Best kettlebell 2018 for weight loss, workouts and weally toned abs

Compact, versatile and affordable, the humble kettlebell packs a powerful workout punch when used correctly

TODO alt text

You've probably espied the row of colourful kettlebells that sit quietly in the corner of your local gym. They might look like heavy teapots without a spout but kettlebells are, in fact, a very powerful tool in the fight against flab.

We've recently updated our guide to the best dumbbells, and kettles are an ideal counterpart to them, working your different muscle groups in different ways. Just be careful if you have fragile floor coverings or low ceilings, that's all we're saying.

Why get a kettlebell?

These broad-handled little bundles of fun offer solid muscle building resistance with the added delight of an intense cardio workout, and if used correctly, can condense a lengthy gym routine into one short, sweaty swinging sesh.

Don't believe me? The American Council on Exercise has conducted research into kettlebells that proves regular users not only benefit from strength gains, but also a marked increase in aerobic capacity, dynamic balance and, best of all, a dramatic increase in core strength.

What is the best kettlebell?

The TRX Kettlebell is my favourite as it's really quite beautifully made, with a very comfortable handle. The colour coding makes it easy to grab the weight you want, too. It is a bit pricier than some rivals, but worth the extra. With weights from 4kg to 28kg, there really is a TRX for everyone, too.

How to choose the best kettlebell for you

Unlike dumbbells, kettlebells can take a little time to get used to. It's definitely worth seeking advice at your gym on the correct form to avoid injury. Once mastered, however, the kettlebell will become a regular staple in your fitness regime.

These compact weights are small enough to fit into even the smallest rooms and the majority of workouts require just one kettlebell, meaning you could enjoy some fat-torching training time from the comfort of your own home for less than a tenner, as long as your home has literally enough room to swing a cat (nb: don't actually swing a cat in order to ascertain this).

Those venturing out into the world of kettlebells for the first time should go easy on the weight, as the gruelling sessions will prove impossible if you can't lift the bloody thing above your head.

That said, opting for a puny 2kg kettlebell could mean you're not facing enough resistance to thoroughly challenge the muscle. If you can, head to a gym or local fitness store and try out a few weights until one feels right.

It's a good idea to spend a little bit more to get a product that has been built to last. Where vinyl 'bells could save you a few quid, they can be prone to cracking and splitting, plus the handle seams on cheaper models can be scratchy and uncomfortable.

A solid cast iron kettlebell – or, even better, those with smooth steel handles – tend to be the most comfortable and are also sturdy enough to survive a nuclear attack.

Finally, it's also worth noting the handle clearance from the bell (or 'window', to give it the correct title) and its diameter. Larger hands could find certain 'bells difficult to grip and comfortably on the forearm, which is required in burly overhead press exercises. 

The best kettlebells, in T3's order of preference

1. TRX Kettlebell

The best kettlebells you can get

Weight range available: 4kg to 28kg
Reasons to buy
+Very well made+Comfortable handle
Reasons to avoid
-Heavier ones are relatively pricey

The king of suspension weight training has long sounded the bell for kettlebells, as the lumps of iron make the perfect companion to spruce up any dangling Suspension Trainer workout.

Its premium line of kettlebells are all beautifully finished and each one has been put through a "premium gravity cast moulding process", which is said to increase durability. It also results in that lovely, flat bottom, which makes its easier to rest the kettlebell on the floor when switching hands during an arduous squat routine. The smooth and consistent finish feels good in the hand, too.

TRX has added a splash of colour to the handles, making it simple to spy the correct weight if swapping between kettlebells mid-workout.

I'd say the 16kg unit is the one to go for if you're a bloke in reasonable shape, but there's a good spread of weights, making this one piece of fitness equipment that will likely outlast the fickle New Year's resolution to shed a few pounds.

2. Opti 10kg Kettlebell

Best kettlebell for beginners

Weight range available: 2kg to 10kg
Reasons to buy
+Solid construction+Bargain price
Reasons to avoid
-Not the heaviest

It's not always a good idea to go out and blow a large sum on workout equipment on a get-fit whim. Nor is it worth risking a trip to the chiropractor thanks to overtly heavy weights.

If you're new to the whole kettlebell thing, this eco-iron number from Opti is a real bargain, with a stainless steel handle adding a comfortable and long-lasting touch.

The 10kg maximum mass could feel a little bit light in time, but for those starting out, or who don't require massive heft from their 'bells, this is great. The compact size makes it perfect for stashing away at home for the odd impromptu session.

3. York Vinyl Dipped Cast Iron Kettlebell

Best kettlebell for hard floors

Weight range available: 2.5kg to 7.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Easier on floors+Comfortable to hold
Reasons to avoid
-Small weight spread

The vinyl coating swaddling these cast iron weights is a handy addition for anyone worried about damaging their parquet, yet the unit remains robust and a much more long-term option than cheaper all-vinyl offerings.

York only offers these eye-catching beauties in 2.5kg, 5kg and 7.5kg weights, which will likely be too light for those really looking to tone or add some bulk.

4. MiraFit Kettlebell Weight Set

Best all-vinyl kettlebell set

Weight range in set: 5kg to 15kg
Reasons to buy
+Not as intimidating as iron+Good weight spread+Stand included
Reasons to avoid
-Needs more care than iron

Alternatively, hedge your bets with this very affordable, entry-level set of kettlebells. The Mira set offers a decent spread of three plastic weights (5lb to 15lb, which is 2.25kg to 7kg), on a plastic stand. 

That's not a huge maximum weight, obviously, but it allows lighter users to switch between high-resistance and low-resistance/high rep workouts with ease, for not much money.

The vinyl coating may feel cheaper than the cast iron and steel suggestions on this list but all three of these will set you back half the price of a single kettlebell from some of the other brands.

5. Men's Health 16kg Kettlebell

Best no-frills kettlebell

Weight range available: 16kg to 24kg
Reasons to buy
+Solid build+Manly AF
Reasons to avoid
-Rough handle

There are absolutely no additional bells and whistles on this rugged cast iron bell from the lean boys over at Men's Health. It's simply a solid lump for lifting above your head while screaming like a hungry caveman. Grrr.

It's also one of the cheaper 16kg weights on the market, making it very tempting to splash out on a couple to create a pretty awesome home gym set-up. The handle is quite rough, however, presumably to emphasise its Manly Healthiness credentials. Wear gloves and have Norwegian Formula hand cream ready.