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Bat for 2021 Update: Due to COVID, most 2021 USSSA bats are pushed back towards the end of 2020. (They usually release in August of the previous year and we review and rate then). However, with the push back, we don’t have enough to decide what is the “best.” If you’re looking for “best so far,” we have liked the USSSA CAT 9 Connect in a drop 10. As more of the maror ones get released, like the 2021 CF and Prime, we will update this page.
After hitting with every 2020 USSSA big barrel bat on the market, we think the 2020 DeMarini CF in a drop 10 is the best USSSA Big Barrel bat for 2020. It wins our best youth bat of 2020 award as well as a diamond status bat—with only one other in the USSSA bat world. The CF is the perfect blend of barrel size and profile, feel, and performance to top our charts for the 3rd year in a row. It is the most popular USSSA bat by a considerable margin.
Here’s what we did to find the best USSSA bat for 2020.
Our platinum level bats meet the best of the best for almost every player. They rank out well in pure performance, availability, relevance, and player feedback. Often, they rank out well in each one of those categories. The CF and CAT 8 are clear winners in the USSSA space. Their drop 10, 8, and 5 options are destructive. Our survey data (you can see below) shows the two bats make up almost 80% of the entire competitive USSSA market. The CF is about 50% more popular than the CAT 8.
Platinum level bats are highly recommendable. They usually miss the top Diamond level because they fall short in popularity or availability. Meaning, usually, they lack specific sizes or drops. Sometimes, too, they don’t quite get the same stellar ratings on player feedback, although they do perform in our exit speed tests, as well as anything else we measure for the given year. Generally, platinum level bats are great picks, and for the right hitter, they are easily considered the best bat for them.
Gold level bats are also recommendable—although maybe not to as big a range of players. Gold level bats often see unique designs with good to excellent player feedback and well above average performance ratings. If you are in the market for something unique and can find the right size, then Gold level bats are almost always good choices.
|Rank||Brand||Model||Yes, My Bat|
|3||Easton||Mako Beast (2018)||0%||#||64||Price|
|5||Louisville Slugger||619 Solo||33%||#10||82||Price|
|7||Louisville Slugger||519 Omaha||17%||#18||73||Price|
|8||Dirty South||Dirty South KAMO||0%||#||78||Price|
|9||Louisville Slugger||Prime 919||29%||#6||84||Price|
|10||Easton||Beast X Hyperlite||25%||#9||50||Price|
*Rank: The bats are ordered based on their popularity.
*Player Rank: Player rank adds up how many self described USSSA players or parents think a certain bat is the best.
*Owner Happiness: Players were asked how happy they were about their bat purchase on a scale from 0 to 100.
*Popularity: How many players claimed to use this bat.
*Yes, My Bat is Best: How many USSSA players claimed the 'best bat' was also the bat they used.
Our testers hit every 2019 USSSA Baseball Bat. We tracked the exit speeds of those hits, measured barrel sizes and swing weights as well as detailed our testers’ feedback. We graded out each bat and found the best USSSA Baseball Bat for 2019, regardless of price or drop, is DeMarini’s CF Zen in a drop 5.
Those on a budget, or looking for a real value buy, should like the Easton Ghost Speed. We found that bat packs a full-on punch, has a huge barrel, and swings right where we want it too. If you want something cheaper, then check out the 2019 Rawlings 5150. The 5150 is a staple in the traditional bat market. Smooth swinging, although slightly heavier, single-piece aluminum.
Our process included barrel size measurements, exit speed tests, and swing weight measurements. That objective data, combined with a dozen hitters using the bats and recording their direct feedback, plays roles in determining the best big barrel bats. We also observed what players tended to use at major tournaments and spent considerable time looking for objective online reviews. Much of more detailed findings can be found on our USSSA Big Barrel bat review pages under our reviews for the following bats. Below is a highlight of our 2018 best big barrel bats.
The 2018 CF Zen is a perfect bat. DeMarini has dialed in the feel and barrel performance better than anyone in the USSSA space. We have dozens of players try our every bat in the market (even the small ones), and the Zen always rises to the top, or right near the top, of everyone’s list. This 2018 version is not much different than the 2017 Retooled version. But, even after the retooled 2017 version was released, we still loved it. See our full 2018 CF Zen review.
There are several other great options in the big barrel space. Especially in the drop 5, we love the Easton Ghost X for many of the same reasons we love the CF Zen in the drop 10. The Ghost X Drop 5 has remarkable pop and a good-sized barrel. Expect an end-loaded feel. Oddly, the drop 5 Ghost X has a smaller barrel profile than the drop 8 or drop 10 Ghost X, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rake. See our 2018 Easton Ghost X review.
