While the weights section at the gym may be a bit intimidating if you're a regular on the elliptical, exercise bike, or treadmill, it's home to some great pieces of equipment such as the kettlebell. It can improve your strength, tone your body, and help improve your balance and posture, all of which can make a positive impact on your everyday life, too.
Even though the kettlebell may look a little odd, it's one of the most versatile pieces of weight-training equipment, so it's certainly worthy of a place in your home gym setup. Great for full-body workouts, and to get your heart racing and calories burning. You'll enjoy lifting, swinging, and using your kettlebell to reach your fitness goals.
We've rounded up the best kettlebell weights to add to your home workout routine and included everything you need to know on how to use them, and what to look out for.
What is a kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a single-handed weight in a ball shape that comes in a variety of weights to meet your strength capabilities.
Designed with a top handle, the majority of the weight sits in the bulk of the ball and can be used for a variety of exercises, including single-leg deadlifts, shoulder presses, lunges, bent-over rows, and classic kettlebell swings.
The shape and handle encourage you to use your full body as you work to keep your centre of gravity, making it an efficient piece of equipment for an effective workout.
It can even be used in place of other weights, including dumbbells and barbells, for hip thrusts and for adding weight to your squats. For its versatility, the kettlebell makes for the best option if you only have the budget for one free weight.
What are the best kettlebell features to look out for?
If you're looking to buy your first kettlebell or want to make sure you're getting the best for your money, there are a few features you'll need to consider and look out for.
Material: Kettlebells are made of cast iron - though you can get vinyl-coated kettlebells that can provide better protection for home use. However, if the handle is vinyl coated, it may become more slippery as you sweat.
Size: Kettlebells of the same weight can come in different sizes, with some being more rounded, and others being more elongated. It's also worth keeping in mind that cast iron kettlebells will increase in size with the weight.
Weight: When choosing a weight, you'll need to consider your strength capabilities and how much you want to push yourself in your workouts. 5kg-8kg is a good starting weight for beginners. However, if you'd like to vary your weight for different exercises or want to build your strength to incorporate higher weights, an adjustable weighted kettlebell could be a great choice for you.
Handle: While most kettlebell handles are rounded, you can get competition kettlebells that have a compact square handle designed to be used for one hand. You should also consider the size of the handle as if it is too large for your hand, it could be awkward to work with and may affect your performance.
Grip: You want to ideally pick a kettlebell with a good handle grip, where you can grip your whole hand around the bar. If you find your kettlebell doesn't have the best grip or becomes more difficult to hold when you've worked up a sweat, it would be best to buy some weightlifting gloves. Good gloves will provide grip, padding, and wrist support.
Now you know what to look out for, here is our list of the best kettlebells available to buy.
Which kettlebells should I buy?
Add a pop of colour to your home gym with these kettlebells that come with a non-slip neoprene exterior to improve handling and prevent the cast iron from marking your floor. The handle is ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable hold and a full range of movement, and you can opt to buy the best weight option for you or the full set!
Review: "Good quality, handle just right for my small hands and the perfect complement to my training at-home session."
Material: Cast iron with non-slip neoprene covering
Weight: Eight weight options available - 4kg through to 20kg
Smaller in size, this cast iron kettlebell makes for a great choice if you have limited home storage, are looking for a less bulky 10kg alternative, or are looking to use your kettlebell to do one-handed weight exercises. It's a little too compact for a double-handed kettlebell swing, but it's easy to manoeuvre as you work out.
Review: "Perfect. Really well made from cast iron. so is smaller in size than some kettlebells which makes it easier to use."
Material: Cast iron with textured grip
In classic cast iron kettlebell style, this is a great pick for beginners with a wide, smooth handle for a comfortable, secure grip and ample space for your hands. A versatile choice for one and two-handed exercises, this kettlebell is designed to be durable, with anti-corrosion paint, one-piece casting, and a flat bottom for upright storage. Available from 4kg upwards, the ball increases in size with the weight, so bear in mind the gap size will decrease with this.
Review: "As for the product, it seems sturdy, it has a nice finish and by comparison to other products it is very comfortable in the hand for those not using gloves."
