Hydrow Review: Is This the Rowing Machine You Were Looking For?

Are you looking for a smart exercise machine that will keep you inspired and motivated? Hydrow’s slogan says that this machine truly ‘pulls you in,’ and it uses numerous sophisticated features to accomplish this mission. Hydrow rowing machine is designed to satisfy even the pickiest customers, but is it really worth its high-end price tag? Our Hydrow review will hopefully answer all your burning questions.

If you think that most of the workout machines for home gyms look and work the same, Hydrow could really surprise you. This rowing machine offers an immersive experience by combining efficient hardware with motivational classes led by professional instructors (including some Olympionists) and live-streamed directly on the Hydrow’s integrated flat screen.

Of course, this exciting set of features comes at a price – besides the high costs of the machine itself, prepare to pay a monthly membership fee to stay on track with the latest lessons.

Hydrow Review

Not sure if this is the right exercise machine for you? This review explains all the features, pros, and even some cons of the Hydrow machine in detail.

Features of Hydrow rowing machine

Here are the most important features of Hydrow:

  • Smart rowing machine for at-home use
  • Whole-body exercise for a balanced and efficient workout
  • Sleek, elegant design that distinguishes this machine at first sight
  • Integrated touch screen (can be tilted in each direction for a better view)
  • Membership includes access to live and pre-recorded rows and lectures
  • Racing mode allows you to invite other users to compete in regular challenges
  • The Progress tab lets you track your history and improvements
  • Switchable profiles for multiple users
  • Exercise modules are accompanied by music to help you get into the rhythm
  • Upright storage kit (must be bought separately) allows flexible storing
  • Comes with a 1+5-years warranty and a 30-day free trial

Specifications of Hydrow rowing machine

  • Connectivity: Wi-fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth (5.0)
  • Flat-screen size and technology: 22”, PCAP
  • Flat-screen resolution: 1920 x 1080 Full HD
  • Speakers: Front-facing, amplifier x2 channel, 3W, 8 ohms
  • Dimensions (unfolded): 86″L x 25″W x 47″H
  • Dimensions (folded): 25″W x 33″D x 86″H
  • Weight: 145 lbs (197 lbs including the box)
  • Height limit: up to a 36” length inseam
  • Weight limit: up to 375 lbs (170 kg)
  • Footbed adjustment: Yes
  • Electrical specs: 120-volt standard outlet; 60Hz; Power (Max): 210W, 2A; Power (Avg): 35W (.54A); Power (Idle): 5W (50mA)
  • Seat system: 10-roller cushioned seat
  • Main materials: Aluminium, steel, anthracite polymer

Advantages of the Hydrow rowing machine

The Hydow has a lot to offer in many different aspects. Here are some of its biggest advantages:

Sleek design and simple storing

When you compare the Hydrow to some of the other rowing machines on the market, such as The Concept2 Model D or WaterRower (no offense to these great machines), this is clearly one of the most beautiful and elegant exercise machines out there.

Its frame is made of aluminum and steel, while the body consists of a polymer. The body sits on a rubber mat to prevent scratches on the floor.

Although good looks are probably not your main concern when you’re choosing an exercise machine, it surely adds to the overall satisfaction if the machine complements your home with its sleek design. But Hydrow’s design is just as practical as it is pretty.

Although all rowing machines are relatively robust (and this one with dimensions of 86 x 25 x 47″ and weight of 145 lbs is no different), it looks and feels rather compact.

Is your space limited? If you can’t keep the machine unfolded all the time, Hydrow offers a special hardware kit for storing your machine vertically. This reduces its footprint to only 24″ x 33″ and saves a lot of your precious space.

Hydrow Rowing Machine Features

Comfort and adjustability

Who said that you couldn’t feel comfortable while working out? In fact, discomfort is among the most common reasons for dropping our exercise routines.

If you can’t find your perfect position or constantly feel the pressure from some of the components, you can subconsciously shift your body into unnatural positions. Your exercise can then become ineffective or even unhealthy.

Hydrow has many thoughtful details that prevent this from happening. The 10-roller seat is generously cushioned to make you feel comfortable even during some of the longer sessions.

It has an adjustable footbed with adaptable straps, so even the smaller- or taller-than-average people can find their ideal position. The ergonomy of this rowing machine is really very good.

Effectiveness of the exercise

Comfort and design might be secondary qualities of exercise machines, but effectiveness – that’s what really matters. Generally speaking, rowing machines are considered to be more effective and beneficial for your whole muscular system and overall stamina than ellipticals or stationary bikes. Of course, in order to fully appreciate their effectiveness, one must exercise regularly and correctly.

Hydrow uses a drag mechanism based on electromagnetic resistance and computer control. It feels authentic, almost like being truly on the water, which is very motivating.

The movements are smooth, which allows you to distribute your energy evenly (no erratic pulls, etc.). Thoughtful instructions and clear vision of your trainer on the screen work perfectly for total beginners too.

Hydrow Live Outdoor Review

Motivation and constant incentives

Are you one of those people who need to be constantly motivated in order to stick to their routine? Hydrow is designed exactly for you. Focus all your attention around the centerpiece of this exercise machine – its 22” tiltable touch screen, which basically serves as your motivational entertainment system.

