Top 8 Best Fastpitch Softball Bats for 2018: Buying Guide and Reviews

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best fastpitch bats

The Louisville Slugger XENO makes ‘the best fastpitch softball bats’ year after year, loved by players, coaches, and parents alike.

The XENO is a two-piece, fully composite softball bat with a traditional 2 1/4 inch barrel. It has a balanced swing weight that makes it the ideal pick for both contact hitters and power hitters.

This particular one comes as a drop 10 bat, but the XENO is also available as a -8, -9, -10 or -11.

The XENO has a number of cutting-edge features that make it worth every penny, and set it apart from previous years models:

First, it has an insanely lightweight X-Cap designed to reduce any unnecessary weight towards the end of the barrel. This, in turn, improves swing speed, maximizes barrel length, and provides a massive sweet spot.

Its patented S1ID barrel provides lots of pop, durability and excellent performance right out of the wrapper. A small disc inside the barrel helps control barrel compression for more consistent plays.

The patented stiff IST technology reduces sting in the hands and provides exceptional energy transfer. What’s more, the handle comes pre-wrapped with a comfortable synthetic bat grip that greatly enhances overall feel and further reduces sting in the hands.

Definitely one of the best softball bats today. This thing is a beast.

Pros
  • Lightweight swing and extremely well balanced.
  • No break-in period – comes hot out of the wrapper.
  • Zero sting in the hands even after several hours of play.
  • Awesome pop and huge sweet spot – The ball flies off the bat.
  • Approved for play in ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISA, and ISF
  • Available in a wide range of drops.
  • Approved for play in USSSA, ASA, NSA, ISA, and ISF
Cons
  • The XENO is pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for.
  • The paint chips easily.

The 2018 Rawlings Quatro is a balanced, drop 10, two-piece, composite softball bat. This beauty comes hot out of the wrapper, and features a standard 2 1/4-inch barrel with a multicolored finish.

The Quatro comes in either a drop 10 or drop 9.

For hitters who want more power and better performance, this is one of the best fastpitch bats.

For starters, its patented hinge system is specially engineered to produce lots of flex. This, in turn, results in insane pop and helps batters generate much faster swing speeds.

Its composite barrel has Vibration Dampening (VDT) which gives batters a smooth feel when the ball is hit.

Additionally, the Quatro has a silicone infused collar between the barrel and handle. This collar absorbs or redirects any negative feedback so players won’t ever have to worry about nasty stinging in the hands on mishits.

This long list of features makes this one of the best fastpitch softball bats on the market today.

Our take: We’ve had the 2018 Rawlings Quatro Fastpitch Softball Bat for a little over 6 months. We’ve had a great time swinging this bat. It hits a lot harder than other fastpitch bats, and the ball travels much further.

Pros
  • Hot out of the wrapper, lots pop & a huge sweet spot.
  • Feels great in the hands and has zero sting on mishits
  • The Quatro is manufactured in the USA (patent pending).
  • Approved by ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISF, ISA, and all other associations using 98 MPH with ABI.
Cons
  • Does not come in as big a range of drop weights as the XENO does.
  • Expensive

The PXT is the newest addition to the Louisville Slugger’s line of bats. Its cutting edge technologies, innovative features, and great graphics combine to make this one of the best softball bats and one of the best fastpitch bats in the game.

The Louisville Slugger PXT is a three-piece, fully composite fastpitch softball bat. It features a standard 2 1/4 inch barrel with a balanced swing weight.

This particular model comes in the popular drop 10 length-to-weight ratio.

These innovative features start off with its revolutionary PWR STAX barrel technology. This evenly distributes the load across the entire surface of the barrel on impact with the ball for maximum performance. Additionally, the PWR STAX barrel is made out of a multi-layered composite material that greatly improves performance at the plate.

Its lightweight X-Cap improved swing speed lengthens the barrel and creates an even larger sweet spot.

These three pieces of the bat are then joined together by the patented TRU3 connection piece. This connection piece reduces vibration and provides unmatched feel on contact.

Finally, the 7/8 inch handle comes pre-wrapped in a premium X-Grip for more tack, comfort & better control. This grip wasn’t as good as we expected and started showing signs of wear after only a few weeks of use.

