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Finding the right bat will make a huge difference in an individual’s batting average performance over the course of many games. A well-crafted bat can increase a player’s confidence and improve hitting distance. You don’t need to break the bank to get a well-performing bat, but it is above all a good idea to find one with the correct weight and length to match the size of the player. In this equipment guide, Dugout Debate covers all the bases: an overview of the best youth baseball bats of 2018, information on youth bat regulations, the most important things to look for, and how to pick the right bat for a youth player.

All the bats that made the cut are constructed to last multiple seasons. Whether it is your first time purchasing a quality youth bat for your child or teen or you’re upgrading from an older model, there are some clear winners that are worth checking out. If you’re looking for BBCOR bats for adult baseball players we have a guide here.

Overview of the 15 Best Youth Baseball Bats

Here is a chart of the most popular youth baseball bats for this season. We’ve ordered them by price ascending for you, so that you can easily find one that fits in your budget.

ImageBatBuildDropPricePopularity
Rawlings Raptor Alloy USAAlloy; One-Piece; +4 Sizes-8
Combat Youth 2016 Maxum Big BarrellComposite; One-Piece; 1 Size-10
Easton S500 Speed BrigadeAlloy; One-Piece ; +3 Sizes-13
Louisville Slugger 2019 Youth Prime BatMaple; One-Piece; 4 Sizes-8
Marucci Chase UtleyMaple; One-Piece; 1 Size-5
Easton XL3 Youth Big BarrelAlloy; One-Piece; +3 Sizes-8
Louisville Slugger Assault Senior LeagueAlloy; One-Piece; +3 Sizes-10
Demarini CF6 Big Barrel Composite; Two-Piece; +2 Sizes-10
Marucci Hex Connect Senior LeagueComposite; Two-Piece; +4 Sizes-8
Easton Mako BeastComposite; Two-Piece; +4 Sizes-12
Marucci Cat7 Junior Big BarrelAlloy; One-Piece; +3 Sizes-10
Easton S1 CompositeComposite; Two-Piece; +3 Sizes-12
DeMarini 2017 CF Zen Balanced BatComposite; Two-Piece; +1 Sizes-11
Demarini Vexxum Youth Alloy; Two-Piece; +3 Sizes-10
Demarini Voodoo InsaneAlloy & Composite; Two-Piece; +3 Sizes-9

The Best Youth Baseball Bats 2018-2019

Here is our line-up of the best youth baseball bats with 2017, 2018, and 2019 models.

#1. Easton S500 “Speed Brigade” Youth Baseball Bat

Easton S500 “Speed Brigade” Youth Baseball Bat

  • Material: Alloy
  • Build: One Piece
  • Drop: -13
  • Versions: 5 Sizes

The Easton S500 “Speed Brigade” Youth Baseball Bat is one of the most popular bats found in youth leagues. It has a -13 drop weight. Easton is one of—if not perhaps the—leading manufacturer of the best bats available. The S500 is constructed with a 7050 Aircraft Alloy that offers a good balance of swing speed and durability. It is a one-piece design, therefore the handle is also composed of the 7050 alloy material. Similarly, the pro tack grip on the handle is perfect for youth players. The barrel diameter of this bat is 2 ¼ inch and is offered in 27 through 32 inch options.

#2. Easton S1 Composite Baseball Bat

Easton S1 Composite Youth Baseball Bat

  • Material: Composite & Carbon
  • Build: Two Piece
  • Drop: -12
  • Versions: 2 Sizes

Step it up with the Easton S1 Composite Baseball Bat. This is a more expensive bat but is engineered with Easton’s IMX composite material instead of aluminum. Easton’s two-piece Connexion technology is patented, so you won’t find another youth baseball bat with the same build. It’s made in two sizes, and is approved for USSA Little League.

#3. Easton Mako Beast Composite Youth Baseball Bat

Easton Mako Beast Composite Youth Baseball Bat

  • Material: Composite
  • Build: Two Piece
  • Drop: -12
  • Versions: 4 Sizes

The Easton 2015 MAKO COMP is a -12 youth baseball bat with some upgrades compared the previous model we had featured here. It also incorporates the speed design that is found in many premium youth bats, optimized for low M.O.I. It’s a two piece design that features Easton’s patented Conation technology. Everything in this bat is seamlessly integrated, from the well-sized handle knob to the sturdy end cap. The Conation tech limits handle vibration and redirects contact energy back to the sweet spot for an insane trampoline effect and next level pop. (Watch out Pitchers)

#4. DeMarini CF Zen Balanced Baseball Bat

DeMarini CF Zen Balanced Baseball Bat

  • Material: Composite
  • Build: Two Piece
  • Drop: -11
  • Versions: 1 Sizes

The DeMarini CF Zen Balanced Baseball Bat is going to bring your youth player peace of mind before they step up to the plate. This DeMarini youth bat is new to the market as of 2017, and features some never before used technology. They used a two-piece build with composite material to create a well-balanced swing that will give players confidence, and help them make more accurate connections. The handle is the specialized D-Fusion 2.0 handle, that greatly reduces vibrations. It’s currently available in one size, suitable for 8-12 year old players.

