f you’ve had anything resembling an average American boyhood, then you’ve spent more than a bit of time on a baseball diamond. You can remember everything perfectly. The lines of chalk in the sand, the smell of a new glove, the THONK! when bat meets ball. The wild chasing down of a ball with miracle catches. The glory of a home run, and even constant bickering over the best baseball bats. Eventually BBCOR baseball bats would get top billing.
Actually, that last bit might still be true today. Changes and standardizations of sports equipment over the past few decades has increased, particularly when it comes to baseball gear. Thus, conversations over what really makes up the best baseball bats are as fierce as ever.
Some prefer wood, some prefer composite material, but the choice is seen as anything but neutral.
This is why we at Men’s Gear have taken it on ourselves to go through some of the best BBCOR baseball bats a man can buy. We pride ourselves on being your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the stuff men love, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t spend some time on the American man’s favorite pastime.
Just in case you’re not in the know, we’ll be discussing just what exactly BBCOR means and how it affects the materials (and build) of our favorite piece of sporting equipment.
What makes a good baseball bat?
We plan to talk about what, exactly, a BBCOR baseball bat is. However, it would be good to spend a bit of time discussing what is it that makes a good baseball bat in general.
Traditionally, baseball bats have been made out of a single, unbroken piece of hardwood. Ash has been the traditional material, although other kinds of wood have been used. They were often made to order by woodworkers and were so durable that they rarely broke.
Heft and smoothness are also important factors here too.
Bats started to settle into standardized shapes back just before the turn of the twentieth century. The fattest part of the bat, near the far tip that typically hits the ball, is called the barrel. Larger barrels with thin areas close to the handle make up the better bat.
Barrel-to-handle ratios are key to what makes a bat work well. These standardized set of dimensions are regulated by an organized body these days.
A good grip is just as important, no one wants the bat to slip out of their hands while they’re swinging! How to hold a bat is likely the most debated thing in the sport, as everyone seems to have their own style.
However, the materials used make it easier to allow a player not to swing wildly or let go of the bat as easily in a swing.
Bat-to-ball energy transfer is an extremely important thing to discuss too. The right dimensions can make all the difference. Eventually, bats were in the wild west with no regulation as some hit balls a lot further than assumed. That was where BBCOR stepped in, as it leveled the playing field.
The better player would do well, and it wouldn’t be about the bat.
What Are BBCOR baseball bats, specifically?
As mentioned before, BBCOR (Bat-Ball Coefficient Of Restitution) was used to bring baseball equipment up to standard and help even the playing field overall. Though systems like BESR were in play before this, they were not regulating as they needed to.
High ball speeds, particularly close to the batter, ultimately led to the change. This is possibly why BBCOR stepped out with understandable praise initially.
However, issues came out of this, such as not caring for the equipment itself. This also only affected schools and not the professionals. We wanted to highlight some of the things BBCOR did, which was useful and maybe too far. Letting you decide.
BBCOR’s mindset was that by building bats to particular specifications, a universal experience of batting is in play. One that only slightly surpassed the capacities of a wooden bat.
Eventually, the level of craftsmanship went down and great bats of the past were getting harder to find. Plus, the relative ease composite materials could be used to make a good bat was only getting higher. The problem was that there wasn’t a way to regulate the materials at first.
This became a problem and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eventually stepped in to remedy things.
BBCOR rigorously tests using accelerated break-in (ABI) tests. This made sure that ball speeds would not be able to exceed a certain threshold, even when used to their absolute limit. Many hated this, feeling it hurt the game. Meanwhile, others applauded the focus on safety and fair play.
Only those part of the NCAA or NFHS has to abide by these BBCOR guidelines regarding equipment. This is obviously the high school and college ranks. These rules affect bats made of composite materials only, and all brands much follow it. Easton, Rawlings, you name it.
BBCOR Baseball Bats vs. Wood Baseball Bats, What Is The Difference?
The biggest difference between BBCOR baseball bats and the wooden baseball bats is the fact that BBCOR-certified bats are often made of composite materials. A bat made of wood is usually made of a single piece, often ash.
Certifications such as BBCOR were originally made to help standardize bat construction so that there weren’t wild discrepancies in terms of how the game works.
Unknown Things About BBCOR Baseball Bats, And Why We Have Them:
Those certifications mentioned earlier helped to assist producers of U.S. baseball bats. It did this by allowing them to make sure that their products would be able to be used across a wide variety of games. This meant both the high school and college market.
This would even end up bleeding over into the “park baseball” world as well.
This is due to kids being sold on something so much in the world they’ll be entering, that coaches prepare them using the same bats they’ll use there.
The introduction of aluminum bats (as well as ones made of other materials) into the game was a big controversy. With wooden bats, there was at least a threshold of how far or fast a ball could go. Introducing bats made of other materials seemed to open the door to all sorts of discrepancies.
