April 18, 2014
 Choosing a Bat 
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Choosing a Wood Bat  Minimize

Choosing a wood bat can be a daunting process. There are so many choices that it's difficult to figure out where to even start! We have put this guide together to help ease the process, and help you find a wood bat that may best suit your size and hitting style. For the most part this guide only applies to Superior Bat Company, since every different bat company cuts their models differently, and even slight changes in the bat shape can make dramatic differences on how the bat swings.

There are some things you have to keep in mind when choosing a wood bat.
  1. There is no such thing as the perfect model for everyone.
    Just because your favorite pro or your best friend is using a particular model does not mean the bat they use is the best model for you. Everyones strength and hitting styles are different, that is why there are so many different models available.
  2. A bigger barrel does not mean a better wood bat.
    It all depends on your strength and hitting style. With aluminum bats, you can have giant barrels and still have an easy swinging bat. This is not possible with wood, so the bigger the barrel, the more strength you will need to effectively control the bat. Another thought to consider is that in most cases, the bigger the barrel, the more susceptible the bat will be to breaking. To read more on why that is, check out our
    Wood Bats 101 - Part 3 - Weight.
  3. Just because some models cost more than others does not necessarily mean the lower priced bats are lower quality, weaker bats.
    In many cases it is actually the other way around!
Before you get started in choosing a wood bat, there are several things to consider. What kind of hitter are you? If you are a contact hitter, and your goal is to place the ball around the field, and get on base, you are probably not going to want an end loaded, big barreled bat. If you are a power hitter, and you are just trying to hit the ball out of the park, you're probably not going to want a small balanced bat. The hardest thing to do is to be realistic with yourself in how much bat you can handle. A lot of players that want to swing a big barreled bat, but are not really strong enough to control it just try to get it as light as possible. More often than not, they would be better off going with a smaller bat that they can control, and as they get stronger they can increase the weight of the bat, or possibly even work into a bigger barrel bat. Many players don't know what they want, especially those that are making the transition from aluminum.
How a wood bat will feel and swing is actually first determined by the handle, than the transition and the barrel. The first step would be to figure out what size and shape handle would fit you the best. There are a couple factors that can determine what handle size and shape will fit you the best. The size of your hands plays a big part. You probably won't feel comfortable swinging a bat with a very large handle if you have small hands. At the same time if you have very large hands, you probably are not going to like a very thin handle. Usually, the thinner the handle is, the easier and faster the bat will swing. There are many other factors that play into that, but mainly it's because the larger handle wood bats take much more arm and wrist strength to get the bat started into the swing. Personal preference plays a big part here too. Some players like thin handled bats even though they have big hands, and visa versa.

Small Handle: 7, 41, 44, 99

Medium Handle: 43, 56, 58

Large Handle: 9, 110
Extra Large Handle: 10, 61
Flared Handle: 30, 71, 74

Once you have a starting point with the handle size, you can start moving on to the rest of the bat. Do you like a balanced bat, an end loaded bat, or are you saying "I don't know what I like"? If you're just getting into wood bats, it's difficult to choose your first bat. Without ever swinging a wood bat that you know is balanced, or end loaded, or however the bat swings, you don't have a starting point to base anything else on. That all comes with time. The more wood bats you swing, the more you will see the differences among them. To add to the confusion even further, you can't really tell how a bat will swing by the physical characteristics of the bat. That may give you a general idea, but more often than not it will surprise you.

After you have chosen the model, you have to decide on the length and weight. Personal preference plays a big role here! For weight, -3 is a good starting point. Most leagues require the bat to weigh at least -3. If you already know the length you prefer, that's great! If not the chart below can give you a starting point.
Weight

Height

3' to 3'4" 3'5" to 3'8"

3'9" to 4'

4'1"to 4'4"

4'5" to 4'8" 4'9" to 5' 5'1" to 5'4" 5'5" to 5'8" 5'9" to 6' 6'1" and over
Under 60 lbs

26"

27"

28"

29"

29"

61-70

27"

27"

28"

29"

30"

30"

71-80

28"

28"

29"

30"

30"

31"

81-90

28"

29"

29"

30"

30"

31"

32"

91-100

28"

29"

30"

30"

31"

31"

32"

101-110

29"

29"

30"

30"

31"

31"

32"

111-120

29"

29"

30"

30"

31"

31"

32"

121-130

29"

30"

30"

30"

31"

32"

33"

33"

131-140

29"

30"

30"

31"

31"

32"

33"

33"

141-150

30"

30"

31"

31"

32"

33"

33"

151-160

30"

31"

31"

32"

32"

33"

33"

33"

161-170

31"

31"

32"

32"

33"

33"

34"

171-180

32"

33"

33"

34"

34"

Over 180

33"

33"

34"

34"

Most Popular Length by Age

Age

5-7

8-9

10

11-12

13-14

15-16

Length

24"-26"

26"-28"

28"-29"

30"-31"

31"-32"

32"-33"

Here are some descriptions of all of our adult maple wood baseball bat models, sorted by handle size. The bats are further classified as handle heavy, balanced, or barrel heavy, with head to head comparisons of some models. The balanced bats are generally easier to swing, while the handle and barrel heavy bats may take more strength to get around the plate.

