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The Ergatta vs The Hydrow: A Head To Head Comparison Of The 2 Most Advanced Rowers Around

the ergatta vs the hydrow

The Ergatta and The Hydrow are 2 of the newest, hottest home rowing machines on the market. Both rowers are high-end, pricey, and offer workout streaming through the use of HD, touchscreen displays.

In other words- both of these rowing machines are awesome.

But these 2 high-end rowers are very different from each other. If you ask me, these differences make it easier to choose which one (if either) is the right fit for your home gym.

But making that decision is a lot easier if you are well-informed about each.

And that’s where we come in.

In this article, I’ll go over the key differences between the Ergatta and The Hydrow, as well as look at the similarities they share.

After reading, you’ll know everything you need to in order to decide whether or not one of these elite rowers is a smart choice for your home.

The Ergatta vs The Hydrow

When looking for your first (or next rowing machine), there are a few key specs I suggest you consider and compare when looking at different models.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth description, you can check out my rowing machine guide, where I go into a lot of detail regarding this process.

But for the sake of this article, I’ll be brief.

When looking at rowing machines, the key specs you should consider are:

  • Type of resistance
  • Weight capacity
  • Warranty
  • Monitor
  • Price

These are the 5 features or specs I’ll be using to compare the Ergatta and The Hydrow.

The ErgattaThe Hydrow
Resistance SystemWaterComputer-controlled, magnetic
Weight Capacity500 lb375 lb
FrameCherry wood, dual railSteel/aluminum, single rail
5 year frame
3 year parts
1 year labor
5 year frame
1 year parts
1 year labor
Monitor17.3" HD, touchscreen22" HD, touchscreen
WorkoutsRacing, game-basedTraditional, instructor-led on the water
Monthly Subscription Fee$29/month$38/month

Let’s start with the Ergatta.

The Ergatta

I don’t think Ergatta has done a ton of marketing yet, so you may not have seen them on tv. At the time of writing this, I don’t think I’ve seen any tv commercials for them or anything like that.

My wife actually referred me to them after she saw a social media post about the rower. I checked ’em out and liked what I was seeing.

I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot more about Ergatta in the near future though, because I think they’ve got a real winner here.

The New York City based company designed a gaming-based workout software and then made the brilliant move to outsource the manufacturing of their rowers to a little company you may’ve heard of before- WaterRower.

In case you haven’t heard of them before, WaterRower is one of the premiere manufacturers of water rowing machines in the world.

And yes, they only create water rowers, which means the Ergatta is a water rowing machine.

This means this rower uses water to create the resistance- as you pull the handle, a flywheel with paddles attached to it spins inside a water tank; the paddles cutting through the water creates the resistance for your workouts.

This is great if you’re looking to mimic the feel of rowing a boat. Another advantage of a water rower like the Ergatta, is that the harder you pull, the more resistance you feel.

Unlike magnetic rowers, you don’t have to set any resistance levels on the Ergatta- simply start rowing and if you want more resistance, row faster; less resistance, do the opposite.

Like most water rowers, you can adjust the water level in the tank to change the overall feel. Adding more water, creates more overall resistance, but the intensity is still dependent on your rowing speed.

Rowers describe adjusting the water level in the tank to adding weight to your “boat”. If affects the “feel” of your workout, but not exactly the intensity.

In the case of the Ergatta, you can set your water level between 13-19 as it’s marked on the tank. Adding and removing water is done with a siphon.

I mentioned that Ergatta rowers are outsourced by WaterRower. They’re known for their gorgeous, solid wood frames, although they do offer a few models with metal frames as well.

The Ergatta is pretty darn close to WaterRower’s “Oxbridge” model, which comes with a solid, cherry wood frame.

Cherry wood is a hard wood, making it a great material to use for rowing machines. The frame on this rower is so strong in fact, that it can handle users weighing up to 500 lb.

The wood makes for a great looking rower too, of course.

