14 Kettlebells Compared: The Complete Kettlebell Review

14 Different Models From 9 Of The Top Kettlebell Brands: Which of These Pro-Grade, Competition-Style Kettlebells Is Right For You?

Kettlebell Review
These are all of the kettlebells that were evaluated for this review. My wife calls them my “children” because they’ve been multiplying.

If you’re in the market for a new kettlebell and you’re not sure which one would be best for your unique needs, goals, and budget, this review will help narrow down your options, and hopefully, help you choose just the right one.

In this kettlebell review, you’ll learn:

  • Which companies sell the highest quality kettlebells
  • Which companies sell the most budget-friendly kettlebells
  • Which companies sell the highest value kettlebells (i.e. the best for the money)
  • Which kettlebells are best for kettlebell athletes or those interested in competing in kettlebell sport
  • Which companies have the most customer-friendly policies and provide the best customer service experience

Note: all of these are itemized for quick reference below the review videos (see below).

Kettlebells Brands & Models That Were Tested For This Review

The following competition kettlebells were evaluated for this review:

  • Rogue Fitness – 16 kg Rogue Competition Kettlebell (black w/ yellow rings)
  • Perform Better – 24 kg First Place Competition Kettlebell (light green), 16 kg First Place Competition Kettlebell (older model, yellow)
  • Kettlebell Kings – 24 kg Kettlebell Sport Competition Kettlebell (dark green), 20 lb Steel Standard Kettlebell (black w/ pink rings)
  • Kettlebells USA – 20 kg Paradigm Pro® Elite Competition Kettlebell (purple), 12 kg Paradigm Pro® Classic Kettlebell (blue)
  • Vulcan Strength – 16 kg Vulcan® Absolute™ Competition Kettlebell (light yellow), 16 kg Vulcan® Absolute™ Training Kettlebell Version 2.0 (black)
  • Eleiko – 32 kg Eleiko Competition Kettlebell (red)
  • Christian’s Fitness Factory – 16 kg CFF Competition Kettlebell (yellow)
  • Rage Fitness – 16 kg Rage Competition Kettlebell (yellow)
  • The World Kettlebell Club – 32 kg VF Precision Kettlebell (red), 28 kg Pro-Grade Competition Kettlebell (orange) – both are older models that have been discontinued

john sifferman - two hand kettlebell swing (kettlebell review)Who am I and why am I doing this kettlebell review?

Hi, I’m John Sifferman. I’ve been a fitness coach for the last ten years and have been training with kettlebells a little longer than that. I am not a kettlebell training guru or a kettlebell athlete, and never have been (nor do I aspire to be!). But I’ve enjoyed using kettlebells for many years now. I was also a CST-certified Kettlebell Specialist from 2009 to 2013 through RMAX International and have taught kettlebell training to some of my fitness clients. So, I may not be a guru, but I do know my way around a kettlebell.

Note: you can learn more about me, my work, and my professional credentials on the About page.

I’m doing this review, first and foremost, to help YOU figure out which kettlebell to buy. And the second reason is because I enjoy reviewing fitness products. I’ve been doing this for years (see the Product Reviews archive). And so, when a one-of-a-kind opportunity to review some sweet kettlebells presented itself, I jumped on it.

You see, this past summer, someone from KettlebellKings.com contacted me via Twitter asking if I had any plans to update my kettlebell review from a few years ago. I said, “no, but now that you mention it, that’s not a bad idea. Would you send me a free kettlebell to review?” And they said, “sure, we’ll send you two!” That’s a paraphrase of the story, but you get the gist of it.

After that, I reached out to ALL of the major companies that sell pro-grade, competition-style kettlebells in the USA. After dozens of emails, a few phone calls, and a little negotiating in some cases, I ended up with fourteen different kettlebell models from nine different companies for this review.

A couple of those kettlebells literally took months to procure (many emails and follow-ups, waiting for a shipment from Europe, etc.). But I did everything I could to procure as many models as possible for this review. And once they arrived, I got to work in my fitness laboratory (i.e. my home gym).

