In case you are not up to speed yet, current softball regulations require that a player of a certain age should use a particular bat that is designed specifically for that age.
On top of that, modern day bats feature way too advanced technology that not only helps you as a player but also adds some benefits like durability and ease of use. While all these advancements are excellent for players, they also make the selection of a softball bat a pretty hard thing to do.
In this very comprehensive guide, we are going to make it a lot easier for you to choose the best youth softball bats, whether you are a student in high school or college, or a parent buying a bat for your kid. We understand that having a softball bat is not enough; a player needs to have the best bat possible to unleash her full playing potential. That is why we have covered every major factor that you need to consider when making the purchase.
Top 10 Best Youth Softball Bats* editor rating based on quality and value
Louisville Slugger Xeno Plus 17
|(4.8 / 5)|
DeMarini 2016 Uprising Fastpitch Softball Bat
|(4.9 / 5)|
DeMarini Female 2015 Vendetta Fastpitch Bat
|(5 / 5)|
Easton MAKO CXN ZERO 11
|(4.9 / 5)|
Louisville Slugger Fastpitch X12
|(4.9 / 5)|
DeMarini 2014 Bustos WTDXBFP Fastpitch Bat
|(5 / 5)|
Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper 17
|(4.8 / 5)|
Easton FS200 Fastpitch Softball Bat
|(4.7 / 5)|
Easton FS50 Fastpitch Softball Bat
|(4.7 / 5)|
DeMarini 2016 CF8 Insane Fastpitch Bat
|(4.8 / 5)|
Key Buying Advice
Any softball player who has spent a couple of minutes or hours on the field is likely to have a bat type of preference. Some players prefer heavy ones while others opt for the light stuff. Others think they perform better with long bats while others have a liking for short ones.
But did you know there’s more to consider than just personal preferences? Check out these key factors:
Length of the Bat
The length of your softball bat is a huge factor because it will determine the effectiveness of your swing. You will under perform if your bat is either too long or too short.
-Choosing the best length for yourself
If you are in high school or college, you are old enough to measure yourself for a softball bat. The golden rule is that you ought to choose a bat that you can swing comfortably. In case you are not sure about that, try following these steps:
1. Determine your height and weight
2. Stretch your arm out and measure the length from your chest to the tip of your index finger.
3. Use the numbers and the chart below to know your ideal bat length.
Still not sure? Try the following alternative method:
4. With your arm stretched straight, hold the bat facing outwards (with its knob on your chest). If your arm can grab its barrel, then you are good to use it.
In case you are just replacing an old bat, make sure it is not more than an inch longer or shorter than your previous one.
-Choosing the best length for your kid
If your child is not old enough to determine the best softball bat length objectively, you can do that for her. Start by measuring your young player’s height. If it is anything between 3′ and 3’4″ then go for a 26-inch bat. If the child is taller than 3’4″, increase the bat length by 1 inch for every 4 to 5 inches that they are taller.
Weight of the Bat
Just like length, bat weight is a vital consideration when purchasing a softball bat. A heavy bat is not necessarily an effective one because you need to consider the amount of bat speed as well as inertia (force) that you can generate.
If your bat is long and light, you will swing it very fast, but it won’t have much inertia. On the other hand, a short and heavy bat will have plenty of inertia, but you will have trouble swinging it with speed.
Therefore, choose a bat that you feel you can swing in a speedy manner and still generate adequate inertia – one that is well balanced. Note that the balance differs from one person to another depending on such factors like energy, weight, and height among others.
Many softball policies have been adopted in a bid to make the game safer, fair, and competitive. As far as bats go, here are the main laws to put in mind:
– If the player for whom you are buying the bat is of the Little League age, her bat should not be more than 33 inches long nor 2.25 inches in diameter.
– If the player is of the Pony League age, her bat should have the USSSA stamp. On top of that, a Pony League player’s bat should have a barrel that measures anything from 2.25 to 2.625 inches in diameter.
– If you are in high school or college, your bat should be Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) certified. The certification is indicated by a stamp on the right of the bat.
– Youth bats should have a 1.15 Bat Performance Factor (BFP). It is a measure of how fast the softball comes off the bat.
– High school and college players must use bats whose drop is no more than -3 (check below for more on the drop).
– It is important to point out that the league in which you play will influence the type of bat you use. For instance, some USSSA approved bats are not allowed in ASA competitions and vice versa. The good news is that some bats are approved for both leagues and those are the ones you want to buy.
Some quick facts:
1) Bat weight is equal to the minus or drop weight of the bat.
2) A bat’s drop weight is its length minus its weight.
3) A bat with a big drop weight is lighter than one with a small drop weight.
With regards to construction, there are multiple individual factors that will indicate whether the bat you have settled for is good enough. They include its material, design, and barrel.
A bat can either be made of wood or non-wood material. That said, wooden bats are usually reserved for professionals and new players who are still practicing. All the other players can use non-wood bats. In fact, virtually all youth players usually use metal bats because they don’t break, are light, easy to swing, and generate a lot of power. There are three types of metal bats, namely, composite, alloy, and hybrid bats.
1. Composite Bats
These are bats made of a layered material that resembles carbon fiber. While composite bats are extremely durable, they are not applicable in some youth leagues.
2. Alloy Bats
These bats are made using a mixture of aluminum and other metals. They are usually very appealing to the eye and also very durable. However, their downside is that they are very light in weight and might not generate the force you want.
3. Hybrid Bats
These bats feature an alloy barrel and a composite handle. They combine the advantages and disadvantages of composite and alloy bats.
-Design: One Piece vs. Two Piece
A one piece softball bat is one that is designed in such a way that the barrel and handle form one single structural piece, not two different pieces. On the other hand, a two-piece bat has a barrel that is different from the handle in structure. Some manufacturers use different materials for the two parts.
A one-piece bat is typically more balanced but is also stiff and will. That means you will feel a lot of vibration when you miss-hit the ball. On the other hand, a two-piece bat is very flexible and has less vibration.
A bat with a large barrel will make it easier for you to hit the ball but it will be harder to swing. This option is great if your child has a lot of energy. Otherwise, a smaller barrel might do just fine although it will take some serious training before the kid learns how to hit the ball with ease.
-Your budget: conventional wisdom holds that an expensive item will perform better than a cheap one. But good economics and budgeting require you to buy the item you can afford. So don’t break the bank trying to impress your kid.
-The brand: in most cases, a well-known brand will be more superior compared to a little-known one. In addition to that, bats manufactured by strong brands have all or most of the certifications required by law.
An experienced player is likely to know the specifications of the bat she wants. Even so, if you are experienced and want to choose a new bat, make sure its length is no longer or shorter than an inch compared to your old bat. However, if you are buying a softball bat for a newbie, you might want to consider one that has a thick handle and big barrel. The thick handle will absorb most of the shock from the ball while the big barrel will make it hard to miss-hit the ball.