I review a lot of Calisthenics products, often comparing various different options to pick the best product in the category.
One of the first things I do when comparing products is put myself in the buyer’s shoes and ask myself, “Would I be happy if I bought the cheapest one, or is there a noticeable difference in features which would make me want one of the more expensive items?”.
For example, the feature set of a Power Cage changes dramatically by brand and price, so shop wisely. The cheapest option can also not even be adequate for specific exercises (flashback to me trying to perform a handstand on a cheap pair of push-up grips…ouch!).
With kettlebells, you’ll want to decide if you want a Vinyl or Cast Iron kettlebells (more on that shortly), but overall I think you can grab one of the cheapest options from Amazon and be satisfied with your choice, all whilst saving yourself some cash.
Functionally they’re all very similar when it boils down to it, and since you’re not using them to support your body weight, you don’t have to worry about potential hazards, such as you would with a pull-up bar, set of rings, or parallettes for example.
Now let’s compare the different kettlebell types and talk about the different kettlebells you can buy.
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How Many Kettlebells Do You Need to Buy?
You’ll want to purchase at least two kettlebells, a lighter one and a heavier one, to ensure you have the appropriate weight for the exercises you are trying to do.
You may, for example, want a lighter weight for shoulder presses and Turkish get-ups, but require a heavier weight for squats and swings.
Luckily, most sellers offer a full range of kettlebell weights, starting from 2kg and increasing in further 2kg increments, all the way up to 20kg.
For the best kettlebells I’d recommend the following:
York Fitness Vinyl Kettlebells – Great value and offer a complete range, with prices from roughly £7.50 for the 2kg kettlebell to £39 for the 20kg kettlebell.
Gold Coast Cast Iron Kettlebells – These kettlebells are slightly cheaper than York Fitness, at just £5.99 for the 2kg kettlebell, but they don’t offer a full range of weights.
PROIRON Cast Iron Kettlebells – Great quality solid cast iron kettlebells which go as high as 32kg.
DKN Vinyl Kettlebell set – For those unsure of what to buy and looking for a beginner set, I’d highly recommend DKN. They offer four kettlebells (2kg, 4kg, 6kg and 8kg) for just £33.49.
Vinyl Kettlebells vs Cast Iron Kettlebells: Advantages and Disadvantages
As you may have figured out from the above-recommended products, kettlebells typically fall into two categories: Vinyl or Cast Iron.
Vinyl Kettlebells – Advantages and Disadvantages?
The best thing about vinyl kettlebells are their price since they usually cost less than their cast iron counterparts, but they do have a cheaper feel to them.
There are a couple of disadvantages I personally experience with them:
- Lack of grip – If you’re getting your sweat on (and I hope you are!), then plastic grips can get quite slippery
- Comfort with cheap plastic sealing – With very cheap vinyl kettlebells I’ve found that the plastic sealing causes a very small ridge where the kettlebell is sealed together, and when I use a kettlebell for exercises where I pull it up over my body, then the seal can graze your skin slightly
Again, if price beats quality then I’d have no problem recommending a Vinyl kettlebell.
Cast Iron Kettlebells – Advantages and Disadvantages?
As I’m sure you may have already guessed, the main advantage to cast iron kettlebells is their quality. Many people also find the traditional element of a cast iron kettlebell appealing.
The downsides to a cast iron kettlebell are that they can get very cold when training outdoors in winter, and they are usually all the same finish/colour, which makes it hard to see the various weights at a glance. This also isn’t helped by the fact that many manufacturers make them very minimal and simply engrave the weight into each one, making it hard to read.
I think the answer to both of these issues is a neoprene finish alternative, such as the JLL Neoprene Covered Cast Iron Kettlebells which offer the quality of a cast iron kettlebell, but with a much more modern and comfortable coloured neoprene finish.
Are Kettlebells the first purchase of your home gym?
Great start! But what else do you need?
We’ve curated out own guide of the best Calisthenics equipment to buy for your home gym here.
Founder of calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.