A Buying Guide To Your First Kettlebell

Ready to buy your first kettlebell?! Great, I’m glad you’re here then.

Buying a kettlebell is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. Not every bell is built the same. And there’s a lot to consider when buying your first.

Especially if you want something that will last you and be the right tool needed to accomplish your goals. Like what weight? What style? Should it have a neoprene coating or powder coating?  In this buying guide to your first kettlebell – I’m going to layout what you need to know before you buy the greatest fitness tool in the world!

First Things First

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you already have a limited experience with kettlebells, or have at least read our article on how to start training with kettlebells the right way (if you haven’t go there now!).

Start Training With Kettlebells The Right Way

If my assumption is correct, than you probably already have an idea in your head of what size you think you need. But chances are, you’re wrong! Here’s why.

You’re going to low-bell yourself

See what I did there?! Low-bell instead of low-bAll! Anyway…Back to my point…

Too often people think “oh, I’ll just buy a small one for now. So I can get the basics down and upgrade later.” And while that’s not a bad thought in theory, the problem lies in the fact that you’re going to get way stronger faster than you think.

So what size bell should you start with then?

For women of  a general fitness level, I always suggest nothing less than 8kg – or 18lbs – and nothing more than 16kg – or 35lbs. The sweat spot is 12kg – or 24lbs.

(BTW, have some respect for the history of kettlebells and use the kilo when describing your kettlebell weight.)

For men of a general fitness level, I suggest going with nothing less than the 12kg (24lbs) and nothing more and the 24kg (53lbs). The sweat spot for you is right around 16kg (35lbs).

3 Reasons Why You Should Respect Kettlebell Size Gaps

Now, before you run off to the local sporting good store, let’s talk about style.

Hardstyle or Sport Style

So I may blow your mind here, but there are 2 worlds in the kettlebell universe. And both have different style kettlebells they gravitate towards.

Hardstyle kettlebells are typically made of cast-iron and should have some chip resistant powder coating. These bells will also have different dimensions in relation to the weight. So the lighter the bell the smaller the bell and the heavier the bigger.

Kettlebell Sport will use bells made of steel and are always the same dimensions, no matter how light or heavy the bell. This is an important consideration while training for sport. As you get stronger, your proprioception doesn’t need to adjust to bigger bell, therefor your technique will always stay the same.

If you’re just using the kettlebell to increase your level of fitness, whether it be strength, mobility or physique, you could go either way on the style of kettlebell you use. So here are some considerations to keep in mind while picking your weapon of choice.

  1. Make sure the kettlebell has some sort of chip resistance to it. Cheaper kettlebells that chip are great for tearing up your hands, which is NOT great for getting in quality reps.
  2. Check the handle. You should be able to easily grip the bell from the bridge and horns. You will also need to have plenty of space between the handle and the bell, but not obnoxiously so. Another consideration is the diameter, not too big – not too small.
  3. How about that base? Will it be wide enough to keep you from busting your knuckles while  performing push up on it? It should be a wide and flat bottom.
  4. The coating is also important. It should be able to take on some lifting chalk and be easy to hold on to when the hands get sweaty.
  5. Shape of the bell should be…well like a cannonball with a handle (but don’t ever let me hear you call it a kettlebAll!). And if it has some sort of an intimidating ape or elf face, or a tribute to the darkside, just walk away…

Where To Get Your Bell

While I have my favorite suppliers – which I’ll link below for you – I’ve also been known to buy a new bell at the local sport resell store. So my biggest advice is to keep in mind the considerations I mentioned above, pick your style and then keep your eye out for the right bell. After you’ve bought a few different bells from different makers, you’ll find your go-to kettlebells.

But whatever you do though…

DO NOT buy a plastic kettlebell!

DO NOT buy a bell filled with sand!

and I feel like it should be stated once more DO NOT BUY A BELL WITH A FACE ON IT!!!

Ok, here are my suggestions on where to buy your first (or next) kettlebell.

Dragondoor.com (the best hardstyle kettlebells, in my humble opinion)

Kettlebellkings.com (Austin,TX local and great place to get sport style bells)

Kettlebellsusa.com (Great place to shop for variety of styles)

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Coach Joe

Joe holds multiple certifications through nationally accredited sources including, but definitely not limited to; Hardstyle Kettlebell Coach through Dragon Door Publications and Personal Trainer / Sports Performance Enhancement through National Academy of Sports Medicine. Valuing education, he plans on continuing his learning and growth in teaching kettlebells and practical healthy lifestyle changes to promote longevity and vitality to his clients and followers. Voted one of Austin's Best Personal Trainers in the Austin Fit Magazine 2017 Best Of Awards, Joe prides himself on making fitness fun and effective for all clients no matter their fitness level. Even though Joe is one of the top personal trainers in the Austin area, he also works with clients remotely and in group classes. Learn more about him HERE.

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