Best Baseball Bats Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Baseball: that great American pastime. There’s nothing quite like it in all the world. And nowhere is this more apparent than the mighty baseball club. The baseball club is more than just a big thick stick for hitting balls, it’s an integral piece of American iconography. More versatile and easier to handle than the thick, bulkier cricket clubs from across the pond. But of course, there can be only one, or in this case, ten champions among them.
- Marucci Cat 7
- Optimized Barrel Design
- Louisville Slugger Solo 618
- Speed Ballistic End Cap
- Demarini 2016
- Paradox Plus+ Composite Barrel
Baseball clubs appear simple, but in fact, they have a million different balls to juggle. They have to be light enough to carry and be swung at high speeds, yet tough enough, dense enough, and powerful enough to send what they hit (i.e., the ball) flying off to who knows where. Each of those would be complicated on their own but put them together, and you have a complex crafting job only fit for the masters. And today, we’re counting down the ten greatest successes. So, step up to the plate and line up your swing, because we’re counting down the:
10 Best Baseball Bats
1. Marucci Cat7
You wouldn’t think that vibration would be that much of an issue when dealing with a BB club. After all, if it’s vibrating, then you must’ve hit the ball, and you should throw it down anyway, right? Well, turns out in the nanosecond that the ball and the club are connected, that vibration can drastically affect how the ball moves when it leaves the club. Fortunately, this model comes with a harmonic dampening system. By utilizing the 2nd generation Av2 anti-vibration knob, this system keeps vibration to a minimum for maximum impact.
Superior swing speed
This is about as fast a swing speed as you can find on the commercial market. And that’s mostly thanks to features such as the engineered barrel end wall that reinforces the thickness of the club. It should be fairly obvious, but swing speed is one of the most important factors of a good BB club, so this is a very desirable club for those who want to hit fast and hard.
Cost and Value
Obviously, a BB club made with this level of quality in its design would be pretty expensive, and depending on the size of club you buy, you could end up paying a lot of money, or a lot of money. However, much like the rest of the entries on this list, the price is more than worth it.
Harmonic dampening system
Superior swing speed
One-piece alloy construction
The handle is a bit fragile on occasion
2. Louisville Slugger Solo 618
The grip is incredibly important for a BB club, and it isn’t hard to explain why. You’re going to be swinging this dense, heavy, blunt object at very high speeds, and if it flies out of your hands mid-swing, then you’ve essentially thrown a large aluminum stick at people. Not a fun experience for anyone, as you can imagine. Which is why this club comes equipped with a tough lizard skin grip, which provides excellent traction to your hand.
This BB club is made from a one-piece SL Hyper alloy construction that provides this club with a stiffer feeling, and thus a firmer impact upon hitting the ball. A stiffer club is a club that will not only make a more satisfying pop upon impact but will also send that ball flying further out.
Cost and Value
While this club once more is rather expensive, the price range is at least more forgiving than the previous entries, starting in the double digits and working its way up into the triple digit range.
Strong lizard grip
More forgiving price range
Still pretty expensive though
3. Demarini 2016
In the entirety of the Demarini lineup, this is most likely the smoothest and fastest swing they have. Made from a two-piece construction, specifically an X12 alloy barrel and a C6 composite handle, this model will give you excellent control and one of the lightest club on the market today.
But hitting the ball hard is only half the story. The other half is the impact forgiveness. Now that you’ve hit the ball, now you have to deal with the recoil that the ball is going to leave you with, which is going to impact how well the hit actually registers, and how far it goes once the hit connects. Forgiveness shaves off a bit of the recoil, allowing the hit to register more fully and the ball to thus fly farther.
Cost and Value
Thankfully, the price range on this BB club is far cheaper than the previous entry, although the range itself stretches for quite a while. Despite that, both the small and largest prices both sit comfortably in the double digits range, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Lightest Demarini swing
Runs a bit heavy
4. Easton 2018 Beast
It’s easy for a BB club to shift too much weight one way or another, either to the hilt, which reduces movement or to the tip, which weighs it down and makes it harder to get a good swing. Which is why the Beast prioritizes a balanced swing weight to make sure that every swing is the optimum strength and speed that it can possibly be to be effective.
