The Best Kettlebells Reviewed for Home and Gym Use in 2017
Now that training with kettlebells has become so popular in the fitness world and with personal trainers especially, the mainstream population is finally catching on. Several years ago, it was pretty rare to find someone who even knew what a kettlebell was. These days, new kettlebell sizes, shapes, and brands are constantly popping up. But cheap, poorly designed models that come with a DVD workout can also be found in stores all over the country, making it hard to determine the overall quality of the bell, not to mention the durability.
So, how can a beginner be guided in the right direction when the kettlebell market has become incredibly saturated?
This guide highlights the five best kettlebells to date, so we guarantee that if you choose one of these models, you’ll benefit from using one of the top kettlebells on the market.
You still may be wondering what type of results you can expect from using this type of weight, so we’ll explain a little further in regards to the many benefits you can enjoy from a consistent kettlebell workout.
Kettlebell Workout Benefits
When you swing a kettlebell, your heart rate will rise just as quickly as it would from any type of jump training. Studies have shown that you can burn up to twenty calories a minute, depending on how hard you’re working. That’s even more than what you might accomplish in a HIIT class. A kettlebell workout is basically strength training and cardio in one.
A basic kettlebell routine usually flows from one exercise to the next, which is similar to the vinyasa flow you experience in yoga. If the moves are executed correctly, this type of smooth transition will make it feel more natural for the body to perform these steps. There’s nothing wrong with a plyometric workout, but if not done correctly, jumping can even break down your joints. Because you use fluid swinging motions with kettlebells, the joints are not affected as much.
Kettlebell workouts are considered a type of functional training. So, what does that mean exactly?
A kettlebell is the perfect type of conditioning tool that can be used to develop muscular endurance and cardiorespiratory endurance. Kettlebells recruit the use of coordination and mobility when you do things like switch the bell from one hand to the other. Because of this, kettlebell routines tend to work both balance and motor skills compared to traditional weights.
Kettlebell exercises can be worked into other exercise forms, such as HIIT, power routines, strength training, running, and Tabata. With a barbell, you can’t do crazy lifts in the middle of a Tabata routine, but you can with a kettlebell. Thanks to their versatility and size, kettlebell swings can find their way into all types of workouts.
With traditional weight training workouts, you need a weight set and a bench. Many people, especially those who live in an apartment, simply don’t have the room. With kettlebells, you only need one or two weights in order to recreate the same type of heart rate spike you would normally get from a five-minute jog or long traditional weight training session.
Pro Tip: With kettlebell training, one of the most important things is choosing the right weight. But this choice should be based on your current fitness level, not your fitness goals.
If you’re not sure what weight is right for you, simply hold a kettlebell by the handle, straight out in front of you. If you can easily lift the bell then it’s probably too light. The bell must be too heavy to lift comfortably in front of you.
On the other hand, if you go too heavy this can also be an issue and can even lead to injury if you go over the top. Challenging yourself during a workout is very important, but if you’re ruining your form for the purpose of lifting a heavier bell, then the harm tends to outweigh any good you may be doing.
Most injuries are a result of a structural breakdown caused by a heavier load or muscle fatigue. Lifting heavy is essential for building strength just as long as you stay within your abilities. With bells, it can be easy to use a heavier weight in hopes of more gains, but lifting more than you’re able to will end up preventing you from real gains.
Choose the right weight and you won’t need anything else but body weight to workout at home for a killer workout.
Top Kettlebells Comparison Chart
|Product||Size Options ||Material ||Price||Lowest Price|
|Perform better ||14||powder coating/rubber ||$$||Check Price|
|CAP||8||cast-iron/powder coating||$$||Check Price|
|Rocketlok||3||cast steel ||$$$||Check Price|
|Kettlebell Kings||16||powder coating||$$$$||Check Price|
|CAP Barbell (cement) ||4||Vinyl coated cement ||$||Check Price|
1. Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat Kettlebell Review-Best Kettlebell 2017
The Kettlebell Kings powder coat kettlebell features the classic kettlebell style, but this bell is actually much different and way tougher. The most obvious difference between this bell and other brands is the bell’s overall finish. All models made by Kettlebell Kings features a refined, smooth finish with no major imperfections on the surface to speak of. Additionally, their powder coat finish is considered the smoothest in the industry, and it doesn’t affect the security of the handle’s grip. This is basically a comfortable, high-quality bell that’s smooth enough and tough enough for extended training sessions.
