Hydrow Rowing Machine Review & Comparison (Is It Worth It?)

Rowing is a great way to work out, and studies have shown that rowing is one of the most effective forms of cardio. Rowers work most of your major muscle groups with no impact on your joints, so you can work out in a hazard-free way. It's no surprise that rowing is more popular than ever.  

The Hydrow is a top-rated rowing machine with a growing reputation. Hydrow is renowned as a good brand and has a well-deserved reputation for creating cutting-edge rowing machines. Their rowers are modern, intelligent, stylish, and user-friendly, so it's no surprise they're taking the market by storm.  

In this Hydrow rowing machine review, we'll explore the key features and help you figure out if this is the right rower for you.  

The Hydrow rowing machine is the next generation of rowers. It’s often referred to as the Peloton of rowers, giving commercial-grade quality in the comfort of your own home and connecting people from around the world. The Hydrow is well made and intelligent, designed to maximize your workout and give you the most benefit.  

There is a lot to like about Hydrow, and they help make rowing more enjoyable for everyone. It is the perfect rower for beginners who want to learn the correct form and for passionate rowers who aren’t able to get out on the water. Here’s what we think sets Hydrow apart from other brands: 

Electromagnetic Resistance Mechanism 

Hydrow doesn't use water or air resistance but has instead opted for modern electromagnetic resistance.

This gives more consistent resistance and makes the operation a lot quieter compared to water rowers; so much so that you can barely hear it running. Electromagnetic mechanisms are more effective, and it's one of the things that makes Hydrow rowing more authentic. 

hydrow rowing machine electromagnetic resistance

Built With Compact Aluminium Steel Frame 

Hydrow uses durable aluminum in their range which is long-lasting and can stand up to heavy wear and tear. Despite the metal frame, Hydrow machines are still lightweight because there's no bulky resistance mechanism.

The rower is designed to be compact to fit so it doesn't take up your whole home, and they fold over to be stored vertically. This gives you an outstanding balance between being durable and compact.  

Drag Levels 

Unlike traditional rowing machines that have pre-set resistance levels, Hydrow uses drag settings. This is meant to emulate the water resistance you would feel when out rowing, and you'll automatically start set to 104.

Hydrow doesn't recommend you alter the drag setting as it will automatically adjust as you use the rower, but it has over 150 different levels you can change it to if you want to.  

Soft Rubberized Feet To Protect Floors 

Hydrow machines don’t really slide as you use them, but they have rubberized feet to stop any damage to your floors. This helps make them suitable for any style of garage gym flooring. 

Adjustable Foot Beds 

Taller users will have experienced how uncomfortable it can be to use a rowing machine that isn't properly fitted. Hydrow rowers have adjustable footbeds so that you can adapt them to your dimensions. This helps protect you from injury and gives a much smoother motion to help you exercise effectively.  

Low-Stress Handle Grip With Ergonomic Design 

Hydrow has designed its rower for long-term use. The handle adapts to your hand and rests comfortably, so you don't have to worry about wrist pain while you work out.  

Comfortable Cushioned Seat 

Hydrow seat

Again, Hydrow has designed their rower to suit many users, and the seat is really cushioned. You can easily row for more than 30 minutes and remain comfortable. Your glutes and hamstrings will thank you.

Another feature that makes this rower better for the user and feels very premium.  

Wide Range of Tech Features  

It's not just the build quality of Hydrow rowers that have given them an excellent reputation; it's the intelligent technology that sits underneath: 