#5. Marucci Chase Utley Youth Bat:
Marucci Chase Utley Youth Bat

  • Material: Maple
  • Build: One Piece
  • Drop: -5
  • Versions: 4 Sizes

If you’re looking for a wood bat, check out this option from Marucci. This is a gorgeous black maple bat that’s been bone rubbed to give it great density. It’s available in 4 different sizes, ranging from 27″ to 31″, and is also covered by a 30 day manufacturer warranty, so you can get a feel for it quickly and see if it’s right for you.

#6. Louisville Slugger 2019 Youth Prime Bat

Louisville Slugger 2019 Youth Prime Bat

  • Material: Maple
  • Build: One Piece
  • Drop: -8
  • Versions: 4 Sizes

One of the newest options of youth baseball bats from the Louisville Slugger series, is the 2019 Youth Prime Maple. It’s built with a balanced swing weight, and made with high quality maple wood. You can get the Youth Prime Bat in sizes 28″ to 31″.

#7. Demarini Vexxum Youth Baseball Bat

Demarini Vexxum Youth Baseball Bat

  • Material: Alloy
  • Build: Two Piece
  • Drop: -10
  • Versions: 1 Size

Another top youth bat that is a great value is the DeMarini 2015 Vexxum Youth Baseball Bat. The barrel design is labeled with their NVS, or New Velocity System, that is supposed to give your swing extra power and speed. The alloy is thin, so the bat isn’t too weighty, and the composite handle will help give your youth player a strong grip.

The Best Youth Big Barrel Baseball Bats 2018-2019

These are also commonly called Senior League baseball bats. Due to the size, bats are used by players in youth leagues that allow a larger bat diameter than the standard 2 ¼ inch barrel. Here are the top bats in this category:

#8. Demarini CF6 Big Barrel Baseball Bat

Demarini CF6 Big Barrel Baseball Bat

  • Material: Composite
  • Build: Two Piece
  • Drop: -10
  • Versions: 1 Size

Another option from DeMarini is their CF6 Big Barrel Youth Bat with a -10 drop, and two-piece build featuring a composite handle with improved feel over the previous releases. The tapered barrel is design to give you a better sweet spot on hits, without feeling it in your hands.

#9. Louisville Slugger Assault Senior League Baseball Bat

Louisville Slugger 2014 Assault -10 Big Barrel

  • Material: Alloy
  • Build: One Piece
  • Drop: -10
  • Versions: 1 Size

The Louisville Slugger Assault Baseball Bat is a durable, one-piece, alloy constructed bat that gives you a literal bang for your buck. The way it’s designed is intended to give the swing what they refer to as the “trampoline effect” when it connects with the ball. It’s an underrated bat, giving you more for your money. The diameter is 2 and 3/4″ around, and it is USSSA certified.

#10. Easton XL3 Youth Big Barrel Baseball Bat

Easton Xl3 Big Barrel Baseball Bat

  • Material: Alloy
  • Build: One Piece
  • Drop: -8
  • Versions: 3 Sizes

Making our list again this year is the Easton XL3, the third edition of this big barrel bat with an end loaded swing weight that gives players more swing power. The large barrel expands the sweet spot and hitting zone, without adding extra weight. Furthermore, the one piece alloy design gives it a more traditional feel.

#11. Marucci 2017 Hex Connect Senior League Baseball Bat

Marucci 2017 Hex Connect Senior League Baseball Bat

  • Material: Composite
  • Build: Two-Piece
  • Drop: -8
  • Versions: 4 Sizes

Replacing one of the older model Marucci bats on our list, is the 2017 Hex Connect Senior League Baseball Bat. It features two-piece composite construction, with the maximum allowed barrel length for one of the biggest sweet spots among the competition. Marucci uses a special shock absorbency technology. Therefore, players don’t feel the power all the way up your arm when you make contact.