With a metal bat, could a weak slugger perform better than a pro using a classical bat?
Standards like BBCOR came into being as an answer to some of these questions. While they haven’t entirely silenced their critics the game has certainly gone a long way to make sure the playing field is leveled.
Rules, Regulations, And Why Wooden Bats Aren’t As Frequent:
BBCOR certifications are also available for wooden bats that are made of bamboo or of composite pieces of wood. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a metal piece of equipment. However, due to the other types being better for hitting, they are more popular.
This is why BBCOR has their own rules in play.
The highest allowable BBCOR score a bat can have is .50. This gives a performance that’s just a bit better than the average wooden baseball bat. However, this kind of threshold can only be reached with a great deal of luck and skill.
This also limits ball speed, with a good hit flying at maybe 100mph. This is better than the average we used to see at 125mph that could be reached with previous standards. This is still fast enough to injure, but it’s uncommon to even be this high.
One of the biggest advantages that a BBCOR baseball bats made from composite material have over wooden ones is the higher degree of control with them. Wood can be notoriously unpredictable, yet BBCOR baseball bats do as their told, essentially.
It also removed controversies used with wood, such as pine-tar lacquering.
An infamous incident with pine tar happened in 1983 when a big two-run home run was hit allowing the Kansas City Royals to beat the New York Yankees. Yankees’ Manager Billy Martin disputed the call, claiming the hitter used too much pine tar.
Thus, the “Pine Tar Game” was born.
With composite materials, you don’t have to worry about this kind of problem. They’re useful and cheap baseball bats that don’t need a whole lot of maintenance. No matter how many people claim to still prefer the grain of an old-fashioned wooden bat, composites are the future.
BBCOR certification helps bring us there.
What Are The Main Sizes for BBCOR Baseball Bats?
One of the main things that make BBCOR baseball bats one of the best out there is a particular set of physical dimensions. While there’s still a bit of room for variation, since the end of the 1800s, there’s been a general agreement on what size a baseball bat should be.
When it comes to the barrel (the wider part of the bat that actually hits the ball), the size has to be around 2 ¾ inches. This was up from the 2 ½ inches that were common before that.
When it comes to what weight a bat should have, there’s a bit more discussion. The heavier the better, they said.
The heft of a bat was directly linked to how far a ball would go, at least that was the initial idea. However, baseball bats have gone past that line of thinking – now the emphasis is on the speed a bat’s flying at when it hits the ball. A lighter bat can be swung faster and hit harder.
Thus, it sends a ball flying as good as or better than a bigger bat.
Weight has a lot to do with size these days. The general rule is that bats are between 33 and 36 inches long, and their weight is usually about three ounces less than their length in inches. This’s known as the “-3 drop,” in baseball lingo. Most equipment today, from Louisville Sluggers to Marucci baseball bats, favor lightweight models that follow this rule.
In case you’re wondering, the bats used by players who beat Babe Ruth’s home run records were about a third lighter than the ones he used. However, numbers are only fun for superfans. For the rest of us, here are the reviews for the best baseball bats with BBCOR certification!
1) Easton Best X Speed Baseball Bat
Starting our list off is this entry from Easton. The Best X Speed is among the best BBCOR baseball bats around. Especially for those wanting to really start getting into the swing of their game. With a central-loaded balance swing, it helps batters find a sense of control while they play.
This all adds up to a more controlled swing and a satisfying hit!
This bat has a length of 31 inches and a weight of 28 ounces, which is standard for a drop -3 length-to-rate ratio. This is a great choice for high school or college ball heavy hitters, mainly because it helps you get used to your equipment. Meanwhile, it also packs a powerful punch.
These BBCOR baseball bats might not be among the discount bats you might find, but it’s a stellar model nonetheless!
2) Easton Mako Beast Comp 3 Baseball Bat
Another powerful model from the masters over at Easton. These BBCOR baseball bats have one of the longest possible bat lengths as well as one of the fastest swing speeds available. With a classic -3 drop weight, the bat is powerful without being heavy.
This kind of power makes the difference between a good game and a great game!
Our set of BBCOR baseball bats review wouldn’t be complete without entries like this. With its TCT Thermo composite barrel, it’s one of the best two-piece barrel sets out there! What’s more, Easton’s ConneXion technology allows for some of the most effective energy transferrals from bat to ball.
Like any of the best baseball bats, this is a model that has to be seen to be believed!
3) Louisville Slugger Omaha 518 Baseball Bat
The Louisville Slugger is one of the best and most well-known baseball brands out there! This great model is one of their steadiest entry points to the game. With its accessible price and one-piece composition, it has an appeal to amateurs and pros alike.
The best BBCOR baseball bats all have a set series of dimensions and this Slugger is no different, making it ready for the field!
