- 1 Main Differences Between Hydrow vs Concept2
- 2 Why should I consider a rowing machine?
- 3 Are there any reasons why I shouldn’t buy a rowing machine?
- 4 Is Hydrow or Concept2 the better rowing machine?
- 5 Space Saving
- 6 Pricing and Model Options
- 7 Construction and Comfort
- 8 Flywheel
- 9 Tech Features
- 10 Streaming Workouts
- 11 Customer Experience
- 12 FAQs
- 13 Final Verdict
Main Differences Between Hydrow vs Concept2
The main differences between Hydrow vs Concept2 are:
- Hydrow is more expensive but offers live-streaming classes, whereas Concept2 is cheaper and can sync with apps
- Hydrow is made of stainless steel and aluminum, whereas Concept 2 has a steel frame
- Hydrow has an electromagnetic flywheel, whereas Concept2 has an air flywheel
Gina Vaynshetyn, owner and writer of the lifestyle blog, Scary Mommy had a problem. Avid about keeping herself in shape with workouts, she’s always included a variety of workouts in her daily routine, from yoga sessions to treadmill running.
She also found herself living in Los Angeles during a pandemic. As gyms closed, and restrictions for going out were employed, Vaynshetyn glanced around her cramped office and came up with a solution: space-efficient exercise home gym equipment, one that would give her both resistance and some cardio training.
But while that may have worked as a solution for Vaynshetyn, is a rowing machine right for you? And which is the best rowing machine?
In this article, I’ll explain why a rowing machine is a better choice than ever for staying at home, and tell you, compared, is Hydrow vs Concept2 is more worth your money.
Why should I consider a rowing machine?
If you’ve come to this article, you’re likely already on the hunt for a rowing machine, but choosing to invest in one piece of equipment over another can be challenging.
Many struggle with deciding, for example, between a treadmill vs an elliptical. But a rowing machine has unique benefits of its own.
Rowing machines save space
Although not universally true, rowing machines don’t tend to be quite as bulky as some equipment, especially something like a whole home gym machine.
Plus, some of the best rowing machines offer an option to further save space by folding up, making it a great option even for home offices or apartments. And if you need to move your rowing machine, it’s an easier task than moving a treadmill, most of the time.
Rowing machines can be used by nearly anyone
Rowing machines may be a better alternative to some other home workout equipment because they are considered to provide low impact exercise.
Low impact exercise still has benefits like improving resistance, strength, and supporting heart health, but makes you less prone to injuries. Low impact workouts are a good solution to reduce the stress on joints and muscles and perfect to pair for cross-training with something like HIT workouts to keep yourself healthy.
Not only that, but rowing machines are also intuitive to use. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it takes me a while to get used to new exercise equipment. While that’s true, rowing machines tend to be pretty straightforward.
Rowing machines provide a cardio workout
I love running, but I’m careful to mix up my workouts. It turns out that rowing machines are a great way to get in some cardio.
Rowing doesn’t burn as many calories as treadmill running, but it can still be a good calorie burner and actually works more muscles than running. Cardiovascular exercise not only protects your heart, by helping blood pump more efficiently; it also supports other organ health, improves mental health, and regulates your sleep-wake cycle.
Rowing machines provide resistance training
You may think you need weight lifting equipment, or even resistance bands, for resistance training, but rowing machines like Hydrow and Concept2 both are a form of resistance training.
While I love my cardio, it’s just as important to get in some resistance training. In fact, resistance training can help your performance in other athletic endeavors, by improving flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. It also can help you keep pounds off by improving your body fat to muscle ratio.
Are there any reasons why I shouldn’t buy a rowing machine?
Of course, I don’t recommend even the best rowing machines for everyone. If you can safely get outside, you’ll save money–rowing machines can be affordable, but they’re still an investment.
Finally, while it is true that rowing machines provide a great workout, they aren’t the very top for calorie burning, and, unless you really love it, doing only rowing workouts could get dull.
Overall, I still highly recommend rowing machines, but it’s important to keep in mind your personal preferences, budget, and priorities.
Is Hydrow or Concept2 the better rowing machine?
While initially, I was interested in both, I wanted to see which machine, Hydrow vs Concept2, is the better overall value for your money.
