When picking out the best fastpitch softball bat, you want one that gives you absolute bang for your buck. You want a bat that feels great in the hands, helps you swing faster, hit harder and farther.
Recent innovation from companies such as and Louisville Slugger, Marucci, Easton, and DeMarini has made choosing a fastpitch bat incredibly difficult, with some parents choosing to punt when picking one.
Now that the 2021 season upon us, our reviews will help you find the best one according to your needs. We found fantastic options to suit both contact and power hitters alike. Read on!
Our Top 5 Picks for 2021
Having the LXT in our top 5 comes as no surprise – the list almost seems incomplete without it. The LXT has featured in every “best fastpitch softball bat” list since we wrote our first review, and for good reason.
Available as a drop 8, 9, 10, & 11, the LXT comes as a three-piece, balanced, all-composite bat approved for both ASA and USSSA. New for the 2021 model is a speed composite design that leverages Louisville’s PBF technology to improve the pop and give the bat a more significant sweet spot. An all-new end cap works to maximize the sweet spot further.
An updated VCX2 Connection allows for more flex between the barrel and the handle and works great to reduce sting in the hands to provide great feel. Finally, its new grip provides excellent tack and cushioning even on mishits.
Our verdict: It’s not hard to see why the LXT has been a fan favorite year after year. We loved that it is well balanced, had tons of pop, and felt great in the hands – it’s comfortable and didn’t sting once, even on the occasional mishit.
This two-piece composite is 2021’s replacement for the Quatro Pro that is available as a drop 9 and 10. The drop 10 is better suited to beginners or players that don’t like heft in their bats since it swings lighter than the drop 9, while the drop 9 suits bigger stronger high school or collegiate players.
There’s a lot to love about the new Rawlings Mantra. Everything is new, from the end cap to the handle. For starters, this bat features a new inner barrel design to maximize pop and barrel performance. The outer barrel of the Mantra is 15% thinner to give it more trampoline and pop. Its connection piece (dubbed the F2 collar) coupled with that lightweight end cap both provide excellent balance and feel. Finally, the Lizard Skins grip is a nice touch that gives players tack and comfort to reduce sting.
The one thing that sets the Rawlings Mantra apart is that it can easily be outfitted with a Blast Motion Sensor in its knob (The Blast Motion Sensor is sold separately). This makes the Mantra the first fastpitch bat with built in knob technology. Twisting the sensor in the knob gives you access to valuable data that will help better your swing.
3. DeMarini FNX
The 2021 FNX Rising is in its 2nd year of production after seeing lots of success for the 2020 season. Like the phoenix that rose from the ashes, the DeMarini FNX was declared illegal back in the day. It came back into production as the CF. The now legal FNX is back to replace the CF Insane and vie for the top spot.
For 2021, the FNX will be available in a drop 8, 9, and 10 with different grip colors depending on drop weight. The drop 10 bears a red grip, the drop 9 a gray one, while the drop eight sports a black grip. The FNX is a two-piece, fully composite bat with an end-loaded swing feel, and is certified for use in USSSA, ASA, NSA, WBSC and ISA.
Its Continuous Fiber barrel is a continuous sheet of composite that makes a larger, more durable barrel with a massive sweet spot. The FNX does feel heavy towards the barrel and will suit players that are strong enough to whip it through the zone and leverage the power it generates.
The composite barrel and composite handle connect via a direct two-piece connection that maximizes energy transfer for great feel and lots of power. The direct connection and the rigid seismic end cap give the FNX the stiff feel that’s oft preferred by power hitters.
Our Verdict: The FNX is a fantastic pick but only among hitters who like its stiff feel and don’t mind occasional sting. This bat may put off players who aren’t accustomed to swinging similar options such as the XENO but will delight bigger, stronger hitters who generate bat speed all on their own but need a potent bat to provide the power they require.
Another perennial finalist on our list of best fastpitch softball bats is the DeMarini CF Zen. However, when compared to the 2020 CF Zen, the 2021’s features and construction haven’t changed – if it ain’t broke, I guess?