Baseball bats nationwide wide all have a particular place where its ideal to hit the ball. This is often referred to as the “sweet spot.” This model from Louisville Slugger has a rather large sweet spot and it makes for a satisfying hit when you’re right in the middle of the game.
No matter if you’re a veteran player or new on the diamond, this model is one you’ll be wanting to keep close by.
4) Rawlings Quarto Baseball Bat
This entry from Rawlings makes you feel like a winner! This particular bat’s specifications and abilities are some of the best you’ll come across. It’s a four-piece, 100% carbon fiber composite bat that fits snug into your hands as you swing!
What more could a college or high school player ask for?
The big selling point here is that, while even the best BBCOR baseball bats might have a lot of kickback on hitting the ball, this entry has very little vibration. This is majorly in part due to the custom Vibration Dampening Tech (VDT) built in by Rawlings, and it makes this bat worth every penny.
While it might be on the pricier end on this list, the comfort you’ll feel makes everything worth it.
5) Marucci AP5 Maple Baseball Bat
Marucci is one of the biggest brands producing some of the best baseball bats in America. Their BBCOR baseball bats are also special, with this model being made from maple alone. This is a call back to the days when wood was the standard.
Bone-rubbed to make for an excellent wood density, this bat feels fantastic in your hands. When you swing, you can’t help like you’re batting with the big names back in the Roaring Twenties!
The best wood baseball bats are made with professional-grade wood and incorporate modern standards in their composition. With all the dimensions of a composite-material bat, this entry from Marucci is not one to be left behind in the dust.
With a world full of boring metal materials, coming to the game with a classy wooden bat is going to have you turning heads. Many great games will be playing while using this bat. Ultimately, you’ll be earning extra attention as a result, due to your extremely impressive game.
6) Rawlings Velo Hybrid Baseball Bat
If you’re looking for a set of cool baseball bats, you don’t have to look further than the Velo Hybrid models! Made by Rawlings, one of the most famous sports brands in the world, this is a great bat. BBCOR baseball bats like this make it hard for wood to ever compete again.
With a crazy cool color along with an easy, balanced swing, you’re going to be the center of attention either in high school or college ball. Who doesn’t want that?
This one is fully up to BBCOR standards, with a -3 weight drop (from inches). Like the best baseball bats, it makes you feel like a winner just by holding it! It might be a bit pricey, but you can’t really put a price tag on quality, can you?
Once you do your homework about what exactly your needs are, don’t be afraid to invest in this model as a way to up your game!
7) Combat Maxum Baseball Bat
Some of the best baseball bats are also some of the most versatile. This Maxum model from Combat wants to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. This is why it offers four different length openings for you to choose from.
All of them are -3 in weight dropped, making for a lightweight swing experience. Speaking of swing, it’s balanced instead of load-ended, making for a more controlled experience overall.
This Maxum boasts a great feel that makes you embrace your inner superstar. Like most BBCOR baseball bats, it’s a composite model (one piece) that is calibrated for success. No dead spots here!
The sweet spot is quite broad, making this a great entry to use if you’re still learning your game.
What are you waiting for? With a model this versatile, you’ll be upping your skills in no time!
8) Demarini Uprising Baseball Bat
Looking for good BBCOR baseball bats for entry players? Then look no further! With this Demarini model, you’ll be setting your little one up for success! Ideal for young players, this is an ultra lightweight bat. Normally bats are -3 dips (three fewer ounces than the total amount of inches).
However, this model is -10 for a quick swing. It’s as light in your hands as you’re light on your feet!
Evenly balanced for more control, this entry is among the best baseball bats for people looking to improve their swing in a low-stakes environment. With its BBCOR certification, it will be good for high school ball. Although many Little League games don’t require BBCOR bats, this is still a good option if you want to prepare your child for further play.
Don’t let him down – get him the best and watch him grow!
9) Easton Zcore Speed Adult Baseball Bat
Another winning model from Easton. The Zcore is made for heavy hitting and is built longer for taller players. Its tapered barrel design is made for faster swinging, and the Hmx Hyperlite Matrix makes the whole bat feel lighter in your hands. It’s built with an expanded sweet spot, which makes it even easier to hit one out of the park!
When it comes to the best baseball bats, you can’t get any better than this.
This model, like all on this list, falls into the USA approved baseball bats list and can be used for high school and college games overseen by the NCAA. This is a pricier model than a number of the ones reviewed here, but the added value is undeniable.
However, that’s what we’re looking for here, isn’t it? An opportunity not only to invest in our game but in our growth as players. With this model, you’ll be surprised at the heights you reach!
10) DeMarini Pro Maple Composite Baseball Bat
The second wooden bat on this list, the Demarini Pro Maple has a great grip and feel. The Canadian maple encloses a core made of composite metals. While some might not like the fact that it isn’t wood all the way through, this core makes the bat much more durable than would be otherwise.
