Baseball and softball are two of the most popular sports that kids begin playing at a young age. Therefore, as they get older and transition into different leagues, they’ll likely be changing their equipment frequently. Whether they are playing little league baseball, senior league baseball, high school baseball, or other leagues, a baseball bat will be one such item they’ll likely need to upgrade. Consequently, choosing the right bat size for kids as they grow is crucial to their success on the field.
Choosing the best baseball bats for your son or daughter can be confusing. First of all, kids grow quickly and you might be left wondering if they can reuse the bat they currently own or have to move forward with an upgrade. Also, as they progress through different leagues, they’ll have different regulations on the bats permitted. For example, some youth baseball leagues will allow a USSSA bat whereas others will only allow a USA baseball bat. Additionally, as they get older and play high school baseball, only BBCOR bats will be permitted.
In the end, the perfect bat will be the one your child is most comfortable with. Even after receiving guidance on choosing the right baseball bat for your son or daughter, they might prefer a bat that doesn’t even fit the standard guidance. Therefore, determining the right size bat will only be the first step but bat size is not the only factor as we’ll describe below.
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Why is selecting the right bat size for kids important?
The size of a baseball bat is a very important factor to consider. First, if you buy one that is too small, your son or daughter might be missing out on the advantages of having a bigger and heavier bat. Also, having a longer bat will provide more surface area to make contact with the ball. Finally, a heavier bat will also provide extra power on contact.
However, buying a bat that is too big can cause your child some problems at the plate as well. For example, if the bat weight is too heavy or the bat length too long, your child’s bat control can suffer. Consequently, making contact with the ball will become more difficult. Finally, they may not be able to achieve a proper swing which they should get from a lighter bat.
Common bat size for kids
Baseball bat manufacturers offer a variety of bat lengths and bat weights for all of their different models. For example, the Rawlings 2022 5150 USA Baseball Bat is offered in 7 different bat lengths ranging from 26 inches to 32 inches. Each variation also comes with a different bat weight.
All of these variations ensure that kids of all different ages and sizes can find the best baseball bat that suits them. Additionally, with all of these variations, it also makes choosing the right bat a little bit trickier. However, with the methods we’ll provide here you should be able to easily narrow down your choices.
How do you measure your son or daughter for the correct bat size?
When looking for the right youth bat, there are some ways to find the correct bat size for your child. These methods should help you get started on choosing the right bat.
#1. Have your child stand up and keep their chest and head straight. Next, raise their arm straight away from their body. Measure from the middle of their chest to the end of their fingertips. This measurement should give you a general idea of the correct bat length to look for.
#2. Have your child stand up straight again but this time with cleats on (since cleats will be worn during games). Measure from the ground to his/her hip. This measurement can provide a good bat length.
#3. This method is a way to confirm the bat length is appropriate for your child. Similar to the method of measuring from the ground to his/her hip, instead stand the bat with handle side facing up next to their body. If they can comfortably grip the handle, it’s an indication that the bat length is appropriate.
#4. This is another method to confirm the bat length is appropriate. Place the knob of the baseball bat at the center of your child’s chest and extended outward in front of them. If they can extend their arm and grab the barrel, this indicates the bat length is appropriate.
Quick guideline for choosing the right size bat for kids
Another quick way to estimate the right bat size for kids is to use the following guideline. This is a list of the perfect size bat for kids by their weight and height.
|Weight/Height||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″- Over’|
|Under 60 lbs||27″||28″||29″||29″|
|61 – 70 lbs||27″||28″||29″||30″||30″|
|71 – 80 lbs||28″||28″||29″||30″||30″||31″|
|81 – 90 lbs||28″||29″||29″||30″||30″||31″|
|91 – 100 lbs||29″||29″||30″||30″||31″||31″||31″|
|101 – 110 lbs||29″||29″||30″||30″||31″||31″||32″|
|111 – 120 lbs||29″||29″||30″||30″||31″||31″||32″|
|121 – 130 lbs||30″||30″||30″||31″||32″||32″||33″|
|131 – 140 lbs||30″||30″||30″||31″||32″||32″||33″||33″|
|141 – 150 lbs||30″||30″||31″||31″||32″||33″||33″||33″|
|151 – 160 lbs||30″||31″||31″||31″||32″||33″||33″||34″|
|161 – 170 lbs||31″||31″||32″||32″||33″||33″||34″|
|171 – 180 lbs||31″||32″||32″||33″||34″||34″|
|Over 180 lbs||33″||33″||34″||34″|
Above, the chart takes weight into consideration since weight is also a useful way to determine the right bat size for kids. For example, to determine the bat size by with your child’s weight, below are a few quick notes using the chart above:
- For kids 60 pounds or below, the bat size range is typically between 27 and 29 inches.
