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2021 DeMarini CF Zen Review [Baseball]

October 21, 2020 | by Bat Digest Review Team | @BatDigest

As of now, you can get the 2021 DeMarini CF on DeMarini’s custom site. We’ve yet to hit with the 2021 standard bat, but what we do know about DeMarini’s Custom process is here.

The 2021 DeMarini CF release date towards the beginning of November. (The 11th).

We expect a huge performance from the USSSA and USA lines. As well, we think the BBCOR will serve the light swinging, big barrel, and less stiff connection piece player very well. As far as we’ve been able to gather, aside from changes to a few lengths, there won’t be much difference between the 2021 and last year’s CF. That’s not a bad thing.


Our hitters love the big barrel, great sound, and balanced feel of DeMarini’s CF. We expect the 2021 CF to be much the same. The custom versions of the bat pave the way in the space. In the past, the BBCOR swings light, the USSSA drop 10, 8, and 5 have world-class performance and the USA is… Jump to the full review.

Quick Review

Our hitters love the big barrel, great sound, and balanced feel of DeMarini’s CF. We expect the 2021 CF to be much the same. The custom versions of the bat pave the way in the space. In the past, the BBCOR swings light, the USSSA drop 10, 8, and 5 have world-class performance and the USA is as good as any other USA bat on the market today. It hasn’t changed much from 2020–but why should it? Aside from some durability issues in the USSSA, its really hard to find any reasonable complaints (aside from the BBCOR being a bit too flexible—but that’s a feel preference, not a performance one).

Get Your Own Advice

Barrel Size Differences on CF Bats


My son is kind of between sizes on bats.

With that being said he is very fond of the CF from Demarini. He has gone through 29 drop 10, 29 drop 8 and 30 drop 10 as he has grown. As these bats are currently hard to source, I am wondering if you can tell me the difference in the barrel lengths on the 30-32 inch CF Zen in the drop 10 and drop 8 categories. I know this is a strange question but looking at the bats that I have, I have noticed that in the 29 drop 10 that the barrel is shorter than a 29 drop 8, but the 29 drop 8 barrel is the same size as a 30 drop 10 and 30 drop 8 with just the handle being longer.

If you could possibly answer this it would be a great help.

Thank you.




Great observation, by the way. Not until you’ve done this for some time do you realize that the barrels are often the same on different size bats while the handle changes sizes. Other times, its just the barrel that changes size and the handle shortens up or stays the same.

We hate that we don’t have a great answer for you, but the truth is the models of the CF seem so carried over the years that we don’t keep track of the barrel sizes on the handles based on the drops. But, we do know it changes. It’s why charts that show a usable barrel to bat length ratio only make sense for a particular model and length. Even sizing up an inch or moving over a drop will change that entirely.

For what it is worth, you’ve at least given us an idea for an article and data survey that would put together a spreadsheet or image helping us understand the method to the madness. (If there even is a method at all).

Wish we could be of better help in the short run. But hang in there and thanks for reading!


Switching to USSSA big barrel


My son is currently playing in a league that requires using a USA or USSSA 2-1/4 barrel max. He has really hit well this season with the 2016 29/18 Easton Mako. In the spring he will be allowed use a USSSA 2-3/4 barrel. I was thinking about getting him the 30/20 Easton Maxum. Is there a bat you would recommend instead? Why?




The Big Barrel USSSA space is dominated by DeMarini’s CF and Marucci’s CAT series of bats. There is a reason for that. They are great in feel, barrel performance and popular demand. Groupthink should never be the only reason to buy a bat. But, there is a law of averages here—and a lot of people give mostly great ratings back to the CF and the CAT in USSSA.

Our guess would be he might not appreciate the single piece feel of the Combat Maxum—although we do love the barrel size on that bat. If he likes the MAKO from 2016 (a legendary bat) then he’ll like the two-piece feel of a bat like the CF and Easton ADV. Hope that helps.


CF Zen 2021?


Dear Bat Guy,

I see DeMarini has the 2021 USSSA CF Zen bats available now in custom bats section only. Any information out there on it’s new features or how it compares to the 2020 (black/gold) version?




Good find. A lot of bat companies are trying to squeeze as much margin as they can these days. One recent trick is to make bats available on their custom site for a premium instead of widely available at retailers. We saw that happen with The Goods in BBCOR and now a lot of the Slugger and DeMarini things. Marucci, too, only sold the CAT 9 on their site for a few weeks until they let the major retailers have it.

DeMarini is doing the same with their CF. Although not released until November, they’ll let those willing to spend the premium directly on their site a chance to give DeMarini the bigger margins than elsewhere. Fair enough, but it is what it is.

