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Best Youth Baseball Bats

Updated April 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. Read more
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 22 Models Considered
  • 10 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 141 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best youth baseball bats

    Last Updated April 2018

    Youth baseball is a terrific sport that helps kids hone strength, develop coordination, enjoy teamwork, and have fun. But youth baseball requires a financial investment; you’ll need to purchase a glove, cleats, and a youth baseball bat to help your ball player get started.

    Gloves and cleats are pretty easy to understand and compare, but finding the right youth baseball bat can be a mystery. At BestReviews, we can help you decipher the world of youth baseball bats. To prepare this review, we performed detailed research that led us to make the product recommendations above. We’re proud to endorse each item.

    If your child is ready to start swinging a bat, we invite you to check out our suggestions for more information. If you’d like to learn more about baseball bats before you buy one – what bats are made of, what sizes are available, how much baseball bats cost – please continue reading this shopping guide.

    A youth baseball bat has several stamps indicating its certifications and how it was tested. Before you buy a youth baseball bat, make sure you understand the rules of your child’s league. Some leagues require specific bat certifications.

    Youth baseball bat materials

    A youth baseball bat is usually made one of three materials: composite, aluminum, or wood.

    Composite baseball bats

    A composite youth baseball bat is made of a material similar to carbon fiber. These bats require a break-in period of 150 to 200 ball strikes before they are ready for peak performance in games.

    Composite bats have less vibration on mis-hits, but they don’t work as well in cold weather.

    Because of the manufacturing and engineering processes involved, these bats cost more than aluminum and wood bats.

    Most youth baseball bats are made of composite, wood, or aluminum. Occasionally, however, you will find a “hybrid” bat with one material for the handle and another for the barrel.

    Staff
    BestReviews

    Aluminum baseball bats

    Aluminum, or alloy, bats are the most common type of youth baseball bat. These bats work well for most kids and cost relatively little. An aluminum bat requires no break-in period, so your child can use it in a game as soon as you buy it.

    An aluminum bat works better in cold weather than a composite bat, which is helpful for some early-season games.

    Wood baseball bats

    Some coaches like to use wood youth baseball bats in practice because it encourages players to develop good mechanics. For best results, a player must strike the ball in the sweet spot of a wood bat. But wood bats are less forgiving of mis-hits than aluminum and composite bats, and some youth baseball leagues don’t allow the use of wood bats.

    For most kids, aluminum or composite are the best choices.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    As a general rule, pricier aluminum bats have a wider sweet spot and better balance than cheap aluminum bats.

    Youth baseball bat length

    Finding the right bat length for a child is more challenging than finding the right bat length for an adult because children are still growing. Fortunately, there are a few guidelines to help you make the best choice.

    The recommended bat length for a child primarily depends on the height of the player, but the child’s weight plays a role, too.

    • Bats between 27 and 30 inches work best for youth about four feet tall.

    • Bats between 29 and 31 inches work best for youth about four-and-a-half feet tall.

    • Bats between 30 and 32 inches work best for youth about five feet tall.

    • Bats between 31 and 33 inches work best for youth about five-and-a-half feet tall.

    • Bats between 32 and 34 inches work best for youth about six feet tall.
       

    Young players who weigh more will be able to handle a bat at the upper end of the length range. For example, a five-foot player who weighs 150 pounds could probably handle a 32-inch bat, but a five-foot player who weighs less than 95 pounds may need a 30-inch bat.

    EXPERT TIP

    When using an aluminum or composite bat for batting practice, rotate the barrel a quarter turn every couple of swings. The bat will wear more evenly this way.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Youth baseball bat diameter

    Most baseball bats made for kids playing in Little League need to be no more than 2 1/4 inches in diameter, but once your child moves into a league for older youth – or if your child is playing in higher-level of Little League – bats up to 2 5/8 inches in diameter may be allowed.

    Make sure you understand the rules regarding the diameter of the bat in your league before you purchase one.

