woman working out with cityrow go max smart rower

Comparing the CITYROW GO Max vs Ergatta vs Hydrow to Crown the Winner

Are you wondering how to row at home? No, you don't need an actual body of water to get a rower's body. There are many beautifully designed rowing machines that mimic those muscle-building, fat-burning motions of controlling your speed and direction out on the rough water. You can enjoy vivid virtual row sessions from the comfort of home if you own a smart rowing machine. Let's talk about three of the smart rowing machines making waves in the fitness world precisely because they don't make any real waves at all!

In this article, we'll cover the following:

smart rowers with lots of buzz around them
A woman rows with Hydrow (left), A man get's ready to row with Ergatta (center) and a woman rows with CITYROW GO Max (right). There's a lot of buzz going on around smart rowers, and we're going to find out why!

What's All the Buzz Around Smart Rowing Machines?

Why are people increasingly making the shift from popular bikes and treadmills to rowing machines? The easy answer is that a rowing machine offers a full, holistic workout that strengthens your body while burning fat. Rowing machines work your arms, legs and core like no other fitness machine can!

According to the American Council on Exercise's workout calculator, a person weighing 150 pounds can expect to burn 158 calories when rowing at a moderate pace for just 30 minutes. The calorie burn can go higher if you're rowing more vigorously. In fact, some fitness experts claim that it's possible to easily burn between 400 and 500 calories in an hour using a rowing machine! What's more, the resistance factor of rowing helps you to build muscle mass that causes your body to burn more fat even when you're not actively participating in physical activity. That means that rowing helps you to set your body up to be stronger and leaner! Rowing is also fun! Many people find that the total body engagement needed for rowing keeps them interested.

Each one of these connected rowers made our best smart rowing machines buying guide for good reason. Let's see who these are good for.

A smart rowing machine is right for you if:

  1. You've grown bored of treadmills or stationary bikes after doing the same exercises for years.
  2. Your goal is to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time using one workout because your schedule doesn't leave time for long workouts with different machines. Rowing requires you to use 85 percent of your muscles in one stroke!
  3. You're interested in doing some lower-body conditioning. Rowing is a great way to build strength and endurance in your leg muscles because your legs are doing a big portion of the work!
  4. You want to avoid high-intensity workouts because you're concerned about injury. The sitting and stationary aspects of rowing make this a very gentle workout even though it still offers a good degree of intensity. If you have injuries that could be exacerbated by sprinting or jumping, rowing offers a great way to get in some serious cardio without pounding the floor or pavement.
  5. You want to see results quickly. If you're looking for results that will help you stay motivated, rowing is great because you're sure to see increased muscle definition fairly soon after starting due to the intensity of this workout.
  6. You want a workout with virtually no learning curve. Everyone knows how to row. As a result, you don't have to spend days or weeks “perfecting” moves or techniques to be able to jump right in!

CITYROW GO Max vs Ergatta vs Hydrow Rowing Machines: Which One Fits Your Workout Style?

It's okay if you're not familiar with the world of smart rowers. Once you do a little research, you'll find that three rowing machines dominate this genre. In fact, most people will find exactly what they're looking for in the CITYROW GO Max, Ergatta or Hydrow. However, a little homework is needed to determine which one checks all the right boxes for your specific workout needs.

CITYROW GO Max Smart Rower

woman wheeling cityrow go rower and brand logo
After working out with CITYROW GO, you can easily store it.

Get ready for an immersive workout with a 19.5-inch sweat-proof screen connected to Bluetooth technology. Touches like speakers and a swiveling screen ensure that you're mentally connected and locked in during both rowing and mat sessions. Every rowing sessions feels like a sweet escape wrapped in a complete workout with this machine!

The real selling point on this rower is its water resistance. No, that isn't just a gimmicky marketing ploy. This rower features a real tank that perfectly replicates the resistance created by rowing on actual water! I covered this in much more detail over at the CITYROW GO rower reviews page. Head on over there to check it out.

Yes, this machine is simply a beautiful specimen with a screen that pulls you in. However, the programming experience that comes with this machine is what will really knock your socks off. You're getting trainer-led classes combined with a complete roster of in-app workouts that focus on fitness beyond the rowing machine. Again, that rotating screen allows you to enjoy more flexibility with your workouts because you can stay tuned in even when you're not in rowing position.

Advantages going with CITYROW GO Max

  • Amazing trainer-led and in-app experiences.
  • Real-time performance data and tracking while you work out.
  • Swiveling screen to expand your workout options.
  • Beautiful and sleek foldable design.
  • Personalized programming features.
  • Provides the realistic experience of being on the water!
  • Access to strength-training workouts, stretching, HIIT, Yoga and floor exercises galore!
  • Good variety of options for all strengths and levels. No need for beginners to feel intimidated! No reason for experts to feel bored!


  • With a price point of $2,195, the cost may be prohibitive for some.
  • Machine may build in too much variety if you solely want to row.
cityrow go max rowing workouts and floor exercises

Is CITYROW GO Max Worth It?

If you're looking for a beautiful rowing machine that offers the option to ramp things up with floor exercises, you'll find the CITYROW GO Max more than worth the price! The unique water-resistance feature on this rower is a touch that really allows you to get in that rowing headspace for a fully immersive, distraction-free workout. There's no better rowing machine for “getting in the zone.” If you're a beginner, this rowing machine will grow with you. If you're an expert, it will challenge and motivate you!

Ergatta Gaming Inspired Connected Rower

There's a lot to start with in terms of performance with this rower! However, it's impossible not to comment on how attractive this machine looks sitting in your home. It's actually made in the United States from cherry wood using a design that honestly makes it stately enough to look like a piece of high-end furniture. While this unit folds up easily for storage, it's attractive enough to keep in the middle of your living room! In fact, you may love showing off this show-stopping machine too much to ever put it away.

This rowing machine really shines if you have a hard time sticking to workouts because you just can't “get into” them. Ergatta actually uses gaming-inspired workout approaches that keep you engaged and motivated. In fact, you may soon see your workouts as adventures instead of chores that need to be completed. Design your workouts to compete against your own previous records, try to top your current best time and distance or go head-to-head virtually with other rowers! Yes, it all feels a lot like working your way through challenges and levels in video games. You'll also never get bored because new workouts and special challenges are added nearly every day. All of the great, game-style workouts are delivered via a 17.3-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth compatibility.

As far as instruction, it's more of a mixed bag with Ergatta than with something like the CITYROW GO Max. There aren't any instructor-led workouts that provide that “gym” experience. While this system does shine for giving you opportunities to compete with others within the Ergatta rowing community, you can't actually engage live with other rowers while you work out. Ergatta uses water-based resistance to recreate that on-the-water feeling of real rowing.

Advantages going with Ergatta

  • Water-based resistance is amazing.
  • A game-style workout system keeps you hooked!
  • Interaction and competition with your fellow rowers.
  • The most beautiful rowing machine out there on the market.
  • Made in the USA from premium materials.
  • Folds easily.
  • Touchscreen display is smooth.
  • Five new workouts added every week!
  • Real-time performance tracking.


  • Not a good pick if you're primarily looking for instructor-led workouts.
  • It would be nice if you could actually compete live with others in real time.
  • At $2,199, this is a pricier machine. The price may not be justified if you're not motivated to have such a sleek, aesthetically impressive machine.

Is the Ergatta Worth It?

The Ergatta smart rower is dripping in prestige. If nothing short of the most beautiful rowing machine will do, the Ergatta is worth the price! Consider this unit if you'll be placing your rower in a high-visibility spot. Touches like water-based resistance, a vivid screen and game-style workout approach make the experience of this machine as impressive at its design!

Go to Ergatta's official website

Hydrow Smart Rower

The Hydrow is the cheapest of the three rowers. While there's a lot to love here, you will notice that the Hydrow can't keep up with the CITYROW GO Max and Ergatta in some categories. One area where the Hydrow definitely doesn't fall short is its impeccable variety of live and on-demand workouts. There's a great mix of “water” workouts and floor workouts here. In fact, integrating rowing into a larger, longer workout that includes strength training, Pilates, yoga and other floor exercises is a breeze. The “scenic rows” programmed in are also amazing for crafting workouts that satisfy the mind and body! The Hydrow's 22-inch HD screen outshines competing screens by several inches.

real life rowing experience in Boston, MA apartment
Woman rowing the Hydrow in her Boston, MA apartment while also getting a real life rowing experience.

One thing that differentiates this rower from the CITYROW GO Max and Ergatta is that you're working your muscles using computer-generated resistance instead of with a water tank. A lot of people actually prefer this “simulated” option because it feels more like the water than actual tank-provided water resistance. However, other people don't appreciate a simulated experience. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Another possible downside to this rowing machine is that it does not fold. While you can purchase a separate kit to turn it into a foldable rower, that extra purchase is going to erase the cost savings of going with this lower-priced model.


  • At $1,995, it's the cheapest of the three.
  • Computer-generated resistance feels like real water.
  • Great mix of live and on-demand rowing and floor exercises.
  • 22-inch HD screen is the largest of the three.
  • Feels very sturdy.
  • Great simulated rows in natural settings.
  • Real-time data tracking.


  • Design is slightly bulkier than competing rowers.
  • Does not fold for storage.

Is the Hydrow Worth It?

It's not really fair to call the Hydrow a budget rower because it certainly stands on its own when compared to slightly pricier options like the CITYROW GO Max and Ergatta. However, the fact that it doesn't fold or have a “real” water tank may take it off the list for you if those are make-or-break features. If those aren't priority features, you'll more than love the realistically simulated rowing experiences that this machine offers.

Go to hydrow's official website

The Verdict: Which Smart Rower Is Right for You? CITYROW GO Max vs Ergatta vs Hydrow

All three rowers bring something special to the table. Overall, the best rower in terms of blending the most variety with the most attractive design is the CITYROW GO Max. This rower's swiveling screen puts it over the edge even though it's not quite as beautiful as the Ergatta.

If you're interested in a rower that comes with bragging rights, the Ergatta features a game-style workout experience in a beautifully polished package. If you're looking for a rower with computer-generated resistance paired with an amazing assortment of live and in-demand experiences for both your rower and floor, the Hydrow works on all levels.

Which Is Better: Hydrow or Ergatta?

If you're looking for an instructional live and on-demand rowing experience, then the Hydrow is the better fit over the Ergatta. Both rowers have close pricing options, machine quality and delivery schedules that the choice between the two comes down to which type of platform you prefer – Ergatta's intense, gaming platform without an instructor and classes, or, Hydrow's class-type rowing experience with professional instruction.

ergatta or hydrow best choice
For the ultimate gaming experience with competition involved, such as races, Ergatta is the better choice. On the other hand, Hydrow is your #1 option for live and on-demand classes.
row with ergatta - go to website

Go with the gaming-inspired option, where you can race vs the best rowers out there! This is the rower I chose, but go with what makes you happy 🙂

*Our editors research, review and recommend the best products we trust. We may receive a commission on some (but not all) links in our content. TRAIN HARD!

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2 thoughts on “Comparing the CITYROW GO Max vs Ergatta vs Hydrow to Crown the Winner”

  1. how is the feet width on the ergatta vs the cityrow max? I’ve read ergatta is a bit narrow, but the cityrow looks slightly wider though not by much. does it make a diff? Am on the fence between the two.

    1. I just measured my ergatta, it’s 3 3/4″, but with the straps you got more wiggle room. I don’t have huge feet, but I wear a size 12 and I always get the extra width shoe.. I never have an issue with it.

      If you’re torn between the two, I would say this – go with Ergatta if you like to compete / train for rowing / you like rowing with some cool games. Go with CITYROW if you want that studio rowing experience with an instructor and a class.

      I love my Ergatta and I race at least 1x per day sometimes 2. It’s sick. But, CITYROW is real nice and that’s a great brand. Also… they are both water rowers, like made by the same company, but their logos are on it. I believe they are the same construction, look and feel.

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Best Price: @ hydrow