We do have a 2021 DeMarini CF review up. Not a ton of information out there as we’re still waiting to get a better feel for how it performs. Not many changes in the 21 CF compared to the 20 as far as we can tell, but more details to follow in that review.

Are Great 8U Bats Worth the Money?


My son will be 8 soon and is on a good USSSA team. He was swinging a  CAT 8 26/16 but now 27/17….I have read your reports that the 2020 cf zen (-10) is definitely the best bat to have….so my question is…is the money worth it? It sounds like it is…..also should I wait until the 2021 gets released first to see if its better than 2020?

FYI he’s 4’2 70lbs.

Thanks for all you do.




Thanks for reaching out.

In short, we have yet to find bats that are that much difference between 8-year-olds. If he can ball, then a bat like the CF Glitch, 2020, 2019, etc. will be his best bet. However, although it will feel different to him than the CAT 7/8/9, we’d guess his actual exit speed won’t be any different.

It seems, roughly, not until players are in that 10 to 13-year-old range does the ‘best’ USSSA model matter. Before then, the pitch and swing speeds they see don’t generate enough collision force to engage the barrel. It’s all about making solid contact with the ball—and if they can, they’ll have success with just about any bat. We say focus on the right swing weight at that age over the right model.

That said, if you’ve got some money to spend and want your boy to have what most (including us) consider the best, the CF in a 28/18 is the right choice here.

We have a 9U player. Last year, in 8U, we had him swing the Marucci F5 in a 28/18. This year, for 9U, he’ll be in either the CF or the new Marucci CAT Connect. (I mean, how do you pass up this bat here).

Per the 2021, we can’t imagine the 2021 CF will be that much better than the Glitch or CF of 2020. If you can wait until the end of October to purchase, DeMarini is doing their bat day when they have a pretty substantial discount on bats—we’re hopeful the smaller size USSSA CFs will be in that mix.

If none of that sounds like what you wanted, then you’ll need to wait until November for the 2021 CF to come out. Once it does, we’ll be sure to review it here and have some videos up.


Used BBCOR BAt for 13 Year Old


Dear Bat Guy,

My son is 12 Turns 13 in November. He is playing AAU fall ball on a 14U team. Looking for ideas on a used BBCOR bat to avoid sticker shock. He swung a 32″ drop 10 2019 CF Zen this summer and can still use USSSA next year for 13U spring ball, so don’t want to break the bank until his true 14U season. He is around 5′ 8 or 9″ tall. Thanks for any input.




Good question and we’ll give a quick answer. We’d find an older two-piece composite bat in a 30 or 31-inch BBCOR.

As an example, we did a quick 31/28 search on eBay like this and found a 2016 Prime for <$150. We also saw a 31/28 CF from 2018 for not much more than that.

In terms of “pop”, we’ve found that the top echelon of BBCOR bats performs very similarly. As such, don’t be too worried about finding the one with the best performance, they’re all pretty much best. And, considering your son is new to the BBCOR game, a bat like the CF or Prime which feels good, swings light, and has a big barrel will be a great pick.

Hope that helps, thanks for reaching out.

Hands Hurt While Hitting? Here’s a Solution.


Dear Bat Guy,

My boy is 9, will be 10 for the next rec season. He’s 4’9″ 70lbs now and currently uses a 28″ Rawlings 5150 from 2018. This summer though he’s really complaining about stinging in his hands on mishits.

Looking to next season, he’s definitely going to need something bigger and I want to build his confidence by getting something that doesn’t hurt his hands so bad. He’s tall for his age, but not the strongest and has a tendency to be late so I’m hesitant to go much bigger if he’s struggling to get it around fast enough.




Hand sting is a real common problem for this age group. It is why the vast majority of players in these age categories prefer two-piece composite bats. They do the best to keep sting out of the hands. (Even today, we were hit with older kids who were trying out wood bats. They hated the feel on their hands, and we heard more than a few expletives explaining how they felt about a particular bat).

So, the trick is to find some two-piece composite bats. In terms of feel, the highest-rated ‘feel’ bat for younger players is almost always DeMarini’s CF. That bat has lovers and haters (as you can see here on our review). But, if you want something that, on average at least, exudes the most confidence, we think DeMarini’s CF is usually worth the money.

That said, if you don’t want that one for any reason, we suggest any other two-piece composite. Bats like Slugger’s Prime, Rawlings Quatro, Eastons ADV 360 are all fantastic. If you want to be creative, buy an older Easton Beast or Axe Avenge to save a few bucks.

If you want to stick with a single piece bat, although it doesn’t solve the problem completely, a Pro Hitter (see our review here) to help with handsting.

Hope that helps and thanks for the question.


Q: Hi, love your content. I was just wondering what USSSA bat you recommend for a 5’5 12 year old?


