Punching bags are popular pieces of training equipment for a variety of individuals. From those practicing forms of combat, martial arts, and defense to those hoping to work on their agility and strength training, there’s a punching bag for your needs in this list. Punching bags can utilize several muscle groups ranging from the core, upper body, lower body, and back. They’re also great to simply get a good cardio workout in or blow off some steam. There are several different styles of punching bags that most of the leading brands base their equipment on — such as heavy bags, speed bags, and Muy Thai bags.
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 punching bags for a variety of needs and situations.
Best Punching Bags
- Best Hanging Punching Bag: Everlast Heavy Thai Leather Bag
- Best Heavy Punching Bag: Outslayer 100lb Heavy Bag
- Best Freestanding Punching Bag: Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag
- Best Speed Bag: Everlast Standard Leather Speed Bag
- Best Speed Bag Platform: Everlast Speed Bag Kit
- Best Self Defense Trainer: Century BOB XL
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
Hanging punching bags have been a staple of striking training for decades, and they’ve come a long way from the old duffle bags filled with whatever people could find. Now, high quality leather and shock absorbing material comprise heavy bags. For a diverse heavy bag that can take a variety of strikes, see our pick for best hanging punching bag — the Everlast Heavy Thai Leather Bag.
Everlast Heavy Thai Leather Bag
This heavy bag from Everlast features a shell made from premium leather that protects a blended filler which provides shock absorption for even the strongest strikes. Measuring six feet long, the Everlast heavy Thai leather bag provides a great target for both upper and lower body strikes. If you don’t want the bag to swing too much, the bottom features a double-loop for anchoring to reduce swing.
You can both punch and kick thanks to the 13.5 inch diameter that’s meant to absorb heavy kicks. This hanging bag includes a strong chain assembly, but if you’re a heavy hitter you may want to get a locking carabiner as the one that comes with it may break from excessive swinging. You can do nearly any type of striking with this versatile hanging punching bag from Everlast.
Measuring six feet long and 13.5 inches in diameter, this hanging bag is meant to absorb heavy strikes of all kinds. The outer shell is premium leather that surrounds a blended shock absorbing material inside to make for comfortable yet firm striking feedback.
Who Should Buy the Everlast Heavy Thai Leather Bag
- Folks who want a hanging bag that can accommodate both upper and lower body strikes in the form of punches and kicks.
- If you’re a strong striker, the 100 pound weight will give welcome resistance and swing less than lighter hanging bags.
- Those who prefer a hanging punching bag instead of a standing bag. This comes with the mounting hardware included.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the Everlast Heavy Thai Leather Bag
- Athletes who are on a budget may want to look for more budget-friendly options as this bag is more expensive than other options.
- If you’re looking for just a punching bag this one from Everlast is built for punches and kicks.
- Lightweight strikers may want a less heavy punching bag so that they can get swinging easier.
This hanging punching bag from Everlast is not only a punching bag, but a heavy bag that can accommodate all your striking needs. Made from premium leather and a shock absorbing blended filler, this hanging bag will be comfortable to hit for a long time — up to a decade even with regular use.
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Best Heavy Punching Bag
Heavy bags are great for developing striking power because they generally offer the most resistance of any punching bag. You can unload your biggest and heaviest shots or work on precision power punches without fear of retaliation or catching a nasty counter punch. This heavy punching bag cuts down on the swing and is built to last at least a decade. Meet the Outslayer 100 pound heavy bag.
Outslayer 100lb Heavy Bag
The Outslayer 100 pound heavy bag is great for improving power and endurance for both boxing and mixed martial arts thanks to its long length coming in at 55 inches long. This punching bag is heavy enough to withstand even your toughest workouts thanks to the heavy duty vinyl covering. Outslayer filled this bag with fabric instead of the more commonly used sand for a person-like density that won’t have sinking or hollow spots. For folks that like color coordinating your equipment, you can choose from seven different colors
To hang this heavy bag, heavy-duty nylon straps attach from the bag to the stand or ceiling hook you’re using. Nylon takes the place of chains in order to reduce noise and prevent tangling. Quadruple backstitching ensures this bag can stand up to repeated heavy strikes for many years and Outslayer is confident of that, so they give you a ten-year warranty. If anything happens to your bag, they’ll send you a replacement. This bag may be more pricey than some other similar options, but the quality and durability make this worth it.
