Hydrow vs. Concept2 – A Little Friendly Competition

Rowing machines are taking over the gym and for a good reason. This full-body workout is easy on the joints and provides epic calorie burn. We’ve done a review of Hydrow rower here, and we’ve seen the battle between the Ergatta vs. Hydrow. Since we all love a good battle of the rowing machines, we figured we book another one for a plethora of information and fun!

We’ll watch the battle between the Hydrow vs. Concept2 to decipher which rower is worth purchasing. We’ll measure price, materials, dimensions, apps, resistance types, pros, cons, and more. By the end, you’ll be an expert on both rowers and ready to shop for your favorite.

Benefits of Rowing Machines

We know you’re ready for an epic battle of rowing machines, but we need to discuss the exceptional benefits that rowers provide. Rowing is a low-impact option, leaving the joints free from stress. It’s particularly beneficial for people with joint issues or arthritis to gain lean muscle mass to support bone structure.

Rowing is a full-body workout engaging muscles in the core, back, legs, and arms to build better strength and endurance. This cardiovascular and strength training workout takes ten to fifteen minutes, giving you time to stretch and recover without wreaking havoc on your day.

While you can use a rowing machine at the gym, there are various options for home use and portable options for those with limited space. It’s the new treadmill.

Introducing the Hydrow Rower

The Hydrow rowing machine uses magnetic resistance to power your workouts. It’s made with high-quality steel for durability. While it’s not easily portable, weighing 145 lbs., it features a 375 lbs maximum weight capacity, which is high for a home rowing machine. It’s taller than some competitors, allowing easy access for the older community or individuals recovering from injuries.

Due to the magnetic resistance, it’s quiet. Use it in any room for your workouts without disturbing those around you. Users, from beginners to experienced rowers, love the Hydrow.

Concept2 Rower Explained

Not to be outdone by the Hydrow, the Concept2 rowing machine features excellent attributes that differ from its competitor. The Concept2 rower uses air to resist, making it a louder option. However, since it uses air resistance, it’s lightweight and requires no electrical connection. 

Concept2 doesn’t have a subscription for an app linked to the rower. An external app is required for rowing workouts and challenges. Since there isn’t an app, there isn’t training about technique. This rowing machine is best for experienced rowers who understand the fundamentals of rowing.

Let’s Battle It Out

Now that we understand a little about each rowing machine, let’s dive into some areas of importance to consider before purchasing a rower.


The Hydrow’s monorail is 14” tall and 54” long. The Hydrow’s comfortable seat stands 16” tall for easy access. From the top of the touchscreen, the Hydrow’s dimensions are 86” x 25” x 47”. It features a weight capacity of 375 lbs and weighs 145 lbs.

In comparison, the Concept2 measures 96” x 24” x 42”. A removable phone holder perched on the top PM5 (performance monitor 5) adds 5” to the height when in use. The monorail length is 54”, and it stands 12” tall. With a seat height of 12”, it’s a little shorter than the Hydrow. However, Concept2 only weighs 57 lbs and has a maximum weight of 500 lbs.

Hydrow Rower Hydrow Rower
  • Easy adjustment for correct foot placement
  • Monitor adjusts 15 degrees and pivots 25 degrees left and right while also folding for easy storage
  • Ergonomically designed cushion with 10-roller system for extra smooth operation
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.


Materials set the stage for durability and comfort for your rowing machine. For Concept2, the frame is made from aluminum. Break it into two pieces for storage. Leg extensions give you options to make it taller for those requiring it.

It comes with 12” high and 5” wide footboards. The footplates are 12” long, featuring nylon straps and a textured grip for stability. The footplates move to enable ankle flexion and comfort.

The seat isn’t cushioned well since it’s designed to be more practical than comfortable. It features an 18” wide handle that allows one-arm pulls. Nickel-plated chains connect the handle to the flywheel creating a durable but noisy rower. The chain required lubrication similar to that of a bicycle.

The Hydrow is made of a single piece of aluminum and steel for durability but not portability. It doesn’t break down into smaller pieces for storage and requires a separate kit for upright storage since it weighs 145 lbs. People with less space might find this problematic.

The pedals are the same as the Concept2 rower. The seat for the Hydrow is more comfortable than the Concept2 and more expansive for people needing more room. The ergonomic handle features a spongey texture for comfort but does not have a vented middle for one-arm pulls.

The flywheel and handle connect via a nylon strap, making it quieter and easier to maintain than the Concept2 rowing machine.

