Permanent Magnet Linear Generators (PMLGs) are currently being studied for sea wave energy harvesting. Typically, a PMLG consists of an iron-made armature and a moving translator. The permanent magnets adoption produces parasitic effects, such as cogging force, and the machine weight increment. A solution could be the adoption of an ironless configuration, accepting a power density reduction. This paper investigates the use of ironless PMLGs in sea wave energy conversion systems by an experimental comparative analysis between an iron PMLG prototype and an ironless PMLG prototype, which share the same geometry. The main electrical and mechanical parameters (resistance, mass, and magnetic fields) were preliminarily measured. Subsequently, open-circuit and load tests were carried out to compare the induced voltages, the energy transferred to a resistive load, efficiency and the load average power. The reported comparison shows that iron PMLG performances are significantly superior to the ironless ones during the open-circuit tests, as expected. However, the analysis carried out through the load tests shows that the cogging force significantly limits the energy production, obtaining similar values in both machines. Therefore, the experimental tests justify the use of ironless machines in sea wave energy harvesting, where the maximization of energy production is a relevant target.