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Cold Weather Bat Recommendations | Composite or Aluminum?

Cold Weather Bat Recommendations | Composite or Aluminum?

November 11, 2020 | by Brian Duryea | @BatDigest

It would help if you did not use performance bats in cold weather. The issue is not a cold bat but a cold ball. Cold weather, according to most manufacturers, is sub 60 degrees.

Using a bat in cold weather

Cold Weather Bat Recommendations

With that said, we realize that playing in sub 60-degree weather is commonplace. We play in the rocky mountains and hoping for a cool ocean breeze, and a 70-degree game is the thing of legends.

Baseballs and Softballs, made out of leather and string, become denser as they become colder. More dense baseballs have less bounce and can cause more damage to a bat. Aluminum bats tend to dent, composite’s crack. This is why we prefer aluminum bats in cold weather.

Here are some cold weather and aluminum bat recommendations:

Generally speaking, we suggest a two-piece hybrid bat. That includes a composite bat with an aluminum barrel. The barrel’s aluminum has less chance of catastrophic failure in the cold weather. The two-piece construction gives a smoother feel on a cold night and a mishit ball.

Our Cold Weather BBCOR Pick

Heavier swing weight? Check. Aluminum barrel? Check. Good transition piece to help dampen sting on a cold day? Check. The 718 is the perfect BBCOR cold-weather bat. Price check:

Bat performance in Cold Weather

How Cold Weather Bat Composite

Ball flight changes when the weather is cold. Colder weather brings down both slugging percentage and Home Runs/At Bat.

Aluminum or Composite?

Per our industry conversations, we suggest you tend towards aluminum in cold weather months (sub 55/60 degrees). Hitting an aluminum bat with a ball too dense (cold) is a possible dent. The result of a ball too dense on the composite is a crack and, then, the bat’s ultimate failure.

One option with a decent price point that gets great ratings from us is the 718 Select from Slugger. (See our full 718 Select Review).

Our Cold Weather USA Bat Pick

Best Cold WEather Bat

We love this USA Bat for lots of reasons. The fact it works very well in cold weather is towards the top of the list. Is it made with a nice big aluminum barrel and a smooth transition that dampens some of the most violent mishits? This bat swings heavy compared to others “drop 10” counterparts. It should be categorized as a drop 8.

How Cold is Too Cold?

For cold weather, bat weight and an aluminum barrel help performance and durability. In the USA Bat space, no other bat quite captures those cold weather values like the 2018 Easton Beast X Hybrid. This is also one of our most favorite overall USA Bats. Price check:
Hit Composite Bat Cold Weather

Really, no Hitting Below 60 Degrees?

Our personal experience has shown that a 60-degree cutoff is a rather conservative figure. We have used composites in 50-degree weather and a few times in 40-degree weather. We were not seeing massive pitch and swing speeds. If you see 90+ from the mound and are swinging close to that to match it, we would guess the 60-degree cutoff is reasonable.

But, if it is more like 60mph or so from the mound with a 60 or so swing speed, then going below 60, in our eyes at least, is reasonable. The manufacturers feel differently and, likely, have data to back it up. This is just our layman’s observation.

Some manufacturers do not recommend hitting with a thin-walled, high-grade aluminum bat either in sub 60-degree weather. The denser ball, they argue, creates a greater chance for the aluminum bat to dent. Other manufacturers accept the risks of aluminum bats. Still, they admit the outcome of small dents on a barrel is much more satisfactory than the catastrophic results of a cracked composite bat.

Best Fastpitch Cold Weather Bat

Best Cold Weather Bats

For many of the same reasons we like the Beast X Hybrid in baseball, we like the Rocketech in fastpitch. The bat swings heavier (a drop 9) and is made of an aluminum barrel. This helps with durability and feel on those cold weather days. Price check:

What Does Cold Weather Bat Damage Look Like?

Cold Weather Bat

For composite bats, bat breaking appears in the form of cracks. Cold weather cracks tend to be more focused on impact than manufacturer defects, which often crack along a certain seam or length. But, that doesn’t mean cold weather cracks don’t look like that either.

Aluminum cold weather damage exhibits dents by hitting objects too hard for the bats rating. This type of damage is consistent with most aluminum bat problems as they rarely break. Instead, they bend.

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Gary D
Gary D
3 years ago

Technically the ball deforms less on impact when cold as opposed to being more dense. Good article as most people believe the bat is the issue in cold weather.

Aurora Islanders
2 years ago

What about wood bats? Is there a type of wood that is better in cold weather?

1 year ago

Have to return the meta prime 2020- which bbcor to we buy to replace it? Need an aluminum bat ASAP to use while the bbcor gets broken in. What’s the best aluminum bat? 

Brian Sanders
Brian Sanders
1 month ago

My friend just told me she has had 2 bats bend…not dent or crack, but bend. What the what? Brands were Easton and Louisville Slugger. Have you ever heard of such a thing? 11 year old boy player in Washington state.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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