In this product review article, I share my evaluations of 5 of the better-quality freestanding punching bags currently available in sporting goods retailers & online stores.
I also discuss some of the advantages a free-standing heavy bag has over the traditional hanging bag.
After the review I include a fitness guide on the great benefits a heavy bag workout can give you, from both a strength training & mental health standpoint.
A heavy bag that’s portable & easy to set up
A stand up punching bag is a great option for people who want to get a punching bag workout routine going in their home, but either can’t or don’t want to hang a heavy bag.
Best free standing punching bags
About these bags
All of the bags reviewed in this article are well-built, popular pieces of home boxing equipment.
And my top 3 picks have very high owner satisfaction ratings ranging from 90-93% across all online retailers.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.
Here’s a look at how their owners have rated each of these punching bags.
The satisfaction rating is the percentage of owners across all online retailers who gave the product 5 or 4 stars.
If you want to read owners’ reviews, click the pic or the bag’s name.
Owner satisfaction rating 93% – 4.7⭐ 600+ reviews
“I’ve been doing mixed martial arts training since 1981 and can assure you that a BOB dummy is an excellent, must have training tool.” – V76
Owner satisfaction rating 92% – 4.6⭐ 600+ reviews
“I like this because unlike a heavy bag, you can target specific areas to practice your strikes.” – M
Owner satisfaction rating 90% – 4.6⭐ 700+ reviews
“I’d recommend this for anyone who can’t get a heavy bag rig” – DS
Owner satisfaction rating 84% – 4.4⭐ 1,500+ reviews
“For the money, this is a great piece of training equipment, especially if you do not have a convenient place to hang a heavy bag.” – BB
Owner satisfaction rating 77% – 4.2⭐ 75+ reviews
“Functions very well. Filling base with 180 lb. of sand is tedious. Also, the holes for the screws holding the flange to the base are not quite far enough out, making alignment more difficult than necessary.” – BG
Punching Bag Reviews – Top Picks
A punching dummy with a very smart design.
The Century BOB XL and Century BOB are a nice changeup from your heavy bag work if you want to practice strikes to specific locations on a man’s head & upper torso.
How fun is that!
What I like:
The human factor
A punching dummy is a great way to work on angles and distance on a target with human features.
Both Century BOB punching bags are at the top of the food chain in this heavy bag category.
They are well-built with quality materials.
The foam+vinyl skin can absorb punches, kicks, knee & elbow strikes.
These both have bases similar to other larger Century punching bags like the Wavemasters.
The base on the BOB punching bags are just a little smaller than the XXL’s, and they’re very easy to roll wherever you want to put them.
Note: The BOB XL is the highest rated (93%) free-standing punching bag I came across.
Shipping free on Amazon
Comparing the two BOBs
BOB XL is bigger than BOB (no surprise there; after all, he’s “XL”) and they gave him legs.
BOB XL can adjust taller than regular BOB by a few inches, so his extra size is why he’s the more expensive of the two.
By all accounts, they are otherwise very similar.
Even their excellent owner’s ratings across all all online retailers is just about the same.
Minor owner issues:
Might move a little
Like most freestanding punching bags, BOB & BOB XL will both move around a little when struck hard.
Sand is advised instead of water if this becomes an issue for you, it’ll be a little heavier.
Tip: make sure the sand is dry before trying to add it to the base — it’ll go in easier. Also, use a funnel too; it might speed things up.
Or consider putting it on a non-slip exercise equipment mat, a product I know very well.
I reviewed the best of the bunch here, and may I suggest you consider one of the recycled rubber mats. Rubber is better than PVC at gripping floor surfaces.
Some BOB owners had trouble with the screws.
Some received units with the screws already stripped, and a couple mentioned the screws coming loose too quickly.
Century BOBs Tech Specs:
BOB XL torso size: 44.5” x 22.5” x 12”
BOB torso size: 30” x 22 x 12”
BOB XL height adjustment: from 5’ to 6’ 10”
BOB height adjustment: from 5’ to 6’ 6”
Both have a 270 lb. base when filled
Base diameter: 24”
Century BOB XL & Century BOB are ideal for precision training on kicks, punches, & strikes to specific body parts thanks to their “punching bag in a mannequin” design.
They’re well-built for many punching bag applications, but they are not made indestructible enough to replace the heavy bag workout for advanced fighters.
Very high owner satisfaction ratings: BOB XL 93% – 4.7⭐, Regular BOB 92% & 4.6⭐.
Century Martial Arts have the lion’s share of the free-standing punching bag market for good reason.
