Wood baseball bats are normally constructed from ash, birch, bamboo or maple, with each having its own pros and cons. Selecting the best wood bat is not as straightforward as most people think. You have to keep several factors in mind like the intended use of the bat. A wooden bat that is appropriate for a contact hitter might not be the best for a power hitter, which is why this review is important.
Although composite and alloy bats have become increasingly popular over the years, wooden bats still take the day when it comes to the ‘ideal and authentic’ baseball experience-there`s nothing quite like the sound that emanates from contact between a wooden bat and a baseball.
In this best wooden baseball bats review, we will focus on the best products in the market, shedding light on the material used, usability of the bats as well as the various pros and cons. Our intention is to help you make the best and most informed choice that perfectly meets your requirements when it comes to the beautiful sport that is baseball.
Read on to learn more about the best wooden bats in the market.
Best Wood Baseball Bats
Louisville Slugger MLB Prime Maple C271 Wood Baseball Bat
The Maple C271 is arguably one of Louisville Slugger`s most popular bats and is widely used in the Major league. It is known for its well-balanced swing, a feature that makes it a favorite for power hitters. With this high quality wood baseball bat, you can expect consistent hardness from the barrel cup all the way to the knob.
The Louisville Slugger Maple C271 boasts of a medium barrel, a standard handle and a knob taper that make it versatile enough to satisfy the sweet spot needs of contact and power hitters. It is made exclusively with MLB grade wood, which ensures that the bat is dense enough to make perfect contact.
Louisville Slugger has a reputation of producing top-shelve baseball bats, which explains why the Maple C271 is bone rubbed. Bone rubbing ensures that the bat`s pores are firmly tightened, thus making it denser. The resulting density allows you to hit the ball with an explosive pop, giving you that enjoyable experience when out on the field.
This big boy wooden bat boast of an EXOARMOR finish that makes the bat twice as hard compared to other bats in the market. You can trust that the Maple C271 won`t break easily.
You can also customize this wooden bat with the color of your preference provided you are willing to spend extra on the customization.
Marucci AP5 Maple Baseball Bat
This handcrafted bat is like no other in the wooden bats market. The Marucci AP5 is inspired by Albert Pujols, one of the greatest hitters to play the game, and features a barrel with a 2.5-inch diameter. The taper is fast, the barrel elongated and the end cupped-evening out this high-quality bat`s weight distribution.
The Marucci AP5 Maple Baseball Bat is bone rubbed to increase the density of the wood, making it ideal for the experienced power hitter. The use of maple in constructing the bat makes it hard while the tapered handle and knob give this baseball bat the much-desired end load as well as a professional feel.
Marucci needs no introduction when it comes to the production of high-quality wooden baseball bats. They use the best quality lumber to carve their bats, ensuring that you get durable and high-performing baseball bats to improve your hits.
Since the Marucci AP5 is hand carved, you can expect this bad boy to have precise specifications and little error as compared to bats made from machines.
The long and impressively dense barrel allows professional hitters to make sweet contact while the pop sound that arises after impact is to-die for. However, you should be warned that the heavy barrel requires some strong arms to make that perfect hit.
Axe Bat Adult Pro Hard Maple L118
Axe bats have become increasingly popular due to their unique design that is different to normal baseball bats. The revolutionary design features a one-sided baseball hitting surface as well as a nontraditional knob.
The Maple L118 is not for everyone, especially inexperienced batters desperate for large hitting surfaces. However, it does offer great power and speed, more so due to its convenient 271 turn. 271 cut baseball bats are usually closer to the end section, but the highly cupped end gives the Axe L118 a balance swing for great hits.
The Axe L118 bat comes with a patented handle that allows you hit the ball with great speed. Due to the fast taper, the bat`s weight is evenly distributed across the barrel, allowing you generate more power to make those home runs. The handle is specifically designed to improve your grip and reduce cumulative fatigue during play.
You no longer have to worry about sustaining palm injuries when swinging the bat as the axle handle is among the most comfortable in the wooden bat market.
The main disadvantage of this high-quality bat is that it breaks faster compared to other bats. This is due to the single hitting area. You will also need some time to get used to the nontraditional handle.
Rawlings Velo 110 Birch Wood Baseball Bat
The Rawlings Velo 110 boasts of a medium profile sturdy Velo barrel that allows for faster swinging speeds while also providing perfect balance. This bat is made from hard but flexible birch and boasts of a 57/64-inch handle that is ultrathin to help you make swift swings.
This high-quality bat has a cupped end that gives you greater balance, allowing you to generate and transmit enough energy to make powerful hits. This Rawlings 110 is ideal for contact hitters who want a balanced, fast-swinging bat that can drive balls across the field.
