Bat Buying Guide

BAT BUYING GUIDE

This guide will help you find the right bat for your age, skill level and league. Learn about the different parts of a bat, materials, weights and certifications and use the Bat Finder and size chart to get the perfect fit for you.



BAT ANATOMY


BASEBALL & SOFTBALL BAT ANATOMY


BAT WEIGHT

Every bat has a weight and drop weight. Bat weights are shown in ounces, while drop weights are shown as negative numbers.

The drop weight is determined by subtracting the weight of the bat from its length.

  • For example, a bat that’s 30 inches long and weighs 20 ounces will have a drop weight of -10.

The larger the drop weight, the lighter the bat.

  • For example, a bat with a -13 drop weight is lighter than a bat with a -10 drop weight.

Lighter bats are often best for beginners and smaller, contact-oriented players.

Heavier bats are better suited for older, advanced athletes and larger, power-hitting players.

Some leagues only have one drop weight, bat length or barrel diameter.

  • For example, all BBCOR bats have a -3 drop weight and 2-5/8" barrel diameter.
  • In adult slow pitch softball, all bats are 34" long and have a 2-1/4" barrel diameter but vary in weight and drop weight.

BAT MATERIALS

The life of a bat is largely determined by the quality of its materials. There are three common bat materials.

COMPOSITE

Top-of-the-line composite bats deliver optimal performance but cost more. As with most products, you pay more for premium quality.

Price: $$$

Break In: Approx. 200 hits

Weather Conditions: Not recommended below 65° F

Sweet Spot: Large, highest performance

Vibration: Reduced vibration, clean and smooth feel on contact

Sound: Crack, like a piece of wood

Shop Composite Bats

HYBRID

These bats combine features of both composite and alloy. Hybrid bats are typically less expensive than composite bats.

Price: $$

Break In: Ready at purchase

Weather Conditions: All

Sweet Spot: Larger than alloy, not as large as composite

Vibration: Reduced vibration, less sting than alloy

Sound: Traditional “ping” off the barrel

Shop Hybrid Bats

Metal Alloy

Bats made with metal alloy require no additional break in and can be used in all weather conditions. They provide the classic “ping” off the bat. Metal alloy bats are typically less expensive than both composite and hybrid bats.

Price: $

Break In: Ready at purchase

Weather Conditions: All

Sweet Spot: Smaller

Vibration: More vibration, some sting when ball hits outside sweet spot

Sound: Traditional “ping” off the barrel

Shop Metal Alloy Bats


BAT CONSTRUCTION

ONE PIECE

Developed from one continuous metal, composite or wood material that features no break points between the barrel and handle. By eliminating break points, one-piece bats store more energy upon point of contact, increasing power. This, however, reduces flex and causes additional stiffness.

TWO+ PIECE

Often constructed with a bonding process between the barrel and handle, with additional bonding at the end cap for three-piece models. In general, bats with more than two pieces feature additional tech at the end cap or handle. A combination of materials may be used, including composite, metal alloy and wood. This bonding creates a greater amount of flex when connecting with the ball, generating a “whip” effect that boosts bat speed.


BAT FINDER



BASEBALL BATS


T-BALL BEGINNER

  • Ages: 7 or younger
  • Drop Weights: -10, -11, -12, -12.5, -13, -13.5
  • Bat Lengths: 24", 25", 26"
  • Barrel Diameters: 2-1/4", 2-5/8"
  • T-Ball bats are designed for first-time athletes learning the fundamentals of hitting off a batting tee. Approved for USA T-Ball leagues.

How to Buy a T-Ball Bat


JUNIOR BIG BARREL & COACH PITCH BEGINNER

  • Ages: 8 or younger
  • Drop Weights: -10, -11, -12
  • Bat Lengths: 25", 26", 27", 28"
  • Barrel Diameters: 2-5/8", 2-3/4"
  • Made for athletes in coach pitch leagues that require a larger barrel. Designed for hitting baseballs thrown at 40 mph or less.


