How we pick our products
Would you like to do more sport? But you don’t know which sport is right for you? There are many ways to do more sport. Some prefer to exercise with others, some prefer to exercise on their own.
Besides the training setting, it is also important to find the right type of sport. If you have health problems, you should talk to your doctor about which sport is suitable for you.
If you are looking for a workout for your whole body or want to add cardio to another sport or are simply interested in a versatile piece of exercise equipment, then the kettlebell may be an option for you.
In our big kettlebell test 2022 we introduce you to different kettlebells and show you how you can use them. We show you which types are available and which are suitable for professionals or beginners.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Best Kettlebell: Our Picks
- 3 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a kettlebell
- 4 Decision: What types of kettlebells are there and which is the right one for you?
- 5 Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate kettlebells
- 6 Facts worth knowing about kettlebells
- Kettlebells are incredibly functional training tools. Used correctly, the kettlebell can replace an entire gym.
- There are almost no limits to what the kettlebell can do. Great muscles, fat loss and improved fitness are just a few of the benefits that come with kettlebell training.
- Classic kettlebells are made of iron, but meanwhile there are also numerous other variants. So there is the right model for everyone.
The Best Kettlebell: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a kettlebell
What are the advantages of kettlebells?
Don’t let anyone fool you! Even the kettlebell is not a miracle weapon that will make you look like Arnie at his best overnight. And yet: the famous kettlebell swing alone trains numerous muscles at the same time. For example, legs, back, buttocks, shoulders and triceps.
With the kettlebell you can build up functional muscles. This not only looks good, but is also useful for other sports and in everyday life.
15 minutes on a machine in the gym will cost you 50-125 calories, but with 15 minutes of kettlebell training you will get rid of around 300. With the kettlebell you also achieve an afterburn effect.
Kettlebell training is very intense. It burns a lot of calories and can help you lose weight. And it’s fun too!
Especially good: the afterburn effect! This means that you still have an increased calorie turnover hours after a training session. You may know this effect from high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
As always, the basic rule of effective fat loss also applies here: Over the course of the day, you must burn more calories than you consume.
You can also significantly improve your fitness with kettlebell training.
If you train regularly, you will never run out of breath again when climbing stairs. Even if you have to climb to the highest floor of the Burj Khalifa. And the lift is out of order.
There are about 500 kettlebell exercises.
So you can not only train every muscle in your body. You are also guaranteed not to get bored.
Kettlebell training is so intensive that you can complete an effective full-body workout in just a quarter of an hour.
Maybe that’s even less time than it takes you to get to the nearest fitness centre?
If the kettlebell is used properly, it doesn’t have to fear comparison with a well-equipped home gym. It takes up almost no space at all.
It can even be stowed in a travel bag. So you can train comfortably anywhere in the world. (Lugging the bag around might be less convenient. But that counts as warming up!)
Admittedly: High-quality kettlebells are not cheap. But considering their benefits, they are more than worth it!
Again, it doesn’t hurt to compare them to a home gym or gym membership. If used properly, the kettlebell can easily replace both.
How much do kettlebells cost?
A good fitness kettlebell weighing 8 kg starts at about 15 €.
A similar model with 16 kg, on the other hand, costs at least 30 €. Brand-name products are usually much more expensive.
Competition kettlebells are usually a little more expensive than their counterparts in the same weight category. A very heavy brand-name product for professionals can cost several hundred euros.
How do I choose the right kettlebell weight?
Here is the recommendation of legendary kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline:
- An averagely trained man should start with 16 kg
- An averagely trained woman should start with 8 kg
If you can bench press 90 kg, you can also start with a 20 kg model, according to Tsatsouline.
|Women||6 – 8 kg||16 – 20 kg||24 kg|
|Men||12 – 16 kg||20 – 24 kg||32 kg|
What “averagely trained” means is of course difficult to say. You have to assess yourself and adjust your weight up or down accordingly.
If in doubt, you should choose a slightly lighter version. This way you can learn the movements perfectly. If the weights are too heavy, the risk of injury increases.
By the way: Many special units around the world use kettlebells for their fitness tests. Most of them use 24-ball kettlebells.
Who is kettlebell training suitable for?
Do you have back problems? Then you should definitely consult a doctor before you start training. In many cases, however, good kettlebell training can even help to alleviate pain. This also applies to shoulder and neck problems.
Do you do other sports and wonder if they are compatible with kettlebell training?
With the kettlebell you will actually be able to improve your performance in most other sports. By the way, it is especially popular with martial artists because it promotes tension and stability of the body.
Even if you mainly do “normal” weight training, the kettlebell can be a valuable addition. With the help of the kettlebell you can, for example, add short, intensive cardio sessions to your regular workout.
What is the best way to train with the kettlebell?
