Multiple wood baseball bats. All in various shades of blue, leaning against a wood wall.

Choosing the Right Bat

There are many factors to consider when choosing which wood baseball bat is right for you.  The majority of the factors to consider are based on personal preference, while other considerations may be league requirements or availability.

Wood Species

Since the 1990's, Hard Maple has become the species of choice for the majority of baseball players, but some players still prefer to play with bats made from White Ash or Yellow Birch.  Each species can offer different advantages.  Some players like the flexibility that Ash allows, or the durability of a Birch bat, while others feel that Maple hits the hardest.  It is all a matter of preference and technique.

Other Considerations

Some other considerations are matter of preference and technique!  There are literally thousands of bat models to choose from, but the good news is there are a few standard model types that the rest are based off of.

All models are a combination of various barrel sizes, handle sizes, tapers, and knob styles.  These different combinations create different levels of balance in each wood bat. Typically, the larger barrel bats will be more "end loaded" for power hitters, where bats with a smaller diameter barrel will be easier to control for placement hitters.

Bat Sizing - By the Numbers

Player Height (in inches)

Player Weight (in pounds)

36" - 40" 41" - 44" 45" - 48" 49" - 52" 53" - 56" 57" - 60" 61" - 64" 65" - 68" 69" - 72" 73" +
<60 lbs 26" 27" 28" 29" 29" 29" 29" 30" 31" 31"
61 - 70 lbs. 27" 27" 28" 29" 30" 30" 30" 31" 31" 31"
71 - 80 lbs. 27" 28" 28" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 31" 32"
81 - 90 lbs. 27" 28" 29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 32"
91 - 100 lbs. 27" 28" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 32" 32"
101 - 110 lbs. 28" 29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 32" 32"
111 - 120 lbs. 28" 29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 32" 33"
121 - 130 lbs. 28" 29" 29" 30" 30" 31" 32" 33" 33" 33"
131 - 140 lbs. 28" 29" 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 33" 33" 33"
141 - 150 lbs. 28" 29" 30" 31" 31" 31" 32" 33" 33" 33"
151 - 160 lbs. 29" 29" 30" 31" 31" 32" 32" 33" 33" 33"
161 - 170 lbs. 29" 29" 30" 31" 31" 32" 32" 33" 33" 34"
171 - 180 lbs. 29" 29" 30" 31" 31" 32" 33" 33" 34" 34"
180 + lbs 30" 30" 31" 31" 32" 32" 33" 33" 34" 34"

Bat Sizing - Popular By Age

Most Popular Length by Age
Age 5-7 8-9 10 11-12 13-14 15-16
Length 24"-26" 26"-28" 28"-29" 30"-31" 31"-32"" 32"-33"

 


Bat Length

A bat's length is measured from the knob to the barrel end. While it is true a longer bat can extend your reach, as a bat's length increases, typically - so does its weight, meaning it will take more strength to swing the bat. A longer bat can slow down your timing, making it more difficult for you to cover pitches that are away.

Bat Length

The above chart should can be used as a guide, and general reference, but The Wood Bat Factory recommends swinging a couple of different sizes, to find the bat length and weight that feels best for you.

Shop By Length

Bat Weight

Bat weight is measured in ounces, however when talking about bat weight, most players use what's called a drop weight. A bat's drop weight, sometimes called it's drop, and represented as (-3), is the length of the bat, minus its ounces.

Bat Length (in inches) - Bat Weight (in ounces) = Drop Weight

For example: a 33", 30oz. bat would be considered a drop three, or (-3). Therefore, a 34", 30 oz. bat would be a (-4).

Determining the right length and weight is really a matter of preference - What length/weight combo "feels" most comfortable to swing. While swinging a heavier bat will build strength, it will also slow you down until your strength is developed. As a general rule - bat weights get heavier as your skill levels progress. Young players in Little League can typically use bats as light as (-10), while most leagues from high school and on don't allow a drop greater than (-3). You may even consider choosing a bat that is a half-inch to an inch shorter as you increase your bat weight - to make things a little more manageable.

Shop By Drop

League Certifications

All wood bats are automatically league certified for BBCOR, USA Baseball, and USSSA Baseball, as long as they are a solid, one-piece bat. This means every bat in our inventory can be used in any league.

