An overview of which wood bats are being used by professional baseball players, as well as some pro tips to help you pick out the best wood baseball bats for your needs.
I’ve been swinging a wood bat for 20 years, and professionally for 14 years. I’ve tried a LOT of different models and wood types, as well as learning from many other pro players about their preferences.
In this article, I’ve tried to compile info about your top bat choices and combined it with some of the knowledge I’ve gained in my years as professional baseball player.
- Wood Bat FAQs (click to open)
Wood Bat FAQ’s
How much does wood quality matter in a wood bat? Buying a wood bat that will last, may seem like a flip of a coin. The quality of the wood will not prevent a bat from breaking. However, using nice wood will help keep the bat together instead of flaking apart when you hit the ball in the same place over and over again (the barrel).
Where do you buy good wood bats? Unless you find a really nice sporting goods store (which can be hard to find), buying a wood bat online is your best bet to find a quality bat. Usually bat companies have different quality grades for their wood and the worst are sent out to the sporting good stores, unless the owner purposely gets the more expensive bats.
How much does a good quality wood bat cost? Quality wood baseball bats are not cheap (especially if you factor in that you may break it in one swing), but you don’t need to overpay for a wood bat. A nice piece of wood is in the range of $50-$100. Some bat prices are so expensive because you are paying for the name on the label of the bat. Once you get to a certain level of wood, just because you pay more doesn’t mean you are getting more bat.
Is it better to buy a wood bat from the big, name-brand companies? In my experience, large companies have so much demand for bats that they can be a little more expensive and you don’t always get quality wood because they are just trying to keep up with the orders. Smaller companies have the ability to use better pieces of wood because they don’t have as many people ordering bats. However, I have received both good and bad bats from large and small bat companies. Don’t take this as an absolute, but consider it when purchasing bats.If you are wondering about the quality of your ash bats, here are 3 tips to know if an Ash bat is made of good quality wood.
Best Wood Baseball Bats
These are wood bat companies which are most popular with pro players, and who are known to put out a dependable, quality wood bat. When looking for your best wood bats, these companies are putting out good quality.
REMEMBER, some of these companies make bats at all different quality levels, so don’t expect to find the best wood baseball bats in your average big-box sports store, even if you recognize the name brand.
Phoenix Bat Company
The Phoenix Bat Company is a smaller up-and-coming bat company that uses top quality maple and ash.
I’ve used these bats a lot. They have great customer service and are great with custom orders.
For a long time I used their bats exclusively because they worked with me to come up with my perfect custom model (D357m). I consistently receive good hard bats from them which can sometimes be frustrating with other companies.
If you get a bat from Phoenix Bat Co, use the code insider and you’ll get 10% off. Also, right now they’re offering free shipping, free engraving, and you can actually try the bat for 10 days and still send it back if you don’t like it. (Most companies don’t let you return a bat once it’s been used). Also, the bats are made in the USA.
B45 bats are currently my favorite game bat. The list of big leaguers using B45 is getting very long, and includes guys like Carlos Gonzalez, Shane Victorino, Russel Martin, and many more.
B45 bats are made from Canadian yellow birch wood. Birch is interesting because it has similar flex as an ash bat but the durability of maple.
They’re very strong and get better over time. They definitely get harder and the ball comes off even faster the more the bat gets used.
If you don’t want a very heavy bat, this type of wood is probably just what you need. These bats can be made light and not lose any durability, unlike some other wood.
You can order B45 baseball bats here.
Quality bat company that offers both ash and maple, but maple being the most used Old Hickory bat. Consistent made bats that come out the same every time. The barrels on the bats seem to be a little smaller than the Louisville model it was made after. They also feature composite bats, which can be a good alternative if you are worried about broken bats. You will not be disappointed with any Old Hickory bat.
Old Hickory bats can be hard to find. BaseballExp.com has some of the pro models, and Hitting World has youth sizes and the Custom Pro Series bats (these are a step down from the professional models, but still good bats).
