To many folks out there, with abominably full schedules, at-home rowing machines seem like the be all and end all for a healthier, better-looking, and overall more active lifestyle. But what are some of the options which are available, and the best ones for that matter?
With that said, they also come at some hefty price tags compared to more cheap local store solutions. So, is their price justified and which one of the two performs better, or might be the better option for yourself?
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Rowing Machines – The Idea
Not everyone is that big of a fan of rowers, and I wasn’t either. But as I inevitably get older, and the schedule is filling up more and more, I kind of like the idea, and it’s the same case with many people.
It’s just seems an easy way to get the blood flowing, and put in the work, without leaving your home.
To make the case that it is definitely a good idea to get a rower if you’re having trouble finding the time to workout or you’re still on the fence on whether you should get one, we’ll go over its benefits and the current research which suggests that in the “The Positives Of Rowers” section below.
Otherwise, you can skip that part if you’ve already made the decision to get an Ergatta or a Hydrow.
Side-By-Side Analysis of Ergatta & Hydrow
I wanted to keep things as straight to the point as possible, and that’s why we’ll jump into the side-by-side comparison of the two machines. After which, we’ll talk about the key differences, and how might they affect the use-cases.
Here is a comparison of the Ergatta and the Hydrow:
|Ergatta VS Hydrow: Rowing Machines Comparsion|
|Weight Limit||500 pounds||375 pounds|
|Drag Mechanism||Water||Computer-Controlled Resistance|
|Screen||17.3” Android Touchscreen – Full HD||22” Touchscreen – Full HD|
|Height Limit||40” Inseam||36” Inseam|
|Size||86” x 23” x 40”||86” x 25” x 47”|
|Weight||103 lbs filled / 76.5 lbs without water||145 lbs / 197 lbs boxed|
|Bluetooth||Heart-Rate Monitors & Audio||Heart-Rate Monitors & Audio|
|Price||$2,199.00 – at the time of publication||$1,795.00 – at the time of publication (with a discount)|
Despite these two machines getting compared regularly, I would say that they’re substantially different. I would even go as far as to say that maybe they shouldn’t be compared side-by-side. In any case, that is what should be, but it isn’t. These two are mainly the two rowers which people consider and compare.
While Ergatta does come out ahead for a couple of things, the pricing is also very different. One could even question if it is worth the extra couple of hundred dollars for only a marginally better performance for only a fraction of things.
Without ranting off too much, let’s leave that for the more in-depth head-to-head below. For now, let’s get into the individual reviews.
The Ergatta Review
ADDITIONAL NOTES: The Ergatta has a five-year warranty on the structural frame, three-year warranty on the parts, and a one-year warranty on the tablet. Also, the Ergatta is assembled and delivered by a professional to your home, for an extra $199 which is applied on checkout.
Ergatta isn’t as well-known as Hydrow, but the truth is, there’s a lot of demand for this puppy. It’s all that you can ask from a rower, and beyond. Now, Ergatta is more like the traditional rower, in that it uses water to create rowing resistance.
That’s not the case with Hydrow, but what I would want to suggest, is to keep this in mind. When it comes down to both resistance designs, I definitely prefer Ergatta, but it is safe to assume that I’m in the minority here.
Most don’t like these types of rowers, nor the whooshing sound it produces, which can easily get on your nerves. But honestly, for my case at least, I do feel a more natural resistance, and the exercises feel more fulfilling compared to computer-controlled resistance rowers.
Anyhow, where the Ergatta shines is the software that comes with it. It has mini-competitions where you race other workout enthusiasts, and other similar fun and engaging games.
Thanks to its traditional resistance design it is also much lighter than the Hydrow, and surprisingly has a higher weight and height limit.
To sum up, let’s go over the pros and cons with going with the Ergatta:
- Higher weight limit
- Higher height limit
- Lightweight for a rower
- Great software
- Amazing wood finish
- Additional delivery & assembly fees
- A traditional water resistance rower
The Hydrow Review
ADDITIONAL NOTES: The Hydrow rower has a one-year in home use warranty, and it has a free standard delivery that’s of $150 value.