  • 22” HD Touchscreen   
    A huge, high-quality touchscreen lets you customize your workout, and there are multimedia options for entertainment while you exercise. The screen is sweat and dust resistant too.  
  • Hi-Fi Speakers  
    Front-facing speakers help to immerse you in the workout and prevent distractions.  
  • Two-Megapixel Camera  
    Hydrow is all about connecting people, and they have a high-quality camera so you can work out with other Hydrow members. It's a similar idea to Peloton and has been proven to give users better results.  
  • Built-In Microphone  
    Alongside the camera, there's an integrated microphone so you can talk to other people through the rower.  
  • USB, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Connection  
    Hydrow rowers can be connected to other devices to give you more options for how you use it. A Wi-Fi connection is needed to use the device properly, so it's worth checking you've got a decent connection.  
  • Industrial Grade Webbed Strap   
    We've all seen rowing machines with broken straps, which are basically unusable. Hydrow has countered this problem by using high-quality webbed straps that can withstand heavy wear and tear. Perfect for those who row a lot.  
  • Heart Rate Monitoring   
    When exercising, you want to get your heart rate up to maximize the benefit. The on-screen monitoring lets you see how hard you’re working and has warnings for if you’re pushing too hard.  

Professional Support 

Hydrow has created a community of passionate rowers, including Olympians, Paralympians, and members of the national team. They've created videos and content to inspire you and help you get the most from your workout. This network is pretty unique in the rowing world and gives you something that other brands aren’t offering.  

Hydrow Rowing Machine Review 

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Hydrow Specifications 

Assembled Dimensions 

86x25x47 inches 

Folded Dimensions 

47x25x98 inches

Machine Weight 

145 lbs 

Maximum Weight Capacity 

375 lbs 

Resistance Levels 

150 drag settingsbut recommended to keep it at 104 to mirror actual water resistance 


Yes, 2 years 

Hydrow is renowned for having the best rowers around, and you can see the quality difference from the second it arrives. It’s a large package and comes pretty much ready to go, with only minimal assembly required because it pretty much folds out into place. 

It uses electromagnetic resistance, too, which makes it much lighter than traditional rowers. You should be able to set this up and move it on your own without help but bear in mind that it's corded, so you'll need an outlet nearby.  

The Hydrow has a much larger display screen than other rowers to make it easier to select and program workouts.

It's a touchscreen with front facing speakers so you can immerse yourself in the workout. 

It’s got a whole load of different functions to choose from and multimedia options for those who like to watch or listen to something while they row.   

hydrow rowing machine monitor

The Hydrow does require a monthly membership which allows you to connect with Hydrow rowing professionals. The roster includes Olympians, Paralympians, and national rowing team members who will help you get the most from your workout. There’s also firsthand footage of rowing all around the world to help you feel like you’re actually out on the water.  

Technology can sometimes make things complicated, but we found this rower really easy to use. In fact, we found the movement so smooth and effective it was very like being on the water. Some other rowers offer a smooth motion, but it still feels as though you’re using a machine.

The Hydrow really does help you feel like you’re out there rowing for real. The mechanism allows it to operate quietly, and you can barely hear the movement of the rower.  

hydrow rower performance features

This is a premium rower, and it is so far above your standard rowing machine. That being said, it’s also a lot more expensive than a basic rower.

This is a high-end product, and you'll need a large budget to afford it and pay for the monthly subscription.  

Hydrow is a revolution in rowing, and the machine itself is amazing. It's all about integration and connecting with other users to tap into the community.

This helps you to work out more effectively and see the rowing world from your home. 

You will need an internet connection for this to work, so if your connection goes down, it can be frustrating. You can still use the device, but you can't use any of the intelligent features which make this rower stand out.   

This rowing machine is not for anyone who just wants to row and get a workout. This is for those who appreciate the cutting edge and want more from their training. It is expensive, but if you are passionate about rowing, then the Hydrow is worth the extra cost, and if you're sometimes reluctant to work out, this machine will help you get started because it is a genuine pleasure to use. Expensive but great value, the Hydrow is the next generation of home rowers.

Pros & Cons Of The Hydrow Rowing Machine 

The Good 

  • Really stylish 
  • Authentic rowing experience 
  • Connect with passionate rowing community 
  • Intelligent technology and huge display screen 
  • Extremely quiet 

The Bad 

  • Expensive 
  • Needs WiFi connection 
  • Additional monthly subscription

Hydrow Rower Packages & Accessories Explained 

Hydrow has created packages of accessories to help give you everything you need for the best workout. These packages can be expensive but will save you money compared to buying everything separately. It also makes it more convenient as you get everything in one go.  

