The fitness world is funny, fifteen years ago if you had walked into a gym with a kettlebell nobody would have had a clue what it was you were holding. These days a lot of people judge a gym by what (if any) kettlebells they provide. Searching out kettlebells online can be a confusing experience, with a crazy range of prices.
Sadly with kettlebells there is a right and wrong choice, and a lot of gyms (and people) are making the mistake of buying the wrong type. “What does it matter?” you ask, “Aren’t they all just shaped weights?”. Technically true, but then isn’t a Ferrari just the same as a Skoda? But which one would you prefer to drive?
See with kettlebells what matters is density, a 75lb kettlebell that is made of cast iron or steel is going to be a lot denser than one that is made predominantly of plastic. This means that the bell will be smaller and easier to swing.
A decent kettlebell will also be better balanced, and should never be in danger of breaking. The kettlebells that we will be looking at in this article are designed to last forever, in 200 years your ancestors should still be able to swing these bells with complete confidence.
Other things you should look out for are lifetime warranties, a great handle that is comfortable to hold. Don’t waste your time on kettlebells lighter than 18lbs, and don’t spend all of your money on a 90lb+ kettlebell if you want to perform swings
Why bother with kettlebells?
There are many benefits to using kettlebells, there is the hormonal response to using free weights rather than fixed resistance machines. There’s the strength gains, and the fact that using kettlebells will help you burn more calories than most other forms of cardio or resistance training. There are also more practical benefits, using kettlebells is a great way to complete a full body circuit whilst in a crowded gym or in a limited space such as a home gym.
Now that you know what to look out for, and why your training program could benefit from using kettlebells, let’s take a look at some of the best products out there.
The first set of kettlebells we are going to look at are arguably the best quality, Kettlebell Kings are NOT cheap but they are beautifully made and will last forever. There is no welding on these kettlebells as they made out of one solid piece of steel. These kettlebells are competition ready a they are completely balanced and an accurate and reliable weight.
The lightest kettlebell available is the 26lb one, then there is a 31, 35, 40, 49.5, 53, 57, 62, 66 and 75lb version. Everything about these kettlebells just oozes class, the design of the bells is beautiful and each one is color-coded by weight.
Kettlebell Kings offer a lifetime warranty on their product. Without a doubt, these are some of the best kettlebells around.
CFF are another big name in the kettlebell world and produce some stunning bells, their bells are powder coated which just means that they are easier to hold and won’t chip – something that happens to a lot of kettlebells after years of being dropped or smashed about.
The weights start at 4kg (8lbs) and go up to 32kg (70lbs), because they are Russian kettlebells they are weighed using the metric system rather than USCS meaning that their weight in lbs will be slightly different to US made kettlebells. This doesn’t really matter much, a weight is a weight after all but it is something to be aware of.
As with the Kettlebell Kings bells, the CFF bells are made from one solid cast, meaning no welding. Whilst welding isn’t necessarily a bad thing (most kettlebells are welded) the fact that these ones aren’t means that they will never break.
The improved grip (made from the powder coating) means that swings, cleans, and other movements can be performed with an added level of safety and security. If you’ve ever dropped a kettlebell mid-swing you’ll understand why this is important!
So far we have looked at two of the best kettlebells on the market, both are stunning well-crafted and both cost a lot. This time we are looking at kettlebells for those on a budget, that doesn’t mean that there will be a huge drop in quality. The trick to shopping for kettlebells on a budget is to see whether the high quality companies sell cheaper options.
So Kettlebell Kings who we looked at earlier have a cheaper version available. This kettlebell is Cast Iron rather than steel, and definitely does not have as nice a design as the more expensive bells. The handles have not been welded on meaning that they still created the bell from one solid cast, but steel is a better material to use than iron.
However these kettlebells are half the price! And you are still buying from a well-known company that you can trust. They are also covered by a lifetime warranty, so if they did get damaged you could have them replaced.
No these kettlebells are not competition-ready, but do you need them to be? If you are purchasing for a home gym then you aren’t going to be subjecting them to the abuse that most gym-based bells would receive. For these prices you could also get yourself a variety of different weights, whereas doing this with Kettlebell Kings’ competition style bells would cost you thousands of dollars!
If you have a large budget then you won’t find a nicer set of kettlebells than Kettlebell Kings’ competition style bells, but if you are a guy trying to get a few quality bells for his home gym then the Cast iron set will suit your needs perfectly.
The first thing that stands out about the Rep Fitness Kettlebells is the unusually large handles, each weight has a corresponding colored band along the handle that denotes which weight it is. The handle size looks a little strange on the smaller weights, but when it comes to 44lb+ weights the handle looks perfect. Like the CFF kettlebells, Rep Fitness have chosen to concentrate on the grip for their bells. This means that you won’t need to add chalk to them when performing swings or presses.
The variety of weights on offer is massive, and there are also combo deals where you can 2x 18lb, 26lb, 35lb, 44lb, and 53lb kettlebells in one deal. That alone would be enough to stock a personal training studio or even a commercial gym, let alone a home gym!
As with the other bells, the handles have not been welded on but instead the whole kettlebell has been made from one cast. The warranty is only 90 days (not exactly the same as the lifetime warranty on offer from other companies) but to be honest it is unlikely that you could do anything to damage one of these bells in the first place.
After spending so much time discussing the lovingly crafted kettlebells and describing how the perfect balance and quality of materials used are so important, this last item may seem an odd choice. This is a kettlebell in name only, and is not shaped anything like a proper kettlebell, meaning that its performance will be suspect.
But you know what? Not everyone has the money to afford spending $600+ on a set of kettlebells. Nor does buying one kettlebell at a certain weight make much sense. If you buy a very light one then your kettlebell swings and deadlifts will be underwhelming, but if you buy a very heavy one then you won’t be able to perform single arm presses, or cleans, or Turkish get ups.
With Titan Fitness’ Adjustable kettlebell you get a large variety of different weights for a very good price. You will then be able to perform a load of different kettlebell exercises without having to remortgage your house to pay for a complete set.
These are not perfect but they are a very good solution to a limited budget. Don’t expect them to last forever and you might not be able to get as balanced a swing, but your muscles won’t care and you can still get fantastic results from them!
It’s important to pick the kettlebell that fits your price range, and hopefully the wide selection that we have looked at today has helped you do this. If you take your kettlebells seriously and want the best then the Kettlebell Kings or CFF kettlebells are definitely for you. If you want a couple of decent bells for a reasonable price then you have Rep Fitness’ bells, or if you need a lot of kettlebells and aren’t worried about what they look like then the adjustable bells are the way to go.