We are very happy with the PXT. This bat has amazing pop and great feel. It also has a large sweet spot and looks great.

However, the PXT seems better suited to power hitters. When we tested it out with a power hitter, the ball flew off the barrel. Weaker players, on the other hand, were not able to get as much performance from the PXT right out of the wrapper. Once this bat is broken in, it has a ton of pop, and there is a noticeable difference in exit speed.

We love this bat & can’t wait to use it more to test out its long-term durability.

To get the most out of the PXT we recommend it for elite players that can generate enough speed.

Pros
  • The PXT has amazing pop, great feel, and a large sweet spot.
  • Good looking graphics
  • Approved for play in USSSA, ASA, NSA, ISA, and ISF
Cons
  • Has very little pop out of the wrapper, and needs a good amount of breaking in.
  • The bat grip tape on this bat is low quality. After only using it for a short period, it has started to show signs of wear. Nothing a good quality bat grip wouldn’t fix though.

The DeMarini CFX is a two-piece, lightweight composite with a big barrel that provides hot out of the wrapper performance.

One standout feature in the CFX is its 3Fusion System. The elements in this system are designed to work together perfectly from the knob to the end cap.

  • The 3Fusion end cap extends the sweet spot, improves bat weight distribution and performance.
  • Its Paraflex composite barrel is allegedly made with a composite that’s allegedly 22% stronger.
  • Additionally, the barrel design allows for a lot more flex, better weight distribution, and a ton of pop.
  • Its 3Fusion handle is designed in a way that drastically improves its feel while eliminating sting & channeling energy back into the barrel.
  • The RCK knob is super comfortable and designed to fit perfectly into a players hand.

This is what makes the CFX one of the best fastpitch baseball bats on the market, just as good as the Slugger LXT and Slugger XENO.

Pros
  • Forgiving on mishits – No sting in the hands
  • The pop on the CFX is insane & it feels fantastic in the hands.
  • No break-in period
  • The CFX is approved for play in USSSA, ASA, NSA, ISA, and ISF.
Cons
  • The price tag is a bit steep but you get what you pay for in terms of performance.

Louisville Slugger is one of the most well-known names in the world fastpitch softball. The Slugger LXT. For 2018, Louisville Slugger has upgraded what is often considered to be one of the best fastpitch softball bats in the game.

The new LXT is a three-piece, fully composite, ultra-balanced, lightweight bat made for hitters that want maximum speed.

The newest standout feature is its insanely lightweight X-Cap. It gives players better control, improved swing speed, increases barrel length, maximizes the sweet spot, and provides better durability.

Its patented PBF™ barrel technology provides insane pop right out of the wrapper and gives the LXT one of the largest sweet spots in Louisville’s lineup of bats.

Additionally, the innovative TRU3 technology reduces sting in the hands to produce a smooth feel on contact.

Finally, the LXT handle is wrapped in a synthetic, custom bat grip that looks good, and gives players more comfort and better control.

Pros
  • Massive sweet spot, decent pop off the barrel
  • Available in -8, -9, -10 and -11
  • Zero sing in the hands
Cons
  • None so far.

The 2018 Easton Stealth Flex is a drop 10, two-piece, composite softball bat that features a standard 2 1/4-inch barrel diameter.

This bat has a balanced swing weight, and also comes in drop 11 length-to-weight ratio.

The 2018 Easton Stealth Flex Hyperlite shares many of the same features as this bat, but comes in a drop 12, and is made from a different composite material.

First, Eason uses FLEX technology in its barrel to make a soft, flexible barrel that provides more pop, better feel and sends the ball travels much further. Additionally, this barrel employs 15% more barrel compression for hot out of the wrapper performance.

Each model uses a TCT Thermo Composite material that creates a massive sweet spot and increases bat speeds because it makes the bat lightweight.

Easton’s CXN ZERO ConneXion piece eliminates sting in the hands and a provides a smooth feel on impact.

The Stealth Flex handle is pre-wrapped in a cushiony 1.2 mm HYPERSKIN HELIX grip. However, despite this grip being really comfortable, it didn’t hold up well.

