Finding the Best Baseball Bat For Kids & Youth
Baseball is considered to be the national pastime of the United States. Most, if not all, professional players started playing baseball as early as their preschool years, usually by playing ball with their parents and siblings in their backyards.
For this reason, making the choice in baseball accessories like gloves and bats is an important consideration for parents who want their kids to become good baseball players.
Contemporary baseball bats aren’t your grandfather’s baseball bats. While wood bats are still popular, players and coaches also use metal and composite bats, the latter of which are preferred because the ball jumps off them. However, in the end, the player’s preference in material still rules his choice in a bat.
Our Favorite Picks for Baseball Bats for Kids
The sheer number of choices for each level can be confusing, if not overwhelming, so I made it easier by compiling a list of the top 10 baseball bats for kids and youth. I suggest choosing based on the age level, height, and reach of the user for best results at the plate.
- Our Favorite Picks for Baseball Bats for Kids
- 1. Easton S500C Youth
- 2. Louisville Slugger YBAR152 Youth 2015 Armor
- 3. Marucci 2015 Junior Cat 6 Big Barrel
- 4. Easton S3 2 5/8" Junior Big Barrel
- 5. DeMarini 2015 CF7 BBCOR
- 6. Rawlings Velo Ash 3 Wood
- 7. Brooklyn Whopper 92BSLZ
- 8. Easton YB15MKX MAKO XL COMP
- 9. Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Trixie Ladybug Padded Bat and Soft Ball Set
- 10. Telescoping Plastic Baseball Bat & Ball Set
- Tips on Choosing the Right Bats for Kids and Youth
- Safety Tips in Using Baseball Bats
1. Easton S500C Youth
The aircraft-grade aluminum used for the Easton S500C makes it a lightweight, yet sturdy bat that can withstand hundreds of hits. The bat has a nice feel in the hands, partly thanks to the composite material handle with a firm grip, and partly due to the balanced design. The large sweet spot adds to the batter’s power and precision with each swing, although technique obviously plays a larger role in an effective hit.
What's Great About It: The lightweight feel belies the fact that it is solid enough to whack the ball out of the park, in the right hands. The composite material has been proven effective in increasing energy transfer, so the hits are more solid.
2. Louisville Slugger YBAR152 Youth 2015 Armor
The 7050 performance alloy used in the manufacture of the YBAR152 bat is known for its greater durability than the 7046 alloy used in budget bats. This is due to the higher levels of magnesium, copper, and zirconium in 7050. Aside from the durability factor, your child will find it easy to control in his hands, whether he's swinging for a home run or laying down a bunt.
What's Great About It: The one-piece frame means that it will not break in two pieces after so many hits, and dents will be minimized. We like that it’s also a lightweight bat with a tapered handle that fits well into young teen’s hands, so there’s more control over the swing.
3. Marucci 2015 Junior Cat 6 Big Barrel
The bat may be designed for 5- to 7-year-old kids, but it has the look and feel of a professional bat. Your child will love the soft-touch grip, the larger sweet spot for hitting the ball, and the better control over the bat. You will appreciate that, despite its alloy material, it still has a traditional feel in the hands, thanks to its one-piece construction.
What's Great About It: This bat is lightweight enough to be held by small children, yet it has a tapered profile, a solid sound, and a sweet spot similar to an adult’s bat. Parents can use it to demonstrate how to hit properly. The bat comes in several sizes, from 25 inches to 27 inches, with a barrel size of 2 ¾ inches.
4. Easton S3 2 5/8" Junior Big Barrel
The alloy used for Easton S3’s barrel was chosen for its greater durability over hundreds of hits so dents, nicks, and breaks can be prevented, especially with proper care. The traditional baseball profile coupled with the firm grip makes it easy to swing, even for the youngest kids. The solid thump adds to the satisfying feeling of connecting with the ball, so kids are encouraged to play the game again and again.
What's Great About It: The large barrel means a large hitting area, so there’s always a good chance of actually hitting the ball. The overall length is also suitable for junior players with beginner to intermediate batting skills.
5. DeMarini 2015 CF7 BBCOR
The best bat should connect solidly with the ball, yet minimize vibrations to maximize the energy generated from the swing. This is true for the DeMarini CF7, with its patented D-Fusion handle that, in turn, was subjected to flame treatment in connecting it to the barrel. The result: A stiffer and stronger bat that can be handled with ease, even by junior players.
What's Great About It: The bat has a comfortable feel in the hand from its handle to its barrel, which is made of composite material chosen for its lighter, yet sturdier quality. The resounding pop when the ball and bat connect adds to the excitement of playing baseball, while its extremely balanced design is a thing of beauty.
6. Rawlings Velo Ash 3 Wood
Bats made of composite materials and metal may be more popular for kids nowadays, but there’s still the deep happiness derived from playing with wood bats, just like in the good old days. The Rawlings Velo is a medium-sized bat that even junior players can swing well, due to its balance between being light enough to handle, yet heavy enough to make solid contact with the ball. Junior players who want faster swing speeds will find that the balance works to their benefit.
What's Great About It: Parents like it because of the nostalgic value, as well as for its solid feel and sturdy construction for a wood bat. Kids just like being able to handle all sorts of bats, including traditional wood ones.
