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- Right now, Hydrow Wave has a Black Friday sale on its latest model the Wave for $150 off.
- The Hydrow Wave is as close as it gets to feeling like you’re rowing on water.
- I recommend the Wave for new and seasoned rowers, but for different reasons.
As a former college rower, I miss being on the water. And the lonely rower machine tucked in the dusty corner of my local gym that sounds like a sick cat when I use it, isn’t fixing that.
So, when I heard about Hydrow’s latest model, the Hydrow Wave, that promises to bring users an on-water experience, I had to give it a shot.
About Hydrow Wave
Hydrow’s original model, the Hydrow Rowing Machine, was one of Insider’s top picks for the best rowers of 2022. But with a price tag of $2,495, it was the most expensive machine in our line-up. The Wave is significantly cheaper costing $1,695, or $36/mo with 0% APR through Klarna.
While it’s still not the cheapest rower you can buy, the Wave’s price point makes it competitive with other models like the Concept2 Model D or Nordic Track RW900.
It’s also 43 pounds lighter, 6 inches shorter, and 6 inches narrower compared to its predecessor. So it takes up less floor space than a treadmill.
What sets both Hydrow models apart from traditional rowers is their interactive classes and streaming content. That’s why Hydrow was often nicknamed the Peloton of rowers, before Peloton got its own rower.
As with any workout equipment, determining whether the Wave is right for you depends on what you’re lootking for. So, here are seven noteable features about the Hydrow Wave to consider.
The best thing about the Wave is the fitness classes
In my opinion, the fitness classes are the best feature about the Wave and make it a better option than other rowers at a similar price point — especially if you’re new to rowing and don’t know the proper technique.
There’s a very specific sequence of movements to rowing correctly, and — I can speak from experience — learning that technique under the direction of trained rowers is a lot easier than trying to teach yourself. It’s not intuitive.
The Wave’s classes come with Hydrow’s subscription service, which costs $38/mo — cheaper than Peloton’s $44/mo all-access membership and many gym memberships.
The subscription service offers dozens of expert-led, pre-recorded, and live, workouts that range anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour.
There’s even a series called “Row with Hart” where you row with celeb and Hydrow creative director Kevin Hart. And Hydrow is constantly adding new workouts to the list from locations around the globe.
“It’s a lovely way to get people another indoor fitness option where you feel like you’re a part of something,” says Lisa Russell who is a physical therapist, rower, and founder of PowerHousePhysio.com.
And if there’s one type of person you want motivating you during a workout, it’s a rower. Rowers use on-boat coaches called coxswains, to motivate them and you can see the athletes bring that same intensity and encouragement to Hydrow’s classes. That’s why I found it much easier to push myself during these workouts than I typically do solo on a treadmill or bike
It’s easy to assemble and maneuver
It takes about 15-20 minutes to first assemble the Hydrow Wave. After that, moving it around to where you want is relatively easy thanks to the two wheels at the front; just tip it upright and push.
I was able to maneuver it on both carpet and hardwood floors by myself without a problem. However, when I tried to take it down a set of stairs, that’s when I needed my partner’s help.
The Wave is 43 pounds lighter than its predecessor but it’s still a heavy piece of equipment, weighing in at 102 pounds. Plus, the machine’s weight isn’t evenly distributed. Most of it is in the front where the screen is located. This makes it a tad awkward to lift since one person gets the bulk of the weight.
I recommend assembling the machine on the same floor you plan to use it.
This machine is super quiet
Compared to the Concept2 rowers I’m used to, the Hydrow Wave sounds significantly softer. When I measured the Wave’s decibel range, the loudest it reached was 68 dB, or about as loud as a dishwasher. Concept2s can reach well over 70 dB, by comparison.
That softness might not appeal to you if you like hearing the loud “WHOOSH” every time you take a stroke. I’ll admit, it can be hypnotic in an oddly motivating way.
However, if you have roommates or neighbors closeby, the Wave is a better option than louder machines. Personally, I really enjoyed how soft the Wave sounded.
The Wave feels ridiculously smooth
The big question is: Does rowing on the Wave feel like you’re rowing on water?
Imagine a lake on a windless dawn with water so calm it’s a perfect mirror to the morning sky. Rowing on that is what it feels like to row on the Wave. The machine is ridiculously smooth.
