How To Choose The Best Softball Bats – Everything You Should Know

How To Choose The Best Softball Bats – Everything You Should Know

Softball is a competitive and enjoyable sport. This is one of the reasons behind its notable popularity. If you’re passionate about softball yourself, then you should invest in a high-quality softball bat that will help you up your game.

Happily, the market abounds with plenty of products that qualify as being the best softball bats. Essentially, this is a beneficial aspect, allowing you to choose precisely what you need. Still, this could also make the shopping process rather overwhelming.

This is why we’ve created this guide – as it contains our recommendations for the best softball bats on the market. Aside from that, we’ve included the primary guidelines you should follow to make the correct purchase.

Best Slow-Pitch Softball Bats

Winner – DeMarini Slow-Pitch Softball Bat

Why do we consider this product as one of the best slow-pitch softball bats? Well, this has can crush anything that is tossed in your direction – on the court, of course. When we tested it, we liked the way in which it felt.

A distinguishing characteristic is the cutting-edge technology. That being said, it is unparalleled when it comes to long balls, in particular.

DeMarini 2014 NT3 Juggy WTDXNT3 Slow Pitch Softball Bat

Concurrently, the barrel is tight, being capped off with a D end up. So, you can maintain your focus on the sweet spot – which is, of course, the key to great performance.

DeMarini is a renowned name in the industry, and this is utterly justifiable. Featuring a flexed-tuned composite handle, this ensures you can execute each movement like a pro. At the same time, it’s worth noting that this bat gives you utter control.

Furthermore, if you like heavily end-loaded bats, we believe that this particular one will be down your alley because it fits this category.

Nonetheless, if you’re not too keen about continually lofting the ball, you might pick another bat, which is better balanced.

Still, if you have the power, then you’ll definitely enjoy using this.

What about the hitting zone? Essentially, the barrel facilitates an equally strong and lightweight hitting zone, being paired with a springboard surface.

Another great characteristic is, of course, the durability of the bat, which comes as a guarantee, due to the composite construction of the item.

Also, if you’re wondering whether the bat will pass the compression test or not, you should know that it will. That’s because it is tested with ASA. Nevertheless, it isn’t legal to play in USSSA leagues.

If you’re thinking of investing in it, then you can rest assured that you’ll get a lot of use out of it. The only condition is to maintain and store it accordingly. As long as you do that, you’ll be on the right path.

Pros

  • Leather grip tape
  • It has a small knob
  • No hitting vibration
  • Durability

Cons

  • The price might be a bit too steep for some people

Runner-Up - Miken Ultra II SSUSA Bat

Recently, there has been an invasion of senior softball bats. And one of the best picks is the Ultra II manufactured by Miken. The technology used aims at ensuring that each player gets optimal performance with every swing.

In general, the bats approved by SSUSA are engineered for the balls whose speed is lower. In fact, we would recommend this bat to children, as well.

First and foremost – who doesn’t like a softball bat featuring a sleek, timeless design? In our opinion, this item looks fabulous, indicating excellent craftsmanship and amazing design elements.

Moving on, this is a balanced bat. That is to say, the balance is uniformly distributed, in the entire bat. This will help you achieve a balanced swing every time.

So, in reference to the swing, this bat is definitely a nice addition to your equipment.

Miken Ultra II SSUSA Bat

What is there to say about the size and weight of the bat?

Similar to other softball bats on the market, this particular model comes in different weights, so that you can get the one that suits you depending on your height. To be more specific, the length of the bat is of 34 inches, whereas the weight ranges from 26 oz. to 30 oz.

After testing this bat, we can assure you that it feels really comfortable. Usually, we measure the comfort level of a softball bat depending on the way in which you hold it during the game and the way in which you can swing it.

On that note, we can assure you that the grip is quite comfortable. Plus, we didn’t encounter any slipping issues, which can be a drag during a softball game.

Furthermore, thanks to the E-flex ultra-technology, this means that you’ll get a great sweet spot. It is implied that this translates into optimal performance, as well.

On the other hand, while this is one of the best slow-pitch softball bats, there’s no such thing as a perfect product. So, we’d also like to point the main drawbacks of this bat.

Hence, we don’t like that this product doesn’t have a warranty. Plus, even though it is a fantastic bat, it isn’t legal to use in some tournaments. What is more, as the bat starts to wear out, the performance levels it provides will decrease, which is an inconvenience.

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • 100 percent composite construction
  • Thanks to the E-flex tech, it facilitates a large sweet spot
  • It offers a fantastic grip
  • It helps enhance the distance

Cons

  • In time, the bat’s performance diminishes
  • The manufacturer doesn’t provide warranty

Best Fast-Pitch Softball Bats

Winner - Louisville Slugger Xeno Plus 17 Fast-Pitch Softball Bat

If you’re a fan of fast-pitch softball, this particular bat should address your needs. This one is, in fact, one of our favorite softball bats produced by Louisville Slugger.

What we liked most about it is that, when we played with it, it featured the perfect combination of power and speed.