Size is going to be an important factor in whether or not a rowing machine will work for your space. Here, it’s not so much that smaller is better, but how it accommodates your living situation.
Hydrow indoor rowing machines have dimensions of 86 inches in length by 25 inches in width and 47 inches in height.
They can be stored and folded up vertically to 25 inches in width, 33 inches in depth, and 86 inches in height. However, this storage option requires the additional purchase of the Upright Storage Kit. The kit adds $70 to your cost.
Concept2 indoor rowing machines measure 96 inches in height by 24 inches in width by 54 inches in length for Model D and E; and 76 inches in length by 24.3 inches in
width for the dynamic rower. The model D and E can be stored in two parts, by the dynamic rower cannot.
Hydrow, as a whole, will save you a bit more space. Not only does it take up less floor space when in use, but it also can be stored more efficiently. I do wish you didn’t have to pay an extra $70 to do so, however.
While Hydrow does save you space, compared with Concept2’s models D and E, the bigger advantage is easy storage.
Pricing and Model Options
Let’s face it: a rowing machine can have all the features you want, but pricing and financing options are always a factor in any decision.
While price should not be the deciding factor, it needs to be at least on your mind. You also need to consider what you get for your money and if you’ll use those features.
Hydrow is, on face value, noticeably more expensive than Concept2 rowing machines. Hydrow starts at around $2,000 (at a discounted price) for its most affordable package and goes up to $2,700 for its most expensive package.
The $2,000 price point gets you just the rowing machine. At the $2,200 price point, you’ll get the starter package, which includes the machine, plus a safety mat, heart rate monitor, and headphones.
At the $2,700 price point, the package includes all the workout accessories already mentioned, plus yoga blocks, resistance bands, and a foam roller.
Hydrow does offer to finance for its indoor rowing machines, and occasional deals for free shipping and additional price cuts.
Concept Power 2
Concept Power 2 retails for $900 to $1,250 for its three models. Model D, at the $900 price point, gives you the basic features, and each model progressively adds different options.
The most expensive– the Dynamic Rower– is meant to mimic water rowing. The price includes just the rowing machines. Currently, there is a waiting list and a shortage of Concept2 Rowers, but this is likely to change as we head further into 2021.
If you’re on a tight budget, Concept2 offers substantially more affordable options. This isn’t to say it is a better overall value, but I do appreciate not only the lower price, but also the ability to buy just the machine, and focus on the different models vs extras. I do love that both have three different options and are transparent about their pricing.
Construction and Comfort
Durable construction, a solid frame, and sturdiness make for more lasting and smoother workouts. Meanwhile, for comfort, I look for materials; adjustable handles and seats, and ergonomic designs.
These features are important for those with back problems especially, but ideal for anyone planning to do workouts on a regular basis.
Hydrow’s indoor rowing machine’s cushion and is centered around an ergonomic design using a special 10 roller system. The handle is ergonomic and there’s an adjustable footbed. The frame is made out of steel and aluminum with an anthracite polymer body.
Concept2 indoor rowing machines feature nickel-plated chains, welded steel for the frame, and powder coating for the finish. All models feature ergonomic handles and adjustable foot pedals as well.
Depending on the model, there are a few variations, but overall these rowers appear to be sturdy and well built, but with slightly less cushioning.
Overall, all options from both Hydrow and Concept2 appear to provide sturdy and comfortable indoor rowing machines. I give the edge to Hydrow, for lightweight stability and a few more features.
The flywheel is, without a doubt, one of the most important features of an indoor rowing machine. I always look for multiple resistance levels, and whether it’s powered by a fan, or by magnetic resistance. Fan flywheels tend to be a bit noisier and less smooth.
Hydrow rowing machines are driven by electromagnetic and computer technology, ensuring a smooth and quiet ride.
Concept2 indoor rowing machines feature air and battery-driven flywheels, with different levels of resistance. Their most expensive model does also includes a damper for quick and safe adjustment.
Hydrow, without a doubt, will provide a smoother and more comfortable experience. While this isn’t a must for everyone, it’s something to consider if noise is a big factor and if you want an intuitive feel similar to something like a stationary bike. It also does a better job of mimicking the smooth movements associated with water rowing.
