TechAwards is a reader-supported website. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.
You must be a huge fan of rowers. Well, we all are! They’re one of the few workout machines capable of targeting multiple key areas of the body.
They allow you to tighten your abdomen and glutes at the same time while burning excess fat and building muscle mass. They’re remarkably well-rounded machines that can be used in any home gym. Are you looking to get the next useful addition to your gym?
A high-quality rowing machine is certainly an excellent option.
It’s worth mentioning that not all rowing machines are the same. The most famous brands in today’s market remain competitive by integrating new and advanced features.
You might find some who focus more heavily on “connected workouts” and the ability to communicate with other exercise equipment.
Others emphasize creating compact, lightweight machines that you can easily store away when not in use. It would be best to get a machine that combines several of these features into one powerful device.
Hydrow and Ergatta undoubtedly top the list on the market today. They’re two major brands that have a slightly different approach when it comes to their workout options.
As someone who owns both of these rowers, I’ve decided to highlight the key differences between the two, to help you decide which machine is going to work better for you
ROWER COMPARE: WHAT HYDROW & ERGATTA OFFER
- 1 ROWER COMPARE: WHAT HYDROW & ERGATTA OFFER
- 2 1. Hydrow Overview
- 3 ROWER HEAD-TO-HEAD: COMPARING THE FEATURES & SPECS
- 4 Size & Spec Comparison
- 5 Resistance Comparison: Hydrow’s Magnetic Resistance vs. Ergatta’s Water Resistance
- 6 Foot Pedal Comparison
- 7 Grip & Handle Comparison
- 8 Screen Comparison
- 9 ERGATTA GAMING APP VS. HYDROW’S INSTRUCTOR-LED WORKOUT APP
- 10 STORAGE COMPARISON
- 11 PRICING COMPARISON
- 12 SUMMARY
For those who might be researching these rowers for the first time, below is an overview of each machine.
1. Hydrow Overview
Hydrow is a stylish home rowing machine consisting of a steel/ aluminum frame and an anthracite polymer body. Thanks to its monorail and a 10-roller mechanism, it allows for very smooth rowing motion. The most exciting part is that the unit also consists of a patented electromagnetic resistance system that replicates the feel of rowing to the T.
Generally speaking, there are numerous reasons why the Hydrow has become that popular. For starters, it’s a stylish and ergonomic machine that can fit into most apartments, homes, and even living rooms.
It doesn’t fold for storage, but this isn’t a deal-breaker. Its vertical storage kit can always come in handy. The 22-inch full HD screen gives you an immersive experience, whereas the automatic magnetic resistance mimics the drag you feel while rowing.
RELATED READING: Is the Hydrow Subscription Worth it?
The machine’s ergonomics are also top of its class. Its rails are at a suitable height off the ground, with a heavily cushioned seat, and you can always adjust the handle and footplate to suit your comfort. The primary reason why the Hydrow leads among other home rowing machines is because of the massive library of live and on-demand rowing classes with highly qualified trainers on their roster.
The Hydrow rower is uniquely designed for people who wish to learn and enjoy rowing in their homes’ comfort. The Hydrow is an ideal option for users who:
- Need something that looks modern and chic.
- Want a quiet rower. Since the Hydrow utilizes electromagnetic resistance, it’s quieter compared to an air rower.
- Can sit down and lean forward while working out.
- Need or want training content to help them remain engaged and discover the basics of rowing.
- Recognize the advantages of rowing and are ready to stick to the training regimen.
- Can pay Hydrow’s higher price and a $38 monthly subscription.
- The Hydrow is comfortable. Its seat is bigger than the Ergatta seat.
- The Hydrow is outstandingly quiet. Although there’s a slight whirring sound with every stroke, it’s much quieter than air rowers.
- Offers rowing training, guidance, instruction, and direction.
- Consists of a crisp, 22” touchscreen.
- Features rowing experts who will lead you through classes of different lengths.
