Fastpitch softball is generally played by females of any age. There are still some men’s and co-ed leagues out there, but fastpitch softball is widely regarded as a girl’s sport. But since females starting at about age 5 and all the way up to college age can play fastpitch softball, finding the right bat can be a challenge. There are so many options available, and many of them claim to be the best for a certain type of player. It’s hard to know which manufacturer to believe, so we’ve analyzed some of the top models for you and have separated them from the bad ones. We will provide you with unbiased reviews of some of the best fastpitch softball bats available in 2016.
What is a Fastpitch Softball Bat?
The best fastpitch softball bats are generally made from aluminum, composite or a combination of both, which is referred to as half-and-half. Certain leagues ban different types of bats, so it’s always best to check the rules and regulations of the league or tournament before buying your new fastpitch softball bat.
The main difference between slowpitch and fastpitch softball bats is that a fastpitch bat is designed to hit balls that are travelling at speeds up to 80mph. As a result, the bats are generally lighter to give you the ability to react more quickly to the ball that is coming at a fast speed. The weights of the bats are generally from 23oz to about 28oz and lengths of about 32” to 34”. The barrel diameter is the same as with slowpitch softball bats at 2 ¼”.
Manufacturers have conducted a lot of research into making fastpitch softball bats perfect for the game. As a result, using a fastpitch softball bat when playing slowpitch softball, and vice versa, isn’t going to give you the results that you desire. An effective way of determining the right bat is to read some of the best fastpitch softball bat reviews online to get an idea of what is good and what isn’t.
Types of Fastpitch Softball Bats
Once you know the weight and length that you need in a fastpitch softball bat, then you can start looking into the technical details. There are a few different types of fastpitch bats that you need to be aware of. Even if you aren’t a technical person, we will let you know the advantages and disadvantages of the certain types of bats so you will know that you are purchasing the best fastpitch softball bat for you.
Aluminum, Composite or Half-and-Half
Aluminum bats are going to be stronger just because of the nature of the material. It’s a strong material, which could make it a little heavier than other bats, but it is also very responsive when the ball strikes the bat. Composite bats are made from fiberglass, graphite and carbon fiber, which are all lighter materials. These are very popular in fastpitch softball since you need a lighter bat in order to have a quicker reaction time to the speed of the ball. Half-and-half bats combine different materials and can sometimes be the best option. However, some leagues don’t allow half-and-half bats, so you’ll have to be aware of that when looking at them.
One-Piece vs. Two-Pieces
A one-piece softball bat is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a bat that is made of one piece of material all the way through the bat. The advantage is that it is more stable than two-piece bats, but it’s also generally a little heavier. Two-piece bats have two types of construction, so they counter each other to create the perfect swing weight balance. These bats are great for weaker players who want a little more pop because they are generally more flexible than one-piece bats. But stronger players probably won’t like them because they can be a little too flexible at times.
What to Look For in a Fastpitch Softball Bat
The first place you need to start when looking for the best fastpitch softball bat is the length and weight. If you aren’t swinging the proper bat with the basic specifications, then none of the other features will matter.
Once you determine the length and weight that you need, then it will be easier to decide whether an aluminum or a composite bat is right for you. The best way to determine this is to try different bats, if possible. Many sporting goods stores will allow you to at least swing them to find out if they feel comfortable to you, and some may even have demos that you can try out to get an even better feel.
Reading some of the best fastpitch softball bat reviews is also a good way to determine which bat is right for you. Find people who have a similar style as you and read what they think about the bat. It’s never a good idea to base your decision solely on reviews from other people, but it’s definitely a good place to start.
Top Reviews for 2018 Best Fastpitch Softball Bats
We’ve conducted dozens of reviews of fastpitch softball bats and will now provide you with some of the best fastpitch softball bat reviews for 2016:
1. Easton MAKO 11 Fastpitch Softball Bat
If you’re looking for an inexpensive bat that is good for a youth league, then look no further than this bat. It is available in lengths as short as 25” and as long as 31”. The Mako bats are widely known as being one of the best brands for youth baseball and softball, so there’s really no need to spend a lot of money on an expensive composite bat. This one provides just enough power and it is weighted perfectly for young kids where they will have enough control and feel confident in the batter’s box.
This Fastpitch softball bat features a fiber composite 2-piece handle for free hand sting and a DX1 Alloy barrel for minimum vibrations. The product meets the 1.20 BPF bat standards and is approved by the following associations: ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISF and ISA. It was designed by hitter, Crysti Bustos, and ensures maximum performance. It is a very affordable choice and a good deal for youth players.
THINGS WE LIKED
- It offers good pop at a low price
- It has incredible balance
- It helps youngsters with less power to hit the ball further
THINGS WE DIDN’T LIKE
- It’s not very strong
- Not the best choice for those who expect too much pop
2. DeMarini CF7 -11 Fastpitch Softball Bat
If you want your child to have massive pop right when they unwrap a bat, then this is the one you need to buy. The secret is in the thermo-fused taper, which reduces the amount of vibration and directs the energy to the barrel of the bat. That just means that there is more energy right when the ball meets the bat, so you’ll know exactly when you make good contact. The handle is stiffer than many other bats, which also increases the power and makes it more likely to produce solid ball striking even when you don’t hit the sweet spot every time.
