If you're looking to buy fitness equipment to use at home then a kettlebell is essential. Whether you’re just starting out and looking to explore home fitness for the first time, or you’ve been lifting for years and want to upgrade your home gym, this versatile weight can be used in hundreds of different exercises to improve your strength and fitness.
Not only do kettlebell exercises add variety to your workouts and increase strength, but kettlebell movements are also a highly effective way of getting your heart pumping and improving cardiovascular health. However, when it comes to kettlebells not all are made equal and there are some considerations you should make before buying one.
To help you navigate this world of kettlebells and inform your purchasing decision, we have spoken to two of the most knowledgeable personal trainers out there. They've helped explain what you should look out for (and avoid) when shopping for kettlebells and some of their favourites on the market.
The best kettlebells at a glance:
- Best overall kettlebell: Body Revolution 2kg Kettlebell, £19.99, Body Revolution
- Best versatile kettlebell: Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights and Dumbbells, £228, Very
- Best kettlebell for experimenting: DKN Unisex's Vinyl Kettle Bell Weight Set, £24.99, Amazon
- Best kettlebells for beginners: PROIRON Cast Iron Kettlebell Weight, £21.99, Amazon
- Best kettlebell for heavy lifting: ORIGINAL Cast Iron Kettlebells UK, £59.99, Original Kettlebell
- Best kettlebell for technical movements: Pro Fitness 20kg Cast Iron Kettlebell, £55, Argos
- Best colour variety: Body Revolution Kettlebells, £39.99, Amazon
- Best kettlebell for home gyms: Bionic Body Soft Kettle Bell with Handle, £22.50, Exercise
- Best kettlebell for one-armed movements: ATOM BELLS Competition Kettlebell, £45, Gymstuff
- Best kettlebell for grip: Yes4All Single Vinyl Coated Kettlebell, £19.02, Amazon
The best kettlebells
Best overall kettlebells: Body Revolution Kettlebell
These kettlebells tick a lot of our experts’ boxes: they’re made from cast iron, have large handles allowing for a range of motion, and are available in a choice of weights ranging from 2-20kgs. The kettlebell is great for both arm exercises and full-body workouts.
When buying kettlebells online, our experts say to check the dimensions to make sure they are not too bulky. These Body Revolution kettlebells come in a compact design and feature flat, non-slip bottoms, which helps with storage.
Best versatile kettlebell: Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights and Dumbbells
Great for multiple uses
This Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weight is ideal for anyone looking to invest in a high-quality, all-in-one kettlebell that allows you to quickly switch between different weights.
Great for anyone looking to save on space, this kettlebell houses six weight options ranging from 3-18kg in one compact design. A rotary dial on the top of the kettlebell allows you to easily switch between weights and perform a variety of workouts. They would be perfect to add to a circuit in a HIIT training class.
Best for experimenting: DKN Unisex's Vinyl Kettle Bell Weight Set
Great for starting out
This set of kettlebells from DNK comprises four weights ranging from 2 to 8kg - an excellent choice for beginners wanting to experiment with different weight combinations.
For two-handed exercises, our experts recommend choosing a kettlebell with ergonomic handles that are wider than the base. This kettlebell set ticks both of these boxes.
Best kettlebells for beginners: PROIRON Cast Iron Kettlebell Weight
A solid set
When working with new clients, our experts advise using 8-12kg weights for women and 12-16kg weights for men. These kettlebells from PROIRON are available in a nice range of weights for beginners.
Featuring a smooth, extra-wide handle with no rough edges and made from 100% cast iron, these kettlebells have no welds, weak spots or seams, which should ensure a long lifespan.
Best for heavy lifting: ORIGINAL Cast Iron Kettlebells UK
Built to last
Recommended by all our experts, Original Kettlebell’s cast iron kettlebell features a 35mm handle, a machined flat base, and a smooth metal surface finish, which he says is ideal for heavy lifting.
Available in a choice of weights – 12kg, 16k, 20kg and 24kg – these kettlebells are coated in an electrically-applied paint which is baked onto the surface of the kettlebell, designed to inhibit rust and extend their lifespan.
Best for technical movements: Pro Fitness 20kg Cast Iron Kettlebell
Slim handle for seamless motion
This 20kg kettlebell is perfect for technical movements as it is both small and heavy. It is made from cast iron and is ideal for building and toning muscles as well as improving your endurance.
