The Best Catcher’s Gear for 2023 (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 Adult Baseball Catcher's Set - 2022 Model
New for 2022, the Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Adult Baseball Catcher’s Set! Ideal for players ages 15 and up, this set is the perfect combination of protection, style, and affordability. The Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Adult Baseball Catcher’s Set features a hockey-style catcher’s helmet, lightweight leg guards, and a redesigned impact-absorbing chest protector for unmatched protection and comfort.
Rawling’s Arc Reactor Core Technology
Adjustable chin pad and moisture-wicking helmet liner
Rawling’s CoolFlo hockey-style helmet
2. Rawlings Velo 2.0 Adult Catcher's Kit
The Rawlings Velo 2.0 Adult Catcher’s Kit is an elite set that features a top-of-the-line helmet, chest protector, and leg guards. Rawling’s Arc Reactor Core technology in the chest protector disperses forceful impacts and dampens the ball while blocking. The Velo 2.0 leg guards include a lightweight and conforming design, maximizing the fit for enhanced comfort and mobility.
Arc Reactor Core technology in chest protector disperses impacts and dampens ball while blocking
Heat Exchange foam technology in leg guards increases airflow to keep you cool
Dynamic Fit System 2.0 gives the chest protector a more fitting design to add comfort
3. All Star System 7 Axis Pro Adult Catcher's Kit - 2020 Model
All Star System 7 Axis Pro Adult Catcher’s Kit is worn by several professional baseball players and is perfect for the elite catcher. All Star System 7 Axis Pro Adult Catcher’s Kit features an MVP2500-GTT catcher’s helmet with an I-BAR Vision cage, providing the player with great sight lines. Wedged abs on the chest protector dampen balls while blocking, allowing for more control.
Fast-drying removable, washable, and replaceable helmet liner
Internal and moldable PE protective chest plates for protection and fit
LINQ Hinge system for insane leg guard mobility
4. All-Star Classic Pro Adult Catcher's Kit - 2020 Model
The All Star Classic Pro Adult Catcher’s Kit is an excellent option for a catcher looking for supreme protection and a high-quality gear set. This kit includes all of the necessary gear catchers are looking for, such as the MVP2400 mask, CPCC1618S7X chest protector, and LG21WPRO leg guards. All Star Classic Pro catcher’s gear will give players the comfort, look, feel, and protection they need!
- I-BAR cage gives catcher great vision behind the plate
- Wedged abs for improved blocking and ball control
- Triple knee design gives the mobility catcher’s need behind the plate
5. Easton Pro X Intermediate Baseball Catcher's Set
Easton Pro X Intermediate Baseball Catcher’s Set is the same gear worn by professional baseball player Austin Hedges. This gear set is recommended for players ages 13-15 and features an elite-level helmet, chest protector, and leg guards. An ultimate level of protection is found in the helmet with Poron XRD technology to absorb shock from the impact of balls, bats, or collisions. The leg guards on the Pro X feature a wide-set knee design to help the catcher get in a better block position for balls in the dirt.
- BioDri moisture-wicking fabric in the helmet helps keep the catcher dry
- Stacked memory foam in the chest protector dampens rebounds while blocking
- EVAIR foam liner in leg guards helps airflow to keep you cool
The Best Baseball Catcher’s Helmet
1. Easton Elite X Adult Catcher's Helmet
Easton’s Elite X Adult Catcher’s Helmet is the perfect helmet for those wanting more breathability in their helmet, without sacrificing protection. Easton has included strategic airflow vents and breathable air mesh/BioDri moisture control fabric on the forehead to keep the catcher cool and dry. The sleek black steel cage and ABS plastic shell give the catcher superior protection from any contact.
Removable and washable forehead and chin pads
Ergonomic chin cup design allows for better fit and communication
Black steel cage designed with a flat middle bar for increased visibility
2. Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Senior Baseball Catcher's Helmet - 2022 Model
On the Renegade 2.0, Rawlings included a high-strength impact-resistant cage to protect the catcher from any contact. The 2.0 version of the Renegade helmet includes an upgraded chin pad for a more comfortable and custom fit. To double down on this custom fit, Rawlings included a 3-way adjustable back plate to give the catcher a proper fit.
- Moisture-wicking liner
- High-strength, impact-resistant cage
- Upgraded chin pad for a more comfortable and custom fit
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.
- Windpact’s Crash Cloud technology
- Durable steel face mask for impact protection and maximum field of vision
- Innovative design for better fit and comfort
4. All Star MVP2410 Youth Catcher's Helmet
All Star’s MVP2410 Youth Catcher’s Helmet is perfect for the young catcher that is looking for a durable, high-quality helmet. Many professional baseball players swear by All Star’s catcher gear and their I-BAR Vision steel cage. This gives the player great vision of the entire field while protecting them from balls, bats, and other contact a catcher might endure.
- I-BAR Vision steel cage
- High-impact ABS shell with increased forehead thickness
- UltraCool lining keeps player cool
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 Intermediate Chest Protector
Easton’s Elite X Intermediate Chest Protector features stacked memory foam to absorb the ball and dampen the kick on blocked balls. This creates more control for the catcher and helps prevent the runner from advancing. Easton’s 4-point webbing strap on the back provides each player a custom fit and comfortable feel while behind the plate.
- Stacked memory foam in the ab area
- 4-point webbing strap system provides a custom and comfortable fit
- Adjustable shoulder cap provides the player with cu
3. All-Star Player Series Junior Youth Chest Protector
All-Star’s Player Series Junior Youth Chest Protector is a great choice for young players looking to start their catching career. Ideal for ages 7-9, the Player Series chest protector includes moldable PE chest plates in the shoulder and throat for great protection. Easy size adjustments with All Star’s 4-point adjustment makes it easy for the young player to get a custom and comfortable fit.
- Stepped ab padding for improved blocking
- Moldable PE chest plates in shoulders and throat
- Delta-Flex harness with 4-point adjustment for a perfect fit
The Best Baseball Leg Guards
1. All Star System 7 Axis Intermediate Baseball Catcher's Leg Guards
All Star’s System 7 Axis Intermediate Baseball Catcher’s Leg Guards are some of the best leg guards ever developed. Featuring All Star’s LINQ hinge system, you will be hard-pressed to find better mobility with a leg guard. These leg guards have a wider and smoother knee, making it easier for the catcher to pivot and slide to block the ball.
- LINQ hinge system
- Repositionable center knee pad with D3O padding
- Diamond vents line the back for weight reduction and breathability
2. All Star System 7 Axis Youth Baseball Catcher's Leg Guards
All Star’s System 7 Axis Youth Baseball Catcher’s Leg Guards are some of the best leg guards ever developed. Featuring All Star’s LINQ hinge system, you will be hard-pressed to find better mobility with a leg guard. These leg guards have a wider and smoother knee, making it easier for the catcher to pivot and slide to block the ball.
- LINQ hinge system
- Repositionable center knee pad with D3O padding
- Diamond vents line the back for weight reduction and breathability
3. EvoShield Pro-SRZ Adult Upper Leg Guards
EvoShield Pro-SRZ Upper Leg Guards truly allow the catcher to get a custom fit. Catchers can lengthen or shorten these upper leg guards by 2” when attaching to the lower leg guard for the perfect fit. This helps the leg guards stay in place effortlessly with the help of EvoShield’s reinforced knee and thigh construction.
- Unrivaled 2-piece leg guard system
- Shorten or lengthen leg guards by 2” for a truly custom fit
- Adjustable knee padding enhances knee support
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.
This article was originally published on November 6, 2021, and has been updated with new information.