If you’re looking to invest in a piece of connected fitness equipment for your home gym, then you’ve likely heard of Peloton and Hydrow. These are two premier direct to consumer fitness brands that are changing the fitness industry and the way we work out from home.
Both brands offer exceptional workouts on the equipment as well as tons of programming made to be done on the floor, giving users a complete, well-rounded workout package without the need to purchase multiple machines and apps.
So the question becomes, which product is the ultimate workout machine?
In this article, I’ll first address the most important question, which provides a better workout, cycling, or rowing? Then, I’ll line up the Hydrow connected rower vs the Peloton Rower and Bike, analyzing each machine based on a few important criteria, which includes:
- Features and Tech
- Workout Experience
- Price Comparison
- Pros and Cons
- What's best for you?
Let’s dig in and get to the bottom of which smart fitness machine (indoor exercise bike or an indoor rower) is going to give you the most bang for your buck, a challenging workout and have fun while doing it.
Hydrow vs Peloton Row: Which is the Better Rowing Experience?
When we initially compared Hydrow to Peloton, we compared a connected rowing machine to a connected fitness bike, an apples to oranges comparison. However, we’re back with an exciting update and a whole new, apples-to-apples comparison for you as Peloton has finally launched their very anticipated connected rowing machine.
Of course, you can still compare the rowing machine to the bike, as many people do. You will find our complete comparison between the Peloton Bike vs Hydrow rowing machine at the end of this article. But let’s focus on comparing these two revolutionary rowing machines first and foremost.
You might have heard that rowing machines can help you work up to 86% of your muscles at once and that you can get a full body cardio and strength training workout in one in just 20 minutes per day. In fact, that’s probably why you’re here.
So the question becomes, which rowing machine offers the best experience? Peloton or Hydrow? Let’s take a look.
Table Comparison Between Rowers
$3,195 (Basics Package)
$2,495 for The Hydrow or $1,495 for the Hydrow Wave
8’ x 2’
86″L x 25″W x 47″H
Yes, can be stored upright (recommended professional installation)
Yes, can be stored upright (need to order the additional storage kit)
Patented Electromagnetic Drag
Instructor-led studio classes
User weight limit
User height range
4’11” - 6’5”
Up to 36” inseam
Peloton Row Overview
Peloton has been a leader and innovator in the connected home fitness industry for years, and the introduction of their hotly anticipated rowing machine does not disappoint, especially for loyal Peloton fans. Peloton took all their most loved features and technology and put them into a thoughtfully designed rowing machine that delivers an ultra-efficient, energizing workout led by a team of fun, professional instructors.
The Peloton Row was designed for all levels of rowing in mind, but pays special attention to those who are new to the sport, providing plenty of guidance, resources, and tools to ensure you’re getting started on the right track and with proper form.
Features and Highlights
Below are some of the features that make Peloton Row unique and help it to stand apart from the other smart rowers in the space:
Receive visual feedback in your form via the screen so that you can make improvements while you row.
Form Rating and Insights
Post-workout, you’ll receive a personalized breakdown of your form so that you can then focus on the areas of your rowing stroke that needs improvement for your next row.
Easily take your workouts from the rower to the floor with the 45-degree swivel screen. Plus, there are speakers on the front and the back of the screen to ensure you get the best quality sound experience no matter what.
Personal Pace Targets
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced rower, you can set your own ability level within the class to make sure you’re pushing yourself to your unique limits.
Rowing machines are quite large in size to accommodate the track, however, Peloton makes it easy to eliminate the bulk when not in use by including a vertical storage option. There’s an Upright Wall Anchor that allows you to safely save space and securely store your machine when not in use.
Ergonomic Seats and Adjustable Straps
Peloton kept comfort in mind when creating the Row by adding a supportive, ergonomic seat that not only keeps you comfortable but also creates a nearly silent ride. They also included single-handed velcro foot straps that allow you to quickly transition between workouts on the Row and off the Row.
