BASEBALL BATS

A bat is a must-have piece of equipment for baseball players. But with varying lengths, weights and materials, finding the right one for your skill level and unique swing can be a difficult task. Understanding what to look for when choosing a baseball bat has a few requirements. Your league information, some measurements and your personal taste can help you find a perfect stick for your swing. Learn more below or check out our Bat Finder Tool to help discover the perfect bat for your game.

BAT ANATOMY

KNOB: Helps keep the bat from slipping out of a batter's hand; Also helpful for hanging on a bat rack for storage

GRIP: Typically covered by tape or a bat gripping aid, this is where a batter will place his or her hands when swinging

TAPER: This section is where the thin handle transitions into the wider barrel

BARREL: The thickest area of the bat where a batter should look to make contact with a baseball or softball

END CAP: Finishes off the barrel; Often helps increase control while limiting the bat's overall swing weight

DROP WEIGHT

Every non-wood baseball bat has a weight and "drop" weight. Bat weights are shown in ounces, while drop weights are shown as negative numbers

The drop weight is determined by subtracting the weight of the bat from its length

    For example, a bat that’s 30 inches long and weighs 20 ounces will have a drop weight of -10.

The larger the drop weight, the lighter the bat

    For example, a bat with a -13 drop weight is lighter than a bat with a -10 drop weight.

Lighter bats are often best for beginners and smaller, contact-oriented players. Heavier bats are better suited for older, advanced athletes and larger, power-hitting players

Some National Governing Bodies will dictate which drop a player is allowed to swing

    For example, High school and college players will need a BBCOR-approved bat (which has a -3 drop weight).

AGE 4-6 7-11 12-14 15+
DROP -11,-12,-13 -8,-10,-11,-12 -5,-8,-19 -3

DICK'S PRO TIP: To determine if a bat is too heavy, here's one simple trick. Hold the bat handle and extend your arm away from your side. If you can't hold the bat extended for 30-45 seconds, the bat might be too heavy for you. 

BAT MATERIALS

The life and performance of a bat is largely determined by the quality of its materials. There are three common bat materials found in performance bats (but for more information on Wood Bats, visit our Wood Bat Buying Guide.)

COMPOSITE

Composite bats feature a layered carbon fiber or graphite material in the barrel that yields a powerful pop, minimized vibration (or “sting”) on contact and large sweet spot, but typically will cost more and requires a break-in period before use. Composite often feels lighter and is easier to swing than alloy, especially for younger players. 

Price: $$$

Break-In: Required; Roughly 150-200 hits

Weather Conditions: Not recommended below 65 degrees

Vibration: Reduced vibration; clean and smooth feel on contact

Sound: Crack, like a piece of wood

Sweet Spot: ***

DICK'S PRO TIP: For optimal break-in, rotate the bat a quarter turn with each swing, and increase the power level gradually

METAL ALLOY

Metal Alloy bats are durable, versatile and offer a balanced feel. They are usable in any weather condition and require no break-in period. But alloy bats may feel a little heavier for younger players, especially those with double wall barrels - and they tend to have a smaller sweet spot and less pop than composite. More advanced players who have learned to make contact with a smaller sweet spot may prefer the balanced feel of alloy that can lead to faster swing speeds.

Price: $

Break-In: Ready out of the wrapper

Weather Conditions: Any

Vibration: Some Vibration and sting felt on mis-hits

Sound: Ping

Sweet Spot: *

DICK'S PRO TIP: Not all alloy blends are created equal! This will lead to a variation in price on all alloy bats

HYBRID

Hybrid or "Half & Half" bats typically feature a composite handle and metal alloy barrel to give athletes the durability and “hot out of the wrapper” performance of metal with the lighter feel and sting-reducing benefits of composite. 

Price: $$

Break-In: Ready out of the wrapper

Weather Conditions: Any

Vibration: Some vibration and sting felt on mis-hits, but this can be minimized thanks to the composite handle

Sound: Ping

Sweet Spot: **

DICK'S PRO TIP: if you love the feel of an alloy barrel but desire a lower swing weight, look for a hybrid bat with composite end cap!