It has a double wall, which has no friction whatsoever. This gives it room for optimal bat flexing, without encountering any resistance.

Louisville Slugger Xeno Plus 17 (-10) Fast Pitch Softball Bat

Moving on, this bat facilitates a composite plus performance. We noticed that it did a decent job at enhancing our shots. This is of great importance, especially when it comes to fast-pitching softball.

Another notable characteristic is its excellent balance. This will ease your swings. Essentially, we determined that it felt even more lightweight during the swings – this is due to its excellent, state-of-the-art construction.

What about the sweet spot of this bat? We could say that it is fairly wide – which is definitely an advantage. That is to say, you enjoy greater control of your hits. This also optimizes your performance.

Moreover, bear in mind that this bat features IST technology. Thanks to this technology, you’ll feel the energy transfer in the batter. As you already know, in the case of missed hit balls, you feel the negative feedback.

Nevertheless, this isn’t the case with this bat, as it eliminates that negative feedback. All that power is actually directed into the specific part of the edge that enters direct contact with the ball.

Simultaneously, the bat features a uniquely designed cap on the end. This grants it an outstanding Xeno performance. It goes without saying that the cap increases the aesthetic appeal of the bat, as well.

As for the grip, it is specifically built in order to give you better control of the bat, aiming at significantly diminishing the vibration.

Nevertheless, some people might find the grip as being too thick. Of course, this is a matter of preference; so, it’s not necessarily a disadvantage. Also, some players might prefer a bigger barrel.

Pros

  • Fantastic balance – it allows you to enhance your hitting performance
  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • It offers optimal energy transfer
  • The bat has a good pop

Cons

  • For some people, the grip might be too thick
  • It is available in just one color

Runner-up – Easton Hyperlite 12 Fast-Pitch Softball Bat

Another great product that belongs to the best men’s softball bats category is this one manufactured by Easton. We think that this is an amazing bat, being one of their best releases.

Firstly, it is equipped with a Hyperlite Composite Barrel that aims at optimizing the sweet spot.

Another great characteristic is, of course, the CXN Zero technology, which reduces vibrations. What is more, you won’t experience a notable sting that is common for most bats. Even so, the sting sensation isn’t fully eliminated.

Easton FP17HL12 Hyperlite 12 Fastpitch Softball Bat

As for the grip of this bat, it offers optimal stability and an excellent feeling, when it gets in contact with the ball. Most importantly, this bat comes with certifications by some of the most important leagues, namely ASA, SSUSA, ISF, USSSA, ISA, and NSA. This would make it a really versatile investment.

Now, let’s have a closer look at its characteristics, shall we?

Due to the -12 length-to-weight ratio, this would make the bat lightweight enough, so that you can enjoy great balance. At the same time, this makes it really easy to swing.

The handle is made of ultra-thin 29/32-inch composite. Thanks to its construction, you’ll notice that the bat feels really comfortable to hold, not to mention that it is so easy to swing.

Considering the set of features you get with this bat, it would be safe to say that it offers impressive quality for the price. Concurrently, you’ll need to do some minimal break-in, as the bat is ready to use out of the package.

So, what is the verdict? Without fear of contradiction, this is one of the best ASA softball bats on the market, especially for the money.

It is evenly balanced, it offers excellent swing and it is ready to use out of the package so that you don’t have to waste a lot of time with breaking it in. Not to mention that locating the sweet spot is very easy. All in all, it is definitely well worth the investment.

Pros

  • Minimal break-in
  • You can pick from half a dozen sizes, depending on your needs
  • Great pop
  • Optimized sweet spot for excellent performance
  • Stable and minimal vibration

Cons

  • While the grip is comfortable, it could do with some improvements
  • You experience a slight sting sensation when you hit the ball

The Alternative – DeMarini Bustos Fast-Pitch Softball Bat

Our recommendations for the best softball bats continue with this particular item by DeMarini. Essentially, DeMarini is one of the manufacturers that never cease to surprise us with their softball bats, this being one of the very best composite fast-pitch softball bats you could invest in.

The Bustos model is a two-piece DX1 composite and alloy bat. Presumably, the best part about it is the fact that you experience minimum amount of sting.

Another reason why we think of this as one of the best softball bats is the half and half technology – namely the hybrid comfort grip and the fiber reinforced handle.

DeMarini Bustos Fastpitch Softball Bat (-13)

What is more, the fact that it is certified by the most legit leagues is worth noting. To be more specific, this bat is approved by ASA, USSSA, ISA, ISF, and NSA. That would mean that it is legal for most tournaments.

Now let’s get into more detail, shall we? Thanks to the DX1 alloy barrel, the bat facilitates the ideal balance between KSI strength and toughness. This ensures that you enjoy optimal performance, as well as durability.

In reference to the half and half technology, it aims at optimizing the flex before impact. At the same time, it plays a significant role in assuring that the bat recoils energetically. That is to say, you get to enjoy powerful, fast hits every single time.

Aside from the excellent fiber reinforced handle, this bat is characterized by a two-piece grip design that ensures optimal comfort and track.

