Hydrow vs NordicTrack RW900 [2023] Comparison Review

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Are you on the hunt for a top-of-the-line rowing machine that brings the latest tech to your workout routine? If so, chances are you’ve come across both the Hydrow and NordicTrack’s RW900.

While these two impressive machines share many similarities, there are also plenty of differences between them. From the type of workouts they offer to the technology they use, each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

But if you’re feeling torn between the two, fear not! I’m here to help you determine which one is the ultimate winner.

In this article, we’ll dive into a comprehensive comparison of the Hydrow and the NordicTrack RW900, examining all the key specs and features to help you make an informed decision for your home gym.

So buckle up and get ready to discover which of these tech-savvy rowing machines reigns supreme!

NordicTrack rw900 vs Hydrow Rower – Comparison Table

HydrowNordicTrack RW900
ResistanceComputer-controlled magnetic systemMagnetic/air combo
26 magnetic levels, 10 damper settings
Weight Capacity375 lb250 lb
Bluetooth compatible (headphones)YesYes
Chest strap compatibleYesYes
Streaming workoutsFilmed on water
Access to non-rowing workouts as well
Filmed in studio
Access to non-rowing workouts as well
Built-in workoutsNo30
Warranty5 year frame
1 year parts
1 year labor
10 year frame
2 year parts
1 year labor
Streaming service cost$38/month$39/month
(1st year of iFit free)

Hydrow vs NordicTrack RW900

Are you a fan of streaming workouts? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that both the Hydrow and NordicTrack’s RW900 offer live/on-demand, instructor-led workouts.

While streaming workouts have gained popularity over the last decade (thanks in part to Peloton), rowing machines seem to be a bit slower to hop on board the streaming train compared to bikes and treadmills.

The Hydrow was the first streaming rower I heard of, although I can’t say for certain if it was the first to hit the market (I’m feeling a bit too lazy to research it right now).

But one thing is for sure: streaming workouts are here to stay, and we’ll likely see more and more models popping up in the future.

So let’s dive into the Hydrow and RW900. In order to cover all the important features and specs, I’ll break it down and go over the Hydrow first, followed by the RW900. And then, I’ll wrap it up with my final thoughts on which one comes out on top and why.

Trust me, this is the easiest way to make sure I cover everything you need to know. So let’s get started!


There is no doubt that the Hydrow rowing machine is stunning to look at.

Its seamless, one-piece frame not only looks extremely elegant, but it also serves a practical purpose in enhancing the stability of the rower.

Crafted from a combination of steel and aluminum, the Hydrow boasts an assembled weight of 145 lbs, making it incredibly sturdy and resistant to any unwanted swaying or rocking during your workouts.

With a weight capacity of 375 lbs, this machine can handle even the heaviest of users with ease.

While the single-piece frame doesn’t allow for the Hydrow to fold for storage like other rowing machines, it can be stored vertically with the purchase of a vertical storage kit.

But let’s talk about the really exciting stuff – the features that make the Hydrow stand out.

At the forefront is the impressive 22″ HD touchscreen display mounted on the front of the machine. Not only is it incredibly easy to navigate, but the high-quality graphics make it a joy to use.

To access the instructor-led workouts, you’ll need to subscribe to Hydrow’s streaming service – there are no pre-programmed workouts to choose from. However, you can still row freestyle without a paid membership.

A Hydrow membership currently costs $38/month, giving you unlimited access to both live and on-demand rowing workouts.

But what really sets Hydrow apart is their unique approach – the rowing workouts are filmed on real waterways with professional rowers, providing an unparalleled and immersive rowing experience.

And if you want a break from rowing, Hydrow also offers other types of workouts like Pilates and strength training, making it a versatile addition to any home gym.

In my opinion, the most impressive feature of the Hydrow is not the monitor, but rather its state-of-the-art resistance system, which is the most sophisticated aspect of the machine.

When it comes to rowing machines, there are four primary types of resistance: hydraulic, magnetic, water, and air. Although many machines, such as the RW900, use a combination of air and magnetic systems, they are mostly magnetic.

The Hydrow, on the other hand, is technically a magnetic rower, but it operates differently from the magnetic systems with which you may be familiar.

The resistance system combines the benefits of both a magnetic and water/air system, resulting in a smooth, quiet machine with resistance that is dependent on the speed and force of your rowing.

While most magnetic rowers provide a consistent resistance regardless of how fast you row, the magnetic system on the Hydrow is computer-controlled and adjusts based on your rowing intensity.

