Exercise routines have come a long way. Gyms developed so you could have a designated place with instructor led classes to have an inspired workout with other fitness fanatics. But now people want to take fitness back home. For both these scenarios a rowing machine is an excellent way to get a full body workout.
But which one do you pick, especially if there are such advanced models on the market like the WaterRower and the Ergatta? Some will say any item vs the Ergatta will see the Ergatta win the contest. But in the Ergatta vs WaterRower match it could be different since some components have the same origin.
To us, between the WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor - the WaterRower model we're reviewing below - and the Ergatta, the Ergatta is the option of choice, whether you're new at this experience or not. While it's more expensive, its exceptional warranty, large screen and fun gaming experience may earn your respect too, despite its higher price tag.
Below we're going to give you an in depth look at each of these rowing machines and a clear comparison to show their different strengths and weaknesses. One of these machines could be the better rower you need for workouts that really work.
Upon first glance you'll be forgiven to thing the Ergatta and the Classic model of its counterpart are one and the same. These machines do have the same origin, since Ergatta builds its products on WaterRower rowers. But there are definite differences. Take a closer look and you'll see the Ergatta is made of American cherry wood while the other is American black walnut. On top of the wood on the WaterRower you'll find three layers of Danish Oil. Some consumers may appreciate the fact that the wood is sourced from sustainable forests, so your home workout doesn't hurt the environment.
Both look stylish and can pass as part of the furniture thanks to the wood elements. They fold up very compact, even the Ergatta with its larger console, basically flipping up to stand right against the wall. So, even the Ergatta with its large console doesn't have to take up much space while you're not using it. That makes it ideal for small homes too.
Your authentic rowing experience comes from a water flywheel, giving you the resistance you need for your workout. The experience is very similar to pushing a boat through the water. The design includes a uniquely shaped paddle which minimizes slippage and because there are no jerks in the movements - often found in mechanical rowing machines - you enjoy a smooth rowing experience, which won't cause unnecessary strain on muscles.
On one side you'll see wheels, making it easy to push or pull the rower to where you need to use or store it out of the way. Other features that enhance the experience are the molded seats and footrests on these rowers that give you a more comfortable and stable workout.
As mentioned, quality wood is used in the construction of both rowing machine models and their structures are similar since they come from the same manufacturer. But there are differences as can be seen in the lower weight limit of the Ergatta, mentioned in more detail below. The WaterRower equipment has the ability to absorb vibrations and audio. This adds to how smooth and quiet your rowing workouts can be.
The water tanks are also sturdy, with the Classic rower model's made of polycarbonate. There's no question that this workout equipment is of sound quality.
The consoles found on each machine is a major difference between the two. With the Ergatta you get a 17.3" console. This is a touchscreen model that produces visuals in high definition. It's on this screen that you take part in the rowing that's gaming inspired, like being connected to a larger community and competing against others in races. You can push yourself by adjusting the resistance, but take it one step further by seeing how you perform in rowing races.
On the WaterRower model we're reviewing you only have an S4 performance monitor. Here you can track real time feedback of your performance, such as calories burnt, speed in miles per hour and time/500m. You can make adjustments while you're busy with your routine. The data is displayed in large numbers and the buttons are well spaced out but note that it's not a backlit screen. Some users do feel that this console isn't optimally positioned. It's set far back so while on the rower it may be difficult to view all the data or change settings.
You can also connect this console to your PC. With the connected method you can integrate with other software.
So, it's the Ergatta workout machine with its large, colorful display that wins in this round.
On the Ergatta the workout platform is easy to manage, thanks to a colorful layout and an intuitive flow of information. Simply navigate to one of the following content options, via the console of the rower:
- Push programs: Different training plans with specific goals
- Interval workouts: Interval based workouts incorporating your personal targets and giving you real time data feedback
- Race workouts: This is where you'll realize the value of a connected rower that puts you in touch with others using the same rowing machine; you race them and use the competition to motivate you during your workout
- Open row: It's just you and you set the pace, or set a time or rowing distance goal to reach
You can customize the gaming inspired approach to rowing in multiple ways, empowering you to taylor your home workout to your preferences. While on the rower, you can join a race or competition or do a group challenge, making it easy to feel connected to others while using the equipment at home.
A nifty aspect of the Ergatta is that your workout platform tailors your rower workouts with your fitness level in mind. You'll do a calibration when you start using the rower and that information will help create an appropriate workout experience every time you get onboard.
On the other machine you can pick one of six workouts and you can customize your workout experience by adding nine of your own workout settings.
In a comparison the Ergatta is clearly the winner thanks to its diversity of options.
With the WaterRower Classic model, it offers you the opportunity to track your heart rate if you wear a heart rate monitor.
The Ergatta is Bluetooth AND Wi-Fi enabled, making this a connected rower in more ways than one. You can connect to a heart rate monitor as well as enjoy audio for a better workout experience.
Monthly Membership Option
Only with the Ergatta do you have the options of a connected fitness experience with the monthly subscription. For those looking for the connected experience, it enables you to compete with other rowers and enjoy all the facets of the gaming inspired rowing workouts.
When you opt for the Ergatta you can decide which setup suits you best when it's not in use. When activated it will need 86" x 23" x 40" but in its stored, compact setup it only takes up a space of 86" x 23" x 22.5".
To move it around you'll need to be able to handle 76.5lb. With both rowers you'll move 103 lb if it's filled with water.
The WaterRower is slightly smaller at 82" x 22" x 21" and when putting it in storage you'll need 20" x 23" and 82" high. Without water it's slightly lighter than the Ergatta at only 66.5lb.
So, the WaterRower wins for being slightly smaller in size.
The Ergatta rower can take up to 500lb. It's even appropriate for users up to 6'8" tall. But it's the Classic rower that wins in this category, with the ability to manage up to 700lbs.
With both these rower models you'll get exceptional warranty cover.
The WaterRower has a less impressive 1 year warranty on frame and components but this can be upgraded to 5 years on the structure and 3 years on other accessories if you register it after purchase.
On the Ergatta you're covered for 5 years on the frame while the parts will have a warranty for 3. The console has 12 months cover. It's the winner here since an excellent warranty is a given.
You'll pay over $2000 for the Ergatta and only around $1500 for the Classic with its S4 console. In addition you need to budget for the Ergatta's membership fee, making the Classic the more budget friendly choice.
What Others are Saying
When you do a quick browse online you'll get repeated mentions of the respect there is in the industry for the WaterRower brand. There's no question that it stands for quality and durability.
Similarly users and experts have respect for Ergatta that took rowing machines to a whole new level, simply by adding the game factor.
In a comparison, users find each rowing machine appropriate for different scenarios, with the Ergatta being better for those who want some fun or who prefer a competition to an instructor led class at the gym. But the Classic is still a wise investment for anyone wanting a good workout.
There's no question that the Ergatta can add an exciting experience to your week's workout experience. It's simply better to keep you enthralled while you exercise. But don't forget the WaterRower Classic rowing machines if you're not one for all the frills.
With both being of exceptional quality from the same manufacturer, you know you're making a wise workout equipment investment.