Echelon Smart Rower Review, Pros, Cons & Alternatives

If you’re anything like me, you love to play with the latest gadgets and technology and that’s exactly what Echelon’s Row-S Smart Rower is. A state of the art fully connected fitness rower that allows you to combine a daily workout routine with the power of streaming internet. If you have heard of or seen machines made by the brand Peloton, then you already know what the Echelon Row S Smart Rower is all about. With a sleek, jet black alloy steel frame that sports Echelon’s patented Competition Seat that comes with a 6” lever style adjustment. The frame is so sturdy and so well made, that the Echelon Row S can accommodate a maximum user weight capacity of 350 lbs. This is an incredible 100 lbs more than its close rival, the NordicTrack RW900. The frame of the Echelon Row S even folds in half, which is a feature I always look for as it is essential for people who live in apartments where space is at a premium.

Echelon Smart Rower Alternatives

Editor
Pros
Cons
Price
good value
Echelon-Smart-Rower-Review
Echelon
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Editor
Compared to Aviron, Echelon is a better option, I think. It has resistance controls on the grips and it is around $1000 less expensive than Aviron rower. So, yes, a good alternative without compromise.
Pros
Folding frame, light weight, combination of air-magnetic resistance, controls on the handlebars and affordable price.
Cons
Louder than Hydrow and not as durable.
Price
$1500
expensive
Aviron rowing machine review
Aviron
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Editor
Aviron is a nice rower but not my first choice because it’s too expensive compared to RW900 and Echelon. That said, I like the programs that come with the machine.
Pros
Folding frame, light weight, combination of air and magnetic resistance to additional intensity.
Cons
Louder than Hydrow, and really expensive.
Price
$2400
Not Foldable
Hydrow Rower Review
Hydrow
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Editor
Hydrow is a good option if you don’t mind the extra weight and the bulkiness. Also, there is no built-in programs so you would need to subscribe to enjoy the screen.
Pros
Extremely quiet magnetic resistance, the most durable option of all here three rowing machines in this comparison.
Cons
Heavy weight rower and not foldable.
Price
$2400
good value
NordicTrack RW900 Rower Review
Nordictrack
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Editor
There are 50 pre-programs and has everything the Aviron has, so I would say, it’s a better rower. Plus, you don’t necessarily need an iFit subscription to use the monitor.
Pros
Folding frame, light weight, combination of air and magnetic resistance plus the most affordable among the three here.
Cons
Louder than Hydrow and quality is not great.
Price
$1500

The foldable frame is definitely handy considering when the Echelon Row S is in use, it has a fairly substantial footprint. The dimensions of the rower are 85” L x 24” W x a seat height of 18” H, which definitely puts it on the larger side of indoor rowing machines. At 123 lbs out of the box, the Echelon Row S Rower isn’t exactly compact, although when again comparing it to the NordicTrack RW900 the Row S is shorter and lighter.

Let’s be honest, the first thing you will notice with the Echelon Row S Smart Rower is the giant 21.5” full HD monitor that is attached to the front of the machine. It’s a common sight for the new wave of connected fitness machines, and similar to Peloton and NordicTrack’s products, to maximize the technology of the Row S, Echelon offers a subscription based service. The first thing to know is that you absolutely do not need to subscribe to the Echelon Connected service to use the Row S rowing machine. But if you don’t get the subscription service, the HD monitor is kind of a waste, then you may as well just settle for the Echelon Rower, which comes with a tablet mount.

The technology is great and if you do subscribe to the Echelon Connected app, you get to track your progress, as well as follow along with live training videos and even virtually row with a trainer on a river. The Echelon Connected app will run you an additional $40 per month, or you can sign up for an annual rate of $399.99 or a two-year rate of $599.99. Considering the price of the Echelon Row S Smart Rower, that’s a pretty hefty commitment to getting back into shape! Predictably, the Echelon Row S comes with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, although those are used mostly for connecting to the Echelon Connected app. The training videos are nice for people who need motivation to workout, and even feature celebrities like Mario Lopez, as well as popular music that ranges from EDM to R&B to Korean Pop music as well! Depending on which package you subscribe to, Echelon also offers the Extra Mile, which includes additional workouts like yoga, strength, pilates, and boxing, amongst others.

The Echelon Row S Smart Rower is built upon a smooth and silent magnetic resistance system that provides up to 32 resistance levels. One thing that does stand out is if you do not subscribe to the app, you cannot see which resistance level you are currently using. While it’s a minor inconvenience, if you can’t see the resistance levels on the monitor you have to basically just gauge the difficulty of your workout by the feel of the flywheel. As with most magnetic rowing machines, the Echelon Row S is quiet enough to have in any room of your house, and requires little maintenance aside from keeping the slide rail dirt and dust free.

You would think assembling such a high-tech machine would be difficult, but Echelon has actually made the setup process quite simple. I was impressed with how well everything was packaged and you can really get the feel that Echelon is a premium product by the look and feel of the parts. Echelon Rowers are sold on various sites including the Echelon site itself, Costco, and Amazon as well. Having had fitness machines shipped from various sites, I can say that Amazon is the fastest shipping that is usually free and easy to track.

Price is going to be a roadblock for some people, especially those who may have no use for the connected technology. Amazon has the Echelon Row S priced at $1,151.48 which is certainly on the higher end for indoor rowing machines. Add in the monthly subscription for the app, and the Row S will definitely be priced outside of a lot of budgets. The warranty isn’t too encouraging either, with only a 12-month limited warranty on parts and labor, and a 30-day money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with your Echelon experience.

Echelon Row S Smart Rower Pros 

  • Cutting edge technology and connected fitness app
  • High quality construction with a sturdy, steel alloy frame
  • Competitive, ergonomic seat
  • 32 levels of silent magnetic resistance
  • 21.5” full HD monitor that can swivel 180 degrees
  • Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity as well as Bluetooth Audio
  • The app is great if you love to be motivated while working out
  • Choose your style of music as you workout
  • Foldable frame makes it easy to store
  • 350 lbs maximum user weight capacity
  • Easy assembly and clear instructions

Echelon Row S Smart Rower Cons

  • The machine and app subscription can be too expensive for some
  • The monitor is mostly useless without the subscription
  • The Echelon Row S has a large footprint so plenty of space is needed
  • You also need to have the machine plugged into an electrical outlet
  • The warranty could be better
9Expert Score
Echelon Smart Rowing Machine

I was excited to try out the Echelon Row S Smart Rower, and in terms of the quality of workout I definitely was not disappointed. The parts and features certainly gives you the feeling that you are using a premium fitness machine, and adding in the Echelon Connected app on the beautiful 21.5” HD monitor is revolutionary to working out. But at the end of the day these connected machines are going to be considered by most to be a luxury right now, and paying $1,200.00 plus $40.00 per month for the subscription is just not in many people’s budgets. If you’re willing to pay up for a premium connected indoor rower, I actually still enjoyed the workout experience and app ecosystem of the Hydrow rower, more than the Echelon.

Value for money
10
Resistance
10
Support and Warranty
9
Quality
9
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