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Last Updated: September 15, 2023
We are excited to review the new Ergatta rower! This stylish cherry wood rower is a unique combination of old-world style gamified with cutting-edge technology. Unlike other subscription-based rowers that simulate outdoor rowing, the Ergatta features digital games and challenges on a 1080 HD screen. Think Space Invaders meets Grandma’s nice furniture. Patterned after traditional water rowers with a dual track, low profile, and quality wood finish, the Ergatta looks stately sitting in the corner of any living room. Who would guess it comes to life with various interactive gaming options to take your rowing to the next level?
Unlike loud air-resistance rowers, the Ergatta is relatively quiet and can be used indoors without disturbing roommates, family members, or neighbors. Water rowers have long been preferred by rowing enthusiasts because they feel similar to outdoor rowing. The relaxing swoosh of the water in the tank, consistent handle stroke, and gentle slide of the seat make it feel like you are in a rowing shell on a cool morning out on the lake. The combination of classic frame design and updated tech makes the Ergatta an attractive option for both experienced rowers and novices who are up for a challenge.
Award: Best Water Rower
When it comes to water rowers, the Ergatta is our top recommended. We’ve awarded it as the best water rower on our list of best rowing machines. The Ergatta has a classic wood design and uses water to create realistic resistance while you row. The touch screen is enabled with gamified content to keep you entertained and motivated while you use the Ergatta. This rower will fit in nicely with any home decor, yet provide an engaging, fun rowing experience.
Why You Should Trust Our Review Of The Ergatta Rower
In order to create this review, our team spend hours strapped into the pedals. We assessed all of the Ergatta’s features and subscription content. We do this for every piece of equipment that comes into our studio. Our goal is to give you insight into how equipment, like the Ergatta, performs so you can determine if it’s right for you.
During our review process we also bring out other rowers we have on hand to see how they compare. When testing the Ergatta, we compared it to the Hydrow, Aviron, Concept2, and NordicTrack RW900, to name a few.
Our Video Review
- Sleek, subtle design
- Wood frame and water tank look stately. Rail is 6” off the floor, so it sits lower than comparable rowers. The seat is 12” off the floor.
- Frame supports 500 pounds
- This is one of the higher weight capacities
- Cushioned Seat
- The seat is cushioned for comfort. However, it is slightly smaller than other rower seats at just 8” deep rather than 10”. For larger users, the seat may feel small.
- The seat sits on four rollers rather than just two and I think this makes for a smoother rowing action. The dual track also provides a sturdy feel.
- The foot pedals are 12” long but only 4” wide.
- Footboards have adjustable straps that will support any size shoe. Footboards are slightly narrower than comparable models at just 4” wide and may feel rather close together for larger users.
- Ergonomic Handle, Fabric Strap
- The ergonomic handle is 18” wide. The belt strap is much quieter than a chain and is constructed of a polyester webbing (like a seat belt) that won’t tear or break. However, I didn’t love the handle. It isn’t round, so you can only hold it in one position.
- 17.3” Full Color Touchscreen
- The touchscreen is easy to see with crisp graphics and 1080 resolution.
- Bluetooth enabled for heart rate monitors and wireless headphones
- The Ergatta will sync with any number of Bluetooth chest straps so you can see your HR on the screen.
- Tank can be emptied when needed
- The included syphon pump makes filling and emptying the tank easy. Ergatta recommends adding a purification tablet once every six months (one is included).
- Open Footprint:
- Length 86”
- Width 23”
- Height 40”
- Screen Folded: Height: 22.5”
- Inseam length: Fits up to a 40” inseam (100cm)
- Machine Dry Weight: 76 lbs
- Weight with Water: 105 lbs
- Weight Limit: 500 pounds
- Frame: Replenishable Cherry wood
- Power: Power adapter for standard outlet; 12V DC
- Internet: Connect via WiFi or ethernet cable
- Touchscreen: 17.3” color sweat-resistant touchscreen swivels 30 degrees
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Full HD
- Speakers: Back of monitor
- Bluetooth: Syncs with wireless headphones and HR devices
- Free Delivery
- Delivered fully assembled
- Includes syphon pump to fill/empty tank, water purification tablets & Allen key
- 5 Year Frame
- 3 Years Parts
- 1 Year Tablet
In-Depth Review of the Ergatta Rowing Machine
The Ergatta is a traditional water rower with an attached touchscreen. The frame sits directly on the floor and the rail is not suspended, which allows it to support a 500lb maximum weight. It does not fold and has a rather long footprint, but you can store the Ergatta vertically.
One thing to be aware of is the rail itself is only 6” high and the top of the seat is 12” high. Users must be able to bend low and sit down on the seat and then stand up from the low height. This could be a limiting factor for some users since it requires a bit of knee and hip flexion.
Footprint: L 86” x W 23” x H 40”
Pedals: 12” high adjustable pedal
Saddle: 12” wide 8” deep, contoured and cushioned
Belt Drive: 20” high where it emerges from the machine
Track: 40” inseam length
While I love most things about the Ergatta, the pedals are one area I would like to see a slight improvement. The pedals are supportive and large enough for pretty much any size shoe, but they feel rather close together. Also, the strap is one piece that wraps around the footboard of both pedals, so it can shift from side to side – which isn’t my favorite design. Also, the foot pedals are 12” high, but only 4” wide, so they may feel narrow for larger users. However, I love the wood footboard that supports the pedals. It is wide and firm and feels like you are pushing against the end of the boat. In general, the pedals function fine and smaller users won’t have issues with the width or placement.