My Unique Kettlebell Review and Testing Protocol

I used a comprehensive point system to rate and rank the kettlebells in this review. I rated them in each of the following categories:

  • Quality (finish, handle, etc.)
  • Durability
  • Fit & Feel (very subjective!)
  • Performance during basic KB exercises (e.g. swing, clean, press, snatch, etc.)
  • Prices, Selection, and Package Discounts
  • Value
  • Warranty & Refund Policies
  • Overall Customer Service Experience

For the actual testing, I simply did a lot of kettlebell training over the last few months using a program I designed myself. I’ve done thousands of swings, cleans, Turkish get-ups, snatches, press and jerk variations, and several other traditional kettlebell exercises. I did straight sets, circuit sets, timed sets, and density training protocols.

I also tested the kettlebells with the TACFIT Kettlebell Spetsnaz and Kettlebell Powerformance programs (i.e. twice a week, for six weeks), which are some of the best kettlebell training programs currently available, in my opinion. Both include many unconventional kettlebell exercises to help you make the most of this gear and train the whole body in not just three dimensions, but also through all six degrees of freedom. So, these kettlebells were rigorously tested throughout a broad range of activities.

All that said, this review process was not very scientific mainly because I didn’t feel that I needed several months or years to evaluate these tools. Plus, once you get beyond the quality and design considerations, one of the biggest factors is the product’s fit and feel, which is very subjective and personal to the user.

Interesting Things I’ve Learned

I’ve learned a lot throughout this process, including some very interesting things:

  1. There are significant differences between kettlebells of very similar designs, pricing, and specifications – in quality, finish, fit, and function, among other things – some of which I never would have expected.
  2. You usually get what you pay for…but not always!
  3. There is a lot of drama inside the kettlebell business (which I will spare you from).
  4. It’s a good time to be buying kettlebells because there are more good choices than ever.

So, here is my brief video review of all of these kettlebells where I “show and tell” my top kettlebell choices…

SUMMARY of My Top Choices: Kettlebell Review – Video 1

Now, if you’d like even more detail, and don’t mind hearing me blab a bit, feel free to watch the extended version below for some additional information (or just scroll down to see my top choices for kettlebells)…

Extended Kettlebell Review with Extra Details – Video 2

Video Contents:
0:00 Intro, Background Story
5:10 How the Kettlebells are Arranged
8:10 Highest Quality Kettlebells
17:00 Budget Friendly Kettlebells
21:40 Highest Value Kettlebells
23:35 Best Kettlebells for Kettlebell Sport Athletes
25:15 Best Customer Service Experiences

The Best Kettlebells That Money Can Buy

Below, you’ll see a directory of my top kettlebell choices, arranged in different categories, along with some of my notes about them. For the sake of brevity, I decided to leave a lot of my notes out of this review. I’ve only included what I think would be most helpful to serious buyers.

Please note that other than my number one choice (which stood out from the very beginning), it was very difficult to rank these kettlebells in order of my preference because many of them were very close. Fortunately, my point system came to the rescue.

So, when I took EVERYTHING into consideration – the quality of the kettlebell, product selection, prices, customer service experience, etc. here’s who came out on top…

#1 Choice: Kettlebells USA

Kettlebells USA – Paradigm Pro ®  Elite models

If someone asked me where they should buy their kettlebells, I’d send them to KettlebellsUSA.com first – no question.

Their kettlebells are some of the highest quality I’ve ever used (i.e. durability, fit and feel, finish, handle, etc.). And yet, they still have some of the best prices available. They also carry a full selection of kettlebells (i.e. all weights, including “in-between” sizes), and they offer many package discounts to save you as much money as possible.

Plus, they have some of the most customer-friendly policies in the industry (e.g. free shipping, lifetime warranty, free returns for full refund, no restocking fees, etc.), and they went above and beyond when it came to my customer service experience.

So, when I tally up all of the different ratings I assigned to the various categories in my point system for this review, it’s no surprise why KettlebellsUSA.com is my top choice. And quite frankly, I knew they would be one of the top choices as soon as I got them out of the box.

