Baseball Bat Sizing Chart & Buyer's Guide
Choosing the perfect baseball bat is not as easy as it used to be. Improvements in technology have created more options than ever before, but this also means a better chance that you will find the baseball bat that was absolutely meant for you. Whether you are just getting started and need a Tee Ball Bat, playing travel ball and need a USA Baseball Bat or a USSSA Baseball Bat, or you are an older player looking for the hottest BBCOR Baseball Bat, Baseball Express has you covered.
Here are a few tips to help make your next bat purchase a little easier.
1. MAKE SURE THE BAT IS THE PROPER LENGTH
Measure the height and weight of the player you are buying the bat for. Once you have this information, you can use this chart as a guide for the necessary bat length. The below chart can act as a good jumping off point when searching for the right size bat.
To double check if the length works for you, hold the bat to your side and as long as your palm can reach the handle while the head of the bat is touching the ground, the length of the bat should work for you. If you have to bend over to grab the handle, the bat is probably too short and you should consider a larger size.
2. FIND THE PROPER WEIGHT
Now that you know the length of your bat, you know need to pick out the proper bat weight, more commonly referred to as a drop. A drop refers to the length of the bat minus the weight. For example, if a bat is 30 inches long and has a drop weight of -5, the bat will weight 25 ounces. So, the larger the drop weight, the less the bat will weigh. Younger players tend to use a bigger drop weight while older players will use a smaller one. Here’s a quick list of drop recommendations based on the player’s age:
|Ages 6 & Under||Ages 7 - 10||Ages 11 - 13||Ages 14 & Up|
|Tee Ball Bat||-12 to -8||-8 to -5||-3|
Most leagues will have set weight and length limits. If you know what league and age group you are looking for, please consult the following charts.
Little League 2 1/4” Barrel Baseball Bats
|Age||Under 7||8 to 9||10 to 11||12 to 13|
Pony League 2 5/8” Barrel Baseball Bats
|Age||Under 7||8 to 9||10 to 11||12 to 13||14 and Over|
High School & College 2 5/8” Barrel Baseball Bats
|Age||14-15||16-18||18 and Over|
3. FIND THE RIGHT MATERIAL
This decision used to be easy: Do you need a wood bat or a metal bat? Advancements in bat development and technology have made this decision more complex, especially if you are in the market for a metal bat. Unless you are a professional or playing in a wood bats only tournament, odds are that you are looking for a metal bat.
This section provides a quick rundown of the different metal types you will come across and what the differences are between each. Price ranges and estimates are based on adult-size bats.
Composite bats are made of material very similar to carbon fiber, giving the manufacturers much more control over the weight distribution of the bat. They can be made with the weight evenly distributed, or end-loaded where the end of the barrel of the bat carries a larger portion of the weight. Composite bats tend to have a larger sweet spot, but, unlike the other types we will discuss in this section, they do require a break-in time of about 150 hits. We also don’t recommend using this bat in temperatures below 60°F as the colder temperature may cause the bat to crack. However, if taken care of, this bat can last a very long time.
Alloy bats have been around for years. Often called “aluminum bats”, alloy bats tend to be less expensive than their composite counterparts and do not require any break-in time. While they will have a smaller sweet spot than a composite bat, alloy bats can still be used even if they become damaged as they tend to simply dent instead of crack, which helps extend the bat’s lifespan. If you are just getting into the game or simply aren’t sure of what type of bat to buy, alloy is usually the safest purchase.
COST: $50 - $300
Like its name suggests, hybrid bats are a combination of composite bats and alloy bats. Traditionally featuring an alloy barrel and a composite handle, hybrid bats combine the durability of alloy with the lighter weight of composite.
Nothing quite beats the sound of a baseball connecting with a wooden bat. Traditionally made from Ash, Maple and Birch bats have become increasingly more popular over the last few years. While wooden bats offer that classic feel and sound, they are more susceptible to cracking and breaking than composite, alloy, and hybrid bats. COST: $50 - $300
4. LEAGUE CERTIFICATIONS
So you know what size bat you need, and you have picked out the right type, now you just need to make sure your bat has the proper certification. Remember that all leagues have their own bat standards and regulations. Be sure to consult your league before making a purchase to make sure you buy a bat with the proper certification.
Here are the most common certifications you will come across:
Little League® players (ages 14 and under) must use a USA Baseball certified bat. Designed to perform similarly to wooden bats, these bats are available in 2 1/4” barrel size and 2 5/8” barrels. These bats are pre-approved by several youth leagues, including Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth Baseball, Dixie Boys Baseball, PONY Baseball, Little League Baseball, and AABC.
United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) are for players ages 14 and under. Sometimes referred to as “Senior League” bats, they are available in 2 1/4" barrel size and go up to 2 3/4” barrels.
Short for “Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution,” BBCOR is the standard for all adult baseball bats. BBCOR regulates what is referred to as the “trampoline effect”, or how much energy is lost when the barrel of the bat contacts the baseball. BBCOR regulations are more strict than other types of certification as all bats have a 2 5/8” barrel and have a -3 drop weight. If you are playing in high school or college, you MUST use a BBCOR-certified baseball bat.