baseball bat guide

Shopping for baseball bats has become more complicated over the years due to advances in materials and technology, as well as the varying rules for different divisions and age groups. Not all bats are designed to be used in every situation, so we’ve broken things down for you. 

This buying guide shares how to size a baseball bat, whether you’re shopping for a T-baller who’s just starting out, or you’re buying for an advanced high-school player who’s looking towards their first college games. So if you’ve ever wondered: what size bat I need, read on. 

In this article, we’ll cover:

Choosing your next bat really just comes down to knowing how to measure for a baseball bat that is the right size, based on two different aspects; length and weight. 

It sounds confusing, but we won’t leave you guessing. To learn how to measure bat size and length, find the right bat weight and bat drop weight into the easy-to-follow steps below.

Choosing the Right Baseball Bat Length

Figuring out what length bat do I need doesn't have to be confusing, if you use the following quick tips. 

Measure from Your Chest to Fingertips: To begin determining how to size a baseball bat, start by extending your arm horizontally so it’s parallel to the ground. Measure from the center of your chest to the end of your fingertips. Use this measurement to start finding the proper baseball bat length.

Finding Bat Length by Height: The next tactic can be especially valuable when determining youth baseball bat sizes for younger players since players will be at different stages of growth. While resting the knob of the bat in the center of the palm when standing, the head of the bat should just rest on the floor.

Bat Length by Arm Length: A third technique used for measuring baseball bat size starts by placing the handle of the bat in the center of your chest. Extend the bat forward and if your arm can reach the barrel, the bat is an appropriate length. 

What is Bat Drop?

If you’re trying to figure out how to find the right baseball bat size, you first need to understand what does drop mean on a bat? Bat drop is essentially how to find the weight of a baseball bat. Bat drop is calculated in relation to bat length. 

For example, a 30-inch baseball bat size with a -10 bat drop weight would weigh 20 ounces. The higher the bat drop number is, the lighter your baseball bat weight will be.

Bat Drops by Certification

Bat CertificationsDrop Options
USA -5 -8 -10 -11 -12 -13
USSSA -5 -8 -10 -11 -12 -13

Choosing the Right Baseball Bat Weight (and Drop)

  1. Check League and Age Rules: Sizing a baseball bat for weight isn’t as exact of a science as measuring the length of a baseball bat size. The first step on how to pick a bat size weight is to check the rules for your age and level of play. We’ll provide a baseball size guide for most age groups below.
  2. Assess Your Strength: Strength can be a big factor in deciding what bat you need. Youth baseball bat sizing should use a higher drop for players learning how to swing, while stronger, more experienced players may choose a heavier bat size that fits their style and level of play.
  3. Personal Preference: Determining bat drop weight for baseball bat fitting often comes down to personal preference. Heavier bats may be more appropriate for contact and control hitters who perform well with slower bat speed. However, power hitters might want a lighter bat drop size for a quicker swing through the zone.
Weight/Height3'5"- 3'8"3'9" - 4'4'1"- 4'4"4'5"- 4'-8"4'9"- 5'5'1"- 5'-4"5'5"- 5'-8"5'9"- 6'6'1"- Over'
Under 60 lbs27"28"29"29"     
61 - 70 lbs27"28"29"30"30"    
71 - 80 lbs28"28"29"30"30"31"   
81 - 90 lbs28"29"29"30"30"31"   
91 - 100 lbs29"29"30"30"31"31"31"  
101 - 110 lbs29"29"30"30"31"31"32"  
111 - 120 lbs29"29"30"30"31"31"32"  
121 - 130 lbs 30"30"30"31"32"32"33" 
131 - 140 lbs 30"30"30"31"32"32"33"33"
141 - 150 lbs 30"30"31"31"32"33"33"33"
151 - 160 lbs 30"31"31"31"32"33"33"34"
161 - 170 lbs  31"31"32"32"33"33"34"
171 - 180 lbs   31"32"32"33"34"34"
Over 180 lbs     33"33"34"34"

Click here to see our baseball bat sizing charts.

If you’re wondering what bat length do I need for youth baseball bat sizing, or even high-school and beyond, you’ll need to know the general bat size regulations for different leagues. 

Some local leagues may have varying baseball bat length guides, but most leagues adhere to the following standards for youth baseball bat sizing.   