So, if you want a great kettlebell, at a great price, from a great company, you can’t go wrong with Kettlebells USA. They offer some of the highest-value kettlebells available.

Click Here to Shop at KettlebellsUSA.com

kettlebells usa kettlebell (review)

#2 Choice: Kettlebell Kings (Runner-Up)

Kettlebell Kings – Kettlebell Sport models

KettlebellKings.com was a VERY close second choice. And I can safely say that almost anyone would be happy with their kettlebells as well. They have a great selection of very high quality kettlebells at affordable prices. They also had exceptional customer service all throughout my review process – they went above and beyond. So, the difference between the top two spots came down to a slight edge in quality, price, selection, and fit/feel (i.e. very subjective).

You can’t go wrong with either of these companies. So, just pick one and start shopping.

Click Here to Shop at KettlebellKings.com

kettlebell kings kettlebells (review)

More Info About Kettlebell Kings

Update: March 2017 – After I published this review in November 2016, someone from KettlebellKings.com reached out to me with the following message:

Hey John, Thanks for sending this along and thanks for taking the time to look at our stuff, we really appreciate it. Forgive me for asking, but as competitive as we are and as much as we want to be the best we are curious if there is specific feedback you have about our Kettlebell Sport model that would have made it number one for you?

I was really impressed by that. And especially since they followed up with me regularly throughout the review process, and not in an annoying way. And they’ve continued to check in to this day.

So, I sent them them some more specific feedback including a mention (with photo) of an extremely minor defect on one of their kettlebells. It was so minor, that most people wouldn’t even notice it. And you know what they did? They sent me another identical kettlebell (a third one for this review) that was absolutely flawless. Needless to say, I am very impressed! They went WAY above and beyond my expectations.

So, here are some more things you may be interested in knowing about their kettlebells:

  • Their Kettlebell Sport bells are the official kettlebells used at the biggest Kettlebell Sport events in the country (e.g. the California Open, NorCal Open, Texas Open, and the World Association of Kettlebell Sport Clubs World Championship)
  • They offer Free Shipping and a Lifetime Warranty
  • They have unparalleled customer service

CLICK HERE to check out the selection at Kettlebell Kings

Kettlebell Kings VS Kettlebells USA: Compare & Contrast Review

Highest Quality Kettlebells

Note: if you are a kettlebell athlete or plan to compete in kettlebell sport someday, I’d stick with the kettlebells from these companies.

Kettlebells USA (both Paradigm Pro ® Elite AND Paradigm Pro ® Classic models) – see notes above

Kettlebell Kings (“Kettlebell Sport” Series) – see notes above

Vulcan Strength Training Systems – Vulcan® Absolute™ Competition Kettlebells are among the highest quality that I’ve ever used. They originally sent me one of their “Training Kettlebells”. And early on in this review process, I learned that it was one of my favorites, even though it was a lower grade kettlebell compared to their competition model. So, I asked them for one of their competition models to compare, and they promptly sent one. I’m glad they did, because it’s right up there with the best of them! So, if you’re in the market for some of the best kettlebells that money can buy, and don’t mind paying a little more than you would elsewhere, check out VulcanStrength.com. Also, those with large hands or who like to do two-handed kettlebell exercises (e.g. two-handed swings) may prefer the wider handle that Vulcan offers.

Eleiko – I only had about two weeks to evaluate Eleiko’s kettlebell because they shipped me a new prototype via freighter from Sweden, which took several weeks to arrive. Their new, updated models will be available in the USA very soon. This kettlebell is one of the highest quality, particularly because of its finish, and the handle. Also, my customer service experience with them was among the best – very prompt, professional, and helpful. You’ll pay a little more for Eleiko kettlebells than the other companies above, and they don’t have quite as good of a selection, but the quality is there.

Note: I believe that all four companies in this category have professional kettlebell athletes who use or endorse their kettlebells. I’m not surprised that Kettlebells USA and Kettlebell Kings made it onto this list since they specialize in kettlebells. But I was pleasantly surprised that both Eleiko and Vulcan produce such high quality models since they also manufacture many other types of fitness equipment.

