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Best Kettlebells 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2018
Best Kettlebells of 2018
Many models on the market may be confusing to a person who is shopping for their first time. I am going to specify each good-to-buy feature as much as possible for your references.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Here, I will review 3 of the best kettlebells of 2018, and we will also discuss the things to consider when looking to purchase one. I hope you will make an informed decision after going through each of them.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
№1 – Kettlebell Kings | Kettlebell Weights & Kettlebell Set | Kettlebells For Women & Men Durable Powder Coating for Grip Strength
Why did this kettlebells win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days.
Why did this kettlebells come in second place?
Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.
№3 – Kettlebell Kings | Competition Kettlebell Weights | Competition Kettlebell Sets Designed for Comfort During High Repetition Workouts
Why did this kettlebells take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
Kettlebells Buyer’s Guide
CAP Hammertone Cast Iron Kettlebell
At surface glance, this cast iron standard kettlebell by CAP looks like a strong contender for best kettlebell. Well priced, the CAP Hammertone Cast Iron Kettlebells are made from high quality cast iron and available from 10, all the way to 80 pounds. The weights increase in increments of pounds for the to 50 pound kettlebells and pounds for the 50 to 80 pound bells.
The CAP Hammertone Kettlebells handles come with a textured, steel-reinforced handle. This helps decrease the likelihood of accidental slippage. On review, I found the textured handles much better than those covered with plastic or rubber, so a big thumbs up from me.
As for handle size, I did find it a bit of a squeeze fitting both hands into the handle. Based on some of the reviews this seems to be a common theme for the CAP Hammertone Kettlebells. However, it should be noted that traditional kettlebells are not made for two handed workouts. In my opinion the handles are more than adequate for two handed workouts, even if it is a bit of a squeeze.
In terms of finish, the CAP Hammertone Kettlebells are painted glossy black. The hard wearing paint protects them from rusting. One slight criticism of the glossy finish is that it can become slippy as you begin to sweat.
Moving onto the shape, the CAP Hammertone Cast Iron Kettlebells are designed with a flat bottom, so they can be used for pushups/renegade rows. They also sit alone and do not require a stand for easy storage.
Tone Fitness PVC Coated Kettlebell
Despite the PVC coating feeling smooth and comfortable, it does come with the warning that it contains one or more phthalate chemicals, which are known for causing birth defects and other reproductive harm. If you are trying to have a baby, you may want to steer clear for this reason. Otherwise, you can ignore the warning.
As for the handle, its nice and wide and clearly designed two handed workouts. I found the handle pretty comfortable although it does have a ridge that runs around it. Is the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell the best kettlebell? Technically, no, but it is one of the best kettlebells for the price and will appeal to beginners.
CAP PVC Coated Kettlebell
Another contender for best kettlebell is the CAP PVC Coated Kettlebell. From the outset it looks like the only difference between this kettlebell and the afore review Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell is the color. But there are in-fact lots of differences between the two models.
Moving onto weight range, the CAP PVC Kettlebells are available in the following weights. 5, 10, 1and 20 pounds. As you would expect they retail for less than their cast iron counterparts as they are made from cement. Before writing this review I tested out the 20 pound CAP PVC Kettlebell and at x 8.x 1inches is on the large size.
Once again the vinyl covering contains harsh chemicals that have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems, similar to the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell. This information is included on the product packaging, but not on the website, which is somewhat disappointing.
Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell
On the outside the Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell by Yes4All is one of the best kettlebells you can buy. Made from heavy duty solid cast iron and finished with a powder coat to protect from accidental damage. The Yes4All solid cast iron kettlebell set has everything.
For starters the handle is smooth and wide, easily accommodating users who want to use two hands. What I really like about the handle is the textured finish, which provides an excellent grip. Speaking of which, the finish on the Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell is powder coated, which again provides a much better grip than the glossy finish.
Moving onto shape, the Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell has a traditional design and a flat bottom. Although Yes4All state that the bottom is totally flat, I ordered the 20 pound Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell and did have some issues with the kettlebell wobbling during floor exercises (if you’re an optimist, consider that extra fast-twitch muscle training!).
