Best Youth Baseball Bats For 2018 – Round up and Review

Best Youth Baseball Bats For 2018 – Round up and Review

Some of my favorite memories as a kid were made on the baseball field. Baseball teaches teamwork, how to perform under pressure, persistence, hard work, and how to deal with failure. All of those lessons are something I want my kids to learn, which is why my son recently signed up for baseball. However, while we were shopping for a bat, I realized it wasn’t as easy as my mom made it look so many years ago. There is more to it than I originally thought, so to help you out, I’ve put together what I’ve learned, some tips and tricks, and reviews of the best youth baseball bats for 2018.

Bat NameTop FeaturesConsWarrantyCheck Price
Easton YB17X311 Xl3 Length: 30” or 31”
Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
Weight Drop: -11
It has an end loaded swing weight12 month warrantyCheck price
Easton Mako XlLength: 29”, 31”, or 32”
Barrel Diameter: 2 5/8”
Weight Drop: -8
Not suited as a first bat as it is a bit heavy12 month warrantyCheck price
Easton JBB17MK12BLength: 25”, 26”, or 27”
Barrel Diameter: 2 ¾ “
Weight Drop: -12
Specially designed for children who are still learning and is not suited for kids with experience12 month warrantyCheck price
Rawlings 2018 Quatro CompositeLength: 28”, 29”, 30”, 31”, or 32”
Barrel Diameter: 2 5/8 “
Weight Drop: -10
It has a break in time so you should break it in before playing with it in a game12 month warrantyCheck price
Easton Mako CompositeLength: 28”, 29”, 30”, or 32”
Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
Weight Drop: -12
You can’t use it in cold weather(below 65°F). Cold weather makes the bat more likely to crack or dent12 month warrantyCheck price
Easton YB17MK11 Mako Beast Length: 28”, 30”, or 31”
Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
Weight Drop: -11
You may not like the way it is evenly weighted12 month warrantyCheck price
Easton S2Length: 30”, or 31”
Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
Weight Drop: -13
This bat might not be allowed in your league in 2018. Make sure to double check your league requirements12 month warrantyCheck price
Marucci AP5 MapleLength: 31”, 32”, 33”, or 34”
Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
Weight Drop: -2
This bat is not intended for young children12 month warrantyCheck price

Benefits of Buying a Youth Baseball Bat

The main benefit of buying a youth baseball bat is that your kid gets to play baseball with a bat that works for them. Obviously, an adult bat would be way too heavy and too long for a child to swing with, but the best youth baseball bats are just the right size.

Another benefit is that it will help keep your child active. In a world where the majority interactions and games are increasingly taking place on the digital plane, it can be really hard to keep your child active and healthy. Playing baseball is a great way to stay in shape and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Youth Baseball Bat

While searching for the best youth baseball bats, it’s important to consider the different kinds of bats, including aluminum, composite, and wood. Wood bats are not typically used for youth baseball bats, but they arguably perform the best. The reason they are shied away from in youth bats is because they are harder to learn with, but, if you master the wooden bat, you will be one step closer to the big leagues, since that is what the pros usually use.

Still, most people go with aluminum or composite bats. Aluminum bats are usually less expensive, do not take as long to break in, can be used in any weather conditions, and typically have a very satisfying sound. Unfortunately, aluminum bats have a smaller sweet spot and vibrate much more, which turns some people off from them.

Composite bats typically cost more than aluminum bats, but they have a larger sweet spot and less vibration. Composite bats must be broken in, which is just don’t by hitting balls repeatedly, which usually takes at least 150 hits to do. They also do not work as well at lower temperatures, which can be a big influence on your decision.

You will also want to consider any league requirements if your children are playing baseball in a league. Some leagues have required barrel sizes and lengths, which may vary from league to league.

Lastly you will want to consider the length, and diameter of the bat, and assess its certification. Youth baseball bats are typically anywhere between 26” and 32”, with a diameter between 2.25” and 2.75”. Bats are certified by their Bat Performance Factor, or BPF, which measures how fast the ball comes off of the bat. Any quality bat will be certified with the 1.15 BPF USSSA stamp.

