The best kettlebells for your home gym, all in one place. Updated for 2023!
I love kettlebells. Kettlebells are easy to store, relatively inexpensive, and provide an efficient way to work nearly every part of the body in a short period of time.
They’re also great for supplementing movement rehabilitation work on a path toward injury recovery or performance improvement.
I’ve used nearly every major brand of kettlebells, including experimenting with a homemade kettlebell made out of plumbing parts. My goal is to have the most comprehensive kettlebell review available online, so if you’ve been looking for real-world feedback on cast-iron kettlebells in general or a specific brand in particular then this article is for you.
Warning – this is a ridiculously long article, so I’ve structured the content to list the best kettlebell options first, followed by the full reviews. If you’d like to read more about the testing criteria, rating scale, test plan, or individual kettlebell reviews, use the table of contents below to navigate the various sections.
I use a simple five point rating scale to score each kettlebell:
Five stars – Excellent all around kettlebell.
Four stars – Very good, with minor caveats.
Three stars – Decent option with room for improvement.
Two stars – Not recommended but has redeeming qualities.
One star – Not recommended at all.
Zero stars – Completely unusable.
I’ve tested multiple kettlebells for this article, but to keep things simple I’m only listing the options that earned at least three stars and up.
The rest can be found further below in the Reviews section.
The Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat kettlebell is a high quality kettlebell that provides an excellent balance between durability and usability.
The finish on these kettlebells is extremely grippy with no seams or burrs anywhere on the handles or bodies, with a coating that feels like chalk to the touch.
Kettlebells USA gets kudos for raising the bar by improving the classic kettlebell design. The Metrixx Elite Precision kettlebell is a very comfortable kettlebell to work with, especially if you’re able to use a small amount of chalk.
This is also the most durable kettlebell you’re likely to find anywhere. Quite simply, the Metrixx Elite Precision is the best E-coat kettlebell you can buy.
Rep Fitness Cast Iron Kettlebell are great kettlebells with a very clean finish and one of the nicest powder coat options available.
Rep Fitness doesn’t bundle shipping into the costs of their products, and their base pricing is very reasonable. These kettlebells are a great value for the price, especially if you live close to Colorado to save on shipping costs.
American Barbell powder coat kettlebells are a great all around kettlebell with a clean finish and a nice coat that is gritty without being abrasive. Great for CrossFit or just general fitness.
These kettlebells are a great deal if you live in the western United States, but the cost of shipping makes them less competitive price-wise if you live elsewhere.
My review criteria is primarily centered on kettlebells I can use at home and at work with minimal need for chalk. If you’re interested in diving deeper I’ve written a kettlebell buyer’s guide that answers every question I had when I first started.
It also goes into detail on the criteria I look for, but the short version is a clean finish, a durable coating, and a properly sized handle.
Cast-iron kettlebells are widely available at many different price points, which I consider to be a very good thing. However, the lack of any kind of standards in their construction can make for a frustrating buying experience, especially if you’re not able to try before you buy.
Furthermore, the different sizing between weights and brands make it necessary to adjust and sometimes relearn your technique when moving between weights.
There are a couple of companies making steel competition-style kettlebells aimed at the home fitness market, which offer the benefit of consistently sized kettlebells without incurring the usual steel competition cost.
I’ve reviewed two options, one from Vulcan Strength and one from Kettlebell Kings, take a look at the reviews via the links below:
Vulcan Strength Absolute Training Kettlebell
Kettlebell Kings Fitness Edition Kettlebell
If you are looking for some good kettlebell workouts to use with your shiny new kettlebell, I’ve got you covered.
I’ve been running a kettlebell club at work for the past few years, which meets twice weekly for a 30-40 minute exercise session with kettlebells.
I’ve developed several kettlebell workouts for the club, ranging in intensity from beginner to high-level intermediate. All of my workouts are documented on their own page and I plan to add to the list as time goes on. The goal of the routines I put together is to get a total body workout in 40 minutes or less.
There’s also an entire sport dedicated to kettlebells, unsurprisingly called “kettlebell sport”. Kettlebell sport has many benefits and is suitable for both men and women.
One kettlebell sport event in particular called ‘long cycle’ is a very efficient way to work your entire body in ten minutes with just three moves – the swing, clean, and jerk.
It looks easy, but long cycle is actually very technically and physically challenging.
Here’s an example of kettlebell long cycle done by a world champion in the sport. You don’t have to watch the entire video, just watch for couple of minutes and you’ll get the idea.
My introduction to kettlebells came via Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Body. He describes an experiment performed using a do-it-yourself kettlebell made from parts found in the plumbing section at Home Depot.
I’m all about DIY when I can, especially if it means I get to build a cool new toy. According to Tim Ferris the parts are supposed to cost under $10, not counting the weight plates. However, inflation has taken its toll because I paid closer to $18 after tax. That doesn’t include the price of the plastic clamp I already owned.
The DIY kettlebell has two big advantages. First, it takes the guesswork out of deciding what size kettlebell to buy for two hand work. I was able to experiment with different weights to find a starting point I was comfortable with, eventually settling on 20kg (44lbs).
Second, it allowed me to establish proper swing form with a lower weight before moving up to a real working weight. Proper form is important, because improper swing form can cause back injury.