TThe Ergatta Max handle is ergonomic, meaning it is molded to support a specific hand position. You’ll either love or hate this. I prefer a round handle so I can shift my hands around a bit as they begin to fatigue. The Ergatta handle prevents this. The positive aspect is you’ll always maintain a proper hand placement; the drawback is a lack of adaptability to where you can hold the handle. Since my hands are smaller, I found the handle to be a little uncomfortable and I would prefer a simple rounded handle. The strap is sturdy, but we’ve noticed it’s fraying a bit on the edges already, so that may be an issue over time. Also, the strap wraps around a roller that feeds it into the rower. As you pull the handle, the strap can rub against the sides of the roller.
Dual Rail System
Rather than a monorail, the Ergatta features a dual rail that supports the seat. This is sturdier and enables the Ergatta to boast a 500lb max weight capacity. I appreciate the structural integrity of the rail system and it’s 40” inseam length will suffice for most users.
The seat slides right up to the junction between the pedals and the handle for a comfortable catch position. The point where the belt emerges from the neck of the rower is 20” (50cm) high from the floor, which is lower than other machines on our list of best rowing machines, but it has a low rail height so this is proportional for the machine. The screen sits just above the catch and is easy to see. You don’t have to lean down to grab the handle nor tilt your neck up to look at the screen.
The Ergatta seat has contoured areas for your legs and tail bone. I found it to be more cushioned than the Concept2 seat, however, it is a bit shallow at just 8” deep. Since users lean back through the drive and finish, the scooped out back section on the seat reduces the likelihood of your tailbone rubbing on the saddle. The seat slides on four wheels rather than just two, which creates a smooth controlled feeling through the drive and recovery. As mentioned, the seat is only 12” off the floor, which is a bit lower than comparable rowers.
Water-resistance is preferred by rowing purists who appreciate the actual feel of water. However, there are no preset “resistance” levels because the resistance is modified based on the strength of each pull and how much water is in the tank. As you pull harder, water is churned through the tank to match your strength. This makes the resistance perfect for each user. Stronger users can pull with more force, creating more movement in the water; while novice users may pull more gently, only generating minimal water movement. The nature of the water moving and the noise it creates are the main reasons rowing enthusiasts prefer water rowers. The sound is actually quite soothing and is not overly loud or disruptive to those around you.
The Ergatta Max has a 17.3” touchscreen attached to the front end, which is about 2” smaller than the Hydrow or CityRow Go screen. However, since the interface is game-based rather than video-based, the size of the screen is more than adequate. I never felt I had to lean closer to see or use the touchscreen. It’s easy to navigate and has great visual clarity.
I also appreciate the placement of the screen just above the catch. You don’t have to look down at any point during the drive which allows for good rowing form while you watch the screen.
You cannot access external apps or use the web on the Ergatta touchscreen. It is designed to showcase the Ergatta app content only. Also, the screen doesn’t have much functionality at all if you don’t subscribe to the Ergatta content, so this rower is best for those who plan to use the integrated subscription.
The screen is Bluetooth compatible, so you can easily sync with headphones or a chest strap.
Ergatta Program Interface
The user interface on the Ergatta is probably my favorite of any rowing system. Rather than video content with instructor-led rowing sessions, Ergatta has incorporated digital games, challenges, and competitions. This is brilliant for several reasons.
First, it is effective. Admittedly, I get bored on a rower. Even with the most immersive rowing video, I tend to zone out and lose motivation as time goes on. The Ergatta programs don’t allow you to zone out – you have to pay attention and stay engaged in order to complete the game.
The second aspect I love about this system is the varied time options. If you want to row for 5 minutes (which is roughly my attention span) – great! You can find several short games that will kick that heart rate up and have you sweating in 5 minutes. Most other rowing apps have a 20-30 minute minimum video length.
Third, the production of these games has to be significantly easier and less expensive than filming a professional rowing instructor outdoors – which means the content is constantly changing, updating, and adapting to user feedback. If there’s a game or aspect of a game that could be improved, Ergatta can tweak it without having to re-film a whole video. This is brilliant on their end.
Fourth, Ergatta has incorporated the time-tested method of progressive overload into their content. This means, when used correctly, the Push Programs will actually help you get stronger and better at rowing. Progressive overload is a proven method of gradually increasing time and load to reduce plateaus and stagnant training.
In short, it works. And I love that Ergatta has incorporated it in such a simple but effective way. My only complaint about the screen and content is the speakers are pretty lousy and are placed on the back of the tablet. I recommend finding your own playlist and using headphones while rowing since none of the games have sounds or feedback you need to hear.
- Push Programs
- Interval Training
- Open Row
Compared to the noise generated by an air rower this is virtually silent, so we find this to be a great option for those who are concerned about noise output.
Storage / Folding
The Ergatta can be stored horizontally or vertically. For safety, we recommend securing it if it is stored vertically. While the tank holds quite a bit of water, it is surprisingly simple to move. Just lift the back of the rail and the weight at the front makes it engage with the wheels so you can roll it out of the way when needed. However, it can be easily tipped when lifted vertically, so be aware if you plan to store it this way.
When considering where to place your Ergatta, make sure you have enough space to the sides and rear of the rower since you lean back through the drive and finish. Do not place the rear of the rower directly in front of a wall, as you will need at least two feet of clearance behind the Ergatta.