Best Wood Bats 2018 | Ash, Maple, Birch, & Bamboo

Wood bats define how the game of baseball is played professionally.  It’s important to find the best wood bat for your specific league and swing style. In a select number of amateur and “Little League” baseball leagues, the use of wood bats is not allowed. As an alternative, players at those levels use aluminum bats when up at the plate. Some say that the use of aluminum baseball bats, especially at the youth level, will help the ball travel further when hit. The downside to aluminum baseball bats is that they also hit the ball harder and faster, which could potentially cause injury to the opposing players if they fail to protect themselves.

Buyers often become disgruntled because they purchase a bat, and then it breaks after a couple of uses. While there is no such thing as an unbreakable wood bat, there is a technique you can use when up to bat to reduce the chances of your wood baseball bat breaking. Apparently, the label on the baseball bat is strategically placed on the area with the greatest chance of breakage. The best thing to do when using a wood baseball bat is to hold the bat with the label up or the label down. This can also be called “hitting with the grains.” The area where the label is located, as well as the opposite side where the label is printed, are the weakest spots on the bat. If you hold the bat in a way that only the sides of the label are hit, then there is a strong possibility that you will not break your wood bat after minimal use.

Okay, Okay, back to the topic at hand!  Mastering how to hit with a wood bat will give you the ability to gain confidence and see how you compare to the pros. The thing is, there are different types of wood bats to choose from, and they can make a major difference in how you hit. If you know what type of hitting experience you are looking for, it shouldn’t be very difficult in finding the best wood bat.

Top Wood Bats Comparison Chart

Types of Wood Baseball Bats

There is a distinct variety when it comes to wooden baseball bats. Not every baseball bat made out of wood is made equally, so it’s important to know the differences before you go out and buy a bat, that way you know what is best for you. Each wood type has different features that Wood bats can be made out of ash, maple, birch, or composite. Here are the biggest differences:

Ash

Ash bats are considered to be one of the more forceful wood baseball bats. It has been said that wood bats made of ash are more likely to have some sort of “trampoline effect”; where the ball makes contact with the wood and subsequently bounces off the wood bat with force. This effect will most likely separate the grains over a long period of time, which is why ash bats tend to wear out frequently. With that being said, you will want to find the most affordable ash bat with the best quality so that you can get your money’s worth and purchase a new one when necessary. The most popular used ash is the Northern White Ash so if you find a bat with that material then you are on the right track.

Maple

Maple bats are hard and dense. Maple wood is closer grained and will hit the ball faster than other wood bats. One of the hardest bats available, maple bats aren’t as flexible as ash bats, and the grain isn’t as important with Maple bats as it is with ash. Maple bats have been the original choice of wood for several baseball legends because baseballs reflect off of them at a fast rate. You want to avoid purchasing wood bats made of low-quality maple. When manufacturers use softer maple for their bats, the material tends to break down at a faster pace compared to original maple.

Birch

Birch seems to be right in the middle of the latter bat types. This type of bat is said to hit better than maple, thanks to the lightweight feel it has. Birch bats have become the up and coming choice for baseball players who use wood bats. Compared to ash, birch is a tougher wood. It won’t break as easy and gives you the option to use a larger barrel without having to worry about size holding you back from a fast swing, which is a similar type of feeling as maple bats.

Composite

Composite wood bats generally last the longest out of all types of wood bats. Composite bats are usually mixed with a variety of wood types with the ultimate goal of creating a durable baseball bat. Composite wood bats are typically more expensive compared to other wood bats because they are expected to last longer, and also usually come with a breakage warranty, which is virtually unheard of when it comes to wood baseball bats.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a newer option out there in the modern market. A lot of bat companies combine bamboo with maple for a durable experience (specifically in composite bats.) Bamboo is arguably the strongest wood available on the market, so it makes sense to use bamboo as the core of your bat and surround it with a maple wood. Bamboo has a high-tension strength. This means that it can absorb hard hits and stay intact, which is something to value if you are looking for durability. When it comes to pricing, expect to spend above the average price for a bamboo baseball bat. Bamboo is more expensive because of its durable quality.

 

Best Wood Bat Reviews

 

  1. Rawlings Adirondack Ash Wood Bat

This Ash baseball bat from Rawlings will help you hit that ball with force and get you around the bases. The Rawlings Adirondack bat is a 31/32 in the handle and has a 2.5-inch barrel; larger than a lot of other wood bats. Being primarily made of ash, this type of bat will assist the baseball you hit in going as far as possible. While this bat will hit the ball with distance, it has been known to break a lot easier compared to other bats. Luckily, the Rawlings Adirondack Ash bat is inexpensive, so you can likely afford another one if it breaks. The barrel end is rounded so the bat is essentially solid wood. Expect this bat to last longer than the typical ash bat thanks to the great material that Rawlings uses.