If you don’t already have a background lifting weights or being active, or if you are out of shape, consider working with a certified kettlebell trainer to get instructed in proper technique.
A DIY kettlebell also has two major disadvantages. First, usefulness is limited to two-hand work.
Second, there are upper limits to the weight that can be applied to the bar and how long the bar will last. Plumbing parts weren’t designed to sustain a dynamic load swinging in an arc. This puts stress on the metal that will eventually lead to fatigue and fracture. If you decide to pursue a regular regimen of kettlebell work, invest in real kettlebells or plan on replacing your T-bar parts at least once every four to six months.
The DIY approach is a great way to experiment with basic kettlebell work without committing to an expensive purchase, provided you have some weight plates to work with.
Kettlebell Kings are a vendor local to Austin that specializes in…wait for it…kettlebells!
I bet you saw that coming, didn’t you?
Kettlebell Kings has revised their line of powder coat kettlebells in 2020 with an all new powder coat application process.
I’ll get into the details shortly, but I first want to comment on the excellent packaging they use to ship their kettlebells.
Every cast iron kettlebell is packed in styrofoam to protect the bell during shipping, which I appreciate because the kettlebell arrives undamaged.
This is a far cry from other vendors like Rogue Fitness, who typically just throw the bell in a box with some cardboard shims and hope for the best ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Okay, back to the new paint process. The previous powder coat finish was very smooth, with a chalk-like feel.
The new powder coat kettlebell retains the chalk-like feel and adds some texture for improved grip.
I took this kettlebell outside on a hot Texas summer day to use for an Afterburner workout from my list of Kettlebell Club workouts, and I was able to keep hold of it without resorting to chalk despite my hands sweating like crazy.
The team over at Kettlebell Kings also tell me they’ve added a separate wash step to the manufacturing process to clean dust off the kettlebell before the powder coat is applied.
This is an important point because the factories where kettlebells are made are dirty, dusty places. I mean seriously, they’re forging molten iron in there, what did you expect?
There’s lots of dust flying around that accumulates on the surface of the bells while they sit patiently waiting for paint. Without being cleaned first, the paint does not adhere as well to the bell and it can flake off more easily.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, very few companies take the extra step to clean the bells before paint because it adds time and expense to the process. But it’s worth it.
At the time I published this article, Kettlebell Kings is likely the only vendor taking this extra step, which results in a very durable coating.
Another point worth mentioning is the completely flat level bottom of the Kettlebell Kings powder coat kettlebell.
Kettlebells come out of their casting molds with many imperfections that must be sandblasted or ground down manually, so it’s not uncommon to see kettlebells with wobbly bottoms because someone did not take the time to grind it completely smooth.
This is typically a sign of a mass produced kettlebell made as cheaply as possible.
Most of the cheap kettlebells for sale on Amazon and other discount vendors fall into this category, I’ve even reviewed a few of them for this article.
For most fitness equipment companies, kettlebells are a side product that they offer in addition to their main line of strength equipment.
For Kettlebell Kings, kettlebells are the main product and the difference in quality is stunning.
If you want a top quality kettlebell, there’s really no comparison.
16kg – 33.0mm
The Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat kettlebell is a high quality kettlebell that provides an excellent balance between durability and usability. At the time of this writeup, Kettlebell Kings is the only company offering the option to build your own set, with an increased discount applied for every kettlebell added.
Kettlebells USA have been around for over a decade, and although they now offer a variety of fitness equipment their core business has always been kettlebells. Their Metrixx line of cast iron kettlebells are offered in two styles- a “Classic” line that is roughly equivalent in size and coating to Dragon Door kettlebells, and a newer “Elite Precision” line that has a different formulation of e-coat and a redesigned handle. This review will focus on the “Elite” version. The “Classic” line is reviewed separately.
The Metrixx Elite Precision kettlebell is marketed as an improvement on the classic kettlebell design, including modifications to the handle and a reformulated e-coat. I purchased one of the Elite Precision 12kg kettlebells and it was shipped out the next day. The packaging was solid double-walled cardboard and the kettlebell well packed. They even included a sticker!
The finish on the kettlebell is very clean, and although the casting seams are slightly visible on the body due to how thin an e-coating is, they are not prevalent on the handle at all. The handle is very smooth and well rounded.
The Metrixx Elite Precision line of kettlebells have a reformulated e-coat intended to increase grip over a traditional e-coating. It’s also the most durable coating I’ve seen on any kettlebell. I tried damaging the coating by banging it against another kettlebell, and the Metrixx Elite just laughed. I tried dropping another kettlebell on it from waist-height, and the finish did scratch but did not chip.
This coating is bomb-proof. It will likely outlast you, your children, and your children’s children.
The most unique aspect of Metrixx Precision Elite kettlebell is the redesigned handle. With traditional cast iron kettlebells, the thickness of the handle typically increases as the weight of the kettlebell increases. This can be problematic for people with hands too small to close around the handle, or hands to large to fit both comfortably within the gap.
The redesigned handle of the Metrixx kettlebell is noticeably thinner than most cast-iron kettlebells and is very easy to hold. This is the most comfortable kettlebell in the review group for two-hand swings.
