June 14, 2024
Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill Vs Elliptical

Rowing machines, treadmills, and ellipticals are all popular forms of cardiovascular exercise equipment that can provide you with a full-body workout. Each machine has its own individual benefits and drawbacks.

The rowing machine provides you with a low-impact workout that targets your arms, legs, and core. They are also impactful for improving your cardiovascular fitness and building endurance.

The treadmill is a popular choice for running and walking workouts. The machine is very easy to use and provides you with a high-impact workout that can improve cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. However, running on a treadmill can be hard on the joints, if you have knee or ankle problems.

Elliptical provides you with a low-impact workout that targets your legs, glutes, and core. It is accessible on the joints, making them a good choice for people with injuries or chronic pain. However, the elliptical may not provide as intense a workout as a treadmill or rowing machine.

In this article, we are going to make a comparative discussion on  Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill Vs Elliptical which one is perfect for you. So, let’s get started!

A Side-by-Side Comparison Table

Rowing MachineTreadmillElliptical
Calorie BurnHighHighModerate
Joint ImpactLowHighLow
Muscle EngagementFull BodyLower BodyLower Body
Cardio BenefitsExcellentGoodGood
Variety of WorkoutsLimitedGoodGood
Space RequirementsMediumLargeMedium
Price Range$$ – $$$$$ – $$$$ – $$
PortabilityPortableNot PortablePortable
Noise LevelLowHighLow
Display FeaturesGoodGoodGood
Build QualityGoodGoodGood
Resistance TypeMagnetic/HydraulicMotorizedMagnetic/Eddy Current
Incline AdjustmentNot AvailableAvailableNot Available
Heart Rate MonitorAvailableAvailableAvailable
Pre-programmed WorkoutsLimitedAvailableAvailable
Safety FeaturesGoodGoodGood

Note: “High” means a high level of the feature, “Moderate” means a moderate level of the feature, “Low” means a low level of the feature, “Good” means a good level of the feature, “Excellent” means an excellent level of the feature, “Limited” means a limited level of the feature, $$ – $$$ means a moderate price range, $ – $$ means a low price range, $$ means a high price range.

Rowing Machine

Rowing machine as a cardio for powerlifter

A rowing machine is a piece of fitness equipment that simulates the motion of rowing a boat. The machine typically consists of a sliding seat, a flywheel, and handlebars that are attached to a resistance mechanism. You sit on the seat and use your legs, back, and arms to push yourself back and forth on the machine. It is a popular cardio equipment that can provide you with a full-body workout. The rowing machine exercises can improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance, and overall cardiovascular health. However,  the rowing machine also helps you to do low-impact exercises.

There are several key features of the rowing machine you should need to consider when purchasing the machine:

  • Type of Resistance: the machines have different types of resistance, such as air, water, or magnetic. Air resistance provides you with a more natural rowing experience and you can increase resistance as you row harder. the water resistance uses a water tank to create resistance. And the magnetic resistance uses a magnetic flywheel.
  • Adjustability: Remember that you need to look for a rowing machine that allows you to adjust the resistance level and seat height. So, you can customize the workout to your fitness level very easily.
  • Build Quality: The other most considered feature is the quality of the machine.  So, you should purchase a rowing machine with a sturdy frame and high-quality elements to ensure durability and stability during use.
  • Noise level: There are some rowing machines that are louder than others. If you have concerns about the noise level, you should choose a rowing machine with a quieter resistance. So, we recommend you look into reviews of the specific models you are interested in, to see the other user’s experience.
  • Price Level: the rowing machine’s price range can be from around $200 to over $2000. So it’s most important to set a budget and find a machine that offers the features you need within your price range.

Rowing Machine Compared to Treadmill and Elliptical Trainer

Treadmills, ellipticals, and rowing machines are very useful cardio exercise equipment. They provide you with different benefits. Here are some comparisons with treadmill and elliptical in terms of calorie burn, impact on joints, and overall workout effectiveness:

  • Calorie Burn: Rowing machines can burn as many calories as running on a treadmill or using an elliptical. But keep in mind that the calorie burn will vary depending on the intensity of the workout and your weight.
  • Impact on Joints: Rowing machines provide you with low-impact exercise. That means they put less stress on the joints than running on a treadmill or using an elliptical. So, it ensures a good option for you with joint pain or other conditions that limit your ability to do high-impact exercises.
  • Overall Workout Effectiveness: Rowing machines provide a full-body workout that engages your all major muscle groups, including the legs, back, arms, and core. So, it is an effective option for building muscle and improving cardiovascular fitness. Treadmills are also useful for building muscle and cardiovascular health. But treadmills are high-impact, which can be hard on the joints. On the other hand, ellipticals are also low-impact workouts. Whereas they don’t provide the same level of muscle engagement as a rowing machine.


Best Shock Absorption Treadmill

A treadmill is a versatile piece of cardio equipment that allows you to walk, jog, or run in place. It has a moving belt that you walk or run on, and they generally have adjustable speed and incline settings. So, the machine allows you a wide range of workout options.

There are some benefits of using a treadmill. it provides you with a high-impact workout that can improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. Running or walking on a treadmill can increase your heart rate and breathing. So, the treadmill helps you to strengthen your heart and lungs.

