Ergatta Review: Rowing Machine Overview & Comparison Guide

Ergatta’s smart, at-home rowing machine offers a gaming-inspired workout experience for novices and experts alike. Here, we seek to give you an honest review. 

 

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About Ergatta | Overview of Ergatta | Getting Started | Workouts and Programs | Costs and Memberships | Comparison

 Health and fitness fads come and go —- new fads hit the market, they enjoy their 15 seconds of fame, and then they fade into obscurity once the next new fad comes. 

Of course, some pieces of exercise equipment have staying power; treadmills don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

The rowing machine, on the other hand, has seen its share of ups and downs in the fitness world. The concept behind it is centuries old — it was made to mimic or simulate watercraft rowing, even though the machine itself has evolved over time.

In many gyms, the rowing machine, also known as an indoor rower, plays second fiddle to exercise bikes and ellipticals. But, a recent interest in at-home fitness has brought rowing machines back to life.

Ergatta offers a smart rowing machine that is ripe for home gym enthusiasts. It hopes to be a game-changer with its sleek design and internet-connected home fitness system, but is the hype deserved?

In this article, we will review Ergatta’s rowing machine and see how it stacks up.

About the Ergatta

The Ergatta Rower offers a smart, efficient workout machine designed for the home. 

While it is near impossible to replace the feeling of being on an actual rowboat with the sun overhead and oars satisfyingly slicing through the water, Ergatta does a nice job of bringing the fitness experience to life.

The company is based in New York City, where wide-open spaces are few. Dissatisfied with exercise classes, Ergatta’s co-founders set out to make their own innovative home workout machine.

Ergatta is complete with motivational, gaming-inspired software to bring the feeling of the competitive sport right to your living room (more on that in a bit).

But Why a Rowing Machine?

Three words: full body workout.

Treadmills and ellipticals are great, but they hardly touch the workout efficiency of rowers. According to research, rowers (also called rowing ergometers) stimulate far more muscle activation than other workout machines.

Where most machines build cardiovascular endurance, rowing machines combine endurance with strength training. This low-impact, joint-friendly exercise engages your legs, arms, back, and core with every stroke. According to fitness experts, an indoor rower is roughly 65-75% leg work and 25-35% upper body work.

Here are just a few more benefits of rowing machines:

  • Rowers are low-impact machines, meaning it puts less demand on the joints compared to other machines or exercises.
  • Rowers are great for building cardiovascular endurance.
  • Rowers are great for people of all fitness levels, whether a novice or endurance athlete.

Plus, a rowing machine is a calorie burner. According to a Harvard Health study, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity rowing can burn, on average, 252 calories for a 155-pound person. 

Overview of the Ergatta Rower

Now that we understand the benefits of rowing, it is time to take a look at the Ergatta machine in particular.

Functional, Eye-Catching Design

The first thing that stands out about the Ergatta Rower is the aesthetic of the machine, itself. This rowing machine was not designed to sit in the far-off corners of dingy gyms and fitness centers. Design is its first appeal.

Its elegant design is unique among other rowers. It screams quality craftsmanship. Made in the USA, the Ergatta Rower is handmade from American cherry wood by WaterRower, a company based in Rhode Island, and experts in rowing machine design.

But the elegant appeal is not the only nice thing about this machine. Its portable and compact design allows it to be easily folded up and stored in seconds. Plus, it has wheels if it needs to take a field trip to another room for the day.

Many pieces of exercise equipment end up being a laundry catch-all, dust collector, or trip hazard. Plus, many aren’t designed with aesthetics in mind. But, instead of being a living room eyesore, the beautiful design of the Ergatta rower is sure to turn heads, whether inside of a home or apartment.

This Ergatta customer certainly seems pleased:

In love with this rowing machine. Everything about it is exactly what I hoped for. Aesthetically, it looks amazing in my home. The workouts are exactly what I need. Love the workout programs and how they are broken up into different difficulty levels. The content keeps me engaged and makes the workouts both challenging and enjoyable.

— Travis, 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

Other Design Specifications

One minor drawback about the Ergatta Rower is the fact that it sits so low to the ground. Of course, for many, this may not be an issue at all. But for those with mobility issues, it is definitely something to consider.

Ergatta made this rowing machine for beginners and experienced athletes alike, it is suitable for most body types. However, while the Ergatta Rower is a very sturdy piece of equipment, it does have a weight limit of 500 lbs. Its elongated rails support those with up to a 40” inseam, which  roughly equates to someone who is around 6’ 8'' tall at average build.

Many exercise machines lack comfort. But, this machine is rather comfortable. The handle feels durable and firm. The seat itself provides good support and feels balanced. The cushioning bodes well for long workout sessions.

Ergatta Rower Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions (LWH): 86” x 23” x 40” 
  • Storage Dimensions: 86” x 23” x 22.5” (upright)
  • Machine weight: 76.5 lbs.; 103 lbs. with water
  • Max user weight: 500 lbs.

The Ergatta Rower works off a water resistance system — the harder you pull, the more resistance you will feel. For the young at heart, we’ll admit it’s pretty fun to hear the water sloshing around in the tank as you “row.” It just adds to the experience. Ergatta recommends you do use municipal water in the tank to ward off potential algae growth.

Ergatta Rower Workout Experience

Now it’s time to get down to the real business. An elegant design and pleasing aesthetic are great, but the real proof of its value lies in the workout experience.

