The Best Catcher’s Gear for 2022 (with reviews)
Catchers, maybe more than any other player on the field, need the right gear to get the job done. But with so many options out there, it can feel hard to know exactly what to get. With the multiple protective pieces you need, gear can be bought individually or as part of a catcher's baseball gear set. If you’re looking for help finding the right catcher's gear, check out this guide. We’re exploring how to find the best catcher's gear equipment and sets, and giving you some options so you can start shopping today.
To see even more, check out BaseballMonkey’s full selection of catcher’s gear.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Essential Equipment for Catchers
- List of the Best Catcher’s Gear Sets
- List of the Best Catcher’s Mask
- List of the Best Leg Guards
- How To Size Each Piece of Catcher’s Gear Correctly
- NOCSAE Equipment Standards and Approval
What Components are in a Full Catcher’s Gear Set?
Catchers have to be ready for all kinds of balls - from wild pitches, to those that bounce in the dirt, to the ones they weren't expecting. And they’re doing all this as they’re crouched behind a plate in close proximity to a fast-swinging bat. Their position on the field makes them incredibly vulnerable - to bats, foul tips, pitched balls and even to collisions with players sliding into home. So they need that specialized protection designed to reduce the risk of serious injury. Catchers must wear a helmet, mask, chest protector and shin guards, at the very least. Many choose additional equipment that isn't necessarily mandatory, but that offers additional protection.
Helmet and Mask
If you're a baseball fan, you've seen at least a few games where a ball was foul tipped by the batter only to ricochet off the facemask of the catcher behind the plate. Without a face mask or helmet, catchers would be at huge risk of injury. They could easily be hit in the head with a swung bat or hit by a foul ball - catchers’ normal play could result in serious injury, or even death. This is why you'd never see a catcher without the proper head protection.
In the past, it was common for catchers to wear a classic two-piece helmet and mask system. It featured a skull cap and face mask that strapped on over the hard shell. More recently though, catchers have gravitated towards a one-piece helmet that offers full protection around the ears and back of the head.
A chest protector guards a catcher’s chest and abdomen against foul balls and helps block bouncing pitches. It can also cushion the blow if there’s contact with a player trying to score at home plate. Many of the best catcher’s chest protectors include an option to attach shoulder pads for added protection. These shoulder pads are often required for youth leagues, but even some advanced catchers choose to protect their shoulders by wearing a chest protector with these pads. Some choose to wear a single pad on just one shoulder to reduce bulk on their throwing arm.
Leg guards protect most of a catcher's legs from errant pitches and foul tips. These guards are composed of hard materials that protect as they absorb impacts to exposed and vulnerable legs. The best catcher's shin guards generally include four sections that cover most of the thigh, the knee, the shin and the front of the ankle and foot.
Additional Catcher’s Equipment
Beyond the equipment included in the standard baseball catcher's gear set, there are some other pieces that offer added protection for catchers. While some of these aren’t required, many catchers choose to wear and use them regardless.
- Catcher’s Mitt: A specially designed mitt specifically for the catching position. Catcher’s mitts are shaped to catch and cradle baseballs thrown from the pitcher and they include extra padding.
- Knee Savers: Designed to relieve stress on the knees while crouched, knee savers offer extra padding for the knee area.
- Wrist Guards: Protects the exposed wrist area behind a catcher’s mitt. Some wrist guards may extend up the forearm for added coverage.
- Chest Guards: An added layer of padding included in the chest area of a specialized undershirt. Further absorbs impacts to the chest. Often required in youth leagues.
- Groin Protector: Used to cover the upper thighs and sensitive inner groin areas of the leg.
- Throat Guard: Can be added to the facemask to cover the exposed area of the throat under the chin to the top of the chest.
The Best Catcher’s Gear Sets
1. Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Intermediate Baseball Catcher's Set - 2022 Model
New for 2022, The Rawling’s Renegade 2.0 Intermediate Baseball Catcher’s set! Ideal for players ages 12-15, the Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Intermediate Baseball Catcher’s kit features a hockey-style catcher’s helmet, lightweight leg guards, and an impact absorbing chest protector for unmatched protection and comfort.
