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Smart home gym: Peloton vs. Mirror vs. Ergatta Rower

Is time to invest in an expensive piece of workout equipment? Here's what I thought about these three popular tools.
From left to right: the Peloton, Ergatta and Mirror.
From left to right: the Peloton, Ergatta and Mirror.TODAY Illustration / Peloton / Mirror / Ergatta Rower
/ Source: TMRW

With more shelter-in-place orders on the horizon, you may be asking yourself if now is the perfect time to invest in an expensive piece of workout equipment. As a fitness journalist, I’m privy to press releases that share the latest workouts and gear sometimes before they even hit the market. I received a press release about a brand new rower, which looks like a fancy piece of furniture, and was intrigued.

I decided to investigate and see how the Ergatta Rower compares with the Mirror and Peloton. Plus, are any of them worth the expense? Here was my personal experience and opinion of each.

Peloton

Some of my private clients own Peloton bikes, and I’ve gone for a few rides at my friends’ houses (pre-COVID-19). It’s no surprise that this company has sold its most bikes yet amid the pandemic. With upbeat classes, streaming workouts that include yoga, workouts for kids and strength training, Peloton seems to have it all. I enjoyed the workouts when I did them and they felt more like a fun dance party than a straightforward workout. The high-energy music motivated me to go harder and faster, which I really liked.

One of my clients, who purchased a Peloton during the pandemic, says she loves the variety of instructors and the different music selections. She also loves how you can work out your arms on the bike as well as do the off-bike classes, like yoga. She works out with the Peloton daily and has lost weight, gained strength and gotten back into the swing of working out again. Because of the high cost, she keeps a spreadsheet to keep her motivated to ride it daily to decrease the cost per ride.

Personally, I don't love spin class workouts. Due to my sensitive lower back, sitting on a bike for daily workouts never appealed to me. And working my lower body so much sometimes causes my legs to bulk up. This happened for a different client too, until I recommended that she only do classes that focused on speed — not strength or hills. When you’re using your legs so much riding up hills, you can build more muscle in your legs and glutes quickly.

Peloton Bike, starting price is $1,895 or $49 a month for 39 months

Worth it? Maybe if you really love spinning or biking!

Ergatta

Ergatta sent me a rower to test out for a day, and I liked it so much that I asked to keep it for the weekend. I became addicted to the whole gaming component of the workout. Instead of following along in classes with instructors, I was actually competing against myself and my best times and fastest paces.

But first, let me tell you about the machine. The co-founder, Tom Aulet, who I was able to interview for this story, described the rower as an “elevated piece of design for the home.” It’s made of cherry wood, and honestly looked nicer than most of my furniture.

After plugging in the machine, I entered in my name, preferences and started my first workout. The swishing of the water every time I pulled on the rower was so calming that I felt like I was doing a meditative workout similar to swimming in a pool. In fact, I didn’t even play music for my first workout! I raced seven other people for a two-and-a-half-minute row and was so out of breath by the end. I came in fifth place, which motivated me to test out a personal ride before competing again.

I did more workouts over the weekend even though my upper back was sore (hello, rowing!) because it brought out my competitive nature. There are interval rides with HIIT workouts, sprints, slow-downs and races against your own best time. It felt more like I was in a video game than an instructor-led or machine-led workout.

“It’s gaming mechanics," Aulet confirmed. "You unlock access to new content. And when you hit a million meters, you get the ability to create your own workout that gets released to the whole community.” I didn’t hit that in my weekend trial, but maybe one day?!

When I told Tom that I feel like people would be hesitant to commit to only one form of exercise, rowing in this case, he said that surprisingly one-third of Ergatta customers had never been on a rowing machine before. So he believes customers aren’t necessarily buying the machine to row; they’re buying it because of the technology.

It was different than most workouts I’ve tried and I loved the competitive aspect and intense calorie burn (I burned over 500 calories in the first day!).

Ergatta Rower, $2,199, $29 monthly or $290 annually

Worth it? Yes, if you love games and competition.

Mirror

Before the pandemic, I tried a workout on the Mirror at one of my girlfriend's houses. I loved it because I could see the reflection of myself working out as well as the instructor. Plus, in a live class, the instructor can see every single participant and give personalized recommendations and encouragement.

I absolutely love the mirror. Even before trying out a workout, I was obsessed with the concept. If I wasn’t a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor, I would totally try to justify the cost of this piece of fitness equipment. You can choose from all types of workouts: HIIT, yoga, boxing and even dance workouts. You can even hire a personal trainer for a session through the Mirror.

The Mirror, $1,495, $39 monthly subscription

Worth it? Yes, if you can justify the cost.

Before investing in a more expensive workout item, I encourage my clients to first get into the habit of working out. Commit to doing 10 minutes a day, five days a week for a month. If you succeed, then you can purchase a big-ticket item.

Buying a brand new piece of expensive equipment is exciting and new and fresh and, at first, you want to use it everyday. But what happens when the novelty wears off? Will you still get your money’s worth? That’s why I recommend giving yourself a 30-day trial before making a big purchase like any of these above.