Girevoy Sport – Kettlebell Comparison (Part 3)

girevoy sport kettlebell comparison,perfom better competition kettlebells,akc competition kettlebells

Recently, Perform Better added a new Girevoy Sport Competition-style kettlebell to its line-up.  Dubbed the First Place Competition Kettlebells, the new models have sanded handles and proper color coding as opposed to their first introduction of GS-style First Place Elite Kettlebells.

When Perform Better first introduced their First Place Elite kettlebells, I thought they might be a more inexpensive way to bridge the gap between standard kettlebell sizes (between a 16 kg and a 24 kg for example).  I wasn’t too keen about the non-competition colors and the painted handle, but weight is weight no matter what color it’s painted, and I’m pretty handy with caustic paint strippers, so I ordered one of their silver 20 kg bells and wrote a review and comparison between the Perform Better FP Elite and the American Kettlebell Club’s first issue kettlebell.

After stripping the handle of the Perform Better kettlebell and working out with it for a while, it appeared to be a reasonably priced competitor to the AKC bell.

Enter The Pro Grade

Around that time though, AKC introduced their Pro Grade model.  From the pictures I saw, it seemed to be a definite improvement in quality over their first kettlebells and I realized that my first comparison was not really fair or complete without doing a head-to-head between the Perform Better model and the new Pro Grade model.

As luck would have it, my wife got me a 20 kg AKC Pro Grade for Christmas.  The new Pro Grades were a definite improvement over the old AKC bells, and seemed a step above the First Place Elite bell.  The First Place Elite held the edge in pure beauty if it was used solo.  Otherwise, that silky smooth finish had a tendency to crack and chip when hitting another kettlebell (or the floor), exposing the bare metal underneath.girevoy sport kettlebell comparison,perform better competition kettlebells

As you can see by the photo, the paint and bondo are pretty thick, so repairing that ding is a little more difficult than simply spraying a similar color on it.

Perform Better Ups The Ante

With the introduction of their new Competition kettlebells, however, Perform Better has thrown some serious competition into the Girevoy Sport kettlebell market.

I’m always excited to save a few dollars and was interested to see how this new kettlebell would stack up against the AKC Pro Grade.  Since my wife was interested in trying some double kettlebell work, I ordered a new 8 kg (pink) Perform Better First Place Competition kettlebell.

For starters, the Perform Better kettlebell is about $15.00 cheaper ($54.95 as of June 2010) than the AKC Pro Grade of the same weight ($70.00).  Placing my order during one of Perform Better’s free shipping promotions saved me even more money (on ground shipping).

Upon its arrival, I found the Perform Better to be a close cousin to my wife’s 8kg AKC kettlebell.  The paint jobs were similar and the size appeared to be very nearly the same (the rust spots on the AKC are from outdoor storage)

girevoy sport kettlebell comparison,perform better competition kettlebellsThe Perform Better handle was smoothly sanded, with just enough texture to hold a properly applied layer of chalk or magnesium.

The pink was painted on and not layered with bondo as on the First Place Elite models, and the AKC and Perform Better finishes appeared nearly identical with a glossy finish.

There was one odd spot on the side opposite of the Perform Better name.  It looked like something was taped over and then had bondo or paint applied over the top of it.  girevoy sport kettlebell comparison,perform better competition kettlebellsAs some of you might know, there have been rumors that all competition kettlebells come from the same factory in China.  I remember seeing a post from another kettlebell blogger who stripped down a First Place Elite bell and found AKC marking under all that paint and bondo!

Now I have no idea if that’s still the case, but I can say that AKC has certainly raised their game since I got my purple Pro Grade 20 kg and compared it with the Perform Better First Place Elite.  Take a look:

A Cadillac Kettlebell?

girevoy sport kettlebell comparison,perform better competition kettlebells,akc pro grade kettlebellsThat’s a 36 kg American Kettlebell Club Pro Grade kettlebell on the left.  I purchased that in May (2010) during a recent sale they held on their heavy bells.

Wow!  I was blown away with the quality of this bell.  Definitely their best effort yet, and better than my purple 20 kg Pro Grade that I felt was a step up from their last effort.

The handle is perfect.  No grooves or ridges and the masking lines are even.  The surface of the kettlebell is smooth, without very slight imperfections and the paint is far superior to previous AKC kettlebells, being a flat color and evenly applied.

By contrast, the Perform Better Competition kettlebell has slight pitting in the handle,and small holes on the painted portion of the handle, most likely from imperfections in the mold or a problem in the casting process.girevoy sport kettlebell comparison,perform better competition kettlebells,akc pro grade kettlebells

But maybe I’m just being too picky.  Those tiny pinholes are not going to affect the trajectory of the kettlebell, nor do I think that the handle will break during your lifting practice.

Beauty Or Bargain?

Ultimately, most gireviks are probably going to go with their wallet and in this economy, the Perform Better Competition kettlebell is hard to beat.

Click here for Perform Better: First Place Competition Kettlebells

On the other hand, if you’re only using a single kettlebell for your workouts, or you’re a stickler for using the same kettlebell you’ll probably use in a meet, you may want to stick with the AKC Pro Grades.

Click here for the American/World Kettlebell Club: VF ProGrade Kettlebells

girevoy sport kettlebell comparison;perform better competition kettlebells,akc pro grade kettlebells(*I am a Perform Better affiliate.  I did not, however receive any free products before writing this review.  I purchased all of the kettlebells shown and written about in this review)

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3 Responses to Girevoy Sport – Kettlebell Comparison (Part 3)

  1. Hi Jim, great writing! I been reading through to catch up to date and I really appreciate your details. You state that the 8kg AKC was $70.00 in June. Is that with shipping? Currently it is $44.97 plus $21.00 shipping for a total of $65.97. Thanks and keep up the work, Tim.

  2. Thanks Tim. I think the new price reflects AKC’s sale that’s on through the end of this month (January). It’s a great deal on the best competition bell out there.


  3. Thanks for the confirmation. I have a used 12kg I was lucky enough to find and I am debating between a second to match or jumping up to a pair of 16s. Either way, I’ll make sure to purchase before the sale ends!

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