The Hydrow is a part of those more modern rowers that we see more often nowadays. Instead of the traditional water-resistance method, it has a computer-controlled resistance, which is surprisingly very smooth when compared to other solutions on the market.
What I like about the Hydrow is the fact that in many cases, it is more affordable, as there are more discounts and promos, and you can generally get it at a very competitive price, especially for the performance you might be getting.
Sure it does lack in some areas when compared to the Ergatta, but in most cases, for some people, those won’t even matter. Especially if you factor in the price-to-performance ratio.
Now, the design. I must admit, it doesn’t look as sharp as the Ergatta. The Ergatta has a more elegant design, with a big character, whereas the Hydrow looks like your typical modern rower, but slightly less aesthetically-pleasing.
But still, not many would be interested in that, as for most people, the rower goes in the basement.
Its size is bigger than the Ergatta, but truth be told, by only a small amount. But for some, the extra couple of inches might make a world of difference. Still, a great price-to-performance, and a rower which deserves to be one of the top rowers in the world.
Let’s recap on the pros and cons of Hydrow:
- Very smooth for a computer-controlled resistance system
- A big screen
- Not a big whooshing sound – Quieter
- Great price-to-performance
- More modern design
- Bigger than the Ergatta
- Less powerful software
The Positives Of Rowers
I would say that most people already have a general idea that rowing machines can have some benefits. But the extent of these benefits are what many fail to notice. Any physical activity is beneficial, but rowing machines have the following positives:
- Full-body muscle contraptions;
- Good for both novice and veteran fitness enthusiasts;
- A less aggressive exercise;
- Good for mental health;
- Strengthens cardiovascular system;
- It is a great substitute for other cardio workouts.
The American Fitness Professionals Association has noted that 65 to about 75% of a rowing movement is leg work, while the rest is upper body work. Which means, rowing is a pretty killer full body workout, all things considered.
ADDITIONALLY, another study suggested that 8 weeks of rowing can improve movement in the elbow, shoulder, lumbar, and knees, by a whopping 30%.
As for why it is good for mental health, people associate “getting in the zone” while rowing with the “runners high” people experience when running. It can be meditative as well, and it might release some endorphins which are regarded as “feel-good hormones”.
All of this is to say, it is very forgiving for novices, it is relatively low-impact, and it has a lot of benefits. So, if you’re on the fence about rowers, there’s a lot of evidence encouraging it.
NOTE: If you’re into home-gyms and a rower doesn’t cut it for you, there are companies which make whole in-home gyms that are of reasonable size. A prime example of that are Tonal, FORME Life, and JaxJox.
Head-To-Head Comparison – Ergatta VS Hydrow
Now, it’s not like we’ll drop a lot of factual bombs in this section, but instead, we’ll just reflect on what has been said until now, and try to determine in what scenarios or situations either rower will make more sense than the other.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much to compare. In my opinion, Hydrow is better. It isn’t necessarily because it has better specs or hardware, but it’s a way better deal in my book.
I would say that both serve the same functionality, with Ergatta being better in multiple aspects, except price.
It comes down then to whether you want the better deal overall, or you want some luxury. Because it’s no secret that the craftsmanship and design of the Ergatta is exceptional. But in truth, both are pretty good.
Also, if you’re into the software of the Ergatta, that might also play a crucial role, because as we’ve mentioned, it has some pretty unique functionality. It is fair to mention though, that we didn’t actually go in-depth into both rowers’ software suites.
So, Is Hydrow The Winner?
Well, no. But overall, both rowers will give you the same functionality, expect for certain circumstances when Ergatta has Hydrow beat. Those circumstances include: the maximum weight limit needs to be higher, the height limit needs to be higher, or the rower needs to be smaller.
Other than that, price-to-performance wise, Hydrow is better in my opinion.
With that said, my next statement might be a shocker: I would get the Ergatta. It looks very stylish in a vintage but modern way, and I prefer a rower with actual water in it(whoosh), making the experience more immersive.
However, I’m a special case, and for most people those things fall down to the bottom of the list in terms of which things actually matter, which are, getting the best deal overall.