There are 2 central boxing tools that all serious boxers and martial art fighters need in their workout regimen; a heavy punching bag and a speed bag. While the former seems like the most important, its primary purpose is to develop power and muscles. But as you probably know, speed and hand-eye coordination are the most important attributes of a good fighter and only the best speed bags can help you develop them.
If not utilized in the right way, a speed bag is just another cool boxing equipment to play fancy games with. Otherwise, speed bag workouts can offer you an array of beneficial edges that a heavy bag alone can’t.
Power and muscles are quintessential in boxing; we would be dumb to deny that. But the ability to land your punches fast before your opponent’s defense closes is what matters most. And that’s the surest way of putting your power into good use. Again, since boxing or any other branch of martial arts involves offense and defense, working the best boxing speed bag again helps in improving your reflexes and being able to predict your opponent’s moves with good timing.
We have a detailed section on the benefits of a speed bag in boxing later in this article followed by the key considerations when buying these tools. As at this time, and for those who might be in hurry, let’s take you through our reviews of the best speed bags to buy in 2018.
7 Best speed bags
Our first pick here is from a brand that not most of us have heard of; Balazs. But anyone who has punched it just once will tell you that this is exactly what you need if at all ‘you are serious.’ Have you checked its price tag yet? This is the most expensive model that we have on this list. But there are a couple of solid reasons why it reigns supreme in our reviews of the best speed bags in 2018.
Available in all sizes
Typical speed bags come in 3 major sizes; small, medium, and large. But Balazs has upped the ante by introducing an extra size. Thus, no one should go with an overly small or large bag because a certain manufacturer doesn’t carry their preferred size.
Balazs’ smallest speed bag has been dubbed Peanut and measures 5 by 8 inches while the largest has been nicknamed Rocket and measures 8 by 11 inches.
Cleto Reyes, Title, and Venum speed bags may beat Balazs in terms of popularity. But the latter always wins in terms of rebound whether you are going for the smallest or the largest bags. This manufacturer says that the magic is in the construction design which we’ve looked into in the next section.
Top-notch construction: Kevlar loop, No welting, No laces
The Balazs speed bags have the smoothest exterior surface here followed by the Title Classics (reviewed later). But what makes them unique from others is that they don’t have welts or laces. The result is not only a smooth bag that you can hit bare-knuckled and your eyes closed but also a perfectly centered ball that never goes out of balance.
This speed bag’s panels are smooth-grained leather and all have the same size to ensure consistency with each punch.
But makes all the difference here is the triple-stitched Kevlar top loop. Kevlar is a high tensile strength commonly used in making tires. Its presence in this speed bag’s loop is a clear indication that the Balazs speed bag is all about durability and value for your money.
The Balazs isn’t the most affordable speed bag around. However, if you are tired of bags that you have to inflate or repair the loops after every workout session, this speed bag will definitely appeal. This model is crafted from smooth-grain leather and does not have scratchy patches that result from welting and laces and which may chafe your hands. Its loop is also one of the most durable that we came across credit to the Kevlar material used and coupled with the triple stitches. Its perfectly balanced construction design, on the other hand, makes it the best speed bag in 2018 in terms of rebound.
Anyone with the least interest in boxing or any other category of martial arts has definitely heard of Ringside. From boxing shoes to punching bags and gloves, this American company is an undisputed champion in the world of boxing and general fitness. And the fact that their Ringside Cleto Reyes speed bag has emerged as our runner-up models here is enough prove of their reputation.
One thing that gives this speed bag its durability aspect is the fact that it is hand-made. That being said, you can rest assured that every stitch and welting here have been made by a skilled craftsperson with durability and reliability in mind.
One of its previous buyers comments that you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a leather manufacturing company right after pulling this bag out of the package- not an overwhelming smell but a superb reminder that this is a bag that you are bound to use for years.
Latex bladder plus 1 extra
The Ringside Cleto Reyes speed bag features a latex rubber that again contributes massively to its excellent rebound. Now, although most people have reported that their bags held up well even with everyday punching, a few users report that they have had to inflate their bags after every couple of days. To make up for that though, this manufacturer has included an extra bladder in the package. So, should you want to replace the original, you won’t have to spend a single penny for a new one.