The amount of training, outdoor rows, and live competitions you get with this machine is really enormous. Their instructors (‘Hydrow Athletes’) are tremendous and know how to motivate you and make each workout unique and attractive.

Outdoor locations used for filming are truly picturesque, and the whole experience is even better thanks to the music that helps you stay in the rhythm.

Hydrow’s interface provides you with full control and exhaustive feedback. Moreover, you can also see the statistics and accomplishments of other users in a social network-like section of the interface.

You are even encouraged to find training partners, build your own team, and compete with the others. It’s hard to imagine a more motivational environment and features.

Disadvantages of the Hydrow rowing machine

No exercise machine is perfect. Although Hydrow gets pretty close to it, it still has some relatively important drawbacks.

Costs + more costs…

There’s no way around it – Hydrow is an expensive piece of machinery. Its purchase price at the moment starts at $2,245, but you can arrange a financing plan that starts at about $62/month (36 months in total).

In addition to that, if you want to use all the smart features (live-streamed classes, on-demand videos, multiple profiles, etc.), you will also have to pay a monthly membership fee of $38.

If you count this all together, Hydrow is definitely one of the most expensive rowing machines on the market, which will probably discourage many potential customers from its purchase.

The good thing is that within this price, you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee (free trial period) and a 5-year warranty for frame + 1-year warranty for components.

A limited selection of sceneries and music

Hydrow’s outdoor rows are beautiful, but the scenery tends to repeat across the videos and streams. In comparison with some of the competition, Hydrow’s variability is somehow limited here.

Similar restrictions apply to music. Even though Bluetooth connectivity might suggest it, you can’t play your own music nor even adjust the volume on this rowing machine.

Videos cannot be paused

Although it’s surely logical when it comes to live-streamed rows, Hydrow won’t allow you to pause even any of its on-demand video training.

If your phone rings, someone knocks on the door, or you simply have to take a break for any other reason, you’ll have to exit the video and then start over again. Over time, this can get quite annoying.

Limited exercise routines

This one does apply to all rowing machines in general and doesn’t represent a specific negative of Hydrow. The rowing machines simply do what they say – nothing more, nothing less.

Regardless of various innovations or occasional variations, someone who’s used to a full home gym system, a power-tower, or other multifunctional workout equipment might find this kind of machine limiting.

Hydrow alternatives you might like

Concept 2 Model D rowing machine

Concept 2 Model D

Concept 2 Model D is one of the most popular rowing machines on the market. It’s considered to be a piece of professional-grade training equipment, something you would recommend to a pro rower as an indoor/wintertime alternative to traditional water rowing. Although it’s still pricier than most of the regular home-gym machines, it still costs only about half of the Hydrow’s price

This is not a smart machine, so don’t expect any flat-screens, remote socializing, or live guidance. But instead of that, you’ll get a precise performance monitoring that provides you with all the important data. Check out our Concept 2 Model D review for more details.

Sunny Health & Fitness magnetic rowing machine

Sunny Health & Fitness magnetic rowing machine

If you found Concept 2 still too expensive, Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine will surely make you happier. This simple yet efficient rowing machine costs only a fraction of the Hydrow’s price and comes with a practical LCD monitoring panel that can help you take control over your performance and routines.

Sunny Health & Fitness magnetic rowing machine has an extra long slide rail, which means that it will perfectly accommodate even very tall people (up to 44 inches inseam).

There are eight resistance (difficulty) levels to choose from, and it also comes with transportation wheels – very convenient when you need to move the machine around.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you need more information, here are some of the commonly asked question on Hydrow, its performance, and its features:

Can you use Hydrow without a subscription?

Hydrow’s membership gives you access to all on-demand video training, live-streams, competitions, and many more smart features of this high-tech exercise equipment. Although it’s not entirely impossible to use Hydrow without these features (it will work only in ‘Just Row’ mode), they are considered to be an essential part of the experience.

Does Hydrow fold up?

Hydrow can be partially folded – collapsing its neck will result in stowing of the flat-screen and making the machine more compact. It’s recommended to store Hydrow in an upright/vertical position, but you have to buy a separately sold hardware kit for that.

Is Hydrow good for recovery?

Firstly, always consult any health conditions with your physician before taking on a new exercise routine. But in general, rowing as a zero-impact physical activity is definitely one of the safer and healthier sports for those who experience joint or knee issues or recently suffered an injury.

Conclusion

Hydrow is a smart rowing machine with some great features and a nice, upscale looking design. It also boasts great reviews from both amateur rowers and professionals.

This machine looks very good and feels even better thanks to its ergonomic design and numerous adjustable components. It also knows how to keep you motivated with conceptual training and interactive challenges.

Hydrow looks very durable and sturdy, so it could last much longer than its warranty guarantees. The only vulnerable part, in the long run, is probably its touch screen. The most obvious downside of this rowing machine is its high price, and there are also some minor functionality bugs to consider.

So, is the Hydrow really worth the investment?

If you can afford to spend so much on a piece of workout equipment, we believe it is. But if the price is out of your budget range, there are numerous great alternatives, such as the Concept 2 Model D and Sunny Health & Fitness, offering many of the Hydrow’s key features for significantly less.

See how Hydrow compares to others:

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