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What Is The Best Kettlebell Iron

Think fitness devices like cable machines, boxes for jumps and even some free weights, specifically kettle bells. To me, kettle bells always seemed too clunky and heavy and I couldn’t fathom how to stash them in my living room — my workout area — in a way that would be both stylish enough and functional enough for my preferences.

author
Danielle Fletcher
• Sunday, 18 October, 2020
• 28 min read
kettlebell iron weight cast 16kg gym training fitness workout oypla sports indoor
(Source: oypla.com)

All that aside, kettle bell workouts also just didn’t seem necessary since I have dumbbells and resistance bands to cover lots of fitness routines. However, given the inherent difficulty of attending gyms right now with a face mask and the potential risk of exposure, I decided to shake things up and took the plunge: I ordered a kettle bell.

If you’re likewise looking for the best kettle bells to buy, you’ll quickly find lots of options and some might seem very similar to others. I’ve found a lot of value in even basic exercises, which challenged my body in gym-worthy ways, an especially significant value in workout gear as we head into winter.

Other fitness pros I talked to had predictably different takes on the best approach to equipping your home gym with kettle bells. Peter Bahia, director of personal training at Athletic Development and Performance Training, told me he realizes a kettle bell can be a substantial investment for some, but still considers it a unique piece of equipment that can build functional strength and improve range of motion — both worthwhile endeavors in the work from home reality many of us face.

It’s easy to use and ultimately gives you unrivaled flexibility with what weight size you want in your kettle bell given you have the appropriate dumbbells to match with it. Heidi Pocono, a personal trainer and manager of training at GYMGUYZ, recommends a vinyl coated cast ironkettlebell.

“This is my go-to piece of equipment, no matter where I’m training,” Pocono said, noting the “comfortable” cast iron handle glides smoothly in her hand whether she’s performing a kettle bell swing, snatch or a windmill. Former gym owner and personal trainer Alicia McKenzie said that a kettle bell is always one of the first pieces of equipment she recommends for anyone attempting to start a home gym — it took me more than eight months of in-home workouts to find the motivation to test a kettle bell.

iron kettlebells cast kg kettlebell kettlebellkings kings template
(Source: www.kettlebellkings.com)

Are you worried about bringing such a heavy piece of equipment into your home and the associated risk of denting your floors? “If you picked up a standard cast- ironkettlebell and dropped it on granite or hardwood — or whatever material your flooring is — it'll at the very least leave a dent, if not worse,” he told, adding that he recommends people ease into the kettle bell space with a soft kettle bell.

“It is durable, can withstand general wear and tear — but most importantly, it isn't going to damage your home or hurt (as much) if you slam it into your foot.” The handle on this kettle bell is relatively large, too, which gives you plenty of grip space for two-handed movements like a kettle bell swing. Kettle bells challenge your balance because they change your center of gravity, turning regular exercises like lunges and squats difficult.

Kettle bells are easy to store, relatively inexpensive, and provide an efficient way to work nearly every part of the body in a short period of time. They’re also great for supplementing movement rehabilitation work on a path toward injury recovery or performance improvement.

Warning — this is a ridiculously long article, so I’ve structured the content to list the bestkettlebell options first, followed by the full reviews. I’ve tested multiple kettle bells for this article, but to keep things simple I’m only listing the options that earned at least three stars and up.

The finish on these kettle bells is extremely drippy with no seams or burrs anywhere on the handles or bodies, with a coating that feels like chalk to the touch. Rep Fitness doesn’t bundle shipping into the costs of their products, and their base pricing is very reasonable.

iron cast mirafit kettlebell kg kettlebells 20kg cheap
(Source: www.fitness-savvy.co.uk)

These kettle bells are a great value for the price, especially if you live close to Colorado to save on shipping costs. They are a pretty good deal if you live close to Ohio, otherwise the cost of shipping makes them much less appealing.

If you have large hands and prefer an aggressive grip, Rogue powder coat kettle bells could be the right option for you. However, they don’t really stand out enough to differentiate them from the rest of the color-coded powder coat kettle bells I’ve tested.

There are better options in terms of grip and finish, and the non-standard colors they use for weights drive me nuts. Bottom line, don’t pay full price for Perform Better kettle bells.

My review criteria is primarily centered on kettle bells I can use at home and at work with minimal need for chalk. If you’re interested in diving deeper I’ve written a kettle bell buyer’s guide that answers every question I had when I first started.

