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Exciting holiday update from Coop: I’ve asked for code GGRJAYBIRD as your exclusive offer for Black Friday. This will give you a pair of free Jaybird earbuds when you buy either the Hydrow rower OR Wave (or any packages or bundles). Furthermore, it’s stackable on all promos including Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Hydrow, maker of the smart Hydrow Rower, launched a new connected rower called the Hydrow Wave in summer 2023. In our first look Hydrow Wave review, we covered all of the need-to-know information about this new smart rower and how it compares to the original Hydrow. Now—after a few months of testing the Wave—our updated review contains personal insights from none other than GGR founder himself, Coop.

Dozens of Rowers Tested

Our product testers have been using rowing ergs for collectively more than a decade in their own fitness journeys. We’ve also tested nearly two dozen rowing machines specifically for reviews and guides on Garage Gym Reviews. This is to say: We know a good rowing machine when we see one. 

Making Waves
Hydrow Wave
Hydrow Wave

The Hydrow Wave is the little sibling to the original Hydrow connected rower. The Wave is 30% smaller than the original Hydrow and weighs about 40 pounds less. However, its durable polycarbonate frame still supports the above-industry-standard weight capacity of 375 pounds. Also, you’ll still get all of the fun and engaging features you’d expect from the original model on the new Hydrow Wave.With the Hydrow All Access membership (sold separately), you can enjoy all sorts of rowing workouts, including guided rows shot on-location in beautiful rivers around the world. You can also do unguided rows or opt for an “on-the-mat” workout from the Hydrow app, which includes strength, yoga, and Pilates sessions.We are excited to see Hydrow producing a more compact piece of cardio equipment for home gym owners with limited space, without sacrificing the quality we’ve come to expect from this brand. 

Video Review

A Quick Look at the Hydrow Wave

The new Hydrow Wave, released in July 2023, is like the little sibling to the original Hydrow connected rower. According to the Hydrow website, it’s 30% smaller than the original and easier to move around your space. 

This is a huge win for connected fitness fans who live in small spaces, since most smart home gym equipment tends to be big, bulky, and heavy (although still more space-efficient than analog gym equipment.) 

The Hydrow Wave sports many of the same features as the original Hydrow, with seemingly minor changes that actually make a big difference in the home gym experience. 

After testing the Wave, Coop actually believes it to be a true alternative to the Concept2 RowErg—an all-around GGR favorite that consistently tops our guides to cardio equipment—and one of the best values for the money.

My Tips

  • Consider this option over the original Hydrow if you’re tight on space or money. 
  • The price starts at about $1,700, but be sure to budget for more if you want the machine mat or any accessories (and don’t forget about the monthly membership fee for workouts). 

Pros:

  • More compact and easily portable than original Hydrow
  • Affordable for a smart connected rower
  • Durable polycarbonate frame
  • 16” HD touchscreen display 
  • Live and on-demand workouts 
  • Financing available 
  • Professional in-home assembly available for an extra cost

Cons:

  • Storage kit sold separately
  • Monthly subscription required to stream workouts ($38/month)
  • Frame does not fold (but monitor folds flat)
  • Still pricey, starting at about $1,700
  • Machine mat costs extra

Is the Hydrow Wave Worth It?

At first glance—and after in-depth research and over a month of testing—the Hydrow Wave is absolutely a good deal. There’s really no denying that. Most smart rowing machines go for more than $2,000, including the original Hydrow, which starts at almost $2,500. The Wave starts around $1,700, so right off the bat, you’re saving a few hundos compared to what you’d spend with another brand. 

From my research, it doesn’t seem like you’re sacrificing much for the $800 price difference between the Wave and the original Hydrowe. In fact, what you’re “sacrificing” is a bulkier, heavier build, which actually is not a sacrifice—and instead a bonus—for most home gym owners. We don’t all have square footage in the quadruple digits to dedicate to a workout space (unfortunately!). 

And, with the Hydrow All-Access membership (sold separately), you still get access to the robust library of workouts to stream on the HD touchscreen display. 

Coop says (and most of our audience agrees) that the deciding factor for most people will be the required subscription cost. 

At $38 per month, that adds up to $456 per year, which will equate to more than the cost of the rower itself over a period of four years. If you believe workout classes are a necessary component of your workout routine and ongoing motivation and adherence to fitness, I’d say it’s worth it. Otherwise—if you’re a very self-motivated person—you can save a lot of money by going with a Concept2 instead.