Are you going to purchase a treadmill? If so,  there are several key features you need to consider so that you get the right machine for your fitness needs and budget. Here are the important features you need to consider:

  • Frame size and weight: Essentially, bigger heavier treadmills can handle more work and are comfier for you. There is a simple rule of thumb is that the treadmill should weigh more that the largest user. Remember that, If your treadmill is lighter than yours, it will bounce around and you will feel unstable. So, you should need to choose the right treadmill machine which is the best fit for you.
  • Stability: your treadmill machine should be safe and stable. It should not rattle or shake when you using it. Otherwise, it can potentially harm you when walking/running. On the other hand, the frame should stay stable while you exercise so that the run is smooth and comfortable.
  • Running Surface: You need to consider the size of the running surface of the treadmill. Also, make sure it’s large enough for the stride. A larger running surface will deliver more room to run. It will be more relaxed for taller or larger.
  • Treadmill Motor: The motor is the soul of the treadmill. It defines the power and durability of the treadmill machine. You can look for a treadmill machine with a motor that has at least 2.5 continuous horsepower (CHP) for your home use. However, how much treadmill motor power do you need? That relies on the type of training you plan to do on your treadmill machine and also on your body weight.
  • Speed and incline: You should look for a treadmill machine that offers you a range of speed and incline options. So, this will allow you to change up your workout routine and target different muscle groups in your body.

Treadmill Compared to Rowing Machine and Elliptical Trainer

The treadmill, Rowing machine, and Elliptical all can play an important role in your calory burn. They also impact your joints while you work out. Here is the comparison.

  • Calorie Burn: Treadmill and rowing machine workouts burn your calories equally. But the elliptical machine burns moderate amounts of calories. However, the exact number will vary depending on the intensity of the workout and the person’s weight.
  • Impact on Joints: The treadmill puts a high impact on your joints. It also offers you a high intensity of workouts. On the other hand. Rowing machines are low-impact exercises, which means they put less stress on the joints than running or jumping exercises. 
  • Overall Workout Effectiveness: The overall effectiveness of a treadmill workout depends on several factors such as intensity of workouts, type of workouts, user’s fitness level, and consistency. The higher the intensity, the more effective workout for burning calories and improving cardiovascular fitness. Interval training, hill climbs, and other types of workouts can be more effective for you than steady-state running. However, regular and consistent use of the treadmill will lead to greater improvements in fitness compared to occasional use. 

Elliptical Trainer

The 5 Best Ellipticals Under $800

The elliptical is a type of exercise machine that provides you with a low-impact cardiovascular workout. The machine mimics the motion of running or walking without causing stress on your joints. It has resistances that can be adjusted to increase the intensity of the workout.

The elliptical machine provides you with a low-impact, full-body exercise. So, it is convenient, versatile, and effective for improving your cardiovascular fitness. It also helps you to burn calories and tone your body muscles.

When purchasing an elliptical machine, there are several key features to consider. These features will help you to purchase the right elliptical machine. The key features that you need to consider are given below:

  • Stride length: The stride length is the distance between the pedals of the elliptical. It should be long enough to allow you a natural and comfortable stride. If the stride length of your elliptical is too short, you may feel awkward during your workout.
  • Adjustable resistance: The elliptical should have a broad range of resistance which is adjusted electronically. Look for a system that makes resistance changes easy and instinctive. So, that your interval training sessions can be smoothly incorporated into your workout routine.
  • Heart rate monitor: There are some elliptical machines that come with built-in heart rate monitors. which can provide valuable information about the intensity of the workout. It can help you to monitor your rate while exercising.
  • Warranty: An elliptical machine is an electronic workout equipment. A quality machine is a long-term acquisition. You may use it regularly in your exercise routine. It also requires service at some point. A quality elliptical machine will offer a lifetime warranty on the frame. So, you should look for a warranty that provides for at least 1 year. And a minimum of 1-3 years of range on parts. 

Elliptical Trainer Compared to Rowing Machine and Treadmill

Elliptical, rowing machines and treadmills provide you with likely similar kinds of workouts. Here are the elliptical comparisons with the rowing machine and treadmill in terms of calorie burn, Muscles Used, impact on joints, and overall workout effectiveness:

  • Calorie Burning: All three machines can be effective for burning calories. The rowing machine and the treadmill can be particularly effective for high-calorie burn due to the full-body workout they provide. But the elliptical burns your calories in a moderate amount.
  • Muscles Used: Elliptical machine and treadmill engage your lower body while exercising. So, they use your lower body muscles. As opposed, a rowing machine engages your full body muscles.
  • Impact on Joints: The rowing machine and elliptical apply low impact on your joints. On the other hand, the treadmill applies a high impact on your joints. 


The Rowing machine, Treadmill, and Elliptical machine are all effective forms of exercise equipment. They provide you with different benefits and drawbacks. The rowing machine provides you with full-body exercises. So, it engages multiple muscle groups of your body and improves your fitness. A treadmill is a good option for running or walking exercises. On the other hand, the elliptical machine provides a low-impact cardiovascular workout that is easy on the joints.

When choosing between these three types of exercise equipment, it is important to consider your personal fitness goals, budget, and space constraints. A combination of these forms of exercise can provide a well-rounded fitness regimen that can improve overall health and fitness.