#12. DeMarini Voodoo Insane Balanced Baseball Bat

DeMarini Voodoo Insane Balanced Baseball Bat

  • Material: Alloy & Composite
  • Build: Two-Piece
  • Drop: -9
  • Versions: 3 Sizes

An upgrade from the Voodoo Overlord, DeMarini brings hitters the Voodoo Insane. It features a balanced swing weight, a handle that reduces vibration, and an end cap that optimizes weight and feel throughout the barrel. All these added features, with that optimal DeMarini quality and sizing options- is why we had to include this series in our list once again.

#13. Combat Youth 2016 Maxum Big Barrel Baseball Bat

Combat Youth 2016 Maxum Big Barrel Baseball Bat

  • Material: Composite
  • Build: One-Piece
  • Drop: -10
  • Versions: 1 Size

If your youth player is in senior league, a good option for them is the Combat Maxum. It’s a big barrel, with 2.75″ of diameter, you’ll get consistency throughout your whole swing with this guy. The grip is made from Combat’s Lizard Skin’s wrap tape, for enhanced comfort and no-slip tackiness.

Best New Release Youth Baseball Bats

#14. Rawlings Raptor Alloy USA Baseball Bat

rawlings 2018 raptor alloy usa baseball

  • Material: Alloy
  • Build: One-Piece
  • Drop: -8
  • Versions: 4 Sizes

One of the newer releases on our lists comes from Rawlings. Their 2018 Raptor Alloy USA bat will give your youth player the power that they need at a price that you won’t cringe at. The drop weight is low, which gives your player more speed on the swing. It’s available currently in 4 different sizes.

#15. Marucci Cat7 Junior Big Barrel Baseball Bat

marucci cat7 junior big barrel baseball bat

  • Material: Alloy
  • Build: One-Piece
  • Drop: -11
  • Versions: 3 Sizes

The Marucci Cat7 is a new one to our list in 2018. It features one-piece alloy construction, providing a more traditional and consistent feel for a youth baseball bat. It’s easily one of the best rated youth bats on our list. Our favorite benefit of this bat is the 2nd generation anti-vibration technology in the handle, which will give less feedback on connections.


What is BPF 1.15?

BPF stands for Bat Performance Factor. It is a measurement of how fast the ball comes off the bat. The terminology used to describe this phenomenon is the trampoline effect of the bat’s barrel. This standard was put in place by USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) to protect pitchers and other players from dangerous ball speeds.

A BPF of 1.15 has been found to be roughly the equivalent of the BPF of a wood bat. Youth bats must be meet this standard and be stamped with the 1.15 BPF mark to be approved for play.

Nearly all aluminum alloy and hybrid bats clear this standard, but it gets touch-and-go with composite bats. All of the bats that made our list pass BPF criteria. If you are unsure of the rules governing your league, it’s a good idea to check with the coach or league director.

How to Select the Right Youth Baseball Bat

How to Select the Best Youth Baseball BatBuying a youth bat is certainly more involved now than it used to be. Back in 1884, there was only one commercial bat available: the Louisville Slugger. There are now numerous brands, materials, and lengths. We’ve long since waved goodbye to the days of grabbing any old bat that may have been collecting dust in the garage for years. Youth leagues have become extremely competitive and players are looking for anything that will give them an edge. Youth baseball bats are the most difficult bat type to select because youth players differ so much in their ability and size. Bat selection will have a significant impact on hitting technique and swing speed. We include a chart below that aids you in finding the ideal bat size for the player’s height and body weight.

Construction

Youth baseball bats are constructed with composite, aluminum, or are a hybrid of both.

Unlike high school and college leagues that accept up to 2 5/8 inch barrels, nearly all youth leagues mandate a 2 ¼ inch barrel bat:

There are some exceptions though, and if your league allows you to take advantage of larger barrels such as 2 5/8 or 2 ¾ you’ll want to look at our best youth big barrel bats section.

Weight

The best youth bats are often lighter, with a drop (length-to-weight ratio) between -8 and -13. Drop weight is calculated by subtracting the length of the bat from the weight. So a bat that is 34 inches long but weighs 26 pounds has a drop weight of -8.

A bat that has a drop weight of -13 will be easier to swing than compared to a -8 bat. Remember the heaviest bats are always the best. Too heavy, and the bat will be hard to swing and control. But if you go too light, and the hitter will lose some ability to hit the ball with optimal power.

