Spin Bike vs. Rowing Machine: Which is The Best?

When faced with the choice between a spin bike and a rowing machine, it can feel like navigating a labyrinth of options. But don’t worry – I’ve got your back, drawing from years of hands-on experience to help you navigate this complex decision.

Let’s dive right in: spin bikes zero in on lower body engagement, while rowing machines deliver a full-body workout, targeting both upper and lower muscle groups. This translates into divergent calorie burn rates, with rowing machines typically coming out ahead in this department.

Recognizing the merits of both options, my goal is to shed light on the unique features of each, empowering you to make a choice that aligns seamlessly with your fitness objectives. Without further ado, let’s see what are the differences and similarities of rowing machines and spin bikes.

AspectSpin BikesRowing Machines
WorkoutPrimarily lower body; high-intensity spinning sessions.Full-body engagement; low-impact, ideal for cardiovascular workouts.
Joint ImpactHigh-intensity may impact joints.Low-impact, suitable for those with joint issues.
Calorie BurnVaries based on intensity; typically lower than rowing machines.Higher calorie burn due to full-body engagement.
Noise LevelMinimal noise, especially with belt-driven models.Depends on resistance type; air resistance may produce more noise.
Floor SpaceCompact design; requires less floor space.Longer footprint; may require more space.
PriceWide range of prices; generally more affordable.Varies based on features and quality; may be more expensive.
ComfortErgonomic design; may require additional padded clothing and cushioning for seat comfort.Comfortable seating; low-impact motion.
TechnologyVariety of features including LCD monitors, resistance settings, and workout programs.Basic LCD monitors; limited technological features.
MaintenanceMinimal maintenance required; regular cleaning and lubrication.May require more maintenance, especially for water resistance models.
PortabilityLightweight and portable; easy to move around.May be heavier and bulkier; some models feature transport wheels.
Online ContentAbundance of online spinning classes and resources.Varied online content; growing availability of rowing workouts.
My RecommendationIf you prefer intense lower-body workouts and have no joint issues, opt for a spin bike. Otherwise, consider a rowing machine for a full-body, low-impact workout.For a comprehensive, low-impact workout suitable for all fitness levels, I recommend a rowing machine.
Spin Bikes vs Rowing Machines: Dive into this dynamic comparison table to discover which powerhouse workout equipment aligns perfectly with your fitness goals and lifestyle. From calorie-blasting potential to space-saving designs, explore the key differences and find your ultimate fitness companion today

Mounting and Disembarking: The Ease of Access

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny demonstrating the ease of mounting and disembarking from fitness equipment.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny showcases the accessibility of mounting and dismounting equipment.

Rowing machines boast easier accessibility due to their shorter stature compared to spin bikes. Therefore, if you struggle with balance or find mounting a spin bike challenging, opting for a rowing machine might be the better choice for you.

Online Resources: Access to Workouts

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny browsing online resources for workout access.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny explores online resources for workout guidance.

Spin bikes take the lead in this realm, offering a wealth of online cycling live and recorded classes compared to rowing workouts. Apps like Peloton offer up to 10 live daily classes and thousands of on demand spin bike cycling classes.

Muscle Activation: Engaging Your Muscles

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny demonstrating muscle engagement during a workout.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny showcases muscle activation during a workout session.

Rowing machines excel in cardiovascular workouts, engaging a wide array of muscles including the upper back, triceps, lats, glutes, hamstrings, calves, deltoids, pecs, biceps, abs, obliques, and quadriceps. Conversely, stationary bikes primarily target muscle toning in the lower body, focusing on areas such as glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

Comfort: Workout Experience

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny enjoys a comfortable workout experience.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny demonstrates the comfort of his workout experience.

Indoor rowing machines, with their low-impact design and wider saddle, typically provide superior comfort, particularly for individuals with balance or knee issues. Saddle soreness is often associated with spin bikes due to their narrower and smaller seats.

Calorie Burn: Energy Expenditure

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny monitors calorie burn and energy expenditure during a workout.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny tracks calorie burn and energy expenditure during his workout session.

For weight loss enthusiasts, both indoor cycling and rowing boast impressive calorie-burning capacities. A single hour-long session can torch around 600 calories. Rowing edges out cycling in upper body muscle engagement, contributing to its slightly higher calorie burn rate.

Noise Levels: Operational Sound

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny assesses noise levels during equipment operation.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny evaluates noise levels during equipment operation.

While neither machine is excessively noisy, considerations must be made regarding resistance system types. Air resistance rowers tend to produce more sound than water or magnetic rowing machines. For spin bikes, models equipped with magnetic resistance and belt drives offer the quietest operation.

