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When it comes to blending strength and conditioning, the kettlebell might be the most versatile piece of equipment there is. We recommend some of the best adjustable dumbbells and best Olympic barbells, but nothing quite compares to swinging a kettlebell.
The tricky part about the search for the best kettlebell is that many of them look and feel the same. However, there are differences, be it price, coating, durability, different weight increments, or the width of the handle.
I have personally tested dozens of bells and can verify that the Rogue Fitness E-Coat is the best option for most people. However, your needs for your home gym may be specific, so read on to find the different kettlebells I like and why.
Good for: Just about anyone who wants to use kettlebells in training
My Favorite Things:
Over the last five years, I have used and tested several of Rogue Fitness’ kettlebells. By far, the E-Coat line is my favorite. There is a Rogue kettlebell with a powder coat finish, which is a great product, but the e-coating on this particular bell elevates it above the rest.
E-coats are highly durable and resistant to chipping, scratching and rusting. They also make for a stronger grip on the kettlebell. The E-Coat Kettlebell is also made from ductile iron. Many cast iron kettlebells use a gray iron. Ductile iron offers more durability and resistance to corrosion.
There are 12 weight increments in the E-Coat line, ranging from 9 to 88 pounds. The machine-flat base means they store easily. As with many cast iron kettlebells, the handle diameter varies based on the weight of the bell. For these, the handle is 1.2" for the 9-18 pound bells, 1.4 inches for the 26 pound bell, and 1.5 inches for the 35 to 88 pound bells.
Perhaps one of the best features about the E-Coat bell is that it’s the same price as the Rogue powder coat kettlebells. You’re getting a better product at the same price. I do feel the need to point out that because these are not competition kettlebells, there may be some very slight discrepancy in weight. That’s typical of most non-competition kettlebells, however.
Read my full Rogue E-Coat Kettlebell review.
Good for: People who incorporate kettlebells into training often
My Favorite Things:
Honestly, the name “Kettlebell Kings” kind of says it all. The brand consistently puts out solid products, and its Powder Coat Kettlebells consistently impress.
The manufacturing process itself sets up these bells for success. Kettlebell Kings uses single cast iron, which means that the bell is just one piece, not two welded together. This ensures better durability and less risk of breakage. These bells are also put through gravity casting. That makes for a much more even construction and improves the weight accuracy from bell to bell.
There is also a kettlebell for just about any weight you want. Kettlebell Kings manufactures these in both kilos and pounds, with 21 options between 4kg and a whopping 92kg. If you are looking for programming, Kettlebell Kings has a range of options available with your purchase for an added cost.
A powder coat tends to be one of the most durable coatings a kettle bell can have. I like it because powder coats respond really well to chalk, but also chalk isn’t necessary to keep a good grip on the handle. Although I find these kettlebells to be in great shape after many uses, there are reports on the Kettlebell King site of the coating chipping.
One thing that sets Kettlebell Kings Kettlebells apart from others is the grittiness of the powdercoat. The increased texture allows your hand to stick to the handle better during heavy swings and farmer's carries.
The handle diameter ranges from 29mm, which is pretty thin, all the way to 47.5mm, which is quite a meaty grip. The most popular bell sizes – 16 to 24kg – have a grip diameter that ranges from 33 to 39mm. That’s fairly average, but people with smaller hands may find one-handed exercises a little tough on the thicker handles.
Good for: People seeking a product that is affordable and still fairly high quality
My Favorite Things:
The REP Fitness Kettlebells take the nod for best value because they are very reasonably priced without sacrificing much in the way of quality. (The Rep Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbells are high on my favorites for best value dumbbell as well.) uses gravity die casting, which is important for two reasons: one, it gives you a flat bottom on the bell, which is ideal for storage; and two, it ensures an even mold when compared to bells that go through hand casting.
The finish on the REP bell is where you start to see differences between it and other higher quality kettlebells. The REP bell has a matte black finish. This is great for the grip because it creates a textured handle that works well with or without chalk. Matte black finishes also give the iron bell itself more protection from rust and corrosion.
However, this isn’t the most durable covering. A powder coat or e-coat is going to be your best bet for preserving the life of your bell. Still, REP offers a limited lifetime warranty on kettlebells, so if yours starts to show early signs of damage, you might be able to get a new one.
REP offers 18 kettlebells with both kilo and pound markings on them, ranging from just 1kg up to 48kg. The heaviest these bells get is 106 pounds, so if you need more than that, another brand is your best bet.
