Concept 2 Model E vs. Concept 2 Model D: Which is better?

If you’re looking for a high quality rower, chances are pretty good that you’re are thinking about getting a Concept 2 Indoor Rower.  In looking around, you may have noticed that they have a Model D and Model E and that although the Model E is approximately 20% more in price than the Model D, there otherwise doesn’t seem to be much difference.

That’s what this article is for: to save YOU your valuable time in researching and give you a clear article on the differences between the two models so that you can make an informed decision before you purchase.

To go straight to current prices on Amazon, check below or keep reading for more information:

Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower

Concept 2 Model E Indoor Rower

What are the features of the Concept 2 Indoor Rower Model D?

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  • Tough as nails. Built for commercial use in gyms, this machine is MADE to be long-lasting and to withstand the abuse and wear and tear of multiple users.
  • Has a built in performance monitor that allows you to easily cycle through units of measurement, watts, meters, calories burned, strokes per minute, and every other conceivable thing you would want to know about your workout.
  • Its seat easily slides throughout your stroke and is 14 inches above the ground; it has a nickel plated chain, adjustable footrests and a handle designed for ergonomics and comfort.
  • It is easy to set up and comes apart just as easily for a convenient two-piece storage.
  • It has a 500 pound user capacity and comes with an amazing and long 5 year warranty just in case you have any issues.
  • These are the main, important features of the Concept 2 Model D. For a more in depth review, check out my more extensive research on it here.

What are the features of Concept 2 Indoor Rower Model E?

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  • Pretty much the same.  Yep.  It’s sturdy, well-built, has a performance monitor with all the same amazing features, comes apart easily for storage, has a 5 year warranty… Basically everything that the Concept 2 Model D rower has the Model E rower has!

So, what are the DIFFERENCES between the Concept 2 Model E and the Concept 2 Model D?

  • Seat Height.  The Concept 2 Model D has a 14 inch seat height.  The Concept 2 Model E has a 20 inch seat height.  The main difference this makes is the comfort level in getting off and on.  If you have knee problems or other issues with getting up from low positions, the extra $200 or so is worth it to get the Model E.
  • It comes in different colors.  Grey or Black.  The Concept 2 Model D comes only in one color: black.
  • The Concept 2 Model E has a slightly higher quality level of finish than the Model D, giving it a more glossy look.

And that’s pretty much it.

Should you spend the extra 20% on the Concept 2 Model E over the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower?

  • If you have problems with mobility or knee issues that make it hard to lift your body from low places, then YES, you should.  The extra 6 inches of seat height make a huge difference ease and comfort in getting on and off the rower.
  • If you care about color.  If you just LOVE all things grey and hate black, then YES! The aesthetic pleasure that looking at grey will give you over black is worth the extra $200(+/-).

Otherwise, no.  Save yourself the extra 20% and get yourself a Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower.  They are built with just as much precision, durability, and high quality as the Model E.  Before I bought my Concept 2 Model D, I spent hours of research on the differences between the two models.  My conclusion? I wasn’t concerned about seat height and went with the Model D.

I’ve never regretted it.  Its high-level of performance and structural integrity was worth every penny I spent, and the extra seat height wasn’t necessary for me so I saved myself spending 20% more.

In Short:

Whether you decide on the Concept 2 Model D or the Concept 2 Model E, this much is certain: the quality of craftmanship of the Concept 2 machines and the great workout and body strength they will give you is well worth the money and won’t be a decision you regret!

Check below for the current prices on Amazon:

Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower

Concept 2 Model E Indoor Rower

Other Recommendations to Complete Your Rowing Needs (also all found on Amazon below):

Rowing Machine Chain Oil:

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Keep this oil on hand to keep your chain well-oiled and running smoothly so that you never have to listen to a creaky chain or stop a workout because your chain needs oil!

Rowing Machine Seat Cushion:

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Designed to fit all Concept 2 Rowers, this is the perfect option for people who need a little extra padding.  Let’s be honest, as you get fit and lose weight, your backside becomes a little less padded which can make it a little less comfortable to sit for long periods of time.  This is the perfect solution to give you enough comfort that you can keep working out without your sit bones becoming too tired.

Rowing Gloves:  

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Rowing can do a number on your hands and although some super dedicated people may be able to keep rowing through the pain of blisters, most of us aren’t like that (myself included).  The answer?  Get rowing gloves. There are numerous options available on Amazon and not only will the provide a little bit of extra cushion for your palms but they will keep you from getting blisters which can make it very hard to continue your workout schedule.


  • To fuel your workouts, check out Clif Shot bloks.  These are a personal favorite of mine that I use in most of my workouts as they have few ingredients; taste good; and most importantly give you a quick spike of energy that helps you push through that wall you sometimes hit in a workout.  I should note though, that for those who do not like a gummy texture (think gummy bears), you won’t like these very much as they have a similar consistency.  
  • Clif Bars are also a great option and come in a multitude of flavor combinations.  I also love these because they give you a great balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to properly fuel your body but they taste like cookies.

If you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below! We welcome feedback! If not, check back soon for more articles on health and fitness!

6 Replies to “Concept 2 Model E vs. Concept 2 Model D: Which is better?”

  1. Thanks for the comparison of the two rowers. For a short person with a few knee problems I would select the Concept D for personal use. I know these are great rowers. My son has one so have tried the Concept D rower out. Love the ease of rowing on it. What a great all body workout!!

  2. I am also not too concerned about the seat height and the color of the rower. These really look like solid long-lasting rowers. I would probably go for the Concept 2 Model D rower. Thanks for the review and all the helpful information!

  3. Thanks for the information. I think the E would be worth the extra for me as I’ve had a bad back and any crouching low makes it uncomfortable. The doctor has advised me to take up exercise that improves core strength and my friend has suggested I look at a rower which has helped him too. Do you know if it’s easy to assemble?

    1. Hi Daniel,

      It’s VERY easy to assemble. We’ve had our for awhile, but if I remember correctly set-up time was pretty much 20 minutes. I do clearly remember that it was stress-free and very straightforward. Hope that helps!

  4. My husband is 6’4″ tall. Is one or the other better for someone his height? It is hard to find equipement that works for him.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, I don’t think either one would make much of a difference (i.e. both would work just fine), unless your husband has a hard time getting up off the floor. If that was case, I would recommend the Model E as it’s higher off the floor and would be slightly easier to get off of in that regard.

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