The handle window is also taller than most classic kettlebell designs. The increased height means the kettlebell will sit just a bit lower on the forearm rather than resting right on the wrist bones, which is more comfortable for some people.
The reformulated e-coat is stickier than the e-coats on the Dragon Door and even the Metrixx Classic line. This definitely helps improve grip, but it also creates some friction. The friction is alleviated with light chalk use though, which is a small tradeoff for the durability and comfort the Metrixx Elite Precision kettlebell provides.
12kg – 32.0mm
Kettlebells USA gets kudos for raising the bar by improving the classic kettlebell design. The Metrixx Elite Precision kettlebell is a very comfortable kettlebell to work with, especially if you’re able to use a small amount of chalk. This is also the most durable kettlebell you’re likely to find anywhere. Quite simply, the Metrixx Elite Precision is the best E-coat kettlebell you can buy.
Needless to say, I had high expectations for their kettlebells.
I ordered a kettlebell from Rogue last year, and it arrived damaged due to flimsy packaging. The replacement they sent me arrived damaged as well, for the same reason.
This year, I’m happy to say they’ve improved the packaging because I had no problem with my order this time around ?
The finish on the Rogue kettlebell is good, although I can feel a few small flecks of excess metal on the handle when I run my hand over it.
The powder coat on the Rogue kettlebells is textured, with a feel of fine grit sandpaper. The coating seems intentionally designed to hold lots of chalk, but without chalk it can be just a bit uncomfortable to use for high-rep snatch or clean sessions.
However, texture and grip are a matter of preference, and there are some that will like this style over a smoother handle.
The handles of the Rogue kettlebells are among the thickest of the test group, making them more suitable for people with large hands.
Frankly, these aren’t my favorite kettlebells to use, but they ain’t bad. The price is good too, especially if you live close to Ohio and can take advantage of a lower shipping cost.
16kg – 37.5mm
Rogue powder coat kettlebells are decent, but not standouts. They are a pretty good deal if you live close to Ohio, otherwise the cost of shipping makes them much less appealing. If you have small or medium hands, look elsewhere. If you have large hands and prefer an aggressive grip, Rogue powder coat kettlebells could be the right option for you.
Christian’s Fitness Factory was founded in 2005 with a mission to make quality fitness equipment available and affordable to everyone. CFF offers a full line of athletic equipment, including kettlebells.
The CFF K2 kettlebell is not fancy. It has no color coding bars or an elaborate logo etched into the body. I keep my K2 on a cart with other kettlebells for use in my office kettlebell club, and it doesn’t stand out in any way. However, there’s a lot going on under the humble exterior. Much thought has clearly gone into making a kettlebell that can be used by nearly anyone, with or without chalk.
I received a 16kg K2, which was bagged, packed in it’s own form-fitting foam, and double-boxed. This is by far the most well-packed cast-iron kettlebell I’ve seen. The form-fitting foam is an extra level of protection that’s typically only used for shipping more costly competition steel kettlebells.
The finish of the CFF K2 is extremely clean. There are no visible seams or burrs, and the bottom is ground completely flat. The coating has a slightly aggressive texture, which works very well for maintaining grip without needing chalk.
It’s also one of the most durable powder coatings I’ve seen on a cast-iron kettlebell. I’ve used this kettlebell extensively and even intentionally banged it against other kettlebells to test the durability. I’ve yet to see a chip in the coat.
The combination of finish and textured coating will hold a lot of chalk if needed.
16kg – 34.5mm
I’m very impressed with the CFF K2 kettlebell. Simple and efficient yet durable and versatile. The overall impression it leaves me with is minimalist but refined. I’ll grant that’s an odd way to describe a kettlebell but that’s how the K2 comes across. It’s clear to me a lot of thought went into the creation of the K2 and it shows in every aspect of the design and packaging.
I included Rep Fitness kettlebells in last year’s review and they garnered four stars during testing. Not content with that, the folks at Rep Fitness have upped their game by improving on the issues I noted in the previous review.
In addition to the 16kg and 20kg kettlebells I already own, I now have 8kg, 10kg, and 14kg kettlebells to add to the mix.
The Rep Fitness kettlebells came well packed, with plenty of foam inserts and even bubble wrap on the 20kg. The outside of the 20kg box was completely wrapped in shipping plastic, which helps strengthen the integrity of the box.
When the kettlebells were sent to me I was told by Shane (one of the co-founders of Rep Fitness) that it’s standard practice to replace kettlebells that are damaged in any way during shipping.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to take him up on this but it’s nice to see this kind of focus on customer service.
The finish of the Rep Fitness kettlebells is very good. I can’t see or feel any seams or casting defects on the handle or on the body of the kettlebells.
The powder coating has a very smooth chalk-like texture that provides a decent amount of grip without the need for chalk.
The coating is also really durable, these kettlebells have withstood several hard blows without chipping. These kettlebells get used extensively in our office kettlebell club and they are well liked.
The handle dimensions on average are smaller than similarly sized kettlebells from other vendors, making these very friend for people with smaller hands.
20kg – 37.5
16kg – 32.8mm
14kg – 31.5mm
10kg – 32.4mm
8kg – 32.2mm
Rep Fitness Cast Iron Kettlebell are great kettlebells with a very clean finish and one of the nicest powder coat options available. They offer an excellent value for the price, especially if you live close to Colorado and you can save on shipping.
Every Prime Kettlebell comes packaged in a form-fitting cardboard box and wrapped with reinforcement straps. Since I picked them up locally I can’t evaluate the shipping materials, but I believe these boxed kettlebells are placed within a secondary box for transport by a shipper.
The finish on the Prime Kettlebells is clean and the bottoms are ground completely flat. The powder coat kettlebell is evenly applied and provides a decent amount of grip.
The grip the is on par with the majority of powder coat kettlebells I’ve tested, providing a smooth yet “grippy” texture.
I own two Fringe Sport Prime Kettlebells – one 12kg and one 16kg. When I first got them, I was surprised at how much larger the handle diameters were when compared to similarly sized kettlebells from other vendors.
The handles on these kettlebells are thicker than most of the other options I’ve tested, on par with the Rogue Fitness kettlebells for having the thickest handles.
I’m not a tall guy (5’8”) and many of the people I work with in my kettlebell club are even shorter than I am, both men and women.
Shorter height typically means smaller hands, and I find that smaller diameter handle sizes work better for us folks who are, umm… vertically challenged.
Measuring 37.6mm in diameter, the handle on the 16kg is the thickest of all the 16kg kettlebells I tested.
The 12kg handle is also pretty thick, measuring 36mm in width.
These kettlebells are great for people with large hands, just not necessarily for me.
16kg – 37.6mm
12kg – 36mm
Fringe Sport Prime Kettlebells are a nice option for CrossFit or kettlebell WODs. Fringe Sport makes good equipment and these kettlebells are no exception, although they don’t really stand out enough to differentiate them from the rest of the color-coded powder coat kettlebells I’ve tested. The handles do run fairly thick though, so these are a great option for people with large hands. Fringe Sport runs frequent sales, so if you’re patient you could score a pretty good deal on these.
I’ve got two for review purposes, a 16kg and a 12kg. Both came packaged in double-walled cardboard with protective reinforcement straps.
The bottoms are ground flat and wider than most of the other options, making them a very stable base for exercises like renegade rows.
The handle dimensions overall are on the thinner side of the spectrum, making these kettlebells very comfortable for use by people with smaller hands. I’ve used these extensively and the experience has always been positive.
Price-wise, American Barbell powder coats are super-cheap, but that savings is offset by the cost of pricing. However, if you live on or near the west coast you may be able to get a great kettlebell at a great price.
16kg – 32.4mm
12kg – 31.7mm
American Barbell powder coat kettlebells are a great all around kettlebell with a clean finish and a nice coat that is gritty without being abrasive. A great deal if you live on the west coast, but the cost of shipping makes them less competitive price-wise if you live elsewhere.
Titan Fitness is a strength & conditioning equipment company based in Collierville, Tennessee with a mixed reputation in the home fitness community.
Known for offering lower-cost versions of equipment made by other companies with more brand recognition, the lower cost also often comes at a lower quality. Not always, but often enough to be a common theme on the reddit homegym forum.
In this particular case, unfortunately Titan lived up to their infamy. I ordered a 16kg Titan Fitness kettlebell off Amazon, and I was shocked at how bad it was.
For starters, the Titan Fitness kettlebell shipped in a single cardboard box with no padding or reinforcement whatsoever. The box and the plastic were worn away, and some damage had been done to the coating of the kettlebell as a result.
The lack of care in packaging extends to the finish and coating. The Titan kettlebell is the absolute worst I’ve seen so far in terms of how bad the finish was.
There are visible casting flaws all over, and huge seams on the handle and body.
The bottom doesn’t appear to be ground down at all.
In fact, it’s actually rounded and the kettlebell wobbles like a drunken sailor because of it.
I really don’t understand how a big-name fitness company could even think about putting their brand on a product like this.
Frankly, I’m surprised this one ever got past QA testing.
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I didn’t even try using this kettlebell. After contacting Titan customer service about a replacement and being told I wouldn’t be able to get one for two months, I simply sent it back.
The Titan Fitness kettlebell is the absolute worst kettlebell I’ve seen so far, even considering the budget price. It’s so bad it has the dubious honor of forcing me to create a ‘zero stars’ rating, because it’s completely unusable. I’ve had much better luck with some of Titan’s other gear, but I wouldn’t recommend their kettlebells.
Yes4All Kettlebells are a popular choice on Amazon, which is why I’m including them. The big draw is the price, I picked up a 35lb cast-iron kettlebell for $40 shipped, which is amazingly cheap.
Considering my experience with another kettlebell in this price range, I didn’t have very high expectations. However, while it’s not the best kettlebell I’ve ever seen, it’s not as bad as I feared.
The shipping was nothing special, just a box within a box. No padding. However, the kettlebell arrived undamaged, which is more than I can say for other kettlebells that cost twice as much.
I’ll just get this out of the way up front – the Yes4All is a cheaply made kettlebell. The bottom is not ground completely flat and the coating is just a glossy black paint.
Having said that, for $40 it’s hard to find a better deal.
The glossy paint coat is very tacky to the touch, e.g. sticky. I tried using it without any chalk and found that the tackiness made it more difficult for me to do snatches and cleans. However, a light dusting of chalk on the handle fixed that right up.
