What’s the best softball bat for your needs?
Whether you’re brand new to the sport or a life-long all-star, having lackluster equipment will always put you at a disadvantage. Welcome to FirstBaseCoach.com, your most up-to-date online resource for the right softball bats, gloves and other essential baseball and softball equipment to help make you the best you can be at the ball park. Finding the right equipment for you can be a challenge and there is a lot to consider when deciding on the right bat or glove for you or your team. Our comprehensive guide will prepare you to make an informed and educated decision, helping you to find the best equipment that matches your budget!
|Miken Ultra Balanced||Louisville Slugger Z-2000 Balanced||Miken REV-EX Balanced||Worth Mayhem||DeMarini J3|
|Organizational Approval||ASA||USSSA||USSSA||ASA||ASA & USSSA|
|Built For||All Hitters||All Hitters||Power Hitters||All Hitters||Power Hitters|
|Type of play||Slo-Pitch||Slo-Pitch||Slo-Pitch||Slo-Pitch||Slo-Pitch|
|DeMarini 2014 CF6||Easton Typhoon (ALUMINUM)||Easton FS1 Fastpitch|
|Type of Play||Fastpitch||Fastpitch||Fastpitch|
How will our reviews help you?
When I first began playing softball a number of years ago, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the number of options I had when it came time for our team to select a new bat. With so many major brands like Easton, Worth, Miken, Combat and many others, it was tough to choose the best softball bat for our team.
Eventually, because there was so much we needed to learn, we just selected a bat based on a recommendation from a local retailer. It turned out it wasn’t the correct softball bat for our team and our team ended up shorthanded for the year due to our equipment.
To get you started, we need to consider the basics when selecting and differentiating between the different types of bats out there. Even though all of the bats we will review on this website will be of high quality, knowing how to select the best softball bat for you is something you need to learn. Below is what you need to consider:
The two highest governing bodies for slowpitch softball are the United States Specialty Sport Association (USSSA) and the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA). Leagues across North America will generally adopt the rules from one of these governing bodies meaning they also adopt the rules of that governing body in regards to softball bats.
The reason for this is because there are ‘illegal’ bats, which provide too much ‘pop,’ allowing the ball to travel 100 mph+ off the bat. As you can imagine, this is extremely dangerous for everybody on the field which is why these rules exist. Depending on which set of rules your league abides by will determine the type of softball bat which is best for you. To find out which governing body your league abides by, just check the league website or contact the league commissioner directly.
Luckily for you, our reviews will identify which bats are either USSSA approved or ASA approved so you won’t have to guess.
For slowpitch bats, the weights generally vary between 26oz to 30oz but of course there are some exceptions. Generally, the bigger and stronger you are, the heavier the bat you want, as it will provide maximum power. On the flip side, smaller players will generally benefit from a lighter bat that will still allow the player to produce quick bat speed.
Fastpitch bats have a wider range of weights depending on the level (Youth vs High School/Adult) while the same rules apply to fastpitch bats that apply to slowpitch bats regarding weight; the stronger you are, the heavier the bat you can swing.
A common mistake is for players to pick a bat that is too heavy. If the slowpitch or fastpitch bat is too heavy, you’ll have troubles producing enough bat head speed and you’ll be unable to maximize power making it the incorrect softball or fastpitch bat for your needs.
For adult sized softball bats, all bats measure 34” in length with a 2 ¼” barrel diameter. Because the length does not vary, you want to ensure that the weight is appropriate for you.
Fastpitch bats however do vary in length as youth will generally look for bats that measure between 26 to 32 inches while adults will look to bats that are 30”+. A term to consider as you learn more about the best fastpitch bat for you will be known as ‘drop’. ‘Drop,’ represents the difference in length from weight. For example, a bat that is 32” long but weighs 26oz will have a ‘drop’ of -6. Generally, the stronger the player, the smaller the drop.
Aluminum VS Composite
Players now have a variety of choices in materials when they are looking for the best softball bat. The first option which historically has been a more popular option are softball bats made of aluminum. It can be argued that aluminum bats are lighter and therefore increase control and bat speed while also being the most durable option. Furthermore, you don’t have to ‘break-in’ an aluminum bat as it will be game ready the day you buy it.