Pros:

  • Ash material helps bat hit the ball with superior force
  • Bat is reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Wood bat is easy to break

 

  1. Easton Hybrid Maple/Bamboo Wood Bat

This Easton bat is considered a “hybrid” because it is made of two different materials. Made with a bamboo core and a maple barrel, this bat is less likely to break and a light swing every time you’re at bat. You might not get as big of a pop as you would if you were using an ash bat, but this maple and bamboo combo will give you durability and consistency. The lightweight feel comes mostly from the cupped end cap at the end of the bat. Taking away that mass from the bat will give you a faster swing and hopefully you can make some hits thanks to the lightweight frame. This “best of both worlds “idea will benefit you more than using a bat with a single type of material.

An additional benefit of this hybrid bat is the 90-day warranty you receive upon purchase. When it comes to most wood bats, they tend to break after an extended period of use, and then it is up to you to get a new one. With the Easton Hybrid maple/bamboo bat, you have about three months of use where the warranty applies. This is extremely beneficial to the user, as wood bats tend to break easily so getting a new bat within a three-month timeframe isn’t anything to complain about.

Pros:

  • Maple and bamboo combination offers accelerated durability
  • 90-day warranty ensures you the best customer service in the wood bat market
  • Cupped end cap makes your bat feel lightweight for a faster swing

Cons:

  • Experienced players prefer to use composite bats for practice rather than games
  • Users found cracks in the bat after limited use
  • May not be allowed in some leagues; specifically youth

 

  1. Easton Ash Baseball Bat

Primarily made with ash, this bat is lighter than a maple bat, and has a softer sweet spot, which reduces the chances of your bat breaking. With a 15/16 inch barrel and a 29-30 ounce weight, you will get a sufficient pop at the plate no matter who is on the mound. This bat will give you the “trampoline effect” needed to launch the ball over the fence. Everyone on the diamond will know that you’re hitting with the Easton K2000 thanks to the laser engraved barrel that has a lighter print compared to the rest of the bat. The handle and barrel are made of Kodiak, so it is obvious that you will have a tight grip.

Pros:

  • Weight is fairly distributed
  • Has a good pop
  • Ash makes the bat feel light

Cons:

  • High chance of breaking

 

  1. Mizuno Bamboo Bat

After spending over 30 years of manufacturing premium bamboo baseball bats, the Mizuno brand is something to consider when looking for a bamboo bat. This bat has an appealing, smooth blue barrel that sports the Mizuno Classic print next to the logo. The handle of this bat is sanded so that you will have the ultimate grip when up to bat. While users tend to use this bamboo bat as a training bat, it has the durability to be a full-time bat if need be. Like other Bamboo bats, the Mizuno Classic bamboo bat has a 90-day warranty against breaks and other damages, so you won’t have to worry about purchasing a new bat. The thing about the warranty is, you might not even need it since bamboo is essentially the strongest material used in wood bats.

Pros:

  • Bamboo is strong and will provide a good pop
  • 90-day warranty is beneficial to the customer
  • Sanded handle offers strong grip

Cons:

  • Customers claim the bat didn’t last as long as expected
  • Reviews state that the pop isn’t as good as other wood bats

 

  1. Louisville Slugger Hornsby Baseball Bat

The Louisville Slugger Hornsby bat is made out of top of the line ash. Having a cupped end on the bat will offer a light feel and a strong pop. The ash in this bat will help you drive the ball with force and help your team win. Looking at the cons, customers have complained that the bat split and broke in their first game using it. For those who have positive experiences with the Louisville Slugger Hornsby bat, they have said that it has a good pop and a good barrel size. This bat can be considered an ash bat that contains the flexibility of regular ash bats and the durability of bats that are made with heavier material.

The Hornsby finish on the bat is a maroon color with the text printed in gold. This color scheme looks very nice and will help you stand out when going up to bat. The “pro stock lite” label towards the end of the bat reinforces the idea that this bat is lightweight with extreme force behind it.

Pros:

  • Lightweight feel
  • Hornsby finish

Cons:

  • Reputation for breakage
  • Cupped end isn’t liked by everyone

 

  1. Rawlings Birch Baseball Bat

Being a birch bat, you can expect a lightweight feel and a tougher, more flexible product compared to other baseball bats. The Rawlings Velo Birch baseball bat has a strong barrel with a 141 profile and a white finish that makes it stand out from other bats. The handle is 29/32 and the bat is measured at 32”. The Rawlings Birch bat will last a long longer than the traditional maple bat, and will provide a large sum of power. In addition, this bat is also expected to last longer than an ash bat because birch is considered to be slightly stronger.