What makes this softball bat great is its great price in relation to the -11 feature, which allows excellent performance. The paradox composite handle is strong and stiff and allows better response out of the barrel. The sweet spot extends along the entire length of the barrel and allows maximum trampoline, which is also enhanced by the clutch end cap that keeps the barrel walls rigid.
This bat is actually a good bargain if you consider its unique features. Besides, it has a paradox plus+ composite barrel and a D-Fusion handle for better trampoline.
THINGS WE LIKED
- It helps balance weight due to its length
- Great pop which gives confidence to hitters
- The large sweet spot is very helpful especially for new players and youngsters
THINGS WE DIDN’T LIKE
- Regardless of where the ball strikes, the barrel vibrates
- It loses its pop quickly
3. Louisville Slugger Xeno Plus Fastpitch (-11) Softball Bat
Sometimes a kid that struggles at the plate just needs a little confidence. Not only will this bat give them that, but it will also provide some pretty good results as well. The Performance Plus composite material is lightweight, but still durable enough to handle some wear and tear. No matter how tall your child is, or how strong they are, the swing weight will be balanced enough for them to be able to control their swing. Most people say that they saw immediate improvement from their child right when they first started using the bat, so it’s worth the money if your child needs a little boost in the batter’s box.
This Louisville Slugger -10 model is powerful and offers maximum pop. It features performance Plus composite with no friction thanks to the double wall design of the barrel. The company has patented the iST technology / 2-piece construction and also the S1iD barrel technology. Such features ensure balance, long sweet spot barrel, light swing weight and lots of power. The barrel is 2 ¼” and has a 7/8” handle.
It is offered at a very good price. At a similar cost, you can also get the latest -11 Xeno version, which shares the same characteristics as its predecessor with the only difference that it’s a tad lighter and durable.
THINGS WE LIKED
- It hits great and the ball goes further
- The sweet spot does cover the barrel’s length and there is an even hotter sweet spot above the anti-vibration ring
- The velocity and distance covered by the ball are extraordinary
- Amazing pop
THINGS WE DIDN’T LIKE
- There is a weak spot where the barrel meets the handle
- The price doesn’t justify the durability
4. Wilson DeMarini 2016 CF8 Fastpitch Bat (-11)
What makes this bat special is the double wall construction, which basically creates a trampoline effect with the ball when the bat strikes it. It’s a composite bat and is one of the lightest ones that you can find. But the dish end cap is designed where it balances out the weight of the bat at the end and forces more energy toward the sweet spot. Combine that with the D-Fusion handle that also redirects energy toward the barrel and you have a sweet spot that’s ready to explode when the ball meets it. If you want to give your kid an advantage over the competition while still staying legitimate, this is the bat to choose.
With a stacked barrel construction and an end loaded triple wall barrel, the Wilson Demarini DeMarini model is a lightweight, nice solution. Although this is not the most inexpensive option, it is affordable and a good choice for those who need a strong bat. The barrel has a springboard surface and a stiff Big D end cap to keep energy impact on the barrel’s sweet spot.
THINGS WE LIKED
- Hot out of the wrapper
- Easy to find the sweet spot
- Very powerful to cover long distance
- Incredible pop
THINGS WE DIDN’T LIKE
- It’s rather expensive
- It doesn’t provide the pop expected for its value
Louisville Slugger Lxt Plus Fastpitch (-10) Softball Bat
The most important thing you can do for your child that plays fastpitch softball is to make sure that they are comfortable in the batter’s box. With a bat like this, they have no choice but to feel comfortable and confident. The TRU3 Explosive Power Transfer reduces the amount of vibration significantly and gives you a spring effect when the ball makes contact. It’s constructed with a double wall to ensure that the ball will pop off the bat quickly. This composite bat is one of the lightest that you can find, but you’ll never have to question the durability.
Great performance and durability at an affordable price! You will love this Miken bat because it is designed for maximum impact.
It is an extremely strong bat thanks to the way it is manufactured. It features 750 x High Pressure Infusion (HPI) and 100 COMP. It’s a one piece aerospace grade carbon fiber bat with a 14 ½ inch barrel length. It’s ideal for power hitters.
THINGS WE LIKED
- It has a great pop and is well balanced
- The ball flies without too much power
- It’s lightweight
THINGS WE DIDN’T LIKE
- It’s not exactly hot out of the wrapper since it takes at least 100 hits to start making the ball fly
- It is not very powerful
Features to consider when Choosing Softball Bats
One-piece bats: If you are looking for minimum flex, this is the bat for you. Since they are one piece, they are extremely strong.
Two-piece bats: The handle is separate from the barrel and thanks to their design, these bats give you maximum trampoline effect.
Number of barrel walls: Bats with many barrel walls are actually made of many layers (of the material) and create a spring effect. These are excellent choices for maximum trampoline.
End Caps: This is the cap at the end of the barrel.
