Written by: Just Bat Reviews

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat | Game and Cage Tested

2016 Louisville Slugger LXT Review

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We spent hours in the cage with every serious performance fastpitch bat in the market. After that, we spent several more reading online reviews from places we trust. We also spoke to players at the top the fastpitch game about their opinion on the best fastpitch bats. We also reviewed our overarching best bats page. Additionally, we’ve spent a number of hours discussing details with major fastpitch bat manufacturers the ins and outs of their craft. With that in mind, we think the best overall fastpitch bat is the Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper.

Best Fastpitch Bats

Best Fastpitch Softball Bats 2017 – Top 4 Models

Overall Rank

Category

Model

1 Best Overall Bat Louisville Slugger LXT
2 Runner Up DeMarini CF7
4 Best For Left-Handers DeMarini CF7 Slapper
3 Best Last Year’s Model Louisville Slugger 2015 LXT 
5 Best for Cold Weather Anderson Rocketech 2.0
6 Best Light Swing DeMarini Bustos
7 Best Budget Fastpitch Easton’s FS400

1. Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper

Best Fastpitch Bats

While the competition is stiff and the ‘best fastpitch softball bat’ is often very hitter dependent, the 2017 Slugger LXT Hyper drop 10 emerged as our favorite after 200+ hours of testing. We tested over a dozen high-end performance fastpitch bats. In addition to the positives we observed from hitters, we could not find anyone—regardless of hitting type and skill level—who didn’t love the LXT. Most notably, they liked the LXT’s long barrel size, balanced swing weight, and buttery jacks.

Why the 2016 LXT Plus?

Massive sweet spot, multiple weight configurations, and near vibration-less hitting make the 2016 LXT PLUS our group of hitters’ collective favorite. But it didn’t come without argument. Other performance options in the fastpitch space abound.

It could be argued, and often is, that DeMarini’s CF8 Slapper and Easton’s MAKO are the best fastpitch softball bats on the market. It’s definitely hard to argue that either one is not. In fact, anyone dead set on either of those options wouldn’t get any push-back from us.

But, on the whole, the smooth feel, brand recognition and long usable barrel of Louisville Slugger’s LXT Plus gave it the ever so slight edge.

2. 2017 DeMarini CF9

Best Fastpitch Softball BatOur second favorite bat is the 2017 DeMarini CF9 drop 10. Like the LXT it is light swinging, has a great sized barrel and comes with high marks from serious players.

As well, the CF9 from Demarini rop 10 bat will be well received among the largest group of serious fastpitch softball players. In our comparison, it was neck and neck compared to the Slugger LXT Hyper. The bat’s barrel size, responsiveness across the entire barrel and a balanced swing weight measured almost identical to the LXT Plus. Most who swung this bat commented on the massive amount of barrel achieved with such little swing weight. This bat is verifiable keeper.

3. 2017 CF9 Slapper

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

Left handed batters who make a living  just getting on base will love the 2016 DeMarini CF8 Slapper. It is a massively barreled light swinging bat with an opposite wrapped grip (so it doesn’t bunch on lefties). So, while we give a slight nod to the 2016 Slugger LXT in terms of player feedback the CF8 Slapper is a one of a kind bat built for the lead off lefty. If that is you, then you may have just found your bat.

Other Best Fastpitch Bat Categories – Used Models, 2016, Top Fastpitch Brands

2016 Winner: Slugger LXT Plus

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Generally speaking, we did find the upgrades on the 2016 version from the 2016 version of the LXT worthwhile. The 2016 version comes with a thinner outer barrel to give more consistent performance right out of the wrapper. Hence the use of the PLUS in the name for 2016.

