Best Kettlebells In 2017 – Buying Guide, Comparison and Reviews

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best kettlebellsWithin this best kettlebells buying guide,  you’ll find reviews of the top 10 best kettlebells on the market today. Each kettlebell has it’s own style and all come in at different prices, so it’s important to know what to lookout for to make sure you buy the best kettlebells. Some of the most common complaints I hear are from people who have bought a kettlbell without considering factors like: handle, shape, design, size, weight range and price. Did you know that the shape of certain kettlebells can cause long term injuries? All of your questions are covered within this handy guide to help you buy the best kettlebells on the market. But fist, what is a kettlebell?

In the last 10 or so years, kettlebells have gone from a secret weapons used only by the most serious trainers, to a mainstream success that can be found in brightly-colored vinyl in any home goods store. You’ll likely recognize the kettlebell thanks to its unique design; unlike a dumbbell, the center of mass is directly under the handle, and it looks like a teapot without the spot hence, the name kettlebell.

The sudden popularity is thanks to sweeping fitness movements (like Crossfit) gaining notoriety and making lifting weights fun and attainable for all people. Despite the sudden boom in demand of kettlebells, it’s interesting to note that they originated more than 300 years ago, in Russia during the 1700s. Originally used as a counterweight for measuring dry goods, the Russians quickly discovered how beneficial the kettlebell can be for strength training as well as general conditioning. Strong men, circus performers, and fitness enthusiasts alike delighted in the efficiency and effectiveness of the kettlebell, long before the market exploded with countless consumer options. This guide is intended to help you sort through the ins and outs of what makes a great kettlebell as well as what you should look for when it’s time to buy one for you use.

Best Kettlebells – Top 10 Picks and Comparison and Reviews

Contents

The following are reviews the top 10 best kettlebells currently on the market.

CAP Hammertone Cast Iron Kettlebell

CAP Barbell 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 5 pounds for the 10 to 50 pound kettlebells and 10 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.

One final point to mention on the handles. A small proportion of customers experienced the CAP Hammertone Kettlebells handles cracking. The cause of the cracking is likely due to damage sustained during shipping. For peace of mind CAP do offer a warranty. It should be noted that I had no issues with the CAP Hammertone Cast Iron Kettlebells I ordered from Amazon.

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.

If you do buy the CAP Hammertone Cast Iron Kettlebells you’ll get a link to their website that teaches kettlebell exercises. This is a great bonus for beginners who are just getting started with their kettlebell training.

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Pros and Cons of the CAP Hammertone Cast Iron Kettlebell

Pros
  • Textured finish provides excellent grip
  • Made from cast iron
  • Available from 10 pounds up to 80 pounds
  • Paint protects from rusting
  • Sold in 5 and 10 pound increments
Cons
  • Glossy finish can cause slipping
  • Handles known to crack
  • Handles a squeeze for two handed workouts

CAP Hammertone Cast Iron Kettlebell Review

If you’re looking for a small and functional kettlebell set, the CAP Hammertone is a strong best kettlebells contender.

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Tone Fitness PVC Coated Kettlebell

Tone Fitness Vinyl KettlebellsThe first thing you’ll notice with the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell is the bright colors. Available in lime green, pink, and orange, the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell by CAP are a great choice kettlebell if you’re looking to add a bit of color to your home gym.

The Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell is available in 5, 10, or 15 pound individual weights, or you can purchase the set of three for a total of 30 pounds. Because they’re filled with cement and covered with vinyl, they’re much more cost effective, with the set coming it as low as $1 per pound. You should note that what you save in price is made up for in size. Cement is a lighter material than iron, so the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebells are much bigger than the cast iron counterparts.

One major critique is the size of 15-pound bell. At 8.7 x 6.7 x 9.8 inches it’s large and bulky, and therefore a bit cumbersome when working out. I sustained some bruising to the wrist so be weary of that. The other sizes do not seem to have the same problem.

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.

If you do purchase the set, then you will receive a complimentary tutorial DVD. Whilst this is a nice touch you shouldn’t get too excited by it. I guess it is a starting point for those new to kettlebell training.

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Pros and Cons of the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell

Pros
  • Cost effective
  • Free kettlebell workout DVD
  • Two handed workout handle
  • Brightly colored
  • Available in 5, 10 and 15 pound weights
Cons
  • Made from cement
  • Bulky
  • Handle has an annoying ridge
  • Vinyl coating contains harsh chemicals

Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell Review

With its bright colors, the Tone Fitness Kettlebell is a fun and practical kettlebell. It’s one of the best kettlebells on the market for beginners. 