It also goes into detail on the criteria I look for, but the short version is a clean finish, a durable coating, and a properly sized handle. Cast- iron kettle bells are widely available at many price points, which I consider to be a very good thing.

kettlebell 10kg iron cast
(Source: www.lifespanfitness.com.au)

There are a couple of companies making steel competition-style kettle bells aimed at the home fitness market, which offer the benefit of consistently sized kettle bells without incurring the usual steel competition cost. I’ve developed several kettle bell workouts for the club, ranging in intensity from beginner to high-level intermediate.

All of my workouts are documented on their own page and I plan to add to the list as time goes on. If you prefer to follow along to instructor-led workouts, I also highly recommend the well-designed program put together by Kettle bell Kings via their new Living. Fit online platform.

The Living. Fit programs include workouts for all levels of kettle bell enthusiasts, from beginner to expert. They also have programs targeted for healthy eating and battle ropes for a more well-rounded approach to health and fitness.

One kettle bell sport event in particular called ‘long cycle’ is a very efficient way to work your entire body in ten minutes with just three moves — the swing, clean, and jerk. He describes an experiment performed using a do-it-yourself kettle bell made from parts found in the plumbing section at Home Depot.

According to Tim Ferris the parts are supposed to cost under $10, not counting the weight plates. First, it takes the guesswork out of deciding what size kettle bell to buy for two hand work.

iron cast kettlebell kings kettlebells workouts kg hiit durability strength comfort designed kettlebellkings training during
(Source: www.kettlebellkings.com)

I was able to experiment with different weights to find a starting point I was comfortable with, eventually settling on 20 kg (44lbs). If you don’t already have a background lifting weights or being active, or if you are out of shape, consider working with a certified kettle bell trainer to get instructed in proper technique.

Plumbing parts weren’t designed to sustain a dynamic load swinging in an arc. I’ll get into the details shortly, but I first want to comment on the excellent packaging they used to ship their kettle bells.

Every cast ironkettlebell is packed in styrofoam to protect the bell during shipping, which I appreciate because the kettle bell arrives undamaged. This is a far cry from other vendors like Rogue Fitness, who typically just throw the bell in a box with some cardboard shims and hope for the best ¯\_()_/¯

I took this kettle bell outside on a hot Texas summer day to use for an Afterburner workout from my list of Kettle bell Club workouts, and I was able to keep hold of it without resorting to chalk despite my hands sweating like crazy. This is an important point because the factories where kettle bells are made are dirty, dusty places.

There’s lots of dust flying around that accumulates on the surface of the bells while they sit patiently waiting for paint. Perhaps unsurprisingly, very few companies take the extra step to clean the bells before paint because it adds time and expense to the process.

kettlebell iron cast dkn 20kg kettlebells weight
(Source: www.sweatband.com)

At the time I published this article, Kettle bell Kings is likely the only vendor taking this extra step, which results in a very durable coating. Most of the cheap kettle bells for sale on Amazon and other discount vendors fall into this category, I’ve even reviewed a few of them for this article.

If you’re unfamiliar with Create, it’s an extremely durable thin-film ceramic coating developed primarily for use as a protective finish for firearms. Create is extremely resistant to abrasion, corrosion and chemicals, and looks pretty cool at the same time.

In recent years a little fitness equipment companies have started offering create as a coating option for barbells. The create coating will cost a little extra, but the added durability means that kettle bell will last practically forever.

Additionally, the create option allows for a nearly infinite amount of customization and personalization. UPDATE — Innit has stopped selling this model and has moved to a powder coat version that has not yet been reviewed.

Since they’re local to Austin I visited the Innit Academy Gym in person to buy a kettle bell to evaluate. It looks like it could take a decent amount of abuse from a careless shipper, but the lack of reinforcement straps around the box could be an issue if the kettle bell has to travel a long distance.

kettlebell iron cast dkn 24kg kettlebells weight
(Source: www.sweatband.com)

The finish on the Innit kettle bell is clean, although the textured coating is thick enough to potentially mask small imperfections. Aesthetically, there are spots on the kettle bell where I can see how the coating application ran down the handle and dried, similar to how spray paint drips when applied too thickly.

I thought maybe this was a fluke, so I intentionally banged the kettle bells together again with medium force and another chip flaked off. The coating chipped several more times during the testing period through normal use, mainly from getting bumped against other kettle bells.

It’s a small difference, but enough to force an adjustment of technique for exercises like the overhead snatch. Innit Labs kettle bells are a good budget option, but not the most durable of the bunch.

