In this article, I’ll be comparing the Echelon Rower vs Hydrow Rower.
The interactive rowing machine market has seen a growth spurt over the last few years. The first rower to provide live and on-demand streaming classes was the Hydrow, which debuted in 2017. That machine soon established itself as the ‘Peleton of rowers’, but came at a pretty steep price point.
Since then new brands have entered the market at varying price points. One of the most cost-effective is the Echelon Row, which came out in 2020.
As a personal trainer and gym owner, I’m constantly looking for the newest and best rowing machines to recommend to my clients. Interactive rowers are ideal for my clients, providing them with the motivation, guidance, and variety they need to stay regular with their cardio.
The Echelon and Hydrow are two of the machines that I endorse to my clients. I’ve studied and tested both rowers, putting in many hours to be able to confidently recommend them.
- Immersive fitness experience
- 3,000+ workouts
- World-class instructors
- Immersive 22” HD touchscreen display
- Screen flips 180° for off-the-rower cross training
- Ergonomic design helps supports proper hip and spine alignment
At a Glance
Both the Echelon Row and the Hydrow are high-quality rowing machines that can provide a great workout at home. However, each machine has its own unique features and design that may make one more suitable for certain users over the other.
The Echelon Row features a smooth belt-drive system, which is known for its quiet operation. The resistance is adjusted using very convenient controls on the handle. The Smart Rower does not come with a screen; you need to attach your own tablet or monitor to make use of the app features.
The Hydrow features a unique electromagnetic resistance that provides a more realistic rowing experience and includes a large touchscreen display that streams live and on-demand rowing classes. The Hydrow also features a live leaderboard which allows you to compete with other rowers in real time, it also has a 22″ touchscreen display, and the option to connect to a heart rate monitor.
In terms of design, The Echelon Row Smart has a more traditional look, while the Hydrow has a sleek and modern design with a large screen in the front.
Keep reading for a complete breakdown of the differences between these two rowing machines.
The Hydrow rowing machine aims to provide the ‘feel of the river’ whilst working out from the comfort of your home. The state-of-the-art rower offers a truly immersive rowing experience.
The Hydrow Rowing Machine is a high-end, interactive rowing machine that aims to provide a more immersive and engaging workout experience.
One of the standout features of the Hydrow is its integration with live and on-demand
classes, which are led by certified instructors and take place on the water.
The machine comes equipped with a 22-inch HD touchscreen display, which allows
users to stream the classes and feel like they are on the water, rowing
alongside the instructor and other participants. The classes are also
accompanied by live and recorded music, providing an energizing and motivating
The Hydrow uses a unique electromagnetic rowing resistance system.
- On-the-water interactive workouts
- Live and on-demand classes
- 22-inch swivel touchscreen
- Computer-controlled magnetic resistance system
- Adjustable drag
- Smooth glide rail
- 375 lb max user weight
- Solid, single-piece frame
The Echelon Row-s offers an immersive rowing experience with live and on-demand classes available 24/7. At a competitive price, it's a cheaper alternative to most interactive rowers on the market.
The Echelon Row has a sleek and modern design. This folding rower has a minimalist aesthetic, with a black and silver color scheme that would fit in well with any home gym decor.
This machine is also relatively compact, making it a good option for those with limited space.
The Echelon Row has a large, easy-to-read display that shows all the important information such as time, distance, and calories burned. It also has a built-in tablet holder, allowing you to watch your favorite workout videos or stream live classes while you row. But it does not come with a built-in monitor.
The Echelon Row has 32 levels of magnetic resistance, which means that there is a wide range of difficulty levels to choose from, whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced rower. The resistance can be easily adjusted with the touch of a button, so you can easily
increase or decrease the intensity of your workout.
- 32 resistance levels
- Whisper quiet magnetic resistance
- Live and on-demand classes
- Handlebar resistance controls
- Max user weight of 300 lbs
Echelon Row vs Hydrow: Appearance
The Echelon Row is designed with a sleek and modern look. It is constructed of a combination of steel and plastic, with a black and silver color scheme. The rowing machine’s seat and handlebars are adjustable for comfort. However, there is no monitor on this machine.
