Hydrow Rowing Machine Review: Best Rowing Machine For A Home Gym?

Hydrow Rowing Machine Review: Best Rowing Machine For Your Home Gym?

Our Rating: 4.8 / 5

Smart Fitness Equipment is becoming more popular than ever because of the ability to bring instructor lead classes into your own home gym. With smart fitness mirrors like the Echelon Reflect Smart Mirror and Smart Fitness Studio Cycles like the Echelon EX-7, there’s no need to commute to a gym anymore because you get the studio experience at home.

But what about rowing machines? Well, that’s where the Hydro Rowing Machine comes in. The Hydrow rowing machine strives to produce the ‘feel of the river’ while working out from the comfort of your home. This state-of-the-art smart rower gives an immersive rowing experience that you may have never felt before. 

But the question is, is the Hydrow rowing machine worth the investment? Keep reading for everything you need to know about the Hydrow rowing machine.

Hydrow Rowing Machine Review: Best Rowing Machine For A Home Gym?

Hydrow Rowing Machine Review: Is It Worth The Price Tag?

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  • Smooth gliding rowing motion
  • Comfortable seat
  • Pre-recorded and live workouts
  • 22” HD touch screen with interactive features
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Easy assembly
  • Quality build
  • Heart rate monitoring 


  • Expensive
  • Monthly Membership Fee
  • Can’t be folded for storage, unless you purchase a storage kit that can be purchased separately

Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Hydrow

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When purchasing any type of fitness equipment for a home gym, there are things you should consider before purchasing a Hyrdow machine.

The initial thing to consider about buying a Hyrdow machine is the cost. With many smart fitness machines available today, because most of them are premium fitness products that deliver on bringing the expensive gym experience to your home, it does come at a price.

The Hyrdow machine delivers a unique home gym rowing experience that needs to be experienced to understand the true value of this smart rowing machine.

If you are wavering on the price because it might be beyond your budget for a home gym rowing machine, then you need to figure out what you want from this smart rowing machine.

Are you looking for a smart rower that provides you with world-class on-demand training in your living room? Will the features of the hydro row help you achieve your fitness goals? If so, then keep reading. If not, then you should go for more inexpensive indoor rowing machine options.

What many Hydro customers have praised about this smart rower is being about to monitor and make the most out of all the benefits and features it offers. 

One of the features that many customers praise about this rowing machine is that it’s an entirely different rowing experience. This isn’t the type of fitness equipment where you slap on your headphones and try to distract yourself with music and pray for the minutes to end like a treadmill.

While you can still play music and get the most out of this smart rower, but you will waste money if you don’t immerse yourself in the hydro rowing experience.

If you are on the fence about deciding to purchase the Hydro after reading this review, Hydrow offers a 30-day risk-free trial to help you decide if it is the perfect fit for you and your home gym. 

It really is a win/win situation because you can give it a go and if you love it, you don’t need to worry about boxing it back up again and shipping it away. If you don’t think it’s the right fit, you can just send it back to them and get a full refund. 

Keep in mind that this 30-day risk-free trial is only valid through Hydrow.com and not through 3rd party retailers like Amazon.

How The Hyrdo Rowing Machine Works

The Hydro rowing machine uses a unique type of resistance. It utilizes an electromagnetic drag mechanism with computer-controlled resistance.

What this type of resistance does is allows the rowing machine to be super quiet, even quieter than many air rowers available today, so you can feel comfortable exercising without disrupting other members of your household.

What also standout to this smart rowing machine is the ultra-smooth rowing motion that is designed to simulate the feel of rowing out on the water. While other air or water rowers available today can achieve this as well, but the Hydro row does it better.

To adjust the resistance levels of the Hydrow rowing machine, all you need to do is use the touch screen monitor, and the electromagnetic drag can be adjusted on a scale from 0-300. When you first start using the Hydrow rowing machine, the Hydrow trainers suggest starting from anywhere between 95-104 and rowing for 20-minutes to get a good sweat in. 