If you do buy these, take wonderful care of them because the finish is prone to chipping. The finish on the kettle bell is very clean, and although the casting seams are slightly visible on the body due to how thin an e-coating is, they are not prevalent on the handle at all.

The Matrix Elite Precision line of kettle bells have a reformulated e-coat intended to increase grip over a traditional e-coating. I tried damaging the coating by banging it against another kettle bell, and the Matrix Elite just laughed.

kettlebell kettlebells troy iron cast usa vtx g2 kb weights fitness currently lb precision gym stencil gtech rating write
(Source: www.precisionfitnessequipment.com)

The unique aspect of Matrix Precision Elite kettle bell is the redesigned handle. The increased height means the kettle bell will sit just a bit lower on the forearm rather than resting right on the wrist bones, which is more comfortable for some people.

The reformulated e-coat is stickier than the e-coats on the Dragon Door and even the Matrix Classic line. The friction is alleviated with light chalk use though, which is a small trade off for the durability and comfort the Matrix Elite Precision kettle bell provides.

I ordered a kettle bell from Rogue last year, and it arrived damaged due to flimsy packaging. This year, I’m happy to say they’ve improved the packaging because I had no problem with my order this time around ?

The finish on the Rogue kettle bell is good, although I can feel a few small flecks of excess metal on the handle when I run my hand over it. The powder coat on the Rogue kettle bells is textured, with a feel of fine grit sandpaper.

The handles of the Rogue kettle bells are among the thickest of the test group, making them more suitable for people with large hands. The price is good too, especially if you live close to Ohio and can take advantage of a lower shipping cost.

iron kettlebell cast dkn 32kg weight
(Source: www.sweatband.com)

They are a pretty good deal if you live close to Ohio, otherwise the cost of shipping makes them much less appealing. If you have large hands and prefer an aggressive grip, Rogue powder coat kettle bells could be the right option for you.

CFF offers a full line of athletic equipment, including kettle bells. The form-fitting foam is an extra level of protection that’s typically only used for shipping more costly competition steel kettle bells.

The coating has a slightly aggressive texture, which works very well for maintaining grip without needing chalk. The combination of finish and textured coating will hold a lot of chalk if needed.

It’s clear to me a lot of thought went into the creation of the K2 and it shows in every aspect of the design and packaging. I included Rep Fitness kettle bells in last year’s review, and they garnered four stars during testing.

Not content with that, the folks at Rep Fitness have upped their game by improving on the issues I noted in the previous review. The Rep Fitness kettle bells came well packed, with plenty of foam inserts and even bubble wrap on the 20 kg.

10kg kettlebell iron cast kettlebells
(Source: www.kettlebellsaustralia.com.au)

Thankfully, I didn’t have to take him up on this but it’s nice to see this kind of focus on customer service. The powder coating has a very smooth chalk-like texture that provides a decent amount of grip without the need for chalk.

The coating is also really durable, these kettle bells have withstood several hard blows without chipping. Rep Fitness Cast IronKettlebell are great kettle bells with a very clean finish and one of the nicest powder coat options available.

They offer an excellent value for the price, especially if you live close to Colorado and you can save on shipping. Fringe Sport is a strength & conditioning equipment company based in Austin Texas.

Since they’re local, I paid them a visit to pick up a few of their Prime Kettle bells to review. Every Prime Kettle bell comes packaged in a form-fitting cardboard box and wrapped with reinforcement straps.

The finish on the Prime Kettle bells is clean and the bottoms are ground completely flat. The powder coat kettle bell is evenly applied and provides a decent amount of grip.

kettlebell 32kg iron cast
(Source: www.flexequipment.com.au)

The grip the is on par with the majority of powder coat kettle bells I’ve tested, providing a smooth yet “drippy” texture. When I first got them, I was surprised at how much larger the handle diameters were when compared to similarly sized kettle bells from other vendors.

I’m not a tall guy (5’8”) and many of the people I work with in my kettle bell club are even shorter than I am, both men and women. The handles do run fairly thick though, so these are a great option for people with large hands.

Fringe Sport runs frequent sales, so if you’re patient you could score a pretty good deal on these. American Barbell is a strength & conditioning equipment company based in San Diego California.

Their barbells have a solid reputation in the home gym community, and they’ve somewhat recently added kettle bells to their product lineup. American Barbell kettle bells have a very clean finish and a slightly textured coat.

