We spent 3 hours in the cage and another 2 perusing user reviews and videos on player experience with composite wood bats. As well, we exchanged a number of emails with manufacturing team about their construction and durability surrounding the composite wood. That experience, as well as significant cage use, drove us to choosing the the L180 Hard Maple Composite Wood from Axe Bats as thebest composite wood bat. This serves as a subset of our best wood bats page.
Who Would Need a Composite Wood Bat?
There are a few groups of players where a composite wood bat is helpful.
- There are a number of wood bat leagues that allow a composite wood combination. In those which are also comfortable with a hollow bat, the Axe L180 Maple Composite fits well.
- Further, composite wood bats have exceptional durability yet still deliver a wood bat feel and performance. Hence, those looking for a wood bat experience but don’t want a wood bat with its accompanying short shelf life might find a composite wood bat combo an answer to prayers.
Axe L180 Video Review
Axe L180 Construction
Instead of using pressed wood (which is, roughly, glued saw dust), the Hard Maple Composite Axe Bat uses real pieces of hard maple to make up the surface of the bat. This gives the bat a real wood feel at contact.
The real hard wood maple is strategically placed around pieces of carbon fiber—the same material found in high performance collegiate bats. This carbon fiber reinforces the wood to give it more durability when compared to traditional wood bats. As well, the composite inserts lend to the bats balanced swing feel.
Axe’s Asymetric Handle Design
The Hard Maple Composite Axe Bat has an asymmetric handle. (See our Axe Bat Reviews). This feature can not only give a hitter faster hands to contact, but also forces one sided hitting on the barrel. This forced one sided hitting allows engineers to put the best piece of Hard Maple (in the correct direction) on the hitting surface of the bat. It is, if you will, a more direct take on the idea of a “label up” hit.
We’ve swung Axe bats (with their asymmetric handles) made for all levels of baseball, fastpitch and softball and it use in composite bat wood space may make the most sense.
Axe Hard Maple L180 Sizing
The Axe Hard Maple Composite L180 has both a youth and BBCOR version. The youth (2 1/4 barrel) is a drop 5 and comes in a 29 through 33 inch bat. These bats come with a 1.15 BPF stamping so are legal in every league any younger player plays. The BBCOR version also has its .50 BBCOR stamp and comes in a drop 3 (of course) with a 31 through 34 inch length.
Comparable Wood Composite Bats
Baum Bats makes some very impressive composite wood bats so we would run amiss without mentioning them here (Amazon price check). Baum uses a unique composite wood design which actually uses a foam/plastic center surrounded by an Ash or Maple. They claim, and users concur, their composite wood bats can last hundreds of times longer than traditional wood. Baum is more popular than the Axe L180 and has a great reputation in the composite wood bat space. It even has some minor league uses in the iMLB.
We don’t think anyone in the composite wood bat market would be disappointed with a Baum Composite Wood Bat. Yet still, we are enamored enough with the one sided hitting of the Axe Maple, the real piece of Hard Maple and asymmetric handle that label the L180 purchase a solid buy.
Axe Maple Composite Recommendations
We would recommend the bat to the following individual.
- Those looking for a durable BBCOR composite wood bat for BP.
- Players who want to swing a wood bat that will last the whole season in a BBCOR league.
- Also, hitters where composite wood bat’s are legal. Note: Make sure they allow hollow bats.
For younger leagues, its release in only a drop 5 does limit its usage among smaller players. As well, traditional composite BBCOR or Little League bats will always have a larger sweet spot with more useful swing weights. The hollow center may make it illegal for some wood bat leagues that don’t allow such.