We’ve taken the hassle out of picking the best USA bat 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.
In our review, we cover the best USA bats of 2019, as well as provide a comprehensive buyer’s guide for parents, players and anyone else who’s puzzled about the USABat standard.
We believe that these are quite simply the best youth baseball bats for the money.
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.
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
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
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.
22018 Rawlings Quatro 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.
3DeMarini Voodoo -10 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.
4Louisville 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.
52018 Axe Elite USA 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.
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.
Everything You Need to Know About the USABat Standard
The new USABat rules have lots of people scratching their heads. Parents, players, manufacturers, retailers alike. Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the new USA Baseball bat standard.
As of January 1, 2018, the new USABat standard was effected. As a result, all youth baseball bats 14 and under require bats (excluding USSSA youth baseball leagues) are expected to bear a USABat label on them.
Any bats currently on the market with a 1.15BPF stamp will not be allowed. So if you’re in the market for a new youth bat, ensure your bat is USABat approved.
If you’re not sure or if it does not CLEARLY say it on the bat, get in touch with the seller. Additionally, be sure to check with your coach to confirm which rules apply. Doing this may save you from buying the wrong bat and potentially losing hundreds of dollars.
Which National Organizations Have Been Affected by the New Bat Standard?
The National organizations affected by this change include:
- American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC)
- Little League Baseball
- Babe Ruth League
- Cal Ripken Baseball
- PONY Baseball
- American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC)
- Dixie Youth Baseball
- Dixie Baseball (Boys & Majors)
Any bat that doesn’t bear the USABat certification mark will not be allowed for use in the national organizations listed above.
However, please note that:
- USSSA Baseball and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) will not be affected by the new USABat standard.
- USSSA will not be making the switch to the new USABat rule and will continue to use the 1.15BPF standard.
Why Has Usa Baseball Implemented This New Standard?
According to USA Baseball, the new rules are meant to make the game “more uniform,” improve player safety, while ensuring “the long-term integrity of the game.”
This new change reminds me of the BESR to BBCOR transition that was implemented in 2011 to high school and collegiate bats.
The term BBCOR stands for “Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution.” This is a standard that is meant to govern the amount of energy that is lost when the bat comes in contact with the ball. BBCOR limits this to a maximum value of .50. The primary purpose was to increase player safety by reducing the speed of batted balls by up to 5% compared to the BESR standard.
While the primary objective of the USABat change does not address player safety directly, we believe that these changes will positively impact player safety in youth leagues.
USA Baseball is aiming for a more “wood like” feel, by reducing ball exit speeds by 10%. This way, batted balls come off the barrel slower, which limits the damage a baseball can cause.
The conversation around player safety in youth baseball isn’t new. In the last decade, baseball has had the highest fatality rate among 5 to 14-year-olds.
Along with the emphasis on player safety, we believe that the adoption of a “wood-like” performance bat will have 2 outcomes:
- Because USABats have much less pop, it may place greater emphasis on skill rather than bat technology. Players then have the opportunity to hone their craft, putting less focus on bat technology and instead focusing more on player technique and strength.
- However, because the new USA Baseball bats have been engineered to have less pop, they are expected to reduce the long ball. Youth players will have to deal with fewer home runs as a result.
It’s not all bad news, though. The bigger barrel which goes up to 2 5/8 inches in diameter will increase contact with the ball which we think is excellent – every kid wants a hit!
What Is New About the USA Baseball Bats?
While we can’t exactly say if switching to the USA Baseball bats makes things better or worse, it does make a difference.
The new USA bats have significantly less pop owing to the reduced trampoline effect. These bats have been designed to perform more like wood bats. USA Baseball believes that this wood-like performance is what’s best for the integrity and the future of the sport.
Here are the most notable changes:
Unlike the drop 3 length-to-weight ratio for BBCOR bats, USABats will not have a drop weight limit.
Drop weight is calculated as the difference between the bat’s length (in inches) and weight (in ounces) of the bat. So a bat that is 32 inches in length and weighs 22 oz is a drop 10 bat aka a -10 bat. Bats with bigger drop weights are lighter and vice versa.
The rules around barrel size have changed as well. Previously, youth leagues did not allow bats with barrels over 2 ¼” in diameter.
Now, though, barrels up to 2 5/8” in diameter will be allowed for use under the new standard. So players can use 2 1/4 inch or 2 5/8 inch barrel bats as long as they bear the USABat Stamp.
Do Tee Ball Bats Need to Be Certified?
Yes. Under the new USABat standard, tee ball bats (26 inches in length or shorter) need to have a USABat sticker that reads “ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS” order to be legal for use in leagues that adhere to the new standard.
Tee ball bats don’t need to undergo the stringent testing required for youth baseball bats or BBCOR bats.
If you bought your tee ball bat before the new standards were implemented, worry not. You can buy a USABat certified tee ball bat, OR you can buy a sticker via the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program to use on your current tee ball bat – This will make the bat compliant under the new standard.
The USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program is a program that enables you to use your tee ball bat if it was manufactured before the new USABat standard. You do not need a sticker if your tee ball bat already features the USA Baseball mark.
Get your sticker directly through USA Baseball here: USABaseballShop.com.
- USABats went on sale on September 1st, 2017. Every USABat approved bat MUST bear the USABat label on it.
- The new rules are geared towards maintaining the integrity of youth baseball by mimicking a wood-like performance.
- The new USA Bat rule affects AABC, Dixie, Little League, Babe Ruth / Cal Ripken, and PONY.
- USSSA will not adopt the rule change but will allow bats that bear the new USA Bat stamp as long as the bats conform to the league’s requirements, e.g. drop weight, barrel diameter, material specs, etc
- AAU will NOT adopt the rule change.
- Unlike BBCOR bats, USABat bats will not have a drop weight limit.
- Players are allowed to use a bat with a barrel diameter of either 2 1/4 inch or 2 5/8 inch, as long as it carries the USABat stamp.
While safety has not been cited as the primary reason for the switch to the USABat standard, this change is a win for players, coaches and parents alike.
We at The Bat Nerds are huge fans of anything that keeps kids safe on the field, and the reduced batted ball exit speeds will definitely keep players safe.
How To Pick The Best Youth Baseball Bat – A Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the best youth baseball bat can be daunting. Where do you even begin??
There’s so much to take in. From the different baseball bat brands, lengths, weights, and materials the bats are made from… it’s a lot!
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
- Age, height, and weight of the player
- 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)
- Price of the bat
- The life span of the bat
- Type of material the bat is made of
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!
Buying a youth bat is a huge purchase. Before you even start to do research on the best one, 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.
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.
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! 🙂