Hydrow vs CITYROW: Which Smart Rower Is The Best For You?

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The indoor fitness niche has seen an ever-increasing boom in popularity over recent years, with everything from stationary bikes and home gyms to fan bikes and rowers.

Today we take a detailed look at two of the leaders in the indoor rowing market; Hydrow and CITYROW. These two rowers offer exceptional features and quality, and what better way to get fit than from the comfort of your own home.

So let’s put these two top rowers head to head and see which one comes out on top. 

Hydrow vs CITYROW

In A Hurry? Glimpse The Main Differences

When it comes to the design and style of these two rowers, they couldn’t be further apart. The Hydrow is modern, sleek, and looks like it came directly from a sci-fi movie, while the CITY ROW emphasizes function over design.

For what you get, the Hydrow is a bargain, and for a brand that’s known globally for its quality, tech, design, and manufacturing, the Hydrow rower is very inexpensive. You also get access to an extensive library of on-demand classes designed by some of the best fitness trainers in the world.

The CITYROW is a rower built on a water resistance platform, meaning instead of using the traditional magnetic or electronically controlled resistance systems, the CITYROW uses water. The user experience with this rower is incredibly realistic, and the sound of the water swirling around is practically mesmerizing.

Hydrow vs CITYROW Go Max Comparison Table 

PRICE$1,795,00$1,945,00 excluding monthly membership subscription and tax
WEIGHT OF MACHINE145lbs or 65kg74lbs or 34 kgs dry weight 
RESISTANCE TYPEThe Hydrow utilizes a state of the art resistance system that is electronically controlledCollaborates with industry-leader WaterRower for an astonishingly realistic training experience
BLUETOOTHThe Hydrow comes equipped with BlueTooth capability perfect for headphones and even a heart rate monitorComes equipped with headsets and a heart rate monitor with BlueTooth connectivity 
LCD TOUCH SCREEN The latest 22” touch screen 19.5” touch screen with sweat resistance qualities
MAX USER WEIGHT 375lbs or 170kgs375lbs or 170kgs 
TRAINING PROGRAMS A huge library of On-Demand workouts Extensive array of live and On-Demand classes

Hydrow Detailed Review

Our Best Magnetic Rower
Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine Hydrow Connected Rowing Machine

The Hydrow combines the design with innovative technology. Its electromagnetic, computer-controlled drag system creates the ultra-smooth feel of being on the water. Comes with Live and on-demand workouts.

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  • User Weight Limit: 375lbs or 170kgs
  • Machine Weight: 145lbs or 65kgs
  • LCD Screen: 22” Touch Screen with dirt and dust resistance 
  • Rower Dimensions: 86 inches x 25 inches x 47 inches
  • Price Tag: $1,795,00

Without question, the Hydrow rower has become an industry leader in recent years, and its rise looks to continue.

The LCD screen has crystal clear quality, which helps to bring an unmatched level of authenticity to the workouts and all while in the safety of your own home. Authenticity and realism can’t be emphasized enough because it’s that realistic rowing experience that makes you come back for more and more. And we all know the more you train and enjoy training, the fitter you’ll become.

The live classes coupled with the interactive leaderboard and the unlimited number of on-demand workouts will keep your enjoyment levels high and your fitness levels even higher. The training programs are designed and delivered by world-class experts in the fields of sports science. Workouts are varied, and there are plenty of programs for all fitness levels.

hydrow leaderboard small
Hydrow Interactive Leaderboard

Expect to pay for the monthly membership access, but in all honesty, the app, classes, and training programs are of such a high level the price is easily justified.  With access to leaderboards, on-demand, and live classes, you and your family can all enjoy the tremendous benefits the sport of rowing has to offer.

All in all, the Hydrow is so jam-packed with the latest technology and features that make the rowing experience realistic you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better machine out there. Hydrow is now one of the benchmarks for indoor rowers, a reputable brand that has grown in reputation over time.

Things We Like

  • The rower comes with an outstanding 5-year warranty for peace of mind
  • The touch screen is state of the art and measures 22.”
  •  With a maximum weight of 375lbs, the Hydrow is perfect even for the heaviest of people
  • The resistance is regulated electronically and provides a seamless and smooth rowing experience
  • Easily track all your training data and metrics via the app and on-screen display
  • A huge plus is the Bluetooth compatibility which helps make the experience of connecting quick and straightforward.

Things that could be Better

  • With the monthly membership at $38 a month, some people might be put off, but in saying that without the app and access to all the classes, it just wouldn’t make sense.
  • The Hydrow does not fold away as many of its competitors do, and as such, does take up a fair amount of space.

