Ergatta vs Hydrow: Head to Head Comparison

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In this article, we will face off the Ergatta vs Hydrow rowing machines.

I have been training with both the Ergatta and Hydrow rowers to get a feel for the two machines. I’ve also spent many hours researching and comparing these two top-of-the-market rowing machines, including poring through the many online reviews. 

Combining that hands-on analysis with my 35 years of fitness industry experience, I’ve put together the most complete head-to-head Ergatta vs Hydrow rowing machine comparison you’ll find anywhere. 

Ergatta Rower
Ergatta Rower
  • Beautifully designed
  • Workouts personalized to your fitness level
  • Data-driven workouts, interactive training programs, games, monthly challenges
Hydrow
Hydrow
  • Immersive fitness experience
  • 3,000+ workouts
  • World-class instructors
Here at Start Rowing we include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission.

Ergatta vs Hydrow: At a Glance

Both the Hydrow and Ergatta are high-end rowing machines that sell for more than $2000. They are also both subscription-based and deliver a smooth rowing experience. The Hydrow is a magnetic rower while the Ergatta is a water rower and they each represent the top of the range in their respective category. So, the question of which is best really comes down to what type of resistance you prefer – water or magnetic. 

My personal preference is the Hydrow because it means that I don’t have to deal with the issue of adjusting the water level. The instructor-led training programs on the Hydrow are also superior to what you can get on the Ergatta. In addition, the seat is higher and the foot pedals are wider apart, making for a more ergonomic design that is easier to get onto and that provides a more natural rowing action. 

In the paragraphs to follow, I will put the Hydrow and Ergatta head-to-head on all the key rowing machine features and explain which rower is best suited for different types of buyers. When you get to the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to make the most informed buying decision. 

Keep reading to get the full story.

Hydrow Rowing Machine 

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Hydrow Rower​
  • Reactive electromagnetic resistance
  • Intensity levels from 1-300
  • Max weight capacity = 375 lbs
  • 22-inch screen
Here at Start Rowing we include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission.

The Hydrow rowing machine was the first rower to adopt a subscription-based streaming service. As a result, it is known by many as the ‘Peloton of Rowers’. This is a magnetic rower but a very advanced one, using a computer-guided system that works with the standard magnetic drive to deliver a variable resistance where your intensity is guided by the speed of your row. This provides a similar experience to what you get on an air or water rower. 

Rather than a standard resistance level control, the Hydrow has a drag resistance control which provides 300 drag settings. So, the Hydrow provides you with the variable resistance of a water rower combined with the quiet and smooth operation of a magnetic rowing machine. 

The Hydrow is a very sleek, futuristic-looking rowing machine. It has a one-piece aluminum/steel frame with curved edges and a very solid base. The max user weight of the Hydrow rower is 375 pounds. 

The Hydrow provides you with a large 22-inch diameter high definition touchscreen monitor that delivers an awesome visual and auditory experience. The instructor-led workouts happen on the water rather than in a studio as you find on most competitors. As a result, you get to experience some wonderful scenery from all over the world. Your $38 monthly subscription gives you access to hundreds of trainer-led workouts.

There are a few minor drawbacks that I noticed with the Hydrow. One of them is that you cannot pause videos, which can be pretty frustrating if your workout is interrupted. You can’t use 3rd party apps on the Hydrow console either. Hydrow has promised to get this corrected in the near future. Finally, you will need to purchase an additional storage kit in order to securely store the Hydrow in a vertical position. This will cost an additional $80.

The cost of the Hydrow, excluding the monthly subscription, is $2295.

Highlights

  • Reactive electromagnetic resistance
  • Intensity levels from 1-300
  • Max weight capacity = 375 lbs
  • 22-inch screen

Ergatta Rowing Machine

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Ergatta Rower
  • Beautifully designed
  • Workouts personalized to your fitness level
  • Data-driven workouts, interactive training programs, games, monthly challenges
  • Super lightweight and stands upright for easy storage
Here at Start Rowing we include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission.

The Ergatta Rowing Machine looks suspiciously like the models produced by the WaterRower Company. There’s a reason for that. The New York-based Ergatta company is not a fitness machine manufacturer. Rather it is a computer software company. that developed a gaming-based workout software package and then outsourced the manufacture of the rowing machine to install it into the WaterRower company.

So, when we are talking about the Ergatta, we are discussing a WaterRower rowing machine with an advanced gaming console fitted into it. In fact, you can actually upgrade your existing WaterRower to convert it into an Ergatta. 

As a water rower, the Ergatta uses a dynamic variable resistance. As you pull on the rowing machine handle, blades within the water churn the water to provide resistance. The faster you pull, the more resistance generated. That makes for a similar variable resistance to what you get on the Hydrow rower. 

To change the overall drag level and feel of the water rowing experience you need to add or subtract water from the tank, which is the biggest hassle of using any water rowing machine. The Ergatta has water levels between 13 and 19 marked on the tank to guide you and provide you with a siphon to do the job. 