On the other side, some people say they received the bat with a poor paint job, chipped wood, and a handle that is hard to grip. If these detriments are rare, you should have a low priced wood bat that will be worth your while.

Pros:

  • White finish looks good
  • Birch tends to last longer
  • Will hit baseball with a lot of power

Cons:

  • Some bats chip easily
  • Hard to have an efficient grip on the handle
  • Some bats come with poor paint job

 

  1. Louisville Slugger Fungo Wood Bat

This 36-inch Louisville Slugger Fungo bat is made of pure performance grade ash and dons a natural wood finish. This bat is specifically designed to easy hit ground balls and fly balls, so whether you are using this bat for practice or for a game in a less competitive league, it will be reliable when you need it the most. The way that the weight is distributed in this bat, you can swing effortlessly and hit the ball with the force and velocity needed to get past the players in the field. Weighing at about 27 ounces, it won’t be too hard to take an aggressive swing and feeling the ball hit the soft spot on the wood. The ash used in this bat will help the ball deflect off the wood and go as far as possible.

Pros:

  • Weight is well distributed
  • Very durable

Cons:

  • Most reviews claim that the handle needed to be sanded in order to have a comfortable grip
  • Might be heavier than described

 

  1. Barnett BB-W Wood Baseball Bat

You may not hear of the Barnett brand often in baseball, but this bat will give you a superior experience that will help you grow as a hitter and eventually advance you to other types of baseball bats. The BB-W baseball bat is made of composite wood, so we know it is made of a variety of wood types and is one of the more durable wood baseball bats on the market. For a composite baseball bat, the Barnett brand looks like one of the more affordable options, so this would be perfect for someone on a budget looking for good quality. The bat is about 32 inches long and the barrel has a 6” circumference. This particular bat comes in different sizes for each type of player: 32 inches for an adult, 28 and 30 inches for a teen, and 25 inches for a youth player.

The Barnett BB-W baseball bat is best for youth players or beginners. It is affordable, and the composite material enhances its durability and will help you get used to hitting with a wood bat.

Pros:

  • Composite bats tend to last longer than ash or maple
  • Affordable
  • Comes in different sizes to fit the right age bracket

Cons:

  • Some reviews claim that this bat is not good to use in the actual game
  • Quality seems cheap

 

  1. Louisville Slugger Natural Baseball Bat

This ash bat from Louisville Slugger comes in 32”, 33”, and 34” measurements. You will be able to get a legitimate hit from this bat, although it will most likely wear out over time due to using it often. This bat should come with a rounded end although some buyers said they received the cupped end version, but the bat itself should have enough capacity to get a good hit off the bat.

Pros:

  • Variety of measurements gives you options
  • Ash will give you a forceful hit

Cons:

  • Splits easily
  • Too heavy

 

  1. Easton Mako Ash Power Brigade Wood Bat

This ash wood bat might arguably be the best bat on the market. Let’s start with the cosmetics of the bat. The Easton Mako bat comes in an extremely bright orange color that is not common in the game of baseball. While the bright neon looks are appealing to the eye, some buyers said that the orange finish tends to rub off onto the baseball after a few hits.

The cupped end and 15/16” tapered handle will reassure you a steady balance at the plate. Most people know that ash bats wear out the fastest when it comes to baseball bats, so make sure that this investment is best for you prior to pressing the purchase button.

Pros:

  • Orange finish is very unique
  • Cupped end offers and strong hit and superior balance when swinging at the plate

Cons:

  • Neon Orange finish is likely to come off with use
  • Ash bats wear out the fastest of wood baseball bats

 

In Conclusion…

If you are looking for a wood baseball bat, you will need to learn the basics before making a purchase. From the outside looking in, you may just see a baseball bat as a wood object that is used to hit a baseball as hard and far as you can. What one doesn’t realize until researching is that there are different varieties of wood bats that come with their own benefits player preferences have changed considerably throughout the history of the game.. It’s up to the buyer to decide what type of wood bat they are looking for.

If you are looking for a baseball bat that will provide you with excellent force, you might want to go with ash. Having an ash bat will help you take the ball through the distance, especially since ash bats are known to absorb force and retaliate with an equal amount or even more.

Using a maple bat such as the Easton Hybrid will make your hits very fast since your bat will feel lightweight, and a bamboo bat will give you the most when it comes to durability.

Ultimately, choosing the right wood baseball bat comes down to your preference. If you are looking for distance, try ash. YoDo you want durable baseball bat that won’t break after your first at bat? Buy bamboo or composite. Once you get the right bat, the sky will be the limit during your time at home plate.

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.