Hydrow vs Hydrow Wave: What’s the Difference?

By Tami Smith

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Smart rowing machines exploded in popularity over the past few years. Although rowing as a sport has been around for centuries, connected indoor rowing machines are a more recent invention.

As someone who has had the honor and privilege of trying nearly every popular smart rowing machine out there right now and who has shared my thoughts across my channels, I have a great perspective on these machines and who they’re for.

The space concern is one of the biggest concerns that bubbles up for those interested in purchasing a home rowing machine. Will they have enough room in their home or apartment to store it without it becoming a nuisance and intrusion?

The truth is, that most of the popular rowing machines are quite large. This is especially true for the Hydrow. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my Hydrow rowing machine, but if I’m being honest, I’ve always felt that it was a bit large for my space. So imagine my delight when they launched the smaller, sleeker, more manageable Hydrow Wave.

It’s clear that the Hydrow team really listened to and considered what consumers are looking for in a home rowing machine. But what are the differences between the Hydrow and the Hydrow Wave? Which rower is the best option for you?

In this article, I’m lining up the Hydrow vs the Hydrow Wave, breaking down the similarities and differences as well as highlighting who each model is best suited for.

Quick Summary of Hydrow vs Hydrow Wave

Vs.

Hydrow

Hydrow Wave

Display:

22” PCAP 1920 x 1080 Full HD Screen

16” PCAP 1920 x 1080 Full HD Screen

Frame:

Aluminum and steel with flat anthracite polymer body + polyester webbing for smooth, quiet operation

Stainless steel seat track with a durable engineered thermoplastic polymer frame

Sound:

Amplifier x2 channel, 3W, 8 ohms, front-facing for a fully immersive experience

Amplifier x2 channel, 3W, 8 ohms, front-facing for a fully immersive experience

Dimensions:

86″L x 25″W x 47″H (Stored: 25″W x 33″D x 86″H. Upright Storage Kit (sold separately) required for vertical storage) *Vertical Anchor
(sold separately) required
for vertical storage)

80″L x 19″W x 43″H (Stored: 26.5″W x 30″D x 82″H)

Weight:

145 lbs

102 lbs

Height Limit:

Up to 36” inseam

Up to 36” inseam

Weight Limit:

375 lbs

375 lbs

Bluetooth Connectivity:

Yes

Yes

Foot Bed Adjustment:

Yes

Yes

Dynamic (swiveling) Monitor:

Yes

No

Seat:

10 roller seat for smooth operation

Ergonomically designed cushion with a 2-roller and 2-idler system for smooth operation

Where to buy:

Hydrow Overview

rower - hydrow smart rowing machine

The original Hydrow rowing machine offers a completely new take on the indoor rowing machine. With patented electromagnetic drag technology, every stroke gives you the feeling of truly being outdoors on the water. Plus, the 22” HD touchscreen coupled with the on-water classes gives you a fully immersive experience that’s like no other.

The design of the Hydrow is also completely unique. Its modem is elegant, and designed to fit in your space. There’s a wheel system that allows you to gently maneuver your machine, tucking it away when not in use. Furthermore, if you need more space, you can purchase the upright positive storage kit which will allow you to store your Hydrow upright for even more space-saving, which is almost a necessity as the Hydrow in its normal state is quite large.

The machine’s structure itself is really quite simplistic, which helps to deliver its sleek design. There are adjustable footbeds located at the front of the machine that allows you to get the perfect fit for the best row and the ergonomically designed seat is ideal for people of all shapes and sizes using the machine. 

Pros

  • Patented electromagnetic drag technology allows you to feel like you’re out on the mater with every smooth stroke
  • Large, 22” HD touchscreen for a fully immersive experience
  • Adjustable footpads
  • Comfortable seat
  • Rotating monitor so you can easily take your workouts to the floor
  • Sleek design
  • Wheels on the front for easy maneuvering
  • Access to Hydrow’s incredible, on-the-water programming

Cons

  • It’s a large, long machine that might not fit into every space
  • If you want to store it upright, you’ll need to purchase a separate kit
  • It’s heavy

Hydrow Wave Overview

hydrow wave touch screen

Meet the Hydrow Wave, Hydrow’s little brother. The Hydrow Wave rowing machine is lightweight, coming in at a whopping 30% smaller than the Hydrow. The Wave is Hydrow’s answer to those who love the Hydrow but simply don’t have the space to accommodate the full-sized machine. Designed for smaller spaces, the Hydrow Wave is the fitness solution for those who want the Hydrow experience without the Hydrow bulk.