They make quality-built products for a wide range of people and training applications, from bags for kids to lighter cardio kickboxing to heavier training bags.
This Wavemaster XXL is in the latter heavy bag category and is one of their best-selling free standing bags.
What I like:
Well-built throughout, I’ve seen units that have been used for a few years that are still in action.
Sturdy & tough enough for most users.
Easy set up & take down
It’s easy to fill & easier to roll somewhere if you need to than other big freestanding punching bags.
Shipping free on Amazon
Minor owner issues:
Moves a little
Some owners felt it slid too much from powerful kicks.
(This is a normal response from most free-standing bags though.)
The flip side of that is some people who could move it were OK with that and worked with it.
A sand-filled base on a non-slip athletic mat ought to minimize some of that.
*The bag’s screw (into the base) loosens more often than a few people would like.
*Advanced fighters with heavy kicks have snapped the bag at the screw-in to the base.
Wavemaster XXL Tech Specs:
The bag stands 69” tall with an 18” diameter.
The Base is 28” in diameter. 270 lb. in base when filled.
Another very well-made punching bag, the Century Wavemaster XXL is one of the best selling free-standing punching bags.
Well recommended for most people.
Advanced fighters with heavy artillery might want to look elsewhere.
High owner satisfaction rating @ 90% & 4.6⭐.
Punching bag honorable mentions
Programming Note: These last two stand up punching bags don’t score as well with their owners compared to the first 3 bags we looked at.
The 2 BOBs and the Wavemaster XXL scored 93%, 92%, & 90% respectively, while these two have owner ratings of 84% & 77%.
(For me, 77% is a little low when the product category has 3 solid models with owner ratings in the 90s, like these free-standing bags do here.)
BUT…these last two are still rated higher than most of what’s out there as far as freestanding heavy bags go, so I thought I’d include them.
Well-built punching bag with the same materials as the higher-end Century Wavemaster bags, this is smaller and more affordable.
The Original is a very good choice for cardio kickboxing, kids, and light-medium intensity bag workouts at home.
What I like:
Most inexpensive bag in the bunch
It’s a hundred bucks cheaper than the Top 3 picks here, and over $200 cheaper than the lower-rated Ringside Elite reviewed next.
Quality build throughout
Just like it’s big sibling above, the XXL, this smaller Wavemaster has Century’s build quality.
Shipping free on Amazon
Minor owner issues:
It moves a little
(Are we sensing a pattern here? 😉)
A few owners raised the same complaint virtually every free-standing bag hears: it moves a little when hit hard.
As I mentioned, this is normal. If it didn’t move at all, the small bones in your hands & feet would be hurtin’ for certain…
This peeve can be handled pretty well by having the base filled full with sand instead of water and placing it on a non-slip workout mat.
Wavemaster Original Tech Specs:
Height adjusts from 47” to 68”.
Base diameter is 24”
Weight is 270 lb. when filled.
Bag is 26” tall with a 14” diameter.
A quality built half-size version of the bigger Wavemasters, the Original model is a good choice for home enthusiasts going for cardio boxing or kickboxing workouts.
Shorter profile makes it great for kids and smaller people too.
Very good owner satisfaction rating of 84% & 4.4⭐.
Another quality standing punching bag here for sure.
But a couple of recurring design& manufacturing issues have owners bringing this bag’s ratings down below the other free-standing punching bags featured in this article.
What I like:
Probably the least likely free-standing bag to slide or tip due to its design.
The bag is spring loaded, and there’s a removable foam collar that controls the amount of bag movement.
Thanks to the spring load, the bag takes the energy of the strike but it ‘gives’ rather than sending the energy down into the base.
This makes the base very unlikely to slide.
Bag rebounds quickly
Another perk with the spring is that the bag snaps back pretty quickly after bending with the blow – no down time waiting.
Low center of gravity
Wide and low (only 10” in height) base is nice & stout too – you’re a beast if you can knock this thing over.
Shipping free on Amazon
There are a couple of recurring complaints popping up some from some of the Ringside Elite bag owners.
Loading the sand is a pain in the @%$
Weakness in the design, the filling holes are small enough to be a bugaboo.
So if you’re considering sand – which you should – you may want to track down a funnel.
Production quality issue here with the bolt holes, with multiple owners noting that they don’t line up spot-on.
Other minor things
* If the spring mechanism dries out it might squeak. A little 3-in-1 oil or other lubricant will work in there.
* As seen with a couple of other bags, the screws loosen over time.
* It’s beefier base than other models means it’s harder to relocate if need be.
Ringside Elite Tech Specs:
Height: Ringside’s free standing bag stands tall at 6’ 4” with a 17” diameter.