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CAP PVC Coated Kettlebell

CAP PVC Coated KettlebellAnother 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.

First off, the CAP PVC Coated Kettlebell is sold sold with a black vinyl shell that protects the kettlebell from the elements. What I like about the shell is the clear labelling of the kettlebell weight. Next is the shape. If you look carefully you’ll notice that the CAP PVC Kettlebell is much rounder and shaped more like a traditional kettlebell. I much prefer kettlebell that are shaped more like a traditional kettlebell as there generally much smoother.

Moving onto weight range, the CAP PVC Kettlebells are available in the following weights. 5, 10, 15 and 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 8 x 8.5 x 11 inches 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.

As for the handle it is shaped more squarish, like a competition kettlebell. It’s big enough for two handed workout but I did notice the annoying ridge running right around it. Being covered in vinyl the handle does get slippery when hands are sweaty, so have gloves on deck to prevent the slippage.

The main selling point for the CAP PVC Kettlebell is the price. As mentioned cement kettlebells are generally cheaper. However, the only kettlebell weight that comes in at under $1/pound is the 20 pound CAP PVC Kettlebell. The other options vary in price and rival some of the cast iron weights per pound, so be sure to do the calculation on how much you are paying per pound.

By the way, if you are considering either the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebell or the CAP PVC Kettlebell, then the Tone Fitness kettlebell is cheaper. This does come at a cost as the CAP PVC Kettlebells are smaller in size. So you’ll need to decide which is more important, cost or size?

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Pros and Cons of the CAP PVC Coated Kettlebell

Pros
  • Cost effective but more expensive than the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebells
  • 20 pound kettlebell costs less than $1 per pound
  • Two handed workout handle
  • Available in 5, 10, 15 and 20 pound weights
Cons
  • Made from cement
  • Bulky but smaller than the Tone Fitness PVC Kettlebells
  • Handle has an annoying ridge
  • Vinyl coating contains harsh chemicals

CAP PVC Coated Kettlebell Review

Another kettlebell set that will appeal beginners is the CAP PVC Kettlebell. One of the best kettlebells you can buy if looking for a balance between cost and size. 

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Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell

Yes4All Solid Cast Iron KettlebellOn 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!).

So, what is the trade-off for this high-quality kettlebell? Of course, it’s the price. TheYes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebells run on the more expensive side if you’re buying on the light or heavy end of the spectrum. There is some good news though, if you’re buying weight in the 25-50 pound range, the price is actually very competitive at just over $1 per pound!

Although the Yes4All solid cast iron kettlebell set is available from 5 to 80 pounds, it’s interesting to note that the design shifts as you go up the weight scale. This for me is a big disappointment. Even the most subtle difference in shape can result in a change of technique. So it’s very strange that the design changes as you go up the range. On some of the heavier options, the bell has a flat side instead of being perfectly round, and that can be problematic for the wrists and ease of use.

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Pros and Cons of the Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell

Pros
  • Available from 5 to 80 pounds
  • Textured finish provides good grip
  • Power coated finish aids grip (not glossy)
  • Comfortable handle
  • Flat bottom
Cons
  • Not all kettlebells in set have the same shape/design
  • Flat bottom is prone to wobbling

Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebell Review

I highly recommend this kettlebell set. If you’re looking to buy just a few different kettlebell weights this is one of the best kettlebells you can buy. Just a shame the shape/design changes as the weight increases. 

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Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebell

Yes4All Vinyl Coated KettlebellAs one of the only 5-star kettlebells on Amazon, I was really exited about reviewing the 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 5 pounds, and go up to 45 pounds. Each kettlebell increases in 5 pound increments, meaning there are 8 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.

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Pros and Cons of the Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebell

Pros
  • Available from 5 to 45 pounds
  • Vinyl coating protects and reduces noise
  • Curved handle
  • Flat bottom
Cons
  • Handle may need smoothening out
  • Kettlebells can wobble

Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebell Review

One of the best kettlebells you can buy. The vinyl covering protects both the bell and the floor from drop damage while contributing to noise reduction, the handle is still wide and easy to grip, without the slippery side effect that vinyl can cause.

