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I have only had a limited amount of rowing experience, but the Hydrow makes me feel like I am ready to race the Charles.

Black woman smiling and sitting on Hydrow rowing exercise machine in her living room
Photo Courtesy of Hydrow

The Hydrow uses patented technology to make you feel like you are on the water.

It has a built-in 22-inch (56- cm) screen that has a built-in streaming workout feature.

A quick look at the pros and cons


  • The aesthetic is sleek and modern.
  • It is easy to use.
  • There is a good variety in the workouts.
  • The coaches are engaging.
  • Excellent workout, targeting muscles.
  • Low impact exercise builds strength.


  • It is expensive.
  • The coaches could be more diverse.
  • Monthly membership is not included in the initial cost.

I work at Healthline as a fitness editor.

Healthline Media product testing profile for Saralyn Ward
Graphic by Ruth Basagoitia

To be honest, rowing has never been my favorite exercise. To begin with, I live in landlocked Colorado, so rowing on water isn’t really an option.

I never wanted to draw attention to myself on the cardio floor at the gym because the rogmeters were loud and clunky.

Before I got a Hydrow, I only had a weekend kayaking trip in college and a summer at Girl Scout camp to experience rowing.

The Hydrow is not very long. I was surprised at how little space it required.

It is 86 inches long, 25 inches wide, and 47 inches tall. The wheels make it easy to move, but it weighs about 70 kilo.

You can store the Hydrow vertically with an upright storage conversion kit.

The Hydrow comes at a hefty price, so the review gets a little less rosy. You can expect to spend a lot of money on this machine.

There are more accessories on the company website. These include:

  • A foam roller.
  • The yoga block is $30.
  • A multi-use mat.
  • The heart rate monitor is for $90.
  • The headphones are wireless.
  • The machine mat is made of mat.
  • The upright storage kit is worth about 80 dollars.
  • The multi-resistance band kit is $100.

The company has preset packages that you may want to consider.

For example, the essentials package listed on Hydrow’s website includes the machine, a machine mat, a heart rate monitor, and 1:1 personal coaching. It will set you back $2,625 at the time of publication.

If you decide that this fits in your budget, you will also have to pay $38 per month or $450 per year for the Hydrow membership, which delivers the workouts either to your machine or the mobile app.

The good news? You can create multiple profiles with one membership, so my husband and I can track our progress individually.

I found it easy to start with the Hydrow for someone who has never rowed before. It is far from the rowing machines I used at the gym.

The seat is comfortable, the drag feels like it is in water, and the machine is quiet.

I feel great working out on the Hydrow and I am looking forward to my rowing workouts. Did you know rowing uses a lot of your muscles?

But while rowing is cardio exercise that will make you sweat, the workout is still low impact and feels equally like strength training for my core, legs, upper back, and shoulders. Working out on the Hydrow strikes a good balance between accessibility and challenge.

In fact, about a month after using the Hydrow regularly, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a ski accident, and after a few weeks of letting the swelling go down, I was back on the Hydrow for pre-hab before surgery.

When you first start using the Hydrow, you will be prompted through three simple workouts for learning proper technique, understanding the onscreen metrics, and getting used to the cues.

“Those workouts are helpful, but they aren’t an accurate indicator of how you’ll feel when you start working out. I was not sure if the Hydrow would raise my heart rate, but I was wrong.”

Once I started trying all the options in the library, I was excited to get back on the Hydrow time and again. New workouts are added every day, and they run the gamut from 59-minute “journey” rows without a coach to 15-minute yoga and Pilates mat sessions to 5-minute cooldowns and plank challenges.

The majority of the rowing workouts with Hydrow Athletes last 15 or 20 minutes, which is perfect for busy parents like me or for people doing mix-and-match custom workouts. The scenery is amazing.

You can row from New Orleans to the Charles River, from Lake Winnipesaukee to Miami Beach, and everywhere in between. I have seen a few places that I want to check out in real life, and I know nothing about camping at Apache Lake in Arizona.

A quick look at the Hydrow’s specs:


The 86′′L x25′′W x 47′′H is 218 cm x 63 cm.


The weight is 146 pounds (66 kilograms) and is boxed.

Height limit

It can fit up to a 36” inseam.

Weight limit

It can hold up to 375 pounds.

Screen resolution

1920 x1080 Full HD

Screen size


“The Hydrow Athletes are real. They aren’t reading from a script and the workouts aren’t overly produced.”

Sometimes the Athletes tell personal stories or wear socks that are not matching, and sometimes they stray off course and have to adjust the boat. Many are professional or collegiate rowers, and they are all upbeat and engaging.

There is not a lot of diversity in the lineup. It would be great to see some of the older coaches.

“I don’t ID’d when I buy alcohol anymore, so I would like to see someone like me steering the ship. It would make me want to push my time more, because I know there are people who are older than me.”

The Hydrow has a function that allows you to see who you are racing against. You can see where you stand on the leaderboard by using the filters, so you know who you are. You can follow other Hydrow members via the app.

