Hydrow Vs Echelon: Smart Rowers Compared For Garage Gyms

Having a rowing machine at home can do wonders for your physical fitness, especially if that rower comes with smart features like on-demand workouts and Bluetooth technology. Smart rowing machines ultimately make the workout more fun, and when it comes down to it, the more fun you have with your rower, the more likely you are to use it.

Many rowers these days come equipped with smart technology, like the Hydrow rower and the Echelon Row S. Both of these rowers have all that you could ever want in terms of tech features, so let’s find out which one is right for you in this complete Hydrow vs Echelon comparison guide.

We’ll cover each of the features in-depth later on, but if you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick comparison of the winning machine for each feature of the Echelon and Hydrow rowers:

Feature 

Hydrow

Echelon

Footprint & Storage

Cell

Rowing Experience

Cell

Weight & Height Capacity

Cell

Aesthetics & Build Quality

Cell

Integrated Tech Features

Cell

Performance Monitoring

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Ease of Assembly

Cell

Purchase Price & Ongoing Costs

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Hydrow Vs Echelon: Which Has More To Offer For Garage Gyms?

Model
Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine, Subscription...
Echelon Smart Rowing Machine + 30-Day Free...
Image
Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine, Subscription...
Echelon Smart Rowing Machine + 30-Day Free...
Dimensions
86”L x 25”W x 47”H
84”L x 21”W X 45”H
Weight
145 lbs
106.5 lbs
Frame Material
Aluminum + steel
Alloy steel + plastic
Weight Capacity
375 lbs
300 lbs
Resistance Type
Electromagnetic
Magnetic
Resistance Levels
Up to 300 “drag” settings
32
Display
22” touchscreen
22” touchscreen
Heart Rate Monitor
Bluetooth 5.0-enabled for heart rate monitoring
Bluetooth 5.0-enabled for heart rate monitoring
Interactive Training
Thousands of live and on-demand workouts
Thousands of live and on-demand workouts
Warranty
Frame: 5 years Parts: 1 year
1 year limited
Model
Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine, Subscription...
Image
Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine, Subscription...
Dimensions
86”L x 25”W x 47”H
Weight
145 lbs
Frame Material
Aluminum + steel
Weight Capacity
375 lbs
Resistance Type
Electromagnetic
Resistance Levels
Up to 300 “drag” settings
Display
22” touchscreen
Heart Rate Monitor
Bluetooth 5.0-enabled for heart rate monitoring
Interactive Training
Thousands of live and on-demand workouts
Warranty
Frame: 5 years Parts: 1 year
Check Price
Model
Echelon Smart Rowing Machine + 30-Day Free...
Image
Echelon Smart Rowing Machine + 30-Day Free...
Dimensions
84”L x 21”W X 45”H
Weight
106.5 lbs
Frame Material
Alloy steel + plastic
Weight Capacity
300 lbs
Resistance Type
Magnetic
Resistance Levels
32
Display
22” touchscreen
Heart Rate Monitor
Bluetooth 5.0-enabled for heart rate monitoring
Interactive Training
Thousands of live and on-demand workouts
Warranty
1 year limited
Check Price

To decide our winner, we’ve considered all of the important aspects of choosing a rowing machine for the home - everything from footprint and storage to rowing experience and tech features.

Footprint & Storage Features

Both the Hydrow and Echelon are about 7’ long, so you’ll need a decent amount of space to use either machine. In terms of footprint, the Echelon Row S is slightly less wide than the Hydrow, but only by a few inches.

What’s even more important than your machine’s footprint is considering the storage features that come along with it. Rowers are not notorious for being compact or small in nature, so the best ones come equipped with storage features to minimize the machine's footprint while it's not being used. This is the case for both the Hydrow and Echelon.

The Hydrow can be stored vertically against a wall, but it unfortunately requires a special kit to store the machine upright. This kit costs about $70, so if you want to store it vertically, you’ll have to pay extra.

The Echelon rower has a convenient foldable design to fit in smaller spaces. When folded, the machine measures 40” long by 21” wide by 60” high. Even though these aren’t the smallest folded dimensions we’ve seen, it still folds down to about half its size.

Echelon Smart Rower

Comfortable & Realistic Rowing Experience

The Hydrow rower uses an electromagnetic resistance system to create “drag” that replicates the drag you’d feel against the paddles while rowing a boat. It’s extremely smooth, and it utilizes a patented technology that you won’t find with any other rower with 300 drag settings that are easy to adjust.

The Echelon uses a very similar magnetic resistance system and has 32 levels of adjustable tension. This isn’t much compared to the 300 drag settings of the Hydrow, but it’s still perfectly capable of delivering an easy or challenging workout based on your fitness goals.

