An athletic women swinging a kettlebell

How To Select A Kettlebell – 4 Things To Look For

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) a person can burn more than 1,200 calories in an hour using a Kettlebell. This level of conditioning is second only to cross-country skiing. Many accomplished lifters have experienced amazing gains in their other movements after shifting to kettlebells periodically, or adding them to their existing routines.

In this article we will examine the 4 things you need to consider when selecting a kettlebell, some advise on how to start your kettlebell fitness journey, and where to find the best deals on kettlebells currently.

1) Different Types of Kettlebells

Kettlebells are generally made of cast iron, vinyl, or steel, and may be painted or coated. Painted kettlebells are prone to chipping which can result in a rough surface or sharp edge that could lead to injury. Coated kettlebells may be less prone to slipping while in a rack position, especially once you get a little sweaty, and may be gentler on the floor if you don’t have access to a good workout mat.

There are generally two types of kettlebells, traditional and competition. The main difference is that traditional kettlebells increase in size as they increase in weight, while competition kettlebells of different weights are all the same size.

Keeping the size consistent can be beneficial in that your technique does not have to change as you increase the weight, however competition kettlebells are generally quite a bit more expensive and unnecessary unless you are doing more technical movements.

Competition kettlebells are more commonly created from a single cast, while the handle and bell are often cast separately and fused together on traditional kettlebells. This can be problematic if you attempt to use a low quality off-brand kettlebell, but should not be an issue if you select from a well-known supplier.

The handle on a competition kettlebell is often designed to accommodate just one hand while the handles on traditional kettlebells can vary, but are generally designed to support two handed movements. There is more variability in the shapes of traditional kettlebells, so we have outlined a few tips below.

2) What About The Handle?

Because the size of a traditional kettlebell is directly proportional to its weight, it is common for the handles of lighter kettlebells to be too small, and the handles of heavier kettlebells to be too large or thick. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to place a closed fist through the opening or “window” of the handle, you should be able to place both hands on the handle, and you should also be able to wrap your hand all the way around the handle.

You are going to be rolling the kettlebell through your hands thousands of times, so it is important that there are no major blemishes in the handle that can dig into your hands. Any imperfections can be filed or sanded down, and chalk or gloves can be used to reduce the friction and improve the grip, especially when your hands start to get sweaty.

A handle that is too short will result in the kettlebell landing on your wrist during certain movements. If it is too long, the weight may pull you off balance during swinging movements, and land too far down on your forearm during pull-through movements. It can be a little difficult to evaluate these features when purchasing a kettlebell online, but good photos and detailed reviews can be helpful.

3) The Bell Shape

Avoid a perfectly round bell, and avoid bells with a foot on the bottom. A slightly oval or oblong shaped bell will sit better in a rack position, and a flat spot on the bottom allows the bell to be used as a platform for dips or push ups.

 A foot or base on the bell, commonly made of rubber or plastic, creates an edge that may dig into your arm. Some kettlebells are cast to have a base or foot built into the bell, and I would suggest avoiding those for the same reasons.

Don't select a kettlebell with a foot
Don’t select a kettlebell with a foot

4) Choosing Kettlebell Weight?

Most kettlebell instructors or programs will suggest having a range of kettlebells so that you can use lighter weights during warm ups and while learning more technical movements, but be able to progress to heavier weights on certain movements or as you advance in general.

According to the Skogg System that I use and enjoy, the recommended weights are as follows:

Kettlebell Weight Recommendation Chart

Where to Buy Kettlebells?

At the time that I had originally written this article, kettlebells were is short supply and extremely difficult to find in stock, but they have become much more available now. Since there are so many different options to choose from, I will simply provide you with a short list of retailers that offer a wide variety of good quality kettlebells at competitive prices.

Rogue Fitness

Rogue Fitness offers a huge range of exercise equipment including several types and brands of kettlebells:

  • Rogue Kettlebells (pictured right)
  • Rogue Rubber Coated Kettlebells
  • Rogue Monster Kettlebells
  • Rogue Competition Kettlebells
  • GMG Kettlebells
  • Ader Premier Kettlbells
  • Ader Pro-Grade Kettlebells

American Barbell

American Barbell offers their own signature kettlebells in four variations:

Power Systems

Power Systems also offers a variety of both standard and competition kettlebells including:

  • Premium Kettlebell Prime (pictured right)
  • Kettlebell Prime
  • Ultra Kettlebell
  • Pro Elite Kettlebell
  • Kor Kettlebell

Kettlebell Kings

Kettlebell Kings offer their own signature powder coated kettlebells (pictured right), and currently have a wide variety of weights available.

Perform Better

Perform Better offers three styles of kettlebells including:

  • First Place Neoprene Kettlebell
  • First Place Competition Bell
  • First Place Gravity Kettlebell (pictured right)

Dragon Door

Dragon Door is a world leader in all things kettlebell. They are not just an equipment supplier, they also offer a variety of training resources and even a kettlebell instructor certification workshop. 

Dragon Door offers their signature RKC kettlebell (pictured right) in a variety of weights, many of which are currently available. 


Of coarse Amazon offers a huge variety of kettlebells with free Prime shipping. The Amazon Basics Cast Iron Kettlebell (pictured right) is currently one of their best sellers. 

Please let us know if this information has been helpful, and consider sharing your kettlebell experience by commenting below in order to help others living a fit keto lifestyle.

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