Category: Best Heavy Bags
Hunting for the Best Heavy Bags
Review & Rating Information
When testing and reviewing equipment we focus on all the equipment that will likely be used in a home gym or by those who are just getting started in the sport. There are heavy bags that cost hundreds of dollars and are professional grade. We don’t normally spend much time reviewing those as they usually aren’t in the price range of the people who visit KNUXX. Instead, we focus on the equipment that will be most beneficial to you at the best price. Below is a list of some of the things you should consider if you’re buying your first heavy punching bag. If you already know what to look for you can skip ahead to our top picks.
What you should look for in a heavy bag
Before we get into our top picks we want to spend some time discussing our rating criteria and what you should look for when you’re searching for a heavy bag. There are a few things you should consider when you are looking for the best heavy bag. These are the things you should consider when selecting the right bag for you. You want to select the right style of bag and the right weight first. Then you will consider the cover, the filler, portability, durability, price, and overall value for your money. For the purpose of this review, the different criteria were used to categorize and rank the various bags we tested. More weight was given to the actual functionality of the heavy bag and the value. If you’re looking for a classic heavy bag then you don’t really care about ANY of the pedestal bags so our ranking is organized accordingly. Let’s talk specifics:
Type of Bag
There are only a few different types of heavy bags available. They are the classic hanging heavy bag, the pedestal punching bag, and the Muay Thai bag. Within each of these categories there are some specialty bags (like teardrop heavy bags and uppercut bags) but that only matters as you get more experience and start looking to work specific techniques. So what’s the difference between the various options?
Classic Hanging Heavy Bag
The classic heavy bag is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a heavy punching bag that’s hung from the ceiling, a rack or a heavy bag stand. It’s most commonly used for working punching technique and building strength.
This is the type of bag you want if you are looking to just get a good punching workout and occasionally throw some mid-level and high kicks. These bags are usually around 40″ to 60″ in height and work great in most cases. They range from 50 to 150+ lbs. We’ll talk more about selecting the right heavy bag weight below.
Pedestal / Freestanding Heavy Bag
The pedestal heavy bag, or freestanding bag as they are sometimes called, is comprised of a heavy weighted base, a post surrounded by padding and a cover. Bases are usually filled with sand or water and help to control the rocking of the bag as you strike it. We recommend using water to fill your pedestal bags as it’s a bit lighter, less messy and more easily filled.
The biggest concern you should have when looking at freestanding bags is the padding and height. If the padding is sub-par then you will likely not enjoy working out with your bag – worse yet, you risk injury if you strike the bag and the padding gives way.
It’s best to find a bag with an adjustable height so you can work different strikes and techniques. Just keep in mind that the higher you put your pedestal bag the more leverage you have so it could topple over with a heavy punch or kick. These bags usually weigh upwards of 200-270 lbs and while they are “portable” they aren’t easily moved by just one person.
Muay Thai / Kickboxing / Banana Heavy Bag
One style of bag that has gained popularity is the Muay Thai bag. This is sometimes called a kickboxing bag, a banana bag, a low kick bag or a long bag. It’s new enough in the industry that it goes by several names as you can see!
As is implied by the name this bag is a longer version of a classic heavy bag, it’s usually hung in a similar fashion but is designed to allow for more variation in strikes. It’s perfect for working low kicks, mid kicks, high kicks, knees, punches, elbows and even more advanced strikes as the risk of missing is reduced.
If you plan on training MMA or kickboxing then you might be better off with a Muay Thai bag. However, you have to consider the space you have before purchasing as they run much longer – usually 5 – 7 feet in length and may go up to 250 lbs.
The second most important thing you need to consider when looking for a heavy bag is the weight – not just the weight of the bag, but also your weight and your experience level.
A good guide for heavy bags is to purchase a bag that is about 1/2 your weight. So, if you are 180 lbs you should look at a bag that is over 90 lbs. This is just a quick gauge. If you are more experienced or a heavy puncher then you want a heavier bag in most cases.
That doesn’t mean that a smaller/lighter bag won’t work for you, it just means you have to identify your goals when selecting the weight. If you’re limited on space and you’re only looking to get some cardio in with your heavy bag then a 50 or 70 pound bag might work well for you. Most bags come in 50, 70, 90, 100 and 150 pound versions. There are some bags that go up to over 400 lbs but those aren’t practical for home use so we don’t review those.
In our opinion, the second most important thing to consider when shopping for a heavy bag is the cover. You want a cover that is heavy duty and durable. After all, this is the one item that has to stand up to the abuse that you will be shelling it with for months to come. There are three primary types of cover materials; leather, vinyl, and canvas. Each shell has its strengths and weaknesses but generally speaking, leather is preferred.
As we said, all things being equal, leather is the preferred shell material for a heavy bag. Leather, being a natural material, is extremely durable so long as it’s thick enough and stitched together correctly.
Most punchers like leather because of the feeling you get when you punch it. It’s consistent, supple and gives just enough to feel real. There are a couple of drawbacks to leather, however – it’s usually more expensive and it some cases it won’t last as long as a synthetic material. It’s unknown if this is because leather bags get used more because they’re preferred or if it’s because it breaks down faster.
Vinyl / Polyvinyl
Synthetic shells have come a long way over the years. Many of the vinyls out there today are just as durable as any other material out there. Vinyl covers usually have a cloth mesh backing and are designed to be extremely durable.
Because they’re man-made they usually cost less. Vinyl bags will still give you a great punching experience and you might even feel better about beating them up! Some manufacturers give their vinyl shells fancy names or call them polycanvas. Basically they’re all the same material (branding works!).
The cheapest cover material is canvas. It’s fairly durable but not usually the preferred material for professionals or experienced fighters. Canvas can be fairly stiff and rough. You MUST use training gloves or bag gloves at a minimum when punching on a canvas bag.
The benefit of this material is that it makes for a really inexpensive heavy bag. You can pick up some canvas bags, unfilled, for less than $40 in many cases. But, due to our biases, and the fact that vinyl is so good now, we don’t usually recommend canvas bags.
Best of the HEAVY
Below are links to our best-of articles for heavy bags organized by category.
We tested the best heavy bags available online and in stores. Select an article category below and read the results!