Best USA Bats 2018 – Youth Baseball Bat Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

4

A brand new baseball bat is an exciting new prospect. I’ve always taken a keen interest in new baseball bats and their improvements (actual improvements from hitting with the bat, not from sales spiel).

In our review, we cover the best USA youth baseball bats for 2018, as well as provide a comprehensive buyer’s guide for parents, players and anyone else who’s puzzled about the introduction of USA bats.

This year, things are definitely a lot more interesting than years past. Starting in 2018, youth baseball bats must now bear the new USABat standard.

This new standard does away with the 1.15 BPF 2 1/4 youth barreled bats. In their place, we have new 2 5/8″ barrels for the Little League®, Babe Ruth & Cal Ripken, PONY, Dixie, and AABC.

The basis of the new USABat standard is to aim for a more “wood like” performance from youth baseball bats, in the interest of safety. We cover this in our USABat buying guide.

We love testing out new bats before making a purchase. Unfortunately, this process takes a long time especially given the dizzying number of youth baseball bats out in today’s market.

We’ve taken the hassle out of it by doing the heavy lifting on your behalf. The section below provides in-depth reviews of the best youth baseball bats of 2018 with some fantastic new USA approved bats.

We believe that these are quite simply the best youth baseball bats for the money. These are great choices for players between 10 and 12 years old. For players who are slightly older, check out our best BBCOR bats page.

One of the major downsides of the new USABat standard is the pop. Having used the old youth baseball bats for years, switching to USA stamped bats has been quite a significant change. The ball definitely does not jump off the bat like before.

However, not all USA Bats are created equally. Some have more pop than others. There are some great USA bats as you’ll see in this review.

Picking this list of the best USA Bats for 2018 was one of the toughest reviews we’ve done in a while. With no previous bats to pit our options against, no player feedback most of it felt.

Note: Every bat we’ve reviewed here bears the new USABat stamp and is approved for use in the USABat leagues

12018 Louisville Slugger 618 Solo USA Baseball Bat

Louisville Slugger Solo 618 USA Baseball Bat
The 2018 Louisville Slugger 618 Solo USABat has all the makings of a bat destined for greatness. This is a single piece aluminum bat with a light swing focused on speed.

We like what lots of things about this bat. As a single-piece, aluminum bat with a stiff feel, honest feedback, a decently sized barrel and a remarkably light swing, this USAbat does enough to justify its price.Add that to the fact that this bat costs about $100 cheaper than other top performing USABats and you have yourself a sure winner.

This bat is by far one of the most popular USA bats of 2018. You’ll be lucky to find it in stock, even from the biggest retailers. The story is the same on eBay. And if you do find it on eBay, it’s going for much more than its retail price.

Due to the new composite end cap, Louisville Slugger refers to the 618 as a hybrid bat. The new end cap, coupled with the aluminum bat makes for increased swing speed, better control through the zone, and a balanced swing weight.

Louisville Slugger has a new vibration dampening handle to help reduce sting in the hands, as does the Lizard Skin grip. We doubt its effectiveness though because if you don’t hit the sweet spot, it will sting.

Having hit with this bat over 100 times, we can confidently say that we love this bat’s quality and looks.

  • The bat is perfect if you are a hitter that prefers
  • A drop 11, mid-range baseball bat
  • A light swinging bat
  • Fantastic grip
  • One of the most popular and best-performing barrels on the market.

If this fits the criteria, then look no further. The 2018 Louisville Slugger USA 618 Solo should get the job done. This model is approved for play in AABC, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth, Little League, and Pony baseball.

Pros
  • Good pop for a USA bat
  • Smooth and balanced swing weight
  • Great value compared to other USABats
  • Comfortable, custom Lizard Skin grip
  • Hot Out Of The Wrapper Performance
  • Lowest Swing Weight & Fastest Swing Speed In the Louisville Slugger Line of bats
Cons
  • So far, the 2018 USABat 618 Solo only comes as a drop 11.
  • Slight sting on mishits as is expected for one-piece bats
  • The 618 is notoriously hard to find. Do not hesitate to snag yourself one when you get the chance.