In terms of user comfort, both machines are at the top of their class. They’re ergonomically designed to fit most people, and they both feature adjustable foot straps, oversized ergonomic seats, and well-padded hand grips.

One thing that makes Hydrow stand out as the winner in this category is the rower’s unique 10-roller seat system, which is designed to eliminate any pressure that is put on your joints and/or spine during the workout.

woman using a hydrow rowing machine

Weight & Height Capacity

The Hydrow’s durable aluminum and steel frame is capable of holding up to 375 pounds of user weight. In terms of height limitations, this rower is listed as supporting up to a 36” inseam, which means that even the tallest users (let’s say up to 6’4”) shouldn’t have any issues using this rower.

In comparison, the Echelon Row S has a user weight limit of 300 pounds. That means if you’re close to or over the 300-pound limit, you’re better off choosing the Hydrow for its additional weight support.

The Echelon company doesn’t state a maximum height limit, but the seat rail is a bit shorter than Hydrow’s, so individuals who are taller than 6’2” might find this rower to be less comfortable than rowing on the Hydrow.

Aesthetics & Build Quality

Both rowers are stunning, and both are built with high-quality materials like aluminum and steel that are durable and likely to last. Many people love that the Hydrow’s frame is built around the internal mechanisms, which means that the resistance system isn’t visible to the eye; it’s enclosed in the sturdy, stylish aluminum casing with black and silver accents.

The Echelon frame is built using alloy steel and plastic. The frame is primarily black with red pops of color throughout. If you’re not a fan of red or you plan on using the machine in a room where red just won’t fit in well, you’ll definitely prefer the Hydrow’s silver and black design.

It’s also worth noting that the Hydrow is considered the more durable option. This makes sense since the machine is heavier, weighing 145 pounds to the Echelon’s 106-pound design, and it’s also reflected in the 75-pound difference in maximum weight support.

Integrated Tech Features & Workouts

These rowers are neck and neck when it comes to the technology they use. They both come with large 22” touchscreens that are designed to rotate so that you always get the best view when working out.

They both have Bluetooth compatibility, impressive audio, and compatible apps with on-demand workouts.

For most Hydrow workouts, your instructors are actually offering guidance from inside a boat, on the water. If you select a live workout, they’ll be rowing in real-time, and you’ll even be able to hear birds, see dolphins, and experience the water as if you’re actually on it. 

Echelon Smart Rower monitor

Through your membership, you’ll have access to 3,000+ workouts, ranging from rowing and strength training to yoga and Pilates.

With Echelon’s fitness platform, there are over 1,000 workouts to choose from, ranging from live leaderboard competitions to studio yoga workouts. The workouts are very similar to what you’ll find with Hydrow, but there just aren’t as many to choose from.

Ease Of Assembly

With the Hydrow, there’s minimum assembly required, but due to the heavy weight of the machine, it's best to have someone help you put it together. Assembly shouldn't take more than an hour, and thanks to the clear instructions, it's pretty easy to do. Once everything is put together, just follow the on-screen prompts to create or log in to your account and agree to the terms of service.

Assembling the Echelon rower can be done as a solo job, and all it really entails is attaching the flywheel to the frame and seat rail using the included hardware and Hex key. The entire process can be done in about 30 minutes, and you can use Echelon’s video tutorial to follow the steps along the way.

Purchase Price & Ongoing Costs

While the Echelon rower is significantly cheaper than Hydrow in terms of the initial MSRP, especially if you opt for the Echelon without the large touchscreen display, you’ll also have to factor in the ongoing costs associated with both rowers.

To access the live and on-demand workouts on the Hydrow’s touchscreen, you will need to sign up for their paid monthly membership, which is $38/month. Each membership includes unlimited user profiles, so you won’t have to pay more for multiple users. Echelon’s monthly membership costs about the same at $39.99 per month.

When comparing the warranties of Hydrow vs Echelon, the Hydrow wins hands down. Echelon only offers a 1-year warranty, whereas Hydrow rowers come with a 5-year warranty for the frame. Considering the price differences, this isn’t a huge surprise, but it’s still definitely something that makes the Hydrow machine more appealing in the end.


All About The Hydrow Rowing Machine

Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine, Subscription...
  • LIVE OUTDOOR REALITY (LOR) ROWER: Meet...
  • REDEFINED ROWING EXPERIENCE: Hydrow uses...
  • AN IMMERSIVE WORKOUT: The Hydrow features a...
  • WORLD-CLASS ROWING INSTRUCTION: Hydrow...

Hydrow is a well-known name in the rowing industry, mainly because the Hydrow company designed its world-class rower to work for anyone at any fitness level. Although it doesn't fit every budget and requires a monthly subscription, it's an excellent choice for anyone looking for an advanced rowing machine with lots of tech integration and smart functionality.

