With Little League, the Babe Ruth League, American Legion Baseball and the dozens of other leagues for kids and teens out there, it has never been easier to get your kids playing baseball.
However, choosing the best baseball bats and other equipment can be quite difficult and a bit overwhelming if you don’t exactly know where to start.
In this article, I’ll help you figure out how to choose a baseball bat, so we can get your little slugger out on the field in no time.
Bat Length: How Long Should My Bat Be?
In general, most players want a longer bat.
A long bat means you have a wider swing range, generally making it easier to hit the ball. However, bat length also affects your swing by changing the center of gravity.
If it’s too short, you might swing too fast and overswing, but if it’s too long, the bat will be unwieldy and difficult to swing at all.
For young players, sports equipment stores often have size charts you can use to narrow down the selection to a range of sizes.
Once you’ve narrowed down the selection pool, you can make use of the chest test and the hip test to make your final selection.
For the chest test, you’ll want to hold the bat out from the center of your chest.
If you can comfortably hold the barrel (i.e. the widest section of the bat) with your arm stretched out in front of you, that bat should be good to swing.
The hip test involves holding the bat upright on the floor. If the bat is taller than your hip, it’s too long, and if it’s below the hip, it’s too short.
For most young players, between 3’0” and 3’4” height, you’ll want to start with a 26” bat, increasing in length by an inch for every 4 inches taller they are.
Bat Weight: How Heavy Should My Bat Be?
Moving on to bat weight, players generally want their bats to be lighter since lighter bats are easier and faster to swing.
However, you’ll also want to strike a balance. As with bat length above, bat weight shifts your bat’s center of gravity.
Too light and you might overswing, and too heavy, it becomes unwieldy. Lighter bats are great for fast hitters, while heavier bats are great for power hitters.
So how heavy should your bat actually be? Bat weight is dependent on bat length and size.
The bigger and longer the bat, the heavier it is. To make it easy to compare weights, we have drop weights.
Drop weights are the difference between the length in inches and weight in ounces. The lower the drop weight (usually a negative number), the lighter it is.
Many of the youth bats I’ve recommended below are very light, often drop 10, or even lighter.
Young players need to develop strength over time, so they often need to start on lighter bats and move onto heavier and heavier bats as they get older and taller.
Bat Size: Small Barrel Or Big Barrel?
The next factor you’ll want to consider is bat size or barrel size.
The barrel is the widest section of the bat and is what’s used to actually hit the ball when you swing.
Small or regular barrel bats have barrel diameters of 2 ¼” while big barrel bats have barrel diameters of 2 ⅝” up to 2 ¾”.
You might want a big barrel bat because it increases the size of the ‘sweet spot’, the part of the barrel that maximizes the power of your swing.
Small barrel bats, by comparison, have smaller ‘sweet spots’ but are lighter, easier to swing, and more aerodynamic.
For young players, especially new players, it’s best to start off with small or regular barrel bats.
A big barrel bat is usually heavier, and new players might compensate for that weight by swinging out of form and develop bad swinging habits.
New players should develop good foundations first before moving onto more powerful bats.
Bat Material: Aluminum, Composite, Or Wood?
One last factor you may want to consider when choosing a bat is what material was used to make it.
Baseball bats usually come in 3 materials: aluminum or aluminum alloys, composite alloys, and wood.
Aluminum alloy bats are often the cheapest and most accessible option, especially for a younger player.
They’re lighter than wooden bats and have larger ‘sweet spots’, making it easier for you to hit a ball with the most force.
Composite alloy bats, on the other hand, are more expensive, but they offer the most features too.
Compared with aluminum bats, composite bats have even larger ‘sweet spots’, while reducing vibration, lessening the recoil of your swing.
The downside is that composite bats need ‘breaking in’ before they offer the best performance. You’ll need to hit balls between 150 and 200 times on all sides to ensure your bat is at its best.
Another material you might consider is, of course, wood. The classic image of baseball obviously includes a batter swinging an unmistakably wooden bat.
While wooden bats may seem like an obvious first choice, you should keep in mind that they are often too heavy and unwieldy for young players to use.
Aside from their weight, wooden bats also have the smallest ‘sweet spots’, and they aren’t as well engineered, despite being slightly more expensive than aluminum bats.
You may also run into issues with regulation as some leagues have banned the use of wooden bats due to the risk of exploding and shattering wooden barrels.
What makes wooden bats great, however, is that their weight and smaller ‘sweet spots’ are great for training. A player that can master a wooden bat will have more precise and powerful swings.
The Best Baseball Bats for Youths in 2020
Like I’ve mentioned earlier in the article, there is a large variety of best baseball bats for youths coming from a variety of brands on the market.