Uses very hard wood. I think their maple is some of the best around. Finding the good quality Rawlings wood bats can be challenging at times. But when you find one it is a very dense piece of wood. There are many different types of Rawlings bats, but in short, stick with their pro maple and you’ll get a good bat. Rawlings Baseball Bats
Louisville Slugger is the oldest, largest, and most used bat company. You know Louisville is the standard because almost every other bat company names their own bats using Louisville’s models and letter/number combo (or some variation). All Louisville models come in ash or maple. The models you would be able to find from online dealers would be:
- C271 – small handle, small barrel
- C243 – small handle, large barrel
- M110 – med/large handle, medium barrel
- P72 – small handle, long medium barrel (is probably the most similar to aluminum bat styles)
- R161 – large handle, large barrel
Note: Louisville Slugger has released the “MLB Prime” family of wood bats, which is said to have same the quality wood they would use if they were making a bat for Derek Jeter, now finally made available to the public.
I have personally tried a T69 and I13M Louisville Slugger prime baseball bats. I thought these bats were great. The wood was hard and the baseball seam marks in the bat were not as pronounced as other maple bats. This is how I test the denseness of the wood. The less the baseball compresses into the wood, the stronger the wood. The ball came off well and they were well balanced.
One thing I know from Louisville is that their bats are consistent. Once you find a model you like they replicate them very well. I know cosmetics aren’t as important as performance, but the black color is deep and it’s the nicest looking black bat I have seen this season. I have talked to other players who use the prime bats from Louisville and I have only heard positive comments.
At $119 – $129 a pop, these bad boys are definitely at the top of the price range for wood bats. Baseball Express seems to have one of the larger selections MLB Prime bats – including birch, which is my preference, and ash, which can be harder to find (also they’re doing free shipping and free returns for all bat orders).
So we generally only include gear that the pros actually use, but this is a special exception.
Pros can’t use this bat because it’s not wood. But that’s why we like it. This bat is great because you can get the feel of using a wood bat without the fear of breaking your bat.
Baum bats are a wood composite that looks, sounds, and feels like wood but will not break. They are about the cost of 2-3 wood bats but you will only need one.
This is a great bat for a child learning to use a wood bat for the first time. Also this bat can be used in many wood bat leagues which is nice as well.
Baum bat is available here
Is becoming one of the best wood bats in the industry. Each bat is bone rubbed which condenses the wood and makes it a little more durable.
Their maple bats are more popular than their ash bats but they are used by a number of MLB players. They are very consistent in giving high quality wood to all.
These are good bats. There no other way to say it. I’ve never seen a bat come away completely spotless after smashing a baseball to the outfield – until the Chandler bats. Usually the baseball leaves a mark of some kind when it hits a wood bat, but not on these bats. I use Chandler bats and I highly recommend them. How to order a Chandler bat… There are only a few ways to get a chandler bat. Contact the company directly at 877-497-2287 or email@example.com for new retail orders, or if you are a pro player then shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for pro orders. Or justbats.com for a smaller selection of stock.
Up and Coming Bat Companies
These bats are beginning to gain popularity, and are already being used by All Stars and notable Major League players.
- Tucci Lumber Bat Co – Good word of mouth, getting more popular. Used by Troy Tulowitsky and Pablo Sandoval, as well as some guys on my team
- Trinity Bat Co – Southern California, popular with California guys like Adrian Gonzalez
- Dove Tail Bat Company – Started getting popular with the Kansas City Royals last year
High quality Japanese ash and maple. These bats can be very hard and have good pop. Mizuno is one of the top baseball companies around that pride themselves on tradition and high quality products.
I haven’t used Mizuno bats, but the company has a good reputation for making quality baseball products. Again, these bats aren’t sold everywhere, but you can find them at BaseballMonkey.com (free shipping and 30 day return shipping).
Zinger is another USA bat company that has an impressive list of current and past clients. A number of their models were designed by or for big leaguers. Zinger Bat company is based out of Arizona.
Our Comparison chart for Online Stores can help you pick where to order your bats. See who has free shipping, free return shipping, how long you have to return stuff, etc.