If you want a heavy bag that can take all you can throw at it and ask for more, the Outslayer 100 pound heavy bag is the one for you. Weighing 100 pounds and hanging from tough nylon straps to reduce noise, this 55-inch bag is filled with fabric to feel more like a person and reduce sinking and hollow spots.
Who Should Buy the Outslayer 100lb Heavy Bag
- Folks who want a more person-like bag to practice heavy strikes without fear of getting counterpunched. The filling in this bag feels more natural than sand.
- Athletes who want to build their punching strength and power will appreciate the heavy resistance this bag offers.
- Those who are strong strikers. Outslayer made this bag quite heavy at 100 pounds to reduce swing and feel similar to making contact with a real opponent.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the Outslayer 100lb Heavy Bag
- Athletes who are on a budget may want to explore other less expensive options. This bag is of great quality, but more expensive than many other bags on the market.
- Anyone looking to improve their speed may be better off with a speed bag that can help improve hand turnover rather than a heavy bag that’s meant to improve power.
- Folks who want a heavy bag that comes with a stand. This one is compatible with stands, but you’ll have to purchase one separately.
This heavy punching bag from Outslayer can take all the strikes you’re able to throw at it and swing back for more. At 100 pounds and 55 inches long, it can accommodate heavy strikes from both punches and kicks, not to mention elbows and knees. Choose from your favorite of seven different colors and start improving your striking power with the Outslayer heavy bag that will last you a decade or longer.
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Best Freestanding Punching Bag
Freestanding bags are great tools for practicing your strikes and combos on a more stationary target that won’t swing around on you. They’re great for learning new combinations and practicing new strikes or kicks since you don’t have to incorporate movement or accommodate for the swing of the bag. They stand freely thanks to a base that’s usually filled with sand, water, or some other heavy material. Our pick for best freestanding bag is a great tool for strikers of all skill levels —the Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag.
Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag
This freestanding bag stands 69 inches tall (nice) with a diameter of of 18 inches to accommodate multiple types of training. The slim, low-profile base offers the ability to still get close to the bag for different combinations and practicing closing the distance or getting some room between you and your opponent. You can weigh the Wavemaster XXL down with approximately 270 pounds of sand or water to reduce its movement.
If you’re looking to learn new combos or practice new types of strikes, having the weighed down base of this bag helps. It doesn’t move as much as a hanging heavy bag can help so you don’t have to worry about incorporating movement, just the strikes. The high-density foam surrounded by a tough vinyl cover makes for a solid striking surface that isn’t too hard but doesn’t cave in. Choose between either red or blue when you order.
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 will like that this bag is freestanding.
- Anyone who wants to move their punching bag more easily around their home gym. When not loaded, this bag can be moved around fairly easily..
- People who want a denser, heavier target to practice power punches or new combinations at full force.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Century Wavemaster XXL Training Bag
- Folks who don’t have much floor space since this bag works best with space available on all sides.
- Anyone who wants a shorter bag. Standing 69 inches tall, this bag is on the taller side of the market
- Anyone who’s on a budget may want to look for more cost-effective options.
The ultra-stable freestanding bag from Century can be weighed down so you can practice even your hardest strikes without worry of the bag tipping. With high-density foam covered by a durable vinyl cover this bag is meant to last a long time. Added height measuring 69 inches tall with 52 inches of that space being the bag allows you to practice boxing and mma styles of striking.
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Best Speed Bag
Speed bags are a common tool in any boxer’s repertoire. Not only are they fun to use and look cool, but they’re great for building hand-eye coordination. Many boxers swear by speed bags to help build their shoulder muscle stamina and endurance, though they were originally designed to learn hand trapping techniques and improve explosive power. For a perfectly weighted and smooth feeling speed bag that you can get into a good rhythm with, check out our pick for best speed bag — the Everlast Leather Speed Bag.
Everlast Leather Speed Bag
This speed bag from Everlast is made from premium grade leather for the most durability and functionality. The seams feature reinforced stitching for extra strength and longevity. You’ll find this speed bag from Everlast to be well-balanced with a consistent and predictable rebound for training hand speed and accuracy.
Looking to improve shoulder endurance? Training sessions with this speed bag from Everlast will help prevent your hands from dropping and arms from feeling heavy when you get late into rounds. Keeping your chin protected at all times may be easier with practice on the Everlast speed bag. Choose the right size for you — either medium or large. The medium size measures nine inches by six inches and the large size measures ten inches by seven inches.
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 Leather Speed Bag
- Those who are looking to improve their shoulder endurance or hand-eye coordination will find this speed bag’s balance particularly helpful.
- Anyone who wants to practice their boxing skills with limited space will like that this doesn’t take up a lot of room.
- People who have problems with endurance as matches go on. This is a great way to improve shoulder endurance.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Everlast Leather Speed Bag
- Folks who are looking for ways to improve their body striking or kicks will want to look for a different type of bag.
- Anyone who wants to practice leg kicks or any type of striking except head punches.
- Athletes who want to improve the power of their punches may want to look at heavy bag options instead.
Whether you’re looking to improve your hand speed, coordination, or just have some fun this speed bag from Everlast is built to be durable and stand up to daily practice. Used regularly, this product is a great option to help improve shoulder endurance, keep your defense sharp, and jabs snappy even during long rounds or deep into a bout.
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Best Speed Bag Platform
If you don’t already have a platform that you hang a speed bag off of or a dedicated boxing area, then it’ll help to get a speed bag that comes with a platform. This kit has all you need to get started taking your hand skills to the next level.
Everlast Speed Bag Kit
So you want to get started boxing at home and improving your skills, but you’re starting from scratch. Everlast has the perfect solution with their speed bag kit. The kit comes with a 24 inch platform to which the speed bag attaches. Measuring 11 inches by eight inches, this durable vinyl bag is attached to a buttery smooth swivel so you can change angles and directions with ease.
Speed bags are great ways to build shoulder endurance and improve hand turnover speed, but you can also get some good cardio training with the included jump rope. When you’re ready to hit the speed bag, wrap up with the included hand wraps and strap on the bag gloves that come with the kit and you’re ready to start training.
If you’re ready to take your boxing skills to the next level then this speed bag kit from Everlast has all you need to get a great training session in. You can mount the 24 inch platform, attach the speed bag to the smooth swivel, and get after it. When you’re done with skill training you can grab the included jump rope and get some cardio in.
Who Should Buy Everlast Speed Bag Kit
- Those who want to get their boxing area set up and would like to start relatively small. This is a good way to get your space started.
- Anyone who wants to improve their hand speed and shoulder endurance.
- People who are on a budget but still want to get started practicing boxing will like the value of this speed bag kit from Everlast.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Everlast Speed Bag Kit
- Folks who are looking to improve their punching or kicking power will want to check out other options on this list.
- Anyone who wants to practice body punches may want to get another bag on this list.
- Athletes who already have hand wraps, gloves, or a jump rope may want to get just a speed bag instead of the kit.
When you’re ready to get started with setting up your boxing area, this Everlast speed bag kit is a great option to get started. It allows you to start small and build out while still giving you enough tools to get a solid skill and cardio workout in. The 24 inch platform gives you plenty of room to work without taking up space unnecessarily. You can’t go wrong with this kit from Everlast.
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Best Self Defense Trainer
Self defense is important to know, but the lessons and techniques can fade quickly without regular practice. Punching bags are helpful, but not close enough to simulate the real thing. Sparring partners are great too, but you have to (or at least should) pull your punches. For a close simulation of the real thing that you can hit full force check out the Century BOB XL.