New Kettlebell Design: Hollow Core Kettlebells With No Filler

Kettlebells USA claims to have pioneered a new kettlebell design that they call their “Inner Core Technology™,” which results in “the original & finest ‘no filler competition kettlebell’ (Source).” I spoke with the company’s Vice President, Alex King, about this new design. He told me that it produces a kettlebell with superior balance and no interior rattle. He also said that it results in less strain on the body, and I’ve found that to be true while comparing them with the others.

You’ll know that a kettlebell has a hollow core with no filler if it has an opening on the bottom, like this…

kettlebell review (hollow core, no filler)

I’ve found that I can do more reps, more easily, and with less strain by using this new design – recommended!

Kettlebells with this new design are currently available from Kettlebells USA (Paradigm Pro Elite series), Kettlebell Kings (Sport series), and Vulcan Strength (both their training and competition kettlebells are hollow core), which is yet another reason why I can recommend these companies.

Most Budget-Friendly Kettlebells (i.e. inexpensive, but not cheap)

1st choice: Kettlebells USA – Paradigm Pro Classic Kettlebells – The best quality in the “bargain bin” at competitive prices.

kettlebells usa paradigm pro classic - 12 kg kettlebell (review)

2nd choice: Perform Better First Place Elite Competition kettlebells – If you catch them during one of their frequent sales, you can get a good kettlebell at some of the best prices I’ve ever seen.

3rd choice: Christian’s Fitness Factory – had the lowest prices during this review period, decent quality.

4th choice: Kettlebell Kings: Steel Standard Kettlebells – decent quality at competitive prices, but no weights heavier than 60 pounds.

Other Kettlebells Not Mentioned Above

Rogue Fitness Kettlebells – I’m both surprised and disappointed to say that the kettlebell I bought from Rogue was not one of my preferred choices mainly because it didn’t fit me well. Something about the size and shape of the handle made it different than what I’m used to. Otherwise, it’s a good quality kettlebell. And it does represent a niche product because out of all the kettlebells I reviewed, Rogue’s is the only one made out of iron. And I know some kettlebell lifters prefer the feel of iron over steel, and might want the benefits of a standardized, competition-style kettlebell with universal dimensions.

Rage Fitness Kettlebells – To make a long story short, I had a very long and drawn out customer service experience with Rage. They were very enthusiastic about the review, and always kind and courteous, but it took over two months to actually get one of their kettlebells delivered to me. And unfortunately, when it arrived, it was damaged (click here for photo – notice the two grooves in the handle). They were not willing to send a replacement. And I can’t blame them because they had already sent a separate kettlebell that never arrived (i.e. they don’t know what happened to it). Other than the damage, the kettlebell is of decent quality, but definitely not up to par with the others, I’m afraid.

World Kettlebell Club Kettlebells – The WKC sent me a couple of kettlebells for review purposes years ago (see the original review here). And I had intended to include them again in this updated review since they’re some of the best models I’ve used. However, I learned recently that they have been discontinued. If you can find a new or used model in good condition somewhere, they’ll serve you well.

Why I Only Use and Recommend Competition-Style Kettlebells Even Though I’m Not a Kettlebell Athlete and Have Never Competed in Kettlebell Sport

In 2009, after years of using traditional, iron kettlebells (AKA standard or “Russian-style”), I switched to competition-style kettlebells (AKA sport, steel, or pro-grade kettlebells) – and I haven’t gone back in the last 7+ years.

Here’s why I only recommend competition kettlebells to my clients:

  • With pro-grade, competition-style, steel-constructed kettlebells, all of the different weights are the same size (i.e. standardized dimensions) – so a lightweight 8 kg kettlebell (19 lbs) is the same size/shape/dimensions as a heavy 32 kg kettlebell (70 lbs). This allows for easier progressions while increasing weight, without having to adjust your exercise technique.
  • Competition-style kettlebells have a more ergonomic design, which is safer and healthier for your joints and connective tissues (e.g. especially the forearms, wrists, hands, and fingers)
  • Competition kettlebells are usually made of stronger, higher quality materials (i.e. made of steel instead of iron) and to higher manufacturing standards
  • They’re not much more expensive than iron kettlebells, and sometimes, they can even be had for less money
  • Competition kettlebells are accepted in kettlebell sport because they are a superior training tool

The bottom line: I want to use the best tool for the job. And a tool that is more consistent, safer, healthier, stronger, and affordable is best. That said, if you’re only going to use your kettlebells very rarely or only for the most basic exercises (e.g. swings, goblet squats, etc.), then a traditional iron kettlebell will probably serve you just fine.