Small Handles

 

Click a bat to order!


Model 44 - Balanced Bat

The Model 44 is a medium handle(.94"), medium barrel (2.52") bat. It's nicely balanced and easy to swing with good control and bat speed.
No other SBC model comes close to the 44 in these areas.

Model 7 - Balanced Bat

The Model 7 is a thin handle (.90”), small barrel (2.48”) bat. A good contact hitter’s bat. Also, the gradual thinning of the barrel leaves enough wood on the barrel for power shots. There’s a little vibration when the ball makes contact toward the bottom of the barrel. Control and bat speed are excellent. A balanced bat, the 7 swings a little lighter than its weight. Unless a hitter has something specific in mind with a thin handle bat, such as a smaller or larger barrel, the Model 7 is the choice – it can do it all. Also, for players switching from metal to wood, the 7 could be a good first choice due to its small handle, and lighter and balanced swing. These qualities minimize the differences in swing sensation between metal and wood more than any other model.

Model 41 - Barrel Heavy

The Model 41 is a thin handle (.90”), medium barrel (2.50”) bat. The 41 is clearly barrel-heavy, but not so much that it's still easy to control and generate good bat speed. Some vibration may be felt when contact is made towards the bottom of the barrel. The 41 may be a good choice for a contact hitter who likes a thin handle, and medium barrel, fast bat.

Model 99 - Barrel Heavy

The Model 99 is a small to medium handle (.92”), large barrel (2.56”) bat. While the 99 is barrel-heavy, it is easy to swing, control, and get good bat speed. For a large barrel bat, the 99 feels fast. Contact is solid all along the barrel. The 99 barrel thins pretty quickly, but it doesn’t thin too much so as to cause vibrations. It has plenty of wood on the barrel to hit with authority. A good choice for either a contact or power hitter who likes a thinner handle, larger barrel bat.

Head to head - Model 58 and 59

The Model 58 (see medium handles below) is a little larger in both the barrel and the handle than the Model 59. When swung back-to-back, their similarities and differences become readily apparent; however, their differences dominate. Similarities: They are both easy to swing and control, with the 59 faster than the 58. Neither have enough wood to be considered a power hitter’s bat – both are better suited for contact hitters. Differences: The Model 58 is clearly more bat than the 59. The barrel feels heavier and the handle is noticeably thicker.

Medium Handles
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Model 58 - Balanced Bat

The Model 58 is a medium handle (.93”), small barrel (2.48”) bat. Although the 58 feels a little heavier than it looks, it’s nicely balanced and easy to swing with good control and bat speed. There is a trade-off, however, with power. More for a contact hitter who likes a medium handle and small barrel. Some vibration can be felt when contact is made on the lower part of the barrel.

Model 43 - Barrel Heavy

The Model 43 is a medium handle (.93”), large barrel (2.56”) bat. The thick barrel doesn’t start to narrow until well down the barrel, leaving a lot of wood for solid contact and power on a long portion of the barrel. Sometimes a little vibration is felt on contact towards the lower part of the barrel. There’s a lot of wood on the 43 that makes it feel barrel-heavy. Control and good bat speed would be an issue if the batter’s strength weren’t there. The 43 is a good choice for a power hitter, or a versatile, stronger batter who can hit to all fields with authority and prefers a medium handle.

Model 56 - Barrel Heavy

The Model 56 is a medium handle (.93”), large barrel (2.53”) bat. The barrel is thick, but a bit smaller than the Model 43’s. A great alternative for a player who likes the Model 43, but finds it just a little too much bat. Although barrel-heavy, the 56 is easier to control and swing, and strength is not that much of an issue as it may be with the 43. While the 56 is a big bat, it feels like a scaled down version of the 43. A hitter can control the bat and generate good bat speed without having the extra strength needed by the bigger barrel Model 43. The 56 barrel has plenty of wood to drive the ball with authority.

Head to head - Model 43 and 30

They both have .93” handles, with the 30 handle flared. The barrel on the 43 is larger than the 30 barrel (2.56” v. 2.52”). Swung back to back, the difference in their swing is dramatic due to their weight distribution. The thicker, flared handle of the Model 30 seems to slow down the swing. The thinner handle Model 43, though barrel-heavy, is faster and easier to control.

