In order to keep our content free, this post may contain affiliate links.

Have you been bit by the fitness bug? Millions of Americans are flocking to the stores (or online) to purchase new at-home fitness equipment. Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on gym memberships and deal with crowded gyms, people are taking advantage of more innovative and immersive at-home connected workout experiences.

With multiple brands like Hydrow and WaterRower competing for your business, there has never been a better time to be in search of high-quality yet affordable and practical home workout equipment. If you have committed yourself to purchase a rowing machine, you will likely find yourself choosing between these two brands. After all, they are two of the most popular and best value options in the marketplace.

By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of what each rower offers and how to select the best one for yourself.

Features Comparison: What The WaterRower and Hydrow Each Have To Offer

1. Hydrow

an overview of the Hydrow Rower

  • Designed To Perfection

Hydrow is a beautiful piece of machinery. You can tell the design was truly from the ground up as it displays a level of sophistication you don’t see with a lot of workout equipment. Hydrow wanted to create a machine that was “elegant and sophisticated for the home” but one that was also “unmatched in performance and built to last” [1]. While a lot of manufacturers and brands are setting out to create unique centerpieces for homes, they often make durability or performance sacrifices to do so. Hydrow managed to design something that offers a delicate balance between the two which helps ensure you are getting both aesthetics and unrivaled performance.

  • Built For Immersion

One of the main reasons you might be willing to spend so much money on a rowing machine is due to the unmatched experience you get from it. Hydrow managed to deliver one of the most immersive experiences you will get from any piece of workout machine in the marketplace. With a huge and immersive 22-inch touchscreen display with incredible vibrancy, it can make you feel as though you are rowing on water. Not to mention, the display has front-firing speakers that can help add to the level of immersion you already get with the crystal clear display. You will truly be captivated by the experience the moment you sit down and start rowing.

  • It Doesn’t End There

The Hydrow features a patented drag mechanism that is designed to mimic the natural feeling and resistance you would get from being on the water. It uses an electromagnetic mechanism that is computer-controlled. Therefore, it can simulate the exact feeling and resistance you would get from rowing on a natural body of water.

Best of all, it operates smoothly and without generating too much noise. A big problem with some rowing machines along with a lot of other workout equipment is the impracticality of them. After all, not everyone wants their living room to sound like a gym. With Hydrow’s smooth and silent operation, there are no worries about disturbing your roommates or anyone living with you.

  • Designed for Comfort

Hydrow didn’t just design a machine with performance and aesthetics in mind. Hydrow managed to integrate a 10-roller system seat in a place that was designed with ergonomics in mind. With proper ergonomics and ample cushioning, you will be able to get highly effective workouts comfortably no matter the duration. This can keep you wanting to workout rather than dreading it.

2. WaterRower

waterrower overview

  • Functional, Practical, and Appealing

WaterRower designs and makes its machines in the USA. Best of all, they do so from replenishable sources. With a high level of Eco-friendly commitment, you can rest easy knowing you are supporting a responsible company. However, what they do is create fitness furniture. In fact, on their website, they describe their rowing machines as “functional fitness furniture” [2]. The reason is simple, they believe that rowing machines and other workout equipment shouldn’t be unsightly nor hidden away. Instead, the rowing machines should be able to be stored in an upright position when not in use to ensure they can fit right in with the living room without sticking out like a sore thumb. This is something WaterRower absolutely excels at and their rowing machine will surely be a talking point at your next dinner party because of it.

  • Multiple Models To Choose From

Unlike Hydrow, you aren’t limited to a single model. Instead, you will be able to choose from 10 different models. Each come with their unique aesthetic, building materials, and features. This should give you more freedom to find a rower that is perfect for you.

  • Water Resistance Offers A Superior Rowing Workout

The WaterRower comes with a unique resistance mechanism that is arguably the most authentic. After all, a rowing machine is meant to simulate rowing on water. What better way to simulate this than by actually rowing on water? The WaterRower features a unique WaterFlywheel design that utilizes a specially designed and formed paddle that cups the moving water. This reduces any slippage and it helps to recreate the feeling of rowing on water.

Therefore, you could argue it offers one of the best and most realistic recreations that you will find as there is no jerking or jarring effect that is typically very prominent on rowing machines that use mechanical movements. Likewise, each stroke is completely even which can lead to a much more balanced workout.

CITYROW makes our favorite version of the WaterRower, plus it features an awesome connected workout experience – get details at their website:

Check CITYROW’s current prices

Resistance Comparison

1. Hydrow

As mentioned, Hydrow uses its own patented drag mechanism. This mechanism is both electromagnetic and computer-controlled. Therefore, it does its best to simulate the real feeling of riding on water. For what’s its worth, it does an incredible job and it’s high-level construction and design make it incredibly realistic and immersive.