Which Weight Should I Buy?

Use the following guidelines to choose the most appropriate starting weight.

Men:

  • Poor fitness level (No training experience, recent rehabilitation from injuries, small build) – 12-16 kg
  • Average fitness level (Some training experience, healthy, moderate build) – 16-20 kg
  • Excellent fitness level (High training experience, healthy, large build, athletic background) – 20-24 kg

Women:

  • Poor fitness level (No training experience, recent rehabilitation from injuries, small build) – 8-12 kg
  • Average fitness level (Some training experience, healthy, moderate build) – 12-16 kg
  • Excellent fitness level (High training experience, healthy, large build, athletic background) – 16-20 kg
Note: Most men start with a 16 kg and most women start with a 12 kg. These are kettlebell weights that most lifters will not outgrow even after years of use. If you’re still undecided, choosing the lower weight is usually the best option.

Wrap-Up

I want to offer a BIG THANKS to all of the companies who agreed to send me free product samples to make this review possible (see below for the complete list). I couldn’t have done it without you, and I hope you feel that this kettlebell review does your products justice!

Finally, I want to thank YOU for reading this review all the way through! I hope it was helpful. And if so, please share it with your fellow kettlebell friends.

And by the way, if you decide to order some kettlebells after reading my review, I have a gift for you…

Click here to claim your FREE gift when you order Kettlebells*

*If you order kettlebells through one of my referral links, please send me a copy of your receipt and I’ll send you a free gift: The 7 Key Components of the Kettlebell Swing (coaching video). Just forward your confirmation email containing your receipt to physical (dot) living [at] gmail (dot) com and I’ll reply with your gift. Thank you for supporting my work here at PhysicalLiving.com!

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends:

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More Information


***Important Note: Product research, testing, and evaluation for this review was conducted between August and November 2016.***

At my request, the following companies agreed to send me free product samples, for review purposes – with no guarantees or assurances other than that a fair review would be provided:

  • KettlebellKings.com
  • KettlebellsUSA.com
  • ChristiansFitnessFactory.com
  • PerformBetter.com
  • VulcanStrength.com
  • RageFitness.com
  • Eleiko
  • World Kettlebell Club

Note: RogueFitness.com politely declined to send me a free product sample. So, I decided to buy one of their kettlebells for this review anyway.

59 Responses

  1. Nickolas Steffen

    I have long considered using kettlebells, but never pulled the trigger. I’m excited to give it a shot. Thanks!

  2. Jonathan Lin

    Hi, my question is what’s the most common injury for kettlebell beginners and what’s a good prehab/warmup movem to prevent it?

  3. Hi John. As usual, another excellent review. I consider myself moderately fit, at least for a 64-year old man. I do have some arthritis in one shoulder, so I’m a touch concerned about using a kettlebell. Thoughts? Thanks!

    • Hi Jim, Thanks for the kind words. It’s hard to say anything for sure, but if your shoulder can handle some basic calisthenics (e.g. pushups, pull-ups, etc.), then I imagine it can also handle some kettlebell training, too. Plus, there are many kettlebell exercises that don’t take a toll on the shoulders. Personally, I think that most fitness enthusiasts like yourself would benefit from the inclusion of either some clubbell and/or kettlebell training because you can train many unique movement patterns (e.g. lateral and rotational movements) that more traditional strength training methods don’t target. So, even at your age, I still think you would benefit from some fundamental swinging exercises, either with a kettlebell or a clubbell (or both!). Each tool has its strengths, and I’ve compared them here: Clubbells VS Kettlebells. Let me know if you have any further questions – happy to help.

