One of the most rudimentary yet versatile pieces of fitness equipment is the kettlebell. With origins dating back to 18th-century Russia, the heavy ring-and-ball combo can be employed in a plethora of ways beyond the fundamental kettlebell swing to increase strength, power, endurance, coordination and flexibility.
Steve Cotter, elite kettlebell coach and founder of the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation, claims kettlebells are one of the most useful and effective tools you can use in your training regimen. “It teaches all the different qualities we want to improve upon in terms of developing well-rounded fitness.”
Of course, a single-weight kettlebell isn’t going to carry you to Cotter-level fitness. To get the full effect, you need multiple weights, which can quickly add up in terms of both cost and space. Enter the adjustable kettlebell — a single kettlebell that adjusts to different weights. Most adjustable kettlebells can replace five or six kettlebells through manipulation of weighted plates attached to a center rod.
To help you add some 18th-century Russian style to your workout routine, we’ve sorted out the best adjustable kettlebells and accessories you can buy.
What to Look for in Adjustable Kettlebells
Adjustable kettlebells can be a great space-saving option for many fitness enthusiasts, but there are still some factors to consider before rushing out to make a purchase. For one, be sure your adjustable kettlebell’s weight is appropriate for your strength. Yes, you can adjust to your liking, but what’s the point of buying an adjustable kettlebell with a maximum weight you can’t safely handle?
Another point of consideration should be the kettlebell’s handle. To help you control the weight throughout your workouts, it’s best to try and find an adjustable kettlebell that you can securely grip. For smaller hands, look for kettlebells with a handle 28 millimeters in diameter. If you have larger paws, you can bump up to 33 or 35 millimeters.
The final note to consider when thinking about adjustable kettlebells is solid, durable construction. You don’t want the weights rocking or moving around as you train, so look for kettlebells that feature a secure locking mechanism. Also, plastic adjustable kettlebells can be great, budget-friendly options but might not be the best at taking abuse – especially if you’re really going hard in your training. For adjustable kettlebells that can last years, powder-coated cast iron options are the way to go.
Do I Need a Competition-Style Kettlebell?
To add some standardization to competitions and training, “competition” kettlebells always feature a 5.5-inch base diameter, 35-millimeter wide handle and 11.1-inch height, regardless of weight. Standard kettlebells, on the other hand, vary in diameter as they increase in weight.
So, should you opt for a competition-style adjustable kettlebell? It comes down to what your training looks like. If you’re a more experienced athlete and your desire is to work out like you’re in the CrossFit Games, then competition style is definitely worth considering. If you’re just looking for a kettlebell to improve your fitness, then standard adjustable kettlebells can work just fine. Also, standard kettlebells can provide a little more grip room than competition-style, so if you plan on doing double-handed movements, this is also something worth thinking about.
How We Tested
Over the course of a few weeks, we added these adjustable kettlebells to our normal training routine, grabbing these instead of our normal set-weight kettlebells for everything from goblet squats to Turkish get-ups. We also worked through the weight range spectrums, seeing how they held up across the board, whether they were maxed out, completely unloaded or somewhere in-between. Locking mechanisms were also tested for their ease of use and security, as well as a detailed look at the materials used, how secure the weights remained through movement and how close they felt to a set kettlebell in terms of grip and weight distribution.
Kettlebell Kings 10–40lb. Adjustable Kettlebell
Kettlebell Kings is a leader in the kettlebell circle, and this adjustable option lives up to the brand’s standard and then some. We even gave this fitness tool the nod in our Summer Gear Awards as the best kettlebell. With a simple pull-and-slide system to add and subtract plates, this adjustable kettlebell packs seven options in one with weights ranging from 10–40 pounds in five-pound increments. Each plate is also numbered on both sides to create a simple ordering system for stacking – just put the numbers in order and never lose that symmetrical kettlebell profile. We found the handle to be comfortable, as well, with plenty of room for both single- and double-handed movements. While the lock can stick at times, especially during those first few training sessions, we really enjoyed the near-identical feel this fitness tool provided when compared to normal kettlebell training.
Kettlebell Kings Adjustable Competition Style Kettlebell
Featuring seven cast-iron plates securely screwed inside a 100-percent steel casing, this kettlebell comes with the Cotter stamp of approval. Similar in look and feel to real competition kettlebells and as sturdy as a rock, it boasts 19 different weight options, able to achieve any weight between 12 and 32 kilograms in 1-kg increments with the exception of 12 and 31kg. The price tag may be hefty, but considering the fact that a kettlebell set with this weight range would come in close to $1,000, it’s worth every penny. We loved the variety of weights packed into this adjustable competition bell, but make sure you’ve decided on a weight before training. Due to the Allen key and bolt-style locking mechanism, changing between weights does take some time, which can stall any training progress and drain your motivation when in the heat of a killer workout.
Titan Fitness 5–20lb. Adjustable Kettlebell
Featuring a similar design to our best overall pick, this adjustable kettlebell from Titan Fitness also boasts a 5–20 pound weight range spaced out over six removable cast iron plates. The 28mm handle is easy to grip and provides nine inches of width for single- and dual-grip exercises. The rubber base is a thoughtful touch, too, so you won’t have to worry about damaging your floors when you’re banging through your next workout. At a more reasonable price, this adjustable can fit perfectly into your updated training routine.
Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell
With a quick twist of the dial, you can adjust this streamlined pick from Bowflex to 8, 12, 20, 25, 35 and 40 pounds. The process is far easier than most, meaning less time working on your equipment and more time working on yourself. The shape and height of this adjustable kettlebell take a little to get used to, but for beginners wanting to boost their training in a simplified, versatile profile, the SelectTech 840 is a serious contender. Be warned, though. While the steel handle is powder-coated, we did notice some grip slippage as our training sessions progressed. While we typically opt for chalking up when this happens, the flat powder-coating didn’t take the chalk as well as other kettlebells we tested. It’s best to keep a towel handy — or work out in a well-cooled environment.
PowerBlock Regular Adjustable Kettlebell
Unlock the power of kettlebell training in a compact package with the PowerBlock Adjustable Kettlebell. Featuring a pin and magnetic lock to toggle through the 18, 22, 26 and 35-pound configurations, this pick proves that mighty things can come in tiny profiles. The ergonomic 32.77 mm handle pairs nicely with the squared-off shape, creating a silhouette that’s maneuverable and easier on the forearms than other options. Despite the compact shape that closer resembled a pyramid than a sphere, we had no trouble achieving a proper rack position for presses. We’d like a little more tack when it comes to the powder coat, this can easily be resolved with the use of gloves or chalk.
Editor’s Note: Want a little heavier build? PowerBlock offers the same Adjustable Kettlebell in a girthier range of 35, 44, 53 and 62-pound configurations for those heavy training days, too.
JaxJox Kettlebell Connect 2.0
Technology and fitness are a match made in home gym heaven. The JaxJox KettlebellConnect 2.0 is another great example of how tech can improve your training. With six different weight options ranging from 12 pounds to 42 pounds, the updated 2.0 version features intelligent, real-time performance tracking and reporting. Connect it with the JaxJox app and you’ll get stats like reps, volume, sets, workout duration and even average power. Go one step further for $12.99 per month, and you can access on-demand workout classes and personalized Fitness IQ tracking. Keep your energy charged throughout your workouts and put some fun back into your fitness journey.
Rep Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell
Quietly toggle through your weight range in this fast, convenient option from Rep Fitness. Available in 16-kilogram, 24-kilogram and 40-pound options, each adjustable kettlebell boasts five available weights. A powder-coated exterior provides plenty of grip, while a rubber base helps save your floor from scratches. The Adjustable Kettlebell from Rep Fitness is also a great option for beginners due to its competition-style bell and handle. The plates are kept internally from the shell, so you can achieve the same rack position and feel regardless of the load. This was a welcome feature, especially as we grew more accustomed to kettlebell training.
Okay, this might not be a kettlebell per se, but for those who already own a dumbbell set – or those who travel a lot – this can be a great alternative. The Kettle Gryp works as a clamp around your dumbbell handle, turning any free weight into a kettlebell copycat in an instant. While the feel differs slightly from a normal kettlebell due to weight distribution, this can be a great option for fitness enthusiasts on a budget or who want a kettlebell-esque workout when on the go. The device can fit dumbbells up to 55 pounds with at least 4.5-inch wide handles. The Kettle Gryp’s foam insert can also contour to curved handles for added versatility, too, which can be a blessing when training in a hotel gym where you’re not as experienced with the free weights at your disposal.
Titan Fitness Plate Loadable Kettlebell Swing
Maybe the above adjustable kettlebells fall on the lighter side of your fitness needs. When you want to lift heavy, you mean lift heavy. The Plate Loadable Kettlebell Swing gives you just that opportunity, featuring a kettlebell-like handle that allows you to simply slide on Olympic weight plates — like you would any barbell — with a maximum capacity of 500 pounds. Despite its untraditional shape and weight distribution, we found the Plate Loadable Kettlebell Swing to be capable of most kettlebell pulls and swings. We wouldn’t recommend any pressing movements, though, with this behemoth of a fitness accessory. The 19.3-inch frame is simply too difficult to stabilize overhead.
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Kettlebell Handle
Okay, so kettlebell workouts aren’t as popular as your normal dumbbell workouts, but what if a system could combine the two in one pump-inducing swoop? The Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Kettlebell Handle is a great accessory for those already using Ironmaster’s Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System. The plates are interchangeable, giving you plenty of opportunity to switch between dumbbell presses and kettlebell swings with the toggle of a knob. While it’s not a completely universal kit, we really admire Ironmaster’s inclusion of this accessory, making building out the perfect home gym that much easier.