Both the Easton Ghost X and CF Zen come in lovely drop 8 options. But, our favorite drop 8 big barrel for 2018 is Marucci’s CAT 7. This swings, feels, and sounds a lot different than the two-piece composite bats that grace this list. But, no doubt, it delivers absolute screamers. We love the balance and slightly tapered grip as well as the durability and brilliant feel. The stiff feel from the single piece can occasionally ring the hands, but Marucci’s AV2 knob is a unique feature that makes it reasonable for even young hitters. The CAT 7 is a top-shelf cold weather bat built for performance players at a fraction of the price. See our Marucci CAT 7 review.
The most comfortable choice on this list is the 2018 Rawlings VELO for the best drop 12 bat. Most bat companies do not take the drop 12 space seriously. They leave their second-tier bats to top out the space. Not Rawlings. They upgrade their traditional single piece Rawlings VELO into a two-piece composite with a huge barrel and a great feel. If you are looking for the best 2018 drop 12 bats, and money is not an option, then the two-piece Rawlings VELO is a fantastic option. See our Rawlings VELO review.
There are not very many cheap 2018 big barrel baseball bats worth mentioning. Under $75 are about the same. That is, a single piece of aluminum shaved down to offer a light swing weight. These rarely have any tech that helps dampen sting. But, if your player is new to the sport and you are just looking to get through a couple of games before diving into the deep end, we like the Easton S450. You can find this bat everywhere for a pretty low price, and as a drop 11 it should be useful to the beginners.
If you have a budget of $100 and are trying to be the wisest, we suggest the 2018 Omaha 518 as the best value 2018 Big Barrel Bat. There is not a ton of tech on this bat as it is, a good old fashioned single piece of aluminum. However, the barrel performs well and is considered one of Slugger’s top end bats. We like the grip, tapered knob, and several size offerings (drop 10, 8, and 5). It’s a very legit choice for under $100. See our Slugger 518 review.
Buying the bats above can save you a few bucks. Except for the drop 12 VELO, the 2017 version of each of the bats we list above are identical. And, if you can find them, likely worth it at a discount from this year’s model. Finding used or last year’s model is a bit of an art form, and we discuss some tricks to buying bats here.
One notable exception, in terms of saving money, the 2017 Drop 5 DeMarini CF Zen. This bat is straight ridiculous. Very hard to find at any level of a discount. It is our favorite drop 5 bats, maybe ever.
(The below section entails our write up for 2017 bats. If you are looking for our thoughts, after hours of testing, on the 2017 line of big barrel bats then see below).
There are a ton of reasonable drop 5 bats on the market. Easton’s MAKO XL Beast, Marucci’s CAT 7, or the Voodoo Insane are big-time drop 5 options. But the bomb-making ability of the CF Zen is unmatched.
The 2017 model, over the 2016 model, added some barrel length with a new internal design. The technology in the knob to help dampen sting is still there. Expect a focused barrel and a super smooth feel. Great for kids who can handle a drop 5, but who don’t think an end-load is the feel for them. See our 2017 CF Zen review.
We originally had DeMarini’s CF Zen in the drop 8 as the winner of this section. However, the bat was deemed illegal by USSSA and several other leagues. As such, it probably does not deserve a strong recommendation.
The drop 8 CAT 7, however, does. The at is dynamite for all the same reasons the drop 5 bat is incredible. Expect a smooth swing and a beautiful ping. The bat swings well, and it benefits the player who has good bat speed. The barrel is the right size, and the balance is manageable but by no means light. See our 2017 Marucci CAT 7 review.
DeMarini’s Voodoo 2 5/8 big barrel bat is our favorite drop 9 of the bunch, in part because the balanced two-piece hybrid is a fabulous smooth swing with that hot out of the wrapper aluminum from DeMarini we have grown to love. Collegiate teams that swing DeMarini almost always tend toward the Voodoo over the CF Series.
The other part of the reason we think it is the best drop 9 big barrel today is that it is just about the only one. Most other brands offer a drop 10 or a drop 8. A two-piece hybrid in a drop 10 or drop 8, though, is difficult to find, too. Hence the reason the DeMarini Voodoo dominates the space. See our 2017 DeMarini Voodoo review.
No bat space in the baseball bat market is more competitive, save BBCOR than the drop 10 big barrel space. There are a half dozen or more great choices in this same space. We chose the Easton MAKO Beast as our best big barrel drop 10 for its barrel size, balance weight, and high performance. Every single player who used the bat sang its praises.
The Easton Beast won our best overall 2017 baseball bat award. Not a small feat. In part, that award rests on fulfilling the purpose of the drop 10, which the Beast does so very well. We are confident there is not a kid in the drop 10 ample barrel space that will dislike the 2017 Easton MAKO Beast. The only thing we don’t like about the Beast is the price—but welcome to youth baseball. See our 2018 Easton Mako Beast review.
Like the drop 9 section, there are not a ton of bats competing in the drop 12 space. Most drop 12 bats are for the Junior Big Barrel divisions, which come in shorter sizes between 26 and possibly 29 inches. We dedicate an entire page to those best junior barrel baseball bats.