During your workout, you can adjust your resistance every 5 minutes until you reach a position where you feel comfortable rowing. This will take some adjustments along the way until you find the cadence you are comfortable with. Finding a range within 5 on the scale that is challenging will get you the best results.

The Hydrow coaches explain the resistance mechanism as a “set it and forget it mentality.” What this means is you set the resistance you want at the beginning of your workout, then you forget about it as the computer system will take care of the rest. 

This doesn’t mean you are virtually stuck with one resistance setting from start to finish. You can get an intense workout at low drag and high speed or high drag and low speed. 

The computer is equipped to automatically adjust the resistance in real-time during some workouts, so it can handle high-intensity interval workouts just as easily as steady-state cardio workouts. 

If you have used an air rower, you probably have noticed that the resistance level is dependent on how fast or slow you pull the chain. The slower you row, the lower the resistance, the faster you row, the higher the resistance. So, if you are used to air rowing machines, then you will find the Hydrow rowing machine responds the same way.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 86.0″ x 25.0″ x 47.0″ (from floor to top of screen).
  • Stored Dimensions (W x D x H): 25.0″ x 33.0″ x 86.0″.
  • Weight: 145 lbs.
  • Maximum user weight: Holds up to 350 lbs.
  • Material: Aluminum and steel frame with a flat anthracite polymer body, soft rubberized feet to protect floors.
  • Handle: Low-stress handle grip with ergonomic design.
  • Monitor/screen: 22” 1920 by 1080 Full HD touch screen resolution. 25-degree monitor pivot in each direction.
  • Workouts: Over 500 pre-recorded river and studio rowing sessions.
  • Four types of rowing videos: Live Rowing, Rows on Demand, Serene River Rowing, Whole Body Fitness.
  • Resistance: Quiet, electromagnetic resistance.
  • Connections: Bluetooth & WiFi.
  • Heart rate: Heart rate monitoring enabled.
  • Functions: Speakes, microphone, and camera.
  • Seat: 10-roller seat roller system facilitating a smooth operation.
  • Warranty: 18-month labor warranty; 2-year warranty on wear items, screen, and other electronics; and a 6-year structural frame warranty.

Build Quality

The Hydrow rowing machine is a sleek and stylish fitness machine built to last. It weighs close to 150 lbs, so you will know when rowing on it that it will be sturdy enough for any vigorous routine, you really do get what you pay for. The ergonomic body has an aluminum frame with a plastic outer casing.

Even though it’s a very sturdy rowing machine, it’s not the most mobile rower out there as you can’t store it as quickly as competing rowers on the market today. But there is a storage accessory that you can purchase that makes keeping the Hydrow rowing machine much easier.

There are wheels at the front of the machine that makes it easier to move around a room if needed.

One standout with the build of this smart rower is the handle, which is attached to a nylon belt as opposed to a chain like other rowing brands. The belt system is way smoother and quieter than a chain-driven system.

The Hydrow favors the feel of an actual longboat on the water compared to being just an indoor fitness machine. So to answer the question of if the Hydrow rowing machine is well-built, it is a high-quality fitness machine.

Display / Monitor

What I like about the smart fitness equipment being made today, is the incredible monitors that come equipped with these home gym machines, and with the Hydrow rowing machine, the monitor is a standout feature to this smart rower.

The Hydrow rowing machine features a striking 22” 1920 by 1080 Full HD touch screen resolution with front-facing dual 3W speakers and a ton of cool interactive workout features. 

The monitor is sweat and dust resistant and comes with live outdoor reality technology that allows you to experience your workouts in different locations and surroundings around the world with the sounds of the natural environment. This is perfect for those who find standard rowers we see today at many fitness centers across the globe a bit tedious in just getting through a workout. 

The monitor comes Bluetooth enabled, which allows the user to pair up a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and Bluetooth headphones. You will need to plug in the monitor to work both the screen and the resistance. Also, you will need a wifi connection to stream the in-app rowing workouts. 