Located on the handle you’ll find a color band, which is used for easy weight identification. The handles are designed for high-intensity workouts. The thick powder coating is designed to make it easier for the user to maintain a solid grip on the bell, even if the user’s hands are sweating. This type of coating is also ideal for holding chalk if you prefer to use it to improve your grip during an intense workout.
The single gravity casting manufacturing technique is the most precise way to create bells to ensure balanced, accurate weight. Using a gravity casting to cast the iron to a specific weight is the ideal way to ensure quality, durability, and accuracy.
Powder coating is considered the most durable type of coating to use for kettlebells all over the world. This type of coating works to protect the kettlebell from scratching and chipping. Once a bell loses its coating it can lead to minor or even major injuries to the hands.
Because the manufacturer believes in their products they currently offer a lifetime warranty on all kettlebells, guaranteeing the structural integrity of the bell for life.
In addition to the great feel of the finish and the refined surface, this training bell is also highly durable. This is a single gravity cast bell with no flashing or welds.
- The color coding system is a huge selling point for consumers. You’ll find colored rings located around the base of the handle. The bell is also stamped in both kilograms and pounds. The weight identification and logo are both etched into the bell, as opposed to painted or glued on.
- This is one solid kettlebell. You won’t find any cuts on your hands due to a rough handle. The bell’s base is flat and sturdy enough for ground work. This model also comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. The powder coat itself is described as top-notch. This bell is available in sixteen weight options.
This model is the priciest kettlebell we reviewed. The price will increase based on the weight. The heavier the bell, the higher the price tag.
Weights by the Kettlebell Kings means total class all the way. You’ll love working out with one or two of these bells and finding effective ways to incorporate them into your daily workout. With a lifetime warranty and a design that’s meant to last, you really have nothing to lose.Check Lowest Price
2. CAP Barbell Kettlebell Review-Best for Intermediate or Advanced Lifters
CAP Barbell produces a wide range of weights that have a reputation for quality and durability. Built tough, their line of kettlebells offer some of the best quality around.
The CAP Barbell kettlebell is a competition bell that’s made from cast iron, so you know it’s durable. This sturdy bell also features a machine finished powder coat, which works to create a seam-free surface for added durability. The coating also works to create a textured surface on the handle for a more secure, comfortable grip. The bell’s flat wider bottom ensures that the bell rests evenly on the ground, without rocking, making it easier to use to perform certain exercises. This model is available in a wide range of sizes, all of which are color coded. The weight is displayed in both kilograms and pounds.
- Users can choose from eight different weight options, ranging from nine pounds up to eighty-eight pounds. For the price, the heavier bells are a total steal.
- This competition bell doesn’t have any seams, welds or weak points, making it a very strong kettlebell that can be used in fat burning, strength training workouts. The matte coating gives this kettlebell a sleek look and also prevents the bell from rusting.
- The coating also helps to improve the texture and overall comfort of the handle, offering a firm grip that prevents the bell from slipping as you work out.
- The handle on the thirty-five and forty-four-pound bells is wide enough for two-hand use.
- The color coding used to identify the weight makes it easier to sort the bells, while also giving them a unique pro look that really makes these weights standout.
- These competition quality weights are well designed, while the wide weight options will allow you to purchase the perfect weight for your workout and fitness goals.
We felt that the coating under the handle was a bit rough and may be a little uncomfortable to use for people with sensitive skin. You can fix this issue with a little sanding and filing. Another issue for some users is the size of the handle. If you have large hands you may have trouble wrapping both of them around the handle. Unfortunately, this is a common issue with CAP Barbell brand kettlebells.
Overall, we felt that these kettlebells have a lot to offer, considering the lower price. These are competition quality kettlebells, which means they’re perfect for tougher workouts and circuits and basically identical to the style of bells you would normally use at your CrossFit gym.
These bells are well-balanced and solid. The texture on the ball and handle are smooth without being slippery, and the wide range of weight options will allow you to choose the best model based on your current workout or fitness goals.
These kettlebells feature a design that’s definitely meant to last and a type of quality that allows you to use and abuse them during a tougher workout, without the fear of damaging them.Check Lowest Price
3. Rocketlok Adjustable Kettlebell Review-Best Adjustable Kettlebell
The Rocketlok adjustable kettlebell features a cast steel handle and body with weighted interior cylinders that are made from solid steel. The bell features a polyurethane cap that comes with an easy to slide locking mechanism that works to keep the weighted cylinders securely in place.
The bell’s weight can be adjusted for the following weight: twenty-four pounds, twenty-eight pounds, thirty-two pounds, and thirty-six pounds.
Although it’s an adjustable bell, it still features the classic cannonball shape and a thick, wide handle that allows you to securely grip your bell as you swing.
- Thanks to the easy to adjust weight changing mechanism, you don’t need any special tools to swap out weights, which is a huge plus for hardcore lifters who don’t have time during a workout to deal with a long weight change process.
- The center of gravity and balance remains consistent at all weight levels. Balance issues with adjustable kettlebells is a common problem, which is why this model remains at the top of its class in terms of usability and quality.
- Instead of traditional weight plates, this model utilizes cylinder weights that are made from solid steel. The slide locking mechanism makes it incredibly easy to adjust.
- The solid steel construction is sturdy and durable.
- The bell’s compact design makes it easy to store and transport. Measuring in at just nine inches tall and eight inches wide, you can fit this bell in almost any space when not in use, with ease.
- The kettlebell’s weight range of twenty-three to thirty-six pounds makes this bell perfect for intermediate and advanced lifters.
- You also won’t notice any movement or rattling as you lift, like you would with lower quality adjustable kettlebells.
The bell’s biggest disadvantage is probably the low weight range. With only a total of four weight options, eventually, you’ll need to size up, which can end up costing you more down the line. However, this adjustable weight can still be used for a wide variety of exercises, even if you outgrow them at some point.
Some lifters felt that the bell’s handle was too wide, which can make it difficult to hold securely during tougher one-hand movements.
You’ll be surprised at how compact and small this kettlebell is. The closure located on the front of the bell remains securely closed during use. The cylinders fit snuggly inside the bell, which is why it doesn’t rattle and the weight doesn’t shift during use.
The bell’s grip is incredibly smooth and burr-free, for ultimate comfort during an intense workout.
Basically, we were simply blown away by the quality of this adjustable kettlebell set.
Normally, we wouldn’t recommend an adjustable model as they tend to have major issues with balance and shifting when you swing, but this simply isn’t the case with this kettlebell by Rocketlok. If you’re on a budget, this set is the way to go, especially if you’re looking for a more challenging kettlebell workout using a wide range of weights.Check Lowest Price
4. Perform Better First Place Kettlebell Review-Best Value
The First Place Kettlebell by Perform Better features a build quality that’s similar to higher priced, top models, but it’s available for a fraction of the price. This bell comes equipped with a smooth handle and a consist finish. It also comes with a slightly wider base than the average bell, which helps to make it more stable to hold in place when used for certain exercises such as planking. This is definitely a feature advanced users can appreciate.
This kettlebell is easy to hold onto in a push-up position for those precarious renegade rows, which are usually done using two bells of the same size.
The bell features a seamless, smooth handle, a high-quality finish and few surface defects. The bell’s finish is comparable to the e-coating used on Metrixxx and Dragon Door brands. The manufacturer isn’t very forthcoming with information regarding the production process, but we found the finish to be a hybrid of sorts that’s somewhere between a glossy e-coat and a matte powder coat.
- The bell is well-made and shows no signs of a defective build. Upon further investigation, we found that the bell is made from a combination of rubber and cast-iron. It also comes equipped with a non-skid bottom for increased stability.
- Highly portable and compact, you can easily store this bell away when not in use.
- These bells are available in fourteen sizes. The bells themselves offer an even, stable feel that can give the user confidence when executing skull crushers or swings.
Some consumers felt that the bell’s casting looked terrible. On some models, even the seam was noticeably visible. The bells themselves are pretty rough and feature quite a few small dents and dings in the casting. Last of all, for some the handle can be a total deal breaker. The handle is slightly larger than competing models, with a seam that’s off and a rougher texture than what we prefer. Other users reported finding random flat spots on the handle that can make the bell difficult to handle with certain exercises. Interestingly enough, the issues with the finish and the handle were not common complaints from consumers. In fact, many consumers reported a near perfect finish and a more stable handle.
Ultimately, these issues all boil down to the coating process. While some models may feature a rougher or dented finish, other bells did not. We purchased two bells and did, in fact, notice some problems with the finish on one of the bells, while the other model looked flawless.
For the price and the overall quality, the bells are definitely worth it. However, if you do run into some serious coating quality issues contact the customer service team for a replacement right away.Check Lowest Price
5. CAP Barbell Vinyl Coated Cement Kettlebell Review
This is the second kettlebell by CAP Barbell that we decided to take a closer look at. While the first model was made from cast-iron with a powder coating, this model is made from solid cement with a thicker vinyl coating. While we don’t normally recommend purchasing a cheaper bell, especially one with a vinyl coating, this model actually surprised up, both in terms of comfort during use and the overall quality. The bells are well-balanced and seem pretty tough, even for high-intensity workouts.
The CAP Barbell vinyl coated cement dumbbell is surprisingly one of the top selling models on the market, and it’s also rated as a bestseller on Amazon. If you’re looking for a basic kettlebell for beginner to advanced routines, then this model should be on your radar. This kettlebell will allow you to totally supercharge your training sessions and increase your power, strength, balance, and endurance. The solid weight of this kettlebell will help both women and men build muscle and burn fat while toning and sculpting the entire body.
Considered one of the best standard bells to help improve endurance, strength, and balance, you can use this kettlebell to carry out a number of extreme exercises. The available weigh options range from just five pounds up to twenty pounds.
The materials used to construct the bell are what helps to keep the price down. Really, this is a bell that will work with most budgets. The price will increase based on the weight of the bell.
Weight options include five pounds, ten pounds, fifteen pounds, and twenty pounds.
- The bell itself is made from solid cement that’s coated in a tough, smooth vinyl. The bell is also able to easily stand since the bottom features a grained texture.
- The bell’s handle is smooth and offers enough room for two hand use. Even though the handle is coated in vinyl, it offers a surprisingly secure, comfortable grip.
Commonly, vinyl kettlebells don’t have the best reputation for a comfortable grip. In fact, there are some vinyl bells that are simply too slippery, an issue which can lead to injury. However, this model truly shines as a vinyl bell. The handle offers the perfect combination of comfort and security. Both the handle and body of the bell are smooth and free from scratches and dents. Consumers have reported that over time, these bells tend to stand up well to plenty of rough use, with no damage to the exterior coating or a change in the bell’s quality.
For some lifters, especially those into CrossFit, the weight options may not be challenging enough. The average seasoned CrossFitter works out with a forty to seventy-pound kettlebell, making this model not challenging enough to provide results. However, the weight options available are perfect for beginners or lifters who are simply looking to tone their muscles as opposed to bulking.
ConclusionCheck Lowest Price
Kettlebell Buying Guide
Are you considering incorporating kettlebells into your workout? With CrossFit’s rise in popularity, the kettlebell is also enjoying their time in the spotlight. Of course, not just CrossFitters are using these weights. A kettlebell is a great tool you can use to improve full body strength, with an emphasis on the core, shoulders, lower back, and legs. Really, it was only a matter of time before the kettlebell joined the ranks of popular weight training equipment alongside the barbell and dumbbell.