22018 Rawlings Quatro USA Baseball Bat

Rawlings 2018 Quatro Composite USA Baseball Bat
Rawlings has managed to put out yet another great bat. This time it’s the 2018 Rawlings Quatro USABat bat.

If you are looking for a two-piece composite youth bat, the Quatro is a USA-made, USA certified bat that comes highly recommended by us. This is a drop 10 bat ranging between 28 through to 32 inches.

The Quatro features a carbon-fiber composite barrel that does well to dampen sting & vibration, as well as provide a smooth feel. The Quatro also has a new lightweight end cap to reduce swing weight.

From an aesthetic perspective, we love the bright colors and the cool graphics.

Takeaways from hitting with The Quatro is that it has a nice feel to it, with decent pop (not too great compared to previous BPF 1.15 models) and NO sting/vibration in the hands when hitting. The grip on the bat is excellent, and it has a huge barrel to boot.

The Quatro is a well balanced and suitable for players who prefer bats with a lighter swing owing to its end cap designed to reduce swing weight.

In conclusion, if you the price is not an issue you should definitely check out the 2018 Rawlings USABat Quatro. We are huge fans of the Quatro and genuinely believe that you’ll love this bat too.

Pros
  • Smooth feel
  • Great looking bat – cool graphics
  • No sting/vibration
  • Lightweight
  • Huge barrel
Cons
  • Requires breaking in
  • One of the more expensive USA bats on sale

3DeMarini Voodoo -10 USA Baseball Bat

DeMarini 2018 Voodoo USA Baseball Bat
DeMarini is back for the 2018 season with the Demarini Voodoo, a drop 10, a two-piece, hybrid bat. The Demarini Voodoo is one of the best baseball bats in the game for a good reason.

DeMarini’s naming system for their Voodoo line of bats doesn’t scream creativity. However, each bat in the Voodoo line is starkly different, in spite of their naming system.

In this review, we cover the DeMarini Voodoo USA bat, NOT the DeMarini Voodoo One. The Voodoo one is a one-piece bat, unlike the Voodoo which comes as a two-piece bat. The Voodoo is more expensive than the One, and rightfully so.

The Voodoo’s X14 Alloy barrel employs variable wall thickness to give a lightweight swing, strength, precision and a smooth feel.

This year, DeMarini upgraded the connective piece. The new design (now called the 3-Fusion, away from last year’s D-Fusion). The new design removes unnecessary weight from the connective piece for faster swing speeds more control through the zone.
Additionally, the 100% composite handle reduces vibration in the hands to help transfer the energy back into the barrel.

The Voodoo comes highly recommended to any player looking for one of the best USA bats of 2018. We wish the Voodoo had a larger barrel, but you can’t have everything. If you are looking for a drop 10 bat and don’t mind paying extra for great performance, the DeMarini Voodoo One may very well be the bat for you.

Pros
  • Great pop compared to the other USA bats we’ve tested. We feel that this bat is the closest thing to the old 1.15 models
  • Smooth feel.
  • Zero sting in the hands for the entire testing period.
Cons
  • This bat is only available in a -10

4Louisville Slugger Select 718 USA Baseball Bat

Louisville Slugger Select 718 USA Baseball Bat
Louisville Slugger 718 is a two-piece, hybrid bat that is slightly end loaded. This bat deserves its spot on this list, and of all 2018 youth bats we tested, the Louisville Slugger 718 is one of, if not the best USA bats of 2018.

The alloy barrel coupled with the 100% composite handle and the new Speed Ballistic end cap all work in unison to make a bat that’s powerful, has a decent swing speed and is engineered to eliminate bat sting.

Technically, the Louisville Slugger 718 is a 3-piece bat. This is a hybrid bat that has a composite handle, a Tru3 connective piece, and an aluminum barrel.
The Tru3 connective piece does well to dampen sting. And it genuinely does a fantastic job of it. There was absolutely zero sting, even on mishits when we tested it. It felt almost impossible for it to sting your hands. We’re not saying that it can’t happen, it just didn’t happen throughout our rigorous testing period.

Note: The 718 USA Baseball Bat has the same construction as it’s BBCOR counterpart.

Despite not having the biggest barrel compared to rival composite USABats in the market, we still managed to pull out some of the best exit speeds of any bat in the USABat space.