The accessories include things for your rower, like a mat and a storage kit, and there are discounted memberships so you can access the Hydrow network and workouts. They also offer headphones and other accessories that help you track your exercise more accurately.  

Rowing works out about 86% of the muscles in your body, and Hydrow packages include resistance bands and other workout kits so you can target the other areas too. There are even rollers and yoga blocks to help you stretch out before and after.  

If you're going to go for a Hydrow rowing machine, it's worth checking out the rowing packages to save some money on useful extras.   

Comparisons With Other Rowing Machine Brands 

Hydrow isn't the only brand on the market, and it's always interesting to compare with other market leaders. Here's a quick comparison with other well-known brands:  

Hydrow Vs Nordictrack RW 900  

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Nordictrack is another premium rowing machine brand with an excellent reputation. The RW 900 has many of the same features as the Hydrow with a large touchscreen, online selection of workouts (accessible through a subscription), and smooth motion. 

It's durable and sturdy, with a 10-year warranty to help protect your investment. However, it has a lower max weight limit of 250 pounds, so it won't be suitable for heavier users. 

The Nordictrack RW 900 uses a water or air mechanism, which is a lot louder than the Hydrow. It has 26 resistance settings, which is impressive but gives a less authentic experience than the Hydrow drag settings. It is a great rower and a bit cheaper than the Hydrow but doesn’t quite give the same rowing experience.  

Hydrow Vs CityRow Go

CityRow produces some of the best home rowing machines on the market. They're another premium brand with a well-earned reputation for creating rowers which last.

The CityRow Go Max is sturdy and feels great to use. The water resistance makes it louder and heavier, but the motion is good. It's not as smooth as the Hydrow, but it still offers great rowing.  

The setup of the CityRow Go is a bit more complicated, and it's a little trickier to fold away. The features and functionality are excellent, though, and the 19.5-inch screen lets you track your progress easily.

The CityRow Go is a great rowing machine and a bit more affordable than Hydrow but doesn’t give you access to the same number of workouts and features. If you’re into rowing, then longer-term, you'll appreciate the Hydrow more, and it's worth the extra cost. 

Hydrow Vs Concept2 Model D 

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Concept2 offers a range of commercial and domestic rowing machines which last a long time. The Concept2 Model D is a much more affordable rower at a fraction of the price of the Hydrow.

It has 12 different resistance settings and is made from durable metal that gives it a huge max weight of 500 pounds. It also separates into two parts for easy moving and storage.  

The Model D rowing machine is good, but it doesn't offer anywhere near the functionality of the Hydrow. It has a much smaller screen, limited integration, and very few built-in workouts.

If you want an affordable rowing machine that just does the job, then this one may be for you, but if you want the full immersive experience, then you should go with the Hydrow.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How often should I use my Hydrow rowing machine? 

For the best results, it's recommended that you use your rowing machine 4-6 times a week for 30 minutes. Your Hydrow can be used as much as possible as it's very durable.  

Can I store Hydrow rowing machine vertically? 

Yes, a Hydrow folds up vertically for easy storage.  

Is a subscription required for Hydrow? 

To access many of the features, you will need a subscription. This costs $38 a month, but there are package deals alongside it. 

What is the maximum height of a person who can use this equipment? 

Users as tall as 6 foot 9 should be able to use a Hydrow without any issues. The weight limit for a Hydrow rower is 375 pounds.  

Can you watch Netflix on Hydrow? 

No, the Hydrow screen is connected to their system only to access Hydrow content and workouts.  


Hydrow rowing machines aren’t cheap, but they are most definitely worth the money. Once you own one, you can see just how much you get, and how enjoyable they can make rowing in your own home. 

Hopefully this guide has helped explain the key features of the Hydrow rower, and you feel like you better understand whether it’s worth the investment.

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Paul J

Last Updated on November 16, 2022