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Hydrow Review

Saturday, March 2nd

2024 Rowing Machine Reviews

Hydrow Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating
  • Rower Type: Magnetic
  • Price Range: $1,895 to $2,495
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: 5 year frame, 1 year components and labor
  • Shipping: Free

Hydrow is a brand of connected rowing machines that has seen a marked rise in popularity in the fitness market, especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when home workouts became the new norm. The man behind the company, Bruce Smith, brings a rich legacy to the brand with a history steeped in rowing - from being a championship-winning rower himself and coaching the U.S. National Team, to his ancestral roots in a legendary rowing family with a great grandfather who crafted the first sliding seats in racing shells.

Regarded among the best

In the connected fitness market, Hydrow often gets compared to other brands like Peloton and the Concept2 rower. While Concept2 has been a gold standard for rowing purists for years, Hydrow tries to differentiate itself with its connected features, live classes, and a more modern design. Hydrow has two rowing machines for sale: the simply-named Hydrow, and the more compact Hydrow Wave.

The Hydrow: functional modern art

With its sleek, attractive aluminum frame that echoes the curve of a wave, the Hydrow rowing machine is so aesthetically pleasing that it could be considered a piece of modern art - you might find you want to keep it on display even when you're not using it. This machine is a fantastic option for both seasoned rowers with many nautical miles under their belts, and for those just beginning their rowing journey. Expert-led videos are a key feature, offering valuable tips on the basics of form and technique. The machine boasts a 22-inch HD touchscreen with integrated speakers, and the screen can pivot for viewing during yoga or strength workouts available in the expansive video library.

Silent, magnetic resistance

The Hydrow utilizes magnetic resistance, which means it's nearly silent. For added convenience, this machine is compatible with both the Apple Watch and Strava. With respect to storage, the Hydrow can be positioned upright, though this requires purchasing the $80 Upright Storage Kit and performing some setup. For all of these features and its quality design, we think the $2,495 price tag is quite reasonable.

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The Hydrow Wave: compact and colorful

The Hydrow Wave is marketed as a more compact version of the original Hydrow, designed specifically for smaller living spaces. It is 30% smaller and lighter than its predecessor with a lightweight and durable frame, making it a convenient option for those with limited room. The machine comes with a 16-inch HD screen and is available in a variety of colors, including blue, black, green, yellow, and orange. Utilizing electromagnetic resistance, the Hydrow Wave operates silently and creates a smooth rowing experience. This rower costs $1,895.

Try for free

Both Hydrow models come with free standard shipping, allowing you to try the machine at home for 30 days. If it doesn't meet your expectations, the company will pick it up at no extra cost and refund the full amount you paid. And if you don't want to put your rower together yourself, Hydrow offers in-home assembly.

Users love them

Users of the Hydrow rowing machines give them high marks across the board. They highlight their sturdy build and sleek design and often mention the brand's excellent customer service. Many mentioned loving the broad range of workout videos available. A few users did mention setup challenges, suggesting Hydrow could make improvements in their packaging and assembly instructions. However, despite these minor hiccups, many are devoted to their daily workouts and highly recommend Hydrow rowers.

Get $100 off

As soon as we got to the website, we were greeted with a pop-up ad offering $100 off any Hydrow rower if you sign up for their marketing emails. Since you can always unsubscribe from these, that's money in the bank at no inconvenience to you.

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Personalized 2-week workout plan

Hydrow offers a quick quiz on their website to get a sense of your workout style and goals. This includes choosing the kind of instructor personality you prefer, with choices like passionate, motivational, fun, serious, energetic, and technical. Depending on your answers and experience level, you'll then be prompted to input your email. In return, they'll send you a tailored two-week workout plan and your $100 discount code, if you haven't already gotten it.

Video library isn't included in cost of machine

When considering the Hydrow rower, it's important to keep in mind that the machine's cost does not include access to their extensive video library. To fully unlock the potential of your Hydrow machine and make the most out of it, you should factor in the cost of a monthly membership in your budget.

Membership benefits

The Hydrow Membership offers an array of benefits:

  • Every workout session is guided by experienced Olympians and top-tier athletes, so you can be sure you're getting top-notch guidance.
  • The workouts transport you to real rowing locations worldwide, from the vibrant vibes of Rio to the serene waters of Loch Ness.
  • You gain unlimited family access to a growing library of over 4,000 workouts ranging from rowing to yoga and circuit training.
  • Experience the beauty of 100+ filming locations that bring a fresh, immersive experience to each session.
  • All these benefits come at a reasonable price of $44 per month, which is about the same as a mid-tier gym membership. You can pay monthly or pre-purchase a plan.
  • The membership also integrates live rowing sessions, thousands of on-demand workouts, diverse training programs like yoga and pilates, progress incentives, multiple user profiles, and a supportive community of fellow rowers. Plus, each rowing session you undertake contributes to a donation to water.org.

Great options even without the subscription

If you opt against the membership after purchasing the Hydrow rower, you'll be limited to the "Just Row" mode. This mode doesn't offer pre-recorded or free workout videos. Instead, you'll have adjustable drag and resistance settings, on-screen metrics during your workouts, Bluetooth connectivity for heart rate monitors, and access to basic "Hydrow 101" introductory videos. However, if you wish to access their full suite of offerings at a later date, you can always activate a subscription via the home screen.

