchase that will last you a lifetime, marginal cost difference should not be the deciding factor.

In other words, just don’t pick the model with the lowest price tag! Try to pick the rower that best fits your needs.Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E

So ask yourself these two questions when reading the comparison of the Concept2 Model D vs. E:

  1. Should I pay extra because I need the additional features on the Concept2 Model E?
  2. Does the Concept2 Model D have all the features I need?

Overall, it will be a tough decision but I will break down the similarities and differences below and then give my recommendation.

Concept2 Model D 

The Concept2 Model D is a commercial grade air-resistance rowing machine made by Concept2.

Concept2 is one of the most respected brands in the rowing industry.

Concept2 Model D Review

It’s built tough and is commonly used in commercial gyms and boat houses by people of all fitness levels. Children, beginners, athletes, and Olympians all use the Concept2 Model D.

It is also ideal for home use because it has a storage feature that practically cuts its working footprint in half and has attached wheels that make it easy to move.

The rowing motion mimics rowing outdoors on water and is as smooth as it gets. But don’t confuse smooth with easy!

It can be as difficult or as easy as you want because the resistance automatically adjusts to your rowing intensity.

In addition, the rower comes with a feature that allows you to adjust the feel of the rowing stroke by adjusting the amount of air that goes into the flywheel housing (similar to adjusting gears on a bicycle).

Fully equipped with a top-notch performance monitor that not only track various fitness data but also tracks your heart rate, lets you play games, lets you upload your fitness data to an online logbook, and even teaches you how to row with proper form.

People of all shapes and sizes (up to 500 pounds) can use this machine with confidence and it’s backed by a solid warranty.

For more information read my in-depth review here.  I go into great detail about all the pros and cons of the Concept2 Model D.

Concept2 Model E 

Ok, now for the Concept2 Model E quick review.

Concept2 Model E

Uhhhh….damn it is exactly the same as what you just read for the Model D. Literally everything I just wrote about the Model D can be said for the Model E.

Look at the pictures, don’t they look the same? Ok, well one is black and one is grey but you can get the Model D and Model E in both colors.

Other than that they are almost identical. There are only a few slight differences such as:

  • Seat height
  • Monitor arm
  • Chain housing

I break down the full differences below.

For more information read my in-depth review here.  Again, I go over every pro and con of the Concept2 Model E in extreme detail.

Similarities Between the Concept2 D vs. E

NOTE:  The items listed below are exactly the same on both machines.


  • Concept2


  • Air


  • PM5 monitor and all computer features

Rowing Motion:

  • Mimics outdoor rowing


  • Overall length:  96.0”
  • Width:  24.0”
  • Inseam length:  48.0”


  • Extruded aluminum I-beam monorail


  • Fairly loud due to the spinning flywheel


  • Ergonomic handle with 10-degree angle


  • Flexfoot footboard system


  • Padded-contoured seat

Resistance adjustability:

  • Determined by intensity
  • Damper Setting option


  • Can be taken apart and stored


  • Caster wheels

User Capacity:

  • Height: No limit (longer monorail optional)
  • Weight:  500 pounds


  • 5-years for the frame
  • 2-years on the monitor and moving parts

Differences Between the Model D vs. Model E

Concept2 Model DConcept2 Model E
Price:Around $945Around $1,160
Seat Height:14.0"20.0"
Machine Weight:57 pounds65 pounds
Chain:SteelNickel-plated steel
Chain Housing:Partially enclosedFully enclosed
Monitor Arm:Flexible monitor arm; shorter than the Model E but the monitor height and viewing angle can be adjusted. Fixed, extended monitor arm. The monitor viewing angle can be adjusted.
Machine Legs:Front legs: Aluminum, Rear legs: SteelWelded steel
Exterior Finish:Powder coat (Matte finish - non glossy)Double powder coat plus clear top coat (looks glossy)
Detailed Review:Concept2 Model D ReviewConcept2 Model E Review

There are a fair amount of differences between the Model D and Model E and I will briefly go over the differences below:

