Best Softball Bats

As Wikipedia informs anyone who is interested in facts finding, a softball is a variant of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field. It was invented in 1887 in Chicago as an indoor game. Softball is a great way to stay active and be in a great shape with minimum costs (no expensive personal diet coaches are necessary), irrespective whether you are a professional or just a rookie. In order to play this popular game, you still need to invest in some basic sports gear. What you need is the best softball bats and decent gloves.  In this article we will focus on the former to make your playing experience truly extraordinary.

General Information about Softball & Baseball Bats

Some people may wonder the difference between softball and baseball bats.  And if you are already a proud owner of the latter, why do you need to invest in the former?

This may be partially true as there is almost little difference between the two at the youth level.  However, at the adult level, there are important differences between two types of bats.

The most obvious answer is the length and weight.  Bats used for adult baseball and softball are usually different in length.  As to the weight, with fast-pitch softball bats are generally lighter than slow-pitch softball bats, which in turn are lighter than the baseball ones.

Now once we know the general difference between two types of bats, we can focus more attentively on softball ones.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Softball Bats

Do you know how to choose the best softball bats? There are several products on the market already and every day you may see new ones. We would personally feel a bit lost with all this variety, therefore, we hope this article will bring some clarity to you.

There are several important factors a buyer needs to keep in mind while shopping:

  • General Types of the Product
  • Length to Weight Ratio & a Diameter
  • Materials Used
  • One-piece and Two-piece Bats
  • Balanced and End-Loaded Bats
  • Appropriate Certification

Factor #1: General Types of the Product

First it is necessary to have a general grasp of types of bats a person may use while playing this game. Tee Ball bat is for adolescence players when softballs are located on a tee; Junior Big Barrel bat is for players between six or eight years of age; it is used mostly when a coach pitches to teach a kid the ins and outs of the game before they are ready for the next level. Youth bat is for youth players required to use a 2 ¼” barrel diameter; Senior League bat is for adolescent players who may use a barrel with big diameter; Fast-pitch Softball is a softball game when speeds at which the ball is thrown are between eighty to eighty-five miles per hour; Slow Pitch bat is used in slow pitch softball and Fungo / Training bat is lightweight training one used by trainers.

Factor #2: Length to Weight Ratio & a Diameter

Another important factor to consider is called “drop” or length to weight ratio.  This factor shows the correlation between the length of the bat and its weight. If the number is large, then the bat is light and vice versa.  Usually these bats vary within the range of minus 3 to minus 14.  Depending on player`s personal preference, physical strength, weight and height, hitting style an appropriate bat should be chosen.

The diameter of the bat depends on the league a person is playing in, because each league has its restrictions and it is advisable to check these requirements before purchasing a specific bat.

Factor #3: Materials Used

Modern day bats are made of metal/alloy, composite or hybrid materials. Wood and bamboo is also used sometimes as well as their combinations. Again here much depends on the personal choice of a player. Typically alloy products are sturdy ones, however dents may occur during a lifespan of the product. Wood bats are classic, however, they are vulnerable to breaking and cracking. Composite bats are made of mixture of resin with carbon, glasses and Kevlar fibers. They can also crack sometimes. Hybrid bats usually feature an alloy main barrel and a lightweight handle made of a composite material. They are quite good in reducing handle vibration.  Sometimes composites are made of several types of wood. They are more durable that traditional wood bats and require certifications. Bamboo bats feel and perform as wood ones, however they are more durable and seldom crack.

Alloy and metal bats do no need break-in period and can be used right away; composite bats may require some break-in (50 or so swings should be enough) if a player feels they are not optimal for performance when unwrapped.

Factor #4: One-piece and Two-piece Bats

There are also one-piece bats, which offer less flexibility and can be good for powerful players with a speed of the swing above average, and two-piece ones, which are naturally more flexible and good for players who still need to improve their bat speed. Moreover, the latter reduce vibration better that the former.

Factor #5: Balanced and End-Loaded Bats

Sometimes a first time shopper may come across balanced and end-loaded bats. A balanced bat has its weights properly distributed throughout its length. They are good for any average player. End-loaded ones have more weight at their end and are intended for more powerful players.

Factor #6: Appropriate Certification

Finally, one needs to bear in mind that bats have various certification stamps engraved on them.  The common ones are:

  • BBCOR: Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution. This indicator is the industry standard. It regulates the overall performance of adult bats used by high school and college players
  • USSSA: United States Specialty Sports Association
  • ASA: Amateur Softball Association

Now you are equipped with some theoretical knowledge of softball bats and nuances for choosing the proper one for yourself. So this is high time we looked at what is available on the market!

Best Softball Bat 2017

Many online shops offer huge variety of the products. We have focused on the biggest, the Amazon.  It offers several great products for high and low prices.

We have handpicked several softball bats and meticulously reviewed them for you starting from very expensive ones to the cheaper alternatives with an average customs reviews of more than 10. We have put our finding in the table below for the ease of reading:

Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper

Louisville Slugger is the most well-known and respected name in softball/baseball.  Founded in 1884, Louisville Slugger bats have been used by the hands of the greatest players through US history, including stars of today.

