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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
DeMarini’s CF line of baseball bats are, arguably, the most popular bats on the planet. We have hit, and reviewed, every CF series since the CF3. The 2018 version is a good iteration and, despite using the rings in the barrel to compensate for the USSSA illegality in 2017, the bat is fantastic. We’ve yet to hear from a player who doesn’t like the bats—and we’ve seen dozens at this point.
That is, every CF bat in existence since 2011. DeMarini’s two piece composite design has made considerable strides over that time. And, considering the CF3 was a pretty fantastic bat, the 2018 CF Zen is remarkable in so many ways. Count the following as the beginning of our 2018 Demarini CF Zen Review.
When we started writing reviews 4 years ago, there were only a couple of two piece composite bats in the market. Today, however, there are several. Each trying to get a piece of the pie the CF series and Easton MAKO/S1 series created from scratch.
As such, there are several “comparable” bats by way of construction. Two piece composites can be found in Easton’s Ghost, Rawlings’ Quatro, Axe’s Avenge, Slugger’s 918, Adidas’ Aero Burner, Marucci’s Hex Connect and at least a few more.
In terms of pedigree and proven performance then the Easton Ghost might be the only true competitor to the CF Zen. Especially in the big barrel or senior league space.
DeMarini has made slow progress on the CF Zen over the years; for good reason we think. The bat has been a top notch industry setting bat since the beginning of composite and aluminum baseball. Here are our previous reviews on the Zen through the ages.If DeMarini does anything well, it is the ability to deliver innumerable color and style options on marquee bats. Not too many years ago the idea of custom bats was unheard of. And the ability to identify a bat from a distance was something we took a ton of pride in. Today, however, Demarini’s numerous iterations take a very trained eye and a slow camera.
From DeMarini’s Instagram account we took the above image. Although it looks ike there are at least 10 different models, the truth is those are just the DeMarini Cf Zen, CF Voodoo Insane and CF Voodoo One. We can’t tell, just by the pictures, if that if there are any balanced or end loaded versions of the Insane or CF. But, the point is, there really are just 3 different bats in the above pictures. Granted, a few are the 2018 version, but the custom color options and unique graphics make every angel of those bats difficult to identify.
New Things 2017 D-Fusion vs 2018 3-Fusion
The most significant change from the 2017 Zen to the 2018 Zen is the change in the connective piece. They removed some bulk in the D-Fusion handle to make it slimmer. It looks odd and really makes the bat look like a corn dog. This new version is called the 3-Fusion.
DeMarini makes a CF series of bats in an end loaded version too. They refer to this as a CF Insane.
Like its many predecessors, the 2018 CF Zen is a two piece composite bat with a big barrel and a balanced swing. It is not to be confused (at least in BBCOR) with the CF Insane which runs about 10% heavier in the swing weight department.
The two piece design is connected by a device that helps remove sting from the hands yet still gives it a stiff enough feeling to do damage. The two piece design by DeMarini has always been one of our favorites and they are a real pleasure to hit.
The overall rating uses seven different weighted metrics to determine our overall score. Half of total rating comes from the player and our exit speed tests (Player Rating: 25%, Performance: 25%).The other categories are Relevance (20%), Demand (10%), Durability (10%), Resell Score (5%), and Tech Specs (5%).
*: When a bat is denoted by a star (*) it is a preliminary rating. Expect it to be updated as we learn more about the bat and gather more data.
(PlaRa) Player Rating: We measure player rating from user reviews. Those users include our own hitters that we test at the lab as well as reviews we find online.
(ExVe) Performance: Performance measures the exit speeds and distances we capture in our hitting lab with HitTrax using these bats.
(Relv) Relevance: We measure the number of sizes and the MOI of the bat. Bats with a wider range of options get a better score.
(Dmnd) Demand: Demand is measured by consumer sentiment and the buzz around the bat.
(Drb) Durability: A bat’s durability is measured by user reviews as well as feedback from manufacturers.
(ReSl) Resell Score: Based on the price the bats go for used. Higher prices mean greater user demand which means, generally, a better bat. A resell value closer to its original price means a higher score.
(Tech) Tech Specs: We rate the bat on its technological advancements from previous years and compared to the industry at large. This is our chance to reward companies who are trying to innovate.
MOI or Mass Moment of Inertia is a measurement of bat swing weight. This quantifies how difficult it is to swing a bat. The industry often refers to this as things like End Load or Balanced but those words have been overused to the point of meaninglessness. We measure the actual swing weights of each bat we test using the industry-standard pendulum period, balance point, and scale weight. You can read more about that here.
The price is the original MSRP price of the bat.
The types of bats are single-piece alloy (SPA), two-piece composite (TPC), single-piece composite (SPC), hybrid (Hyb.), and wood (Wood). Hybrid bats are made of composite handles and alloy barrles.
The estimated date the bat began distribution.