Pros and Cons of the Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell
Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebell
As the name suggests, the kettlebell is encased in a protective vinyl casing. The coating serves two purposes, it protects the kettlebell (and floor) from accidental damage, whilst also reducing noise during floor based routines. The noise reduction/protection works really well, especially if working out in a flat or on a wooden floor.
To aid grip, the curved handle is spared the vinyl coating.
Moving on to kettlebell weights, the Yes4All Vinyl Kettlebells start at pounds, and go up to 4pounds. Each kettlebell increases in pound increments, meaning there are kettlebells in a completed set. As for price, the Yes4All Vinyl Kettlebells are slightly more expensive than some of the others I have reviewed. You should bear in mind that the kettlebells are made from cast iron, which is an expensive material.
To answer some of the common questions I get asked about the Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebell. Yes the handle is wide enough for two handed workouts. And yes it does have a flat bottom. But a couple of points to bear in mind. My handle had a couple of bobbles that needed smoothing out, so the claims of a smooth handle are questionable. Also, with the kettlebell being cased in vinyl the flat bottom is actually a little wobbly.
SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Kettlebell
Another kettlebell covered in protective vinyl is the SPRI Deluxe. Made from cast iron, the SPRI Deluxe Kettlebells are partially covered in a protective vinyl shell. This acts as a barrier to protect the kettlebell and floors from accidental damage. As for the handle, thats spared the vinyl covering. Whats left is a well made handle thats comfortable, suitable from two hands and has excellent grip.
As for shape, the SPRI Deluxe Kettlebells are designed with a flat bottom and are all perfectly circular shape. This ensures that they stay small and compact, despite increasing in weight. Whilst buying one of these kettlebells in isolation is perfectly fine, the color-coded system looks really impressive as you add more weights to your set.
They Work Your Core
A true full-body workout that challenges all major muscle groups, kettlebells offer a major inadvertent core workout, thanks to the way the core has to be engaged on every lift. The core refers to the abs and the back of the trunk, as opposed to the common belief that it’s an interchangeable word with “abs.” A strong core is the foundation of all things fitness, but it also is a symbol of optimal health. The stronger your core, the better your posture and alignment, as well as a decrease in dangerous visceral fat, and thus the better overall impact on your general health.
The competition kettlebell is starkly opposite of the standard option; no matter its weight, the bell stays the same size, as this provides a consistent feel. The handle is more square in shape; it aims to prevent lateral movement. A competition kettlebell is great for those who want to do a lot of repetitions.
Kettlebell Set or Individual Kettlebells
As eluded to in the adjustable kettlebell description, some people prefer to purchase a set of kettlebells, whereas some feel confident in the ability to just get one solid weight that they will not outgrow. What’s the difference?
A kettlebell set typically comes with three to five different amounts of weight (for each individual kettlebell, unlike the adjustable kettlebell which is just one unit). It is best suited for those who desire variety in the exercises and resistance that they can do using the kettlebells, as purchasing a set will allow for more versatility in switching from fat-burning HIIT routines to dedicated strength training. Buying a set will likely cost more as an initial investment, but it can save money in the long run if you believe you will need several different weights. The reason for this is that kettlebells are priced by the amount of weight, with heavier weights costing more money.
Material is important based on not only how you plan to use your kettlebells, but also where you plan to use them. For example, if you opt for a 100% cast iron product, then you definitely have a durable kettlebell, but you have to worry about whether it will scratch or damage a hardwood floor if dropped. If you’re working out primarily on carpet, then this obviously isn’t a big deal. On the other hand, if you go for a vinyl or vinyl-dipped option, you are guaranteed more protection from floor damage and rust on the bell itself, but you may experience tearing or chipping in the vinyl finish. Also, because some vinyl can shift or be uneven, this can throw off the stability of the kettlebell and therefore make it more difficult to use.
You really should not have any issues in finding the perfect weight kettlebell for you, and range comes more into play if you’re seeking out a set from the same manufacturer. Because the market is so saturated with kettlebells, you can find anything from a 3-pounder to a 100+ pounder. Most starter sets come in weight increments of pounds, so typically sets you will see are something like 5/10/1pounds. Remember, these light weights are specifically designed to use for high repetitions and fast-paced aerobic conditioning, not heavy lifting or hypertrophy.
