The Best Punching Bags — Speed, Free-Standing, and More

Before taping up your hands, make sure you have the best punching bag for your training needs.

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Punching bags are popular pieces of training equipment for those practicing forms of combat, martial arts, and defense and those just hoping to work on their agility and strength training. Punching bags can utilize several muscle groups ranging from the core, upper body, lower body, and back. There are several different styles of punching bags that most of the leading brands base their equipment on.

With the wide variety of punching bags, first-time shoppers and experienced boxers alike may need some guidance figuring out which product is right for them. We looked at some of the most popular offerings on the market and ranked the best of the bunch.

Best Punching Bags

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.

Best Hanging Punching Bag

This faux-leather hanging punching bag (often referred to as a heavy bag) weighs 70 pounds when fully loaded. It comes as part of a kit that includes a pair of 14-ounce boxing gloves, 120-inch polyester-cotton hand wraps, and a speed bag. The heavy bag is designed with reinforced webbing and a blended filler mix of sanitized synthetic fibers to improve shock absorbency. It has a height of 46 inches and a diameter of 13.75 inches. It includes nylon straps, adjustable chains, and double-end loops for easier installation.

Everlast 70 LB Nevatear Heavy Bag
Everlast 70 LB Nevatear Heavy Bag
Everlast 70 LB Nevatear Heavy Bag

This white punching bag comes with a faux leather cover and weighs 70 pounds. It includes 14-ounce training gloves, 120-inch hand wraps, and a red speed bag.

Who Should Buy Everlast 70 LB Nevatear Heavy Bag

  • Folks who want a heavy bag with good shock absorbency.
  • Those who are also in need of boxing gloves, hand wraps, and a speed bag (all included).
  • Anyone who appreciates the adjustable chains to change how high the bag hangs.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Everlast 70 LB Nevatear Heavy Bag

  • Athletes who don’t have a space to hang the bag from and would prefer a freestanding bag.
  • Those looking to improve their precision striking and would prefer a punching dummy or defense trainer.

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Best Freestanding Punching Bag

This freestanding punching bag stands 69 inches tall with an 18-inch diameter and weighs approximately 270 pounds when fully loaded with sand or water. Designed with high-density foam and a vinyl cover, the low-profile base offers stable weight distribution to provide a safe but sturdy striking surface. It comes in three different color options.

Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag
Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag
Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag

This punching bag measures 69 inches tall and 18 wide. It weighs 270 pounds fully loaded and sports a low-profile base. This bag is designed to remain standing even when receiving a barrage of punches, kicks, and various stikes.

Who Should Buy Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag

  • Those unable to hang a heavy bag from a ceiling, frame, or rack.
  • Anyone who wants to move their punching bag more easily around their home gym (when not loaded).
  • People who want a denser, heavier target.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag

  • Folks who don’t have much floor space (likely best positioned with space on all sides).
  • Anyone who wants a shorter bag (69 inches is on the taller end of the market).

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Best Speed Bag

This leather speed bag in standard medium size of nine inches by six inches and a large size of 10 inches by seven inches. Made from premium-grade leather, these bags feature reinforced seams that help keep them balanced, precise, and consistent rebounds. It is available in either black or gold. It does not come with a platform or pin swivel.

Everlast Standard Leather Speed Bag
Everlast Standard Leather Speed Bag
Everlast Standard Leather Speed Bag

This leather speed bag is offered in the standard medium (nine inches by six inches) and large (10 inches by seven inches) sizes. These bags are manufactured with reinforced seams and balanced for consistent rebounds. They are offered in either black or gold.

Who Should Buy Everlast Standard Leather Speed Bag

Who Shouldn’t Buy Everlast Standard Leather Speed Bag

  • Those who are looking to sharpen their body-focused striking.
  • Anyone who wants to train leg strikes.

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Best Speed Bag Platform

Made in the USA, this speed-bag platform has a diameter of 24 inches and comes in either red oak wood or ultra high molecular weight (UHMW) plastic. The platform is a half-inch wide and is compatible with the Rogue Infinity and Monster Lite uprights. The attachment includes a set of 0.1875-inch thick laser-cut steel brackets (holes four inches on center) and all necessary mounting hardware.

Rogue Rig Mount Speed Bag Platform
Rogue Rig Mount Speed Bag Platform
Rogue Rig Mount Speed Bag Platform

The rig-mount speed bag platform has a 24-inch diameter and is available in either wood (red oak) or UHMW plastic. The attachment includes a set of 0.1875-inch thick laser-cut steel brackets with centered four-inch holes 4" on center) and all required mounting hardware.