It makes sense to stick to the basics at first. Kettlebell swing, squats, deadlifts and clean are very good basic exercises. You can already put together an effective full-body workout from these.
Be careful! Don’t overdo it! Otherwise the risk of injury is very high.
Work on your coordination first and start with a few repetitions. Then increase slowly.
Once you have the basics down, you can move on to the more complicated exercises. The most popular of these are Clean and Jerk, Windmill, Turkish Get Up and Snatch.
You can find instructions for almost all exercises on the internet (e.g. on YouTube). However, it is not easy to learn the routines through videos.
Kettlebell courses are now offered in many larger cities. If you want to become really good, you should keep your eyes open for them. This way you benefit from the experience of a trainer, avoid typical mistakes and reduce the risk of injuring yourself.
Are there alternatives to the kettlebell?
Clubbells are closely related to kettlebells as training equipment. However, they have the shape of a club. Here, too, the focus is on swinging exercises. These products are only suitable for experienced athletes, as the correct movements are particularly difficult to learn.
Some people also try to do kettlebell exercises with a normal dumbbell.
We advise against this for several reasons:
- The grip on swings is not secure.
- The weight distribution is poor.
- The risk of injury increases.
Decision: What types of kettlebells are there and which is the right one for you?
Basically, you can distinguish between three types of kettlebells:
- Fitness Kettlebells
- Competition Kettlebells
- Kettlebells with variable weight
Which kettlebell is right for you depends entirely on your personal training goals.
With the large number of manufacturers, there are of course differences in quality. To choose the perfect kettlebell, you should always consider the following points:
- The handle must not be welded on afterwards! Otherwise it can come loose. And you certainly don’t want to turn the kettlebell into a cannonball.
- The handle should also not be too rough. Otherwise you will either have to train with gloves or you will soon get unpleasant blisters.
- Some kettlebells have rubber covers. These can dampen noise and reduce marks on the floor. This is useful if you are exercising at home.
- Many kettlebells have a vinyl cover. This is mainly for looks. But be careful: sometimes a vinyl cover is meant to distract from bad workmanship!
In the next sections we would like to show you which kettlebell is perfect for you. So that you are not overwhelmed by the vast number of products on the market. And so that your training will be a success!
What are fitness kettlebells and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
As it has no hollow spaces, the fitness kettlebell hardly takes up any room. And the price-performance ratio of many models leaves nothing to be desired. So it lives up to its second name – Classic Kettlebell!
Some fitness kettlebells are made of filled plastic. In many cases, these balls are not particularly well made. Accordingly, they do not last as long.
We therefore advise you to use fitness kettlebells that are cast from iron. They are available in many weight classes. Because of the casting technique, the kettlebell gets bigger as the weight increases. The handle also becomes thicker.
Since fitness kettlebells do not have standardised sizes, they are not suitable for competitions.
Another disadvantage: In smaller versions, most models have a small footprint. They can tip over. So you should not do push-ups on them, for example.
On the other hand, you can use the fitness kettlebell for two-handed exercises because of the wide handle. For example, for classics like the kettlebell swing or deadlifts, with which you train strength and body control intensively.
What are competition kettlebells and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
As the name suggests, competition kettlebells are made for competitions. Their stability and perfect handling make them popular with athletes with the highest demands.
In contrast to the Fitness Kettlebell, all Competition Kettlebells have the same size. The steel balls are partly hollow and are filled with different materials. Their weight is indicated by different colours.
Not only the size, but also the grip is the same for all models. Here you also have to keep in mind that it should not be welded on and not too rough!
In kettlebell competitions all exercises are performed with one hand. These balls are designed exactly for this purpose. The smaller handle makes them perfect for all one-handed exercises. In addition, this smaller handle ensures that the kettlebell wobbles less during fast swings. However, they are less suitable for the kettlebell swing. You do this with both hands.
These kettlebells are also a little more expensive. This is due to the complex manufacturing process.
Standardised size and grip offer a special advantage: no matter what weight you use, you can always use the same technique. This makes the competition kettlebell also popular with amateur athletes.
Due to the wider base, it is also more stable than most fitness kettlebells. The steel body also guarantees break resistance. No matter if you are a hobby athlete with high demands or if you actually want to compete: The purchase of a competition kettlebell is worthwhile in any case!
What are kettlebells with variable weight and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
The variant of kettlebells with adjustable weight has also become modern. Some of them are filled with sand or steel balls, others with water. There are also models where you have to attach weight plates yourself. With all these variants, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages!
The advantage of such models seems obvious at first: More flexibility due to the adjustable weight. However, this point is not as important as you might think.
Here are five reasons against adjustable kettlebells:
- Acceleration increases the weight of a kettlebell many times over anyway. One or two “normal” kettlebells are completely sufficient for a good workout!
