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Last Updated: January 5, 2023
The “king of rowers” now has a more affordable, compact option. The Hydrow Wave is the second rowing model that Hydrow has put out along with its original model, the Hydrow. When it comes to rowers, the Hydrow is really the best rower out there. It has spectacular outdoor rowing content and excellent construction, and it’s a lot quieter than an air rower like the Concept2. The Hydrow Wave is all of this in a smaller, lightweight design, for a lower price point than the original. It comes in multiple fun color options, too. Throughout this review of the Hydrow Wave Rower, I’ll go over everything you need to know about Hydrow’s new rower.
Rowing Machine Awards:
The Hydrow Wave is awarded as the rower with the best rowing content on our best rowing machines list. When it comes to trainer-led rowing classes, Hydrow is really the gold standard. Their classes are filmed at water locations all over the world. The instructors are actual rowing experts who guide you through workouts while rowing outdoors themselves. Hydrow offers live and on-demand classes, as well as a leaderboard where you can compete against other members. The Hydrow Wave has the same subscription content as the original Hydrow, which we consider to be the best overall rowing machine.
Why You Should Trust Our Review Of The Hydrow Wave Rower
Testing and reviewing fitness equipment, such as rowing machines, is what we do here at Treadmill Review Guru. When compiling reviews like this one of rowing machines (and all other equipment really), our team spends time using the rower and also compares it to other models. We have a selection of rowers in our studio and when we get in a new one, we line it up next comparable models to see how it compares.
When testing the Hydrow Wave, we compared it to the original Hydrow Rower, the NordicTrack RW900, Aviron Impact Series Rower, and Concept2, among others.
Our Hydrow Wave Review Video
- The programming offered is top-notch outdoor rowing content led by experienced rowing instructors.
- This is a more compact and affordable version of the original Hydrow rower.
- The screen is clear and the graphics make taking classes very engaging.
- It stores upright to save space and is lightweight at 102 lbs to be transported easily.
- This magnetic rower has an adjustable drag factor on the screen.
- The weight capacity is 375 lbs to handle users up to that size.
- Requires a subscription to access the content on the screen and to change the resistance.
- The screen doesn’t adjust.
- Enabled with subscription rowing content for $38 per month
- Live and on-demand trainer-led workouts
- Off-rower training
- Self-guided rowing Journey mode
- Front-facing 3W speakers
- Bluetooth enabled
- Connects to apps like Strava for tracking
- Two transportation wheels
- Drag Mechanism to change resistance on the screen
- Stores upright with vertical anchor (sold separately)
- 16” Full HD Touch Screen
- Footprint: 80” L x 19” W 43” H
- Stored Footprint: 26.5” W x 30” D x 82” H
- Construction: Stainless Steel Track and Thermoplastic Polymer Frame
- Weight Capacity: 375 lbs
- Rower Weight: 102 lbs
- Height Limit: Up to 36” Inseam
- Foot Bed Adjustment
- Magnetic Resistance
- Warranty: 5-Years Structural Frame, 12-Months Components, Screen, Other Electronics, and Labor
In-depth Review of Hydrow Wave Rower
What really makes Hydrow’s content stand out is that it consists primarily of outdoor rowing classes filmed on water. These classes are led by experienced rowing athletes who guide you through the workouts as they row themselves. The blend of high-quality videography, energetic instructors, and beautiful locations, makes Hydrow’s library of content the best, in our opinion.
Remember that to access the library of classes on Hydrow Wave’s screen, you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. This is $38 per month. Unfortunately, without a subscription, you won’t have access to the classes or screen content. We highly recommend subscribing to the membership when you purchase the Hydrow Wave. There are plenty of other rowers on the market that don’t require a subscription if you don’t like trainer-led content, like the Concept2 for instance.
For classes on the Hydrow Wave, there is a schedule of live classes and on-demand. There are also classes off the rower for well-rounded training. These include strength, yoga, and stretching classes. Our favorites are the outdoor rowing classes though.
During class, a leaderboard is displayed on the right side of the screen. This shows where you rank compared to other members currently taking and have previously taken the class. You can use filters to narrow the results on the leaderboard. After class, you can connect with other members through the leaderboard, too.
I really like that every class has a curated playlist of music that plays in the background. Personally, I can’t work out without listening to music, so having a unique playlist for every class is perfect. I like that the music is a bit more integrated into the workout, versus having a radio-like preselected playlist that just plays in the background of all the classes. This helps add to the overall energy of each class.
For those who want to just row without an instructor, there are Journeys that allow you to explore remote water locations on your own. The camera faces the front of a rowing shell that moves over the water while you row.
Compared to other platforms like iFit and Peloton, Hydrow has fewer class programs. Hydrow does offer races to take, as well as beginner classes that get you started with proper rowing form on the Hydrow Wave.
The touch screen on the Hydrow Wave is smaller than the original at 16” versus 22”. This screen also has no adjustability. It can’t be tilted up and down or pivoted to either side like the screen on the Hydrow Rower. This can make utilizing Hydrow’s off-rower classes more challenging because you can’t turn the screen at all, but not impossible. For mat classes, you can place your mat behind the rower to see the content.
I do prefer 22” touch screens, but I don’t notice a huge difference in this size of touch screen and am able to see everything clearly. The distance of the screen is about the same on the Hydrow, too. While I can reach the screen for the most part while I’m strapped in, I usually unstrap at least one foot while I’m searching for a class to take. I’m 5’1” for reference, so taller users shouldn’t have this problem.
Our team loves the front-facing speakers and they are loud and clear. You can adjust them with the raised buttons on the side of the touch screen. All other functionality is within the touch screen, though. So, in order to change the resistance level, start, end, and pause a class, you’ll do this through the screen.
There isn’t any storage available for items like your phone or water bottle, so those will have to be placed on the floor or on a table nearby.