Tee Ball Bats

  • Age Group: 4-6 yrs
  • Leagues: Cal Ripken, Little League
  • Bat Drop: -10 through -14
  • Bat Length: 24” through 26”
  • Bat Weight: 12 oz through 16 oz
  • Age Group: 4-6 yrs
  • Leagues: Cal Ripken, Little League
  • Bat Drop: -10 through -14
  • Bat Length: 24” through 26”
  • Bat Weight: 12 oz through 16 oz

Coach Pitch / Junior Big Barrel Bats

  • Age Group: 7-8 yrs
  • Bat Drop: -13 through -10
  • Bat Length: 24” through 27”
  • Bat Weight: 14 oz through 17 oz

Little League Baseball Bats

  • Age Group: 9-12 yrs
  • Bat Drop: -13 through -10
  • Bat Length: 26” through 33”
  • Bat Weight: 13 oz through 23 oz

Senior League / Youth Big Barrel Bats

  • Age Group: 13-15 yrs
  • Bat Drop: -3 through -7
  • Bat Length: 26” through 33”
  • Bat Weight: 15 oz through 28 oz

High School & College: BBCOR Baseball Bats

  • Age Group: 14-22 yrs
  • Bat Drop: -3
  • Bat Length: 30” through 34”
  • Bat Weight: 27 oz through 31 oz

Regardless of what size baseball bat you’ve purchased, your bat will have to be certified by the appropriate agency supported by your league rules. There are three major certifications that you should be aware of: BBCOR, USSSA and USA bat certifications.

BBCOR Bat Certification

BBCOR bat certifications covers most high-school and college age leagues. BBCOR certified bats can be made from aluminum alloy, composite materials or one-piece wood craftsmanship. 

Note that one-piece wood bats may not need the BBCOR certification sticker, however all other BBCOR bats must have a visual certification stamp. Also be aware, the Cal Ripken leagues do not allow BBCOR bats. Learn more in our complete guide to the BBCOR bat certification.

USSSA Bat Certification

USSSA bat certification covers bats designed for and used in “travel play” among youth leagues. USSSA certified bats tend to be manufactured for better performance to provide a higher level of play in tournaments and travel games. Some leagues that accept a USA Bat certification will also allow USSSA certified baseball bats.

USA Bat Certification

USA Bat certification standards are similar to BBCOR standards, but they’re designed with the younger player in mind. Youth sizing standards allow for greater bat drop of lighter bats. New USA certification rules passed in 2018 only allow for bats made after 2018 to be used. Many pre-high school leagues support both USA and BBCOR bat certification. 

Not all baseball bats are constructed the same. New technology over the years has provided new ways to make baseball bats better, and currently there are three standards for baseball bat construction. Most leagues allow all three types, but youth leagues often limit wood bats.

Composite Baseball Bats

Composite bats are crafted with layers of material that are similar to carbon fiber and coated with a hard surface. They often have reduced vibration and can cause less hand stinging when a ball is hit. 

Keep in mind, though, composite bats do require time to break in and can be damaged if used in temperatures under 60 degrees, so the average weather should be taken into account when choosing a composite bat. Composite bats are often more expensive, making them a choice for serious ball players willing to invest rather than beginners and youth players.

Aluminum/Alloy Baseball Bats

Aluminum bats, or alloy bats, have been the wood bat alternative for a long time. Aluminum bats are ready to go the second you purchase them, so there’s no need to break them in and they’re considerably more cost-effective versus composite bats.

Alloy bats have a smaller sweet spot than composites, but if you’re looking for a long-lasting baseball bat, aluminum bats are still legal to use if dented or cracked as long as the barrel ring still fits on the bat.

Wood Baseball Bats

Wood baseball bats have been around since the inception of the game. Modern wood bats tend to be more balanced regardless of baseball bat sizing. The density of wood bats may even offer better power on contact, however bat density may result in a heavier bat making it harder to swing for youth ball players. Wood baseball bats give a classic feel, but may have a smaller sweet spot and reduced durability on mis-hit balls.

Now that you’ve learned how to pick the right bat size, it’s time to explore the best brands available at BaseballMonkey. The good news is there are several brands that offer quality bats regardless of bat size or player skill level. 

Check out our selection of: