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.
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 10: Use a -12 to -8 Senior League bat
- Ages 11 to 13: Use a -8 to -5 Senior League bat
- Age 14 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
BBCOR bats have 2 5/8” barrels. USSSA bats have either 2 5/8” or 2 3/4” barrels. USA bats have either 2 1/4” or 2 5/8" barrels.
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.
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.
- USA BASEBALL: Bat is approved for the following youth baseball organizations: AABC, Babe Ruth & Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth Baseball & Dixie Boys Baseball, Little League Baseball, PONY Baseball
- 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
BBCOR is the current standard that governs adult baseball bats. It measures and regulates the trampoline effect (how much energy is lost during bat/ball collision) of a bat to ensure non-wood bats perform more like wood. All BBCOR bats have a 2 5/8" barrel and -3 length-to-weight ratio. All high school and college bats must be BBCOR-certified.
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. USSSA bats are also commonly referred to as "Senior League" bats.
If you're a Little League® player (ages 14 and under) you must swing a USA bat, which can be identified by the USA bat mark that can be seen just above the grip. In the same mold as BBCOR, USA bats are designed to perform more like wood. They will be available in both 2 1/4" and 2 5/8" barrel sizes, and which one you choose comes down to personal preference and whether you prefer swinging a larger barrel through the zone. For more info, please visit our USA Bat Standard page.
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.
Enough! I'm ready to rake! SHOP ALL BATS