Century Stand Up Punchign Bags on a Yellow background
Photo via Century Martial Arts

The Best Free-Standing Punching Bags for Home Gyms

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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 structural 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 of this design is clear – versatility and portability. 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.

Top Picks – Free Standing Punching Bags

There are a few different styles and sizes to account for, so take some time to review their differences. All of these are great bags, and so long as your goals align with the type of punching bag, there is a perfect choice here for you. 

Model:Best For:
1. Century Wavemaster XXLEditor's Choice - Best Overall.
2. Ringisde Elite Punching BagMost stable base.
3. Century B.O.B. XL DummyMost realistic punching bag.
4. Century Powerline WavemasterMost adjustable height settings.
5. Century Torrent T1Premium bag with rebound capability.
6. Century Versys VS.1MMA
7. Century Original WavemasterBest selling, most popular Century bag.
8. Everlast PowerCoreHeaviest base for heavier punching.
9. Ringside Fitness Punching BagVersatile option for fitness and cardio.
10. Century Aerobic WavemasterLightweight fitness punching bag.

3 Types of Stand Up Punching Bags

  • 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.

How We Ranked the Bags

Wondering how we came up with our top picks for the best free-standing punching bags? Our finalists were all selected based on a number of considerations, including:

  1. Brand – Let’s face it, popular brands are popular for a reason. We selected our picks from well-established companies like Century, Ringside, and Everlast that have earned the trust of martial artists around the world.
  2. Firsthand experience – As martial artists ourselves, we understand that different fighters have different needs. That’s why we’ve included a broad range of punching bags for specialized uses.
  3. Features and Specs – Whether you plan to work out in a custom home gym or a garage gym, there is a bag style that will suit you well. We’ll also highlight the features that make each bag stand out.
  4. User sentiment – We’ve done plenty of research to make sure that other users love these bags as much as we do.

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

Pros:

  • Huge striking surface is ideal for all manner of strikes and combos
  • High-density foam interior combined with a durable nylon cover
  • Great freestanding alternative to a heavy bag

Cons:

  • On the pricier side

The Wavemaster XXL is a solid, versatile free-standing bag. Like the Ringside Elite, the base will weigh up to 270 pounds filled with water or sand. 

The XXL doesn’t have a spring-loaded base, 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.

Upgrade to This

  • 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 bright white vertical lettering and a tapered base that makes low kicks possible.

2. Ringside Elite – Most Stable Punching Bag

Pros:

  • Designed with a spring-loaded core to prevent sliding
  • Removable foam collar that can be used to increase or decrease movement
  • Shock-absorbing foam encased in a durable leather shell

Cons:

  • Standing at 6’4” with a 17” diameter, it’s not the best standing bag for smaller spaces.

The Ringside Elite is one of the most stable free-standing punching bags made. It’s designed with a chunky 32″x10″ base, with a low center of gravity that can weight up to 270 pounds when filled with water or sand.

It’s true that other bags have similar capacities, but 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 design means there is more sway on the bag when hit, which may or may not be an issue for you. It all depends on the type of training you like to do. Some people feel the bag sway allows 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 non-permanent 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 XL – Most Realistic

Pros:

  • Excellent for practicing precision strikes
  • Adjustable height settings
  • Shock-absorbing yet durable

Cons:

  • Not one of the best standing bags for leg kicks because… well, BOB doesn’t have any.

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 Ringside Elite and Wavemaster XXL, the base is large enough for 270 pounds of water and sand. The base is like that found on the Wavemaster bags. The design is easy to slide or roll the entire BOB 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 a torso-only punching bag, while the BOB XL has a torso and upper legs for complete training options. Learn more in our full review.


4. Century Powerline Wavemaster – Most Adjustable

Pros:

  • Huge adjustable height range from 47” – 68”
  • Designed to withstand heavier punching
  • 2x as much interior high-density foam than the original

Cons:

  • Smaller striking areas than full-length bags

The Powerline Wavemaster takes everything that’s great about the popular Century Original Wavemaster and then takes it to another level.

It features twice as much high-density foam as the original and is adjustable up to 8 heights (from 47 inches up to 68 inches) — making it suitable for any martial arts athlete.

What’s more, 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 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 Torrent T1 & T2 Pro – Premium Choice

Pros:

  • Striking surface designed to bend and rebound to mimic sparring
  • Great for reflex training and footwork
  • Offers a killer cardio workout by keeping you moving

Cons:

  • Premium pricing and is harder to find in stores.

