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Updated June 2022
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Buying guide for Best sandbags

If you live near the water or in a flood zone, you’re well aware of the importance of having sandbags. They’re designed with durability in mind, as their weather resistance is a priority. Sandbags are made from tough materials that can withstand up to several months of direct sunlight. When stacked together, they form an almost impenetrable wall against incoming water. Home is where the heart is, which is why sandbags are an essential investment if you’re in a vulnerable area.

In addition to flood protection, sandbags can also be helpful in fitness and home improvement projects. Their durability is complemented by versatility, so you can train hard with sandbags, or you can use them to secure lightweight items in your backyard. Considering the list of possible uses for sandbags, it’s a good idea to have some in your home just in case a need arises.

We assembled this definitive guide to sandbags so you can choose the right ones to handle your household or training needs.

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If you’re building a flood wall with sandbags, keep in mind that some stacking styles are more effective than others. A deciding factor in stacking style is your intended height. The higher the wall, the more reinforcement it needs.

Key considerations

How can I use sandbags?

  • Flood protection: Sandbags are most commonly known for their role in flood protection. Once filled with sand, they are stacked on top of each other to build a wall around your home. Even if you don’t live in a flood zone, sandbags are helpful during the rainy season to prevent water from accumulating in front of your garage or shed. Because garage and shed doors aren’t usually flush with the ground, they prevent water from seeping into these areas — which means you could save yourself the labor and cost of pumping water out after a storm.

  • Fitness: If you’re interested in pushing your training to the max, sandbags are the ideal fitness equipment to challenge you. Deadlifts and carries build strength, balance, and core stability. Because the sand shifts around in the bag, instability makes it harder to hold — which means you’ll need to engage your whole body to avoid dropping it. That’s what makes it such an effective and fun addition to a resistance training program. In fact, if you plan on completing an obstacle course race like the Tough Mudder or the Spartan, some of the challenges could include sandbag carries.

  • Home improvement: Sandbags can secure lightweight umbrella bases and patio furniture, minimizing the chance of these pieces blowing away during a storm. They are also ideal for setting up a dedicated play area or sandbox for children. Stack a couple of bags on top of each other, and they’ll have enough room to sit on the bags as well.

Expert Tip
For weighing down objects, consider placing a standard brick in a bag. It does the job without the risk of sand leaking.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert


There is a degree of uniformity when it comes to sandbags. For the most part, the common size is 14” by 26”, though some manufacturers make an assortment of larger sizes. If you think 14” by 26” doesn’t sound big enough, keep in mind you’ll be carrying these bags, and they are filled with quite a bit of weight. The standard size is the most manageable for one person to handle, especially if the sandbag is filled to capacity.


When it comes to 14” by 26” sandbags, you can expect them to hold up to 50 pounds of sand. You could fill them with less sand depending on your needs, but keep in mind you’ll need to close off the bag closer to where the sand is. If you try to seal an under-filled bag at the same place on top, the sand will move around and won’t centralize its weight — which defeats the whole purpose of a sandbag.

UV inhibitor

Many polypropylene sandbags are engineered to have UV inhibitors, which means they’re treated with chemicals that prevent them from deteriorating in direct sunlight. On average, these sandbags can last up to six months in direct sunlight before their integrity is compromised. After that, you’ll need to change out your sandbags or get rid of them. (Hopefully, you won’t need them after that amount of time.)

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For your safety
Sandbags are heavy, so it’s important to lift them using strength from your legs and not your back. Proper lifting techniques will reduce the likelihood of injuries. If you are using sandbags larger than the common 14” by 26” size, you may want to ask a second person for help.



Sandbags require tight, secure closures so sand doesn’t leak from them. It’s especially important when you’re stacking the bags on their sides, as an under-secured bag could simply open and pour out. Some sandbags come with closures, which could be packaged in a separate bag or sewn into the bag in a drawstring style. There’s usually a great deal of string, as it’s intended to be wrapped multiple times for a proper seal.

Expert Tip
Grab a large funnel to help make filling the bags faster and less messy.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert


  • Polypropylene: The majority of sandbags are made of polypropylene. It’s an inexpensive material for manufacturers to produce, which keeps the consumer cost down. Polypropylene is a non-porous woven plastic that keeps out moisture and repels water. Some bags are higher in quality than others; thicker bags are generally the strongest.

  • Burlap: Burlap sandbags are seen less often, though they’re still preferred by some. They’re naturally sturdy, but their weave is much looser than that of polypropylene bags. As a result, it’s advised to fill burlap bags with gravel or all-purpose sand, as regular sand is too fine and will leak through the weave.

Sandbag prices

We compared the price of sandbags in 10-count packages and found that they cost between $10 and $30.


At the low end, between $10 and $12, you’ll find polypropylene sandbags which sometimes come with their own tie strings.


In this range, sandbags cost between $13 and $15 and occasionally come in more than one color.


At the top of the range, generally closer to the $30 mark, are burlap sandbags that feature additional security stitching and could be filled with contents other than sand, such as gravel or stones.


  • Purchase tarps at the same time. If you’re preparing for flood season and plan on purchasing sandbags, pick up plastic tarps at the same time. You’ll need these for an added layer of protection beneath the bags.

  • Go for olive green. If you need to keep sandbags around your yard during home improvements but don’t want the eyesore, stick with olive green bags. They blend in with the grass and are barely noticeable.

  • Buy burlap bags for projects. If you want to use burlap for an arts and crafts project, it could be less expensive to simply buy a package of burlap sandbags. You’ll get plenty of material that could be cheaper than buying it as roll.

  • Check with sanitation for proper disposal. Once your sandbags have weathered a storm, they could be considered contaminated or polluted by the sanitation department. Check with their disposal regulations regarding used sandbags. Some municipalities have dedicated disposal sites for them.
Expert Tip
Use a small hand truck to transport several bags at a time to spare your back.
BestReviews Home Improvement and DIY Expert
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If you’re making sandbags for fitness training, fill multiple bags at once, all with different weights. You’ll have a full-scale “weight rack” of sandbags. There will be enough variety to challenge yourself when you’re ready to take on more weight.


Q. I’m unable to weigh the sand for my sandbags, so how will I know when I’ve reached 50 pounds?

A. Load up your sandbag between half and two-thirds full. This amount generally hovers in the the 40-pound or 50-pound range. If you try to fill it to the top, the sandbag won’t be able to close properly and could be at risk for leaking or bursting.

Q. If the tie rope included with my sandbags is too flimsy, what could I use instead?

A. You could purchase a better grade of polypropylene rope. There are variations in thickness, so to avoid breaking the rope when tying it, opt for one on the thicker side. Alternatively, you could try doubling up thinner rope.

Q. How many sandbags do I need to protect my garage/door/home against flood or rain?

A. To determine this, you’ll need the exact measurement of the perimeter of the area. Once you have that, you also need to anticipate how high you need to build the wall. There are various equations available online to help you calculate your measurements and any variables. If you’re concerned about getting the right number of sandbags, talk to your local department of emergency management. They are equipped to make recommendations, especially if you’re in a flood zone.

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