This rowing machine is complete with a 17.3” digital touchscreen display console. It is slightly smaller than its main competitors (Hydra Rower and NordicTrack RW900 at 22”), but at the end of the day, nothing feels lacking with the interactive display size.

The touchscreen has full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution. It’s also Bluetooth-enabled for audio and heart-rate monitoring (Wifi required), not to mention we found the built-in speakers to be pretty good quality for an exercise machine.

The console features the basic workout dashboard where workout data and statistics are displayed. It makes it easy to track day-to-day and month-to-month progress and workout history.

Workout data includes:

  • Total distance rowed 
  • Average split time and best split
  • Longest workout and distance rowed 
  • The number of workouts completed

Getting Started

The first step in your workout experience will be initial calibration. The Ergatta Rower asks new users to complete a 1,000-meter calibration row. The time it takes to complete this calibration varies by person.

The calibration process is part of the smart software of the machine. It uses this calibration row to calculate and tailor training zones that fit you. These intensity zones will be personalized, reflecting your speed and endurance levels, which is pretty neat if you ask us.

But don’t worry, the Ergatta Rower continually adapts to your performance and fitness level. It is constantly recalibrating to help you perform better and better with each workout. Ergatta calls this “active intelligence.” It gives real-time feedback and helps build your own unique fitness profile.

The Four Levels of Intensity:

  • Paddle level: The paddle level is the lowest intensity setting, it’s great for warmups and cooldowns. It represents a 55-75% effort level. 
  • Steady level: This level would be considered moderate intensity. Expect the heavy breathing to start. It represents a 75-85% effort level. 
  • Race level: This is considered higher intensity training, representing an effort level of 85-95%. 
  • Sprint level: This is all-out max effort — 100% — leaving nothing in the tank. 

Workouts and Programs

Remember, the Ergatta Rower is unique in the fact that they base their workouts on a gaming-inspired content experience.

You have four options on your main screen: Push Programs, Race Workouts, Open and Scenic Row, and Interval Workouts.

Push Programs

This is goal-based training. This collection of workouts is designed to help you reach fitness goals, whether it be goals for endurance or technique. It features sequential workouts that must each be unlocked to advance to the next “level.” 

Race Workouts

Those that have a competitive edge will enjoy these competitive race workouts. These put you head-to-head with others in the Ergatta community, but don’t worry, you are matched with racers of similar ability. (Who knew playing video games could be so good for you?)

Open and Scenic Row

Open Row is self-led. It offers a sort-of relaxing option where you can concentrate on reaching distance and time goals while rowing in various virtual destinations.

Interval Workouts

This option is full-blown, high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These personalized endurance workouts are meant to help you smash your target goals. These are tough workouts, but the games make it fun.

This beginner rower had this to say:

I cannot tell you how much I love Ergatta! I look forward to working out daily. I can feel a real difference in my endurance in the three weeks we have owned this machine. I’ve been loathing the gym for so long, but this has made a huge difference in my attitude about working out!!

— Holly, 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

Cost and Membership

This innovative rowing machine will cost you $2,199.00. If that’s too much cash to drop at one time, Ergatta does offer monthly financing through Klarna — approximately $62 for 36 months.

Once purchased, your rower will be delivered, assembled, and installed by professionals, adding another $199 to the cost.

But, you do get some relief from the sticker shock: Your Ergatta Rower comes with a 5-year warranty on the structural frame, a 3-year warranty on parts, and a 1-year warranty on the display console.

Plus, they offer a 30-day return policy with a full refund.

Due to demand, they ask for 2 to 4 weeks for delivery and installation.

The Ergatta Membership costs $29 per month, and it includes:

  • Unlimited profiles on one device
  • Access to a library of game-based workouts
  • Updated programming; 6+ new workouts a week
  • Performance tracking in real-time
  • Personal dashboard featuring workout history and progress
  • Access to the Ergatta community and ability to compete with other members

Ergatta Rower Compared

Ergatta’s two main rivals are Hydrow Rower and NordicTrack RW900. The RW900 is much cheaper, costing $1,599, while the Hydrow Rower costs a bit more than the Ergatta Rower. The resistance technology is also a bit different in each.

While the Ergatta uses real water to create resistance, the others rely on drag mechanisms, which limits the experience a bit. Who gets the upper hand? Well, that is a question of preference.

Bottom Line

This elegant at-home rower certainly has a lot to offer with its gaming-inspired workouts packed into a sleek design.

We found these to be the most appealing pros:

  • Attractive and compact design
  • Excellent interactive training programs and competition ability
  • Personalized and calibrated fitness levels to fit users’ exact fitness needs

The main drawback? The price. You must be willing to shell out for this investment, plus membership costs, to enjoy all the benefits. Plus, if you are looking for smart workout equipment that is instructor-led, this isn’t it. 

All in all, the Ergatta Rower delivers what it promises. It is certainly an investment, but for those looking for a high-quality, smart at-home rower, it fits the bill. 

Sources:

Ergatta: Home | Ergatta

Physiological and performance effects of low- versus mixed-intensity rowing training | PubMed

Indoor Rowing Machines: A Quick & Easy Guide | AFPA Fitness

Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights | Harvard Health

The Immersive At-Home Rowing Machine With Streaming Workouts | Hydrow

NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine | Nordic Trac