  • The seat height on the Model E is the same height as a basic chair and rests 6.0” higher than the Model D seat.
    • This is made for individuals with balance issues, elderly people, people in a wheelchair, or people on crutches.
  • The machine weight difference between both models is only a few insignificant pounds.
  • The chain and chain housing on the Model E are better and in the long run will mean less maintenance. A nice upgrade but pretty insignificant.
  • The Model D and E now come standard with the PM5 Monitor. They also both come in ‘light grey’ or ‘black’ which were both not available in the past.
  • The monitor arm on the Model E is longer and fixed. You can only adjust the viewing angle of the monitor. The Model D has a shorter arm but you can adjust the height and viewing angle of the monitor.
    • The monitor will be easier to see on the Model E because it will be closer to the user, but cannot fold back for storage. The display is large enough to be clearly seen from users on both machines making the difference insignificant.
    • I feel the ability to fold the monitor arm back for storage on the Model D is actually a benefit and makes it better. You can see what I mean in the video below.
  • The finish on the Model E is better and provides additional durability to the machine. The Model D is still very durable and used in commercial gyms across the world.
  • The legs on both machines do a great job of keeping the units stable while in use.  The primary reason the legs on the Model E were redesigned was additional support was needed to support the user since they are seated much higher compared to the Model D.

Below is a great video breaking down the Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E rowers.

Recommendation: Concept2 Model D or E?

There are a fair amount of differences between the Concept2 Model D and Concept2 Model E but NONE of them change the functionality of the machines.

You will get the exact same workout on either rower.

The most significant differences are price, seat height, and monitor arm.

In my opinion, the Model D monitor arm is better because it can fold back for storage. You can see the difference at the end of the video below. The Model D price is lower which is better.

So really you just have to ask yourself if you need the seat height. If you need a taller seat then buy the Model E, if not buy the Model D.

This is why I most often recommend buying the Concept2 Model D.

Summary: Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E

I think it is safe to say that Concept2 is one of the most respected rowing companies in the world, if not the most respected. Their two finest rowing machines, the Model D and Model E, are two of the best in the world.

You really can’t go wrong with either one and there’s no clear cut “must have” between the two.

Regardless of which machine you end up choosing one thing is for sure, you are guaranteed to have one of the best rowers that will last a lifetime.

Concept2 Model D Best Price:

Concept2 Model D Best Price Button

Concept2 Model E Best Price:

Concept2 Model E Best Price Button

Due to the current situation – some retailers are experiencing delayed shipping times or stock outages. Please check Rogue Fitness as well for pricing/shipping times.

I hope you enjoyed my comparison of the Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E. If you have any questions just drop them in the comment section below!


  1. Great comparison AND unbiased, at that. Thank you for taking the time to help us out!

    I was going to purchase the Model E but, Model D is more compact and I like the adjustable monitor arm.

  2. Thank you for this review! I have a Model E, but needed to make a second purchase (I have an apartment close to my job). I was going to buy another Model E, but I feel confident enough to buy the Model D as the second rower. I love my Model E, but it is a lot taller and I wish it had the flexible arm too. I’ll be alternating depending where I am and I’ll let you know which one I can’t live without.

      1. In the end, I’m using the Model D the most. I bought the Model E first because I have a senior in the house.
        – While I can use either, it’s hard for an 80 year old to sit down on and get up from the Model D while the Model E is at least chair height.
        – That said, the lack of back support on the seat is always going to be an issue for many older adults and Concept 2 does not offer this option for either Rower. I bought him a recumbent bike with rowing arms as a more useful solution and he uses that for 30 minutes a day. We also had an Inspire Fitness Cross Rower, but this was too much machine for an 80 year old who was never very coordinated.
        – Freed from the constraint, I moved the Model D where it was most convenient for me and I gave away the Cross Rower and will move the Model E to my other house.
        I think it is important to get a machine that you like working with and that you can conveniently use on an ongoing basis. I love my Model D. Putting it somewhere convenient is allowing me to go back to exercising 45 minutes to an hour a day.

  3. I see some models have more cushy seats than others but I keep sliding down the seat and need to reposition myself. The other is a bit firmer but I stay put. I’m not sure if it’s model specific or how to order accordingly

    1. Hi Gary,

      All Concept2’s come with a standard seat, so I’m not sure what you mean by a cushy seat. These may be seat cushions on top of the seat for more padding.