When storing upright, the screen can be collapsed down to help the rower take up less space. It uses a pin that once removed, collapses the screen. The Hydrow Rower has a button which is a cleaner design, but the pin works fine.
For the Hydrow Wave being the lower-end model in Hydrow’s lineup, we are pleased that it is still of high quality. This rower has a great 375 lb weight capacity and is more compact than the original Hydrow Rower. This makes moving the Wave pretty easy, especially compared to Hydrow’s first model. The Hydrow is 86” long, while the Wave is 80” long. The Hydrow Wave Rower is more similar in length to the NordicTrack RW900.
The Hydrow Wave can be stored upright with a wall anchor to save space.
The frame of the Hydrow Wave is made of a thermoplastic polymer. The frame has a dark gray industrial-design finish when you select the Pirate Black color that gives it a unique look. You can also choose from other brighter colors like River (blue), Forest (green), Sunrise (yellow), and Sunset (orange).
This frame feels durable to use and is lightweight. In comparison, the Hydrow Wave weighs 102 lbs versus the original Hydrow weighs 145 lbs. This makes a big difference when moving these two models around and storing them upright.
In addition to the stable, lightweight frame, the Wave has a stainless steel monorail that is smooth and sturdy while rowing. It is pretty easy to get on and off because the rail is 11-12” high off the ground. It is 11” at the front and gradually raises to 12” in the back. The seat is about 14.5” high. This height makes it much easier to get on and off the seat than water rowers like the Ergatta which sit very low to the floor.
- Footprint: 80” L x 19” W 43” H
- Stored Footprint: 26.5” W x 30” D x 82” H
- Pedals: 13” L
- Monorail: 52” L x 11-12” H
- Seat: 12” W x 10” D x 14.5” H
- Belt Drive: 25” (from where the belt appears from the flywheel)
Footboard & Pedals
The pedals and footboards are plenty large for most sized users. The pedals adjust to fit a wide range of foot sizes and can accommodate all athletic shoes. They’re pretty easy to adjust, and allow for ankle flexion when you’re in the catch. I do prefer velcro straps because they are faster to adjust over the top of your foot, but these straps work just fine in securing your feet.
The spacing of the footboards and pedals is also plenty wide, so users shouldn’t feel cramped or constricted. The footboards allow you to push through your feet to use your lower body through the drive.
The handle on the Hydrow Wave Rower is almost the exact same as the Hydrow Rower, but it has a smoother texture. While the texture is smooth, it doesn’t feel slippery, but instead tackier for more grip. This texture isn’t my favorite, but the handle is comfortable and round to fit well in your hands.
We are glad that the Wave has the same seat as the original rower from Hydrow. The seat is nicely cushioned and contoured to be comfortable and sturdy. This seat is one of our favorites that we’ve used on rowers. The seat on the AssaultRower Elite is our favorite, but this one is a close second.
The belt makes the Hydrow Wave quiet to use. Rowers like the Concept2 that have a chain are louder when in use. This belt makes for a smooth rowing experience. The belt remains nice and tight throughout the entire stroke, too. Rowers like the NordicTrack RW900 and rowers from ProForm sometimes have a little slack in the recovery position, but the Wave does not. It doesn’t quite have as much tension in the recovery as the original Hydrow though, but the difference is minimal and only really noticeable when you have both rowers side by side.
The Hydrow utilizes the belt to encourage users into the recovery position from the finish, while the Wave utilizes the rail. The monorail is slightly angled to be lower in the front than the back, to help guide users into a proper rowing position.
The Hydrow Wave Rower uses adjustable magnetic resistance. This is adjusted on the screen via the drag factor. This is the same mechanism that the Hydrow uses and from what we can tell using these rowers next to each other, the resistance is the same on each.
The drag factor is the resistance. The resistance is computer controlled and can be adjusted once you’re in a class or Journey. The range offered is level 50 up to level 300. This feature provides a great deal of tension that should be enough for most users.
Performance & Functionality
Overall, the Hydrow Wave is very comparable to the Hydrow. We think that users who are looking for a less expensive, lighter, and more compact rower than the Hydrow, should check out the Wave. It has everything that the Hydrow offers and even feels very similar to use. We are happy with how high-quality the Hydrow Wave Rower is.
This isn’t to say that the Hydrow is very loud, because it isn’t, but the Wave doesn’t sound like a quiet car engine revving, like the Hydrow. The flywheel and resistance make less noise, however, you do get a little noise from the belt as it’s pulled and when the seat glides over the rail. Both of these are totally normal and expected of rowers. All of this is to say that the Wave should work well in most homes, like the original Hydrow.
Our team believes that the Hydrow Wave is appropriate for users of all abilities and most sizes. Beginners will definitely find a lot of value in Hydrow’s rowing content, and experienced rowers should find it to be very engaging.
The Hydrow Wave comes with a 5-year warranty for the frame, and a 12-month warranty for components, the screen, other electronics, and labor. The Wave has standard delivery with the option for in-home assembly for an additional price. Our team set up the Wave ourselves and found it to be pretty straightforward and standard compared to other rowers we’ve put together.
Bottom Line Review: Hydrow Wave Rower
The Hydrow Wave is the new kid on the block from Hydrow. We are thrilled that Hydrow now offers a comparable, but more affordable, compact, and lighter alternative to the Hydrow Rower. The Hydrow Wave only weighs 102 lbs, has a smaller footprint, and stores upright. It comes in multiple color options. The Wave also displays all of Hydrow’s library of classes with a subscription. We are so impressed with the Hydrow Wave and love Hydrow’s rowing content, that we awarded this rower with the best rowing content award on our best rowers list for 2023. Users who have limited space, and want to save some money on a quality rower, should check out the Hydrow Wave.