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An In-Depth Look At The Ergatta Rower [A Review]

ergatta rower review

The Ergatta is another home rower that has joined the ever-growing list of machines designed for workout streaming. But even though it certainly wasn’t the first to do this, it does have a few tricks under its sleeve that set it apart from the rest.

For starters, the Ergatta is the only water rower on the market that comes with an HD touchscreen display for workout streaming (I could be wrong here, it’s happened before, but as far as I can tell it’s the only one).

Second, its console comes with workouts that are more game-oriented, like competitions, races, and group contests. You know, stuff that can actually make working out a little more fun.

And last, but certainly not least, the Ergatta is strikingly gorgeous and built like a tank.

Add all this together and you’ve got the makings for a very special rowing machine.

In other words, if you’re looking to join the world of home fitness streaming, the Ergatta is a great choice. But before you invest, it’s a good idea to do your homework.

And that’s where we come in.

In this review, we’ll go over everything the Ergatta Rower has to offer. After reading, you’ll know everything you’ll need to in order to decide for yourself whether or not this is going to be your next rowing machine.

The Ergatta Rower

I like the name of this rower- it’s clever. To me, it sounds like the folks behind this product playfully combined the word “regatta” (referring to a series of boat races) with the term “erg” (that refers to a cardio machine designed to measure output).

The result is a catchy name that matches this rower perfectly.

When I first saw the Ergatta, I thought it looked a little familiar. After doing a little digging I discovered why- the Ergatta is built by WaterRower, the highly-esteemed Rhode Island based brand.

It looks like the Ergatta brand is based out of Brooklyn. I’m not sure if WaterRower holds a stake in Ergatta or not, but the folks based out of Brooklyn seem to be designing all the software while WaterRower builds the rowers.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter.

But the idea of combining an elite WaterRower with a hi-tech touchscreen display is genius if you ask me.  Especially with all the success The Hydrow has been experiencing lately.

It’s obvious that streaming workouts are here to stay and we’re going to continue to see more of these cardio machines coming out.

I think Ergatta was smart to use a water rower for their technology because it sets them apart- everyone else so far has been using magnetic and or air resistance systems.

At the time of writing this, the Ergatta is going for around $2200, which is almost the exact same price as The Hydrow.

Pros

  • Natural, water resistance system
  • Unlimited resistance
  • Adjustable water level
  • Solid, cherry wood frame
  • 500 lb weight limit
  • Stores vertically
  • 17.3″ HD touchscreen display
  • 4 different personalized workout pathways
  • Competitive, racing workouts
  • Workouts/pathways/community challenges added regularly
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Heart rate monitor compatible
  • Professional assembly included with delivery
  • Good warranty

Cons

  • No live races
  • No instructor-led workouts

Resistance

I’ve mentioned a couple times already that the Ergatta is a water rower. I should probably take a step back and make sure we all know exactly what that means.

When I say “water” rower I’m referring to the fact that this rower uses water to create the resistance you’re pulling against.

Rowing machines come in several varieties based on the type of resistance system they use. These include: air, magnetic, hydraulic, and water.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but since the Ergatta is a water rower, we’ll be talking about this type of resistance specifically.

If you’d like to learn more about the different resistance systems, check out my rowing machine guide for more info.

Water rowers are great because they most closely resemble the feel of rowing a real boat. The Ergatta accomplishes this by using a flywheel with paddles attached to it.

As you row, the flywheel spins and the paddles cut through the water that’s inside the tank.

One of the great things about water rowers is that the faster you row, the more resistance you feel- just like on a real boat. You don’t have to worry about setting resistance levels or anything like that.

Want more resistance? Simply row harder.

Water rowers also provide that gentle “swooshing” sound of the water moving around in the tank.

Personally, I like that sound and find it soothing (some people disagree).

Even though you don’t have to set a resistance level on the Ergatta, you can adjust the amount of water in the tank. This rower comes with different water level indicators on the tank, ranging from 13-19.

P.S.- Ergatta recommends filling your tank with municipal water because it has additives in it that will reduce the growth of algae; they also include water purification tablets to help keep your water looking clear and clean (add 1 tablet every 6-12 months as needed).

They recommend starting with a water level of 17. Adjusting the water level doesn’t exactly increase or decrease your resistance, because this depends on how fast and hard you’re rowing.

Instead, it’s the equivalent of adjusting the weight of your boat. Adding more water is like increase the size and weight of the boat you’re rowing.

If that sounds about as clear as mud, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The takeaway is that you can adjust the water level to get a feel that works for you. Adding and removing water is done with a little siphon that’s included with the Ergatta.

Overall, I’m a fan of water rowers because of the ability to instantly change your resistance by adjusting your rowing speed. I also like the comforting background noise they produce.

Frame

Unlike most rowers we see today, that are built with steel or aluminum (or some combination of the two) frames, the Ergatta comes with a solid wood frame.

Not only does this give this rower a very distinctive look, but it also makes it quite durable.

To be exact, the Ergata is hand made out of American cherry wood (which is considered a hardwood).

Solid wood frames are a calling card of the WaterRower brand. These rowers look more like pieces of art or furniture than exercise machines.

The popularity of WaterRower and their wood frames has spurred a lot of competitors to try and copy their style- you’ll find a lot of cheaper wood rowers on the market.

And I’m not here to bash these other brands, but just because another rowing machine is made out of wood doesn’t mean it’s as well-built as the WaterRowers.

But back to the Ergatta.

With its solid wood frame, the Ergatta comes with a max weight capacity of 500 lb, which is pretty amazing for any type of fitness equipment.