The other option is a composite bat which is made of a wide variety of materials and is arguably a higher ‘performance’ bat than aluminum. On the flipside, it is generally more expensive and less durable and has been known to crack in weather cooler than 65 degrees..
Basically, if you are looking for a high performance bat and don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, go with the composite – you’ll get better results. If you are a bit more casual and wants a durable bat which is ready to use on day one of the season, check out the aluminum bats available.
Most teams in our co-ed league have tended to gravitate towards composite bats. Let’s face it, hitting the ball a mile is a lot of fun.
Individual Softball Bat Reviews
The new Miken Ultra is the first Ultra series allowed by the ASA in 10 years and is a slowpitch bat that offers a lot of ‘pop,’ right out of the wrap. With a balanced feel and engineered utilizing 100% premium aerospace grade fibre, the Ultra is designed for durability and enduring constant play.
We found the Miken Ultra to be an extremely light swinging bat, allowing us to increase bat speed dramatically compared to other bats at the same weight.
We tested this bat straight out of the wrapper and were amazed at how hot it was from the first swing. Many people I’ve spoken to are surprised the ASA has allowed it and I would advise checking with your league coordinator to ensure it in fact hasn’t been banned by your particular league.
If you are looking at purchasing a team bat, this is a great choice due to its light feel. Whether you’re a man or a woman, big or small, you’ll be smashing the ball all day long. A few ladies from our team mentioned it did sting a little bit due to its stiffness however that can be solved with a pair of batting gloves.
We liked the traditional grip as well as the price which is extremely reasonable for a bat of this quality.
The classic Louisville Slugger is back with the Z-2000 which is USSSA approved (ASA Version Available) and features the ‘S1iD’ and ‘iST’ technology. Let’s start with the latter which really impressed me when I first swung the Z-2000.
What the ‘iST Technology’ does is create a solid connection between the handle and the barrel which helps decrease unwanted vibration and increases the power from ‘off sweetspot’ connections. I found when I got the ball inside, I was still able to swing through the ball and find ‘pop’ outside of the sweetspot.
Because of the ‘iST Technology’ I really like this bat for beginner and intermediate players. It’s a great ‘team’ bat that I think most players can benefit from. Plus, Louisville has a longstanding history of making some of the most durable bats out there which is always important when you’re purchasing a bat over $200. Due to the ‘S1iD’ technology, this bat is extremely hot out of the wrapper, providing users maximum performance from the very first pitch. The ball really does explode off the Z-2000’s.
The 2014 Miken REV-EX Maxload is a one-piece fully composite and end-loaded bat featuring the Maxload technology. What this means for you is that unlike more balanced bats, the Rev-Ex Max explodes through the ball allowing for increased power.
Designed for the power hitter in mind, we found ourselves blasting the ball 300+ feet straight out of the wrapper. However, we did find with other buyers that it has taken a few cuts to break in but nothing a couple rounds in the batting cage won’t solve.
A few of the smaller players on our men’s team even had a bit of trouble getting the barrel around cleanly with the REV-EX so I wouldn’t recommend this bat if you are looking for a ‘team’ bat. However, for a stronger power hitter, the Miken REV-EX Maxload will replace your current equipment - the power and ‘pop’ that this bat provides are unparalleled to what we typically see.
Expect the cool white grip to get dirty quick but if you’re a real player, it shouldn’t bother you. In the same price range as the Miken Ultra, this bat will not disappoint for the money.
The Worth Mayhem is a great value bat and while it’s a bit too hot for USSSA standards it’s definitely a great choice for ASA governed leagues. What I have been hearing around the diamond is what a well balanced bat the Mayhem is. In fact, I’ve seen on occasion it being used by an entire co-ed roster in the past while providing serious results.
Plenty forgiving, ground outs become hot singles while long fly outs become home runs. This 100% composite bat is hard-hitting and offers great control, however some users have reported it a bit stiff out of the wrapper. But for the price, a few trips to the batting cage isn’t a big deal.
I really recommend this bat for someone who is looking for something well balanced with some serious ‘pop’. We found ourselves smashing the ball after a little bit of warm-up and I know you’ll be able to duplicate our results.
