Baseball and softball are sports of precision, strategy, and most importantly, sports where pure athleticism doesn’t always win out.
Because of this and because of its tradition dating back over a hundred years, they are still quite popular in the United States (and in various other parts of the world).
In the United States, the earliest age groups that play baseball are typically ‘tee-ball’ leagues. Tee-ball is a sport that is played with almost the same rules as regular baseball.
However, if a batter cannot hit the ball in a certain number of pitches, they are then allowed to hit from the tee. So, a tee has to have a number of characteristics in order to last very long.
With young kids, you need it to be durable as there are sure to be a number of hits taken directly to the tee. Also, you need something that is going to stand up tall and true. If you don’t have this, it’s essentially useless.
Tee-ball is a game that is played to teach children how to learn from mistakes and work with teammates, and it is a must that you buy the correct tee.
This guide will help you search through the various tees that are out on the market and get down to the truths of the matter. Then, we will look at ten of the best batting tees that are on the market this year!
Batting Tee Buying Guide
Some may be surprised to know that batting tees are used by more than just tee-ball players. While tee ball is the most popular use for tees, it is also used by college and professional teams alike.
For example, the LSU baseball team uses tees to hone in their fundamentals when hitting the ball. These are adults, big men sometimes, that use a tee! By using a tee they can learn how to hit the ball the exact same way each and every time.
They can then translate this into live game action. This teaches you to concentrate totally on your swing, which will make you much more accurate. You also can gain a lot of power as well.
Just think if you are able to muscle the ball into the outfield with tee- and no momentum from a pitch- how far you could hit the ball when actually thrown. So this is a possible use for a tee.
There are also other considerations for use. Will the tee be used inside or outside? This is a question that has to be asked because of surface type differences.
You may need something that grips a little better indoors, for say, a gym floor because it could get quite dusty.
Another question to look at is whether or not you need in to fully cover home plate or not. Used to, this is all we would see. The tee itself would cover up home plate on the top.
Nowadays, there are other designs out there that aren’t nearly as hefty at the base (bottom- no pun intended) that can help alleviate this issue.
Price and Quality
A few things have to be said about price and quality here in regards to batting tees. Price and quality, in most everything you see are very much related to one another. The higher the price of something, the higher the quality it is.
The lower the price it has, the lower the quality is assumed to be. Virtually everything out there has this relationship with it. Baseball tees do not have this relationship, necessarily.
With baseball tees, you can find very good deals on great equipment. Sometimes, the more expensive stuff simply does not hold up as well or doesn’t fit your specific purpose. In the end, a good baseball tee only has to do a few things well.
It has to be durable. It has to be easily maintained- no one wants to continually have to set up the tee or reassemble or assemble it over and over again!
The tee cannot cause any type of damage to your bat, because that’s just not good for business. Baseball bats are very expensive, and a poor tee isn’t worth having to buy a new one.
The tee also has to allow you to see the baseball clearly. If you cannot do so for whatever reason, then it is failing. Lastly, it cannot interfere with your swing.
If it is in the way in some fashion, then you are going to end up having swing problems from it down the line or potentially end up injured.
As stated above, sometimes the higher prices that come with some more established baseball brands end up failing to live up to the above criteria despite their name and price.
So, don’t be fooled just by price when you are perusing through looking for a baseball tee.
We mentioned bats shortly above, but we’ll get into slightly more detail here. In baseball, there are two main types of bats. The first is the most commonly used, which is the aluminum baseball bat.
Aluminum is used by most youth leagues, high schools, colleges, and adult recreational leagues. An aluminum, or similar type material, bat allows the user to hit the ball a little further, which is not a bad thing in the lower levels of the game.
Its counterpart is the wooden baseball bat which is used predominantly in the professional leagues. Wooden baseball bats are much less dangerous overall because the ball isn’t smashed nearly as hard as it would be by an aluminum bat.
They still can shatter, but this doesn’t happen on every pitch.
The reason we bring this up is to say that different tees will react differently to wood and aluminum. Some tees will not be good for use in conjunction with wooden bats as it will chip the bat.
We will take a look at that more specifically if this issue comes up in the review.