The Ergatta is very similar to the WaterRower Oxbridge model. It has a very stylish cherrywood frame which not only looks great but is also stable as a rock, allowing for a 500 lb max user weight. 

The workouts that are available via the $29 monthly subscription are all game-based, providing a key point of difference for this rower. There is a strong community emphasis on the service with plenty of challenges and other opportunities to interact with fellow rowers from around the globe. 

The main drawback of the Ergatta rower is that there are no trainer-led instructional or workout videos. However, they have now launched a new ‘Master Rowing Technique’ video to help beginners learn the basics of proper rowing form. Another potential issue, especially for those with mobility issues, is that the seat is low to the ground. This can make it difficult to mount and dismount the machine.

The Ergatta sells for $2200.

Highlights

  • Max User Weight = 500 lbs
  • Fully gamified interactive experience
  • Smooth, quiet water resistance
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Cherrywood frame

Head-to-Head Comparison

Now let’s see how these rowers compare in a head-to-head comparison of features and user experience.

Ergatta vs Hydrow: Resistance Type

The key difference between these two rowers comes down to the resistance type, with the Hydrow being magnetic and the Ergatta a water resistance machine. 

Rowing on the Ergatta provides a closer to the water experience than you will experience with the Hydrow. That is because the whooshing of the water sounds and feels like what happens when you are out on the lake. The harder you row, the more you are able to churn the water. Even at full speed, however, the water noise is not annoyingly loud. 

The Winner

Resistance type is really a matter of personal preference. These two machines provide excellent examples of magnetic and water resistance, with the Hydrow adding the element of variable resistance. My personal preference is for the Hydrow as it is more user-friendly, eliminating the need to adjust the level of water in a tank.

Ergatta vs Hydrow: Rowing Experience

Both machines provide you with a smooth, jerk-free rowing experience. However, the drive on the Hydrow is a little smoother than on the Ergatta. Unlike what you get with many magnetic rowers, there is also no lag on the return with the Hydrow. 

The rail on the Hydrow is considerably higher off the ground than on the Ergatta. This makes it easier for people with limited mobility to get on and off the machine. 

The inseam length of the Hydrow rower is 41 inches. This will provide enough range of motion for all but the tallest of users. The seat on the Hydrow is well padded and measures 12 inches wide and 10 inches deep and is ergonomically contoured to accommodate the tailbone.

The handles on the Hydrow are completely round so there is no ergonomic contouring. The feet pedestals are quite wide and allow for a secure, comfortable foot lock. The distance between the pedestals is 5 inches, which allows for ideal hip alignment as you are rowing. 

The Ergatta seat is lower to the floor. It has a dual-track as opposed to the monorail on the Hydrow. This adds to the structural soundness of the frame. The inseam length of this rower is 43 inches, so it will accommodate taller people than the Hydrow.

The seat of the Ergatta is not quite as well padded as the Hydrow and runs along the rail on four wheels to provide a very smooth movement. The distance between the foot pedestals on the Ergatta is only 2 inches, compared to 5 inches on the Hydrow. This may unnaturally force the feet together for larger rowers. As a result of this, people who are over 6 feet tall may feel quite congested when they come back through the drive and recovery. 

With a length of 15 inches, the handle on the Ergatta is three inches shorter than on the Hydrow. It does, however, have a more ergonomically friendly design than the Hydrow handle. 

The Winner

The Hydrow and the Ergatta are pretty closely matched in terms of the rowing experience. However, the Hydrow edges ahead due to its smoother row, more ergonomic pedestal distancing, and more comfortable seat.

Ergatta vs Hydrow: Touchscreens 

Ergatta rower display console
Hydrow monitor display

The Hydrow rower has a 22-inch touchscreen, compared with 17 inches for the Ergatta. This provides you with a greater visual field.

On the Hydrow Touchscreen, you are watching videos compared to playing interactive games on the Ergatta. There is a ton of content with all workouts being led by a professional rower who is actually rowing on the water rather than on a rowing machine. So, whereas you hear the water on the Ergatta, on the Hydrow you see the water. 

The Hydrow console allows you to adjust the drag resistance settings between 0 and 300 to simulate the amount of drag that would be on the boat if you were out on the water. 

Ergatta has completely gamified its interactive workouts with plenty of options to keep your workouts interesting and engaging. The console also tracks your training metrics, though, being a water rower, there is no way to adjust the resistance level. It is the filling of the tank along with the speed of your row that determines the resistance level of your row. 

The Winner

Once again, the declaration of a winner here depends on whether you prefer trainer-led instruction or an interactive gaming experience. Personally, my preference is for the gaming options provided by the Ergatta. If you need rowing instruction, however, you would be better off with Hydrow. 