    Most bats of 32 inches and longer are 2 5/8 inches in diameter, so keep that in mind as well. It can be difficult to find a bat 32 inches or longer that is 2 1/4 inches in diameter.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some youth baseball leagues limit the diameter of the bat’s barrel to 2 1/4 inches. Others allow larger diameters. Find out what your child’s league requires before you make a purchase.

    Youth baseball bat prices

    You can find youth baseball bats that cost anywhere from $20 to $400.

    • Inexpensive

    Most baseball bats for youth cost $20 to $75. These bats are fine for learning the game.

    • Mid-Range

    As your child advances to higher levels of play with more competition, he or she will probably want a bat priced in the $50 to $200 range.

    • Expensive

    You can certainly find youth baseball bats that cost more than $200, and most of these are great bats. If you can fit a $250, $300, or $400 bat into your budget, it certainly wouldn’t hurt your child’s skills. Higher-priced bats typically last longer before wearing down, too. But unless your child is playing and practicing several times per week and really loves the game, an expensive bat is probably more than she needs.

    EXPERT TIP

    Even though the professionals use wood bats, another bat material – namely aluminum or composite – would be a better investment for a young player.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Tips

    Keep the following tips in mind as you shop for a youth baseball bat.

    • Your child will outgrow the bat. Growing kids periodically need a bigger bat, so you might have to purchase another one in a few months. Keep this in mind when deciding how much to spend.

    • Most kids don’t need an expensive bat. A child who is just learning the game doesn’t need an expensive bat. A bat with the highest-quality materials is aimed at experienced players who already know the fundamentals. An average-priced bat would likely work fine if your young player is just learning the proper swing techniques.

    • An expensive bat won’t suddenly make your child a great hitter. A high-quality bat might help your child hit a little better, but it isn’t a magic wand. Youngsters who have poor mechanics need to fix their mechanics; a pricey bat won’t do this for them. You may want to let your child learn the fundamentals first and then spring for an expensive bat.

    • If you use a wood bat, always hit the ball with the label facing inward. Striking the ball with the label portion of the bat could cause it to break.

    • Composite and aluminum break down with use. Bats made of these materials will break or become less effective over time.

    • If your child shares a bat with teammates during games, the same bat shouldn’t be used for practice, too. It will last longer this way.

    • Check what kind of balls are used for practice. Some pitching machines use dimpled balls that could wear out an aluminum or composite bat sooner than real baseballs would.

    Avoid using a new bat for repeated practice sessions. Use an older bat of similar size for batting practice.

    FAQ

    Q. What are the strengths and weaknesses of a heavy baseball bat versus a lightweight  baseball bat?

    A. For most young players, a lightweight bat is best. A lighter bat gives the player more control through the strike zone. This is helpful as the player learns the proper techniques for hitting. A lighter bat creates greater bat speed as well.

    Heavier bats provide more power. This becomes even more important as the player ages and advances in skill.

    Q. How do I determine the right bat weight for my youngster?

    A. To find a good bat weight for your child, have him try different bats that belong to his teammates. Have him hold the bat just above the knob with his dominant hand. Instruct him to stand normally, bend the elbow, and hold the bat outward and parallel to the ground. If he can hold the bat steady for several seconds without shaking, it’s an adequate weight. Try different bat weights until you find the proper range for your child.

    Q. What does “drop weight” mean?

    A. Drop weight is a comparison of a bat’s length to its weight. It is the length of the bat in inches minus the weight of the bat in ounces. For example, a 30-inch bat that weighs 22 ounces has a drop weight of -8.

    A bat with a drop weight of -8 will be lighter and easier for new players to control. Preteens can use a bat with a drop weight of -5. For older, stronger players, certain leagues require a BBCOR-certified bat, which has a drop weight of -3 or heavier.

    Q. What type of care does a youth baseball bat require?

    A. Other than the break-in period for a composite bat, you should limit the amount of time your child uses the new bat for batting practice. Don’t allow her to drag the bat on the ground or use it to knock dirt off cleats. Young players even may be tempted to use their bats for swordplay or to hit rocks. Ultimately, kids will do a lot of different things to a baseball bat, so the best care tip is to just keep an eye on how she is using it both on and off the field.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer