Adjustable kettlebells offer a wide range of full-body and core building exercises to increase strength, endurance, balance and agility. What is unique with kettlebells is they train both the muscular and cardiovascular system with dynamic, total-body movements, that can be done at home without a lot of expensive and complex weight training equipment.
We researched and reviewed the best adjustable kettlebells, stripping away the fancy marketing materials to see how they performed in the real world.
What Do You Look for in a Good Quality Adjustable Kettlebell?
Design – Kettlebells are different from dumbbells in that the weight is supposed to be away from the body. In order to make some adjustable kettlebells, well adjustable, they had to design them differently than traditional kettlebells. Some of these designs make it difficult to perform the exercises properly or interfere with your arms which can lead to injury.
Handle – The handle is a very important part of the kettlebell. An uncomfortable handle or a handle that does not properly fit your hand will make it difficult to enjoy a kettlebell workout or cause hand injuries. The handle should be at least wide enough for both hands and comfortable to avoid blisters while swinging. For aggressive kettlebell training or for additional protection, check out a kettleguard.
Ease of Weight Change – An Adjustable kettlebell should be simple to use and quick to adjust the weights. This will be a feature that is more important for people doing certain cardio programs as it is necessary to quickly change the weight during a program. For strength training, maybe this feature is not needed as much.
Safety of Locking Mechanism – An adjustable kettlebell with a poor locking mechanism may cause weights to go flying during exercise and hurting yourself or someone else. Something you definitely don’t want when exercising in front of the TV.
Value – While overall price is an important consideration, we looked at the overall value in relation to what the kettlebell offered.
How are Adjustable Kettlebells Different than Traditional Kettlebells?
Traditional kettlebells come in specific weights that typically range between 5 pounds through 100 pounds. They are very simple to use as there are no moving parts.
An adjustable kettlebell allows the user to adjust the weight by adding or removing plates and then securely locking the weights in place. The ability to add and remove plates (plates tend to range from 3 to 10 pounds each, depending on the manufacturer) is usually a better economical long-term investment than individual kettlebells, due to the flexibility of only needing one piece of equipment that can grow with you, a lower overall cost than purchasing multiple kettlebells and as an added benefit, you will need less space, which can be an important factor for home gyms.
Adjustable kettlebells come in several different designs and methods to secure the weights with some using pins and others have a complete enclosure that hold the weights.
Adjustable kettlebells are made from different materials than traditional kettlebells as traditional kettlebells are typically made with compact cement, while adjustable kettlebells are typically made with metal to allow the addition or subtraction of weights.
While adjustable kettlebells sound like the obvious choice, be aware that there are a lot of poorly made adjustable kettlebells on the market and a product like this that is poorly made could get yourself or others hurt. A good adjustable kettlebell should be strong and safe. Our research only looked at the better brands with a reputation and would be hard to go wrong with any of them.
What Does an Adjustable Kettlebell Weigh?
Selecting a kettlebell that matches your goals, strength objectives and weight capacity can be an important factor. There is no sense in buying an 80lb kettlebell such as the Mir Pro Adjustable Kettlebell if you plan to focus on tone and definition through higher reps instead of strength and the need for higher poundage. The adjustable kettlebells reviewed range between 5 pounds all the way to 80 pounds.
In our time of working with kettlebells, depending on their level of fitness, the average woman usually begins training with a 12-22lbs weight, and men with a 26-30lbs weight. Obviously this is a generic range and some people will be capable with more and some with less.
How Much Do Adjustable Kettlebells Cost?
Adjustable kettlebells typically range between $50 and $200. Don’t be tempted to pay much more for kettlebells that come with workout DVD’s as they are typically not very good. Instead look for the top rated DVD’s on Amazon instead to find the best.
What are the Top 5 Best Adjustable Kettlebells in 2016?
The Rocketlok is made of a solid, one-piece steel body and handle that looks like a traditional kettlebell and keeps the center of gravity in the proper place for kettlebell exercises. The weights consist of cylinders that are also made from solid steel and are able to be changed quickly in the side through the polyurethane cap. Almost all of the other adjustable kettlebells on the market load from the bottom and in my opinion the side load is a safer design since the weights won’t fall out of the bottom when swinging. Another great thing about their design is kettlebell’s size stays the same regardless of how much weight is being used. Many other adjustable units on the market get larger with more weights. This causes a change in the center of gravity and/or weight distribution. When I first looked at the design, I thought the cylinders would rattle inside the case and be annoying, but they fit perfectly which results in no sound.