Having hit with the best USA bats 2018 has to offer, The Louisville Slugger 718 is a solid choice. It has a smooth feel, is hot out of the wrapper, and has no sting whatsoever on mishits (This has been a common complaint about the Easton USA Bats). This bat has an incredibly smooth feel and the best pop for a USA bat.

Pros
  • Has what we think is the best pop of all the USA bats we have used so far
  • The 718 is a lot more forgiving on mishits – No sting in the hands, which is a complaint in the Ghost X and the Beast X Hybrid
  • Comes pre-wrapped in custom Lizard Skins grip for that is comfortable and provides in control through the zone.
  • This is a beautiful looking bat
  • Hot out of the wrapper and requires no breaking in
Cons
  • Its end loaded build may be a problem to some
  • Pop – As mentioned earlier, USA bats have less pop than last year’s options
  • Expensive for a hybrid bat

52018 Axe Elite USA Baseball Bat

Axe Bat 2018 ELITE Hybrid USABat Baseball Bat
The Axe Bat brings out 3 all-new USA bats this season. The 3 sizes include a drop 3 BBCOR, drop 5 and 8 USSSA 2 5/8 and a drop 5 2 5/8 USABat.

When it comes to batting technology & price the Elite is way ahead and is easily the most advanced USABat on the market right now.

This is an end loaded, drop 5, traditional two-piece hybrid bat with a composite end cap and aluminum barrel. All these features add up to provide a bat that comes hot out of the wrapper, with a smooth feel of a two-piece bat to boot.

The Elite is an end loaded bat built with a heavier swing meant for a niche market of players i.e bigger, stronger, elite hitters who prefer the feel of a two-piece bat.

This bat employs the patented Axe ergonomic design handle for better control. Additionally, Axe bats have asymmetric oval-shaped end caps allows for better bat control for harder, more consistent plays. The logic behind this is that the way the knob is shaped only allows hitting with one side of the barrel. This, in turn, means that because engineers know where impact with the ball will occur, they can cut unnecessary volume & weight off the opposite non-hitting side of the barrel, resulting in improved balance and maximum bat speed.

This design is present on all Axe performance bats for 2018, including the Axe Elite.

The Axe Hyperwhip end cap (found on every Axe Elite bat for 2018) removes any extra weight from the end of the bat to provide for a faster swing, bigger barrel, and a larger sweet spot.

This bat is a work of art. From how it feels in your hands, to how it looks and how it performs. The design of the handle feels great, and totally eliminates sting.

The 2018 Axe Elite USABat has unique features that provide a unique swing, of all the bats we’ve reviewed here.

The bottom-line: The Elite is a two-piece hybrid bat with a composite end cap and aluminum barrel. Which makes for a bat that is hot out of the wrapper and has a smooth feel.

Pros
  • Ergonomic handle for increased bat control, speed and comfort
  • End Loaded for more power – recommended for power hitters
  • HyperWhip Composite End Cap to reduce weight and increase swing speed
  • Huge sweet spot & decent pop for a USA bat.
Cons
  • The Elite is very niche. The bat is end loaded with a heavier swing meant bigger, stronger, elite hitters.

62018 Easton Ghost X USA Baseball Bat

Unsurprisingly, we have another USABat from Easton on the list. This time it’s the Easton Ghost X, a two-piece, fully composite baseball bat.

The Mako is no longer, and the Easton Ghost X is a worthy successor. We genuinely believe that Easton has hit a home run with this bat, despite this being the first USA Bat they’ve made. We love most things about it from its feel, its pop.

We have found few faults with the Ghost X, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if this bat made it to every “best USA bat list of 2018”. One of the key reasons for this would be because Easton makes a number of sizes for this bat (drop 10, drop 8, drop 5).

The Easton Ghost X ticks every box. This bat has one of the largest barrels in the USABat space and feels super smooth even on mishits. Keeping in mind that this is also a balanced bat, makes this a laudable achievement.

Despite this being their first shot at the USABat standard, Easton has definitely hit a home run.

As far as build goes, the 2018 Ghost X and 2017 Mako Beast bear many of the same features. They both come as two-piece composite bats and both sport a huge barrel and light swing weight.

However, there are some things that are worth mentioning that set the Ghost X apart from the Mako.

