A staple in many homes and commercial gyms, punching bags are a must-have training tool if you’re a boxing, kickboxing, or martial arts enthusiast. They’re also a great piece of equipment if you’re looking for a cardio or endurance workout.
With the many different types of bags on the market, it can be hard to choose one that is right for you. In this review, we’ll be looking at the best punching bags out there, safety tips, and recommendations, so read on!
Best Punching Bag Brands
Located in the Bronx, Everlast was founded 108 years ago with the mission to make durable, long-lasting products. Everlast has been manufacturing boxing and MMA equipment since 1917, having won the World MMA Award for Best Technical Equipment Brand five times. Their MMA heavy bag is an outstanding best seller.
Century knows the needs of martial artists inside and out. Owned and operated by martial artists, Century has been manufacturing high-quality boxing and MMA equipment since 1976. Located in Oklahoma City, OK, all products are made in USA. Their most popular bag is the BOB mannequin, which is ideal for MMA training.
RDX was founded in 1999 in Manchester, UK. They quickly grew to dominate the European market, making an impact internationally as well. Manufacturing high-quality goods, the RDX name is one you can trust. This heavy bag set is a best seller.
Based in Lenexa, KS, Ringside takes pride in their high-quality boxing gloves. They’ve been designing and manufacturing a variety of boxing and MMA equipment and apparel for over thirty years. Ringside makes a variety of punching bags, with this Powerhide heavy bag being a top seller.
Types of Punching Bags
A heavy bag is the most common type of punching bag out there. Coming in at around 4-5 feet tall, they’re suspended from a mount or from the ceiling and allow you to practice boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai and a range of other martial arts. You can also use a stand to mount this type of bag. They’re versatile and great for practicing most techniques.
Speed bags are small and light, mainly designed to improve your reflexes. With every strike, the bag quickly bounces back, allowing you to practice timing your strikes to get a steady rhythm going. This helps improve your hand-eye coordination, rhythm, and speed.
Swerve bags are similar to speed bags in that they’re small, relatively light, and move quickly. The main difference is that a swerve bag has two connection points — the ceiling and floor. These are great for speed and rhythm training, as well as counter striking and blocking, due to the unique way this bag moves.
Body Opponent Bags
Body opponent bags are designed to mimic the look and feel of a real opponent. These are ideal for training as you can practice precision punching and kicking, versus having to guess the height like you would on a traditional bag. The bag’s height can be adjusted, which is useful for multiple users, or even if you want to practice training against shorter or taller opponents. Like freestanding bags, body opponent bags suffer from some stability issues.
Freestanding bags are mounted on a stand rather than being hung. The base must be filled with sand or water for it to be stable. Typically, this type of bag is ideal for home use because they’re (relatively) easy to move around and out of the way. Although they are convenient bags, they won’t have the same kind of staying power as hanging bags.
Punching Bag Prices
At this price point, you’ll find some decent quality bags. The Last Punch canvas bag reviewed here comes to mind. It’s durable and well-made, but keep in mind that it comes empty when you purchase it. Stuff it with a material best suited to your needs, and you’ll have a good bag at a great price.
Many great-quality bags come in at this price point. The size and weight affect price the most, with the shell material playing a role as well. Synthetic leather will be slightly more expensive than canvas, but more durable in the long run.
The Everlast 70-pound MMA bag comes in at this price point. It’s a solidly made bag that will hold up to abuse.
At this price point, you can acquire a life-sized mannequin to train. They offer ultra-realistic practice and are ideal for you if you’re a serious athlete practicing martial arts where kicks and combos are common. The Century BOB XL fits in this category. You’ll also find loftier bags at this price point, which are ideal for you if you’re an advanced fighter training multiple times a day.
Other Considerations When Buying a Punching Bag
You’ll want your punching bag to be made from solid, heavy-duty materials so it’s as durable as possible. Usually, bags are made out of one of three materials: leather, synthetic leather, or canvas.
Leather is the most expensive, but will hold up the best and will also feel the best. Synthetic leather is what most bags are made from. This is a good compromise as it’s still durable, but you trade-off on the feel of the bag. Finally, canvas is the cheapest option, but it’s also the least durable and also tends to feel worst when striking.
The stitching is also important. Heavy and coated thick thread is best as it’s the most durable. You don’t want your new bag to start ripping apart on the first strike! Select one that offers a good mix of shell materials and quality stitching to make sure it can take the abuse of regular training.
You’ll see most variation in bag sizing in heavy bags and speed bags. The best size to choose depends mostly on your body size and skill level.
For heavy bags, a 2 ½ to 3-foot bag is best for light training sessions or small frame sizes (kids do best on 2 ½ foot bags). A 3-foot bag will be a great choice if you’re a beginning woman boxer, and a 4-foot bag is the most versatile, suited to both men and women.
