Baseball and softball players, are you looking to improve your batting and/or pitching skills? There are many ways to get practice in and one of those ways is a batting cage. Before you buy a batting cage, you need to choose indoors or outdoors, which net material is the best for outdoor use, twine size, mesh, knotted netting or knotless netting, dimensions of a batting cage, rectangle or trapezoid shape, safety, and much more. Don’t worry though, below I’m going to share with you a buying guide to help you decide which batting cage would be the one for you and after you can pick out the best for your money!
Batting cages are great for baseball and softball players to practice their batting and pitching! However, there are a few things to know before you even think about building a batting cage.
First of all, you will need permission from your city or homeowner’s association. Some won’t allow batting cages in the backyard. When you ask your city or homeowner’s association two things happen, they can either not allow it or they can require permits to build one. When you’re accepted to build one there will be height requirements depending on where you live. If you’re building the batting cage in your backyard, you might want to ask your neighbors how they feel about it. Sometimes if you forego the neighborly asking, it can cause a feud. Now it’s time to build a batting cage.
Batting Cage Comparison Chart
Is your yard big enough? Some batting cages are 30 feet, but some are 50 and 70 feet in length. Some batting cages are 12 feet tall and 14 feet wide. The smaller cages are made for smaller spaces. However, with the bigger batting cages, you can divide it into smaller sections with cage dividers if you decide.
Indoor batting cages are built in gyms or sports complexes. They can be freestanding or folding. Outdoor batting cages are built in the park, baseball stadiums, or in your backyard. They can be freestanding, concreted, staked, or anchored to the ground.
If you want your cage to serve as a pitching area, you’ll need 55 feet for a little league player and 60 feet for older players for the distance from the mound to plate. A 70-foot cage is ideal for growing room.
When it comes to making a batting cage frame, complete with poles and corner fittings, you must remember that the frame is bigger than the net. Batting cage frames need to be built to last in the weather or when hit by a ball. Galvanized steel pipes are the most durable.
The reason why I’m telling you this is because with some batting cage kits the poles to make the frame are not be included because they cost a lot to ship. If that is the case you can find your batting cage poles, connectors, and eye bolts for hanging the netting at a hardware store which can save you some money.
You might have a bit of a problem on your hands if you plan on putting the net on the outside. Some people build their batting cages with the net snug to the frame and that can lead to ricochet balls and more wear on the net and frame.
A net installed on the inside of the batting cage frame is easier to install, safer to the batter, and saves your frame from wear and tear. You need at least a foot of space from the net to a pole in order to prevent that baseball from hitting the pole and flying back at you. Ricochet balls are a problem, not often, but it can still happen.
If you put the net on the outside of the frame, you’ll need at least two feet to work with. Some 55-foot batting cage packages have the frame two feet outside of the net parameters. Again, you have to think about batting cage frame wear and tear, plus ricochet balls. You can always get an L-screen or a softball pitching screen to save yourself from getting hit with a baseball.
Now that we’re talking about nets, you have to decide on the material and it all boils down to where you plan on putting the batting cage and your practice approach. Whatever you do, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, don’t use chain link fencing or chicken wire. It can damage the fence if it’s hit hard enough, it can damage the balls too, and it may cause injury to the batter or pitcher.
The indoor setup gives you little more freedom because an outdoor net will work perfectly indoors but not the other way around. Indoor nets don’t have the means to support outside settings. Nylon, although expensive, it is the best way to go for this. Nylon has the best break strength and durability.
Outdoor nets are a little more complicated with choosing materials, you need to choose between polyethylene, KVX200, or nylon. You also have to consider which nets are given UV inhibitors to prevent the breakdown of the net in the sun.
The polyethylene material is the cheapest when compared to KVX200 and nylon. When it comes to moisture, it won’t deteriorate quickly because it doesn’t absorb water. As for UV inhibitors, most polyethylene blends don’t hold well with the sun or warmer climates. Can be for both indoor and outdoor use.
KVX200 material is stronger and costs more than polyethylene material. It is lightweight and won’t absorb water. It has the ability to withstand the sun. KVX200 has UV inhibitors built into the material. Best value for its price. Great for indoors, perfect for outdoors.
Nylon material is by far the most expensive netting material. It’s great to use indoors and the reason why is because when you use this outdoors it absorbs water like a sponge. Some manufacturers spray it with a bonding agent to avoid that, but it doesn’t stop it fully from sucking up water. Eventually, it will shrink and rot. Even though there are great break strength and durability, using nylon outdoors causes it to quickly wear down. It also loses its strength in the sun. Perfect indoors, not so much outdoors.
After you choose your material you have to decide on the mesh. There’s square mesh and diamond mesh. What’s the difference?
Diamond mesh is the cheaper one and it reduces waste netting. However, there are some problems with diamond mesh such as the way it hangs and the way it is sewn. Diamond mesh netting pulls in on the sides and doesn’t hang as straight as a square mesh. It’s diagonally sewn across the meshes, leaving an uneven border and poor seams.