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.

Interestingly, although we don’t recommend it, Century says 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. Read our review for all the details.


6. Century Versys VS.1 – Best for Grappling

Pros:

  • Designed to be knocked down for punch and grappling combos
  • Excellent choice for MMA/ practicing takedowns
  • Fuller striking surface due to its small base

Cons:

  • Not the right choice if you’re looking for a heavy/stationery bag

The Century Versys VS.1 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 Versys VS.1 is an ideal choice. It weighs about 100 pounds when you take into consideration the pre-filled base.

The VS.1 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.

As a “Fight Simulator” the VS.1 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 fighters who want to mix in their ground work.

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 VS.1 are wide-ranging. Ideal for any type of martial arts athlete, this training bag can just about serve any purpose you desire.  Read more about the Versys bags here.


7. Century Original Wavemaster

Pros:

  • Adjustable 47″ – 68″ height options make it great for fighters of all sizes.
  • Great for technique and endurance
  • Affordable and easy to move

Cons:

  • Shorter striking surface than full bags

The name says it all, The Original Wavemaster is long 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 the often-imitated Century rounded base, with 270lb max capacity. Heavy enough to pound on, yet easy to move around the gym.

The Original is ideal for practicing and perfecting kick form, punching, 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 Original Wavemaster is the best-selling & most popular bag from Century Martial Arts.


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.

8. Everlast PowerCore

Pros:

  • Compact rounded design built for circling
  • Can weight up to 370 lbs. when filled with sand
  • Incredibly affordable

Cons:

  • Some users say the base wasn’t the sturdiest when filled with water.

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. Try the similar Omniflex punching bag (our review) for a more active, reflexive workout.

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.

9. Ringside Fitness Punching Bag

Pros:

  • Designed to produce some give and sway
  • Good choice for smaller spaces
  • Great for fitness and cardio

Cons:

  • Not ideal for strength training

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 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.


Before You Buy – Buyer’s Guide

Here are some general free-standing bag pros and cons to consider before taking the plunge. We’ll also give you a solid breakdown of what you should keep in mind when making your final choice.

Is a Standing Bag Right for You?

When asked about their preference, nearly every experienced boxer 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.

Let’s review the very good reasons someone like you should buy a standup-style punching bag.

  • Space Restrictions? – A Standing Bag is ideal when space and access to a structurally sound wall or ceiling beam are limited. The simplicity, portability, and versatility of a free-standing punching bag can easily make them the right choice here.
  • No Mounting Required? – This is perhaps the biggest reason to buy a standing punching bag. Unlike traditional heavy bags, there are NO brackets, bracing, or bolts required to safely use the punching bag. Even the most compact heavy bag stands still require you to put together a big metal support system. All standup bags need to fill the base with a ballast, such as sand or water for stability.
  • Portability & Convenience! – Because there is no mounting needed, your free-standing bag can be moved almost anywhere you want it to be, on-demand. 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 standing heavy bag is the fact they simply aren’t as stout as a traditional hanging heavy bag.

Stronger people may find it too easy to knock the bag over unless they let off their punches and kicks.

This defeats the purpose of a standing 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 standing punching bags will be a fantastic addition to the home gym.

Key Features of a Standing Punching Bag

Get a Quality Hide – The most common failures of cheap bags are 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.

A Wide, Stable Base – 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.

Height 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.

Can the Bag be Easily Moved? – How portable is the punching bag? Can the unit be slid or rolled out of the way?  Can the base ballast be easily emptied? These factors make moving the bag so much easier, especially if you ever need 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 you from the unexpected. 90 days is common, but the best brands will often have a 1yr limited warranty.

Which Model Should You Buy?

Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with the Century Wavemaster XXL, no matter what style of martial art you’re into. With a sturdy base and huge striking surface, it’s designed to take any combo you can come up with.

If you’re looking to practice precision striking, then Century’s BOB XL is your man. The realistic features make for all the joys of a sparring partner who you’ll never have to worry about suing you for dental bills.

For fitness enthusiasts, the Everlast PowerCore is a great choice. It’s a high-quality starter bag that offers plenty of durability in a nice compact design.

*Last updated 2022-09-28 at 12:18 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Thomas Davies

Thomas has spent over a decade teaching and growing Boxing and MMA through his writing. His goal is to teach and inspire with the unique discipline & health benefits that combat sports can provide. More About Us.

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