Aside from the bottom not being flat, the finish is good with no casting seams or burrs.
The handle diameter is on the larger side of the options tested, although I no longer have it available to measure.
The Yes4all kettlebell is cheaply made, but also budget priced. If you’re serious about kettlebell work or plan to adopt kettlebells as your primary exercise tools, consider saving up to buy one of the higher quality options listed in the recommendations section. On the other hand, if saving money is your primary concern and you’re willing to sacrifice some quality, the Yes4All is hard to beat.
Kettlebells are now mainstream enough to have attracted Amazon’s attention. I know this because they’ve started selling their own brand of Amazon Basics Kettlebells.
And I’m sure they sell well, because they show up as one of the first results whenever I search for “kettlebells” on Amazon. But are they any good?
Spoiler alert – they aren’t great. These kettlebells are essentially the same as the Yes4All kettlebells I reviewed above.
The only difference between them is that the AmazonBasics kettlebell has no branding whatsoever, only the weight stamped on both sides. I would not be surprised at all if the same manufacturer in China was producing both brands of kettlebells.
The big draw for the Amazon Basics kettlebell is the low price. A 35lb cast-iron kettlebell is currently selling for $41 with Prime shipping, which is a really good deal for a cast-iron kettlebell.
Just don’t expect much for your money, since the Amazon Basics kettlebell is a cheaply made product. The bottom is not ground completely flat and the coating is just a glossy black paint.
Having said that, it’s still perfectly usable for swings, snatches, cleans, etc and I’d be hard pressed to find a cheaper option for someone that doesn’t want to spend much on a kettlebell.
The glossy paint coat is very tacky to the touch, e.g. sticky. The tackiness of the paint makes it more difficult to do snatches and cleans with this kettlebell, but that’s nothing a light dusting of chalk on the handle can’t fix.
Aside from the bottom not being flat, the finish is good with no casting seams or burrs.
The handle diameter is on the larger side of the options tested, measurements will be added later.
The Amazon Basics kettlebell is cheaply made, but also budget priced. If you’re serious about kettlebell work or plan to adopt kettlebells as your primary exercise tools then you may want to consider saving up to buy one of the higher quality options listed in the recommendations section. If saving money is your primary concern and you’re willing to sacrifice some quality, the Amazon Basics kettlebell is a decent option.
CAP introduced a new powder coat kettlebell into their product lineup sometime within the last couple of years, and I’m finally including it in the roundup.
The finish on the CAP kettlebell is good, although I can feel a few small flecks of excess metal on the handle when I run my hand over it.
The powder coat on the CAP kettlebell is textured, with a feel of fine grit sandpaper. The coating seems intentionally designed to hold lots of chalk, but without chalk it can be just a bit uncomfortable to use for high-rep snatch or clean sessions.
However, texture and grip are a matter of preference, and there are some that will like this style over a smoother handle.
The handles of the CAP powder coat kettlebells are among the thickest of the test group, making them more suitable for people with large hands.
Frankly, these aren’t my favorite kettlebells to use, but they ain’t bad.
If you’re getting a sense of deja vu right now, don’t worry, you’re not crazy.
I wrote the exact same review for the Rogue Fitness kettlebells, because these are exactly the same kettlebells. They are identical in every way, with only the logo stamping to tell them apart.
The CAP powder coat kettlebells are a big step up from the enamel coated version, but still just okay. The finish is good but the coating texture is rougher than it needs to be for good grip. I realize grip preference is subjective, so if you prefer a rougher grip the CAP powder coat kettlebell is definitely a contender.
CAP has been in business a long time as a provider of low-cost fitness equipment. When I first became interested in kettlebells, I naively thought all kettlebells were the same. I mean, it’s a cannonball with a handle, how hard can it be to mess that up, right? Wrong!
My first kettlebells were a couple of CAP kettlebells I found on Craigslist for fifty bucks. One was a 16kg enamel coat bell, and the other was a 9kg cast iron bell with a rust-resistant coating.
The 9kg bell had a very rough finish with several burrs on the handle. I was learning how to perform the kettlebell snatch at the time I owned these, and the burrs kept digging into my palms during the transitions. I toughed it out as long as I could but eventually used a metal file to smooth down the handle and make the bell a little more usable.
I said it before but it’s worth repeating – if you have to file down the handle of your kettlebell to eliminate casting imperfections, you’ve bought a low quality kettlebell.
Ironically, the body of the bell with the rust-resistant coating was badly rusted. I painted it with Rustoleum to try and stem further rust damage, which is why the kettlebell is colored brown in pictures.
The coating on the 16kg bell was chipped in several places but luckily there were no chips on the handle. I used the small kettlebell for one hand work and the larger kettlebell for two-hand swings. The enamel finish on the large bell was extremely smooth and hard to hold once I broke a sweat. It also generated heat on my palms through friction.
After working with these kettlebells for less than a week I knew I’d be replacing them.
I don’t recommend CAP enamel coated or plain “cast iron” kettlebells for your home gym. In fact, I actively recommend you stay away from them entirely because you will inevitably rue the day you purchased them. The enamel coated kettlebell chips easily and provides a lousy grip, while the finish quality of the cast iron kettlebell is one of the worst I’ve seen.
