Choosing the right piece of exercise equipment for your home gym or for personal use can be a tough decision.
If you’ve made the smart choice to purchase an indoor rower, then congratulations! I couldn’t agree more! Rowers are perhaps the most effective pieces of cardio equipment that offer a full-body workout with maximum calorie burning and other health benefits.
However, once you’ve decided to purchase a home rowing machine, you’re now faced with a new decision – which model to buy!
In this article, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about both the Hydrow and the Nordictrack so you can make a more intelligent decision.
Rowing Machines Comparison: NordicTrack Rower vs Hydrow Rower
The Nordictrack and Hydrow are two premium pieces of fitness equipment for indoor rowing that you can choose from. They are similar in some ways but very different in other ways.
The Hydrow Rower
All indoor rowers offer a full-body workout, but they are not all made equal. You want to be sure that you’re choosing not only the best possible machine for you but also the best-made machine.
While the Hydrow company hasn’t been in business as long as NordicTrack, it is owned and operated by rowing enthusiasts. There are online and social media communities and support group for Hydrow owners, where they call one another “Hydronauts”.
The warranty on this piece of fitness equipment is 6 years on the structural frame and upright storage kit, 1-year for the monitor and other electronic components, and 1-year on labor. The Hydrow rower does offer an extended warranty at the time of purchase that covers the unit for an additional two or three years.
Features of the Hydrow
Check out the multiple features of the Hydrow below:
- Has a 22″ HD touchscreen monitor with front-facing speakers
- Has built-in Wi-Fi
- The monitor has a built-in camera and microphone
- Offers full Bluetooth capabilities
- Can be folded upright for easier storage
- The electromagnetic resistance system is amazingly quiet
- Made from commercial-grade aluminum and steel
- Digital adjustable resistance
- Offers live outdoor-type reality workouts
- Hundreds of workout programs are available at no charge
- Supports users up to 375 pounds
- Looks sleek and stylish
- The company donates to Water.Org every 60 days when users are continuously active
Wow! There is so much going for the Hydrow rower; it’s hard to take it all in!
Hydrow Workout Options
The Hydrow rower can help you reach your fitness goals through its wide range of workout options.
There are hundreds of classes that provide a body workout that will really burn calories, but Hydrow and NordicTrack RW900 machines are not the same!
The Hydrow on-demand workouts are delegated into three categories:
- Trainer Led Workouts – These are led by the actual crew of the Hydrow. These aren’t simply exercise experts but rowing experts who created the workouts specifically for the machine that they developed. They know what rowers want and need! Workouts are live and on-demand, with new ones added every week. These live and on-demand rowing workouts are then stored in the library, so you can use your favorites anytime!
- Journeys – These workouts do not use instructors and allow you to work at your own pace, but they are filled with breathtaking scenery that many people will find relaxing. These programs are perfect for beginners and for those who want to unwind.
- Mat Workouts – While the overwhelming majority of exercise programs are related to rowing, for cross-training enthusiasts, the Hydrow rower also offers exercise that you can do on a mat next to your machine. Some workouts include stretching, which makes them a perfect way to warm up before a more intense rowing program.
Drawbacks of the Hydrow Rowing Machine
Hydrow has so much to offer, but like most things, it does have a few drawbacks that you should know before you buy one, such as:
- Its price tag might be a bit expensive for some budgets
- You can’t play your own music through the speakers
- The library has less than 1,000 titles at the moment, but more are added every week
- Mat exercise library is limited
- While the Hydrow does fold, it requires a large 15-square foot of space to operate
- The monthly membership fee for live classes may be more than some people want to pay (but not a deal breaker if you don’t want the added membership)
The NordicTrack RW900
The original NordicTrack has been around since 1975, and while the company didn’t always make rowing machines, you know the NordicTrack name when you see it. The NordicTrack RW900 has been in production since March of 2020. It comes with a 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts, 1-year labor warranty.
