When girls hit the 7, 8 and 9 year old range they can really start benefiting from a decent bat. With all the options on the market, how is one to know what bat is better than the rest? We here at SoftballGalaxy.com have decided to narrow down the field a bit for you.
Just to make it clear, we firmly believe that the best way to find the right bat is by swinging it. If your interested in a bat you see on here, try and find somewhere local to demo the bat before purchasing it.
When buying your 8U daughter a new bat, you first need to decide what size and type of bat she should be swinging. There are a few things you need to consider when looking for the right softball bat.
-Bat Type (Material)
When buying a bat, if you get a bat that is too long it can sometimes be very difficult for your child to swing. On the opposite end, you don’t want a bat that is too short for your child either. A good rule of thumb to remember is that a child under 60 pounds will usually do best with a bat between 26″-29″ and a child over 60 pounds will do best with a bat between 28″-32″. For a child just starting out, if they are in the 3′-3’4″ height range then 26″ is a good starting length for their first bat. For every 4-5″ that they grow, you should add 1″ to their bat length.
After you have figured out the proper length bat for you child, the next thing you should consider is weight of the bat. A bat that is too heavy will cause a much slower “draggy” swing with poor control that results in bad contact or all out strikes. When looking at bats, you will notice that many bats won’t show the actual weight but instead will show the drop weight. The drop weight is the difference between the length of the bat and the weight of the bat. In other words LENGTH – WEIGHT = DROP WEIGHT. For example, a bat that is 27″ and a weight of 17oz would have a drop weight of -10. For 6U and 8U players you will most likely be looking at bats with a (-13.5)-(-10) drop with the consideration that their bat is between 24″-29″.
Every league has their own rules regarding what is and isn’t allowed pertaining to equipment. When it comes to bats, the manufacturer stamps the bats with the logo of whatever certification that bat has. If you’re not sure if the bat you’re looking at is approved for your league then you should check with the coaches or read the league’s rule book to make sure the bat you are considering is allowed before purchasing it.
Bat Type (Material)
There are 3 main types of softball bats, when it comes to the material they are made out of. Alloy bats, Composite bats and Hybrids bats which are basically a mix of the two with the handle being composite and the barrels being alloy. Here we will show a few pros and cons of each material to help you decide which bat will work best for your child.
Usually much less expensive than composite bats
Ready to use at purchase, no break in required
Often outlasts a composite bat since they usually don’t crack (instead they dent). A composite bat is unusable once cracked.
Alloy usually has a smaller sweet spot and less pop than a composite bat
Less sting on your hands from mis-hit balls due to the reduced vibration in these bats
Larger sweet spot and more pop than an alloy bat
Bats require a break-in period
More expensive than alloy bats
– Hybrid Pros
Usually cost less than a full composite bat
No break in period
Less sting and vibration due to the composite handle
Longer barrel life than a composite (due to the barrel end being alloy)
Costs more than a full alloy bat
Handle can be susceptible to cracking
Below you will find our 5 favorite bats for the 8U age group. In the end one of the main decision makers should be your daughter. What bat does she like? What feels good to her? What bat looks the best to her? If she walks up to the plate with confidence that the bat she carries is going to help her get a great hit, then it just may do that. She may not need any of these bats below. Let her swing her friend’s bats and see which one feels good to her. Bring her to the sporting goods store and let her swing some. Ultimately, she should be the big deciding factor in which bat she ends up with.
1. Demarini Bustos
The Demarini Bustos is great 2 piece bat put out by one of the best bat companies in the market. One great thing about this bat is you’re not going to break the bank for a bat that has a proven track record. The Bustos shows up in a lot of kids bat bags for the reason that they just love these very light drop 13 bats that get the job done! Another plus is that with the composite handle there should be less sting at contact, and we all know how important that can be to some of these little ones!
2. Dudley Lightning Lift (not to be confused with the Dudley Lightning Lite)
The Dudley Lightning Lift showed up on our very own doorstep this spring, and boy have we loved it so far! The Lightning Lift is another drop 13 bat (so extremely light), however unlike the Bustos the Lightning Lift is 100% composite. With an XL Sweetspot paired with the lightness of the full composite bat you get an amazing bat at a price point much lower than the other full composite bats that made our list.
3. Mizuno Jennie Finch
The Mizuno Jennie Finch is what we would consider the budget bat of the bunch. It’s a one piece MZ 2200+ alloy design in -13 drop. You can scour forums and message boards and see that many parents swear by this bat. We would not hesitate to recommend this bat to someone not quite ready to spend $100 or more on a new bat. Now you can use all the money you saved for very valuable batting lessons instead!
4. Demarini CFX
If you’ve ever been to any 8U tournament it’s almost guaranteed you have seen the CFX being used. It’s truly one of our favorite bats here at SoftballGalaxy.com. If you have a daughter with a great swing and you seriously want to get the best out of her efforts, then look no further than the CFX. The pop, the balance, the durability…what more could you ask for. We HIGHLY recommend this bat to the girls that take softball seriously.
5. Louisville Slugger LXT
The Louisville Slugger LXT seems to be the best alternative to Demarini’s CFX if you’re looking for a high end 8U 100% composite bat. This is one of the other bat’s you will definitely see around 8U softball tournaments and for good reasons. The LXT is an extremely balanced bat that comes pretty hot out of the wrapper. In our opinion it’s not the “prettiest” bat out there. One of our daughters actually avoided this bat due to the fact she didn’t like the way it looks. Does that mean less performance? Absolutely not, but remember…they are the ones carrying it to the plate under pressure and if they don’t feel 100% happy with their bat then it could actually affect their outcome. Despite that, this bat is still one amazing bat.