Dragon Door was among the first companies, if not the first company, to reintroduce kettlebells to the US mass market in 2001. As a result, they have a large amount of brand recognition in the kettlebell community. The recognition is reflected in the price because Dragon Door kettlebells are the most expensive option included in this review.
I was able to score a find of Dragon Door kettlebells on Craigslist, and by now I had done some research and read many reviews singing the praises of Dragon Door kettlebells. I jumped on that offer and managed to score a 12kg, a 16kg, and a 24kg for $100 total. At the time I thought I was getting a great deal.
The previous owner told me they were about three years old when I bought them. The coating on each has worn off in places and given way to rust, especially on the 16kg bell.
They don’t look great, but the coat on all of them is in okay shape considering they were stored year-round in a garage subject to three years of humid central Texas summers.
The RKC kettlebells all have prevalent seams left over from the casting process on the handles. These seams often pinched the skin of my palms, indicating a poor finishing and grinding process.
Speaking of grinding, none of the bottoms of the Dragon Door kettlebells are ground completely flat – they all wobble when on flat ground.
The Dragon Door kettlebells have one of the lowest quality finishes of all the kettlebells tested, which is notable because the cost difference Dragon Door and every other brand is huge.
That extra money is clearly not being invested back into quality control at Dragon Door.
To be fair, I’m evaluating old kettlebells. There’s always a chance Dragon Door has upped their game since these bells were originally made. I reached out to customer service again to tell them about my experience and asked if my RKC kettlebells are representative of the quality of newly made Dragon Door kettlebells. Here is the relevant portion of their response:
“While we have not made significant changes to molds for our kettlebells, our coating process has only been getting better over the years. Without knowing exactly what your current kettlebells look/feel like, I can tell you that things such as seams could indeed have been a problem exclusive to a batch or perhaps they were kettelbells that made it past inspection.”
The rep went on to say this:
“My advice to you would be to give our latest kettlebells a try on your own and if you are dissatisfied you can of course return them. We have a 1 year, 100% money back guarantee.”
I give props to Dragon Door for offering a 1 year 100% money back guarantee, this is one of the best warranties offered by any of the kettlebell brands included in this review. In fact, several of the companies offer no guarantee whatsoever and will not accept a return at all unless your purchase is defective.
I’m willing to give Dragon Door the benefit of the doubt and assume their newer kettlebells have a higher quality finish than what I currently own. However, since the guarantee doesn’t cover the cost of shipping to me and back, and shipping heavy hunks of iron is expensive, I don’t plan on taking them up on that offer.
The best things Dragon Door RKC kettlebells offer is a 1 year satisfaction guarantee and a durable coating. However, given the quality of the competition these factors aren’t enough to offset their substantially higher cost. There may have been a time when there was no other option and the high cost could be justified for the not-so-great quality, but these days there are much better options available at a much lower cost.
In case you didn’t know, prior to the pandemic pretty much every brand of kettlebells was manufactured in China. Then coronavirus hit, people were stuck at home, and supply chains out of China were disrupted.
This was the perfect storm for a massive run on fitness equipment, and several months later most companies are still having trouble keeping products in stock.
Rogue Fitness has attempted to circumvent the supply chain issues by sourcing this new line of kettlebells from a foundry in Michigan, and I applaud them for doing this.
I was lucky enough to snag a 16kg during a brief window of availability, although I do wish the kettlebell was packaged better. The box arrived damaged and that damage extended to the E-coat which I’ll cover below.
FYI – the lighting I used to take the pictures for this review makes the kettlebell look brown, but the coating is actually black.
The finish on the Rogue kettlebell is slightly on the rough side, which isn’t a bad thing because it provides some texture for improved grip. The e-coat can get a little slippery as my hands start to sweat, so the texture is useful.
As I’ve stated before in reviews of other kettlebells, texture and grip are a matter of preference and there are some that will likely prefer a smoother handle.
The e-coat is supposed to be extremely durable, but unfortunately it could not hold up to being (mis)handled by UPS. You can see the hole in the box from the previous picture, and also how that hole translated to damage of the kettlebell finish in the picture above.
The handle of the Rogue E-Coat kettlebell is probably the thickest of the test group so far, making them more suitable for people with large hands. If you have small hands, these kettlebells aren’t for you. Sorry!
To be honest, I was excited to review this kettlebell since it’s the first one I’ve owned that is made in the USA. However, after using it I’m a bit underwhelmed.
Aside from the fact that it was made in Michigan rather than a factory in China, it doesn’t stand out in any way. That doesn’t make it bad though, it’s still a decent option if it suits your needs.
16kg – 39.2mm
Rogue E-Coat kettlebells are made in the USA, but that’s the best thing about them. They are a pretty good deal if you live close to Ohio, otherwise the cost of shipping makes them much less appealing. If you have small or medium hands, look elsewhere. If you have large hands and prefer an e-coat over a powder coat, these are a decent option.
USA-Iron is a brand new player in the kettlebell space, a scrappy upstart company forged in the crucible of the covid pandemic (see what I did there? Forged? Crucible?? Ahh, forget it).
