What Is Better A Rowing Machine Or Air Bike? (Best Choice!)

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What Is Better A Rowing Machine Or Air Bike

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Rowing Machine Or Air Bike: If you want to get in shape & maintain (not want to build) muscle mass in both your upper and lower body area. In terms of the types of workouts you can do โ€“ from Long Slow Distance (LSD) to HIIT to TABATA.

There are mainly two options that most often come up due to their price, durability, and also how much space you have:

1.) Rowing machine

2.) Air bike. 

The question arises: Which conditioning equipment to go with? 

Today I’m going to answer the question: If I’m going to only have one, which one should I get and what should be the first one?

Rowing Machine or Air Bike For Weight Loss

The Case for Air Bikes:

There are a lot of benefits to an air bike, but one of the biggest benefits is the footprint. It doesn’t take up a lot of space. 

This is a typical air bike, this one is made by Assault Fitness. There are many companies out there. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and the way that this works is pretty simple.

You get on & start pedalling; anybody can use it. 

There are certain things you can think about, but anybody who’s riding a bike can kind of get on and start using it. You can use your arms and your legs, and it’s designed to be more of a full-body tool. 

Now, if you want to use just your arms or just your legs, it’s something you can do, but it’s designed to be used as a full-body tool, which I think is a big benefit.

One reason that we recommend these as well as rowers over something like a treadmill for most people who are starting a home gym. Because these are very durable and more durable than a treadmill. 

The reason is it doesn’t have any motor. (You are the motor here.) 

The way this is driven is all through your energy and your output and your caloric expenditure, which is another benefit, is you’re burning calories.

The way that these could break is from the drive on the inside. In particular, uses what we call a chain drive to power it. It’s got two sprockets inside, the chains are wrapped around those, and that’s what it’s used to propel and use the fans. 

The resistance comes from the blades on the fans. 

So what they’re doing is spinning rapidly, and then the resistance is something that the harder you push, the harder it pushes back on you, and that comes from wind. 

So anybody can step on this and get a great workout because they can go as fast as they want or as slow as they want, which means it’s pretty much infinitely scalable, and therefore makes for a good recommendation for most people. 

Similar to something like an elliptical that you see in commercial gyms. 

cosco air bike review
Rowing Machine or Air Bike For Weight Loss

You know, you’re pressing on the pedals and you’re pressing on the handles, but it’s all continuous. 

So, somebody that has knee problems, shoulder problems, or any of those things that would prevent them from wanting to do exercise, this allows you to do exercise and allows you to do it in your home in a small footprint. 

They’re very durable, and they don’t take a lot of maintenance. 


  • Easy to use
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Infinite resistance
  • Great for recovery


  • Tend to be expensiveย 
  • Workouts tend to be repetitive

The Case for Rowers:

This is the most popular rower in the world. You see these in CrossFit gyms the world over; you see them in many home gyms. 

This is the Concept2 RowERG, and it is one of the best ones out there.

This one takes up quite a bit more footprint than the rower, but really only when you’re using it because you can fold it up upright, and you can actually detach the rail so it sits back too. 

So if you’re short on space, this is something that can be stored and you can take out and start using it, or whenever you use it, you can fold it down. 

Now, to the benefits, very similar to an air bike, this is a full-body workout. 

Now, I will say there’s something about an air bike that makes it easier than a rower, in that the technique used on an air bike is very little, whereas rowing does take technique. 

Like, you can jump on a rower and you’re going to feel like an absolute goofball if you’ve never received any instruction on technique because it’s just kind of unnatural motion, but it’s just a lot different than, like, an air bike. 

concept 2 rower machine India
Rowing Machine or Air Bike

Like, everybody rides bikes, but this is a much more specific movement where I’ve seen people…you see this all the time with people that start in CrossFit. 

They get on a rower and they’re just burning themselves out because they’re using all their upper body, where it’s a much more, like, technique-oriented movement, where you want to use both the upper and the lower, but primarily using the lower body because it’s not going to burn out as quick. 

Once you learn the technique, it’s like riding a bike. You can feel really good, and it is a full-body workout.


  • Provides a full-body workout
  • Low impact
  • Versatile
  • Compact


  • Has a Learning Curve
  • Cost

Which is More Durable?

Regarding durability, I would say a rower is more durable, specifically, the Concept2 rower is one of the most durable pieces of conditioning equipment I think there is. 

And that’s not just Concept2, there are other brands out there that we’re going to talk about which also last a long time. 

It’s just inherent in the design because it’s simple. It’s just a chain, a flywheel, and then some sprockets, and you’re the one powering it. 

The requirement of low maintenance, I think, is a huge benefit of both the rower and the air bike for home gyms, and one reason that I recommend both. 

Now, similar to the air bike, this can be used for a wide group of people. 

