I recently purchased and reviewed a competition style kettlebell from Perform Better (review here.) Last week I also ordered a 12kg competition bell from the World Kettlebell Club, and a 8kg and a 16kg from Kettlebells USA.
First, let me say up front that I’m way, way, waaaaay removed from being a kettlebell expert. Take that with a grain of salt while you read through the rest of my blatherings here.
The World Kettlebell Club bells are supposed to be the best – the cream of the crop, if you will. The price for a 12kg bell from them was $20 higher than Perform Better, but about the same as Kettlebells USA. I wanted something to base my comparisons on, so I bit the bullet and ordered one from them.
I wasn’t expecting angels to sing when I opened the box or anything, but I was pretty disappointed.
There was tape, lots and lots of tape:
All told, I count twelve pieces of tape on the WKC bell. Twelve! One would have been too many on the bell that is touted as being “the best.” Even if my name was Valery Fedorenko (and it’s not) I still wouldn’t want it on this thing.
I waffle back and forth between thinking, “So what, what difference does it make?” and “What the heck is under all that tape anyway? Is it a giant piece of steel swiss cheese?”
On the bright side, the handle is very nice.
And finally, I they totally screwed my order up. I also ordered some wrist guards from them, which they didn’t ship, and thus far they refuse to respond to my emails. Make what you will of that.
Now for the Kettlebells USA bells.
As far as the bodies go, I think the pictures speak for themselves. NO TAPE! The surface is smooth for the most part, no huge divots, no sloppy paint jobs. The underside handle of the 16kg bell has a little bit of a rough spot, but it’s probably fixable with a little sand paper.
I would rank them thusly:
1. 8kg Kettlebells USA
2. 16kg Kettlebells USA
3. 8kg Perform Better
4. 12kg WKC
Granted, this is a small sample size, but I found the Kettlebells USA bells to be the best. It looks like the person who make them actually cared what they were doing. For all I know, they all come from the same factory in China, but if that’s so then Kettlebells USA gets the cream of the crop.
I worked for a web-based business for about six years, and I do realize that one customer’s experience does not accurately reflect on the overall quality of the company. I had orders that seemed to be cursed – everything that could possibly go wrong did and it looked like we were all incompetent idiots. That being said, I wouldn’t even order so much as a t-shirt from the WKC again. My experience with them left a bad taste in my mouth.