Qualities to Look For
Most people who are considering buying a tee, would like one with lots of versatility that can be used by a maximum number of people.
If you want your child to be able to go out in the backyard and hit the ball anytime they want, then you are going to need something that is very lightweight. So, that is your first step. The lighter the weight, the better a tee it will typically be.
Some people will prefer something a little heavy and more durable, potentially. These types of people are likely running leagues where you are going to want something that is absolutely going to take a beating time after time.
Still, there are players who are at college or professional levels that just need a tee that will stand there and do its job. They won’t be hitting it very often, so it really doesn’t even matter what it’s made of!
Another consideration is to determine where you’re going to use the tee. If you are using it for a league, it’s going to be on home plate or very close to it.
However, there are options available that will allow you to set the tee up on just about any surface, and they are independent of home plate altogether.
This is something that wasn’t around when many of us were kids, and it’s a great tool for younger players to have to use.
With today’s technology, we really are spoiled. Whereas back in the days when we played we had heavy tees that couldn’t possibly be moved very far by ourselves, there are now options to alleviate that issue.
Rubber, which can be quite heavy in the right dose isn’t always the preferred substance used any longer. Instead, we now have more options. Rubber is great because it is really difficult to break, but it can sometimes be flimsy or bend a little.
Luckily, there are more options for today’s players, coaches, and parents.
It would be a mistake to not mention concept tees on our buying guide. Concept tees are tees that look to help a player improve his or her swing by improving one or more of their swing “mechanics”.
Maybe you are hitting too high or too low on the ball, or you just have difficulty seeing it properly. Maybe you have an undercut swing or you pull the ball to left field every time you hit. Some tees can help to correct these problems.
They do this by forcing you to swing a certain way which will not let you hit the ball in some cases! There are many golf aids out there, so it should come as no surprise to see them come into baseball as well.
Another one out there that we can discuss here is the hybrid tee. As technology has allowed prices for electronics to come down, baseball equipment has become cheaper.
As a result, the pitching machine has been combined in some models with a tee to help teach mechanics to players.
If the tee is not a concept tee, it is just a regular tee that you set the ball upon and hit from. These are perfectly fine and are used by a great many people at all sorts of levels of the game.
They can help improve your play, no matter the age. One thing to point out is that typically a concept tee will cost a little bit more because they address a certain need.
More time and money has been spent on design, labor, and materials to build the tee, so it is natural that they would cost more.
Best Batting Tee Reviews
1. Tanner Tee
The Tanner tee is probably the most popular tee in the world today because of its ease of use and its ability to help hitters of all types learn how to better their mechanics.
They are very commonly used by professionals, travel ball players, and college players. This is unlike most other tees are at has a hand-rolled top made from rubber that helps the hitter feel the ball instead of the tee.
This one is very lightweight compared to many others. It is mostly made from a steel-looking material, so it is not quite as durable as some all-rubber tees would be.
It is recommended that users be at least nine years old before using, so that is a possible small strike against it. It is also a little expensive, but it takes up little space and is easily placed on just about any surface.
- Very easy to use
- Great for players aspiring to a high level
- Has durability that goes above and beyond
- A little expensive
- Not meant for younger players
Coming in at #2 is a more expensive choice that does many of the same things that the Tanner Tee does. The ATEC is very similar and is similarly well-known in the softball and baseball communities.
This item has a T-screw that can be turned to easily separate the parts to make it easier to travel with. The height is adjustable as well, which means that it can be adjusted for various people.
The cone is unique because it is wrapped like a helix, which offers a lot of resistance as well as great durability. And like the Tanner Tee, it is made from mostly a steel base instead of rubber-like we used to see when we were kids.
Once again, this geared more toward older and more serious players than for the young ones out there.
- Easy to travel with
- Great durability and resistance
- Meant for serious players
- Hefty price could deter some
- Not meant for younger players
3. JUGS Tee
Another option that rivals the Tanner Tee and the ATEC is the Jugs Tee. Like the previous two offerings, the Jugs tee is not made of mainly rubber.
It has the durability, stability, and the ability to be carried easily just like the other three, but it also has a major difference. This tee can be used without extra weight added to it.