- Adjustable kettlebells often have poor swing characteristics.
- Most of the time it is awkward to change the weight.
- In many cases, the handle is incorrectly sized.
- To make matters worse, many of these models are quite expensive.
Of course, there are differences here too. Some products are better than others. However, our basic advice is to invest your money in a high-quality fitness or competition kettlebell. You won’t have to throw it away in a few years. You can still use it in a retirement home to impress the young staff with your strength.
|Fitness Kettlebells||They have no cavities, so they take up less space. They also have wider handles, making ambidextrous exercises possible||The workout for at home, as great exercise variability can be performed.|
|Competition Kettlebells||They have a standard size with a wider base for more stability. They have smaller handles for one-handed exercises||Due to their uniform size they are used a lot in competitions.|
|Kettlebells with variable weight||These kettlebells have a hollow space that you can fill with weights. It can be water, sand or steel balls||the only place they are good for is home training.|
Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate kettlebells
A kettlebell is just a ball with a handle. It doesn’t matter which one you buy. Right? Wrong! There are many differences between kettlebells.
In the next sections we will show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate kettlebells. This is how you can find the perfect product!
In summary, these are:
In the following we would like to explain these criteria to you in more detail.
Basically, you can distinguish between competition kettlebells and fitness/classic kettlebells. Which type is the right one for you depends on your personal taste and training goal!
You attach great importance to two-handed exercises like kettlebell swings and deadlifts? You also want a space-saving product? Then it’s best to get yourself a good fitness kettlebell.
You want to train for competitions and want perfect handling for one-handed exercises? Then a competition k ettlebell is exactly what you need! Competition kettlebells are usually a bit more expensive than fitness models because of the complex manufacturing process. However, this does not mean that they are generally better.
Generally speaking, there is no such thing as better or worse! Rather, it depends on your personal taste. Both types offer individual advantages. If you have the opportunity, it is best to try out both. You will quickly notice which kettlebells suit you better.
By the way: many athletes first work on the basics with classic kettlebells. Later they switch to competition kettlebells.
Weight is one of the most important criteria when buying a kettlebell. It should not be too heavy. Otherwise the risk of injury is high. However, it should not be too light either. After all, you value an intensive workout!
Here again is the recommendation of someone who should know. The grandmaster of the kettlebell, Pavel Tsatsouline:
- A good starting weight for an averagely trained man is 16 kg.
- A good starting weight for an averagely trained woman is 8 kg.
Attention: “Average training” means that you are already exercising.
If in doubt, choose a lighter weight! The intensity of the training depends not only on the weight, but also on many other factors. By the way: Almost all kettlebell models are offered in a variety of weights. Often between 4 kg and 32 kg, for example.
Compared to most other fitness equipment, all kettlebells are space-saving. Nevertheless, there are differences here too. In addition, size also plays a role in training!
It’s not just about how much shelf space you have. (Caution: If you really want to put your kettlebell on the shelf, buy some extra strong screws first)
Size matters also when training! For example, when doing a kettlebell swing you have to move the kettlebell through your legs. If it is too big, you should watch your shins. Cast iron kettlebells are always space-saving. This is simply because they have no cavities.
The size of competition kettlebells is also no problem for most athletes. However, you have to train with a wider stance. One advantage of the Competition models: with a diameter of 21 cm, all balls are exactly the same size. So there are no unpleasant surprises when you change the weight. Instead, you can always use the same technique.
The situation is different with filled kettlebells: Depending on the filling material and cavities, the ball body can become very large. You have to be careful here! A ball that is too big is no longer manageable. This will quickly become noticeable through a lack of success during training.
Most kettlebells are made of cast iron, filled plastic or steel. Steel is convincing because of its resistance to breakage. Cast iron and plastic can break.
Most fitness kettlebells are made of cast iron. This offers several advantages: Apart from the space saving mentioned, they are also quite stable. Nevertheless, iron can break.
If it crashes to the floor with great momentum, then even a massive cast iron kettlebell will sustain fractures.
Nevertheless, cast iron is more stable than plastic. Many plastic kettlebells have seams that can open. Then it can happen that you get to know the filling of your kettlebell more closely than you would like.
But plastic also has an advantage: it is comparatively soft. A kettlebell like this reduces the chances of unsightly dents in the floor.
Competition kettlebells are basically made of steel. This is one of their biggest advantages: they are unbreakable. When subjected to heavy loads, your competition kettlebell may develop one or two dents. But it will not break! Which brings us to the next point:
You can enjoy a high-quality kettlebell made of cast iron or steel for many decades. With models made of plastic, however, the fun is often over after just a few months.
Even if the paint eventually peels: competition kettlebells are unbreakable and last almost forever. Cast iron models are also usually very durable. Provided you treat them with care and don’t take any nasty falls. Anyone who has ever held a good cast-iron model in their hands knows that it exudes a sense of eternity.