There is no question that Ringside has rolled out one of the best speed bags for boxing here, and we can’t recommend it enough. It has been hand-crafted for durability and everything seems and feels well-balanced from its swift rebounds to the sweet sounds it makes inside your garage or gym. You also have a choice of 3 colors to go with black, red, and Mexican.
We can’t think of the best speed bags for professional fighters without the Title Boxing Gyro showing up. In its entirety and as its name suggests, this bag is best marketed for pro boxers who want to optimize their hand-speed potential and eye-hand coordination. But there’s no reason why anyone else can’t use it, especially at its price tag.
Gyro refers to a Greek sandwich. But it’s also the short word for gyroscopes- Microelectronic Mechanical Systems (MEMS) that are used in measuring rotational acceleration and integrating.
While this technology is commonly used in smartphones, Title has now integrated it into its Gyro speed bags. The main idea behind it is to enable the ball to bounce true to the angle of strike and to keep it swinging in a given rhythm in order to help the user to predict the next move and optimize the benefits of every technique.
It’s a brilliant idea, and most previous users appreciate how easy it is to create and maintain rhythm with it. But its main benefits are yet to be recorded.
True to Title’s culture, this speed bag’s shell is made of top grade leather and has a smooth finish for your hand’s safety. The triple stitched seams ooze durability and so does the heavy-duty leather loop at the top.
Inside, this speed bag boasts a rubber pro bladder. Rubber bladders generally make a speed bag a little bit heavier especially when the cage is crafted from a thick leather material as it’s the case with this speed bag. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to inflate it every other day.
Hint: you can mitigate the issue of a heavy bag by either going for smaller sizes or pumping the large bags to 5 psi.
The jury is still out on the importance of the use of gyroscope technology to balance a speed bag. But what’s for sure is how well balanced this model is. We also appreciate how easy and fun it is to develop and maintain a rhythm with it. You might find the large size a little bit slower due to the rubber bladder and thick leather used. But then again there is an option to go for the medium or small bags that are notably faster.
Pro Impact isn’t any new to us. While their leather speed bag missed our first three slots of the best speed bags for the money by a hair, their hand wraps are among the most recommendable models in our other article of the best hand wraps this year.
What we have here is a speed bag that can best be described in 4 words; affordable, solid, simple, and effective.
Leather construction… yet very affordable!
The terms 100% genuine leather and inexpensive rarely appear in the same sentence, especially when referring to professional boxing accessories. But Pro Impact has put an end to that notion with these speed bags.
These models are among a few other bags that we can confidently green-light you to go for at this price tag. As we have explained in our best speed bags buying guide later in this article, leather is highly preferred in speed bags since it is soft for your bare hands but not slippery. Thus, you can work on the bag for hours with confidence and without any risk of chafing your skin.
Still, on the subject of construction, the Pro Impact is fitted with a heavy-duty tough latex bladder so you can make countless hits without having to inflate it mid-session. We did come across 2 buyers who reported that their bladders had issues right out of the package though.
We don’t intend to start a debate on which is the best shape for a speed bag. But most professional boxers tend to prefer pear-shaped models thanks to their rapid recoiling. This shape also makes it easy to target the belly of the bag and deliver timely and accurate punches in different combinations while still being able to maintain rhythm.
Previous boxers who’ve used the Pro Impact praise and recommend it as one of the best speed bags today. Its price also makes it a good recommendation for beginners who are serious about improving their reflexes and hand speed. Other than its pear-shape, we were also attracted by the level of construction that Pro Impact has used for it especially the 100% top-grade genuine leather with reinforced seams and stitches, and tough latex bladder.
The Title Quick-Tek is one of the latest releases from this giant. It’s not yet so popular at present but it’s bound to make a mark once it has gained momentum. There’s one main reason why this model won a slot in our reviews of the 7 best speed bags this year: ease of changing the bladder.
Changing bladder made easier
Whether your speed bag carries rubber or latex air bladder, there always comes a time when you have to replace it, that is, if the shell is still in good condition. Most speed bags have a standard way of replacing the tube from the top- a process that most people find a little bit hectic especially when they have to do it after a couple of weeks.
Title seems to have found a solution though. The Quick-Tek now features a removable base through which you pull out the old bladder and replace with a new one. This base again uses a locking lip that easily pulls apart whenever you need to access the inside of the bag; it’s that easy and convenient.
