is hydrow or waterrower better

Hydrow vs WaterRower: What’s the Better Rowing Experience?

InfomotionSports.com is a reader supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

When you face a choice like Hydrow vs WaterRower, you put yourself in a bit of a tight spot. This is because both rowing machines provide a quality workout, and both share a strong following from individuals that take fitness very seriously. And simply telling you one is better than the other is not exactly objective, is it?

But then how do you decide between two amazing rowing machines with so many great attributes?

As the trend to be healthier grows, so does the demand for quality home exercise equipment. In turn, more people are discovering the effectiveness of rowing machines. The following comparison should serve as a practical guide towards making a final decision.

Instead of leaning one way or the other, we take a detailed look at the factors that make these particular rowing machines stand out. Once you know more about what you are buying, it radically simplifies the choice.

Features Comparison: Which Rower is More Complete?

As promised, more features are about to be discussed. And yes, it just keeps getting better.

Hydrow Rowing Machine Features

features of the Hydrow

  • Minimal assembling is required, although you should expect the package to be relatively heavy (box arrives with handles)
  • Very sleek design that inspires more time getting fit
  • The frame is made from aluminum and steel, while the body is constructed of anthracite polymer
  • Comfortable seating at a comfortable height
  • Wide footrests with perfect spacing make it easy to get into the best rowing position
  • The padded handles allow for a tight and comfortable grip
  • Comes with a 22″ HD touchscreen monitor
  • Live and on-demand streaming exercise videos

In terms of storage, you can put the machine away in a vertical position when not in use. However, it requires a special kit, which costs an additional $70 or so.

As for everything else, you will be hard-pressed to find the same quality for the same price. Not only does it give you a smooth workout, but it also helps you to stay focused.

WaterRower Features

features of a water rower

  • Provides an overall smooth action that lets you get in a few more extra rows, just because you do not realize how hard you are working out
  • Comfortable seating
  • Natural design made from wood, which looks very inviting for anyone into rowing
  • Comes with an S4 Performance Monitor to track all the basics
  • The water tank can be removed in order to store the machine in a vertical position
  • Comfortable handles that are easy to grip

The only real complaint about the WaterRower is related to the footrests. These are not adjustable and some rowers feel the spacing is too close together. Other than that, you are looking at a well-rounded rowing machine.

However, when you combine all the features, it becomes clear which rowing machine is likely to offer more. Yes, it is the Hydrow rowing machine that walks away with more options and possibilities.

But it is not just the feature list that is responsible for Hydrow gaining points above the WaterRower. The workout comparison also leans in favor of the former model.

That said, if you’re looking for a WaterRower, that also features an interactive workout experience, then we’d suggest taking a look at Ergatta. Their “gaming-inspired” workout experience is truly one-of-a-kind, and it utilizes the WaterRower as its rowing machine:

Learn more and check current Ergatta prices

Water Rowing vs Hydrow’s Drag Mechanism

While we are definitely going to cover other features, the critical factor for most rowers is focused on the dynamics of the machine. How does it operate and can it be more beneficial to your workout?

Between the Hydrow and WaterRower models, you can expect a clear distinction.

Here is how two of the best machines stack up against each other.

Hydrow’s Drag Mechanism

The developers for Hydrow have gone all out with a unique, patented technology, which aims to give you the most realistic rowing experience possible. A computer is in charge of fine-tuning the resistance mechanism via electromagnetic controls.

This allows the machine to switch between 240 different resistance modes within a single second, delivering what is referred to as the smoothest and most realistic experience.

To top it all off, you barely hear the machine when you put it through its paces.

WaterRower Water Tank

The WaterRower takes a more practical/natural approach by using a water tank for resistance. Inside the tank, you will find a flywheel. Given this type of design, you are not at liberty to adjust the resistance settings.

Instead, you naturally build resistance by rowing faster. Another distinct difference between the machines has to be the sound. Whereas the Hydrow runs almost completely silent, the WaterRower is known for mimicking the sound of a lake thanks to the water tank.

Workout Comparison: Live & On Demand Options?

The workout comparison speaks to those extra elements that ultimately help you stick to your fitness routine. Any type of motivation or measure of support can make a big difference.

Now, how much motivation or support can a rowing machine give you?

Hydrow Live and On-Demand Workouts

It is not a coincidence that the Hydrow machine is regarded as the Peloton of rowing machines. For starters, the HD display quickly captures your attention while you choose between any rowing exercise training you feel like. But it does not stop here.

If you want your training to be more realistic, you can get access to special scenery and sounds, putting you right on the lake so-to-speak. You can even participate in a competition with other rowers. But you do need a membership if you want access to some amazing software.

See all streaming workout options at Hydrow website.

WaterRower HD Screen with Ergatta

For those hoping to find the same level of software with the WaterRower, we’d suggest checking out Ergatta. It’s the perfect rower for those who don’t want to take part in instructor led classes, but want a fun and unique way to keep their workouts engaging.

See Ergatta feature options at their website

Pricing Comparison: Which Rower is Cheaper?

It only makes sense to shop according to your budget, which makes the pricing comparison so important. In this case, there is a distinct difference between the Hydrow and WaterRower machines. The former costs around $2,199 and the latter $1,500.

When you are working on a strict budget, the WaterRower is still a fine choice. But if you can make up the extra money for the Hydrow model, it is worth considering. Especially when you know you are going to need the extra motivation to stick to your schedule.

Summary: How to Pick the Right Rower for You

At this point in time, it is safe to say that Hydrow carries a slight edge over the WaterRower, in spite of the higher price tag. In addition to giving extreme resistance control to the rower, it operates silently and without disturbing anyone around you. Add to this a magnificent HD monitor for streaming live workouts, or to access beautiful scenery and sounds to accompany your workout. And let’s not forget the sleek design that fits with any modern decor.

When you want to strip rowing down to a more basic experience, while getting a solid workout, you cannot go wrong with the WaterRower. There is just something about a wood finish that makes the workout a little more exciting. And this model really hits it close in terms of creating a realistic session on the water. Unfortunately, you are limited when it comes to the software section.

Our personal opinion would be to go with the Hydrow rowing machine. It has more options for hardware and software, and the live streaming brings it home as far as motivation is concerned. While both rowers are great options, if you’re looking for instructor-led classes and a library of live and on demand workouts, then Hydrow is probably the place to start…

More Resources