Pros
  • Good looking graphics.
  • Has lots of pop, feels great in the hands and provides better overall performance.
  • Feels great in the hands
  • No sting
  • Approved by ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISA, ISF, and SSUSA.
Cons

The Axe Element is a one-piece bat made from a military Grade Mantic Alloy that makes this Axe bat one of the strongest and most durable softball bats in the Axe Bat lineup.

The Axe Element is one of the cheapest softball bats on our list of best fastpitch softball bats.

This Axe Element fastpitch has a standard 2 1/4-inch barrel that comes only as a drop 12.

The Element has a balanced swing weight that gives you more control during your swing and is approved for play by ASA, NSA, USSSA, ISF, NCAA, ISA, and NFHS.

Its HyperWhip composite end cap does well to eliminate unnecessary weight at the end of the bat for higher swing speeds.

The very best part about this bat is its handle. This handle has an ergonomic design for improved comfort, control, speed, and reduced risk of injury.
Specifically, the bat’s ergonomic handle has several benefits according to Axe Bat:

  1. Better Bat Control – The Axe handle design provides better grip and better barrel control.
  2. Power & Bat Speed – The handle’s design increases the range of motion which results in greater power transfer and more bat speed.
  3. Comfort – The ergonomic handle is designed to fits naturally in the hands.
  4. Reduced Injuries – Regular bat handles put lots of pressure on the Hamate bone which is quite prone to breaking. The Axe handle has a flush backside designed to relieve this pressure.

Additionally, the handle has shock-absorbing Endogrid technology built into it to help eliminate the sting that’s so common in one-piece softball bats.

Because of the handle design, Axe Bats have a one-directional hitting zone. This hitting zone has been engineered to extend the barrel length and provide a 270-degree hitting surface. This way, you’ll never have to worry about rotating your bat for longevity.

The Mizuno is a two-Piece, drop 10 composite, fastpitch softball bat that’s approved for use ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISA, & ISF.

This bat features a 2 1/4-inch barrel and has a balanced swing weight which makes it one of the best fastpitch bats for both contact hitters and power hitters.

The barrel’s double-wall design offers better performance right out of the wrapper. Furthermore, the Nighthawk provides a larger, more forgiving sweet spot for more power by adjusting composite angles in 10 specific zones across the barrel.

The Nighthawk’s Black Onyx Carbon handle attaches to the barrel via Mizuno’s patented 2-Piece LINK connection piece. This connective piece helps to drastically reduce hand sting, provide better feel on contact & better energy transfer at higher pitch speeds. Additionally, this bat’s Speed-Helix Grip is comfortable and provides good control when swinging your bat.

Finally, the new end cap extends the barrel for more plate coverage, provides an even larger sweet spot than previous year’s models.

Picking the Best Fastpitch Softball Bats – A Buyer’s Guide

Is the bat you want to buy the best fastpitch bat for you? Is it the right length? How heavy is it? What material is it made out of? Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers since every player has their own preferences.

Our softball bat buying guide will help you pick out the best fastpitch bat for you. Here’s what you should consider when shopping for the best fastpitch bat.

Height & Weight of The Player

Height and weight are the two of the most important factors when picking the best fastpitch bat. However, it’s difficult to make a blanket recommendation since it varies greatly from one player to the next.

To find your ideal bat length, use the bat size chart below:

  1. First off, find your weight (in pounds) on the left.
  2. Then find your height (in inches) across the top.
  3. Trace your finger from your weight and your height up until the point they meet. This marks your ideal bat length.

That said, the best length and weight depends on certain variables like personal preference, the player’s strength, and hitting mechanics. One way to find the best fastpitch bat length & weight is to use a teammate’s bat and see how you like it before making the leap.

Some players prefer shorter bats, some prefer heavy bats… it all comes down to personal preference, hitting mechanics, and strength.

Drop

Drop, or length to weight ratio is the difference between the length of the bat and its weight. The resulting number is what’s referred to as length-to-weight ratio or “drop”. For example, a 33-inch bat that weighs 22 ounces is a drop 11 (-11).

Youth fastpitch softball bats are 26 to 32 inches long, while high school and older player’s bats are 30 to 34 inches long. They have a drop weight ranging from -8 to -14.