The seat slides effortlessly along the beam but more importantly, the handle and nylon cord feel smooth as you row from the catch to the release and back. Some rowers I’ve used are jerky at the catch, which can make it difficult to get into a rhythm and strains the back.
You can also adjust how hard you want to work out by increasing or decreasing the tension of the wheel. The Hydrow wheel’s tension is controlled by electromagnetic resistance, so you can access it through the machine’s computer. This feature also comes with an impressive bonus:
“The goal was to create a resistance mechanism that we could adjust and change over time,” says Hydrow founder Bruce Smith. “The analogy is that it is similar to a Tesla: Because the resistance is a computer program that maps to a specific feeling, we can change the resistance.”
Smith adds that Hydrow “will also be adding different feels to the machine over the next few years” that users can access through the subscription service.
Honestly, I don’t know how it could make the Wave feel any smoother but am curious to see what Hydrow whips up.
Hydrow has a lot of subtle safety features that go a long way
Rowing is a low-impact exercise but that doesn’t mean you can’t injure yourself.
Low back pain is one of the most common injuries rowers experience. However, the Wave has several features to help you row injury-free.
1. Introductory series
The subscription service offers an introductory “Learn to Row” series. Smith says this series is “specifically designed” for first-timers and that it “breaks down the fundamentals of the rowing stroke” to help you achieve proper form.
If you have poor form, you’re more likely to hurt yourself, Russell says.
2. Diverse workouts
The subscription service also offers yoga, Pilates, and strength training classes. Rowing is a full-body workout, so it’s important to stretch and strengthen your body as you row longer distances.
Moreover, Smith says “we hear from tons of users who have incorporated those workouts into their marathon or triathlon training program. Or have use them while recovering from any injury, or to prevent further aggravating an exsiting one.”
3. Wheel resistance
Being able to adjust the resistance of the wheel can help reduce how much the machine pulls on your back. So, if your back is sore, try lowering the tension.
However, one thing Hydrow — and all other rower manufacturers — could improve on is to make the machine more customizable, says Russell.
“Anyone with hip pain or range of motion issues need to be able to adjust the seat-to-heal angle, where your butt is compared to where your healds end up,” Russell says. Because this “seems to contribute to someone’s comfort or discomfort on different models and machines.”
It takes up minimal space
The Wave’s small size is what a lot of online reviewers rave about — and it’s easy to see why.
The machine measures 80 inches (6.6 ft) long by 19 inches (1.6 ft) wide, which means it takes up about 10.5 square feet of floor space. For comparison, the original Hydrow model covers 15 square feet.
For more perspective, 10.5 square feet is smaller than most popular treadmills including:
The only difference is that many treadmills allow you toeasily fold them up and stash them against your wall, opening more floor space.
You can do something similar with the Wave but you’ll need to purchase Hydrow’s upright storage kit for $80. I didn’t have a chance to test this out but judging from Hydrow’s online tutorial, it looks more complicated than a folding treadmill but doable if you’re strapped for floor space.
The screen size is smaller and not adjustable
The Wave comes with a 16-inch screen compared to the original Hydrow model’s 22-inch screen. Personally, the Wave’s monitor was large enough for me to see everything as I worked out.
But the biggest difference between the two is that the original Hydrow’s screen swivels and the Wave’s does not. For me, this made it slightly awkward to follow the other workouts like yoga or Pilates since I had to watch them at an angle.
However, the experience wasn’t so bad that I would pay an extra $800 for the original model, just for a swiveling screen.
Should you buy the Hydrow Wave?
The Hydrow Wave is the smoothest rower I’ve ever used and it exceeded my expectations of having an on-water experience at home.
So, if you’re in the market for a rower between $1,000-$2,000, then I highly recommend the Wave because it fits almost every fitness level and lifestyle. It’s perfect for new rowers since it teaches the basics and should please seasoned rowers with its competitive races and effective workouts.
Plus, the subscription service is worth the $38/mo, considering it offers Pilates, yoga, and strength training, classes in addition to the rowing routines.
And whether you live in an apartment or mansion, it’s small enough to fit almost anywhere and quiet enough that it won’t annoy your roommate or neighbors.
I’m not the only person whose enjoyed the Wave, either as the majority of reviewers on both Amazon and BestBuy give it five out of five stars.
Although $1,695 is a lot for a piece of workout equipment, the Wave is well worth the investment if you know you’re going to use it multiple times a week.