Good for: People looking for guided workouts along with the equipment
My Favorite Things:
Onnit Kettlebells come in characters like zombies and they have Joe Rogan’s support.
But I like them for a lot of other reasons as well. For beginners, Onnit works well because
its website has a free, extensive library of workouts. There are kettlebell specific ones that are easy enough for beginners, but kettlebell veterans could up the weight or intensity to still get a good sweat. Onnit also offers several courses (at a cost) specifically related to kettlebells, which the brand claims helps workout enthusiasts as well as fitness professionals.
I have used every bell that Onnit makes, even the funky character ones that are more expensive but also totally badass. The brand's plain kettlebell comes in eight weight options between 8 and 32kg. That isn’t a wide range, but beginners typically stay in those numbers anyway.
Onnit has color-coded the kettlebells and the weight clearly printed on them. This is great if you own more than one and want to quickly pick up the correct bell. Also, the weights are printed in both pounds and kilos.
The bells themself are of great quality. They aren’t as affordable as others of similar quality, but I still think they hold a lot of value. They are gravity cast with a powder coat finish, which makes for a durable bell. Onnit says the coating is chip-resistant, though several reviewers on the brand page state otherwise.
Another cool option Onnit offers for swinging are its Steel Clubs, which I tested and reviewed (and loved).
Read my full Onnit Kettlebell review.
Good for: People who need multiple weights but are tight on space
My Favorite Things:
Amassing the best garage gym equipment quickly starts to take up a lot of space. One way to save room is with an adjustable kettlebell like the SelectTech 840 from Bowflex. This isn’t the only adjustable bell out there, but it’s one of the most affordable. Bowflex applied some of the same technology it used for its 552 Adjustable Dumbbell and applied it here.
I used the 840 adjustable kettlebell for a variety of exercises, including swings, farmers’ carries, Turkish get-ups and goblet squats, and I found it to be a good product. I really like the price point at around $180, and I like that it is useful for both beginners and experienced lifters.
You essentially get six kettlebells in one here, because you can adjust the weight by turning the dial on the top of the bell. The weight ranges from just 8 to 40 pounds, however. Keep in mind that by many standards, women swing with about 35 pounds, and men with about 53 pounds. Still, this can get the job done and give you a good workout, depending on how you intend to use it.
One thing to keep in mind is that the outer shell of this bell is plastic. That means no slamming it around, or it will break. The weight plates inside do rattle a little while you exercise, which can be unnerving, but I didn’t have any issues with plates falling out or coming loose.
Read my full Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell review.
Good for: Those who compete in one- and two-handed kettlebell competitions
My Favorite Things:
Competition kettlebells are in a league of their own, literally. They are made standard to international weights and sizes for use in competition. The Vulcan Absolute Competition Kettlebell is absolutely my favorite. Its price point is what you should expect for a high-quality bell manufactured for competition.
Vulcan holds a patent for its hollowed out design, which features a handle that sits lower on the lifter’s forearm than other designs that are positioned higher on the wrist. Not only does this boost efficiency in lifting, but it also minimizes the risk of injury.
Made of steel, the Vulcan Absolute comes in 13 sizes (and colors!) that range in 2 kilo increments from 8 to 32 kilos. The hard steel and powder coat make for an extremely durable product.
If you’re just looking for a bell for your home gym and have no plans for competing, an iron kettlebell would suffice. But if you need something to train with at home, the Vulcan line is one of your best options.
Read my full Vulcan Absolute Competition Kettlebell review.
Good for: People looking to save money on a standardized competition kettlebell
My Favorite Things:
The Titan Fitness Competition Style Kettlebell is about 25% cheaper than the Vulcan option. That’s a decent savings for a product that is still high quality. Titan does a steel cast with a powder coat finish, just like Vulcan does. Also, Titan Fitness offers free shipping on all orders, which is a huge cost efficiency that many other brands do not offer.
Because this is a competition kettlebell, the weights are highly accurate and the handles are a standard 35mm on every bell. I also really like that each bell comes in its own color, which is a nice alternative to your typical black, iron cast kettlebell.
As a budget option, the Titan Competition Kettlebell does have some issues, namely with the paint. Several reviewers have reported flaking or chipping. While this doesn’t typically affect the performance of the product, it would affect aesthetics, if that matters to you. Also, most competition bells like this one don’t come in heavy weights because people don’t really use very heavy weights in competition.
Read my full Titan Fitness Competition Style Kettlebell review.
