Updated July 2022
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Buying guide for Best punching bags

Remember when Rocky punched a side of beef in order to prepare for a big fight? You don’t have to visit your local meat market to find what you need in a punching bag. While the product space has certainly become specialized, all punching bags serve the same basic purpose: they provide a safe target on which users can practice punches, kicks, chops, and all other sorts of MMA fighter-type mayhem.

Whatever your budget, age range, and size, there are plenty of suitable options to choose from. To narrow the field, we at BestReviews delved into the world of punching bags and came up with a shortlist of five of the best punching bags on today’s market, and we’re proud to present them in this shopping guide.

If you’re ready to buy a punching bag, please see our recommendations. If you’d like to learn more about punching bags in general, please continue reading this shopping guide.

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For those who want to find a way to channel stress, long commutes, or a bad day at work, a punching bag is safer and far less dangerous (and expensive) than slamming your hand through the wall.

Choosing a bag

Imagine a 5’2”, 110-pound warrior and a 250-pound heavyweight fighter. Logically, this pair would not choose the same punching bag for their training or exercise. Here are some tips to finding the one that best suits your needs:

Bag types

  • Speed bags are round and hang from a stand. Also called speedballs, these products are used to practice footwork as well as punching.
  • Swerve bags are similar to speed bags, but they are attached to a base at the bottom and a hook at the top. When stuck, they react by moving toward the user. These are used to work on footwork and coordination.
  • Heavy bags like the Everlast Heavy 70-Pound MMA Bag on our shortlist hang from a rope or hook and are used to develop punches and kicks.
  • Pedestal bags sit on a pedestal, just as the name suggests. They do not hang from a hook. The way a pedestal bag is mounted allows for greater adjustability to different heights.
  • Body opponent bags are shaped like a human. These mannequin-style bags, which include the Century Bob XL on our list, provide a full-sized adjustable target. Made of various forms of plastic, they are bolted to a stand so they can move up and down for the practice of various striking techniques.

Bag size

  • As a rule of thumb, the right bag for kids up to 110 pounds should weigh no more than 50 pounds.
  • The most popular bags come in 85-pound and 110-pound sizes. These bags work well for those between 125 and 180 pounds.
  • Experienced, non-heavyweight fighters tend to find the most satisfaction with 150-pound bags.
  • Heavyweights — those who weigh more than 220 pounds — tend to prefer punching bags that weigh 200-250 pounds.
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Did you know?
In honor of his girlfriend who died of cancer, Kaveh Fatemian of the UK hit a punching bag for 52 consecutive hours (July 3-5, 2014).

Safety tips

Users should take precautions in order to use a their punching bag safely, including the following:

Always wear gloves

In order to avoid the ER and minimize your odds of spending weeks in a cast, the right boxing gloves are essential. You have many choices, but whatever you select, there should be many layers of cushioning to absorb the shock of hitting the bag.

Wear hand wraps

Hand wraps offer an added layer of protection under boxing gloves. They can also be used on the feet in kickboxing. Hand wraps increase your punching power and further protect your hands. Hand wraps are inexpensive, and come in flexible fabric and more rigid fabric varieties. There are lots of online video tutorials on how to wrap your hands correctly for boxing.

Those who practice martial arts and MMA fighting without gloves may still wish to wear hand wraps on their bare hands and feet.

Stay in touch with your feet, legs, and core muscles

Although punching involves your arms and hands, your stability and strength originate lower down on the body. Keep your feet securely planted, and be mindful of your supportive leg muscles and rotating core as you practice.

Exhale and relax your mouth and face as you punch

Some people inadvertently clench their teeth and hold their breath when they practice. This can tighten the muscles in your face and scalp, leading to a bad headache later on.

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Expert Tip
We recommend you opt for boxing gloves with an outer layer of leather and some kind of foam or neoprene inside. These components help absorb the weight of the bag as you punch. Because fingers and knuckles are especially vulnerable, the gloves should sport extra padding in these areas.


Under $50

Often made of canvas, these cheaper punching bags tend to be a bit smaller than more expensive ones, but they can still be very durable. You may have to fill a bag in this price range yourself.

Under $100

This is the price point where you start to see lots of high-quality heavy bags. Cost varies depending on the size and weight of the bag, as well as the outer material. Canvas tends to wear out faster than some other materials. At such, canvas bags can run $10 to $15 less than those made of denser materials.

Over $100

For serious training, especially in martial arts where a variety of kicks and punches are practiced, a life-sized dummy/mannequin is ideal. You can find this type of punching bag in this price range. You also will find the heaviest punching bags here. These bags are made for experienced fighters who are likely to practice several times a day.

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Punching bags are not just for boxers anymore. Martial arts and kickboxing students, soccer players, and even those just looking for a high-impact exercise routine find value in punching bags.


Q. What are the pros and cons of a water-filled punching bag?

A. Because of their weight, users must give careful consideration to where they hang a water-filled bag. Furthermore, the fill process can be troublesome when it comes time to seal the bag; too much pressure on the fill cap can result in a tear.

On the other hand, some owners claim that a water-filled bag absorbs the blows of a punch better than other bags, resulting in less impact on the bones and joints.

Q. What are some tips on how to properly use a punching bag?

A. When punching the bag, keep your balance by avoiding leaning into the bag. Do not take long breaks between punches; the most you should wait is two seconds per set. Each set should consist of between three and six punches.

Q. I can’t decide whether to fill the base with water or sand. Which is better?

A. Both filler types have their pros and cons. If you choose to fill a base with water, there’s always the potential for a leak. However, water may be easier to physically manipulate than sand. If you go the sand route, keep in mind that it will weigh a lot more than water and may cause a mess when you’re filling and emptying the base.

Q. I want to buy a punching bag, but I don’t want to set it up myself. How can I get help?

A. There may be a local professional in your area who could set up your punching bag. Some punching bags, when ordered through Amazon, can be purchased with a “Professional Assembly” benefit.

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