Concept 2 Model D vs E: Which Rower Is The Best?

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Do you want to take your full-body workout to the next level? Wondering which rowing machine between Concept 2 model D vs E is the best?

Among the most popular and well-known brands in rowing machines, Concept2 offers models that are highly regarded for their quality and performance. But how exactly do they fare against each other? Let’s find out in our Concept2 Model D vs E comparison.

Someone doing the Concept 2 model D vs E comparison
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In A Hurry? Here’s a Quick Comparison

Our Top Pick
  • Materials:
    Stainless steel
  • Pros:
    • Stainless Steel
    • Higher off the ground
    • Durable yet foldable frame
    • High-performance monitor (PM5)
Best Price
  • Materials:
  • Pros:
    • More affordable
    • High-performance monitor (PM5)
Our Top Pick
Materials:
Stainless steel
Pros:
  • Stainless Steel
  • Higher off the ground
  • Durable yet foldable frame
  • High-performance monitor (PM5)
Best Price
Materials:
Pros:
  • More affordable
  • High-performance monitor (PM5)

In short, what are the key differences between the Concept2 Model D and E?

The Concept2 Model D and Model E rowers primarily differ in their design and height. While both offer the same resistance mechanism and performance monitor, the Model E is taller, making it easier to get on and off, and it has a more robust frame with a higher seat position relative to the Model D.

How Am I Qualified to Write About These Products?

As someone who’s always had a consistent workout schedule, I’ve had the pleasure of trying out all sorts of exercise equipment as part of my gym-going experience. But even among those high-tech and broad-spectrum offerings, you can’t exactly take on every machine.

Not only do you need to sift through a lot of models, but you also need to understand the special features that make one machine better than another. Some have specialized parts that allow you to customize your workout, whereas others are designed for a more intense session.

Best Rower for Beginner
Sunny Water Rowing Machine
4.5

Based on our testing, this is the best rower for beginners. For less than 500$, this silent water rower will last you for years. It also comes with a 12-year warranty.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Quiet
  • Amazing warranty
See latest price See all Rowers below 500$

In my case, I wanted to try indoor rowing machines and see what kind of experience I’d get from them. Seeing as most of them can be used in the comfort of your own home, you don’t have to worry about long lines or waiting for your turn. After giving both devices a good run and comparing their characteristics, I have good insight into the key contrasts between them and how each one can benefit you.

A man wondering which rower is the best between Concept 2 model D vs E
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Who Is This Guide For?

The specific rowing stroke of these machines lays down the groundwork for effective workouts and cardiovascular training. If you’re the type of person who likes to focus on various muscle groups at a time and build strength simultaneously, then you’ll certainly want to take a peek at Concept2’s offerings.

But this doesn’t mean that it’s tailored towards competitive athletes or experienced gym-goers. In fact, it’s ideal for anyone who wants to take the fitness world into their own hands and perform different exercises without having to leave their house. The movements are simple enough to be handled by newcomers, and the range of difficulty can also help you stay motivated throughout your fitness journey.

How We Picked Each Product

When there’s an avalanche of information and products on the internet, there’s a certain degree of research that needs to be done to navigate the information. Naturally, we checked out some of the internet’s most candid online forums in the form of Reddit and Quora. This is where the hidden gems truly lie, with people giving detailed accounts of their thoughts and opinions on the products they’ve used.

We also made sure to look into customer reviews on major retail platforms like Amazon, Rogue, and Titan, and read up on any reports that may be available. This gives us a better perspective of how the products have been received in the market and what kind of features are available.

And of course, we dabbled in some of the more technical aspects and read up on professional reviews by reputable websites like Rowing Machine Guide and Garage Gym Reviews. In this way, we’re essentially leaving no stone unturned in our pursuit of the latest scoop on these amazing rowing machines.

Concept 2 Model D vs E: How We Compared These Rowers?

Even with two Concept2 rowing machines that seemingly offer the same level of performance, they’re not exactly the same. To make the comparison easier to digest, we tackled several aspects of the devices that are crucial for a successful full-body workout. We drew lines between the two models and their respective designs on the following features:

  • Resistance levels – The way the machines handle resistance can greatly affect how intense your rowing session will be. Not everyone has the same strength training goals, so the machines must be able to adjust accordingly.
  • Build and Design – Even though both machines are made by Concept2, their construction and shape differ in a few ways. This can affect the overall feel of your workouts and how much space they take up in a house.
  • Weight Capacity – For a consistent weight loss program, the machines need to withstand a few extra pounds, to begin with. No one wants to be stuck with a Concept2 rowing machine they can’t use because of its limited weight capacity.
  • Price Range – Depending on your budget, one might be more suitable than the other. We can’t forget to include this aspect in our comparison, since money is still a major determining factor for most home gym setups.

The Products

And now it’s time to dive into the real meat of the matter. What can you expect from either of the two options and how can they actually support your fitness level and goals?

Concept2 Model D – The Best Price

Best Overall
Concept2 Model D
5.0

While this rower falls on the higher end of the price spectrum, its exceptional build quality and comprehensive feature set make it a valuable investment for rowing enthusiasts.