DETERMINING YOUR IDEAL BAT LENGTH

Using the right length of bat is critical to achieving proper swing mechanics and results at the plate. Too long, and you can risk compromising bat speed or accuracy. Too short, and you can limit your plate coverage, giving up a portion of your strike zone

If you're in a store or visiting one of our HitTrax cages, here's a few Pro Tips on how to measure for the proper length:

If you're unable to hold a bat and measure using the above methods, use this size chart as a guide, based on your height and weight:

4' AND UNDER
PLAYER HEIGHT
WEIGHT   3'-3'4" 3'5"-3'8" 3'9"-4'
Under 60LBS Up to 26" 27" 28"
61-70 LBS 27" 27" 28"
71-80 LBS   28" 28"
81-90 LBS   28" 29"
91-100 LBS   28" 29"
101-110 LBS   29" 29"
111-120 LBS   29" 29"
121-130 LBS   29" 29"
131-140 LBS   29" 30"
140+     30"
4' TO 5'
PLAYER HEIGHT
WEIGHT   4'1"-4'4" 4'5"-4'8"
4'9"-5'
Under 60LBS 29" 29"  
61-70 LBS 30" 30" 30"
71-80 LBS 29" 30" 30"
81-90 LBS 29" 30" 30"
91-100 LBS 30" 30" 31"
101-110 LBS 30" 30" 31"
111-120 LBS 30" 30" 31"
121-130 LBS 30" 30" 31"
131-140 LBS 30" 31" 31"
141-150 LBS 30" 31" 31"
151-160 LBS 31" 31" 32"
161- 170 LBS 31" 31" 32"
171+     32"
5' +
PLAYER HEIGHT
WEIGHT   5'1"-5'4" 5'5"-5'8"
5'9"-6' 6'1"+
71-80 LBS 31"      
81-90 LBS 31"
     
91-100 LBS 31" 32"    
101-110 LBS 31" 32"    
111-120 LBS 31" 32"    
121-130 LBS 32" 33" 33"  
131-140 LBS 32" 33" 33"  
141-150 LBS 32" 33" 33"  
151-160 LBS 32" 33" 33" 33"
161- 170 LBS 32" 33" 33" 34"
171-180 LBS 33" 33" 34" 34"
181+ 33" 33" 34" 34"

If you don't have access your player's height and weight, here are commonly used bat lengths by age:

RECOMMENDED BAT LENGTH BY AGE
AGE BAT LENGTH
5-7 24"-26"
8-9 26"28"
10 28"-29"
11-12 30"-31"
13-14 31"-32"
15-16 32"-33"
17+ 33"-34

DICK'S PRO TIP:  the charts above should be used solely as a guide - Ultimately, the right bat length will come down to your preference and other determining factors, such as skill level, strength and others.

BAT LEAGUES AND CERTIFICATIONS

When choosing a baseball bat for your upcoming season, one of the first things you should look at is your league's National Governing Body. The three most common governing bodies for bats are USA Baseball, USSSA and BBCOR. Every league, regardless of age, will follow a specific bat standard for their equipment regulations. The Bat certification logo will always be stamped somewhere on the barrel or taper of the bat. Be sure to check with your local league prior to purchase to ensure your bat meets league requirements

BASEBALL LEAGUES AND CERTIFICATIONS

BBCOR

Ages: 14+ (HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE)

Drop Weight Must be -3

Bat Length: 29"-34"

Barrel Diameters: 2-5/8"

Stamp: BBCOR

All high school and college athletes must use a bat that has a -3 drop weight and a barrel diameter that does not exceed 2-5/8". All bats will be stamped with a BBCOR.50 certification, which measures and regulates the "trampoline effect' of a bat to ensure more wood-like performance. 

USSSA

Ages: 8-14

Drop Weights: -5, -8 and -10

Bat Lengths: "25”-33”

Barrel Diameters: 2-5/8", 2-3/4"

Stamp: USSSA

USSSA travel ball leagues allow barrels with a diameter larger than 2-1/4" and will provide the highest allowed performance for younger players. Athletes near high school age should move closer to a -5 drop weight to prepare them for BBCOR’s -3 drop weight requirement

USA

Ages: 7 -14

Drop Weights: -5 through -13.5

Bat Lengths: 24" through 32"

Barrel Diameters: 2-1/4", 2-5/8"

Stamp: USA

USA Bats are approved for the following youth leagues: AABC, Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken, Dixie, Little League, PONY and NABF. USA Bats will yield a lower performance than USSSA bats, giving an output closer to wood to provide a more level playing field across youth participants.

JR. BIG BARREL

Ages: 6-8 (Coach Pitch)

Drop Weights: -10 through -14

Bat Lengths: 25" through 28"

Barrel Diameters: 2-5/8", 2-3/4"

Stamp: USSSA

Made specifically for athletes in coach pitch or machine pitch leagues and designed for hitting baseballs thrown at 45 mph or less.

T-BALL

Ages: 7 & Under (Beginner)

Drop Weights: -10 through -14

Bat Lengths: 24", 25", 26"

Barrel Diameters: 2-1/4", 2-5/8"

Stamp: USA

T-Ball bats are designed for first-time athletes learning the fundamentals of hitting off a batting tee. Little League T-Ball Bats will feature the USA stamp and cannot exceed 26"

STILL NOT SURE? TRY OUR BAT FINDER

FIND THE PERFECT BAT FOR YOUR GAME