Tips for Choosing the Best Youth Baseball Bat

To choose the best youth baseball bat, you will have to choose the best length. Ideal bat length is usually determined by age, height, and weight of the user. This means a smaller kid will want to use a smaller bat than a much bigger kid. The length of your bat determines your reach, but going for the longest bat on the rack is reckless because it’s likely to be too heavy and unwieldy for a kid to control. There are tons of sizing charts online that are super easy to use to determine what length bat is best for your kid.

Once you have determined the best length, you will also want to consider the weight of the bat. This is not necessarily important if this is your kid’s first bat, but once they get used to it and know their hitting style, you may want to play around with the weight to find their preference. The weight of the bat depends on the length and diameter, so it is easier to find the right length baseball bat first and then increase or decrease the diameter of the barrel until it feels right. However, for now, focus more on the length of the bat.

You will also want to consider one piece vs two piece bats. One piece bats are one continuous piece of material, they are very stiff and usually stronger than 2 piece bats, but they are not meant for everyone. One piece bats are best for strong, power hitters who already hit faster than average. Two piece bats are made from two pieces, the barrel and the handle. They have a little more flex than one piece bats and are good for players with average bat speed, or less. Two piece bats can increase bat speeds for slower swingers, which may be good for beginners. The above factors will make the difference between regular bats and the best youth baseball bats.

Youth Baseball Bats FAQ

 

What type of bat is the best?

Like I mentioned, metal bats, whether they are aluminum or composite, tend to be best for beginners. However, there is not a clear cut “better” bat between aluminum and composite; it depends on personal preference and the bats themselves. Some aluminum bats are better than some composite and some composite bats are better than some aluminum, the final decision rests in your hands.

How is weight determined?

The weight is measured in ounces and can be determined by the negative number on the bat known as the “drop”. This is the difference between the weight of the bat in ounces and the length of the bat in inches. For example, 18 – 28 = -10, so a bat that is 28” long, with a drop of -10, weighs 18 ounces. For the sake of simplicity, instead of listing the length and weight of each bat, I will list the length and the drop weight, which you easily use to determine the weight of the bat.

How do I clean my bat?

Considering how dirty baseball fields are, there will come a time when your bat will get too dirty and you’ll want to clean it. You should never use any harsh chemicals on your bat to avoid any damage or corrosion; no solvents or acetone. Warm water and mild soap will get the job done just as good as heavy duty cleaners and won’t damage the surface or any graphics on the bat. It isn’t necessary to wash your bat after every use, it is up to you when you wash it, but try not to let it go too long without a wash, this will prevent dirt and grease from caking up and affecting your performance.

How can I make my bat last longer?

Using the bat in the same spot repeatedly can wear down the bat quicker than you might like, so be sure to rotate the bat between each hit or between every few hits. You might have a certain way you like to hold the bat, but if you hold it in the exact same position and orientation every time, you will severely wear down one side of your bat. If you have a composite bat, avoiding using it in temperatures below 60°F will also help to extend its life. In colder temperatures, composite bats are more likely to perform poorly and are more susceptible to cracking.

Easton YB17X311 Xl3 Aluminum Youth Baseball Bat

Top Features

  • Length: 30” or 31”
  • Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “best youth baseball bat
  • Weight Drop: -11
  • Number of pieces: 1
  • Certification: 1.15 BPF USSSA
  • Extended barrel
    The extended barrel of this Easton youth baseball bat extends the area of the bat’s hitting zone. This means your kid will have a better chance of hitting the ball with this bat than with a bat with a smaller barrel.
  • Made from Hyperlite Matrix alloy
    This bat is constructed from a super strong Hyperlite Matrix alloy, which adds to the bat’s overall durability. This is also what helps this bat perform well consistently and puts more power in your kid’s swing.
  • Hyperskin grip
    The handle of this bat is covered in a Hyperskin grip material, which adds to the comfort of usability of the bat. Getting a bat with a good grip, like this one, also gives your kid more control over the swing and the entire bat.
  • Thin handle
    At first, some people might assume that a thicker handle is better and look down on thin handles. But this bat’s thin handle is what allows it to be easier to grip and gives the player more leverage. A thicker handle is going to require more energy to swing the bat, whereas a thin handle allows the player to rotate quicker and expend less energy.  

