I Tried a Gaming-Inspired Rowing Machine at Home — Here's What I Thought

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Welcome to Healthy Home: This is the moment to double down on making your home as healthy as possible, whether it's finding nontoxic cookware, trying out new natural cleaning methods, or turning your space into a fitness and wellness zone.

As a full-time working mom, my days and nights are spoken for — ​all​ day, ​every​ day. I need to be efficient with every hour, and that includes when I fit in time to exercise. I don't belong to gyms or studios because quite frankly I don't feel like driving (L.A. traffic is no joke), and also the expense of classes adds up. While I do love to go on walks in my neighborhood, recently I found myself wanting more of a workout. I want to sweat, yet I want to sweat efficiently. I'm talking 20 to 30 minutes tops, because life is busy. When I was presented with the opportunity to try out the Ergatta rower, I jumped on it because I have heard about how fantastic rowing is for our overall health. Below, here are my thoughts on what I think you need to know ​and​ what you might want to know about the Ergatta.

Advertisement

(While I did receive the Ergatta in exchange for an honest review, all of the following​ ​thoughts​ ​and opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced by Ergatta, in any way.)

The Specs

  • The Ergatta features a 17.3-inch HD touchscreen, giving you access to Ergatta's digital content — a variety of game-based fitness workouts. So, it feels like playing a sport or trying out a challenge, such as head-to-head races or hitting personal targets.
  • For access to the digital content, you'll need an Ergatta membership, which is sold separately. It's $29/month or $299/year.
  • The screen is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to connect to your headphones or speakers, and heart rate monitor.
  • Natural resistance is created by the water flywheel, which offers a smooth, easy-on-the-back, and friendly-on-the-joints feeling.
  • Regarding the size of the rower, the dimensions are 23 inches by 40 inches by 86 inches, and weighs 76 ½ pounds (103 pounds with water).
  • To store, the Ergatta folds and stands upright (with a footprint of 23 inches by 22 ½ inches), and comes with wheels for when you need to move it.

Tell Me More

To use the rower, you first need to set up a paid membership. Once you do that, Ergatta sends you a series of welcome emails to get you up and rowing, including helpful tips and tricks to try. To begin using, you'll need to set up a personalized profile so that the rower knows who you whenever you sit down — it's calibrated to your fitness level and monitors each time you use the machine. If you live with family or friends, one membership includes unlimited profiles. So, in my case, my husband, my son, and I each set up our own profile. This way, our personal dashboards can monitor our history and progress each time we row.

Advertisement

You can try push programs (work towards a specific goal), interval workouts (like HIIT or endurance), race workouts (head-to-head races), and open row.

The Ergatta also has a social element, so if your friends happen to have this rower, you can invite them to private challenges. Don't know of anyone (yet) who owns one? You can simply add recent competitors as friends. And this way, you can keep an eye on people in your rowing world, seeing what workout they do so you can try them, too. I personally haven't delved into the social aspect of the Ergatta as I tend to keep my workouts solo/private, however for those who like an exercise community, this is something to consider.

PROS

If you like decor that is handcrafted and design-friendly, you'll love the look of the Ergatta. The handcrafted premium American cherry wood has modern-natural feel, and will match your decor more than many pieces of exercise gear. If space is an issue, the Ergatta can be stored vertically and compactly. I personally keep my rower laid out flat on the ground, in ready position. So, while I haven't yet stored it upright, I do appreciate that option — it's a well-thought-out feature, especially for city-dwellers or those of us with smaller spaces. (Although I imagine you would need to be very careful with the touchscreen when storing it this way.)

I do really like how the water creates a gentle "swooshing" sound, creating a nice meditative vibe. As if you're out on the water. My husband who had foot surgery was able to use the machine once he was given the go-ahead from his doctor, and he said that it didn't hurt his feet at all. He wanted to get back into exercise, but knew that hitting the tennis courts would be a bad idea, so he was pleasantly surprised to get a full body workout without any pain in his feet.

Advertisement

A final bonus: they release new workouts and programming on a weekly basis to keep things fresh, and software improvements on a monthly basis.

CONS

To fill up the tank with water, the Ergatta comes with a small hand pump. I tried filling it this way at first, but realized that it was going to take me a long time to get it totally filled up. So, I finally pulled a hose into my house and ​carefully​ filled it up that way. Messy and inconvenient? Yes, but it did the trick.

I have my rower on a concrete-style floor, and it seems to slip a bit when rowing back and forth. Not so much for me, but for my husband who tends to row faster. A non-slip mat would be helpful.

The Verdict

Here at Hunker, we appreciate good design, and the Ergatta is a handsome piece of exercise equipment that will look nice in any space. Most importantly, it's easy to use. If you like the idea of making your workouts feel like a game (and don't need or want an instructor yelling out directions), the Ergatta is a right fit for you. Most of us do not have the opportunity to get onto actual water to row, so if you're interested in adding this style of exercise to your routine, setting up a rower is perfect for your own healthy home.

Buy now: The Ergatta Rower, $2,199; Membership: $29/month or $290/year

Advertisement


Laurie Gunning Grossman, Hunker’s editorial director, caught the California boho minimalist bug. So, she bought a cream-colored couch. And she also lives with two kids and two dogs, so we’ll see how that decision pans out.