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The main benefit of home workout gear is obvious: you get to workout at home, of course! You can exercise at midnight if that’s the only time you can spare, look like total crap without anyone actually seeing you, not worry about how much you’re panting or sweating… For anyone who (a) loves working out and feels off if they skip it or (b) hates working out and needs it to be as easy and barrier-free as possible to get it over with, home fitness equipment is a godsend.
Personally, purchasing home gym equipment when my gyms closed (thanks, COVID!) was a game-changer. For the first time, I was able to workout late at night or squeeze in a 20-minute session on even the busiest days.
In under five minutes, I could go from deciding to workout to actually working out – and before I knew it, that class would be behind me, and I could shower and move on with my day. It also gave me the opportunity to try workouts I never would have if I had to be in a class with other people.
In this Mirror vs Hydrow comparison, we’re going to talk about and compare two leading pieces of home fitness equipment: Mirror, the original fitness mirror, and Hydrow, an in-home rowing machine. We’ll go over their pros and cons, and we’ll talk about who each type of gear is a good match for.
Main Differences Between Mirror vs Hydrow
The main differences between Mirror vs Hydrow are:
- Mirror is a fitness mirror, whereas Hydrow is a rowing machine.
- Mirror has a large assortment of workout types, whereas Hydrow is limited to rowing, strength, yoga and Pilates classes.
- Mirror doesn’t provide equipment, whereas the Hydrow is the equipment you’ll use to workout.
- Mirror doesn’t have a touchscreen, while Hydrow’s display is a touchscreen.
Mirror vs Hydrow Overviews
Mirror, the O.G. fitness mirror, launched in 2018, and while there are many more fitness mirrors on the market today, it’s still a major competitor in the field. Lululemon acquired the company in 2020. Hydrow has been around for just a little while longer, having launched in 2017.
When it comes to which piece of home workout equipment is better, it depends on your preferences. Personally, as a rowing lover, the Hydrow is more appealing to me than the Mirror. But if you’re not into rowing or you want a more well-rounded list of workout options, the Mirror is a better choice.
Mirror also takes up considerably less space the the Hydrow and does a much better job of blending into your decor, simply turning into a standard mirror when not in use. But if you have dedicated gym space in your home, that may not matter much.
Mirror vs Hydrow: Equipment
The Mirror is tall and skinny, and it’s pretty much a standard (albeit high-quality) full-length mirror. The glass is very clear – there’s no tint or anything on it that would make it less translucent. And it doesn’t look like a piece of workout equipment when it’s not in use, so it really can go anywhere, even a central location like the living room.
Here are the Mirror’s specs:
- 43-inch Full HD 1080p display, 178-degree viewing angle
- 56 inches high by 22.4 inches wide by 1.4 inches deep
- 70 pounds
- Carbon steel frame with mineral bronze powder coat
- Four high-fidelity speakers, six drivers, two subwoofers
Mirror has its own accessories that you can buy, too, like ankle weights and hand weights. And if you purchase the Mirror heart-rate monitor, it will sync to the Mirror to track your stats, like calories burned. But other fitness trackers may work this way, too, so consider what you already have before you spend the money on something new. You’ll connect to the Mirror via Bluetooth.
The Hydrow isn’t a fitness mirror; instead, it’s a rowing machine with an attached touchscreen that displays the guided (or unguided) workout. The 10-roller seat is cushioned and ergonomic to keep you comfortable throughout the whole workout.
You can adjust the foot bed, too, to get your foot placement just right. The company also claims that the machine is practically silent, making it a good option if you have other people in the house or building who you don’t want to annoy with your workouts.
Here are the Hydrow’s specs:
- 22-inch touchscreen, 1920 x 1080 Full HD, 15-degree angle adjustment
- 86 inches long by 25 inches wide by 47 inches high
- 145 pounds
- Aluminum and steel frame
- Front-facing speakers
- Weight limit of 375 pounds
The machine’s wheel system makes it possible to move it around the house, so you can take it out when you need it and then put it away when you’re finished or when you need to make room for company. There’s also an upright position that you can store it in to save on space, and the monitor folds flat for storage, but you have to plan for a few more inches – 25 inches wide by 33 inches deep by 86 inches high.
Classes and Personal Coaching
Mirror Classes and Personal Coaching
Mirror offers a broad assortment of on-demand and live classes to choose from, including:
- Tai chi
Some classes require equipment like dumbbells, but if you don’t want to purchase that, there are still plenty of options for working out sans equipment. Note that the Mirror’s classes are accessed, started and stopped through the app – the Mirror itself doesn’t have a touchscreen.
One-on-one personal training with a Mirror coach is available for $40 per session, and classes are half an hour long. Other family members can join the session, too, for no extra cost.
Hydrow Classes and Personal Coaching
The Hydrow’s library of workouts has classes that range from meditative and restorative to challenging and heart-pumping. There are both on-demand and live classes, as well as unguided rows through beautiful waterways that let you go at your own pace. (I do similar workouts on my at-home machine, and they’re excellent for those times when you need to move but don’t want to watch a trainer or hear instructions while you do.
Queue up your favorite playlist or podcast and just enjoy the ride.) The machine’s technology is supposed to make you feel like you’re on the water, thanks to a patented “drag” mechanism.