Good for: Beginners and others who simply want a budget-friendly kettlebell
My Favorite Things:
If you just want a bell to swing in your home gym, and you aren’t particular about much else, the AmazonBasics Cast Iron Kettlebell might be a good fit. At first glance, the pricing isn’t that far off the Rogue pricing. However, keep in mind that with Amazon, you get free shipping as a Prime member as well as free returns.
I like that the Amazon kettlebell is cast iron, because that is more durable than other materials. However, the painted enamel coating could be susceptible to rust or corrosion. This isn’t a bell you should leave outside or in a humid garage. Also, enamel coatings can make for a slippery grip on certain exercises.
This is a no-frills kettlebell that only comes in pound measurements and is solid black. Reviewers who are just looking for a good sweat at home have found it useful. If you want a better quality bell, you’ll have to pay more from a bigger brand. But if all you need is something affordable, this could be a good fit.
Check out my guide on building a budget home gym on Amazon here.
Good for: People looking to transform dumbbells into kettlebells
My Favorite Things:
I love when people get creative. I’m a big fan of DIY home gym projects, so the Kettle Gryp intrigued me. It’s basically a plastic handle that can lock a dumbbell in place to transform your free weights into a kettlebell. This is great for your garage gym but could also be useful when traveling and doing workouts in hotel gyms.
For the most basic purposes, this operates largely like a kettlebell. However, keep in mind that the weight distribution in a kettlebell and a dumbbell vary, so it won’t feel exactly the same. However, I could still perform snatches, carries, swings and get-ups just fine with a Kettle Gryp. The handle on the Gryp is smaller in diameter than most kettlebells I’m used to. This isn’t a bad thing, again, it’s just a different feeling.
The Kettle Gryp is compatible with dumbbells that have a handle at least 4.5 inches long. Also, it isn’t designed to hold more than 55 pounds.This could work great for people who go lighter on weights, but if you are looking for a solution for heavier dumbbells, there are better options.
Good for: People looking for a long-lasting bell that’s easy on flooring
My Favorite Things:
A rubber-coated kettlebell is a good option if you want to protect your bell and protect your floors. If the bell is dropped (which I hope never happens, but it might), the rubber protects the product inside from nicks. It also could lessen the impact the kettlebell has on your floor, which could be significant depending on the type of home gym flooring you have.
I like the Rogue Rubber Coated Kettlebells because they use Rogue’s single cast process, so the bell itself is just one piece as opposed to having a welded on handle. Also, the handle has a powder coat finish, which is great for grip whether you use chalk or not.
A rubber kettlebell will be more expensive than a kettlebell without that kind of coating. It’s really up to you to decide if it seems necessary.
The kettlebell is king of being an all-in-one tool for conditioning. With a flat bottom and curved bell, the uneven distribution of weight creates an incredibly effective platform for cardio and weight training exercises. Some of the many benefits of kettlebell exercises include the following:
You work several different aspects of fitness when doing kettlebell exercises: endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. In other words, you get a lot of bang for your buck. When you invest in the best home gym equipment, it’s key to find a single piece that offers versatility. With a kettlebell, you can work on:
Going for a run is great, but I also love when I can get my heart rate up while using some kind of weight. Kettlebells are amazing for cardio workouts that include high intensity intervals as well as low-weight, high rep options.
Weightlifters, runners and other athletes look to the kettlebell to build explosive strength. Exercises like kettlebell swings engage the hips and posterior chain to create power. The kind of explosive energy the hips create is key to movements like sprinting, jumping and weightlifting movements like the snatch.
You’ll be opening pickle jars in no time! Okay, I can’t make that promise, but I can tell you that kettlebells are a great way to build grip strength.
The kettlebell’s center of gravity is about 6 to 8 inches away from your palm, which means that the weight itself is unbalanced in your hands. This makes your gripping muscles (like the forearms and wrists) work harder while you perform just about any exercise with the bell. Kettlebells are also great for actual grip-strengthening exercises like farmers’ carries.
I don’t like to say that certain strength training exercises are dangerous or risky. After all, anything you do carries a risk with it. But, when compared to, say, putting a 300-pound barbell on your back and squatting it, the kettlebell exercise appears to carry a little less risk.
Lifting heavy weights has its place, and I’m here for it, but if that’s something that scares you, kettlebell workouts are a safe alternative. You can still build muscle and power without doing something that may cause you some anxiety.
As evidenced by the above list, there are countless options on the market to satisfy your kettlebell needs. Most of the traditional bells can be classified as one of two things:
Cast Iron Kettlebells: When most people picture a kettlebell, this is what they picture. The handle on solid cast iron kettlebells is wider than the bell itself. The coating on these varies. Most commercial gyms carry this kind of bell, which is great for recreational lifting, two-handed movements and beginners.