Smooth, Quiet Resistance
The Peloton Row includes an advanced electronically controlled resistance that allows each stroke to be smooth and nearly silent in operation. This means that you can crush a workout without worrying about waking up the rest of your home.
- Form feedback features help new rowers ensure they’re using the proper form
- If you enjoy Peloton classes, you’ll love transitioning them to the Row
- Live and on-demand class options to choose from
- Very quiet operation
- Can be stored vertically
- Swivel screen for easy class-taking off the rower
- Scenic rows are available for when you don’t want to take a class
- One membership can be used on all your Peloton machines
- Access to thousands of classes across all types of workouts
- Leaderboard allows you to workout with and compete with other friends and members
- It appears the regular Peloton instructors are leading the classes, I am not sure if they are rowing experts
- All classes are instructor-led, which means there’s no “free row” option
- The vertical storage kit requires something to be installed on your wall which limits your ability to move it around
- It’s currently only available for pre-order, so it’ll be a few months before you can get your hands on it
- The monthly membership fee is $44 on top of the baseline cost of the machine of $3,195
- It’s not an open screen, so there’s no option to use other apps or programs should you want to
- The weight limit is 300 lbs which is not as inclusive as many other connected rowing machine options
- The leaderboard mentality can be damaging for some
- You cannot use the machine without the monthly subscription
Hydrow was one of the first connected fitness brands to create a fully immersive home rowing experience, and their success has been incredible. Instead of using the model that Peloton uses with instructor-led studio classes, Hydrow takes you right out on the water where you’d be rowing in real life. And they do it in style.
Hydrow now offers two models to choose from; The Hydrow and The Hydrow Wave, both featuring similar technology and the same classes, but each offering different functionality and specs. Regardless of which model you choose, Hydrow is “rowing reimagined” thanks to their on-the-water workouts that are led by world-class athletes on some of the most amazing scenic waterways around the world. Furthermore, they incorporate their patented electromagnetic drag technology to give you the experience of the real feel of rowing on the water.
Features and Highlights
Hydrow has no shortage of special features and highlights that allow this machine to stand apart from the competition, including its newest competitor, Peloton Row.
Workouts With a View
The 22” touchscreen display and crisp front-facing speakers bring the thrill of the water right to your living room. With a full HD screen, you’ll be as close to the water as possible. Plus, the screen pivots, so you can take your workouts to the mat without craning or straining to see the screen.
Patented Electromagnetic Drag Technology
You won’t find any chains, fans, or water tanks to power the Hydrow rowing machine. Instead, Hydrow created their very own patented technology that contains an industrial-grade webbed strap that makes each stroke as smooth and silent as can be.
Ergonomic Seat and Handle
Comfort was certainly top of mind when the Hydrow team developed their rowers. The seat is ergonomic and shaped to fit your bottom comfortably while you row. And the handle is made to promote a low-stress grip. This means that you’ll spend more time focusing on rowing and less time focusing on getting comfortable.
World-Class Athlete-Led Workouts
Not too many fitness brands actually recruit real athletes and experts in their sport to lead their workouts. Hydrow, on the other hand, did. All Hydrow classes are led by real, on-the-water athletes who know exactly what they’re doing and can communicate that to you so that you’re getting the best and most authentic rowing experience possible.
- Unmatched on-the-water rowing experience
- All Hydrow classes are led by experienced athletes in the sport of rowing
- Multiple class formats to choose from (live workouts, on-demand, distance rows, and coming soon, circuit training)
- Patented electromagnetic drag technology and computer-controlled resistance
- Wide variety of other class modalities to be taken off the rower including yoga, pilates, strength training, and more
- Community leaderboard for motivation and camaraderie
- Use the Hydrow app to get access to your workouts on the go
- Two models to choose from (The Hydrow vs Hydrow Wave)
- 22” HD touchscreen that swivels
- Sleek design
- Ergonomic seat and handlebar
- Easy to adjust foot pads
- Gorgeous scenic waterways to explore
- Can be stored vertically with the vertical storage kit
- Option to get 1:1 personal training for form guidance and feedback
- Competitive pricing, free delivery, and includes a one-year home warranty
- Max user weight is 375 which is more inclusive than many competitors
- The vertical storage kit is sold separately
- It’s not an open screen, so no opportunity to use other apps or programs
- All workouts are held on the water, which might lose its appeal if you’re someone who likes in-studio workouts
- Cannot use your machine without the paid monthly subscription
Hydrow vs. Peloton Row: Which Is Best For You?