Type of Resistance

The type of resistance for a rower drives how it engages your muscles. The Hydrow uses magnetic resistance for power. Magnetic resistance rowers are quiet, require little maintenance, and are great for resistance training. The Hydrow rowing machine has 300 levels of preset resistance, making it great for beginners or more advanced rowers.

A couple of downfalls of magnetic rowing machines are that they are more expensive to produce and have a maximum resistance level. With magnetic vs. water resistance, water gives a more authentic rowing experience than magnets, allowing for higher maximum resistance levels. Also, magnetic rowers are heavier than other types of rowing machines.

Concept2 rowing machine uses air resistance for power, allowing unlimited resistance levels. It doesn’t require electricity and is lighter than magnetic rowers. It is easy to adjust the drag factor making the workout harder or easier, depending on skill level.

Some drawbacks to air resistance rowers are how loud they are. A magnetic rower can be in a room, and you would overlook someone training, but an air resistance rower requires a separate area to exercise in so you don’t bug the family with the noise.

Concept2 | Model D Indoor Rowing Machine Concept2 | Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
1.195,00 €

The Concept2 Model D rowing machine features an advanced PM5 Performance Monitor, improved ergonomically designed handles, adjustable foot-rests, and a flywheel designed for smooth movement with minimal noise. The Model D has a comfortable 14" (seat) height with an aluminum I-beam monorail and stainless steel track for a consistent back-and-forth slide. When done training, you can quickly break down the rower into two segments for storage or use the included caster wheels for easy transport.

  • Space recommended for use is 9 x 4 feet; 500-pound user capacity; 5-year frame included
  • Concept2 Model D RowErg, Performance Monitor 5 computer (PM5), Smartphone Cradle, User Manual, PM5 Quick Start Guide
02/19/2024 01:14 pm GMT

Subscriptions and Monitors

Hydrow features an app with a subscription for live classes, saved classes, a leaderboard, and challenges. It’s similar to Pelaton, with over 15,000 workouts available. The app allows you to pick your rowing experience outdoors, through professional guidance, or with challenges. Set the rowing to your experience level and go. Without the app subscription, the Hydrow features minimal rowing programming.

The cost of Hydrow’s app subscription is $38/month.

The monitor for the Hydrow swivels for personalized access. It is Bluetooth enabled with front-facing speakers. The touchscreen is easy to use and features a bright screen.

For Concept2 rowers, users can use the Concept2 ErgData app or an external app like Regatta or Krew. This variety allows for rowing challenges and workouts. The plain LCD screen promotes high-quality PM5 functionality to track performance. Without using an app, Concept2 has a “just row” ability.

The excellent news for Concept2 rowers is no extra subscription fee for the ErgData app. Subscription fees for external apps may be required.


The Concept2 rower costs $900 with standard legs. If you want a higher rowing machine, purchase the rower with the leg extensions for $1050. 

The Hydrow rowing machine costs $2,295 without a heart rate monitor or mat.

Reviews are Life

It’s essential to read reviews, especially when purchasing high-dollar equipment. People like the Hydrow rowing machine because it’s well-built, easy to set up, and tutorials for beginners. They didn’t like how it required a monthly subscription to access the workouts or that the nylon strap frays after just a few uses. 

The Concept2 rowing machine is well-liked for its natural rowing motion, easy programming workouts, and simple maintenance. They didn’t care for the level of noise associated with an air resistance rower or how uncomfortable the seat was. Some reviews suggested extra padding for longer rowing sessions. There were also some complaints about the PM5 being outdated.

Take Your Pick

We’ve discussed the vital proponents of both rowers. Now it’s up to you to decide which works best for you.

We like the Hydrow rowing machine for its quiet nature, fantastic training sessions, and comfortable seat. Since it’s heavy and doesn’t break down, it’s best for people with more expansive space.

The Concept2 rowing machine is excellent for more experienced rowers who want a quality product at a reasonable price. Air resistance means unlimited resistance levels for more strenuous training sessions, but it is loud. It’s best for a space away from others, like the garage or basement.

The best rower awaits you. You can’t go wrong with the Hydrow or Concept2 rowing machines. Both offer exceptional rowing experiences with an epic, low-impact, full-body workout. Calories be gone!

Website | + posts

Kristen holds a bachelors in English from Louisianna university. With a longstanding passion for fitness, she owns and operate her own gym and is a certified jazzercise instructor.

Robert James
Researcher and Fact Checker at The Fitness Tribe | + posts

Robert is a senior researcher and fact-checker at The Fitness Tribe. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BS), Food Science and Technology from the university of Santo Tomas. He's our expert in all things nutrition and fitness.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *