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Hydrow vs Peloton Rowing Machines – What’s the Difference?

In terms of different rowing machines, Hydrow vs Peloton are amongst the most popular brand names. But, what’s the difference between them, and which machine is the right choice for you? 

Trying to decide between Hydrow vs Peloton? Both rowers offer an interactive workout experience with large HD touchscreens, Wi-Fi, and BlueTooth connectivity. The Hydrow rowing machine gives you an ‘on the water’ rowing experience, while the Peloton is set in a traditional fitness studio and uses form correction AI software.

Hydrow vs Peloton Rowing Machines

Rowing machines have grown in popularity due to more people understanding how great the benefits of rowing are. They offer a comprehensive workout that works every major muscle group and is more joint-friendly compared to other cardio equipment such as a treadmill.

To help you pick, I’ve reviewed each machine in detail and explained the key differences below.

What is a Hydrow Rowing Machine?

Founded in 2017, Hydrow looks to bring innovative health and fitness equipment to the market, with the goal of integrating technology into workout experiences.

The Hydrow Rowing Machine is an interactive rower that uses technology to provide a workout experience that should feel like ‘rowing on the river’ from the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, it offers live and on-demand workout classes led by elite athletes and coaches.

It measures 86″ L x 25″ W x 47″ H and features a 22″ HD touchscreen that’s mounted to the front of the aluminum and steel frame. It also has Hi-Fi speakers, a built-in microphone, BlueTooth compatibility, a USB 2.0 connection, and a 2-Megapixel camera.

rowing machine in use

What is a Peloton Rowing Machine?

Founded in 2012, Peloton originally became well-known in the health and fitness world for their interactive exercise bikes while their treadmill also became a staple later on. Like Hydrow, they aim to enhance the overall workout experience by using built-in technology.

The Peloton rowing machine is the first model of rower made by Peloton, enabling users to follow trainer-led workouts via the 24″ HD screen. The real-time monitoring system allows you to customize your workout pace according to real-time feedback.

It measures 94″ L x 24″ W and is constructed using a combination of Aluminum and Steel. It features front and rear speakers, a fold-up design, offers BlueTooth, and Wi-Fi compatibility.

Peloton RowerHydrow OriginalHydrow Wave
MaterialsAnodized, Powder-coated Aluminum frame with plastic casingAluminum and Steel Frame with a flat Anthracite Polymer bodyBlack Polycarbonate frame with an industrial swirled finish
ResistanceMagnetic resistance with initial calibrationElectromagnetic drag system (50-300)Electromagnetic drag system (50-300)
Dimensions94″ L x 24″ W86″ L x 25″ W x 47″ H80″ L x 19″ W x 43″ H
Workout ExperienceIndoor studio experienceOutdoor realityOutdoor reality
FeaturesPersonal pace target
Form correction AI
Apple watch compatibility
Live daily rows
Personal 1:1 Coaching
Apple watch compatibility
Live daily rows
Personal 1:1 Coaching
Screen Size23.8″ (Adjustable to 45 degrees either way)22″ (Adjustable to 45 degrees either way)16″ Fixed screen

Hydrow Rowing Machine vs Peloton Rowing Machine

Both the Hydrow and Peloton rowing machines offer excellent at-home workout experiences. However, when choosing between a Hydrow or Peloton, you can consider these key differences to see which is the best one for you.

Before I dive into the similarities and differences in more detail, here is a quick reference comparison chart:

1. Materials Construction

Both machines are constructed using high-quality materials from top to bottom. If you’re investing in high-end fitness equipment, you want something that’s durable and designed to last. This is exactly what both machines give you.

The Hydrow rowing machine has an aluminum and steel frame with a flat Anthracite Polymer body that brings a contemporary, futuristic look to your home workout space. It uses a polyester strap that attaches to the ergonomic grip handle. 

The Peloton rower has an anodized, powder-coated aluminum frame with a molded plastic casing. It uses a woven strap with a textured rubber grip handle.

Both machines feature adjustable footbeds with Velcro straps to keep your feet secure throughout the workout.

peleton workout

2. Resistance Mechanisms

The Hydrow uses a magnetic resistance system that combines computer direction with the normal magnetic motor. Compared to standard resistance, the Hydrow has a drag resistance control with 300 levels to provide an ‘on the water’ feel. This allows resistance to be changed depending on the intensity you’re currently rowing at.

The Peloton rower also uses a magnetically controlled resistance system with an initial calibration process that measures your start and end rowing position. This gives you a smooth and quiet rowing experience.