If you’re wondering how wood frames hold up to metal ones, consider that The Hydrow comes with a weight limit of 375 lb (which is also good by the way).

At 500 lb, the Ergatta is more than capable of handling the largest users out there.

This rower is also capable of accommodating taller users- with the ability to fit folks with an inseam of 40″, most people up to 6’8″ should be able to comfortably row on this machine.

The last thing I’d like to point out about the Ergatta’s frame is the rail. If you look closely, you see that this rowing machine uses a dual rail, meaning that the seat is sliding on 2 rails instead of one.

I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it could definitely contribute to the overall sturdiness of the Ergatta (and be another factor that allows this rower to hold 500 lb safely).

Oh, I lied, there is one more thing I want to mention.

This rower can’t fold for storage (it’s solid wood after all), but it can be stored vertically. And no, you don’t have to take the water out of the tank to store.

When vertical, it only takes up a floor space of 23″ x 22.5″, which is less than 2′ x 2′.

It’s also surprisingly light weight, which makes it easy to move around and store away (103 lb with water).

Overall, the Ergatta scores very highly in the frame department. Its solid cherry wood frame is heavy-duty and durable, while maintaining a relatively light machine weight. It’s also nice being able to store it vertically.

Monitor

So the only real difference between the Ergatta and the other traditional WaterRower machines, is the monitor- and the tech on that monitor.

The Ergatta comes with a 17.3″ HD touchscreen display which is bluetooth and wi-fi compatible (you actually need wi-fi to use it).

The bluetooth is used to connect wireless heart rate monitors, as well as connect bluetooth headphones.

This screen is a little smaller than the 22″ screens you’ll find on both The Hydrow and the NordicTrack RW900, but still plenty big to comfortably see all the workout data you need.

Speaking of workouts, the Ergatta offers 4 ways to do that:

  • Push programs- this section contains workout programs designed to help you reach a certain goal (improve endurance/power/or technique)
  • Interval workouts- these programs are designed around HIIT workouts and other interval based workouts and can be selected based on time, difficulty, or distance
  • Race workouts- these programs allow you to compete against other Ergatta users that are at your skill level (your skill level is determined by the calibration workout you do at the beginning)
  • Open row- with open row you can simply row at your own pace, using either a time or distance as your goal

During your workouts, it’ll be easy to see all your metrics with the large, brightly-lit HD screen.

The calibration workout I mentioned earlier is a 2,000 m row (should take about 13 min) that Ergatta uses to assess your skill level and determine the baseline intensities to use for your personalized workouts.

They also use this info to match you against other racers during the race workouts.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any live races on Ergatta quite yet, but this is something they plan on adding soon.

Ergatta updates their software regularly and releases at least 5 new workouts each week. There’s also a weekly race on Sundays as well as community challenges each month.

Ergatta is a streaming workout service, so yes, there is a monthly subscription fee of $29/month (or $290/year).

Compared to other streaming services, this one is pretty well priced, considering Hydrow and NordicTrack cost $38 and $39/month respectively.

I like the idea of using game-inspired and racing style workouts to keep things fresh.

The only thing missing in my opinion are the live races, but Ergatta has already mentioned this is in the works. Some folks might be disappointed that there aren’t any instructor-led courses, definitely something to consider.

Overall, the Ergatta scores highly with its large, HD display. I like the idea of being able to choose your workouts based on the different paths, and I really like the competitive factor with being able to race other users.

Assembly

Assembly isn’t something you’ll have to worry about with the Ergatta. If you decide to purchase one, a $199 shipping fee will be added to your bill.

That shipping fee covers the shipping of your rower (duh), but it also covers professional assembly.

Ergatta sends your rower to a local technician that will professional assemble your rower for you. Depending on your preferences, they can leave the rower at your door or bring it up to its final destination in your home.

The technician should also go over how to add/subtract water from the tank with you.

Warranty

The Ergatta comes with the following warranty:

  • 5 year frame
  • 3 year parts
  • 1 year labor

This warranty is on par with what all the other streaming rowers are offering. 5 years on the frame is identical to what Hydrow is offering, but NordicTrack has it beat with their 10 year frame guarantee.

The parts warranty on this rower is better than both the Hydrow (1 year) and the RW900 (2 years).

A year on labor is pretty standard operating procedure and is the same with all 3 rowing machines.

Overall, the warranty offered on this rowing machine is very fair when you look at the comps. And that said, I think it’s likely that the frame on this rower will out live most of its users.

*If you read the fine print, it says you have to register your Ergatta to get the above extended warranty! If you don’t, you get a 1 year warranty on everything. Make sure you register your rower within the first year!!

Final Thoughts

That about does it for the Ergatta. When you look at the frame, the sophisticated monitor, and the fact that this is a water rower, I think it’s easy to say this rower has a whole lot going for it.

The frame is tough enough to warrant a 500 lb weight capacity- that feat speaks for itself.

I also think the personalized, gaming-style workouts will be fun for a lot of users who might otherwise find it difficult to stay motivated.

The Ergatta is also backed by a generous warranty (as long as you register your product).

All that said, the Ergatta isn’t for everyone.

First and foremost, you have to make sure you’re cool with a water rower. If you’re looking for silent operation or constant resistance, you might want to consider a magnetic rowing machine.

And second, you have to make sure you’re ok with not having instructor-led workouts. At the time of writing this, Ergatta doesn’t offer this- although this could change with time.

Overall though, I think the Ergatta is a home run. Easily one of the best home rowing machines around. Highly recommended.

P.S.- I don’t think I mentioned this earlier, but if you already have a WaterRower (with S4 monitor), you can get an upgrade package to attach the Ergatta console to it.

Will

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