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As we near the start of another softball season, many players around the country are taking inventory of their softball bats as they prepare to hit the diamonds once the weather turns warmer. Finding the right softball bat is always a bit of a personal choice, and it really does come down to the individual player and their own subjective wants and desires. Nonetheless, there are some common things that all players will consider when purchasing a softball bat.
Performance, durability, price – these are all factors that one should weigh heavily before deciding on a new softball bat to purchase. Another thing that should be considered is the construction of the bat and what materials are used. This article will look a bit closer at two different types of construction on softball bats: single wall and double wall.
What Are The Differences Between A Single Vs Double Wall Bat?
A single wall bat features a barrel that has only one wall, as opposed to a double wall bat that features two layers. The second wall offers greater reinforcement and, as you might expect, greater durability. A single wall bat will not be as durable, simply because it has only one wall of material and thusly is more susceptible to cracks and other types of damage. While you can expect a double wall bat to last longer, a single wall bat, if properly taken care of, can still give you plenty of hits before it gives out.
One further distinction comes when we start to compare prices. Because double-wall bats are more durable, they generally tend to cost more than single-wall bats. Most manufacturers produce more double-wall bats as the higher price allows them to make more margins.
Another comparison between single and double wall bats is in the area of performance. Double wall bats can often offer greater performance as they produce a greater trampoline effect due to the emergence of two-walled barrels. This reinforced barrel gives greater pop and distance to hits. This is not to say that single-walled bats do not perform well, but generally double-wall bats can hit the ball further.
On the topic of weight, however, it is important to remember that double wall bats will generally feel a bit heavier due to the presence of an extra wall within the barrel. This type of bat could be better suited for hitters who prefer a heavier-weighted endload feel on the barrel of their softball bats. Single wall bats are good for users who want something light-weight that they can swing quickly and easily.
What To Look For In Choosing A Single Wall Softball Bat
Finding a bat that is the right size for you is one of the most important considerations. This will mean choosing the appropriate length and weight of the bat so that you can swing it comfortably without losing any bat speed. As mentioned earlier, single wall bats tend to swing lighter than their double wall counterparts, so you may be able to find a single-wall stick that you can swing faster than a double-wall bat.
Another thing that you should check out is the sound of the ball coming off the bat. Because single-wall bats are made out of aluminum alloy construction, most will have a certain ping sound when contact with the ball is made. You want to find something that has a nice crisp sound, as a bat with a dull or hollow sound might indicate that the construction of the barrel is not optimal.
The last consideration you should pay attention to is any association markings on the bat, such as ASA, NSA, USSSA, etc. This stamp will tell you what leagues the bat is allowed to be used in, and it is an important thing to check out before you commit to making a purchase.
Product Reviews – Which Is Right For You?
Below are five great single wall softball bats for your consideration:
Firstly we take a look at the Easton S500 from the Speed Brigade series. It comes fairly hot out of the wrapper and has aircraft grade aluminum alloy construction in the barrel. The bat has a flashy yellow and black design that looks fantastic and performs just as well. Easton offers a one-year warranty, which is a great way to give players ease of mind when purchasing this stick.
- Approved for play in all major associations.
- 12” barrel featuring 7050 aircraft grade alloy construction.
- 29/32 handle which is very thin and easy to hold.
- Very minimal break-in time.
- Not all players will enjoy the tapered handle.
A good choice from one of the leading bat manufacturers in Easton, the Speed Brigade is a terrific option if you’re looking for a single wall softball bat. The short break-in period means this bat will be ready to use from day one, eliminating any need to take it out on the practice fields to get it into game shape.
Louisville Slugger hits the diamond next with the Vapor, a single wall softball bat featuring 7050 alloy construction much like the Speed Brigade mentioned earlier. This one-piece construction makes the bat extra durable and more resistant to dents and cracks. It swings very balanced and does not feel heavy, even if you’re using the 30oz weight option.
- Balanced swing and feel.
- Good pop and power.
- Vibrant color and design.
- Not overly expensive so will not break your budget.
- About 200-300 hits for it to be fully broken-in.
A good bat that performs very well and needs about 200-300 hits for it to be game ready. Not too expensive so will be within the range of most budgets. Good durability, as with almost all Louisville Slugger softball bats.
The DeMarini Steel is an aluminum constructed bat with a 13 inch steel barrel that has gone through a heat-treating process to improve durability and performance. The end result is a very hot bat that can rival many composite bats in terms of pop and distance on hits. It does feature a stiffer handle than you may be used to, which helps the bat generate additional whip and flex.
- Steel barrel has a heat treated process to increase both durability as well as the bat’s overall performance.
- Alloy handle using ZnX technology is extra stiff to reduce handle flex, creating a greater trampoline effect on the barrel.
- Grip is very comfortable.
- Comes with standard 1-year warranty.
- Approved for play in all major associations.
- Does not come in 27 ounce option, which is a favorite for many hitters.
- More expensive than most others on this list.
Although it does not come cheap, the DeMarini Steel is one of the very best performers on this list as it offers great power and pop in a single wall bat. The steel barrel is one of the very best that you can get in a single wall bat, and it is well worth the price if you want to add a big power component to your game.
The Flex from Anderson Bat Company is a wonderful synthetic softball bat that follows along the line of previous Anderson stalwarts such as the Rocketech and the Ambush. The Flex uses similar technologies with premium aerospace grade aluminum construction to create a great trampoline effect that will propel the ball further upon impact. All in all this is a great bat that should perform quite well for many years.
- Synthetic construction.
- 9000 aerospace grade alloy.
- Balanced swing weight for maximum bat speed.
- Padded grip for added comfort.
- Hot out of the wrapper.
The Flex from Anderson is a good middle-of-the-road approach if you are not looking to spend on one of the high-end premium bats, but still want something better than the low-end introductory offerings. Anderson is an extremely reputable company that has built a good foundation on singlewall bats, and it is easy to see why with this year’s version of the Flex.
The Maxum from Combat is advertised as a fastpitch bat but many in the slowpitch community have also taken a liking to it as the results speak for themselves. Combat has brought its revolutionary huge sweet spot to the Maxum and the precision molding technology that injects liquid resin into the barrel is once again proving remarkably resilient to the natural wear and tear of the softball diamond.
- One of the largest sweet spots in the game today.
- Very hot directly out of wrapper.
- PMT (precision molding technology) creates a great trampoline effect with maximum barrel flex.
- More suited for fastpitch, so some users in slowpitch may shy away.
- Fairly pricey.
A terrific choice if you’re looking for a bat that can challenge any other softball bat in terms of sheer size of the sweet spot. Combat is quickly making waves as one of the premier bat manufacturers today, and it’s easy to see why.
All are terrific choices but the one that truly stands out is the DeMarini Steel, a true game-changer that will challenge the production of many composite bats. DeMarini is emerging as a fantastic choice for softball bats and you would do well to pick one up for yourself to try it out.