A kettlebell is an underestimated piece of exercise equipment that can take at-home workouts to a gratifying new intensity. Adaptable, easy to grip and swing and offered in a variety of colors, materials and weights, kettlebells can challenge beginners and experts alike.
"Kettlebells are some of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment you can have in your home," says Peter Tachev, personal trainer and owner of PT Fit Camp. The workouts you can put together using a trusty kettlebell, he says, "are out of this world."
But with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know which makes and models are the smartest addition to your home gym. We spoke to kettlebell experts for the inside scoop on how to purchase the perfect kettlebell, as well as tips on how to use different types of kettlebells at various levels of experience.
How to Pick the Best Kettlebell
Find the Right Weight for You
A general benchmark, he says, is a 20-pound kettlebell; it will feel challenging but shouldn't lead to too much strain during more advanced moves, like the kettlebell swing. (You can go heavier or lighter, depending on your fitness level.)
Once you're comfortable with a 20-pound kettlebell, you can consider adding a heavier weight to your collection. The most widely used kettlebells at his practice are in the 25- to 45-pound range, Tachev says. "It's crazy what a 35-pound kettlebell can do for strength gains during just a 15- to 20-minute workout."
When you're shopping online, pay close attention to the weight details in the descriptions of products, Dudley adds: A lot of kettlebell weights are listed in kilograms instead of pounds.
Select the Right Material for You
It's also important to consider the material of a kettlebell before making a purchase, Dudley says. For example, while plastic may be cheaper, it's just not as durable as rubber or metal, but sweat and metal don't always mix. "Plenty of people training will sweat while using a metal kettlebell, and it might get slippery," he says. Powder or chalk, such as Z Athletic Chalk Balls ($5.99, Amazon.com), can help.
Ready to take home a kettlebell of your very own? Read on to see the top four personal trainer-approved picks.
Best for Beginners: Gofit Vinyl-Dipped Kettlebell + Workout DVD
This 10-pound kettlebell is perfect for newbies. Dipped in rubberized vinyl, this yellow option also features a two-tone gloss coat perfect for gripping sans slipping. The bell even comes with a DVD to teach you the kettlebell basics.
Buy it: Gofit.com; Price: $29.99
Highest Rated: Yes4All Vinyl-Coated Kettlebell
With over 1,500 rave reviews on Amazon, this vinyl-coated cast iron kettlebell is available in seven different weights, ranging from 5 to 40 pounds. Dudley says this kind of kettlebell is durable, thanks to the cast iron, but also gentle on flooring thanks to the vinyl coating.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $28.99
Most Versatile: Apex Adjustable Heavy Duty Kettlebell Set
This 15-pound cast iron kettlebell features four zero-pound spacer plates so you can get a customized workout by swapping in any of the weight plates you already have lying around your home gym. Use it as the 15-pound kettlebell it comes as, or add weight up to 50 pounds for a more intense session.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $139.99
Best for Dumbbell Fanatics: Kettle Gryp
If your home gym is stocked on dumbbells, test out your affinity for kettlebell-style workouts with this convenient 1-pound orange handle that can latch onto any regular dumbbell. It's a great way to breathe new life into your old gear.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $34.95