Kettlebell exercises, allowing users to ‘swing’ their way to fitness, have become widespread and very popular over the last few years. Most gyms have Kettlebell sessions and many personal trainers and fitness instructors utilise Kettlebells within routines and circuit-based programmes for their clients. As a fitness apparatus, Kettlebells have many benefits, such as cardio vascular exercise without a treadmill or cycle, flexibility of exercise, combines cardio and strength exercises in one unit and they’re great for fat loss. They are also varied and fun to use and are more easily accessible when compared to dumbbells and barbells.
However, a full set of Kettlebells does cost a lot of money and are therefore out of reach for most people who would like to use them in the home or outside of the gym environment; especially if they want the ability to change up and change down, with different weighted Kettlebells for different types of exercises or for different elements of a fitness routine. That was the case until adjustable kettlebells came onto the market. Adjustable Kettlebells allow users to change up and down to several weight levels within the same unit, meaning that instead of a set of fixed Kettlebells, which are not only expensive to buy, but also cumbersome and not very portable, you only need one adjustable Kettlebell unit instead of a set of traditional Kettlebells. When it comes to adjustable Kettlebells though, not all products and designs are made equal. For instance, some adjustable designs utilise weights that slot in and out of a bar or centrally-fixed bolt system. These are essentially adjustable barbell weights with a handle for swinging the unit to Kettlebell exercises.
On the practical side of things, the full range of Kettlebell exercises can be achieved with this type of unit, but because the physical shape and unit size changes with each weight setting, these Adjustable Kettlebells can feel different in the hand in common positions, with different centres of gravity and weight distribution causing some discomfort.Better and more practical adjustable Kettlebell designs, tend to use fixed sized housings, with either specially designed disc plate weights or cylinder weights, that keep the size and shape consistent as the weight settings are changed. This design approach leads to a much more authentic user experience, with a consistent feel, despite different weight settings. However, disc-slot units can also be a little time consuming to change up and down and they can loosen up with prolonged use. Some locking mechanisms also prevent the unit from standing up straight, which can be frustrating mid-exercise, especially if utilising the unit for exercises such as push-ups. Add to this the fact that some cheaper adjustable Kettlebells have plastic-based locking mechanisms that can be easily damaged and can also become weakened by use, in extreme cases allowing weights to move freely, and you’ll see that there are plenty of elements to consider when buying an adjustable Kettlebell, besides price.
Within the rest of this article, we put ten different products to the test to find which adjustable Kettlebell units provide the best user experience and are more ‘fit-for-purpose’, while weeding out the units with drawbacks, which don’t quite hit the benchmark.
1. Empower 3-in-1 Kettlebell
As the product name suggests, this adjustable Kettlebell comes with three weight settlings, which, for the price level is a good product option for beginners. However, if you’re serious about Kettlebells, three weight settlings will become limited. The other difficulty with this particular unit comes with its adjustable design, which is perhaps too simple.
With each of the weight settings, the unit either becomes physically larger or smaller as you subtract or add two removable weights to the handle mechanism, which also houses the lightest of the weight settings. This tends to make it handle incorrectly and feel differently to a fixed-weight Kettlebell, which in-turn prevents users from learning the correct forms and positions of certain exercises, which can cause result in some more advanced exercises not being able to be performed correctly. Conversely, if you were always to remain a light user, with no intention of progressing with higher-level Kettlebell weights and exercises, this budget option could prove a good choice for you.
2. PowerBlock Kettle Block
With a unique design, this Kettlebell block is a fully adjustable unit, allowing users to increase the intensity of their workout without having to buy a new fixed-weight Kettlebell at a higher weight or a set of fixed-weight Kettlebells, which can prove extremely cost prohibitive.
The PowerBlock is adjustable from 5, 8, 12, 16, 20 pounds and features a very easy system to change the weight, with each plate within the block able to be inserted or removed from the stack, easily and fairly quickly during a workout. The locking mechanism is also very good, so there are no worries about any of the plates becoming loose and falling out during a workout session.
Unfortunately because of the shape of the block unit itself, some exercises are uncomfortable to perform and can cause some bashing and bruising, especially within the forearm region, so this apparatus is best used with forearm pads and perhaps some other padded protection.
3. Stamina 36-Pound Adjustable Kettle Versa-Bell
This adjustable Kettlebell offers a good level of flexibility with six weight levels in four-pound increments from 16 pounds through to 36 pounds. The unit features a solid and sturdy ‘traditional-style’ shell unit and an iron handle grip, making it look and feel like a solid piece.
The disc-shaped weights fit inside the shell and are locked in place with a pin, similar to how you would lock weights in place on gym machinery. On the negative side, the unit without any disc weights inside, weights 16 pounds and the size of the unit is therefore a little too large at the smaller weight sizes. The pin locking mechanism, although safe and easy to change, can be a little time consuming to change up or down during a workout and with more weights in situ, there is a slight shift within the unit that can be felt and heard in use.
4. Rocketlok 14-20 Adjustable Kettlebell
What makes Rocketlok adjustable Kettlebell units better than a lot of other types of adjustable Kettlebells are the weights themselves, which are cylinders that slot inside each other, within a unit that remains the same shape and size at all weight levels. This really gives the authentic feel of using fixed-weight Kettlebells, but with the bonus of adjustability and comfort. Whatever weight setting you choose, the centre of gravity and weight distribution remains consistent, so the user experience really is second to none. The weights are also very quick and easy to change up or down and the locking moulded polyurethane cap and mechanism is robust and easy to assemble.
Built from solid cast steel the fixed body and handle looks and feels like a traditional Kettlebell. The three weight cylinders are easy to change, with no tools required and the unit stands on the floor in the resting position, making it good for push-ups and other Kettlebell exercises.
5. CFF Adjustable Russian Kettlebell Weights
The CFF is adjustable up to 40 pounds and features an innovative Space Saving Design and a fairly easy-to-use lock and twist system to remove and add weights in the forms of shaped disc weights or plates. This is a simple and easy to use design that creates a fairly authentic experience; however, the weight discs have individual slot locations, meaning you have to put the weights in situ in the correct order if you want to maintain the shape.
The handle can be used without additional weights as a ten pound Kettlebell for light or beginner workouts with a further six, five-pound weights that can be added to the central locking system. The quality of the product is superior to most on the market and the locking mechanism is both reliable and robust. It also features a rubber base, to protect floor surfaces and a wide handle for push-ups and advanced curl exercises.
6. Mir® – Pro 83lbs Adjustable Kettlebell
Featuring a wide handle for comfortable one or two handed workouts and a fully adjustable ten pounds to 83 pounds range in 11 pound increments, this is a fairly unique product, which is recommended and aimed at more professional types of users, such as Personal Trainers and athletes. The build quality is high and the unit is very solid. The weight plates and locking system are built with safety in-mind, which can frustrate some users, who want faster weight changes as transitions from one weight to another can take a little longer than some other systems. This is the best product to choose if you’re looking for the greatest range of adjustability in one single unit for a very reasonable price. If you’re looking for something that is quick and easy to use because of the adjustability, this product might be a slight disappointment. The unit itself is also bigger than average fixed-weight Kettlebell sizes.
7. Performance Fitness Systems Adjustable Kettle Bell
The Performance Fitness Systems Adjustable Kettlebell offers adjustable weights in five pound increments from five to 20 pounds. This system is equipped with a unique patented design that quickly adjusts the weights via a dial to create several different resistance levels in one single unit. These adjustable Kettlebells also feature a large diameter padded handle, which moulds and shapes to your grip providing a comfortable operating experience and most importantly, the size and shape attributes of the product remain the same as the weight is adjusted, which is essential for a full range of exercises to be accessed.
On the disappointing side of the user experience, the unit is louder than most during operation and the weights are kept in place by a strap at the bottom of the unit which can fail if not secured properly, resulting in weights breaking through from the housing, which can be a little dangerous.
8. Gold’s Gym Extreme
The Gold’s Gym 20 pound Kettlebell system includes five, three pound weight plates, allowing easy adjustability from five pounds up to 20 pounds, within a compact design and a budget price point. The build quality is very solid, the weight plates are easy to adjust and when they are housed in position are solidly held in position with no danger of falling out mid-exercise. Taking the weight plates in and out and locking them into position takes just a few seconds to perform and with the locking lever nicely tucked out of the way, the shape and size of the unit is both smooth and consistent. On the negative side of the product usage and design, the handle is fairly compact to be in keeping with the rest of the design, which does make for a cramped operation, if you use two hands or you have large hands. For the money, this is a solid option for beginners to more experienced users.
9. Rocketlok 24-36 Adjustable Kettlebell
For more advanced users, this Rocketlok adjustable Kettlebell unit offers four weight adjustments in increments of four pounds, from 24 to 36 pounds. Manufactured from solid cast steel the fixed body and handle is reminiscent of a traditional Kettlebell and features unique cylinder weights that slot inside each other, within a unit that remains the same shape and size at all weight levels.
This provides the same sort of user experience that fixed-weight Kettlebells provide, but with a great range of easy weight adjustability within a single unit. With a consistent weight distribution and centre of gravity, the user experience is authentic and balanced. The weights are very quick and easy to change up or down and the locking moulded polyurethane cap is safe and secure. For professional and advanced users, this is the unit to go for. For less experienced users, providing 24 pounds is a sensible starting point, this Rocketlok Adjustable Kettlebell is also a great choice.
10. Reebok Adjustable Kettlebell, 20-Pound
Adjustable from five pounds to 20 pounds, the Adjustable Kettlebell from Reebok is a recent entry into the marketplace with a striking design, similar to that of the Gold’s Gym 20 pound Kettlebell system, with a compact design and the same specification.
The package comes with an exercise DVD and a poster-sized exercise chart, which is great for beginners and more advanced users alike.
The weights are in the form of plates, which are quick and easy to install and lock into place. The experience is akin to using fixed-weight Kettlebells, as the size and shape remain the same, no matter what weight you decide to carry.
As the product is branded as a Reebok, it comes with a 90-day Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty, which is perfect, should you find that, because of the compact design, the handle isn’t quite big enough for your exact needs. All in all, for the price, you can’t really go wrong with this option.