If space is at a premium, Primal’s adjustable kettlebell offers a decent spread of weights in a compact unit.
As with many free weights, having space in your home gym set-up to house a range of the best kettlebells is tricky. Anyone looking to maximise gains from progressive overload will benefit from at least three individual kettlebells covering a decent weight spread.
This is where adjustable kettlebells come in, because like their dumbbell counterparts, these clever and compact units cram a useable weight spread into a very small footprint. In fact, most of the adjustable kettlebells we’ve tested are no bigger than a standard 18-20kg kettlebell – such as the Primal Personal Series Adjustable Kettlebell.
Men’s Fitness verdictHats off to Primal for creating an adjustable kettlebell that looks and feels like its traditional counterparts. At this price, it’s one of the most robust and reliable options I’ve tested.
- 10lb – 40lb / 4.5kg – 18kg in a small package
- Secure locking mechanism
- Ergonomic design
- Loses kettlebell feel at lower weights
- Weight selection dial is annoying
- Avid kettlebell fans will struggle with design
How we tested the best adjustable kettlebells
Our tester Leon Poultney is an experienced product reviewer of all manner of fitness kit. He tested this adjustable kettlebell at various weights and through a range of exercises at high rep ranges to see how it handles, assessing it in terms of grip, comfort, and weight range. He then provided an overall score, taking build quality, performance and price into consideration.
Primal Personal Series Adjustable Kettlebell features
Primal’s adjustable kettlebell offers five weights in a well designed package. The design has a rotating dial at the top to select the weights beneath it. The lower the weight you select, the fewer plates the Primal Personal Series Adjustable Kettlebell picks up.
Unlike some other rivals, such as the Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell, there’s no tray, so you don’t have to cart around an extra piece of plastic when you want to move the kettlebell. Simply select the max weight and away you go.
That said, this design feature is also a quirk that impacts the overall user experience, as the fewer weight plates you select, the smaller the Primal Personal Series Adjustable Kettlebell gets. In fact, select the lowest 4.5kg (10lb) option and it’s little more than a handle.
The quality of Primal kit tends to be excellent and it’s no different here. At this price, I’d say it’s one of the most robust and reliable adjustable kettlebells I’ve tested.
The unit is made from a number of materials, including aluminum, steel, polypropylene, nylon and ABS, but they all feel tough and able to withstand a bashing. Like their adjustable dumbbell counterparts, the best adjustable kettlebells don’t take too kindly to dropping, as it can damage the selection mechanism.
That said, if I had to drop any, it’d be the Primal Personal Series Adjustable Kettlebell. That’s purely because it feels like it’s been built to last. The only downside is the selection dial, which isn’t the slickest to use.
Firstly, you have to pinch a safety catch in order to spin the dial and secondly, it doesn’t rotate a full 360-degrees. Switching from 4.5kg (10lb) to 18kg (40lb) and back again requires a full turn in each direction, for example.
Performance on test
Out of the many adjustable kettlebells I’ve tested, the Primal Personal Series Adjustable Kettlebell felt like the most natural to use. Surprisingly, Primal has done the obvious thing and based its design on – shock, horror – a traditional kettlebell!
Naturally, this makes using the Personal Series much more comfortable and intuitive. When fully laden, the difference in workout feel to a traditional, solid kettlebell is negligible, aside from a slight rattling sound from the numerous stacked plates.
There is plenty of room between the handle and the bell, while well-defined horns make it easy to grip in numerous ways. I also appreciated the groove that runs down each flank, making it far more comfortable to perform snatches and overhead pressing movements, seeing as there’s somewhere comfortable to rest the wrist.
The handle features a textured nylon covering, so grip is excellent. Throw some chalk on your hands and this thing isn’t going anywhere.
As previously mentioned, shedding weight plates means the Primal Personal Series Adjustable Kettlebell effectively loses its shape until all that’s left is a handle. Swinging with anything below 7.75kg (17.5lb) feels a bit odd and it just doesn’t have the right amount of inertia to get into a nice rhythm. That said, the groove that runs along the sides extends all the way to the top, so any overhead movements with lower weight selected remain comfortable to perform.
Should you buy the Primal Personal Series Adjustable Kettlebell?
Hats off to Primal for creating an adjustable kettlebell that looks and feels like its traditional counterparts. Out of everything I’ve tested, this handled the most like a traditional kettlebell, so long as you kept the weight relatively high.
That said, it isn’t perfect, and the main trade-off with these adjustable units is the overall workout feel when compared to some of the best kettlebells out there. Still, if space is at a premium, this is a great option for the price.