Welcome to HomerunSoftballBats.com, your brand new home aimed to help you find the best softball bats available for the 2016 seasons. Whatever type of game you play, male or female, young or old, we know that there is a perfect one out there for you. We hope our softball bat reviews will provide you with all of the information you are looking for.
What you will find on our site
We’ve divided this website into three distinct sections. First we provide you with all of our top choices and reviews distinct to the game you play. Lastly, our newest section looks at gloves you may need as well.
Guide to finding the best softball bats
Numerous models for 2016 have already been released, and we want to provide you with the most accurate information possible. Within each section we feature our top five choices that have been released so far. The table on each page will be updated as more are released. We have tried to include the most important features in our list such as price, rating, material, and what leagues each is approved for. If you feel we are missing important information, please let us know.
|Louisville Xeno Plus||Easton Mako||Demarini CF9||Louisville Z4||Worth Legit 220|
Best trending softball bat right now
The Xeno Line of Louisville Slugger’s softball series, is by far its most popular, and the new XENO PLUS looks ready to be its flagship. We feel this is the top overall choice when is comes to 2016 bats.
With its 100% composite construct, 2-piece design, and perfectly balanced swing weight, you are guaranteed to reach the bat speeds you’ve wanted and the control that will have scouts taking notice. The patented iST Technology, their top notch two-piece design, severely lowers vibration and gives you the flex you need without compromising the solid make of the bat and a slightly stiffer feel for more efficient energy transfer on contact and a HUGE sweetspot.
The newest addition, the Performance Plus Composite gives the Xeno Plus barrel the best pop, durability and performance as possible by giving you zero wall friction. The Xeno Plus also has a 2 1/4″ barrel diameter and a 7/8″ standard handle, while using the S1iD Inner Disc Barrel Technology to give you a lighter-feel with insane pop while staying within legal standards and has been approved by all major softball organizations (ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISA and ISF). Add in the 12 month manufacturer’s warranty and you have not only this year’s best bat but also the best overall softball bat package.
Easton Mako CXN Zero – another great choice
The Mako CXN Zero is one of Easton’s best balanced softball bats. With its top notch 2-piece manufacturing with its patented CXN Zero technology, the bat completely eliminates the vibration and sting before they reach your hands and transfers that powerful energy back into the barrel to give you that hitting distance you have been craving. As perfectly balanced as they can possibly craft, the Easton Mako name is synonymous with quality, power and control. While Easton uses a proprietary composite (100% Thermo Composite Technology) to give their bats there insane strength and performance, they added the Ultra-thin 29/32” composite handle with their Hyperskin Grip. Talk about over kill!
But that wasn’t enough; Easton really went all out this time, by continuing to use the TCT Thermo composite, they let their customers know that they really do listen and care what they have to say. When swinging the bat, this will allow more of the barrel to get to the ultimate flex position and send your hits into orbit. While all of this technology seems a little too good to be legal, guess what? ASA, USSSA, ISA, SSUSA and ISF have approved it for play. Even the graphics on this bat let your competitors know you are as serious about your bat as you are about playing. Add in Easton’s best of the best 1 year warranty, and from the handle to the 2 1/4″ barrel, you have yourself a batting system that will level your competition!
Demarini CF9 – One of the best reviewed each year
Year after year one of the top softball bats by many players is the Demarini CF series. For 2017 this is the CF9. Quite possibly the best new bat for 2017, the Demarini CF9 is looking to set the softball world on its ear. Not only did Demarini make it hotter and more responsive, they went ahead and gave it a bigger sweet spot. With this model they wanted to insure that you have more powerful consistent swings and they went all out to guarantee they made the best bat of the year.
As a power hitter, finding something to take the sting out of the mishit vibration has been a challenge, but the D-Fusion 2.0 handle technology has taken care of the problem by absorbing the vibrations and redirecting that energy back into the ball, insuring a better pop with every hit. Not only has this been increasing our overall power per hit, but its made me comfortable enough that I don’t have to worry about holding back anymore, I can really step into the swing and not worry about the stinging impact my hands and elbows take every time I mishit with an aluminum bat. As a composite, the Paradox Plus+ composite material has sufficiently increased the overall bat strength to insure it’s one of the markets strongest, while shaping it so perfectly it actually feels softer on impact.