The situation is different with plastic kettlebells. If you are lucky, they will last a few years. But most models lose their filling by then at the latest or show you in a similar way that they don’t want you any more. Not a good prerequisite for a long-term relationship!
Whether lacquer, neoprene or vinyl: most kettlebells have a cover. This can be useful. But you should not overestimate their importance.
A rubber or neoprene cover is supposed to protect your floor from dents. However, if it is a very heavy kettlebell or if it lands with a lot of force on the floor, it will definitely make a dent. The cover can only prevent worse.
The vinyl cover is also said to be able to prevent dents. However, the cushioning effect is small. Vinyl jackets are mainly for visual effect.
If you train indoors, you should use a fall protection mat. Many cast iron kettlebells do not have a cover except for the paint. However, this is not a fundamental disadvantage. On the contrary, many athletes love the feeling of holding “bare iron” in their hands. And if you train outdoors, a missing coat is not a problem anyway.
Most coatings flake off over time. The “e-coating finish” of the famous Dragon Door chainbells takes a special position. This is a paint normally used for submarines. You can imagine that it is bombproof!
No filling is often the best filling.
Cast iron kettlebells have no cavities and therefore no filling. Competition kettlebells do have cavities. However, they are usually only filled with air. Why is this an advantage? Quite simply: where there is no filling, it cannot become independent.
It is true that good plastic chainbells have a relatively stable body that should hold the fillings for at least a few years. However, many cheaper models lose them quickly. If you find it easier and easier to train over time, it is unfortunately not because of your strength. It’s because suddenly all that’s left of your kettlebell is the shell.
It can also be really unpleasant if sand suddenly trickles into your eyes during clean and jerk.
There is a kettlebell to suit almost every visual preference. But here the rule is: form follows function! It’s better to have a simple, high-quality iron ball than an elaborately designed product that is useless for training.
And quite honestly: isn’t the pure iron also of a beauty that no sheathing in this world can compete with? Nevertheless, even a beautiful vinyl sheath can look good.
Some manufacturers have all their weights in the same colour. Mostly, however, the different weights are indicated by different colours.
But don’t let your favourite colour guide your decision. If the model is too heavy or light, it might make a nice paperweight. But you can’t train optimally with it.
- 12 kg: blue
- 16 kg: yellow
- 24 kg: green
- 32 kg: red
The handle should never be welded on afterwards. Its surface also plays a role in training. You should also pay attention to the thickness of the handle.
Handles that are welded on afterwards break quickly. That is why none of the products we present on this page has such a handle.
The following applies to the surface: If the handle is too rough, it will cause blisters. If it is too smooth, it can become slippery. Here it is important to find a middle ground. Nevertheless, the surface structure is also a matter of taste.
If in doubt, you can train with gloves. They not only protect you from blisters, but also provide slip resistance. You also have to consider the thickness of the grip. If you have small hands, you should prefer kettlebells with a thinner grip.
With cast iron models, the handle usually gets thicker as the weight increases. Due to the casting technique, the thickness often deviates from the manufacturer’s specifications. Competition kettlebells are different: the handle always has a standardised thickness of 33 mm. By the way, the thicker the handle, the better your grip strength is trained.
Facts worth knowing about kettlebells
What does kettlebell mean?
“Kettle” comes from English and means kettle. The similarity of the sports equipment to an old, heavy kettle is obvious. “Bell” means “bell”.
The ending “-bell” is traditionally used in English for weights in sports. For example, the dumbbell is called dumbell there.
By the way, “dumbell” means “dumb bell”. The term comes from the 18th century. At that time it referred to a device with which the bell ringer built up the necessary strength to ring heavy tower bells.
How long have kettlebells been around?
One thing is certain: In Russia, the girya (kettlebell) has been used for at least 300 years.
This is proven by records. Originally, kettlebells were weights used to measure grain. The farmers quickly noticed how much their strength improved by lifting these weights.
At the beginning of the 20th century, numerous musclemen in Europe also demonstrated their strength with the kettlebell at fairs.
Where is the kettlebell most often used?
The kettlebell is not only popular with athletes all over the world. It is also used in the training of special units and by the military.
The Russian army in particular traditionally attaches great importance to kettlebell exercises. In the meantime, the kettlebell is used worldwide to build up strength, endurance and coordination.kettlebells are also particularly important in Crossfit. The popularity of this fitness trend has increased even more in recent years.
Besides the famous Pavel Tsatsouline, Mike Mahler and Steve Maxwell are also important kettlebell trainers who are convinced that this wonder ball will become even more widespread. In Germany, the athlete Josephine Pora has already achieved greater fame.
Photo source: Pixabay.com / CorrieMiracle