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Concept 2 RowErg vs Model D vs E? Which One To Buy?

  • By Kate Moore
  • on 
  • This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my full disclosure.

In this article, we’re going to explain the differences between the Concept 2 Model D vs E vs RowErg

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rower, Concept2 is by far the most popular brand available today. If you’ve done any research on the Concept2 rowing machine you may have noticed it listed under different names:

  • Concept 2 Model D
  • Concept 2 Model E
  • Concept 2 RowErg
concept 2 model d vs model e vs rowerg

It might seem confusing. 3 very similar versions of the same product, with only very minor differences. In this article we’ll explain how to distinguish one model from the other.

Comparison Table

Model DModel ERowErg
ManufacturedJuly 2003 – Apr 2021Aug 2006 – Jan 2021April 2021+
Seat Height14″20″14″ or 20″
Weight57 lbs65 lbs57 lbs
ChainSteelNickel plated steelNickel plated steel
Chain HousingPartially enclosedFully enclosedFully enclosed
Monitor ArmShorter, pivotsLonger, fixedShorter, pivots
MonitorPM5 (2014 and newer)PM5 (2014 and newer)PM5
Device holderNoNoYes
LegsWelded steelFront: aluminum, rear: steelWelded steel
ColorMatte colors:
Light gray
Gray and light blue
Blue and light blue
Glossy colors:
Light gray
athletes completing a hard workout at a crossfit gym that includes an indoor rowing machine exercise
Concept 2 Model D

Concept 2 Model D: Discontinued

It’s all over, there’s nothing to see here. The Model D is no longer in production. The Concept 2 Model D was manufactured and sold from July 2003 – Apr 2021.

You might still find some stock of the Concept 2 Model D available, but most major sports retailers will now sell the Concept2 RowErg only.

How do you know if it’s a Model D?

There are no major differences between the Model D and the RowErg – just a few minor ones. So how do you know if you have the newest model? Here’s how:

  • Color: The Model D comes in several different colors with a matte finish including: light gray, black, gay and light blue, blue and light blue.
  • Graphics: The Model D has a wavy graphic on the monorail frame
  • Leg length: the Model D only comes with 14-inch legs
  • Chain: The Model D has a standard steel chain.

A telltale sign is the matte finish. Model D rowers come in a variety of colors. And they have a powder-coat finish which appears matte in color.

the air resistant fan on a concept 2 rowing machine which uses air for resistance
Concept 2 Model E

Concept 2 Model E: Discontinued

The Model E was manufactured and sold between August 2006 – January 2021. If you find a Model E for sale, it will be old stock. Still a great product, but there are fewer available on the market.

Fortunately, the upgrades in the newer models are so minimal that you can still get nearly the exact same workout on the model E.

How do you know if it’s a Model E?

  • A clear-coat finish gives the model E rowers a glossy appearance.
  • The monitor arm is fixed in-place on the model E. It is slightly longer than the model D or RowErg versions, but it does not fold-down to store.
  • The model E has a fully enclosed chain-housing. The Model E and the RowErg have added an extra shroud on the backside of the flywheel housing which covers the chain completely.
  • The model E uses a nickel plated chain just the like RowErg, whereas Model D uses a steel chain.
  • Finally, all model E rowers have a 20-inch seat height. This makes it easier to get on and off the machine.
Concept 2 RowErg
  • PM5 Performance Monitor
  • Integrated device holder
  • Air-resistance flywheel design
  • 14" OR 20" seat height
  • Black color

Concept 2 RowErg

The RowErg is the “newest” version of the Concept 2 rowing machine. It combines the best features of the Model D and Model E.

All three of these rowers have the same foundation so you really can’t go wrong with either one of them.

So why the name change? Mainly to match the other products in the Concept 2 range – including the BikeErg and SkiErg.

How do you know if it’s a RowErg?

  • Graphics: The words “RowErg” are indicated on the monorail frame
  • Color: The RowErg only comes in black
  • Leg length: You get two choices of leg length with the RowErg: Standard (14-inches), and tall (20-inches)
  • Integrated device holder: This is the only Concept 2 rower which comes with an adjustable device holder for small phones or large tablets.

Integrated device holder

The biggest advantage of the RowErg is that it’s the only model that comes with an integrated device holder which can hold anything from small phones to large tablets. This won’t be as interactive as something like the Hydrow rowing machine, but it certainly adds some variety to your workouts.

Tall legs

With the RowErg you also have the option of choosing standard height legs (14-inches) or tall legs (20-inches).

Ultimately, the leg height will make no difference in your rowing ability or form. It simply makes the machine easier to get on and off while working out. This can be a benefit for people with mobility issues.

Commercial gyms might also appreciate the taller legs because it’s easier to see the machine and make it stand out from the competitors.

Serial Numbers

If you really want to get specific about exactly which rower you own, it’s best to check the serial number. These are found on the flywheel housing of every Concept2 rowing machine.

  • Model D: Located between the V of the flywheel support legs, on the left side of the flywheel housing.
  • Model E: Located on the left side of the flywheel housing under the box arm.
  • RowErg: Located on the left side of the flywheel housing, between the “V” of the flywheel support legs.

On your machine, you will see a set of two or three numbers separated by dashes. These serial numbers represent the following (in order):

  • Date unit was boxed
  • Rower serial number
  • Monitor serial number


All Concept 2 rowers can be retrofit with the newest P5 performance monitor. That means even if you buy a machine from the 80s you can utilize the latest and greatest technology.

In addition, you can purchase 20-inch tall legs to add to your existing Model D rower so it matches the Model E or RowErg.

Finally, the integrated device holder can also be retrofit onto a Model D or Model E rower.

All of this just adds to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter which Concept 2 you buy.

Which Concept 2 is best?

There is no major advantage of choosing one version of the Concept 2 over the others. All three rowers have the same foundation and will give you a fantastic workout.

It really comes down to personal preference. If you want the tall legs, choose either the Model E or RowErg.

If an integrated device holder is important to you, then get the RowErg.

All of these options can be retrofit. Ultimately the only thing you can’t change is the color, so go ahead and pick your favorite.

And if you’re looking for the best price, just choose whatever used Concept 2 that you can find. This is a brand that has continued to stand the test of time.

crossfit woman working out on a concept 2 indoor rowing machine
Concept 2 Model E

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.

women and men exercising on indoor rowing machines in a crossfit gym

Why is the Concept 2 Rowing Machine so popular?

Concept 2 RowErg is made for commercial use, so is extremely durable (and should last a lifetime of home use).

This type of air rower 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.

Space required & storage

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

When not in use it can easily be taken apart for storage or transportation 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 warranty covers every part of the rower for a period of 2 years and most of the metal frame parts are covered for 5 years.


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).

man showing how to use a concept 2 rowing machine with proper form

The bottom line – There’s really only one choice!

You could buy a Model D or a Model E if you can find one. They’re as good as any Concept 2 rower on the market. Just slightly older inventory.

However, the Concept2 RowErg is now the standard rowing machine available in the Concept 2 store, on Rogue Fitness and in all good sports stores. Why choose old stock if you can get the newest model for the same price?

It comes with the same excellent warranty, and is made to last through years of heavy use. As its designed for commercial use, nothing that you dish out at home will phase a Concept 2.

There’s no reason why it shouldn’t last a lifetime!

The RowErg is solid, reliable, requires minimal space to use, and is easy to store away.

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