As the ability to assemble your own versatile home gym grows easier with each new connected fitness product, we strive to keep you in the know about what products are currently available and what sort of fitness technology is at your disposal. One of the established fitness machines to recently gain a lot of popularity is the rower, due to its storability and low-impact training. We’ve compared a diverse group of premium rowers from fitness brands like Hydrow, Ergatta, NordicTrack, CITYROW, and LIT Method to help you see where they differ. We’ll begin with NordicTrack vs. Hydrow, and go from there.
Our lineup of home rowers
Similar to our recent mirrored fitness comparison, we will be detailing five connected fitness brands side by side. Each of these products fits the same fitness category — an at-home rowing machine.
As you’ll see, these products vary in their look, features, and accessories, plus so much more. We will break each down individually, but have also compiled all the specs in a comprehensive chart for you below.
The Hydrow rower is the solo product offering by the fitness company of the same name. Its sleek design and patented drag mechanism offers computer-controlled resistance to feel like you’re actually on water.
Hydrow’s 22-inch HD touchscreen ties it for largest of the lot, allowing a better view of content from various angles. Speaking of content, Hydrow offers some of the coolest options including live classes with instructors that are actually on the water. There is also an unguided option called “Journeys” that allows you to row through scenic waterways and explore at your own pace.
The Hydrow rower is one of the few machines to come with accessories that include a workout mat, yoga blocks, and resistance bands. At $2,295 before tax, however, Hydrow is the most expensive rower on our list, on top of charging the highest monthly fee for content. With that said, standard shipping is included with your purchase, so you can save some money there.
Sleek design, largest touchscreen, cool and innovative content, accessories and shipping included with purchase, 30 day full refund return policy (first time customers on website only).
Most expensive equipment and monthly fee, additional equipment and fee needed to store Hydrow upright, heaviest machine.
If the Hydrow rower is the sleek space-age design, Ergatta is the classic craftsman. Its cherry wood frame exemplifies the home decor look of its design. Don’t let the wood fool you, though– this rower can support the most weight on our list at 500 lbs.
The lone offering from Ergatta can also support the tallest of rowers up to a 40-inch inseam or about 6’8″ height. Ergatta chose to utilize the more traditional water resistance method for the rowing, but it’s by no means the heaviest machine.
What’s unique and interesting about the Ergatta’s content is its competitive approach inspired around gaming. Workouts focus on goals within a program, as well as races and intervals. It’s the second most expensive rower on this list at $2,199 before taxes and fees. On top of that, you’re looking at a $199 delivery fee, although that also includes assembly.
Beautiful wood design, gaming-inspired content, highest weight and height limit, 30-day full refund return policy.
Expensive, small touchscreen, delivery/assembly fee.
Unlike the first two rowers, NordicTrack is a long established fitness brand with a vast arsenal of workout machines. For this comparison, we chose to cover the RW900, the top-tier rower offered by NordicTrack above the RW500 and RW700.
As you’ll see in the chart below, the RW900 checks a lot of boxes in the rower category. First and foremost is price. Even as the top offering from NordicTrack, the RW900 remains the most affordable at $1,599. On top of that, customers receive a yearlong family membership to iFit and all of its workout content. This equals savings of just under $400.
This NordicTrack rower has a similar 22-inch HD touchscreen vs. the Hydrow rower, but on a more foldable frame. In terms of storage, this rower can collapse up into the smallest footprint. If you do decide you want to row your boat with Nordictrack, be aware that you are looking at a $199 threshold delivery that gets it through your front door. Then you’re on your own for assembly.
Make sure you read this whole article and do your homework before committing to buy, because if you decide the RW900 isn’t for you, you’ll be charged a $250 delivery fee and potentially a restocking fee for returning it, even if it’s within 30 days.
Most affordable, 1-year iFit membership included, access to iFit’s vast content library, smallest storage footprint, digital and magnetic resistance (no water).
Heavy equipment, lowest weight limit, lowest height limit, hefty shipping/restocking fees for returns.
CITYROW GO Max
The GO Max rower from CITYROW is based off the machines you’d find in a CITYROW studio classroom around the US. The fitness company has now developed and branded its own personal rower to bring its classroom to your home.
The result is a solid home rower with water resistance that features a library of content for workouts both on and off the rowing machine. This includes strength, yoga, and kinstretch (we had to look that up, too).
In terms of specs, the CITYROW GO Max is in the middle of the pack. It does offer two huge perks in free shipping and a 30-day return policy for a full refund. That might help alleviate some of the cost anxiety, as this rower is the third most expensive option at $2,195. For those keeping score, that’s $5 less than the Ergatta rower.
CITYROW GO Max pros
Decent monthly fee, sweat-resistant touchscreen, delivery included, 30-day full refund return policy.
CITYROW GO Max cons
More expensive, smaller content library, no accessories included.
LIT Method Strength Machine
Last but not least is the Strength Machine from LIT Method. Although this rower is not collapsible, it offers the versatility to make up for it. It comes with handles, straps, and resistance bands to assist in a variety of workouts both on and off the machine.
It’s the lightest rower on the list at 89 lbs, so it should be easier to move around and store upright even with the water in its resistance tank. The Lit Strength machine not only builds strength, but provides it too. It can support up to 400 lbs. of weight and a rower up to 6’8″ tall.