With its small size, it is a great kettlebell for arm exercises and swinging movements which can be added to circuit workouts. It is also a great addition to a home gym alongside weight benches or dumbbells as it doesn't take up much space, so can be stored easily.
Best colour variety: Body Revolution Kettlebells
Whether you’re a newcomer to the gym or have been lifting for years, these neoprene-coated cast iron kettlebells, available in ten weights ranging from 2kg to 24kg, are suitable for all fitness levels.
More like this
One of the main tips our experts gave for buying gym accessories to use at home is to pick products that are nice to look at so you will feel motivated to use them. These stylish kettlebells are available in ten vivid colours, depending on which weight you choose.
Best for home gyms: Bionic Body Soft Kettle Bell with Handle
Protects your flooring
If you’re looking for a kettlebell that’s not likely to damage your flooring during workouts, you should consider a soft weight such as this vinyl leather option from Bionic Body.
When shopping for kettlebells, our experts say it’s important to consider the shape and thickness of the handle. This kettlebell, which is available in a selection of weights ranging from 10lb to 30lb, features an ergonomic handle, which is great for performing large movements such as swings, squats and deadlifts.
Best for one-armed movements: ATOM BELLS Competition Kettlebell
Another competition kettlebell, this pick from ATOM BELLS, is moulded using precision single-casting technology with no welding or filling and is available in weights ranging from 8 to 32kgs.
The sizes of the bells of these kettlebells are consistent regardless of the weight you choose, which ensures you can perform the same full range of exercises while swapping between weights.
Best kettlebells for grip: Yes4All Single Vinyl Coated Kettlebell
This kettlebell from Yes4All has a slightly textured handle designed to promote a comfortable and secure grip while performing exercises.
These kettlebells come in a range of weights, from 5 to 45lbs, and their vinyl-coated finish helps to reduce noise and protect flooring.
Kettlebells buyer's guide
With the help of some leading personal trainers, we've put together this buyer's guide to help you choose the right kettlebell for your fitness needs.
Our fitness experts
Tom House is a personal trainer who specialises in women's health, providing bespoke services dedicated to prenatal and postpartum fitness, as well as sessions specifically tailored around the effects of menopause. Having worked in London for ten years, Tom is also passionate about how exercise can help people manage their work-life balance, running weekly online HIIT classes and corporate workouts.
Fitness expert Louisa Drake is a former dancer, choreographer, and fitness instructor to some of the UK's biggest celebs. She is the founder of the Louisa Drake Method, a fusion of Pilates and strengthening techniques, which she teaches through small group classes and private training at her award-winning LDM Studio in Fitzrovia, London.
We put three questions to both of them to understand exactly what you need to know when shopping for kettlebells and got their expert recommendations of some of the best kettlebells to buy and why.
What should you look for when buying kettlebells?
“Size and looks are the main priorities,” says Tom. “Concerning the former, if buying online, check the dimensions first. It may ‘only weigh 6kg’, but if it arrives and it's the size of a football, then how you are able to use it will be restricted.”
More importantly, Tom says, “does it give you some pleasure to look at? If it’s a plastic monstrosity, then it’ll be a false economy that it was £5 less than the sleek looking one because you will be less likely to use it and you will certainly take less satisfaction from it.”
Louisa notes that there are two types of kettlebells you should consider. “Cast iron kettlebells are the most diverse and are excellent for both beginners and keen lifters,” she says. “The handle is wider than the bell or base, ideal for two-handed movements such as swings and goblet squats.”
The second is competition kettlebells, which have slimmer handles that align with the bottom of the bell. “This slimmer and skinnier handle allows for better and more seamless on-armed movements in competition,” Louisa says.
What should you avoid when looking for kettlebells?
“Avoid anything that’s too heavy, too large, or doesn’t make you happy to look at,” says Tom. “For almost everyone I have ever trained, a big part of why they exercise is to feel better, so you should bear that in mind when choosing your kit.”
Louisa adds that you should consider the thickness of the handle. “If you can’t wrap your fingers all the way around the kettlebell handle, then the handle is probably going to be a bit too thick for you. This means it can tire out your forearms over repetitions.”