Ergatta vs Hydrow: Design

Both the Hydrow and the Ergatta are full rowers with a length of 86 inches. Neither of them can be folded for storage but they can both be stored in an upright position. The Ergatta, weighing in at 76 pounds with no water in the tank (105 pounds when full), is lighter than the Hydrow so it can be moved around more easily. 

The Hydrow rower weighs in at 170 pounds. To store it in an upright position, you will need an anchor kit so that you can securely attach it to a wall. With a max width of 25 inches and height of 47 inches, the Hydrow is also a little wider and taller than the Ergatta. 

The frame on both machines is impressively solid and stable, providing you with a very secure grounding. The max user weight on the Ergatta is a massive 500 pounds, compared to 375 pounds for the Hydrow.

The Winner

Overall, the Ergatta wins out on design due to its lighter weight, greater ease of storage, and higher maximum user weight. 

Ergatta vs Hydrow: Price

The retail price of the Hydrow is $2295.

A subscription to the Hydrow app will cost you an additional $38 per month.

The Ergatta rowing has a retail price of $2200, with a monthly subscription of $29.

The Winner

The winner here in terms of value is the Ergatta. 

Ergatta vs Hydrow: Warranty

When you purchase a Hydrow rowing machine, you will get the following warranty protection:

  • Structural Frame & Upright Storage Kit: Five Years
  • Components, Screen, & Other Electronics: Twelve Months
  • Labor: Twelve Months

You also get a 30 day in-home trial with the Hydrow, allowing you a full month to try it out without obligation. That month includes access to the subscription service, so you need to keep in mind that continuing the immersive experience requires an ongoing cost of $38.

The warranty coverage on the Ergatta is as follows:

  • Structural Frame & Upright Storage Kit: Five Years
  • Components, Screen, & Other Electronics: Three Years
  • Labor: Twelve Months

The Winner

The extra two years on parts offered by the Ergatta makes it the winner when it comes to warranty coverage.

Ergatta vs Hydrow: Customer Experience

Both the Hydrow and the Ergatta enjoy lots of positive customer feedback online. People love the subscription services offered by both companies. People love that they both regularly add new content. 

A few taller users have noted that the Ergatta doesn’t feel very natural as they return from the drive; this is due to the closer foot placement that I mentioned earlier. 

Customer service reviews have been positive from users of both machines, with the Hydrow and Ergatta people being attentive, prompt, and efficient in dealing with issues. The only negative experiences were due to delivery, but that is more likely to do with factors outside the control of the companies.

Comparison Table

ErgattaHydrow
ResistanceWaterMagnetic
Console17.3” HD22” HD
RailDualSingle
FrameCherrywoodAluminum / Steel
Max User Weight500 lbs375 lbs
WorkoutsGamesInstructor-Led workouts
Warranty5 yrs Frame3 yrs Parts1 yr Labor5 yrs Frame1 yr Parts1 yr Labor
Subscription Monthly Cost    $29  $38
Price$2200$2295

Ergatta vs Hydrow: The Winner

As I have stressed throughout this review, both the Ergatta and the Hydrow represent top performers in their respective resistance systems. Taking all factors into account, I have to award the winner in a head-to-head between the two to the Hydrow rower. It has a better ergonomic design to provide a more natural, smoother rowing experience, provides a greater level of instruction for beginners and intermediate trainers, and features a unique electronically enhanced magnetic resistance system that allows you to benefit from variable resistance. 

The Ergatta Rowing machine is best suited for:

  • Experienced rowers who do not require trainer-led instruction
  • People who are wanting to be constantly engaged with games
  • People who want to replicate the on the water rowing experience as closely as possible
  • Those who prefer a more aesthetically appealing cherrywood finish to aluminum and steel.

The Hydrow Rowing machine is the best choice for:

  • Beginner and intermediate rowers who want trainer-led instruction
  • People who prefer a smoother, quieter magnetic resistance
  • People who prefer a more immersive viewing experience as they’re rowing
  • Those prefer a more sleek, futuristic, modern-looking rowing machine design

Check out the latest deals for the Ergatta and Hydrow rowing machines. 

Ergatta Rower
Ergatta Rower
  • Beautifully designed
  • Workouts personalized to your fitness level
  • Data-driven workouts, interactive training programs, games, monthly challenges
Hydrow
Hydrow
  • Immersive fitness experience
  • 3,000+ workouts
  • World-class instructors
Here at Start Rowing we include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission.

FAQs

Is Ergatta better than Hydrow?

Ergatta offers a difference rowing experience to the Hydrow. For one, they offer different resistance types (water vs electromagnetic resistance). The Ergatta is much more gamified and focused on performance metrics, whereas the Hydrow is more immersive with trainer led workouts. So it depends which kind of experience you prefer.

Steve Theunissen

AUTHOR

Steve Theunissen is a freelance writer living in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is a former gym owner, personal trainer, and school teacher and is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss. Steve also writes history books with a focus on the history of warfare. He is married and has two daughters.