After reviewing the features and highlights and pros and cons of both Hydrow and Peloton Row, it’s clear that while there are several key similarities, there are also several differences. Choosing between these two rowing machines is tough, however, there are a few scenarios that will dictate that one makes sense over the other. Here are a few things to consider as you choose:
Get Hydrow If…
- You want to feel like you’re actually rowing outside on the water and not sitting inside a fitness studio.
- You enjoy learning from and being surrounded by inspiring athletes who have competed at the top levels and are masters of sport.
- You’re on a budget and want to get a high-quality machine without sacrificing any features.
- You would like the opportunity to train with and get feedback from real coaches and athletes in a personalized, 1:1 setting.
- You’re a true rowing fan and want to experience the closest thing to the real thing as possible.
Get Peloton Row If…
- You’re an avid Peloton user and fan as you’ll feel right at home on the Row.
- You enjoy instructor-led studio classes.
- You feel motivated most by energetic instructors leading the way.
- You want to see real-time form feedback cues that will help you to make sure your form is correct.
- You and your family have a Peloton Bike and/or Tread as you will use the same membership for the Row.
- You have the budget for a high ticket item and don’t mind the wait for the release and then the shipping.
Cycling Vs. Rowing: Which is the better workout?
Rowing and cycling are both great cardiovascular workouts, offering a myriad of benefits for the body and mind. However, there are some differences in the movements and the muscles used in each workout that are important to note.
Reasons why cycling can improve your fitness
Cycling has been a popular choice for years now, especially after spin studios popped up all over the place. It’s a fun, exhilarating, but also challenging way to get your heart pumping and your body moving. Some of the main benefits of cycling include:
What you can expect from rowing
Rowing, on the other hand, is a rather new trend in the fitness space. Of course, people have been rowing on the water for years and indoors for years, but the popularity of this form of exercise has spiked dramatically over the last couple of years, which probably has something to do with the benefits of indoor rowing, which include:
As you can see, both modalities offer a myriad of positive benefits, but there are a couple of nuances to note that differentiate these two styles. For starters, cycling is primarily a lower body workout, using mainly your glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings, with little upper body involvement (unless you incorporate dumbbells). Rowing, on the other hand, uses 86% of your body’s muscles, which includes muscles in your upper body, lower body, and core.
Both styles are low-impact, which makes them inherently safe for users of all fitness levels and even those with injured or compromised joints. But injuries and special accommodations aside, rowing provides the most comprehensive, total body workout when compared with cycling.
Peloton Bike Vs. Hydrow: The Showdown Between Top Connected Gym Equipment Brands
Aside from the value that each workout style brings, there are some very important factors to consider before you make a decision as to which machine is going to be the right fit for you, your home, and your workout style.
Features and Tech Comparison Between Hydrow and Peloton
Let’s start with the good stuff; the technology that makes these machines “smart.” Fitness equipment has come a long way over the last few years. It’s now intuitive, interactive, and designed to provide you with a completely customized workout that pushes you to be your best, physically and mentally.
Hydrow Rower Features
The Hydrow’s entire workout experience is designed to give you the feeling that you’re actually out on the water. When you’re rowing the Hydrow, you’re in a boat being led by your rowing instructor who's right there with you. It’s as close to the real thing as you can get.
- Patented drag mechanism - This is their electromagnetic, computer-controlled component that allows you to feel as though you’re out on the water as you “row” the machine.
- Beautiful, sleek design - This machine is meant to look good in your home. It’s elegant and sophisticated while still providing you with unmatched performance.
- Bluetooth enabled - Connect your headphones and/or heart rate monitor.
