Over the years of buying performance baseball and softball bats we gathered a number of tricks along the way. We share with you three general categories that can save you several thousands of dollars over the years. Consider this the how-to of best bang for your buck on a bat.
You might also like our new baseball bats article.
Secret #1: Buy Used Only Sometimes
One obvious idea is to save some dough is to buy a previously used bat. Sites, like ebay, always have used bats up for auction and almost always for appealing deals. But those discounts come with a cost named no warranty, damaged goods and dealing with novice sellers. Despite these and other legit reasons to not buy used, here are a few insights to consider when pulling the trigger on a 'used' bat.
Secret #2: When? Timing is EVERYTHING & Last Year's Model
No matter if you're buying new or used, the market prices for bats fluctuate. The price curve almost always bottoms out a few days and weeks before manufacturers release their new version of the bat. For baseball this is the last few weeks of July through August. Fastpitch is closer to June.
Often, vendors looking to produce some shelf space dramatically reduce their prices to move some boxes. It is not uncommon to get bats at 50% of their 'in season' price during this short window. During this frenzy, check a place like Amazon, Closeoutbats & JustBats.com. If you are real clever, you'll find these vendors also have eBay accounts where they really unload prices.
Secret #3: Last Year's Model?
We are often asked what the difference is between last year's model and this year's model. Is it worth the difference in price? We have a few thoughts on that subject.
- Last years model may be a different type of bat. Turns out, just because it shares the same type of name, doesn't also mean it is the exact the same bat. The 2016 Rawlings 5150 is considerably different then the 2017 Rawlings 5150. Finding the actual differences are not simple either. If only there were a to keep track of all those changes. If only...
- Availability. Bat companies and vendors do a good job of ridding themselves of previous years inventory. Turns out, bat companies have a good feel for how many bats they are going to sell in a given year and don't make much more than that. As a result, don't assume the price difference or availability in last year's model and this year's model will always be around.