Table of Contents
*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Batters playing slowpitch softball are expected to hit the ball almost every time they come to the plate. To accomplish this feat successfully you will need a bat that is specific to the slowpitch game and highlights your strengths as a hitter. In this article we will review the best slowpitch softball bats on the market and try to give you some pointers on choosing the bat that will work best for you.
What Should I Look For In A Slowpitch Softball Bat?
To a slowpitch softball player, their bat is one of the most important pieces of equipment they own. Where other similar sports like baseball and fastpitch softball recommend bat size based on a player’s height and weight, slowpitch softball bats are chosen solely based on personal preference and bat performance. All regulation slowpitch softball bats are 34 inches long and have a barrel diameter of 2 1/4 inches. So bat length sizing is not required.
This does not mean that you should just grab any bat and swing away. There are still variables to be considered that can affect your hitting performance. Slowpitch bats vary in weight with most bats coming in at between 26 and 30 ounces.
You want a bat that you can swing quickly and easily so you can pound the ball. Swinging a bat that is too heavy will not necessarily generate more power and may in fact slow your swing and lead to degraded hitting statistics. You also risk the possibility of injuries to your hips, arms and shoulders brought on by the physical stress of swinging a bat that is heavier than you should be using. The bat should feel comfortable in your hands and act as an extension of your arms.
While the general physical characteristics of slowpitch bats are fairly standard, there are many variations available within those general parameters. You can choose to use a bat made out of wood, aluminum, composite materials or a hybrid one constructed from two or more different components.
Bats are manufactured either as one piece or in the case of composite or hybrid bats may be constructed with multiple sections bound together. Other choices include how the weight is distributed through the bat and the number of barrel walls the bat contains. We will look at these options more closely below.
One Piece Or Two?
So should you use a one or two piece bat? Each type has advantages. A one piece construction that uses the same material throughout will produce a stiffer bat. This type of bat with minimal flex is preferred by power hitters. Stinging vibrations caused by mishits can be a problem for some players using a one piece bat. The vibrations do provide feedback to the batter that may be absent with a two piece bat. This feedback can lead to you making swing changes that improve your hitting.
Two piece bats have a separate handle and barrel that are fused together. An advantage of this type of construction is that the barrel flexes at the point of contact creating a trampoline effect and giving the hitter increased pop. Unwanted vibrations are also minimized in bats that employ two piece construction. The trade-off is that less feedback is returned to the batter. Players using two piece bats will at times think the ball they just hit should have gone deeper than it did. This probably would not be an issue if they had used a one piece bat. Check out this video for a discussion of the differences between a one and two piece bat.
Metal, Composite or Wood?
Slowpitch softball offers you the choice of using traditional wooden bat or one of the more modern metal or composite designs. A wooden bat is self explanatory. Alloy bats are made out of aluminum or aluminum mixed with other metals to increase the strength. Composite bats are made out of fiberglass, carbon fiber, graphite and other proprietary materials introduced by specific manufacturers. Each type of bat has its own distinctive properties that may cause you to choose one type over another. Let’s take a look at the differences the various materials bring to the slowpitch softball bat.
Aluminum or alloy bats are one piece bats that depend on the metal’s strength to allow for thinner and more responsive barrel walls. They are generally less expensive than top of the line composite bats and do not require a break in period. While they can be prone to denting, they do not crack and can be used even when dented. As long as a bat ring can fit over the length of the bat it can still be used in play.
Alloy bats generally have smaller sweet spots than composite bats and therefore offer less pop. Better swing mechanics will overcome this issue and bring the alloy bat to the same level of performance obtained by a composite bat.
Composite bats have the advantage of using lighter materials which enable the barrel to be lengthened without adding additional weight. This leads to a bigger sweet spot which helps players who are still developing hand eye coordination and is a major advantage over an alloy bat. Composite bats are more expensive than wooden or alloy bats. They also require a break in period before they will reach peak performance as seen in this video.
Some manufacturers advertise that their composite bat is ready to go right out of the wrapper but you will most likely find your bat performs better after being broken in. Some players take the unethical step of rolling and shaving their bats to create a hot bat and increase distance. This is illegal in all leagues and we will discuss this more thoroughly after our bat review.
Wooden bats are usually made out of ash, maple, bamboo or hybrid woods. They are the most economical choice in a softball bat and many fine wood bats can be purchased for under 100 dollars. Ash bats offer more bat control and flex during the swing. Power hitters often prefer maple as it is a harder wood and makes for a stiff bat that allows the hitter to exert maximum force to the ball. Bamboo is often used in conjunction with other woods to form a hybrid wood bat. Wooden bats will crack and at that point need to be discarded.
