Best Free Standing Punching Bags
Photo via Century Martial Arts

Gear Guide: Best Free Standing Punching Bags

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No question, traditional heavy bags are the preferred equipment for boxing and MMA training. Heavy bags are great for developing power, speed, and footwork. They work great in a gym environment, where the heavy duty mounting requirements can easily be met.

What if someone wants to bring their training home or your gym has limited space to properly hang those massive heavy bags? The answer is free standing punching bags. A free standing heavy bag is a punching bag mounted onto a round base, which is filled with a ballast material like sand, gravel, or water.

The advantage to this design is that it is far easier to move around whenever needed. They are ideal for small gyms, home gyms, and for use outdoors. Continue reading for a complete roundup of the top free standing punching bags.

Advantages and Benefits

No Mounting Required – This is perhaps the biggest reason to buy a free standing punching bag. Brackets, bracing, and big bolts are required to safely mount a hanging heavy bag into a ceiling. Even the most compact heavy bag stands still requires you put together a big metal support system. A free standing bag only requires the user to fill the base with ballast like sand for stability.

Portability & Convenience – Because there is no mounting needed, a free standing bag can be moved almost anywhere you want it to be on that day. You can roll it into a corner or a closet when you are done, or you can roll it outside the garage to get an outdoor workout in.

Filling the base with water makes it easier to drain and move up and down flights of stairs. Sand is much heavier and harder to completely get out of the base. Keep this in mind when initially filling your punching bag base.

Are there any drawbacks?

The most obvious “Con” to using a free standing heavy bag is the fact they simply aren’t as substantial as a traditional hanging heavy bag. Stronger people may find they can too easily knock the bag over unless they let off their punches and kicks. This seems to defeat the purpose of the punching bag, so by recognizing this limitation, you can quickly understand if a standing heavy bag is the best option for you. For many people, it won’t be a concern at all, and these top standing punching bags will be fantastic additions to the home gym.

10 Best Free Standing Punching Bags

Here are the Top 10 Free Standing Punching Bags. There are a few different styles and sizes in this list, so take some time to review their differences. All of these are good bags, and will make a good punching bag.

  • Punch/Kick – A full-length punching bag suitable for punching and kicking.
  • Punch/Grapple – A punching bag designed to tip over and lead into grappling work.
  • Fitness – A punching bag designed for cardio and aerobics, not necessarily heavy striking.

*Our Score is a a composite score based on reviews at multiple retailers, combined with our own research and experience.

Let’s look closer at the top punching bags of each type. We’ve highlighted three of the top bags for fitness use and three of the best for regular punching and kicking training.

1. Century Wavemaster XXL – Best Overall

The Wavemaster XXL is a solid free standing bag. Like the Ringside Elite, the base will weight up to 270 pounds filled with water or sand. The XXL isn’t spring loaded, but it does have a shock collar of sorts that sits in between the bag core and the base. This creates a more stationary boxing experience compared to the Ringside, which some people find to be more satisfying to hit.

The base sliding issue can be fixed with sand instead of water and using rubber matting instead of carpet or cement. There are some good assembly instructions on YouTube to show you how to properly seat the screw core into the base. The Wavemaster XXL is such a popular standing punching bag that we wrote a full review here.

Bottom Line – When comparing the Wavemaster XXL Pro and the Ringside Elite, it’s a tough call as to which is ‘best’. Both are excellent standup punching bags, but they have completely different kinds of action when punched or kicked.

Also Good

  • Century Wavemaster 2XL Pro – The 2XL Pro is an upgraded version of the popular Wavemaster XXL. Yes, the names are easily confused. The 2XL Pro has a locknut on top of the bag to prevent unscrewing from the base. It is also only available from Century. The other differences are cosmetic. The 2XL Pro has the bright white vertical lettering and a tapered base that makes low kicks possible.

2. Ringside Elite Standing Punching Bag

The Ringside Elite is one of the most stable free standing punching bags made. It’s designed with a big 32″x10″ base, with a low center of gravity that can weight up to 270 pounds when filled with water or sand. Other bags have similar capacities; it’s the way the bag connects to the base that is different.

The Elite bag has a spring loaded core that allows the bag to absorb the blows rather than have the base slide. This also means there is more sway on the bag when hit. This may or may not be an issue for you depending on the type of training you like to do. Some people feel the bag sway helps them to work on their footwork.

One issue with this punching bag is the screws that attach the base to the spring collar tend to vibrate loose over time. Some nonpermanent Loctite on those screws will fix that. The other thing you might see is a squeaky spring. Just spray some WD40 or some Teflon lubricant spray to silence it.

At 6 foot 4 inches tall, the Ringside Elite is very tall for a standup punching bag. It makes a great bag for practicing a full range of Muay Thai moves as well as punches. If you want a tall punching bag that doesn’t slide on the floor, then seriously consider the Ringside Elite.

