With roots dating back to 18th-century Russia, the kettlebell is a phenomenal example of fitness equipment. The training possibilities within the cast ring-and-ball profile are seemingly endless, allowing for workouts that target the arms, legs, core and more.
Whether you’re embarking on a new fitness discipline or simply adding to your garage gym setup, there’s a kettlebell for you. And just like there’s different barbells for different uses, not every kettlebell is cast from the same cloth. Here are our picks for the best kettlebells on the market today.
The Benefits of Kettlebell Training
Despite the simple construction, there are a number of perks that come with kettlebell workouts. For one, the unbalanced design and variety of weights available make kettlebells one of the most versatile training tools available. Seriously, you can train for power and strength one day, coordination and mobility the next, all with the same singular kettlebell. “The beauty of kettlebell training is that each session can vary enough that one can train every day or six days a week if the load, intensity and length of the workout changes,” says Lacee Lazof, certified personal trainer and instructor of Bells Up for the fitness app, NEOU.
Speaking of sessions, kettlebell workouts don’t require a lot of space. Many of the moves within kettlebell training can be done in your living room or garage — just make sure you have the height clearance for a proper kettlebell swing.
Lastly, because of the dynamic nature of kettlebell training, you can knock out both your cardio and strength workouts in one fell swoop. As you move and utilize multiple muscle groups, your heart rate elevates, bringing in that cardio aspect for a training session that’s as efficient as it is effective.
Competition vs. Cast-Iron Kettlebells
If you’re looking to make the most of your kettlebell training, there are two styles to consider: competition-style kettlebells and standard, cast-iron kettlebells. While both are constructed from one piece of metal, competition kettlebells feature a uniform profile, meaning their dimensions don’t change with the weights. Standard kettlebells, on the other hand, vary in diameter as the mass increases.
For those looking to partake in kettlebell sport, competition kettlebells can be a great tool. But, if you’re just looking for an improved fitness experience, cast-iron kettlebells can be more than capable. Also, because of the squared-handle design, it should be noted that competition kettlebells are not designed for double-handed exercises. So, if your program calls for a lot of dual-handed movements like goblet squats or kettlebell swings, this should also be considered.
How We Tested
Over the course of a few weeks, we put these kettlebells through the wringer of our normal fitness regimen, engaging in a variety of movements to get a true feel for their capabilities. We observed how comfortable each bell felt in the hand as well as the rack position, along with other key factors like grip retention once we started to sweat. Other characteristics, like coatings, window space and more were examined, all playing pivotal roles in how our rankings came to be.
Editor's Note: The following prices shown represent kettlebells weighing 16 kg or 35 lbs (one of the most common kettlebell weights). Prices will vary depending on weight.
Best Overall Kettlebell
A favorite of Lazof’s, Kettlebell Kings make some of the highest quality kettlebells out there. The set-weight, powder-coated lineup lives up to the crown, offering weights ranging from 9–203 pounds. The updated powder coat provides plenty of grip and felt more than comfortable in training — we didn’t feel the need to chalk up for added control. And while we never felt the structural integrity was lacking, Kettlebell Kings still stands behind its product, offering a lifetime warranty, which helps offset the more expensive cost.
Best Upgrade Kettlebell
If you want a kettlebell with personality, then Onnit is the clear winner here. Taking inspiration from some of nature’s strongest primates, each kettlebell weight is molded after a specific species, from the lightest “Howler” at 18 lbs. all the way up to the gargantuan, 90-lb. “Bigfoot.” Aesthetics aside, these kettlebells are balanced exceptionally well and allow for improved grip strength training thanks to a larger, thicker handle. While the coating does leave a little to be desired, there’s no denying that Onnit Primal Kettlebells are a fierce addition to any training routine.
Best Budget Kettlebell
Just looking for a simple kettlebell with easy-to-read weights and a durable construction? Rep Fitness answers the call with its matte lineup of quality fitness gear. Stamped with both kilograms and poundage, Rep Fitness Kettlebells are available in a variety of weights from 2.2–106 lbs.. The gravity cast construction helps create a durable, precise profile that’s built to withstand the trials and tribulations of serious training as well. Some reviewers note, however, that the coating can begin to chip over extended use, leading to rust issues down the road.
Best Kettlebell for Home Gyms
Rubber-coated kettlebells can be a lifesaver when it comes to preserving your floors and the durability of your equipment. Rogue Fitness’ Rubber Coated Kettlebells offer that and more in a premium, well-built profile. Manufactured using first-run iron ore as opposed to scrap iron, the bell is encapsulated in a urethane coating to help protect against wear and tear. The handle features a grippy powder coating for maximum control throughout your workout, allowing for unmatched security in single and dual-handed modalities. Ranging from 26–70 lbs., each Rogue Rubber Coated Kettlebell features a colored band at the base of the handle to help you easily identify the weight without hesitation, too.
