Softball is one of those games where you can play even at an old age, as long as you’re healthy. But depending on your age, you may need to use a different softball bat than everyone else. There are dozens of different brands and models of softball bats in 2016, so it can be a little overwhelming to decide on the perfect bat for you. Each company claims that they have the best bat for one reason or another. But you can’t listen to all of those claims, because they may have some good features that don’t necessarily pertain to you. We’ve filtered through the dozens of best softball bats and separated the good ones from the bad ones and will provide you with some of the best softball bats reviews. At the very least, you will have a good idea of the type of specifications you need to purchase the perfect softball bat for your skill level.
What is a Softball Bat?
First, let’s get into some of the technical details about softball bats. The length and weight of the bat are the most important specifications for anyone, since they determine how well and flawlessly you can swing it. Those specifications can vary, but adult slowpitch softball bats are generally about 33” or 34” and weigh from 26oz to 30oz. On the other hand, fastpitch softball bats are generally 32” to 34” and weigh from 23oz to 28oz.
The reason for the differences in the length and the weight are due to the timing involved in hitting the ball. With fastpitch softball, you need a lighter bat since the ball will be coming to the plate a lot faster than with slowpitch. Of course, there are youth softball bats as well that are even lighter than that, but we won’t get into too much detail on those here.
There is a lot of science behind the construction of softball bats. Bats at different lengths have to have weight distributed differently in order for the swing weight to feel comfortable. If a bat is too heavy in the barrel or too thick in the grip, then it’s not going to be desirable for people when they are in the batter’s box. Manufacturers go through rigorous designing and testing to ensure that every bat meets the standards that they set for an equally distributed weight and to ensure that the moment-of-inertia is where it should be.
Barrel diameters are somewhat standard, and they are 2 ¼” for softball bats. It may seem strange that the barrel diameter of an adult softball bat is the same as for a youth bat. However, with the different lengths, the bats will look completely different. The handles will be different lengths, some will have end caps to help distribute the weight better and some softball bats even have a barrel that takes up the majority of the bat.
These are just some of the main characteristics that go into the design and manufacturing of the best softball bats. Again, the weight and length are most important to you when choosing a bat, since the other details are pretty standard.
Types of Softball Bats
There are two main types of softball bats: slowpitch and fastpitch. But just because a bat says that it is a slowpitch bat doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for fastpitch softball and vice versa, but there are some obvious advantages and disadvantages for taking that approach.
Slowpitch Softball Bats
A typical slowpitch softball bat has a length of 34” and weighs anywhere from 26oz-30oz. But the rest of those features aren’t that simple. Slowpitch softball bats can be either one-piece or two-pieces. The one-piece bat is going to be a little stronger and stiffer, so it won’t flex as much. If you’re a power hitter who likes to swing for the fences, then you’ll want a one-piece bat. A two-piece bat will allow the barrel to flex a little more when it makes contact with the ball, so it’s beneficial for people who don’t have a lot of strength on their own.
You can also get a slowpitch softball bat that’s made of alloy, composite or a combination. Most bats you will find will be constructed with alloy, which is basically aluminum. Composite bats will be a little lighter since they are made with graphite, fiberglass and carbon fiber. Hybrid bats combine alloy and composite, which give the bat a much lighter feel when you swing it. There are also wood bats still available, but they aren’t very popular. They don’t have as much pop as the aluminum bats and many of them aren’t allowed in slowpitch softball leagues.
Fastpitch Softball Bats
As far as the construction goes, fastpitch softball bats and slowpitch softball bats are similar. They are offered in alloy, composite or hybrid and have either one-piece or two-piece construction. The main difference is that fastpitch softball bats are shorter and lighter. The reason is because the ball is coming much faster in fastpitch, so the hitter needs a lighter bat to get a greater swing speed to catch up to it. Stronger players can still use a heavier bat, but the majority of the players need a lighter bat to be able to make solid contact with the ball.
Important Features to Consider in a Softball Bat
No matter if you’re in the market for a slowpitch or fastpitch softball bat, the features that you need to be aware of are the same. The first thing you need to be aware of is your own strength. If you aren’t the strongest person, then it wouldn’t make sense to buy a 30oz bat, even if the other materials and specifications are exactly what you want. Luckily, most of the best softball bats are offered in different weights, so you can focus on the other specifications and just buy the one that has the length and weight that you need.
