posted: November 21, 2023

updated: November 24, 2023

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featured image for ergatta versus hydrow, concept 2 and NordicTrack RW900 smart rowers

What better way to spend your time dedicated to exercise than on a legitimate indoor rowing machine that provides a full body workout along with an interactive touchscreen monitor that makes you feel like you’re on the river. There are countless benefits of a rowing machine that not only will help you get your rowing fix, but also shed some pounds in the process.

We’re going to compare and contrast the hydrow rower to three other different indoor rowing machines (Concept 2, Nordictrack RW900 and Ergatta) so you can upgrade your home gym with reputable gym equipment brands and get the full body workout your body needs. And, if you're a rowing enthusiast like I am, then check out my brand new Aviron rower review, that is very comparable to the four smart rowers in this comparison article.

If you’re a professional rower looking to increase your power strokes by 76%, investing in the most tech-savvy, efficient indoor rowing machine is a no brainer. On the other hand, if you’re anything like me (someone who loves rowing and getting my sweat on), we’ll need to dig into all four choices and see which one suits us best.

Why upgrade your home gym with a smart rower?

smart rower benefits infographic

Rowing's a great workout, and here's why you should get a smart rower.

Having the right gym equipment in your home is essential for your mental and physical health. According to research, 30 minutes of exercise of moderate intensity (walking) for 3 days a week, is sufficient for health benefits such as:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce depression
  • Improve positive vibrations
  • Improve self esteem

With an indoor rower such as the Ergatta, HYDROW, NordicTrack or Concept 2, you can get much more than 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 3 days per week! Yes, some of these cost over $2,000 (without considering ongoing subscription costs), but you can justify any price with the above mentioned health benefits related to weekly full-body exercise.

An indoor rowing machine is good for you if you’re looking for:

  • Full body workout
  • Improve mental health
  • Improve upper body strength
  • Extra motivation from real rowing coaches
  • The feeling of rowing on the river even while at home
  • Tone your body for a lean muscle look
  • Help strengthen back and decrease back pain
  • Stay competitive

Most likely, you’re aware of the key benefits of a rowing machine listed above. But, it is worth noting because it reinforces why we wanted an indoor rowing machine in the first place.

The question becomes, which of the four indoor rowers is best for you and your home gym? Let’s see how the Hydrow rower stacks up to the Concept2 model D, the NordicTrack RW900 and the Ergatta, all things considered.

Comparing Ergatta Connected Rower vs Hydrow vs Concept2 vs NordicTrack RW900





NordicTrack RW900


$2,199 (As low as $102 / month with affirm) 30 day returns (no return delivery charge, which is great!)

$2,295 (As low as $64 / month) 30 day risk-free trial (best price when you use this link and sign up to their email list)

Starting at $945 & free shipping (monthly payments available)

$1,599 & free shipping ($133.25 / month for 12 months)


5 year on the structural frame, 3 years on parts, 1 year on the tablet

5 year on structural frame, 12 months on components (screen & other electronics, 12 months labor

Limited 2 year and 5-year included

10 year on frame, 2 year on parts, 1 year labor


Uses real water to create smooth resistance and feels natural

Patented drag mechanism (feels like you're on the river)

Air, multiple

26 coach controlled resistance levels

Display Screen

17.5" HD Touchscreen

22" HD Touchscreen

Small, digital button (not touchscreen)

22" HD Touchscreen

Training Membership

$29/mo or $290/yr (extra cost)

$456/yr (extra cost)

❌ No. But, you can connect with apps.

First year free, then $396/yr

Live Workouts



❌ Only with a connected device / app.


Buy now link

The table above displayed the key differences and similarities between all four indoor rowers. By now, you should be that much closer to deciding which one is right for you. Based on what you currently know about these products, let’s take our oars out and row this boat to see which one you’ll like best (HEAD TO HEAD)!

Ergatta vs Hydrow: Two very different approaches to indoor rowing

If exercising is important to you, upgrading your home gym has been at the forefront of nearly every decision ever since COVID-19 spread throughout the world. In the rowing community, Hydrow made a BIG splash by creating an impeccable masterpiece of a fitness product that promotes an interactive full body rowing workout. Then, shortly after, Ergatta (made in the USA) erupted into the market with its stunning connected indoor rower that has taken the home gym experience by storm.

What makes these two rowers unique and also different?

The Ergatta and the HYDROW are both an all-in-one smart rowing machine designed for your home and to give you a realistic approach to rowing, even if you’re not on the river. That’s what makes them both unique.


There has been so much buzz around HYDROW in 2020 that it makes you wonder if this thing is legit or not. By the end of this short recap, you may be interested in reading my detailed hydrow rower review to get the full effect on one of our favorite home gym equipment brands that we’ve reviewed.

Top Benefit you will enjoy with hydrow:

Interactive Training: Although you will need to purchase this add-on, it is tremendous! You’re getting an ample amount of live and on-demand rowing workouts. In addition, you can “bring the river home” with impressive scenic rows, team rowing and a spectacular daily live rowing schedule.

interactive training benefit with hydrow's rower

For those looking for interactive training with world class instruction, hydrow's a great choice, and this is a major benefit to going with this smart rower.


As far as Ergatta goes, they’ve become a serious contender for which smart rowing machine is best. Besides their premium build, functions and features, we absolutely love that they have real water built in the rower. More on this later when watching the video below.

setup Ergatta's rower in your living room

It looks beautiful in any room, and it folds up if you have a small space.

Ergatta's water resistance to feel the flow

The water resistance goes a long way in making you feel like you're on the water.

As mentioned in my authentic Ergatta rower review, if you’re the type of athlete that wants to get better everyday, train and seriously compete vs other live ergatta users, then the Ergatta is the best option for you. The only way you would go with hydrow instead of ergatta, would be because you are looking for more of a personal training approach.