The Hydrow rower is sleek and stylish, and it's designed to look good in any room, even if that room isn't necessarily a designated gym space. The workouts are engaging and interactive, and you can access them through a Hydrow subscription, which connects users to workouts filmed on stunning waterways and scenic locations around the world.

According to Hydrow, this machine “brings the outdoors into your home with immersive, full-body live and on-demand workouts.” Aside from the interactive workouts, Hydrow users love that this rower targets 86% of your muscles with its smooth electromagnetic resistance system, which is almost twice the engagement of biking, running, and other forms of cardio.


Pros & Cons Of The Popular Hydrow Rower

Even a rower as highly recommended as this one comes with some flaws. There’s a lot we like about the Hydrow, but there are also a few improvements that could make the machine even better, including:

What We Like

  • Large 22” touchscreen that’s easy to navigate
  • Sleek machine design that looks good in any room
  • Interactive on-water content that’s different from any rower on the market
  • Rowing accessories included with purchase
  • Money-back guarantee within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied

What We Didn’t Like

  • High cost and required monthly subscription
  • For upright storage of the Hydrow, additional equipment is needed

Echelon Rowing Machine (Comparable Smart Rower Alternative)

Echelon Smart Rowing Machine + 30-Day Free...
  • Enjoy a FREE 30-day trial of the Echelon...
  • DESIGN: Get a total-body workout that...
  • FEATURES & PERFORMANCE: Device holder that...
  • CONTENT: With a membership, you’ll get...

If you’re looking for Hydrow alternatives, the Echelon Row S is an excellent choice. Similar to the Hydrow, this one uses magnetic resistance technology to simulate a smooth and realistic rowing experience.

Best of all, it comes with all the smart technology you could ever want or need, including Bluetooth compatibility, an extensive library of live and on-demand workouts, and a built-in touchscreen display.

In addition to tech features, the Echelon rower features a folding design that gives it a much smaller footprint for easy storage. The Echelon Fit app is what makes this rower truly special, though. The app subscription - which is necessary for using the rower - gives you access to live and on-demand classes 24/7, some of which are even filmed on scenic waterways around the world.


Pros & Cons Of The Popular Echelon Rower

Even though this is considered one of the best smart rowers on the market, the Echelon Row S isn’t perfect. Here’s what we like and what we don’t:

What We Like

  • 32 levels of easily adjustable resistance
  • Built-in 22” display
  • Access to thousands of fitness classes with the Echelon app
  • Easy folding design for storage
  • Consistent connectivity with WiFi-enhancing antennas

What We Didn’t Like

  • High cost and required monthly subscription
  • Only available in a red and black color scheme
  • Short 12-month warranty

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can I use Echelon rower without a membership?

While it is technically possible to use the rower without the app membership, you won’t be able to access any workouts or even change resistance levels. For this reason, it’s not recommended to use the Row S model without the membership, which can be used on both iOS and Android devices in addition to the rower’s touchscreen display.

You have a few options for purchasing the membership and can either pay $39.99 per month, $399.99 per year, or $599.99 for a 2-year membership.

Who makes Echelon rowers?

Echelon rowers are made by the Echelon Fitness company, which is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The company's primary goal is to create a professional, studio-quality fitness experience that you can do on your time and in the comfort of your own home.

Can you watch Netflix on the Echelon rower?

At this moment in time, you can’t stream Netflix directly on the Echelon’s touchscreen display. However, you can purchase the rower that comes with a device holder and access Netflix using your own tablet.

Is the Hydrow machine loud?

Not at all. According to Hydrow's support page,

“Hydrow utilizes software-driven electromagnetic resistance which is significantly quieter than alternative methods. Because magnetic resistance is a frictionless technology, Hydrow offers a much quieter fitness experience than traditional rowing machines that use a noisy air fan or water tank.”

Does Hydrow use iFit?

No. The Hydrow rower uses its own membership, called the Hydrow membership, which many people feel is even better than iFit. Through this membership, users have access to live and on-demand rowing workouts as well as additional fitness content like pilates, yoga, strengthening, and stretching.


Conclusion

While the initial price of the Hydrow rower is more than the Echelon Row S model, it’s totally justified since this is the more advanced machine. It has slightly more to offer in almost every department, especially if your goal is to have the best all-around rowing experience with a machine that looks good anywhere in the home.

The Hydrow is definitely out top recommendation for users who want the absolute best without worrying about budget.

Aside from being cheaper, the only area that Echelon may have Hydrow beat is when it comes to storage features. The Row S is easy to store with a folding design, and unlike Hydrow, it doesn’t require purchasing an extra kit for easy storage.