The bottoms are ground flat and wider than most of the other options, making them a very stable base for exercises like renegade rows. The handle dimensions overall are on the thinner side of the spectrum, making these kettle bells very comfortable for use by people with smaller hands.

kettlebell iron cast competition kettlebells handle difference handles usa too between sizes body workouts most
(Source: www.pinterest.ca)

Price-wise, American Barbell powder coats are super-cheap, but that savings is offset by the cost of pricing. For starters, the Titan Fitness kettle bell shipped in a single cardboard box with no padding or reinforcement whatsoever.

The Titan kettle bell is the absolute worst I’ve seen so far in terms of how bad the finish was. There are visible casting flaws all over, and huge seams on the handle and body.

I really don’t understand how a big-name fitness company could even think about putting their brand on a product like this. After contacting Titan customer service about a replacement and being told I wouldn’t be able to get one for two months, I simply sent it back.

It’s so bad it has the dubious honor of forcing me to create a ‘zero stars’ rating, because it’s completely unusable. The big draw is the price, I picked up a 35lb cast- ironkettlebell for $40 shipped, which is amazingly cheap.

The bottom is not ground completely flat and the coating is just a glossy black paint. I tried using it without any chalk and found that the tackiness made it more difficult for me to do snatches and cleans.

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(Source: www.ebay.ie)

The handle diameter is on the larger side of the options tested, although I no longer have it available to measure. On the other hand, if saving money is your primary concern and you’re willing to sacrifice some quality, the Yes4All is hard to beat.

I know this because they’ve started selling their own brand of Amazon Basics Kettle bells. The only difference between them is that the AmazonBasics kettle bell has no branding whatsoever, only the weight stamped on both sides.

Just don’t expect much for your money, since the Amazon Basics kettle bell is a cheaply made product. The bottom is not ground completely flat and the coating is just a glossy black paint.

Having said that, it’s still perfectly usable for swings, snatches, cleans, etc and I’d be hard-pressed to find a cheaper option for someone that doesn’t want to spend much on a kettle bell. The tackiness of the paint makes it more difficult to do snatches and cleans with this kettle bell, but that’s nothing a light dusting of chalk on the handle can’t fix.

The handle diameter is on the larger side of the options tested, measurements will be added later. If saving money is your primary concern and you’re willing to sacrifice some quality, the Amazon Basics kettle bell is a decent option.

kettlebells iron cast kg kettlebell kings kettlebellkings
(Source: www.kettlebellkings.com)

CAP introduced a new powder coat kettle bell into their product lineup sometime within the last couple of years, and I’m finally including it in the roundup. The finish on the CAP kettle bell is good, although I can feel a few small flecks of excess metal on the handle when I run my hand over it.

The powder coat on the CAP kettle bell is textured, with a feel of fine grit sandpaper. The handles of the CAP powder coat kettle bells are among the thickest of the test group, making them more suitable for people with large hands.

I was learning how to perform the kettle bell snatch at the time I owned these, and the burrs kept digging into my palms during the transitions. I toughed it out as long as I could but eventually used a metal file to smooth down the handle and make the bell a little more usable.

I painted it with Mausoleum to try and stem further rust damage, which is why the kettle bell is colored brown in pictures. The enamel finish on the large bell was extremely smooth and hard to hold once I broke a sweat.

I don’t recommend CAP enamel coated or plain “cast iron kettle bells for your home gym. In fact, I actively recommend you stay away from them entirely because you will inevitably rue the day you purchased them.

kettlebell 6kg iron cast
(Source: www.lifespanfitness.com.au)

The enamel coated kettle bell chips easily and provides a lousy grip, while the finish quality of the cast ironkettlebell is one of the worst I’ve seen. The recognition is reflected in the price because Dragon Door kettle bells are the most expensive option included in this review.

They don’t look great, but the coat on all of them is in okay shape considering they were stored year-round in a garage subject to three years of humid central Texas summers. The ROC kettle bells all have prevalent seams left over from the casting process on the handles.

These seams often pinched the skin of my palms, indicating a poor finishing and grinding process. That extra money is clearly not being invested back into quality control at Dragon Door.

There’s always a chance Dragon Door has upped their game since these bells were originally made. Without knowing exactly what your current kettle bells look/feel like, I can tell you that things such as seams could indeed have been a problem exclusive to a batch or perhaps they were kettelbells that made it past inspection.”

