All about bean bags

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Bean bags like these are commonly used as juggling props.

Bean bag chairs

People playing footbag

Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro

A bean bag (also beanbag) is a sealed bag containing dried beans, PVC pellets, expanded polystyrene, or expanded polypropylene with various applications.


Designed by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro and produced by the Italian company Zanotta in 1969, beanbags have become a globally recognised piece of furniture. It's said that they noticed the staff would sit on bags filled with Styrofoam during their coffee and cigarette breaks. The original beanbag chair was called "Sacco", which was a pear-shaped leather bag filled with Styrofoam beans and is still in production today.

On 22 August 2014, 2.2 million bean bag chairs were recalled due to two deaths of children who suffocated from the foam inside the bag.


  • Bean bag toss (sometimes called cornhole in the Ohio Valley and the Southern States of the United States), is a game similar to horseshoes and quoits, played with bean bags and two goals.
  • Footbag (also known as Hacky Sack, a trademark) is a type of ball-shaped bean bag that is used to play various games.
  • Bean bags are also commonly used for juggling.
  • In gridiron football beanbags are used to mark the point of a change of possession (where a punt or kickoff is caught, an interception is made, or a fumble occurs)
  • Bean bags are often used for a game similar to dodgeball where small square bean bags are slid across the floor with the object to hit the opposing team's players in the foot. The game is particularly popular in American elementary schools as a safer alternative to dodgeball.


  • Bean bags are used as bean bag round ammunition for non lethal impact weapons.
  • Clutching technology for robots makes use of bean bags.
  • Smaller bean bags can be used to stabilize a photograph or video camera when a tripod is not available.

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