CITYROW GO Detailed Review


  • User Weight Limit: 375lbs or 170kg
  • Machine Weight: 74lbs or 334kg dry weight
  • LCD Screen: 19.5” touch screen panel
  • Rower Dimensions: When In Use: L 85” / 212cm /  W 22.25” / 57 cm 
  • 45.25” / 114.9cm When Stored Away: D 24” / 61 cm /Width 22.25” / 57 cm / Height 85” / 212 cm
  • Price Tag: $1,945,00

The CITYROW group was founded in 2014 in New York and has since grown from a single fitness studio to more than 10 locations nationwide. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that the company released its first home rowing machine, which launched the brand on a global scale.

Currently, the company has two rowers on offer; the CITYROW GO MAX and the Classic model. Priced at $1,945,00 and $1,245,00, respectively, there is quite a significant difference in price between the two models. That’s because the two models vary dramatically in the features and specs they have on offer. I like the drastic difference in models as it gives the user a clear option to consider when purchasing.

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CITYROW Classic Rower CITYROW Classic Rower

A completely wireless workout. Features innovative water resistance technology. Pair your own device for an immersive at-home experience.

Another feature of the water rower is that it’s significantly quieter than other rowers in the same class, which means you won’t be distracting others at home while working out. The ergonomically designed frame and seat make it ideal for those wanting to work out for longer sessions, and the foam padding keeps your bum nice and comfortable.

Not only does the CITYROW look sleek and stylish, but the wood used to manufacture it is sourced sustainably, so you get to work out and keep the earth green; a win-win. The brand makes this rower hard to fault with a five-year warranty on the frame and three years for other componentry. 

The tablet also comes with a one-year warranty which helps give peace of mind to users during those first 12 months.

MAX Vs Classic Comparison Table

Real live time data and metrics trackingAn attachment arm to hold mobile devices
19.5” dirt and sweat resistant touch screen A cordless free rowing experience
Rotating screen providing various angles for viewing The battery has an extended long life
Bluetooth connectivity makes for seamless connection and workouts The Bluetooth monitor connects to the app for real-time data
Easily stores away by simply standing As with the GO model, the classic stores easily by standing upright.

Things We Like

  • A wide variety of interactive, fun, and challenging workouts designed by industry professionals
  • World-class trainers coach the classes and deliver enjoyable exercises that keep you coming back for more.
  • There are training programs for all levels of fitness, meaning if you’re a beginner, you’ll have a steady pathway of increasingly challenging workouts.
  • The WaterRower resistance is simply a fantastic way to work out, and the sounds and feels as you push through the water brings a level of realism to each stroke.
  • Super lightweight and folds away in seconds
  • The screen rotates, which is a nice touch when you’re off the rower and stretching to one of the workouts

Things that could be Better

  • Some users have complained of defective parts once their rower arrived; However, these are very rare cases and situations when this has occurred, the rower or particular part has been replaced entirely free of charge.
  • To some people, the sound of water sloshing around can be disruptive or off-putting, but personally, I think it’s one of the features that set this rower apart. 
  • Bluetooth and or W-Fi connection can be slow on occasion

Detailed Comparison


The Hydrow rower uses an electronically controlled resistance system that provides for one of the smoothest, quietest, and most efficient training experiences out there. The changes in resistance can hardly be felt, and when it comes time to ramp up your intensity effort, the Hydrow does it with consummate ease.

The CITYROW rower combined with WaterRower in 2014 and developed a resistance system based on, that’s right, water. The resistance system is not a gimmick as the water provides infinite resistance only restricted by the users themselves. 

The sound of the water sloshing around can be mesmerizing, and the feel and sensation you get from the water are as close to the real things you’re going to get.


It’s hard to fault either one of them when it comes to the sheer number and high quality of the workouts Hydrow and CITYROW offer.

Both offer live classes and have a massive library of on-demand classes with something for every fitness level. World-class coaches have designed the programs, and better than that, the classes are delivered by some of the very same coaches. You will never be left for variety with the training programs targeting all areas of the body, including upper and lower, strength and conditioning, and aerobic.

Although the apps require a monthly membership fee, it’s more than worth the money, and without access to the workouts, it isn’t very meaningful. 

Build Quality

When it comes to owning a water rower many people think the water will go green, but in fact, this is not the case at all, and by simply using a drop or tablet of chlorine, the water can stay fresh for months. Personally, I would change the water regularly to keep things nice and clean and the rower running as smooth as possible. 

