Hydrow vs WaterRower vs Concept2

Rowing Machine Rundown: Comparing WaterRower, Hydrow Rower, and Concept2 RowErg

Over the last decade, rowers have gained traction as the go-to cardio choice in home gyms and health clubs – and for good reason. Just one rowing stroke can work up to 84% of the muscles in your body. That means that on top of building cardiovascular endurance, you’re also getting in a full-body strength workout in a rowing session.

But with the rise of the rowing machine’s popularity, there’s also a rise of options to choose from. How do you decide which rower is right for you? In this rowing machine rundown, we discuss 3 of the best rowing machines on the market–WaterRower, Hydrow, and Concept2–to help you decide which low-impact, calorie-burning machine is right for your fitness routine.

What Are the 4 Different Types of Rowing Machines?

Air Rowing Machines

Air rowers are what you see in most commercial gyms. Airflow entering the flywheel determines the resistance, which means you are in full control over the intensity of your workout. They’re a crowd favorite because of their variable resistance, low maintenance requirements, and smooth rowing experience. But keep in mind that wind resistance is one of the louder types of rowing machines.

Water Rowing Machines

Water rowers offer the most authentic “on the water” rowing experience. And that’s because they use a large water tank and paddles to create resistance – like real oars in the water. Like air rowers, your output determines the level of resistance, but with much less noise than air flywheels. And they require minimal maintenance – just pop some water-purifying tablets in the tank every few months.

Magnetic Rowing Machines

Magnetic rowers are the smoothest and quietest rowing machines on the market. Like other rowers, they also use a flywheel for resistance. But instead of airflow or water drag, they use magnets that move closer and further away to determine the resistance level. They require minimal maintenance or cleaning and are usually compact and foldable for easy storage.

Hydraulic Rowing Machines

Of all the rowing models, hydraulic rowers are the lowest-priced, most compact, and easiest to store away. They use pistons attached to handles to create resistance, which gets adjusted through levels or clamps. While the resistance is relatively quiet, it isn’t the smoothest option and requires more maintenance than other models.

WaterRower v.s. Hydrow v.s. Concept2

WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine

If you want to feel like you’re rowing a boat on the open water during your workout, then look no further than the WaterRower. The WaterRower is the gold standard for water rowing machines. It uses–you guessed it–a water-powered flywheel to control the resistance through smooth, jerk-free pulls. Plus, the sound of whooshing water on every pull creates the most relaxing full-body workout experience.

Key features include:

  • Series 4 Performance Monitor: an LCD screen that tracks your workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and more to provide real-time feedback during training.
  • Functional Design: Two dolly wheels make it easy to move your rower from room to room. And when not in use, store it upright and out of the way – its footprint is about the same as a dining room chair.
  • Sustainable Construction: Solid wood WaterRowers are always crafted from replenishable forests. The wooden design not only absorbs uncomfortable vibrations and sounds but also brings an aesthetic appeal to your home gym.
  • Accessory Upgrades: From the all-in-one WaterRower Starter Kit to the HiRise Adapter Kit, there are tons of accessories you can grab to customize your WaterRower and enhance your rowing experience.

Pros & Cons-WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine

Who’s it for?

If you’re a rowing athlete, you’re seeking a genuine “on the water” feel, or you prefer a more aesthetically pleasing piece of cardio equipment, the WaterRower is for you.

Hydrow Rower

Through their patented electromagnetic drag and live outdoor reality™ technology, Hydrow has revolutionized the rowing game. The electromagnets adjust a whopping 240 times per second to match the resistance to your output level. Behind the WaterRower, it’s the closest you can get to an authentic open water rowing experience. And because Hyrdrow uses magnetic resistance, it’s super smooth and virtually silent. The cherry on top is the 22-inch immersive touchscreen display system – it’s no wonder the Hydrow Rower earned the title ‘The Peleton of rowing machines’.

Key features include:

  • Immersive Touchscreen Display: Front-facing speakers, a crisp 22-inch HD screen, and Bluetooth connectivity create an engaging rowing experience. Plus, you can switch up your training by watching workout classes like Pilates, Yoga, and HIIT on the display.
  • Guided Classes: The Hydrow membership provides access to 4,000+ rowing, yoga, Pilates, strength, and mobility workouts.
  • Chic Shape: The modern and sleek design is aesthetically pleasing and sturdy enough to accommodate athletes up to 375 lbs.
  • Smooth and Silent: The industrial-grade web strap is strong, smooth, and silent – perfect for those early morning or late night rows.

Pros & Cons-Hydrow Rower

Who’s it for?

If you’re a beginner who needs guided rowing workouts or someone who needs a whisper-quiet machine for training during odd hours, the Hydrow Rower checks those boxes.

Concept2 RowErg Rowing Machine

The Concept2 RowErg is the OG rowing machine. 4 decades after its inception, it’s still one of the bestselling rowers worldwide. The Concept2 rower uses a dynamic air-resistance system with a damper on the flywheel to control the airflow. Dynamic resistance means the harder you row, the harder the workout intensity. It’s lightweight, compact, and disassembles into two pieces for easy storage. And if that’s not enough to convince you this machine has it all, the Concept2 RowErg is also the go-to indoor rowing machine used by Olympic rowing teams!

Key features include:

  • Powerful PM5 Performance Monitor: Choose from a variety of rowing workouts or “Just Row” to start tracking metrics like pace, watts, stroke rate, and calories. After each workout, you can either store your data on a USB or in the internal memory.
  • Attached Device Holder: Secure your phone or tablet below the PM5 monitor and follow guided rows, stream shows, or track metrics on the ErgData app during your workout.
  • Easy Storage: Two front wheels make it easy to wheel the Concept2 where you want to row. And when you’re done with your workout, it splits into two halves for compact storage (no tools needed).
  • AirFlow Control: The flywheel and damper design gives you full control over the intensity level of your rowing workout. The lower settings (1-5) feel like rowing a sleek, fast boat. The higher settings (6-10) feel like rowing a slower, heavier boat.

Pros & Cons-Concept2 RowErg Rowing Machine

Who’s it for?

Already widely used by CrossFit athletes, Olympic rowers, and commercial gyms, anyone can benefit from the Concept2 RowErg. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a time-tested, easy-to-use rower.

Bottom Line: Which Rower Is Right for You?

Ready to row, row, row your way toward your dream physique? Whether you’re looking for the authentic feel of the WaterRower, the high-tech experience of the Hydrorow, or the tried-and-true performance of the Concept2, we’ll help you find the right rower for you. Remember that things like frequency of use, your training goals, and available space will all factor into your decision. But at the end of the day, the rowing machine that keeps you moving toward your fitness goals is the right one for your home gym. Explore our roster of rowers or stop by a Fitness Town store for a test row today!

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