Best Adjustable Kettlebells

Updated September 2021
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

51 Models Considered
18 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
122 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best adjustable kettlebells

You can improve your flexibility and strength at home by performing a variety of body weight exercises. One of the most versatile and efficient pieces of equipment you can add to your home gym is the adjustable kettlebell.

A kettlebell is a heavy ball, often made of cast iron, with a handle attached to the top. Most kettlebells range in weight from 5 to 50 pounds. Kettlebells aid in strength training, toning, flexibility, balance, and even cardiovascular fitness. Because a kettlebell does not evenly distribute its weight, the user must work to make sure they’re properly stabilized. The ball’s center of gravity is skewed, adding momentum to exercises and forcing the user to compensate with more energy.

Many kettlebells have a set weight, but adjustable kettlebells offer a range of weights to choose from. Often, an adjustable kettlebell consists of a series of plates that you can remove or add as you see fit. If you’re interested in a customized workout with an adjustable kettlebell, read this guide for more information on how to find and use the right one.

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There are dozens of adjustable kettlebell exercises, many of which don’t require any other equipment. Explore the possibilities to find what’s right for you.

Key considerations

Benefits

Adjustable kettlebells are portable and easy to store. What’s more, they’re highly effective tools that contribute to a comprehensive workout. With an adjustable kettlebell, you can perform a wide range of exercises at home, work, or wherever you are: lifts, swings, curls, and so on. Because of their odd shape and weighted nature, your entire body must stay engaged while you exercise. This differs from the muscle-specific targeting you can do with an exercise machine or free weights.

With an adjustable kettlebell, the fact that aren’t limited to a single weight is particularly useful as you grow and build strength in your exercise journey. Adjusting the weight may be beneficial as you switch your focus from one muscle group to another. What’s more, the controlled nature of kettlebell exercises with heavier weights provides an exciting challenge that explosive, momentum-using exercises don’t offer.

Drawbacks

Some kettlebells are oddly shaped due to the incorporated adjusting mechanism. If you’re accustomed to fixed kettlebells, you may find that adjustable ones don’t swing as naturally. As such, it may take you some time to get used to the feel of the equipment. Some people are more bothered by the shape of an adjustable kettlebell than others. Additionally, buyers should note that some of these products have rough edges that may occasionally graze the body.

Adjusting the weights can be time-consuming and tricky, though this depends on the quality of the kettlebell. Lastly, you will likely find that adjustable kettlebells cost more than fixed kettlebells. That said, the cost of an adjustable kettlebell may balance out over time, as it should serve you well over various phases of your fitness journey.

Handle fit

One of the most important considerations when buying an adjustable kettlebell — or any kettlebell or dumbbell, for that matter — is how it fits in your hand when you use it. It shouldn’t feel too slippery or gritty. The former means you could lose control; the latter could lead to cuts and scrapes on your hand.

Some kettlebells are designed to be used with only one hand, in which case you may want to make sure there isn’t too much room available for your hand to slip from one side to the other. However, if you want to employ exercises that use both hands, you may need a larger handle. Note that some adjustable kettlebells are designed for women, and the size of these may be too small for some men’s hands.

Keep in mind the width of your hand as well as the length of your palm and fingers. You want to make sure the handle isn’t too thick for your hand to wrap around. Obtaining a firm and comfortable grip is essential to performing exercises safely and effectively.

Weight range

Investing in an adjustable kettlebell gives you flexibility in your workout, and fitness fans who are in it for the long haul often find it to be an economical choice. Where you are today in your fitness journey may not be where you are in a year. That change won’t require the purchase of a new kettlebell if you own an adjustable kettlebell that can level up with you.

For beginners, it’s best to start off with lighter weights. The lightest weight you can achieve with many of these products is 5 or 10 pounds. For advanced athletes and competitive trainers, a kettlebell that goes up to 40 or 50 pounds is helpful to have on hand.

Material

Vinyl and plastic coatings are popular with kettlebells, as they reduce markings and damage to the floor. They feel smooth in the hand, but they can be somewhat slippery when you sweat. Cast iron kettlebells are also an option. The material is generally quite easy to wield, but it may mark or scuff your floor. There are other adjustable kettlebell materials as well. For example, some are coated in canvas to enhance your grip.