Bat Swing Weight, or "Feel"

A bat's swing weight, or as we like to call it - "feel" - defines how a bat feels in terms of weight distribution. A bat's feel typically falls into one three classifications. Balanced, Slightly End Loaded, and End Loaded.

Balanced

Balanced Bat

Each classification, generally coincides with a batters hitting style. For example most Contact Hitters prefer a Balanced model, with good weight distribution, so the bat feels like the weight is evenly distributed through the bat. This bat typically touts a thick handle, a gradual transition, and a Medium, Longer Barrel. These characteristics make this bat very controllable, which is why Gap Hitters love them. Their thicker handle tends to make these bats more durable than their thin handled counterparts. Because of this they are more forgiving, and a great bat for new players, or players transitioning to wood.

End Loaded

End Loaded Bat Illustration

A bat that is end loaded, usually has a thin handle, a quick transition, and a big barrel. This puts the majority of the mass out towards the barrel end of your swing. This is a bat Power Hitters love just because of this. However, End Loaded bats are suited best for batters who are experienced with wood bats. Their thin handle make them more vulnerable to breakage, so mishits are most damaging to these bats.

Slightly End Loaded

Slightly End Loaded Illustration

A bat that is slightly end loaded, often has a medium handle, a gradual transition, and a big barrel. This brings the mass to a point centered between the barrel end and transition. This makes for a bat that is very durable, and wildly popular - due to the fact that it is often favored by both Contact, and Power Hitters. Many of the most popular models, including the world's most popular model - the 271 Turn Model, are Slightly End Loaded.

Knob Types

Knobs, sometimes called the button, come in all shapes and sizes. The most common types are traditional, flared, no knob, bell, and axe, which is really more of a knob/handle combination.

Traditional - Flared Knobs, Showing various degrees of flare.

Traditional Knobs often have various degrees of flaring - from straight handles with a truly traditional knob, to almost completely flared knobs.

No Knob, Bell Knob, Axe Knob/Handle

In addition to traditional/flared knobs, technology and innovation have produced many other types of knobs. Here a few of most common knob innovations.

The No Knob is a flared handle end, that allows for flexibility and control.

The Bell Knob, is a very large knob. It's added heft acts as a counter balance - pushing the weight back towards the handle end of the bat. This can make a normally end loaded bat feel more balanced.

The Axe Knob/Handle is designed to be less like a traditional knob and handle combination - which is really a hold out of the turning process. The Axe Knob/Handle provides a more ergonomic feel, and some players believe - better barrel control. Originally created, and patented by Axe Bat, the Axe Knob/Handle has been licensed to other brands, like Phoenix, and Victus, amongst others.

TWBF Bat Classifications

In order to provide the best online bat buying experience The Wood Bat Factory offers Bat Classifications in subtitles beneath each playing bat title. The subtitles classify the knob type, handle thickness, transition type, and barrel thickness. We also provide a bat's feel. If the bat is designated as a youth model, or a bat designed for transitioning from metal to wood, then the second subtitle will designate it as such, appropriately. Because each manufacturer may classify it's bats different from other manufacturers, we use the following measurements to define a bats characteristics.

Knob Type 

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Knob Types that are traditional or flared offer the largest degree of variations and are therefore classified quite broadly.

Unless a knob has significant flare - more than half of the button diameter is covered by the flare, it will be classified as traditional.

No Knobs are classified as such if there is no "button", and only a flared handle end.

Bell knobs classifications are given to any oversized knobs.

Axe Knob/Handles are the easiest to classify, as they are clearly identifiable.

All measurements are for the diameter of the given part, unless otherwise noted.

Handle Thickness

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Handle Thickness is classified according to the following specs:

Very Thin - .87" - .89" 
Thin - .90" - .92" (29/32")
Medium - .93" - .95" (15/16")
Thick - ≥.96" (≥31/32")

Barrel Size

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Barrel Size is classified as follows:

Youth - 2.25" - 2.375" (2½" - 2⅜")
Medium - 2.45" - 2.49"
Large - 2.5" - 2.53"
XL - 2.54" to max 2.61"(MLB)

- Additionally Barrels can be classified as long.

If a bat is classified as a youth model by the manufacturer it will contain the tag - Youth after the bat swing weight subtitle.

If a bat is classified as a transitional model by the manufacturer it will contain the tag - Transitional after the bat swing weight subtitle.

Check out some of our other articles

Why Hand Split? Why Wood Bats?

 

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