Hybrid bats are also available. Often incorporating an alloy barrel and a composite handle they attempt to reap some of the benefits of each material. The lighter handle allows for a longer barrel than a traditionally manufactured alloy bat with no added weight.
Balanced, End Load or Maxload?
Slowpitch softball bats can have their weight distributed through the bat in a number of ways. Your style of play and how you see yourself as a hitter will come into play when considering this aspect of slowpitch bats. Here is a video that explains the differences between the weighting styles and how they may impact your swing.
A balanced bat has the weight evenly distributed throughout the bat and leads to a smoother, faster swing. Balanced bats are better for contact hitters and those with average power. Younger players should almost always use a balanced bat to enable them to perfect their swing.
End loaded bats have extra weight concentrated in the barrel of the bat. They are harder to swing but if you are strong enough and can handle them they will generate more power on a well struck ball. End loaded bats are favored by power hitters who want to crush the ball. Some manufacturers offer maxload weighting which is the same concept as end loading but with slightly more weight added to the end of the bat.
Single Wall or Multiple Wall Barrel?
The final differentiating factor in your choice of slowpitch softball bats is whether you choose a single or multiple walled barrel bat. Many manufacturers now design their slowpitch softball bats with multiple barrel walls. These bats tend to be more durable and the extra layers of barrel material may increase the trampoline effect on a batted ball.
There is really no downside to a multiple walled bat except that in some cases your league may mandate that only single walled bats are legal for play. Be sure to check this out and understand the guidelines of your league before making your bat selection.
Best Slowpitch Softball Bats Reviews – Which Is Right For You?
Now that we have discussed the options available to you when choosing you softball bat, let’s take a look at some of the best slowpitch softball bats out there and help you decide which is right for you.
1. Best Slowpitch Softball Bat For Power Hitters: Miken Psycho Maxload 14″ USSSA .5 oz. Endload Slowpitch Softball Bat
Miken has long been a respected name in the softball bat arena. Their Psycho Maxload is a bat designed for a true power hitter and is loaded with features that make it one of the bats you need to consider if you like to swing for the fences. This two piece composite bat is made of aerospace grade carbon fiber. Miken employs a triple matrix core that minimizes seams and weak points in the bat for increased durability. It features a 14 inch barrel and uses the company’s Flex 2 power technology to increase the bat’s flex through the strike zone.
Maxloaded with .5 extra ounce, the bat swings clean and smooth and will deliver the power you crave. Available in weights from 26 to 28 ounces, Miken promises hot out of the wrapper performance and backs up their product with a one year warranty. This is an expensive bat at around 300 dollars but its durable construction should allow you to use it for several seasons. It is approved by USSSA but not by ASA.
2. Best Senior League Slowpitch Bat: Miken Ultra II SSUSA Bat
The Ultra II by Miken gives top level performance in a bat designed for Senior League players. The two piece composite bat uses slightly less premium materials than the Psycho but still maintains excellent durability with 100% composite construction and achieves a reduced price point as well. This bat uses Miken’s E-Flex Ultra Technology for maximum performance and an enlarged sweet spot. This technology also increases the trampoline effect on batted balls.
A thin handle and 14 inch barrel give the batter the ability to go after those outside pitches with confidence. The bat comes in weights between 26 and 30 ounces. This bat does not come with a warranty but can be purchased for around 200 dollars. It is only approved for Senior League play and should not be used in other leagues.
3. Best Slowpitch SoftBall Bat for Hitting .52 Core Balls: Demarini Flipper OG
The Flipper by DeMarini is a high-end composite bat that is certified for ASA play. Two layers of composite material around an air gap create a very responsive sweet spot. DeMarini call this the Divergence Barrel and this bat offers a barrel length of 13 inches and is designed for maximum performance when hitting low compression balls.
It features a handle made from ZnX Alloy that flexes less for increased barrel performance and feedback similar to a one piece bat. A concave end cap produces stiffness at the end of the barrel and drives energy towards the sweet spot. This bat costs around 300 dollars and includes a one year warranty. Reports abound of this bat being really hot right out of the wrapper.
4. Best Wood Bat, Best Cold Weather Bat and Best Bat under $100: Worth Mayhem Wood All Association Slowpitch Softball Bat
Here is a wood bat by Worth that any player can use as it is approved by all softball associations. It is constructed with a bamboo core for durability with a maple hitting surface for nice pop when you make contact. Worth guarantees that the bat weighs exactly 28 ounces so you know exactly what you are swinging unlike some other wood bats.
This one piece bat comes with a comfortable grip for bat control. It does not come with a warranty but is very reasonably priced at around 75 dollars. Excellent choice for a player wanting the traditional feel and sound of a wood bat.