Great for:

  • People looking for a more compact smart rower
  • Anyone who wants instructor-led programming
  • Home gym owners who have been wanting a Hydrow, but can’t afford the nearly $2,500 price tag

Not recommended for:

  • People who don’t care for guided workout classes
  • Home gym owners with less than 80″ L x 19″ W x 43″ H of space available for a rowing machine
  • People who have the space and budget for the original Hydrow; in which case, that’s a more luxurious option

Hydrow Wave Specs

Product Weight102 lbs
Assembled Dimensions80″ L x 19″ W x 43″ H
Stored Dimensions26.5″W x 30″D x 82″H
Resistance TypeMagnetic
Weight Capacity375 lbs
Max Inseam36”
Monitor16” 1920 x 1080 px full HD
ProgrammingHydrow interactive programming

Using the Hydrow Wave

Originally, before we could get our hands on the product, our team made some educated guesses about how the new rowing machine performs during workouts based on our experience with the original Hydrow and our experience with various other rowing machines

Here’s what we thought:

  • The Wave features the same computer-controlled magnetic resistance you’d find on the original Hydrow. As far as indoor rowing goes, Hydrow has managed to better mimic the on-the-water rowing experience better than any other magnetic rowers out there—at least in the opinion of our roster of fitness professionals and product testers. 

Well, we’re pleased to announce that we were right! 

hydro wave rower close up side view

Connected fitness is really something special, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with the Hydrow Wave: In addition to the engaging workouts led by credentialed fitness instructors, you’ll also have access to the Hydrow community and leaderboard, where you can post your own workouts and view workout results from others. 

The Hydrow Wave feels just like the original Hydrow during use. Despite the smaller build, we noticed no deviations from the build quality we expect from Hydrow: no shaking, shifting, or otherwise unpleasant movement from the frame. 

As for the workouts, we’re fans of Hydrow programming. The scenic rows are simply beautiful, and the instructor-led workouts are engaging. There are plenty of workouts to choose from and filtering them to find just what you need—by time, type, or level—is easy. 

Footprint and Portability

hydro wave rower wide shot

The smaller footprint is the main selling point of the new Hydrow Wave compared to the original Hydrow. According to the Hydrow website, the Wave is about 30% smaller than the original connected rower. 

Measuring 80 inches long by 19 inches wide by 43 inches high, it is indeed a good bit smaller than the original, which measures 86 inches long by 25 inches wide by 47 inches high. 

There’s a vertical anchor kit for storing the Hydrow Wave (and a different one for the regular Hydrow), but you’ll have to shell out an additional $190. If you have the floor space to keep the Wave out when not in use, no need. But it may be worth the additional cheddar if you want to stow it away when you’re not working out. 

Finally, the Wave has front-mounted casters, which means the machine is relatively manageable to cart around. It does weigh over 100 pounds, though, so we still wouldn’t call it overtly easy. 

Related: Best Compact Gym Equipment

Durability and Construction

Like its larger counterpart, the Hydrow Wave features a solid build quality. 

The black polycarbonate frame is sure to hold up for years, as it’s a highly impact-resistant material. It should also resist scuffing, which is great news, because the industrial finish on the frame looks dang good. 

Impressively, the Hydrow Wave boasts the same 375-pound weight capacity as the original Hydrow despite its smaller and lighter frame.

hydro wave rower being moved

During our usual thorough hands-on testing, we took note specifically of factors such as: 

  • How the Wave feels in comparison to its bigger sibling 
  • If there is any shaking or shifting while in use, at low-effort and high-effort intensities 
  • How the new rower feels when in transport around the gym 

The Wave feels nearly identical in use; people who aren’t familiar with indoor rowing machine build components and/or haven’t tried dozens of rowers will never know the difference. The Wave is just as structurally sound and sturdy as the original Hydrow.

The Ergonomics

For the majority of people, the Hydrow Wave will be suitable in terms of ergonomics. 

The Hydrow Wave measures 80 inches long by 19 inches wide by 43 inches high. When it comes to ergonomics, the length is the most important measurement. At 80 inches in length, the Wave can accommodate inseam lengths of up to 36 inches. 

hydrow wave rower pedals

For reference, a 36-inch inseam in pants will generally fit people from 6’3” to 6’6” tall. This means pretty much everyone should be able to reach full hip and knee extension during the rowing stroke. Individuals taller than 6 feet, 6 inches should consider the regular Hydrow, which measures 86 inches in length.

Also featured on the Wave are adjustable footbeds to accommodate most shoe sizes, as well as an angled handle for wrist comfort during your workout. 

Tech Specs

Hydrow’s new rower is just as tech-infused as the original Hydrow rower. Both WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled, the Hydrow Wave rower can connect to your Apple Watch or other fitness tracker, as well as a heart rate monitor if you like to track workouts that way. You can also connect the rower to external speakers to really jam out. 

The Hydrow app is available on iOS and Android devices, although we’ve heard that the experience is better on iOS. (None of us have Android phones, sorry!). This honestly doesn’t surprise us; it is a common sentiment. #iPhone4Life. 

The good news is that no matter what type of device you have, you may not even be using the app very much. Thanks to the high-fidelity touchscreen display on the Hydrow Wave, you can stream all your favorite workouts directly on the rower. 

Finally, the resistance mechanism itself is worth calling out as a notable tech feature. The computer-controlled magnetic resistance is more fluid than that of most, if not all, other magnetic rowers. You won’t experience any jerking or shaking of the pull cord during a Hydrow workout. 

