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For anyone serious about combat sports, having access to a punch bag at home can be a real benefit.
For those who do not have space for a dedicated hanging heavy bag or for those who simply do not want to have to deal with wall or ceiling fixings then free standing punch bags are a great alternative and actually offer some unique advantages over their hanging counterparts.
We decided to take a look at the top options when it comes to home sparring (free standing style) and so bring to you our best free standing punching bags.
Having tested almost 20 different options, we have managed to whittle it down to a top 10 list and having trained with these up close and personal for a number of weeks, our impartial guide should help anyone looking to make a purchase.
Top 10 Free Standing Punching Bags
There are many options on the market when it comes to free standing punching bags. Cheap and cheerful may be kind on your wallet, but in our experience it usually ends up costing you more in replacements. That being said, we have a range of high quality options, from the budget end of the price range right up to the premium priced options that look set to last you a lifetime.
Gallant 6ft Max Strike
Gallant have made quite the name for themselves in the boxing scene and have some decent budget offerings with the 6ft Max Strike being one of the them.
Although they do offer a 5.5ft version of this free standing bag (see our 5.5ft review below if you don’t need the height), we prefer the extra height you get from the 6ft version which features a well made and stitched PU leather outer case.
The inside of the bag has a 5cm layer of thick EPE high density foam which absorbs strikes perfectly well with microfibres filling the rest of the bag.
The Max Strike can be used for punches or kicks and as such is suitable for a range of martial arts disciplines and like the bags already mentioned it can be attacked from any angle with a 360 degree striking zone.
Gallant tend to use a narrower base than their rivals and whilst it does an ample job of holding steady you do need to ensure the sucker pads are stuck to the floor for a fully stable base.
If you are unable to secure the base with the sucker pads and water then you will need to use sand which will add more weight to the base. We had no real issues with stability when testing this punching bag and found it to be of high quality with good feedback from each strike.
Century Wavemaster XXL
The Century Wavemaster XXL is not the cheapest free standing punch bag on the market but there is no denying its quality. It has the largest striking area of all the bags we tested and as such is ideal for martial arts and boxing alike with kick boxers finding this a joy to use.
The Wavemaster XXL stands at 175cm in height which is more than enough for most people and when you couple this with the 45cm diameter of the bag itself it really does provide for an XXL striking area.
The Century Wavemaster looks and feels impressive. It commands attention and is not something that you can hide away in the corner of your home gym.
You will want space around this heavy bag to allow you to move around it and attack it from multiple angles.
The outer bag is made of highly durable vinyl and we experienced no splits or cracks when using it in testing. The high density foam inside the bag absorbed our strikes to good effect and left us feeling ready for another sparring session the very same day.
The base of the Wavemaster is colossal. It can take sand or water and can weigh in excess of 100kg when filled making it as stable as… well… a huge rock! It is moveable (just about) when it is filled but we would suggest you choose a location for this punching bag and stick with it.
Online reviews of the Century Wavemaster are excellent and are a testament to the durability of this heavy bag in the longer term. This bag is ideal for heavy hitters who want a decent height of bag but don’t need to go as tall as the 6ft6 Body Power Strike Tube Pro XL.
Everlast is an instantly recognisable brand for many people in the UK and if you take comfort from buying a brand that you know then the Everlast Powercore should give you confidence in your purchase. It’s not just the brand that helps the Everlast Powercore make our top 10 list as it has plenty going for it.
An adjustable height gives the Powercore a unique selling point as this makes it ideal for practising different kinds of strikes as well as being suited to a range of heights. The minimum height is 132cm and the maximum height is 165cm bringing it in line with the Strike Tube.
The biggest advantage of the Powercore over other models is the superior shock absorption that it displays thanks to two key design elements. The first is the tri-disc foam that makes up the internal core of the bag.
This high density foam disperses energy through to the centre of the bag. The second reason this bag is the ultimate shock absorber is down to the Power Transfer Ring Collar which transfers the energy from each blow down through to the base rather than back towards your hands or feet.
This does admittedly sound like marketing talk but we found in testing that the Powercore really did perform well in terms of shock absorption and if this is important to you then this should be top of your list.
The base of the Powercore is very solid and will not move if filled with sand or water.
One thing we would say is that the total striking area of the bag itself is small compared to other models and although this is compensated for with the adjustable height, anyone looking to perform kicks and punches at a range of heights might find themselves a little limited with this free-standing punching bag.