Square mesh is more expensive, but it hangs straighter and the border will reach the ground. The reason why it’s so expensive to make is because there are edges to trim and it can possibly take more material to hang on a square but in the look is remarkably put together.
Knotted nets are stronger than knotless because the entire twine is looped with the adjoining twine in order to make a knot. This gives the mesh strength. A knotless netting is where some of the twine is crossed with another twine to make the mesh. This type makes a weak net.
As for twine, you have numerous options. Twine size #18 last between 2 to 3 years, it’s the minimum twine size for netting of your batting cage. Twine size #21 is decent, with adequate use this twine size can last between 4 to 5 years. Twine size #30 with adequate to heavy use can last between 4 to 6 years. Twine size #42 is used for heavy use from professional teams. Twine size #62 is used for heavy duty use and can endure severe weather.
When it comes down to twine size you have to think that the numbers describe how thick it is. A #62 will be way thicker in size than a #18! The small number equals thinner twine. Different companies sell different series and it can jumble the numbers of the sizes, but don’t assume that the model number is the twine size. For example, a 1500 series is a #12 to some companies, but most assume that it’s a #15. You won’t be sure until you ask the company which is which.
After all of these decisions, how are you setting your frame? Most batting cages have concrete or cement to keep the poles in place. If this is going in your backyard and you want it permanently you’re going to have to be willing to dig up a few holes and tear up some grass to install it. If you do make it freestanding, using only ground stakes or ground anchors, then you can easily store it during off season.
There are a few freestanding batting cages that can help but I’m going to talk about the ones that are best for the backyard; trapezoid and yard cage. Trapezoid batting cages are made for smaller backyard areas. It’s freestanding, but it requires ground anchors to withstand wind damage. It has an easy setup and an easy take down so you can store it. Yard cage is good to use in recreation areas, like the park, or in your backyard. Concrete footers are required for this model, but ground sleeves allow the poles to be removed when it’s time to store them. This type is great for the beginners and for those who are wanting to make a big investment.
That’s all there is to cover on batting cages, below are some links to help jumpstart your decision on buying a batting cage that is worth your time, yard space (if you have decided on outdoors), and money.
Batting Cage Reviews
This trapezoid batting cage is the complete package. It includes the galvanized steel poles, four-way corner connectors, three-way end connectors, ground anchors, and the #42 netting with ¼ inch border. This package is available in 35 feet, 55 feet, and 70 feet lengths. The frame, when you order this product, comes in 5 feet sections. The galvanized steel is powder coated black to prevent it from rusting. The netting is square mesh, which allows it to hang straight. There is only an internal hanging net which prevents ricochet balls. The netting is made with UV stabilization and is rot proof so it can last a long life. This trapezoid batting cage can sit on grass or concrete or any hard surface. Since it’s made for smaller surfaces, there’s a 10-foot width and 10-foot height for all three available lengths. The 35 foot and 55-foot batting cage takes only one person to assemble the cage with ease. The 70-foot batting cage takes up to two people to assemble the cage. It’s the right size for backyards and indoor facilities.
- Easy setup
- Heavy-duty, withstands strong winds without swaying
- Used for softball as well
- Thinner twine might break down easier
- Nylon Netting
This batting cage is an entire cage that includes all the things you need to make a backyard batting cage. It comes in 20 feet, 35 feet, 55 feet, and 70 feet lengths. This package has the net and solid steel poles complete with built-in ground spikes. The net is #42 polyethylene twine. The netting mesh is 1¾ inch in squares. This net is weatherproof, rot proof, and UV stabilized. The border is knotted and overlocked, making it last longer. This net is all in one piece. The poles aren’t a frame, instead, they are staked to the ground and tightened with tie cords, pegs, and ground spikes. This makes it stand 9 feet in height and 10 feet in width, plus your selected length. Poles are powder coated black and the tie cords are PVC coated. Great for outdoor use, but definitely not indoors.
- Simple to install
- Easy to take down in offseason
- Strong net
- Flimsy if it isn’t installed correctly
- Net sags up top
- No door to enter the batting cage
Here’s a net that deviates from our regular styles and it’s more of a personal trainer aid for drills and close-up batting practice. It’s an instant, portable setup that’s meant for short range batting as well as throwing. It takes only 2 minutes or less to set up and requires no tools! Ground stakes are included and can be used outdoors for added stability. Of course, since it’s portable, it’ll fit nicely in just about any car. PowerNet says it can withstand the hardest pro hits, and what’s even cooler is that it can be used as a portable backstop.
The construction features include a flexible and durable fiberglass frame and a weighted base (in addition to the ground stakes). It features a long sock-style mesh design to allow the ball to travel a bit before being stopped. That also prevents throws and hits from bouncing back off the net to potentially cause harm.
The durable and sturdy mesh combined with durable seams ensures longevity, and the height is adjustable from 27.5” – 44” (hitting height) and adjustments are made quickly and easily.
