In the market for a rowing machine? There are few options as elegant, effective, and feature-rich as the Ergatta Rower. Recently I had the privilege of trying one myself, so as part of my Ergatta Rower Review I’ll provide an overview of the machine before offering my own impressions.
Ergatta Rower Review: Overview
- Dimensions: 86” x 23” x 40”; High-Rise kit adds 8” to seat height
- Stored Dimensions: 23” x 22.5”
- Weight: 76 lbs; 106 lbs with water
- Weight Limit: Supports up to 500 lbs
- Height Limit: Supports up to 6’8”, 40” inseam
- Components: Cherrywood, nylon drive strap, polycarbonate reservoir
- Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless, Apple Watch, Apple Healthkit, Strava
- Cost: $2499
- Membership: Optional, for $29/month
At first glance, you might not realize that the Ergatta rower is a piece of exercise equipment. The handsome, handmade frame, featuring dark-stained Appalachian cherrywood, doesn’t exactly strike the “gym” look. But just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s delicate. This machine is built to outlast thousands of workouts and weather years of use. In fact, it’s registered to hold up to 500lbs and is covered under a 5-year warranty.
Once you sit down and begin to use the machine, you’ll understand why it’s such a game changer for so many rowers. The Ergatta rower uses water, not air, to create resistance, mimicking the feel of real-life rowing with uncanny tranquility. The water basin, called a reservoir, is made of polycarbonate resin and holds 4.5 gallons of water. With each stroke you take, pedals spin through the water, creating resistance that increases with the speed of your strokes.
Like most rowers, Ergatta’s also features a sturdy seat and a nylon drive strap in place of oars. The generous, 17” HD touchscreen draws you in and keeps you hooked as you track your progress and build your stats.
Footprint and Storage
When you’re finished using the rower, you can store it upright by simply rotating it vertically. No wall mount is required! When stored like this, the machine reduces to a 2’ x 2’ footprint. If you’ve got tight living quarters, then the ability to tuck your rower into a corner could be a huge bonus. Plus, it’s lighter than you’d expect from a rowing machine, weighing 76lbs empty or 106lbs with a full reservoir of water.
But you just may want to leave your rower out; after all, it’s not ugly. At full length the machine measures 86” x 23” x 40”—that’s just over 7 feet long. And that’s long enough to accommodate someone 6’8” tall or with an inseam of 40”.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Ergatta rower is its ease of use. If you’ve ever rowed at the gym or the PT clinic, odds are you tugged on an air-resistance rower, which uses a fan and flywheel to generate incremental levels of resistance. Water rowers like Ergatta’s are arguably easier to use because the resistance is better distributed throughout the length of each stroke. It emulates the pull of an oar on water, immediately engaging your arms and abs without overloading your back.
On the Ergatta rower, there are no levers or toggles for “increasing” or “decreasing” the resistance. Instead, you simply row faster to make the workout more effortful, or slow down to ease the resistance. In that sense, adjusting the resistance is entirely self-regulated and intuitive.
Not only is the Ergatta rower easy to use, it’s a snap to maintain. The water in the basin doesn’t need to be replaced; fill it up once when you set up the rower, and you’re done. Every six months you’ll add a purifying tablet to the water to prevent discoloration and mildew, but it’s definitely the easiest fish to feed in your house.
Connectivity has become standard among workout equipment on the market today. Using WiFi and Bluetooth, Ergatta integrates with dozens of apps to keep you connected to your headphones, music station, or heart rate monitor as you row. Favorite apps such as Strava, AppleWatch, or Apple Healthkit can all seamlessly sync with Ergatta to log your rows.
But you don’t have to use a third-party app to keep track of your progress. The Ergatta rower can store workout data, personal records, and milestones right on the machine.
You can unlock even more features with an Ergatta membership, which costs $29/month, or $318/year if you prepay. Membership is optional—everything mentioned above will still be available without a membership—but it offers an enhanced workout experience you may deem well worth its price.
Ergatta members have access to thousands of workouts covering a variety of goals, from HIIT and conditioning to endurance and recovery, all customizable. From your first row, Ergatta’s software uses its patented calibration system to measure your skill and adapt workouts to your level, so you can progress at a rate that best suits you. You’ll receive workout recommendations, tutorials on your form, and a humming metrics dashboard to reflect your personal workout journey.
Like Netflix, Ergatta can accommodate multiple user profiles under one membership. But you’re not limited to 5—Ergatta offers unlimited household membership profiles, so the only excuse your family members have for not rowing is that the machine is already in use.
Besides all those unique workouts, Ergatta membership includes access to over 1000 game-based programs, running the gamut of formats. You’ll find single-player, interval-based games as well as target-based challenges. You can race against other users—never bots!—in real time. To get your mind off the burn, check out the strategy games, which pit you against players of various rowing skill levels. In fact, the Ergatta community is 75k strong, and you’ll virtually meet many of them just by rowing.
Thanks to the calibration software, Ergatta’s games adapt and become more challenging as you get better at rowing. This is one game system you won’t quickly outgrow. But if you’re not competitively minded, you may enjoy virtual scenic rows, which guide you on-screen through some of the most beautiful waterways in the world.
Aside from membership costs, the Ergatta rower retails for $2499. No doubt, it’s pricey. But considering the quality of the materials—handmade in America—and the premium workout experience, it’s a fair price. Ergatta covers the machine with a three-pronged warranty: up to 1 year for the touchscreen, 3 years for the component parts, and 5 years for the wooden frame.
Ergatta Rower Review: My Experience
So is the Ergatta all it’s chalked up to be? I got my hands on one, and here’s my opinion on the setup, feel, and whether it’s something I’d recommend.
The Ergatta rower arrived to my door in three separate boxes. But setup was simple; it took me only about 25 minutes to assemble the machine. The only tool I needed was an allen wrench, which was included with the nuts and bolts.
My next step was to fill the reservoir with 4.5 gallons of water. This task took another 20 minutes, surprisingly, because the reservoir is fixed in place on the machine. To fill it up, I had to siphon water through a manual pump into the hole at the top of the reservoir. This process probably could have gone faster had I been able to position the basin to allow for a better siphon. I used purified drinking water, which is recommended, and dropped in a purification tab. These tabs are necessary for preventing discoloration or mildew, regardless of the type of water used.
Once I had the rower assembled and plugged in to power, I then worked on connecting the unit to my WiFi and setting up an Ergatta account and profile. From here, I’ll be able to track progress and access membership features such as game-based workouts, virtual scenic rows, and other interactive experiences.
Use and Feel
This is not my first rower. For years I’ve used the Concept2 RowErg rower, which is a chain-driven, fan-powered rower popular among commercial gyms. The RowErg is a great unit, but it’s loud! So when I tried Ergatta’s water rower, the first thing I noticed was how quiet it is to use. The subtle whooshing sound of the water became almost entrancing as I got into my rowing rhythm, but never to the point of disrupting my family in the other room.
The feel and ergonomics of the rower are similarly upscale. The long handle is made of a comfortable material that nicely matched the contour of my hands and gave me a good grip throughout my workout. The seat is also comfortable (for a rower seat) and made of a firm padding. It easily wipes clean, though you can purchase a rowing pad to fit over it if you prefer.
As I began to row, I immediately felt the resistance of the water, which gave it a natural feel, more like what I’d expect rowing on a lake. Not only does the rower look beautiful, I found that it performs just as smoothly. All in all, I had an enjoyable round of training while trying out the machine.
Ergatta Rower Review: The Verdict
Is it worth it? I can’t speak for everyone’s cost-benefit analysis. But if you’re looking for comprehensive at-home workout equipment, it’s hard to beat a rowing machine. And although the Ergatta rower is on the higher end of the market compared to other top-selling rowers, it gets top marks on use and feel. Why settle for an inconsistent, loud, belt-driven rower, when you can enjoy the quiet whoosh and smooth feel of an Ergatta rower?