The Demarini J3 is ASA approved and is a 2-piece 100% composite slowpitch bat. First, allow me to offer my opinion on the graphics of this bat which I think are undeniably super awesome. I know graphics don’t help you hit the ball out of the park, but you sure won’t feel like a rookie standing at home plate with ‘J3’ in your hands either.
As for the actual design of the ‘J3’, it features a stacked, multiwall composite barrel for maximum durability and power. For people new to the world of softball bat technology, the multi-walled barrel acts as a springboard for the ball when it hits, actually creating a trampoline-like effect allowing you to drive the ball further.
Unlike the ‘Miken REV-EX,’ which like the ‘J3’ is end-loaded, the ‘J3’ feels like a much more balanced bat. This could be in part due to the technology located at the end of the bat which is designed to keep power generation in the sweet spot. Plus, it is a 2-piece bat which generally offers a bit more whip.
This bat does fall in the higher price range, but if you appreciate a well balanced bat which you and a few trusted teammates will use, I highly recommend it. One thing to note especially if you find yourself playing in cooler climates is to take extra care when it is particularly cold. I actually witnessed a ‘J3’ crack on a cold fall evening and I could tell the owner wasn’t too pleased! Anytime the weather gets below 60-65 degrees I would play cautiously, especially with a premium bat like the ‘J3’.
The DeMarini 2014 CF6 Fastpitch Bat is one of the best fastpitch bats on the market. Available in 4 different ‘drop’ options, the CF6 can be the right bat for any hitter. The CF6 features stacked double wall construction to maximize the sweet spot and give players the most ‘pop’ possible.
As always, the CF6 is one of the slickest looking bats as well. Similar to the J3 or the Voodoo, DeMarini always puts a ton of time and energy into making the bat as pretty looking at possible. And let me tell you, when we unwrapped our brand new DeMarini CF6, we could not have been more impressed.
We really want to provide the best fastpitch bat review possible so we took this baby out to the park for some batting practice. We warmed up on the tee where the balls seemed to fly off that bat before we introduced it to some live pitching. Something we were immediately impressed with was just how little time the CF6 needed to be broken in.
Before we knew it, we were drilling balls 300+ feet with ease. Against live pitching, the bat seemed to really excel and even when we hit off-sweet spot, the ball still seemed to fly. The CF6 really is a fantastic bat and we can tell we aren’t the only ones who think so. In the past month or two we have seen it pop up all over the ball fields. Plus this bat has both ASA and USSSA approval!
The Easton FS1 Fastpitch Bat is from the Easton ‘Speed’ series and offers players an extremely balanced swing. Featuring Easton’s exclusive patented two-piece technology, the FS1 will explodes through the zone allowing the bat to flex as the handle and barrel are connected together with an elastomeric ConneXion piece. This ConneXion technology also minimizes the vibration felt by the hitter, resulting in a wider sweet spot.
As this bat is designed to produce more bat speed, we were excited to find that it was true. Increased bat speed naturally created additional power and with the super ‘pop’ of the FS1 the ball was exploding off the bat. I also liked the ultra-thin handle which I think helped the bat fire through the zone, allowing players to pull the ball
The FS1 is approved for play in the ASA and USSSA so no worries there. The cost isn’t cheap although a little less than the DeMarini CF6. This is definitely a great bat with few drawbacks. There are a couple of reports regarding a long break-in period but we didn’t find that. We definitely recommend the FS1.
The Easton Typhoon is a fantastic value bat. Whether you need a bat for the batting cage or a bat for the big game, the Typhoon is a great option for those looking to spend under $75. Made of 100% alloy aluminum, the thing I like best about it is it’s reliability. The graphics stay clean, provide a decent amount of pop, and it will LAST. It even comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
The handle on the Typhoon is comfortable and the sting when hit outside of the sweet spot was minimized. It comes in three different sizes and has a 27inch-17ounce option for those smaller players. Well balanced, nobody will have any trouble getting the head of the Typhoon through the zone to turn on the ball.
All things considered, it is a stellar value fast pitch softball bat. Just don’t expect the same performance as say the DeMarini CF6 or the Easton FS1.