Exercise Bike vs Rowing Machine – Comparison

The main difference between rowing machine and exercise bike is that rowing machines offer full body workout and use 85% of muscles while exercise bikes only offer leg workout and use 45% of muscles. As a result a rowing machine burns more calories than a stationary exercise bike.

Often when my readers ask me which type of home fitness machine is better suited for burning calories: an exercise bike or a rowing machine. My immediate answer is rowing machine. Of course both exercise equipment are well suited for working out remotely, and both come with all of the latest features and settings. But which you should choose ultimately comes down to your personal preference for exercising.

Personally, I prefer rowing machines because they are low impact and provide a total body workout. The exercise bike is great for cardio and lower body strength, but for me, riding the bike is repetitive and not as challenging as a good rowing session. Here are some of the reasons why rowing machines are my preferred at home fitness workout!

Exercise Bike Calories Burned

In terms of burning calories, the exercise bike is good but not as good as rowing machine. However, in my opinion, I can ride the bike for longer stretches of time which does allow for more calories to be burned. While both types of workout are low impact, I still prefer the strength building that rowing gives you. But again, if you are looking for a low impact workout that can burn calories without straining your muscles, the exercise bike might be the way to go!

Rowing Machine Calories Burned

Like I already said, rowing machines are my favorite type of workout because of the total body exercise. Rowing machines burn between 400-800 calories burned per hour depending on your intensity. So, generally speaking rowing machines help burn more calories. Plus, rowing exercise hugely affect your upper body and core strength so you are not just building lower body muscles. That said, exercise bikes are easier to use so you can pedal for longer and burn more calories.

Who Can Use the Exercise Bike?

Anyone! Both of these machines can be used by anyone regardless of fitness level, age, and gender. The exercise bike is easier to use for edlerly users or if you are nursing or recovering from an upper body injury. The exercise bike is great for getting in cardio and staying in shape while you are unable to do heavier workout.

Who Can Use the Rowing Machine?

The rowing machine is another piece of equipment that everyone can use. I lean towards recommending exercise bikes to older users who may have trouble with an extended rowing machine workout. As well, if you are recovering from an injury, you might want to start with an exercise bike before heading to the rowing machine.

Exercise Bike Comfort

This one is fairly straightforward. An exercise bike is a bike, so if you are looking into getting one make sure it has a comfortable seat. The riding position is going to be more comfortable (unless it is a spin bike) for a lot of people, and will enable for longer periods of exercise. Exercise bikes are also more quiet than rowing machines which adds to the comfort of the exercise.

Rowing Machine Comfort

Rowing machines really depend on the seat as well. Since you are in a seated position, rowing machines depend more on the ergonomic design of the frame and the placement of the handles. Most rowing machines are great, but make sure you get on and try the machine out before you make your purchase. Comfort can definitely be more fickle with rowing machines than with exercise bikes.

Exercise Bike Space/Size

Exercise bikes take up far less space than a rowing machine. If you live in a smaller place, or just do not have that much spare room to place exercise equipment, an exercise bike is likely better for your living situation. They are also easy to tuck away or hide if you have guests coming over, and are generally lighter to move around.

Rowing Machine Space/Size

Another disadvantage of rowing machines is how large they can be. It’s not unusual for the footprint of the rowing machine to be over seven feet long, which as you can imagine, takes up a significant amount of space. Rowing machines are also quite heavy to move around, which makes them difficult to store away. Some rowing machines are foldable which does make it easier to put them away.

Exercise Bike Price

Exercise bikes have a wide range of prices. Some of them retail for as little as $200, while others with connected technology can cost more than $1,000. It really depends on what you want out of your workout. If you love technology, like I do, then you’re looking at a higher end machine that will definitely cost you more.

Rowing Machine Price

Rowing machines are the same as exercise bikes: it depends on what you want out of your workout. Rowing machines can also start as low as $200 but the higher end rowers can cost upwards of $2,000 to 3,000. Of course there are more moving parts and mechanical components to a rowing machine so paying more is understandable.

Exercise Bike Warranties

This will always depend on the brand of exercise bike, but generally you’ll get a three to five year warranty for the frame, one to three years for other parts, and one year for the labor. If it is a connected fitness machine, there are generally some other warranties for the monitor as well.

Rowing Machine Warranties

Very similar to exercise bikes, rowing machines offer the same general time frames for its warranties. Rowing machines do have some more maintenance, especially for the different types of resistance technologies. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of the brand for what kind of support you are offered.

Final Verdict: Exercise Bikes

Exercise bikes are fantastic machines, don’t get me wrong. Many people prefer them to rowing machines and I can see why. They are compact, easy to use, and fun to workout on. For me, I just don’t get the variety of workout with an exercise bike that I do with a rowing machine. But I understand that exercise bikes are great for people who just want to burn calories without needing to workout their entire body.

Final Verdict: Rowing Machines

Again, I may be biased because rowing machines are my preferred method of exercise. There are plenty of cons with rowing machines: they are large and cumbersome, and might not be the best way to workout for elderly or injured people. But for roughly the same price, rowing machines provide a total body workout that is both intense and fun.

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny

Hi, my name is Sayed Hamed Hosseiny. I am a professional health and fitness trainer with nearly 20 years of experience using ellipticals, rowing machines, and spin bikes. I also have my own EU-based Rock Fitness Pro fitness brand where I design, import and sell exercise equipment such as rowing machines and spin bikes. I and writers on my team also often receive fitness equipment to review and evaluate their functionalities and performance from tens of different exercise machines manufacturers. Fitness equipment tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on this website are my opinion (and opinions of my fitness expert colleagues) based on tens of criteria. I never accept payment to write reviews of products or say positive things about fitness equipment products. If brands are interested to have me review their rowers, ellipticals, or spin bikes, they can get in touch with me via email provided on the contact page and send a sample of their product.