There comes a point in every softball player’s life where buying a better bat makes sense. A good quality bat can add distance in the hands of those that know how to harness it. It does need to be noted, however, that we don’t really recommend a new bat to fix bad swing mechanics. If your player is struggling with hitting the ball, getting lots of pop-ups or weak grounders, then a bat will most likely not help much. In that case, you may want to look into a personal hitting coach or some online lessons such as The Hitting Vault or Line Drive Nation.
Now, if you or your player has good swing mechanics then it may be the perfect time to upgrade the bat. Bat technology is constantly improving and girls are always growing so the need to move up and upgrade will be a constant throughout any player’s lifetime.
Most of you will probably know about bat drop, the materials, and sizing but just in case you are new to this here is a quick overview to help out! If you want, you can skip this and scroll straight past to see our 2021 fastpitch softball bat recommendations.
FYI: If you’re looking to save some $$$ on a new bat, make note of the fact that a few of the bat manufacturers (Demarini, Louisville Slugger) have Bat Day in the fall where they mark their last year’s models bats down a large percentage!! You have to be quick as it’s only 1 day and some of the bats move fast, but you can catch bats at really low prices compared to usual.
This is a number (referred to as “drop 11”, “drop 12”, “drop 10″ etc..) that is calculated by taking the length of the bat and subtracting the weight. For instance, a 30” bat that weighs 20 oz would be considered a “drop 10” bat. As a side note, you may also see it written as “-10” instead of “drop 10”.
When bat shopping, we like to consider the bigger drops like “drop 13” for newer hitters or hitters that aren’t quite as strong in their arms, whereas a smaller drop number bat could be handled a bit better by a girl that has more powerful arms.
Composite bats and Alloy bats are the two main types of materials you will see used in fastpitch softball. Each has its own advantages for why you would pick one over the other.
Composite Bats – Composite bats are made by layering material (usually carbon fiber) to form the bat. When a composite bat is being made, the maker can distribute the materials in such a way that it makes the bat more balanced, or they may make it end loaded where more of the weight is at the end of the barrel. A composite bat will usually have less sting than an alloy bat when you mis-hit a ball.
Composite bats also typically have a larger sweet spot (due to being able to stretch the barrel longer than an alloy barrel) and introduce more pop when hit squarely. One thing to note is that composite bats are not really suitable for use in temperatures under 60 degrees according to most industry standards. The problem arises more from the ball becoming denser in cold weather and it causes more stress on the bat. This is one great reason to also carry an alloy bat as they can handle colder temperatures a bit better (they still are susceptible to damage in the cold though, just not quite as much as composite).
One downside to composites is that they often don’t perform as well right out of the wrapper and don’t really have that “pop” until after being broke in.
Alloy Bats – Alloy bats are very suitable for fastpitch softball so don’t overlook them. Many players prefer them over composite bats.
One pro of an alloy bat is that it is often cheaper than a composite bat. They also are hot out of the wrapper which means you’re good to go as soon as opening it.
Alloy bats are more durable than composite bats. As stated above, alloy bats also handle colder weather better than composite. I will say it again though that they are not immune to damage in cold weather as it’s the denser ball that is the problem.
We have to give Lousiville slugger some credit. When it comes to a bat sizing guide they have come up with a really simple one using height and weight that we recommend checking out. Understand that this guide is just that, a guide. It’s not set in stone. Testing these bats out in person (if possible) is a best-case scenario to find the best bat for your player.
To check out Lousiville’s Slugger’s Bat sizing guide for softball click HERE.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to make sure that you are purchasing a bat with the correct stamps on it that you will need for the league the bat will be used in.
And with that, here is our list of best bats for the 2021 season and beyond. Hope you enjoy it!
BEST FASTPITCH SOFTBALL BAT FOR YOUNG PLAYERS (OR THOSE THAT STRUGGLE WITH HEAVIER BATS)
Dudley Lighting Lift Composite Fastpitch Softball Bat
We honestly love this bat! It is perfect for the newer player or even for a player that may not quite have the arm strength to swing a heavier bat. There are very few composites out there that are drop 13 (also seen as “-13”) and this one fits the bill perfectly. One of our own daughters is on her 2nd one of these. She just doesn’t have the strength to hold up the -11’s like her sister did at that age and this one works great for her. Another great thing about this bat is the price. It’s usually half the price of many of the other bats you see used at this age, but will still put those to shame with the right girl and proper swing mechanics. Do not overlook this bat!
MOST UNDERRATED BAT
If we had to have one pick for a “sleeper” bat, this would be it. You rarely see this bat out in the wild, but almost everyone we’ve heard from has had nothing but positive comments on this bat. No, Mizuno is not near as popular as many of the other ones, but they do still make great products and this bat is one of them.
BEST COMPOSITE BAT (BATS)
I’m sure some of you get tired of seeing certain bats make these lists year after year. It just so happens that the CF line from Demarini is still coming in hot and doing its job. Take your pick from the 2019, 2020, or 2021 models. You can’t really go wrong with any of them and honestly, we have no problem buying a past year’s model and saving a few bucks, but we won’t hold it against you if you like sporting the newest model. All these Demarini’s here will end up having great pop once you get it broken in. There is a reason you see so many of these being used, it’s because they work!
This is the bat that finally made my oldest daughter quit swinging her CF Zen. I’m not saying the CF Zen is a bad bat, but she LOVES this LXT. The sound of this bat (in my opinion) is beautiful. The looks are amazing and according to her, it feels terrific. Having said that, I feel like it is very equivalent to the Demarini CF line and comes down more to what the player prefers after practicing with both.
Ok, just look up “the hottest bat” in most any facebook softball group and you will see Easton Ghost on repeat. Consensus has it that the Easton Ghost is one sweet bat to own. And Easton finally made this dual stamp so no more having a bat that only works in USSSA or ASA. This bat though is bittersweet. The sweet side is that it’s a super hot bat and from what I understand really pushing the envelope in technology. The bitter part is that there are quite a few stories of this bat cracking or breaking. When you get this bat you need to expect that there’s a possibility it will crack, however until that point it will most likely be one of, if not THE hottest bat you have ever swung.
BEST ALUMINUM BAT
BEST -12 ALLOY (YOUNGER PLAYERS)
Anderson has made a name for itself in the alloy industry. This bat is great for younger players needing the drop 12 advantage. I will go as far as saying I wouldn’t hesitate to use this bat for 8u or 10u year-round, but especially in colder months.
BEST -9 ALLOY (OLDER PLAYERS)
As stated above Anderson seems to really be on top of the alloy mountain when it comes to bat design. Many of the older players may carry 2 bats instead of one. If you’re looking for that 2nd bat that can be your go-to for cold-weather games, then I wouldn’t look any farther than this bat. You can’t go wrong with the Rocketechs.
Do not just take our word on all of these bats. When it comes down to it there is no better way to know if you’re going to like a bat than by swinging it. If you can find a place to go that sells many of these models then I would go there and put whatever bat through its motions before spending any money. But, I understand that not everyone has that type of store to find all these bats in one spot so I get it if you have to bypass that step. We don’t really have this in our area and almost every single bat we have ordered has been either through Amazon or directly from the manufacturer. I will not hold it against you if you don’t get to swing them as we have done the same in the past as well.
We hope that this list helps you narrow down your choices to some of the better performing bats and saved you time in the hunt for the best fastpitch softball bat for 2021!