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How Do Adjustable Kettlebells Work? (Ultimate Guide)

Interest in convenient, compact exercise equipment is on the rise, and adjustable kettlebells are about as convenient and compact as it gets. 

This article covers the basics of adjustable kettlebells, including what they are, how they work, and why they’re a great piece of equipment to have on hand.

To help you choose the adjustable kettlebell model that’s right for you, we also cover the pros and cons of five of the most popular products on the market.

Here’s how adjustable kettlebells work:

An adjustable kettlebell is like a full set of kettlebells compacted into one simple piece of equipment. They contain weighted plates that can be switched out to change the overall weight of the kettlebell. 

Do all adjustable kettlebells work the same?

Adjustable kettlebells work a little differently depending on if they fall into the ‘manual’ or ‘digital’ class.

Traditional adjustable kettlebells have a manual mechanism that lets you either add or take off weight. In an ideal adjustable kettlebell, this mechanism will be smooth and easy to use. 

However, beware of cheaper, low-quality products, as some customers report that these mechanisms can fail. 

Digital kettlebells take less effort to adjust. Plug your kettlebell into the wall, punch in the weight you want, and the kettlebell will do the work for you!

You don’t have to mess around with manually changing the weight. Certain digital models may also allow you to automatically log your workouts into your phone. 

Digital kettlebells usually come at a higher cost, but if you have the cash to spare then the convenience can be worth it.

Are adjustable kettlebells safe?

Like most pieces of exercise equipment, there are two factors to consider when it comes to the safety of adjustable kettlebells; the quality of the product and whether you’re using it correctly. 

Cheap, low-quality products may not be balanced right or could break mid-swing, which poses safety risks.

Always check the reviews of a product that you’re buying to make sure that no other customers have hurt themselves with it.

The second factor to consider is how you’re using your adjustable kettlebell.

Are you just going in blind and swinging it around, or have you watched tutorials or advice from a personal trainer?

Lots of exercise newbies, and even more seasoned pros, injure themselves after getting a new piece of equipment. 

Make sure to get advice from experts and not push yourself too hard.

Are adjustable kettlebells worth it?

Adjustable kettlebells are a smart purchase for a few reasons.

While they’re not the cheapest piece of equipment you can pick up, in comparison to buying a full set of kettlebells they’re practically a steal.

This leaves you free to buy other equipment or save your cash for a rainy day.

Adjustable kettlebells are also a great way to save space.

For those of us without big homes or designated home gyms, having a piece of exercise equipment that you can just tuck into a cabinet or under a bed is a huge plus. 

A full set of kettlebells will take up heaps of space, but a single adjustable one is small enough that even people with tiny living spaces can find room to store it.

Adjustable kettlebells are also a smart buy if you’re trying to find a piece of equipment that’s going to be used by multiple people. Maybe you prefer an 18kg kettlebell for your workout, but your partner feels more comfortable with a 4kg model. Buying an adjustable kettlebell is a great compromise in a situation like this.

Popular adjustable kettlebells:

JaxJox KettlebellConnect 2.0

  • Price: $249
  • Weight Range: 5.5 – 19 kgs

JaxJox’s KettlebellConnect 2.0 is one of the more high-tech adjustable kettlebells on the market. Plug it into the wall, push a button, and it adjusts its weight for you via its electronic mechanism. Users can select 5.5, 8, 11, 13.5, 16, or 20 kgs of weight. 

The easy weight adjustment makes this a really good product for those who like to switch from one exercise to the other quickly.

A highlight of the KettlebellConnect 2.0 is the ability to log your workouts via the JAXJOX app. Reps, sets, weight, power, average volume, and time can all be measured and tracked using the app. This is a big plus for those who like to track their fitness progress.

Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell

  • Price: $149
  • Weight Range: 3.5 – 18 kgs

Bowflex’s SelectTech 840 kettlebell has a smooth manual weight adjustment mechanism and an overall sleek design. A spinning dial on the top of the kettlebell lets users choose between 3.5, 5.5, 9, 11.5, 16, or 18 kgs of weight. 

Changing between weights takes a few seconds at most, also making this a good product for those who want to switch weights quickly.

Bowflex provides free training videos to help you get the most out of your new kettlebell. Their YouTube channel has dozens of videos that cater to beginners all the way up to experts, showing you the best ways to use their product and the different exercises that you can do.

Tru Grit Adjustable Kettlebell

  • Price: $99.99 (9 kg) or $149.99 (18 kg)
  • Weight Range: 2 – 9 kg (9 kg model) or 3.5 – 18 kg (18 kg model)

Tru Grit offers two different adjustable kettlebells. Their 9 kg model features weight increments from 2, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, 8, and 9 kgs. These smaller weight increments make the lighter model ideal for those who want to slowly work up the amount of weight they can take. 

The larger 18 kg model, on the other hand, has larger increments at 3.5, 5.5, 8, 10.5, 13.5, 16, and 18 kgs, which is more ideal for someone who can already handle more weight. 

The adjustment mechanism on this kettlebell is a little more complicated than the others on this list. You have to twist the top to ‘unlock’ the product and then physically remove or add weight plates until you get your desired weight, and then lock the plates back in place again. 

This mechanism means that switching weights takes more time, so this product is more suited to those who prefer to stick with one weight for the majority of their workout.

Kettlebell Kings Adjustable Kettlebell

  • Price: $169.99
  • Weight Range: 4 – 18 kgs

Kettlebell Kings’ Adjustable Kettlebell is very similar to Tru Grit’s product, except with some slight enhancements. Users can select either 4, 5.5, 8, 11, 13.5, 16, or 18 kgs or weight using the manual adjustment mechanism, which like in the Tru Grit model requires the user to physically remove plates from the bell to reach their desired weight. 

The Kettlebell Kings’ adjustable model is designed to mimic a traditional kettlebell and comes in two distinct colors. 

Something that sets it apart from other models is its thick handle; many adjustable products have a slimmer, ergonomically designed handle, but Kettlebell Kings has stuck with the traditional heavier, wider handle that we know and love.

Titan Fitness Adjustable Competition Style Kettlebell

  • Price: $249.99
  • Weight Range: 12 – 13 kg

Titan’s competition-style kettlebell takes everything good about traditional kettlebells and makes it adjustable. 

The model has a cast-iron shell packed with six cast iron plates. Switching these plates in and out means you can reach a massive 19 different weights, which is great for those who want some nuance between the usual 5 or 10 kg weight increments.

A drawback of this model is that adjusting the weight takes some serious effort. Users have to use an Allen key to take apart the two halves of the shell, loosen the weighted plates, switch the weight, and then put the shell back together again. 

With some practice, it would probably become easy, but compared to an electric model or simply turning a switch, Titan’s mechanism is practically rocket science.