Feature #1: TRU3 Connection

With above product being a new one in 2017, we can simply say it is one of the best in its category; it is made of two composite pieces fused together in a design called by a manufacturer a TRU3 connection. This TRU3 Connection places a sting dampening slug between the barrel and handle and fans of this product may recall seeing such innovation on several previous models of Louisville Slugger bats. This allows the hitter to test and practice his swing without tiring their hands! After spending hours and hours on the field, you may not feel any fatigue in your hands (not guaranteed of course, since all humans differ).

Feature #2: Inner and Outer Barrels

While the dual design of this bat featuring both the inner and outer barrel is not unique for this model, it is one of several high end performance ones available on the market. The outer barrel is hot out of the wrapper and it does not require a no break in time. The inner barrel serves to make sure the outer barrel doesn’t exceed maximum performance. This feature allows achieving good performance and durability at all pitch speeds. Moreover, this design allows hitters to fine tune their style and hitting technique with ease. When they will be comfortable with their training and hitting style, the success rate of their hits will undoubtedly increase as their confidence in their abilities to perform better will be based on solid ground of everyday practice.

Feature #3: Longer Sweet Point

This model also features a new composite design of a longer sweet spot. The so-called PBF technology doubles its size, which is a good thing to have as many players may attest. This may be useful when hitters are trying to adjust to the speed of the ball looking at the pitcher. It is easier now to shift weight and position and be sure that the ball will be hit with the bat irrespective of the angle it is flying to the hitters.

Feature #4: Sizes and Colors

This product comes in nearly every imaginable size and color unlike others on the market. This may prove attractive for players to stand own of the crowd, to become recognizable in mass and social media and so on.

Real Users Feedback

Reviewing Amazon users` comments on this product, many customers are pleased with a balanced swing of this bar. They noticed that it was lighter than expected and they regard it as a big plus especially if the pitching is quick. Other users added that their kids played many games with this bat and they loved it for its power and durability.

There are also several unsatisfied customers who said that one of this bat had broken after just a few games. Others also commented that players need some time to adjust to it. Another comment mentioned that this was one of the most expensive product albeit with several great features.

Pros of the Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper

  • Attractive and innovative design; PF Barrel technology. No time necessary for breaking in and the bat can perform right away. The bat has a good sweet spot and this allows it to perform well during the game. It also contributes to intensifying the trampoline effect.
  • Improved the TRU3 patented technology, which provides for a flexibility between the barrel and handle. In turn, this allow to increase trampoline effect of a barrel and reduce vibration.
  • End Cap & Fade Synthetic Grip – nice to have add-ons to performance and appearance of this product giving players a comfortable sense of holding the reliable product.
  • Many colors and sizes
  • Recognizable brand with good customer support
  • Certified by major softball associations

Cons of the Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper

  • A bit expensive
  • Maybe unsuitable for player who play a lot in the cold weather as purely aluminum bats perform better in such circumstances

Louisville Slugger 2014 Xeno FPXN14

While this product is not the newest on the market, it has several unique features, which we intend to describe in details below.

Feature #1: Slid Technology

This is fast pitch composite bat with the S1iD inner disc technology which provides maximum barrel flex right up to the performance limit not only on the sweet spot but also as you move away from the sweet spot. This technology also provides a bat that requires no break in time and thus allows for the maximum legal performance from swing 1 right out of the wrapper. This is quite useful as many former softball players confessed that is a softball bat is comparable in length with a player`s hand, she/he would feel as they had an extended arm.  Equipped with such bat, a success of hitting a ball goes up considerably and the swing becomes easy and effortless.

Feature #2: Durable Composite Material

In addition, the LS-2X composite thin wall, light weight barrel provides the player with the most flexible barrel, resulting in the maximum legal exit speed and increased performance vs. the competition’s bats at even slower swing speeds. This will ensure that the bat is solid and can withstand many hits irrespective of the speed of the ball. We have tested our bats with several modern hitting robots to come up with the required strength of the material to endure extreme usage.

Factor #3: Inner Socket Connection Technology

The Inner Socket Connection Technology joins the barrel and handle together and provides players with a great solid feel and larger sweet spot.  This version comes in three weight drops, (-10), (-9), (-8) and is designed for the serious fast pitch player. When a player sees a ball flying in her/his direction at an incredible speed, they have milliseconds to catch it in the mid-air with the strike. This technology will allow even a rookie player to engage in softball training drills for many hours without feeling a need for break.

Real Users Feedback

Many customers who already bought this product include interesting reflections they experienced while using this bat in the game. They say that their kids had no difficulty in using this bat from the day one. And XENO mark provides a real pop unlike other models. With the help of this bat, any mediocre player can become an intimidating one on the field. Moreover, the moderate price of this product matches exactly the expectations of the customers.

At the same time, some customers are not so amazed with this product saying that this bat had broken than they could have reasonably expected, adding that it was immediately replaced by the company. Another reviewer also mentioned that it had broken after less than 20 hits.