Cast Iron Kettlebell
Cast iron kettlebells are the entry level product in this field. They offer the best value for money and can often be purchased as a package with a range of weights. Usually this type of kettlebell will be one single piece of metal made from a single mould.
Vinyl Coated Kettlebell
Not only does coating the body of a kettlebell with vinyl make the product more attractive, it also protects both the metal core of the vinyl coated kettlebell and the floor from being damaged. Coloured coatings are also useful for weight differentiation in gyms.
Rubber Coated Chrome Handle Kettlebell
Chrome handles on kettlebells are particularly stylish and are very popular. The chrome finish makes sure that the handle is perfectly smooth for a more comfortable grip when using the kettlebell. Urethane Kettlebell
For the hardcore kettlebell enthousiast, a Urethane covered kettlebell might be the best option. The layer surrounding the core of the kettlebell is strong and incredibly strong and shock absorbant, which is great for both the kettlebell itself as well as the floor.
The chart below indicates some rough kettlebell weight guidelines. Ideally you will need weights, the heaviest will be for the swing, the lightest will be for the press, and the medium will be for the snatch.
Bear in mind that unlike body-building you will not outgrow these weights for years, kettlebell lifting is for endurance, not strength. Therefore you can use the same kettlebell for other exercises or just for more repetitions.
It’s no wonder they have become so popular.
The problem is that now that everybody is training with them, everyone seems to be selling them too and not all kettlebells were created equal.
For someone just looking to buy their first one, it can be hard to figure out how much you should be paying and what makes a quality kettlebell.
Are Adjustable Kettlebells Any Good? Which is the Best Kettlebell to Buy
The Base of a Good Kettlebell
If you are able to do a hands-on inspection with your kettlebell, it is good to test that it rests completely flat on the floor.
Take the kettlebell to an uncarpeted part of the store and place it on the ground. Squat down above it and put both hands on the handle.
If you slowly put your weight onto it, does it feel completely solid or do you feel it wobble underneath you?
It should provide a stable base upon which you could put part of your body weight without worrying about it tipping to one side or the other.
You are going to want to do pushups or renegade rows in your training, for example, and you don’t want them tipping over and damaging your wrist.
If you can’t get hands-on before you buy, the likelihood is that you can’t, just ensure the based is flat.
I am sure you can agree with me that kettlebells are not an usual fitness equipment.
Look at commercial gyms, nobody is using them! Missing out on some crazy benefits!
Ever thought of revving up your workouts by incorporating some kettlebells exercises?
If you are expecting to acquire a few more tools and equipment for your gym without breaking the bank, you better start with Fitness or Competition Kettlebells. Kettlebells aren’t new in the fitness industry, partly because of their widespread acceptance as some of the best tools that guarantee a full body workout.
Swimmers, runners, cyclists can benefit from kettlebell training to develop overall strength and mobility. They are compact, durable and perfectly fit novice and professional fitness enthusiasts.
Along with that, their working mainly emphasizing on the legs, posterior chain, lower back, shoulders, and core. You will find below four of the best competition kettlebells and home fitness brands of kettlebells.
There’s the color stripe for quick identification of its weight and the larger than an ordinary base for absolute stability. Far from that, being a steel construction piece of equipment alongside the dominant black color indeed makes it suitable for its job. and Design
Every kettlebell under this brand is similar irrespective of the weight. They are designed with a handle and window that grants smooth, comfortable snatches, jerks and other exercises. Don’t worry about the weight as any weight fits for familiarity and uniform training. I particularly noted the user-friendliness with the handle and the size of the tool.
Seems that the idea that Kettlebell kings are made for both pros and novices is best exhibited by how the handle is made. For your high-intensity exercises, the 33mm regulation handle is made with no paint stripping and can be held with or without chalk.
Key Features and Specifications
Way too many features and benefits that make it your perfect training companion, but I’ll try my best to ensure that you get a better picture of it. Remember, Rep Fitness Kettlebells is a collection of different-sized cannonballs kettlebells with handles, and thus come with similar features. They include the following:
CAP Barbell Cast Iron Competition Kettlebell
Typically, the best kettlebells to buy are known for their quality, durability, and utmost reliability, and that’s exactly what this brand is based on.
The CAP Barbell Cast Iron Competition Kettlebell is the premium choice of the brand. It guarantees every workouts to be efficient and result focus.
You will certainly love its structural design, ease of use and its durability compared to its little brother the CAP Fitness Kettlebell.
The CAP Barbell Cast Iron Competition is made of a compact and sturdy material, helps enhance the longevity of your investment. It will never fall under the pressure associated with extreme usage that includes swings, snatches, overhead presses and more.
With the broad, flat base, the color coded handle and the textured surface, you will never have to think about purchasing another one. The weight is marked in both kilograms and pounds and is made for both the novices and professionals.
Domestic commercial use
Which Kettlebell Should I Buy? - A Definitive Buyer’s Guide
Now that you have my list of the best kettlebells for competition and home fitness, buying them shouldn’t be a hassle.
Kettlebell training is going mainstream, and sooner than later, every fitness enthusiast will be shopping for one or more of them.
Here’s what you should conside
1). How to choose a kettlebell: Type of kettlebell – cast-iron classic or steel competition
Cast-iron kettlebells are the most revered partly because they are less expensive to acquire and suitably fit all general fitness requirements. Steel competition brands are made for competitive events, although they have near similar features as those of the cast-iron. There are vinyl and plastic brands, although they aren’t as popular as the two principal types.
2). How to choose a kettlebell: construction and material used
Steel is the most durable material, followed by cast iron. As you shop for a kettlebell, don’t forget to focus on how the handle is made as most of them can’t guarantee years of usage. When you settle for cast-iron kettlebells, it’s vital that you go for those options that can withstand rust. Steel is immune to rust, pretty much like vinyl and plastic.
Ideally, look for models with smooth, quality handles. Make sure that the space between the main bell and the handle is at least 5millimeters. A handle with rough edges will hurt your hands and affect lifting form. Beware that painted kettlebells are prone to wear and tear, and can chip more. On top of that, they don’t follow a standard size or shape. Other aspects to consider are the ball diameter, grip width, and overall design.
Kettlebells with a flat or textured bottom are safer and carry lower injury risk. Additionally, they are easier to store when not in use. Choose a model with clear weight markings. Color-coded kettlebells are the best. Decide whether you want a vinyl, cement, or cast iron kettlebell. This will reflect on the price and durability.
Vinyl and cast-iron weights are both suitable for home and gym exercises. Cast-iron models can have a vinyl coating to reduce noise and protect the floor. In general, they are made from a single mold of iron. Some feature a rubber bottom, which keeps you safe when doing planks and other floor exercises.
Another option would be a cement kettlebell. This model can crack more easily, so you need to handle it with caution. If you drop the weight on the floor, it can break. The main advantage of using cement kettlebells is their low price.
Beware that prices may vary drastically from one brand to another, and from store to store. Thus, it pays off to do comparison shopping. Simply look for kettlebell reviews on forums and blogs, compare prices, and make a choice accordingly. Eventually, you can search for discount codes and vouchers to cut costs.
Kettlebell Training FAQ
Why use kettlebells over TRX, dumbbells, or medicine balls?
Kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, and TRX are among the most popular pieces of gym equipment. They all provide a full body workout, develop strength and endurance, and promote fat loss. What makes them different is their mechanism of action.
For instance, kettlebells can be gripped in a multitude of ways. The weight is unbalanced, which forces your muscles to work harder. Dumbbells only allow for a wide or narrow grip, and are balanced from end to end. Moreover, kettlebells have a round shape, which creates a pulling effect. This helps strengthen your tendons and challenges your muscles into growth.
Recovery time between sets
Depending on what exercises you choose, you can expect to burn over 600 calories per hour. In a conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), subjects burned 400 calories in just 20 minutes of kettlebell training. These free weights recruit multiple muscles and raise your heart rate, which explains their fat burning power. The more intense your workout, the higher your calorie expenditure will be.
When to increase your kettlebell training weight? progressive overload, laying the foundation upon which strength training is built.
Considering this fact, it makes sense to increase the load when training with kettlebells. How soon you should do it depends on your progress and fitness level. Compromising form for the sake of weight will lead to injury. Once you’re able to complete at least eight reps with perfect form, add more weight. If your reps get bad, reduce the load.
The best thing about this training method is that is can be easy or as difficult as you make it. You can use kettlebells alone, or include them in your training routine to mix things up. These fitness tools offer simplicity in training, improve joint stability, and help you build a strong foundation. They also hit those hard-to-reach muscles that support your spine and joints.
New pitted handle design on the right
For those interested in kettlebell sport, Kettlebell Kings Competition kettlebells meet all major Kettlebell Sport Competition Standards. Kettlebell Kings offers several sets of competition kettlebells at a discount, which will go a long way to getting you outfitted for kettlebell training at a lower overall cost.
The Paradigm Pro Elite kettlebells are designed from the ground up to be high precision fitness tools. These kettlebells are cast as a single piece of steel with no seams, burrs, or welds and no filler material. This is just an all around well made kettlebell that is very comfortable to use for long periods.
The feature I like the most about the Paradigm Pro Elite kettlebells is the finish. The steel is finished slightly rough and provides more grip than most competition kettlebells typically finished smooth. The rougher finish also holds a lot of chalk. The handle window is wide enough to fit two hands in, which is great for two-hand swings.
My answer is a fast and definite ‘NO!’.
There are huge differences between the quality weights produced by the biggest brands, and the cheaper knock-offs. Fortunately you do not have to spend a fortune to get a decent quality set of weights. What you are paying for with the brand name is a uniform distribution of weight, tight fit and no rattles for the adjustable weights – and those little extras like comfortable grips or sometimes vinyl coverings.
You’ll probably only invest in a weight set once (though you might well expand it!) – so make sure you make the smartest choice.
You have main choices.
Either you get an adjustable set, where you add more weight to the bars as needed. Or you go for a set of fixed weights and pick up the one you need depending on the exercise. For many people the adjustable set looks like a good option, since it takes up less space – and many of the weights can also be used with your barbell.
What you might want to factor in is whether the space saved is worth the trouble of continually adding / removing weights for different exercises. This can become a serious annoyance after just a few workouts.
With the fixed weight sets you get to choose from metal or vinyl / rubber. It’s still going to hurt if you drop one on your toes – though at least rubber will usually leave less of a dint in the flooring. I also like the hexagonal design of many modern dumbbell sets. You’ll find plenty of reviews of these here at Fitness Review.
Here are reviews of of the best Dumbbell sets you can currently buy online (the prices and specs will depend on how many pieces you buy). Below that is the most popular of all.
DKN Vinyl Kettlebell Set
Colourful vinyl covered kettlebell set which is perfect to get you started.
There are plenty of accessories which can replace many of the activities you’ll get up to with free weights. These include (elasticated ropes), machines such as bullworkers and bigger devices including power towers.
You can see all of the different reviews of free weights here at Fitness Review in list form via this link
Kettlebell Abs 1Minute Workout
This routine includes a few common abdominal exercises such as sit ups, crunches, torso rotation, Russian twist etc. using kettlebells. This means the workouts are more challenging, therefore they require higher fitness level. Do sets of the showed activities and keep the number of reps.
Minute Quick Routine
You do not need so much time to work your abs, especially if you use kettlebells. This routine is a good example in which you can learn some unique compound movements as well.
This is my favorite kettlebell ab workout with the best moves and it really helps to burn fat and strengthen the entire core.
The size of the bell.
Competition bells are uniform size regardless of weight. This is so that lifting technique does not have to change as the athlete becomes stronger. Comp bells start at 8kg and go up to 40kg. The size and dimensions remain the same and should conform to the official standards.
Cast iron bells increase in size as they get heavier. This creates some change in the lifting groove and how the bell sits in the rack position.
Thickness of the handle.
Competition bells have thin handles, this is because in kettlebell sport the athletes perform very high rep sets which fatigue the forearm muscles used to grip the bell. The thinner the handle the longer your grip will last. The handles on competition kettlebells are specifically designed to prevent slipping.