Easton’s x-tended barrel design allows for one of the larger sweet spots in the game, and for more power. The In addition, the Ghost X sports a barrel just as big as the MAKO. Considering the MAKO Beast had one of the biggest barrels in 2017 then you can be sure that the barrel is huge.
This bat also has a new connective piece called the ConneXion+ (previously known as the CXN) meant to enhance feel and reduce vibration in the handle. We don’t think the Ghost lives up to this claim. Hitting with anything but the sweet spot is downright painful.

Pros
  • Comes in a wide array of sizes (drop 10, drop 8, drop 5). We love that it comes in a drop 5.
  • One of the biggest barrels in the USABat space
  • Comes from a reputable company with a pedigree of great bats
  • Balanced swing
Cons
  • Expensive. Eye wateringly so.
  • Requires to be broken in
  • Two-piece bats are not as durable as one-piece bats
  • Lots of sting in the hands, on mishits

 

Choosing the best youth baseball bat can be daunting. Where do you even begin??

There’s so much to take in with all the baseball bat brands, lengths, weights, and materials the bats are made from… it’s a lot!

Choosing the best youth baseball bat could mean the difference that makes your child a great slugger.

The top youth baseball bat brands are Easton, DeMarini and Marucci. We make it easier for parents by putting together a comprehensive list of the best youth baseball bat reviews.

You can easily tell youth baseball bats apart from regular baseball bats owing to their distinct dimensions & features. Your regular youth baseball bat is lighter and has a 2 ¼ inch barrel with a length to weight ratio of between -8 and -13.5.

Now that you have a list of the best youth baseball bats, let’s learn a little about them and how they are different from each other.

Here’s what you need to know when selecting a youth baseball bat:

  • Length ranges from 26″ inches to 32″ inches.
  • Youth baseball bats have a 2 1/4″ inch barrel diameter.
  • The length to weight ratio (known as drop), ranges between -7 to -13. Drop is calculated as weight – length.
  • Make sure to check with your League’s rules and regulations for required certification stamps.

Below, you’ll find bat’s for every hitter below 14 years old. Looking for other types bats? Read up on our best youth big barrel bats

HOW TO PICK THE BEST YOUTH BASEBALL BAT OF 2018

The single most important consideration for choosing the best youth baseball bat for you is to pick a bat you’re going to be comfortable using. Here are a few factors that’ll help you reach this decision.

Think about these things when choosing the best youth baseball bat

  • The league you/your player is in and its regulations
  • The age, height and weight of the player
  • The Size and weight of the bat – This greatly affects how the player hits & swings , their batting stance and ultimately their swing speed
  • The bat’s weight to length ratio (The drop)
  • The price of the bat
  • Life span of the bat
  • Type of material the bat is made of

BPF 1.15

What is BPF 1.15? BPF stands for Bat Performance Factor. BPF was implemented by the USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) to safeguard players against excessive dangerous bat speed.Youth baseball bats MUST meet this standard to be approved for play, and usually have the “1.15 BPF” stamped on them.

All the bats in our review meet this standard. If you aren’t sure of youth baseball league rules, be sure to speak with your coach.

As of January 1, 2018, USA Baseball will be using a new method to measure bat performance. Read about it this new method.

Youth baseball bats range quite a bit in price, with bats costing from as low as $50 till a surprising $300. Popular brands include manufacturers such as Easton, Marruci and DeMarini.

Price

When looking for the best youth baseball bat, what do you consider more important? Are you looking for value or are you okay spending top dollar?

Baseball bats differ quite a bit in price. Tee ball bats cost as little as $30. Certain bats can even cost upwards of $250!

League/Association

Buying a youth baseball bat is a huge purchase. Before you even start to do research on the best youth baseball bat to pick, make sure you find out the rules and regulations of the league your child will be playing in.

Different leagues such as the Little League, Pony Ball, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Dixie, Dizzy Dean, USSSA, NFHS all have their own regulations. Here’s a breakdown of youth bat rules in different leagues.

It is not unheard of for a parent to fork out for the price of the best youth baseball bat, only to find out that league rules do not allow for the bat to be used.

Weight & Length

The weight of a baseball bat is measured by comparing it to its length. This figure, known as the drop. The higher the number, the lighter the bat is.

