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Hydrow Rower review: Indoor rower keeps you fit when you can't be on the water

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The Good The Hydrow Rower has a ton of guided rowing classes to choose from, including mat workouts. Its swivel display makes it easy to watch the screen during a floor exercise.

The Bad $2,399 is a lot to spend on a rowing machine and $38 is a pretty high monthly fee for classes. You can't independently adjust the volume of the music soundtrack that plays during the classes and it sometimes drowns out the instructor's audio.

The Bottom Line Hydrow is a solid machine made even better by its variety of classes. Consider it if you're a dedicated indoor rower looking for more guidance.

7.4 Overall
  • Features 6
  • Usability 8
  • Design 8
  • Performance 8

The $2,399 Hydrow Rower has a lot more tech than your standard indoor rowing machine. It comes with a built-in touchscreen display and a $38 monthly subscription service that gives you a pass to live and on-demand classes.

The classes range from different types of rowing workouts to a smaller selection of floor exercises. The rowing machine itself is silvery and sleek-looking; two wheels in the front make it easy to move around a room. Its attached display swivels so you can watch classes from your yoga mat and from the rower. 

My main hesitation about Hydrow is its price. The initial cost and the monthly fee is a lot to ask. But if you are a dedicated indoor rower and want a little extra guidance from classes taught by athletes coaching you from the water, this could be a great fit.

Get started

Strapping my feet into the Hydrow Rower gave me flashbacks to high school crew. I was a sweep rower and sat in "2 seat" in the bow pair. While I loved being on the water (and still do), I was never much of a fan of rowing machines (or "ERGs," as our coaches called them). They use roughly the same muscles as actual rowing without the fun of being out on the water.

That said, rowers are a great full body workout, and Hydrow didn't disappoint.

Compared with the loud chain rowers I used to train with back in the day, Hydrow has a significantly quieter belt and a magnetic resistance that you can adjust yourself in the settings. 

The machine is made of aluminum, steel and polymer. It weighs 145 pounds and it can support up to 375 pounds.

Setting it up is easy enough, thanks to the built-in wheels and a button that collapses the display for safer transport.

A toggle switch on the front of the rower turns the machine on and off, but you can also leave it on and it will go into sleep mode on its own. 

The main difference between Hydrow and most rowers is its display -- it has a 22-inch 1080p HD touchscreen display. Simple buttons on the right side adjust the volume, but everything else is controlled via touch.

Create an account on the Hydrow display (or from the related Crew app) and start rowing. Hydrow is compatible with Bluetooth heart rate monitors, but that isn't included with the basic purchase so I didn't use one while I tested it.

The classes

Hydrow classes cost $38 per month compared to the Peloton Bike, the Peloton Tread and Mirror, each of which cost $39 monthly. ClassPass Live offers more affordable fees at just $19 per month. 

Hydrow's rowing classes vary from a short how-to row tutorial to a 45-minute intensive rowing session. The mat classes Hydrow offers aren't as varied, but you get enough options to choose from -- things like 5-minute cool downs and 20-minute core classes. 

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