As the name implies, USA-Iron is an entirely U.S.-based operation and is among the first few companies to manufacture their own line of kettlebells in the United States.
In case you’ve been asleep for most of 2020, prepare to be rudely awakened…prior to COVID19 most (if not all) kettlebells were manufactured in China. Then the ‘rona hit, people were stuck at home, and supply chains out of China were severely disrupted.
This was the perfect storm for a massive run on fitness equipment, and several months later most companies are still having trouble keeping kettlebells in stock.
USA-Iron has stepped into the breach producing high quality kettlebells to make sure we can keep on swinging, and I’m very glad they did.
The owner of USA-Iron reached out to me in the comments of this article and was kind enough to send me a set of 25lb and 35lb kettlebells to evaluate and review.
Long story short, I’m very impressed.
FYI – the lighting I used to take the pictures for this review makes the kettlebells look grey, but the coating is actually black.
USA-Iron kettlebells aren’t fancy. They have no color coding bars or an elaborate logo etched into the body, just a simple logo on one side that also lists the kettlebell weight.
However, what the USA-Iron kettlebells lack in flair is more than made up for in practicality. This is a fitness tool after all, not a beauty accessory ?
The powder coat finish on USA-Iron kettlebell feels very good in my hand during swings and snatches, with a slightly rough texture. I was told by the company owner that the powder coat paint formulation was specifically chosen to provide some texture for improved grip, and that choice is evident during use.
USA-Iron is one of the few companies I’m aware of that adds a separate wash step to the manufacturing process to clean dust off the kettlebell before the powder coat is applied.
This is an important step because the factories where kettlebells are made are dirty, dusty places. Lots of that dust settles on the surface of the bells while they sit patiently waiting for paint. Without being cleaned first, the paint does not adhere as well to the surface of the kettlebell and can flake off more easily.
The end result is a very durable finish with a textured coating that will hold plenty of chalk if needed.
USA-Iron kettlebells are very well made, with lots of attention to detail. The only real nit I can pick with them are the handle sizes. While not as chunky as the handles on the majority of Rogue kettlebells, the USA-Iron handle dimensions are still on the larger end of the spectrum.
I don’t knock them for this though, since the kettlebells are high quality and some people will really like the thicker handle size. However, people with smaller hands may find the thicker handle size more difficult to hold during longer workout sessions. Not a deal breaker, just something to be aware of.
Incidentally, if you’re interested in learning how kettlebells are made. USA-Iron has a great writeup on their website that covers the entire process.
12kg – 36.5mm
16kg – 37.3mm
USA-Iron is making high quality kettlebells right here in the USA. If that weren’t reason enough to support them, I like that the company is small and open to feedback, and the people there are very committed to producing a high quality product. The kettlebell design is simple, but efficient. The handle dimensions are on the larger end of the spectrum, so if you have small or medium hands you may want to look at other options.
An interesting and amusing video showing how kettlebells are made. The guy narrating the video, Pavel Tstatsouline, was affiliated with Dragon Door when the video was filmed so the process likely shows how Dragon Door kettlebells were made back in the day.
“When we say kettlebell…we mean strength. When we say strength…we mean…kettlebell.”
USA-Iron also has a great writeup on their website that covers the entire kettlebell manufacturing process.
I'm a software product manager with a full-time job, family, and a desire to stay strong, mobile, and fit. I separate fact from fiction to find the most effective and affordable options for home fitness. If you'd like to build your own home gym, start here.
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I would also recommend trying the powder coated kettlebells from Christians Fitness Factory if you do another review. I think they are a good value and seem to be well made. I would be interested in your thoughts.
*I have no financial interests with CFF to disclose.
Hi Brian, thanks for your comment. I’ve heard of CFF kettlebells before but I’ve not had the opportunity to work with them. If I do ever get a chance to use them I will definitely update this review!
FYI – CFF kettlebells have been included in the 2017 update of the review!
I just wanted to do a follow up on the K2 Kettlebell. I see it is not in the new 2021 guide and was wondering how it held up over the years and maybe final thoughts on it.
Hi Christian, the K2 is still a great kettlebell that I would recommend to anyone. I replaced it with the USA Iron product because it meets the same price point as the K2 but is made in the USA. I try to support US manufacturing as much as possible, so USA Iron gets the nod for a similarly spec’d product.
Don’t forget there is another Certified Kettlebell Instruction company called Strength Matters that deserves recognition.
Thanks Kevin, I’ll look into them for the upcoming 2018 revision of the review.
What an absolutely fantastic review. I have an old 40# kettlebell that looks like the Dragon Door ones profiled above, a random 24kg one with rubber-coating, and a 20kg and 32kg powder coat from Kettlebell Kings.
KK gave great customer service – very nice people. The edge of the 20kg did wear slightly after I rolled its edge on brick, but really only rubber would stand up to that. Their finish is silky smooth, so nice to grip.
Thanks for this review, after reading I’ll return to Kettlebell Kings for the 40kg I’m looking for.
Thanks for your comments Tim!
Great article. It was exactly what I needed! Thanks for passing the knowledge you gained from time well spent.
You’re welcome John, I’m glad you found my review helpful!
Great summary. Curious how Diamond Pro would fit in here. Very reasonable pricing on those.