3. Century BOB and BOB XL – Most Realistic

The Century “Body Opponent Bag” is awesome for martial artists. The BOB XL is an ultra-realistic torso shaped punching bag. That makes it great for training and learning to strike different areas of an opponent. For that reason, many martial arts studios practice with B.O.B. XL punching dummies.

Like the other two top bags, the base is large enough for 270 pounds of water and sand. The base is similar to the Wavemaster bags. The design is easy to slide or roll the entire bag around the room for storage or for specific drills.

The BOB takes a punch like a champ. It doesn’t sway, slide, or give in to the impacts of repeated strikes. The plastisol body is firm so it’s important to wear good gloves while using it. The regular BOB is an all upper torso bag, while the BOB XL has a torso and upper legs for complete training options.

See our full review here.

4. Century Powerline Wavemaster

  • 2x foam density compared to Original Wavemaster
  • 8 height adjustments for maximum versatility

The Powerline Wavemaster takes everything that’s great about the popular Century Original Wavemaster and then takes it to the level. It features twice as much high-density foam as the original and is adjustable up to eight heights (from 47 inches to 68 inches) — making it suitable for any martial arts athlete. What’s more, is you can fill the base with water and/or sand for extra stability while training and easy roll relocation. When filled, the Century Powerline Wavemaster weighs about 270 pounds.

With its height versatility and durability, the Powerline Wavemaster is ideal for any type of martial arts athlete — from those who practice karate to tae kwon do to kickboxing. It’s available in blue, black or red to match the colors of any gym environment, and also comes with a one-year warranty. Tested rigorously, it’s undergone numerous martial arts quality tests and is purpose-built to stand up to even the most grueling of all workouts.

5. Century Original Wavemaster

  • An ideal fitness bag providing good resistance and a rapid rebound.
  • The ‘Original’ and most popular freestanding heavy martial arts bag from Century.

The name says it all. The Century Original Wavemaster is known as the ideal starter free-standing heavy bag, ideal for fitness and light martial arts training in many disciplines. Crafted with high-density foam and a rounded base for good resistance and rapid rebound, the Original Wavemaster is also seven-times adjustable. It features a rounded base, which makes it easy to move around the home gym or training gym. To help anchor it, it can be filled with either sand or water — and it weighs up to 270 pounds when full.

Ideal for practicing and perfecting kicks, punches, and strikes, you can’t go wrong with the Original Wavemaster, and seeing that there’s a one-year warranty on all Century training bags, there’s peace of mind when purchasing this product as well. Other specifications to know: The bag is 13 inches in diameter and 26 inches tall for an enhanced striking surface. The surface base is 24 inches in diameter and 19.5 inches tall. The Century Original Wavemaster is the best-selling, most popular bag from the brand.

  • Century Original Wavemaster – The original Wavemaster is a half-sized bag that can be adjusted in height. It is affordable and has the performance you would expect from a Century bag.

6. Century Versys Fight Simulator

  • Designed to be knocked over to practice combos leading into groundwork.
  • Best stand up punching bag for MMA work.

The Century Versys Fight Simulator is a good alternative to sparring with a fight partner. Its narrow footprint and easy maneuverability make this bag ideal for the home gym, particularly when it comes to conditioning, building endurance, mastering speed training and fine-tuning technique.

Whether you’re performing stand-up or ground training, the Century Versys VS.1 is the ideal choice. It weighs about 100 pounds when you take into consideration the pre-filled base, and it requires little to no assembly upon delivery to your home or location. All you’ll need to do is set it up and start training.

The Fight Simulator offers more than three times the striking surface of a typical bag. The base helps mimic a natural rebound, and the bag is also equipped with both top and bottom handles for athletes who want to fine-tune their technique. Throw it on the ground or work with it in the stand-up position, the variety of moves and techniques that you can practice with the Century Versys Fight Simulator are wide-ranging. Ideal for any type of martial arts athlete, this training bag can just about serve any purpose you desire.

See our Versys review here.

Free Standing Fitness Punching Bags

Fitness punching bags are smaller, lighter versions of the full sized punching bags. They are geared towards casual boxing workouts, with an emphasis on cardio workouts and ultimate portability.

7. Everlast PowerCore

  • An ideal bag for those looking to take their workout to the next level
  • Rounded design and high-quality chamber allow for a realistic feel

Are you a martial arts athlete looking to take your workout to the next level? The Everlast Power Core Bag could be just what the doctor ordered. The bag’s rounded design allows for athletes to move freely around it while training, thereby enabling a better cardio workout as well as leg conditioning.

When athletes strike the bag, it’s designed in a way to absorb the impact, while reducing movement and sliding. The base can be further anchored by adding either water or sand, which will bring its weight to 250 pounds and 370 pounds, respectively. Ideal for indoor use only, the height of the Everlast Power Core Bag is also adjustable from 54 inches up to 65 inches.

The Everlast Power Core Bag comes in a few different formats. There are the 2 Pack Power Core Bag and 4 Pack Power Core Bag for those who want to add more of this training accessory to their home or martial arts gyms. For a more active, reflexive workout, try the similar Omniflex punching bag (our review).