When it comes to the warranty, Ergatta backs their rower with a pretty generous guarantee: 5 year frame, 3 year parts, 1 year labor.

This is par for the course when it comes to high-end home rowers, but it is a little better than the warranty provided on The Hydrow..

Which brings us to the monitor, a category that really sets Ergatta apart from the rest.

The Ergatta comes with a 17.3″ HD, touchscreen display that’s used to select and view your workout programs. Having a large HD screen isn’t unique these days, but the type of workouts you do on the Ergatta are.

Unlike every other streaming fitness platform, the Ergatta doesn’t use instructor-led workouts. Instead, their workouts are more game-based.

The Ergatta comes with racing workouts and custom HIIT workouts that are based on your performance of the initial 2,000m calibration assessment.

You can also choose goal oriented workouts or just row casually at your own pace.

Ergatta comes with a lot of weekly/monthly group challenges as well, making it a more fun, community centered setting.

As a streaming rower, you really need to pay the monthly fee to take advantage of everything this rower has to offer. The monthly fee is $29/month, which is about $10 cheaper than The Hydrow.

The Ergatta’s game-based workouts make exercising more fun than most, especially for folks that tend to get bored easily with their workout routines.

And then there’s the price. At the time of writing this, the Ergatta costs roughly $2200. There’s no denying that this is expensive in the world of rowers where there are tons of great options in the sub-$1000 category.

But the Ergatta is one hell of a rower.

And comparatively speaking, it’s about $50 cheaper than the basic Hydrow package.

Check out my full Ergatta review for more info.

The Hydrow

The Hydrow came out before the Ergatta and there’s been a lot more marketing for The Hydrow (I know I’ve seen it on tv and online a lot more anyway).

The Hydrow was the first rowing machine to adopt the streaming fitness game plan, just like Peloton was the first to do so for spin bikes.

Maybe this is why so many people refer to The Hydrow as the “Peloton of rowers”.

But there’s a lot more going on with The Hydrow than just a streaming rower. Starting with the one-of-a-kind magnetic resistance system, this rower is very advanced.

As a magnetic rower, this machine uses a magnet driven mechanism to create your resistance.

But unlike traditional magnetic rowers, The Hydrow uses a computer guided system that creates your resistance based on how hard you’re rowing.

You don’t set a resistance level like you do on most magnetic rowers. Instead, you choose your magnetic drag level (anywhere between 0-300) and start rowing.

And like air and water rowers, the harder you pull, the more resistance you feel.

Yeah, a magnetic rower that acts like a water rower.

But you get all the other benefits of a magnetic rower, like the silent and smooth operation. Plus you don’t have to worry about adjusting water levels or keeping the water clean.

The computer guided resistance system is awesome, but I really like the one piece frame too.

If you look at the frame, you’ll notice it’s made out of a single piece of high-end steel/aluminum. Not only does this look sleek and modern, but it also makes for a very sturdy base.

The Hydrow is tough enough to hold users weighing up to 375 lb, which is amazing when compared to most home rowers (I say “most” because we just saw what the Ergatta can hold).

The single piece rail means The Hydrow can’t fold (neither can the Ergatta by the way), but it can be stored vertically.

The warranty on this rower isn’t quite as impressive as the one offered on the Ergatta. Hydrow offers a : 5 year frame, 1 year parts, 1 year labor guarantee.

This warranty isn’t awful, but honestly, for the price I’d like to see a longer guarantee. Oh well, nothing is perfect.

The monitor on The Hydrow is a little larger than the one on the Ergatta and measures a solid 22″ from corner to corner. Like the Ergatta, it’s HD of course as well as a touchscreen.

Users agree it looks and sounds great during use and, speaking of use, the workouts on The Hydrow are also unique in a sense. Unlike any other rowing fitness app I’ve seen, the Hydrow workouts take place on the water.

These are instructor-led workouts like pretty much every other streaming service, but instead of taking place in a studio, they take place on a boat in real water.