  4. What perfect timing as I was planning on buying kettlebells for my daughter as a Christmas present, along with hinting to my husband for the same ones for me. Thank you for clarify why you would choose the competition style over the traditional style as I would never have considered them otherwise. Now I just need to find out if they are sold in Canada, or can be shipped here.

    • Hi Joann, They do make a great gift :-) And I believe that most of the companies do ship to Canada.

  5. John…long time follower for about 8 years now (learned about you from S.S. international website) from first full body flow youtube video. Pretty sure this was before you launched Physical Living?? I could care less about winning the KB. However, thanks to you I became interested in clubells and kettlebells. Clubbells …I bought a pair and learned and followed from Shane at Dare to Evolve. Kettlebells…I tried many and I too decided I preferred same size KB’s. When I was ready to buy I researched many companies. I too had an awesome customer service experience with KB USA. They were knowledeable and very courteous. The salesperson on the phone took the time to educate (not sell) me. Long story short I bought a 16KG and six months later bought a 24KG (I think I’m ready for the 32KG). I especially like the handles and how they feel consistent on every single one. I have enjoyed and learned much from you over the years. For that I owe you my gratitude and thanks. I would love to see a future series from you on the topic of anscillary muscle training…what, how, why and maybe tutorials showing the movements. Well thanks again and continue the good work educating your followers!

    • Thank you very much, J.H.! It’s my pleasure. Yes, I launched my site in 2008, and rebranded it to Physical Living about a year later. I’ll put ancillary muscle training on my list for upcoming topics. Thanks for the suggestion. And keep up the good work! I’m glad my site has been helpful to you and that you’re working your way up the kettlebell chain.

  6. Appreciate the content here. I have never used a competition style kettlebell so will have to give them a try. Makes sense that they keep the same size, just increase weight. Surprised on the Rogue review overall as I have found their other offerings superior in many ways.

    • Don’t get me wrong, Dave. Rogue still makes a good quality kettlebell. It just didn’t fit me well. I think the handle is a little taller/longer than I’m used to and the “U-shape” curvature of the handle is a little tighter than all the others, too.

  7. Would you make any special recommendation to athletes with smaller hands? I don’t have big hands and it can be frustrating trying to use kettlebells with larger handles.

  8. Casey Krupp

    Hola! I guess my main question would be ; What are your go-to compensatory movements for Traditional KB lifts. Also, do you have any pre-requisite benchmarks for clients to judge whether or not they are ready for ballistic movements?

    • Oooo, good questions, Casey! Generally speaking, seal pose, locust pose, and downward facing dog (and their many variants) are a few of my go-to KB compensatory exercises. But it all depends on the exercise we’re compensating from and the athlete, too. This is a great topic for a whole article or video. Sonnon’s Kettlebell Foundation DVD program has a lot on this topic. The answer to your second question is yes, but it’s a little too complicated to explain here. Basically, I’d assess whether or not they have the requisite mobility, stability, and pain-free range of motion at all working joints, and then start with the most basic exercises using light weights and assess as we go. And if there are any doubts, I may even start with unloaded plyometric exercises (e.g. basic jumps).

  9. I’ve never picked up a kettle ball, but I think it would be a great way to change up my workout, instead of using standard dumbells. What would be a few good kettle ball exercises for a ‘newbie’?

    • Kim, I’d probably start you off with a basic two-handed swing and also the goblet squat.

  10. I would gladly give an american kettlebell a go if I won but don’t think you would want to ship it overseas. :D there’s a completely different market in europe, never heard of any of these you tried out.

    • My memory is hazy, but were you the Katri who told me about Compact, IronBull, and Leoko kettlebells, which are available in Europe? I had never even heard of them :)

  11. Excellent article..thank you! I use KBs in my fitness sessions & my clients really like the variety. The biggest concern they have is low back injuries..it’s imperative to teach proper hip hinge. What are some of your techniques when leading a beginner into proper swings? Thank you..

    • Hey Christy, I’ll often start a client with a basic rock-it drill. Once they can do that with excellent technique, I’ll progress to the swing.