Century BOB XL
The Century BOB XL is a freestanding self defense trainer that features a life-like head and torso intended to help athletes improve their strikes of all kinds — fists, knees, elbows, or feet. High-strength plastisol covers the body and is filled with dense urethane foam. The sturdy base can hold up to 270 pounds of either sand or water so this target will stay stable even under a heavy barrage of strikes.
The BOB XL is height adjustable and can go from 60 inches tall to 82 inches tall to help you practice against a range of heights. The target itself is 40 inches tall by 15.5 inches wide and 10.5 inches deep. You’ll receive a one-year warranty on your BOB XL, but this durable training target is designed to last for years thanks to the quality materials.
If you’re ready to start simulating real self defense strikes on a life-like target then the Century BOB XL is what you need. Adjustable from 60 inches to 82 inches tall, this target can help you practice on a range of opponent heights. The tough plastisol body surrounding urethane foam can take all the punches, kicks, elbows, and knees you can throw at it.
Who Should Buy Century BOB XL
- Those who want to practice self defense techniques on a more realistic target will like the life-like features of the BOB XL.
- Taller athletes will appreciate the height adjustability from 60 inches to 82 inches.
- Mixed martial arts practitioners who want a bag they can practice a variety of full-force strike types against.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Century BOB XL
- Folks who are on a budget may want to look for a more cost-effective option since these can be more pricey than a regular heavy bag, though they provide more life-like training.
- Anyone who is looking to improve their hand speed or coordination may want to opt for a speed bag instead.
- Athletes who are just doing boxing or martial arts training as a form of cardio can likely get away with a regular heavy bag.
With the Century BOB XL, you can get more realistic training and have more striking surface for body shots, kicks, and other strikes. The rounded base makes for easy relocation when you’re done training and you can adjust the height to practice kicking or punching at an opponent who’s nearly seven feet tall. For a self defense training tool that closely resembles the real thing, the Century BOB XL is the way to go.
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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.
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.
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What To Consider Before Buying
There are a few things to take into account before finally placing an order for your punching bag. Where you’ll be placing and using the bag is one of the most important things to consider, and you should figure that out first because it can influence the rest of the factors. How much you’re going to use the bag is also important.
If you’re getting the bag for fun to use once or twice a week versus daily training will likely make a difference in your choice. Something that may seem obvious but still needs to be thought about is your training discipline. If you’re training for boxing, then a speed bag will be far more beneficial to you than someone who’s looking to fight in Taekwondo. Read through the explanations below for a more in depth understanding of what to consider.
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.
Punching bags make great tools for not only improving your striking, but having a solid workout too. Whether you want to work on hand speed, striking power, precision, boost your confidence, or just get a good sweat going — we’ve got what you need on this list. Take some time to run through your goals both short and long term before making your purchase and you’ll likely be happy with the outcome. Whatever punching bag you decide on, it’ll be a useful tool to take your skills to the next level and beyond. Now, let’s get to it.
What type of punching bag is best for me?
The type of punching bag that’s best for you comes down to a few different factors, including personal preference. Commonly, those who practice mixed martial arts or a specific martial arts discipline prefer longer and somewhat lighter bags around 70 pounds to be able to practice a variety of body part strikes like punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. Boxers may prefer regular heavy bags or speed bags. There’s no rule that says you have to practice on a certain type of bag, so go with what matches your goals and personal preferences.
Why are there so many different types of punching bags?
Just like there are so many different disciplines of martial arts and fighting styles, there are many different punching bags to accommodate those differences. Generally speaking, heavy bags are for improving power and practicing combos. Speed bags are usually utilized for improving hand speed, hand-eye coordination, and shoulder endurance. Life-like bags are mostly used for self-defense practice. If you can, try a variety of punching bags and see which is right for you.
Do I have to wear special protection when hitting my punching bag?
You should always at least wraps your hands and wrists to help prevent injury. On top of that, boxing gloves in a heavier weight somewhere around 14-18 ounces are good idea for training because they provide extra cushion and protection to help prevent injury. Mixed martial arts gloves can also be used when practicing other striking, but ensure you get a heavier set with more padding for training as well — somewhere between eight to 12 ounces.