In the Big Barrel, a.k.a. Senior barrel realm, there are only a few that compete with bats longer than 28 inches. One favorite of ours is the 2017 Rawlings Composite VELO. This bat is unlike any other in the VELO line, as instead of a single piece hybrid, it is a two-piece composite bat. It comes in a 2 3/4 only but has a super light swing weight. Reviews of last year’s model were not stellar due to some durability issues on some early releases. But the 2017 model claims to have fixed that, and our players have had great success with the drop 12 VELO. See our 2017 Rawlings VELO review.
(Below are some bats you can rarely find new anymore. But, in terms of eBay type purchases, they may serve you well if you can find a reputable seller and a good deal.)
Anyone who reads this blog knows we are in love with the drop 10 2015 Marucci Hex Composite. For us, it was love at first sight. The barrel is gigantic, swing weight light, and sweet spot large, to say nothing of the design, which we think looks fantastic. Those in the market for a top-shelf big barrel bat in only a drop 10 will not regret this decision. It’s a top-shelf choice for 2015. (Check pricing here).
The Drop 5 CF7 from DeMarini may be our favorite bat of the year in any category. My three sons prefer this bat over any of the arsenals we have, and the ropes drilled from this bat are remarkable. It does not come in a 2 3/4 version (only 2 5/8), but we stand by our earlier claim: if you can swing it, you should swing it. It’s also not inexpensive, but if any bat has a share on the top of a list of the best senior league or big barrel bats, we don’t know how this wouldn’t be anything but first. (These are still hard to find, but check the pricing here).
Combat’s 2 5/8 drop 12 Portent G3 puts a stamp on the phrase “big barrel bat.” This stick should make any list of top-shelf big barrel youth bats for 2015. The barrel is smooth, and Combat’s seamless construction makes for an enjoyable hit. The green version is a boat oar at the plate with an ultra-light swing weight and a lizard skin grip. Those who prefer one-piece bats and Combat fans will be utterly pleased with this green monster. (Check pricing here).
We admit this choice is predictable, but how do we leave off what is probably the most popular bat off the best bat list? Easton’s 2015 big barrel MAKO is as good a bat you may ever swing, and, like the BBCOR version, those who swing it scoff at the idea they should ever try something different. Huge long barrel, low swing weight per length, and a couple of other options: a drop 10 2 3/4 and drop 9 2 5/8. The marquee bat from the most prominent metal and composite bat company is predictably tremendous and is easily a top 5 big barrel bat for 2015. (Check pricing here).
At the risk of being an Easton Homer, we follow up on the MAKO with the 2015 Easton XL1. This bat is the only drop 8 big barrel to make a list (although the DeMarini CF7 and Combat G3 both come in a drop 8). But the big barrel 2015 XL1 drop 8 is the perfect bat for a heavy hitter who isn’t quite ready for a drop 5 yet. The XL1 is a monster bat whose genealogy contains the famed Easton Omen and little league series lore. The bat is highly, highly recommended. (Check pricing here).
Probably should have made this list: Slugger 915 Prime drop 5, DeMarini Overlord FT drop 9. Why they didn’t make the list is a mystery, but it’s a top 5 list, and we had to make it shorter. These bats rock in the big barrel market.
There is significant confusion in the industry surrounding the terms’ big barrel’ and ‘senior league.’ Each vendor often uses them interchangeably. Technically, a 2 5/8 bat that is NOT a drop 3 is considered a Senior Barrel bat. Big Barrel bats are 2 3/4 sized bats. But, don’t expect the vast majority of vendors and manufacturers to make the distinction.
Junior Big Barrel bats are 2 3/4 inch baseball bats meant for smaller players. They often come in a max size of 26 or 27 inches and have considerable drop weights. These bats are usually not rated for pitch speeds over 45 miles per hour.
We cover the 10-year-old question exclusively in the best bat for a 10-year-old article.
If you are talking about the official Little League, then the answer is no. They use USA Bats now, and you can read all about that stuff here.
It is probably safe to say that a top-shelf bat from any number of companies performs at peak powers. If it says Slugger, Easton, DeMarini, Rawlings, Axe, Anderson, Marucci, or Combat (and maybe one or two others), then you can bet the bat is legit.
Bats that have higher price points tend to have larger barrels, more specific swing weights, and technological innovations that dampen hand sting.
BPF 1.15 standard implementation has forced bat companies to the drawing board on innovation.
To the contrary of what many vendors often erroneously claim, a bat with an end load does not also have a high swing weight or MOI (mass moment of inertia). Instead of where the load is found in a bat is only one of many factors that determine swing weight—the most important of which is arguably the total length of a bat. Just because a bat has a handle or end load does not also mean it has a low or high swing weight. You can prefer an end-loaded bat but get a low swing weight by only getting a shorter size. See our swing weight charts.