what makes a good kettlebell


When it comes to kettlebells, distinguishing between high and low-quality products is paramount for an effective and safe workout experience. High-quality kettlebells can significantly impact not just a single workout but overall fitness goals. Investing in equipment that ensures reliability, safety, and functionality is key for individuals seeking a long-term commitment to their fitness journey. To discern what makes a good kettlebell, it's essential to consider various crucial features and attributes that separate exceptional kettlebells from their subpar counterparts.

Types of Kettlebells

Kettlebells come in various types based on their construction, design, and purpose. Here are the different types of kettlebells

types of kettlebells

Cast Iron Kettlebells

These kettlebells are the classic and most widely used type. Cast iron kettlebells are durable and have a natural feel that many users prefer. Their uniform shape and size across different weights allow for consistent movements and grips.

  •  Ideal for general strength and conditioning, including swings, squats, Turkish get-ups, and other traditional kettlebell exercises.
  • Their durability and familiarity make them a staple in gyms and training environments. They often have a flat base, making them suitable for exercises that involve the kettlebell resting on the ground.

Competition Kettlebells

These kettlebells are designed to be consistent in size and handle diameter regardless of weight, which makes them great for competition and serious athletes. They are usually made of steel and have a hollow core to ensure consistent dimensions.

  •  Perfect for kettlebell sport competitions and for those who want consistency in their training regimen, allowing for consistent technique across different weights.
  • The standardized design and weight specifications make them ideal for competitive athletes and serious kettlebell enthusiasts.

Adjustable Kettlebells

Their adjustable nature allows users to change the weight, making them versatile and cost-effective as a single kettlebell can replace several fixed-weight kettlebells.

  • Suitable for home gyms or spaces with limited storage where having multiple kettlebells might not be practical.
  • Versatility and cost-effectiveness. They offer the convenience of multiple kettlebells in one unit, saving space and cost.

Vinyl-Coated Kettlebells

 The vinyl coating provides protection against both the kettlebell and the surface it's placed on. It's also less likely to cause damage if accidentally dropped.

  • Perfect for beginners or for use in spaces where protection against scratches or damage is a priority.
  • The protective coating offers added durability and reduces noise, making them suitable for indoor use.

Rubber-Coated Kettlebells

Similar to vinyl-coated kettlebells, the rubber coating provides protection and durability. The rubber can provide a more secure grip.

  • Suitable for areas where protection against impact or floor damage is necessary. Also good for individuals who want a secure grip.
  • The rubber coating offers enhanced durability and grip compared to standard cast iron kettlebells.

Steel Kettlebells

Steel kettlebells have a smoother finish compared to cast iron, offering a different feel and potentially a better grip.

  • Ideal for those who prefer a more polished and smooth surface on their kettlebells.
  • The smooth finish can provide a different tactile experience compared to cast iron kettlebells.

Powder-Coated Kettlebells

The powder coating provides a slightly textured surface for better grip, especially when hands get sweaty.

  • Suitable for high-intensity workouts where a secure grip is crucial.
  • Enhanced grip due to the textured finish, making them suitable for sweaty palms during intense workouts.

Neoprene-Coated Kettlebells

Neoprene coating offers a soft, comfortable grip and protects both the kettlebell and the floor from damage.

  • Ideal for beginners or those who prefer a more comfortable grip.
  • Comfortable grip and protective coating, making them suitable for home use and areas where protecting the floor is important.

The choice among these kettlebell types often depends on personal preference, specific needs, training goals, and the environment in which they'll be used.

Comparison of Popular Kettlebells

Kettlebell Type Cast Iron Kettlebell Competition Kettlebell Powder-Coated Kettlebell Adjustable Kettlebell
Material Cast Iron Steel Cast Iron with Powder Coating Varies (shell with adjustable weight mechanism)
Design Characteristics Traditional, rounded, flat base Uniform dimensions, hollow core Textured powder-coated finish Shell with adjustable weight mechanism
Handle Design Varies among brands; typically robust, ergonomic Uniform handle diameter and thickness throughout Varies among brands; often consistent in design Varies based on adjustable mechanism and brand
Corrosion Resistance May be susceptible to rust if not properly maintained Generally highly resistant to rust or corrosion Moderate to high resistance to rust and corrosion Varies; some mechanisms may be more prone to rust
Price Range $$ - $$$ $$ - $$$ $$ - $$$ $$ - $$$
Maintenance Periodic maintenance is required to prevent rusting Low maintenance due to durable steel construction Requires minimal maintenance, occasional re-coating Some mechanisms might require tightening or care
Noise Level May generate more noise when placed on hard surfaces Typically low noise due to solid steel construction Moderate noise level, not as loud as bare metal Generally quiet, depending on locking mechanism
Available Weight Increments A wide range of weights available Available from 18Lb to 106Lb Available from 5Lb to 100Lb 10 to 70Lb
Texture and Grip The natural cast iron texture might vary based on the finish Smooth steel finish, less textured compared to coatings Textured finish for improved grip Varies depending on brand and design
Pros Durable, classic design, familiar feel Consistency across weights, competition Improved grip, especially with sweaty hands Versatile, cost-effective, space-saving
Cons May cause damage if dropped on surfaces More expensive, specific for competition May wear off over time, can be rough on the hands Bulkier may have less durable locking mechanism

Qualities to Seek in Good Kettlebell

Single Piece Casting

Traditional kettlebells, particularly those crafted from cast iron, are produced through various manufacturing methods. Some kettlebells have handles welded onto the body, while others are cast from a single piece of metal, especially cast iron. The single-piece casting process in cast iron kettlebells ensures exceptional robustness, minimizing the risk of breakage upon impact. 

