How to Buy a Youth Baseball Bat? Youth Bat Buying Guide

Want to get your kid interested in baseball? Gift them the best youth baseball bat. These are models that would give your child the confidence that, with enough practice and patience, they’d be able to hit those home runs they have always dreamed about. Such bats would also ensure your little one’s comfort. Here’s how.

When talking about the parts of a baseball bat, the best youth baseball bats have a massive sweet spot and are made of incredibly sturdy materials. While the former will help your child hit home runs, the latter would minimize the transfer of vibrations between the barrel and the handle.

But how do you get such a bat for your little one? That’s where this youth baseball bat buying guide comes into play. We have listed several factors you need to consider when buying a youth baseball bat. Some of them are those you might already be aware of such as the parts of a baseball bat. Others might have skipped your attention; however, both must influence your final decision.

What are the parts of a baseball bat? 

Here’s a quick anatomy of a baseball bat:

baseball bat length

As we can see, manufacturers divide the parts of a baseball bat into 5 different sections:

Firstly, we have the knob and the grip on the tail end. The knob and grip ensure that your hands are securely in place as you swing the bat. If the parts of a baseball bat you’re buying feature a good grip and knob, then it decreases the probability of the bat slipping from your hand.

Secondly, the taper indicates the amount of diameter increase from the handle up to the barrel. The diameter transition between the barrel and handle signifies the distribution of the bat’s overall weight. For example, a slow taper features a balanced feel as the weight of the bat is evenly distributed across the body. Conversely, a quick taper means the barrel features an end-loaded feel, making them excellent for power hitters.

Thirdly, the barrel of the bat is the place where a baseball makes contact. The larger the concentration of mass within the barrel, the stronger the bat’s swing will be. However, the heavier the bat is, the harder it is to swing it, especially for younger players. On the other hand, a thinner barrel means that a bat is quicker and lighter. Therefore, a batter must know what type of bat will do best for his swinging technique.

Lastly, the end cap located at the tip of the bat holds the barrel together. In addition, an end cap minimizes the weight of a barrel while maximizing control.

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How to Choose the Best Youth Baseball Bats

Now that we have discussed the anatomy of a baseball bat, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty on how to pick a youth baseball bat. Before buying a youth baseball bat, buyers must consider a few things in their checklist to score a high-quality bat. Here are multiple factors you need to consider when choosing a youth baseball bat

Material of Construction

Wood Vs Aluminum Vs Composite Bats

Wood

Most wood baseball bats are made of one of three types of wood:

  • Ash: Those of you who have never used a wood bat before will find ash bats easy to use. They are inexpensive, offer more flex, and their multiple wood strands stay together even when the bat falls apart. On the flip side, ash bats are susceptible to flaking apart when hit on the wrong side.
  • Maple: Maple wood bats are incredibly dense and can help the perfectly hit ball travel farther. They don’t flake as well and most of them have a ‘trophy shine’, which will help set these bats apart on the field. However, they weigh heavier and are difficult to swing for those with weak forearms.
  • Birch: Such models are incredibly forgiving on mis-hits and have the flexibility that lets them impart more ‘whip’ to their shots. That doesn’t mean they have no shortcoming. Birch bats are soft and require a few days to ‘break-in’. And their softness also has an adverse impact on the ball’s exit speed. 

Aluminum

One of the reasons why many players are unhappy with wood bats is that they tend to break regularly. Something as innocuous as turning their label off-center could allow them to give way, even in slow pitch softball.

Which is something you won’t have to worry about with aluminum bats. They are also much lighter than their wood counterparts. This imparts these bats with faster swing speeds and lets them hit the ball a farther distance.

That’s not where the good news ends. Aluminum alloy bats also have a bigger barrel and an even bigger sweet spot. You can therefore count on them to increase your batting percentage and help your batting average go north. 

Composite

Composite bats are made out of a mixture of graphite, carbon fiber, fiberglass and in rare cases Kevlar. They are available in both one- and two-piece designs – thereby letting the player pick one suiting their playing style.

They last longer than wood bats but break down faster when compared to their aluminum counterparts. These bats tend to break upon abuse or misuse, unlike aluminum bats which don’t break but dent.

There’s one last thing you might want to know about composite bats. Their performance goes south in cold weather conditions and these bats require up to 200 hits to break in. Your child would thus have to be a little patient with them at first.

Weight and Drop Weight

Choosing whether you want your kid’s bat to be lightweight or heavy is a matter of their personal preference. Little ones who are still learning the ropes of the game might want to side with the former. Slightly grown up kids may prefer testing their forearms with heavier bats.

That is also the case with a bat’s drop weight – which is the difference between its weight and its length. Models with a bigger drop are lightweight and are thus easier to handle and swing for beginners. Those that have a reduced drop are mostly the choice of veterans looking to impart sheer power to their shots.

Youth baseball bat size chart

Length of the bat

Picking the right length youth baseball bat is crucial for your kid’s game. Models that are too large for their liking won’t be easier to swing. Those that are too small, meanwhile, won’t let them cover the whole strike zone and would thus restrict the shots they can play.

Here are two ways you can select the correct length bat for your kid:

  1. Make your kid stand with their back against a wall. Place a bat against their leg and if it’s reaching their mid-hip, the length is suitable for them.
  2. Once again make your kid stand straight against a solid object. Ask them to place the bat’s knob at the center of their chest and extend the barrel in their eyesight’s direction. If they can touch its end with their fingertips, then its length is right for them.