In fact, several of the companies offer no guarantee whatsoever and will not accept a return at all unless your purchase is defective. I’m willing to give Dragon Door the benefit of the doubt and assume their newer kettle bells have a higher quality finish than what I currently own.

kettlebell iron cast 40kg kettlebells 32kg newsletter
(Source: kettlebellsaustralia.com.au)

The best things Dragon Door ROC kettle bells offer is a 1-year satisfaction guarantee and a durable coating. However, given the quality of the competition these factors aren’t enough to offset their substantially higher cost.

Whatever it is, the coat provides just enough grip with low friction to allow for high rep work without needing chalk. The burrs only exist on the smaller kettle bells that I don’t use as much, which might be why they haven’t been an issue for me.

One minor nit to pick is with the quality of the paint job on the faces of the kettle bells. This is a purely cosmetic issue that doesn’t take away from the usability of the kettle bells at all, but it does detract from the overall perception of quality.

In case you didn’t know, prior to the pandemic pretty much every brand of kettle bells was manufactured in China. Then coronavirus hit, people were stuck at home, and supply chains out of China were disrupted.

This was the perfect storm for a massive run on fitness equipment, and several months later most companies are still having trouble keeping products in stock. Rogue Fitness has attempted to circumvent the supply chain issues by sourcing this new line of kettle bells from a foundry in Michigan, and I applaud them for doing this.

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(Source: originfitness.com)

FYI — the lighting I used to take the pictures for this review makes the kettle bell look brown, but the coating is actually black. The finish on the Rogue kettle bell is slightly on the rough side, which isn’t a bad thing because it provides some texture for improved grip.

The handle of the Rogue E-Coat kettle bell is probably the thickest of the test group so far, making them more suitable for people with large hands. To be honest, I was excited to review this kettle bell since it’s the first one I’ve owned that is made in the USA.

They are a pretty good deal if you live close to Ohio, otherwise the cost of shipping makes them much less appealing. USA- Iron is a brand-new player in the kettle bell space, a scrappy upstart company forged in the crucible of the COVID-19 pandemic (see what I did there?

As the name implies, USA- Iron is an entirely U.S.-based operation and is among the first few companies to manufacture their own line of kettle bells in the United States. In case you’ve been asleep for most of 2020, prepare to be rudely awakened…prior to COVID-19 most (if not all) kettle bells were manufactured in China.

Then the ‘RNA hit, people were stuck at home, and supply chains out of China were severely disrupted. This was the perfect storm for a massive run on fitness equipment, and several months later most companies are still having trouble keeping kettle bells in stock.

kettlebell 12kg iron cast
(Source: www.industrialathletic.com)

USA- Iron has stepped into the breach producing high quality kettle bells to make sure we can keep on swinging, and I’m very glad they did. The owner of the USA- Iron reached out to me in the comments of this article and was kind enough to send me a set of 25lb and 35lb kettle bells to evaluate and review.

FYI — the lighting I used to take the pictures for this review makes the kettle bells look gray, but the coating is actually black. The powder coat finish on the USA- Ironkettlebell feels very good in my hand during swings and snatches, with a slightly rough texture.

I was told by the company owner that the powder coat paint formulation was specifically chosen to provide some texture for improved grip, and that choice is evident during use. USA- Iron is one of the few companies I’m aware of that adds a separate wash step to the manufacturing process to clean dust off the kettle bell before the powder coat is applied.

This is an important step because the factories where kettle bells are made are dirty, dusty places. Lots of that dust settles on the surface of the bells while they sit patiently waiting for paint.

The end result is a very durable finish with a textured coating that will hold plenty of chalk if needed. I don’t knock them for this though, since the kettle bells are high quality and some people will really like the thicker handle size.

york iron cast kettlebell kettlebells lb fitness specifications description
(Source: maxwod.com)

However, people with smaller hands may find the thicker handle size more difficult to hold during longer workout sessions. If that weren’t reason enough to support them, I like that the company is small and open to feedback, and the people there are very committed to producing a high quality product.

The handle dimensions are on the larger end of the spectrum, so if you have small or medium hands you may want to look at other options. The guy narrating the video, Pavel Tstatsouline, was affiliated with Dragon Door when the video was filmed so the process likely shows how Dragon Door kettle bells were made back in the day.

With home workouts becoming the new norm for many, adding variety to your equipment arsenal may be top of mind. Although you don’t need tons of equipment to get results, a few key pieces can provide just what you need to kick things up a notch.

They can be used in many of the same ways that dumbbells can, while also allowing for ease in dynamic movements like swings, cleans, and snatches. We tapped Nicole Davis, an ACE -certified personal trainer, to identify 12 of the best kettle bells across all fitness levels and budgets.