To measure this, subtract the weight(ounces) of the baseball bat from its length(inches).

Take for instance a 27 inch long bat. If this bat weighs 15 ounces, this bat is then considered to be a “-12” bat.

Baseball leagues have safety rules that require baseball bats to have a drop between -7 and -13.5. The lower the drop, the higher the bat speed.

Taller hitters need longer bats, while a heavier bats can be used by strong hitters.

General recommendation however, is to pick a bat that is easy to use and control. However, pick a bat that has some mass, because this makes it easier to hit the ball with some power behind it.

Bat Sizing Chart

To fight the best youth baseball bat for you, follow these 3 easy steps:

  • Find your weight range(in pounds) on the left side of the chart
  • Find your height range(in pounds) on the top of the chart
  • Trace down from your height & weight range until the point they meet in the middle. That is your ideal bat size.

Please Note: This chart only serves as a guideline. Finding the best youth baseball bat for you ultimately boils down to your personal preference, your strength and weight, and hitting style.

Try out with different bats until you find the best youth bat for you!

How To Care For Your Youth Baseball Bat

How to break-in your Youth baseball Bat

If you intend on getting yourself an aluminium youth baseball bats, you do not require to break it in. These bats work perfectly right out of the box.

With Composite Youth Baseball Bats however, you’ll need around 120 to 200 hits to get the bat to perform at its peak. Newer models do provide much better performance now right out of the box. When breaking in a composite youth baseball bat, start off at half your hitting power and gradually increase over time as your hit count goes up.

Rotate your bat ever so slightly with every couple of hits to make sure your bat gets broken in evenly.

What Is The Best Temperature For Your Youth Bat?

It is widely believed that  Composite Youth bats are more sensitive to temparature changes than most other bats out there.

While we haven’t found a maximum temperature above which you shouldn’t use your bat, manufacturers have their own suggestions on the minimum temperature at which to use your bat.  However, as a rule of thumb, do not use your youth baseball bat in environments under 55 degrees fahrenheit.

Fun fact: Composite youth baseball bats have an increased pop in higher temperatures

How To Clean Your Youth Baseball Bat

After repeated use of your youth baseball bat, scuffs and marks on the bat start to show. Some may want to keep the bat dirty as a sign of all the battles their bat has won or lost. Sometimes however, you want your bat to look as good as new.

Everyone has their “best trick” to clean their bats e.g soap & water. Some unfortunately aren’t as effective. One sure fire way to ensure your bat is alwats sparkling clean is to use Magic Eraser. Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean is an inexpensive yet incredibly effective way to clean your bat in no time. Check out the video below for a demo on how to clean your baseball bat

More Youth Baseball Bat Tips

  • Do not overuse your game bat in the batting cage. Save it for game days to avoid excessive wear and tear.
  • Not everyone should use the same bat. Breaking a bat is a very real possibility, and the less hits there are on the bat, the less likely it is to break.
  • Dimpled balls will ruin your bat. Steer clear.
  • Your bat should not be used to knock dirt from your cleats. This will damage it.
  • When using a wood baseball bat, ensure you swing with the bat’s label facing you. This is meant to safeguard against breaking your wood bat.

Conclusion

When choosing the best youth baseball bat, remember to consider various factors before making your choice. Factors such as the league you/your player is in and its regulations , the age/height/weight of your youth player, the drop of the bat in question, it’s size & weight, the material the bat is made out of, and lastly, the price of the bat, all influence your final pick.

Make sure you’re comfortable with the size of the youth baseball bat you choose. Preference is another factor that isn’t given enough importance.

For young players just beginning their journey in baseball, this is especially key. Pay attention to your hitters style.

Do they prefer to stand closer to the plate? Or do they prefer standing away from it and extending their swing? Do they prefer inside or outside pitches?

These questions will help you answer questions when looking at the taper of the bat. The taper refers to how soon the bat goes into the handle. A sharp taper is preferred by hitters who extend their swing.

Keep in mind that heavier bats give you more power, whereas lighter bats offer you more control and increase your batting speed.

At the end of the day, a one-solution-fits-all does not exist. Try out several bats before making your final choice. Happy Selecting! 🙂

4 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here