The Hydrow rowing machine also has a sleek and modern design, but it is built to mimic the appearance of an actual rowing boat. It is made of a combination of wood and metal, with a black and wood color scheme. The rowing machine’s seat and handlebars are adjustable for comfort and the display screen is adjustable so you can see it when doing off-the-rower workouts.
Both machines will fit well in most home gyms and are designed to be space-efficient. However, the Echelon Smart is foldable, allowing for compact storage, while the Hydrow is not.
Echelon Rower vs Hydrow: Construction And Design
The Echelon Row features a belt-drive system, which is known for its smooth and quiet operation. The resistance is adjusted using a dial on the machine, and the machine also includes a variety of workout programs and resistance levels to choose from.
The maximum user weight of the Echelon Row is 300 lbs. It is a more compact machine than the Hydrow with frame dimensions of 83.5” L x 20.5” W x 41.75 H. This compares to dimensions of 86″ L x 25″ W x 47″ H and a maximum user weight of 375 lbs for the Hydrow.
The Hydrow features an electromagnetic resistance system that provides a more realistic rowing experience, and it also includes a large touchscreen display that streams live and on-demand rowing classes. The Hydrow also features a live leaderboard which allows you to compete with other rowers in real-time.
In terms of design, the Echelon Row has a more traditional look, while the Hydrow has a sleek and modern design with a large screen in the front.
Overall, both the Echelon and Hydrow rowing machines are high-quality options for those looking to get a great rowing workout at home, but the Hydrow’s advanced resistance system and the live streaming classes and leaderboard may be more appealing for those who like a more immersive and interactive workout experience.
Echelon Rower vs Hydrow: Comfort And Feel
The comfort and feel of the Echelon Row and Hydrow rowing machines can vary based on personal preference. Both machines are designed to provide a comfortable rowing experience, but there are some key differences in terms of design and features that may affect the overall feel of the machine.
The Echelon Row seat is contoured and cushioned, providing a comfortable and stable rowing experience. However, it may be a little small for larger users.
The Hydrow Rowing Machine seat is also contoured and cushioned, with a focus on ergonomics and comfort. This seat is larger than that on the Echelon Row. There are ten seat rollers on the Hydrow, making for a smoother up-and-down experience.
The Echelon Row footplates are adjustable, which allows for a more customized and comfortable fit. The Hydrow Rowing Machine foot plates are also adjustable, allowing users to find the perfect fit for their feet. Both feature sturdy footboards to keep your feet firmly planted. They both use straps as opposed to velcro to lock your feet down.
The Echelon Row handlebars are also contoured, which helps to reduce strain on the hands and wrists. There are resistance controls on each side of the handle, allowing for hands-on resistance adjustment. The handle is also softly padded with a sweat-resistant foam.
The Hydrow Rowing Machine handlebars are also contoured, which is designed to provide a comfortable and secure grip during the workout.
Neither of these handles has a central grip or vent to allow for one-arm rowing.
The Hydrow Rowing Machine rail is made of steel and designed to provide a smooth and stable rowing experience. The rail length allows for a 36-inch inseam, equating to a user height of around 6’2”.
The Echelon rail is also made of steel and is designed to provide a smooth and stable rowing experience. There is no stated inseam length for this rail, but it is slightly shorter than the Hydrow rail.
The Echelon Row has 32 levels of electromagnetic resistance, which means that there is a wide range of difficulty levels to choose from, whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced rower.
The Hydrow Rowing Machine also uses electromagnetic resistance, It is adjustable by way of drag resistance, which can be set anywhere between 0-300 levels. Drag more closely replicates the resistance you feel on the water than the settings on the Echelon Smart Rower.
Both machines are designed to provide a smooth and stable rowing experience, with a focus on ergonomics and comfort. The Echelon Row has a variety of workout programs, including interval training, distance-based training, and resistance-based training, giving the user a more varied and challenging workout experience.
The Hydrow Rowing Machine focuses on providing an immersive and engaging workout experience through its integration with live and on-demand classes, which are led by certified instructors and take place on the water, providing a more realistic rowing experience.
Both machines offer off-the-water workout options.
Echelon Rower vs Hydrow: Noise Levels
Both rowers are extremely quiet, thanks to their electromagnetic resistance systems. You will hear a slight whir as the cord is pulled out of its coil with both machines.
Echelon Rower vs Hydrow: Screen
Your purchase of the Echelon Row does not come with a monitor. There is simply a tablet holder so you can fit your own device. This is in contrast to the 22-inch touchscreen which is a key feature of the Hydrow Rower.
The Hydrow screen features angle adjustment, front-facing speakers, and an easy-adjust control panel.
Echelon Rower vs Hydrow: Membership And Content
Both the Echelon and Hydrow rowing machines offer membership plans that give access to live and on-demand classes, personalized training plans, and other features.
The Echelon Fit membership provides access to live and on-demand classes from certified instructors, personalized training plans, and the ability to track and analyze your progress. The membership also includes access to the Echelon Fit app, which provides access to additional classes and features such as virtual reality rides.
The Hydrow membership provides access to live and on-demand classes from certified instructors, personalized training plans, and the ability to track and analyze your progress. The membership also includes access to the Hydrow app, which provides access to additional classes and features such as virtual reality rides and scenic live streams filmed on actual waterways.
Both membership plans offer a variety of class options, including strength training, cardio, and yoga classes. Hydrow focuses more on the immersive experience by featuring live streams of scenic waterways and on-water instructors.
The Echelon and Hydrow both offer similar membership options, but the Hydrow’s classes and content are more immersive and focus on the experience of rowing on the water.
Echelon Rower vs Hydrow: Usability Without Membership
Both the Echelon and Hydrow rowing machines can be used without a membership, however, the functionality and features available will be limited.
Without a membership, the Echelon Row can still be used to track basic workout data such as time, distance, and strokes per minute. However, you will not have access to personalized training plans, live and on-demand classes, and other features provided through the Echelon United membership.
Without a membership, the Hydrow rowing machine can still be used to track basic workout data such as time, distance, and strokes per minute. However, you will not have access to personalized training plans, live and on-demand classes, and other features provided through the Hydrow membership, such as the immersive experience with live streams of scenic waterways and on-water instructors.
Echelon Rower vs Hydrow: Price
The Echelon Row retails on the official Echelon website for $1699. The company offers a no-interest weekly payment plan for those who wish to pay the machine off.
The cost of a monthly subscription to Echelon Fit is $39.99.
The Hydrow retails for $2495 on the official Hydrow website.
The cost of a monthly Hydrow subscription is $38.00
Echelon Rower vs Hydrow: Warranty
The Echelon Row comes with a 1-year warranty on the frame and a 90-day warranty on parts and labor. Some models may have different warranty terms, so it’s important to check the specific warranty for the model you’re interested in.
The Hydrow rowing machine comes with a 5-year warranty on the frame, and a 1-year warranty on the components, electronics, and screen.
|Echelon Row S-Smart||Hydrow|
|Screen Size||No monitor||22 inches|
|Screen Angle Adjustable||N/A||Yes|
|Max User Weight||300 lbs||375 lbs|
|Product Weight||108 lbs||145 lbs|
|Dimensions||83.5” L x 20.5” W x 41.75 H||86″ L x 25″ W x 47″ H|
|Warranty||1 year||5 years|
Echelon Row vs Hydrow: The Winner
Both the Echelon Row and the Hydrow provide top-quality hardware to provide you with a smooth, natural, and functionally efficient rowing machine. However, the Hydrow provides that little bit extra with a larger seat, longer seat rail, and heavier maximum user weight.
The lack of a monitor on the Echelon Row will be a deal breaker for many people. You can of course, hook up your tablet but that comes nowhere near providing the immersive experience you get with the Hydrow screen.
The quality of video and streaming content received through the Hydrow app is also superior to Echelon Row. Hydrow uses more cameras to deliver more angles and more interest.
For these reasons, I rank the Hydrow as a better investment than the Echelon Row.
The Hydrow is the clear winner in our head-to-head comparison. If you are after the best quality streaming service, with on-the-water workouts beamed from some of the world’s most amazing waterways, viewed through a huge screen on a machine that provides hundreds of drag resistance settings, you can’t do much better than the Hydrow.
However, if you are wanting to save a few hundred bucks, are happy to hook up your tablet, and are content with in-studio workouts, and slightly less functional hardware, the Echelon Row will do the job nicely.