USA YOUTH

    YOUNGER

  • Ages: 8–10
  • Drop Weights: -10, -11, -12
  • Bat Lengths: 27", 28", 29", 30", 31", 32"
  • Barrel Diameter: 2-1/4"
  • Some younger youth leagues require a 2-1/4" barrel diameter and higher drop weights that are easier to swing. Bats include the USA Bat stamp.

    OLDER

  • Ages: 10–14
  • Drop Weights: -5, -7.5, -8, -9, -10, -11, -12
  • Bat Lengths: 27", 28", 29", 30", 31", 32"
  • Barrel Diameters: 2-1/2", 2-5/8"
  • Athletes approaching high school should use larger barrel sizes. These bats come with the USA Bat stamp that indicates eligibility for play in all USA leagues, including AABC, Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken, Dixie, Little League and PONY.

Guide to the 2018 USA Baseball Youth Bat Standard Change


USSSA & BIG BARREL Youth

  • Ages: 8–14
  • Drop Weights: -5, -8, -9, -10, -11, -12
  • Bat Lengths: 27", 28", 29", 30", 31", 32", 33"
  • Barrel Diameters: 2-5/8", 2-3/4"
  • USSSA leagues allow barrels with a diameter larger than 2-1/4". Athletes near high school age should move closer to a -5 drop weight to prepare them for BBCOR’s -3 drop weight.


BBCOR HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE

  • Ages: 14 or older
  • Drop Weight: -3
  • Bat Lengths: 29", 30", 31", 32", 32.5", 33", 33.5", 34"
  • Barrel Diameter: 2-5/8"
  • All high school and college athletes must use a bat that has a -3 drop weight and does not exceed 2-5/8". All bats will be stamped with .50 Certification.

How to Buy the Right Baseball Bat



SOFTBALL BATS


Girls’ Fastpitch

  • Ages: 8–14
  • Drop Weights: -10, -11, -12, -13
  • Bat Lengths: 26", 27", 28", 29", 30", 31", 32"
  • Barrel Diameter: 2-1/4"
  • Younger fastpitch athletes should use a lighter bat with a -12 or -13 drop weight, while athletes approaching high school can move to -10 and -11 based on their size.

How to Buy a Youth Softball Bat


women's Fastpitch

  • Ages: 14 or older
  • Drop Weights: -8, -9, -10, -11
  • Bat Lengths: 30", 31", 32", 33", 34"
  • Barrel Diameter: 2-1/4"
  • Heavier models with lower drop weights like -8 and -9 often include more mass in the barrel for power hitters, while -10 and above are ideal for balanced hitters or slap hitters looking for a blend of power and bat control.

Adult Slow Pitch

  • Ages: 18 or older
  • Bat Weights: 26 oz, 27 oz, 28 oz, 29 oz, 30 oz
  • Barrel Lengths: 12"–14"
  • Bat Length: 34"
  • Barrel Diameter: 2-1/4"
  • Bigger, stronger athletes often use heavier bats for an added boost of power, while smaller, contact-oriented players often use lighter weights. Certifications are usually broken down by ASA and USSSA.

How to Find the Right Softball Bat

How to Find the Right Softball Bat



Size Chart


BAT SIZE CHART

Scroll left and right in the size chart to find the best bat length for your height and weight.

This size chart will help you find the best bat length for your height and weight.