The locking mechanism is also easy to use. The design seems to be well thought out and by twisting the black cover, sliding a yellow tab and then sliding a red tab you are able to access the weights. This dual-locked mechanism means an additional level of safety and your weights won’t fall out during exercise.
The grip is smooth and large enough for a two hand grip. If you have very small hands, you may find the handle to be a bit thick.
You can buy the Rocketlok in a small version that adjusts from 14, 17 and 20 pounds and a larger version that adjusts from 24, 28, 32 and 36 pounds. The smaller one ships from Amazon for about $60 and the larger one at about $130.
The Rocketlok is a very well made kettlebell that is true to the kettlebell design.
The fit and finish are perfect and it is one of the quietest adjustables on the market.
Weight distribution stays the same regardless of how much weight is being used.
In my opinion this is best design for safety.
Rocketlok maxes out at 36 pounds which isn’t going to be heavy enough for some people. While the Rocketlok is my preferred design, I use it for certain exercises and a heavy traditional kettlebell for the bigger stuff.
The DVD workout leaves a lot to be desired so you if you are planning on buying this one, be sure to purchase another video.
The Stamina adjustable kettlebell from Versa-Bell is another great kettlebell that features a high-quality product at a great price. The Stamina offers a wide range of weight levels with six in total in four pound increments, ranging from 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, and 36 pounds.
The body is made of durable cast iron and the steel weight plates are held on a central column inside the kettlebell. The cast iron handle is similar to a standard kettlebell and is very well designed, easy to hold and wide enough for most hands in a double handed hold. The red portion surrounding the lower part of the bell is actually made from plastic which conceals the weight plates. While it seems like the plastic is strong enough, I do have some long-term concerns about breaking it primarily due to my clumsiness.
Weight plates are easily changed in seconds by simply pulling down a rubber bumper, sliding the steel pin out, replacing the pin to a new weight setting and flipping the bumper back up. If you don’t have all of the weights selected, when you pick up the kettlebell the remaining weights simply stay on the floor. This design seems very secure but with the pin design, the weights will rattle slightly. Not a deal breaker by any means but if you plan on working out when others in the house are sleeping, it may be an issue.
Last, the Stamina includes a square rubber base pad that protects the floor when not in use. Several people have complained that the rubber is smelly out of the box, but mostly goes away within a few days.
Has a comfortable cast iron handle that is wide enough to accommodate grip by both hands.
The flat bottom base offers the ability to use the kettlebell for pushups and as a bonus is less likely to roll around unlike many other adjustable kettlebells.
The Stamina kettlebell offers very high quality for the price of some cheaply made kettlebells.
The Stamina adjustable kettlebell may be too heavy for beginners as the lowest setting is 20 pounds. The Rocketlok 14-20lbs Adjustable Kettlebell or Empower 3 in 1 Adjustable kettlebell may be a better option if you need a less heavy weight.
This kettlebell is bulkier than most, which may make certain exercises difficult for some people, which is especially noticeable with the lower weight settings. If you are planning on buying two of these to do alternating exercises or if you plan to do a lot of cleans, I would look for another solution as it is just too large for most people. It’s a great size for swings or goblet squats.
The base pad has a strong smell when new.
Do you need an adjustable kettlebell that can hold heavier weights? The MiR Pro Adjustable Kettlebell is one of the most solid adjustable kettlebells and best weight range for the money on the market due to it’s solid construction and relatively compact size. Minimum weight of this kettlebell is 10 pounds, which is great for beginners or smaller muscle exercises or up to 83 pounds for power swings or goblet squats. While it is one of the pricier kettlebells on our list, if you need heavier kettlebells, the MiR Pro will save you lots of space and money over traditional kettlebells. The wide handle allows for a maximum and firm grip for all hand sizes for 1 or 2 handed workouts.
Weights are easy to adjust and safely locked in place with threaded collars and a safety pin. While not the fastest kettlebell to change weights on (expect 2-3 minutes), you are assured they aren’t going to fly off during your exercise which is really important when doing the higher weights.