Features of the NordicTrack RW900
This rower offers a great many features that users love, including the following:
- Supports user weights up to 250 pounds
- Has a 22-inch adjustable HD touchscreen
- Offers an HDMI port
- Has 25 digital and 10 manual drag settings
- Supports Bluetooth heart rate monitors
- Offers training voice prompts
- Plays music
- Voice prompts and music volume can be controlled separately
- Can be folded for storage
- Provides an immense library of music, studio, and map-based workout programs
- Offers Silent Electromagnetic Resistance and manual air resistance
- Works with iFit, which enables rowers to automatically adjust the resistance levels to match wind and water conditions for an outdoor experience workout
- Offers a free 1-year subscription to iFit
NordicTrack Workout Options
Everyone likes variety, and no one wants to be bored, so it only makes sense that most rowing machines come with a variety of workout routines.
The NordicTrack has a very large library of workout routines. Live interactive classes are led by top exercise experts who can actually control the drag of the machine as you exercise.
Some of the popular areas that the NordicTrack workouts feature include:
- Boot Camp
- Full-Body Workouts
- Around-the-World Workouts
- Cross-Training Workouts
- On-Demand Workouts
You’re sure to find at least a few workouts to love or instructors to follow with this extremely varied selection of exercises to choose from.
Drawbacks to the NordicTrack RW900
The NordicTrack rower is a terrific device, to be sure, but it lacks in a few areas, such as:
- The Bluetooth system does not support Bluetooth headphones
- The 250-pound weight limit is too low for some users
- Heart rate monitor is not included
- The touchscreen is very heavy
- The warranty on labor is quite short
- Membership to the iFit program is only one year; after the first year, users must pay to access the library of workouts
NordicTrack RW900 vs Hydrow: What’s the Better Rowing Experience?
I am comparing the NordicTrack RW900 since it is most similar to the Hydrow. NordicTrack also offers other models, but when comparing rowers, I try not to compare apples and bananas to keep things fair.
Recorded and Live Workouts
Both NordicTrack RW900 and Hydrow have a large library of recorded workouts. NordicTrack has a larger library but consider that even if you worked out once a day, every day of the year, you would only be able to see 365 workouts. Hydrow currently has more than 500 workouts in the library, with new ones added every week, so the chances are slim that you would need to repeat a workout (unless you wanted to!).
NordicTrack and Hydrow use subscriptions for live rowing workouts.
Warranties & Capacities
The Hydrow rower offers a better warranty than the NordicTrack and has an extended warranty program that NordicTrack doesn’t have.
When it comes to weight limits, the Hydrow rower is far more reasonable, allowing users up to 375 pounds, which is far better than the NordicTrack.
The two machines are excellent cardio and low-impact devices that work out the lower and upper body. Both offer a wide range of resistance levels.
Now perhaps this is simply a matter of taste, but if you’re going to have a large piece of home fitness equipment, you want it to look nice, don’t you? If you look at NordicTrack and Hydrow, it’s clear that Hydrow looks sturdy, sleek, and almost like a piece of furniture. It will sit nicely in your living room and make for an interesting conversation piece.
The Obvious Winner
If you want to stay motivated, if you want to buy a state-of-the-art quality rower that provides a real-life rowing experience, you have to go with the obvious choice and buy a Hydrow.
We’ve compared it to the Ergatta, Concept 2 Model D, and now RW900, and it still is the winner, hands down!
While this rowing machine is made for your home gym or bedroom, the live outdoor reality workouts, led by professional rowers, will make you feel as though you’re part of a team rowing on open water.
The device does require space to use, but it folds up neatly and can easily be stored in a closet or under a bed.
I do understand that the Hydrow is an investment but don’t let the price worry you. The company offers a 30-day return warranty. This means that if you decide the Hydrow isn’t for you, you can return it no questions asked as long as you’re within the 30-day window. How awesome is that?
In a nutshell, the Hydrow rower offers access to world-class professional rowers and the most immersive rowing experience possible using a quality machine that is made to last for decades.
If you want only the best, then you absolutely want a Hydrow rower.
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