Hydrow vs. Concept2


When it comes to indoor rowing machines, two of the most popular options on the market are the Concept2 rower and the Hydrow rower. 

[an image of a woman rowing on a Concept2 Model D ergometer]
Erg battle: Hydrow vs. Concept2 — which would you choose?

While both machines offer a great workout, they differ significantly in terms of design, associated apps and subscriptions, price, and pros and cons. 

In this review, we'll cover the following criteria for both the Hydrow and the Concept2 RowErg (formerly the Model D):

Let's take a closer look at each machine to help you determine which one is the best fit for your needs, shall we? 


Concept2 RowErg 

The Concept2 rower has been a staple in the indoor rowing community for years and is known for its durable and straightforward design. It features a flywheel and damper that allow users to adjust the resistance level to set the drag factor, making it a great option for users of all abilities (note to non-rowers: the damper setting should typically be between 3-5 — it's not a weight-lifting machine, so higher drag factor doesn't automatically equate to a better workout). The machine also has a small footprint, making it easy to store when not in use.


The Hydrow rower, on the other hand, features a sleek and modern design with a 22-inch touchscreen display that provides an immersive rowing experience. The machine also uses electromagnetic resistance technology to mimic the feeling of rowing on water, which many users find more realistic and engaging than the resistance on the Concept2. However, the Hydrow rower is heavier than the Concept2, and requires an additional upright storage kit (sold separately), which may be a consideration for users with limited space.

Apps and Subscriptions

Concept2 RowErg

The Concept2 rower offers a free app called ErgData, which allows users to track and analyze their workouts. The app also allows users to connect with other rowers and compete in challenges. The machine also supports a variety of third-party apps, which offer a more immersive and interactive rowing experience (you could even subscribe to the Hydrow app for $44/month and just mount your phone or tablet to the Concept2 display if you want to experience the streaming classes while handling the data yourself).


The Hydrow rower comes with a subscription service that provides access to live and on-demand rowing classes led by experienced trainers. The subscription service also includes a variety of other workouts, including yoga, strength training, and Pilates. The machine also features a social community platform that allows users to connect with other rowers and provides support and motivation.

Price and Value

Concept2 RowErg

The Concept2 rower is one of the most affordable indoor rowing machines on the market, with a price range of around $900 to $1,200. However, this price does not include any associated apps or subscriptions, which can add to the overall cost. Typically, there is also a flat rate for shipping around $45-50 (for US), bringing the total for a new machine to around $1000 with taxes. 


The Hydrow rower, on the other hand, is a more expensive option, with a price tag of around $2,245. Additionally, the machine requires a subscription to access the live and on-demand workouts and other features (currently listed at $44 per month). Shipping to your porch is free, but you can also add premium in-home setup for a fee. 

Pros and Cons

Concept2 RowErg 


  • Affordable 
  • Simple and ultra-durable design that also offers great user experience and similar feel to rowing on the water
  • Lightweight at 57lbs, and breaks down into 2 parts easily for storage or transport
  • No subscription required to get the most out of your machine — the display, while basic, offers the ability to choose from standard workouts, program your own, and record your progress
  • Supports a variety of third-party apps
  • Same machine used by rowers worldwide, at the World Indoor Rowing Championships, as well as CrossFit Games


  • Limited features and interactive capabilities
  • Basic display
  • Not as visually attractive (more industrial looking), slightly larger footprint when horizontal (longer monorail)
  • Noise factor with air resistance 



  • Immersive and engaging rowing experience — with a host of great trainers (many of whom are former elite rowers), plus on-location videos that show off the beauty of rowing on the water, Hydrow offers the best virtual rowing experience and class lineup, bar none
  • Sleek, modern design and durable construction
  • Advanced metrics tracking
  • Access to a variety of non-rowing workouts, including yoga and strength classes (also often shot on location in beautiful venues)
  • Social community


  • Expensive 
  • Requires a monthly subscription to access any of the workouts (and of course an internet connection and power outlet)
  • Larger and heavier design (weighs 145lbs), doesn't store vertically without an additional component (sold separately)

Which One is Best?

Ultimately, the best indoor rowing machine for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. 

  • If you're looking for a more affordable and basic option, the Concept2 rower may be the better choice. 
  • However, if you're looking for a more immersive and engaging workout experience, with access to live and on-demand classes, advanced metrics tracking, and a social community, the Hydrow rower may be the better option, despite the higher price tag and required subscription.

Hydrow Wave — the Best of Both Worlds?

It's also worth mentioning the Hydrow Wave, a more affordable rowing machine from Hydrow that does not feature the 22-inch touchscreen display or electromagnetic resistance technology of the Hydrow rower. The Hydrow Wave is a more compact and lightweight option, making it easier to store and transport. It also offers access to the same live and on-demand workouts as the Hydrow rower.

Hydrow Wave


  • More affordable than the Hydrow rower (starts at $1895)
  • Subscription includes access to the same live and on-demand workouts
  • Same electromagnetic resistance as Hydrow rower (also maybe a touch quieter)
  • More compact and lightweight design (weighs 102lbs)
  • Offers different colorways (costs extra) 


  • Smaller touch screen (16" instead of 22"), no ability to adjust screen position
  • More basic structure for sliding seat makes it marginally less smooth

If you're interested in the Hydrow brand, but looking for a more affordable option, the Hydrow Wave may be a good compromise.


In summary, both the Concept2 and Hydrow rowers offer great indoor rowing workouts, but differ in terms of design, associated apps and subscriptions, price, and pros and cons. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your individual preferences and budget.

For more on each of these machines, see our reviews below:

And if you still can't decide, you don't have to take our word for it — here's another breakdown of the Hydrow vs. Concept2 from Dark Horse Rowing (the pricing has changed slightly since this video was published, but it's still a valuable resource when considering these two machines and subscriptions). 

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