Made from maple for maximum hardness and power on contact. Specially compacted and coated surface doubles natural hardness. MLB-approved Ink Dot for play. Cupped end for improved balance. Standard handle. Variety of fresh designs.
Expensive. Maple can be more brittle than softer woods.
Maple wood for surface hardness and power. Provides professional performance and experience at an accessible price. Even balance and weight distribution for control. Cupped end provides added balance. Standard handle.
Lacks Ink Dot. Can shatter more than ash.
Made of maple for maximum hardness and power. Bone-rubbed and compacted surface for maximized contact. End-loaded offers heavy impact for big flies. Finely tapered knob and handle for delicate grip. Cupped end for balance.
Expensive. Slimmer handle can break more than competitors.
Maple construction. Designed for increased whip through the zone for improved contact. Compressed surface. Medium handle and large barrel for maximized impact. Flared knob for balance and a firm grip. Ink Dot MLB-approved.
Very expensive. Maple can shatter. May feel heavier than competitors.
Axe-style handle boasts superior speed and control over standard handles. Naturally hard, dense maple is specially coated and finished to provide exceptionally hard, durable, and glossy hitting surface. Cupped end. Ink Dot MLB-approved.
Generally league-approved handle can still sometimes be rejected by umpires.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Wood baseball bats are a traditional type of bat. When you’re watching Major League Baseball, all players use a wood bat, per the rules of professional baseball, and they have for more than a century.
But for the majority of youth, high school, and college leagues, players use composite materials or aluminum bats. These bats are less expensive than wood bats and last longer, which makes them desirable for younger players.
Still, wood bats have their place in amateur baseball. Some teams will play special games or tournaments where wood bats are required. Some amateur leagues even use wood bats all of the time.
If you need a wood bat for these special occasions or for your particular league, multiple sizes and materials are available for batters of all heights and builds. It can be a lot to take in, but we’ve stepped up to the plate and put together the key information you need in order to choose the wood bat that’s right for you.
As with any baseball bat, it’s important to pick a wood baseball bat that’s appropriate for the age and size of the player who will be using it. Pick a bat that’s too heavy and long, and the player will not generate the proper bat speed. Pick a bat that’s too light and short, and you won’t generate the power you want.
Every player is a little different in skill level and strength. We’ve listed some specifications here to help you figure out the proper length of wooden bat as a starting point, based on the size of the player. You can then test a few different weights.
If you normally use a composite or aluminum bat, you should start with the same length and weight of wood bat.
Here are some important features to consider when shopping for a wood baseball bat.
As with a composite or aluminum bat, you’ll find a drop weight number stamped on the wood baseball bat. This number refers to the length (inches) subtracted from the weight (ounces). This often results in a negative number. A 32-inch, 29-ounce bat would have a minus-3 drop weight. The drop weight for a wood bat is usually minus-2 to minus-3 for an adult-size bat. Youth wood bats can have a drop weight as low as minus-8, although minus-4 or minus-5 bats are more common.
Wood bats are typically milled of maple, ash, or birch. Occasionally, you may find a bamboo wood bat or a composite wood bat, but these are often two-piece bats. Bats constructed of more than one piece of wood aren’t always allowed in league or tournament play.
Here are some positives and negatives for each of the three primary types of wood baseball bats.
Wood baseball bats are available in a wide range of price points. The least-expensive wood bats cost $20 to $40. These are aimed at young players, but they may not stand up to repeated use.
Mid-range wood bats cost $40 to $75. These are good for intermediate players who want to try wood bats for the first time. They’re not quite professional level, but they are adequate for game play for older children and adults. Fungo bats often fall into this price range.
A pro-level wooden baseball bat will cost anywhere from $75 to $250. These are the highest-quality wood bats, delivering longevity and power — as long as you use and care for them properly.
We expect the majority of people will find a great wood baseball bat among our highlighted favorites, but if you want more options, here are some that we considered.For an inexpensive wood bat aimed at young players, we like the Louisville Slugger Youth 125 Maple Bat.
If you like the idea of using a composite wood bat, one of the best performers is the DeMarini DI13 Pro Maple Wood Composite Bat, but it is expensive.
For an extremely hard maple bat that carries plenty of power at a reasonable price, the Mizuno Maple Elite MZM 243 Bat delivers.
If you prefer ash, we like the smartly priced Easton Pro 110 Ash Wood Baseball Bat.
Q. Do wood bats actually have a strong side?
A. Yes. Look for the label of the bat, which is the manufacturer’s name or logo on the barrel. This label needs to either point upward or downward as you make contact with the ball. Having the bat in this position ensures you strike the ball with the strongest part of the wood grain in the bat. If you hit the ball with the label part of the bat, you risk breaking it.
Q. Why are the ends of some wood bats hollowed out?
A. This is called cupping. A cupped bat will have a small area cut out of the end of the bat, usually 1.5 or 2 inches in diameter and a fraction of an inch deep. This slightly reduces the weight of the bat and moves the sweet spot up to an inch closer to the handle. Should you hit a ball near the end of a cupped wood bat, the bat will be susceptible to breaking, however. It’s a trade-off.
Q. Should I clean the bat regularly?
A. Not necessarily. You’ll want to wipe off any dirt or moisture with a towel, but you don’t really need to clean the bat regularly. Some players carry a very fine sandpaper to lightly sand any areas where the seams of the ball leave a mark on the wood.
Q. Would switching to a wood bat help my child improve?
A. A composite material or aluminum bat has a larger sweet spot than a wood bat. This means balls hit near the handle or near the end of the bat with an aluminum bat may result in a hit. A ball struck in a similar spot with a wood bat may break. Using wood bats on occasion can help players feel when they miss the sweet spot on the bat, which may help them develop a better swing path.