This is pretty awesome because the scenery is beautiful. And when it comes to mimicking the feel of rowing a real boat, seeing and hearing the water as the instructor leads you goes a long way.

With the monthly fee ($38/month), you get access to hundreds of on-demand and live classes to choose from, and the library is growing every week.

You can choose from classes for all skill levels and there are plenty of instructional videos to watch to get beginners started on the right foot.

So, there’s really no denying that The Hydrow’s resistance system and monitor are about as advanced as it gets, but what about price?

The basic Hydrow package will cost ya about the same as the Ergatta, costing roughly $2250. That cost will go up if you want a heart rate monitor, exercise mat, wireless headphones, etc.

And of course this price doesn’t include the monthly streaming fee.

But you can save yourself $100 by using the promo code “THEHOMEGYM100”.

Check out my full Hydrow review for more info.

Final Thoughts

The Ergatta and The Hydrow are both amazing rowing machines. If you’re trying to decide between the two, rest assured that there’s no wrong answer here- it just depends on what kind of rower you’re looking for.

I think the easiest way to choose between the two is to decide whether you want a water rower or a magnetic rower- even though The Hydrow’s magnetic system is unlike traditional magnetic rowing machines.

If that’s not making the decision any easier for ya, think about what kind of workouts you’d prefer.

Do you like the idea of more traditional, instructor-led workouts or does the idea of racing-style workouts sound more interesting?

People who get bored with traditional workouts should consider the Ergatta and their more game-based programs.

Otherwise, these 2 rowers are very comparable.

If you look at the price, the warranties, and the monthly subscription fees, you’ll find a lot of similarities between these 2 elite rowers.

Overall, I think the Ergatta and The Hydrow are the 2 highest-tech, most advanced rowing machines currently on the market.

If I had to choose a winner (and I do because I think it’s lame to have a “vs” article and end in a tie), I’m going to go with The Hydrow- mostly because I do well with instructor-led workouts and I like the idea of not having to mess with water.








Will's a licensed physical therapist (DPT) with over 15 years of experience treating patients from all backgrounds. He's been lifting weights and exercising in one form or another since middle school and has been working out in his own home gym for over a decade. When it comes to fitness equipment, there isn't much he hasn't tried. In his spare time, if he isn't writing or working out, he's likely playing basketball, watching movies, or hanging with his family.

43 thoughts on “The Ergatta vs The Hydrow: A Head To Head Comparison Of The 2 Most Advanced Rowers Around”

  1. Hello!
    I love the look of the Ergatta but have a feeling I will like the nature/teacher led exercises of hydrow. I’m wondering if it’s possible to use the hydrow app to row on the ergatta? Thanks!

    1. Ah, great question. So yeah, there’s nothing stopping you from getting an Ergatta and using Hydrow’s app for workouts- you can download the Hydrow app onto your smart phone or tablet and access all of their workouts (you still have to pay a monthly fee). If you plan on doing this though, it might make more sense to purchase a standard Water Rower and save yourself a little cash. Unless you want the option of doing the Ergatta workouts AND the Hydrow workouts, and in that case, it makes sense to get an Ergatta. Just keep in mind there’s no particularly good place to hold your tablet on the Ergatta, since it’s designed to be used with their monitor. If you opt for a standard Water Rower, you can purchase a tablet holder separately for like $100 or so. Hope that helps!

  2. Nice review – two quick questions:
    1. Can you use either machine without a subscription?
    2. How would you compare the acoustics of each machine? Is one louder or more annoying than the other, especially to non-rowers who may be in the next room?

    1. Yes, you can use both rowers without a membership, but you won’t have access to any of the workouts or extra features on either. You’ll only be able to row and view your metrics. In terms of noise, the Ergatta, being a water rower, is going to produce a little more noise than the Hydrow. The Hydrow uses an advanced magnetic resistance system, so it’s going to be very quiet. The only noise coming from the Ergatta is the swishing of the water in the tank- it’s not that loud and a lot of people actually find it to be relaxing. Even though it’s a little louder than the Hydrow, I doubt it would really bother someone in another room. Hope that helps.

