As a parent there is nothing quite like seeing your child enjoy themselves in a baseball game, and little league is a great place for them to learn to love the game of baseball. This offseason, consider purchasing a new little league baseball bat for your slugger to see the joy on their face as they get some mighty big hits next season.
The off-season can be a great time to buy new little league baseball bat, but the decision can loom large as there are a smorgasbord of options to pick from; it can be quite overwhelming. Let’s break down some defining features about little league baseball bats and go over some of the very best options this year.
What Are The Differences Between A Regular Bat And A Little League Baseball Bat?
Little league baseball bats are made for youth players so they will be smaller than adult baseball bats. The most obvious differences are they are shorter in length, lighter in weight, and typically have a smaller barrel size.
While adult baseball bats tend to be 33 or 34 inches long and hover in weight near 26 - 30 ounces, little league baseball bats are usually usually -10 to -13 which can be interpreted as drop 10 to drop 13, which is your length less weight. So a 34 inch bat with a -10 drop will weight 24 ounces, or a 33 inch bat with a -12 will weigh 21 ounces.
The main reason these bats are shorter and lighter is because kids need to be able to swing these bats without losing bat speed. Typically you want to swing as heavy a weight as possible without losing bat speed. At a young age it is important to teach good swing fundamentals and using a lighter bat will help accomplish this. It will also ensure that much of the pop generated on hits is not just from the bat, but also from the player demonstrating good mechanics.
Children who use bats that are too heavy for them tend to have long, over-exaggerated swings that do not have much control or sound mechanics. At higher levels, this will hurt the child as they will be more prone to strikeouts. While kids are young they must learn proper plate discipline, and that is the reason why a good little league baseball bat that is weighted correctly is of utmost importance.
What Are The Best Brands In Little League Baseball Bats?
There’s a lot of talk about who are the biggest brands in little league baseball bats, and the decision about which brand is best will likely depend on who you talk to. Bats are something that can be quite subjective, as each individual coach and player will like the look and feel of different sticks. Still, the major players in the market today are Easton, DeMarini, Louisville Slugger, with smaller names like Marucci, Combat and Anderson creeping up the ranks.
Product Reviews - Which Is Right For You?
Without further adieu let’s rundown the top 5 little league baseball bats in 2018 season:
Easton’s S50 bat is a lightweight aluminum little league baseball bat that has a reasonably sized sweet spot and a very balanced feel. It has a -10 drop and is available anywhere from 26 to 31 inches (and correspondingly 16 to 21 ounces). The best part about the S50 is the price; it is very attractive for new players and those who don’t want to spend over $200 on a bat for a child who may outgrow it in a season or two.
- Comes in a wide variety of different lengths and weights
- 2 ¼” barrel size
- U-trip 1.15 BPF certification
- Comfortable “All-Star” grip is easy to hold and swing
- Low price
- Nice bright neon red / orange design
- Aluminum alloy is surprisingly lightweight and feels very easy to swing
- Durability can be questionable in colder climates
A ‘no frills’, durable little league baseball bat that comes at a low price point and gets the job done.
The Armor from Louisville Slugger is a -12 drop one-piece little league baseball bat with a slick grey and orange design that is composed of 100% alloy. It comes in lengths between 27 to 31 inches and weights varying from 15 to 19 ounces. It is priced competitively and is a good solid entry bat into the little league market.
- One-piece frame with 100% aluminum construction
- Alloy construction consists of higher grade material than other aluminum bats (7050 alloy, which is more durably than 7046 alloy as it has higher levels of magnesium and copper)
- Balanced bat which is great for younger kids
- 2 ¼” sized barrel with a ⅞” tapered handle for a comfortable hold and feel
- Priced low and very fairly
- Some players complained of dents
- Some vibration on mishits
Great choice for those who are not looking to break the bank, the Armor makes a short, crisp sound on contact with the ball, which is a little different than the traditional ping that alloy bats produce. A solid entry level bat for any little leaguer.
No list would be complete without the Mako as it is one of the very best. Easton’s flagship and most popular series is a composite little league baseball bat that uses thermo composite technology that generates greater bat speed while maximizing the sweet spot size.
- Thermo Composite technology features a large sweet spot and added bat speed
- Easton’s patented HyperSkinatm grip for a comfortable feel
- Balanced feel that swings very even
- Available in 28-32 inches with a -12 drop with weights ranging from 16-20 ounces
- Good pop and hot right out of the wrapper
- 2 ¼” sized 100% composite barrel
- Certified for U-trip 1.15 BPF
- Can be expensive and out of reach for some budgets
Easton hits the ball out of the park with the Mako and it has consistently received high praise for a composite little league bat. The only question is if the bat is ‘too much’ for little league parents, especially given the exorbitant price tag. For parents who want the very best, the answer is ‘nothing is too much’.
Combat has had a bit of a cult following in the softball scene, and the Maxum shows why this company is going to win itself many more fans in the coming years. The Maxum is one of the lightest bats we’ve swung and it comes with a large sweet spot with a lot of pop. The Precision Molding Technology has increased the durability of the Maxum and we love both the look and feel.
- One of the lightest bats Combat has ever made
- Huge sweet spot that is hard to miss
- One-piece design that results in an incredibly balanced bat
- Swings very fast through the strike zone with good pop
- 2 ¼” barrel that features composite construction using Combat’s patented Precision Molding Technology, which injects resin into carbon sleeves under high heat, increasing durability and toughness
- One-piece construction makes the bat very responsive even on mishits (you will feel the vibrations)
Function and design all packed into an explosive little league baseball bat, the Maxum is an excellent choice to rival the Mako as top composite bat this season.
Are you ready for the uprising? The tagline delivers a big promise and the bat lives up to expectations, as DeMarini uses DX1 aluminum to give good strength and durability while not sacrificing performance. The hybrid performance grip, now standard with all DeMarini baseball bats, comes with the Uprising as well.
- Reasonable price point
- Quick break-in period
- Great durability and performance
- U-trip 1.15 BPF standards
- 2 ¼” barrel
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
- Sweet spot not as large as other composite bats
Not flashy but a great middle of the road offering from DeMarini that gives great bang for your buck without emptying your wallet. With a smaller sweet spot than other expensive bats, the Uprising still has good pop if you make good solid contact, and it will teach kids to focus on good mechanics and hitting the ball squarely. After all, at this age you still want them to learn to play properly, without letting the bat do all the work.
All of the above options, of varying price points and skill levels, are suitable for little league play. My top pick this year goes to Easton and the S50, as I love how light and balanced the bat swings while still packing a mighty punch. The Mako has long held that top position but I believe this is the year a new champion emerges.