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Hydrow Wave Review: First Look At Hydrows New Rower

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Hydrow Wave Rower
Hydrow Wave Rower
Hydrow Wave Rower
Start Rowing Score

The Hydrow Wave is the second model in the Hydrow rowing machine stable. It’s more compact, and a thousand dollars cheaper yet retains the sturdiness and sleek performance of the original. The Wave features a 16-inch touchscreen, a polycarbonate frame that doesn’t vibrate, and access to awesome workouts featuring on-the-water video coaches.


Pros
  • Economical version of the original Hydrow
  • Beginner friendly workouts
  • Solid polycarbonate frame
  • 16-inch touch screen
Cons

 

  • Touchscreen does not swivel
  • Not worth it without the membership

This is our review of the Hydrow Wave rowing machine.

During my 35-year career as a gym owner and personal trainer, I’ve been using and recommending rowing machines from most of the major brands. Since the release of the regional Hydrow in 2017, it has been on my top three recommended rowers list. 

As good as the original Hydrow is, the large footprint, bulk, and price tag made it prohibitive for many of my clients. So, when I read a press release from Hydrow earlier this month that they were about to release a lighter, cheaper version of the Hydrow, I was pretty keen to check it out. 

I found the Hydrow wave to be the answer to the two biggest barriers that many of my clients face when considering getting a rowing machine for their home; space and cost. The Wave significantly reduces both without compromising the performance of the original Hydrow.  The computer-controlled dynamic resistance is smooth and natural while the polycarbonate frame provides a solid, stable rowing base. 

In this review, I’ll drill down on what the Hydrow Wave does, why it’s good, and what sort of rowing machine users would best benefit from buying it. I’ll also compare the Hydrow Wave to two alternative models. 

Keep reading to get the lowdown on the all-new Hydrow wave rowing machine.

Hydrow Wave Rowing Machine

Hydrow Wave rower

The Hydrow Wave is a lightweight rower that makes use of computer-controlled dynamic resistance to provide you with a rowing experience that is pretty close to what you’d get if you were actually out on the water. 

Combine this with its electromagnetic braking system, custom-designed spring assembly, and high-quality polyester webbing and you’ve got a machine that comes close to the market-leading Concept RowErg in terms of performance. 

The Hydrow Wave impresses me as a very good, and much-needed addition, to the Hydrow stable. Even though it is 30 percent lighter than the original, it doesn’t suffer in terms of performance, rigidity, or even viewing quality. 

One small niggle is that the Wave screen does not pivot 25 degrees on either side like the original can. That means that you won’t get a full-on view of the screen when doing the off-the-rower exercises available on the app. 

Functionality And Design

The Hvdrow Wave is constructed from a two-piece polycarbonate frame. That allows for the machine to be 30 percent lighter than the original steel frame without losing very much in the way of strength and stability. The Wave weighs in at 102 pounds, compared with 145 pounds for the original. 

The lighter weight also makes this model better able to be stored in an upright position (though you will need to buy a $190 accessory to do this). Impressively, the Hydrow wave retains the same max user weight of 375 lbs as the original. 

The Hydrow wave is six inches shorter in both length and width than the original. It’s also four inches lower in height. 

Features And Benefits

Now let’s dive into the features of the Hydrow Wave rower. 

Functionality

The Hydrow Wave uses the same computer-controlled dynamic magnetic resistance as the original Hydrow. In my experience, it delivers the best functionality of any magnetic rower I have ever used. 

You will not experience any of the lag or jerkiness that is common with lesser magnetic rowing machines. As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy a smooth, natural rowing stroke that is as close to being on the water as you’ll get on a magnetic rower.

Programs

The Hydrow Wave pairs with the Hydrow app, for which you’ll be charged $38 per month. For that money, you’ll get access to a huge number of workouts, both on and off the rower. Hydrow provides the best training module for beginner rowers that I have come across. Your first three sessions on the Hydrow app are progressive 15-minute skill-building workouts: Breathe, Sweat and Drive. 

The workout programs are all filmed on the water, to provide you with an immersive real-rowing experience. The trainers are engaging, informative, and motivating, which is about as much as you can expect. 

Touchscreen

The touchscreen on the Hydrow Wave is 16 inches (compared with 22 inches on the original). The loss of 67 inches doesn’t really affect your viewing experience. The workout metrics are just as easy to read and the on-the-water workouts are just as crisp as the ones on the bigger screen.

The one downside of the screen is that it does not retain the ability to tilt 25 degrees to the right and left. That will become an issue if you want to follow the screen when doing off-the-rower exercises.

For me, it wasn’t the end of the world but it would have been nice to have the ability to tilt the screen. I feel that it’s also a basic feature that could have been added. 

Technical Specifications

Hydrow WaveSpecs
Weight102 lbs
Dimensions (assembled)80”L x 19”W x 43”H
Dimensions (stored)26.5”W x 30”D x 82”H
Resistance typeMagnetic
Weight capacity375 lbs
Max Inseam36”
Monitor16” 1920 x 1080 px full HD
ProgrammingHydrow Interactive

Setup Process

You should follow the instruction manual that comes with your Hydrow Wave rowing machine. Place the machine in a place where the touchscreen is out of direct sunlight. Allow for at least two feet of space on each side. 

After unpacking the box, attach the front foot to the front frame. Next, connect the frame and rear frames. Then attach the footrests before positioning the handle. Make sure it lies flat and is not twisted as you position it on the handle rest. I learned this the hard way.  

The next step is to attach the monitor arm and then the monitor. Once that is done, you’re ready to attach the seat. You’re now ready to connect the rowing machine to a power outlet and you’re ready to row.

Sounds like a lot but it’s actually not difficult at all.

The Hydrow Wave is designed as an always-on device, so you don’t need to turn it off between workouts. 

Price and Value

The Hydrow Wave is priced at $1495. This compares to $2495 for the original Hydrow machine. When you consider that the only meaningful differences are that it is lighter and the screen is six inches smaller, that represents a tremendous value. 

The biggest complaint with the original Hydrow that I heard of was that it was too big and too expensive. Full marks to the Hydrow team for addressing both issues with one release.

Warranty

The Hydrow Wave comes with a 5-year frame warranty, with 12 months’ cover on components, screen, and other electronics. You also get 12 months labor coverage.

Alternative Rowers

If you’re unsure about the Hydrow Wave or the original Hydrow, I recommend looking at these rowers as possible alternatives.

Concept 2 RowErg

The Concept 2 RowErg is not as high-tech as the Hydrow Wave but is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper. It is an air resistance rather than a magnetic machine. That provides you with variable resistance where you are in control of the intensity of the workout. 

The frame of the Concept 2 is made from steel and aluminum, making it stronger and heavier. This is not an interactive training machine, so don’t expect to get inbuilt workouts. The upside of that is that you don’t have to pay a $38 monthly subscription.

Plus you can always follow along to workouts via a TV or laptop screen that you find on YouTube or other platforms. 

The PM5 performance monitor that comes with the Concept 2 RowErg is probably the best rowing monitor on the market. The overall performance and functionality of this machine are unsurpassed, which is why it is the preferred rower for nearly every sporting body on the planet.

Read our full Concept2 RowERG review.

Ergatta Rowing Machine

The Ergatta Rowing Machine comes in the classic wood grain style that the Waterrower company popularized. That’s because it is a water rower with an interactive monitor attached. The seat is higher than that on the Hydrow Wave and, with four wheels, slides more gently. 

The Ergatta is a water rower, so if you prefer the gentle sloshing of the water to provide a variable resistance workout, then this one’s a good option. The interactive monitor provides you with more gamified content than you’ll find on the Hydrow Wave. 

At $2199, the Ergatta rower is considerably more expensive than the Hydrow wave. 

Subscription to the Ergatta app will cost $29 per month.

Read our full Ergatta review.

Should you Buy The Hydrow Wave?

The Hydrow Wave is for you if:

  •  You loved the Hydrow but wanted something lighter and cheaper.
  •  You want hundreds of guided on-the-water rowing workouts.
  •  You want extremely smooth, realistic magnetic rowing functionality.

The Hydrow Wave is not for you if:

  •  You don’t want to pay a monthly subscription.
  •  You are after an air rower (go with the Concept2 RowErg).
  • You’re looking for an interactive rower that is gaming-focused (go with the Ergatta).

Final Thoughts On The Hydrow Wave Rower

The Hydrow Wave is a rare example of a fitness company listening and then responding to public demand. People wanted a Hydrow that was lighter and cheaper but just as good and that is precisely what they have delivered. I’m a big fan of the Hydrow Wave and will be recommending it to my clients going forward.  

Hydrow Wave Rower
Hydrow Wave Rower
Hydrow Wave Rower
Start Rowing Score

The Hydrow Wave is the second model in the Hydrow rowing machine stable. It’s more compact, and a thousand dollars cheaper yet retains the sturdiness and sleek performance of the original. The Wave features a 16-inch touchscreen, a polycarbonate frame that doesn’t vibrate, and access to awesome workouts featuring on-the-water video coaches.

FAQs

Is the Hydrow Wave better than the Hydrow?

The Hydrow Wave is not better than the Hydrow in terms of performance and functionality. It is 30 percent lighter and considerably smaller. However, the two machines are on par when it comes to the actual rowing performance. 

Is the Hydrow Wave cheaper than the Hydrow?

Yes, the Hydrow Wave is cheaper than the Hydrow, The Wave has a retail cost of $1495, compared with $2494 for the Hydrow. 

Hydrow Wave

The Hydrow Wave is the second model in the Hydrow rowing machine stable. It’s more compact, and a thousand dollars cheaper yet retains the sturdiness and sleek performance of the original. The Wave features a 16-inch touchscreen, a polycarbonate frame that doesn’t vibrate, and access to awesome workouts featuring on-the-water video coaches.

Product Brand: Hydrow

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 1495

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.6
Steve Theunissen

AUTHOR

Steve Theunissen is a freelance writer living in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is a former gym owner, personal trainer, and school teacher and is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss. Steve also writes history books with a focus on the history of warfare. He is married and has two daughters.