There isn’t a ton you need to really know about the kettlebell itself. Basically, it’s a cannonball with a handle. While you should seek out guidance regarding how to safely use one, the process of choosing a bell is essential to your weight loss and muscle gain success.
So, first, we’ll cover what to look for in a kettlebell, and offer some recommendations based on that.
The process of casting kettlebells leaves a flashing, or seam, that runs across the middle of the handle. The seam must be filed down in order for the bell to be finished or coated so that there’s an even, nice surface to hold onto. Manufacturers that produce cheaper bells don’t tend to make much of an effort to remove this sharp seam, and your hands will suffer because of this.
Before you buy a kettlebell, be sure that this seam has been removed. Make sure you run your hands over the entire handle, especially underneath it. This isn’t a huge issue for reputable companies, but if you’re shopping around for a model in a retail or sporting goods store, make sure you take a close look at it. We don’t suggest purchasing fitness equipment from retail stores, but if you have to, at least you’ll know what to look for.
Diameter of the Kettlebell Handle
You’ll want to pay special attention to the diameter of the handle, based on the size of your hands. Not every company will publish this number on the packaging or on their website, however, more reputable companies do. You can expect a decent bell to have a handle diameter that’s around thirty to thirty-one millimeters. The heaviest bells will have a handle diameter around thirty-eight millimeters. A cheaper model can have a handle that’s super narrow, which can make it almost impossible to hang onto during a kettlebell swing or snatches, and you definitely don’t want to deal with that.
Most handles tend to get thicker as the weight goes up. A competition kettlebell general features a uniform handle diameter, regardless of the weight. These are usually more expensive, but they’re a good option if you’re looking for consistency.
The main point here is to avoid bells that feature cheap, skinny handles. Just like with the seam issue, this won’t be a problem if you make sure you avoid cheap box store brands.
For some types of movements, you’ll need to fit both of your hands within the handle, and all without it being too tight of a fit. While the handles usually get wider as the bell’s weight increases, some manufacturers make bells that have handles that extend past the bell’s diameter in a V shape for smaller weights. If you have big hands. You might want to consider this style.
When it comes to competition grade kettlebells, they usually feature a consistent handle size among all weights. So, if you’re willing to fork over the extra cash for a competition bell, you can be sure that the handle opening will be large enough for two hand use, regardless of the bell’s weight.
Kettle Bell Finish
Kettlebells are available in four different finish options. The main options you’ll run into include bare steel, powder coating, vinyl, and enamel. Power coating is the type of finish higher priced models tend to have. A powder coating finish is perfect for holding chalk during a longer set. Bare steel models are used in kettlebell competitions and are often what the pros prefer to use. Enamel is okay, but models with a vinyl coating aren’t really recommended and they’re usually found on lower priced models.
There are a couple of methods commonly used to make a bell: two-piece assembly, or one piece casting. Two piece assembly involves attaching the handle to the ball and it’s not considered as secure or as strong as the one piece casting method. You don’t want the ball portion of the weight to fly off the handle as you’re swinging it.
If you intend to do certain movements, such as mounted pistol squats, handstands, or renegade rows, which use the bell as a ground fixture, then you need a model that has a bottom that’s completely flat. With a reputable bell, this shouldn’t be an issue, but some cheaper models don’t sit flush on the floor and instead wobble around. If you purchase a bell from a brick and mortar store, make sure you check this out for yourself. If you’re shopping online, read some consumers reviews to see how these bells balance and hold up.
Kettlebell Stated Weight
A major problem with companies that produce cheap bells is that they don’t carefully regulate the weight of the bells. Some models can even be off by pounds, which is one of the main reasons we don’t recommend going cheap with this type of fitness equipment. You could end up with one bell that’s two pounds heavier than what you wanted, and another that’s two pounds lighter, which would definitely make your workout results interesting.
What Type of Kettlebell Is right for me?
The most cost effective option is the cast iron kettlebell and it’s perfect for home workouts. However, you shouldn’t totally rule out a competition kettlebell.