This is a really well designed and made punching bag and for beginners and intermediates will most likely perform very well for a number of years.
More advanced users or those looking for a multitude of strike angles and heights might want to opt for something a little bigger as the recoil on this might be a little too much for bigger hitters. Other than that, this is a great option.
Dripex Free Standing Punching Bag
The Dripex free standing punch bag is one of the best cheap bags on the market today. It is a good alternative to the Century and Gallant models and is usually found cheaper than both.
There is a compromise on height compared to the Gallant but other than that other concessions are few and far between.
With a total height of 175cm and having a good sized area for striking, the Dripex holds plenty of appeal. It features dual TPU shock absorbers with a total of four large springs that are designed to improve shock absorption and reduce noise.
It fares well on both fronts and features a fairly stable base similar to the Gallant model with the help of suction pads to give true sturdiness. Like the Gallant, you will need to ensure you have a floor surface that the pads can stick too or opt for sand filling to give it extra weight.
When filled with sand it has a base weight of 82.5kg and Dripex recommend using sand rather than water so you should factor this in to the cost.
The PU leather outer layer of the bag is well made and is apparently tear free – we are not sure how something can be 100% tear free but we didn’t have any damage caused to ours during our 3 weeks of testing.
Thanks to the large bag size you can easily use the Dripex for punches and kicks without the need to adjust the height. You have a full 360 degree angle of attack and the high density foam inside the bag handles each strike well.
Overall, we were very impressed with this budget effort from Dripex. Bravo.
Century Versys VS1 Fight Simulator
The VS1 Fight Simulator (yes check you read that correctly) may sound like some advanced fighter jet pilot training but in fact it is a pretty versatile free standing punching bag that is completely different to any of the others on our list.
This bag is all bag and pretty much no stand with a pre-filled base and a design that allows the bag to stand without falling. It doesn’t have the same strength to withstand large kicks and punches like the other heavy bags but then this isn’t really a heavy bag at all.
In fact, this bag is better suited to more aerobic exercise and as such lends itself well to multi-combat sports where you can grapple, knee, elbow and practise takedowns and submissions. Yes, this bag is a lot of fun!
The VS1 can still be used for punches and kicks thanks to its natural rebounding design, however we should point out that the bigger hitters out there are likely to floor it completely – we tried and failed miserably at doing this but we weren’t too far off (we keep telling ourselves this to make us feel better).
Weighing in at a smidge under 50kg, the VS1 could be transported from one location to another for training purposes. This isn’t easy – but it is possible unlike any of the other models we reviewed.
Standing at a total height of 167cm, the VS1 is not the tallest bag but it does have the largest strike area as you can literally attack it anywhere and from any angle.
This is a very well made bag that has so much versatility and is so much fun that anyone looking for either multi-discipline training or who is just looking for a bag to help them get in shape – then this is a seriously strong contender.
Lonsdale is another well known and respected UK brand with its roots firmly set in London.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they produce great punching bags but following some rigorous testing we unanimously agreed that this bag had to make the list. The Omniflex is another adjustable height free standing punching bag and has a maximum height of 170cm which is fairly respectable.
Like the Everlast Powercore, the Omniflex is also somewhat lacking in total striking area which can make it difficult to use for anyone wanting to use anything other than their hands and for that reason we would recommend this for use with hands only.
You will notice that the main stem that attaches the bag to the base is longer than most and this does provide a greater degree of flex from each punch – we actually liked this feature but we can see why this might put some people off.
The base is smaller than many of the other models we tested but it seems to perform well and provide a good degree of stability. We filled ours with water and this was fine, but for extra stability you can of course use sand.
The Lonsdale Omniflex does not take up a large amount of floor space and as such is pretty well suited to smaller spaces – but remember to account for that flex!
The synthetic outer bag is well made and seems to be very hard wearing.The inner padding is also pretty firm with a good level of shock absorption which should keep you injury free.
Gallant 5.5ft Punching Bag
In case you hadn’t noticed we were a pretty big fan of the Gallant 6ft offering and so we couldn’t help but give the 5.5ft model a place in our top 10 list too.
Essentially, but for a choice of different outer bag designs, the 5.5ft Gallant punch bag is pretty much identical to the 6ft version – but for the height.
