Ergatta Rower Review: Glorious Hardware Meets Almost Awesome Software

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Every piece of home workout equipment presents the same basic challenge: it’s only worth owning if you actually use it. The clothes rack stereotype exists for a reason, and in many cases fear of commitment can impact the value of spending more than the minimum before you know a routine will last.

So when I first saw Ergatta’s $2,500 rowing machine, I expected the price to be something that weighed on the length of my review. Instead, for better or worse, I found myself completely focused on the unique software that Ergatta brings to the table.


  • Nice material
  • Unique workouts
  • Regular software updates

Do not like

  • Slow and faulty underlying operating system
  • Dear

Robust, stable and downright elegant hardware

From the moment you unbox an Ergatta rower, it’s clear you’re working with top-of-the-line gear that begs to be enjoyed by everyone who shares a room with it. The classic looking American cherry wood body and clear water oar barrel looks like something out of a mid-century modern design catalog, but it’s so much more than looks. The frame supports rowers up to 6 feet, 8 inches tall and over 500 pounds, meaning it supports body types far beyond those handled by most competitors. And while that means the Ergatta rower takes up more space when it’s on the floor, the body easily collapses and stands up when not in use.

The design of this rowing machine contrasts sharply with most of its competitors. A look at the new Peloton Row, Aviron Strong Series or NordicTrak RW900 rowing machines shows that they offer similar-looking metal and black colorings with clean lines and electronic resistance mechanisms to offer a variety of difficulty levels . While much of the competition focuses on a fully modern, lighter frame to match the screen smarts, Ergatta argues that a water-based resistance system means there’s no no electronic limits to the level of difficulty you want to give yourself. If nothing else, this rower stands out among its current rivals.

Russell Holly/CNET

Assembly isn’t what I would call effortless, but it’s not overly complicated either. The frame comes together quickly, Ergatta has made adding water to the reservoir as painless as possible, and there’s very little you can accidentally install incorrectly. The biggest challenge is the size and weight of everything; by the time you’ve added water to the tank, this frame will weigh about 120 pounds. Fortunately, the design makes most of that weight work for you rather than against you when you hold the Ergatta Rower and push it against a wall. When standing, the rower takes up only 2 square feet of floor space, which is ideal when space is limited in your home.

Although there are some classic looks here, the experience of using this machine is quite modern. A 17-inch touchscreen Android tablet sits at eye level when rowing, and you can tilt it in any direction in case you’re like me and have a slight glare issue at certain times of the day. The wiring for the shelf is integrated into the frame, allowing the power cable to connect near the base, so you don’t have to worry about wires near the rowing parts. The tablet’s speakers aren’t the world’s best – they exist and work well enough in a pinch – and Ergatta’s software regularly tells you that the best experience will come from the headphones. The water reservoir doesn’t need to be filled or emptied to add or remove resistance, meaning you never have to turn a dial or set a program to adjust the difficulty level.

Ergatta rowing machine

One of the Ergatta Rower games included, called Meteor.


Brilliant software on a clunky operating system

Like most great indoor training experiences in 2023, there are monthly fees associated with using Ergatta software. That $29 per month ($26.58/month if you pay annually) is the only way to access anything on the included tablet. Where most rowing rigs promise immersion and often fail, the Ergatta rig largely wants you to treat it like you’re playing games. Much of the software is built around a series of simple games, where your rower will determine where you are on the screen.

The workouts surrounding the Meteor game challenge you to keep an orb floating at the right height to score points, and you have to row with the right intensity and consistency to keep that orb where you want it. If you prefer to challenge other Ergatta owners instead of rowing alone, you can choose between directly challenging your friends via the Vortex game or registering for live races against other rowers. These are not all games. You can also choose a more structured class setting or an open rowing session through many different recorded videos that take you through beautiful locations around the world.

With its fairly simple visuals and an endless array of streaming music from almost every genre, Ergatta’s platform is amazing at keeping me focused on the workout. I’ve never worked so hard to keep an animated sphere in the air for 20 minutes, or accidentally woke half the house because it was the last 50 yards of a race and I was putting everything on. had to graciously accept seventh place. Ergatta’s whole system works to give you the level of challenge that’s right for you, and to make it fun and physical enough that you’ll want to keep coming back for more. It’s a real thrill to feel more exhausted after 30 minutes on this rower than I usually do after 20 miles on my bike, and that feeling makes me want to come back every morning.

Ergatta isn’t the first company to create a set of games you can play while rowing. Its main competitor, Aviron, offers a wider selection of classic games as well as access to a collection of streaming video apps to keep you busy. The difference between the two experiences ultimately comes down to distraction. Where Rowing games and apps feel like an effort to make me forget I’m rowing – and fail because my body is so much louder than the screen – Ergatta games offer something more to ponder. focus on training. I’m not trying to escape the feeling of working out by choosing a game on this rower, I choose the game that will best encourage me to achieve a goal.

In many ways, the Ergatta experience encourages me to push myself further, because rowing with purpose is how I win the game. This difference is more significant on a rowing machine than on something like an indoor cycle, where the Aviron software would probably be more appreciated by someone like me.

Ergatta rowing machine

Several small operating system issues prevent the overall Ergatta Rower experience from being great.

Russell Holly/CNET

As solid as the individual workouts on this platform are, the overall Ergatta software experience isn’t as polished as it should be. To Ergatta’s credit, in the three months I’ve used this rower it has received a software update once a month with huge new additions ranging from new games with dozens of new workouts attached to the latest inclusion of Apple Watch and Apple Health support.

That said, the underlying and frankly outdated version of Android running this tablet constantly reminds you that it’s there in an unpleasant way. The tablet regularly takes around three minutes from the time you hit the power button to the time you log into your account, during which time the software doesn’t do a great job of letting you know it’s still booting up and that everything behind the frozen screen works as expected. One of the software updates I received caused the tablet to constantly reboot until I performed a factory reset. And for some reason pressing the power button twice will launch the camera on the tablet – which doesn’t do much in the current software at the moment – and it’s not immediately obvious to the user. user to know how to escape this page without restarting the tablet.

Ergatta Rower: Final Thoughts

I won’t go so far as to claim that using the Ergatta rowing machine is fun because even if you use one every day, rowing machines are a ton of physical work and your body will immediately remind you of how much work you are doing. . What Ergatta does better than most is it makes me feel like I’m doing more than just working out. For someone who’d rather watch Netflix than take a class on most other indoor workout machines, the gamification of an Ergatta workout is as sleek and polished as the hardware you’re sitting on. And if the company can fix the OS-level distractions surrounding those great experiences, the Ergatta Rower could easily be one of the best rowing gadgets you can buy. It’s entirely possible that the world is just a few software updates away, but we won’t know for sure until Ergatta delivers.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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