Thicker handle diameter
One might wonder what’s so special about the handle of the club being thicker than normal. After all, wouldn’t the handle being thicker make it harder to use? Well, on the one hand, yes, if you make it too thick. But make it just right, such as the Beast X Speed with its 31/32-inch handle diameter, and the choice pays off for you in dividends.
Cost and Value
Easton are known for a lot of things in the BB world. A lot of good, important things. One of those things is not being affordable, as these guys drive a hard bargain. The Beast series, in particular, are very expensive even for just a single club.
Balanced swing weight
Thicker handle diameter
One-piece atac alloy design
5. Louisville Slugger Genuine
This Louisville Slugger model is made from pure Ash Wood, which isn’t necessarily one of the stronger woods and can be broken if enough force meets it. However, the advantage it has is a flexible body compared to, say, pine, which allows for a very forgiving sweet spot for that perfect stroke.
One advantage to being carved by hand is that you have the hand of a master carving the wood and knowing all the tricks to make the perfect wooden club. One aspect that showcases this fact is the handle, which is finely sanded, a natural smooth from the tip to the handle, with a cap at the bottom that doesn’t feel too fat.
Cost and Value
The best part about this model is its price, which is very cheap, with a price range that doesn’t go up all that far from the base price. Which only makes sense, seeing as how this really is just a wood club, not even made of a more expensive wood, instead made of ash wood. So it stands to reason that the club wouldn’t be all that expensive.
Ash wood make, forgiving sweet spot
Perfectly carved handle
Cheap price range
You will need to verify the specifications before buying, to make sure they’re what you need
6. Demarini 2018
It’s important to note now that this is not a greenhorn’s club. This is meant either for the seasoned pro or for the amateur with skill beyond their years. And the stroke weight is precisely why. The weight of this club is focused on the very end of the club. This gives the stroke a lot more weight, which can drastically increase the lengths the ball flies when used correctly. But again, you need the experience to know a BB club inside and out in order to learn how to handle a club like this.
Great weight control
While we emphasized the weight of the club’s endpoint earlier, don’t take that to mean that this model has a weight problem. Quite the contrary, as the 3Fusion handle and endcap, do a fantastic job of distributing and managing the weight of this BB club. Giving the player who knows how to use it a fantastic sense of control.
Cost and Value
The big problem with this is the price of the model itself. While certainly not the worst price we’ve seen on the list thus far, it’s definitely up there with the most expensive price ranges that the list has to offer.
End-loaded stroke weight
Great weight control via the handle
Made from one-piece X14 alloy
7. Rawlings Raptor
With the choice between metal and wooden clubs, the commonly held stigma is that wood is lighter but not as tough, while metal is tough but not as light. But with the Raptor, you get the best of both worlds. Giving you a very lightweight club, that’s also incredibly tough.
Durable and responsive
Raptor alloy, the metal that is the namesake of this model, is an interesting blend of different metals to make a BB club that is both durable and responsive to your actions. Which is definitely good when you’re the type of player who loves to feel every impact to get maximum satisfaction.
Cost and Value
The best part about this club, once more, is the price. This is one of the best-priced clubs on this list, not just because the price itself is low, but because the price is the same across the board, no matter what size you choose.
Lightweight metal club
Durable and responsive metal alloy
Lightweight may mean different things to different people
8. Barnett BB-W
The model is lightweight enough to be lifted by the children it’s meant to be used by and hits the ball with a decent impact. It’s sturdy enough to be usable, maybe in tee ball or practice with the parents. It’s the perfect BB club to start your little slugger down the path to being a pro.
It’s a wooden club, so it’s far from weightless like the useless plastic clubs. However, it’s not so heavy that the children who are its target audience can’t even lift it off of the ground. It hits just the right sweet spot.
Cost and Value
You may expect this model to cost something akin to, say, $10, but this model is a bit more serious than that. Now, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the cheapest entries on this list. However, it’s made with enough love and care to deserve a price tag that matches it.
Perfect first club
Good firm weight
For kids and kids only
9. Easton Mako Beast
The grip of the Mako Beast is made from a tough material of Easton’s own make known as Hyperskin. No matter where you grip this handle (though the holder definitely should hold it like they’re supposed to) it will feel like you are the one in control.