Technology isn’t a must by any means- you can get great workouts from indoor rowing machines no matter how much or how few btech features you get. However, extra tech features can mean a more immersive experience, and can just be practical.
Hydrow indoor rowing machines come with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection; and a PCP 22-inch touchscreen, which displays workouts and time. You can also purchase a separate heart rate monitor.
Concept2 indoor rowing machines come with Bluetooth connection, USB input, and heart rate monitors.
While both have enough options for an immersive experience, Hydrow tops Concept2, with its modern touchscreen, wi-fi connection, and overall design.
I love working out alone, but I love some motivation, too. The option to live stream or access workouts can motivate you to push yourself to your limits, vary your workouts, and give you at least a similar experience to going to a gym.
Hydrow offers both live and on-demand classes, streamed through the touchscreen and available via Bluetooth and Wi-fi connectivity.
Workouts also feature scenic ‘on the river’ visualization and are led by experienced rowers. In addition, workouts for yoga, pilates, and strength are options if you buy the right package.
There’s also an app and an online social media community. There is a caveat: membership for one year costs $475, after one year of free membership.
Concept2 does have that Bluetooth connectivity, which syncs with third-party workout apps. There’s also the option to ride with someone else, with the purchase of the Dynamic Link. This helps those who train with someone else, but it requires that you both have a dynamic rowing machine.
While I do think that a dynamic link is a great option for a rowing team who can’t practice in the same physical space, for the most part, Hydrow offers a better experience, with a variety of live streaming and on-demand workouts.
Though while still less expensive than some gym memberships, it’s quite pricey–which means that it may not be affordable for all.
For the overall experience, I always look at other customer’s experiences, but also important policies such as warranties and refunds.
Hydrow offers a 30-day risk-free trial with its equipment, and also a reasonable warranty. Hydrow warranties cover five years for the frame and storage kits, as well as one year for electronics and labor.
You can also purchase an extended warranty plan, which offers accidental damage and electronic support after the one year warranty expires.
As far as consumer experience, Hydrow has an unofficial A-minus rating on BBB. On TrustPilot, Hydrow averages 4.7 out of 5 stars, with an impressive 85 percent giving it the highest possible rating of 5 out of 5 stars. Most complaints were mild and had some concerns about wi-fi connectivity.
Concept2 also offers warranty protection. You’ll get a five year warranty on the frame, and that warranty can transfer to a new owner. In addition, there’s a two-year warranty on additional parts.
Concept2 has an A plus rating on BBB. On TrustPilot, there were far less reviews than there were for Hydrow, but the reviews still averaged at 4.4 out of 5 stars, with 86 percent giving it the highest rating. Complaints didn’t center around the equipment itself but did include delivery service issues.
This is a tight race, but Hydrow barely gets the edge. While it has an ever so slightly lower BBB rating, it does have more reviews, a higher average, and slightly fewer pointed complaints. However, both Hydrow and Concept2 enjoy high levels of customer satisfaction, as well as reasonable warranties.
Answer: Neither Hydrow nor Concept2 are considered to be water rowing machines, as they both use a flywheel. However, Hydrow’s technology is meant to mimic a water rower, as is the most expensive Concept2, dynamic rower.
Answer: You can’t easily watch Netflix directly through Hydrow or Concept2. Hydrow does offer a screen for on-demand streaming workouts. Concept2, meanwhile, can sync with some fitness apps.
Answer: You can lose weight with any indoor rowing machine. Indoor rowing machines burn calories, build muscle, and can increase your basal metabolic rate by optimizing your body fat to muscle ratio. Of course, weight loss is not guaranteed with any fitness program, and has to be accompanied by a healthy diet.
Both Hydrow and Concept2 offer great equipment and options, depending on your needs, both with pros and cons. I love Concept2 for a budget-friendly option that still gives you a great workout.
That said, if you have a higher budget, I’d go with the Hydrow Rowing Machine. It just has enough more features and advantages for interesting workouts, overall experience, and slightly better customer service.
Interested in buying Hydrow? Shop Here.
Still interested in a great, cheaper alternative? Check out my review of Concept2 vs Waterrower Here.