concept2 vs hydrow

Hydrow vs. Concept2: How to Pick the Best Rower for Your Needs is a reader supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

Treadmills and ellipticals may own the spotlight, but they aren’t the only way to enjoy a great cardiovascular workout. As a matter of fact, they may not even be the most efficient.

A rowing machine is often a better choice for people who are serious about their fitness. It offers several distinct advantages while incorporating many of the same health benefits associated with treadmills and ellipticals.

If you’re interested in breaking away from the norm, then buying a high-quality rower from a brand like Hydrow or Concept2 is the right move.

One of the major advantages that a rowing machine has over alternative options is its ability to offer a true total body workout. Cycles and treadmills focus primarily on muscle groups near the legs while providing only minimal benefit, if any, to higher muscle groups. A rowing machine utilizes 86 percent of our muscle groups. Those muscles include those in the legs, the upper back, the abdomen, the chest, and the shoulders.

Rowing is also healthy for the mind. As you begin rowing, you’ll learn to master four key movements. You’ll repeat these motions in a smooth sequence. Many long-time rowing enthusiasts consider it a form of meditation. There have even been studies that show rowing causes the brain to release endorphins, which will help fight the battle against stress.

You’ve decided that a rowing machine could the perfect addition to your home gym. Or it might even be the start of it. The next step is deciding which rower you should bring home.

There are a lot of options out there, but the two biggest brands that you need to worry about are Concept2 and Hydrow. The former is an older company known for manufacturing the first rowing machine. The latter is a somewhat newer company that has already earned a strong following due to their innovative designs, high-tech features, and on-demand workout options.

Does Hydrow or Concept2 Have Better Features?

Concept2 currently has multiple rowers in their inventory. For now, we’ll consider the Model D rower, which is their flagship product and their most popular rowing machine.

Not only is the most popular rower that Concept2 sells, but it’s overall the most popular selling rower in the world. That’s because it’s been around for a long time and it has proven its durability. Here is a quick look at some of its key features.

Concept2 Features


  1. Bluetooth connectivity for accessories like heart rate monitors and fitness trackers.
  2. A PM5 performance Monitor that tracks and displays your workout data.
  3. Quick-release framelock that allows for quick storage of the rower.

See all Concept2 Features at Amazon

Concept2 doesn’t focus on technological advancements or fancy features. They don’t need to because they’ve established themselves as the original supplier of the rowing machine. Durability and simplicity are their market. The same cannot be said for the Hydrow Connected Rower.

The Hydrow rower is a perfect example of how far at-home workout equipment has come over the past two decades. It includes all of the most advanced features that could possibly be integrated into a rowing machine at this point in time.

It does drive up the price some, but the result is a more complete and effective workout experience. Here are a few of the features that come with the Hydrow Connected Rower.

Hydrow Features


  1. 22-inch HD front-mounted touchscreen with dual Hi-Fi speakers.
  2. Built-in camera, microphone, USB connections, and Wi-Fi capabilities.
  3. 500 pre-recorded rowing sessions either in a studio or on the river.
  4. Access to a growing library of on-demand workouts and live instructor-led courses.
  5. Electromagnetic resistance system that makes up to 240 micro-adjustments every second.

This list could go on for quite a while. Many of the features of the Hydrow row are integrated into its design and structure. This includes ergonomic grips and a 10-roller seat system. The bottom line is that if it’s worth having on a rowing machine, then Hydrow has found a way to implement it.

See all Hydrow features at their website

Workout Options: Which Rower Offers Live + On-Demand Workouts

This is where the two machines reach a significant point of separation. The Concept2 requires you to have your own workout plan. At the very best, you can pop a pre-recorded DVD in and try to keep up with the television, but that can difficult when seated low on a rowing machine with part of the equipment in front of you.

The Hydrow Connected Rower utilizes its HD monitor to display workout programs just a short distance from your face. This includes the pre-recorded and on-demand workout videos as well as live access to instructor-led courses.

The ability to benefit from an instructor-led fitness class while at home is a huge innovation and one of the main reasons why Hydrow has become one of the biggest brands in home fitness.

Workout programs are designed to take full advantage of the visual and audio capabilities of the rowing machine. For example, many of the programs take place on the water in a boat.

There may even be other participants from around the world participating at home but essentially rowing on the same boat. You can hear each splash of the water and enjoy the view of the trees as you move down the stream.

Pricing: Is the Hydrow or Concept2 Cheaper?

Unfortunately, such a drastic difference in available features result is a drastic difference in prices. The two machines are priced as follows:

As you can see, the Hydrow costs more than twice as much as the Concept2. Even so, it is worth each and every penny. The sheer volume of workout options and possibilities makes the Hydrow a more complete machine. It also offers a more complete workout experience.

It’s much easier to motivate yourself to use a rowing machine if you can enjoy pleasant visuals and even some socialization with other people working out at home.

Summary: Which Rower is Better?

The line between these two machines represents a line between the past and the future. The Concept2 has been the world’s most popular rowing machine for a long time, but we believe that balance will shift over the following years. The Concept2 is a good machine and it is more affordable than the Hydrow, but that is where the advantages end.

While both rowers are great, ultimately, the Hydrow just has more to offer and it’s better at what it does. Ready to learn more?