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CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell

CAP Enamel Coated KettlebellThe CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell is one you’ll either love or hate. Made from solid cast iron, this kettlebell is coated with a high-gloss black enamel finish. On the positive side, it gives the CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell a beautifully smooth look and feel. On the other hand, it chips off during intense or heavy use, or on floors that are not carpeted.

Sticking with the love/hate theme. The handle is the smoothest of all the kettlebells I have reviewed. Put simply, nothing beats the CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell for handle smoothness. Whilst this is a definite positive, you’ll need to wear gloves if your prone to sweating during intense workouts. The lack of grip makes the CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell quite difficult to handle with sweaty palms.

One final thing to bear in mind whilst talking about the handle. The smaller kettlebell weights are not really designed for two hands. I tested out the 10 and 60 pound CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell and noted a stark difference in handle size for the larger weights.

Moving on to weight range. The CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell is available from 10 pounds up to 80 pounds. The kettlebells increase in increments of 5 pounds from 10 to 50 pounds and then 10 pounds from 50 to 80. That means there are 12 kettlebells in the set.

As for price, the 15 pound CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell will cost you approximately $1.58/pound. If you’re going mid-range, the 40-pounder comes in at $1.49/pound.

One thing I loved about the CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebells is the design, in particular the flat bottom. It holds up really well during floor based routines.

This CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell also comes with a 30-day product warranty, which seems a bit peculiar for a cast iron product (hint: it’s because of the enamel finish). If you’re happy with the smoothness that the enamel allows, ignore these critiques; otherwise, be warned.

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Pros and Cons of the CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell

Pros
  • Available from 10 to 80 pounds
  • Covered in smooth enamel
  • Smooth handle
  • Curved handle
  • Flat bottom
  • 30 day warranty
Cons
  • Enamel is prone to chipping
  • Handles on the smaller kettlebells are designed for one handed workouts
  • May need to wear gloves to prevent slipping

CAP Enamel Coated Kettlebell Review

If you appreciate a kettlebell with a smooth handle, then this is the best kettlebell money can buy. Made from cast iron and covered in high-gloss enamel it leaves a beautifully smooth finish. But be warned, it can chip easily!

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SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Kettlebell

SPRI Deluxe Vinyl KettlebellAnother 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.

Available in weight range from 5-50 pounds, the SPRI Deluxe Kettlebells are uniquely color-coded, which make them ideal for people who want a set. The color-coded system not only looks amazing, it allows for quick distinction and ease of use. Something you’ll appreciate during a tiring routine! Unlike other kettlebell sets I have reviewed, the SPRI Deluxe Kettlebells increase in increments of 2, 3 and 5 pounds. There are 13 kettbells to a complete set.

If all this sounds great, but you’re on a tight budget, then be warned that the lower weights work out pretty expensive. The starter 5-pound SPRI Deluxe Kettlebell rings up at a whopping $4.23/pound. This does change as the weights increase though. A mid-range 30-pound kettlebell is priced at $1.79/pound (much better!).

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.

My only concerns with the SPRI Deluxe Kettlebells are the jagged edges on the handle. You’ll likely need to smooth out the handle before you can use it. Also, the handles are actually smaller than others. This makes it tricky to workout with two hands.

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Pros and Cons of the SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Kettlebell

Pros
  • Available from 5 to 50 pounds
  • Weight increments or 2, 3 and 5 pounds
  • Covered in a protective vinyl shell
  • Kettlebells are perfectly circular in shape
  • Color coded system
  • Flat bottom
Cons
  • Smaller weights are very expensive
  • Can be a squeeze to fit two hands into the smaller weights
  • Handle may need smoothening out before use

SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Kettlebell Review

With it’s protective vinyl coating and color coded system, the SPRI Deluxe kettlebells stand out for all the right reasons. Once you’ve smoothed out the handle this is one of the top kettlebells on the market.

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GoFit Contoured Single Vinyl Coated Kettlebell

GoFit Contoured KettlebellThe first thing you’ll notice about the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell is the shape. It’s different from all of the others in this best kettlebells list. So what’s different? Well, if you’re new to kettlebell training you’ll experienced the painful side effects of full iron flipping onto your wrist when trying to perform specific exercises like clean-and-press?

With this in mind the manufacturers, GoFit went back to the drawing board and developed the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell. The ergonomic design allows the kettlebell to wrap around the wrist and forearm, minimizing the damage. No doubt the number one question is does it work? Well, yes it does actually, and surprisingly well!