3. Dimensions and Portability

The Hydrow rowing machine has two different size options, with the original Hydrow measuring 86″ L x 25″ W x 47″ H. The Hydrow Wave is a more compact machine version with a footprint of 80″ L x 19″ W x 43″ H.

The original Hydrow rowing machine weighs 143 pounds and has a 25″ W x 33″ D X 86″ H footprint. So, when stored vertically, this machine doesn’t take up too much space.

The Peloton rower has a 96″ L x 24″ W footprint when in use and weighs 156.5 pounds. Peloton has included front-mounted casters for easier transportation if you need to move the machine around your gym or home space.

Both touch screens rotate 45 degrees in either direction and fold away for convenient storage. Unfortunately, to store both machines properly, you need to buy a vertical anchor kit that comes at an extra cost on top of the initial price.

4. Workout Experience

This is perhaps the most noticeable difference between the two machines and the factor which may determine which machine is best for you.

Both brands truly excel at bringing you a high-quality, interactive workout experience. Both offer a wide range of online and offline workouts including rowing, yoga, pilates, strength, and mobility.

The Hydrow rowing machine uses patented live outdoor reality technology, with the rowing workouts taking place in beautiful outdoor settings on the water. 

Each workout places you on a boat in some of the world’s best rowing locations alongside an expert trainer. As you row you’re able to hear the sound of water going by just like you would in a real rowing boat.

The Peloton rower workouts take place in a more traditional studio using the Peloton row machine. Despite this sounding fairly normal, it does have some really cool added features to enhance your overall workout experience which I’ll discuss in the next section.

cardio workout

5. Features

The Hydrow rowing machine features two front-facing speakers at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to listen to music or hear the instructor.

You’re also able to connect your Apple Watch or heart rate monitor to view your heart rate whilst rowing.

The Peloton rower has front and rear speakers for a more interactive audio experience with a couple of other handy features. The personal pace target allows you to tailor your new workout according to the pace of your last one, providing you with an individualized workout intensity.

The form assist feature uses sensors in the seat and handlebars to give you feedback on your stroke form, allowing you to perfect it after just a few workouts.

Both machines offer Wi-Fi and BlueTooth compatibility and provide a range of measurements on the screen which include distance, pace, stroke rate, and calories burned.

rower training

6. Value for Money and Membership

The Hydrow rower membership gives you access to thousands of live and on-demand workout classes led by world-class athletes and trainers. With this, you’re able to create multiple personalized profiles and gain access to additional fitness programs via the app.

Peloton offers three different membership options which vary in price and features. The app membership provides access to a variety of workouts at home. The guide membership gives more personalized training access with world-leading instructors for up to five people.

The ‘all access’ membership gives you the same as the other packages, with more personalized feedback metrics such as output and resistance. It also gives you access to leaderboards, competitions, and more exclusive scenery content on different Peloton equipment.

Pros/Cons of a Hydrow Rowing Machine


  • Provides an ‘on the water’ rowing experience, with the sound of water going past you as you row
  • Multiple picturesque rowing locations to choose from
  • Contemporary, sleek appearance
  • The drag resistance control system feels like you’re rowing on water
  • The Hydrow Wave machine offers a more compact rower with a smaller touchscreen and a lightweight design
  • The Hydrow app allows you to compete against others on a leaderboard

Could be better:

  • The vertical anchor needs to be purchased separately
  • Only 1 membership option is available

Pros/Cons of a Peloton Rowing Machine


  • The powder-coated aluminum frame helps protect against wear and tear or changes in the environment
  • The initial calibration system measuring your start and end point helps provide a more accurate rowing technique
  • Front and rear speakers for a more interactive sound experience
  • The built-in sensors provide personalized form feedback after each workout
  • Three membership options give users more choices according to their needs

Could be better:

  • The vertical anchor needs to be purchased separately
  • The initial cost is considerably higher than the Hydrow machine

Hydrow Rowing Machine vs Peloton Rowing Machine: When to Use Each

Both the Hydrow rowing machine and Peloton Rower can be used by anyone, from beginner to elite athletes looking for a full-body, interactive workout experience. However, if you still can’t choose and need to narrow it down, consider these situations:

Environment – If you prefer outdoor settings where you feel like you’re actually rowing on water, go with the Hydrow. On the other hand, if you’re someone who likes a traditional workout in an indoor setting, the Peloton rower is the better choice.

Equipment – If you already own other Peloton equipment, purchasing the Peloton rower might be the better choice. With the all-access membership option, you’re able to access a variety of exclusive features and content across the full Peloton range.