5. Best Metal Bat: Anderson Bat Company Rocketech Slow-Pitch Softball Bat
The Rocketech by Anderson is a one piece bat made out of enhanced aerospace alloy material. Employing a multi-wall design and the company’s power arch technology the bat is extremely durable and is resistant to cracks and dents. It has an end loaded barrel for increased power and features an ultra thin whip handle that helps to generate more bat speed with no extra effort.
Another plus is the strengthened light weight end cap that supports barrel performance. You can get this bat in weights from 26 to 30 ounces. It is approved for play by all major softball associations and comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty. At around 250 dollars, it is an excellent bat for those wanting a durable alloy stick that requires no break in period.
6. Mizuno Nighthawk Slow Pitch End Load Softball Bat
The Mizuno Nighthawk is a two piece composite softball bat that comes in weights of 26 through 28 ounces. The triple wall barrel offers power and forgiveness right out of the wrapper. A stiff carbon handle with a 2 piece link reduces vibrations to your hands and directs more energy to the ball.
Designed to provide maximum power and distance, this bat uses a progressive 3/4 ounce end load. It is meant for long ball hitters and conforms to the preferences of Robert “Robot” Blackburn, one of the games greatest power hitters. The bat is approved for play by both ASA and USSSA and includes a one year warranty. It will set you back around 300 dollars.
7. Best Bat for Contact Hitters: DeMarini ASA Juggy OVL 17 Slow Pitch Bat
DeMarini’s Juggy is a slow pitch, end loaded bat that is great for contact hitters. It is available in 26 through 28 ounce weights and features a 12 inch stacked composite barrel. This triple wall barrel produces more weight in the barrel and is useful for hitting .52COR softballs. The D-Fusion 2.0 handle redirects energy into the barrel for an explosive trampoline feel.
A stiff end cap increases the end load and keeps the power directed to the large sweet spot. This bat is approved for play by ASA and can be obtained for a little under 300 dollars.
8. Best Bat Under $200: Easton Ronin USSSA/ASA 2017 Slowpitch Softball Bat
Here is a nice metal bat from industry leader Easton. The bat’s one piece design using new thin wall ATAC alloy offers impact feedback and a stiff feel. Its 12 inch pro style barrel is evenly balanced for smooth swinging and maximum power. Easton claims this is a great bat or those wanting composite power in an aluminum bat.
It is approved for use by ASA and USSSA and comes in weights of 26 through 28 ounces. A quality bat from Easton that will serve you well if you like the properties of a metal bat. This bat can be found for well under 200 dollars.
9. Best Bat for the Money: Louisville Slugger Super Z ASA Balanced Softball Bat
Sports equipment mainstay Louisville Slugger’s Super Z is a reasonably priced yet high performance softball bat. It is a two piece composite bat with a 12 inch barrel that uses spring recoil composite for a great trampoline effect. End loaded and with a massive sweet spot, this bat features a 7/8 inch tapered handle with a comfortable grip.
The iST Xs technology that binds the two pieces makes for an extra stiff connection and less flex in the handle and more in the barrel. Available in weights of 26 to 28 ounces, it is approved for play by ASA and USSSA. At a price of around 200 dollars this is one of the best bats for the money on the market today.
Caring for Your Slowpitch Bat
You may have purchased a quality composite softball bat as an investment in an attempt to improve your hitting performance. It probably came with a price tag that is not trivial to replace so it is in your interest to take good care of your bat. Here are some things you can do extend the life of your bat.
Restrict its use to one person. Your hitting characteristics are imprinted on the composite materials and you really don’t want others using your bat, or damaging it. Rotate your bat 1/4 turn after each swing. You should not use a composite bat in temperatures under 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 C) and it should not be stored in very hot or cold areas. Only hit leather covered balls and don’t use the bat to clean your cleats. These tips should help extend the life of your bat.
Gripping Your Bat
How you hold your bat can have a serious impact on your swing. There are a few different grips you can use and some will help you extend the bat’s range to get better plate coverage. Here is a nice video by a softball legend Bob Woldyk that shows you some different grips that work well for slowpitch softball players.
Bat Rolling and Shaving
Bat rolling and shaving are techniques used by unscrupulous players who are attempting to increase the power and distance of composite bats. Bats that undergo this process are illegal for use in any league and this practice should be avoided. Here is a detailed article on the process. Watch it but don’t follow this practice!
What is the Best Slowpitch Softball Bat For You?
I hope the information in this article helps you in finding the right slowpitch softball bat for your game. The bottom line in selecting a bat is that it feels good to you and allows you to reach your maximum potential as a hitter. In our review above we have identified some of the best bats for particular styles of hitters or to use in certain league situations. Use these as a starting point in your search for the perfect bat. Now get out there and smack that ball!