Best Competition Kettlebell
There’s a reason Eleiko products are trusted by some of the leading federations in competitive fitness, including the International Weightlifting and International Powerlifting Federations. The precise calibration and attention to detail is not lost in the brand’s Competition Kettlebells, either. Featuring a high-grade iron and molded construction for exceptional durability, these bells are great for those interested in kettlebell sport. The smooth, stainless steel handle lacks a coating but doesn’t falter in grip. We felt secure and locked in during all our training movements, from snatches and cleans to overhead presses. But, as with most Eleiko products, this premium quality does come with a premium price, which can deter some users.
Best Adjustable Kettlebell
Want to have the benefits of multiple kettlebells in a single silhouette? This adjustable kettlebell from Kettlebell Kings is one of the best. We hold this bell in high regards, placing it at the top of our best adjustable kettlebells list and even ranking it within our recent Summer Gear Awards. With a simple pull-and-slide system to add and subtract plates, this adjustable kettlebell packs seven options in one with weights ranging from 10 to 40 pounds in five-pound increments. No matter the configuration, this kettlebell retains its balance and can be great for those tight on space — or funds for a full rack of kettlebells.
Once you have the perfect kettlebells for your needs, it’s time to put them to work. Below are our five favorite kettlebell movements that focus on a variety of muscle groups. As with any new training movement, take your personal fitness level into consideration before diving in. Make sure you’re comfortable with the kettlebell weight to avoid injury or improper form. If you’re trying these movements for the first time, we recommend an initial test run sans kettlebell to learn the proper technique. Once you’ve got your form in order, you can then add your kettlebell and begin to reap the benefits of kettlebell training.
Begin your goblet squat with your feet hip or shoulder-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead. Hold the kettlebell at chest height either at the handle sides or “cupping” the bell — picture holding a large goblet in front of you, hence the name. Pull the kettlebell close to your body and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Next, sit your hips back and bend your knees to lower yourself into the bottom of your squat position. Keep your chest up and back straight, going as low as you can while maintaining that goblet grip in front. Drive through your feet to propel yourself back to a standing position, squeezing your glutes at the top.
Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift
Start your suitcase deadlift in a standing position with your kettlebell at your side. Take a hip-width stance with your feet, toes pointed slightly out. Next, sit your hips back and begin your descent, maintaining a neutral torso and straight back. Once you’ve reached your kettlebell, grab hold and tighten your scapular muscles like you would a conventional barbell deadlift.
Once you’re ready to ascend, drive through your feet and bring your hips back in to reach that standing position. Maintain your core so your body and free shoulder isn’t counterbalancing the kettlebell on one side. Aim for a level shoulder plane and resist rotating to accommodate the weight imbalance.
Kettlebell Strict Press
Start by cleaning the kettlebell up to the rack position, bending at the hips and rotating your grip so your hand is through the kettlebell’s window and the bell is resting on the back of your forearm. Next, engage your core and maintain that rigidity throughout the press. Then, with your wrist straight and stacked directly over your elbow, swing your arm out at a 45-degree angle to engage the lat. Keep your forearm and bicep at a 90-degree angle, then press up over your head in a straight trajectory. Maintain that straight upward press so as to not put strain on the shoulder, controlling the kettlebell in both ascension and descension.
If you’re struggling to maintain balance, we like to keep our free hand in a fist at our side. This can help you focus on balancing throughout the movement while also keeping the required tension.
Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up
Begin lying on your back in a starfish position with your kettlebell in one hand. Raise your kettlebell straight up so your arm is perpendicular to the floor, locking your shoulder in for stability. Keep your gaze on your raised kettlebell throughout the entire movement.
Next, bend your knee on the same side as your raised kettlebell, planting your foot back near your butt and outside your hip. Then, push through your heel to raise your chest and bend your free arm for support, resting on your elbow. From here, place your free palm down on the ground and prop yourself up more, extending your arm and using your abs to maintain that seated position.
Then, use your abs and hips to raise your butt off the floor so your only contact points are your palm and bent leg. Next, take your extended leg and sweep it under your frame toward your butt, placing your knee and ankle in a straight line with your propped hand. Your knee should be stacked directly under your hip.
Next, shift your weight back toward your heel, raising your torso and bringing your palm up from the ground to get into a haf-kneeling stance, like you’re taking a knee on the sideline. Then, push off and get yourself into a standing position. Finally, repeat all the aforementioned steps in reverse to return to your lying position.
Bent Over Ballistic Rows
Hold your kettlebell in one hand while in a standing position. Next, sit your hips back and drop your chest to as near parallel as possible, similar to a barbell row. Next, Contract your lats and row the kettlebell to the center of your chest, maintaining that tight torso to eliminate any rotation. Row the barbell with some momentum, and once it's at its highest point, release and quickly regrip with the other hand. Control the kettlebell to the bottom position and then repeat. If done properly, it should look like you’re explosively pulling a rope, with quick hand movements and control throughout the exercise.