Large Handles
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Model 9 - Balanced Bat

The Model 9 is a large handle (.95”), Medium barrel (2.50”) bat. The Model 9 barrel, although medium in diameter, does not begin to narrow until well down toward the trademark. This leaves a lot of wood on a long portion of the barrel for solid contact and power. To look at the medium barrel 9, a hitter may not intuitively think that this bat can produce power; however, the long barrel makes it quite capable of hitting to all fields with authority. Although balanced, it swings a little heavy, but is easy to control and generate good bat speed. Some vibration is noticed when contact is made far down the barrel. The Model 9 is a sound choice for a hitter who doesn’t mind the little thicker handle, and wants control and power without the extra weight of a thicker barrel.

Model 110 - Handle Heavy

The Model 110 is a large handle (.95”), medium to large barrel (2.52”) bat. The most noticeable feature of the 110 is the handle. The bottom of the .95” handle flares slightly where it meets the knob. This creates a noticeably thicker handle at that point on the bat. There’s a lot more to grip on the 110 handle than the Model 9, but significantly less than on either the flared handle models or the Models 61 and 10. The larger handle on the 110 seems to affect the swing, it feels handle-heavy. The 110 requires more hand, wrist, and arm strength than the Model 9. There’s enough wood on the barrel for solid contact to drive the ball with authority; however, there may be some vibration when contact is made towards the bottom of the barrel. For those hitters who like a thicker handle (but not very thick), medium to large barrel bat, the 110 could be a good choice.

Extra Large Handles
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Model 10 - Handle Heavy

The Model 10 is a very large handle (1.00”), small barrel (2.48”) bat. A good alternative to the 61 for a hitter who wants a large handle, easier bat to swing. The thick handle flares slightly where it meets the knob. This adds more thickness to the already robust handle. The barrel feels light, while the handle feels heavy. Although less so than the Model 61, this challenges the hitter’s hand, wrist, and arm strength. Even though the barrel is small, there’s enough wood all along the Model 10 to give solid contact anywhere on the bat. In the right hands, the 10 will hit with authority.

Model 61 - Handle Heavy

The Model 61 is a very large handle (1.03”), very large barrel (2.57”) bat. It takes really big hands, and a whole lot of strength to use the 61 effectively. The combination of the largest handle and largest barrel in the SBC line-up makes the 61, even at –3 (weight/length), swing heavy, with a feeling of slightly more weight at the handle than barrel. Unless you are among the strongest hitters (with large hands), it will be difficult to swing the 61 with good bat speed and control. The hitter who is a match for this bat will find solid contact anywhere on the 61 - all of that wood hits with great authority.

Flared Handles
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Model 71 - Handle Heavy

The Model 71 is a medium flared handle (.93”), medium barrel (2.51”) bat. The most noticeable feature of the Model 71 is the flared handle. The little extra wood at the base of the handle makes the 71 handle feel considerably thicker than its .93 inches. Compared to other .93” models (43, 56, and 58), the Model 71 handle feels bigger and not part of that group – closer to the Model 110. The flared handle is easy on the bottom hand for hitters who hold the bat at the very bottom. Swinging the 71, the barrel feels light while the handle heavy. Contact is solid with some vibration at the bottom of the barrel toward the handle. A versatile bat, good for contact hitters who also want power in a larger, heavier handle bat.

Model 30 - Handle Heavy

The Model 30 is a medium flared handle (.93”), medium to large barrel (2.52”) bat. Similar to the Model 71, the most noticeable feature of the Model 30 is the flared handle that makes the swing heavier at the handle than the barrel. As with the 71, the handle feels thick, not part of the other .93” models, and more comfortable for the bottom hand. The barrel is larger than the 71’s and feels it – contact is more solid, and the ball travels with more authority. The Model 30 is a lot of bat, and between the good-size barrel and handle, it swings heavier than its weight and is considerably slower than the 71. In the right strong hands, the 30 is capable of power hitting.

Model 74 - Handle Heavy

The Model 74 is a large flared handle (.95”), large barrel (2.55”) bat. The 74 is nicely balanced with a little more weight at the handle than barrel. The most obvious feature of the 74 is the over-sized knob. The bottom hand rests comfortably on the knob for those hitters who like to hold the bat at that point. The large barrel is hardly noticeable in the swing - until contact is made – the bat hits with authority. The flared handle feels thick, but doesn’t seem to put as much emphasis on the need for hand, wrist, and arm strength as the model 30, or even the model 71. The 74 is a big bat, but it’s fairly easy to control and generate good bat speed.

Head to head - Model 74 and 43

Although they both have large barrels, the primary difference between the two bats is the weight distribution. The thicker handle 74 swings with a little more weight at the handle, while the 43 is more barrel-heavy with a thinner handle, and faster swing. Both are power hitters’ bats – take your pick – depends on where the hitter likes his weight distributed – on the barrel or on the handle.

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