According to MensHealth, a person burns an average of 13 calories per minute using an elliptical cross-trainer and 11 calories per minute using a rowing machine. However, the calories burned vary depending on the speed and resistance settings of the equipment.
Both pieces of exercise equipment are good choices for cardio and low-impact workouts. According to MensHealth, the elliptical machine is a knee saver. The cardio benefits it provides are the same as those gained from running on a treadmill, but the elliptical cross-trainer has less impact on the knees, hips and ankles, making it a perfect piece of exercise equipment for runners. The rowing machine is considered by some to be a total-body builder. It requires the strength of both the upper and lower body, thus helping an individual to achieve better overall cardiovascular fitness than an elliptical cross-trainer.