October 2023 Updates: We like the 2022 Easton Ghost Advanced, DeMarini Prism, and Slugger LXT for our best fastpitch bats of 2023. These are predictable choices and similar in their feel, swing weight, and performance. The RXT from Slugger in 2021 is still an excellent pick-up for bigger hitters. And we still like the CRBN1 from Mizuno as an under-the-radar choice.
The Easton Ghost Advanced from 2022 is the best fastpitch bat for October 2023. This is a predictable, if not frustrating, choice as it is just not as durable as we could hope, but it is so popular. It does so well that we think, at least for those in the game, will take the risk of top-end performance at the expense of durability issues. If you want something more durable (and with more flex), check DeMarini's Prism or Louisville Slugger's LXT. Power hitters should like the RXT from Slugger (2021) or Easton's Ghost Advanced in a drop 8. Drop 9: we want the 2022 CF, as it's been discounted pretty heavily this month (likely making room for the next iteration for 2024).
Updated September 23, 2023
For the best fastpitch bats of 2023, we've taken an authentic close look at sales and discount data and popularity for the 2023 season. There was considerable movement, although the top few (Ghost, LXT, and Prism) stayed at the top of the list for the most part. The Easton Ghost still dominated the mature ranks. Missing on the list is Rawlings Mantra, and it's a perfectly reasonable bat, but it just never rose to the top in any particular category.
Best Fastpitch Softball Bats [October 2023]
What is the Right Bat Size
Finding the right bat size is the most crucial part of finding the best fastpitch bat. Take a moment to check out our bat size chart.
We don't know of much coming down the pike, but we'd guess you'll see some new versions of bats drop toward the holidays. So, there's not much to hold your breath for now.
Should You Buy Used Fastpitch Bats?
eBay searches for the 2016 LXT Plus from Slugger are plentiful. Many of those searches turn up used bats—the history of which is often questionable. We’d suggest buying a used LXT Plus in some circumstances. In particular, we are more willing to purchase an LXT Plus that is a few months old instead of a few days old. There is a higher probability the problems of a composite bat will rear its head when it’s new. The fact the hitter never had a good enough experience with the bat to keep it suggests something may be wrong. This reality keeps us from ‘used’ bats only a few weeks old.
On the other hand, bats with a season or so of good use prove the hitter had success with the bat but just outgrew it. Composite tends to get more productive over time, so a bat with a year of use likely performs better than one out of the wrapper. As such, we look for a dirty handle and scuffed up a barrel as a good thing in the used market.
How We Tested
To make our decision, we’ve spent over 200 hours testing, reviewing, reading, and writing reviews on every performance fastpitch softball bat in the market. This effort also includes nearly 40 fastpitch models with roughly innumerable sizing options. Most of our testing happened in cage work—much of the rest on the field among different hitters. Almost always, the hitter had multiple fastpitch bats at their disposal. The hitter often changed between one bat and another in just minutes.
Further, we’d spend considerable time hashing out particulars of the bats we used with those who used it and those who manufactured it. Many of these conversations with players and engineers were long and helpful. Additionally, to our surprise, we found that writing our fastpitch softball bat reviews, which our readers vet, kept us on our toes. Our data needed to be both accurate and helpful. Some days a very tall task when considering bats in the performance fastpitch space are similar. Those processes above have led us, over the years, to conclude which bat generally fits the most amount of players.
None of this is to say we’d hesitate to recommend other bats—as there are a handful of good ones. But the 2016 Louisville Slugger Drop 10 LXT Plus consistently rises to the top any way we slice the data.
Areas of Concern
It’s an admitted stretch to claim we’ve found the best fastpitch softball bat. Not that we can’t test and measure things scientifically, but hitting, at its core, is much more an art than it is a science. What bat is best for you individually can not be decided by some metrics and hitting data we’ve gathered. As such, we disclaim that the LXT Plus is the BEST bat for everyone. Instead, we claim this fastpitch bat is the best for more people than any other. We’d also be comfortable stating that nearly every player would succeed with this bat. If it is indeed the particular ‘best’ for your hitting and type and needs is a question we can’t answer.
What makes a good fastpitch bat
Four common themes arose in our testing from players discussing what they did and did not like about any particular bat. They are (1) the barrel size, (2) the balance point, (3) the feel of the bat at contact, and (4) the bat brands’ reputation. All preferred a larger barrel. Most liked a balance point in the middle of the bat instead of toward the end. And nearly all chose a relatively smooth hit on contact. These four factors weigh heavily in determining the best fastpitch softball bat.
We don’t imply this should mean we have no biases—all baseball and softball players do. We are among them. But we can say our livelihood does not depend on if you prefer a particular brand of bat that we review. In the end, we are parents and players who love the game and think it useful to share the data and feedback we’ve compiled. Our hope is the approach is both nonthreatening and unbiased. If other parents and players find something useful in these pages, then we feel successful.
Why Trust Us
Well, maybe you shouldn’t. We are simply a group of parents and players looking to document our collective performance on fastpitch and baseball bats. We don’t profess to be the end-all-be-all in determining bat performance. That quest is usually better left to science labs. But we’ve swung every baseball, softball, and fastpitch bat in the performance space since the middle of 2013. With that said, we’ve reviewed hundreds of bats.
Within that process, we swing the bats extensively and talk to manufacturers about the bat’s design. We talk to players at all levels of the sport about their experience. Also, we study every available review we can find online or elsewhere. Then, we take that data and put together a 700 to 1200-word review that, at least, we believe, is the most thorough and objective you can find.
We don’t sell bats as a manufacturer or a vendor. As such, we have no incentive to push a particular brand or bat type. No doubt, we do have incentives. Our motivations lie in convincing readers to click on an ad or follow a link to buy Amazon. It’s not a guilt-free process, but it doesn’t come with any particular brand bias (as long as they sell it on Amazon or eBay).
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