The lighter feel that the DeMarini Stacked Double Wall Construction gives is not only feather light to swing but optimizes the entire barrel for the best overall “pop for your buck” we’ve seen so far this year. DeMarini has once again marketed one of the highest performing bats that regulations allow for and is approved for play by the ASA, USSSA, ISF, NSA, and ISA. As is all of this weren’t enough, they managed to give it a unmistakable graphic that will be enough for any pitcher to recognize and insure they get the message that the ball is going deep. Add in their iron clad 12 month warranty, and getting the 2017 DeMarini CF9 is a no-brainer.
Louisville Z4 (new for 2016)
We’ve included the Z-3000 on this blog before and can safely say that the Z4 is the next in line and makes a fine replacement for the existing Z-3000 on our top list. The Z-3000 was breaking records in both quality and technological perfection. The 2016 Z4 is looking to leave that one in the dust. Holding the Z4 and giving it a quick swing you can tell there is a power and balance that are going to give you an exceptional hitting season. Louisville has designed this 3 piece bat using its TRU3 patented process to give you a stronger bat that is more durable and optimized to a lighter overall swing weight.
Many players have found that the 7/8” tapered handle, with stiff handle technology, and the half oz. end load, gave an accelerated follow through with every hit allowing for a maximum transfer of energy from the hitter, through the bat, and into the ball. If this weren’t enough for you to run out and grab one right now, they use their trademarked PURE360 composite in the manufacturing to return all the pitching power and the hitter’s strength to the ball’s momentum.
With the 12 inch barrel and the enlarged “Z” series sweet spot, the loss of vibration to your hands is amazing. All vibration taken from a mishit is turned back into pure power and sent out in the direction of your follow through as an amazing pop. With all of these improvements and top of the line trade secrets, it is amazing that it was approved for play in ASA, USSSA, NSA and ISF and backed by Louisville’s full twelve month warranty, everyone knows that this is the year’s most impressive bat offering.
Worth Legit 220
The last bat that we feature on our 2016 softball bats page is the Worth Legit 220. Possibly the hottest bat available this year, the Worth Legit 220 is reaching legendary status without even trying. While it is a two piece and has the vibration control that most quality composites do, it has the feel and strength of a one piece and reacts perfectly.
With the one ounce endload featuring the 220 Advantage, the follow through is a perfect balance between overall power and controlled energy transfer, insuring hits reach the scoreboard like they were shot by a cannon. The True1 Tech performance is the first one piece 2 1/4″ barrel worthy of the Worth name. The barrel is not only a seamless 360 to increase durability and performance, but a 100% Carbon Fiber Barrel, giving a ultra-light weight, incredibly durable, over preforming piece of equipment.
The Legit 220’s 2 piece design Flex 50 handle technology is one of the best vibration dampening handles on the market. It’s ability to transfer mis-hit energy into a cannon like pop, is what gives this bat an edge over all other 2016 softball bat offerings. The Legit 220 is of course approved for the USSSA, ISA and NSA, making it a high demand bat, and insuring stocks are being sold as quickly as they are manufactured. But why wouldn’t they be, as always Worth stands behind their products with their no nonsense one year manufacturer’s warranty.
In terms of the fastpitch softball bats, we feel that the Easton Mako, Demarini CF9, and Louisville Xeno Plus are the top three choices for this year. The Mako and CF9 are quite similar so in all honesty the decision could come down to who you have the most confidence in: Easton or Demarini? We believe the Mako is slightly better when it comes to speed and reduced vibrations, but in some cases the difference is very small. The Louisville Xeno has made the list as well for the second year in a row. Where we really like the Xeno is its ability to provide hitters with an incredible quick break in period. In fact you really need no break in at all as it is ready right off the shelf. Either way, going with either of these three will make you a better hitter.
On the flip side for other softball players, we really like the Louisville Z4 series. Available in many different variations such as ASA/USSSA approved and balanced or end loaded swings, the Z4 is an affordable option that provides a great amount of pop. The main reason we like the Z4 is that we feel it provides hitters with a much lighter swing than others that are available. The LS-2X composite applied to all Z4 models provides stronger interior walls, but allows for it to still remain thin. Although the Z4 is our top of our list of slowpitch softball bats, we wouldn’t discount the Demarini Stadium 2.1 or Worth Legit models. If you like an extra whip or flex feeling in your swing then you’ll love the Worth Legit. If you instead want a stiffer feel then you will probably be quite happy with the Demarini Stadium instead.
