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This At-Home Rowing Machine Is Perfect for Small Spaces

Besides coming in six different colors, this gym-quality rowing machine is easy to move and store!


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I may be in the minority, but I actually enjoy working out.

The sweating, the accelerated heart rate, the time away from my desk — love it! Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review the Hydrow Wave Rower, one of the best at-home rowing machines.

Rowing is a great workout.

Since it’s low-impact, it’s one of the top forms of cardio for those with joint or mobility issues. It uses the legs, arms, back, and even core, so it really works the entire body. A mere 30 minutes can burn 200 calories* — and that’s at a moderate pace.

Hydrow Wave Rower

Although most of you know I like tying up my lightweight running shoes and going for an old fashion jog, I’m also a believer in the power of cross-training.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, cross-training basically means doing a variety of physical activity. It not only prevents injury from overusing the same muscles, but prevents boredom, and allows you to continue training while injured.

Rowing was something I did back when I had a gym membership. The machine seemed to be popular with people of all ages and fitness levels. Although I never took a survey, I’m guessing many enjoyed sitting down while working their entire body. It’s an ideal option if your knees can’t handle a treadmill or you’re looking to target multiple muscle groups at once.


I’ve always liked the rowing machines from Hydrow. Besides being gorgeous, they’re the closet thing to being out in an actual crew boat on the open water. They’re ergonomically-designed, offering ultra-smooth operation — and a killer workout!

best rowing machines for seniors

For those who have the space, I’ve always recommended the original Hydrow Rower ($2,495). It has a 22 inch, rotating flatscreen where you can join live rowing sessions. However, the brand’s latest model, the Hydrow Wave Rower, isn’t too shabby either.

Like its predecessor, it has drag-technology that makes it feel like you’re actually rowing in water. However, it’s also 30 percent smaller and can be stored upright with a vertical wall anchor ($190), making it’s a great pick for those with small spaces or who don’t like seeing a giant piece of fitness equipment in the middle of a room. The machine also comes in a variety of colors, so whatever your home decor scheme, there’s one to match.


Since I was receiving this for review, I was lucky enough to have the delivery men set the Hydrow Wave Rower up. However, it didn’t take the two of them long to do. According to Hydrow, it only takes under 90 minutes, but I’m guessing you can do it even fast with a helper.

If setting up gym size workout equipment intimidates, this tutorial is excellent, and takes you step-by-step in the Hydrow Wave Rower installation.


  • Easy to move around
  • Comes in 6 different colors
  • Touchscreen TV
  • Quiet operation
  • Can save multiple fitness profiles

Even though smaller than the Hydrow Rower, the Hydrow Wave Rower is still a large piece of equipment. Understandably, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to move it where I needed alone. Imagine my surprise when I lifted up the back (as per the instructions) and found it a breeze to relocate.

Most of the machine’s weight is at the base, so the back lifts with no hiccups. There are discreet rollers on the front too, so it can be gently pushed to wherever you’d like to workout! I love this about the design because, 1) not all of us have someone to help us move heavy things around (shout out to all my single ladies!) and 2) those lacking extreme arm strength should be able to handle without issue.

The ergonomic cushion is comfortable. Not squishy like a pillow comfortable, mind you, but becoming saddle sore shouldn’t be an issue. The rower handles feature a polyester webbing, which is very gentle on the palms of the hands. I also like that the adjustable feet have straps to keep the foot from shifting around as you push back.

The biggest highlight of the Hydrow Wave Rower is its sleek 16 inch touchscreen TV — easy on the eyes, both metaphorically and literally!

Once you turn the rower on (the power button is at the front’s bottom), the screen lights up, and prompts you to connect to your wi-fi. This isn’t any more difficult than hooking up any electronic device to your home internet connection.

Once you’re connected, your name, gender, weight, and additional info can be added to your profile. There is also the option to add more profiles to the machine — great for a two person plus households — and to pair with your bluetooth and certain fitness trackers.

Some row machines have a janky or shakey pull, because of the chain. Not the case with this beauty. We’re talking strokes as smooth as peanut butter, and it’s very quiet. It’s so quiet, in fact, that I would be willing to bet it could be used in the bedroom while your partner sleeps.

Immersive Experience:

The Hydrow Wave Rower is designed to go along with the Hydrow membership ($44). It gives access to more than 4,000 on-demand rowing workouts, live classes, and even circuit training and yoga workouts — remember what I said about the importance of cross-training!

Hydrow Wave Rower

If you like immersive-style training, virtually connecting to other fitness folks or simply good old fashion exercise versatility, it’s definitely worth signing up for. It’s basically the price of a semi-swanky gym membership, and you don’t have to leave your home to enjoy it.

If you can’t swing the extra bill right now, the machine does have a “Just Row” mode. When using it, you’ll be able to adjust the drag/resistance during your workout. A bluetooth connection for heart rate monitors can still be used, plus you’ll be able to watch the “Hydrow 101” videos and your rowing metrics.

Personally, I think that’s decent. Even without the extra bells and whistles, the Hydrow Wave Rower handles beautifully and makes it easy to work up a sweat. However, if you want to listen to music, save your data or take part of fitness challenges, the membership is a must.

Is the Hydrow Wave Rower worth it?

I’m a big advocate for owning at least one serious piece of fitness equipment, so if you’re into rowing, the Hydrow Wave Rower is the way to go. It’s smooth, quiet, and provides an awesome cardio workout, while improving muscle tone and overall coordination. The fact it’s space-saving is a huge bonus, and it’s light enough to be moved around by one person.

I love this machine not only for the super active but for seniors with joint issues who want to get in shape. And while I know not everyone will be thrilled by another gym-quality machine that works best with a subscription, it’s really the way to get the most from this piece of equipment. Although there are less expensive rowers on the market, the quality of Hydrow rowers are unparalleled, and once you see the type of workout it delivers, you’ll never want to row on anything else.

*This calculation is based on a 130 pound woman.

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