FHM is reader supported - by purchasing through our links, we may earn a small commission.

By now, we all know the importance of being able to workout from home. Whether you’re a busy professional or a parent who doesn’t have time for the gym, your gym is closed, or you simply don’t feel comfortable in crowded settings any longer, you’re looking for the best ways to reach your fitness goals from home.

Smart rowing machines have emerged as a major trend this year in the fitness industry. While connected home bikes like Peloton and MYX Fitness are still as appealing as ever, there’s a new cardio player in the game that’s giving running and cycling a run for their money. Rowing has the unique ability to allow for up to 85% of your muscles to work in a single workout.

With stats like that, people are taking notice and considering a smart rower for their home gym. Two of the best connected rowing machines on the market are the Cityrow Go Max and the Hydrow.

Both of these pieces of fitness equipment are excellent, but they are not the same. So which one is right for your workout style and preferences? We’re going to explore all that and more in this article so that you have everything you need to make an informed buying decision.

Why Choose a Smart Rower for workouts?

As I mentioned earlier, rowing has made a big statement this year. As more and more people are looking for effective and efficient ways to workout from home, rowing has presented itself as a very worthy contender.

Maybe you’re like me and you never consider rowing as a primary workout, so here are some of the top reasons why you might consider buying a connected rower for your home gym.

It’s a full-body workout

Unlike other forms of cardio like cycling, walking, and jogging, you get to work your entire body, experiencing a mixture of strength and cardio all in one.

Low impact, high intensity

One of the most damaging things about traditional cardio is the fact that it can be jarring on your joints. Your body can only take so much before it starts to feel the wear and tear. Rowing is a low-impact sport that maintains a high level of intensity and calorie burn.

Build muscle AND lose weight

Thanks to the combination of strength training and cardio, you can successfully build and tone your muscles while shedding fat and losing weight.

Next, I’ll line up both of these machines side-by-side for comparison purposes.

cityrow go rower compared to hydrow

Hydrow (left) and CITYROW GO (right) are two smart rowers that are very comparable. But, which one fits your workout style?

Comparing Hydrow Rower Vs. Cityrow Go Max

If you’re interested in purchasing a rowing machine for your home gym and you’ve narrowed it down to these two choices, then the comparison table below should help you hone in on which one is right for your and your personal fitness style.








Dynamic and responsive computer-controlled resistance

Water resistance

Programming Style:

Live & on-demand, water workouts, floor workouts (yoga, pilates, strength training, etc.)

Live & on-demand, instructor-led fitness class style + floor workouts (strength training, HIIT, yoga, stretching, etc.)


22” HD

19.5” Sweat-proof HD


No, unless you purchase the upright storage kit



Sleek and sophisticated yet sturdy and built to last

Made from sustainable wood to fit into any room in your home

Real-time data tracking?



Best for:

Those Who Want To Experience A Realistic, On-The-Water Experience

Those Who Thrive In Fitness Class Style Settings And Want A Variety Of Workouts To Choose From


Analysis of the Key Differences and Similarities

While these machines are very similar, they are not at all the same, so it’s important to understand the key differences and similarities between them before you can decide which one is going to be the best option for you and your personal style and needs.

Key Similarities

  • Offer live and on-demand classes
  • Feature HD screens
  • Provide a variety of workouts both on and off the machine
  • Are quiet when in operation
  • Are an impact-free way to workout

Key Differences

  • Cityrow Go Max is foldable for easy storage, Hydrow does not fold up unless you purchase a separate kit.
  • Cityrow Go Max has programming that is studio class-style and Hydrow is more on the water
  • Cityrow Go Max features a water tank and water-based resistance and Hydrow has computer-controlled resistance levels

Cityrow Go Max Overview

Cityrow Go is a company that began by offering live studio rowing classes. This brand reminds me a lot of Pelton, but on rowers instead of bikes. They came out with their Cityrow Go Max this year in response to the shutdown of gyms and studios and to fill the need for accessible home workout equipment.

CITYROW's provided us with a $100 coupon code, so there's some savings if you decide this rower is right for you. Use FITHEALTHYMOMMA100 at checkout.

The rower itself is beautiful. Between the sustainable American ashwood and the water tank, it has a look and feel of luxury that you’re going to be proud to display anywhere in your home. Speaking of which, the fact that it folds up vertically and in less than 20 seconds makes it so easy to put just about anywhere in your home, which is great for those with little space to work with.

Related Reading: CITYROW GO Rower Review

The programming and the coaches are what truly make the experience exciting and effective. They offer a wide variety of live and on-demand classes to choose from, and each class is led by an expert trainer with years of experience. You get the feeling that you’re right in the studio with the trainers when you participate in class.

Aside from the looks and programming, the Cityrow Go Max tracks all your workouts for you, allowing you to start from where you are and progress to where you want to go easily.

Hydrow Overview

The Hydrow smart rower is designed to get you as close to the water as possible. So for those who have rowed in real life and wish to recreate that experience in their living room, this machine is going to be particularly appealing.

The design of the machine is sleek and beautiful, but it’s also very sturdy and built to last. It’s elegant enough to display in your living room but tough enough to handle the most intense workouts.

Suggested Reading: Hydrow Rower review

The workouts are led by world-class athletes and trainers who are experienced on the water and can bring that kind of energy and intensity to your home workouts. They offer plenty of programming to choose from, including the option to take live and on-demand classes and to participate in floor classes, too.

A big part of their brand is the community aspect. They aspire to unite their customers, moving forward together to grow and progress through their fitness journeys, which is a beautiful sentiment during a time when connecting with others is physically difficult.

The Bottom Line: Which Rowing Machine Is Right For Your Fitness Style?

As you now know, these two machines are very similar in concept, but it’s the programming and design that separates them from each other. So which option is the best choice for you?

Here’s how I would analyze and break this down:

The Hydrow may be right for you if:

  • You’d like a simulated on-the-water, realistic rowing experience
  • You don’t prefer studio-style workouts
  • You like to be surrounded by nature
  • You want access to live and on-demand programming
  • You like the computer-controlled resistance

The Cityrow Go Max may be right for you if:

  • You love the studio-style workouts
  • You want to experience a wide variety of workout types and cross-training options
  • You want access to a full library of live and on-demand classes
  • You need to be able to fold your machine up when not in use
  • You like the look and feel of real wood and a water tank
  • You prefer water resistance to computer-controlled

There you have it! I encourage you to analyze your personal preferences and needs and then make a decision that matches them as closely as possible. The truth is that you really can’t go wrong with either option, but one is most likely going to be more appealing to you than the other.

Considering the pricing is very similar, the choice comes down to which model do you prefer the look adn feel of and what workout style will you find to be the most motivating, and therefore the most sustainable as you navigate your fitness journey.

And if you want an experience that is completely different than what you’ll get with either of these two options, then check out the Ergatta rower and its gaming-inspired workouts.

CITYROW GO ($100 Off link and code)

About the Author
Tami Smith, CPT, Nutritionist

Tami Smith is a certified Nutritionist and an ACE certified fitness trainer, specializing in pre and post-natal fitness. She studied business and earned her bachelor's degree in Business Economics. Tami is a mom of two and women's health advocate. Her passion is to help people live a fit, healthy life through proper nutrition and exercise!

Leave a Reply
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

You might like these articles too!