Concept 2 Model D vs Model E rowing machine comparison
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Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E

Today we’re comparing the Concept2 Model D and E rowing machines.

I own the Model D, but have used the Model E extensively in studios and when training clients who own one. So, I have experience with the two models.

Edwin on Concept 2 Model E

It’s important to note that while manufacturers still carry machines labeled Model D and Model E, machines made post 2021 have been merged into a single machine, the RowErg which is available with standard legs (Model D) and long legs (Model E).

In this review, I’ll use the terms Model D and E but know that the information will apply to the “RowErg” and “RowErg with Long Legs”, respectively.

In short, when comparing the Concept 2 Model D vs Model E, the most significant differences are the seat height (the Model E is higher), monitor arm, and price. Unless you care about seat height, choose the Model D since it wins in the other two categories.

Namely, the Model D rowing machine is much less expensive and has a flexible monitor arm making it easier to store. Of course, sales come and go and you may find the Model E for less. Make sure to check prices before making a decision.

Functionally, there aren’t any major differences.

You can check for the lowest price here (Model D) and here (Model E).

For more subtle differences, make sure to read the whole review!

Concept2 Model D vs. E Indoor Rowers

The first thing that hits people when they first research the two models is, “Wow, these look pretty much the same. Why then is the Model E considered an upgrade?”

Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E

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

It may not sound like much, but rowing machines aren’t cheap so 20% comes to about $200-$300 extra, which means any upgrades should be worth the additional cost.

Concept2 Model D 

Me on my Concept 2 Model D
Me on my Concept 2 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 rowing machines are built tough and are commonly used in commercial gyms where they see and endure almost constant use, surviving for years.

Like all C2 machines, the Model D rowing machine can be used at any fitness level by children, beginners, athletes, and Olympians.

The Model D is 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 of Concept2 rowers mimics rowing outdoors on water and is as smooth as it gets (but don’t confuse smooth with easy!).

Like rowing on water, air rowing can be as difficult or easy as you’d like because the air resistance automatically adjusts to your rowing intensity.

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

It comes fully equipped with a top-notch performance monitor that not only tracks 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 rowing machine.

Concept2 Model E 

Ok, now for the Concept2 Model E quick review.

Looking at the above image and specs, notable differences between the two models include:

  • Functional differences: the Model E has a longer monitor arm (non-flexible) and tall legs for additional seat height. The chain housing is a bit different, too, which we’ll discuss.
  • Design differences: looks-wise, the two rowers are nearly identical. Sitting higher off the ground, the Model E legs are designed to support the extra weight, hence the different leg shape.

In looking at pictures online, most notice that Model E indoor rowers are more often seen in gray while the Model D is almost always black. In fact, both models are available in both colors.

For more information read my in-depth review here where I go over every pros and cons of the rowing machine in great detail.

Similarities Between the Concept2 D vs. E

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

Manufacturer: Concept2.

Resistance Type: Air resistance.

Monitor: PM5 performance monitor and all computer features, wireless heart rate monitoring, etc. Monitor attachment to the machine does differ (see differences below).

Rowing Motion: mimics outdoor rowing.

Most Dimensions: Overall length (96.0”), width (24.0”), inseam length (48.0”), and machine weight (~57lbs).

Frame: Extruded aluminum I-beam monorail.

Noise Level: Fairly loud due to the spinning flywheel.

Handle: Ergonomic handle with a 10-degree angle.

Foot Rest: Flexfoot footboard system.

Seat: Padded-contoured seat.

Resistance Adjustability: Air resistance is adjusted via rowing intensity and damper setting.

Storage: Can be taken apart and stored.

Max User Height and Weight: Weight (500 pounds) and no height limit (longer monorail optional).

Both Provide the Same Warranty: 5 years for the frame and 2 years for the monitor and moving parts.

Key Differences Between the Model D vs E Indoor Rowers

Concept2 Model DConcept2 Model E
Price:Around $1300Around $1,500
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

Seat Height

The seat height on the E is the same height as a basic chair and rests 6.0” higher than the D seat. It’s supposed to benefit those with balance issues, elderly people, people in a wheelchair, or people on crutches.

Chain Housing

The chain and chain housing on the E are better and in the long run, will mean less maintenance. A nice upgrade but pretty insignificant.

Adjustable vs Fixed Monitor Arm

The Model E rowing machine has a longer monitor arm that’s non-adjustable. 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 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.

Leg Design

The aluminum front legs on both machines do a great job of keeping the units stable while in use. 

The primary reason the front legs on the Model E were redesigned was to provide additional support since the user is seated much higher. This allows the two models to have the same weight capacity.


As mentioned, expect to spend at least an extra $200 for the Model E.

For a video on the differences, below is a great video breaking down the Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E rowers.

Conclusion: Concept2 Model D vs. Concept2 Model E Rowing Machines

Whichever rowing machine you choose, you really can’t go wrong. Both machines provide an amazing workout (and all the health benefits that come with it) and last a lifetime.

Of the differences, NONE of them change the functionality of the rowing machines. You will get the exact same workout. Both provide the same conditioning and health

The most significant differences are price, seat height, and the mount for the monitor.

Both machines provide compact storage, but the Model D monitor arm provides a slight edge since it can fold back.

So, really you just have to ask yourself if you need the seat height. If you want a taller seat then buy the Model E.

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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