Other features of the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell include the textured handle which is supposed to improve the grip….For me this is one of the standout features, the grip is excellent! Having reviewed so many different kettlebells, I can say the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell is one of the best kettlebells for girp.

The GoFit Contoured Kettlebell is also protected with color coded vinyl-shells. Firstly, the color coding is a great idea. It helps you to easily identify one weight from another. Secondly the vinyl shell offers protection for the kettlebell and your floors.

The final thing to mention is the flat bottom. Because of the shape of the bell, the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell comes with a large flat bottom. Once again there is very little on the market that ranks so well for sturdiness and balance when working out from the floor. I was really impressed.

As for weight range, the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell is available from 7 to 45 pounds. The weights generally increase in 5 pound increments. In terms of price these run on the more expensive side. The 7-pound option is  $3.57/pound. The 25-pound option checks out at about $2.60 per pound.

My only concern with the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell is the shape. I am a traditionalist and prefer a rounded design!

Bonus: The GoFit Contoured Kettlebell it comes with a complimentary training DVD; some buyers reported receiving one from Brook Benton (as advertised), but others received Bob Harper’s training DVD. Either way, it is a nice addition for those who are learning how to properly and effectively use kettlebells.

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Pros and Cons of the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell

Pros
  • Available from 7 to 45 pounds
  • Increments of 3 and 5 pounds
  • Vinyl shell protects kettlebell and floors
  • Color coded system
  • Flat bottom
  • Textured handle
  • Ergonomic shape protects wrists and forearms
  • Free kettlebell workout dvd
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Non traditional shape

GoFit Contoured Kettlebell Review

The GoFit Contoured Kettlebell has it all: Excellent grip, ergonomic design, flat bottom, vinyl casing and a color coded system. If shape is not important to you then this is the best kettlebell you can buy.  

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GoFit Premium Vinyl Dipped Kettlebell

GoFit Premium Vinyl Dipped KettlebellIf, like me you prefer the traditional (rounded) kettlebell shape then I have some good news for you. The GoFit Premium Kettlebell has all the benefits of the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell, with one major difference, the shape. The GoFit Premium Kettlebell has the traditional cannonball style bell, as opposed to the ergonomically contoured shape featured of the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell.

That’s where the differences stop, though, as the GoFit Premium Kettlebell is also is made from cast iron and comes with a color coded vinyl shell smoothness that protects floors and prevents rust. You also get the textured handle which offers a tremendous amount of grip. There is also enough space on the handle to workout with both hands.

Because of the traditional design, the GoFit Premium Kettlebell are slightly cheaper than the contoured version; a 25-pounder costs $2.11 per pound, down from $2.60 per pound for the contoured kettlebell. As mentioned the GoFit Premium Kettlebells are color-coded for easy identification. You also get the anti wobble flat bottom. And yes, you get a complimentary training DVD with purchase on this option, too.

As for weight range, the GoFit Premium Kettlebell are available from 7 to 45 pounds. Incedentially that’s also the same as the contoured kettlebell set.

I got on really well with the GoFit Premium Kettlebell set. If you have read all of my kettlebell reviews you’ll know I am a big fan of a color coded system, vinyl shell for protection and a textured handle for grip. The only negative is the price, the GoFit Kettlebells do come in slightly higher. Other than that the GoFit Premium Kettlebell are one of the best kettlebells you can buy.

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Pros and Cons of the GoFit Premium Vinyl Dipped Kettlebell

Pros
  • Available from 7 to 45 pounds
  • Increments of 3 and 5 pounds
  • Vinyl shell protects kettlebell and floors
  • Color coded system
  • Flat bottom
  • Textured handle
  • Free kettlebell workout dvd
Cons
  • Expensive but cheaper than the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell

GoFit Premium Vinyl Dipped Kettlebell Review

The GoFit Premium Kettlebell has all the benefits of the GoFit Contoured Kettlebell: textured handle, color coded system, vinyl shell, flat bottom…. with one major difference, the shape. It’s shaped like a traditional kettlebell and is one of the best kettlebells on the market. 

