How To Buy A Baseball Bat

When you’re shopping for a new baseball bat or softball bat on our site, you’ll find many bats to choose from, but deciding on a single one might be difficult because, as it turns out, these ball bashers can be quite complex. So if you start scratching your head, here’s your cheat sheet: a baseball bat buying guide that takes the stress out of shopping and helps put the right baseball or softball bat in your hand.

Length/Drop:


For all bats, the length to choose depends on your height and weight. For help, take a look at our Bat Sizing Chart below. Once you know the length, you’ll have to decide on drop. Drop refers to the length of the bat minus the weight. The higher the drop, the lower the weight. When a young player is first starting out, a bat with a high drop (-10,-12) works best. As he/she gets older you want to gradually decrease the drop because in high school you must swing a -3 bat. The idea is to make that transition easy. Here’s some general guidelines to follow as the player grows:

  • Ages 4 to 6: Use a tee ball bat
  • Ages 7 to 8: Use a -12 or -10 Senior League bat
  • Ages 8 to 9: Use a -9 or -8 Senior League bat
  • Ages 10 to 12: Use a -5 Senior League bat
  • Age 13 and older: MUST use a -3 BBCOR bat

Use the chart below pick the bat length that matches your approximate height and weight and click on the link

Batter's Weight Batter's Height 3'-3'4" 3'5"-3'8" 3'9"-4' 4'1"-4'4" 4'5"-4'8" 4'9"-5' 5'1"-5'4" 5'5"-5'8" 5'9"-6' 6'-Over
Under 60 lbs - 26" 26" 28" 29" 29" - - - - -
61-70 lbs - 27" 27" 28" 29" 30" 30" - - - -
71-80 lbs - - 28" 28" 29" 30" 30" 31" - - -
81-90 lbs - - 28" 29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 32" - -
91-100 lbs - - 28" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" - -
101-110 lbs - - 29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" - -
111-120 lbs - - 29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 33" 33" -
121-130 lbs - - 29" 30" 30" 30" 31" 32" 33" 33" -
131-140 lbs - - 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 33" 33" -
141-150 lbs - - - 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 33" 33" -
151-160 lbs - - - 30" 31" 31" 32" 32" 33" 33" 33"
161-170 lbs - - - - 31" 31" 32" 32" 33" 33" 34"
171-180 lbs - - - - - - 32" 33" 33" 33" 34"
Over 180 lbs - - - - - - - 33" 33" 33" 35"

Barrel:


BBCOR bats have 2 5/8” barrels. Senior League bats have either 2 5/8” or 2 3/4” barrels. Youth bats have 2 1/4” barrels. If the player is under 12 years old, they should be swinging a bat with a 2 1/4” barrel.

Material:


While hybrid bats do exist, in most cases, it comes down to composite or alloy. Composite bats have a larger sweet spot and more pop, but require a break-in time. Alloy bats are less expensive and last longer, but have a smaller sweet spot and less pop.

Construction:


In most cases, you’ll be choosing between one- and two-piece bats. One-piece bats are stiffer and offer less flex and more feed-back during the swing. Two-piece bats offer more flex, and, because the handle is separated from the barrel, less feedback and vibration on contact.

Balanced Vs. End-Loaded:


More bats are balanced than end-loaded, which means the weight is evenly distributed throughout the entire length of the barrel for a faster swing speed. End-loaded bats have more weight towards the end of the barrel and serve power-hungry hitters looking to blast the ball over the fence.

Stamps & Certifications:


You will probably encounter different stamps and certifications when looking for a new baseball bat. Here’s what they mean:

  • BBCOR: Batted Ball Coefficient Of Restitution. BBCOR measures the trampoline effect of the bat.
  • USSSA: United States Specialty Sports Association
  • USSSA BPF 1.15: Bat Performance Factor measures how fast the ball comes off the bat. 1.15 is the standard for youth baseball bats.
  • ASA: Amateur Softball Association
  • ISA: Independent Softball Association
  • ISF: International Softball Federation
  • NSA: National Softball Association
  • SSUSA: Senior Softball USA
  • ISA: Independent Softball Association
  • SHOP SOFTBALL BATS

League Requirements:


Almost all leagues have their own bat requirements and restrictions. While we’ve done our best to explain them, it’s always a good idea to check with your league about rules and possible exceptions before you go bat shopping.