  3. Hey Will, great review! I’m on the fence about which route to go. I had a bad experience with Norditrack RW900 before it started a godawful grinding noise (actually went through two of them in a month, I could get a sales rep on the phone, but for actually service it was long phone holds and several day delayed email responses), anyway I figured I’d splurge on a more expensive product. One thing I haven’t heard in any reviews is how easily the bluetooth connects to your headphones. I have AirPods, and every time I would go to connect to the Norditrack monitor, it would have difficulty connecting. How did your headphones work out if you used them? Thanks!

    1. Ugh, sorry to hear about your experience with the RW900, I can only imagine how disappointing that was. I don’t have any personal experience with connecting headphones to either of these rowers, but both rowers state specifically that they’re compatible with AirPods, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

  4. Hi Will,
    One thing you didn’t include in the price for Hydrow is that you need to pay extra and drill holes in your wall to store it upright. It is heavy to accomplish those task and probably need 2 ppl to do so. 🙂
    We have a waterrower and bought the Ergatta last year. We love how convenient it is to store, beautiful to leave in the living room etc. I didn’t like the Ergatta workout routine as much and finds it boring. I was checking out Hydrow as the instructor guided and filmed outdoor exercises are very interesting. I read reviews saying the machine is inoperable if the system is down or without internet? Some also said that the app is not available for ipad, only for iphone? Curious to hear your finding on these. I don’t have an ipad (I’m a MS surface person), but would consider buying one if I can use Hydrow with my waterrower.

    1. Good point regarding the vertical storage kit, definitely something to consider. It sounds like the resistance system won’t work without power, so if you lost power for some reason, it’s true the Hydrow wouldn’t be functional. According to Hydrow, you can use the rower at a default resistance without internet, but you can’t access any of the other features- you can’t even access all the features in the “Just Row” mode without internet. So yeah, power and internet are definitely necessary to use this rower. When it comes to Hydrow’s Digital app, it’s sold as a iPhone only app, but it can be used on an iPad too- although it doesn’t seem to be very compatible with the iPad- I read a review where the user was complaining that the screen size doesn’t get larger than that of the phone’s screen even when being used on the iPad. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hydrow remedies this in the future. Thanks for the great questions and thanks for reading!

    1. Yeah, it’s a tough call. It might help to think about whether you really want a water rower or a magnetic rower. Thinking about whether you like instructor led workouts might help ya too. Either way, you can rest assured you’ll be getting a great machine regardless of which model you choose.

  5. Hi Will!

    Great read – my question is how do these move, if I desire to move it? I think there was a reference to the Ergatta being easy to move for one person? Also – can I use the Ergatta if WiFi goes out?


    1. Hi, great questions. So, both the Hydrow and the Ergatta have built-in transport wheels in the front, making both models pretty easy to move. All you have to do is tilt the rower forward and roll it vertically toward its next destination. The Ergatta is a little lighter than the Hydrow (and a lot lighter without water in the tank), so that one is a little easier, but both rowers are quite mobile. I think you can still use the Ergatta for basic rowing if your WiFi went out, but you obviously wouldn’t have access to all the digital features (workouts, etc). You should still be able to see your workout metrics as you row. Hope that helps and thanks for reading.

  6. Hi Will. Thanks for an excellent review. One thing I like to do when working out in the morning is to follow the news on TV. Do you know if either machine can connect to apple TV or streaming apps on my iphone?

    1. Hi, great question- at this time, neither rower can connect with outside apps, so you wouldn’t be able to watch tv (or any other entertainment app) from either console. Thanks for reading!

  7. Which of these companies is more likely be bought by Peloton?. It would be nice to have one connected fitness subscription.

    1. Ha, no kidding, that would be amazing. I imagine Peloton has got to be working on a rower of their own, but who knows.

  8. Hi! Is it easy to store the Ergatta upright after use? Or is it not something you’d do regularly – just to store when not using.