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Kathy Smith Kettlebell

Dear Beginners: This one’s for you. The Kathy Smith Kettlebell Solution is intended for people who have never done kettlebell training, have only done light weight training, and are looking to burn calories with fast-paced aerobic workouts that add in the small resistance of the lightweight kettlebells. Here is what is included with this package:

  • One 3 lb. Soft Kettlebell
  • One 5 lb. Soft Kettlebell
  • 4 Workouts DVD: Upper Body, Buns & Thighs, Core, and Fat Burning
  • A Nutrition Solution Guide
  • A Kettlebell Solution Instructional Wall Chart

What’s really great about this offer is the low price point on it: $34.99 will get you everything listed above. I know some serious lifters may guffaw at this review, but my take on it is that it will teach you how to use kettlebells safely, and learning the movement patterns is always a good thing. The nutrition guide and wall chart add even more value, as you can learn to eat for your goals as well as independently exercise without the help of the instructional DVDs.

So, what exactly does a “soft” kettlebell entail? They are seemingly made polycarbonate; the inside is filled with sand, but you don’t have to worry about shifting of contents because the outside is rigid resin with a textured, rigid handle. The handles additionally feature being textured with a sort of crosshatching for better grip. Bottom line, this package offers a comprehensive fitness system for beginners, and it is priced at a great value.

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Best Kettlebell Buying Guide

5 Benefits of Kettlebell training

Before buying the best kettlebell, let’s establish what the benefits of kettlebell training actually are, as this is another topic that we can thank pop culture for creating myths. Here are the top five benefits of using kettlebells as a regular part of your fitness routine:

Kettlebells Focus on Movements (Not Muscles)

There is really a huge difference in traditional muscle-focused training and functional movement training; think about the difference in a bodybuilder and a person who trains for an event. Whereas the bodybuilder needs dedicated training days for each muscle group, someone training for say, a triathalon, needs specific movement training and abilities. This is called functional fitness, and although that word is often used inappropriately (again, thanks to pop culture), kettlebell training allows for functional movement training. So instead of trying to make your biceps bulge, you’ll actually be improving the entire quality of your life thanks to the added strength, endurance, mobility, and core strength you will get from using kettlebells. And, you may even get more defined biceps as an added benefit.

Kettlebells Combine Strength Training with Cardio Training

Gone are the days of needing to slog out an hour of treadmill time and then going to hit the weights. It’s not practical or efficient to spend hours at a time in the gym, and really busy people don’t have time for that anyway. It can be frustrating trying to find a timely solution for these two really important components of fitness (strength and cardio). But, kettlebells provide an effective solution, as you can use them both to spike your heart rate to fat-burning zone and cardio training zone, in addition to building muscle.

Because of the whole body demand that kettlebells take, and the heart rate spike that happens during their use (especially if used for high intensity interval training or HIIT), your body burns more fat than with traditional cardio. One last advantage to point out on this is that kettlebells also offer a low-impact solution. Your joints are not absorbing the impact of the lifts and therefore are staying safer.

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.

Kettlebells Improve Mobility and Stability

Mobility and stability are the unsung heroes of the fitness world; many serious lifters do not realize that their strength will suffer if their range of motion is limited. Poor mobility and lack of stability is often to blame for muscle pain as well, since tight muscles cause the body to compensate and therefore move out of alignment. While learning to stabilize your joints before mobilizing them is typically recommended, you can accomplish both of these simultaneously during kettlebell training, thanks to its design as well as the associated movements. For this reason, kettlebells are often used in rehabilitation programs in addition to being used for injury prevention.

They Provide Smart Solutions

Is there any other piece of fitness equipment that you can use for strength and cardio training, that will also provide a full-body workout and improved joint mobility and stability, without breaking the bank? I can’t think of any.

Kettlebells also do not take up a lot of space and are very portable. If you invest in a solid quality kettlebell, then you don’t have to worry about it tearing up or breaking. And, as you increase your strength, you can change how you use your kettlebell in order to provide the new level of resistance that you need. Even just making small changes to how you hold a kettlebell can create a vastly different lifting experience!

It is frustrating (and expensive) to have to continuously invest in heavier weights as with traditional weight lifting, but because of the nature of the kettlebell and its versatility, you can really get by with just changing how you use it, instead of buying a brand new weight. This makes it a smart solution, and if I could only take one piece of fitness equipment to a deserted island, it would definitely be the kettlebell.

Three types of kettlebell

Because of the wide availability of kettlebells available to purchase, it’s important to differentiate between the three main types, as each have different purposes, benefits, and downsides.