Among the best BBCOR baseball bats on this list, it is also one of the most attractive.
With a mid-range price and a gradual taper out near the end, this is one of the best baseball bats for players looking to up their game. If you’re trying to find a series of DeMarini BBCOR baseball bats that won’t disappoint in quality or versatility, this model is the one for you.
What are you waiting for? With a bat that feels this good, you’ll be counting the days until next ball season starts!
11) Rawlings Alloy High School/Collegiate Baseball Bat
When it comes to looking for baseball bats that have BBCOR certification, you have to be thinking about equipment that’s as versatile as it is high-quality. It’s one thing to be looking for a bat that a college-age man or woman can hit a home run with, but it’s another to be thinking about high school kids.
This Rawlings Alloy bat is a lightweight yet powerful bat that caters to both demographics with ease.
Its one-piece alloy composition keeps it light. Like the best baseball bats, it packs a punch when you hit the ball in the sweet spot. With a balanced swing, you won’t be worried about things being end-balanced in ways that will throw off your game.
What’s more, the aerospace-grade alloy involved makes this a durable bat that won’t let you down.
It’s not as expensive as other bats on this list, making it a great choice specifically for younger players. Don’t let that dissuade you from having it as part of your college ball arsenal though!
12) Louisville Slugger Prime Baseball Bat
Looking for some of the best BBCOR baseball bats for you or your team? Look no further! Louisville Slugger is one of the most respected names in batting equipment, and this model lives up to the hype. A longer, heavier build, this one is made for hard hitting and knocking balls clean out of the park!
As a BBCOR approved model this bat will be able to enjoy full use in collegiate baseball for mature players. However, it’s also cleared for high school baseball as well.
This is a three-piece composition outfit, with a custom grip made from lizard SKINS that’ll never let you down when you’re swinging hard. Like the best baseball bats, this is an investment in improving your game and your game performance. As such, it won’t be the cheapest model on this list, but it will show off when you’re on the diamond.
If you’re looking to step up your game, you can do no better than with the Louisville Slugger Prime.
13) Easton ZCORE Hybrid 3 Baseball Bat
Tired of smaller, lightweight bats that don’t give you as much power as you need? Exhausted when all the alternatives mean heavy pieces of wood or alloy that feel ungainly or off-balance? Easton’s ZCORE Hybrid is the model for you, then!
The best baseball bats make sure that there’s a balance between power and speed, and this model is no different. While the longer, heftier build helps with heavy-hitting, the Hyperlite Matrix Alloy gives it the edge you need for quick swinging!
One of the big differences with BBCOR baseball bats vs wood is how multi-piece alloy composition can increase your control over how you want to hit. Nothing is left to chance, as every aspect of this bat is honed to give you a better grip and control over how you swing.
This alloy design is in two pieces and has an expanded sweet spot. With a bat this good, and at this price, you’ll want another to keep as a spare!
14) Marucci Cat 6 Baseball Bat
While looking for the most expensive BBCOR baseball bat won’t guarantee you find the one best suited for your needs, looking at high-quality equipment is an important start to investing in your game. If you’re looking to up the ante in terms of your personal performance, this Marucci model might be just what you’re looking for.
It has a ring-free barrel construction, meaning a faster swing and a harder hit. Harder hitting usually means unpleasant vibrations, but this model’s got patented anti-vibration technology that minimizes discomfort and maximizes the pleasure you get in the game!
The best BBCOR baseball bats are ones that help you reach new heights. If you’re looking to extend your reach more, you can opt for the longer, heavier models in the same series.
This particular model is not meant for beginners, as its benefits are offset by a smaller sweet spot. However, for experienced players, this won’t be a problem.
When you hit the ball just right, it’s going to fly way out into the end zone!
Sport is the closest thing most of us will get to science fiction. It’s the combination of human power and the best equipment helps us to achieve near superhuman feats. Nothing less is true of baseball. The country’s greatest pastime sits at that intersection of technology and effort.
That said, making sure you have the right bat can make all the difference.
While some might think that BBCOR regulations might make the game more restricted, it helps bring out the best in human performance. While a simple swing won’t be sending a ball soaring away at 125 mph, a carefully calculated one will be more than enough.
With these BBCOR baseball bats, you’ll be practicing your skills in a number of new ways. Your mind will be constantly asking itself: a heavier bat, or a lighter one today? Am I skilled enough to use a bat with a smaller sweet spot? Will I get good enough that it won’t make a difference?
A man has to know challenge to grow, whether in college or high school leagues (or even with the guys after work). You’ll be stretching yourself and growing as an athlete.
Pick one of these great bats, try it out, find what’s best for you. Then hit that ball out of the park!