“The app is portable, even though the machine isn’t. The 15-minute strength workouts on the app are great for people who travel and want to keep fit.”

“I didn’t expect to like the Hydrow as much as I do. I look forward to using it because it makes workouts quick, effective, and entertaining.”

But the real proof of how great it is? My husband is the first one to use the Hydrow daily, and that is saying something when you are married to a fitness editor who brings home a lot of gear.

My husband only likes to exercise if it involves chasing a ball. He is rowing every day after the kids go to bed. I owe the Hydrow to keep our family healthy.

Absolutely. I will be back on the Hydrow within a day or two. I will be checking out what new workouts have been added.

Ready to shop for the Hydrow?

Visit the shop page on Hydrow’s website to see the most current equipment packages available.

The Hydrow is well worth the money, if you have the money to spend. You’ll get a better upper body and core workout on the Hydrow than you would on a stationary bike, and it takes up way less space than a treadmill.

Core work alone is something that will benefit your daily activity and function, and you will get more variety from the workouts than you would with other cardio equipment.

If you are considering the Hydrow, you will be happy.

In the year of 2017: Hydrow was founded. Whitney Cummings, a celebrity, and other investors have joined the company. Kevin Hart was named the creative director.

The Better Business Bureau does not accredited it, but it has a B+ rating from the organization. The organization has closed 8 complaints in the last 3 years and 5 in the last 12 months.

Trustpilot gave Hydrow an excellent rating. It has a 4.5 out of 5 star average with 9,177 reviews. Less than 3% of the ratings are 2 out of 5 or 1 out of 5, and 80% of the star ratings are 5 out of 5.

Wondering how Hydrow stacks up to the competition? Here is a quick breakdown.

Price Size and weight Best for Considerations
Hydrow $2,495 86″ x 25″ x 47″ (218 cm x 63 cm x 119 cm)

145 lbs (66 kg)

those who enjoy scenic views while doing their rowing workouts It costs an additional $38/month or $456/year for the Hydrow membership.

You’ll need internet and an electrical outlet to use this machine even on the Just Row (no membership) mode.

Ergatta $2,199 86″ x 23″ x 40″ (218 cm x 58 cm x 102 cm)

103 lbs (47 kg) with water and 76.5 lbs (35 kg) empty

those wanting to compete against other home rowers It costs an additional $28/month or $319 for the first year ($348 for subsequent years) for the Ergatta membership.
Concept2 RowErg $900 for the standard legs version

$1,050 for the tall legs version

96″ x 24″ x 14″ (244 cm x 61 cm x 35 cm) for standard legs

96″ x 24″x 20″ (244 cm x 61 cm x 51 cm) for tall legs

57 lbs (26 kg) with standard legs; 68 lbs (31 kg) with tall legs

those who want to save some money and don’t care about having all the latest technology features Both versions can fit inseams up to 38” (96.5 cm), so you don’t have to buy the tall leg version based on your height.

This rower does not have a touchscreen. You’ll have to connect another device or app to it if you want to do live workouts.

NordicTrack RW900 $1,799 82″ x 22″ x 54″ (208 cm x 56 cm x 137 cm)

163 lbs (74 kg) in box

those who already have an iFit membership and are looking for devices that will work with it It includes a free 30-day iFit membership, then iFit membership will cost $39/month. (Individual membership plans can be purchased for $180/year or Family memberships for $396/year.)
CityRow Go Max $2,195 83.5″ x 22.25″ x 20″ (212 cm x 57 cm x 51 cm)

61 lbs (28 kg) without water or 98 lbs (44.5 kg) with water

those who love a wide variety of exercise classes. The touchscreen tablet on the Max will only work with the CityRow Go App. The app costs $29/month or $348/year (after a 14-day free trial).

Can I use Hydrow without a membership?

“You can use Hydrow in Just Row mode if you don’t have a membership. You can use the onscreen rowing metrics during the workout, connect with the heart rate monitor only, and adjust resistance levels in this mode.”

You will need a membership to access pre recorded and live workouts, music, any stored records of progress, weekly challenges, and access to the leaderboard.

Even Just Row mode requires internet access and a working electrical outlet.

How does Ergatta compare to Hydrow?

Both Ergatta and Hydrow are high end rowing machines. Ergatta has a slightly more competition focused approach to training than Hydrow.

“The biggest physical difference between the two machines is that Ergatta uses water resistance, while the Hydrow uses magnetic resistance. You won’t be able to choose resistance levels like you would on the Hydrow. The pace of your rowing will increase or decrease resistance.”

You can check the chart above to see how these two rowing machines compare.

Is the Hydrow easy to move around?

The Hydrow has two front wheels that make it easy to move short distances. An unboxed assembled machine can be lifted by two people and weigh about 140 pounds. If you want to do a workout on the floor, you can just move the display screen and it will work.

Can you play music on Hydrow?

“You won’t be able to play your own music on Hydrow. It is not currently designed to receive audio from your phone.”

I give the Hydrow two thumbs up. I am surprised at how much I enjoy it. I am a convert now. I will be in my basement at the foot of the Rockies, imagining myself on the open water.