Pros of Louisville Slugger 2014 Xeno FPXN14

  • Moderately priced
  • Good quality and balanced swing
  • Two-piece design with synthetic grip
  • Approved by major softball associations

Cons of Louisville Slugger 2014 Xeno FPXN14

  • Can be even cheaper since this 2014 model
  • Not so many colors and sizes

Easton FS50

The company has been an industry leader for over 30 years since 1969, when Easton produced the first true aluminium bat, and has continued with more and more innovation every year.

Not everyone is ready to spend $200 or $300 for a product that may or may not last the whole season. Therefore, Easton’s equipment is a very popular choice for buyers with the low budget. For the record we should mention that it is now discontinued, however, you may find it on online auction sites like eBay in relatively good quality.

Feature #1: Alloy

This one is made from aluminium alloy for beginner adolescent players.  It feels soft and solid in one`s hand so you will definitely enjoy holding this bat with your hands.

Feature #2:  Reliable Grip and Durable

Easton FS50 features All Sports grip. In addition to having a decent speed of the swing, this product promises to deliver to you years of reliable service in games and practice. This grip will make sure your hand will not slip so that you can concentrate on balls flying in your direction.

Feature #3:  Good for Female Players Especially

This can be a fine choice for female players thanks to its bright pink and white design colors. It is good for fashion minded persons who would like to play and enjoy photos and selfies of themselves holding this beautiful piece of sports gear.

Real Users Feedback

When searching a cheap but a decent softball bats, you need to look at several available options on the market including this one. However, you have to keep in mind that its low price may lack features available in more expensive products which may double or triple the price of the bat. Again here everything depends on individual`s financial situation and their willingness to spend money on sports equipment.

Customers revealed peculiarities of everyday use of this product saying that the bat was very attractive and easy to use. Even an 8-year-old could easily handle it from the first time. It is very light weighted and thus the kid enjoyed playing the game for many hours. Another reviewer mentioned that girls on his son`s team immediately wanted this bat the first time they saw it. Despite its low price tag it is clearly a serious piece of equipment. It should especially be valuable for a beginner who looks for bright and attractive color.

Users warn that this bat is easily dented even if a small kid uses it frequently.

Pros of Easton FS50

  • Good for beginners and small kids
  • Durable aluminum
  • Looks attractive
  • Cheap and light

Cons of Easton FS50

  • Discontinued
  • Can dent easily

Comparison between All 3 Models

While the bat is probably the most important piece of any player’s arsenal before selecting an appropriate one you need to consider several things. It is always good to have clear understanding of your needs before you click a “purchase button”. So let’s recap our factors we discussed at the beginning of this article and see how the reviewed products feature there.

Factor #1: General Types of the Product

All discussed bats are used for playing a softball, therefore they are all equal here.

Factor #2: Length to Weight Ratio & a Diameter

Our first product is -11 Length to Weight Ratio and 2 1/4 Inch Barrel Diameter. The other two have -10 Length to Weight Ratio and the same diameter.  Remember what we mentioned how this number influences on the weight of the bat?  Therefore, the first product is comparatively lighter than the other two.

Factor #3: Materials Used

Only Easton is the aluminium alloy, the other two are made of composite materials.  Of course, the LXT Hyper is made of superior composite that its older sibling.

Factor #4: One-piece and Two-piece Bats

LXT Hyper is even a three-piece bat.  Easton is a solid one-piece, while the older Slugger model is a two-piece product. If you look for more flexibility, then you need to choose the product with more than one piece.

Factor #5: Balanced and End-Loaded Bats

All three bats are balanced ones.  No obvious winner here.

Factor #6: Appropriate Certification

All three bats are certified by all major softball associations.  No obvious winner here either.

We have not included the affordability of the product as a factor, however, it is obvious that one should consider what their average available budget is.

If the budget is not a constraint for you, then our first pick is the number one in the above table: Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper. For the above price you receive unparalleled piece of craftsmanship which elite players of softball would definitely enjoy: ultimate balanced bat with 100% composite design and new PBF barrel technology. Unlike other models available on the market it will double the sweet spot and give a player a perfect swing thanks to another new patented technology (TRU3) which cancels vibration. With many color combinations in stock these products are available in -11, -10, -9 and -8 range.

If you would a good product, but not prepared to spend top bucks on it, then number two in our list is Louisville Slugger 2014 Xeno FPXN14.  It features The S1iD inner disc technology providing maximum flexibility as much as the performance. The S1iD technology ensures this bat has no break in time and thus permits for the utmost performance from swing 1 right out of the wrapper. The Inner Socket Connection Technology joins the barrel and takes care of in combination.  You will experience a solid feel and bigger sweet spot with this product.

You may also consider Easton model since it has a good variety of colors, a balanced sign weight and is approved by many organizations so you will not need to carry several bats if you are going to participate in different sports tournaments. It is discontinued though so expect some hassle with finding it only on online actions or maybe from friends on garage sales. If you have just started your softball practice and looking for the cheapest, but reliable product, then look no further than Easton FS50 . Featuring durable aluminium alloy it will give a beginner player a necessary confidence with fast swing speed and power.

Final Verdict

Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper is the most expensive yet it is newest model with many fantastic features you will not find in other models.  For the top buck, it will give you every possible technical advantage on the field and you will need to invest more in your own training!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *