Published: April 24, 2017 | Last modified: December 4, 2017
If you are looking to find the best slowpitch softball bats, then you have come to the right place. We have consulted with the industry at length, had long conversations with serious players and played in enough beer ball leagues to know when to take a few steps back depending on what bat appears at the plate.
The survey says:
That data, combined with an obsession for researching online reviews and YouTube videos, allows us to create comprehensive lists of the best. In the major categories, we award the 2017 USSSA Miken DC-41 SuperMax and 2017 ASA Miken Freak Platinum as the best slow pitch softball bats. The best value, senior league and power hitters’ bats, as well as our reasons, are found below.
Price check the USSSA Miken DC-41 SuperMax at Justbats.com
Price check the ASA Miken Freak Balanced Platinum at JustBats.com
BEST SLOWPITCH SOFTBALL BATS
|Miken DC-41 SuperMax||Overall/USSSA||1||$$$||5/5|
|Miken Freak Platinum||ASA||2||$$$||5/5|
|Easton Ronin 1 Piece||USSSA/ASA Dual||3||$$||4.5/5|
|Miken Psycho SuperFreak||Power USSSA||4||$$$||4.5/5|
|Miken Ultra II||Senior League||5||$$||4/5|
Why the DC-41 and Freak Platinum
Miken has made a living producing what they consider to be the best slowpitch softball bats. Since the Miken Ultra II gave anemic middle schoolers the ability to hit taters, many intermediate to elite players have never looked elsewhere. On the whole, Miken’s elite slowpitch softball line delivers the perfect combination of feedback and power. They have become known as a hot out of the wrapper brand with unrivaled performance across the length of the barrel. Miken’s early success now allows them to produce a bat weight, bat balance and price point for every type of hitter and budget on the market.
The USSSA DC-41 and ASA Freak Platinum are the culmination of Miken’s dominance. Each has their own unique features to max out performance in the USSSA or ASA realm and we discuss those below. Generally, the industry loves the immediate pop, remarkable durability and perfect combination of feedback and buttery smooth smashes in the Miken DC-41 and Freak Platinum.
Best Softball Bats Sources
We relied upon a number of sources to put together this best slowpitch softball bats article. Foremost, we relied heavily on the justbats.com softball bat site. There, you can rank different bats by category and read some hosted reviews from what appear to be real buyers and players. We also spent time on Miken’s site directly as well as Easton and DeMarini’s slowpitch softball sites. Each were useful in terms of gathering the most up to date information on sizing and drops.
We spent time on a few other reviews sites to see their rankings and reviews. We struggled to find one that had up to date information. It appeared to be more successful the more specific our searching was. For example, a search of “Best ASA Softball Bats for Power Hitters” or a “Best Home Run Derby Slowpitch Softball Bat” was more useful than the generic “Best Slowpitch Bat.” We should also not that there are different results by using the term “slow pitch” and “slowpitch”.
On this site, we think our slowpitch softball review page was somewhat useful as well as our page on the Best USSSA Slowpitch Softball bat. The latter narrowed down a detailed list of options for USSSA hitters outside of just the DC-41. Also, we spent time on our best fastpitch softball bats page, as they are somewhat related in terms of construction and lengths.
Best Slowpitch Softball Bats
In our “Best Bat Articles” we often write a disclaimer admitting the best bat is often more hitter dependent than purely performance based. Standards—in the case of slowpitch, the imposed USSSA and NSA standards—level the playing field in terms of how hot bats can be and contribute to this principle. This means the best slowpitch softball bat for MOST may very well not be the very best slowpitch softball bat for you.
That said, we think the following list of best slowpitch softball bats is as reliable as you can find. Deriving a list free of vendor and manufacturer bias, while considering real world reviews and playing experience is our goal. In the end, we are hopeful the reader uses the below as evidence in support of pulling the trigger on their next bomb maker.
Without further ado, the following comprises our best softball bat lists by category. These rankings, we are hopeful, will give you insight as to what softball bat is right for you.
1. Miken USSSA DC-41 SuperMax
The DC in the 2017 Miken DC-41 stands for Denny Crine. Denny Crine is a 6 foot 8 inch human being who could work carnivals as a Yeti impersonator in the off season. He weighs at least 300 pounds, we’d guess more like 340. He has a perfect and impeccable bat path that MLB guys covet. The guy eats .52 CORE softballs as appetizers to his ghost pepper stuffed habaneros. In other words, Denny Crine could hit a bean bag 400 feet with the broom stick that is leaning against your refrigerator. He uses the DC-41 from Miken, and without surprise, regularly hits 400+ rockets.
The intermediate player should expect nothing close to Denny’s performance with the MIKEN DC-41. To our dismay, 400 foot shots are reserved only for those who the gods have ordained to keep us mere mortals in check. Rather, the general public should be happy with a durable and proven bat that can occasionally take the eyebrows off a third baseman. The DC-41 not only provides those features, but adds a perfectly smooth smash and a great balance to boot. The bat’s multiple drop weights will serve any serious player perfectly in the USSSA market.
We have yet to find a review, online or otherwise, that does not slobber over the USSSA DC-41. It is likely the best selling performance slowpitch softball bat on the market today. We are comfortable claiming it the best USSSA softball bat.
Price check the Miken DC-41 SuperMax at Justbats.com
2. Miken ASA Freak Platinum
For much the same reason we dig the DC-41, the Miken ASA Freak Platinum is our favorite ASA bat in the space. It uses the exact same composite set up and two piece flex design you can find in the DC-41, but to meet ASA standards, uses an inner sleeve on the barrel. While this does keep the bat from being deemed illegal, it also allows for the outer barrel to come already worked in. As such, this bad boy is crazy out of the wrapper. The hot-out-the-wrapper feature is far and away, the most frequently commented on feature of the Freak Platinum.
The feel of the Freak at contact is, dare we say, perfect. Other bat brands, we would guess, use the Miken Freak’s two piece feel as the standard to strive for when balancing bat stiffness and buttery smashes.
A lot of vendors and manufacturers still claim that softball bats can flex before contact to help increase bat speed at contact. We saw this a few times on vendor sties. It probably originates from Miken ad slicks that use that as a bullet point. As we have covered elsewhere on this site, bats DO NOT flex before contact. There is no such thing as bat head whip.
Still, that marketing hype of the Freak Platinum will not get in the way of the fact that this bat straight out rakes. Players and vendors consistently rank it as the best ASA bat on the market today and we agree. Expect remarkable performance along the length of the barrel and a perfect fit for the intermediate to great player looking for a balanced bat with a ton of performance.
3. Easton Ronin ASA/USSSA 1-Piece Value Price
If you are looking for a cheap slowpitch softball bat that still performs well, then we suggest the Easton Ronin 1-piece as the best slowpitch value bat. The bat is a stiff single piece aluminum alloy bat made for cold weather and big bombs. Better yet, the bat serves the USSSA and ASA market as a dual stamp bat. Throw in the fact you can usually find it for less than $180 and you’ll begin to see why it is our favorite value bat. A sub $180 bat that works in multiple leagues and has great user ratings for the intermediate to good player? Sign us up, too.
4. Miken Power Hitter’s Psycho SuperMax
Few bats in the USSSA space have better user reviews than the SPSYMU Miken Psycho Supermax. This is an endloaded single piece full composite built to hit balls a country mile. If you are in a home run league that requires USSSA bats, then few have ever been disappointed in the Psycho SuperMax. The bat puts a full ounce of extra end load in the end cap to give it that real sledge hammer feel. We like the shorter sizes that pop like a rocket on a sweet spot hit. A super fun bat to hit with.
The most popular Psycho SuperMax on the market, although released for almost 3 years now, is the 2015 version. The serial number of the one you want is SPSYMU.