      The seat you see in the photos are the standard, firm seats.

    2. There are several third party seat cushions on the market for the Concept 2 that range from $25 – $100. You can also purchase third party seat replacements that have thicker padding. I have seen them from $50 – $150 and come with all the equipment needed to install it.

  4. I have not found anywhere the overall height of the model D when it is fully assembled. This is an important consideration as the height of the flywheel might obstruct the view of my TV as I row. Please advise. Also what are the dimensions of the unit when it is broken down and stored: height, width, depth? Thanks!

    1. Hi JR,

      The flywheel will not obstruct your view when you are rowing and watching TV. I do this all the time. Here is a video of me rowing while watching TV.

      The stored dimensions can be found in the individual reviews. The seat rail separates from the main flywheel and you can put them a few different ways so the dimensions can change.

    1. Hi Stacy,

      Of course! The Model E will function exactly the same as the Model D. There are plenty of gyms and Crossfit facilities that use the Concept2 Model E instead of the Model D.

      A majority of people who use the Model D or E are not elderly and do not have knee problems.

      1. Hi Edwin,

        I’m still debating between the model E and a model D.
        Can you please contact me via email?

        Thank you!

  5. I’m so glad I found your comparison review! I almost bought the model E, but opted for the model D. Thank you so much for the review and helping me save money!

    1. Hi Lang,

      I’m so glad you found my comparison review helpful and it was able to save you some money! Thanks for the comment!

  6. Edwin
    Thanks for all of the above
    You didn’t mention body height as a deciding factor. The family are all tall, the tallest being 198cm. Would the E model thus be better for a taller person
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Olive – The Concept2 Model E and D both have the same seat rail length and can accommodate the same height users. They are both able to be used by someone 198cm tall.

      These rowers are used by Olypmic rowers who are often the same height :)

      1. I am also 198cm tall (103kg) and I find that the model E is much too high off the ground.
        This means that (due to my height/weight/power) it has a tendency to lift up at the front (and for some reason always goes a bit to the left).
        At the end of the power stroke my body mass has a lot of inertia so I need to apply an opposing force (a pulling force through the toe straps) in order to change my direction of travel.
        At this point almost all of my weight is at the end of the rail over the back feet.
        The extra height of the model E means my change in inertia provides a greater turning moment that will pivot the rower about the back feet and so the front end lifts slightly.
        The seat height of 14″ (model D) vs. 20″ (model E) means there is about 50% more turning force.
        (The actual pulling force is being applied through the toe straps, but they are approximately the same height as the seat and it’s the height from the ground that matters)
        This is only a problem when I’m really going some and admittedly is partly technique, but it is something that always makes me go for the model D rather than the E at my local gym.
        A longer rail would probably fix the problem, but that would be extra cost so easier just to go for the model D.

  7. Can the concept machines (D and E) be left outdoors in a warm climate with light rain if the monitor is removed?

    1. Hi Loren – thank you for reaching out! I wouldn’t recommend leaving them outside. There are some nuts and bolts that are steel/stainless steel that I think could rust over time. Plus, there is a chain that could rust. I also think water getting in the seat bearings and bungee cord (for chain recoil) could just make them not last as long.

      I would suggest buying one of these covers if you plan to leave it outside or just bring it in when it’s going to rain. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Gregor – You would first have to decide what type of noise level is sufficient. You can have whisper-quiet magnetic resistance, the splash sound of water resistance, and the lower air noise of air/magnetic resistance. Once you know what resistance type you want, then you can pick the best model in your price range.

      Check out my air vs magnetic article here or my water vs air article.

  8. I’m a 62yo guy with bad knees etc, etc and I have nearly 5 million metres on my Model E.
    I live in an apartment and while the Model A would fold away more neatly I wouldn’t swap models for anything.
    I break the erg in two which takes seconds and store it in the corner of my room ready to use it again the next day. This keeps me motivated and coming back for more.
    It is a bit noisy but the people in the apartment below say they hardly hear it.
    The only reason to buy the model A I can think of, is that it stores a little smaller but everything else is better on the Model E, IMO.

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