    1. Yup, it should be easy to store vertically after each use if you want. It weighs about a hundred pounds with water in it, but all of the weight is at the end with the tank, which is the part you don’t lift, so most folks shouldn’t have any issues lifting the other end and tilting vertically. It also has built-in transport wheels so you can roll it somewhere while tilted if necessary.

  9. Thinking about getting the Hydrow. My wife had back surgery a few years ago, shes fully healed but has some limited ability to bend from the lower back. Is a rower something that someone who’s had back surgery can use or should we be looking at some other type of exercise regime?

    1. Great question- without knowing all the details (and assuming her doctor hasn’t given her any precautions or activities to avoid all together), rowing could be something your wife is able to do safely. With proper rowing, there isn’t a ton of lumbar flexion involved (a lot of the movement comes from the hips), but there is some- as well as lumbar extension. I think it would be a good idea to have her try a rower out at a gym or sporting goods store first to make sure she can do so comfortably without pain before purchasing. If she can, rowing might be a great way to help her strengthen her core. If a rower isn’t doable, you guys could always consider other machines that require less spinal mobility, like a recumbent bike or elliptical. Here’s a good video on proper rowing form to help you see how much back movement is required. I hope that helps and good luck!

    2. I had spinal fusion surgery in 2010 and was doing HIIT rowing exercises in 2018, though I could’ve been doing them earlier without issue. As long as core strength is incorporated to ensure form there shouldn’t be any issues.

  10. Great article!! I am torn between the two pricey machines. I have an elliptical but have always loved resistance rowers at the gym I belonged to. I knew little about Water rowers until your article. You addressed the sound. I was thinking about my garage, but concerned about the heat and humidity buildup which may impact the machines & electronics-is it true the displays can be disconnected when not in use? Thought I heard that from an ergatta spokeperson

    1. That’s a really good question. With the Hydrow, I know you have to unscrew 4 screws and unplug the cables to remove the screen- not a hard process, but probably not something you’d want to do after every workout either. For the Ergatta, I don’t think the process would be that different. For the Ergatta, it’s just a tablet attached to a mount on the rower- and since you can get an upgrade package to turn existing WaterRowers into Ergatta’s, I can’t imagine it’s that tough of a process. If you’re concerned about the temps in your garage during the summer, you might want to reach out to either brand and see what they say. Thanks for reading!

  11. After reading this review I ordered the Ergatta.
    After a month long wait for delivery the tower finally showed up today. First thought when they were unloading it was how cheap it looked.
    Seriously there’s not much to it and for $2200 plus delivery I guess I was expecting something more substantial. Two guys were carrying it one handed. Oh well I thought-as long as it works as great as the reviews.
    Except it didn’t….
    Screen was dead.
    So back it went.
    Think I’ll look at Hydrow

      1. Just an update.
        Received the Hydrow and am really impressed!!! The quality is far above the Ergatta….so much so that I’m really surprised that it doesn’t get mentioned in the reviews. The electrical connections, the screen, the machine itself is just so much better in every way. This thing looks like it’s worth $2500.
        Time will tell but so far I’m super happy!

  12. Nice article. I have a question. How often do you need to change the water in the Ergatta? Or does it even need to be changed. Maintenance wise which one is better?

    1. Ah, that’s a really good question. You actually never have to change the water in the Ergatta, as long as you are using the water purification tablets that they provide. Ergatta recommends adding a purifying tablet to the water tank every 6 months to keep it looking clear. I also learned that Ergatta will provide you with these tablets for free for life, which is awesome. If the water does get cloudy, these tablets won’t fix that so in that case you’d have to replace the water and then start all over with the tablets. The Hydrow is a magnetic rower, so it really doesn’t require much maintenance other than keeping it clean, although you’ll also want to make sure the screws holding the legs in are staying tight periodically. So, even though the Ergatta doesn’t require much maintenance, I’d say the Hydrow requires even less. Hope that helps!