Since cast iron bells get bigger as they increase in size so does the thickness of the handle.
Construction and material used
Competition bells are constructed from one cast and made of steel. Steel is more durable than cast iron. A good cast iron kettlebell will be made from one cast too but many on the market are not. Cheap cast iron bells often have had the handle welded to the body of the bell.
Kettlebells have been used in weight training by Russian athletes for ages but they’ve only recently caught on in the United States. If someone set a kettlebell in front of you, you’d probably assume there wasn’t much to one since it’s basically a handle attached to a weighted ball. However, you may be surprised to find out there’s a lot involved with this simple-looking workout tool. The great thing about kettlebells is they can be used in functional training which means more movement involved and more calories burned.
Though the look may vary slightly from one manufacturer to the next, a kettlebells basic form is a metal ball with a handle on it. A traditional model is one solid piece which has been cast from steel, iron, or other solid metal free of seams or burrs.
Kettlebells range from a lightweight pounds up to around 200 pounds for strongmen and tough guys. Your ideal weight range will depend on your fitness level as well as the exercises you’ll be performing. Kettlebells can be hazardous if not utilized properly, so weights 30 pounds or greater should only be used for movements where a lot of twisting or swinging isn’t required like an overhear press or chest press. On the other hand, moves like the windmill and kettlebell swing are better suited to weights under 30 pounds.
Kettlebells have been designed primarily for functional and sport specific exercises such as kettlebell swings, windmills, and kettlebell loading. Because of their unique shape, kettlebells may not work for 100 percent of traditional exercises associated with dumbbells, but they’ll function for many popular moves such as chest presses and arm curls.
The kettlebell handle should be wide enough where you can comfortably wrap your thumbs and at least three fingers of each hand around it. If the space is too tight inside the handle, it will rub against your hands causing discomfort or injury.
Solid vs. Multicast
Most kettlebells are made of high quality steel or iron since these materials are resistant to premature wear. Lower quality models may have sharp seams or burrs which can cut you as well as being multicast instead of being one solid piece of metal. If a multicast kettlebell suddenly falls apart in the middle of an exercise, expect potential injury and/or property damage.
DVDs and Pamphlets
Many kettlebells come with either a DVD or pamphlet instructing you on many of the most popular workout movements. Pamphlets are okay in this regard but the DVDs are much easier to follow as they basically function as an exercise video.
Since these are fairly simple exercise tools there’s not a lot of extra equipment involved relating to the actual function of the bell. However, some companies choose to sweeten the deal by throwing in extras like exercise bands, mats, or even gloves to go along with your new kettlebell.
A good bargain bell
That said, it’s also important to note that for basic/intermediate kettlebell moves, which our testing group did a ton of, there wasn’t a huge difference in testing results between the five contenders. If the goal is to learn kettlebell basics and use two-handed techniques, all of these bells are quite suitable, and being budget conscious (finding sales/free shipping) isn’t a bad route. In that case, the CAP Cast Iron Competition Bell is a good bargain bell. It has a rougher handle that makes it a poor choice for one-handed work, and a cheaper powder-coated finish, but if you’re sticking to two-handed work, then it’s a good bell to start with.
Can you save on shipping and buy a kettlebell at a brick-and-mortar store?
Kettlebell exercises combine cardiovascular and resistance training in one exercise—which means you’re improving conditioning (and burning fat) while building muscle.
While they’ve been around since the early 18th century (the word first appears in a Russian dictionary from 1704), kettlebells have experienced a huge resurgence in the fitness industry in the past years. Their unique shape and functionality give them many of the strength-building benefits of dumbbells while also providing users with the opportunity to do kettlebell-specific drills that involve a lot of movement, like the swing. The closed-loop handle of a kettlebell offers users a secure grip for movements with both hands. The kettlebell’s ball shape makes swinging it between the legs and back toward and under the groin for kettlebell swings, snatches, and jerks comfortable and easy. Dumbbells are better suited to doing squats, curls, bench press, cleans, and other exercises that have less kinetic motion.
Breaking Muscle explains that kettlebell exercises are effective because they combine cardiovascular and resistance training in one exercise—which means you’re improving your conditioning (and burning fat) while also building muscle. That means you can fulfill all your workout needs with one simple tool that stows easily in a closet.
