Kettlebell training is no new phenomenon in the fitness industry but has certainly grown in popularity and become a fitness industry buzzword.

With different types on the market, it can become daunting for a first-time kettlebell purchaser. That’s why we have outlined the differences between the most popular types of kettlebells, the Competition, Cast Iron, and Vinyl bells to help you make an informed decision before purchasing. The kettlebell is an investment for a lifetime. If you buy a good quality bell to begin with, you will have a tool to keep you fit and strong for the rest of your life and a tool that will stand the test of time.


Competition Kettlebells:

Competition kettlebells are constructed of steel and are universally colour-coded to signify the different weights so you can find the one you need at a simple glance.
They are the same size regardless of weight making them ideal for practising technical movements, like the jerks or snatch. The handles are also uniform and the window of the bell handle has more of a rectangular shape. The reason is, a smaller handle reduces grip fatigue, which is incredibly important in competitive kettlebell lifting.

If you plan to do high-repetition sets in your workouts or do a lot of focused technique work, the competition kettlebell is your best bet.

Who are competition kettlebells best for?

- Athletes who compete or may wish to compete in kettlebell sports or competitions.

- Smaller-handed individuals who can fit both hands within the handle’s width.

- Athletes who are strictly working on their one-armed movements.

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Cast Iron kettlebells:

The cast iron kettlebell is produced from one solid piece of metal so unlike the competition kettlebell, the size will increase with weight. Because of this, they’re less intimating for some people and easier to catch. The handles are wider than the competition kettlebells, which makes them great for movements that require two hands on the handles; deadlifts or swings for example. Cast iron kettlebells are commonly used in commercial and home-gyms as they are the most versatile option of the different types of bells.

If your aim is to build strength and power at a lower price point, you should consider purchasing a cast iron kettlebell.

Who are cast iron kettlebells best for?

- Lifters who want to do two-handed movements like deadlifts, swings and goblet squats.

- Those who may not be used to gripping handles for long periods and need a wider width.

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Vinyl kettlebells:

The Vinyl Kettlebells are constructed of cast iron and is vinyl coated to protect floors and give a more premium look. They’re more forgiving than the Cast Iron Kettlebells and often preferred by people who like to workout indoors and outdoors. It’s super easy to distinguish the weight with a quick glance as it is a white number, against the red vinyl. The Vinyl kettlebells are a great option as they don’t chip like the cast iron or competition bells. Like the Cast Iron, they’re great for beginners and movements that require two hands.

Who are vinyl kettlebells best for?

- People that enjoy working out indoors and outdoors. Great for PT’s that run outdoor boot camps or home-gyms.

- Lifters who want to do two-handed movements like deadlifts, swings, and goblet squats.

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A summary of Competition, Cast Iron, and Vinyl Kettlebells.

Competition Kettlebell Cast Iron Kettlebell Vinyl Kettlebell
Constructed of steel Constructed of metal Constructed of metal and vinyl coated
Same size no matter the weight Varies in size depending on the weight. Varies in size depending on the weight
Colour coded on weight Colour coded on weight (coloured band on the handle) Not colour coded
Wider base than cast iron and vinyl kettlebells Smaller base than comp kettlebells but machined flat Smaller base than comp kettlebells but machined flat
Same size handle – rectangular shape Wide handle – great for two-handed exercises Wide handle – great for two-handed exercises
Better for indoor use Great for commercial use Great for indoor/outdoor use

We’ve got a a large range of kettlebells available online, check out our range here: Kettle Bells