Available as a drop 10 & 11, the CF Zen is a balanced, two-piece, all-composite fastpitch bat approved for both ASA and USSSA leagues.
Feature-wise, the Zen boasts of a Paraflex Plus Composite responsible for the Zen’s massive sweet spot. The handle and barrel are joined by a 3Fusion Connection that allows max energy transfer to the barrel and works great to dampen sting.
To cap it all off (I just had to), the reaction end cap improves performance without sacrificing speed, by employing strong and lightweight materials.
Verdict: The 2021 CF Zen is a fantastic bat that’s sure to give you the performance you’re looking for. We loved that it swings light has a long barrel and lots of flex via its 3Fusion Connection piece. However, the difference when compared to the 2020 version is minimal, so you’re better off buying the cheaper 2020 model.
The Mizuno PWR CRBN is arguably Mizuno’s most popular bat, with which they’ve had great success. Like many other bats on this list, the Mizuno PWR CRBN is a balanced, two-piece, all-composite bat, approved for use in USSSA, ASA, NSA & ISA.
It comes in 3 drop weights, 9, 10 and 11. The drop 11 is excellent for players who need a light swinging bat that offers the speed needed to generate power. The drop 10 is a popular middle-of-the-road option, while the drop 9 is great for older, stronger, more experienced players.
The Mizuno PWR CRBN’s composite barrel and composite handle are made from black onyx carbon, significantly improving durability. The barrel and the handle join via a connection point that Mizuno calls the dual-frequency dampener. It reduces vibration and minimizes flex for better performance.
In addition to less flex courtesy of the connection, the carbon handle is stiffened to reduce the loss of energy encountered when hitting the ball, instead of redirecting this energy at its rightful recipient – the ball.
The Mizuno PWR CRBN uses barrel technology that gives off a beautiful sound on impact, and cylinder seaming that eliminates dead spots in the barrel for consistent performance.
Our verdict: This bat has A LOT of pop to it and overall fantastic feel. We especially loved that the PWR CRBN comes hot out of the wrapper, and the super comfortable speed-helix grip. One to consider.
Picking the Best Fastpitch Softball Bat – 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 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 challenging to make a blanket recommendation since it varies significantly from one player to another.
To find your ideal bat length, use the bat size chart below:
- First off, find your weight (in pounds) on the left.
- Then find your height (in inches) across the top.
- Trace your finger from your weight and height until the point they meet to mark 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 leaping.
Some players prefer shorter bats, and some prefer heavy bat. It all comes down to personal preference, hitting mechanics, and strength.
Drop, or length to weight ratio is the difference between the bat’s length and its weight. The resulting number is its 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:
- 8 years old & under: -12 to -14
- 8 to 14 years old: -12 to -10
- 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 a continuous piece of metal that’s stiff and provides little to no flex. As a result, one-piece bats retain energy when the ball is hit, resulting in more power. These bats are typically the go-to option for power hitters.
On the other hand, two-piece bats have two sections – a handle & a barrel. These two sections bond together via a connective piece. Two-piece bats provide more flex by creating a “whip” effect when hitting the ball, increasing bat speed and ultimately, power. As a result, two-piece bats are often the bat of choice for contact hitters.
Once you settle on an ideal length & weight, you need to determine the material that’s best for you. 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. Several 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, a unique sound and feel that many batters prefer, as well as a large, forgiving sweet spot. Their two-piece design helps reduce sting, while the bigger sweet spot makes them a great pick for young players – it helps them square up to the ball and get solid, consistent contact with the softball, which in turn improves their confidence at the plate. Composite bats are typically 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.
There are many different softball leagues, such as ASA, USSSA, NSA, and ISA. Today, most fastpitch softball bats on sale 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 in batting ball speed policies. So if a bat is approved for use in the ASA, it should be good for 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 league/tournament regulations 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 vital.
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:
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 ais 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.
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 afterwards.
Secondly, young players will often have more than one 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.
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.