There are a few tricks that you can use to determine the perfect length and weight of the bat that you need. First, take a softball bat and place the knob on your chest and hold the barrel straight out in front of you. Your fingertips should be right at the end of the bat. If your fingertips extend too far beyond the bat or it they don’t reach the end, then you know that the bat is too long or too short for you.
There are a lot of different ways to determine what the weight of your softball bat should be. Everyone has different strengths, so you could just continuously swing the bat for a couple minutes until you get tired. If you notice a slight dip in your swing, then the bat may be a little too heavy for you. You might need to get someone else to watch you swing the bat too so they can analyze your swing.
One other thing is the drop of the bat, which is the difference between the length and the weight. If you subtract the length from the weight, the number you get is the drop. The lower the number, the heavier the bat will seem. If the drop is low, then you could consider buying a shorter bat to offset the weight a little bit.
Consider the type of material of the bat as well. Aluminum and composite bats are by far the most popular today. Manufacturers are making these bats so that you will get the most pop right when you take it out of the wrapper. In general, the stiffer the bat feels, the more power it’s going to have. But again, if you aren’t comfortable swinging a particular bat, then it’s not going to work well for you. Sometimes you just need a composite bat, which will allow you to swing slower, but still give you enough power that you are lacking with your physical strength.
Slowpitch Softball Bat Reviews 2018
Now that you know the ins-and-outs of slowpitch softball bats, I’ll give you some information about some of the best brands of bats that you can consider for your purchase.
1. DeMarini 2015 the ONE Slowpitch Bat
This is one of the best composite bats that you can find. It is 34” in length and has a SC4 alloy handle. It’s approved for play in most leagues and it has one of the largest sweet spots among the other softball bats that we’ve reviewed. This two-piece bat is end-loaded to give it great balance so it’ll feel comfortable when you swing it. Like many slowpitch softball bats, you have to take a few hundred swings and hits with it to maximize it’s pop, but once you get it going, it’s a solid bat that even your teammates will want to borrow.
2. 2015 Louisville Slugger Vapor Slowpitch Softball Bat
If you’ve played softball for any amount of time, chances are you’ve heard of the Louisville Slugger brand. This is one of the most popular bats that they manufacture, and it’s available with a 12” barrel, a 34” length and weight as low as 26oz. It’s a great bat if you want to buy a bat for your entire team to use, and it will actually get better the more it gets used. After about 200-300 hits with the bat, it will get a little more pop to it, so you’ll want to get those hits in as soon as you buy it!
3. DeMarini 2015 Flipper Aftermath OG Slowpitch Bat
You may not find a hotter bat right out of the wrapper than this one. Most other bats take 200+ hits to reach its full potential, but that’s not the case with this one. It’s a composite bat with a 13” barrel and SC4 alloy handle. The Divergence Technology in this bat gives it a large sweet spot so you’ll always get the maximum pop out of it. And it’s ASA approved, so you can buy it today and swing it the next time you play in a tournament or league game!
4. Worth Mayhem Wood Maple/Bamboo SBMWMB Slowpitch Softball Bat
If you want to step outside the box a little bit when it comes to softball bats, then try hitting with a wooden bat. You definitely don’t see too many of them nowadays, but this is one of the top options available. The smoother you swing, the more solid contact you will make and the farther the ball will go. If you take that approach every time you’re in the batter’s box, then you’ll enjoy this bat for a long time.
5. Louisville Slugger 2015 125 Ash Slow Pitch Wood Softball Bat
If you’re not sure whether a wooden bat is right for you, then this is a good bat to try. It’s very inexpensive and is decent enough quality for you to determine whether you will like swinging a wood bat or not. It’s made of ash wood, which isn’t the absolute best type of wood, so keep that in mind when you’re swinging. The smoother your swing, the better results that you get. If you’re a stronger player who likes to swing for the fences every at-bat, then it may not be the right bat for you.
Buying a softball bat may not seem like a difficult thing to do, but with all the options out there, you need to take a little time and decide which one is the best for you and your child. If you don’t choose the one with the proper specifications, then you could really be hindering your ability to perform at a high level. After reading this guide, you now know that just because a softball bat is good for someone, it doesn’t mean that it is the right bat for you.
As mentioned previously, the main specifications to look for are the weight and length. Once you are able to narrow down your options based on those specifications, then you can look at the technical details and try some bats out to determine the materials that work best for your hitting style. Softball is a simple game, but it can be frustrating if you don’t have the proper bat. Make the game even easier for yourself and do a little research upfront by reading some softball bats reviews, so you can focus on playing the game instead of thinking about technical details when you’re in the batter’s box!