The beginning of spring brings many things, such as longer days, more sunshine and warmer weather. However, for many die-hard sports fans, the most important part of spring is the beginning of the baseball and softball season. Each year, baseball and softball teams begin spring training and millions of people around the world will tune in to watch the first games of the season. For many athletes, watching these games is not enough to satisfy their baseball and softball appetite, so often baseball and softball lovers satisfy their competitive hunger in amateur slow-pitch softball leagues.
Slow-pitch softball leagues are a quintessential American activity, with many people competing in church leagues, office matches and city recreational tournaments. If you are hoping to compete this spring, purchasing the best slowpitch softball bats will help you hit some home runs this season.
About Slowpitch Bats
When selecting the best slowpitch softball bats, you need to ensure you are selecting a bat. First, many official slowpitch tournaments require that any bats used in the tournament must adhere to standards and guidelines prescribed by the organization. The most common tournament organizers are organizations such as the Amateur Softball Association (ASA), United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and International Softball Federation (ISF). New slow-pitch bats will typically list the certifications for the bat, so make sure to check that the bat you are purchasing follows the standards for the competitions you are interested in playing in. Many bats will possess certifications from multiple organizations.
Once you ensure your bat has the right certification, then you need to consider what type of bat you want. All official slowpitch bats are required to be 34” length, but can vary in weight from 25-30 oz. Most slowpitch softball bats are sold in weights of 26, 27 28 and 30 oz and a particular model of slowpitch softball bat will be available in each weight. Heavier bats will typically provide more power for the players swing.
The best slowpitch softball bats can be constructed in one of three styles: Balanced load, End load and Max load. A balanced loaded bat has an even distribution of the bat’s weight from the bat knob to endcap. This type of bat is the most common style of slow-pitch bat and provides increased control for the player. Typically, this type of bat is preferred by contact hitters who want to emphasize ball placement and consistent hitting. End loaded bats are different in that more weight is concentrated at the end of the bat, providing increased power for home run hitters. Finally, a max loaded bat is one that has even more weight concentrated in the bat end. This type of bat is favored by experienced hitters who have a high level of control over their swing.
Best Slowpitch Softball Bats Review
Below are three of the best slowpitch softball bats on the market that can equip you for softball season. All three options are produced by leading slowpitch softball bat manufacturers and are available at major retailers such as Amazon.
- Easton SP16BSUA Bomb Squad
- 2015 Louisville Slugger Vapor
- DeMarini ONE OG
So which is the best slowpitch softball bats option for your slow-pitch swing? Here are some features and reviews that set these brands apart.
Easton SP16BSUA Bomb Squad
This model is a two-piece composite bat that is tailored to provide power and distance. This slowpitch bat is an end loaded bat and designed for a hitter that wants to score home runs.
Feature #1: Extra Long Barrel
The Easton Bomb Squad features a long, 13.5 in barrel that is ideal for reaching out and swinging for the fences. This barrel is 1.5 in longer than a typical slowpitch softball bat and provides that little extra reach that can make the difference between a catch out and a home run. This long barrel also does not make this bat cumbersome as the light composite material of the bat keeps the bat light and easy to handle.
Feature #2: IMX™ Composite Material
Top-line Easton bats are made up of Integrated Matrix Technology™ (IMX™) material that is exclusive to the Easton product line. IMX™ composite bats are prized for their power and durability. The IMX™ composite structure is made up of Aerospace grade fibers that are layered and angled to maximize the “sweet spot” of the bat. The “sweet spot” of the bat is where all of the power of the bat is concentrated. Hitting the “sweet spot” of the bat will allow a play to consistently hit home runs.
Feature #3: SIC Black Carbon Handle
The Easton Bomb Squad possesses a thin, 29/32 in handle that is made up of spiral wrapped black carbon fibers. Softball bat will naturally vibrate after each hit, causing the vibration to be transferred to the players hands. After repeated swings, this can cause the hitters hands to become sore. These spiral wrapped carbon fibers help dissipate vibration from the contact with the softball and save the hitter’s hands from pain.
Real User Feedback
The Easton Bomb Squad has very high ratings on several retails sites and is regarded as an excellent choice for a serious slow-pitch softball player. Many players noted that the bat is light, comfortable in the hands and provides amazing power. Several players also appreciated the SIC black carbon handle, which allowed them to not even use batting gloves. Buyers also appreciated the extra length, which enabled them to still hit effectively outside of the strike box during play. This bat is also definitely favored by players trying to swing for the fences and hit several home runs in a game. One player the bat easily gave him another 50 feet for each swing.