Pros

A huge advantage of this bat is that it comes with a full, 12-month manufacturer’s warranty. Easton is committed to customer satisfaction, and that proves it. If you experience any problems with your bat within the first 12 months, they will help ensure that you have a bat that is working properly.

Downsides

This bat also features an end loaded swing weight, which means there is weight at the end of the barrel that makes the bat feel sort of top heavy. For strong batters, this can be a great thing since it can add power to your hits and help you hit the ball farther. However, for weaker or average batters, end loaded bats can be difficult to control and actually slow you down.

Easton Mako Xl Composite Big Barrel Baseball Bat

Top Features

  • Length: 29”, 31”, or 32”Easton Mako Xl
  • Barrel Diameter: 2 5/8”
  • Weight Drop: -8
  • Number of pieces: 2
  • Certification: 1.15 BPF USSSA
  • Hyperskin grip
    Like on the previous Easton model, this pat features super thin Hyperskin grip on the handle. It is only 1.2 mm thick, which means it is not thick enough to detract from the bat’s performance, yet still thick enough to increase grip and control. The cushioned grip also makes the bat more comfortable to hold and may help prevent blistering after heavy use.
  • ConneXion technology
    Although two piece bats are typically seen as weaker, this bat definitely does not fit into that category. The ConneXion technology used on this bat securely connects the handle to the barrel, and greatly reduces the vibration that you would typically feel using a two piece bat. The unique ConneXion technology also minimizes the amount of energy lost when you hit the ball, meaning all your power goes directly to that ball.
  • Thermo Composite Technology
    The TCT in this bat greatly increases the sweet spot. With such a big sweet spot, this bat gives the user a better chance of hitting for the fences, especially since it also increases bat speed. This makes it a good option for beginners and intermediate players.
  • End loaded swing weight
    The Mako Xl is also end weighted, which can be good or bad. Since it was intended to be a positive feature, that’s what we’ll focus on. An end loaded bat puts more mass behind the ball, which adds more power to the swing and hit. End loaded bats are good for strong batters who already have a good swinging speed, since it will act as a boost of sorts. 

 

Pros

I really like the two piece construction of this bat because it allows you to get the best of both worlds. Two piece bats are easier to control, and with the special ConneXion technology, this two piece bat is also extremely durable and wastes none of your energy. Another plus is the 12 month warranty that is included when you purchase the Mako Xl. The included warranty minimizes any risk, especially monetary, that may come with purchasing the bat. These features makes it one of the best youth baseball bats on the market.

Downsides

This bat may not be great for smaller players because it is on the heavier side. If your kid isn’t used to using a bat already, this might not be the best first bat. However, if your kid is already playing baseball and is a pretty strong swinger, this bat might be able to take his game to the next level.

Easton JBB17MK12B Mako Beast Jr Big Barrel Baseball Bat

Top Features

  • Length: 25”, 26”, or 27”black baseball bat
  • Barrel Diameter: 2 ¾ “
  • Weight Drop: -12
  • Number of pieces: 1
  • Certification: 1.15 BPF USSSA
  • Lightweight
    Note the larger weight drop on this bat compared to the previous bats. This bat is short and lightweight, meaning it won’t be too heavy to control. Its lightweight nature also lends itself well to beginners who cannot manage one of the bigger bats.
  • Big barrel
    The extra large barrel of the Mako Beast Jr gives your kid more surface area to the bat, increasing the odds of hitting the ball. Not only is the barrel in this back thicker, it is also longer, with an extended design that maximizes control over the bat. The big barrel can also make it easier for beginners to learn how to control their swing and perfect their technique.
  • Balanced swing weight
    If you aren’t a fan of the end weighted bats, like the previous ones, this may be exactly what you are looking for. The balanced swing weight of this bat means that the weight is evenly distributed throughout the bat and prevents the bat from feeling top heavy. A balanced swing weight can make it easier to reach higher swing speeds while maintaining control.
  • Composite design
    The composite design of this Easton bat is what makes all of the other cool features possible. Composite bats are lighter than aluminum, which means the barrel can be longer, which means a larger sweet spot. As I mentioned, its lightweight nature also makes it great for beginners, which wouldn’t be possible if it were made from aluminum.

 

Pros

Like the others, this Easton bat also comes with a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty. Warranties always make me feel better about my purchases because it gives me a backup plan and makes it so I’m not helpless or out a couple hundred dollars if the bat breaks for some reason. And unlike warranties on other products, which tend to be partial and only cover some things, this is a full warranty; you couldn’t ask for much more.

Another benefit of this bat is that although it can be pricey, it is worth every penny. This bat performs exactly the way it is supposed to and makes baseball more enjoyable for new players while teaching them at the same time. This can be one of the best youth baseball bats available.

Downsides

As I mentioned earlier, this is a great bat for beginners and is specially designed for children who are still learning. The huge sweet spot helps with new player’s hand eye coordination and can even improve your kid’s confidence and level of comfort while up to bat. However, that means this bat isn’t the best choice for older kids, especially older kids who already have experience. This bat is best for children 8 and under, so if your child is older than 8 years old, this bat probably is not the right choice. Although, that does not take away from the overall quality and performance of this bat.

Rawlings 2018 Quatro Composite USA Baseball Bat

Top Features

  • Length: 28”, 29”, 30”, 31”, or 32”baseball
  • Barrel Diameter: 2 5/8 “
  • Weight Drop: -10
  • Number of pieces: 2
  • Certification: USA Baseball Certification
  • Carbon fiber composite material
    Because this bat is a composite, it can be extended to give it a longer barrel without increasing the weight. The longer barrel increases the amount of space you can cover and maximizes contact with the ball. It also gives the bat that signature “pop”, when it hits the ball, sending it soaring.
  • Lightweight end cap
    End caps on other bats can add unnecessary weight, making it difficult to control your swing. However, Rawlings designed a new, super lightweight end cap that doesn’t add any noticeable weight and makes it easier to control the bat and follow through on the swing.
  • Quatro collar
    Most 2 piece bats are good for beginners, but also have a lot vibration and sting when it comes in contact with the ball, which can be off putting and uncomfortable to a new player. However, the vibration dampening technology in the quatro collar eliminates the post-contact vibrations and make for an overall smoother batting experience.
  • Ultimate flex handle
    Typically you wouldn’t want your baseball bat to “flex” or bend, but in this case, it’s a really cool additional feature of this bat. The bat itself does not really bend, but the handle employs ultimate flex hinge technology, which makes it possible to follow through on all your swings and get that satisfying “pop”, from the ball. Speaking of the handle, it allows for superior grip, which plays a major role in batting.

 

Pros

One argument for purchasing this bat is that it is approved for use in all USA baseball leagues. That includes AABC, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth, Little League, and Pony, which makes this bat a great choice for kids in those leagues. Leagues often have rules about what bats can and cannot be used, so always double check if the bat you’re interested in can be used in whatever league your child is in.

Downsides

Like with every other composite bat, this one has a break in time that you must get past. Breaking the bat in allows it to reach its full potential, so I recommend you break it in before playing with it in a game. You can break in your bat by repeatedly hitting balls, which I would recommend doing even if you got an aluminum bat. Hitting several dozens of balls can also give you an opportunity to get a feel for the bat and learn how to use it.

Easton Mako Composite Youth Baseball Bat

Top Features

  • Length: 28”, 29”, 30”, or 32”black and yellow bat
  • Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
  • Weight Drop: -12
  • Number of pieces: 2
  • Certification: 1.15 BPF USSSA
  • Thermo Composite Technology
    The Easton thermo composite technology of this bat makes swings faster, and sweet spots bigger. The large sweet spots are great for beginners who do not yet have a feel for the sport. As you know, composite bats are lighter and allows the user to swing faster, which is always good.
  • Sleek design
    This bat is hands down one of the coolest looking ones on this list. The bats I had growing up were dull and not all that interesting, but the lime green and jet black pattern of the Mako is fun to look at and feels way more lively.  As an added bonus, it will be nearly impossible for your kid to lose this brightly colored bat in the dugout.
  • ConneXion technology
    Because this bat is made from 2 pieces, it is naturally prone to vibrating after coming in contact with the ball. Or at least it would be if it weren’t for the ConneXion technology showcased in this bat. It completely eliminates any vibrating, and loses very little energy during the transfer from the bat to the ball.
  • Cushioned hyperskin grip
    Rather than having to constantly tape up your bat handle, this cushioned hyperskin grip already has everything you need in a handle. Not only does the cushioning make it very comfortable to hold, it also makes the handle a little thicker and makes it easier to control. It also has superb grip, adding even more to the control of the bat and power of the swing.

 

Pros

Because this bat is lightweight, it is great for kids who have not played baseball before, especially younger kids. If your kid starts off with too heavy of a bat, it can be difficult for them to control and may end up discouraging them.

The Easton Mako also comes with a great warranty plan. It is covered by a full warranty for 1 year after it is purchased. According to the warranty agreement, it covers all damage that might occur during field play, including “denting, cracking, breaking, loose or detached end cap or rattling.” If any of those occur during the first year following your purchase, you can easily return the bat and get a replacement.

Downsides

Unfortunately, since this is a composite bat, you can’t use it in cold weather. In temperatures below 65°F the bat may not perform as well as it usually would. It’s not worth sacrificing the performance of your bat just to play in cold weather, which also makes the bat more likely to crack or dent. Typically baseball is not played in cold weather anyway, so this isn’t too much of a problem, but it is still something to consider.

Easton YB17MK11 Mako Beast Composite Youth Baseball Bat

Top Features

  • Length: 28”, 30”, or 31”easton black bat
  • Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
  • Weight Drop: -11
  • Number of pieces: 2
  • Certification: 1.15 BPF USSSA
  • Extended barrel
    The extra long barrel of this bat creates a very big sweet spot, making it easier to hit balls. This can make the game a lot more fun for a beginner who might struggle hitting the ball with a normal bat. The only way to have the long barrel while still keeping the bat light is with thermos composite technology.
  • ConneXion technology
    The patented ConneXion technology in this bat minimizes the vibrations that often happen when you hit the ball. It can be extremely uncomfortable in your hands and feel similar to stinging. But with this bat, that’s not something you have to worry about experiencing.
  • Balanced swing weight
    This bat has the absolute lowest swing index of the 2017 Easton youth bats, which means its weight is perfectly balanced, improving swinging speeds. Balanced bats are also easier for beginners to control since they are not top heavy, like the end weighted bats. Even kids who have played baseball for years still prefer the balanced swing weight bats because the end weighted ones are too heavy, and in order to get the most out of end weighted bats you must be a strong batter.
  • Durability
    Everything in this bat comes together to create and incredibly durable final product that your kid will be proud to have on the field. And even though it isn’t ideal for cold weather, it will last you thousands of hits if you take good care of it.

 

Pros

Like the other Easton bats, this one comes with a full 12 month warranty. This gives you plenty of time to test out the bat and see just how durable it is, and if for some reason it breaks, they will send you a replacement. I really like that you have the full year warranty instead of something short like 30 days, it makes me feel confident in my purchase.

 

Downsides
This is not a downside for everybody, but you can never please everyone, even with a great bat. It’s possible that this bat will not fit your personal preferences. You may not like the way it is evenly weighted, or the way it looks, or maybe it is too light. If you already know you don’t like something about this bat, just skip over it. However, there is nothing wrong with the functionality of this bat or its performance, so it still gets high marks from me.

Easton S2 Youth Baseball Bat

Top Featuresyellow easton baseball bat

  • Length: 30”, or 31”
  • Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
  • Weight Drop: -13
  • Number of pieces: 2
  • Certification: 1.15 BPF USSSA
  • Hybrid construction
    What makes this bat unique is its hybrid construction, it is neither fully composite, nor fully aluminum. The barrel is made from Hyperlite Matrix alloy, which is a super durable material. On the other end of the bat, the handle is made from SIC black carbon composite. This allows you to get the best of both worlds – the extreme durability of the alloy barrel and the lightweight comfort of the composite handle.
  • Hyperskin grip
    Speaking of the handle, it is covered in Hyperskin grip material, which maximizes grip and control of the bat. The handle is also very easy on your hands; it doesn’t cause any irritation or pain. The handle is extremely comfortable to use because of the cushioning included on the handle. This is way more comfortable than swinging a bare bat without the hyperskin grip.
  • ConneXion technology
    Perhaps the best part of this bat though, is its ConneXion technology, which makes a 2 piece bat feel like a solid 1 piece bat. The barrel is isolated from the handle, so any vibrations coming from the barrel upon contact with a ball is immediately deflected away from the handle and hands of the player. This makes playing much more enjoyable and gives the bat an overall better feel.
  • Balanced swing weight
    Lastly, this bat is evenly weighted, which means it has a very low swing index and can reach high speeds. The way you like your bat weighted will vary from person to person, but we recommend starting your kid with an evenly weighted one. This allows your kid to get used to swinging the bat the way it is, and then you can start messing with different factors once you learn more about their batting style.

 

Pros

This has a very cool and sleek design, like the Mako, which definitely gets points from me. And you don’t have to worry about the bat denting or cracking and ruining the way it looks because it also comes with a full one year warranty. This warranty will cover any kind damage caused by normal wear and tear.

Downsides

This is a great at, but it might not be allowed in your league in 2018. Make sure to double check your league requirements; and if you don’t belong to a league, you have nothing to worry about. Other than that, there are no real downsides to this bat that would make someone not want to purchase it.

Marucci AP5 Maple Baseball Bat

Top Features

  • Length: 31”, 32”, 33”, or 34”marucci baseball
  • Barrel Diameter: 2 ¼ “
  • Weight Drop: -2
  • Number of pieces: 1
  • Certification: 1.15 BPF USSSA
  • Wood construction
    Although I do not recommend wood bats for beginners, I wanted to include a wood option so that you could see what it has to offer. This bat is hand crafted from maple wood, and bone rubbed to maximize wood density. All of this essentially adds up to a very durable and very powerful bat.
  • End loaded swing weight
    This bat is also end loaded, making it heavier towards the barrel, and lighter towards the handle. Very powerful batters love the extra power that an end loaded bat can give you. The extra mass at the end of the barrel can give power batters a stronger, more forceful swing, although it may do the exact opposite for beginners.
  • Tapered handle
    The tapered handle of this bat makes it comfortable to hold and also adds to the control you have over the bat. Tapered handles like this one make it easier to follow all the way through on each one of your swings, without slowing down or messing up.
  • Sleek design
    Even if this isn’t the bat of your dreams, it’s impossible to deny that its sleek design is quite alluring. The smooth, sheen finish of the wood is quite beautiful, and comes in two different designs. You have the choice between a bat with a natural colored handle and black barrel, or a black handle and natural colored barrel. Either way, you still get all the great benefits of this bat, including that signature “pop” everyone loves.

 

Pros

One advantage of this bat is the large wooden barrel. The large barrel makes it easier to come in contact with balls and makes the hit that much more powerful. Another great thing about this bat is its 30 day warranty. Within 30 days of purchasing this bat, if it breaks or cracks you can return it and get a replacement. When you are spending a good amount of money on something, it is always nice to know that your purchase is backed up.

Downsides

The main downside to this bat is that it was not intended for young children. If you have a teenager, who is already experienced at playing baseball, this may be a viable option. On the other hand, if your kid is still young, this bat is more than likely going to be too long and too heavy. On the plus side though, this bat is big league grade dot certified. Overall, it is a great bat, but one that should be reserved for experienced baseball players.

Who’s the Winner?

In the end, your winner may be different than ours, depending on how old your kid is and how long they have been playing baseball. In our opinion, the best bat out of these is the Easton Mako XL Comp Big Barrel Baseball Bat. It is an all around great at and one that we would highly recommend. It has the patented ConneXion and thermo composit technology that Easton has become famous for. They ensure that the Mako Xl performs its absolute best at all times. However, what made this the best youth baseball bat for us was its end loaded swing weight.

As we said earlier, end loaded bats are not always the best for beginners, but we really like the extra power it can give you. You’ve got to be a strong batter, but that extra mass at the end of the bat will definitely help send that ball flying. If this one isn’t your cup of tea though, the bats on this list are some of the best youth baseball bats available on the market, and surely one of them will suit your needs.

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Andy

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