- Looks ultra-modern with a nautical shape and stylish engineering.
- It’s a perfect option for people who wish to learn and enjoy rowing – but don’t have much experience.
- Minimal functionality without a subscription
- Can be challenging to move and store
- Weighs 145 lbs. and doesn’t fold up
- Ongoing subscription is $38/month
- Purchase cost is $2200+
Here’s a Quick Overview of What You Can Expect from the Hydrow Experience:
2. Ergatta Overview
Once you take a glance at the Ergatta, you’ll realize that it’s an entirely different machine. From head to toe, it’s made from Cherry wood. And that’s where it gets its old-school feel and appearance. For some people, this makes it slightly more aesthetic than the stylish Hydrow. Its monorail mechanism is crafted from stainless steel, and it typically weighs 76 pounds without the water’s weight.
While providing quite similar drag resistance, regardless of applying very different mechanisms, you’ll realize that the Ergatta is more fun as opposed to the Hydrow. It resembles an attractive piece of furniture that you wouldn’t wish to put away.
We can all agree that the Cherry wood utilized for the body is a great change from the plastics and metals that rowing machines are typically made of. However, the biggest difference comes with the water tank. Usually, the Ergatta utilizes a real water tank to ensure that this rowing machine gets as close as possible to the actual drag and resistance.
There’s a paddle with a flywheel that’s nested in a water tank which then automatically adjusts the resistance level, just paddling on the water. It offers a more realistic experience compared to what you’ll get on any other rower out there. The workouts on Ergatta are also game-based, instead of trainer-guided. Apart from being more interactive, it’s much more fun!
It is best suited for:
- People looking for a fun, gaming inspired workout platform
- Rowers who want something quiet.
- People who like the natural sound of water rowing.
- Those who desire something lightweight and simple that’s easy to move and store.
- People who are ready to pay for the subscription content. Well, this is kind of the point.
- Naturally competitive people who would opt for games rather than instructor-led videos.
- Larger rowers up to 500lb.
- Can be stored vertically.
- Lightweight and fairly easy to move.
- Looks like furniture, and not a piece of exercise equipment.
- Features interactive games, races, competitions, and challenges.
- Quieter than air or magnetic rowers. So it won’t disturb neighbors.
- Touchscreen is crisp and its game interface is relatively easy to use.
- Game content is usually exclusive to online workouts and games; no instructor-led content or videos. (This is a pro for many)
- Doesn’t have preset resistance levels.
- Rowing instruction is minimal.
Here’s a Closer Look at the Ergatta Experience:
ROWER HEAD-TO-HEAD: COMPARING THE FEATURES & SPECS
Now you know some of the key features of each rower, and what to expect from them. Let’s get a bit more serious, and jump into the side-by-side comparison of these two machines.
Size & Spec Comparison
Hydrow Sizing & Specs
- Height: 47” (top of the touchscreen)
- Length: 86”
- Width: 25”
- Seat height: 16”
- Monorail height: 14”
- Length of monorail: 54”
- Weight: 145 lbs.
- Weight limit: 375 lbs.
Ergatta Sizing & Specs
- Height: 44”
- Length: 86”
- Width: 23”
- Seat height: 12”
- Track height: 6”
- Track length: 40” inseam
- Dry Weight: 76 lbs.
- Weight with water: 105 lbs.
- Weight limit: 500 lbs.
Resistance Comparison: Hydrow’s Magnetic Resistance vs. Ergatta’s Water Resistance
Perhaps you’re wondering whether you should consider water resistance? Who should consider magnetic resistance? Let’s find out.
The Hydrow provides software-driven electromagnetic resistance. This means it’s frictionless and consists of a strong woven strap. Since the resistance is computer-guided, the computer adjusts your stroke levels constantly to ensure comfort is maintained all through. It’s much quieter than a water rower and most other traditional rowing machines. However, it’s not completely silent.