Has a wide base too, 32” in diameter.
Weight when filled: 270 lb. when filled
It’s a good bag, but…
…the Ringside Elite could be an excellent bag, if they’d just build it a little better.
The Ringside Elite Free Standing Punching Bag is the most expensive of the 5 bags reviewed in this article, but it has the lowest owner satisfaction rating too.
That’s not a good combo when your product is up against the Century BOBs or the Wavemaster XXL.
Design & manufacturing quality control issues that could be easily corrected are resulting in less satisfied owners than the other 4 bags featured in this article.
It’s hard to recommend at a price tag of around 400 bucks as long as these quality complaints from owners keep occurring, especially when there are cheaper options out there that don’t have these issues.
OK owner satisfaction rating of 77% & 4.2⭐.
Free-standing punching bag benefits
A hanging heavy bag has a number of advantages over a free-standing punching bag, for sure.
For professional fighters and competition fighters in serious training, there is no substitute for a heavy bag routine.
But there are good reasons to own a free-standing punching bag, and situations where it is a better option for you.
They’re easier to install
*No mounting required – this is a huge advantage for the free-standing punching bag.
*Properly hanging a heavy bag onto your ceiling or wall is not a piece of cake; there’s skill & strength required.
*There’s risk involved too: there are safety issues to be aware of and addressed.
*Also, you can damage your home (or your landlord’s) if you hang a heavy bag incorrectly or choose a poor location for it.
A free-standing punching bag is portable
No specific location required like a hanging heavy bag demands, since there are only certain places where it can be suitably installed.
But you can easily move a free-standing punching bag to another spot in your home, or even take it outside.
They’re easier on your bones too
Free-standing punching bags are lighter and a little softer than the hanging heavy bag, due to different materials used in the bag.
Also there’s more ‘give’ with a free-standing bag when struck.
And as we’ve heard from owners, sometimes they’ll slide a little.
All this adds up to the benefit of less wear and tear on your bones, joints, and connective tissues in your hands & feet while working out.
Heavy bag benefits without the hassle
The freestanding punching bag:
* can deliver the workout benefits of heavy bag training for most people, while sparing them from the requirements of a hanging heavy bag.
* is very easy to set up, and its portable convenience allows you to get in a heavy bag workout wherever you want.
Things To Consider
Bottom line: A freestanding punching bag is not just a heavy bag on a stand.
The hanging heavy bag is essential to serious fighters
For advanced fighters – professional fighters and those who train for competition – the hanging heavy bag is an essential part of their training program.
There are competitors that use free-standing bags in their home because it’s convenient & easy to get a training session in.
But the heavy bag at their gym gets more love, so to speak.
Free-standing bags have a different purpose
And the free-standing punching bag cannot & does not replace the heavy bag for anyone who is involved in serious fight training.
But for the rest of us mere mortals, a freestanding punching bag is a great way to get in a boxing or martial arts workout in our home.
Benefits of a Punching Bag Workout
Here are a whole bunch of reasons why getting a free-standing punching bag is a real good idea for you.
Get the goodies of Strength Training
A heavy bag workout is a form of strength training, and so will provide you with a host of its benefits:
* It can strengthen your bones and slow age-related bone loss.
* It can boost your resting metabolism, meaning you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not working out.
* It will build muscle of course, and it also can reverse age-related muscle loss.
* It can help you develop better body mechanics, coordination, and balance.
* And by strengthening the muscles, bones, tendons, etc., the risk of injury is decreased.
Try a boxing HIIT workout
Want a great way to increase your aerobic fitness level?
Apply HIIT to your heavy bag boxing drills.
A hanging or free-standing heavy bag workout is ideal for reaping the benefits of HIIT, AKA High Intensity Interval Training.
Here’s a good example of how to apply the principles of HIIT to a heavy bag workout.
(It’s advanced for someone who’s brand new to boxing workouts or the high intensity demand that HIIT workouts require, but it’s a nice illustration of what they’re all about for sure.)
How to HIIT it if you’re a beginner
Work intensely with punches and movement around the bag for 1-2 minutes at a time – like a round in the ring.
Follow each of these up with ‘lightly active’ rest periods of 2-3 minutes.
Aim to complete a handful of these cycles.
To learn more about putting together HIIT workouts for yourself, check out the fitness guides I wrote on this topic:
Burn baby burn
Using this type of HIIT approach you will burn more calories in less time than a moderately paced punching bag routine.
Level up your heart & stamina
There’s the bell…
OK, time for me to wrap it up.
I hope my product recon & review on the best free-standing punching bags was helpful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.