With the pro cupped end, batters are capable of controlling the bat`s swing momentum while also aiming the ball for a perfect hit. This bat is certified for Major league matches as it has a -3 weight drop. Players love this bat due to its slim handle that increases grip.
The Rawlings Velo is a long lasting bat that is aesthetically appealing. You can expect to use this birch bat for quite a while as it doesn’t break easily. It is highly flexible and soft due to the use of birch wood. However, bats made from birch tend to lack that pop that is generally associated with maple bats.
Old Hickory MT27 Custom Pro Maple Wood Baseball Bat
The Old Hickory MT27 is a favorite for some of the most renowned base ballers like Mike Trout. The bat comes with a barrel with a diameter of 2.5 inches, a standard knob and a 29/32 inch thin handle. One of the greatest features of this mean baseball bat is its customizable features. You can change the handle or barrel color and even the appearance of the Old Hickory popular logo.
Impressively, Old Hickory also allows players to select their preferred wood from Rock Maple, Northern White Ash and Yellow Birch. You can even have your name inscribed on it if that is your preference.
Since Old Hickory bats are hand-made, these custom bats might take some time to be completed, meaning you must be willing to practice patience, especially if you intend to order several bats.
Old Hickory has a reputation of making high quality baseball bats that don’t break easily. All the wood options are high-quality, ensuring that no matter the wood you select, you get a product that will complement your game.
Unfortunately, the Old Hickory is not an ideal replacement bat as it can take a considerable amount of time to have your bat ready for collection or delivery.
Sam Bat 2K1 Custom Maple Wood Baseball Bat
The Sam Bat 2K1 is also another highly popular bat for power hitters. This bad boy bat was used by the legendary Barry Bonds, a player who managed to slug an unbelievable 73 home runs in a season. Other popular players who use this bat are Mike Morse and Prince Fielder, among other Major League greats.
With the Sam Bat 2K1, you get a bat with a 2.55-inch barrel and a handle measuring 15/16 inches. The barrel diameter is slightly larger than most barrels. The barrel and handle have a transition that taper quickly to ensure that the bat has a perfectly weighted end load, allowing you to crash those balls with world-class precision.
In case you don’t like the knob that has an enlarged flair, you can select the option of a less-dramatic and conspicuous flare. You also get to choose your cup, weight, length and inscription preferences, which gives you all the power to design the bat of your dreams.
The traditional model that is inspired by Barry Bonds boasts of a black barrel, gold lettering and cherry handle. You can change these color options as well.
The quick taper, however, might be inappropriate for some hitters due to too much weight end. You might also want to change the knob if you prefer using bats with knobs that aren’t excessively flared.
Bamboo Bats Adult Bamboo Wood BB BAT
Bamboo is a durable and very strong type of wood that can give hitters a great day at the office. Bamboo Bat, since its formation, has always tried to produce high-quality bamboo bats to compete with the maple and birch-inspired bats in the market. You get a 100-day warranty when you buy this bat- amazing right?
Truth be told, although bamboo bats are durable and fairly sturdy, they do lack some vital features that ash, maple, composite or birch bats present. This explains why Bamboo Bats put a matte finish on this bat. The gritty matte texture produces a much-needed backspin that gives your batted ball that additional carry.
The Bamboo Bat comes with an elongated barrel that boasts of 2.625 diameter and handle that is 15/16 inches long. This bat is among the most affordable in the market, making it appropriate for training.
While you can use this bat in live play, we recommend using it for practice as bamboo lacks the essential stand-out features that would give you that extra pop during hits.
Since bamboo bats are made by combining several bamboo strips together, such bats rarely transmit 100% energy. But you can expect this affordable bat to serve you for long as it is highly durable, making it ideal for practicing killer hits.
MaxBat Pro Series 191 Wood Baseball Bat
MaxBat Pro Series 191 needs no introduction. Popular Major League stars like Trevor Plouffe and Will Myers use this bat and claim there is no other like the Pro Series 191 in the pro-bat market. The slightly elongated taper transition between the barrel and handle provides improved balanced that allows for a perfect swing.
This bat is ideal for players looking to switch from metal bats to wooden bats. Its handle measures 15/16 inches while its barrel has a diameter of 2.5 inches. The Pro Model 191 also comes with a cupped end that increases the swing speed and a flared knob (2 inches). However, you can choose if you want a cupped barrel end or not.
You also get to choose the wood of your preferences as well as the preferred finish between matte and gloss.
When it comes to customization options, no other company compares to MaxBat as it gives you the option of customizing measurements up to a quarter inch, while other manufacturers only allow for half-inch changes.
If you want to join the wooden bats bandwagon, we recommend transitioning using this top-performing bat. The only challenge with this MaxBat release is that it will take time to ship if you prefer to customize it to suit your preferences.