  12. Val Kowalewich

    Awesome review. I have used kettle bells I the past and even made my own club bell. A 25 pound concrete and wood handled monster. Still use it too. Never owned my kettlebell….would be cool to win one. Thanks for the opportunity. Have a great day.

  13. Thanks for the review! Great videos. There are a lot of great companies out there and a professional, unbiased review is always helpful. I will definitely be looking at some of your top choices for my next kettlebells! I would like to incorporate some more kettlebell work in my workouts. Any suggestions/videos for a crossfitter? Great intro, by the way! Loved seeing some of the movements!

    • Hi Danielle, My advice would be pretty general. Find a competent instructor who can teach you the basics. Start light and master the basic exercises (e.g. swings, presses, etc.) before increasing load. Also, learn how to compensate from the over-specializations that result from KB training. There are also some good programs available out there (e.g. Scott Sonnon’s Kettlebell Foundation DVDs). I’d probably steer you toward the work of Scott Sonnon and Steve Cotter first.

  14. Better to sleep with kettleballs than swim with sharks! :)

  15. Hi John, I think I know the answer to this, but can KB’s be a total replacement for dumbbells/barbells? (I’m guessing yes, with the right set of exercises) I ask because I’m having a lot more aches and pains of late and haven’t been using my free weights lately so this might be a more compact way to accomplish similar workouts)

    • Yes and no, Anthony. You can use a kettlebell as a substitute for any and every dumbbell exercise. However, there are some exercises and training goals where traditional weight lifting gear and exercises are preferred (e.g. deadlifting). That said, if heavy weights tend to give you trouble, then using lighter kettlebells and clubbells (or even calisthenics) can be a great way to strength training without heavy, compressive loading. And a lot of people – myself included – have experienced less aches and pains when switching from traditional weight lifting to KB and CB training (etc.).

  16. jakob abrahamsen

    Hey – I certainly wouldnt mind winning a kettlebell. Love those. Thanks for great work John. As always a pleasure, educational and entertaining to read your material. High quality stuff. Jakob

  17. Henry Chang

    Hi John,

    Many thanks for the review on these competition kettlebells. I like the review as well as your reviews on clubbells!

    I have been doing kettlebell excercis for over 6 years. I own many iron kettlebells. Most of them are made in the USA and no longer in production. My experience is that the variation was always there even for the same items from the same manufactuer. Each individual is just different from casting and grinding/sanding. In terms of coating durability, I like DD and Kettlebell USA (Metrixx Classic E-coat kettlebells are what I have.) most. In terms of iron casting quality, I like LL, DD, Demon Kettlebell, Skull Kettlebell and Punch Kettlebell most. In terms of grip feeling from coating, I prefer DD and some of Punch Kettlebells. (I own 5 Punch kettlebells. There are 4 different coatings and finishes.) In terms of handle shape, the DD kettlebell always have a very good round cross section; Some of my LL kettlebells have the almost perfect round cross section shape, and some are just very much over-sanded to smooth the seam. In terms of over-all quality and item consistency, DD is the best choice for me. I only own one competition kettlebell (VF precision from Word Kettlebell Club), the casting and finish is just not what I expect for the price. I heard that powder coated kettlebells from Kettlebell Kings are also very good. Haven’t owned anyone from them yet.

    My 2 cents!

    Best,
    Henry

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Henry – all good feedback. I may do a similar “comparison review” with some iron kettlebells someday.

  18. Thanks for the great kettle bell review! I have a CAP kettle bell and did not realize that there was a big difference in the types will definitely look into the kettlebell USA for the next ones. I have been doing the kettlebell swings for a while and they are a great quick workout.

    • Hey Rob, There are many different kettlebell styles and more brands than ever these days (at least here in the USA). And I agree that you can accomplish a lot with a basic kettlebell swing workout.

  19. Did Ma and Pa Kettle give you any tips?

    Terry

  20. John, My fitness club has kettlebells used in classes that are coated with heavy plastic or rubber compound. Thus if dropped on the wood gym floor, there is no damage. Do you have any such models you would recommend as all those you reviewed appear to have an hard iron/metal exterior?

