With a pandemic forcing most if not all gyms to close, Muay Thai heavy bag sales have gone through the roof. If you didn't have a heavy bag before, chances are you're looking into it now!
Thankfully, there are a ton to choose from. The different lengths, weights, brands, styles, how much you workout, and how easy it is to set up are all important things to consider when you are looking to buy a heavy bag. You might want the same bag that you have at your gym; you may want a heavier bag to practice your power on; you may want a bag that’s harder so you can condition your shins.
To help you on your heavy bag buying journey, we’ve complied a list of five different heavy bags that are top of the line.
This article is only going to be talking about the standard type of heavy bag, so no double-end or uppercut bags here. Also, these heavy bags will all be prefilled. The bags must also be long enough for someone to work on low kicks (about six feet long), which automatically disqualifies any of those freestanding bags that you fill with water (sorry, Bob) and traditional Olympic boxing-style heavy bags.
Keep in mind that this is not a ranking of these heavy bags and do not come in any specific order. These are just reviews of five heavy bags and are representative only of the subjective views of the writer. If you disagree, that's cool. If you agree - even cooler!
Now: onto the bags.
There is no better place to start the list off than with the number-one name in Muay Thai, Fairtex.
Fairtex makes a ton of different types of bags, but we’re going to focus on the traditional Muay Thai style. This bag also has an unfilled version that you can buy, but this review is on the prefilled one that I was only able to find on the Ringside website and not on the official Fairtex website for some reason.
These bags obviously carry a ton of name recognition; I mean, it’s the Fairtex brand! If you want to be as authentic to training in Thailand as possible, this might be the bag for you. The bags come in multiple colors, and I have also seen a black version out there (not available on Ringside).
The bags all have the Fairtex logo running down them, and luckily, they use a nice font for it, so it looks pretty nice. I do have to say it looks a little better in white to me for some reason though. From what I’ve seen of these bags, the logo doesn’t fade with age - a huge plus to me.
These heavy bags use nylon straps instead of the more common chains to hang so you don’t get that rattling like you do with most bags once you start going hard on them.
This bag is 90 lbs. prefilled, about six-feet long, and a little less than a foot wide - all pretty standard for Muay Thai bags. There is a zipper on the top of the bag that you can use to change out the filling and make it lighter or heavier if you want.
The bags are made of a durable and water-resistant synthetic leather that won’t cause any unnecessary damage to your skin, like scrapes or cuts. (Your shins, on the other hand, are a different story. Keep 'em conditioned well!)
In terms of weight distribution, these bags have a lot of their weight move to the bottom fast and are infamous for having super hard lower halves. Seriously, these things feel like concrete at the bottom. This can make it hard for newer or causal Muay Thai practitioners to work on leg kicks. This also means that working on head kicks feels like you’re kicking a heavy bag that’s absolutely hollow. This is something that you can fix manually with some time and patience, but I feel like it’s something that you shouldn’t have to do.
These bags are also the most expensive that we have on the list. The quality is generally there, but unless you’re a huge Fairtex fan, you might want to think about some of the other bags we’re going to be looking over.
This heavy bag is a pretty standard one, at least when it comes to the gyms that I’ve been to. There’s definitely reason for that though, as these bags are well made, tough, last a long time and most importantly, are not too pricey.
These bags weigh 120 lbs., are six feet long and 14 inches wide, and only come in black. The bags come with the standard chains used to hang them up. This would be more annoying on a lighter bag, but being 120 lbs., should help stop it from swinging too much. There is also an extra bit of cable at the so you can strap it to the ground to further limit the swinging
These bags also have their weight distributed very well, so the bottom of the bag is just as dense at the top, which can help save your shins if they’re not super strong. I haven’t seen the weight slowing moving down to the bottom over time like with other bags.
The bag’s outer layer is made of vinyl, so the texture is not hard on your skin, which is good because you don’t want a bag tear up your shins if you’re trying to kick a lot. Like we mentioned earlier, the bags are pretty sturdy, so it’ll last you a long time. Once again, more of a personal thing, but the TKO logo on the bag doesn’t fade, so if you like it, it’ll always be there.
Overall, I can definitely see why this bag is so common, it’s pretty great and a price tag of $210 USD, it isn’t overly priced in the slightest.
Need some inspiration to gear you up for a particularly destructive heavy bag session?
Next, we move onto a retailer more know for their Western boxing gear than their Thai boxing gear. Rival is pretty well respected in the boxing world, but just how do they fare with their Muay Thai gear?
The Rival bag is pretty standard at six feet long, one foot wide, and 150 lbs., though the website says that the weight is approximate and does have a little bit of variation. This bag comes with two designs: the one featured above and one that has the Rival logo along the top and bottom rims of the heavy bag and aside from that is in all black.
The bag is held up with nylon instead of chains like the Fairtex bag, so no chain rattling, but if the strap does break it will be harder to replace.
The Rival website says that the bags are made in the USA out of Rival’s own indestructible “T.A.R.P Technology," of which I'm completely clueless. It seems to be some sort of synthetic leather, so I don’t know why they don’t just say that.
These bags are fine - that’s it. Just fine and that’s really it. The weight eventually sinks down like with most bags and becomes tough, so it should last a while, but at its price point of $280 USD plus shipping, it might be one that you want to look over.
When it comes to designs, this is as simple as it gets and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. There’s something nice about a simple black heavy bag with only the logo down the side. This bag is another one that you will see around if you go to a few different gyms. These ones are pretty solid, function over form.
In terms of the dimensions, the bag is six feet long, but this bag is a little wider, having a little over a full foot in overall circumference. This bag comes filled at 100 lbs., which is going to be a solid weight for most people, though I can imagine more experienced Muay Thai practitioners might want to have something a little heavier.
It’s back to the old, classic chains to hang this bag up, which gives some versatility as you can switch them out, but once again, if you hate the sound of chains, you wont like it.
The standout thing for me in this heavy bag is how its weight more or less stays well distributed. Obviously, over time, the weight sinks down a bit because gravity, but the bottom never feels like the side of a building and the top part does have some resistance to it. This bag costs $239.99 USD making it a little bit more expensive than the TKO bag, but I find that these bags tend to retain their quality longer and are more durable to beat than the TKO ones.
The last bag we are going to talk about definitely has my favorite design out of all of them. The logo covers one side of the bag entirely and, me being a sucker for good design, makes me really like the look of this bag. I can definitely see people finding it a bit obnoxious thought. The logo does have a bit of fading when you first order it due to use, though this may be a design choice rather than a flaw.
The bag is made in the USA and offers free shipping anywhere in the United States. The bag is also one of the more expensive ones on this list: $299 dollars when you’re paying for the filled version. There is another version of this heavy bag that is in white with black details, but it costs an additional $30 and doesn’t seem to have free shipping anywhere for whatever reason.
In terms of dimensions, we're looking at a bag that's six feet tall with about a foot of circumference. The filled version of the bag weighs are 150 lbs. tying with the Rival bag for heaviest heavy bag. You can take out the original filling and change it out for other types if you choose, with the max weight being up to 300 pounds, though the site says only to use fabric and not sand.
The bag also comes with a 10-year warranty - a great bonus for a product that you beat to hell.
The bag is well made and can definitely take a beating, but the weight does sink to the bottom fairly quickly. The other problem is that the texture of the bag can be rough on most peoples skin, especially newcomers. This bag is seemingly geared towards veterans and fighters, so if you are one and you're looking for a bag, this might be worth the extra money.
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