Ergatta Rower Review

Introduction

The Ergatta rowing machine and digital subscription is a unique fitness solution that offers a high-quality rowing machine with an interactive and engaging software system unlike any other on the market.

Image via Ergatta/Facebook

In this guide:

In this comprehensive review, we'll dive deeper into the design, size and weight, user experience, price and value, and compare it to other popular rowing machines on the market, such as the Concept2 and Hydrow. 

Design

The Ergatta rower features a solid oak frame that gives it a sleek and modern look, which makes it a great choice if this is something you're using in your home vs. your garage (it's almost like a piece of furniture, which is clearly the thought behind the construction and the marketing — just look at the image below from their website featuring an Eames chair). 

Image via Ergatta/Facebook

The water resistance system provides a smooth and natural rowing experience, and offers a virtually silent rowing experience, which again makes it ideal for in-home use. 

The adjustable touchscreen display measures 16" across and the screen and arm that supports it fold down easily for storage, making it even more compact when not in use. The seat, adjustable footrests, and ergonomic handles are comfortable and provide a secure grip during use.

Size and Weight

The Ergatta rower measures 86" L x 23" W x 40" H and weighs approximately 103 pounds when the tank is filled with water. This makes it slightly smaller and lighter than the Hydrow (clocking in at just over 140lbs) rower but heavier than the Concept2 (which is only 57lbs thanks to using air resistance and a flywheel). 

To be clear — the base is a WaterRower, and Ergatta has partnered with WaterRower to make the machines, while adding the innovative app and touchscreen.

Its compact size and easy-to-move design make it a great choice for those with limited space. Not only is the machine relatively small to begin with, its screen folds away when not in use and it can easily be stored upright, with no additional hardware.

  • Note: When stored vertically, it takes up less space than any other rowing machine on the market (true of many Water Rower designs, including the A1). 

User Experience

This is where it gets interesting. Rather than the Hydrow approach, which is similar to Peloton in that it is based on live and pre-recorded classes with instructors that offer an experiential workout, the Ergatta subscription service offers a variety of interactive workouts, challenges, and games that are beautifully designed and based on data visualizations tied to performance. 

The video below from their YouTube channel offers some insight into how it works, but essentially what you see is a much more visually engaging way to track immediate feedback on your performance. 

The workouts are customizable to your fitness level and provide a range of options, including high-intensity interval training, endurance training, and recovery workouts. Not only that, but Ergatta's software bases your workouts on an initial assessment, and then automatically creates a periodized course of training based on your performance and your goals. 

In addition to the above, you can compete with other rowers in the Ergatta network — again, rather than an avatar or real-world rowing visuals, video-game like data visualizations show you how you're faring against the competition. 

Shane Farmer of Dark Horse Rowing goes into great detail about it in the video below.

The subscription also includes access to a community of users who provide support and motivation to each other.

Price and Value

The Ergatta rower comes with a price tag of $2,199, which is considerably more expensive than the Concept2 rower (coming in around $900) but slightly less than the original Hydrow (though more than base price for the Hydrow Wave, which comes in at $1895 — this price doesn't include the subscription, however). 

The Ergatta subscription service costs $29 per month (compare Hydrow's at $44) and provides access to all of the interactive workouts and challenges. 

While the price may be higher than some other rowing machines on the market, the quality of the machine and the engaging workout experience make it a great value for those looking for a unique and challenging fitness solution that works inside their homes, or with very limited space. 

Comparison to Other Rowing Machines

Ergatta vs. Concept2

When compared to other popular rowing machines on the market, the Ergatta rower stands out for its interactive software and engaging workout experience. While the Concept2 rower is a popular choice for those looking for a high-quality rowing machine, it doesn't offer the same level of interactivity and engagement as Ergatta out of the box. 

Ergatta vs. Hydrow

The Hydrow, on the other hand, is more expensive than the Ergatta and doesn't provide the same level of customization and variety in workouts—though it offers the most extensive library of rowing workouts, as well as yoga and strength classes (including many shot on location). It's also much heavier — while it's possible to stow it vertically (they sell an upright storage kit that bolts to the wall), the weight is a factor if you're thinking about having to move it around frequently. 

Pros and Cons

Image via Ergatta/Facebook

Pros:

  • Beautiful and intuitive touchscreen display with a sleek and modern design
  • Comfortable and ergonomic handle and seat for a comfortable rowing experience
  • Easy assembly process and relatively lightweight design for easy storage and portability
  • Customize your music choices, and use built-in speakers or connect to another device for audio output (like bluetooth headphones)
  • Doesn't require a subscription to use (you can just get basic output metrics from your machine without having to subscribe)
  • Connects with third-party fitness apps such as Strava and Apple Health
  • Unique and engaging gaming-style workouts that are fun and challenging — constantly evolving as the software and options have improved 
    • This also offers a social component where you can compete directly against 'rivals' (see the experience video above), or join platform-wide races in real time

Cons:

  • High price point compared to other rowing machines on the market like Concept2 RowErg or Dynamic models
  • Not based on a class model like Hydrow or Peloton, for those who are more motivated by the experiential approach to home workouts
  • Only way to adjust resistance is by adding or removing water from the tank — just a basic fact of using a water tank versus air or electromagnetic resistance
  • Personal take: Footplates feel a bit close together for me on this model of WaterRower — from experience I prefer the monorail Water Rower A1 from that perspective, which has a setup similar to Concept2 (footplates on either side of the monorail)
    • Also, the seat design is not ideal — Austin Hendrickson from Training Tall actually suggests flipping it around (reverse of factory setting)

Conclusion

Overall take? This is a really interesting entrant into the rowing machine marketplace. I like that they decided to go entirely their own direction by using the gamified visuals and periodized workouts — it makes the rowing machine offerings out there more diverse and tailored to address specific market segments (which is a good sign — rowing is growing). 

The compact size and easy-to-move design make it a great choice for those with limited space, and the customizable workouts and challenges provide a variety of options for users of all fitness levels.

While it may be more expensive than some other rowing machines on the market, the quality of the machine and the engaging workout experience make it a great value for those looking for a unique and challenging fitness solution. 

More content on how to approach the erg:

-RR



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