Disclaimer: This site uses affiliate links. Learn More.
By Bat Digest
Updated October 3, 2023
Updated for October are the 2024 Easton Hype Fire as the Best USSSA Bat, the 2023 Easton ADV 360 USA as the Best USA Bat, standouts like the Victus Reserve for wood enthusiasts, and the timeless 2017 Zen as our all-time favorite.
As we move into the fall of 2023, our list of top youth baseball bats has been freshly updated. Realizing several bats are about to drop for the holidays (the 2024 ZOA just did), we're also eagerly anticipating new releases that should be dropping soon. For now, the 2024 Easton Hype Fire leads the pack, acclaimed as the Best USSSA Bat for its unmatched balance and power. The 2023 Easton ADV 360 USA stands out as the Best USA Bat, offering a perfect blend of speed and enough durability to make it recommendable. Our favorite wood youth bat is the Victus Reserve, and our favorite all-time is still the 2017 Zen.
As we say everywhere, there is no such thing as the right bat in the wrong size. The most critical factor in having the 'best youth bat' is to have one the player can swing comfortably and fast. This is often only found through some degree of trial and error. Considering how quickly they grow, this can also change what sometimes feels like overnight. In any case, get the bat with the right size before you get excited about any particular bat on this list.
Most of the 2023 bats have come out already. Very recently a new DeMarini 2024 ZOA has dropped but we've yet to hit it so can't make comment yet. We expect good things. Expect more bats to drop here shortly.
We should blame the industry for the confusion. A swath of young players play youth baseball in Little League organized leagues. Notice the capital L’s. Those leagues put their requirements on the bats, including, for example, a 2 1/4 inch max barrel diameter. But there is also an even more significant swath of players that we call Youth players. However, they do not play in leagues affiliated with Little League. As such, the youth bats they use are not the same as the youth bats Little League operates. 2 1/4 baseball bats are called Youth Bats. But 2 5/8 or 2 3/4 barrel bats are called Youth Big Barrel Bats. It isn’t apparent. But, in the end, Youth Bats and Little League bats are not always the same.
More than a few bats have reached epic reputational level.
However, it’s important to note that when supply gets low on the secondary market, some very dishonest market manipulators buy up all in the inventory, try and pimp the bat as the best ever, and then sell it for 10x the price. This happens way more than people realize, see the Z1000 for Slugger in BBCOR that people STILL think is a ‘hot’ bat, but it’s a full lie. The bat is terrible. But, someone cornered the market, hyped it up, and then made a killing. The legend persists to this day.
That said, some bats have stood the test of time in youth. So, the ‘best youth bats’ of all time should most certainly include bats like this:
We spend considerable time using the bats we review on this site. We are not, as so many are, merely parroting lists from Amazon or other major vendors’ bestsellers lists. Our reviews take on serious research by players and parents. Often, we discuss our findings with significant vendors and several manufacturers. Throughout that process, bats in each category rise to the top of the list. We are the first to admit that our recommendations are not foolproof. Indeed, the best for most is not the best bat for all. We are hopeful our insights are one piece of the puzzle for you in determining the best youth baseball bat.