- Rawling’s Arc Reactor Core Technology
- Adjustable back harness
- Lightweight leg guards
2. Easton Pro X Adult Baseball Catcher's Set
Worn by MLB catcher Austin Hedges, the Easton Pro X adult catcher's gear set features pro-level comfort and protection. The helmet’s Poron XRD technology absorbs and disperses impact, while the ergonomic chin provides a solid and secure fit. The chest protector is built with stacked memory foam that offers both protection from impacts and control of blocked balls. Pro-level protection continues in the leg guards as the wide set knee design allows for better movement and coverage.
- Vented shell and EVAIR liner in the leg guards
- Four-point chest pad strap design
- Extra-wide rear helmet strap for security
3. Wilson C1K Intermediate Baseball Catcher's Kit
The Wilson C1K intermediate catcher’s gear kit is designed to protect growing players while offering a comfortable fit. The inner knee pad of the leg guard comes off for cleaning, and the chest protector features a removable groin protector and an adjustable shoulder harness for optimal customization. Custom fitting helmet straps allow for an individualized secure fit.
- Leg guard features overlapping thigh pieces
- Glossy helmet finish
- Angled chest protector pads for blocking control
4. Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Adult Baseball Catcher's Kit
A redesigned chest protector, a CoolFlo hockey goalie style helmet and lightweight leg guards give the Rawlings Renegade 2.0 baseball catcher's gear kit incredible protection, comfort and other performance features that catchers can rely on. The chest protector includes a polymer plate and the helmet is constructed from high-strength, impact resistant materials.
- Lightweight and flexible leg guard design
- Impact absorbing foam chest protector construction
- CoolFlo helmet ventilation provides airflow
The Best Baseball Catcher’s Helmet
1. All Star System 7 Two-Tone MVP4000TT Adult Catcher's Helmet
The All Star System 7 Two-Tone helmet has a polycarbonate shell designed to withstand the impact of a 100 mile per hour fastball. The Armor Clad mesh lining system and vinyl nitrile forehead strip give a comfortable fit, while the moisture wicking chin pad helps keep catchers dry all game long.
- Lightweight I-Bar cage
- Machine washable padding
- Durable polycarbonate shell
2. Rawlings Mach Two-Tone Adult Baseball Catcher's Helmet
Rawlings' IMPAX foam padding lets the Mach Two-Tone helmet disperse impact throughout the entire helmet for pro-level protection. The impact resistant cage protects the face without obstructing a catcher's field of vision. The sleek design results in a lower profile than many other catcher's helmets currently on the market.
- Optimized ventilation to keep catchers dry
- Sleek-profile design
- Adjustable back plate and chin strap
3. EvoShield Pro-SRZ Adult Catcher's Helmet
The EvoShield Pro-SRZ helmet is constructed with Windpact's Crash Cloud technology to absorb, then disperse, even high speed impacts for superior protection from bats and foul balls. The facemask is crafted from durable steel and patterned to offer exceptional vision without sacrificing protective coverage.
- Designed to combine fit and performance
- Shock-absorbing padding system
- Steel facemask
The Best Baseball Chest Protectors
1. All Star System 7 Axis Pro Adult Chest Protector
The All Star System 7 Axis Pro chest protector features a patent-pending chest panel designed for ultimate protection. Wedged abs improve blocking control and the thin DeltaFlex harness is form fitting and comfortable. Moldable PE plates add protection for catchers’ throat and shoulders.
- Diamond Vent ports that increase breathability
- Added shoulder and throat protection
- SEI certified to meet NOCSAE standards for commotio cordis protection
2. Easton Elite X Adult Chest Protector
Designed for performance, the Easton Elite X offers both comfort and elite protection. The four-point webbing strap system features a neoprene back organizer for a comfortable fit, and a steel waist clip allows for adjustments without a tool while in use. Stacked memory foam in the chest gives padded protection and blocking control.
- Adjustable shoulder cap
- Black coated steel inset waist clip
- Four-point webbing system with back organizer
3. All Star Player Series Intermediate Baseball Catcher's Chest Protector - 2019 Model
The All Star Player Series chest protector is one of the best intermediate catcher's chest protectors for players not quite ready for adult sizes. It has moldable PE plates in the throat and shoulders and patent pending chest protection technology. The DeltaFlex harness has a four-point adjustment for a perfect fit, every game.