An ideal kettlebell
A slightly wider handle and super smooth finish make this an exceptionally comfortable bell to use.
Metrixx Elite Precision E-Coat Kettlebells by Kettlebells USA is the best kettlebell for most people because it’s the most comfortable kettlebell around. Kettlebells USA sells all varieties of bells (two varieties of cast-iron, vinyl-coated, and competition bells), but the Elite is the best because its handle is the best I’ve ever used. It’s super smooth and is shaped just a bit differently from other bells in a way that better accommodates two-handed grips. If you’re used to a standard kettlebell shape, it takes a second to get used to, but you’ll learn to love it. And Kettlebells USA offers a “no hassle” guarantee on all of its products. If you order through the company’s website and have a problem, Kettlebells USA will “make it right, period!” by sending a replacement and taking care of return shipping fees.
Note that the pinkies gripping the Metrixx Elite (left) protrude a bit less than those gripping the Perform Better (right). Photo: Mark Bixby
The Metrixx Elite kettlebell has a slightly different handle dimension and more distance from the ball part of the bell to the handle to create a larger opening for more comfortable two-handed positions. The handle gap is just over a half-inch wider than the four other bells tested (which all used the same basic dimensions as the Dragon Door bell, the industry standard in cast-iron bells). For two-handed deadlifts, swings, and high pulls, this bell is easily the most comfortable bell to use, as it doesn’t pinch the outside of the hands or pinky fingers, like the other bells tested do. Since all people entering into kettlebell work should start with the two-handed basics, having a great bell for two-handed work is essential. The Metrixx bell clearly outclassed the competition for two-handed work, as the smooth, e-coated handle with a wider grip was consistently easy on the hands, even when doing high repetition sets of 20-plus kettlebell swings. Even when the user advances to the one-handed moves, both two-handed swings and goblet squats should remain essential parts of a kettlebell program.
The Metrixx bell was also really nice for the more advanced, one-handed work. Any flaws in a kettlebell will be exposed when you use just one hand, but the attention to detail in forging a smooth, seamless handle was clearly on display with this bell.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
If the Metrixx Elite is unavailable, or if you just want a standard-shaped bell without the wider handle, the Perform Better First Place Kettlebell feels the same in use as the high-end Dragon Door, but costs about 2percent less. In fact, its dimensions are identical except for the extra half inch of flat base diameter on the bottom of the Perform Better bell. This means it performs identically, but is easier to hold in a push-up position for the sometimes-precarious renegade row—typically done with two kettlebells of the same size.
Like the Dragon Door and Metrixx Elite, the First Place has a smooth, seamless handle, few surface defects, and a high-quality finish. Its finish is comparable to the e-coating on the Dragon Door or Metrixx Elite. While Perform Better wouldn’t divulge what process it uses, I noticed that it’s somewhere between a matte powder coat and a glossy e-coat.
Reading user reviews (see here and here) that slam Perform Better for having noticeable seams on the underside of the handle or other defects isn’t helpful considering the construction specs on their bells currently. The bell I received from them was really well made, and it showed no signs of being defective in build or user experience. I contacted Perform Better about this discrepancy, and company reps explained that among other small changes, they’d since switched to a gravity casting process, which creates a more uniform surface, as you recall.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Dragon Door RKC Kettlebell should feel pretty good about itself. Dragon Door was the first US company to start producing kettlebells in 2001, and it was also the first US company to offer the highly acclaimed RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) Instructor Certification Program taught by famous kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline. As a result, almost all cast-iron kettlebells sold in the US are based on the Dragon Door design. I have always found the quality of Dragon Door’s bells to be excellent—there are 17of them in my gym. Unfortunately for Dragon Door, other companies have been able to duplicate its design at a comparable level of quality for a lot cheaper. The fact that the company’s bells are easily the most expensive (and rarely on sale) makes them a pick for people who place more emphasis on a good brand than a good value.
Can you save on shipping and buy a kettlebell at a brick-and-mortar store?