Coaching – The Hydrow 1:1 coaching allows you to spend time with a personal coach to help you achieve the goals you set together. The Peloton’s AI form assistant can provide real-time feedback during your workout using AI technology as well. Choose the rowing machine based on what kind of coaching style most suits you. If you want human coaching, go with the Hydrow. If you like the constant AI feedback, choose the Peloton.


The latest reviews of must-have home gym training equipment, apparel, and supplements that will enhance your performance and bring you new results.

1. Hydrow Rowing Machine We Recommend

hydrow wave rower

The Hydro Wave Rowing Machine is a compact, lightweight version of the original Hydrow, giving you a space-saving option for a small gym or if you just prefer something more compact.

Measuring 80″ D x 19″ W x 43″ H and weighing 102 pounds, the Hydro wave is constructed using a black Thermoplastic Polymer frame that’s durable and lightweight.

hydrow wave instagram
photo by @jared_p_smith

Like the original Hydrow, it uses the brand’s patented electromagnetic drag mechanism and features a padded seat, adjustable foot straps, and a grip handle.

The 16″ HD touchscreen has the same metrics as the original, with BlueTooth and Wi-Fi compatibility. It folds away using the vertical anchor kit and comes at a fraction of the original Hydrow price.

2. Peloton Rowing Machine We Recommend

peleton rower

The Peloton rowing machine is designed to offer an immersive studio-based workout, helping you to achieve the perfect rowing form in a few sessions.

It features sensors on the seat and foot pads which use AI technology to provide real-time feedback during and after each workout. 

It’s constructed from a powder-coated aluminum frame that has a footprint of 96″ L x 24″ W and weighs 156.5 pounds. The woven strap is attached to the textured grip handle and operates via a magnetically controlled resistance system.

Another clever feature of the Peloton rower is that it measures your start and end position when rowing to help you achieve the perfect row length. Like the Hydrow, it can be stored vertically with the vertical anchor kit.

Alongside this, it has three membership options to choose from providing users with more freedom to pick the right package for their needs.

peloton rowing instagram
photo by @colinchanel

Hydrow Rowing Machine vs Peloton Bike – A Brief Comparison

When comparing the Peloton bike vs rowing machine, it is evident that both use the same interactive technology that allows you to follow along to thousands of trainer-led workouts. The Peloton bike can be operated using the same membership package and profiles that can be transferred from the rower.

Compared to the rower, the Peloton bike has a resistance knob for manual control, a 2-channel rear-facing stereo speaker system, a headphone jack, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with a built-in microphone.

wave training

Peloton Bike We Recommend

peloton bike

The Peloton Bike is an indoor stationary bike that’s designed to provide you with a high-quality immersive cycling experience from the comfort of your own home. 

The 22″ HD touchscreen provides multiple workout metrics when cycling, with on-demand trainer-led workouts and access to a leaderboard where you can compete against the Peloton community.

When operational, the Peloton bike has a footprint of 51″ L x 24″ W x 51.25″ H and weighs 135 pounds. It’s constructed using an Alloy Steel and Polypropylene frame, also featuring a magnetic resistance mechanism that’s operated by the red knob at the front of the frame.


Does a Hydrow Require a Monthly Fee?

You don’t have to pay a monthly fee to use the Hydrow successfully. However, to get the best experience, it’s recommended to purchase the app that costs $44/ month. This gives you access to thousands of live and on-demand trainer-led workouts.

Can You Use Netflix on a Hydrow Machine?

Unfortunately, you can’t watch Netflix on the Hydrow Rower. It can only be used for streaming workouts.

Who Competes With a Peloton Rowing Machine?

Competing brands when comparing a Peloton vs rowing machine include Concept2, NordicTrack, Hydrow, Ergatta, and CityRow.


When considering whether to purchase a Peloton or rowing machine such as the Hydrow, note that both provide you with a fully immersive, interactive workout experience using technology that’s presented to you on the large HD touch screens at the front.

Whilst the Hydrow rower gives you an ‘on the water’ rowing experience in picturesque locations around the world, the Peloton rower uses a traditional studio but gives you more on-demand feedback during your workout.

The right rower choice depends on the kind of workout experience you want and how much feedback you need when rowing. Both rowers make excellent home gym additions and should last you a whole lifetime when used correctly.

Have you used the Hydrow Original rower? Maybe you’ve tried the more compact Hydro Wave? What do you think of Peloton’s form correction AI technology? Let me know in the comments section.

Also read:


  1. 10 Apple Watch Health and Fitness Features You Should Use // Makeuseof:
  2. Peloton’s Community Features // Onepeloton:
  3. Does extensive on-water rowing increase muscular strength and endurance? // Tandfonline: /abs/10.1080/02640414.2011.653982

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Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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