Hydrow Wave is just as sleek and aesthetically pleasing as its big brother with a black polycarbonate material and an industrial swirled finish that gives this machine a unique and modern appearance. It’s noticeably slimmer and more compact and discreet than the original Hydrow.

That said, that doesn’t mean that the Wave skimps on features and experience. You’ll find a brilliant, 16” HD touchscreen located at the helm to give you a front-row seat to all the same on-the-water Hydrow action that you get with the original machine. The resistance on the Wave is also similar to the dynamic and responsive computer-controlled resistance. Plus, you’ll enjoy the same comfort levels and footbed adjustability that you would on the Hydrow.

Pros

  • Smaller, more compact design
  • Includes the same membership with the same classes as the Hydrow
  • 16” HD touchscreen for an up-close experience
  • Supports users up to 375 lbs and a 36” inseam
  • Adjustable footbeds

Cons

  • Smaller sized screen
  • The drag isn’t as advanced as it is on the Hydrow
  • You still need to purchase a separate kit to store the Hydrow Wave upright
  • The screen does not swivel or rotate
hydrow wave product image

Key Similarities and Differences

After reviewing both the Hydrow and the Hydrow Wave, it’s clear that these machines are very similar, however, there are a few differences that are important to note, too. So let’s break down the key similarities and differences:

rower - hydrow wave

Key Similarities

Let's touch on some key similarities between both rowers by hydrow so you can get a better understanding of each smart rowing machine.

User Limits

Although the Hydrow Wave is significantly smaller than the Hydrow, it has the exact same user height and weight limits as the Hydrow. Both the Wave and the Hydrow can accommodate users up to a 36” inseam and up to 375 lbs.

Full HD Touchscreen Experience

Both Hydrow and Hydrow Wave offer the same fully immersive experience thanks to the HD screen. Plus, navigating the screen is simple thanks to the intuitive touchscreen interface.

Foot Bed Adjustment

On both models, users have the option to adjust the footbeds to ensure the best fit and for the best rowing experience.

Upright Storage

Hydrow and Hydrow Wave both have vertical anchor storage options so that you can store your rowing machine vertically to save space.

Experience

Regardless of which Hydrow model you choose, you can count on the same interactive, on-the-water experience with the same world-class coaches.

Key Differences

hydrow wave rowing machine

It's important to know the key differences as well, so let's discuss those next.

Dimensions

Hydrow has a large presence, whereas the Hydrow Wave has a much smaller footprint that’s about 30% smaller than the Hydrow.

Screen Size

Hydrow Wave comes equipped with a 16” HD touchscreen compared to Hydrow’s 22” HD touchscreen.

Monitor Adjustment

With the Hydrow, you can rotate the screen so that you can transition between rowing on the machine and performing workouts off the rower. With Hydrow Wave, the screen is fixed.

Frame

Hydrow has an aluminum and steel frame with an anthracite polymer body, whereas the Wave has a stainless steel seat track with a thermoplastic polymer frame.

Weight

Hydrow weighs 145 lbs and Hydrow Wave weighs 102 lbs.

Cost

Hydrow costs $2,495 and Hydrow Wave costs $1,495.

Final Thoughts: Which is Better: Hydrow or Hydrow Wave?

rowing with hydrow wave

When it comes down to it, the choice between the Hydrow and the Hydrow Wave is going to come down to two considerations: size and price. Your space will dictate whether or not you can house the full-size machine. And your budget will dictate which option is best for you from a financial standpoint.

If you have limited space and/or just don’t want to store a larger machine, the Hydrow Wave is going to be your best option. However, if space is not an issue and you want the full experience of the Hydrow, going with the original model will be worth it for you.

On the other side of the coin is the cost, not too many people have an extra twenty-five grand lying around, making the cost of the Hydrow a bit (or a lot) steep for some. With the Wave coming in at $1,000 less, it’s a much more affordable option for those who want a home rowing machine that offers a great experience without sacrificing quality.

About the author 

Tami Smith

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!

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