The advantage of the water rower is two-fold; it’s simple to use; simply start rowing to create the resistance, and secondly, the sound and the feel the water produces is almost therapeutic and gives you the sensation of rowing outside. 

Price And Affordability

In terms of price and affordability, that comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking to get out of the machine; what’s affordable to me might not be affordable to someone else. 

There is not a substantial difference in price with a range of about $200, so it will differ for most people depending on what you want. Both rowers offer excellent warranty terms, and you can’t go wrong with two of the most reputable names in the indoor rowing niche.

Hydrow vs CITYROW vs Ergatta Rowers: How They Compare 

The Ergatta, Hydrow, and CITYROW rowers are all high-quality pieces of fitness equipment from three of the most reputable brands in the indoor rowing niche.

  • The Ergatta rower is traditionally designed and will appeal to those users looking for a rower with a classic sleek design. The Ergatta is stylish in its design and incredibly well built and put together with a maximum user weight over 500lbs or 170kgs. Compared to the Hydrow and CITYROW, the Ergatta rower is a little louder and not as smooth but to be honest; I like that. It gives off more of an old-school vibe and makes it feel like you’re getting a great workout.
  • The Hydrow, with its massive library of on-demand classes and an app that is one of the best out there, offers more of a modern feel and sensation when rowing. The experience is user-friendly, and the machine is smooth, efficient, and relatively quiet compared to other rowers. With a 5-year warranty, state-of-the-art 22″ dust resistant touch screen, and BlueTooth connectivity, the Hydrow is one excellent rower.
  • The CITYROW rower is a relative newcomer to the indoor rowing scene, but this rower packs a real punch. First founded in a chic New York fitness studio back in 2014, the CITYROW rower quickly rose to develop a cult following amongst its enthusiasts. In collaboration with WaterRower, they produced a resistance system that offers realistic training conditions coupled with the latest tech that allows you to track your data in live time.

Hydrow vs Aviron – Comparison
Hydrow vs Concept2 – Comparison

Hydrow or CITYROW: Which Is Best For Me?

The answer to which rower is best for you, the Hydrow or the CITYROW, is complex but yet straightforward.

There is no “one” answer as most people will have vastly different reasons for looking to purchase any piece of indoor fitness equipment. It’s essential to take into consideration several other factors, all of which heavily influence the rower you are buying.

Factors such as budget, how much space you have, how often you plan on using the rower, will other people use it, what your goals are, and your current fitness levels all need to be considered. It’s only then should you look to seriously purchase a rower and put down a significant amount of cash.

But really, with these two rowers, you can’t really go wrong if you take your time to answer all the questions above. Both rowers offer superior workouts designed by top professionals. The build quality is second to none, meaning if looked after correctly, you should be rowing for many years to come.

The Hydrow is perfect for:

  • Those users after a naturalistic rowing experience
  • Aren’t big fans of the studio-style classes
  • Adore being surrounded by the wonders of nature 
  • Users searching for live and on-demand sessions
  • Users who love the latest in resistance technology 

The CITYROW is perfect for:

  • Users who enjoy the studio-style training session
  • Those looking for a library of unlimited workouts
  • Users who crave variety and hate being bored
  • Those with limited space who need a rower to fold away
  • Users who love the classic styling
  • Users after an “old-school” resistance feel


Is The Hydrow Rower Loud?

Compared to other rowers on the market, the Hydrow rower is reasonably quiet and smooth thanks to its electronically controlled resistance system, which keeps sound to a minimum.

Who Makes The Cityrow Rower?

The Cityrow rower is designed and manufactured in conjunction with WaterRower, the industry leader in home rowing machines. They specialize in water resistance systems that provide the user with a realistic, enjoyable, and challenging workout experience. 

Does Hydrow App Work With Concept 2 Or Other Rowers?

Yes, you should be able to use the Hydro app with Concept 2 and other indoor fitness rowers on the market. It’s as easy as a simple plug-and-play, which is the beauty of this type of technology and a significant bonus for the user. 


It’s rare to review two pieces of indoor fitness equipment that can’t be faulted, but that’s exactly what we have done here.

So, if you’re looking for a rowing machine that’s affordable, durable, and equipped with the latest tech, you won’t go wrong with the Hydrow or CITYROW.

Brenton Barker

Brenton holds a Degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Delaware and was the former Head Advisor for the Japanese Government's Sports Science Institute. Brenton currently consults with several Professional Athletes and clients in Self- Accountability, Health, and Goal Orientation.

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