Competition Kettlebells vs. Cast Iron Kettlebells: Weighing the Pros and Cons


Kettlebells have become a popular fitness tool for a full-body workout that combines strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility. When it comes to choosing kettlebells, two main options dominate the market: competition kettlebells and cast iron kettlebells. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, understanding the key differences can help you make an informed decision. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of competition kettlebells versus cast iron kettlebells, enabling you to choose the right kettlebell for your fitness goals.

Pros of Competition Kettlebells:

  1. Consistent Size and Shape: Competition kettlebells are designed with standardized dimensions, making them consistent in size and shape regardless of the weight. This uniformity allows for easy progression when moving up in weight, as the handle and overall feel remain consistent. It also ensures proper technique and grip regardless of the kettlebell’s weight.

  2. Comfortable Handle: Competition kettlebells feature a smooth, single-piece steel construction with a handle that is comfortable and easy to grip. The handle’s width is standardized, providing a consistent grip regardless of the kettlebell’s weight. This design allows for better control and minimizes the risk of slippage during exercises.

  3. Ideal for High-Rep Workouts: Competition kettlebells are widely used in kettlebell sport, where high-repetition sets are performed in a time-limited period. The consistent size and shape, along with the comfortable handle, make them well-suited for long-duration workouts. They allow for efficient movements, reducing fatigue and promoting better endurance.

  4. Minimal Impact on Floors: Competition kettlebells are often constructed with a smooth steel shell that minimizes the impact on flooring surfaces. This can be beneficial for home gyms or workout spaces with delicate floors, as it reduces the chances of damage compared to other types of kettlebells.

Cons of Competition Kettlebells:

  1. Higher Cost: Competition kettlebells tend to be more expensive than cast iron kettlebells due to their higher manufacturing standards and the quality control required to maintain uniformity across all weights. The cost can be a deterrent for those on a budget or beginners who are unsure of their long-term commitment to kettlebell training.

  2. Limited Variety: Competition kettlebells typically come in a limited range of weights, with increments ranging from 4 kg to 48 kg. This might not be suitable for individuals who require lighter or heavier kettlebells based on their fitness level or specific training needs.

Pros of Cast Iron Kettlebells:

  1. Wide Range of Weight Options: Cast iron kettlebells offer a broader selection of weights compared to competition kettlebells. This makes them suitable for individuals of all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes. The wider weight range allows for gradual progression and accommodates diverse training goals.

  2. Cost-Effective: Cast iron kettlebells are generally more affordable than their competition counterparts. They are widely available and come in various price ranges, making them a budget-friendly option for those starting their kettlebell journey or looking to expand their collection.

  3. Durability: Cast iron kettlebells are known for their durability. The solid iron construction can withstand heavy use and resist wear and tear. They are less prone to chipping or cracking compared to other kettlebell materials, ensuring long-term usability.

Cons of Cast Iron Kettlebells:

  1. Varying Sizes and Handles: Cast iron kettlebells do not have standardized dimensions like competition kettlebells. As a result, the handle thickness, width, and overall size may differ between different weights. This can make transitioning between weights less consistent and may require adjustments in grip technique.

  2. Handle Finish and Grip: Some cast iron kettlebells may have a rough or textured handle, which can be uncomfortable during high-rep workouts or exercises that require prolonged grip. However, this can be addressed by using gloves or chalk to enhance grip and reduce discomfort.


The choice between competition kettlebells and cast iron kettlebells depends on your specific fitness goals, budget, and personal preferences. Competition kettlebells offer consistent size, shape, and handle comfort, making them ideal for kettlebell sport and high-repetition workouts. On the other hand, cast iron kettlebells provide a wider range of weight options, durability, and affordability. Consider your training needs, budgetary constraints, and the importance of consistency when making your decision. Ultimately, both types of kettlebells can be effective tools for achieving your fitness goals, so choose the one that aligns best with your requirements.