5. MIKEN Senior League Ultra II
As we write in our best home run derby slow pitch softball bat article, there is no question the 1.21 Senior League Miken Ultra II is the best slowpitch softball bat of its class. This is a take no prisoners bomb dropping fool of a bat that makes even the anemic look like world beaters. The bat does struggle from some durability issues as many have noted in their reviews. But the price of dropping oppo taco bombs on church fields across the city, and later signing autographs on the way to your car comes at a price. That price? Last we looked about $189.
Common Slowpitch Softball Bat Questions
After finding the best slow pitch softball bat, you might find yourself with more questions than you have answers. We put together the top 10 most common questions. Hopefully these softball bat answers will help in your quest too.
1. Do you have to break in an aluminum slowpitch bat?
No. Aluminum does not require any sort of break in. In theory, in fact, you want to use your aluminum bats as little as possible because they get less hot over time. We once asked a bat engineer this question and their response was after “thousands and thousands of hits” it will start to loose its pop.
2. Do you have to break in a composite slowpitch softball bat?
Some composite bats, like the ASA Miken Freak Platinum above, do not require a break in period. This is because they use a double barrel structure where the outside barrel is hot out of the wrapper. However, single wall composite bats often require at least 200 hits around the barrel to get worked in. Some bats require much, much more.
3. What is a composite softball bat made of?
Composite is a more technical term for plastic. In other words, composite softball bats are made up of, generally, a plastic material. The fibers are structured so as to give the bat maximum durability and a barrel trampoline effect that fits within the standard.
4. What does BPF 1.20 mean?
BPF, or bat performance factor, is a measurement of how well a ball bounces off a bat. A higher number means more trampoline. 1.20 BPF is the maximum standard many softball bats can perform at. It does not imply the bat performs exactly at that standard, but instead, that it has been verified to perform at or below it.
5. What is hotter: ASA or USSSA bats?
Impedance matching is a complicated subject. But, in large measure, the reason the ASA vs USSSA standard is an unanswerable question is because the balls are different in each league. ASA bats are meant to perform to a certain standard on ASA balls. USSSA bats are designed to perform to a certain standard on USSSA Balls. The bounciness of both the ball and bat play off each other to create a maximum exit speed. This relationship is called impedance matching.
6. How do you break in a new softball bat?
Single wall composite slow pitch softball bats usually require at least 200 well hit balls to start to coming into their own. Some claim that number is well over 500. Either way, you break it in by hitting the bat on regulation balls several times around different spots of the barrel. You can do this off a tee or in live batting practice. Check the product page of the bat you buy as some composite softball bats, like those with dual walls, sometimes do not need a break in.
7. Why are slowpitch softball bats so expensive?
Expensive is a relative term, no doubt. But few think that top end slowpitch bats are cheap. Indeed, at $300 most take serious research and resources to solve the riddle of the best slowpitch softball bat. In the end, the answer as to why they are so expensive is because people will pay that amount. They are, like all products in a free market, a function of supply and demand.
8. How much is a good slowpitch softball bat?
Bats with the most hype, and many on this list, range in price between $180 and $300. That is the general price of a good slowpitch bat directly from a manufacturer. That almost always includes a warranty price along with some customer service support.
9. When do slowpitch bats lose their pop?
There is no easy answer to this question. Depending on the durability of the bat some great bats can last for 2 to 3 years with considerable use. Others often don’t last a full season in terms of maximum pop. Composite bats can lose their pop before breaking, but in many instances, will break when their pop is gone. Aluminum is harder to determine as they rarely break, and just dent instead.
10. What does it mean when a bat is shaved?
Shaving a bat is an illegal practice that removes the end cap of a bat and then uses a lathe to remove material from the inner walls. The end cap is then replaced and the bat looks perfectly normal. However, with thinner walls, the bat now produces a greater trampoline effect. Of course, this also voids the warranty, decreases the life of the bat considerably, and is, frankly, a bit of a punkmove.