This system is used and promoted by pro players including Jose Martinez, Andrelton Simmons, Kirsti Merritt, and Kelly Kretschman.
- Way less expensive than other styles of net
- Portable and easy to use anywhere
- Very quick setup and takedown
- While nearly 75% of all users were thrilled with this (4.5/5 Amazon rating), there were isolated issues of product quality (fasteners failing, etc.) and poor customer service
This batting cage comes with a heavy-duty 2-inch steel frame with either #36 or #42 polyethylene twist-net. The package has everything needed to set up. There is the steel poles, the frame corners, self-tapping screws, and net hangers. The best thing about this set is that there are three options to secure your 55-foot batting cage frame outdoors; ground stakes, ground sleeves, or anchor plates. Ground stakes dig into the grass and dirt. Ground sleeves allow you to pour concrete is you choose. Anchor plates let you bolt the frame to an existing concrete surface. 12-foot nets and 14-foot nets will fit inside this frame. The nets are 55 feet in length, 14 feet in width, and 12 feet in height or 55 feet in length, 12 feet in width, and 12 feet in height. There are two different size twine to choose from the #36 and the #42. #42 is thicker than #36, but they both great for indoor and outdoor use, the knotted twine is able to withstand impact better, there is a door to enter and exit the batting cage with ease, both are hung in the square for a neater look, they will not shrink or absorb water, the net is treated with chemicals to protect it from outdoor elements, and the border is stitched to the net, holding its form. One year warranty.
- Easy assembly
- Durable net, making a stronger cage
- Center rope supports the ceiling of the cage
- May not have UV inhibitors
- Poles will rust because they aren’t coated
- Net sags on the ceiling
This batting cage is different than some, but it still is durable. It’s an arch shape that allows the swinger to move freely. There are steel frames for the sides and flexible fiberglass rods for the ceiling. The frame stakes into the ground so it won’t move much. Since the net sits on the outside of the cage, there is foam padding on the frame to prevent damage to the batting cage or injury to the player. This Xtender batting cage is available in 24 feet, 30 feet, 36 feet, 48 feet, 60 feet, and 72 feet. They are all 12 feet wide and 10 feet high. The netting is 1-inch polypropylene for durability. There is a built-in the harness that allows a pitching machine to be connected. If you buy a small cage, you can extend it later on. One year warranty. Great for indoors and outdoors.
- Flexes in the wind without breaking the frame
- Foam padding is removable.
- Great for ages 6 and up
- Sways in the wind
- Outside net
BATCO has made this cage for you in case you don’t have enough room for permanent placement. There is a 54 or a 72-foot length of the frame at 18 foot wide and 12-foot height that slims down to just 2 feet. The frame is arched, but that allows for more batting and pitching room. The net is #42 nylon and has a square, knotted mesh. The net door is zippered for an easy entrance. You don’t need any concrete or ground stakes to hold it down. You may need to purchase two eye bolts for the end of the batting cage. The frame is padded because the netting hangs outside closely to the frame. Perfect for indoors and you won’t need cables to run it. Great for outdoors because there isn’t a permanent fixture, but you might need to take it in during the weather. One year warranty.
- Perfect for indoor use in gyms or recreational areas
- Wider than most cages to allow room to hit
- Will not withstand strong winds outdoors
- Nylon netting wears down in the rain and sun
This 12′ x 12′ x 35′ cage is about the perfect size if you have plans (or can get them) for a cage. Keep in mind you can also buy frames online at Amazon and other places. The net itself is UV and weather resistant and it’s treated to last outdoors for a long time – year round! It features a #36 black, twisted and knotted nylon reinforced with a 5/16″ rope border. Each square is 1-7/8″ in size. There’s a rib line along the middle of the net to help reduce gravitational sag when installed. You can review the chart below to assess the size, strength and durability of the #36 nylon that is used.
This is the same netting found in many commercial training facilities and most high school and college fields. The longer-than-normal length allows hitters to practice with live pitching at the proper distances for all levels of softball and for little league baseball.
- Used in many commercial applications
- Netting is strong for outdoors use
- Does not include the frame (must buy or construct separately)
- Not as durable as cages with thicker nylon (ie. pro)
- Only comes in one size
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
As you can see there is a lot to decide when it comes to buying a batting cage, but it’ll be worth after. You have freestanding batting cages, folding batting cages, and fixed batting cages. There are knotted and knotless netting. You have all kinds of netting material and twine size and now you know which will last longer and be more durable. It’s better to have the netting a foot inside of the cage, but if you choose outdoor invest in an L-screen or foam padding on the frame. It will save your frame from damage when you hit it with a baseball and prevent wear and tear on the netting. Always get permission before you invest in a big batting cage. Some are 35 feet and up! If you enjoy yard space, then there are freestanding cages that can be taken down.
I hope that this all helps you, baseball and softball players choose the best batting cage for your money.