Mizuno Bamboo Elite BBCOR Wood Bat: MZE243
Mizuno is a well-known brand with great experience in the baseball industry. Its bats are widely considered to be among the best in the game, especially due to their durability and ability to make great swings as well as hits.
The Mizuno Bamboo Elite is a composite bat that comprises of bamboo and fiber glass material welded together. The use of bamboo and fiber glass on the handle makes it durable and ultra-sturdy. The barrel is made for bamboo, which is well-known for being hard, thus allowing you to generate faster exit speeds.
The 2.5 inch barrel makes this bat ideal for collegiate and high school tourneys. It is also BBCOR certified and satisfies the required -3 weight drop. You can expect to have a balanced feel when using this bat due to its cupped end that allows you to swing with the much-required accuracy.
If you want to enhance your overall swing speed, then we recommend this bat. The handle is sanded to increase your grip on the bat when you step on the plate. It is advisable to use this model, however, if you have relative experience in using wooden bats.
Mizuno also offers its clients a 24/7 customer care service that allows you make inquiries or complaints with ease. You can never go wrong with the Mizuno Bamboo Elite MZE243.
Easton Pro 271 Ash
Easton is among the most popular baseball bat manufacturers due to its ability to produce high-quality bats. The Easton Pro 271 ash boasts of a neat and elegant appearance as a well as a medium-sized barrel.
The use of ash gives your bat a far superior trampoline effect, thus allowing you to make those solid hits when you hit using the sweet spot. The barrel boasts of a tapered profile thus giving this bat a superior level of balance.
You can expect to manage faster swing speeds as the cupped barrel end reduces overall swing weight, thus giving you added advantage swinging on the plate.
The Easton Pro 271 is hand crafted and specifically designed to be lightweight and solid at the same time. This allows you to hit the ball with great speed and precision.
The Types of Wood used in Baseball Bat Construction
Now that we have discussed the leading wooden baseball bats in the market, let`s take a quick look at some of the popular types of wood used in producing competitive baseball bats.
It goes without saying that Maple wood bats are among the most common in the game. Professional players prefer maple bats due to their hard surfaces and extra-dense barrel that allows for powerful hitting when on the plate.
Power hitters love maple bats due to their stiffness, a feature which allows the generated power to make great hits far out in the field. Point to note though, maple bats are fairly heavy and require adequate experience to make perfect hits.
You may find that maple bats are hard to control (due to their weight) and they also generate a slightly slower swing speed due to their weight. Power hitters love the increased weight as it helps in transmitting the generated energy to the ball.
Maple bats have smaller barrels compared to other wooden designs, which translates to shorter sweet spots. However, in the right hands, such bats can generate great power to allow for perfect hits. Maple bats need some time to get used to, meaning you must be patient enough to allow your hands to get accustomed to the bat.
Birch bats are becoming increasingly popular since they are easy to use, especially for players transitioning to wooden bats from composite or metal bats. Birch bats are less dense than maple. However, they are still hard enough to generate power to thrust the ball further across the pitch.
While birch bats aren’t as stiff as maple, they do provide convenience due to their good level of flex. This allows players to learn the art and dynamics of using wooden bats without making too many mishits.
Birch bats are preferred for their impressive swing speed. The light nature of birch bats allows you to gain swing momentum and hit the ball with enhanced precision. Provided you make a good aim, you can easily manage a homerun when using birch bats.
Ash bats are popular due to their ease of use. They come with a large sweet spot, allowing players to make perfect hits when wielding on the plate. You don’t have to be a top Major League star to make great hits with ash bats.
Another impressive feature of ash bats is their ability to manage greater trampoline effects. This allows you to use the ash bat`s flex to hit the ball farther out in the field. Ash bats, compared to birch or maple, are less dense and hard. This means that you can generate incredible swing speeds, a great plus for contact hitters.
The downside of ash bats is that they are not as solid as maple or birch bats, thus reducing the bat`s ability to make strong hits.
Another downside is that the less-hard barrel profile means the bat will not be as durable as maple or birch. Despite the reduced durability, these bats can generate ultra-fast swing speeds, a feature that makes them ideal for contact hitters looking to make the most of the swing momentum.
Bamboo bats have also become increasingly popular over the years. They are made by compressing several bamboo strips, which is different to other wood types that are made from solid wood. To use a bamboo bat in a league match, however, it must be BBCOR certified.
You can expect bamboo bats to last as they are made from bamboo twigs, which are known to be strong and sturdy. Your bamboo bat won`t break easily. Another advantage of bamboo bats is their impressive exit speeds. However, since several strips are compressed to make the bats, they don’t convert 100% of your swinging power and energy to the ball during contact.
Composite wood bats
Composite wooden bats are unique in that they mix several wood material to come up with high-performing blends. A great advantage of these bats is that manufacturers are capable of combining the best features of different materials to come up with a composite bat that can produce a killer hit.
