How To's, Gear Guides, Softball

Softball Buying Guide: Best Softball Bats & Gloves

New to softball? Well, good news: you’ve come to the right place. Starting a new sport can be intimidating, especially when it comes time to buy your gear. Read on to learn more about how to choose the correct softball bat for your size, the best glove for your position, and more.

Softball Bat Sizing Guide

Most coaches and seasoned softball players will recommend you choose your bat size based off of your height and weight. Using the chart below, find the bat length in inches that correlates to your height and weight.

Softball_batlength

There are several other things you can try at home to help you determine which bat is the best length for you.

  • Test #1: Grab a tape measure and hold one arm straight out and perpendicular to your torso. Measure from the middle of your chest to the tip of your index finger. Use the resulting measurement (in inches) to inform your bat purchasing decision.

  • Test #2: If you’ve already purchased a bat, a good way to double check that it’s the right size for you is to hold it out perpendicularly from your body, with the knob positioned on the center of your chest. If you can reach your arm out completely straight and grasp the barrel of the bat, it’s a good size for you.

What is Bat Drop?

You’ll notice one of the other specs on a bat is its “drop.” Drop weight refers to the difference between a bat’s length and its weight. The equation to determine bat drop is as follows: (Bat length in inches) - (bat weight in ounces) = Drop weight

Here are the recommended bat drops for each age group:

Bat Certification

Most leagues have rules for what kinds of bats you can and can’t use. It’s
best to check with your coach or your league officials to determine which classification of bat you’re allowed (or not allowed) to use. For example, USSSA bats are not allowed in ASA leagues, and vice-versa -- that is, unless the bat you’re using has a dual stamp. The five main governing bodies for fastpitch softball are: the Amateur Softball Association (ASA), the United States Specialty Sports Association** (USSSA), the Independent Softball Association (ISA), the National Softball Association (NSA), and the International Softball Federation (ISF).

Bat Material

Now that you’ve got your bat length and drop all squared away, it’s time to discuss material. There are several main options you can choose from: composite, alloy or a hybrid bat made from a combination of these materials. There are several advantages and key differences between a composite and an alloy bat.

Composite:
Composite bats are made up of layers of material, most often carbon fiber. It’s easy to distribute weight within a composite bat, which allows composite bats to come in a variety of swing weights -- including balanced, or end-loaded.
- Pros of Composite Bats:
1. Reduced vibration, resulting in minimized sting from mis-hits
2. Larger sweet spots

Alloy:
Alloy is a mixture of two or more metals, and is a common option for fastpitch bats.
- Pros of Alloy Bats:

  1. Stiff feel throughout the swing zone
  2. More durable than composite bats

Best Fastpitch Softball Bats of 2020

If you're the type of athlete who always wants to use the top gear on the market, we understand. It's hard to resist the best of the best! Here's our roundup of the best fastpitch bats for the 2019-20 season.

  1. Louisville Slugger 2019 PXT X19
  2. DeMarini CF Insane
  3. Marucci BL26 CATFX
  4. Louisville Slugger Xeno X19
  5. DeMarini Carbon Candy
  6. Easton Prowess
  7. DeMarini 2020 Prism
  8. Louisville Slugger LXT X20
  9. Easton Ghost 2020
  10. Rawlings 2020 Quatro Pro

Softball Glove Sizing Guide

We hope our suggestions have you feeling more confident about making a bat purchase. Now, onto your glove options. Just like in baseball, softball players will use different styles of gloves depending on which position they play. Regardless of your position, you'll need to know what size glove to use. Our softball glove sizing charts below outline our basic recommendations based on age and position.

Fastpitch Glove Sizing Chart
Softball_FastpitchGlove

Slowpitch Glove Sizing Chart
Softball_SlowpitchGlove

Best Fastpitch Softball Gloves of 2020

  1. Rawlings Liberty Advanced Series
  2. Mizuno Premier GPM1404
  3. Rawlings Sure Catch Series
  4. Easton Ghost
  5. Wilson A1000

Best Slowpitch Gloves of 2020

  1. Easton Salvo Elite
  2. Mizuno Premier
  3. Miken Koalition (KO) Series
  4. DeMarini Diablo Series
  5. Wilson A360 Series