The Best Catcher’s Gear for 2024

Catchers have a tough job and they must have the right gear to be successful. There are so many different options and different gear brands that it can be hard to know exactly what gear is right for you. Additionally, catcher’s gear can be bought individually or as a complete set further complicating the buying process. 


In this article, we will explore the best catcher’s gear for 2024. To see even more, check out BaseballMonkey’s full selection of catcher’s gear.

In this article, we’ll cover:


What Components are in a Full Catcher’s Gear Set?

Catcher’s gear is designed with both protection and performance in mind. The gear is designed to keep you protected from foul balls, but also when you are blocking pitches in the dirt. In addition to excellent protection, all catcher’s gear is designed with performance in mind. This includes high visibility masks to increase visibility and gell knee pads to increase comfort. The basic equipment that comes in a full catcher’s gear set is a mask, chest protector, and shin guards. These are the basics, but there are additional accessory equipment that many catchers find valuable to keep them protected behind the dish. 

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.

Helmet and Mask

Perhaps one of the most important components of the catcher’s gear is the mask. This protects the head and neck of the catcher from foul tips and wild pitches. There are two types of masks, the traditional and the hockey style. You can learn about the difference between the two in our article, Hockey Style Catcher's Mask vs Traditional Mask - Which is Better? It is important to know that most youth tournaments and leagues require catchers to wear hockey-style masks as they offer more protection for the ears. Be sure to check the rules for the league or tournament you are playing in before purchasing your next mask.

Chest Protector

The chest protector protects the catcher’s torso and shoulders from foul balls and helps cushion the impact when blocking balls. Chest protectors come in different sizes to accommodate different-sized catchers and are adjustable for the perfect fit. Most have removable shoulder pads for added protection as well. At the younger levels, these can be required to be worn but can be removed at older ages. Some catchers find these bulky and hinder their movement when throwing and catching. 

Shin Guards

Shin guards help to protect the knees, legs, and ankles from foul balls when catching. These guards are made of hard plastic and foam to offer excellent protection. The hard plastic also makes it easy to slide on when blocking side to side. Some shin guards have extra foam, padding, or gel in the knees to reduce the impact of blocking. Additionally, some shin guards have extensions on the knee and top of the foot to offer additional protection. 

Additional Catcher’s Equipment

Beyond the equipment included in the standard baseball catcher's gear set, there are additional pieces that offer added protection for catchers. While some of these are not required, many catchers choose to use them to increase their protection and ability behind the plate. 

  • 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 is included in the chest area of a specialized undershirt. Further absorbs impacts to the chest. Often required in youth leagues.
  • Throat Guard: Can be added to the mask to cover the exposed area of the throat from the chin to the top of the chest.
  • Sun Visor: This can be added to the mask to reduce the glare from the sun when catching
  • Padded Batting Glove: This can be helpful to reduce the impact on the hand when catching higher velocity pitching. These gloves have padding on the fingers and palms to reduce the sting. 

The Best Catcher’s Gear Sets

Overview:
This is All-Star’s most advanced catching kit designed for catchers performing at the most competitive levels. This kit is from the system 7 line, All-Star’s highest-end line and you get all the top features. This includes a hockey-style mask with I-BAR Vision cage for maximum vision, a chest protector with wedged abs to help with blocking, and shin guards with gel padding. If you are looking for some of the highest performing, comfortable, and protective gear available, this is a great option.

Components:

  • Catcher's Mask (MVP2500-TT)
  • Chest Protector (CPCC40PRO)
  • Leg Guards (LG40WPRO)

Overview:
Force3 has been a leader in protection for years. Their masks are consistently the safest in the market. This is due to the S3 Shock Suspension system that reduces the force of frontal impacts and maximizes force distribution. These are the springs that attach the cage of the mask to the helmet. Also included in this kit is their chest protector and shin guards with individual kevlar sections to keep you protected behind the plate. This kit is a great option for the advanced catcher looking for maximum protection. A youth kit is also available.