If you are among those who don’t fancy the traditional lacing system that is common with most speed bags, the Quik-Tek is yet another great option besides Balazs Lazer- our top-best speed bag here. The absence of the lacing system means that there are virtually no rough patches that you’ll need to evade as you punch your way to perfection.
Made for the tough guys
The Title Quik-Tek has a lot to offer besides its cool no-lace cage design. Importantly, its shell is crafted from genuine cowhide leather to offer you a professional exercise tool that is both soft and light enough for your hand-speed needs whether you are an amateur or a pro fighter.
The seams have also been welted to give them enough endurance under intensified strikes and punches from all corners. But what we love most is the triple reinforced deep pile all-leather loop that again promises hundreds of useful hours in the gym.
It might be quite tricky to find a flaw for the Title Quik-Tek. This is hands down, one of the best speed bags that you can lay your hands on especially if you are looking for a no-lace model. Its genuine cowhide leather makes it a tough match for tough boxers and enthusiastic fitness athletes and the deep triple reinforced loop means that you can use it with virtually any swivel. Perhaps the only issue with this speed bag is that it comes with a rubber bladder that tends to slow its speed albeit being the best in retaining pressure. The good news, however, is that you can replace it in a matter of seconds.
Ringside is synonymous with high-quality boxing gear. As such, it’s not uncommon for it to scoop several spots in most of our lists. What we have next is a model that not many people may have heard of so far. But it is receiving a really good press among those who’ve come across it; Enter the Ringside Heritage
One thing that really caught our eyes with this speed bag is its classic brown color that is a true heritage of this particular production line from this manufacturer. The classic engraved logo again compliments this speed bags design which seems to have been passed down from the 80’s. This makes it a go-to model for proud boxers who wish to go back in time and be a part of boxing history.
Genuine leather construction
The Ringside Heritage collection is known for its drum-dyed 100% genuine leather products. And this speed bag is not an exception. The leather panels have been double stitched for longevity and to prevent the seams from becoming undone over the years. The best part, however, is that despite its top-notch leather construction, this bag is still very light for fast and furious rebounds.
Triple Stitched, Riveted loop
The loop is another major cause of complaints in speed bags after poorly sewn seams. If you’ll be punching the speed bag for prolonged sessions on a daily basis, you’ll want to ensure that the loop has been crafted to take that amount of abuse. The Ringside Heritage seems to have that type of loop.
This bag’s loop has not only been triple stitched on the cage, but it has also been riveted for assured durability. And this is exactly what makes it the best speed bag for speed and power.
The Ringside Heritage Speed Bag is slightly on the pricey side although we can’t compare it to our first pick here. But every part of it tends to offer true value to every buck spent. The 100% leather shell with the double seams and the triple stitched and riveted loop are just a reaffirmation that this ball is built to last.
The only slight drawback about the Ringside Heritage is that it is only available in 2 sizes at present; XSmall measuring 5″ x 8″ and Small measuring 6″ x 9″. These 2 sizes mean that this is ideal for intermediate and experienced boxers who’ve had adequate training with large speed bags before.
Our last recommendation here is a model that you’ll rarely miss in any unbiased collection of the best speed bag reviews. This bag seems quite simple on the surface with the traditional lacing system and pear-shape design. But it’s one of the best cheap speed bags that you can go with if you are really pressed for money.
Designed for speed
The Title Classic comes in 2 sizes: small (5’’ by 8’’) and medium (6’’ by 9’’). While this means that it’s marketed mainly to boxers with a good experience in small speed bags, it might also be an ideal option for beginners who are ready to switch gear to a speedier bag.
Despite its heavy-duty construction, this bag is also lightweight and has a good balance that makes it lively especially when used with a flawless swivel.
Overall, this speed bag looks great thanks to the striking red color that gets a good contrast from the black laces. It is crafted from genuine leather and has a soft smooth feel in your hands.
All the seams have triple stitches and have also been leather welted to prevent them from popping up with intense and power-packed workouts. To add on to that, the leather loop has been reinforced for extended life and to make it tough for heated sessions.
We can’t forget to note that it has a very large opening once you undo the lace. And this makes changing the bladder a lot easier than with most laced models out there.