Anecdotal advice from real personal trainers user reviews handle, size, and overall quality brand reputation cost Composition Top-quality kettle bells are cast from a single piece of iron, while others have handles that are welded to the body.

kettlebell iron weight cast lbs kettlebells onnit fitness titan
(Source: www.titan.fitness)

Finish A durable paint that provides some texture on the grip is important when choosing a kettle bell. Your budget You can spend anywhere from $20 to upward of $300 on a single kettle bell depending on its weight, construction, and quality.

On the other hand, if you’re going to dive deep into kettle bell training and will be throwing around some heavier weight, it’s worth looking into more competition-style options. The product’s shape and function All kettle bells will have a flat bottom to rest on the floor, but many also have flatfish sides to make certain movements, like an overhead press or Turkish getup, easier on your forearms.

With an average five-star rating and more than 2,000 customer reviews on Amazon, this kettle bell is made of solid cast iron with a painted finish for a better grip. Available in weights from 10 to 60 pounds, it’s fairly priced and would provide a fun pop of color — coordinated to its resistance — in your home gym.

You may need more than one to get a complete workout, but at its accessible price point, expanding your collection should be a breeze. Weighing just about 1 pound, this grip is a compact solution for people who want the flexibility of some kettle bell exercises without investing in them.

When we’re able to travel again, this is a great option to bring along to hotel gyms for added variety in your workouts. This is an adjustable kettle bell bag you can fill with sand, emptying and refilling it for a portable option.

iron cast kettlebell 16kg corex larger
(Source: www.ebay.co.uk)

The sandbag’s handle is longer than a traditional kettle bell, which allows for a bit more movement, too. Although you can complete most exercises with this piece of equipment, reviewers warned against tosses, as the bag may not be durable enough.

Made of leather instead of cast iron, this soft kettle bell will definitely be easier on your flooring — a plus, especially when working out from home. Something else to keep in mind: It’s a bit larger than a more traditional kettle bell, so it won’t be a space saver.

The colorful neoprene coating on the Outfit series makes this solid cast ironkettlebell another good option for working out at home. With what the company calls an ergonomic handle and a quality finish, this 36-kilogram (approximately 80-pound) kettle bell would be great for a seasoned exerciser looking to amp up their home gym arsenal.

This adjustable kettle bell offers six weights in one, allowing the user to select from 8, 12, 20, 25, 35, and 40 pounds with the turn of a dial. Made of a single piece of high-quality iron ore, each kettle bell has a matte black powder coat finish and is marked with a color strip for easy weight identification.

Reebok’s 44-pound kettle bell is made from 100 percent cast iron with a wide handle design that’s ideal for both single- and double-handed grips. When she’s not working out with her husband or chasing around her young daughter, she’s watching crime TV shows or making sourdough bread from scratch.

kettle bell kettlebell iron weight cast fitness gym workout
(Source: www.ebay.ie)

Its wider handle makes it easier to grip with two hands (for the classic swing move), and its smoother finish is less likely to injure your skin over time. Dragon Door was the first company to popularize kettle bells in America, which is why the most other brands simply copy that shape down to the millimeter.

The Matrix Elite looks the same at first glance, but it features a slightly wider handle that won’t pinch your pinkies in two-handed positions. It’s also designed so that kettle bells of different weights will rest on the same place on your forearm, regardless of their size—this is preferred by advanced users for one-handed work.

This minimizes the surface imperfections that occur on other bells that are made using the same molds over and over until they wear out. Finally, we like that Kettle bells USA often has the Matrix Elite on sale for just a few dollars more than our budget pick.

Besides, one of these things will basically last forever so it’s worth spending a bit more on something that’s a lot nicer to use. It also has a slightly wider base that makes it more stable to hold in a plank position—something that advanced users will appreciate.

If the goal is to learn kettle bell basics and use two-handed techniques, all of these bells are quite suitable, and being budget conscious (finding sales/free shipping) isn’t a bad route. We (Keira and I) have trained more than 800 clients in kettle bell techniques since 2008, and we’ve taught multiple instructor certifications in the US and abroad.

kettlebell iron cast kettlebells 24kg 20kg newsletter australia
(Source: www.kettlebellsaustralia.com.au)

Kettle bell exercises combine cardiovascular and resistance training in one exercise—which means you’re improving conditioning (and burning fat) while building muscle. While they’ve been around since the early 18th century (the word first appears in a Russian dictionary from 1704), kettle bells have experienced a huge resurgence in the fitness industry in the past 10 years.

(Most recently, as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to work out at home, significant stock shortages have become the norm.) Their unique shape and functionality give them many of the strength-building benefits of dumbbells while also providing users with the opportunity to do kettle bell -specific drills that involve a lot of movement, like the swing.

Dumbbells are better suited to doing squats, curls, bench press, cleans, and other exercises that have less kinetic motion. That means you can fulfill all your workout needs with one simple tool that stows easily in a closet.

One important caveat to this endorsement of kettle bell training is that proper technique makes all the difference between effective and beneficial use and potential injury. You can also consult credible online tutorials, and many trainers will set up a Skype arrangement where you can send videos to them for feedback and coaching.

My wife, master ROC trainer Keira Newton, has an awesome YouTube page with all kinds of tutorials/workouts for kettle bells. In terms of credible resources on kettle bell techniques and workout ideas, here are a few great sources available digitally and/or in print:

kettlebell kg kettlebells powder coat lb heavy kettlebellkings lbs coach ni metz cast iron 68kg coated weight domicile sportif
(Source: www.kettlebellkings.com)

Dragon Door has the most resources in terms of kettle bell books and DVDs (at least in the “hard style” approach that I use) available. While many people recommend women starting with an 8-kilogram bell (about 16 pounds), I think that the two-handed lifts like squats and swings aren’t very well-served by that low weight.

If you want to start modestly, my suggestion would be to get the 13-pound version of our budget pick and then order a larger, higher quality bell once you feel comfortable. With these three, all kinds of single and double kettle bell work is easily achievable and scalable.

Both of these linked pieces reiterate my earlier point about seeking credible instruction before beginning an at-home regimen. Cast- iron bells are more comfortable for two-handed grip positions, which beginners should master before moving onto the more challenging one-handed exercises.

Finally, it’s worth noting that a competition bell will cost $10 to $20 more than its cast- iron counterpart at any given weight. It’s not worth paying extra unless you actually plan on competing—a slim minority of home kettle bell users.

Photo: Mark BixbyUnlike with dumbbells, adjustable kettle bells aren’t a good buy. A kettle bell should be capable of being thrown, dropped, and even juggled, so I would opt for single-forged metal that can stand up to a beating—and stay together in the process.

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(Source: www.roguefitness.com)

Also, a major frustration with adjustable kettle bells is that they don’t offer a wide enough weight range to make them ideal for many. As it turns out, there’s not a huge amount of difference between these things because most of them borrow their design from the Dragon Door ROC.

Dragon Door was the first US company to run kettle bell instructor certifications (taught by famed instructor Pavel Tsatsouline) and have mass distribution in the US (Dragon Door started selling these bells in 2001). Dragon Door bells achieved great acclaim, but their high price point (roughly $120 each after shipping and handling, the highest in our test) invited lots of competition from other companies.

CAP is another popular fitness company that makes a good bell at a lower price point. For example, this Yes4All bell is one of the most popular models on Amazon, but its large, flat face is hard on the wrists in one-handed positions.

Although much more rare, some companies compete by distinguishing their offerings from Dragon Door’s with different designs. Perform Better at one point implemented a screw-on rubber skid plate on the bottom of their bells, but later on scrapped it due to negative customer feedback.

Vinyl-covered bells were created to protect floor spaces in commercial gyms and homes, but more often, the vinyl is there to smooth over the defects of a cheaply cast bell, and they often get criticized for very uneven handles that cause hand pain and tearing. They were extremely uneven in terms of metal handle quality, had limited weight options, and they weren’t significantly cheaper than the budget options we ended up testing—you don’t even save money on shipping.

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(Source: www.gronkfitnessproducts.com)

From left: Matrix Elite, CAP Cast Iron Competition, Rogue, Perform Better First Place, Dragon Door ROC. Photo: Anton BrkicOur testing group, which consisted of myself and five members of the high school varsity baseball team I coach, worked with all five bells at the beginner/intermediate level and did only two-handed moves (dead lifts, squats, presses, high pulls, and swings).

However, if a person is interested in exploring the full range of what kettle bell exercises have to offer (including the kettle bell snatch, which in lab testing has yielded a remarkable rate of burning 20.2 calories a minute over a 20-minute workout—the same rate of caloric burn as a 6-minute mile pace), a premium bell like the Matrix bell is definitely what they should opt for. A poorly produced handle can rip callouses off the hands during snatching, and this test is where the bells differentiated themselves.