Conversely, welded handles present a higher likelihood of damage, especially if the kettlebell is dropped, potentially leading to injuries. When seeking high-quality cast iron kettlebells, it's essential to inspect product descriptions for terms like 'single cast' or 'single piece casting.' Moreover, closely examining images for any signs of welding around the handle's base is crucial in determining the kettlebell's overall quality and durability. This particular method of manufacturing, especially in cast iron kettlebells, significantly contributes to their strength and resilience during use.

Lifetime Warranty

Given the potential for kettlebell breakage, seeking kettlebells with lifetime warranties provides a safety net. This warranty should be explicitly stated in the kettlebell descriptions across various retail platforms, guaranteeing replacement in the event of damage.

Paint Quality

The paint on kettlebells significantly influences the user's grip and overall durability. Durable paint that resists chipping is crucial to prevent injuries and ensure a consistent grip during workouts. Textured or 'grippy' paint is essential for non-competitive kettlebell lifting, while a paint that efficiently holds chalk is preferable for competitive lifting. Powder coat paints, specifically epoxy-based ones, are the most durable, preventing chipping, rusting, and scratching.

Engraved Logos

High-quality kettlebells often have brand names and weights engraved directly into the bell's mold, ensuring durability and preventing uneven service due to potential insert detachment. The absence of engraving or the use of an inserted plastic label can cause discomfort and instability during workouts.

Seamless and Burr-Free Casting

The quality of the kettlebell's casting significantly impacts its comfort and functionality during use. Imperfections in the metal, such as seams and burrs, can cause discomfort. Smooth, seamless casting ensures a more comfortable and efficient workout, with seamless handles enhancing the user's grip and preventing discomfort during lifting.

Understanding Kettlebell Handles

Kettlebell handle

Selecting the right kettlebell involves considering the handle's texture, width, and coating. A handle's design impacts the user's grip and comfort during exercises. Textured handles aid in maintaining a secure grip, especially during high-intensity workouts, while wider handles might offer more comfort and stability during certain movements.

Kettlebell Handle Variations

Kettlebell handles vary in thickness and diameter, influencing how the bell feels during exercises. Thicker handles might be more challenging to grip, providing an added challenge to forearm strength, while thinner handles might be more comfortable for some users. Coatings on handles can also affect the grip and feel, with some preferring bare steel for better chalk adherence and others favoring coated handles for a more comfortable grip.

The right kettlebell weight and handle design are essential factors that individuals, particularly beginners, should consider when investing in kettlebells for their fitness journey. By understanding these elements, one can tailor their workout experience to suit their personal fitness goals and ensure a safe and effective training routine.

What You Should Look for in Competition Kettlebell Handles?


competition Kettlebell

Standardized Features

Competition kettlebells boast uniform dimensions, regardless of weight, ensuring a consistent feel and experience across various weights. The attributes crucial for traditional kettlebells remain significant for competition kettlebells with a few exceptions.

Paint and Handles

Unlike traditional kettlebells, paint quality is less critical for competition kettlebells. These kettlebells prioritize a bare steel handle to effectively hold chalk and reduce strain on the hands during high-repetition workouts. In competitive settings, the focus shifts away from paint durability due to the frequent impact between bells.

Fillers vs. No Fillers

Two primary manufacturing methods define competition kettlebells. Some kettlebells use steel shells with tightly packed fillers to achieve the desired weight, while others are cast as a solid piece of steel, maintaining uniform dimensions by pouring steel into the handle and top of the bell. Each method offers distinct advantages, impacting weight distribution and the feel of the bell.

Role of Weight  Selection in Kettlebells

Kettlebells come in various weights, and for beginners, determining the appropriate kettlebell weight is crucial for a safe and effective workout. Understanding what size kettlebell to start with is essential to prevent injuries and achieve fitness goals.

Beginner Kettlebell Weight Selection

For those new to kettlebell training, selecting the right kettlebell weight is fundamental. The starting weight varies for each individual based on their strength, experience, and fitness level. It's recommended for beginners to begin with lighter kettlebells to learn proper techniques and prevent strains or injuries.

What Weight Kettlebell Should I Start With?

Determining what weight kettlebell to start with involves considering personal factors such as fitness level and familiarity with resistance training. Novices should start with kettlebells between 8-12 kilograms (18-26 pounds) for women and 16-20 kilograms (35-44 pounds) for men. These weights offer a balance between challenging workouts and maintaining proper form.

Kettlebell Weight Considerations for Men and Women

Kettlebell Workouts

Kettlebell Weights for Men

For beginners, a suitable starting weight for men might range between 16-20 kilograms (35-44 pounds). More experienced individuals might opt for heavier kettlebells, such as 24-32 kilograms (53-70 pounds), to further challenge their strength

Kettlebell Weights for Women

For women, the selection of kettlebell weights varies due to differences in muscle mass and strength. Beginners might find starting with kettlebells between 8-12 kilograms (18-26 pounds) suitable for their initial workouts. As their proficiency and strength improve, they may progress to weights between 16-20 kilograms (35-44 pounds) to continue challenging themselves. 


Selecting a good kettlebell is crucial for effective and safe workouts. Key features such as single-piece casting, durable paint, and comfortable handles distinguish high-quality kettlebells. The choice between types like cast iron, competition, adjustable, and coated kettlebells depends on personal needs. Beginners should pick lighter kettlebells (8-12 kg for women, 16-20 kg for men) to learn proper techniques and prevent injury. The right kettlebell supports fitness goals and ensures a reliable workout routine.