This is a basic buying guide for kettlebell users of all levels. You could get very specific about choosing the kettlebell that is right for you, and unless you plan on competing, these recommendations will work for most people. Skip to recommendations
Although the barbell is the centerpiece of my training, many workouts with my clients and myself include kettlebells. When I’m at home or traveling, the kettlebell is my go to. When time, space or budget is limited, a kettlebell is the only piece of equipment you need for a great workout without compromise.
An extensive variety of exercises utilizing kettlebells allows you to train the entire body, presenting challenges and opportunities to develop strength, power, mobility, and stability with additional demands placed on the cardiovascular system.
In fact, you could train effectively for your entire life with just a single kettlebell. Now I’m not endorsing you only train with kettlebells, but you can certainly attain high levels of fitness using only kettlebells. Many people of all ages and varying levels of athleticism, training exclusively with kettlebells, have done just that.
Whether you choose to train only with kettlebells or just need a way of staying active when you can’t make it to the gym, get yourself a kettlebell or two.
There’s a large variety of kettlebells on the market, most of them will not last. Cheap kettlebells are likely to chip and become worn faster and will certainly need to be replaced. A good quality kettlebell starts around $30-50 w/ shipping and could last you forever; it’s worth the extra investment. Painted kettlebells will lose their paint if you’re banging them around with other kettlebells or tossing them to the ground aggressively. Vinyl Coated is a nice option if you like your equipment to stay looking pretty. If you have hardwood floors I recommend Vinyl Coated, painted kettlebells seems to mark the floors easily. If you’re considering another brand of kettlebell or have any questions or comments about these brands, feel free to contact me. I recommend the First Place Kettlebells from Perform Better.
Standard vs. Competition Kettlebells
Kettlebells come in a standard size (most common in stores and gyms) or a larger, not heavier, competition size. Competition kettlebells all have the same diameter, regardless of weight. The larger handles also offer more space for the hands. For some, the larger surface area makes it easier to support in the rack position (on the body). Beginners may find that it hurts less when it slams into the wrist because it has less distance to travel before it hits (when done right, it’s not supposed to hurt, but it takes some practice). I prefer the competition size, however, my female clients prefer the standard size. Although I recommend the competition size, it’s really a personal preference.
What weight should you get?
Probably the biggest question you have, what weight should you get? Here are the weights I suggest that will allow you to do the most effective and largest variety of exercises to achieve optimal results. As a general rule, I go as heavy as I can with good form. The more kettlebells you get the better, but you can do a lot with one.
*Converting Kilograms to Pounds: 1kg = 2.2lbs (ie. 16kg = 35lbs)
- 16kg (for stronger men) or 12kg
- another 24kg
- 12kg (for stronger women) or 8kg
- another 12kg or 16kg
Experienced Lifters (men and women)
- 24kg or 16kg
- another 16kg or 24kg
Note: These suggested weights are based on my experience with my clients, however, because each individual has different needs, feel free to contact me for recommendations specific to you.
My Kettlebell Recommendations
- Perform Better First Place Competition Kettlebells (Personal Favorite)
- Perform Better First Place Standard Kettlebells
- Perform Better First Place Standard Vinyl-Coated Kettlebells
- Rogue Fitness Kettlebells
- CAP Barbell Enamel Coated Cast Iron Kettlebell (Most Affordable)
Note: I don’t feature anything on my site I haven’t researched, used, or own myself. I may receive a commission for some of the products I recommend. I’m always open to suggestions too, so please send me any recommendations of your own.