Another factor you should consider is your training style. When it comes to training with a kettlebell, there are two main styles. The first style is referred to as hard style training. This type of training places an emphasis on powerful movement in a shorter period of time. The other style is known as girevoy sport, which emphasizes the efficiency of movement over a longer duration of time. This type of workout session is usually ten minutes long and the lifter isn’t allowed to put the bell down during that time.
Pro Tip: Generally, hard style training is done with cast-iron bells, while girevoy is done with competition bells. If you’re drawn to one style more than the other, go with the type of bell that best suits your interest. If you simply aren’t motivated by competing with other lifters, but you like the idea of working with bells of a consistent size, a competition bell may be the best fit for you.
Choosing a Weight
The bells usually range in weight from just five pounds up to a hundred pounds. It’s important that you choose the right weight to start with in order to practice perfect form. There’s a sweet spot between too heavy and too light that tends to vary from person to person. A bell needs to be heavy enough to put sufficient load on your muscles, but it shouldn’t be so heavy that you have to compromise your technique in order to lift it.
Most fitness experts recommend that men should begin with thirty-five pounds and the average woman should begin with eighteen to twenty pounds.
While you really only need one kettlebell to start with, we recommend purchasing two. One can be used for single hand work and the other one can be used for two hand work.
For your first purchase, we don’t recommend buying an adjustable kettlebell. With a couple of exceptions, an adjustable kettlebell isn’t well suited for a serious kettlebell workout because they’re usually oddly shaped. The high-quality options that do exist are pretty pricey. You’re much better off using that money to purchase a couple of fixed bells to start with.
Incorporating Kettlebells into your Workout Routine
By incorporating kettlebells into your workout regimen, you’ll be surprised at the amount of gains you’ll enjoy during the first month, both in strength and size.
If you’re still on the fence regarding whether or not to add kettlebells to your weight training program, then you’re probably interested in learning a little more about the type of exercises you can use them for. You’ll definitely be surprised and impressed with their versatility.
Here are a few examples of exercises you can use with a kettlebell:
- Stiff legged deadlifts
- One arm rows
- Shoulder press
- Bulgarian split squats
- Walking lunges
- Bench press
There are also several traditional kettlebell specific exercises that you can try out, once you perfect your technique. All of these exercises listed can greatly assist in helping you to achieve your fitness goals.
Kettlebells can be added to your training program for a number of exercises and can even be used during a HIIT routine. A great way to begin would be to substitute one to two exercises per body part using kettlebells.
Don’t be afraid to be creative. Use bells to add more variety to your workout.
If you’re totally new to working out, then it’s a good idea to start with just one or two basic exercises using a bell. Most beginners enjoy starting off with the classic kettlebell swing, in which the bell is placed between the legs and then swung forward and up, back and down.
When you’re swinging the bell, be careful that you don’t lift with your back. You never want to stress any single muscle in the core. Instead, you’ll want to strengthen them equally. Make sure you keep your back straight when you’re lifting the bell. If you’re unable to do this, then you may need to start off using a lighter bell, and build up to a higher weight over a period of a few weeks.
Once you feel comfortable doing at least one exercise regularly, then it’ll be time to move on to other types of more challenging exercises. Literally, there are hundreds of variations of exercises you can do using a kettlebell. Every workout can be different, which in turn will make it more challenging for your muscles. A challenging workout always equals results.
How to use a Kettlebell to get back in Shape after an Injury
Rehab professionals have used bells in recovery programs for years, even for injuries to the rotator cuff and lower back. These applications often require using a lighter bell, weighing around three to five pounds. Even these lighter weights should not be used if an injury is still causing pain, swelling, or inflammation. After any acute pain stops, lighter bells can be used to promote muscle endurance. Exercising with fewer reps and a heavier load can help to rebuild muscle after initial improvement.
Really, a kettlebell belongs in every exercise program. They’re affordable, don’t take up much space, and they’re easy to store. Kettlebell routines can work to build up aerobic capacity while increasing flexibility and muscle strength at the same time, and at a faster rate compared to higher priced exercise equipment.