Balanced stroke weight
Even when trained for little league championships, kids still don’t have the upper body strength needed to handle heavier clubs that would otherwise help them get the perfect stroke. Luckily, this model comes with pitch-perfect stroke weight that will help the user hit the ball dead on and send it flying.
Cost and Value
Unfortunately, if you want to get your youth BB player a pro-grade BB club, then you need to pay a pro BB club price. And that means shelling out a lot of money. But trust us, it will make all the difference out on the field, and the benefits will speak for themselves.
Hyperskin club grip
Balanced stroke weight
Great for kids who are really getting into pro little league
Bit pricey, but worth it
10. Rip-It 2012 Prototype II
The alloy used to make this bat is known as ATBA alloy. And you military engineering nuts in the audience may have just gone slack-jawed at hearing that because this alloy is used to make high-performance equipment such as artillery shells and rockets. And you feel that strength during the hit.
Single piece design
Not only is this bat made from an experimental military alloy, but it’s also a one-piece build, meaning that it is an unbroken piece of equipment that is even more durable than it already was. And that’s saying a lot because it was very durable already.
Cost and Value
The best part about all of this? This is in the top 5 for the cheapest entries on this list. The price range for this bat is excellent, not going into the triple digits, and keeping very tight for a bat of such high quality. So, if you’re feeling adventurous with your BB bats, then give this one a whirl.
Made from an experimental alloy
No warranty, making the purchase a real risk
There truly is nothing quite like a good BB club, is there? Don’t believe us? Go over and pick one up. Make sure it’s a really nice one, too. Feel the way it weighs in your hand, that smooth handle, the power behind the top barrel, and just the overall feeling it gives you when you hold it. It’s practically indescribable how good it feels to hold onto this icon of American fun. It’s referred to as this country’s great pastime for a very good reason. Now, of course, there’s a lot that goes into making a BB club work, as we’ve gone over in this article the past 2000 words. Despite being rather simple looking devices, by all accounts, a BB club needs to do a lot to get maximum efficiency for its user. It needs to hit the ball at just the right angle, to give you enough of a sweet spot to work with and not to weigh you down or hold you back. But at the same time, it needs to give you the durability to be able to make the hit at all. There’s a lot that needs to be done, as we’ll go over soon, but for now, hopefully, this article has given you a better appreciation for BB clubs. So, if you want to get into the sport, go track down a good club and go swing for the fences.
Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Baseball Bats
This goes beyond deciding what factors to consider when choosing to buy a BB club. We’re talking about the factors that play into what got on this here list, and once they were on the list, how far up the list they got. It was a hard choice because, at some point, every single entry on this list was a top 5 contender. Here is how we narrowed down our decision.
Of course, it is vital that you take into consideration what was used to actually make your BB club. But what are the most common of these materials? Well, the most common are as follows:
Aluminum: Used to be that wood was the biggest material in town, but nowadays, pretty much every BB club under the sun used professionally is made out of highly durable aluminum. But why actually go for an aluminum club? What does it actually offer you? Well for one, aluminum is flexible. Which you would think would be its biggest weakness, but applied here, it’s the material’s greatest strength. Aluminum isn’t too flexible mind you, especially not at the density that you’ll find it at with a BB club. But it’s just flexible enough to create a trampoline effect on the ball when it makes contact.
Wood: This is the oldest material used to make BB clubs, ever. Which stands to reason, as in the grand scheme of human history, using metals for sports is still a relatively new concept. Meanwhile, we’ve been using wood for our baseball since the game was invented. Interestingly, this material itself has subcategories of its own, but we won’t get into those too much. We will go over the most common types, however.
Initially, wooden clubs were strictly made from hickory. But in recent years, that strictness has alleviated into allowing for three other kinds of wood to appear. These woods are bamboo, maple, and white ash.
Alloy: An alloy club possesses properties that make it rather similar to aluminum clubs, though there are key differences between them. These similarities mostly stem from the fact that alloy is a blend of several metals, including aluminum. The main difference is that an alloy club is much longer lasting and much more durable, due to it having a variety of other metals make up its being.