To summarize, these are the major factors you want to key an eye on:

  • Bat length. Measured in inches. Usually range from 27” to 32” in length.
  • Bat weight. Measured in ounces. We’ve included a couple charts to give you an idea.
  • Length-to-weight ratio. Youth bats have the largest drop weight of any bats available from around -7 to -14.
  • Construction material. Alloy bats usually made from aircraft grade alloys, in contrast composite bats are made of composite fibers. Finally, hybrid bats combine different materials such as alloy with carbon fibers.

Size Charts

Youth League (6-10 yrs)
Player Height Bat Weight
48-50″ 16-17 oz.
51-54″ 17-18 oz.
55-59″ 18-19 oz.
60+” 19-20 oz.
Intermediate Youth Leagues (11-13 yrs)
Player Weight Bat Weight
70-80 lbs. 18-19 oz.
81-100 lbs. 19-20 oz.
101-120 lbs. 20-21 oz.
121-140 lbs. 21-22 oz.
141+ lbs. 22-23 oz.

High school starts for most kids around 14 or 15 years of age. In these leagues, BBCOR certification is required. First of all, if you’re looking for BBCOR baseball bats, we have a guide here.

A helpful test is that if a player cannot keep their arm straight and hold the bat at shoulder level for 10 seconds, the bat is too heavy for them. If you follow the basic chart you’ll likely find a bat that passes this test. The bat length and weight really go hand-in-hand as the same version of a bat, the longer forms will always be heavier.

Bat Sizing Chart for Youth Players - Weight, Height, Age

Bat Sizing Chart for Youth Players

Different Parts & Types of Baseball Bats

Whether your kid wants a bat to join in the neighborhood baseball game or you have a high schooler that is working towards a college scholarship you should arm yourself with a bit more information to help you find the perfect bat.

Obviously, a great bat can’t turn an average player into a champion by itself, just like the Nimbus 2000 didn’t make Harry Potter the best seeker in Hogwarts history.

A player’s skill and innate ability come first and foremost. But having the right bat can improve hitting dramatically, and aid the hitter in developing good habits.

One-Piece and Two-Piece Bats

One-Piece vs Two-Piece Bat

The Anatomy of a Baseball Bat:

These are the different parts that are found in almost every bat. Though each manufacturer puts their own spin on these parts, all bats have the same basic anatomy.

  • Barrel – The top part of the bat used to give the ball a good smacking. This is where the Holy Grail lies known as the “sweet spot.” The longer the barrel, as a result the more forgiving and larger the sweet spot. A smaller barrel may have a reduced sweet spot, but it will be lighter weight and, therefore, offer a faster swing speed. Bat manufacturers use the diameter around this part of the bat to come up with barrel size.
  • Grip – This part of the bat covers the handle. Most bat grips are either leather or a synthetic. Rubber grips will decrease sting in the palms when making an awkward connection.
  • Knob – The end closest to the hitter is completed with a knob. This helps the player maintain a steady grip even after the deadliest of slices.
  • Taper – The taper of the bat is metric that indicates the diameter of the bat’s handle. A larger taper will also reduce the sting when the bat makes contact with the ball. Obviously, a larger taper will add additional weight to the bat.
  • Cap – This is located on the end of the bat farthest from the batter. Some caps are designed to retain all the energy the bat generates when it strikes the ball.

Youth Baseball Batter

The Types of Baseball Bats:

Here are the main types of bats that manufacturers offer.

  • Aluminum. Aluminum bats have become very popular with kids that play league sports. Consequently, in some leagues, aluminum bats are required. Another term many manufacturers use as a substitute for aluminum is “alloy.” If they say it is an alloy bat that’s just another name for aluminum. They are lighter than traditional wood bats, allowing a player no matter what their size to swing hard. These bats are available in single or double layer construction, with double layer offering greater power and ball rebound. Aluminum, unlike composite and wood bats, do not require a break in period.
  • Composite. Composite bats are generally the most expensive bats on the market. These use the latest bat technology. They are made of fibers such as Kevlar, carbon, graphite, and fiber glass. Thanks to these fibers, they are even lighter than aluminum alloys, making for the absolute fastest swing speed. They do have a break in period of almost 100-200 swings.
  • Hybrid. These bats are constructed as a middle ground between aluminum and composite bats. They are a less expensive option than full composite, and offer some of the benefits of composite type bats.
  • Wood. Most youth leagues do not allow the use of wood bats. Hence, these bats are more of a nostalgia throwback thing. Because of this, some hitting coaches will incorporate the use of wood bats to help teach kids proper swing technique. A major drawback of wood bats is that they have a tendency to break.


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