How to choose the best baseball bat for your needs

Unless you play Major League Baseball, you have a choice when it comes to picking the material for your bat. Your options are wood, aluminum or composite. Each of these materials provides the player with a distinct set of advantages. Each also has an inherent set of drawbacks.

When shopping for a baseball bat, you must consider what your needs are and match the type of bat to those needs. A wood bat still has its place, even though aluminum and composite bats offer a performance advantage.

Wood baseball bats

Because of safety (and other) issues, the MLB only uses ash, birch and maple bats. If you want to play like a pro, this would be your bat of choice. It honors tradition and offers a little more safety, although a pair of quality batting gloves will come in handy to reduce the sting.

Wood baseball bats pros

  • From a budget perspective, wood bats are appealing because of their lower cost.
  • Wood bats are the best bat for training because they provide the most feedback. This helps the player improve their swing mechanics.
  • Wood bats are safer because the bat doesn’t increase the ball’s velocity like other materials.

Wood baseball bats cons

  • Wood bats break more easily than aluminum or composite bats.
  • The sweet spot on a wood bat is smaller than it is on the other options.
  • Wood bats are the heaviest type of bat, which means they are harder to swing and may be smaller in size, so they won’t provide as much plate coverage.

Best wood baseball bats

Rawlings Big Stick Maple Bat

Rawlings Big Stick Maple Bat

The Big Stick is certified for MLB play. It is made of maple and employs a heavier barrel, making it ideal for power hitters.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Louisville Slugger Series 3X Ash Bat

Louisville Slugger Series 3X Ash Bat

This bat is from a trusted name in baseball. It is made of ash and has a natural finish. The large sweet spot and lighter weight make this a favorite. 

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Wilson Sporting Goods Louisville Slugger

Wilson Sporting Goods Louisville Slugger

This 27-inch wood bat is cupped for reduced weight. The black design features red lettering so your bat is sharp looking and easy to identify.

Sold by Amazon

Aluminum baseball bats

Aluminum bats were introduced to college baseball in the early ’70s to cut down on the rising costs of replacing broken wood bats. Besides being more durable, aluminum is lighter than wood and provides more pop when hitting a ball. However, aluminum bats are not without their downsides.

Aluminum baseball bat pros

  • Aluminum bats are best when they are new — there is no break-in period required.
  • Aluminum bats have a larger sweet spot, which makes them ideal for a beginner who is having trouble hitting with any sort of power.
  • Aluminum bats have a trampoline effect. When the bat makes contact, some of the energy is transferred to the ball, making it travel farther and faster than a ball hit by a wood bat.
  • The lighter weight of an aluminum bat means they can be longer and larger, giving the player greater plate coverage and a faster swing.

Aluminum baseball bat cons

  • Although an aluminum bat will rarely break, it can lose its pop over time. The more imperfections the bat gains from hitting balls, the more its performance deteriorates.
  • Aluminum bats cost slightly more than wooden bats, but they are less than composite bats.
  • With an aluminum bat, there is less feedback sent to the batter, so it can be harder for a beginner to develop proper swing mechanics.

Best aluminum baseball bats

Louisville Slugger Omaha USA Youth Bat

Louisville Slugger Omaha USA Youth Bat

The Omaha USA youth bat features a one-piece construction. It feels solid in the batter’s hands and offers enhanced energy transfer. It has a cushioned leather grip for increased comfort and control.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Easton Typhoon USA Youth Bat

Easton Typhoon USA Youth Bat

The lightweight construction of this bat gives the player increased speed, letting them get more power behind their swing. It has a cushioned grip and is approved for all associations that follow the USA Baseball standard.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Rawlings Raptor T-ball Bat

Rawlings Raptor T-ball Bat

This affordable aluminum bat is for entry-level T-ball players. The ultralightweight design is suitable for ages 7 and under. It has a large sweet spot to deliver greater satisfaction and foster confidence.

Sold by Amazon

Composite baseball bats

A composite baseball bat is made of carbon fiber. These crystalline filaments are thinner than a strand of human hair but become remarkably rugged when twisted together. It is a lightweight material that has incredible strength. Some composite bats are made from a single piece of material, while others are two-piece items: a handle and a barrel. A two-piece bat is better for the average player because it doesn’t transfer as much vibration to the hands after a solid hit. Advanced players with greater speed and power, however, may opt for one-piece bats.

Composite baseball bat pros

  • Composite bats are the lightest baseball bats available. This lets manufacturers make longer bats without increasing the weight so players have greater plate coverage.
  • Since most composite bats have a two-piece design, they are less likely to sting a player’s hands.
  • Composite bats have a larger sweet spot, which makes them best for inexperienced players.
  • Over time, the trampoline effect increases on a composite bat.

Composite baseball bat cons

  • Composite bats are not as durable as aluminum bats, and it is possible to break them.
  • Compost bats cost more than wood bats and aluminum bats.
  • A composite bat is not ready to go out of the box. You need to break it in. This process takes anywhere from 150 to 300 hits.

Best composite baseball bats

Louisville Slugger Meta BBCOR Bat

Louisville Slugger Meta BBCOR Bat

This is a high-end composite bat that is best for the serious player. It features a large barrel with a balanced design and a comfortable yet secure grip.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Easton Ghost X Hyperlite Youth Bat

Easton Ghost X Hyperlite Youth Bat

This composite bat from Easton is 29 inches long but only weighs 18 ounces. It has a large sweet spot and a balanced swing weight that makes it a good choice for beginners.

Sold by Amazon

Rawlings Threat USA Youth Bat

Rawlings Threat USA Youth Bat

This bat is available in five sizes ranging from 27-31 inches. It features an ultralightweight design to help young players succeed. The lower price adds value.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Should you get a wood, aluminum or composite baseball bat?

For the average player, an aluminum bat wins out because it offers the best of all worlds. It has a large sweet spot, a lightweight design, and it is available at a reasonable price. However, if you have an unlimited budget, a composite bat might edge out an aluminum bat. A composite bat won’t help you hit the ball farther, but the larger barrel and lighter weight design could up your batting average. For players who want to perfect their swing mechanics, however, there is no better option than using a wood bat at practice.

 

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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