The following list comes in no particular order, but covers what we think to be the best bats on the market for any young player.
Hopefully, this list can help you find the best youth baseball bat for your up and coming superstar!
#1 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced 2 ¼” Barrel (-13) Youth Baseball Bat
First up to the plate, is the DeMarini Voodoo Balanced Youth Baseball Bat.
This bat has a classic look with its orange and brown hue. The gray and black highlights make this bat look sleek, and cool—boys will love it!
This bat is from DeMarini, a sports brand built by the late Ray DeMarini, one of the most inspiring softball players of his generation.
Ray started the brand to push for innovation in the industry, the spirit of which lives on today as DeMarini hits its 30th-year anniversary.
The DeMarini Voodoo bat is a very light aluminum bat with a drop weight of -13.
This makes it very good for younger players, and DeMarini even suggests it for 8 to 12-year-olds.
The smaller barrel of 2 ¼” also makes it really perfect for beginners as it can help develop their fundamentals.
The alloy used for the barrel of this bat is their X14 alloy which allows for better weight distribution while maximizing swing power.
The handle, on the other hand, is actually a composite alloy.
The D-Fusion 2.0 Handle diffuses vibration and sends it right back into the barrel to further maximize swing power.
This proprietary blend of features significantly reduces vibration, making it a fantastic bat for kids.
#2 Wilson DeMarini 2016 NVS Vexxum 2 ¼” Barrel (-12) Youth Baseball Bat
Next up is another DeMarini bat, the Wilson DeMarini 2016 NVS Vexxum Junior League Bat.
While this bat may be an older design, it’s still very sleek and can definitely get the job done.
This bat’s color scheme is similar to the DeMarini Voodoo’s albeit inverted with the gray and black being the main colors with an orange highlight.
While the DeMarini Voodoo is perfect for beginners, the DeMarini Vexxum is for players starting to figure out their hitting style.
This lightweight aluminum bat is great for fast hitters, despite being slightly heavier with a drop weight of -12.
The DeMarini Vexxum also features a two-piece construction, allowing for better vibration diffusion.
The barrel is made with their X12 alloy, an older version of the X14 used for the DeMarini Voodoo while the handle is made with a C6 composite alloy, which helps to further reduce vibrations.
What makes the DeMarini Vexxum great is its extended NVR barrel design and the resulting extended ‘sweet spot’.
This allows you to swing faster, worry less about precision, and more on the speed and power of the swing.
#3 DeMarini 2019 CF Zen 2 ¾” Big Barrel (-10) Youth Baseball Bat
In contrast to the DeMarini Vexxum, the DeMarini CF Zen 2019 Big Barrel Youth Baseball Bat is a bigger, heavier and more powerful bat.
Dropping the orange for red, this bat has a more serious and intimidating design. While it’s a great fit for any type of player, this bat is best used by power hitters.
As far as youth bats go, a 2 ¾” diameter is often the widest a big barrel bat can be while conforming to league regulation standards.
This signature big barrel makes the DeMarini CF Zen heavier, but it also widens and lengthens the ‘sweet spot’ of the bat.
Despite it not being as aerodynamic, a hit with this bat will have much more power.
The DeMarini CF Zen is made with DeMarini’s newest material, the Paraflex Plus composite alloy.
This alloy was meticulously designed and engineered for a more consistent and durable barrel so you can swing and hit again and again and again.
The DeMarini CF Zen is also constructed using their 3Fusion system.
The connection piece between the handle, the barrel and the end cap allows for this bat to seamlessly fit together, ensuring better control and maximizing the bat’s ‘sweet spot’.
Additionally, the X-Lite knob ensures a comfortable grip in your hand.
#4 Easton S500 2 ¼” Barrel (-13) Youth Baseball Bat
Moving on from the serious design of the DeMarini CF Zen, our next bat comes from Easton, a 97-year-old brand known for supplying arrows to the Olympics and serving everyone’s engineering needs from the military to the medical industries.
The Easton S500 Youth Baseball bat is much more vibrant with its bright yellow barrel and black accents. While it’s a very balanced bat, it’s made for speed.
This lightweight aluminum bat has a drop weight of -13, ensuring that it’s one of the easiest bats to swing on the market.
Made with 7050 Aircraft Alloy, this bat was destined to fly through the air.
To make sure you still maintain control, however, the all-sports grip will keep your hands holding tightly to the ultra-thin handle.
The only thing flying away will be the balls you’ve hit. This is definitely a bat designed for a fast hitter.