Many reviewers also appreciated the reasonable price of the bat and how the bat provides a competitive edge without a high price tag. The Easton Bomb Squad can cost about half as much as a top-line competitive bat, but many reviewers felt that the bat could easily hold its own against these expensive bats. This is a great slow-pitch bat for someone who wants to get serious about his or her game and begin competing against the best hitters in the slow-pitch league.
Many players who purchased the Easton Bomb Squad noted that the bat does require a break-in period to get the highest level of power. Most players stated that they needed at least 100 hits to open the bat up and provide the best power. While the bat can perform well immediately after being delivered, breaking the bat in can easily add a few dozen feet to a hit and provide the optimum level of performance.
Lastly, some reviewers noted that the bat can be about 1 oz heavier than the listed weight. Some players noted that this was a negative, but some reviewers actually enjoyed the extra weight. This extra weight can help drive in home runs and could give players an edge.
Pros of Easton Bomb Squad
- Excellent power in hit
- Great bat grip and reduced hit vibration
- Reduced vibration that reduces hand pain
Cons of Easton Bomb Squad
- Composite material comes at higher price than alloy material
- Only comes in end loaded style
2015 Louisville Slugger Vapor
The Louisville Slugger Vapor is a very affordable slow-pitch bat that is a great beginner bat for someone who is just starting to compete in slowpitch leagues. The bat is made for a beginner player who wants a solid and dependable slow-pitch bat.
Feature #1: Aluminum 7050 Material of Construction
The 2015 Louisville Vapor is constructed of a durable Aluminum 7050 alloy that provides great bat stiffness and decent power. The simplicity of the construction means this bat is very accessible to new baseball players and provides solid performance for an inexperienced player.
Feature #2: Thick Handle
The Louisville Vapor has thick 7/8 in handle that provides a great grip for a new slow-pitch player. Typically, a player needs to continuously practice their swing and having a narrow grip can be difficult to handle. The Louisville vapor is built for new players and the thick handle gives a great gripping surface for a player who is just starting out.
Feature #3: Very Affordable
The Louisville vapor has a very low price tag and can easily be half the price of a bat like the Easton Bomb Squad. This low price tag means the bat can easily be purchased by a new player and can readily be found in major retail stores such as Walmart. This is ideal for someone just beginning to compete in softball leagues who are not interested in making a hefty investment into their equipment.
Real User Feedback
The Louisville Slugger Vapor has mediocre reviews on several sites due to the low level of performance, but many reviewers appreciated the dependability and power of the bat, considering the low prices. Players noted that the bat has a decent amount of power and is a balanced loaded bat that can provide line drive hits for base hits. The bat is also very light and easy to use, with the thicker handle being particularly useful for newer players. Most reviewers stated that the bat is a great first slowpitch bat, but does not have the power and versatility needed to compete at a higher level of slow-pitch softball. However, the bat has excellent reviews for youth league play, since the affordability of the Louisville Vapor makes it a great choice for a new softball player.
Most players criticized the bat for having low power and just not being able to compete against composite bats. The Louisville Vapor just does not have the necessary power to consistently deliver home runs or long hits during a game. A player looking to break into top-tier slowpitch leagues would not be satisfied with the performance of this bat and should look for a composite bat to give them the next level of performance.
Pros of 2015 Louisville Slugger Vapor
- Very affordable price
- Comfortable grip
Cons of 2015 Louisville Slugger Vapor
- Low power
- Cheaper material of construction
DeMarini ONE OG
The DeMarini ONE is a top-line composite slow-pitch bat that provides incredible explosiveness and favors a heavier, balanced weight distribution. It can be considered an advanced slowpitch bat that would serve an experienced player well. This softball bat comes with several features that are unique to the DeMarini ONE Line.
Feature #1: ZnX Alloy Handle
The DeMarini ONE OG is constructed with a ZnX alloy handle that provides increased power in the bat swing. The ZnX alloy is zinc and aluminum alloy that increases the strength and stiffness of bat. The stiffer material properties of the bat dramatically increase the pop of the bat by increasing the efficiency of the energy transfer to the bat. A more flexible bat will vibrate and bend, which dissipates the energy transfer into the softball. A stiffer bat minimizes these energy losses to provide a superior ball hit.