Competition Kettlebells: These bells are made to standard with a 35mm handle that does not exceed the width of the bell itself. This narrow grip is useful for the one-handed movements you might see in a competition. Mostly, the people who use a competition kettlebell will be people who are competing, but they would still work for the everyday athlete.
Once you have an idea of the type of bell you want, you also may want to consider:
Kettlebell training is so incredibly versatile. You have endless options for exercises, most of which will fall into one of two categories:
Once you ascertain how you will use the equipment, you can make other key decisions about factors like the weight you will need, the material you want and the ergonomics of the bell.
Kettlebells come in a large variety of weight options, ranging from just a few pounds to up to literally hundreds of pounds. The lighter weights are great for certain grind movements like Turkish get-ups and overhead pressing. Moderate to heavy weights are useful in building explosive strength through doing full body movements like swings and snatches.
Another consideration: Kettlebell weights are often listed in kilograms. You’ll find kilos used on competition bells because kilos are the universal weight measurement. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter if you pick a bell in pounds or in kilos unless you need a very specific weight range for your training purposes.
Kettlebells are literally bell-shaped weights with a wide handle across the top. Competition kettlebells all have a uniform handle size because they have to have a 35mm diameter. This will typically fit most adult hands just fine, but for people with smaller hands or youth athletes, 35mm may not be a comfortable grip.
Cast iron kettlebells tend to have different grip sizes that vary with the weight of the bell. Therefore, a 12kg kettlebell may have a smaller grip and be better suited for smaller athletes. Having a secure grip is vital for safety while exercising.
Aside from how thin or thick the grip is, the kettlebell handle itself should be smooth. Sometimes, the casting process leaves behind remnants. This can quickly destroy your hands and ruin your workout. Look for a bell that has a smooth handle.
Kettlebells that are cast in iron typically have some kind of coating. This increases the durability of the equipment through preventing rusting, corrosion and scratches. Options include:
Powder Coating: This is a hard coating that is more protective than simply a coat of paint. Many powder coated kettlebells have a matte finish because it gives you a better grip on the bell. Athletes also find that matte finishes help hold chalk, which aids in grip.
Rubber or Vinyl Coating: Some people are attracted to rubber and vinyl-coated kettlebells because they are a little more aesthetically pleasing due to their smooth appearance. A coating like this may be gentler on your flooring and less noisy. However, rubber and vinyl can be worn down, chip and crack.
E-Coating: Arguably, an “e-coat” is the best type of high-quality coating you could want on a kettlebell. Essentially, an electrical current coats the bell with paint to a certain desired thickness. E-coats last longer than powder coats, but they're often more expensive. Also, there are different degrees of e-coating, so look for “military grade” e-coating if you’re going with this option.
What is the best kettlebell workout?
The best kettlebell exercises include the following:
What weight of kettlebell is best?
Just like with any other kind of resistance training, the right weight is the one that matches your personal fitness level. There is a huge variety in the types of exercises you might use a kettlebell for as well, which will play a role in the weight you choose. There are general recommendations on weights for men and women:
What is the best kettlebell to use?
As with any other kind of fitness equipment, the best kettlebell is the one that fits your needs. I like to pick the weights I buy based on how durable they are because I know that I can be pretty hard on implements like kettlebells and free weights. Going too cheap on workout equipment can mean you’ll be buying new products sooner rather than later.
The above list gives you an idea of what I believe to be the best kettlebells based on your budget, or your durability needs, or your fitness goals.
Do I need one or two kettlebells?
There is a lot you can do with just one kettlebell, but you’ll be able to do even more if you have two: a lighter one and a heavier one. Heck, if you have the money and space for it, get an entire set of kettlebells.
Lighter kettlebells are great for the “grind” movements, like Turkish get-ups, presses and windmills. Heavier kettlebells may be used for ballistic movements, like swings, snatches and cleans. It really comes down to how you plan to use your bell. Having more than one certainly gives you options, but don’t feel like you absolutely have to have more than one to get any use from what you have.
Is it OK to do kettlebell swings every day?
Doing resistance training every day might be okay, but keep in mind that you should have at least one rest day a week to allow your body to recover. It really all comes down to your intensity level when you exercise.
Experts recommend against performing at a high intensity level for every workout. Also, kettlebell swings may put a lot of strain on your larger muscle groups, which could leave you susceptible to injuries. It’s best to consult with a personal trainer, physical therapist or other professional when trying to determine a good workout regimen.
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