Structural water in layered oxides is hypothesized to decrease the charge transfer and diffusion activation energies during electrochemical ion intercalation. Crystalline, layered tungsten oxide hydrates (WO<sub>3</sub>·2H<sub>2</sub>O and WO<sub>3</sub>·H<sub>2</sub>O) are model compounds to investigate this hypothesis. These materials contain both primary and secondary bound structural water molecules. Using cyclic voltammetry and <i>in situ</i> Raman spectroscopy, we find that hydrated tungsten oxides offer better capacity retention and energy efficiency over anhydrous tungsten oxide at sweep rates up to 200 mV s<sup>-1</sup>. <i>In operando</i> atomic force microscopy was used to quantify the displacement of WO<sub>3</sub>·2H<sub>2</sub>O and anhydrous WO<sub>3</sub> during proton intercalation as a function of sweep rate and potential. These measurements showed that the deformation of WO<sub>3</sub>·2H<sub>2</sub>O is smaller, more consistent, and occurs without a potential hysteresis as compared with WO<sub>3</sub>. Together, these results highlight the role of structural water on the kinetics of energy storage based upon intercalation in oxide materials.