- 22” touchscreen - This brilliant display that includes front-facing speakers will help bring the river right to your living room and make the entire experience simple and easy to control with the tap of the screen.
- Near silent operation - With industrial-grade webbed straps for your feet, each stroke is incredibly smooth and virtually silent.
- Maximum comfort - An included 10-roller system seat that’s supremely cushioned and ergonomically designed, you’ll feel supported throughout your entire workout. Plus, the handle is ergonomic for a low-stress grip.
- Space-saving - Limited space? Hydrow comes on wheels for easy maneuverability and if you’d like the option to store it, you can purchase the upright storage kit for convenient vertical storage.
Peloton Bike Features
It’s no secret that Peloton is king when it comes to the world of indoor cycling. But what makes this machine so special? The entire machine is built for more than just a workout, it’s an experience that pushes you to give your best effort.
- Compact, sleek design - The all-black bike and compact design allow you to fit this machine nearly anywhere in your home without it making an intrusive impact on your aesthetics.
- Fully adjustable - The seat, handlebar, and screen are all adjustable so that you can feel secure, supported, and comfortable at all times.
- Quiet operation - Similar to Hydrow, Peloton designed their belt drive to be whisper quiet when in operation so that you can sweat it out at any hour.
- Bluetooth - Connect your heart rate monitor, headphones, and smartwatch.
- 22” touchscreen - Get up close and personal with your instructor, feeling like you’re front and center at a live class, and control your workout with a few simple screen commands.
Hydrow's Workout Experience Vs. Peloton's
While the features, tech, and design of the machines are no doubt important, the workout experience is truly what makes the machine. Both Peloton and Hydrow offer fully immersive workout experiences that are designed to work your entire body while pushing you to be the best version of yourself that you can be, physically and mentally.
What to expect from Hydrow workouts
Hydrow wants you to push your body and release your mind with their complete workout experience. They offer a wide range of workouts, both on the rower and off. From rowing classes that are designed to get your heart pumping and your muscles burning to relaxing, meditative rows down the river, Hydrow’s class selection has you covered. They also have a complete library of off-rower classes that will challenge your body in new and different ways.
Elite rowing trainers lead the classes
All Hydrow classes are led by elite athletes who are experts in the field. They are authentic competitors who are passionate about their sport. When you’re out on the water rowing with them, you’ll feel the genuine connection that only comes when you have access to expert guidance and leadership by those who are willing to be open and vulnerable.
Speaking of connection, another amazing benefit of Hydrow’s programming is that you become part of something bigger than yourself - you’re part of a community of passionate people who are working to accomplish personal goals, but doing so with the help and encouragement of thousands of others. It’s truly inspiring and something that will push and motivate you to be your best self and maintain your commitment.
Some highlights of Hydrow’s programming includes:
- Live workouts that allow you to move in-sync with their experts out on the water in real-time
- Hundreds of on-demand options. They record every live row so that you have access to a complete library at your fingertips.
- Journeys that allow you to set your own pace, exploring scenic waterways on your own and on your own schedule.
- Yoga, pilates, and strength training on the mat for a well-rounded fitness routine.
What to expect from Peloton workouts
Peloton is the king of cycling and arguably of connected fitness. The magic ingredient that makes their brand so successful is their programming. They’re determined to motivate you to enjoy movement while pushing your limits and connecting with a community of strong, like-minded people on similar journeys.
Motivational fitness instructors
Peloton employs motivational instructors with different personalities and training styles so that users have the opportunity to find the instructors they feel the most connected with, while also benefiting from a diverse range of athletes and the unique perspectives and styles that they bring to the table.
Connected workout community
Similar to the way Hydrow uses community to connect their users and keep them motivated, so too, does Peloton. In fact, the Peloton community is one of the biggest fitness communities in the world. There are currently 3.1 million members, and the brand believes that they can take that number to 100 million.
Some of the highlights of Peloton Workouts include:
- Live weekly classes and real-time instructor call outs.
- A complete on-demand library with classes ranging from 5 to 60 minutes each.
- A diverse library of classes ranging from HIIT and cardio to strength training and yoga.
