Starting out young in playing any sport is essential if you want to give your child or teenager a considerable advantage. However, this crucial stage can also break their playing career. For example, if you let your champ use the wrong bat in baseball, he or she could lose confidence and interest in the sport altogether.
So, what do you do? Make sure to give the young ones only the best youth baseball bats! If you have no idea how, this article is here to help!
Guide In Choosing The Best Youth Baseball Bats
Of course, when you want to make sure that a product is the best, there is a bunch of criteria that it should be able to meet. I listed down the critical factors to consider in choosing the best youth baseball bats below to serve as your guide. So, scroll down to know more!
One important factor in choosing a new bat, especially for a young person, is its length. The bat’s length affects the player’s reach, swing speed, and swing power. A longer bat obviously provides a more extended reach but also tends to be heavier, slowing down the batter’s swing.
The baseball legend Babe Ruth said himself that after experimenting with bat lengths, he found that a shorter bat always helps him do better. However, a taller hitter might need a longer bat.
To test if a bat is of the right length, simply set the head of a bat on the ground and have the hitter stand behind it. If the handle’s knob reaches up just so the batter’s palm rests comfortably on it, then that is the perfect length.
For your reference, here is a table of the recommended bat lengths according to age.
5 – 7 yrs old
24″ – 26″
8 – 9 yrs old
26″ – 28″
10 yrs old
28″ – 29″
11 – 12 yrs old
30″ – 31″
13- 14 yrs old
31″ – 32″
15 – 16 yrs old
32″ – 33″
17+ yrs old
33″ – 34″
Another key factor is the bat’s weight, which is related to the length. In fact, bats are rated by subtracting their weight in ounces from their length in inches. For example, a 27-inch long bat weighing 15 ounces has a “-12” rating or is a “-12” bat.
While a larger difference or “drop” equals a higher bat speed, stronger and bigger hitters need heavier bats for maximum power. Most leagues and tournaments regulate these ratings. Usually, bats should be between -7 to -13.5 to comply with the safety standards.
The right bat weight will give the hitter full control of the swing and ensures contact with the ball for a base hit or home run.
Terry Bahill and his colleagues studied the relationship of the bat weight with the age, height (in), and weight (lbs) of the batter and came up with these formulas:
How To Calculate The Best Bat Weight
11 – 12 Years Old
Weight/18 + 16
9 – 10 Years Old
Height/3 + 4
7 – 8 Years Old
Age x 2 + 4
The material of a bat can either be composite, wood, or alloy. Here are the characteristics of them:
Composite or reinforced carbon fiber polymer bats are expensive but have many advantages. First, the trampoline effect or the bouncing back of the ball improves over time.
Also, a composite bat has a larger sweet spot, higher swing weight, resistance to bending, and lower vibrations. However, the material increases the chance of cracking under cold temperatures.
Many metal bats are usually of the aluminum alloy type. They have a longer history and experience in the baseball field than composites. Aluminum bats do not require a break-in period and in fact, perform best brand new. Their performance tends to decline over time.
Aluminum alloy bats are cheaper than composites but have less “pop” (the speed of the batted ball as soon as it hits the bat) and smaller sweet spots. However, aluminum bats typically outlast composite bats.
Wood bats are probably the most popular in big leagues, but may not be the best for youth baseball players. Wood bats are less forgiving than aluminum alloy or composite bats and require more skill and accuracy to set the ball flying farther. However, they are super durable, they do not need any breaking in, and are great for practice.
4. One-Piece Or Two-Piece
Next, whether you choose a metal or a wooden bat, you still have to decide whether you want a two-piece or a one-piece.
For a one-piece bat, the handle and barrel are made of the same piece of metal or wood, without any separation. One-piece bats have less “give” and so are ideal for stronger batters.
A two-piece bat can be made of two types of metal, metal, and wood, or composite materials bonded together. This type is more flexible, gives more power and reduces the vibration on the hands. Two-piece bats are ideal for less powerful hitters and youth players.
5. Barrel Size
The barrel size or diameter also matters. Bats with smaller barrel sizes allow for better control and faster swing speed since the weight is more evenly distributed. On the other hand, a larger barrel size provides a bigger sweet spot for a higher chance of connecting with the ball and sending it flying farther.
Consider also a bat’s taper or how abruptly the barrel molds into the handle. An ultra-thin or sharp taper is recommended for hitters who tend to extend when swinging.
Note that there have been changes in the 2018 USA Bat Standard rules. The use of 2 5/8” barrel bats are now allowed for all ages. Youth baseball hitters can now use either a 2 ⅝ or 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter as long as the bats bear the USA Bat Stamp.
To chose the right kind of your baseball bats, please check this video:
The Five Best Youth Baseball Bats
Here are the top five brands of baseball bats that you can find in the market:
Best Youth Baseball Bats
1. Easton S500 Youth Baseball Bat YB16S500
If you want an affordable yet high-performing youth baseball bat, try the Easton S500! This bat is well-constructed and made from the best quality aircraft-grade lightweight and robust aluminum material.