This means that there are no resistance levels, and if you want more resistance, you simply need to pull harder. Just like if you were rowing for real.

The Hydrow does have a drag level that you can adjust to change the overall feel of your row, but you won’t be adjusting resistance levels during your workouts.

The Hydrow’s advanced resistance system is one-of-a-kind, and users are universally pleased with how it feels during workouts.

The Hydrow is backed by a solid warranty: 5 years for the frame, and 1 year for parts and labor.

Overall, the Hydrow is a heavy-duty, advanced magnetic rower with a large, high-definition touchscreen console.

If you’re looking for the best home rower on the market, this is it.

NordicTrack RW900

The NordicTrack RW900, has had an overhaul for 2022 and 2023 so it now has a sleek look rather than the more traditional look that the older model had.

But here’s something the RW900 can do that the Hydrow can’t – it can fold! The rower hinges around the foot plates, so you can easily fold it in half and tuck it away when you’re not using it. This is super helpful if you’re tight on floor space.

Now, let’s talk about the weight. The RW900 is a little lighter than the Hydrow, weighing in at about 130 pounds.

But it does have a weight capacity of 250 pounds, which means it might not be the best choice for larger users. It’s a bit of a bummer, considering that most high-end rowers can hold at least 300 pounds.

The RW900 also comes with a fantastic 22-inch HD touchscreen console that you can swivel. This way, you can watch the monitor comfortably, even when you’re not on the rower. This is especially useful when you’re doing other iFit workouts that aren’t related to rowing.

Speaking of iFit, it’s NordicTrack’s streaming fitness app that you can use with your RW900. This app requires a paid membership of $39 per month, but it’s totally worth it.

You get access to a huge library of instructor-led workouts, including running, cycling, weight training, yoga, and much more. It’s like having your own personal trainer right at home!

Unlike the Hydrow, this machine comes with 30 built-in workouts, so you can switch things up whenever you feel like it without having to shell out for a monthly subscription (although you do get a year of iFit for free when you buy the RW900 – score!).

Sure, the rowing workouts aren’t filmed on the water like they are with the Hydrow, but you can still get a taste of the great outdoors through iFit’s scenic rows. Plus, the console on the RW900 is just as user-friendly and compatible with your favorite headphones and heart rate monitor.

One thing that sets the RW900 apart is its combo resistance system – part magnetic, part air.

What does that mean for you? Essentially, you’ll feel a consistent baseline resistance no matter how fast or slow you row thanks to the magnetic component, and as you start to ramp up the intensity, the air resistance will kick in for an added challenge.

With 26 resistance levels and 10 damper settings to choose from, you’ve got plenty of options to customize your workout.

With a 10-year frame warranty (plus a 2-year parts and 1-year labor warranty), the RW900 is no slouch in the warranty department – in fact, it’s one of the best you’ll find on a rowing machine.

All in all, if you’re looking for a rower that gives you a little something extra without breaking the bank, the RW900 is definitely worth a look.

Hydrow Rower vs Nordictrack RW900 – Final Thoughts

I hope that you have enjoyed this Hydrow Rower vs Nordictrack rw900 review. They are both among the best rowing machines you can buy, but let me give you the final lowdown on both of these rowing machines.

Here are the main differences:

  • Hydrow has a higher weight capacity than the RW900
  • Hydrow workouts are filmed on water, while RW900 workouts (via iFit) are filmed in a studio
  • Hydrow uses computer-controlled magnetic resistance, whereas the RW900 uses a magnetic/air combo
  • RW900 comes with built-in workouts, while Hydrow doesn’t
  • RW900 can be folded, while Hydrow can be stored vertically (with an optional storage kit sold separately)
  • RW900 has a better warranty

So, what about the price? Generally speaking, the RW900 is about $650 less than the Hydrow ($1600 vs $2245).

But, is the Hydrow really worth the extra cost?

In my opinion, yes! The upgrades you get with the Hydrow are definitely worth the extra cash, but only if you’re okay with paying the monthly subscription fee.

If you’re not planning on paying for the streaming workouts, I wouldn’t recommend buying the Hydrow – without the subscription, all you can do is row in manual mode.

However, if you’re working with a smaller budget or don’t want to pay a monthly fee, the RW900 is a great alternative. The built-in workouts provide plenty of use without the iFit subscription.

Overall, I think the Hydrow is the nicest overall rower currently on the market, but it really depends on your personal preferences and budget.

Hope this comparative review helped you make a decision!

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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