For the price, this is one of the best speed bags by Title. It’s made of quality leather and has triple stitched leather welted seams for longevity and changing the bladder has been made a lot easier by its large opening. Its surface is also amazingly soft and smooth to your hands yet its pear-shaped design makes it a breeze to hit and create rhythm.
This speed bag comes with a rubber bladder. Although it’s still amazingly fast, changing it to a heavy-duty latex bladder might boost its rebound even further.
What exactly is the purpose of a speed bag in your workouts as a fighter? The importance of this accessory is right in its name; speed, as in, hand speed. Boosting the speed of your hands is one way of maximizing your offense skills in that punches thrown at a higher velocity are bound to land more accurately than slower punches.
Again, and as we said before, being able to throw an array of combinations at top speed makes it possible to launch a pre-emptive attack on your opponent long before they have closed their defense.
Again, swift hands make you almost unpredictable to your opponent. Being able to throw fast and powerful punches in perfect combinations is more likely to get the other fighter off-guard thereby making it possible to land punches that they never see coming. And as the saying goes, it’s punches that you don’t see that knock you out.
Another advantage that comes naturally with speed bag workouts is learning how to keep your hands up all the time. Among the basic skills that every beginner boxer is taught is the basic boxing guard. This simply means positioning your fists up and in front of your eyes. Albeit seemingly simple, most beginners tend to forget or get tired thereby lowering their arms and opening their defense.
When you work on the best quality speed bags, it tones your arms and shoulder muscles thereby making it possible to maintain your guard for a long time without growing weary. In addition, it becomes second nature to position your fists at the right position. Mind you, keeping your fists up and in front of your face is not only meant for keeping your guard closed. But it also allows you start your punches with good speed and without wasting time.
Last but not least, a speed bag develops eye-hand coordination besides developing your reaction time. Speed bags come in different sizes ranging from 6.5’’x4’’ to 13’’×10’’. Usually, the smaller the bag is, the more difficult it becomes to hit it at top speed. This means that if at all you have to hit the bag and retain the rhythm, you’ll need to maintain a sharp eye contact and land your punches with good timing. Fast forward, top-notch eye-hand coordination skills make it effective to target a specific area of your opponent in the ring even when they are always moving here and there.
HOW WE CHOSE THE BEST BOXING SPEED BAGS
Similar to other boxing accessories out there, there’ll never be anything like the best speed bag for everyone. These items come in different sizes and vary greatly in terms of performance, durability, as well as price.
So, how did we arrive at our picks of the 7 best speed bags on the market today? Here is the criterion that we followed.
The material used and construction
The very first thing that you want to keep a close eye on when shopping for the best speed bag for the money will be the materials.
The materials used for these bags have a direct correlation to their durability, performance, ease of use, and the cost.
When thinking of the material, you want to keep into consideration what has been used not only for the shell (or the cage) but for the bladder (the ‘balloon’ that holds the air inside the shell).
It goes without saying that leather makes the best shells. And the reasons are obvious; it is durable in that it does no fray along the seams easily and it’s also friendly to your hands even when worked on bare-knuckled.
The major drawback of the best leather speed bags is that they cost top dollar and might, therefore, not be within every fighter’s reach. And that’s where synthetic speed bags make an appearance.
Synthetic models make the best speed bags for beginners. They are way cheaper than their leather alternatives but they are also reminiscent of lower quality and poor durability.
Of course, there are still some reliable synthetic speed bags out there. If your budget allows you to go synthetic or if you don’t plan to spend a lot of money on this accessory but still want a reliable model, your only saving grace would be a bag with strong and reinforced stitches.
For the bladder, you have a choice of rubber or latex. Rubber bladders have the upper hand in terms of durability and ability to retain air for a long time. The only issue is that this material is relatively heavier than latex and this tends to affect the volatility of the speed bag to some extent.
Latex bladders are relatively lightweight and are consequently swift and soft. Thus, they tend not to affect the speed of the bag. The most commonly rung bell about latex bladders is that they don’t hold air for so long. This means that you might have to inflate them regularly.
Size is the second most important factor after materials. As we hinted before, a speed bag can be as small as 6.5’’ x 4’’ and as big as 13’’×10’’. So, is a smaller or larger ball better?
Well, the best speed bag for you in terms of sizing depends on your level of experience. Everything else constant, small bags move faster and are a bit harder to target. Thus, these sizes are better left for pro strikers who have honed their eye-hand coordination skills enough.