- If your child seems uncomfortable with a 27-inch bat, 26-inch bats are also available.
- For kids over 60 pounds, their ideal size bat will typically range between 28 to 32 inches in length.
- If your child is taller than average and over 160 pounds, they may be able to take advantage of using a larger baseball bat ranging between 33 to 34 inches.
With the information presented so far, you should have a general idea of what baseball bats to focus on for kids. First, the league your son or daughter is playing in will dictate which type of bat can be used. Second, you can focus on your child’s height and weight to determine the right bat size. Finally, and also very important, make sure they enjoy and are comfortable with the bat chosen.
Remember that height and weight are only a general guideline when beginning your search for the right baseball bat. Each kid will have their preference for a baseball bat and choosing one that they like could be equally important.
Other factors to consider
Besides checking if a bat is the right size, there are also other important factors to consider when buying a baseball or softball bat for your child. Of course, we’ll go through and explain these other factors below.
Selecting the correct bat weight will be important. Of course, in most cases, smaller and lighter kids will need a lighter bat. Specifically, the lighter bats will allow them to have faster bat speed and better bat control. However, if they can handle a heavier bat, it might be beneficial to go with the heavier bat as it will allow them to get more power in their hits. Nevertheless, even you go with lighter bats, many big barrel bats are still quite light and these provide plenty of pop.
Additionally, when selecting a baseball bat, you’ll see that merchants list the bat length in the description along with a bat drop. This bat drop is a negative number that indicates the difference between bat length and weight in ounces. For example, if the bat length is 28 inches and the bat drop is -12, then the weight would be 16 ounces.
Equally important to bat weight is the swing weight. The swing weight is related to how the weight of the bat is distributed along its length. For example, some bats are balanced so that the weight is evenly distributed throughout the bat. Therefore, balanced bats provide a quicker swing speed as well as better bat control. Consequently, balanced bats are preferred by contact hitters.
On the other hand, end-loaded bats shift more weight towards the barrel resulting in a whip-like swing with more power. However, end-loaded bats provide less bat control and as a result, are recommended for bigger and stronger baseball players.
A baseball bat can be made of different materials. For many years, the two available options were a wood bat and an aluminum bat. However, composite bats and hybrid bats are now very popular as well. Additionally, when selecting a youth baseball bat, not many will go with a wood bat so the choices are usually between aluminum alloy bats, composite bats, or hybrid bats.
Alloy bats are usually the most durable and can be used in any weather without decreased durability. Also, alloy bats don’t require a break-in period. However, alloy bats are more likely to cause some sting on the hands when the ball is miss-hit. In contrast, composite bats are less likely to cause sting on the hands on miss-hit balls. Additionally, composite bats usually have a much bigger sweet spot to get more pop on the ball. However, composite bats tend to be less durable, especially in colder temperatures, and also require a break-in period.
In addition to composite and alloy bats, there are hybrid bats that combine the properties from both so that you’ll get a mix of the pros and cons of each.
Brand and price
Finally, when choosing a bat, you’ll be confronted with many different brands. Indeed, many brands produce excellent performing baseball and softball bats. However, it’s a good idea to stick with the well-known top brands such as Easton, Rawlings, DeMarini, Marucci, Louisville Slugger, Axe, etc… These companies produce a huge selection of bats for all ages and have done so for many decades.
Additionally, these companies also provide bats in a wide price range to fit everyone’s budget. For example, you’ll typically find bats ranging from around $50 to $400 depending on material and model. Specifically, composite bats and hybrid bats tend to be on the more expensive side whereas many alloy bats can be found at more affordable prices.
Choosing the right bat can make a significant difference in your child’s performance as a baseball player. Accordingly, with the information we’ve provided, you should be well equipped for your search in getting them the perfect bat. Therefore, the best approach is to take this information and visit a local store to confirm the bat size and weight is perfect. However, if you prefer purchasing online, make sure it’s from a reputable merchant with a good return policy in case it turns out to not be the right bat.
Finally, you can also have a look at some of the best baseball bat reviews we’ve done for different age groups. These could be a good starting point since we’ve reviewed some of the top bats from the top brands and categorized them for different age groups.