This means it will not tip over, even without the added weight. And at a price that is in between the Tanner and the ATEC, it is an attractive option.
It also has a helix-like hand-rolled top that allows the ball to be hit more consistently every single time. Much like the other two options thus far, this is highly suggested for older players with better technique.
- Durable and stable
- Easily carried around
- No extra weight needed
- Price could be an issue
- Not meant for use for younger and wilder players
The first addition to the list that falls into the very inexpensive category is the MacGregor tee. MacGregor products can typically be found in stores like Wal-Mart quite easily, so they are seeking to market to younger kids and people on budgets.
Despite all of this, it does its purpose well. The height is adjustable, so you can go from a kid to an adult with no issues. It is a little heavier as its base is made out of rubber. It is reinforced, however, with a metal cylinder to make it more durable.
This rubber, though, is what makes the tee more affordable than other tees out there. It fits any and all size balls as well as allows you to use a variety of bat types. Also, the heavy weight makes it very difficult to be knocked over by the kids!
- Very durable
- Great for kids
- Great price
- Not easy to carry
- Not quite what high-level players are used
The PowerNet tee is an answer to the Tanner Tee, ATEC, and Jugs offering, but it comes at roughly half the price.
The PowerNet has a top that is very similar in design to those three great designs, but it has a unique tripod leg system on the bottom to prevent any tipping of the tee.
As a result of the tripod system, it is easily transported and it is also very flexible. It easy to assemble and dissemble, and it fits into bags with no problems. It is great for younger tee-ball players as you don’t have to worry about it moving as much.
- Cool tripod design keeps it in place
- Good price compared to similar offerings
- Very easily transported
- Not very good for softballs as they fall off much easier
- Not great if struck in the wrong place
The SKLZ offering is the first concept tee on the list. The concept of this tee is to help players learn how to hit the ball from all five pitching angles including the inside, the outside, and the middle of the plate.
The plate is the size of a standard home plate, and you simply take the tee and insert it into the slot that you want to practice from. It is adjustable in height, so you can practice no matter your size.
It does well for both baseballs and softballs, and you can purchase it for a very reasonable price.
- Allows hitters to learn how to hit all pitch types
- Adjustable in height
- Meant for use in conjunction with baseballs and softballs
- Some difficulties in loading the tee into the various slots
- Can have a bad smell to it
Easton gives another very affordable option for younger players. It is adjustable in size, but it only adjusts between 27 and 36 inches, so it is definitely geared toward youth players.
It is easily assembled and dissembled, and it has that heavy-duty base that we were all used to as kids.
- Great, low price
- Great for younger and shorter players
- Easy to assemble
- Not for use bigger or stronger players
- Plastic threads that hold it all together will eventually give way
A second option on the list that falls into the concept tee list is the Muhl tee. The Muhl tee allows both left-handed and right-handed hitters to adjust their swings to make sure they don’t bow out their swings too far.
It is made from polyurethane which makes it more durable than rubber would be. It is quite expensive, but it can handle baseballs, softballs, and even the popular poly-ball.
It sits right upon an open cup to accomplish this, which is very rare in batting tees.
- Teaches proper swing mechanics
- Can handle all kinds of balls
- Open cup is great and durable
- Much higher price than many would like
- Height is difficult to adjust
This tee from Rawlings is easy to carry because of the use of tripods. It is at a very good price as well, and the cup that holds the ball is nice and open, which should mean that just about any ball should be great for use with it.
It is great for use by players of all ages due to its durability from the use of rubber. It is lightweight, so you’ll likely need to find something to weigh it down with.
- Very competitive price
- Great for younger players and older ones as well
- Easy to carry
- Screw has been known to come out
- Plastic clamps tend to break
Coming it at about half the price of the first three options, Franklin seeks to answer those products with this ‘MLB’ tee. This one, however, it only adjustable in height between 27 and 37 inches, so it is probably going to only serve the youngsters well.
The ball holder is hand-rolled like many of the others, but seems to be fairly open enough to allow all types of balls to be hit from it.
- Great for younger players
- Good for softball and baseball
- Very decent price
- Cheaper version of the Tanner tee
- After being hit, it can get stuck on one height.