Often referred to as the “Peloton of rowing machines,” the Hydrow rowing machine is an innovative electromagnetic rower aimed at serving the growing consumer demand for on-demand and interactive fitness streaming classes at home.
This premium indoor rower comes with a lot more tech than you’d typically find on a standard rowing machine, featuring a built-in, swivel touchscreen display and access to on-demand and live classes.
Currently, Hydrow is the only manufacturer on the market that offers a Live Outdoor Reality ™ experience, which consists of on-demand and live rowing workouts. It scores major points for its interactive workouts and training, which are conducted by renowned athletes on the water.
These features, along with its great build, design, and add-on packages, has made Hydrow one of the most popular offerings on the market.
However, it doesn’t come cheap. The machine will cost you $2,199, which is pretty expensive for a rowing machine. This initial cost along with the monthly fee of $38 is quite a lot to ask.
This begs the question, are there any Hydrow alternatives with similar features but at a cheaper price tag?
Well, we dug deep into the rowing machine market and found the following products that deliver a similar experience to Hydrow, but for less money.
Top 5 Hydrow Competitors
- Echelon Smart Rower
- Bluefin Fitness Blade
- NordicTrack RW900
- Women’s Health / Men’s Health Bluetooth Rower
- Schwinn Crewmaster
1. Echelon Smart Rower: Most Like Hydrow, But Cheaper
If you’re familiar with Echelon, you probably know it’s often touted as a cheaper alternative to a myriad of Peloton products, especially spin bikes. And just like its Connect bike, the Echelon Smart Rower (see review) is high quality product with lots of tech, and available at a cheaper price tag of $999
For the price, you get quite literally a Smart Rower that is made to cater to virtually any kind of trainee. The rower features 32 levels of electromagnetic resistance, a smooth and quiet rowing experience, and a strong steel and aluminum frame construction.
There are also quick resistance controls on the handlebar and the machine is easy to fold, allowing for easy storage.
It’s important to note that the Smart Rower is a bring-your-own-tech kind of machines, which can bring up the cost a bit.
However, if you have one, just pop your tablet onto its holder, connect it to the Echelon Fit, and start your workouts. Echelon Fit give you access to live and on-demand rowing workouts by some of the top trainers in the country.
2. Bluefin Fitness Blade Air Rowing Machine: Cheapest Competitor to Hydrow
Bluefin is a manufacturer that wants the customers to get the most out of their workouts. The Bluefin Fitness Blade Air Rowing Machine is an eye-catching indoor rower, and is a great alternative to the Hydrow rower in that it delivers thousands of training videos, has an exclusive fitness community, and features live coaching.
The rower also comes with an LCD backlit console for easy checks on the number of calories burned, pulse, distance, and time. The machine is also designed to work well with the integrated Kinomap App, which lets you view everything from your tablet or phone. The magnetic resistance of the machine is adjustable to 8 levels, and comes with a smooth belt drive with a 10-degree incline that simulates the natural rowing motion.
Bluefin Fitness Blade Air Rower is equipped with a padded cushion seat and ergonomic handlebars, and comes with secure and anti-slip foot pedals to prevent slips. Its commercial grade frame helps facilitate high endurance and reliability. Plus, the design is foldable, meaning you can conveniently stow it away when not in use.
Starting at around $399, this rower is perfect for those on a tight budget.
3. NordicTrack RW900
NordiTrack is an established brand in the fitness industry, which helps to give the potential customers a point of reference in terms of the expected quality and reliability of the machines.
The RW900 is the flagship Rower from the brand for 2020, and stands above the previous models with new and improved features, and a price of $1,700.
The RW900 uses a combination of magnetic resistance and air resistance to deliver an outstanding performance. The range of 26 resistance levels is wide enough to cater to even the most experienced rowers.
The rower also comes with a large 22” interactive display, which makes it easy to see and workout to the 30 in-built programs, as well as the 12,000 workout sessions you can access through the bundled iFit Coach subscription.
The iFit Coach also provides access to on demand and live workouts, which actually syncs with the machine itself.
How? Well, the machine will decrease or increase the resistance level based on the workout the instructor is conducting.
Alternatively, you can row virtually on some of the best waterways from around the world.
4. Women’s Health / Men’s Health Bluetooth Rower
The Women’s Health / Men’s Health Bluetooth Rower is a cheap alternative to Hydrow rowers, the second cheapest option on the list at a price tag of about $550. The indoor rower has overall good reviews on Amazon, with users happy with how it caters to their needs for the price.
As a Hydrow alternative, the Women’s Health / Men’s Health Bluetooth Rower gives you access to free basic workout training on the MyCloudFitness App. Within the app, you can access personalized workout programs, take on scenic routes with your workouts (30-day free trial), and more.
We were also happy with the Zero Lag Time resistance feature, which delivers steadily smooth resistance through every inch you pull.
There are 14 resistance levels, which are specifically calibrated to be low enough for beginners and give a high enough challenge to athletes. The rower also features Smart Knob Technology, which essentially measure the intensity, resistance levels, and pull strength in order to give you the corresponding calories, watts, and distance of your workout. These are displayed a 3.5” LCD display, along with the total count, strokes/min, time, calories burned, and split time.
The rower also comes with large anti-slip foot pedals, large contoured cushion seat, and pivoting foot pedals, all of which enhance its ergonomics. When not in use, you can fold the machine and stow it away.
5. Schwinn Crewmaster: Best No-Frills Alternative
The Schwinn name has become so synonymous with cycling that it’s easy to forget the brand also offers a wide range of fitness equipment. The Schwinn Crewmaster serves as testament that the kind of quality we’ve come to expect from the brand extends beyond the world of biking.
The Crewmaster features all the hallmarks of the brands other fitness machines, with its easy-to-read display, an extremely strong and durable construction, and a myriad of comfort enhancing features.
The construction is strong enough to support up to 300 pounds. The frame is actually backed by a 10-year warranty, plus a 3-year electronics and mechanicals warranty, which speaks volume about its overall quality. The Schwinn Crewmaster uses magnetic resistance, which generally ensures a smooth and noiseless workout experience, which is enhanced by a nylon belt transmission that’s really quiet.
It features 10 resistance levels to suit all kinds of fitness levels.
The LCD display is placed close to the eye level, and will display speed, time, calories burned, distance, pulse, and recovery.
To address comfort, there’s a large padded and ergonomic seat, along with big feet plates with adjustable straps to ensure your feet stay firm and in place while you row.
When you’ve finished working out, you can fold it away.
Summary: Our Top Alternative is?
Just as Peloton did when they first entered the market, Hydrow is looking to make a name for itself as an elite brand. However, for both cases, this comes at a price, which is inevitably transferred to the customers. And as we’ve seen from the Hydrow rower alternatives listed above, it doesn’t mean that you can enjoy the same level of quality and features at a much lower price tag.
Our Top Pick?
Speaking of, if we had to choose one rower from the list as the best alternative to the Hydrow, it has to be Echelon’s Smart Rower.
This is because it’s available at a much lower price, and still offers a similar kind of interactive rowing experience and workout through their proprietary Echelon App.