      1. Have you heard of any mold issues in the tank? I live in the PNW which can get pretty damp and moldy and was wondering about this with water rowers.

        1. Ergatta provides water purification tablets that they recommend putting in the tank every 6 months to keep the water nice and clear. They even go a step farther and provide you with these water purification tablets for life (for free). As long as you keep up with this maintenance, you shouldn’t have any issues with mold.

  13. Nice comparison. Now that you can get the Ergatta add-on for a Waterrower ($500), could you use that with the Hydrow? I like the idea of having access to both training models 🙂

    1. Wow, that’s a brilliant idea, I like the way you think! I have to assume the Ergatta monitor wouldn’t be compatible with the Hydrow, because that add-on package states it’s only compatible with Waterrowers with the latest S4 monitor (the Ergatta tablet might have to plug into the S4?). That would be sick if you could some how jerry-rig that to the Hydrow though.

  14. Nice writeup. I noticed that you can buy the oxbridge from WaterRower for $1295 and the Ergatta add-on for $549. This would make it $350 cheaper than the $2199 price tag on Ergatta’s site for the package. Any downsides that you can see from that?

    1. No, I don’t see any downsides whatsoever. I went back and did some more research to make sure I’m correct, but I don’t see any differences between the Ergatta’s WaterRower and the Oxbridge model (other than the stain of the wood). And it looks like the Oxbridge comes with the same S4 monitor you need to be compatible with the Ergatta’s tablet too. So, I think you’ve stumbled upon a great hack there, thanks for the tip!

  15. This is such a well-written and helpful article! I am still torn. I am leaning towards the Hydrow as I think I would prefer the instructor led modules rather than the game based workouts. My only hesitation is the “feel” of the magnetic rower. I have a cheaper magnetic rower and I prefer the “feel” of the air rowers like the Concept 2. Maybe it is just a matter of getting used to Hydrow’s version of magnetic resistance and with it being higher end, maybe that will also be a difference maker. Thanks again for the great article!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it! They Hydrow’s magnetic resistance is designed to feel more like a classic water or air rower, being that the harder you pull, the more resistance you get. This is completely different than any other magnetic rower I’ve seen, so it should certainly feel better than the cheaper rower you mentioned. But I think you’re right to think about the differences between the types of workouts each provides too. Thanks for reading!

  16. Sorry – one more question. I know that there was a comment earlier on the NordicTrack RW900 and it did not sound like it was a great experience – but I wanted to see if you had any thoughts on this model as well. Seems like the training modules offer a bit of everything – in studio, as well as on the water. Thanks again!

    1. Yeah definitely – with NordicTrack, you get access to iFit, their streaming service which provides pretty much any kind of workout you can think of. The RW900 isn’t nearly as heavy-duty or as sophisticated as the Hydrow, but overall I think it’s a decent rower considering what you get. Here’s a link to my comparison review between the Hydrow and the RW900 if you’re interested: Hydrow vs The NordicTrack RW900.

  17. Hi. Thanks for all the info. It’s a hard choice between these two. I am very interested in the water videos as I think it would be awesome to feel like I am rowing in real places. How do the videos compare?

    1. Yeah, that’s one of the biggest advantages to the Hydrow. The videos with these 2 rowers are completely different. As you mentioned, the Hydrow takes the classic instructor-led streaming experience and just applies it to rowing. So, with Hydrow’s videos, you see your instructor in his/her boat, actually rowing on a body of water somewhere. You get to see and hear their surroundings, giving you more of the feel of rowing outside yourself. With the Ergatta, the workouts are more game based – there are no instructor-led workouts. The Ergatta’s workouts consist of more racing/competition style workouts, allowing you to compete against other users, while the Ergatta’s software keeps track of your progress and adjusts your workouts and competitions to keep you working. With the Ergatta, it’s a lot more about trying to make the workouts more fun by turning them into games/challenges. When choosing between these 2 elite rowers, this big difference in workout style should be a major consideration. Hope that helps.

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