Here are drop weights according to age:

  1. 8 years old & under: -12 to -14
  2. 8 to 14 years old: -12 to -10
  3. 14 years old & older: -11 to -8

One-piece vs Two-piece Bats

When picking a fastpitch baseball bat, you have two options to choose from: A one-piece bat or a two-piece bat.

What’s the difference?

A one-piece bat is made from one continuous piece of metal. They are stiff and provide little to no flex when the ball is hit. As a result, energy isn’t lost when the ball is hit resulting in more power. This is the go-to option for power hitters.

On the other hand, two-piece bats have two sections – a handle & a barrel. These two sections are then bonded together via a connective piece.

Two-piece bats provide more flex when the ball is hit. Two-piece bats create a “whip” effect when hitting the ball which increases bat speed and ultimately, power.

As a result, two-piece bats are often the bat of choice for contact hitters.

Material

Once you settle on an ideal length & weight, you need to determine the best material best for you. Alloy & Composite and aluminum materials are your two main picks. The material determines the bat’s weight, durability, performance, and ultimately price.

Alloy: Alloy bats are made from aluminum metals mixed in with other metals. A number of different aluminum alloys are used in today’s fastpitch softball bats, each offering different benefits. Alloy bats are lightweight, look great, are a lot more durable than bats made from other materials, and produce a noticeable “ping” sound when the ball is hit.

Composite: Composite bats are made from a combination of graphite, fiberglass, and resin. They are quite popular, have a large, forgiving sweet spot, a unique sound and feel that many batters prefer, as well as a large, forgiving sweet spot. The two-piece design helps reduce sting or vibration. The bigger sweet spot makes composite bats a great for young players. It helps them square up to the ball and get solid, consistent contact with the softball, improving their confidence at the plate. For these reasons, composite bats are more expensive compared to their aluminum counterparts.

Hybrid: Hybrid bats combine an aluminum alloy with a composite handle, giving the batter the best of both worlds – an aluminum barrel and a composite handle.

League Regulations

There are many different softball leagues such as ASA, USSSA, NSA, and ISA. Most fastpitch softball bats on sale today are approved for use in every league and bear the ASA certification mark.

Since leagues have different rules, it isn’t possible to determine if a softball bat is approved for use in a particular league.

The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) is the most strict when it comes to batted ball speed policies. So if a bat is approved for use in the ASA, it should be good for use in almost every other league.

Be that as it may, do your research before making such a big purchase. It’s not uncommon for a parent to spend hundreds of dollars on a bat, only to take it out of its wrapper and find that it’s not legal for use in that particular league.

One of the first things you should find out is the regulations of the league/tournament your child is playing in. Little League, Pony Ball, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Dixie, Dizzy Dean, USSSA, NFHS all have different regulations so research is key.

Length

The ideal bat length varies from one player to the next. Here’s a quick experiment you can use to find your ideal bat length.

Drop Weight

The term “drop” is used in baseball to describe a bat’s length(inches) to weight(ounces) ratio. For example, a “drop 10” bat or -10 is a bat that is 34-inches long and weighs 24 ounces. The drop is calculated by subtracting the bat’s weight from its length.

ASA rules state that a bat’s drop weight should be between 8 and 12, so this is something you should look out for when shopping for the best ASA softball bats.

The ideal bat weight feels comfortable in the hands and is well balanced to provide maximum control through the zone. A bat that’s too heavy is difficult to control and will tire you out quickly.

Budget

Some of the bats on our best fastpitch baseball bat list will set you back a couple hundred dollars. However, the price isn’t always a sign of quality.

Here are two reasons why you may need to overlook price when buying your bat:

Firstly, the best fastpitch bat is one that caters to your player’s needs. Consider a bat that suits their height, weight, and personal preferences first, then deliberate on price afterward.

Secondly, young players will often have more than 1 baseball bat because of different league regulations. For this reason, there’s no need to break the bank when shopping for a fastpitch softball bat.

Consider cheaper fastpitch softball bats if your young star plays in multiple leagues/associations, or if they are still growing.

Conclusion

Picking the best fastpitch softball bat ultimately boils down to personal preference, and whether that bat is allowed in your league.

Always reach out to your coach before buying a bat – We’ve seen some parents have bought bats in the past only to find out they’re not permitted in a particular league.

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