Keep in mind that the Hydrow rowing machine doesn’t have the option of streaming your favorite video streamers like Netflix, Youtube, or Amazon Prime, but that is not the purpose of this smart rower. The main purpose is to virtually immerse you into a whole new rowing experience, and not watch reruns of Seinfeld.

When it comes to the display and the workout videos you watch while working out are high quality. Plus, while you are working out to your favorite hydro rower video, you can also track the usual metrics such as strokes per minute, calories burned, time, average split time, and 500m split. 

The monitor’s angle can be adjusted as well as be able to rotate so you can easily see the display for workouts out of the rowing seat. This is great for when you want to follow along with the instructor during mat workouts like yoga or ab exercises just as you would while rowing. 

Comfort And Capacity

With most workout programs to burn calories, no matter what machine you are on, you want it to be comfortable, and the Hydrow rowing machine is a very comfortable rowing experience. It features a cushioned seat that rolls on a 10-roller system that Hydrow states that it can support users of up to 350lbs.

This cardio rowing machine is also suited for taller users as well, as the seat rail design can accommodate athletes as tall as 6’6” conveniently. 

The adjustable foot straps also feel comfortable and large enough for many users to fit into with no issues. 

Keep in mind that if you have never used a rowing machine before, it may take a little time to get used to for you to learn proper rowing form to avoid injury, so you might be a little sore after the first few workouts as your body gets used to the rowing machine. 

Mind you, this is a common body reaction to any fitness machine if you have never used it before. After a few workouts, you shouldn’t feel sore afterward, unless you push yourself to a new resistance limit on the rowing machine.

Shipping / Assembly

Are you the type of person that puts Ikea furniture together and always has leftover bolts in your hand that should be in the furniture instead? Well, if you are that type of person, you won’t have to worry about extra bolts in your hand when building the Hydrow rower. 

The Hydrow rowing machine isn’t difficult to assemble because the majority of the rowing machine already comes pre-assembled. So all you really have to do is attach the front legs, and the monitor, plug it in, and you’re ready to row.

This rowing machine and its parts are quite heavy, so you will need someone there to assist you in assembling the rower. The video below will show you how easy it is to assemble the Hydrow Rower, but make sure you have someone ready to help when your rower arrives. 

There is nothing worse than getting a new toy, and not being able to use it right away.

Hydrow offers shipping at $150, but often times customers will be offered the opportunity to sign up for emails and receive free shipping on the website. 

Plus, if you purchase Hydrow from the website, you can take advantage of Hydrow’s new white-glove service that offers delivery and in-home assembly for $250.

Product Shipments tend to leave the Hydrow warehouse within 2-4 days when ordered during business hours. You can read more about their shipping information on their website. 

Set-Up Process

This is where the excitement begins. Once you have plugged your Hydrow in, it’s time to begin customizing the rowing machine by following the on-screen instructions and prompts. You will need to connect your WIFI to the machine, after that, it will then run a software update, and you’ll be prompted to sign up for a Hydrow account or log in if you already have one. 

During the set-up process, Hydrow instructors will take you through everything you need to know on-screen, from adjusting your foot straps to rowing with the correct technique. For someone who never had proper rowing technique, this was extremely useful.

Below is a video that will give you a better idea of what to expect when setting up your rower. 

How To Store The Hydrow Rowing Machine

Because this is a well-built fitness machine, it does weigh around 150 lbs so with it being heavy you don’t want to move it around as much if you don’t have to. You should find a dedicated space in your home, and try to leave it there if possible.

If you want to create some more space you do have the option of turning the machine and storing it upright. The monitor folds inwards so don’t worry about it getting damaged.

Hydrow offers an upright storage kit that you attach to the wall which straps to the rower to keep it in place (pictured above). This is a great accessory to have for those who don’t have a lot of free space in their home gym, but you’ll have to purchase it separately. It would be nice if Hydrow could include this for free, but we can’t win them all.  