Space Requirements: Equipment Footprint

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny measures space requirements and equipment footprint.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny evaluates space requirements and equipment footprint.

Rowing machines typically occupy more floor space than spin bikes. A rowing machine necessitates around 9ft by 4ft, while a spin bike fits snugly into a 5ft by 2ft area.

Price Comparison: Cost Analysis

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny compares prices and conducts a cost analysis.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny compares prices and conducts a cost analysis.

Budget considerations are crucial. Generally, rowing machines are more affordable than stationary bikes, especially in commercial-grade equipment. However, price disparities exist even among basic models, so ensure the chosen equipment aligns with your financial and fitness goals.

Technological Features: Equipment Advancements

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny explores technological features and equipment advancements.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny explores technological features and equipment advancements.

Both machines prioritize performance over technological features, with standard LCD monitors providing essential workout metrics. Some spin bike models offer enhanced digital features for a more immersive cycling experience, albeit at a higher price point.

Maintenance Needs: Care and Upkeep

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny demonstrates maintenance needs and care for fitness equipment.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny demonstrates maintenance needs and care for fitness equipment.

Minimal maintenance is required for both machines, particularly those with magnetic resistance and belt transmission systems. Regular lubrication and inspection ensure smooth operation and optimal workout results.

Storage Options: Equipment Placement

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny explores storage options and equipment placement.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny explores storage options and equipment placement.

Rowing machines win in the storage department, often featuring foldable designs for vertical storage. Consider your space constraints before purchasing.

Portability: Ease of Transportation

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny demonstrates portability and ease of transportation with fitness equipment.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny demonstrates portability and ease of transportation with fitness equipment.

Both machines boast transportation wheels for easy maneuverability. Spin bikes, being more compact and lighter, are generally easier to move around than rowing machines.

Maximize Versatility: More than one Exercise

Sayed Hamed Hosseiny shares how versatile rowing machine and a spin bike.
Sayed Hamed Hosseiny shares how versatile rowing machine and a spin bike.

Rowing machines offer greater versatility as they facilitate a variety of exercises beyond just rowing. With this equipment, you can engage in bicep and tricep workouts, core strengthening exercises, dips, and thigh workouts. In contrast, spin bikes limit you to cycling exercises only.

Conclusion: Choosing Between Rowing Machines and Spin Bikes

spin bike vs rowing machine

My honest opinion is that if you have plenty of room space and you prefer to work on both, upper and lower body, it’s better for you to buy a rowing machine. It’s a lower-impact exercise, engages the full body, and requires little effort to hop on and off. But if you have little floor space, like the hype of online studio classes, and don’t have flexibility or balance issues, I recommend you to get yourself a spin bike.

Recommending the Best Rowing Machine and Spin Bike for Your Fitness Journey

Bottom Line
Peloton bike+ review
Peloton Bike Plus
Best Spin Bike
Check Prices
Bottom Line
The Peloton Bike+ has completely transformed my fitness routine, exceeding all expectations. Its exceptional build quality and sleek design provide a stable platform for intense workouts, while its interactive classes, led by inspiring instructors, keep me engaged and motivated. The user-friendly 22-inch HD touchscreen display and adjustable resistance levels enhance the experience further. Despite being an investment, the Peloton Bike+ is worth every penny, offering a top-tier fitness experience that elevates home workouts to new heights. I highly recommend it to anyone serious about achieving their fitness goals.
Concept2 Model D
Best Rowing Machine
Check Prices
Bottom Line
Based on my experience and thorough review, I highly recommend the Concept2 RowErg as the ultimate rowing machine. With its sturdy build and straightforward assembly, it’s a breeze to set up and use. The rowing motion feels natural, and the PM5 Performance Monitor provides accurate workout tracking. Despite some noise during intense sessions, its versatility and compact design make it a top choice for home fitness. If you’re looking for a high-quality rowing machine that delivers on performance and durability, the Concept2 RowErg is unmatched.


Hi there, I'm Sayed Hamed Hosseiny, the founder and one of the authors at yourexercisebike.com (YEB). I am a former indoor cycling instructor and personal trainer with nearly 20 years of experience. With a passion for indoor cycling, I have spent years designing cycling parts, repairing, and importing exercise bikes. All the articles, tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on YourExerciseBike.com (YEB) reflect my personal opinion and expertise in the field. I'm excited to share my knowledge with fellow exercise bike enthusiasts and help people find reliable indoor cycling information and the best exercise bike for their needs. If you have any questions or suggestion, you can contact me at sayed@yourexercisebike.com.

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