Sports Authority: Before filing for bankruptcy (and auctioning off its brand name and intellectual property rights to the highest bidder, Dick’s Sporting Goods) in 2016, Sports Authority had a line of dumbbells and barbell equipment, including kettlebells, called SA Gear. We did not recommend buying any of those bells at the time of our testing, and they are no longer available.
Target: Target sells GoFit kettlebells (but I don’t like this model; see the Big discussion below) and Champion Cbells. The Cbells feel pretty nice in the hand. I did some exercises at Target, and though the bell was boxed (and didn’t allow me to test its stability on the ground), the handle was a nicely ground, smooth surface that felt even and comfortable. At that time, the heaviest Cbells weighed 20 pounds, but they have since added 25-pound and 30-pound increments, which gives both women and men room to grow. If our other picks are out of stock, or if Target is the most convenient place for you to shop, the Cbells are not a bad option.
Big Sporting Goods: Big sells the 35-pound and 45-pound GoFit bells. The 45-pound model had a huge handle, much larger than the 35-pound offering. The handle on the GoFit caused me immediate concern, as it had large pebbles intermittently dispersed on the grip side of the bell. These large pebbles would shred the hands with high-volume work. Not recommended.
Because this bell seemed so different from the inconsistent reviews online, I called Perform Better to figure out what was going on. I spoke with Rob Milani, who runs sales and facility outfitting for the company, and he explained the eight-year evolution of these First Place bells. He said that the bells initially came with the rubber bottom plates because they were marketed to large box gyms concerned about floor protection. Users reported that they didn’t like the stability compromises of the rubber bottom, however, and Perform Better quit attaching the plate. They still have the plate available on the vinyl-coated bells. Milani further explained that Perform Better has worked closely with Mark Toomey/Pavel (who run the kettlebell training company StrongFirst), who use Perform Better at all of their certification trainings. Milani explained that this partnership has produced the bell currently sold, and that the company plans on sticking with this design for the foreseeable future.
Rob Milani, Sales and Facility Outfitting at Perform Better, Interview, November 10, 2015
Product Comparison: Competition Kettlebells Vs. Cast-Iron Kettlebells, Onnit Academy, February 19, 2012
Chad Schnettler, John Porcari, Carl Foster, and Mark Anders, Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?, ACE Fitness Matters
Lauren Brooks, Getting Started with Kettlebells: How to Buy, Learn & Train, Breaking Muscle
Andrew Read, How To Do The Perfect Kettlebell Swing, Breaking Muscle
Logan Christopher, How to Get Started with Kettlebell Juggling, Breaking Muscle
Kettlebells: Have You Wondered Where These Funny Looking Cast Iron Balls With Handles Came?, Healthy Exercize
Technoman, Manufacturing Processes – Gravity Die Casting, HubPages
Exploding the Myth that competition kettlebell handles are too small for hand swings, Kettlebells USA
Of course, there’s more to a kettlebell than how heavy it is. You need to pay attention to the handle. “Kettlebell swings, cleans and snatches are repetitive actions, so if you have a rough handle or one with a seam going down the middle, you will soon know about it,” says Lloyd. “The seam needs to be filed down to leave an even surface to hold. Cheaper kettlebell manufacturers will make no real effort to remove this nasty, sharp seam and your hands will soon tear up like you’ve done a day on a building site.”
Lloyd recommends running your hands around the entire handle, especially underneath, before buying. If you’re already in possession of a kettlebell with a raised seam, sand it down so it’s smooth.
The Handle Size
That’s the handle’s surface sorted, but you also need to check that its diameter gives you a comfortable hold. “Decent kettlebells will have handle diameters that measure about 30-31mm, going up to around 38mm for the heaviest bells. My favourites are competition kettlebells, which generally have a uniform handle diameter of 33mm regardless of the weight.”
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Kettlebells wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Kettlebells
- №1 — Kettlebell Kings | Kettlebell Weights & Kettlebell Set | Kettlebells For Women & Men Durable Powder Coating for Grip Strength
- №2 — Rep Kettlebells for Strength and Conditioning
- №3 — Kettlebell Kings | Competition Kettlebell Weights | Competition Kettlebell Sets Designed for Comfort During High Repetition Workouts