We also think that the fiber reinforced handle is one of the most notable characteristics of this bat. Not only that this aims at maximizing the stability, but it also decreases the harsh sting.

Moving on, we like that the sweet spot is rather large – this would make it really hard to miss it. Therefore, we could say that this belongs to the category of the best youth fast-pitch softball bats.

Even though it is a two-piece bat, the stinging sensation is barely noticeable, which we really appreciate. Not to mention that it is really comfortable and stable in the hand.

On the other hand, even though this is one of the best softball bats on the market, some people have complained about its durability.

Concurrently, the pop is prone to fade sooner than expected, which is another inconvenience. Perhaps the performance would have been much better if the construction was of composite alone – just a thought.

Overall, this is a decent bat for the reasons mentioned beforehand. It doesn’t fall short of disadvantages, but the advantages definitely overshadow them.

Pros

  • It is certified by the leading softball organizations
  • It offers optimal grip
  • It provides stability
  • The balanced weight makes it easy to swing
  • Large sweet spot

Cons

  • Some people have complained about the durability of the bat
  • It is likely to wear out sooner than expected

What Features Should You Consider?

In your quest to finding the best softball bats, it’s essential to take into account some important characteristics.

Bear in mind that there’s no such thing as the best softball bat that addresses every player’s needs – different players have different needs. As long as you understand that, you’ll be on the right path. That being said, here’s what you should consider.

Barrel Size

First and foremost, you should assess the barrel size of the bat you’ve set your eyes on. Not only that this influences your performance on the court, but the size should also meet the individual requirements of the league you’re playing with.

Material: Alloy Vs. Composite

The bat’s material is a critical consideration, as it imminently dictates its durability and performance. For the most part, you can choose from bats made from composite or alloy.

A broken bat.

Composite is the most popular material used by most manufacturers. These bats feature a construction of fiberglass, graphite, and fiber. The primary advantage associated with composite bats is the fact that they are really durable.

Nevertheless, a disadvantage might be that some leagues don’t approve them.

Meanwhile, alloy bats feature a combination of aluminum and other metals. They are really lightweight, durable and aesthetically attractive.

One Piece Vs. Two Piece Bat

Another matter of equal importance is the following: should you choose a one-piece softball bat or a two-piece softball bat?

One-piece bats are engineered as continuous pieces, whereas their counterparts feature two separate sections – the barrel and the handle, which are united.

One-piece bats are characterized by a stiff feel in contact with the ball. Hence, due to the minimal amount of flex, the energy lost in the movement is reduced – which translates into more power. This is why stronger players prefer one-piece bats.

In the meantime, two-piece bats are known to offer more flex, when in contact with the ball. Concurrently, they deliver excellent speed. That being said, players with average or below average speeds prefer two-piece bats.

Weight And Length

Next on your list should be the weight and length of the bat – also referred to as drop. For one thing, there isn’t an ideal weight that is recommendable for all softball players. In truth, that will depend on the batting style.

Essentially, you should select a bat that feels right when you swing it. Additionally, it shouldn’t feel too bulky or too lightweight – but, balanced.

A table for choosing the size of the bat according to your weight and height.

As a rule of thumb, though, a power hitter might prefer a heavy bat – weighing at least 29 ounces, whereas a contact hitter must use a lighter bat, weighing approximately 28 ounces. Fundamentally, depending on the type of pitcher you are, you might pick a heavier or a more lightweight model.

Moving on to the length of the best youth softball bats, you should take into consideration your age and physique. The lengths of bats vary between 24 and 34 inches. Depending on your age, you should have a look at online charts to establish which one would be right for you.

As for the drop of the best softball bats, note that for a bat weighing 24 ounces, whose length is of 34 inches, the drop is 10.

Does It Comply With The League Rules?

In our former buying guide on softball bats, we outlined that there are various official softball leagues in the USA. Essentially, they range from amateur to professional levels, as well as from high-school to university levels.

Concurrently, bear in mind that distinct bodies are responsible for managing these tournaments. And each of them has specific rules and regulations that have to be respected.

Moving on, the body has to thoroughly test a bat before enabling players to use it during competitions. To be more specific, every league has specific bats that are approved, while others are banned.

This is why it’s mandatory to check the league’s specifications before investing in a bat. This way, you’ll avoid any disappointments in this respect.

Comfort

Evidently, a bat should feel comfortable when you handle it – otherwise, you are less likely to increase your performance. A high-quality bat should feel comfortable in your hands so that you can enjoy great control.

A kid swinging a bat.

Evidently, its weight is also extremely important. If a bat is too heavy for you, then you’ll get extremely tired when you swing it. Still, if it’s too lightweight, this will make your hands fly way too quickly through the zone.

Concluding Remarks

To conclude, we are confident that our guide has presented you all the information you needed to make a sensible investment.

We also have a range of detailed product reviews coming your way, presenting the best ASA slow-pitch softball bats, and not only – so, make sure you check them out, as well.

Resources:
PSU
WikiHow

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