Rowing Machines vs Exercise Bikes – Which is Better?

Exercise Bikes

pic showing rower vs exercise bikes

Which exercise equipment comes out tops in the battle of rowing machines vs exercise bikes?

Every time you walk into your favorite gym, the choice of which exercise machine to hop onto becomes one of the first things you have to sort out.

Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done mainly due to the seemingly limitless options available at your disposal.

Rowing machines and exercise bikes are some of the most popular equipment you can find in any gym. If you prefer to get physically active with home comforts, these two machines can come in really handy too.

However, all of us do not unlimited space at home to fit multiple machines as well as the budget to buy them. This therefore forces many people to choose between the two options.

Well, let’s examine what each piece of equipment brings to the table so you can make a quick decision within the next couple of minutes.

 Rowing Machines vs Exercise Bikes : Cardio

lady working out on a rowing machine

Rowing machines and exercise bikes are 2 of the most sophisticated cardio equipment you can purchase at the moment.

Pounding an exercise bike at high intensity can do wonders for your cardiovascular health by increasing your heartbeat.

It empowers oxygenated blood to be supplied to every part of the body, thereby enhancing heart capacity and making the heart healthier overall.

Indoor rowers can also transform the health capacity of the heart and serves as a cross-training powerhouse to complement all forms of cardio. They also keep you in shape by working all core muscles in the body.

While the heavy-duty cardio capacity of rowing equipment makes them usually not ideal for those recovering from heart attacks, they can do wonders for everyone else.

If you are serious about taking your cardio to the next level, you can’t afford not to get a rowing machine.

Verdict: Rowing Machine

Rowing Machine vs Exercise Bikes: Full Body Workouts

taking a break from an exercise bike workout

Exercise bikes are fantastic for working out your core lower body muscles. The recumbent-style ones actually give you a comfortable seat that lets you sit back and focus on your legs, thighs, and other lower body areas.

Stationary exercise bikes give you somewhat of a balance between upper and lower body workouts but their impact is quite limited. In order to keep your upper body in shape, most people add dumbbells to the mix.

Rowing machines on the other hand give you the flexibility to work on muscles across every area of the body. From the arms and shoulders to abs as well as legs and thigh muscles, a 30-minute session a few times per week can transform your whole body.

Verdict: Rowing Machine


When you want to break some sweat quickly and more effectively, an exercise bike is the best option to go. Stationary exercise bikes can be a great way to burn hundreds of calories per hour as long as you are willing to put in the necessary effort.

If you want to lose weight, especially non-belly fat, exercise bikes could be the best choice for you.

Indoor rowers are also adept at helping you lose weight quickly and efficiently. However, they tend to give off slightly lower output when used by the same person within the same time frame and at the same intensity.

However, rowers tend to focus more on the chest and abs region during intensive workouts.

This essentially means while they may burn relatively lower number of calories overall, they are the best option for getting rid of stomach fat.

Winner: Exercise Bikes


There isn’t much difference in terms of price tags when it comes to choosing between rowing machines and exercise bikes. With as little as $100, you could find either machine to stay fit at home.

However, keep in mind that these machines are the most basic models available at the lowest end of the market.

For those with the necessary means, you start to see some serious hardware starting from the $500 price region.

If you want an elite machine comparable to commercial units popular in gyms across the world, be prepared to shell out anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.

Verdict: Tie

Rowing Machines vs Exercise Bikes: Space

can you spot the characteristics of the Marcy Folding Upright Bike -Foldable Exercise Cycle NS-652?

Space is another important concern that can give sleepless nights to anyone thinking about buying a rowing machine or exercise bike. Only a few of us live in huge mansions with thousands of square feet of space to do as we please.

Exercise bikes can be a great option for anyone with limited space at home. In fact, there are lots of models that come with compact footprints which won’t interfere with your way of life at home.

These tend to be at the low-end to the mid-level range of the market. The good news is that most of these stationary bikes can also be folded into half, giving you even more space during storage.

Indoor rowers are also perfect for those without much space at home. There are lots of options available with minimal footprints meaning no matter how small your apartment is, there’s a perfect model out there for you.

Impact on the Body

One of the main reasons why fitness enthusiasts decide to purchase either equipment is because of the impact on their joints after each workout.

If you are suffering from arthritis, an exercise machine can be a wonderful tool to stay fit.

Even at the highest levels of intensity, the non-weight bearing nature of workouts on these machines means you can end each session successfully without aggravating your problem.

Rowing machines are equally awesome for staying fit without putting your health on the line. They are designed for the most intensive strokes to have minimal impact on your ankles and other joints.

However, rowing seems more difficult on the body and an attempt to workout at the same intensity as you would on an exercise bike could leave you jaded.

Due to the skyrocketed resistance of your entire body’s weight, there’s a higher risk of suffering some pain in the hips, ankles, knees, and lower back on a rower.

Verdict: Exercise Bikes


As you have undoubtedly noticed by now, the winner of the rowing machine vs exercise bike debate isn’t straightforward. Depending on what you are looking for in fitness equipment, each one can be the most suitable fit for your needs.

The hard work is actually deciding what your goals are and which option comes closest to helping you achieve it quickly as possible.