At $1,750 before taxes, this is the second most affordable rower on our list. Additionally, the $24/month fee for workout content is also the lowest, and comes with the first three months free. Delivery is a very reasonable $12 flat rate in the US.
Part of the reason for the lower price is that this is the only rower on the list without a touchscreen, so you’ll need to use your own phone or tablet to view your workout class. Ensure you’re positive you’re ready to get LIT before buying, because a return will cost you $400.
LIT Strength Machine pros
Affordable equipment and membership, three months included to start, variety of classes, accessories included, lightest machine, great delivery fee.
LIT Strength Machine cons
Large footprint, must provide on phone or tablet to view content, hefty fee for any returns.
Peloton rower rumors
Rumors of a rower from Peloton have been circulating for nearly a year now, and particularly began to heat up during the brand’s exponential growth during the pandemic.
Last July, the Reddit community at r/pelotoncycle found an image of trainer Ben Aldis using a rowing device in what looks like a Peloton studio. There wasn’t much to confirm at that point, but an additional rumor surfaced that Peloton had plans for rowers in Studio 3 of its new headquarters in Hudson Commons in Manhattan.
In February, Fortune magazine helped refuel the rumor mill by mentioning a rower spotted in Peloton’s research and development lab. While we have seen images of a potential rowing machine from Peloton and reports of a machine in R&D, everything remains speculation until Peloton confirms.
Peloton’s CEO John Foley has alluded to lots of “crazy stuff” taking place in Peloton’s R&D factory including a device for the strength category. That being said, Foley has never specifically mentioned a rower.
Comparison chart: NordicTrack vs. Hydrow, Ergatta, and more
|Hydrow Rower||Ergatta Rower||NordicTrack RW900||CITYROW GO Max||Lit Method Strength Machine|
|Monthly Fee||$38/month||$29/month, $290/year||1 year iFit family membership included ($396/year thereafter)||$29/month||3 months included ($24.99/month thereafter)|
|Equipment dimensions (in use)||86″ L x 25″ W x 47″ H||86“ L x 23” W x 40“ H||86.5″ L x 22.0″ W x 50.4″ H||83.5” L x 22.25” W x 20” H||84″ L x 21″ W x 19″ H|
|Equipment dimensions (stored)||25″ W x 33″ D x 86″ H ***||86” L x 23“ W x 22.5” H||36.2″ D x 22.0″ W x 50.4″ H||20” D x 22.25” W x 83.5” H||19″ L x 21″ W x 84″ H|
|Weight||145 lbs.||103 lbs.||131 lbs.||98 lbs.||89 lbs.|
|Touchscreen size||22″ Rotating HD touchscreen||17.3” HD touchscreen||22″ Rotating HD touchscreen||19.5 ” Sweat-resistant touchscreen||N/A – Must provide own tablet or smartphone|
|Content||Live on water|
Yoga & Mindfulness
Cardio + core
Rowing x strength
|User weight capacity||350 lbs.||500 lbs.||250 lbs.||375 lbs.||400 lbs.|
|User height limit||36″ inseam |
(about 6′ 6″)
|40″ inseam (about 6′ 8″)||4′ 10″ – 6′ 5″||39″ inseam (about 6′ 7″)||40″ inseam (about 6′ 8″)|
|Resistance type||Dynamic and responsive computer-controlled resistance||Water resistance||Digital and magnetic resistance||Water resistance||Water resistance|
|Bluetooth connectivity||Most devices||Most devices||Most devices||Most devices||N/A|
|Included accessories||Workout mat|
|N/A||N/A||N/A||1 Pair handles|
2 Pairs 15 lb resistance bands
1 Pair ankle cuffs
1 tablet holder
|Delivery||Standard shipping included||$199 (includes assembly)||$199 Threshold delivery||Included||$12 flat rate|
|Return policy||30 days full refund (first time online customers)|
14 days w/$250 shipping fee all other purchases
|30 days full refund||30 days w/ $250 shipping fee + possible restocking fee||30 days full refund||14 days w/ $400 restocking fee|
|Warranty||5 year frame and storage kit, |
1 year parts and labor
|5 year frame, 3 year parts, 1 year tablet||10 year frame, |
2 year parts,
1 year labor
|5 year frame, 3 year parts, 1 year tablet||5 year frame, |
3 year parts
Comparing rowers: NordicTrack vs. Hydrow vs. Ergatta vs. CITYROW vs. LIT Method
All similar, yet all so very unique – the decision of which rower to buy is a tough one. Based off the granular breakdown of each, compiled into the chart above, the differences should (hopefully) appear more clear.
You can separate these rowers into two groups price-wise. On the higher end ($2,100 and above), you have Hydrow, Ergatta, and the CITYROW GO Max. On the other side, you have the NordicTrack RW900 and LIT Method Strength Machine for under $1,800.
Coincidentally, both less expensive options offer one year and three-month memberships included, respectfully. So when you save money on equipment, you also save money on content.
The Hydrow and Ergatta rowers are the most aesthetically pleasing, but that might not be enough to justify the costs to some consumers. They each have their superior perks over the other rowers, especially in their unique workout options.
The NordicTrack RW900 is probably the most balanced option in terms of value, content, and quality. Truthfully though, you really can’t go wrong, and a decision is easier based on what your fitness priorities are.
Subscribe to Connect the Watts on YouTube to stay in the loop with all the connected fitness news as it happens.