When it comes to choosing the material of your bat, it’s pretty easy to choose between wood and non-wood. With the exception of those states that mandate its use, wood is typically reserved for the professionals, practice bats and tournaments. But once you settle on a non-wood bat, choosing a bat material may feel overwhelming. You can use the chart below as a quick cheat sheet to remember the differences:
COMPOSITE BATS VS. ALLOY BATS
Composite bats are made out of a layered material similar to carbon fiber, which makes it easy to control the weight distribution of the bat. Manufacturers can make bats balanced (weight is evenly distributed) or end-loaded (the bat has more weight at the end of the barrel, giving it a heavier swing weight), depending on the style.
Pros of Composite Bats
Reduced vibration to the hands, minimizing sting from a miss-hit ball.
Tend to have a larger sweet spot and more ”pop”
Cons of Composite Bats
Often more expensive than alloy bats, since the manufacturing process is more complex.
Require a break-in time.
Remember that the pop won’t come until a composite bat is broken in. To break it in, follow these tips:
It’s recommended that you hit between 150-200 hits with a regular baseball or softball, not a rubber batting cage ball.
It’s also important to slightly rotate the bat each time you hit the ball, so you evenly break it in - this ensures your bat lasts a long time.
The above is the only recommended way to break in your composite bat. Methods such as hitting your bat against a tree or rolling it are not recommended and will damage the bat and void the manufacturer warranty. If you want step-by-step directions on how to break a composite bat, check out this useful guide.
Alloy bats, also called metal and aluminum bats, have been around longer than composite.
Pros of Alloy Bats
Tend to be less expensive than composite bats.
Do not require a break-in time, meaning they’re at their prime right out the wrapper.
Often last longer and even when they get damaged, they typically dent, rather than crack. This means they can still be used once damaged, where as once it is cracked, a composite bat can’t be. As long as the bat is not damaged to the extent where a barrel ring can no longer fit around the barrel, the bat will still be considered legal.
Cons of Alloy Bats
Tend to have a smaller sweet spot and less ”pop.”
A good rule of thumb is the more expensive the alloy, the longer the sweet spot is and the better balanced the bat will be.
If you like both alloy and composite, it’s possible to get a hybrid, or comp/alloy bat. Hybrid bats have a composite handle and an alloy barrel. The benefits of getting a hybrid bat are that you can get the composite handle, which reduces vibration, and the alloy barrel for the performance and cost savings.