We answer that in our best USSSA article here. If we had to guess knowing nothing other than the size of your player, we’d go for the Drop 8 CF in a 32/24.

Ask a Question

For years the 2021 CF Zen from DeMarini is built on a light swing, big barrel, and non-stiff connection piece. For 2021, we see no reason they will change.

BBCOR CF Recommendations
2021 DeMarini CF Review

DeMarini’s CF has never quite grabbed hold of the market as it does in the USSSA. That’s because, at least as our guessing goes, it’s too much like the USSSA version. That is a more flexible connection and ultra-light swing. For BBCOR, most players start to prefer heavier swings and stiffer bats—even in their two-piece composites. So, what makes it a world-class bat in USSSA makes it a reasonable choice, but not a popular one in BBCOR.

Price Check
USA CF Recommendations
2021 DeMarini CF Review

We expect to see a USA 2021 DeMarini USA bat. Previous years, including the 2020 and 2019, have improved each year. We expect that the 2021 is the best iteration yet.

Price Check
USSSA CF Recommendations
2021 DeMarini CF Review

There are not changes in the USSSA CF from 2020 to the 2021. Both are still big barrel, light swing, and world class performing USSSA bats. We think it’s a great choice AS LONG AS you are comfortable knowing your bat may very well break and you’ll need to go through the warranty process. However, the vast majority of CF bats do NOT break. If you are very concerned about durability here, check out the drop 8 CF (or drop 5) instead of the drop 10.

Price Check

2021 vs 2020 CF

We will see how the 2021 CF changes in comparison to the 2020 CF (and the 2019 and 2018 before that). But, in reality, not much needs to change. The bats fit their market perfectly.


Bat Review


The 2020 DeMarini CF review comes on the heels of hours of testing the BBCOR, USSSA and USA versions. Our testing gave the 2020 USSSA CF a near perfect rating (save the potential for durability issues). The USA version rated out well but, like all composite barrels in USA  bats, lacked great performance. BBCOR CF testing didn't go so well and it's the biggest disappointment of the bunch. We're not sure what to think of that. We liked the 2019 version. Still, our BBCOR 2020 CF hitters and exit speeds were uninspired. Our Score 9.9/10 (USSSA); 9.0/10 (USA); 8/10 (BBCOR).

Price Check


CF Zen

We have hit with the BBCOR, Drop 5, Drop 8 and Drop 10 2019 DeMarini CF Zen. The bat rakes. Plain and simple. [rwp_snippets box="0"]

Price Check


Bat Review

CF Zen

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.

Price Check

Comparable Bats

The two-piece composite space is replete with legit options. The most popular two-piece composite with a balanced swing is the Slugger Meta. Those bats are followed closely in popularity by the Rawlings Quatro and Easton ADV 360.

2021 Meta
See the Meta Review

We’ve hit with the 2021 Louisville Slugger Meta over 1,000 times. Compared to the 2020 version, there are very few changes. However, the sound of the bat, due to a new end cap, as well as a minor barrel restructuring gives it a different sound. No bat is anticipated, much like the 2021 Louisville Slugger Meta.

Expect a USSSA meta in a drop 10, 8, and 5 in October of 2020.

In June of 2020, Slugger releases the 33″ version of the 2021 Meta. This is mainly meant to replace the 2020 33″ which was made illegal. Expect to see the remaining sizes of the Meta in October, when Slugger releases the bulk of their BBCOR bats. You can check Slugger’s 2021 Meta page here for available sizing.

Price Check
2020 Quatro Pro
See the Quatro Pro Review

Our 2020 Rawlings Quatro Pro review consists of hitting with the USA, USSSA and BBCOR versions of the bat. Our hitters thought the USSSA and drop 10 USA versions are highly recommendable. The BBCOR version, one of our favorite BBCOR bats in previous years, fell short this year with its feel and performance lacking compared to the 2019 and 2018 versions. The Drop 12 USA version is terribly light, maybe too much so, and sounds broke–although it’s exit speeds were decent for a drop 12.

Price Check

2021 CF Construction

The 2021 DeMarini will contine the long line of two-piece composite bats. That is, the handle of the bat and the barrel are made separately. They then connect the bat together with a type of connective piece that helps determine the feel of the bat. Although we don’t have specific construction information yet on the 2021 DeMarini CF, we fully expect something similar to previous years’ models.

Bat Sizing Options

Expect a full complement of 2021 CF bats. Including, of course, BBCOR, USA, and USSSA in a range of sizes and drops. (The drop is the numerical difference between the length of the bat in inches minus weight of the bat in ounces. So, a 32/27 is considered a drop 5.

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18 days ago

horrible c/s ad quality. No more demarini ever.


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