Material: Cast iron
Weight: 4kg through to 24kg
The Phoenix Fitness Vinyl Kettlebell is another colourful option and a best seller on Amazon with over 2,500 customers rating an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The colours and clear weight labels will help you to easily differentiate the different weights in your set, while the vinyl coating makes the kettlebell easy to clean and ideal for indoor and outdoor use. No floor damage here!
It has an ergonomic grip for comfort, but from experience with vinyl kettlebells, you may find gloves necessary as your hands become more slippery with sweat. You may also find this to be larger than other kettlebells.
Review: "Perfect for my need as a beginner. Good quality and comfortable for a middle-aged beginner like myself."
Weight: 2kg through to 20kg
If you're happy to invest in your workout routine and would like to have access to multiple weights without them taking up all your spare storage, an adjustable weight is one for you. With a simple locking and unloading mechanism, you can customise the weight of your kettlebell to your workout, with each weight going up in increments between 3.4kg, 5.5kg, 10.7kg, 13.4kg, 15.9kg, and 18kg.
Review: "I purchased this for home use - I use a variety of KB weights so the adjustable function is great - easy to change, robust design, and the grip feels very safe."
Material: Cast iron with plastic coating and flat rubber sole
Weight: Increases from 3.4kg to 18kg
Made from heavy-duty cast iron with a vinyl coated base, this kettlebell gives your floor protection whilst providing you with the wide, comfortable grip you need. Whilst this is a 10kg kettlebell, there are other sizes available, with each retaining the same gap and grip to provide good space for your hands and movements.
Review: "I love this kettlebell. So glad I managed to get one before they sold out. It's easy to hold and not bulky, cumbersome and plastic like the original one l bought and returned from another shop. Wish I got the 10 & 12kg also. Great price, fab colour."
Material: Cast iron with vinyl coated base
Another vinyl-coated option, these kettlebells are great for use at home but again, you may find them harder to grip with sweaty palms and to be larger than other cast iron kettlebells. UK Fitness offers kettlebell sets with the option to buy one to four different weights at once, so take your pick! As well as being great value for money, you also get a free kettlebell workout DVD thrown in so you can feel inspired.
Review: "These kettlebells are bigger than the equivalent cast-iron versions. I'm a 5' 4" woman with average-sized hands and I can manage them for basic lifts, swings and so on, but the handle size is at the limit of what my hands can safely grip."
Weight: Available in sets ranging from 2kg to 14kg
The best kettlebells tried and tested
The below kettlebells were tried and tested by one of our Commercial Content Writers, Eleanor Weaver, who regularly trains with kettlebells twice a week as part of her home workout online PT sessions. She put them to the test in her sessions...
"The Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights is effectively six different kettlebells in one thanks to the adjustable mechanism - you can switch the weight from 3.5kg through to 18kg with just a twist of the dial. It's compact, great for space-saving, and looks smart alongside your regular gym equipment.
"I found this kettlebell to be easily adjustable, and the weight display on the dial comes in kgs and lbs so you could be clear to be on the correct weight and easily convert measurements if needs be. The kettlebell felt to be of great quality, sturdy, reliable, and versatile for exercises including bent-over rows and kettlebell swings.
"It's worth noting that while the handle was comfortable, it isn't textured - so you may experience grip issues with sweaty palms. The dial placement also makes it difficult to use the kettlebell where you need to hold the base, such as for a squat overhead press or shoulder press. However, if you intend to use dumbbells for this instead, then this kettlebell will meet all your workout needs!"
"The JAXJOX is another adjustable weight, six weights in one, but this time with a fancy digital display that allows you to change the weight at the push of a button. Space-saving with 14 hours of battery life on a single charge, the display on the base is easy to use to alter your weights and connect your device via Bluetooth to the JAXJOX app.
"On first impressions, this kettlebell looks extremely elegant for a kettlebell and a great statement in the home if you don't have the space to store it away. In fact, it's so chic, you might not even want to! Out the box it was really easy to put together to get started, however in set-up, I found it frustrating that I wasn't able to switch the display from lbs to kgs, which should have been easy to do. If you're used to working with lb weights, this wouldn't be an issue, but as I'm more used to working in kgs, I had to manually convert the weight measurements on my phone.