Keep in mind that you don’t need the kit to store the rower upright. It will stay up on its own, but if you want to secure it properly, you should get the storage kit. It’s an investment in your health that you should protect.


You get a 6-year warranty on the frame and storage kit, 2-years on wear items (which includes the handle, strap, seat assembly, and the hinge on the screen carriage), 2-years on the screen and other electronics, and 18 months labor.

While some Hydrow rower reviews from customers would like to see a higher warranty on the electronic components, as electronics tend to have a higher risk of something going wrong, but for most electronic items today, 2-years is usually standard.

Sure having longer coverage is favored, but the warranty is not so different from competitors NordicTrack and their RW900 rower, just NordicTrack offers a 10-year warranty on the frame!

You can read more about Hydrows warranty on their site. 

Price And Worth

At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that if you are worried about the cost of this rower or can’t justify the advantages and features then this rower may not be for you. Maybe look at the selection of inexpensive rowing machines on Amazon that might work for your budget. 

But, if you have the budget and the space to fight a smart rower into your home gym, then the Hydrow doesn’t disappoint. It’s the best magnetic rower with interactive workouts on the fitness market today. You will benefit from the build quality, design, video production, workouts, and motivation to make you come back for more each and every time. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to burn calories on.

If you are worried about the upfront costs of purchasing the rowing machine, Hydrow makes it easy for you to make monthly payments with no money down & 0% APR financing. 

Plus, something that will make anyone feel good, is you can also team up with Hydrow by supporting water.org. For every 60 days rowed on Hydrow they will donate water.org. So you are contributing to a great cause all by working out.

Also, Hydrow has an incredible support team that is always there for you to help you with any issues that may happen. 

Hydrow Rower Membership

With most smart fitness equipment available today, you need a membership to get the full value of the machines. With The Hydrow Rower membership, it’s what gives you access to all of the amazing functions that make the rower worth getting. When you sign up, you have access to a wide selection of workout possibilities, including leisurely rows down the river or more intense sessions competing against others or trying to match your coach’s efforts. 

It’s necessary to understand that the features listed cannot be accessed without a membership. The membership is not included with the price of the rower but is a monthly subscription, currently $38/month (subject to change). 

If a monthly membership isn’t your thing, there is a “Just Row” mode that will allow you to use the basic features (tracking metrics and setting resistance levels) without a subscription. 

But if you don’t opt for the membership, it would be a complete waste of money, and you might as well settle with a run-of-the-mill rowing machine. What makes this smart rowing machine the best on the market today is its membership. 

Think about how much a gym membership costs at a fitness center right now, then add personal training to this, and the Hydro monthly subscription is worth the price. 

Your membership will give you access to hundreds of pre-recorded workouts that you can access any time you want. Plus, you have access to non-rowing workouts such as yoga, functional movement routines, stretching, pilates, and resistance training.

One feature of the membership that many Hydrow rower reviews talk about is the ability to stream live rowing workouts. This feature allows you to follow along with coaches and other members during live workouts. It’s a virtual rowing experience straight from your coach’s boat on the water or studio to your home. This really does help keep the workouts motivational and fun. 

Plus, The Hydrow membership also allows you to set up unlimited profiles for your family so that everyone can track their individual progress. 

Important Features Of The Hydrow Connected Rower Membership

  • Live Rowing Workouts
  • Rowing on demand
  • Learn rowing basics from your coaches
  • Keeps you motivated and accountable to help you achieve better health and fitness results
  • Become part of the Hydrow rowing community with live leaderboards
  • Gives you access to future benefits and updates 

Competitors To The Hydrow Rower

Hydrow vs Concept2 Model D

If you have been looking for a smart rower, you probably have heard of the Concept2 Model D rower. When smart rowers began entering the market, Concept2 Model D was the industry standard that other fitness brands were trying to compete with.

While the Concept2 Model D rower is almost half the price of the Hyrdo, it doesn’t come with the fully-loaded features of the Hydrow rowing machine.

The Concept2 Model D rower (pictured above) is the choice for most competitive athletes because of its history of durability, reliability, and constant high quality. 