High School and College:


All high school and college bats must be BBCOR-certified.

What is BBCOR?

BBCOR And Why You Might Need A New Bat
As a safety measure for pitchers, infielders and fans the NCAA & NFHS made a rule change that requires non-wood bats to meet the new BBCOR standard. This means your current bat may be illegal. To find out if your bat meets the new criteria look for the BBCOR compliance mark which is on all bats that meet the new standard.


Start Training Early: The New Bats Are Different
With BBCOR bats being made to react more like wood now is none to soon to start practicing with a new conforming bat. According to research conducted by ESPN Sport Science the sweet spot of the new BBCOR bats is estimated to be about 2 inches smaller and on average balls leave the bats 5% slower than the old non-conforming bats. When factoring in pitch speed, bat speed and launch angle this 5% decrease can turn a 400 ft home run off an old bat into a 375 ft long fly ball off a BBCOR bat. By training with it now you'll become accustomed to the distinctive performance and feel and ensure you'll have confidence in your new hitting tool for next season.

SHOP BBCOR BATS

LITTLE LEAGUE:


Little League consists of three divisions: junior (ages 12-14), senior (ages 13-16), and big (ages 15-18). In the junior division, your bat can be any length-to-weight ratio but it MUST have an alloy barrel (with an alloy or composite handle). If you want to swing a composite barrel, it MUST have a BBCOR stamp, as do all bats in senior and big league. Bats with 2 3/4” barrels are NOT allowed at any level of Little League Baseball.

USSSA:


If you’re in USSSA and ages 14 and under, you’re allowed to swing 2 1/4” youth bats and 2 5/8” or 2 3/4” big barrel bats as long as they are USSSA-certified. However, if you’re ages 15 and above, your bat must be BBCOR-certified.SHOP USSSA BATS

PONY:


For Pony Baseball, you’re allowed to swing any bat as long as it has the USSSA BPF 1.15 stamp and a barrel 2 5/8” or less. Bats with 2 3/4” barrels are NOT allowed in any Pony-sanctioned league.

  • Shetland (ages 6 and under): MUST use a 2 1/4” youth bat or 2 5/8” Senior League bat, 33” maximum length
  • Pinto (ages 4-8): MUST use a 2 1/4” youth bat or 2 5/8” Senior League bat, 33” maximum length
  • Mustang (ages 7-10): MUST use a 2 1/4” youth bat or 2 5/8” Senior League bat, 33” maximum length
  • Bronco (ages 9-12): MUST use a 2 1/4” youth bat or 2 5/8” Senior League bat, 33” maximum length
  • Pony (ages 11-14): MUST use a 2 5/8” Senior League bat , 35” maximum length
  • Colt (ages 13-16): MUST use a 2 5/8” Senior League bat , 35” maximum length
  • Palomino (ages 15-18): MUST use a 2 5/8” Senior League bat , 35” maximum length

Any length-to-weight ratio is acceptable as long as the bats don’t exceed the maximum length.

DIXIE:


DIXIE consists of three divisions: junior (ages 13-14), pre-majors (ages 15-17), and majors (ages 15-19). If you're in the junior division, your bat can be any length-to-weight ratio but it MUST have an alloy barrel (with an alloy or composite handle). If you want to swing a composite barrel, it must have a BBCOR stamp. For pre-majors and majors, you MUST swing a BBCOR-certified bat. Bats with 2 3/4" barrels are definitely NOT allowed.

BABE RUTH:


Babe Ruth baseball consists of two divisions: ages 13-15 and ages 16-18. If you're in the 13-15 year-old division, you're allowed to use a Senior League bat with any length-to-weight ratio but it MUST have an alloy barrel (with an alloy or composite handle). If you want to swing a composite barrel, it must have a BBCOR stamp, as do all bats in the 16-18 year-old division. Bats with 2 3/4" barrels are definitely NOT allowed.

Enough! I'm ready to rake! SHOP ALL BATS