Barrel diameter

Within the anatomy of a baseball bat, the barrel is the area where the ball hits the bat. It is where your child would want the ball to land in order to help it cover more hitting distance. Barrel diameters are available in various sizes and are measured in inches.

You cannot pick any barrel diameter you like. Little League bat rules stipulate that all bats used in one of its four league divisions should not exceed 2 5/8-inches in barrel diameter. 

Handle

Baseball bats have one of two types of handles:

  • Thick Handle: Thicker bat handles transfer the least amount of ‘sting’ to your hands in the aftermath of a mis-hit. This makes them ultra-comfortable to hold and their better shock absorption help them last longer too. However, thicker handles make it difficult for the batter to swing the bat.
  • Thin Handle: Thinner handles let you swing the bat easily. That is their only unique selling point. Otherwise, when compared with their thicker counterparts, they absorb less sting, fare poorly when it comes to shock absorption and are equally poor when it comes to their durability.

Manufacturer

Following are some of the baseball bat brands whose name you can afford to trust. They have been in the market for decades, some even more than a century, and have rarely given their customers reason to complain.

Here are the best baseball bat brands:

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League requirements

The requirements and restrictions differ from league to league. Some leagues require the bat to be stamped with a logo of an official supplier. This makes sure that the bat has the approved material, barrel size, length and a knob. Ensure that you are aware of all your league requirements before you go to buy one.

You can also check with your coach. Youth bats are almost governed globally by 1.15 BPF. BPF is the short form for Bat Performance Factor. When you go shopping for the youth, look for the 1.15 BPF mark on the bat.

The markets are full of different kinds and varieties of baseball bats. Some are meant for professionals and there are bats for those who play for fun. And then there are special baseball bats for kids.

It is very important to know what to buy when you are choosing from amongst such multitude of baseball bats as it makes no sense to give a kid a baseball bat that is too big or too heavy for them.

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Additional Factors To Consider

Buying a perfect youth baseball bat is not a silly matter. You need to be determined and should know all the necessary facts about it. Though I have given all the necessary tips to choose a youth bat, here are some add-ons that you might want to consider:

  • Cost – Some youth baseball bats cost as much as to blow a hole in your pocket. Examples of such bats include those that are made of composite. Others, especially wood and aluminum bats, are generally more merciful on the health of your bank account.
  • Weather – Do you know that composite bats tend to break down in cold weather? Or that wood bats shouldn’t be stored in a humid environment? Make sure you understand how the material of construction of your bat will behave in the environment in which you intend to store or use it.

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Conclusion

Choosing the best youth baseball bat is easier said than done. You have to consider multiple factors, including the parts of a baseball bat, length, weight, drop weight, the size of its barrel, and its handle’s diameter. You then have to make sure that the bat’s specifications meet those that are approved by the league in which your little one intends to play.

This is why we recommend that you keep all the factors mentioned above in your consideration before going for a youth baseball bat. Only then would you be able to get a baseball bat that would be best for your child’s game.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Baseball Bats for Youth Batters

Q: How do you size a youth baseball bat?

There are a lot of methods to size a youth baseball bat accordingly to your child’s needs. However, when buying online, it is hard to ensure that all the parts of a baseball bat fit your child. Therefore, we developed a home-based way to do it. First, parents should measure the distance between their child’s hip down to their foot in inches. Lastly, we advise parents not to go an inch longer than this measurement as this is the ideal size of a bat for their height.

However, if this doesn’t answer your question, we crafted a baseball sizing chart for you:

Youth baseball bat size chart

Q: What is the difference between youth and senior baseball bats?

Even though both youth and senior baseball bats fall under Little League; however, there is one factor that separates them both— age-based specifications.

Typically, a Senior League youth baseball bat features a weight drop of -10 while featuring a bigger barrel, making them larger but lighter. This construction makes Senior League youth baseball bats excellent for players ages 13-16 years old.

On the other hand, youth baseball bats feature specifications such as 2” barrel diameter and -7 up to -10 bat drop. Therefore, this type of construction makes them perfect for players ages 7-13 years old.

Q: Why are Marucci bats so popular?

Marucci started in a small workshop located in Baton Rouge. Since its founding in 2004, Marucci has maintained the same level of craftsmanship and consistency that took the baseball community by storm. Furthermore, with the help of their Player Advisory Board, Marucci incorporates the opinion of professionals in their products.

This makes the design of Marucci wood bats cut even for the big leagues, making them one of the best bat providers in the MLB. Trusted by professionals such as David Ortiz, Francisco Lindor, and Jose Bautista, players can never go wrong with the quality Marucci provides.

Q: How do you know if a bat is too heavy?

A bat would be too heavy for a player to use in games if they feel the sensation of bat drag. The sign of bat drag shows when a player cannot hit the ball consistently on the plate. However, there is a method parents can use to avoid this happening during games.

When buying a baseball bat, parents can let their child hold the bat parallel to the ground with their arm outstretched for 20 seconds. If they cannot hold the bat for that long, then the bat is too heavy for them to use.

Q: Do end-loaded bats hit farther?

Because of the larger mass stored within the barrel of end-loaded bats, they hit farther and more powerful compared to balanced bats. However, the former is heavier and harder to swing than the latter. Therefore, we only advise end-loaded bats to power hitters who can handle the higher weight difference compared to balanced bats.

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