Other Options

  • Everlast Omniflex – Despite base screws that want to loosen up (lock washers fix it), the Omniflex is a decent lightweight punching bag. Strong punchers should skip this one.

8. Century Cardio Wavemaster

The Cardio (or Aerobic) Wavemaster has all the features of the bigger versions but in a smaller package. The base is smaller, the bag is smaller and shorter. For that reason, it’s a fitness bag, but it is still OK for mixed workouts with kickboxing and boxing moves, especially for beginners.

Since the base is smaller, it can only store up to 170 pounds of sand or water. Sand will require your patience to fill because you need to shake the base and let it settle into all the corners of the container. Water won’t have that tissue, but it will be lighter and prone to sliding

Like the regular Wavemaster, it doesn’t sway much, so you may want this one if you like the resistance it provides compared to the Ringside.

9. Ringside Fitness Punching Bag

This bag looks nearly identical to the Ringside Elite bag. The main difference is the smaller base, smaller striking surface, and it’s shorter by 10 inches. It is not designed for power punching, but for cardio training and aerobic fitness.

The base will weigh close to 140 pounds once filled with water or sand. The fill hole is smaller because of the smaller base. Take your time, use a funnel, and shake it around until you fill it right. The shell is constructed from durable vinyl, covering a thick foam core.

Remember, the Ringside bags have some sway to them, so use that as part of your workout routines. Mix up punches with kicks and footwork. As far as fitness punching bags go, the Ringside is a very smart choice.

10. Century Torrent T1 & T2 Pro

  • Ideal equipment for fight fitness training
  • Designed in a way so the bag bends more and base shifts less

Century’s Torrent T1 and T2 Pro bags help martial arts athletes get that great workout they yearn for when fine-tuning their technique isn’t as much of a focus. Yes, these bags are still ideal for practicing kickboxing and other strikes, but they’re both great bags when you just want to break off from your group and work out on your own. What’s more, is that the Torrent bags are designed with a patented locking system so that they can roll easily without coming undone for easy maneuverability. These bags are also versatile and ideal for both indoor and outdoor training.

The Century Torrent T1 bag is about 60 inches tall and 15 inches in diameter, while the Torrent T2 Pro is 67 inches tall with a 24-inch diameter base. Both weigh about 250 pounds when the base is filled to give it the stability necessary during your workout. Best of all, both bags can accommodate two martial arts athletes working out at the same time, so long as they’re on opposite sides of the bag from one another.  Read our review here.

Key Features to Look For

  • Design & Durability – The most common failures of cheap bags are a premature cover failure, base breaking, and cheap padding. Premium vinyl and thick foam padding should withstand years of use and is not an area to cheap out on. The bases on standing bags have improved dramatically over the years, being more stable, and less prone to cracking where the bag screws onto the base.
  • Stability & Resistance – You want to be able to unload near full power punches and kicks without the bag completely falling over. Some rocking and rolling is normal on this style of a punching bag, but not enough to disrupt your workout. Heavy hitters and power kickboxers should look elsewhere at traditional hanging heavy bags.
  • Adjustability – Height and base weight are all the adjustments possible. Height adjustment is important, matching the trainee to the proper height without punching up or down at the bag. Base weight can be adjusted by the amount of fill put in the base. If you like a little more sway in your punching bag, try lightening the load until it’s moving at the tempo you like.
  • Portability – Is the punching bag easily moveable? Can the base fill be easily emptied? These factors make moving the bag so much easier, especially if you ever have to move one of these things up or down a flight of stairs.
  • Good Warranty – Standing heavy bags cost a few hundred bucks, buying a reputable brand with a good warranty protects yourself from the unexpected. 90 days is common, but really good brands will many times have a 1yr limited warranty.

Setting Up Your Punching Bag

All standing punching bags have the same basic components. There is the plastic base that sits on the floor, a core with all the padding around it, and a neck or joint piece that connects the two together. The precise way they assemble varies by manufacturer, but their basic elements are the same.

What is the Best Base Fill Material? – People always wonder about the difference between sand vs water vs rock fill. If this is your first bag, fill it with water. If you will need to move it frequently, fill it with water.

If the bag tends to move and slide a bunch because you are too damn strong, then fill it with sand. Sand is heavier than water, but it is more difficult to empty if you have to move the punching bag up or down a flight of stairs.

Which Should you Buy?

When asked their preference, free standing vs heavy bag, nearly every experienced puncher will tell you the hanging heavy bag is superior to even the best free standing heavy bags. Heavy bags are simply more substantial and can take harder kicks and punches without sliding around the floor. However, they are not always the right choice for everyone.

If space and the ability to properly hang a bag on a structurally sound wall or ceiling beam are not options, which they aren’t for many people, then there is no reason a good free standing model can’t work for you. The simplicity, portability, and versatility of a free standing punching bag can easily make it the right choice.

*Last updated 2022-05-23 at 17:04 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Michael Sanchez

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