Importance of Reviews
If you are anything like me, you want to break down every single thing before you make a purchase. After all as a consumer it comes down to you to make the best choice possible. To help you with this, we have put together a brand new softball bat reviews page where we look at the top ones available. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- All slowpitch bats feature a 34″ length and a 2 1/4″ barrel diameter. What makes each distinct is the weight, the type of load, and the association it has been approved for.
- When looking for the best fastpitch bats, two of the important thing to look for are the length and the weight. Typically youth players look for a model that measures 26 to 32 inches in length while adult players stick in the range of 30-34 inches. The other item to look into is the amount of drop. A lower number typically means a lighter model, while a higher number is meant for stronger more powerful hitters.
- The ASA standard is widely considered to be the strictest standard for softball play. When your bat has the ASA stamp of approval, you can pretty much guarantee that it can be used in any league you play for. Their rules are constantly changing and you can see a full run down on this ASA rules site
- The last section of our softball bat reviews page is dedicated to those specifically approved by the USSSA. The USSSA is similar to the ASA with the main exception that they allow for a 100+ MPH batted ball speed.
Choosing the right model can be a difficult task if you don’t know what you are looking for. You may think it this process would be easy, but there are so many different features built within each that make it perfect for one player but not another. That is where our reviews come in. We look at the following important items:
- One or two piece: One piece bats are the preferred choice for power hitters as they are stiffer and provide less give than those that have been fused together from two pieces. However, contact hitters have much more preference to the two-piece bats are they offer more controlled power. See a more detailed explanation here.
- Barrel size: Some barrels are made to be larger than others. Larger barrels offer more area to make contact but also come with the added weight. Smaller barrel on the other hand reduce weight allowing you to take faster swings.
- Weight: Some use what is called a “drop” when describing how light or heavy a bat is. The drop is found by taking the difference between the length and weight and will range from -8 to as low as -13. The lower the number, the lighter the model. Power hitters typically prefer a higher drop as they’ll receive a little more pop.
- Handle: There are many things to consider with that little piece of metal where your hands rest. One of the first things to consider is how well it is gripped. Slippery handles can cause you to lose control of your swings. Another aspect to be considered is how well it handles vibrations when contacting the ball in funny ways. Vibrations can be one of the more annoying things about softball.
- Durability/Materials: Let’s face it, some are made with better materials that offer a longer durability. No one wants to make a large expensive purchase only to have it crack or break after a few months. Trying to find a bad with premium composite is key.
- Balanced/End loaded: One key for bats in the end cap that is used. A balanced load provides hitters with more of a balanced swing. On the other side, an end loaded version provides even more pop than a regular model. You can see more about this here.
- Single/Multi wall: Most contain multiple walls throughout the barrel to provide more durability, more trampoline effect, and are more sturdy and easy to use than a single wall bat. The only problem is some leagues do not approve these types of bats so be sure to look only at single wall versions if that is all your league will allow. You can see a greater explanation at the bottom of this page.
What factors went into our softball bat reviews?
As we mentioned earlier, no two bats are the exact same. As former softball players will attest, it can be impossible to find the best softball bat. That is why this website was created. As silly as it sounds, shopping for a new bat can be compared with shopping for a new car. There are so many different variables to consider and no two people share the exact same tastes. So finding the best softball bats for a group of people is not an easy task by any stretch. However there are certain things we considered when we reviewed the feature lists of all the different models available. Some of the main decision points included:
- Your game: The type of game you play is arguably the most important aspect to be considered. We believe that our pages dedicated to Fastpitch and Slow Pitch will provide you with enough insight depending on which version of the sport you play.
- Material: how a bat is built goes a long way when determining its longevity. Composite material is ideal, but also expensive. Some other regular aluminum bats have proven to be quite strong and high performing providing you with more bang for your buck.
- Performance: This is obviously one of the most important factors that we look at in our softball bat reviews. If you are going to buy a new one, it should perform better than your older one. We look into where the power of the bat is generated from and how much additional distance can be achieved through the barrel and handle strength.