HEIGHT

HEIGHT

WEIGHT 3'–3'4" 3'5"–3'8" 3'9"-4' 4'1"–4'4" 4'5"–4'8" 4'9"–5' 5'1"–5'4" 5'5"–5'8" 5'9"–6' 6'1" +
Under 60 LBS 26" 27" 28" 29" 29"          
61–70 LBS 27" 27" 28" 29" 30" 30"        
71–80 LBS   28" 28" 29" 30" 30" 31"      
81–90 LBS   28" 29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 30"    
91–100 LBS   28" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32"    
101–110 LBS   29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32"    
111–120 LBS   29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32"    
121–130 LBS   29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 32" 33" 33"  
131–140 LBS   29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 33" 33"  
141–150 LBS     30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 33" 33"  
151–160 LBS     30" 31" 31" 32" 32" 33" 33" 33"
161–170 LBS       31" 31" 32" 32" 33" 33" 34"
171–180 LBS           32" 33" 33" 34" 34"
181+ LBS             33" 33" 34" 34"

MEASURING

You can also use these three ways to determine whether a bat is the right length for you.

1. Place the knob of the bat in the center of your chest and point the bat to the side, parallel to your outstretched arm. If you can comfortably reach the end of the bat with your fingertips, the bat is the right length.

2. Place the knob of the bat in the center of your chest, pointing outward in front of you. If you can reach out and grab the barrel of the bat, then it is the right length.

3. Place the end of the bat on the ground and stand it up against the side of your leg. If the knob of the bat reaches the center of your palm when you reach down, it’s the right length.


LEAGUES & CERTIFICATIONS


USA BASEBALL


The bat standard for Little League, American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, PONY Baseball and T-Ball.

As of January 1, 2018, a new USA Bat standard was adopted. All previous models are no longer approved for official league play. To identify officially sanctioned youth bats, look for the “USA Baseball” licensing mark, located on the taper.

Barrel diameters can be 2-5/8" or smaller.

Guide to the 2018 USA Baseball Youth Bat Standard Change

Shop USA Baseball Bats

USSSA Baseball [1.15 BPF]


The standard bat certification for 14 and younger.

All certified bats have a 1.15 Bat Performance Factor (BPF), which measures how quickly the ball comes off the bat upon impact.

This certification also covers Junior Big Barrel bats, which feature a shorter and lighter design that’s primarily for youth athletes 8 years old or younger.

Barrel diameters can be up to 2-3/4".

Shop USSSA Baseball Bats

BBCOR [.50 BPF]


The standard bat used by high school and collegiate athletes.

All certified bats feature a .50 Bat Performance Factor (BPF), which measures how quickly the ball comes off the bat upon impact.

Only available in a -3 drop weight. Cannot have a barrel diameter larger than 2-5/8".

Shop BBCOR Baseball Bats

Fastpitch Softball [1.20 BPF]


The official bat certification for ASA, USSSA, NSA Fastpitch.

All bats meet the ASA 98 mph certification and feature a 1.20 Bat Performance Factor (BPF), which measures how quickly the ball comes off the bat upon impact.

Features a 2-1/4" barrel diameter.

Shop Fastpitch Softball Bats

Adult Slow Pitch [ASA]


Certification for bats that only meet the 98 mph standard. Does not meet the 1.20 BPF standard.

Approved for hitting .52COR/300 Compression softballs.

Features a 2-1/4" barrel diameter.

Shop Adult Slow Pitch Bats

Adult Slow Pitch [USSSA]


Certification for slow pitch bats that meet the 1.20 BPF standard.

Features a 2-1/4" barrel diameter.

Shop Adult Slow Pitch Bats


HITTRAX


hittrax® batting cages

Redefine the game by stepping into a HitTrax batting cage to test and measure your launch angle, exit velocity, distance and other stats with every swing. You’ll get the instant feedback you need to determine the best bat for you.

Choose from a wide variety of elite composite, hybrid and alloy bats at DICK’S Sporting Goods and take swings off the tee. HitTrax cages are an essential tool for players who want to get the look and feel of their next baseball or softball bat before stepping into the box on game day.

HitTrax brings the game to the players, allowing them to test the best bats DICK’S Sporting Goods has to offer. Shop the full collection of baseball bats, softball bats and T-Ball bats.

The HitTrax batting cage experience is currently only available at select stores. Find a store and learn more about HitTrax Batting Cages.


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