"The kettlebell shell itself I found extremely comfortable to hold, the best I have experienced as someone who gets sweaty palms, and the wide grip handle helped with a range of movements. It's worth noting that the 'ball' of the kettlebell is on the larger side, taller than usual, which made some exercises a little awkward to do.
"Using the JAXJOX app, you can adjust your weight from your phone, and it'll also track your reps, sets, average power, and total weight all in one! And if you need a little inspiration, you have access to live on-demand workouts in the app too as part of your purchase.
"This digitally adjustable kettlebell has a few issues, but if you're looking for an adjustable weight that looks ever so chic and provides a training partner all in one, it's certainly worth thinking about making the investment."
"Amazingly low-cost, you can expect great value for money with this set of three kettlebells for less than £30. if you're a gym-goer or already lift weights, the 5, 10, and 15lb weights will be too light for you. However, they're great for beginners or those looking to improve their grip strength, flexibility, and core stability for strength rehabilitation.
"Each kettlebell is clearly marked with the weight and the PVC material makes it suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and it comes with a handy storage stand so you can store your kettlebells smartly together. The textured PVC design also makes it comfortable to hold providing great grip all over.
"As these are measured in lbs, they don't show the measurements in kgs, but the highest weight of 15lbs equals 6.8kg. If this is something you're more used to, you should look to buy kg weights instead. Many reviewers have been caught out by this, thinking these to be kg instead, and you might not find much use for them if you're expecting them to be heavier than they are."
How to use a kettlebell
You've got the right kettlebell for size, weight, and grip, but how do you use it?
To use your kettlebell, you will need to have a good grip of the handle on the kettlebell in one hand to perform your exercise and make sure that you can lift it comfortably.
When performing exercises, form and technique is the most important thing so you don't risk injury. Make sure to focus on the areas you are trying to work i.e. the abdominals, glutes, shoulders, or quads, and make sure not to let your back take up the work.
If you're planning to increase the weight of your kettlebell, be careful to consider how easily you will be able to perform actions. A kettlebell snatch movement, where you flick the bell over your wrist as you press it above your shoulder, may be easier with a 5kg weight, but a 12kg could leave you with bruises.
At the end of the day, it's better to use a lighter weight and do the exercises correctly than use a heavier kettlebell.
How to do a kettlebell swing
When you get started with your kettlebell, you should learn the basics to get your form down to a tee. One of the easiest basic moves to get to grips with is the kettlebell swing.
However, it's not just a matter of swinging the weight, there are form factors you need to follow. Even though you are swinging the kettlebell with your arms, the move is not about your arm strength as the power is driven from your hips and glutes to propel the kettlebell forward.
- Place your feet a little more than hip-distance apart, and hold the kettlebell using both hands in the centre. Make sure there is enough space for the kettlebell to swing between your legs.
- Bend at your knees and push your hips backwards so that your bottom sticks out, you will need to keep your upper body straight and your core engaged so that the kettlebell doesn’t pull on your lower back.
- As you swing, the kettlebell raises and you drive your hips forwards, and give your glutes a little squeeze as you feel the weight reach the top arc of your movement. The kettlebell swing is essentially a standing hip thrust, rather than a squat, with the weight naturally swinging upwards.
Choosing a heavier weight will make this harder, but you might be surprised by the power you have stored up!
Still unsure? You can follow tutorials on YouTube to help you master your swing and other beginner moves. Check out this beginner's workout from The Body Coach AKA Joe Wicks:
What are kettlebells good for?
A kettlebell workout can come with a whole host of benefits that'll support your fitness journey or goals:
• A kettlebell workout is a great way to burn calories if you're looking to lose weight. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that the average person burns around 20 calories per minute during a standard kettlebell workout.
• Kettlebells can help to improve your core strength, stability, posture, balance, and coordination.
• If you have chronic pain, kettlebell exercises can help improve your joint health, mobility, and flexibility, thanks to the strengthening of the muscles and kettlebell handle design that mirrors everyday activities.
• Kettlebells are easier to store than dumbbells and barbells, and more affordable than other workout machines.
• Kettlebell workouts can help to tone and shape your body.
• Kettlebells provide a simple but effective workout! You can achieve a fully functional workout with just one piece of equipment.