Aside from being light, this bat also features a well-balanced design and powerful swings. Particularly manufactured for fast swing speeds and power, this bat also has an all-sports pro tack grip for comfort and a fantastic feel.
The Easton S500 is made from durable 7050 Aircraft Alloy and is composed of only one piece. It has an ultra-thin 29/32-inch handle for extra control and stability. It has a drop rating of -13, a USSA 1.15 BPF Stamp, and a 2 ¼-inch barrel diameter.
If you are still not convinced, worry no more because the Easton S500 is backed with a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty.
- Reasonably priced
- Quite light and powerful
- Snug and comfortable fit
- Fast bat speed
- Solid hits
- Great pop upon impact
- Nice quality and design
- Easy to swing and manage for young players
- Does not have the same “clean” feel as other superior bats
- No longer eligible for Little League play
- A few buyers say it dents easily
2. Easton YB17MK12 Mako Beast Composite Youth Baseball Bat
Next, we have another Easton product: theMako Beast! With this model, you are guaranteed of exceptional bat speed, a large sweet spot, and sturdy construction. It is one of the most reliable and most powerful composite barrels from the company.
The Mako Beast -12 is composed of two pieces: a 2 ¼ inch TCT Thermo composite barrel and an ultra-thin 29/32” composite handle connected with a ConneXion Technology for maximum energy transfer. The handle also features a 1.2mm HyperSkin grip for stability and a fantastic feel.
Because this bat is specially designed by experts and professionals, it offers a unique ball control capability and impressive power. It also helps improve the player’s accuracy and swing calculation.
- Thermo composite technology
- Specifically designed for young players
- Fast swing speed
- Optimum feel
- Cushioned hyper skin grip
- A lot of pop
- Durable and great for practice
- Not approved for Little League play anymore
- Too expensive for the quality
- Cracks and chips easily
3. Marucci Chase Utley CU26 Pro Youth Baseball Bat
If you are looking for a bat that is versatile, durable, and packed with incredible features, look no further! The Marucci Youth CU26 is an amazing pick not just for young players and beginners but for pro baseball players as well!
It is made with a handcrafted black maple wood material enhanced through a Bone Rubbing Technique. Because of its density and the careful process, it has undergone, this bat is advertised to handle up to a thousand hits without cracking or breaking.
The same process also ensured a proper balance and weight distribution for better control and swing weight.
With proper use, maintenance, and care, this bat can last for years. You can also use it straight from the packaging with minimal to no breaking in required!
Thanks to its large 2 ¼-inch barrel diameter and thin handle, the Marucci Chase Utley CU26 offers flexibility, control, power, and speed.
- Excellent performance for a wooden bat
- Amazing pop
- Nice finish
- Breaks quite easily
- You get what you pay for
- Could use more durability
4. Easton YB17MK11 Mako Beast Composite Youth Baseball Bat
Very similar to the Youth Mako Beast -12, the only difference of the Mako Beast -11 is its -11 length-to-weight ratio or rating. It also has the same two-piece 2 ¼ composite barrel for adequate swing weight and fast swing speed.
The Youth Mako Beast -11 also features a redesigned TCT Thermo Composite barrel paired with a 29/32” composite handle for improved power. Easton’s ConneXion Technology ensures a smooth and efficient energy transfer along the two pieces.
The handle also has a 1.2mm Hyper Skin grip that users love.
- Lightweight and easy to swing
- Hyperskin grip
- Makes solid, hard contact especially on the first few uses
- Great for practicing
- Nice balance
- Banned in some tournaments, including Little League
- Kind of expensive
- Not waterproof as advertised
- Cracks easily
- Not much pop
5. Wilson DeMarini 2016 NVS Vexxum Baseball Bat
Undoubtedly one of the best Little League Youth bats available today, the 2016 Demarini NVS Vexxum has a low drop weight or a length-to-weight ratio of -12. This enhances speed and allows the hitter to see the ball better for more powerful and accurate hits.
This bat features a 2.25” barrel diameter, the standard measurement for most youth bats approved for Little League play and other amateur and youth leagues. It has a two-piece design composed of a C6 composite handle and an X12 aluminum alloy barrel for more flex and vibration reduction.
The barrel is also super responsive and delivers a maximum trampoline effect on balls upon contact. The handle’s strength improves durability, provides a reactive feel, helps focus energy on the sweet spot, and improves overall control and speed.
- Reasonably priced
- Great for quick contact hitters
- Ultra lightweight
- Low drop weights and MOI ratings
- Uses high-end components
- Larger sweet spot than the previous 2015 model
- Slightly more expensive than similar bats
- Available only in a two-piece, composite design
- Not geared for power hitters
In summary, you can still pinpoint a single best model among even the best youth baseball bats. For this particular list, the clear winner is the Easton S500 Youth Baseball Bat YB16S500. It is light, comfortable to swing, not too expensive, and perfect for young hitters who could use a confidence boost.
While there are a handful of complaints about denting, these buyers most likely just received lemons since the model’s high rating, and specs are enough to prove its quality.