As kettlebells gain popularity as exercise equipment, numerous options arise for purchase. This equipment is fairly durable, making it to where buying cheap or used kettlebells is usually a fine choice - with some exceptions, of course.
Buying Cheap Kettlebells
Discount retailers like Target and Walmart offer kettlebells for sale, so it's not difficult to find cheap kettlebells. Does what you pay matter? In some instances, the answer is yes. But if you're simply looking for a kettlebell to do basic moves, all you really need to worry about is the accuracy of the weight compared to what it is supposed to be (in other words, is your 25 pound kettlebell really 25 pounds?).
Recommended: Rep Fitness
Rep Fitness offers kettlebells that are not only inexpensive, but feature a matte textured finish that makes them less likely to slip. Prices start at around $15 for a 9 pound kettlebell. BarBend says Rep Fitness kettlebells are durable and affordable.
Recommended: Champion Kettlebells
Champion kettlebells are quite inexpensive when compared to cast iron kettlebells you'll typically find in a gym. These are perfect for at-home use. Depending on the weight, these kettlebells start at under $20 and are durable enough to withstand workouts for a long time.
Not Recommended: Vinyl-Covered Kettlebells
At a similar price point to Champion, Tone Fitness kettlebells are made to look good but have some drawbacks. Since they are covered completely in vinyl, they simply aren't suitable for workouts where you will sweat a lot. A kettlebell goblet squat can turn into a trip to the ER if the kettlebell slips from your grip and slams onto your foot.
Grip Is Important
Some cheap kettlebells are completely covered in vinyl and have a vinyl grip. This type of grip is not suitable for many important kettlebell moves (like swings) and may result in a hand/wrist injury or sprain. Some cheap kettlebells have erratic dimensions and handles that are thicker than they should be. Before buying a cheap kettlebell, check the grip to make sure it's comfortable.
The Price Difference
Competition (made of steel) and cast iron kettlebells will cost more because they don't come in parts but are instead one solid piece. The advantage to these is uniformity and far lower odds of the handles coming off. The price difference varies by size, but expect to pay nearly double the cost for a high quality kettlebell as opposed to a cheaper one. For example, a very cheap, low weight kettlebell will cost less than $20 but the same size in a higher quality version will cost nearly $50.
Buying Used Kettlebells
Websites like eBay usually have used kettlebells for sale, but don't get lured in by a low price only to discover you have to pay a great deal of money for shipping because of the weight of the kettlebell. Before buying a used kettlebell, examine it for flaws or issues.
Finding Used Equipment Near You
Unless you have a store near you that specializes in secondhand exercise equipment, your best bet for finding used kettlebells is likely from other people. Online sales forums and garage sales can yield some good results as people sell the exercise equipment they never really used - or used and upgraded.
Cracks in the Kettlebell
Though incredibly durable, kettlebells can indeed crack. Run your hands along the bell and look carefully to ensure there are no cracks present (or poorly repaired cracks). Don't purchase used kettlebells with cracks.
Feel the handle to ensure it is comfortable in your grip. It's easy to get injured if a kettlebell's handle is too grippy or if there are any jagged or uneven spots on the handle.
Some kettlebells have seals on them that can fall off with long-term, vigorous use. This will leave a hole in the kettlebell; it's important to note that some kettlebell models have an intentional hole on the bottom to improve balance. If the hole seems unintentional, give the kettlebell a few swings to see if it still feels right.
Rust and Chipped Paint
Iron kettlebells might rust, especially when stored and used in a humid environment. Since rust is a sign of corrosion, skip any used kettlebells that are rusted. Paint chipping off is more of an aesthetic problem that will not hinder performance.