Unlike Hydrow, the Model D is an air rower with a flywheel that generates air resistance. It comes with a PM5 LCD monitor with various settings and built-in features. 

If you feel that the Hydrow isn’t the rowing machine for you, because the on-demand workouts, training, community, etc. aren’t what you are looking for, then the Concept2 Model D rower is a great choice.  

Hydrow vs Ergatta

Another interactive smart rowing machine that strives to give a unique rowing experience is the Ergatta rowing machine with its game-based workout platform. The main distinction between the Ergatta rowing machine and the Hydrow is the resistance type. The Ergatta uses a water resistance system which is great if you like the sound of the water while rowing, but not a silent workout machine. 

The other difference between the Hydrow vs Ergatta is the Ergatta is more of a video game experience where you can race against your times and other users. But when you compare the workouts and immersive features between the two rowing machines, it offers a lot less than the Hydrow

The display is also smaller at 17.3” and lacks the sound quality of the Hydrow

Aesthetically(pictured above), the Ergatta is a tastefully designed rowing machine that will look great in any room. Both machines are built to last and can be stored upright with attachments that are sold separately. 

The Ergatta rower is a little cheaper and also offers a monthly subscription. But when you compare both rowing machines’ interactive functionality, you get more for your money with a Hydrow

FAQ's About The Hydrow Indoor Rowing Machine

If you are looking for the Hydrow indoor rowing machine to go on sale, the best way to see the latest offers is directly from Hydrow.com. You can also find the Hydrow rowing machine from Best Buy, Amazon, and other authorized retailers.

When checking out the Hydrow website, you will notice that the company offers several package deals including the Hydrow Starter Package and the Hydrow Pro package. They also offer various add-on training accessories that you can add to improve your Hydrow experience. You can visit their website to check the latest prices.

The Hydrow rowing machine is clearly worth the money if your budget allows it. It offers a unique rowing experience with great user features. The membership provides you access to their broad collection of workout videos as well as live workouts and coaching.

If you want access to Hydrow’s live-streaming content and workout video catalog then you will have to pay a monthly membership fee of USD 38. You also have the option to pre-pay in advance for a full year’s membership.

Yes, you can use Hydrow rowing machine without a subscription. Keep in mind that the membership is vital to the Hydrow experience, and you would be missing out on its key features. Without a membership, the Hydrow rowing machine has basic functionality, and only operates in “Just Row Mode.

If you are bored of the old-fashioned gym experience and looking for a fun and interactive answer to working out from home then you should absolutely consider buying a Hydrow. You’ll be receiving a smart fitness machine of the highest quality with the ability to instruct you and train you to reach your fitness goals.

Hydrow rowing machine is a fantastic fitness machine for beginners new to rowing or those looking for a new way to work out. This smart rowing machine has instructional videos to help you learn and improve your indoor rowing technique. You’ll also get access to coaching tips and workouts for expert coaches.

For the latest Hydrow deals and offers you should check their website.

Unfortunately, you can’t watch Netflix or other streaming services while using the Hydrow. You can only use the monitor to stream Hydrow’s content.

Final Thoughts - Should You Buy The Hydrow Rower?

Congrats, you have made it to the end of this Hydro Rower Review! If you made it this far then you must be interested in this rower. If you are wanting to know if you should buy the Hydrow indoor rowing machine, then the answer is yes, if you have the budget to add this smart rower to your home gym.

From my tests at home with the Hydrow Rower in my home gym, and reading many Hydrow Rower customer reviews there is no downside to this fantastic rowing experience. If you are unsure if this rowing machine is right for you, you can try out the well-built product, and if you don’t like just send it back within 30-days. 

If you do like it, keep it! Then you will be part of an ever-growing community of like-minded individuals that will support and motivate you towards reaching your health and fitness goals. 

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About the author: Trent (IMDB Youtubehas spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.

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Hydrow Rowing Machine Review: Is It Worth The Price Tag?

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