    • I do not, Bob. I’ve used a couple rubber-coated kettlebells over the years, but hardly at all. That said, In 12+ years of kettlebell training, I’ve never witnessed anyone drop one (at least, accidentally). With proper training, the risk of an accident can be greatly reduced.

  21. Wow! I’ve worked in gyms, and never realized that kettlebell-ing was actually a competitive sport, not just a fitness/toning method! Thank you, and thank you for the research! I’d noticed differences in the bells we had at our gym, but never saw a name brand on them to think there was a difference in that way; I feel really ignorant now. Lol. But a little more educated, as well!

  22. Enjoy using the kettlebells in my gym. Need some for my home as my gym gets crowded sometimes and smacking someone in the face with a kettlebell is not a good way to meet a workout partner.

    • Even tucked away in the corner of my gym, I had a couple of close calls when swinging my clubbells.

  23. David Denis

    Thanks for making some sense out of a pretty chaotic jungle of choices. It’s very hard to make useful comparisons based on marketing claims and photographs. I trust your judgment. Thanks for this review.

    • My pleasure, Dave. And if you’d like to stop by sometime to check them out for yourself, just let me know.

  24. The kettlebell prize giveaway has ended. Congratulations, Anthony! Your kettlebell is on its way. Thanks to everyone for participating!

  25. “I simply did a lot of kettlebell training over the last few months using a program I designed myself.”
    Hi John. Thanks for the review. Any chance you could share the program?
    RJ

  26. Great review, as always! Thank you John!!

  27. Henry Chang

    Hi John,

    Thank you for the review. It’s very helpful for my next ketllebell purchase.

    You mentioned that Kettlebell USA elite competition sport ketllebell has a Hollow core with no filler. However, can I say its 32 Kg (or may be 36 Kg) elite competition kettlebell is a SOLID STEEL (No hollow and no lead) Kettlebell?

    Best,
    Henry

    • Hi Henry,

      Some of the heaviest weights do have a filler. The company VP explained that there’s no way to make them heavy enough while adhering to the standardized dimensions without lead. There simply isn’t enough room using just steel. I can’t remember which weight he said that they start adding lead, but my best guess would be the 36 kg bells.

  28. Hi John,

    Great kettlebell review. I have used some of them. This is my question:-

    In looking at Kettlebells USA website, it looks like there is some kind of welded rod in the middle rather than being hollow, do you know why that is?

    • Hi Jack,

      They are hollow kettlebells, but mine has that rod, too (i.e. inside the Paradigm Pro Elite model). I don’t know why it’s there, but I suspect it’s for additional structural integrity.

      • Hi John,

        Thanks for your reply, I saw an Instagram post where someone mentioned those vibrate when bells hit each other during Long Cycle. Have you experienced that or asked Kettlebells USA why they are in there?

  29. After reading info from your website as to how you review kettlebells from different manufacturers I can tell that your method is really faulty. You didn’t buy yourself those kettlebells, they were sent to you for free. And it is not because they were sent to you for free, it is because the sender could have chosen the best possible kettlebell from a pool of regular quality bells. I am saying it because I have 3 kettlebellusa bells and while they are ok, only one of them is really perfect.

    • Hi Sergey,

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      You’re right that the review would be better if I bought all of the kettlebells myself and got “random” samples from each company. And it would be even better if I were able to get multiple kettlebells from each company instead of just one or two, as that would give me a more balanced perspective on their quality control. Unfortunately, the expense of doing such a review is cost-prohibitive (i.e. buying dozens of kettlebells).

      Now, it’s true that some of the companies may have selected a particularly good-looking model to send. However, I doubt this was the case with most because they have separate warehouses and shipping locations around the country. And I suspect that they just put in an order like they would with any other normal purchase and have their team take care of it. But I could be wrong. Maybe everyone sent their very best models.

      So, take the review for what it’s worth – just my experience (i.e. a single “data point,” if you will). I hope it helps you decide which kettlebells to invest in for the future.

    • Hi, I have seen some people on social media mentioning that the rod in the middle causes vibration during lifts, especially long cycle, does yours have this rod?

      Jack

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