Pros:
  • More affordable
  • High-performance monitor (PM5)
Cons:
  • Lower on the ground
See at Amazon See at Rogue

Perhaps one of the most widespread rowing machines out there, the Model D has earned its place in the hearts of novice and Olympic athletes alike. It’s a fantastic entry-level device with a few additional features thrown in for good measure, all packed in a sleek matte black finish that definitely speaks for itself.

Pros

  • Often considered the gold standard in the rowing industry
  • Straightforward and smooth rowing operation
  • High-performance monitor (PM5) with several modes
  • Durable yet foldable frame for reliable operation and convenient storage

Cons

  • Lower on the ground
  • Somewhat loud flywheel compared to other models

Key Specs

Size24″D x 96″W x 14″H
Resistance TypeAir
Max User Capacity500 lbs
Frame MaterialStainless Steel, Aluminum

Why It’s Great

The semi-open fan at the end of the frame is large enough to provide admirable resistance levels without overwhelming the user. For most air-resistance rowers, the harder you pull, the more resistance you get – and this is exactly what happens with the Model D.

The damper setting has a total of 10 different levels, giving you complete control over the type of full-body workout you want. Keep in mind that cranking it straight up to 10 for a rigorous session isn’t exactly the best idea – although it may sound tempting, the high levels can cause your muscles to tire more quickly.

Finally, the performance monitor is quite the powerhouse. The PM5 is a massive upgrade from the previous versions and comes loaded with plenty of metrics that help you keep track of your progress. This includes pace, calories, watts, distance, and strokes per minute. It’s entirely Bluetooth-compatible and offers wireless connectivity for data sharing and tracking.

Concept2 Model E – The Most Ergonomic Design

Our Top Pick
Concept2 Model E
5.0

The focus on ergonomic design with the Model E is quite clear. It has a comfortable seat height that goes just above what most other rowing machines offer, and is overall more durable.

Pros:
  • Stainless Steel
  • Higher off the ground
  • Durable yet foldable frame
  • High-performance monitor (PM5)
Cons:
  • Slightly more expensive
Materials: Stainless steel
See at Amazon See at Rogue

The Concept2 Model D’s older sibling, the Model E carries the same sleek design but with a few extra inches in height for additional comfort. Its flywheel is quieter than the Model D’s and its frame takes up more space, but it still manages to pull ahead in other areas.

Pros

  • Heightened seat rail for less strain
  • Wide footrests with adjustable straps
  • Ergonomic handle with a convenient 10-degree bend
  • Can be divided into two for compact storage

Cons

  • A bit heavy to move around
  • Larger footprint due to the added height

Key Specs

Size24″D x 96″W x 20″H
Resistance TypeAir
Max User Capacity500 lbs
Frame MaterialAlloy Steel, Aluminum

Why It’s Great

The focus on ergonomic design with the Model E is quite clear. It has a comfortable seat height that goes just above what most other rowing machines offer, which allows for a more fluid motion and minimal seat travel. The adjustable footrests are also quite handy, with straps that secure your feet while rowing.

The nickel-plated steel chain is a reliable and smooth-running addition to ensure the stroke is always consistent and dependable. The sturdy build is unlikely to give in, but if you ever notice the occasional stutter, simply apply some chain lubricant oil to get it back on track.

Lastly, the impressive performance monitor is the same as found in the Model D – you have access to all wireless heart rate monitoring, data tracking, and sharing options. The backlit display with a decent viewing angle and adjustable monitor arm are nifty little extras that make using the machine a breeze.

The Buying Guide

If you’re struggling to figure out which air-resistance rowing machine can give you that impactful workout that you’d expect from going to fitness clubs, you’ll need to consider other aspects of their build to replicate the experience.

Size and Storage

While the shipping dimensions may be one of the major differences between the two models, you’ll need some additional space around the machine for a comfortable workout session. The footprint of either device may vary depending on how you use them – if you plan to fold it or keep it out in the open – but they both require at least a seven-foot area.

Assembly

Both options are relatively easy to put together, with all the necessary tools pre-packed and detailed instructions included in the manual. The Model E may take longer to assemble due to its height, but it’s still a relatively straightforward task that doesn’t require any special skills.

FAQ

What is the difference between Concept 2 Model D and E?

While they may look quite similar and come with the same display console options, the Model E has a longer monitor arm and an adjustable viewing angle. But it doesn’t fold as easily as the Model D and its design takes up more space.

Best Rower for Beginner
Sunny Water Rowing Machine
4.5

Based on our testing, this is the best rower for beginners. For less than 500$, this silent water rower will last you for years. It also comes with a 12-year warranty.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Quiet
  • Amazing warranty
See latest price See all Rowers below 500$

Is 20 minutes of rowing enough?

Absolutely – you can get an amazing workout with a 20-minute session. Of course, the intensity and resistance levels will determine how much extra weight you shed, but you should be able to see some results nonetheless.

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About

Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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