The material the kettlebell is made from is also something to look out for. “Most are made from iron and come unfinished or with a rubber or vinyl coating,” adds Louisa. “I prefer using an uncoated handle as this offers the best grip. Vinyl or plastic handles tend to become too slippery, and some of the coatings can be rough on the hands.”
Which are the best kettlebells?
“In general, the ideal kettlebell weight for women is 8kg or 12kg, and for men from 12kg or 16kg,” says Louisa. “There are lots of other sizes in between, but I mainly work using these weights with new clients. I like ergonomic kettlebells due to the wedge shape design as it helps protect your hands and forearms.”
Tom has a set of Lonsdale kettlebells from Sports Direct that he says is “well proportioned, inexpensive and come in nice colours”. For heavier work, he prefers cast-iron weights from ORIGINAL Kettlebell.
Top kettlebell exercises
If you're just starting out with kettlebells, it can be useful to learn some foundational exercises to use in your training. Here are some of our favourite kettlebell exercises and how to perform them:
The kettlebell swing is a dynamic exercise that engages your hips, glutes, and core muscles. This explosive movement enhances cardiovascular fitness while developing strength and making it an excellent choice for full-body power and conditioning, here's how to do it:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell with both hands.
- Hinge at hips and slightly bend knees, swinging the kettlebell between legs.
- Explosively drive hips forward, swinging the kettlebell to chest height.
- Let the kettlebell swing back down and repeat in a fluid motion.
The goblet squat primarily focuses on your lower body, including quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Holding the kettlebell close to your chest engages your core, promoting stability and improving your squat for building lower body strength, here's how to do it:
- Hold the kettlebell close to your chest with both hands, elbows pointing down.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Squat down by bending knees and hips, maintaining a straight back.
- Lower until elbows touch thighs, then push through heels to stand up.
The Turkish get-up is a full-body exercise that targets total body stability and mobility. It challenges muscles from head to toe, with a special emphasis on shoulder stability, core strength, and overall body control, here's how to do it:
- Lie on your back, kettlebell in right hand above your shoulder.
- Bend the right knee with the foot flat, and extend the left arm to the side.
- Roll onto the left forearm, and lift hips onto the left knee.
- Stand up, keeping the kettlebell overhead.
- Reverse steps to return to start.
Renegade rows are a powerful combination of upper body and core exercises. This move works your back, shoulders, and arms while requiring core engagement to stabilise your body in a plank position, fostering strength and coordination in these muscle groups, here's how to do it:
- Start in a high plank, each hand gripping a kettlebell.
- Maintain a straight line from head to heels.
- Row one kettlebell to the hip while stabilizing with the other arm.
- Lower the kettlebell and repeat on the opposite side.
- Keep core engaged throughout.
Common kettlebell exercise mistakes
If you're new to kettlebells, there are some common mistakes to avoid so you don't injure yourself and maximise the physical and mental benefits of kettlebell exercises. Here they are:
- Poor form: Incorrect form can lead to injuries. Prioritise proper technique over heavy weights. Focus on maintaining a neutral spine, engaging your core, and using controlled movements.
- Swinging too high: During exercises like swings, avoid swinging the kettlebell too high, which can strain your lower back and shoulders. Swing to chest height using hip power, not relying on the arms.
- Gripping too tightly: Holding the kettlebell too tightly can tense your forearms and shoulders and strain them. Instead, maintain a firm but relaxed grip to prevent unnecessary strain on these muscles.
- Ignoring warm-up: Neglecting a proper warm-up can increase the risk of injury. Spend a few minutes doing dynamic stretches and mobility exercises to prepare your muscles for the workout.
- Overestimating weight: Choosing a kettlebell that's too heavy can compromise form and lead to injury. Start with a lighter weight to focus on proper technique before gradually increasing the load.
- Not breathing properly: Breathing helps stabilise your core and manage exertion. Inhale during the eccentric (lowering) phase and exhale during the concentric (lifting) phase of an exercise.
- Ignoring recovery: Rest and recovery are essential for preventing overuse injuries. Allow adequate time between kettlebell sessions for your muscles to repair and grow.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended fitness round-ups, check out our Fitness page for a full list of recommendations, including the best dumbbells and the best pull up bars recommended by personal trainers, as well as the best foam rollers, recommended by physiotherapists.
Luke Chamberlain is a Staff Writer for The Recommended, and interviews some of the world’s most knowledgeable product experts to help readers make smarter decision about the products they buy online.