BB clubs are generally weighed in ounces, though pounds can sometimes come into play depending on the club. Now, what weight club you choose will depend on what kind of batter you are. If you love being fast and rely on your speed to give you that perfect stroke, then a lightweight club will suit you wonderfully, for example. On the other hand, if weight isn’t a problem for a bodybuilder like you, and you want to thus put as much power and strength behind each of your strokes as you possibly can, then you’re looking for a heavyweight. Weight decides a lot of different things; whether it be how well you can stroke, how fast, or how far the ball will go after you hit. Always take a good look at the weight of the BB club you’re trying to buy.
Length is equally as important as weight. For one, there are plenty of youth clubs out there that are professional quality, that stand on equal footing with their more adult-oriented BB club are arbitrarily left at the kiddie table because of their length. And it isn’t just the club barrel itself, it’s also the length of the taper, the grip, even the knob, can all decide the class that a club stands at. So, remember that next time you go looking for a good BB club.
BB clubs, if you want a really good one, are not cheap. Sometimes, depending on the retailer you find, you’ll find a pro-grade quality club that’s actually priced in the double digits. In fact, you’ll sometimes even find one where double-digit prices are the standard, as we’ve seen throughout the list. However, a majority of the time, you’ll find a BB club will ask a lot out of you in terms of price.
Frequently Asked Questions
Considering how surprisingly complicated these clubs can get, there are, as you can imagine, plenty of questions surrounding them. Some are far more frequently asked than others. Here are some of them now.
Q: I keep seeing this term called BBCOR when I go shopping for clubs. What does it mean?
A: BBCOR is actually an acronym, which stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Resistance. This acronym refers to a standard which is used to basically regulate the “trampoline effect” in clubs. The trampoline effect is the amount of energy that a baseball generates when swung. The goal for any club is to be awarded a 0.5 BBCOR certification stamp. The point of this is to make sure that the performance of a non-wooden club is equal to that of a wooden one.
Q: What kind of clubs can I use in colder climates?
A: To understand the answer we have for you, you must understand the nature of the materials that clubs are typically made from. These materials are aluminum, composite, wood, alloy, and wood.
In general, you will be warned right off the club by the box the club comes in not to use the club in weather conditions under 50 degrees if the club is made from aluminum. Metal tends to freeze in freezing temperatures, which negates the trampoline effect the metal has entirely. This makes the metal brittle, and easier to shatter, especially when you consider that pitchers are so strong that one time a pitcher killed a low flying bird in midair with a well-timed throw.
This can happen as well to metals like alloy. However, the additions of several other metals, each with a different freezing temperature, makes things a bit trickier. In general, the best clubs you can hope to use are wooden, because they can stand up to the cold a lot better than metal.
Before you buy a winter baseball club, make sure you understand everything about the club you’re using, and how much cold they can actually take.
Q: How do I measure the best baseball club length for myself?
A: there are a wide variety of different methods by which to judge the length and size of your club. But the way we’ve found works the best on a general basis is just to choose what feels most comfortable to you when you hit. If it works for you, then it works for you. But okay, you need to drastically change your stroke for whatever reason or you just like an answer more concrete than that. In that case, the best hard methods are as follows:
- Put the club to the side of your body then reach out along it with your hand as far as your hand will reach. If your hand is still on the handle, then you’ve found the club for you
- You can measure outwards from the center of your chest to the tip of your index finger, making sure that your arm stays completely straight outward. You can then consult charts that are available at most sporting goods stores in the baseball section to decide if the length of a baseball club is right for you.
- The same position as #1, except this time, place the knob of the club and mount it at the center of your chest, and then reach out along the club as far as your hand will go. If your hand can touch the barrel of the club, then you’ve found the right size.
Q: How do I measure the length of the club that I want to give my child who’s really into baseball?
A: Well, you can measure their height, making sure that you do so while they’re wearing their cleats. You can compare them to the club itself. Obviously, if the club reaches up to their heads, then that’s probably not the club you want to give them. The club in questions should go no higher than their hip. And finally, you can just go the direct path and outright weigh them.