- Adjustable four-point harness
- Stepped ab padding
- Certified by SEI to meet NOCSAE standards
The Best Baseball Leg Guards
1. All-Star System7 Axis Adult Leg Guards
All-Star System7 Axis leg guards have a wider and smoother knee, and the LINQ hinge system between components creates a more mobile leg guard. A single top strap and double knee protector straps increase durability without being restrictive. A D30 padded repositionable center knee pad gives a comfortable and stable fit.
- Breathable Diamond Vented back
- Stainless steel matte black hardware
- LINQ hinge system
2. Easton Elite X Adult Baseball Catcher's Leg Guards
The Easton Elite X leg guards are constructed for ultimate protection and comfort. A reinforced knee and thigh connection remain secure when in a catcher's squat or chasing after foul balls. The toe extension adds extra foot protection and the wide-set knee offers a larger surface area for more explosive side-to-side sliding.
- Vented shell for breathability
- Removable inner knee and shin padding
- Toe extension protector piece
3. Wilson Pro Stock Leg Guards
Designed to combine mobility, comfort and safety, Wilson Pro Stock leg guards create an elite feel for catchers looking for the best adult leg guards. Overlapping thigh pieces add an extra layer of protection, and inner padding remains comfortable and absorbs impacts during long practice sessions and extra-innings games.
- Washable and removable inner padding
- Breathable perforated foam
- Lightweight construction
How To Size Each Piece of Catcher’s Gear Correctly
The best rated catcher's gear won’t offer the best protection if it’s the wrong size. So it's vital to understand how to size your gear. Buying equipment that’s either too large or too small can lead to a lack of performance and pose a serious injury risk. Be aware, you should never buy gear a size too big for youth players and growing teens. Purchasing gear they need to grow into increases the chance of injury due to protection gaps.
Each piece of your catcher's gear set must be sized correctly, so let's take a look at how to measure catcher's gear correctly.
Helmet and Masks
Measuring a helmet and mask is incredibly simple. Both two-piece and one-piece catcher's mask styles can be fitted by hat size. If you don't know your hat size, use a cloth measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head starting just above the eyebrows.
Chest plate sizes are also determined by a simple measurement. Use a tape measure to find the distance from the top of your sternum to your waist. This measurement will help you easily find the perfectly sized baseball chest protector. It's very important for youth players (and even adults) to purchase the exact size chest protector for their measurements. Protectors that are too large will be uncomfortable and have major gaps in protection.
In order to figure out your baseball shin guard size, you should measure from the center of your knee cap to your ankle bone. If you're trying on leg guards, make sure you try them on over your baseball pants and while wearing your cleats to get a better feel for how they fit. Youth sizes range from 9 - 12 inches, intermediates fall in the 12 - 15 inch range. Adult sizes go from 16 inches and up.
NOCSAE Equipment Standards and Approval
The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) sets safety standards for equipment for numerous sports, including baseball and softball. Nearly every single youth and intermediate baseball league requires that catcher's equipment is approved by and meets NOCSAE standards. Most recently-manufactured catcher's helmets and chest protectors have been designed to meet these standards, but it's important to verify certification before purchase. It should be noted that some adult sized catcher's equipment may not require NOCSAE approval.
Find the Best Selection of Catcher’s Gear at BaseballMonkey!
BaseballMonkey has a wide variety of the best baseball catcher’s gear sets and equipment for adults, intermediates and Little League ballplayers. Check out our full selection of catcher’s gear on BaseballMonkey.com today!
What are the Best Brands of Catcher’s Gear?
There are a number of baseball brands that claim to sell the best equipment, but who makes the best catcher's gear? It’s true that many factors of the brand you choose may come down to personal preference, the top rated baseball catcher's gear brands include All-Star, Rawlings, Wilson and Easton.
If you're looking for an entire set of catcher's gear, it might make sense to purchase them in a complete kit rather than buying each piece individually. The best catcher's gear sets will include the same brand and style for each piece, giving you coordinated protection and a complete look. In most cases purchasing a catcher's gear set can also save you money compared to purchasing the same items separately.