Feature #2: S. ONE Composite Barrel
The DeMarini ONE OG possesses a barrel constructed from a unique, improved steel that provides better durability and performance. The increased durability is due to the unique steel/carbon fiber alloy that makes up the bat barrel. This proprietary technology helps toughen the barrel and will help the bat last for dozens of games. In addition, the DeMarini ONE OG utilizes a unique layering system that will combine several narrow composite strips together in the softball bat body. This interwoven construction gives the bat incredible stiffness, which will improve the hitting power of the bat.
Feature #3: Dish End Cap
The end of the DeMarini ONE OG slow-pitch bat is topped by a dish end cap that will improve hitting power by making the bat stiffer. The dish end cap has a concave curve that creates a small hollow in the end of the bat. This pushes more weight back into the body of the bat and creates increased stiffness at the end of the bat barrel. The increased stiffness of the bat improves the energy transfer during a hit and improves the pop of the bat.
Real User Feedback
The majority of customers had positive feedback on the DeMarini ONE OG and appreciated the balanced explosiveness of the bat. Due to the balanced weight distribution of the softball bat, the DeMarini ONE OG is an excellent base hitter and is a great tool for a competitive team. Many users noted that several members of their team shared the same DeMarini ONE OG bat and the bat held up over dozens of games without any significant wear. Many reviewers also appreciated the comfortable grip on the bat and how the swing of the bat felt easy and natural due to the balanced weight distribution. Most players viewed this bat as a dependable and solid weapon in their arsenal.
Critical reviews of the DeMarini ONE OG focused on the lengthy break-in period for the bat and that the bat did not have the pop needed to consistently score home runs. Most reviewers of the bat stated that the softball bat takes multiple games to loosen up and provide the best explosiveness. Many reviewers speculated that this was due to the emphasis DeMarini places on the bat stiffness.
Several reviews also noted that the bat does not provide the power of several other high-end composite and only very strong hitters can consistently hit up to 300 ft with this bat. Many players using the slowpitch bat seem to think that all the features aimed at increasing the bat’s stiffness may actually make the bat too stiff and eliminate the “trampoline” affect some composite bats try to achieve. This “trampoline” affect is where the softball bat natural flexes when striking a softball and will then bounce back towards the ball, causing increased energy transfer to the softball.
Pros of DeMarini ONE OG
- Balance weight load creates smooth swing
- Explosive bat
- Comfortable grip for swinging
Cons of DeMarini ONE OG
- Slightly more expensive than competitors
- Does possess the pop of other composite bats
Comparison Between all 3 Models
So slow-pitch softball bat is right for you? Let’s compare these models using the three factors listed at the beginning of the review.
Factor #1: Bat Material
Based on the available specs for each bat, the Easton Bomb Squad and DeMarini ONE OG bats are constructed of clearly superior composite materials versus the aluminum alloy used in the Louisville Slugger Vapor. While the aluminum alloy may come at a much lower price, the composite bat barrels provide far superior performance.
Factor #2: Power
As you would expect based on the bat materials, the Louisville Slugger Vapor provides a fraction of the power that the DeMarini ONE OG and Easton Bomb Squad provide. Between these two composite bats, customer reviews indicated that the Easton Bomb Squad provides more power than the DeMarini ONE OG and the Easton Bomb Squad can consistently deliver 300 ft drives. The DeMarini ONE OG can provide a solid line drive and is a useful tool for base hitters, but is not a home run machine.
Factor #3: Affordability
The Louisville Slugger Vapor is clearly the cheapest option between the three bats, but this price difference is due to the relatively poor performance it provides as compared to the DeMarini and Easton models. Between the DeMarini ONE OG and Easton Bomb Squad, the Easton Bomb Squad typically runs a little cheaper than the DeMarini ONE OG. Both prices are comparable, but the Easton Bomb Squad is definitely the more affordable option.
Based on all the factors, the Easton Bomb Squad slow-pitch softball bat is clearly the best available option of the reviewed items and would be an ideal choice for anyone competing in slow-pitch leagues. The Easton Bomb Squad provides the best power at a price that is very competitive with similar models. The Easton Bomb Squad is readily available in online realtors such as Amazon and Justbats.com and typically runs for $99.95.
This slow-pitch bat option is an excellent choice for a softball player who is looking to perform at the top of their game and be an excellent contributor for their ream. This bat is a great choice for power hitters who want to consistently hit long drives that can score home runs. The Easton Bomb Squad also includes several features that make the bat comfortable to use and the spiral carbon fiber handle can save a player’s hands during a long day of hitting. This bat is perfect for a committed player who wants to make a solid, long-term investment that will serve them well over several softball seasons.