The 2015 Kettlebell Buying Guide
The 2015 Kettlebell Buying Guide
With so many choices of brand, style, and finish, how do you decide? The kettlebell is not a new concept and the basic design is one that has been around since the 1700’s. So what really matters when it comes to picking the right kettlebell?
The first thing you want to find out is what materials were used in the manufacturing process of the kettlebell. A lot of companies will use scrap iron to manufacture their kettlebells which is prone to defects such as cracking. You want to make sure that the manufacturer uses high quality, first run iron ore. This will ensure a high quality kettlebell that is much more likely to be free from defects.
How a kettlebell is poured is extremely important when it comes to the finish as well as the accuracy of the kettlebell’s stated weight. When researching how a particular kettlebell was made, you want to make sure it was made in a gravity poured casting mold. This type of cast will ensure the least amount of defects in the finish as well as the most consistent handle and over all shape of the kettlebell.
How the handle is attached is another important point. You want to be sure the kettlebell is a one piece cast. This means the handle is molded with the kettlebell and not welded on afterward. The possibility of a welded handle breaking is much greater than on one that has been poured all at once. Being one sold cast also means there no plugs, fillers, etc. like you will find in a poor quality kettlebell.
Manufacturing a high quality casting is only half the equation. Equally important is how the kettlebell is processed after the casting is made, including the application of a high quality finish that protects the kettlebell while being comfortable.
The first thing to look at is the handle. The diameter of the handle should have a texture that is consistent all the way around. There should be no casting marks, burs, or roughness. It should be well ground, rounded with a consistent diameter all the way around. The handle should have a grip that does not require a lot of chalk and does not tear up your hands. Last, the inside spacing of the handle should not be cramped when doing a two handed work. Spacing on a 24kg kettlebell should run between 133mm (5.23”) and 137mm (5.39”).
|Kettlebell Handle Diameter|
|4kg, 6kg, 8kg||30mm (1.18″)|
|12kg, 16kg||34mm (1.34″)|
|20kg, 24kg, 28kg, 32kg||38mm (1.5″)|
A proper base is very important for safety. With exercises like renegade rows, it is very important to have a flat, even, milled finish. The best way to accomplish this is to machine the casting flat. This requires an extra step after casting which some manufacturers do not do. A kettlebell that does not have a large and flat bottom will put you in danger of breaking a wrist or a number of other injuries.
The finish is the final step in creating a kettlebell, but not all finishes are equal. All kettlebells are cast using a process known as “sand casting”. Packed sand is used to create the mold that the iron is then poured into. When the metal is poured into the sand cast, some of the sand can get caught in the casting, leaving blemishes or pitting in the finish of the kettlebell. To avoid purchasing kettlebells that have a ton of putty filler or pitting, you want to make sure the kettlebell casting goes through a two stage cleaning process. Most companies do not know what this even means and if they do, they will not do the second cleaning due to time and cost.
Once a kettlebell is cast and has cooled, it is removed from its mold and bead blasted, removing any imperfections from the casting process. The kettlebell is then sent to a robotic grinding station, removing the cast marks from the handle, around the sides of the kettlebell, and grinding the base flat and level. This stage of grinding will also bring the kettlebell to be within +/-.05% of its stated weight.
What a company does to the casting next defines the type of product they plan to sell. At this point, a kettlebell SHOULD go through a second stage cleaning, blasting off any missed burs, cleaning up the metal, and smoothing out the handle. This second cleaning is the difference between a kettlebell that needs putty to smooth it out, a powder coated finish that chip or cracks off, or getting a kettlebell that tears your hands up and requires a ton of chalk. A kettlebell that goes through a two stage cleaning will not give you blisters and you should need only minimal chalk.
The kettlebell will then receive an acid bath to assure all grease, grime, & residue has been removed. This will ensure a clean surface for the kettlebells finish to stick to. There are three types of finishes a kettlebell can receive.
- Paint – will tend to have drip marks and is typically the cheapest way to finish a bell. It will be prone to crack and chip easily and will wear the fastest.
- E-coating -. With an e-coating, the kettlebell is immersed in a special chemical bath and an electrical current is applied. The electric current causes particles in the bath to adhere to the kettlebell which builds up the finish. Once the process is complete, the kettlebell is baked to cure the coating. This is the most expensive finish and though as durable as powder coating, it will require you to use more chalk on the handle of the kettlebell due to the slickness of the finish.
- Powder coating – The kettlebell is electrostatic-ally charged and a dry powder is sprayed on. The electrostatic charge attracts the powder to the kettlebell, which is then baked on. This creates a very hard and durable surface. The consensus is that, done properly, (making sure the kettlebell is cleaned properly before applying), this is the best type of finish. The powder coated finish will be an even finish, easy on your hands, will require less chalk, and will not chip or crack. It also is priced in between paint and e-coating which makes it affordable as well.
Remember, size, grip, finish, and accuracy of weight are all equally important when looking for a quality kettlebell brand.
Kettlebell Price comparison:
|Kettlebell Cost Comparison – Ratings|
|Brand||CFF – K2||Rogue||Dragon Door||Muscle Driver V4||Again Faster||Wright||Ader Premier||FringeSports|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||N/A||1 Year||N/A||Lifetime to original owner||N/A||1 Year||1 Year|
|Single Cast||Single Cast
|Single Cast||Single Cast||Single Cast|
|Finish||Powder coated||Powder coated||Powder coated||Powder coated||Powder coated||Clear||Paint||Paint|
With some of the best prices around, you can’t afford not to check out our K2 line of powder coated kettlebells (Limited Lifetime Warranty).
CFF K2 Review
- “I just received my powder coated CFF K2 24kg kettlebell in the mail. This is a preliminary review, I’ll try to do a follow up in a few months.The kettlebell is fantastic. I have KBs from Ader, Dragon Door, Rage fitness, the other CFF style KBs and some comp bells from other manufacturers, this is nicer than all of them and has the best handle I have encountered in a kettlebell. No ridges or sanded down areas, the grip is perfect, not too slick and not 60 grit.The width is great, on Dragon Door KBs I can’t fit my pinkies in the handle for 2-handed swings, the CFF powder coat bell is wide enough for 2-handed swings without being too wide.
The only negative is the packaging it came in. The packaging was the worst I have ever seen for a kettlebell. The box was completely smashed and more like a taped up ball. I was certain the kettlebell inside was going to be damaged. Inside was some cardboard scraps and half a foam clam-shell. But somehow the kettlebell was unharmed.
This is the best Kb I have come across and the price cannot be beat. 10/10.”