Material/Durability: The material used for the production of bats plays a great role to their durability. These are the most common materials:
- Composite bats:These ones are made of carbon fiber, fiberglass and graphite. They are hybrid bats. Most two-piece bats are made of composite materials and have an alloy barrel and composite handle. They are often prohibited by leagues, so check with yours. They are great for both fast and slow pitch bats.
- Bamboo bats: This is the strongest material among all other wood-made bats. Since it is extra strong, it lasts longer. The material is often used for the construction of slow pitch softball bats.
- Maple bats: This material is hard and really stiff and so maple bats are often used by power hitters.
- Ash bats: This is a soft material and so the perfect choice for those seeking high trampoline effect. It flexes when the bat is swung and offers to the player better control over the bat. They are often used for slow pitch games.
- Alloy bats: These bats are made of aluminum. One-piece bats are often made of aluminum or aluminum mixed with other metals so that they will be extremely strong. Alloy bats are excellent for slow and fast pitch games.
Grip: This is the bat handle wrap. Lizard skins are very popular. You can buy these wraps separately and install them yourself.
Taper (Handles): Bats have either flexible or stiff handlers. With one-piece bats, the handle and barrel are one and this makes the handle stiffer. Two-piece bats have a separate handle and that makes them more flexible.
Barrel: Barrels vary in terms of weight, material and length. Depending on their stiffness, they will be more or less flexible to give trampoline effect. The barrel actually acts as a spring. It stores energy to return it to the ball to increase speed and land further. So, before you choose your bat, you must decide whether you need a barrel with elastic properties (often found in two-piece bats) or not.
Weight Distribution: We have three distinctions here:
- Balanced bats: Their weight is evenly distributed (as their name implies) all the way from the knob to the end cap. These are the favorite bats for contact hitters and the most popular ones.
- End-loaded bats: These bats have more weight at the end cap.
- Max-loaded bats: They are similar to the end-loaded bats, but their weight is more towards the end. They are designed for players with strength who can easily manage swing control and so they are not the best choice for children.
Size: The size of your bat depends on your height and weight. For example, for a player with 57-60 inches height and weighing 101-110 pounds, a 31” bat is required.
- Length ranges: For slow pitch bats: 33” to 34”. For fast pitch bats: 32” to 34”. For youth leagues: 29” to 32”.
- Weight ranges: For slow pitch bats: 26 to 30 oz. For fast pitch bats: 23 to 28 oz. For youth leagues: 14 to 27 oz.
- Drop weight ranges: -8 to -13. This is the weight minus the length. For example, a 32” inch bat weighing 22 ounces will have a -10 drop weight.
Feeling: This is the way the bat feels in your hands. It must not be too heavy and must also feel good when you touch it in your hands. It must not be slippery. It should feel as if it was the extension of your arms.
Importance of Reviews – Something to Keep in Mind
- What type of game:
Are you interested in fast or slow pitch softball games? They are different. The pitcher throws the ball differently and the batter responds accordingly. As their name implies, in soft pitch softball games the ball is about 12 inches big and must arch on its way to the hitter. The pitch in fast pitch softball games is fast.
- Why the material is important:
The material is important because it will make the bat lightweight or heavy and neither is good. The bat must allow some flexibility and still be strong. If it’s too heavy, you won’t be able to keep control over it. If it’s too light, you won’t hit the ball with ease.
If you are looking for a new bat, you are either a new player or want to replace the older one. Either case, you need to get a bat, which will help you have great performance in the field. With new bats coming out, you certainly need a new one that will be much better than the last one. Two-piece bats might break, but they are excellent for trampoline effect. If you are a new player, you should focus on the length of the hot spot of the barrel. The longer the sweet spot the better for high performance! Choosing a bat for high performance is extremely important if your league is governed by associations (ASA, USSSA etc.).
There is no doubt that softball bats are not inexpensive. Some cost a few hundred dollars and the truth is that the average family can hardly afford such prices. The good news is that there are some good deals out there. It depends on your needs, too. If you want a bat for your daughter but she is still learning, there is no need to spend a fortune. You can find excellent bargains and still have the best softball bats for her.
It’s always preferable to trust a well-known brand, which can give you warranty. Most softball bat manufacturers do continuous research and focus on details related to the elasticity and high performance of their products. Since they have many things to lose, they never stop making improvements. Brands, like Miken, Louisville Slugger and DeMarini, have been tested for their products for years, but you should still read more about their products before buying anything. Don’t forget that their models vary, too. The good thing is that they have experience and could help you choose, too.
- League Requirement/Organization Approval/Bat Regulation/Approved for ASA or USSSA:
There are always league requirements and most of them meet the standards set by ASA and USSSA. For example, some associations do not accept bats made of composite. So, it’s best to check with your league about their requirements before you invest in a new bat. Not all leagues are governed by these associations, but those which do they would want a bat with a certification stamp.
It can be an overwhelming process to try to find the perfect fastpitch softball bat. With all of the different options available, it’s difficult to know which one has the best features that will help you with your game. Comfort is the main thing you need to consider when buying a new bat. Now that you have some of the basic knowledge about fastpitch softball bats, you will be able to check out some of the best fastpitch softball bat reviews and find the bat that is perfect for you!