RELATED READING: Hydrow’s Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals
On the other hand, the Ergatta offers a water resistance system consisting of a flywheel and a water tank. When it comes to water resistance, you will experience more resistance depending on how hard you pull. It ultimately makes it much easier to control the difficulty level of your workout. Water-resistance imitates the experience of rowing on the water. You can even get the “swooshing” sound that you’d get while rowing outdoors. This is very relaxing for some people. If you’d prefer a quieter rower instead, then the Hydrow is the best option.
Foot Pedal Comparison
The Hydrow and Ergatta are both sturdy, well-built rowers. That being said, there is a huge weight difference between these two. While the Hydrow weighs 145 lbs., the Ergatta is only 76 lbs. when empty and 105 lbs. with water. Although you can store the Hydrow vertically, lifting it can be more of a challenge since it is a bit heavy. You will also require a separate anchor kit if you are looking to store it vertically.
The Ergatta is comparatively easier to lift and transport, but there are several features you might not like. The pedals are quite close together and its seat is a bit shallower than the Hydrow. You might dislike how the strap is one piece of fabric that loops beneath both foot pedals. The catch might also be slightly congested. And that means if you slide in for the recovery, your hands, knees, and feet might feel crunched. But if the pedals were spaced wider, then this wouldn’t be an issue.
Grip & Handle Comparison
The handles on both machines are quite similar. They’re 18” wide and approximately 4 inches in circumference. Apart from being slightly more spongy, the Hydrow handle will feel more comfortable in your hands. Although the Ergatta handle’s ergonomic shape isn’t that appealing for some people, most reviewers don’t have an issue with it.
Additionally, both rowing machines utilize a nylon strap that joins the handle to the internal rowing mechanism. In comparison to the Hydrow, the Ergatta strap is quite thinner and narrower and may fray along its sides. You also can’t single-arm row on the Ergatta mainly because when you move its strap to the side, it may come off the roller that usually feeds into the tank. And this is probably one of the common reasons that cause it to fray.
Hydrow and Ergatta both come built with digital touchscreens to allow interactive training when it comes to your rowing exercises. In this case, Hydrow’s large touchscreen edges out the Ergatta’s screen, but both feel big enough when you are on the machine. If you try the Hydrow touchscreen, you will have an experience like you’re in your private mini-movie theater. It features 1920 x 1080 full HD, which is an outstanding 22 inches. It usually displays crystal clear videos of your most preferred Hydrow coaches and waterways throughout the world.
On the other hand, the Ergatta consists of a 17.3” Android-powered touchscreen with a similar resolution of 1920 x 1080 full HD. It is also worth mentioning that both of these rowing machines also come with Bluetooth-enabled connectivity primarily for heart rate monitors and earphone/ audio devices. They require Wi-Fi to use, as well as stream subscription content.
ERGATTA GAMING APP VS. HYDROW’S INSTRUCTOR-LED WORKOUT APP
1. Hydrow’s App
The Hydrow app is specifically designed to offer guidance, training, and instructor-led rowing sessions internationally. The Hydrow subscription app provides you with preloaded classes, Live classes, rowing challenges and competitions, a Leaderboard, data collection, and interactive options between multiple rowing participants. Quite frankly, it’s more of a Peloton-kind experience on a rowing machine. The PM5 only provides a handful of training programs, but the Hydrow app consists of 15,000+ workouts that are regularly updated.
The Hydrow also offers important instruction on proper form, and this is very helpful for people who might be new to rowing. Furthermore, Hydrow outdoor sessions are always filmed with many camera angles so you don’t end up looking back at the person rowing or even down at their feet the entire time. There’s a boat that follows in front and behind the assigned instructor to film various angles. You can also find a camera mounted on the rowing scull’s front for extra footage.
The combination of impressive videography, outdoor routes, guided challenges, interactive options, and professional rowing instruction make the Hydrow an ideal training choice for new and experienced rowers alike.
Rowing resistance usually adjusts as you row to match that experienced by your instructor on the water. In short, all of this works closely together to give you a very real rowing experience. The Hydrow’s default is to choose a rowing program. It has a few “Just Row” options because the programming is its main emphasis.
2. Ergatta’s App
Undoubtedly, the Ergatta’s user interface is probably one of the best you’ll find in any rowing system out there. Ergatta has integrated digital games, competitions, and challenges. This is brilliant for many reasons. Some people get bored when on a rowing machine. And no matter if they get the most immersive rowing video, you’ll see them slowly zoning out and losing motivation.
Fortunately, the Ergatta programs won’t let you zone out – you need to pay attention and always be engaged to complete the game. You might also like the different time options. That means if you’d like to row for 10 minutes (which is probably your attention span) – you can do it! You simply choose several short games/ competitions that will increase your heart rate and have you sweating in 10 minutes. In most other cases, rowing apps consist of a 20-30 minute minimum video length.
RELATED READING: Hydrow vs Peloton
The creation of these games has to be much easier and cheaper than filming a specialist rowing instructor outdoors. In other words, the content is continuously changing, adapting, and updating to user feedback.
Ergatta has integrated the time-tested technique of progressive overload into its content. That means, when used properly, the Push Programs will ultimately assist you to become stronger and much better at rowing. The term, “Progressive overload” refers to a proven method of slowly increasing time and load to minimize plateaus and stagnant training.
You can pack away the Ergatta upright to save on your living space. The Ergatta will only take up an equal amount of space as your bar stool while standing up vertically. Since it comes with wheels on the rower’s back, one person may move it around easily from one room to another. You can fold down the monitor to keep it safe and reduce the space the rowing machine takes up.
Although you can also store the Hydrow upright, you should NOT do this without the Hydrow Upright Storage Kit. This piece of kit is a must-have, especially if you have limited space and would like to store it out of the way. But, you might have to cough up an additional $80 to purchase. The storage process (after installing the kit) only takes around 30 seconds, but Hydrow advises you to find a friend or someone to help the first time you do this. In the vertical position, it only takes up 33 inches of space.
It’s safe to say that Ergatta is the winner here. Although Hydrow and Ergatta are both easy to store upright, the former requires you to buy an additional storage kit. Furthermore, the Ergatta is lighter and comparatively easy to transport with the wheels on the frame’s back.
Here’s what you get with your purchase of each program:
1. Hydrow Pricing
Typically, the Hydrow requests a one-time payment for the rower and then a monthly subscription for their workout program. The cost for the Hydrow begins at $2,245 but could increase if you buy extra features such as the kit required to fold the rowing machine vertically. The price of the subscription workout services is $38 monthly.
2. Ergatta Pricing
It also requires a one-time payment for the rower and a monthly subscription cost for their streaming service. The actual rowing machine is a bit cheaper than its counterpart with a starting price of about $2,199. Furthermore, the subscription service is a bit cheaper at $29 monthly. That means you will save around $100 annually using the Ergatta.
The Hydrow and Ergatta are both winners in today’s rowing machine market. They both provide a great experience for people who like to do full-body workouts daily while still keeping things exciting. They are highly rated by most customers and have the same features.
You Should Consider Hydrow if…
- You’d like access to live, instructor-led courses almost every day.
- You are looking for a workout experience much similar to Peloton.
- You want to access a massive library of training programs and pre-recorded workouts.
- You’d prefer to use a brand that constantly donates to charitable causes.
- You desire to experience scenic rows via several popular waterways without an instructor.
You Should Consider Ergatta if…
- You admire the competitive aspect of rowing.
- You’re a gamer who wishes to start rowing at home.
- You prefer conventional water-based resistance.
- You are looking for a slightly more cost-effective rowing experience.
- You love the elegant design and classic cherry wood frame of the Ergatta.
In the end, the right rower for you will rely on your experience, budget, and interest in video training. Both Hydrow and Ergatta are excellent options but they’ll appeal to different people depending on needs and expectations.