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The thought of stocking a home gym can be seriously daunting. After all, it's not like you have unlimited space—or an unlimited budget. In order to get the best bang for your buck, Obé fitness instructor Walter Kemp recommends stocking up on a handful of must-haves: Dumbbells, resistance bands, and of course, a kettlebell.
Kettlebells are free weights you can use in a variety of exercises. They typically consist of a heavy ball (or bell) attached to a wide handle. You can grip the handle with one hand and use it the way you’d use a dumbbell, or you can grab it with both hands to complete goblet squats, Russian twists, and classic kettlebell swings. Since you really only need one kettlebell at a time, the weight is decidedly small space-friendly. And because you can use it for total-body workouts, you could buy a single kettlebell—and nothing else—and still thoroughly level up your at-home strength-training routine.
Read on for the best kettlebells on the market, now.
Best Overall: Unipack Powder-Coated Cast Iron Kettlebell
Unipack’s kettlebell is about as classic as kettlebells come. The weight is crafted from solid cast iron—a durable material that can hold up to years of wear and tear. Its handle is wide enough to comfortably accommodate both of your hands, so you can use it to tackle a range of exercises. Plus, since it's powder-coated, it’s easy to grip, and it comes in 5-, 10-, 20-, or 30-pound weights.
Best Budget: CAP Barbell Vinyl-Coated Kettlebell
Weights tend to cost a pretty penny. But CAP Barbell is here to prove that you can score a high-quality kettlebell at a budget-friendly price point. The brand’s vinyl-coated version is durable, compact, and easy to use, making it a particularly great pick for beginners. We vote that its best feature is its vinyl coating, which makes it super easy to grip. Never again will you have to worry about a kettlebell slipping out of your hand while you work out (even if you’re sweating).
Best Luxury: Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell
The Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell is one seriously smart kettlebell. Though it’s a single piece of equipment, it can weigh anywhere between 8 and 40 pounds—and you have total control over how heavy it is. By turning the kettlebell’s built-in dial, you can scale the weight of the kettlebell up and down—which is great news for anyone doing full-body kettlebell workouts. (You no longer need different kettlebells for upper-body and lower-body exercises!) It also means this kettlebell is designed to last—it'll scale with you as you build strength.
Best Set: Yes4All Combo-Coated Kettlebell Set
There are tons of kettlebell sets out there, but they tend to be pretty repetitive. You usually get three kettlebells at a time, and they tend to come in 15-pound ranges. However, this Yes4All set is a cut above: It's available in eight different variations. You can score two weights (ranging from 10 to 15 pounds), three weights (ranging from 15 to 25 pounds), or six weights (ranging from 5 to 30 pounds). Also nice: The weights come in a bunch of different colors, so you can control what your kettlebells look like, as well as what they feel like.
Best All-In-One Set: Peakform Adjustable Kettlebell
The Peakform Adjustable Kettlebell is basically seven different kettlebells in one. The weight is made up of a bunch of smaller weights, which, when stacked, create a standard kettlebell. Each weight weighs 5 pounds, and you can easily sub them in and out based on how hard you want your workout to be. So if you’re looking for a 10-pound beginner-friendly workout, you’ve got it. But you’ve also got a 40-pound challenge at the ready if you’re ever in the mood for one.
Best for Beginners: Tone Fitness Kettlebell
The Tone Fitness Kettlebell is a beginner-friendly kettlebell that would look great in your home gym. The weight’s wide handle makes it easy to grip, whether you’re doing one- or two-hand exercises, and its PVC coating makes it comfortable to rest your hands on. Opt for a 5-, 10-, or 15-pound kettlebell, or work your way up over time. If you end up collecting the whole set, you’ll have a seriously pretty weight collection on your hands.
Best Durable: CAP Barbell Cast Iron Kettlebell
CAP Barbell’s Cast Iron Kettlebell is crafted from solid, high-quality cast iron. You won’t find any welds, seam casting, or coating here—which is really just a fancy way of saying, this kettlebell is built to last. Since the weight is made entirely of cast iron, it can handle a little wear and tear. And since there’s no coating, you won’t have to worry about anything chipping after years of use.
Best Soft Shell: Bionic Body Soft Kettlebell
The Bionic Body Soft Kettlebell is exactly what it sounds like: A soft kettlebell. The weight looks a little like a beanbag, but it’s filled with non-shifting steel powder and sand—enough to weigh between 10 and 40 pounds. The benefit of a soft kettlebell? If you drop the weight, you don’t have to worry about it ruining your floors. It also offers a quieter, cozier experience than the average solid iron weight.
Best for Small Spaces: Kettle Gryp Adjustable Kettlebell
If you already own a bunch of dumbbells, you may not be in the mood to buy a bunch of kettlebells, too. And with the Kettle Gryp Adjustable Kettlebell, you don’t have to. The plastic handle—more formally called a “dumbbell adapter”—will make your dumbbells function like kettlebells. Simply open up the Kettle Gryp, slide your dumbbell’s handle inside, close the Kettle Gryp, and voila—you now have a kettlebell (and you didn’t have to buy a bunch of bulky, expensive equipment to get there).
Best Travel-Friendly: Surge 25 Hydro Ball
Weights are almost impossible to carry on the go. Space inefficiencies aside, they’re heavy. And whether you’re carrying your bag on your back or checking it at the airport, extra weight is not what you’re looking for. Thankfully, the Surge 25 Hydro Ball is here to meet your travel workout needs. The kettlebell gets its weight from water. Filled completely, it weighs 25 pounds, but unfilled, it only weighs 4 pounds, so you can empty it and toss it in your suitcase without giving it a second thought. The only downside? It doesn’t compress when empty. Still, we vote it’s one of the best on-the-go kettlebell solutions out there.
What to Look for in a Kettlebell
Kettlebells come in a variety of different materials. Cast iron is the most common material and is beloved for its durability. However, you can also find kettlebells with a vinyl or PVC coating. These are great as they can feel more comfortable to grip while working out. You can also consider finding a soft kettlebell instead of a soft one. A soft kettlebell is quieter and can prevent any floor damage if you happen to drop it.
You'll most likely want to have kettlebells with various weights. Traditionally, you can purchase kettlebells individually (and purchase heavier ones as you build your strength over time) or in a set. However, there are some designs that allow you to adjust the weight, so you only have to make a single purchase one time.
The last thing you want is for your kettlebell to slide out of your hands while you're working out. Aside from the vinyl and PVC coatings we've mentioned, you can also look for a wide handle. Not only will this make it more comfortable to grip, but it will also be roomy enough for you to hold it with both hands.
What do kettlebells do for your body?
Kettlebells are loved for their versatility and their ability to engage multiple parts of the body in a single workout. In fact, a single swing can target your core, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and back. Currently, research is limited, but it is thought to increase strength, balance, endurance, and can even help relieve musculoskeletal pain.
What weight kettlebell should a beginner use?
Generally, 12 to 18-pound kettlebells are great for beginners, and you can include heavier weights as you increase your strength. It's important not to go into a heavy weight straightaway. There is a proper technique to swinging a kettlebell, and using the wrong weight can cause compensation or muscular imbalances and could lead to serious injury.
Should you use kettlebells everyday?