2. WaterRower

WaterRower uses water resistance. Because it features such a design, it offers instant resistance with absolutely no jarring or jerking during exercise. Perhaps best of all, it offers much more even strokes for a more balanced workout with a smoother connection which can inherently reduce the risk of injury due to giving you more give if you are someone who uses poor technique during your rowing exercise [2].

Winner: Tie

Connected Fitness Comparison

1. Hydrow Connected Workouts

This is where Hydrow shines. Hydrow offers a connected workout experience that trumps what you will get with a lot of competing options.

  • Live and On-Demand Workouts

With Hydrow, you are getting access to both live and on-demand workouts. Meaning, you will be able to partake in live workouts with real athletes in real-time on the water. This can help improve your rowing workouts and drive you to continue pushing yourself. With the ability to tap into the on-demand workouts, you will never have to row alone again. For some, the feeling of being alone can cause them to slack off. With on-demand workout options, you will be able to take any row whenever you want.

  • Immersive Workout Journeys

Hydrow is all about making your at-home workouts as immersive as possible. With Hydrow, you will get access to scenic waterways that you can explore on your own which can help you work out and explore at your own pace. This can make the act of working out much more fun for those who aren’t necessarily thrilled with the idea of structured workouts. This, in combination with the immersive experience you get with the features of the Hydrow machine, makes it one of the most immersive rowing experiences you will find available.

  • More Than Rowing

With Hydrow, you are getting access to a lot more exercise content than just rowing. While rowing is certainly the sweet spot with Hydrow’s subscription because the workouts are optimized to deliver the best rowing experience, you get on the mat workouts along with it. You will be able to choose from yoga to Pilates and even strength training workouts that you can use to diversify your exercise routine. This will help you turn your Hydrow membership into a full-on total body workout option.

2. WaterRower Workout Options

The WaterRower itself is connected, but there are specific upgrades you can opt for that can take your water rowing experience to the next level. One of the standouts for WaterRower would have to be the CITYROW GO. This rowing machine stands toe to toe with any rowing machine available in the marketplace. It combines the best of WaterRower’s design and water rowing implementation with some of the better-connected experiences you will find.

  • More Than Rowing

Like Hydrow, you are getting a membership that includes much more than rowing workouts. Along with optimized rowing workouts, you will be able to take part in signature HIIT classes, endurance classes, strength training workouts, and even yoga workouts. CITYROW GO offers a lot of value with diverse workouts that should give you plenty for your money.

  • Real-Time Feedback

CITYROW GO offers something that you may need for in-workout motivation. That is real-time metrics. With the display, you will be able to see a range of metrics that can be highly motivating. These metrics can push you to continue with your rowing and to help you reach new heights. You will find how many meters you’ve rowed, your time, any personal records you have, your pace, and even your total minutes rowed. All of these things can motivate you to continue.

  • On-Demand Classes

As with Hydrow, you are getting access to an on-demand library of classes. This will give you the ability to choose your workout at your leisure. You will also be able to take advantage of the brand new content that gets released weekly to ensure you never get bored with your workouts.

RELATED: Ergatta vs WaterRower

Winner: Tie (Just Depends on the Connected Experience You Prefer)

Price Comparison

1. Hydrow Pricing Options

2. WaterRower Pricing Options

  • Starting at $895 up to $2,500.

If you opt for CITYROW GO:

Summary: Picking The Right Rower For You

This is a tough one. Each has its highlights. To decide, you should figure out what you value most. The Hydrow will likely be the more expensive machine. If you are fine with its aesthetic, it may offer a more immersive experience. However, you will need to pay more for the Hydrow subscription and the base unit. They each have upright storage. That being said, to unlock vertical storage as an option with the Hydrow, you need to pay for an additional Upright Storage Kit which costs $69.99. However, the WaterRower looks much more like functional fitness furniture. Therefore, it will certainly look better in your living room if that matters to you.

Choose the Hydrow If…

  • You value performance over pure aesthetics.
  • You are willing to pay more.
  • You want a better and more comprehensive connected experience.
  • You want the most immersion.

Chose the WaterRower If…

  • You want a rowing machine that looks as good as it performs.
  • You want the most realistic rowing mechanism and experience.
  • You want a rowing machine from an industry-leading manufacturer.
  • You want more choice.
  • You want to save money by going for less expensive (but just as good) options.

Check CITYROW’s current prices