Concept 2 is the market leader in fitness rowing machines. Since 1976, this company has been manufacturing the finest quality of fitness equipment for commercial and residential use. The first Concept 2 Indoor Rowing unit was introduced way back in 1981. The machine became immensely popular and ever since then, the company has manufactured several rowing units for gyms, office clubs, and homes. The company also designs and manufactures rowing machines for professional athletes.

Concept 2 range of indoor rowing machines is extremely popular among the offices, gyms, and health clubs. The most common variants available from Concept 2 are Model D and Model E. Concept 2 rowers are known for their durability, agility, and excellent performance ratio. Model D from Concept 2 is used by athletes and even in the Olympics. The Model E is an updated version of the D. It comes with similar features but has certain modifications like nickel-plated steel chain, higher seat, and a much longer monitor arm. All these said, the Model E also costs more than Model D.

The height

The Concept 2 Model D is 6″ shorter in height when compared to Model E. Those who are quite tall will find the Model E a better option. Those with mobility and balance issues will also find the Model E higher seating arrangement comfortable and easy to use.

The assembling part

Both models are easy to assemble. Simply put together the rear and front legs with screws (provided in the package) and then attach the flywheel end to the monorail end. Then, there is the Performance Monitor and the Pickup Cable that requires installation. But these are also simple procedures and will never require expert intervention. A detailed instruction manual is being provided. It will take no more than 30 minutes to get the entire thing installed. If you visit the website of Concept 2, there are videos to help you with the installation procedures as well.

The fitness monitor

Both models feature a PM5 monitor that can track speed, pace, distance, watts, and calories. Additionally, the PM5 offers a backlit, wireless heart rate monitoring, and workout storage to USB flash drive. However, the basic difference between the two models comes with the monitor arm. In the model E version, the monitor arm is much longer and remains static. You can only adjust the viewing angle. On the other hand, model D comes with an adjustable viewing angle as well as the height. But that said, the model D has a shorter arm and can cause a problem for the taller rowers. In model E, the monitor can be easy to observe since it lies closer.

comparison of concept2 model-d vs model-e

The adjusting dampers

In both models, you will notice the presence of dampers. The best part: these dampers can be adjusted in the range of 1 – 10 in both the models. The amount of adjustment you do to the damper will decide on the amount of air being passed through the flywheel. This creates that original feel of the rowing, adjusting from easy to tough. Dampers can be easily compared to the bicycle gears. Higher the setting, tougher it would be to row.


Coming to space requirement, the Model E is portable enough to fit in areas with space constraints. Model E can fold up to 27” x47”x54.5”. You can even separate the unit into two parts for easy storage purposes. However, the monitor arm of this model is non-foldable. On the other hand, model D has a foldable option for the monitor arms.

The durability factor

Both the models, D, and E, are commercial-grade standards. This suggests that both these models are capable of withstanding heavy usage in fitness studios and commercial gyms. Both these models feature a stainless steel base and sturdy rear legs. However, in Model E, the legs have been redesigned to support the higher seating arrangement. Also, finishing in model E is better and promises higher durability. The chain used in model E is nickel-plated steel and requires minimal maintenance. On the other hand, the chain used in model D is regular steel.

The warranty of these models

Both the models come with a 5 +2 year limited warranty. On the frame, the warranty is 5 years while on the moving parts and performance monitor, the warranty is 2 years. There is also a 30 days return policy with no questions asked. You will get back your complete money if you return the item, unharmed within 30 days of purchase.

Concept2 Dynamic Rower Model D: Features

  • Performance Monitor (PM5) is capable of measuring the workout progress using different data options as calories burned, distance traveled, intervals are taken, etc.
  • The LCD monitor is adjustable in angles. It can also be tucked away. The monitor a function through flywheel energy or via two numbers of D-batteries.
  • Easy to assemble and takes less time.
  • Storage is compact due to the size of the unit.
  • The unit can be moved from one place to another without any issues quality.
  • Adjusting the spiral damper is easy enough to control the airflow.
  • Customizing the speed is possible.
  • Footrests can accommodate different shoe sizes.
Good PointsBad Points
Relatively cheaper given the high quality of the unitSeating arrangements are lower and hence can be a problem for those with mobility issues
Ergonomic designSeats are somewhat not comfortable enough
Sturdily built and easy on the maintenanceThe PM5 monitor display comes with outdated software technology
Quiet when in use
Customizable resistance gauge
Only air resistance
Easy to assemble and store

Concept2 Dynamic Rower Model E: Features

  • The LCD Performance Monitor (PM5) displays clear info like intervals, calories burned, distance traveled, and many more.
  • Setting up this unit is easy and simple
  • The instruction manual is provided for DIY installation
  • The unit can be separated into 2 pieces for easy storage or while you want to relocate to some other place
  • Nickel-plated steel chain promises better durability and requires less maintenance 
  • 20” seat height that makes it easy for those knee and back issues to adjust to the seating. Also, those with mobility issues, specifically the elderly professionals will find this seating arrangement a lot convenient compared to Model D.
  • Footrests can be adjusted as per the shoe size. 
  • Extra-long performance monitor arm; this promises for easy readability of data on the monitor.

PROs and CONs of Model E:

Performs silently (almost)Non-adjustable monitor arm
High seat adjustment allows for people with mobility issues to perform with comfortable seatingMore expensive than Model D
Compatible with Bluetooth and RowPro softwareHigher seat height creates a slightly bulkier look
Extremely durable and easy to assemble
With minimal maintenance, it will last a lifetime
Only air resistance
Lightweight and can be moved easily

Model D Vs Model E: Sorting the differences

As you can observe, the differences between these models from Concept 2 are minimal. If you are concerned with the workout factor, the impact will be similar in both these models. However, if you have some type of mobility issues, Model E, with its high seating arrangement, will be a better alternative. But if you are flexible enough, the Model D will be not an issue to use. Also, the Model D is cheaper and will save some extra bucks from getting invested.

Those of you looking to buy a Concept 2 model for home, you can easily opt for the cheaper version, i.e. the Model D (unless you have mobility issues). If you are considering a commercial usage, Model E will offer better stability. Both the machines provide excellent performance and will create that ultimate rowing experience.

Final Verdict

Both models come with 5 years of warranty. These are heavy-duty units and last longer than expected. Both can be used for commercial purposes. Provide a little bit of care and they will perform beyond potential. These items will last longer and you will get the best return on investment. If you are tight on budget, opt for the Model D.

After all, not much of refinements are done the Model E. Unless you have a mobility issue, paying extra for Model E may not look feasible. The main difference is in the height. If you are old and have problems with knees or some other mobility issues, Model E will be a better option. But be ready to spend a few dollars extra on this new version. Overall, these D and E models from Concept 2 promise superior level rowing performance.