#5 Easton YB17MK11 MAKO Beast 2 ¼” Barrel (-11) Youth Baseball Bat
The Easton YB17MK11 MAKO Beast Youth Baseball Bat sports a very lustrous black and silver design. Its design may be simple, but it’s very effective. This bat is truly a beast.
This composite alloy bat comes with TCT (thermo-composite technology) that allows it to be very light, especially with its -11 drop weight.
TCT also allows Easton to extend the length of the barrel allowing for greater power distribution.
The two-piece construction held together by Easton’s patented ConneXion technology ensures that this beast is comfortable to hold and handle.
Additionally, the ultra-thin 1.2mm HYPERSkin grip makes sure that you’ll get the most power and control out of every swing.
#6 Easton YB17MK12 MAKO Beast 2 ¼” Barrel (-12) Youth Baseball Bat
The Easton YB17MK12 MAKO Beast Youth Baseball Bat’s design is very similar to the YB17MK11’s.
They are both a very shiny black and silver with the main difference being a darker color used for the lettering on this bat.
This bat is also made with TCT, but its main difference is that it’s lighter.
Although it may not pack as much power as the YB17MK11, this bat is easier to handle and faster to swing. It’s like the faster, hungrier competitor to the YB17MK11.
Also, like the YB17MK11, this bat also sports a two-piece construction, ConneXion technology, and an ultra-thin 1.2mm HYPERSkin grip.
#7 Easton 2018 Beast X Hyperlite 2 ¼” Barrel (-12) Youth Baseball Bat
The Easton Beast X Hyperlite Youth Baseball Bat has a more colorful design, similar to that of the S500.
The Easton Beast X has a bright yellow handle and a dark gray barrel highlighted with a bright yellow ‘X’ letting you and other players know just where to send the ball.
The design is flashy, yet tough, making it a great bat for girls and boys alike!
Instead of TCT, the Easton Beast X is made with an all-new aluminum ATAC (Advanced Thermal Alloy Construction) alloy.
This allows for its x-tended barrel, maximizing your swing range’s area of effect.
This also makes the Easton Beast X very durable, despite being a single-piece constructed aluminum bat.
The Easton Beast X just has that ‘X factor’ that sets it apart. It’s beautiful and powerful.
#8 Combat 2019 Maxum 2 ¾” Big Barrel (-11) Youth Baseball Bat
Combat is a bat brand known for its really powerful big barrel bats, and the Combat 2019 Maxum Big Barrel Youth Baseball Bat is no different.
It has an intimidating design with its gray barrel and bold “MAXUM” lettering on the side accented by a very distinctive acid green. This big barrel bat is ready to fight.
Like the DeMarini CF Zen above, the Combat Maxum has the largest diameter possible for a youth bat at 2 ¾”.
Despite this size, it’s even lighter than the DeMarini CF Zen’s drop weight of -10, with its own drop weight of -11.
In addition to being lighter, Combat Maxum also boasts a ‘sweet spot’ that’s 20-40% larger than most of its competitors.
The Combat Maxum uses a single-piece construction, but to ensure it’s comfortable to hold, they used their patented PMT (Precision Molding Technology) to create a seamless and balanced bat with no dead spots. It also comes with a synthetic leather grip, and an updated knob and end cap.
#9 Combat 2016 Youth Maxum 2 ¼” Barrel (-12) Youth Baseball Bat
Around 2016, Performance Sports Group (PSG), the owner of both the Easton and Combat brands restructured, merging Combat and Easton to maximize profits.
Although Combat is now back with the 2019 Maxum model above, some of its older designs are still very good and highly sought after.
One of these designs is the Combat 2016 Youth Maxum Baseball Bat.
Despite not being a big barrel bat, (what Combat is usually known for), this heavy hitter still packs a hell of a swing.
With that iconic acid green on black design, the Combat Youth Maxum definitely stands out for its beautiful design, powerful hits, and huge ‘sweet spot’.
The Combat Youth Maxum is even lighter than the 2019 Maxum with its drop weight of -12, a result of the smaller barrel and their classic patented PMT (Precision Molding Technology).
This single-piece constructed composite alloy bat is an easy favorite for many young, new players.
#10 Louisville Slugger Youth Prime: Best Baseball Bat
Our next bat comes from a brand that got its start in a woodworking workshop over 150 years ago.
It’s an iconic baseball brand that’s a favorite among professional players and aspiring stars alike.
The Louisville Slugger Youth Prime Baseball Bat has a very unique and edgy look.
With its red and black barrel, subtle neon green accents and textured grip, this bat will let the opposing team know that you mean business.
The Louisville Slugger Youth Prime is a great bat for new players looking for a balanced bat, as it can allow them to experiment with their hitting style.