Let’s take a look at the short video below to get a visual of what Ergatta is all about, why I chose this smart rower over the others, and then we’ll give you the top benefit below.

Top Benefit you will enjoy with Ergatta

Gaming-inspired experience: Without question, this is the first of its kind. Ergatta makes it clear that when you start rowing, this isn’t a class and it’s not a training app. You will stay motivated and engaged with competitions, group challenges, and live head-to-head matches (races).

Major Difference and Which is better: Hydrow or Ergatta?

The Ergatta approach is cutting-edge, but different from Hydrow’s approach. Ergatta believes in the competitive spirit while working out, which they call “Game On.” This rowing experience will provide a “sport-like” atmosphere where you’ll compete and be able to choose from hundreds of interactive workout options that put you in charge. The Hydrow, on the other hand focuses on coaching you through your workouts via their on-demand and live classes.

Both of these rowers provide a unique and amazing experience for different styles of athletes. Which one is best for you depends on your preference and what you’re looking to get out of it. In other words, if you're looking for a smart rower that provides instructor-led workouts with interactive training, then hydrow is the better choice. Ergatta is the best choice for those that want to "skip workout classes" and just row with interactive games and races vs users in Ergatta's tribe.

Take a look at the infographic below that points out the main differences:

differences between Ergatta vs. Hydrow infographic

Each of these smart rowers is better in their own way, Ergatta is best for reaching personal records through gaming, whereas Hydrow is better for those who want instructor-led workouts.

The Concept 2 Rower D vs. Hydrow: Two totally different machines

This is an interesting matchup to say the least because they are completely different machines. There’s also over 5,000 positive reviews on the Model D at amazon, so this had to be in our vs. article! Let’s take a look at what this one is all about and the main differences versus the other rowers.

Concept2's basic rowing machine

It's basic, but loved by thousands!

concept2 model D different than hydrow

How does it compare to Hydrow? Well, there are major differences... let's check them out below:

For starters, the Concept2 isn’t nearly as tech-savvy or premium-grade as hydrow or the ergatta, but for almost $1,000 less you can still get a quality rowing machine that gives you the full body workout you need and an easy-to-use interface that you can connect to a plethora of compatible devices (and apps) for racing, leaderboards, virtual rows and data tracking.

Is the concept2 Model D a smart rower?

Yes, it is a smart rower, but as mentioned above it is nowhere near technically advanced as hydrow or ergatta.

The Major Difference

With hydrow or ergatta, you’re getting a premium indoor smart rower with a 22” touchscreen (17.3” for ergatta) HD monitor that emirates you in the digital experience. Although we do believe that the concept2 Model D rower is worthy of exploring, we would only buy this if we didn’t value the premium features that you 100% get with the others, then, this rower would be for us and we would love it.

Concept2 Model D's performance monitor

It's simple and effective, but you won't get the same feel with a 22" HD touchscreen from Hydrow or 17.3" from the Ergatta. Something to consider.

Our Pick:

If you have the budget for hydrow or ergatta, take action on it now (see below). You can also bring your payments down to monthly installments so it’s not a big chunk of dough out of the gates.

Check out price at amazon here (budget savings)

Go with Ergatta (best choice for serious athletes)

Go with hydrow ? (challenging, interactive classes)

The NordicTrack RW900 vs hydrow: The closest comparison?

The rowing experience with the RW900 by NordicTrack is very similar to the HYDROW in that you can enjoy a personal rowing coach in your home. It also has a nice big 22 inch interactive HD touchscreen monitor, also similar to the hydrow. Included in your purchase with the RW900 is a 1 year iFit family membership, which is your interactive personal training on-demand and live classes.

RW900 rowing machine by NordicTrack

You'll get instructor-led classes with the RW900 just like Hydrow.

iFit provides rowing-specific workouts

The RW900 by NordicTrack provides studio rowing sessions via their iFit training app.

The Main Difference

Hands down, the major difference between NordicTrack RW900 and hydrow is the quality. Hydrow and the ergatta is a notch above the RW900 in terms of premium grade.

Bottom Line: Which smart rower is right for you?

You’re on a hunt to find the right smart rower that fits your needs, budget and fitness goals. Each one of these rowers serves a specific purpose. By now, you should be ready to check out the one that you believe will work best for you.

If you want the best smart rower, you’ll make your choice between Hydrow and Ergatta based on your personality. If you’re looking for best budget smart rower, you’ll choose between NordicTrack RW900 and Concept2 Model D.

Our Recommendation (in this order): ?

Get Ergatta - Do you prefer a more interactive, competitive and personalized experience? Then the Ergatta is for you. (plus amazing coaching and leaderboard!) "The gaming-inspired connected rower."

shop Ergatta's website

Get hydrow (Do you love fitness classes? Then hydrow is for you. (plus challenging, interactive classes + personal coaching)

shop hydrow's website

Concept2 Model D at amazon (budget savings) - Want a simplistic machine without all the bells and whistles, plus save money? Concept2 is for you.

NordicTrack RW900 at amazon (budget savings + some hydrow features)(If you love fitness classes, want a rowing coach, and personalized workouts, the RW900 is for you.

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About the Author

Lynn Rose is a super talented mom and Certified Nutritionist with a big passion for sharing knowledge. She spent about 10 years working in journalism, where she learned a lot about writing and telling stories. Lynn also worked in radio for about 3 years, doing all sorts of cool jobs like being on the air, directing programs, helping with promotions, and even designing websites. She has a B.A. in Communications. When she's not writing, Lynn loves to try different products and provide in-depth hands-on reviews.

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