Concept 2 Model D Vs E Rower Comparison – Which Is Best In 2021?

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concept 2 model d vs eWhether you’re looking for the best rowing machine to use at home, or you’re a professional rower looking to do some training off the water, Concept2 is currently by far the top brand available today. With no real competition at the top end of the market, your only dilemma is going to be choosing between the Concept 2 model D vs E – two very similar rowers, but with some key differences.

Click for pricing and user reviews on Model D | Model E

As this is a big ticket purchase, you’ll want to make the right decision. So in this article we’re going to compare the two – looking at both similarities and differences – to help you choose which one is right for you.

Who are Concept2?

Concept 2 have been making top quality exercise equipment since 1976. The company was founded by 2 Olympic rowers, the Dreissigacker brothers, who introduced the Concept 2 Indoor Rowing Machine in 1981. Since then it has become the bestselling rowing machine in the world, used by everyone from home users, rowing clubs and gyms, all the way up to Olympic athletes in training.

Concept 2 Model D vs Model E Design Similarities

When it comes to comparing the Concept 2 model D vs model E you’ll find that there are far more similarities than there are differences. Both units are made for commercial use so are extremely durable (and should last a lifetime of home use). They are suitable for all shapes, sizes and abilities, and with a max user weight of 500lbs and extra long monorails available for the tallest of users, the Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine is usable by almost everyone.

The following is a summary of the specs that are the same for both:

Concept2 Rower Specifications
Both Model D & E
Resistance  Air
Manufacturer  Concept2
Performance Monitor  PM5
Max User Weight  500lbs
Storage   Can be separated into 2 parts
Space required  Assembled: 8x2ft
 With clearance for use: 9x4ft
 Storage: 27 in x 47 in x 54 in
Monorail length  54 inches
Warranty  5 years on frame parts/2 years on all parts

Space required & storage

An area of 9 feet x 4 feet is recommended for either machine. This will give you the necessary head room and elbow room while rowing.

When not in use the can easily be taken apart for storage or tranportation if necessary (no tools required). A quick release frame lock mechanism means you can separate the rower into 2 pieces in seconds. The inclusion of caster wheels means your fully assembled exercise machine can easily be wheeled into place.


Concept 2 cover every part of the rower for a period of 2 years and most of the metal frame parts are covered for 5 years.


Maintenance is the same for both machines. You should keep the rail clean so that the seat glides smoothly when exercising. The chain should also be lubricated periodically (chain oil included with your rower purchase).

Note: Neither machine is safer or more durable than the other and either will be a lifetime investment. Concept2 Indoor Rowers are used in homes, gyms, health clubs and many other commercial settings where they are used under a variety of conditions. They are both equally solid and reliable for heavy use.

Differences Between Concept 2 Model D and E

Here’s a quick summary
Model D Model E
 Seat Height (Above floor)  14 Inches  20 Inches
 Monitor Shorter moveable arm  Longer & fixed in place
 Chain  Standard steel  Nickel plated
 Finish  Matt finish  Clear coat finish (glossier appearance)

Seat height

Model E has a higher seat and rail (20 inches off the floor), which makes it easier to get on and off if you have mobility or balance issues, bad knees, hip problem etc. Model D’s seat is 14 inches off the floor which is actually a considerable difference (it doesn’t make any difference to your actual workout). Although they both take up the exact same floor space, the Model E does “look” bigger if used in a small room because of the higher seat so you may want to take this into consideration.


Model E’s monitor is in a fixed position (apparently so that you can hold on to it while getting on) whereas the Model D’s monitor can be moved out of the way. It can also pivot up and down. For most people this won’t be an issue but some people like to be able to move the arm so that the machine faces a computer monitor or similar.

Also depending on your height it can be useful to be able to move the monitor arm accordingly so that you get a better view. The E’s fixed monitor could prove to be very annoying if it’s the wrong height and position (particularly if you’re very tall).


Model D = standard steel and Model E is nickel plated. Nickel plated is for improved corrosion resistance and reduced maintenance (less need for oiling) but this is only a very minor detail.


The Model E has a glossier finish with a clear over coat that some people may prefer and gives extra durability against scratches. The model E is only available in light gray whereas the D is available in both gray and black.

Concept 2 D vs E Compared

The differences between the Concept 2 Model D and E are only minor and you’ll get the exact same workout with both rowing machines. For people who have some challenges with balance or mobility, the model E may work better because the whole machine sits up higher, and the seat is at about the same level that a regular chair seat would be at. If you’re quite flexible and nimble, this detail won’t make a difference and you can just as easily go with the model D.

If you want to save a bit of money (although it’s not significantly cheaper) the Model D wins on price. I think for most people a marginal price difference at this price point won’t be the deciding factor, however, I’ve seen many home users comment that the Model E isn’t worth the extra money. (unless you need the few extra inches in height).

concept2 model d indoor rowing machine
Concept2 Model D

The Model D is more than sufficient for home use and is the choice of many Crossfitters. If you’re buying for commercial use e.g. at a gym or health facility then you might want to upgrade to the Model E. The refinements made to the E model were to make it more robust for a commercial setting.

Neither machine is “better” than the other so it’s not possible to point to one and say  “This is the best!” Both the Concept2 model D or E would make an excellent investment and will give a dependable performance. At the top end of the market, they have little competition except for maybe the Waterrower series of water rowing machines (if you prefer an air rower though Concept is out on its own).

The bottom line – Which should you choose?

The good news is that both models come with the same excellent warranty, and both are made to last through years of heavy use. As they are designed for commercial use, nothing that you dish out at home will phase a Concept 2 – there’s no reason why they shouldn’t last a lifetime! They are solid, reliable, require minimal space to use, and are easy to store away. So your choice really will come down to personal preference.

Personally, I think the Model D is perfect as it is, and the refinements made to the Model E won’t improve on your workout in any way – so why pay extra? Ultimately though the decision is yours. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed with either choice!

I hope you’ve found my comparison of the Concept 2 Model E vs D useful. If you have any questions just get in touch or post in the comments section below:

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