Components:

  • Force3 Pro Gear Hockey Style Defender Adult Catcher's Helmet
  • Force3 Pro Gear NOCSAE Certified Adult Chest Protector
  • Force3 Pro Gear Adult Baseball Catcher's Shin Guards

Overview:
This is a new kit from All-Star for 2024. It is available in both intermediate and junior sizing. It features a hockey-style mask that is lightweight without compromising on protection. The chest protector features a removable groin protector. The shin guards have a double knee and are adjustable to fit a wide variety of athletes. This kit is available in a variety of colors. Finally, all the gear is treated with an anti-order formula to keep the gear fresh. 

Components:

  • All-Star Top Star Hockey Style Mask
  • All-Star Top Star Chest Protector
  • All-Star Top Star Shin guards.

Overview:
This is the kit from Rawlings’ Mach line of gear. This line is aimed at the premier player and offers great protection and performance. The helmet can be adjusted quickly and has excellent peripheral vision. It also has a chin cup to stop it from shifting around when throwing or blocking. The chest protector uses a combination of memory foam and arched ABS plates to give the catcher the best protection possible while ensuring blocked balls always remain under control. Finally, the leg guards are ultra-low profile, have extensions to protect the toes, and have knee padding and velcro straps to ensure a comfortable fit. 

Components:

  • Rawlings Mach Catcher’s Helmet
  • Rawlings Mach Chest Protector
  • Rawlings Mach Leg Guards 

Overview:
This kit is available in intermediate and youth sizing. The youth kit is ideal for players 12 and under while the intermediate kit is for ages 12-15. It has a hockey-style catcher’s helmet, lightweight shin guards, and an impact-absorbing chest protector for unmatched protection and comfort. 

Components:

  • Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Hockey-Style Mask
  • Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Chest Protector
  • Rawlings Renegade 2.0 Shin Guards

The Best Baseball Catcher’s Mask

Overview:
This mask offers the most protection of any mask available. It has the Force3 S3 Shock Suspension which is the springs that connect the cage to the helmet. This significantly reduces the force of frontal impacts and maximizes force distribution. Even with all this protection, this is still a comfortable mask with great visibility. Multiple colors are youth sizes are available.

Components:

  • S3 Shock Suspension
  • SEI/NOCSAE Certified
  • Multiple Colors and Youth Sizing 

Overview:
All-Star has been known for defining safety in baseball for generations, and it is no different on the new All-Star MVP5 Adult Catcher’s Helmet. After four years of extensive development, All-Star has created the new industry standard for both professional catchers and everyone else grinding their way to the top! All Star has incorporated several new technologies on the MVP5 helmet including Deflexion technology and an all-new version of their popular I-Bar Cage. Along with these technologies, All-Star has included their new Back Swing Protection technology. With the game being played harder and faster every year, backswings have become a serious threat to player safety. To protect your head in the new MVP5, All-Star has included a new and improved version of their classic Air-Mesh padding. Along with this, TPR Shock Hammocks are also placed along the forehead and chin to isolate your head and disperse energy from direct impacts.

Components:

  • New Deflection Technology
  • Back Swing Protection Technology
  • TPR Shock Hammocks

Overview:
This is a traditional two-piece style mask that is traditional in looks only. This Force3 mask is on the cutting edge of player safety and innovation. It contains the Force3 S3 Shock Suspension System for force dispersion. It is made from an incredibly strong and lightweight tubular alloy. It has a single bar to provide an unrestricted field of view. Finally, it was designed with a counterbalance in mind to keep the weight of the mask neutral during use.

Components:

  • S3 Shock Suspension System
  • Single Bar Construction
  • 28 ounces

Overview:
The System Seven MVP4000 Series is suggested for anyone who experiences ball speeds around 100MPH. Chosen by more Major League professional athletes than any other brand, the MVP4000 masks are the safest and most durable catcher masks available from All-Star's product line. It features a solid steel cage, an extremely durable polycarbonate shell to help protect against big impacts, a breathable 3D mesh padding liner, and a backplate designed to keep the snaps on. Equipped with an extra band of shock-absorbing vinyl nitrile in the forehead to keep your head cool and dry; all pads are removable and machine washable for easy cleaning.