Anyone needing a high quality punching bag that doesn’t need to be any taller than 5.5ft should consider this cheaper Gallant model.
You still get the same high quality 5cm EPE foam that provides great shock absorption and the PU leather outer comes in a range of different designs – all of which we love.
Despite having a narrow base, this punching bag is still very stable and withstood our strikes well. It is one of the smaller bags on our list with a max height of 160cm but if that is workable for you then the budget price is likely to be a steal.
Body Power Strikeman Pro
You may have heard of the Century Bob as an option when it comes to free standing punching bags and in fairness it is a great option.
The Body Power Strikeman Pro is an alternative to the Century Bob that fared better for us in testing than the Century Bob and that actually comes in cheaper.
They also have the Body Power Strikeman that is also a very good option (and is cheaper) but lacks the lifelike features of the Pro model.
Like the Century Bob, the Strikeman Pro looks and feels like a real upper body and face. This makes for a true sparring experience (with the exception that it doesn’t hit back) and is an ideal training aid for the more experienced boxer. It cannot be used for kicking and as such this will mainly appeal to boxers.
Similar to the other punching bags we have reviewed, the Strikeman Pro is made from high density foam on the inside and also features a shock absorbing column to attach it to the base – this works well.
The big difference however is in the flesh-like material that makes the torso and face. This really does make for the most realistic home training experience possible in our eyes and although you can only attack it from one angle it still provides a really testing workout thanks to the lifelike striking area.
The height is adjustable with three different heights to choose from. Ranging between 161cm and 182cm it allows you to practice at a height comfortable to you or even at a height to prepare for an upcoming opponent. The base is very sturdy and can be filled with water or sand, with the former providing 110kg of weight which is likely more than enough to hold the Strikeman Pro steady.
Overall, we loved this free standing punch bag and so will you if you want a lifelike training partner.
U’King Punching Bag
The U’King model might be at the bottom of our list but it was still a punching bag that we very much enjoyed and is suitable for pretty much all combat sports including boxing, kick boxing and MMA.
Standing at 175cm tall, the U’King looks and feels like a bit of a beast and the large striking area will appeal to many mixed martial arts users.
The base is huge and also features sucker pads to give ultimate stability. You can fill it with either water or sand and we found the former to be absolutely fine.
The tear resistant PU leather casing for the main bag is well made and feels good to the touch. The high density EPE foam to the inner has strong shock absorption and there is some sway in the bag when you give it a good strike but not too much thanks to its shallow main column.
The base also features a rounded design to allow it to easily be moved in to a storage location such as the corner of a room.
You can attack the U’King from all angles and we gave it a thorough testing over around 6 sessions and found it to be equally up to the task each and every time with no signs of wear and tear afterwards.
This is a mid-range bag in terms of cost but has plenty going for it that could see it a serious competitor for some of the supposedly more premium brands – overall, we loved this punching bag.
Body Power Strike Tube
Body Power produce a range of free standing punch bags and their Strike Tube entry level model is a top pick. Standing at a height of 165cm it is ideal for most combat training sessions and the high density foam and built in shock absorber takes kicks and punches well.
The Strike Tube features a very sturdy base that can be filled with either sand or water – we opted for water and had no issues with the 65kg of weight load it provided although filling with sand will create an even heavier base for stronger punches and kicks.
What we loved about the Strike Tube was the fact it can truly be attacked from any angle, meaning you can develop your footwork around the bag as well as your striking.
The base of this punching bag sits at just under 70cm in diameter and so we would recommend a space of around 2m x 2m at least for your workout.
Everything about the Body Power range is high quality. From the high quality, durable materials of the outer layer to the high density foam inside the bag.
In our three weeks of testing we used the Strike Tube a lot and came back to it time after time – at the end of our testing period there was no visible sign of wear or tear and the shock absorption seemed as good as the first time we tested it.
If you need a taller free standing punching bag then the Body Power Strike Tube Pro XL is another great option and stands at a whopping 195cm tall! The Pro XL can also be used in commercial settings and has a warranty to cover commercial use.
The Strike Tube is recommended for home use and includes a two year warranty on home use only when purchased through our link below as well as a healthy discount.
James is a full time personal trainer and an award winning writer with over 10 years of experience behind him. So far, he has helped hundreds of people with their health and fitness through his career.