Standard Kettlebell

The standard kettlebell is what is typically found in Crossfit gyms and fitness centers across the world; it’s standout point is that as it increases in weight, the bell gets larger, too. It also has a wide, arcing handle that allows for two-hand exercises to be easily performed (as in kettlebell swings).

standard-kettlebell

Competition Kettlebell

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.

competition kettlebell

Adjustable Kettlebell

An adjustable kettlebell is pretty much what it sounds like: a kettlebell in which you can adjust the weight based on the load you need for the type of exercise that you are doing. This type of kettlebell is usually isolated to home use, as the adjusting mechanism can be awkward and time-consuming. It is, however, advantageous in that it can replace an entire set of kettlebells at a lower cost.

Stamina Adjustable Kettle Versa-Bell Review

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?

Kettlebell Set

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.

Individual Kettlebell

If you are someone who wants to buy just one kettlebell, you likely have a different outlook on how it will be used. The individual kettlebell can be sufficient for those seasoned lifters who want a challenging weight but know that they will never outgrow it in their training (so, buy one heavy weight). It can also be the right choice for a beginner who is just getting started with kettlebell training, as developing strength should happen organically, meaning there should not be a rush to increase in weight load. In this case, you should purchase a weight that is not so challenging that it interferes with your ability learn the required movement patterns.

Buying the Best Kettlebells – Factors to consider

Handle

Whereas many users get caught up on the weight and material, it is really important to point out the need for a great handle. It is your anchor point on the kettlebell, and it can affect your safety as well as lifting ability. You need to look for a smooth, blemish free handle that can comfortably fit two hands. Also, look at the weight that the handle contributes; this is important to help prevent wrist injuries.

Generally speaking, the handle should entail about five pounds of weight. The slippery factor is the final consideration in choosing a handle; while this is typically contingent on the material, some handles are designed with texture in order to create a better grip. Those that are finished with glossy enamel, albeit smoothest, are also most slippery- especially if you have sweaty palms. This is no big deal if you wear gloves, but it’s worth mentioning to keep you safe and prevent dropping the weight. Also, some kettlebells feature a steel handle but a vinyl-encased bell in order to provide a better grip, so be sure to look at the detail of the design when you see vinyl.

Material

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.

Weight Range

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 5 pounds, so typically sets you will see are something like 5/10/15 pounds. Remember, these light weights are specifically designed to use for high repetitions and fast-paced aerobic conditioning, not heavy lifting or hypertrophy.

Design (Shape)

While traditional kettlebells have a cannonball-shaped bell, the limitless options also mean there is quite a bit of variance in shape. You won’t find a lot of kettlebell manufacturers that stray from the traditional bell shape, but you need to look at the design of the handle in relationship to the bell. If this is poorly designed, then you could have bruised up wrists and forearms thanks to the movement of the bell when you do dynamic movements, like kettlebell power cleans or Turkish get ups.

Also, make sure you look at whether or not the bottom is flat. Here’s why: for starters, a flat bottom means it can be stored upright and you don’t have to buy a rack. But more importantly, many kettlebell enthusiasts enjoy the versatility of kettlebell floor exercises. Say you want to knock out a set of push-ups or “Renegade Rows” (performing one-arm rows while in push-up position), you probably don’t want to worry about face planting into the floor because the kettlebell flipped over. Yes, some shakiness can add to your training session since you will be forced to stabilize, but you need to consider your safety and look for a design that was created to prevent injuries.

Size

We already established that competition kettlebells do not have size variance, but since this is a guide on standards, it’s important to note that size matters. The problem is that some bells are made way too big, and their bulkiness makes doing any exercise other than squats awkward and frustrating. What’s interesting is that this does not necessarily depend on the weight, despite it being typical for bell size to increase as weight does. There are 15-pound kettlebells that are made entirely too big and bulky, and there are 50-pount options that remain small and compact. Product dimension are usually available to help you determine the size, and you can sift through reviews to see what other users have experienced.

Price Range

As with any fitness product, you have prices all over the map. Even though it’s true there is a lot of variance in price points, you can still expect to pay at least $1 per pound on the more low-end kettlebells (these are generally filled with cement and completely vinyl-coated).

Some of the best kettlebells can cost you upward of $2-4 per pound, so be sure to check into that if budget is a major consideration. It is also true that the price per pound tends to decrease as you go up in weight, so it could very well be a better investment to purchase the next weight up from what your immediate training need is. As with any price discussion, look into warranties and the life span a kettlebell is expected. You may pay more for a better quality product upfront, but at least you don’t have to replace it after a short amount of time!