Components:

  • Specifically designed for ball speeds exceeding 100 MPH
  • Machine washable padding
  • Super Light I-Bar cage

The Best Baseball Chest Protectors

Overview:
Easton's all-new Elite X catcher's gear takes fit and performance to a whole new level. The chest protector features stacked memory foam in the ab area, providing improved rebound control so blocked balls stay close, allowing catchers to prevent runners from advancing on the bases more consistently. Constructed with a 4-point webbing strap system with a comfortable neoprene back organizer, this chest protector will not only provide the perfect amount of protection all around but will be extremely comfortable. The use of a heavy-duty black-coated steel inset waist clip allows the player to adjust this chest protector to fit perfectly without the adjustment tool moving and becoming tight or loose while in use.

Components:

  • Stacked Memory Foam in Ab Area
  • 4-Point Webbing Strap
  • Available in Multiple Colors and Adult, Intermediate, and Youth Sizes

Overview:
This chest protector combines industry-leading innovation with top-of-the-line military-grade, force-dispersing materials. It has 11 individual multi-layer Dupont Kevlar sections engineered for maximum protection, mobility, and comfort. The EVA sections work together with Dupont Kevlar for maximum force disbursement to keep the force of impact away from your body. Finally, it has a 3-point fully adjustable harness for comfort and custom fit. Youth sizes are also available. 

Components:

  • Multi-Layer Dupont Kevlar Sections
  • Thin and Lightweight
  • 3-Point Harness 

Overview:
Recommended for high school and above, the All-Star System 7 Axis Pro Adult Chest Protector has a patent pending chest panel for improved protection. Plus, it has wedged abs for improved blocking and moldable PE plates in the shoulders and throat for added protection. The protector has a thinner, more form-fitting DeltaFlex harness and Diamond Vent Ports for weight reduction and breathability providing a more lightweight and comfortable fit. This chest protector is 16.5" measured from clavicle to naval and is Certified by SEI to meet NOCSAE standards for protection against commotio cordis.

Components:

  • Chest Panel for improved protection
  • Wedged abs
  • Delta Flex Harness

The Best Baseball Leg Guards

Overview:
Simply put, these are the best leg guards ever developed. Inspired by motocross leg guards, the LINQ™ pivoting hinge allows a catcher to strap these on and completely forget about them. When blocking and running down the basepath, the SYSTEM7 AXIS™ leg guards move hand and hand with how legs bend. The single top strap remains behind the thigh without dropping behind the back of the knee. There a reinforced front double knee protector straps for added durability for indoor workouts and a wider and smoother knee for better pivoting and sliding. Finally, there are Diamond Vents line the back for even more weight reduction and breathability.

Components:

  • LINQ Hinge System
  • Reinforces Front Double Knee
  • Diamond Vents for Breathability

Overview:
These are available in adult, intermediate, and youth sizes. They are form-fitting, lightweight, and feature Dupont Kevlar. There is also customizable form-fitting padding inside the leg and knee. They have a removable toe plate as well. The EVA plastic shell and Dupont Kevlar work together to provide military-grade force distribution. Finally, the Stainless Steel hardware and rivets keep guards light, durable, and rust-free. 

Components:

  • EVA Plastic Shell and Dupont Kevlar
  • Stainless Steel Hardware
  • Available in Adult, Intermediate, and Youth Sizes

Overview:
These are the highest-end shin guards from Rawlings. They feature a low-profile design and are very customizable. For example, you can change the placement of the knee and inner shin pad to fit your preferences. There are also quick adjustable velcro straps with silicone backing to prevent strap movement during use. The top taps are also adjustable for full foot protection. These are available in Adult and Intermediate sizes.

Components:

  • Low-Profile Design
  • Adjustable Padding
  • Adult and Intermediate Sizing 


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 impact performance and safety. Additionally, you should never buy gear a size too big for youth players and growing teens thinking they will grow into it.


Each piece of your catcher's gear set must be sized correctly, so let's take a look at how to measure a catcher's gear correctly. You can also review our Catcher's Equipment Buying Guide for more information.

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 Protector

Chest protector 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 is vital to purchase the exact size chest protector for your measurements. Protectors that are too large will be uncomfortable and have major gaps in protection.

Leg/Shin Guards

To determine your baseball shin guard size, you should measure from the center of your kneecap down 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 Youth players. Check out our full selection of catcher’s gear on BaseballMonkey.com today!

 

This article was originally published on November 6, 2021, and has been updated with new information.