For the general population, you can use the air bike or this one just fine. Like an elliptical versus a treadmill, this is low impact, it is full-body, but there’s no actual impact happening with your legs or arms or anything like that. 

It’s just a fluid, solid motion.

Best Rowing Machines To Consider

Okay, we’ve done breakdowns on all the best rowers that are out there, as well as the best air bikes if you’d like to see those. 

These are kind of a good, better, best option, okay? 

And one is a smart rower, and the other two are more analogue. 

Hydro Rower. This is more of a smart rower of all the smart rowers that are out there, and there are a lot of them.ย 

This is my personal favourite. Others are good too, like the Aviron, Regatta, City Row, a lot of those are good.ย 

But for me, in my recommendations, this would be my recommendation for most people for a smart rower. It uses on-water rowing, it’s a very good experience. 

The magnetic system that it uses is very good, and this is the cheaper model and the lighter model of the ones that they have come out with.

I think it’s just as good if not better than the more expensive version due to how lightweight it is.ย 

It’s also a pretty good price, not that much more than the Concept 2 rower. Okay, these are my recommendations. 

Now, let’s show you the air bikes.

Best Air Bikes to Consider:

The air bike category is quite a bit different than the rower category; there are a lot of options for them. 

Many of these bikes are similar. 

For instance, the Bells of Steel Blitz Bike is pretty much the exact same as the French Sport Raptor Bike, but because this is a cheaper cost, we often recommend it. They both use chain drives. 

The Assault Bike was one of the early and most popular ones that was out there, and then a lot of other companies came out too. But I will say for those on a very budget end, there are a couple of options I’d look at. 

One is the Assault Bike, the Assault Bike Classic, not this Pro version, the Titan Bike as well, or if you want a little bit of an upgrade without a crazy upgrade price, then it’d be the Bells of Steel Blitz Bike. 

This, honestly, for most people, is probably my favourite. 

I also love the Rogue Fitness Echo Bike.

It’s overbuilt, it uses a belt drive, it’s extremely strong, but it’s also gone up in price quite a bit, and for a lot of people, I think it’s out of the price range. 

But this one also uses a belt drive system and uses a lot of similar things as this one, like metal fan blades and an overbuilt structure.

Like, it’s a very heavy bike and offering it at a very good price. And then these are like chain drive options.ย 

These would be my options.

Which one do I recommend? 

Both, I think, are great options, and you have to decide which one is best for your situation. But my recommendation for most people would be these: it’d be an Air Bike because they’re cheaper. 

They don’t take any technique, there’s like no technique required, you just jump on and go. You can use them for low-intensity and HIIT, and also really high-intensity work. 

They don’t require any maintenance. They take up very little space. Anybody can use them, depending on height or weight. I think they just work for a wider range of people. 

Now, you do have to consider if you’re somebody who doesn’t want to make a lot of noise, these do make more noise than rowing machines. 

So, if you're using it in a small home and don't want to wake somebody up in the morning, you may want to consider a rowing machine.

That’s another consideration you need to make. But for most people who are in a home gym, this would be my suggestion.

I think they just have the best value for most people and the most bang for your buck.

Q1: Is the air bike better than the rower?

Both are good cardio machines, but if you’re looking to move your upper & lower body together, an air bike will be better. Otherwise, the rowing machine is good for longer training sessions. If you have access to both machines, you’re in a better position.  

Q2: What is better a rowing machine or a bike?

The stationary spin bike is all about your legs, which means all the muscles in your upper body remain unutilized. But with an air bike, your entire body is working, including the hands, shoulders; and other means (40 to 75% more) calories burned.

Q3: Is the Air Bike or Rower Better for Strength Athletes?

Both machines work. They both provide a complete-body workout & help in conditioning the muscles to take more load over time. Also, bring good cardio in less time. However, theyโ€™re still different from one another. 

Q4: Which to buy Air Bike or Rower?

If you have the budget and space, I suggest investing in both. For example, if your gym has a rowing machine but lacks an air bike, it might be wise to purchase one for your home gym. Otherwise, you’re specifically training for rowing competitions only.

Q5: Which burns more calories: the air bike or the rower?

Air bikes typically result in burning more calories per minute.

On the rowing machine, there’s a brief moment of relief/ rest as you glide back to the starting position after each pull.

Otherwise, the air bike demands the simultaneous high-intensity engagement of both upper and lower body muscles, whereas rowing involves sequential movementsโ€”leg push followed by arm and back pull. Thus, the air bike burns more calories.

 Let me know which one you use. Have you used a rower? Have you used an air bike? And which one do you have in your home gym?

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Rishabh Shrivastava

Hi, I'm Rishabh I take pride in making 'The Most Trusted Home Gym Equipment' blog for India. We are known for delivering unbiased and practical advice on fitness equipment for people with different age groups, sports, and budgets. If we recommend a product it's our trust in it, that it would serve you the best, or nothing.Please join our cause.๐Ÿ™Œ

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