In fact, I wouldn’t use the CAP or Rogue bells for high-rep snatching because they have coarse handles and some tackiness from the painted finish. If you order through the company’s website and have a problem, Kettle bells USA will “make it right, period!” by sending a replacement and taking care of return shipping fees.

Photo: Mark Blythe Matrix Elite kettle bell has a slightly different handle dimension and more distance from the ball part of the bell to the handle to create a larger opening for more comfortable two-handed positions. The Matrix bell clearly outclassed the competition for two-handed work, as the smooth, e-coated handle with a wider grip was consistently easy on the hands, even when doing high repetition sets of 20-plus kettle bell swings.

Even when the user advances to the one-handed moves, both two-handed swings and goblet squats should remain essential parts of a kettle bell program. Any flaws in a kettle bell will be exposed when you use just one hand, but the attention to detail in forging a smooth, seamless handle was clearly on display with this bell.

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(Source: kettlebellkings.com)

Besides the handle shape, the Matrix Elite (right) looks almost identical to the Dragon Door ROC, which costs anywhere from $30 to $50 more. Photo: Mark BixbyAnother thing that sets the Matrix Elite apart from other kettle bells (including Kettle bells USA's own “classic” line) is the fact that it’s designed to have the same “rack” position (where the round part rests on your forearm) regardless of weight and size.

Most companies use standard molds repeatedly, and inevitably, residue from previous castings creates uneven surface textures like edges or gaps. Finally, Kettle bells USA showed awesome customer service throughout my process of testing.

If you're used to standard Dragon Door ROC kettle bells (or any of its many clones), the Matrix Elite's rack position might feel strange at first, since the ball part sits higher up on the forearm by comparison. If you see the bell offered at full price (with no discounted shipping), wait seven to 10 days, and you should find it available more cheaply.

If the Matrix Elite is unavailable, or if you just want a standard-shaped bell without the wider handle, the Perform Better First Place Kettle bell feels the same in use as the high-end Dragon Door, but costs about 25 percent less. In fact, its dimensions are identical except for the extra half inch of flat base diameter on the bottom of the Perform Better bell.

This means it performs identically, but is easier to hold in a push-up position for the sometimes-precarious renegade row —typically done with two kettle bells of the same size. Like the Dragon Door and Matrix Elite, the First Place has a smooth, seamless handle, few surface defects, and a high-quality finish.

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(Source: www.walmart.com)

While Perform Better wouldn’t divulge what process it uses, I noticed that it’s somewhere between a matte powder coat and a glossy e-coat. Reading user reviews (see here and here) that slam performs Better for having noticeable seams on the underside of the handle or other defects isn’t helpful considering the construction specs on their bells currently.

The bell I received from them was really well-made, and it showed no signs of being defective in build or user experience. I contacted Perform Better about this discrepancy, and company reps explained that among other small changes, they’d since switched to a gravity casting process, which creates a more uniform surface, as you recall.

It’s also worth noting that Perform Better frequently has sales on its kettle bells, and while it’s usually cheaper to buy Perform Better bells directly from the company, it's worth checking Amazon and Strongest before buying to find the best deal. If budget is your bottom line, then we’d recommend the CAP Cast Iron Competition Bell.

But unless you really need to save a few bucks, it’s worth investing in our top pick, since these things last forever. In fact, none of the five baseball player panelists said they would pay extra for any of the other bells for the basic routines they were testing with.

The powder-coated CAP (left) and Rogue (center) bells are rougher than the e-coated Dragon Door (right). Photo: Mark Blythe CAP bell has a powder-coated matte finish and a slightly gritty (though it’s evenly dispersed grit) handle to provide a good grip (though a bit on the coarser end of those we tested) and a flat bottom so it doesn’t rock when used for push-ups or rowing moves.

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(Source: www.walmart.com)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Dragon Door ROC Kettle bell should feel pretty good about itself. Unfortunately for Dragon Door, other companies have been able to duplicate its design at a comparable level of quality for a lot cheaper.

Interestingly, the Rogue bell has a 4.9-star rating on its website, with more than 100 reviews at the time of this guide's publication. Chad Settler, John Forward, Carl Foster, and Mark Andes, Kettle bells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?, ACE Fitness Matters

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Sources
1 www.nbcnews.com - https://www.nbcnews.com/shopping/fitness/best-kettlebells-n1246049
2 fitnesstestlab.com - https://fitnesstestlab.com/the-ultimate-kettlebell-comparison-review/
3 www.healthline.com - https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/best-kettlebells
4 www.nytimes.com - https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-kettlebell/