Composite bats are usually designed to be stronger and more durable than other wooden bats. Put simply, composite wooden bats are the most durable when it comes to wooden bats. They are a popular choice for professionals and hobbyists as well. Remember to check if a composite wooden bat is BBCOR certified before buying one.
These bats are usually costlier than other wooden bats, but their performances are rarely questioned.
Essentials to Consider when Buying Wooden Bats
Having discussed the main types of wood designs that are used in baseball bat construction, it is time to shed light on some of the main factors to consider when choosing wooden baseball bats. With several options available in the market, it is crucial to select an option that perfectly suits your preferences. Here are the main things to keep in mind as you look to get the best wooden bat.
As you have observed in our review, wooden bats come in many types. They are usually categorized on the type of wood they are made from. Wooden bats are constructed from woods like maple, bamboo, ash wood or birch. You can also select a composite design that combines several woods in the production of a bat.
With each wood having its own benefits and disadvantages, you will need to understand the exact outcomes you want from each bat. For instance, maple bats usually have hard barrels that are convenient for power hitters. These bats, however, are heavier than other wooden bats.
Bats made from ash wood tend to have larger sweet spots and are light-weight allowing for faster swings. Ensure that you understand the benefits of each wood type before settling for a particular option.
Experience with Wooden Bats
Another important factor to consider is your experience when hitting wood. Wooden bats have different properties to composite and metal bats, meaning you will have to transition gradually to avoid missing balls or making weak hits.
Maple bats are heavier and rack up more power, but these bats are appropriate for players who are well-experienced in wood hitting. The small sweet spot in maple bats can make it challenging for inexperienced wood hitters to make sweet contact with the ball.
Consider trying out your hits with bamboo or ash bats as they are lighter and can generate greater swinging momentum. Such bats also have larger sweet spots that reduce your chances of missing fast-paced base balls.
Since weight varies considerably depending on wood type. It is crucial to consider how heavy a bat is before making any purchase. Weight influences both your swing speed and the ball`s exits speed.
Remember, heavier bats have slower swing rates, but these bats can rack up intense power when used by power hitters. If your target is to swing the bat with immense speed to support your contact hitting prowess, then we recommend settling for lighter bats that are made from ash wood and birch.
Players transitioning to wooden bats should consider options that allow them to swing with ease before jumping straight to heavy maple bats that can prove a bit tricky to handle.
Barrel diameter plays a significant role in determining the hitting force and exit speed as well. Large barrels are usually heavier and provide you with greater hitting force; such bats are ideal for power hitters desperate to make home runs.
With a larger barrel, you will have reduced swing speeds due to the additional weight. These bats tend to prove difficult to control and are suited for strong-armed players capable of making the most out of little swing momentum. Smaller barrels are ideal for contact hitters as they are smaller and less weighty, which allow for faster swings.
Handle diameter is also another factor to consider when buying a wooden bat. Consider factors such as your hand size when choosing a bat. Ideally, if you have small hands, then you should choose bats with small handles to improve your grip.
Thin handles are easier to wield, thus giving you greater swing speeds. But, such small diameter handles tend to break easily compared to their counterparts with larger handle diameters.
Length to Weight Ratio
You want to consider the weight drop before buying a wooden bat. Weight drop determines the ease of swinging a bat; that is, the weight distribution and balance throughout the different parts of the bat. The lower the weight drop, the heavier your bat will be; light bats usually have higher weight drops.
For collegiate and high school leagues, the acceptable weight drop is -3. Power hitters, however, can select a -2 wood bat that is heavier enough to generate great power.
Bats made from single-piece woods are generally approved for league matches, more so when produced from conventional options like birch, ash or maple. Bamboo bats as well as composite bats require adequate certification for use in official matches.
Always check if a multi-piece bat is approved for the league you are participating in. You can never go wrong with bats from well-known brands that are made from single-piece wood.
Wood bats help improve your overall game as a baseball player. Consistent use of wooden bats enhances your hitting accuracy while also improving your understanding of the hitting zone.
But, since each wood type comes with its own advantages and flaws, how does one determine the best option? Simple, the best wooden material is the one that matches your hitting style.
Power hitters need dense and hard bats to rack up the required power needed to make great hits and home runs. Contact hitters, in contrast, work well with lighter bats that produce greater swing speeds.
The ten wooden baseball bats mentioned in the above review are among the best in the market. On top of being produced by well-known, leading sport brands, they come with some of the best specifications in the industry.
With the various advantages and disadvantages already discussed, you should be well placed to purchase a bat that suits your various preferences. Remember to also keep factors such as weight, barrel diameter and your experience with wooden bats in mind as you look to select the best wooden bats for your game.