The kettlebell itself is taller than most on the market with its stacking plate design to accommodate the ability to add extra weights. For shorter people this may be cumbersome for certain exercises. The longer handle also adds momentum versus traditional kettlebells and could present clearance challenges if you are doing exercises close to your head, as there isn’t the same as clearance for wrists as a rounded top like a standard kettlebell.
Mir Pro Pros:
For the larger handed people, this is great.
If you want the ability to switch faster there are kettlebells that will switch faster, but nothing going to 80 pounds.
Very solid and if you are able to break it, you have bigger problems.
While the price on Amazon is about $200 shipped, what would you spend for the equivalent six kettlebells, not to mention the space needed to hold them?
Great solution for an adjustable kettlebell, capable of heavy weights and useful for most, but not all exercises.
Mir Pro Cons:
Too large for some people
The edges of the weights are a little rough and may be an issue.
Threads are very fine and have the potential to cross thread or get gummed up, requiring cleaning. A coarser thread would have been a better choice in my opinion.
Due to the width of the handle, you will need to have a slightly wider stance and since the top of the kettlebell is not rounded
This kettlebell may not be the best choice for some who are doing snatches or clean presses since the top is not rounded.
It does take awhile to change weights, so if you are doing rapid cycles with little recovery time, this may not be the kettlebell for you.
The Empower 3-in-1 adjustable kettlebell is targeted to women, especially those getting started with kettlebell exercises. Offering adjustments from 5, 8 and 12 pounds, one of the most comfortable & ergonomic handles on the market, fast weight changes and being super easy to use, this kettlebell fills the bill.
The Empower 3-in-1 adjustable kettlebell uses a unique click & twist design that takes mere seconds to change the weight.
The grip is also unique in the market as it has a soft coating, making it comfortable, easy to hold and safe for nails.
Also included with this weight is a good workout DVD and guide to get started quickly and safely.
Overall, the Empower is an excellent choice for women getting into kettlebell training. Knowing that it may not be the ultimate solution for the experienced user, this kettlebell will be a great way to get started and be a good choice for those lower weight exercises.
Empower 3-in-1 Pros:
The Click and Twist weight adjustment is the easiest weight adjustment of all kettlebells tested.
The grip is soft and ensures your nails don’t get damaged, unlike the metal kettlebells.
The kettlebell workout DVD is one of the more popular ones that comes included with kettlebells.
Empower 3-in-1 Cons:
While it’s a great kettlebell to get started, you may quickly outgrow this one.
The shape of this kettlebell changes as weights are added to or taken away, which may hamper learning proper form and preventing injury
The handle is a little small for two handed swings if you have slightly larger hands.
While weight changes are fast, I don’t feel like this is the most secure design as the plastic clip appears a bit flimsy, but may be ok because of the light weight it has to hold.
The PowerBlock KettleBlock is from the company that makes the very popular PowerBlock Dumbbells. PowerBlock has a reputation for solid, long-term durability and this doesn’t disappoint. They are uniquely designed kettlebells in the shape of a block (imagine that) and comes in two sizes; one ranges from 5-20 pounds (in 5, 8, 12, 16 & 20 pound increments and one that ranges from 5-40 pounds (in 8, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 35, & 40 pounds). If you think you may ever have the need for it, the larger block is the best bang for the buck as you get a much wider variety for not a lot more than the smaller one.
The KettleBlock’s shell is made of a plastic and looks like it may not take hard core abuse, but even with a few drops on a carpeted floor, it has held up perfectly. I however, would think twice before throwing it down on concrete. Weight changes are easy and quick and feel secure and there is little to no noise when in use.
The thick, metal handle is very well made but a just a tick small for my liking with very large hands when doing two handed swings. Probably not an issue for most, but even with large hands it’s definitely not a deal breaker.
Weight balance is surprisingly good for a block shape.
Reputable company that also has an excellent dumbbell line that has a track record for being durable.
Perfect for cardio workouts where you need a variety of sizes and have to change weights quickly.
A lot of weight settings for the money in one compact package.
Due to the design being square as we have noted in other non-rounded topped kettlebells, the block edges can hit the forearm during snatches or other exercises that require the weight to be overhead. You can overcome by slightly altering your form or purchasing some Kettlebell wrist guards