- Motivational instructors who are there to push you to new physical limits while supporting you every step of the way.
- Frequent special content releases, including special themes and diverse challenges.
Price Comparison Between Peloton vs Hydrow
When considering one of these machines, it’s natural to take the price into consideration. After all, most connected fitness machines are a sizeable monetary commitment. When it comes to Peloton Vs. Hydrow pricing, there really isn’t a huge difference in pricing, but I’ll break that down for you next anyway to give you a clear picture of the type of investment you’re looking at.
Peloton's Bike Pricing
Peloton recently lowered the price of their classic bike in order to compete with the new alternative budget bikes (like Echelon vs. Peloton) that are seeking to dethrone them. Their classic Bike now starts at $1895 for just the bike. They also released their Bike +, which comes with a new set of features and benefits, and starts at $2495.
Regardless of which bike you choose, you’ll probably also want to get their Essentials package, which includes essential accessories like cycling shoes that you’ll need to ride efficiently. This package ranges anywhere from $150-$200 additional.
The last consideration is the price of the Peloton app membership which gives you access to their programming. Currently, Peloton charges $39 per month for their membership.
Hydrow's Rower Pricing
Hydrow’s pricing is a little more straightforward. They have only one package and it costs $2245. Of course, there are some extra accessories you can buy if you want to like a dedicated machine mat, heart rate monitor, or their upright storage kit (if you want to be able to fold and stow your machine when not in use), but none of these accessories are essential for the operation of the machine.
As far as the membership cost, Hydrow’s monthly fee is $38 per month.
Pros and Cons When Choosing the Hydrow or the Peloton
Now that you have an idea of what to expect from each of the machines, including their costs, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and discuss the pros and cons of each smart fitness machine.
What's great about hydrow?
What's great about Peloton?
Should You Buy the Hydrow or the Peloton?
Ok, let’s lay it all out on the line.
Who Should Buy the Hydrow
Overall Rating: 5/5
The Hydrow rower is a machine that’s made to give its users a full-body workout challenge, so if you’re looking for a challenge and want to get the most bang for your fitness buck so to speak, then the Hydrow is definitely worth a closer look.
You can burn more calories rowing in 20 minutes than you can cycling in 20 minutes. And if you’re looking to build and tone your muscles, rowing will be your best bet for total body muscle recruitment.
As a final point, those with limited space will love that the Hydrow has the option to be stored vertically (for $69.99 more), getting it up and out of the way.
Who should buy the Peloton?
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
You should go for the Peloton if you love cycling and want that to be the cornerstone of your fitness. Cycling is low-impact and considered safe for users of all ages and abilities, even those who have compromised knees (always talk to your doctor beforehand!). Also, if you crave connection and camaraderie then you’re going to love the Peloton live workouts.
That said, if you can’t make their live classes, you won’t have the opportunity to workout live, which can be a bummer for some.
Lastly, if you want to increase your cardiovascular fitness, cycling is one of the best ways to do so.
So, Peloton or Hydrow, which should you get?
If you are looking to get the better complete workout machine for your money, the Hydrow rower in the clear winner. With Hydrow, you're getting low-impact movements that focus on full body workouts, whereas with Peloton, you get only lower body workouts through cycling. Both Peloton and Hydrow compare favorably and have excellent programming, coaching and community, which helps get your moneys' worth.
That was a lot of information, which means you certainly have your work cut out for you as you navigate the decision-making process. I hope that the information I provided in this article provided you with some insight and direction as you identify which connected fitness experience is going to match your workout preferences best.
I truly think that both machines are incredible and that you really can’t go wrong with either option. They are very similar in that they incorporate many of the same principles and programming features that provide you with a stellar workout experience.
Your decision will come down to which style of cardio workout is the best choice for you and what your goals are. If your number one goal is to get the most out of your workout, meaning the most impact on your body and fitness goals, then rowing is superior, and Hydrow is one of the best smart rowing machines on the market. That said, some people simply love cycling, in which case, Peloton is undoubtedly the reigning king.
Which option will you choose? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!