If you want to get off the machine for a recovery or strength day, there are yoga, Pilates and strength mat classes you can take. Plus, a single session of real-time, one-on-one personal coaching is included in each package, and you can add more 30-minute sessions starting at $79.
Pricing and Membership
Mirror Pricing and Membership
The Mirror’s base package is around $1,495, and that includes the Mirror itself, along with the stand and the lens cap for the built-in camera. Financing is available with 0% APR, if you qualify, and you can opt for 12, 24 or 48 monthly payments that start at $21.
Without the membership, the Mirror is simply a Mirror, so you’ll want to pay for it. The cost is $39 per month, and you’re required to make a one-year commitment when you first get the equipment.
Hydrow Pricing and Membership
The base Hydrow Rower package, which includes the rower and 1:1 personal coaching, is around $2,495. If you need financing, you may be able to get $70-per-month payments with 0% APR, if you qualify. If you need the Upright Storage Kit, it’s an extra $80.
The required All-Access Membership is sold separately and costs $38 per month. You’ll get access to the workouts library, and you can create unlimited profiles, which means anyone in your household can have their own profile for no extra cost.
The Pros and Cons of Mirror vs Hydrow
- Broad list of workout types
- Blends into decor
- Low monthly payments with financing
- No touchscreen capability
- Instructor is small on the screen
- Your reflection is the only guidance about form
- Rowing classes, ideal if you like to row
- Touchscreen attached to rower
- Optional upright-position storage
- Takes up a significant amount of floor space
- Limited workout types
- Very expensive
Which Home Fitness Equipment Should You Choose?
Ultimately, any piece of home gym equipment will be worth it if you like it and use it; and not worth it if you don’t like it or use it. You have to consider your fitness goals, what you like vs. what you don’t like, and your preferences re: gym equipment, types of classes, where you want to workout, etc. Just because something can work and looks cool on social media, that doesn’t make it the right fit for you.
Why Should You Choose Mirror?
If you’re limited on space and want home workout equipment that’s not going to be intrusive, get the Mirror. When not in use, it looks and functions like a high-quality mirror, and it can be placed anywhere, so long as there’s some floor place in front of it for you to exercise. It’s also much less costly than the Hydrow, so unless you absolutely love rowing classes, you’ll probably get more use out of the Mirror (thanks to its broad range of workouts) for a much lower cost.
Why Should You Choose Hydrow?
If your main goal is to have an at-home rower and that’s the specific type of exercise you’re interested in, go with the Hydrow. Mirror doesn’t have rowing classes (even if you were to bring the app to the gym and use the rower there), so you’re out of luck if that’s what you’re after. You can also mix in a few other types of stretching and strength workouts to round out your week.
Again, though, Hydrow’s high price tag and space commitment are only worth it if you really, really love rowing – otherwise, a different type of home workout equipment or even a low-cost gym membership may be better for you.
Question: Which exercise machine is the most effective?
Answer: The exercise machines that give you the most bang for your buck in terms of burning calories are treadmills, rowers, indoor bikes, stair climbers and ellipticals. However, the absolute best workout is the one you’ll do, so while running on a treadmill or rowing may scorch more calories than a dance cardio class, if the only workout you’ll do is a dance cardio one, that’s the best one for you.
Question: Can you use Mirror without a subscription?
Answer: No. If you don’t have access to the Mirror app, the equipment is going to be nothing more than a traditional mirror. Also, when you first purchase the equipment, you’re required to sign up for a one-year subscription. After that, you’ll pay for the membership each month.
Question: Can you use Hydrow without a subscription?
Answer: Yes, you can use the Hydrow without a rowing machine. You’ll use the Just Row feature, which is limited in functionality.
Question: What are some Mirror and Hydrow alternatives?
Answer: If you want equipment in addition to a fitness mirror, consider the fitness mirror from Tempo, which comes with a barbell, a dumbbell, weight plates and a foam roller. Plus, there’s room on the equipment to store it all.
There’s also the Tonal fitness mirror, which has a digital resistance system, a good option if you’re most interested in strength workouts instead of cardio.
If not having a touchscreen on the Mirror is a deal-breaker, consider the 50-inch Echelon fitness mirror. It’s right around the same price point, and it has that modern and much-needed touchscreen functionality.
As for a Hydrow alternative, if the price tag is scaring you away, consider the Echelon Smart Rower. You still get the rowing machine and an app and membership with access to a bunch of classes, but no screen is included – you’ll use your own tablet or phone instead. That knocks the price down considerably.
To save even more money, consider the ProForm 750R. Again, there’s no built-in screen, so you’ll use your own device. And the iFit membership is extremely cost-effective, plus it includes all sorts of non-rowing workouts for when you want to mix it up.
While I understand and appreciate the benefits of both Mirror vs Hydrow, I have to say that the Hydrow is the better investment – if you’re going to use it, that is. For people who love rowing, like I do, having one in your home that you can use any time, along with guided classes, is unparalleled. Sure, most gyms have a rowing machine, but if you love this type of workout, being able to do it every day, whenever you want is a huge luxury.
That said, if you’re not into rowing but you still want to get your fitness in at home, the Mirror isn’t a bad option. To get the most value out of it, though, take advantage of personal training – otherwise, it’s basically an extremely expensive mirror that plays workout videos, and there are much more cost-effective solutions that are comparable.