Who Should Buy Rogue Rig Mount Speed Bag Platform

  • Those who want to mount their own speed bag.
  • Folks who are building out a home or garage gym to include boxing or combat equipment.
  • Anyone aiming to improve their balance and rhythm via a mounted speed bag.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue Rig Mount Speed Bag Platform

  • Anyone primarily focused on improving leg strikes (a heavy bag or defense trainer is likely the better pick).

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Best Self Defense Trainer

This freestanding defense trainer features a life-like upper torso and head to help athletes better target their strikes, whether with fists, knees, elbows, or feet. The high-strength plastisol body is filled with urethane foam, and the polyethylene base holds up to 270 pounds of water or sand for better stability. The base is rounded so users can roll it for easier repositioning. It includes multiple height settings to match a variety of users’ needs.

Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag
Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag
Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag

This punching bag measures 69 inches tall and 18 wide. It weighs 270 pounds fully loaded and sports a low-profile base. This bag is designed to remain standing even when receiving a barrage of punches, kicks, and various stikes.

Who Should Buy Century BOB XL

  • Those who want to hone in precision striking.
  • Folks who appreciate an adjustable height to train for different sized opponents.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Century BOB XL

  • Anyone who would prefer and hanging bag or speed bag.
  • Those who don’t want the torso and head appearance this defense trainer offers.

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How We Decided Our Picks

Punching bags may seem like simple pieces of fitness equipment, but they can be fairly complicated products. They need to be built to withstand loads of punishment from multiple angles without wearing out too quickly. Since there are different avenues to achieve that durability, manufacturers can produce many different kinds of punching bags with little in common other than their brand.

When shopping for a punching bag, users should try to understand the unique qualities of each offering, as marginal differences might make one product a better fit over another. Here are the factors we used in evaluating the top punching bags on the market.

Structure

A key difference that is plain to see between different punching bags is the structural quality of the product. That is to say; some products will hang from the ceiling using chains and hooks, while others will be ground-based. Hanging punching bags require a bit more complicated assembly process; many hire help install a hanging punching bag. Hanging bags can offer more lateral movement as it swings after strikes; this can be a facsimile of the movement in actual combat sports.

Freestanding punching bags are usually easier to set, often requiring their bases to be filled with sand or water, but no additional hardware or tools are needed for installation. Additionally, freestanding options are easier to relocate as there is no permanent structure to support them. These do not swing in the same way that hanging punching bags do but often will lean backward a bit after strikes, thus providing some kinetic resistance to train with.

Cost and Material

Punching bags can vary widely in price. Quintessential in determining the price of most punching bags will be the material they are made out of. Leather, vinyl, and imitation leather usually cost the most. Canvas bags tend to be the most affordable, as are any bags that are to be filled by the customer. These types of bags will need to be filled with items that create bulk but provide some softness. Common fill items are old clothes, garbage bags, sand, gravel, and sawdust. If filling the bag with clothes, users should take buttons and zippers off of the clothing if possible.

Freestanding bags also tend to be a bit more expensive than the hanging variety. These need to have a more durable structure to withstand impact while staying upright. Some freestanding bags use the weight of sand or water to keep them grounded, while others use suction devices. However, the material is still likely to be the biggest factor in pricing.

Punching Bag
Image via Shutterstock/LightField Studios

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What To Consider Before Buying

Where will you put the bag? One of the drawbacks of the hanging punching bag is creating a semi-permanent place for it to live and install the requisite hardware. This will need to be installed securely lest the bag becomes unstable after a strike and possibly damage property or even cause injury. Some bags have quite sturdy bases that may be difficult to move after installation. When combined with hundreds of pounds of sand or water, punching bags with suction buttons may be tough to move. Other bags have designs that allow them to be rolled into storage if need be.

How much will you be using this bag? Some bags are designed to last longer than others. The bags made out of leather tend to last the longest, while bags made out of canvas may deteriorate more quickly. Canvas may also be a bit harder on the user’s hands due to the more textured surface. The thicker and bigger the bag, the longer they tend to last. Users who are serious about boxing training and plan on utilizing their punching bags every week should probably opt for a more professional (and potentially more expensive) bag.

What discipline are you training in? If you are training in a specific combat art, different bags may offer more training possibilities. For example, if your discipline relies on low kicks and shin blocks, then a freestanding punching bag might be preferable. However, not all freestanding bags have components that can endure a strike in the lower part of their design. 

Some bags have adjustable heights or are just plain taller than other bags. These are better suited for exercises featuring high kicks and high strikes. Torso punching bags are the best-suited bags for self-defense training. Whichever option you decide on, hopefully, it will take you to the next level in the ring or octagon.