Large models make the best speed bags for starters. They are notably heavier due to the amount of material used and, therefore, tend to have a lower velocity. Their low speed coupled with their large surface area makes them easy to target and to hit.
Mind you, large speed bags aren’t meant for beginners and inexperienced fighters alone. It’s not uncommon to see pro fighters alternating between a small bag and a large one. Reason?
You see, compared to a small and lightweight bag, large bags require you to use more force to maintain a high speed and rhythm. This helps in developing muscles and endurance. This makes you more effective when hitting a smaller and speedier bag.
Here is a break-down of speed bag sizes versus experience level
- Novice: large- 13×10, 12×10, 11×8 inches
- Intermediate: medium- 10×7, and 9×6 inches
- Pros: small- 8×5, 7×4, and 6.5×4 inches
Swivel and rebounding platform
Getting the best speed bag for your budget isn’t the end of the road. You’ll need to think of how you are going to anchor it to your ceiling.
To do this, you’ll require a swivel and a rebounding platform. Very few brands include these 2 accessories in the package. In most instances, you’ll need to shop for each of them separately.
Most of the best rebounding platforms can be very expensive, but that’s because they are crafted to allow you to reap the best from your speed bag without rattling your entire neighborhood. The Xmark XM-4441 and the Titan Power Rack are our best recommendations here.
Mind you, YouTube also has a lot of invaluable guides on how to build a speed bag platform at home. If you are handy, this might be yet another economical alternative.
What about the swivel?
For those who might be wondering, a swivel is that metallic ‘thing’ that holds your speed bag to the platform. This is a vital component in your speed bag rig and should be geared towards optimizing the rebound.
There are basically 2 types of swivels that you might use for your speed bag set up;
These models are the most common and have been around for quite a long time. Initially, they were made entirely from metal but that has since been discontinued in favor of plastic. The ballhook swivels command a lot of respect from amateurs and professionals alike because they yield the best rebounds regardless of the punching angle.
The main drawback of the ball-hook swivel is that their ‘S’ attachment can really try your patience when trying to fit a thick speed bag loop.
These models are also as old as ball-hook and are a long-time favorite for most gyms. As its name suggests, this swivel uses a link to lock in your speed bag’s loop and attach it to the main component. These models offer faster rebounds than the ball-hook swivels. The only challenge, however, comes when your newly bought speed bag comes with a wide loop that can’t fit in the link. In addition, fitting and removing the bag from the link can be quite challenging and requires special pliers.
Q: Should I get a speed bag or a double-end bag?
A: Choosing between these 2 items can be quite perplexing especially if you don’t how each of them improves your fighting skills. Both of them tend to work in the same manner in that they help with hand speed and eye-hand coordination. But the double-end bag has much more besides.
A double-end bag is more or less like a heavy-bag only that it kicks back once you hit. Therefore, you need to be fast and super cautious or else you’ll be knocked out by its rebound. That being said, working out a double-end requires that you combine power punches with slips, blocks, and body movements.
So, unlike a speed bag that only concentrates on your upper body, a double-end bag requires you to exercise your footwork as well. However, while the latter seems to be the best, most professional fighters will have both in their gym.
Q: How high should a speed bag be?
A: This is debatable; some will tell you that the bottom edge of the speed bag should be in line with your chin; others say that it should be slightly above or in line with your eyebrows.
Our opinion, however, is to have the belly of the bag in line with your nose. The best idea might be to get an adjustable platform that allows you to take it just as high or as low as you can. Don’t take it too high as it may be hard to hit. But then again, you don’t want it too low as it will lose its importance.
Q: Should I use gloves when working a speed bag?
A: Well, you could but everybody in the gym will be looking at you in a very strange way- especially if you are using those heavy, 10oz or 16oz, gloves. There are also some lightweight speed bag gloves in the market but they are not popular as a speed bag is best hit bare-knuckled or with hand wraps.
Q: How much do speed bags cost?
A: Price depends on a few factors including the materials used and the level of construction. The best leather speed bags in the market tend to be several folds pricier than low-end synthetic ones. But they are also the most durable.
A high price tag does not always promise quality though. And not all low-priced bags are utterly useless. What matters most is the level of construction. Previous buyers’ feedbacks might give you a reliable glimpse of the durability and reliability aspects of your target model.