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Good warranty

Hydrow offers a Home Use Limited Warranty at no extra cost for their rowers. It includes a 5-year warranty for the structural frame, 1 year for components, screen, and other electronics, and 1 year for labor.

Two thumbs up

Hydrow stands tall among veteran brands in the industry, even outshining them in certain aspects. We're big fans of their risk-free trial and the brand's rich lineage intertwined with the history of rowing. Their top-notch workout videos, shot in mesmerizing locations and led by elite athletes, are enough to pique the interest of even those unfamiliar with rowing. Hydrow's product range is refreshingly straightforward: one fully-equipped rower and a more streamlined version available in various colors. Both models promise high quality. To maximize your machine's potential, there's a $44 monthly fee, which, to be fair, is in line with other rowers offering video workouts. Bottom line? Hydrow is one of the best rowers you can get.

Where Can You Find the Best Rowing Machines?

Rowing machines, or "rowers," have swiftly sailed into the mainstream fitness world, gaining traction as a one-stop solution for a comprehensive workout. They're not just about the sport of rowing anymore; they're about sculpting your body, boosting your cardio, and getting fit in a fun way. Rowing machines provide an all-in-one workout, working the legs, back, arms, and core.

So it should come as no surprise that rowing machines have become so popular. With rowing, you can elevate your heart rate and improve endurance without stepping outside. What's more, rowing is gentle on your knees and joints, thanks to the smooth motion and the seated position. The resistance can be adjusted to tailor the session - amp up the intensity for a challenge or keep it light and steady.

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Rowing Machine FAQ

There are four basic types, all classified by the type of resistance they provide. The rowers you may have seen at your local gym, CrossFit box or Orangetheory studio probably used flywheel or water resistance. Other rowing machines use magnetic or piston/cylinder resistance mechanisms.
Absolutely! Rowing machines use up to 85% of your body, from the effort it takes to push backwards to the core strength needed to go back and forth and, of course, all of the upper body in the pull. Like any new exercise routine, you may find there's a learning curve to developing proper form, but it's one of the best low-impact workouts you can get.
Yes! There are many workouts designed for all levels of fitness, including yours. You can also find communities that share rowing challenges -even worldwide! This is especially true if you use a Concept2 rower, which is considered as the "gold standard" when entering competitive times for races and recruiting.
Sometimes, depending on the model you select and how many features it offers. You'll see rowers ranging from under $300 to over $2500. You might be able to get low-interest financing from the retailer of the rowing machine you select.
Most styles will have a certain minimum floor space when in use: you're pushing yourself back and forth along a track, so think about how long your legs extend from a bent position to a fully-extended one. However, if space is an issue, there are rowing machines that can be folded up when not in use (usually by placing the track in a vertical position).
Most retailers of Rowing Machines offer a return period of at least 30 days. But, keep in mind that you're usually going to be on the hook for return shipping fees, which can get expensive.
Some rowers are delivered for free. Don't be surprised to see shipping costs upwards of $130, though: rowing machines are oversized and heavy.
Generally speaking, you'll be the one setting up your rower. A few retailers might be able to connect you with a local professional who can do it for you, but you might want to try it yourself first. These machines are typically straightforward to get up and rowing.
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Continued from above...

What are the different styles of rowing machines? Rowers come equipped with a variety of resistance types, each offering a distinct rowing experience. Each type caters to different preferences in terms of workout dynamics, noise levels, and maintenance needs.

  • Air (flywheel) resistance uses a spinning fan, and the intensity grows as you row harder, although it can be a tad noisy.
  • Magnetic resistance, on the other hand, employs magnets, allowing for a quieter, smoother row where resistance is manually adjusted and stays consistent regardless of how fast you row.
  • Machines with pistons or hydraulic cylinders create resistance through air or fluid-filled components, making them more compact and often more affordable, but they might not mimic the traditional rowing feel as closely.
  • Finally, water resistance models, featuring paddles moving through a water tank, will give you an experience closest to actual rowing, including the calming sound of water, but they're typically heavier due to the water component.

Are you seeking the ideal rowing machine for your personal gym space? Here's what you should consider as you shop:

  • Budget. Rower prices span a broad spectrum. While the high-end models (exceeding $2,500) boast state-of-the-art features, you can snag a reliable machine for under $300. No need to splurge to ensure a solid workout session.
  • Features. Think about what you really want in a rower. Is space-saving important? Do you want the ability to join real-time classes, akin to Peloton? Or maybe the aesthetic matters, with the machine's look needing to mesh with your existing gym equipment?
  • Return policy and warranty. Be future-ready. If your chosen rower isn't the right fit for your space or if you end up wanting a different resistance type, can you send it back? Beware of potential hidden costs like restocking or return shipping charges. Moreover, get clarity on the warranty - what's covered, from the frame to electronics?
  • Company credibility. Dig into user feedback. What's the buzz about the brand? Will they step up if challenges arise during shipment, setup, or regular use? Given that a rowing machine isn't a trivial expense, you want to ensure you're placing your trust in the right hands.

If you're looking for a comprehensive breakdown of the top machines on the market, Top Consumer Reviews is the right place to be. We hope these ranked reviews will help steer you toward a rowing machine that aligns with your fitness aspirations!

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