Coming from an Ivy League school with a stellar rowing team and living in Florida with both of my kids on rowing teams, the Concept 2 Model D is the best rowing machine money can buy. I can't speak for other brands nor would I consider other brands, you simply get what you pay for and this is pro equipment that will last you a lifetime. If you are considering lower-end equipment based solely on cost it is understandable, but I would urge you to save up and invest in a Concept 2, hands down. The water rowers are nice but you have to replace belts, deal with potential wood deterioration and the water getting funky. While these issues may not be drastic they just don't exist on a Concept 2. Now if you are in between a model D and E I would urge you to save the money and go with the Model D unless the 6' increase in seat height is important, otherwise the differences are negligible and trust me you are not settling for a lesser machine in any way. Plus, I like the ability to fold the computer for a more compact storage, something only the Model D can do. Good luck and happy rowing.