The 5-foot bag is the most common size, while the 6-foot bag will be ideal if you’re more advanced and looking for additional resistance.
For speed bags, the smaller the size, the harder it is to control.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll want a large bag. If you’re somewhere around intermediate level, you can still choose a large bag if you want an easier training session, but the medium size will help you develop your reflexes further. The small bag is the best pick for you if you know what you’re doing and want an additional challenge.
Assembly will vary depending on the type of bag you choose. Heavy bags usually come pre-filled but have to be hung onto a stable support. Mounting hardware is usually included — you can also swap these for more heavy duty versions purchased separately.
Freestanding (aka pedestal) bags will require the base to be filled with either sand or water for stability. This can be a time-consuming process, but is necessary for proper stability and safe training.
Punching Bag Safety Tips
Protect Your Hands
You’ll always want to protect your hands when punching a heavy bag (or any other kind of punching bag). The material the bags are made from can quickly wear down the fragile skin on your fingers and knuckles. Likewise, you’re more prone to muscle, tendon, and bone injuries with bare hands, so remember to always wear gloves or wraps.
Tip 1: Freestanding bags have a tendency to slip and slide on the surfaces they’re on, which isn’t ideal if you want a stable target. To add stability, consider putting a thin foam mat under the base of your freestanding bag. That way, you’ll also protect your floor and yourself.
Tip 2: If you find your freestanding bag still moving too much after adding a mat, you can increase the stability even more by using sandbags. These will provide additional weight that should be enough to stabilize your bag.
Protect the Stitching
Hanging heavy bags are, well, heavy. That means that the stitching is under tremendous stress and you’ll want to do something in order to keep your bag holding up for as long as possible. A great way to prevent the stitching from ripping is to use black gorilla tape (or whatever color matches your bag and your aesthetic best).
Best Punching Bag Reviews & Recommendations
Best Heavy Bags
Everlast MMA Heavy-Bag Kit[amazon box=”B004CY3HHI”]
This kit is ideal for you if you’re just starting out, as it comes with all the gear you need to get a great boxing workout. The bag comes in three different versions: 70, 80, and 100 pounds. It’s a heavy bag that comes pre-stuffed with a custom filling of natural and synthetic fibers blended with sifted sand.
The kit comes along with heavy bag gloves and wraps to protect your hands. It also comes with a bungee cord for adding greater resistance to the bag. You can also adjust its height thanks to the chain at the top. This bag is durable enough to withstand the elements, so you can mount it outdoors if you want.
The stitching on the bag is not the most durable. If you want a bag that’s great for multiple users, this may not be the one you’re looking for, as it’s hard to adjust. Likewise, if you’re already practicing punch/kick combos, this bag is too short for that.
Everlast 70-Pound MMA Poly Canvas Heavy Bag[amazon box=”B002UKJC20″]
A 70-pound bag that’s great for punching and kicking thanks to its 53” height. It’s filled with a special blended mix of sanitized synthetic and natural fibers to provide resilient shock absorbency. It’s covered in premium synthetic poly canvas, and the heavy-bag construction ups the durability factor.
The heavy-duty nylon straps provide a safe and secure hold. The double-ended loop provides increased functionality, while the chain is adjustable to multiple different heights. Also comes with a swivel and snap carabiners. The material is durable and will hold up to different environments and temperature ranges.
It’s a solid bag that has enough give to be comfortable. That being said, the filling will start to give and sag after months of regular use. The hardware included to hang the bag is not heavy-duty, so you might want to swap it out for something more durable. Finally, the stitching on the straps is a bit more fragile than on some other bags, so it might give out sooner, comparatively.
Best Speed Bags
TITLE Boxing Gyro-Balanced Speed Bags[amazon box=”B004LQK4WS”]
This speed bag is great for you whether you’re a beginner or more established boxer. It’s made with gyro balanced manufacturing to assure true rebounds and rapid recoiling to help develop your reflexes, improve overall quickness, and hand-eye coordination.
It’s made from top-grade leather and has triple reinforced leather seams and lacing, offering quality construction for balanced training. The thick leather skin is durable and will last for a while. The butyl rubber bladder has special internal balancing for maximum results. This is a well-balanced bag that is easy to control, giving you a great workout.
As it’s constructed from heavier materials, it’s a bit slower than other similarly sized bags. The threading has a tendency to wear down quickly and production errors resulting in lopsidedness have occurred. This bag does not hold air as well as some other bags.