It’s made with their patented FCS (fused carbon structure) alloy to ensure it’s a great bat from the moment you get it until you finally retire it.
Alongside the Dynamic Socket Connection used in its construction, this bat is also very durable.
This bat is also very comfortable to hold. With its patented TRU3 3-piece construction, this bat reduces vibration when you’re swinging.
Additionally, it comes with a Lizard Skins grip, giving it a satisfying texture, and great control.
#11 Louisville Slugger YBCT152 Catalyst Youth Baseball Bat
The Louisville Slugger YBCT152 Catalyst Youth Baseball Bat features a calm and cool look.
Its colors are a mix of black, blue, and white, and it’s decorated with winged graphic designs.
The Louisville Slugger Catalyst features an ultra lightweight design with its -12 drop weight.
Made with a C1C composite alloy, this bat whips through the air like the wings on its barrel. It’s also reinforced with an epoxy resin to ensure maximum durability.
This bat is meant to swing, hit, and pop. Hold onto its synthetic leather grip and let it rip.
With its patented Louisville Slugger End Cap, this bat will make a satisfying pop sound every time you hit a ball. You’ll know when you’ve landed a great hit every time!
#12 Louisville Slugger YBAR512 Youth Baseball Bat
Our next bat is another Louisville Slugger Bat, the YBAR512 Youth Armor Youth Baseball Bat.
This bat is a striking mix of red, white, and black that features a net-like design that’s sure to catch everybody’s attention.
The Louisville Slugger Youth Armor offers the brilliant performance with its single-piece construction made with premium Performance 7050 aluminum alloy.
Alongside its thin, ⅞” tapered handle, this bat is very easy to handle, making it a perfect fit for absolute beginners.
Although this bat does not offer as many features as the others on this list, this bat is considerably more affordable, making it a great option for kids who will likely grow out of their bat in less than a year.
#13 Rip-It Air Big Barrel Youth Baseball Bat
Our next bat comes from the relatively young Rip-It brand.
Despite being new to the market, they pack a lot of technology in their bats, but without the higher price tags that many older, more established brands have.
The Rip-It Air is one of the most affordable bats on this list.
The Rip-It Air 2015 Big Barrel Bat has an interesting design with one gray side and one orange side.
What makes it very interesting, however, is how it tapers off at the end; it’s much steeper than other bats.
Despite its strange shape, the Rip-It Air is still very comfortable to handle with its Contact Grip reducing vibration and its single-piece construction made from their patented R3 alloy.
The Rip-It Air, as its name suggests, is a big barrel bat that’s light enough to rip through the air with ease.
Although it’s not as light as the Combat Maxum with only a drop -10 instead of a drop -11, the unique shape of the Rip-It Air makes it more aerodynamic than other big barrel bats on the market.
If you’re looking for an interesting and affordable bat, the Rip-It Air may be perfect for you.
#14 Marucci CU26 Maple 2 ¼” (0) Youth Baseball Bat
Our last 2 bats come from another relatively new company. Beginning in 2004, Marucci got its start handcrafting wooden bats, and is still crafting high-quality wooden bats.
The Marucci CU26 Maple Youth Baseball Bat is a beautiful chocolate brown maple bat with a great balanced feel.
To ensure the best wood density, this bat is bone rubbed and handcrafted only from the highest quality maple.
#15 Marucci AP5 Maple 2 ¼” (0) Youth Baseball Bat
The last bat on this list is the Marucci AP5 Maple Youth Baseball Bat.
It comes with a black barrel and a beautiful naturally-colored handle.
Similarly, this bat has also been bone rubbed and handcrafted from the highest quality maple.
The Marucci CU26 and Marucci AP5 are beautiful bats, but as I’ve mentioned earlier in the article, wooden bats are heavier.
This bat has a drop weight of 0, while the rest of the bats on this list range from -10 to -13.
This bat is best recommended for older, senior league players who have gotten used to swinging heavier bats and want better control.
Which One Should I Choose?
In this article, I’ve laid out 15 of the best youth bats on the market.
When it comes right down to it, choosing a bat, either for yourself or for your kid depends on how much you’re willing to spend, what features you’re looking for, and what sort of player your child is!
The bats I’ve recommended come in a variety of price points. Lower-end beginner bats will be less than $100, while the most expensive, higher-end bats can reach $300.
Before you buy a bat, be sure about how much you’re willing to spend and this will narrow down what features you can expect.
As much as this decision is important; any of the 15 bats I mentioned above will be a more than adequate choice for any young player!
Each item is a professionally made, critically acclaimed bat that’s crafted specifically for kids. As long as you choose from the picks above, you can’t really go wrong!