- Organizational Approval: some of the bats that we overview were only approved by the ASA association, while others could only be used by USSSA leagues.
- Cost: Let’s face it…many of us are on a budget. Although the $300 softball bats are fantastic, not all of us need one. There is no doubt that bats such as the Easton Mako are top performers, but some of us have to be a little more careful with our wallets.
Balanced vs End Loaded Bats
The best softball bats are composed in two different swing weights: balanced and end Loaded. Players hoping to generate as much bat speed as possible are better suited with balanced model. Contact hitters, a.k.a. “base hitters”, more often than not pick balanced models for a smoother swing and more control. With their weight distributed equally through the bat, providing a lower moment of inertia (M.O.I.) than end loaded models. Essentially, the lower the M.O.I., the quicker the bat can be swung.
However, if a player has the capability of generating high swing speeds already, they may get more out of an end loaded bat. With more weight arranged toward the barrel, and consolidated with high swing rates, end loaded bats result in more distance or pop. This design is the favored decision for most power hitters. End loaded bats ordinarily have either a 0.5 oz. on the other hand 1 oz. load in the barrel – while a few offers end loads as much as 3 oz.
It’s hard to realize what weight orientation you would utilize best. Your choice at last comes down to what you’re happy with swinging. I would suggest evaluating your own particular swing during batting practice. On the off chance that you don’t see the outcomes you need from one style of bat, it might be a sign to switch things up. The most ideal situation would be if you could experiment with a balances and end loaded model; one next to the other.
One-piece of two-piece softball bats?
Pre-1999 softball bats were only available in one material, formed in a single piece. These bats were strong, rigid, and built for power. Post-1999 two piece bats have been available and the market has never been the same.
Unlike the one piece which was mainly a single piece of aluminum, some sort of light weight alloy, or wood, the two-piece barrel and handle are fused together after they are made. The vast majority of two-piece bats are made from composites of graphite, resin, and fiberglass which give them a slight edge over the one piece bats. While using lighter weight materials to build the bat can give a two-piece bat the weight edge, making it easier to swing and control, the main benefit is its ability to reduce the vibration for a batter’s hands and to make the “sweet spot” larger.
One-piece bats also have a more rigid handle while two-piece will give you an option to use a more flexible handle if desired. Another great bonus to using a two-piece is the ability to use more than one material in its body, allowing for a little more choice in the overall feel and response to a hit. If you prefer balance or a shift in the weight it is easier to do in a two-piece than a one, as the materials used, how they are laid out in the barrel, and where can make a huge difference, where in a one-piece the weights are standard to the material used and can’t be as easily managed. For more, check out this video from JustBats.com.
Difference between Single and Multi-wall bats
While several leagues only allow single walled bats, the question still lies as to whether or not these multi-wall bats are a better choice. Most multi-wall bats allow the same if not greater ricochet or trampoline effect, as a single wall bat. Though most companies will say there is no difference in hits, several newer studies seem to say otherwise. Also if they do have the same response, why have so many leagues banned them like they did the titanium bats? The question still remains though, what are the differences?
Multi-wall bats are made with two or more layers of material in the barrel wall, while a single-wall is only the one material the bat is made of. It is said this multi-material layering gives an extra “pop” or “spring” to the ball as it bounces off the bat. The multi-wall bats also tend to be sturdier and have a thicker barrel allowing for a bigger sweet spot, giving the ball a faster off speed, and a definite edge in travel speed and distance. While single-walled tend to absorb a lot more of the energy from the pitch, and hit, lowering its speed and dropping the distance considerably. Also with a smaller sweet spot, the single-walled bats tend to send a lot of that absorbed energy through the handle into the batters hand, wrist and arm, via some very strong and seriously stinging vibration.
Overall though multi-wall bats seem to have a performance advantage over single-wall bats that is more than just a larger sweet spot. Players of all skill levels can increase their maximum batted-ball speed by using a multi-wall bat. Is it to much of an edge against single-wall bats, and should they be banned? That’s a question for a different day…
Well there you have it. If you are looking for specific softball bat reviews, you can find them on the right hand side of the page as they are sorted by brand name. We hope you enjoy your stay on our best softball bats website and hope that you have a great 2016 season!