7. Brooklyn Whopper 92BSLZ
Many players prefer a slightly heavier and longer bat — and the Brooklyn Whopper is a good choice for them. It is made from high-impact polypropylene, so it has high resistance against rotting, cracking, and splintering after dozens of hits, not to mention that it’s easy to clean with just soap and water.
What's Great About It: This is indeed a whopper bat that older players with more power and precision in their swing will love to use.
8. Easton YB15MKX MAKO XL COMP
The Easton brand is known for its bats’ balanced feel from the tapered handle to the diamond grip, a design that makes it suitable for players who want faster speeds on their swings. This bat is also made from composite material selected for its sturdiness and strength, which are musts for amateur players.
What's Great About It: This is a bat that can be used for Little League games, as well as for Pony Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, and Babe Ruth Baseball games.
9. Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Trixie Ladybug Padded Bat and Soft Ball Set
Kids as young as 3 years old can be taught the rudiments of baseball, but the fun part is given greater emphasis. This set is suitable for toddlers because both the bat and ball are padded, so there’s less chance of injuries or damage to property. The set can be used to teach hand-eye coordination, too, which will be useful in future baseball games.
What's Great About It: Kids love the padded bat and ball set because of its familiar theme, bold colors, and soft feel. Parents can encourage them to play baseball without worrying about them getting thwacked.
10. Telescoping Plastic Baseball Bat & Ball Set
Baseball is a good family game, so it makes sense to buy a set of baseball bats so that everybody can practice their swing before a game. This set has six bats in yellow and red colors, as well as six plastic balls. The 27-inch bats may not be used on a professional level, but that doesn’t matter, as baseball can be a fun activity for the entire family, too.
What's Great About It: The bats are actually telescopic, so you can retract and extend them depending on the particular needs of each user. The set can also be used in play groups and physical education classes for children 3 years old and above.
Tips on Choosing the Right Bats for Kids and Youth
The right size of bats for children will largely depend on their height and weight. This may be inconvenient when a bat will be used by several children with different heights and weights, such as in a physical education class or a Little League game. I then suggest figuring out the average height and weight, buying bats for that category, and then getting one or two more for the tallest and shortest in the group, if possible.
The general rules for getting bats for kids are as follows:
- For children with heights between 3 feet and 3 feet, 4 inches, get a 26-inch bat.
- Add 1 inch to the bat size for every 4-5 inches that the child grows.
When measuring children before buying bats for them, keep these tips in mind:
- Measure your child while he’s wearing his baseball cleats.
- Stand a bat next to him and compare his height to the bat’s length. The bat should reach his hip only. If it's too long, it will be too unwieldy to swing, but if it's too short, he will be less likely to connect with the ball.
Weight is also a consideration, and the Little League size chart for bats uses it along with height. As a rule of thumb, children under 60 pounds will perform better with a bat measuring between 26 inches and 29 inches in length. Children over 70 pounds should swing bats measuring between 28 inches and 32 inches.
But at the end of the day, the player using the bat has the final say in the matter. Parents and coaches are well-advised to listen to feedback from their baseball wards so that adjustments can be made. Junior players should swing as many bats as possible to determine which ones looks and feels right in their hands.
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For example, bigger players with stronger swings are more likely to choose heavier bats for greater power, while smaller players tend to like lighter bats to generate faster swings. Longer bats are preferred because of their greater reach, so that balls on the other side of the plate can still be hit. However, they can also slow down the players due to the extra weight.
Be sure to know the bat requirements for whatever league the junior players will be playing in. For example, bats used in high school games should comply with the BBCOR rules and regulations (i.e., BBCOR-certified bats).
Safety Tips in Using Baseball Bats
Parents and coaches should be aware of the new safety guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. These guidelines include measures to reduce the risk of traumatic injuries among kids and youth.
These are sensible safety measures, considering that in 2007, there were nearly 110,000 softball- and baseball-related injuries among children 5-14 years old treated in the emergency rooms of hospitals across the United States (Consumer Safety Product Commission).
A few of these safety guidelines include:
- Training children on proper throwing mechanics, as well as on warm-ups and cool-downs before and during each game.
- Telling kids to stop playing when signs of overuse injuries, such as sore shoulders or arms, emerge.
- Keeping close track of the children’s training and playing times so that there are sufficient rest and recovery periods.
Of course, safety in baseball also means wearing the right safety gear. Each position on the field usually has a specific set of safety gear, such as a batting helmet with face protection for batters, and a helmet, mask with throat guard, shin guards, and chest protectors for catchers. All players should also wear shoes with rubber-spiked soles, and male players should wear hard plastic athletic cups to protect their crotches.
Parents and coaches should also recognize that each baseball player develops at his or her own pace, as well as has his or her own set of skills. While a competitive spirit can be fostered, a deep respect for individual differences should be encouraged, too.
The joys of hitting the ball with a bat, hearing the solid sound, and watching the ball fly through the air followed by the adrenaline rush of a home run make baseball a game for all generations.
Start your child’s baseball journey by choosing the right bat for his age, height, and weight. Follow it up with the right mindset and training so that your child, too, can pass on the traditions of baseball to future generations.