Best Body Opponent Bags
Century BOB XL with Base Unit[amazon box=”B003QOHSLQ”]
The Century BOB XL is a great pick if you’re looking for a freestanding heavy bag with a life-like upper torso to practice martial arts, boxing, or kicks. It has tons of striking surface for head and body shot training, and a highly realistic feel. The high-strength plastisol body is filled with urethane foam and can be adjusted to several different height settings.
The base is made from durable polyethylene and must be filled with either water or sand. Overall, it will hold 270 pounds of weight, which is plenty to stabilize the bag even when hit with lots of force. The whole thing can be transported easily thanks to the wheels attached to the base. Material-wise, the “torso” is soft and comfortable to hit, so you can even train bare-handed.
If you’re practicing a martial arts style that involves in-steps or otherwise getting in close before striking, the wide circular base may pose a problem. Likewise, the color of the heavy bag and the texture of the “skin” leave it looking a little dirty and used after some time. Finally, filling the base with sand takes a long time because of the narrow nozzle, so you’ll need a funnel and some patience.
Best Freestanding (Pedestal) Punching Bags
Century Original Wavemaster Freestanding Heavy Punching Bag[amazon box=”B00022KJ16″]
This pedestal punching bag is for you if you’re looking for a bag that you don’t have to hang up. It’s durable and sturdy, providing optimal resistance and quick rebound. Built to withstand high-impact punches and kicks, it’s an ideal choice for multiple training styles.
The bag can be adjusted to 7 different positions, from 47 inches to 68 inches. Since it’s easy to adjust, it’s a great bag if you need to accommodate different users or training styles. The base can be filled with either sand or water, bringing the total weight of the bag and stand up to 270 pounds. Overall, this bag is quick and easy to set up — you’ll be using it in no time!
Due to its construction, the base tends to slide on slicker floors, but you can minimize that with a thin foam mat. Also keep in mind that the base will take a while to fill, especially with sand, due to the narrowness of the bunghole. The base is circular and fairly wide, which is a con if you’re looking to practice styles that require getting close to the bag before striking (similar to the Century BOB XL reviewed above).
Last Punch Heavy Duty Punching Bag with Chains[amazon box=”B003VZIWZQ”]
The Last Punch Heavy Duty Punching Bag is a great pick for you if you’re a beginner looking for your first bag. The low price point makes it an affordable yet sturdy option. Made from heavy-duty canvas, it’s ideal for boxing practice and cardio. The bag is 48” long with the mounting chains, 33” long with the chains, and 18” wide.
It comes unfilled, so you can customize the weight and feel of your bag by stuffing it with old clothes, sand, cotton, rubber mulch, or whatever you prefer. The zipper up top makes this process easy and convenient. Keep in mind not to overstuff the bag or make it too heavy, as it can tear or rip.
Since it’s a budget pick, this bag does not come with hanging hardware, so you’ll have to purchase that separately. Likewise, the bag’s construction, though good, is not as high-quality as some of the more expensive models out there, so it’s likely to start showing signs of wear sooner.
Punching Bag FAQs
Q: Should I fill my freestanding heavy bag with water or sand?
A: That depends on how hard you want to hit the bag and how patient you are. Water will be the quicker and more convenient option, but it won’t weigh the base down as well as sand. It may also lead to mold problems due to stagnation, and might leak. Sand, on the other hand, will be heavier, so the bag will stand more securely. It should hold up to punches and kicks when filled with sand.
Q: What else can I use to fill my freestanding heavy bag?
A: If neither sand nor water seems like an appealing option for you, you can also fill the base of a freestanding heavy bag with kitty litter. It’s a great substitute for sand — it’s easy to handle, clump-free, and cheap. Use a funnel to fill it in and you’ll have a usable freestanding bag in no time.
Q: What accessories should I consider buying with my punching bag?
A: There are a couple of accessories out there you might find useful for your punching bag. A bungee cord can be added to the bottom of the bag to up the resistance factor. Some heavy bags come in a kit that includes this accessory, but chances are you’ll have to purchase this separately. You might also consider a sand filler for easier assembly of your freestanding bag.
A punching bag can be a great addition to your home gym. Whether you’re an experienced martial artist or you just want to let out some aggression, a punching bag is a superb training tool.
If you’re looking for the right balance between durability, quality, and price, then the Everlast MMA Heavy Bag Kit is the clear winner. It’s one of the most durable bags out there, so you know it can take the abuse of regular training. If a budget-friendly pick is more your style, the Last Punch Heavy Duty Punching Bag with Chains is a great choice, as it’s great value for money.
Hopefully, the above recommendations and considerations have helped you get a better idea of what to look for and what kind of punching bag would work best for your goals.
Now it’s your turn. Which adjustable weight bench do you use? What do you like and dislike about it? Let us know in the comments below!