Hi Matt, thanks for your comments. I’ve been curious to try out their kettlebells as well and I did reach out to them to see if they’d like to participate but I never heard back from them.
I am a complete rookie looking to buy my first kettlebell. Came across this review and I just had to say thank you! Lots of information and very helpful.
Hi Anna, thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m glad you found the review helpful!
Hi enjoyed reading your review. I was wondering if you could tell me the handle diameter for the 20kg Kettlebell Kings kettlebell you reviewed. My husband bought the same size but in a different brand and the handle is way to big. I have tried contacting Kettlebell Kings but have recieved no response. Thanks.
Hi Laura, the handle on the 20kg measures approximately 37.5mm in diameter. I hope this helps!
Thank you for posting this article. I am in the process of buying some Kettle Bells and was down to Kettlebell Kings, Perform Better, TRX and Rogue. This article has provided me great information. Have you ever tried TRX Kettlebells? If yes, how do you rate them?
Hi Tina, I’ve not actually used the TRX kettlebells but as far as I’m aware they are very similar in finish and coating to CAP powder coat kettlebells, which I would rate roughly the same as the Perform Better or Rogue kettlebells.
Any experience with the Premium bells from GetRx’d?
Hi Ferreus, unfortunately no, I have no experience with this particular brand of kettlebells.
Great review! If you absolutely had to pick between the Kettlebell Kings, the Metrixx Elite, and the K2, which one would you say is the best overall choice. (i.e., durable; good for one hand and two hand work; good for low reps and high reps)?
Thanks Chris, I’m glad you enjoyed the review! It’s a tough call between the three you listed, since all of them are great. Some quick differences that might help you decide – the Metrixx bell is the most durable and will sit lower on the forearm in the rack and overhead positions than the other two. The Kettlebell Kings kettlebell has the nicest-feeling coating. The K2 will hold the most chalk. As far as one-hand vs two hand, low reps vs high reps go, I’ve found that all three are fairly equivalent.
Great article! Do you have any thoughts on the Body Solid KBX kettlebells. They seem to be a recent addition to the field aimed at competing with the cast iron models that you have given the highest ratings above.
Hi Stuart, I’ve not personally used the KBX bells from Body Solid. However, based on the shape of the handle I’m guessing they are very similar if not exactly the same as the kettlebells sold by Rogue and CAP.
Most companies that don’t specialize in kettlebells source their bells from the same few factories in China, so there really isn’t much difference between them other than the company logo.
I hope that helps, let me know if you have other questions.
Hey! Thank you so much for this review. Have you tried/seen any review for Gopher Performance’s kettlebells? I saw your review of Gopher’s hex bar and was hoping you’d have an opinion (or a link to one) on Gopher’s KBs.
Hi Isabel, thanks for your comments. I’ve not tried or even seen the Gopher Performance kettlebells in person, so I don’t have an opinion on them I can share unfortunately. Sorry about that!
does anyone have an information or reviews on Rogue Kettlebell – E Coat
Hi Mark, thanks for your question. These look new and interesting, I’m going to get one and add it to the review!
Hi Mark, I was able to get one, the review has been added. Thanks for pointing these out to me.
Hey Mario! Have you looked into the StrongFirst kettlebells?
I have not! I can reach out to them to see if they’d like to participate. Do you happen to have any contacts at SF?
Hi Mario, Love your reviews. If you have not been scared off US-Made Kettlebells after Rogue’s, we’d love you get your opinion on ours from USA Iron.
Hi Joe, thanks for reaching out! I’d love to review your new kettlebells, I’ll follow up with you separately.
Looks like you got your hands on some worn the hell out Dragon Door kettlebells! I own many and they are top quality bells.
How do you “wear out” cast iron kettlebells? These were just poorly made. It’s possible that DD has improved their manufacturing process, but with all the competition in this space now there are options that are just as good or better for less money.
Thank you for the great content. It was really helpful. I bought 3 Kettlebell Kings(KBK) fitness edition kettlebells (30,40,50lbs) and they are awesome. But I would like to add something and hope its okay. The distance between the handles on the inside (where you insert the hand/window) is about 114 mm for the KBK fitness edition. However for the Vulcan fitness edition the distance between the inside of the handles is 135 mm, making it a bit more ideal for users with larger hands. The eleiko cast iron kettlbell also has a relatively large handle (about 120mm for the 16kg/35lb bell). I also bought a used kettlebell from synergee (canadian company) and its pretty good too. But I would again like to thank suggesting the KBK fitness edition kettlebell they are just awesome and I’m loving them.
You’re welcome, and thanks for your helpful comment!
Hey. I’m looking for a Metrixx alternative as they’re always sold out. I’m most interested in the wide handle for two hands. You mentioned Onnit has a similar handle. How would you compare USA-iron to the other two mentioned and would you be able to rank brands by handle comfort?
Thanks for your reviews!
Hi, I just checked today and it looks like the Metrixx Elite Precision kettlebells are all in stock. However, if you’re looking for an alternative I’d recommend the Vulcan Absolute Training Kettlebells (full review). They have wide handles good for two hand swings and they are very comfortable. Onnit has moved away from the handle geometry I originally reviewed and now offer the same generic cast iron kettlebells that most other vendors are offering.