Features

Color

You may have the option of choosing a certain color for your adjustable kettlebell. This choice will be available in kettlebells that come with a coat of paint or a layer of plastic or nylon. Color choices usually include bright options to help keep the workout a little more lively. Simple cast iron adjustable kettlebells tend to have a more utilitarian and industrial appearance.

Hidden plates

A few adjustable kettlebells house additional plates within the kettlebell itself rather than at the bottom of a stack. This preserves the standard shape of the kettlebell, so it doesn’t change every time a plate is added or removed. The design also makes for a less abrasive encounter should the kettlebell touch your skin during a workout.

Smooth edges

All kettlebells, particularly adjustable ones, better serve the user if the edges are smooth. This is especially true for beginners who are still perfecting their movements. As you swing the kettlebell around your body, often with momentum, you may graze yourself once in a while. A kettlebell with smooth edges is less likely to cause abrasions, bumps, and bruises than a kettlebell with a hard or gritty surface.

"The advent of the kettlebell dates back to nineteenth century Russia, when competitive sports and weightlifting became popular in Europe."
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Accessories

Yoga mat: Manduka Pro Yoga Mat
Yoga mats aren’t just for yoga and stretching. You can also use one as a supportive base during your kettlebell workout. This option from Manduka will keep your feet and knees comfortable during a variety of movements.

Fitness tracker: FitBit Versa 2
A fitness tracker is a terrific tool to monitor your fitness journey. FitBit’s Versa 2 is ideal for tracking workouts, logging rest time, and analyzing your sleep patterns.

Step platform: The Step Aerobic Platform
A step platform is a useful tool that can supplement your workout at home, especially when using adjustable kettlebells. This option from The Step is durable, comfortable, and easy to store.

Adjustable kettlebell prices

Inexpensive: For under $40, you can find adjustable kettlebells on the lighter end of the spectrum. If you’re able to test before buying, take note of the comfort and smoothness of the handle. While some handles are smooth in this lower price bracket, others are not.

Mid-range: Spending between $40 and $60 will allow you to buy an adjustable kettlebell that has a wide weight range. For the higher cost, you are also more likely to find something with a comfortable grip and smooth edges.

Expensive: For over $60, it’s common to find comfortable, durable kettlebells that are easy to adjust. Expect to see higher weight ranges and higher weight limits in this top price tier.

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Did you know?
Kettlebells are regularly used in ballistic training, which develops explosive power by throwing, catching, and jumping with weights.
STAFF
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Tips

  • Always stretch. Before and after every workout, it’s important to stretch, especially when doing full-body conditioning exercises. Stretching will keep you from hurting yourself and improve your recovery time.
  • Track your workout. Keep track of the days you work out, logging your exercises, reps, sets, and weights. This will help you monitor progress and improve your fitness over time.
  • Start with the basics. There are a few basic kettlebell workouts, including the Russian swing and the lunge, that you should learn first. After those, you can explore more elaborate movements.
  • Keep a firm grip. Make sure you’ve got a hold of your kettlebell at all times. If your hands are sore or your grip is slippery, take a break. Never perform a workout if you’re unsure about holding the kettlebell.
  • Clear space. Find enough room to swing your kettlebell around your sides and above your head. Be careful that walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture won’t be impacted.
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Kettlebells aren’t necessarily better or worse than dumbbells. Both can be used effectively and incorporated into your workout depending on your goals and comfort level.

FAQ

Q. What’s an ideal kettlebell weight for beginners?
A.
Everyone is unique, and it’s best to try out various weights to see what you feel comfortable with. If you’re focusing on explosive training where momentum is used to lift and swing, scale toward higher weights. Note that you’ll need more strength, however, for controlled exercises.
 

Q. What’s the difference between adjustable kettlebells and dumbbells?
A.
The main difference between these two popular and useful workout tools is their center of gravity. Dumbells are balanced evenly, allowing for controlled exercises, and are useful in conjunction with weight benches and other pieces of equipment. Kettlebells do not have a balanced center of gravity and thus are useful for explosive exercises that force more use of your stabilizing muscles.
 

Q. When should I progress my routine and add more weight?
A.
Properly adding weight is an important part of keeping your workouts effective. If you don’t increase intensity soon enough, you may plateau and no longer receive benefits from your regimens. If you do it too quickly, however, you risk injury. Increasing reps (the number of times you perform a movement) and sets (the number of rep cycles) is the first part of progression. After that, you can start to add more weight.

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