Hydrow Wave vs Hydrow

The Hydrow and Hydrow Wave are very similar. Both feature the same computer-controlled resistance, an HD screen, and instructor-led programming that includes both low-impact rowing workouts, strength training, yoga, and Pilates. 

However, there are many differences between the two, summarized in the spec chart. 

One thing I want to point out here is that you cannot use the same membership on two rowing machines if you already have a Hydrow. We asked Hydrow about this since we ran into the same issue with the Tempo Studio and Tempo Move, and here’s what Hydrow said: 

“A Hydrow membership is only valid for only one Hydrow or Hydrow Wave at a time. You can transfer your membership between rowers easily, but if you own multiple rowers that you use frequently, you might want to purchase a membership for each. Please keep in mind that this only applies to rowers that you own. You can always use other rowers at a gym or friend’s house, as long as those rowers have their own membership.”

Hydrow WaveHydrow
Price PointStarts around $1,500Starts around $2,500
Display16” HD touchscreen, does not tilt22” HD touchscreen, tilts
FrameStainless steel seat track withdurable engineered thermoplasticpolymer frameAluminum and steel frame with flatanthracite polymer body
StorageVertical storage anchorVertical storage anchor
Dimensions80″L x 19″W x 43″H86″L x 25″W x 47″H
Weight102 lbs145 lbs
Weight Capacity 375 lbs375 lbs
AssemblyUnder 30 minUnder 60 min

Read our full Hydrow review for more details on the original Hydrow rower. 

Customer Reviews and Customer Service

On TrustPilot, Hydrow as a brand has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars at the time of writing. 

The majority of negative reviews are more about customer service than the product itself. One unhappy customer wrote: 

“I received my Hydrow Wave, watched the instructional YouTube video on how to put it together, and read the pamphlet. Went to fit the two frames together and it broke on the first attempt. Called customer support, they sent an email [and I] was told to reply with screenshots and information. I received no case number with it, no ETA, and then received a conflicting email with a case number that said they were waiting for my feedback…

I expect this type of customer service when you don’t have a premium product. They are using Salesforce for their CRM and it has case management built in! This is easy stuff that they are failing to do/follow up on. I’ll happily update this review if changes occur. Currently the product is useless so a 1 star is as high as you will get.”

However, Hydrow responded: “Thanks for taking the time to write us with the review. We’re sorry for the issue with assembling the Hydrow Wave and for the experience with our team’s communication to this point. We’re committed to resolving this with you as quickly as possible and a member of our team has reached out to you with additional information on your case. If you have any questions moving forward, we are happy to answer them in our current communication.”

So in this case, it seems customer service is relatively responsive. 

The customer reviews on the Hydrow website are glowing; buyers praise the new rower for its more compact and lightweight design, easy assembly, and interactive programming.

Other in-depth Hydrow Wave reviews I came across have the same general sentiment you find here: The Wave is a smaller, lighter, less expensive version of the Hydrow that’s just as suitable for the vast majority of people. 

Final Verdict of Our Hydrow Wave Review

The new Hydrow rower packs a ton of quality and versatility into a smaller package compared to the original Hydrow, which we think is great for the majority of home gym owners. 

  • The Hydrow Wave is 30% smaller than the original Hydrow rower. 
  • You still need a Hydrow All-Access membership to use the Hydrow Wave ($38/month—and you can’t use the same membership if you already have an original Hydrow). 
  • The polycarbonate frame and stainless steel seat rail will prove durable. 
hydrow wave rower seat

Hydrow Wave FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about Hydrow and rowing:

Is the Hydrow a good rowing machine?

The Hydrow is one of the best magnetic rowing machines and one of the best smart rowing machines available. It consistently tops our guides to the best rowing machines and smart home gym equipment. The Hydrow Wave rower, although we haven’t tried it yet, seems to be up to par with the quality and interactiveness you’d expect from the brand.

Is a rowing machine worth it?

A rowing machine is a great investment for your home gym. Rowing is a full-body cardio workout that also strengthens the muscles involved in the rowing stroke—which is just about all of them! Additionally, rowing machines provide many health benefits, such as improved heart health and mental health, and can contribute to weight loss if that’s your goal.

What kind of workouts can you do on Hydrow?

Hydrow rowers are equipped with beautiful touchscreen displays that stream live and on-demand workouts; both types are instructor-led. You can choose from short or long workouts; filter by fitness level or intensity level; or try Hydrow’s “on the mat” workouts, which are strength workouts.

What are the best rowing machines?

There are many rowing machines to suit a variety of fitness levels, budgets, and preferences. Our top picks, detailed in our guide to the best rowing machines, include: 

Best Rowing Machine Overall: Concept2 Model D Rower
Best Interactive Rowing Machine: Aviron Impact Series Rower
Best Smart Rowing Machine: Hydrow
Best Folding Rowing Machine: ProForm 750R Rower
Best Budget Rowing Machine: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5801
Best Rowing Machine for Cross-Training: NordicTrack RW900 
Best Water Rowing Machine: WaterRower
Best Compact Rowing Machine: Lifespan RW1000 Indoor Rower

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