The best wood baseball bat
Frequently, amateur baseball players use metal or composite bats, and professionals use wood bats. However, there may be times where amateur and youth players want to use a wood bat, either for practice or in a special type of tournament play.
Wood bats don't have the longevity of metal or composite bats, which is why most youth leagues stick with non-wood bats. However, if you are in need of one, our buying guide can help you decide which type is right for you. Our top pick is the Mizuno MZM 110 Maple Elite Baseball Bat. It has a large sweet spot for maximum performance.
Considerations when choosing wood baseball bats
Type of wood
Ash: An ash bat is a popular choice thanks to its large sweet spot, which means it delivers solid contact in a larger section of the bat than other types of wood. Ash bats are weaker near the handle and stronger near the end of the bat than other types.
Birch: Birch bats are not commonly used, but this is a nice type of wood for a bat when you need long-lasting performance. These don't really have an area where they're especially susceptible to breakage.
Maple: Maple is the hardest type of wood in a baseball bat, so it delivers more power than other bats when struck properly. Maple bats have a weakness at the end of the bat, but they're stronger near the handle than other types.
Two-piece: A two-piece bat may use a composite wood or bamboo. One type of wood appears in the barrel and another type appears in the handle. Understand that some leagues or tournaments do not allow players to use two-piece bats.
Start by focusing on the drop weight of the bat. Drop weight refers to the comparison of the wood bat's length to its weight.
Subtract the length of the bat in inches from the weight in ounces to determine the drop weight, which is nearly always a negative number.
Youth players often use a wood bat drop weight around -8, while adult players want a drop weight around -3.
Select the length of bat that's appropriate for a player based on their height. Within the height range, a player who weighs more can handle a longer wood bat, while a player who weighs less should use a shorter bat in the range.
Up to 5 feet tall: Bat length of 28 to 31 inches
5 to 5.5 feet tall: Bat length of 30 to 33 inches
5.5 to 6 feet tall: Bat length of 31 to 33.5 inches
More than 6 feet tall: Bat length of 32 to 34.5 inches
The least expensive wood bats cost $20 to $50, but they're not made to last and are designed for younger players. For older players who use the bat frequently, expect to pay $50 to $250.
Q. What happens if I hit the ball with the manufacturer-label side of the bat?
A. The label marks the weaker side of the bat, so you don't want to hit the ball with the label side or with the label itself, or it may break.
Q. Do I need to clean or apply oil to the bat?
A. Not really, other than cleaning off moisture or dirt with a towel. Some people lightly use sandpaper to remove scuff marks made by the ball's seams.
Wood baseball bats we recommend
Best of the best: Mizuno's MZM 110 Maple Elite Baseball Bat
Our take: Well-balanced design with a large sweet spot that gives players a chance to deliver extra power.
What we like: Ships with a rubber grip, making the bat comfortable to hold and use. Has a cupped end to conserve weight.
What we dislike: Price is higher than average for a wood bat.
Best bang for your buck: Louisville Slugger's K100 Ash Wood Fungo Bat
Our take: Coaches love this model when they need a good bat for hitting ground balls and fly balls at practice.
What we like: Excellent price point for a fungo (practice) bat. Nice grip area on the bat, so you can comfortably hit dozens of balls at practice.
What we dislike: Not made for game play.
Choice 3: Easton's S1 Maple Wood Baseball Bat
Our take: Durable style of bat offered at a reasonable price point, so you receive a good value over time.
What we like: Has a cupped end that creates a balanced feel. Maple is extremely hard, so the bat should last.
What we dislike: Some people don't like the black color.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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