Best Cold Weather Fastpitch: Anderson RT 2.0

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

Composite barreled bats, you should know, have a tendency to break in cold weather (like sub 60 degrees). Some would argue that small hitters won’t risk cracking composite because there is not enough bat speed and swing speed to create damage. This is exactly why we love the 2016 Anderson RockeTech 2.0 drop 9. It makes the list of our best cold weather bats. It’s a heavier swing bat with crazy power but we’d expect nothing less from Anderson and an aluminum barrel.

 

Best Drop 13 Fastpitch Bat: DeMarini BustsonBest Fastpitch Softball Bat

DeMarini’s Bustos Fastpitch Bat comes in an ultra light drop 13 weight to length ratio. Its two piece design helps dampen sting—which light bats tend to suffer from.

If you’re looking for the a lighter swinging bat from the 2016 Slugger LXT PLUS you can always take a look at their drop 11 version. If that is still too heavy, then our choice of fastpitch softball bat is Demarini’s drop 13 Bustos. The Bustos comes as a two piece hybrid bat, which means it has a a composite handle and an aluminum barrel. This design keeps sting out of the hands—a needed feature on such a light swing.

Best Budget Fastpitch: Easton FS400

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

If your budget is outside the ‘performance’ bat market range, we’d consider Easton’s FS400 fastpitch bat as a legitimate budget buy. This is the bat for players convinced their hitting challenges have more to do with their mechanics than bat. Most of all, this fastpitch bat comes with a light enough swing weight  and big enough barrel to work well enough for many hitters.

4. Anderson RT 2.0

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

Composite barreled bats, you should know, have a tendency to break in cold weather (like sub 60 degrees). Some would argue that small hitters won’t risk cracking composite because there is not enough bat speed and swing speed to create damage. This is exactly why we love the 2016 Anderson RockeTech 2.0 drop 9. It makes the list of our best cold weather bats. It’s a heavier swing bat with crazy power but we’d expect nothing less from Anderson and an aluminum barrel.

Best Fastpitch Bat Videos

Why Trust Us?

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

In short, maybe you shouldn’t. We are simply a group of parents and players looking to document our collective performance on fastpitch and baseball bats. We don’t profess to be the end all be all in determining bat performance. That quest is usually better left to science labs.

But, for what it’s worth, we’ve swung every baseball, softball and fastpitch bat in the performance space since the middle of 2013. With that swinging, we’ve reviewed hundreds of bats. Within that process, we not only swing the bats extensivley but we talk to manufacturers about the bat’s design. We talk to players at all levels of the sport about their experience. Also, we study every available review we can find online or elsewhere. Then, we take that data and put together a 700 to 1200 review that, at least we believe, is the most thorough and objective you would be able to find.

As well, we don’t sell bats as a manufacturer or a vendor. As such, we aren’t incentived one way or another to push a certain brand or bat type. No doubt, we do have incentives. Our incentives lie in convincing the reader to click on an ad or follow a link to buy something on Amazon. Not a guilt free process for sure, but it doesn’t come with any particular brand bias (as long as they sell it on amazon or ebay).

Our Biases

We don’t imply this should mean we have no biases—all baseball and softball players do. We are among them. But we can say our livelihood does not depend on you preferring a particular brand of bat that we review.

In the end, we are parents and players who love the game and think it good to share the data and feedback we’ve compiled. Our hope is the approach is both nonthreatening and unbiased. If other parents and players find something useful in these pages then we feel successful.

Should You Buy the LXT Hyper?Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

The 2016 drop 10 LXT Plus from Slugger is built for the average sized player who needs more bat control than bat power. It’s a perfect fit for the 1, 2 or 3 or 5 hole hitter in a traditional line up. Some 4 hole hitters could benefit from this bat as well but may want a more powerful drop. Younger players (under 14) looking for as much bat speed as possible should consider the drop 11.

Also, the LXT is a bat made for serious fastpitch players. We do not recommend you spend the money it takes to acquire this bat if you are playing less than 35 games a year. Those in recreational fastpitch exclusively should look elsewhere.

What Makes a Good Fast Pitch Bat?

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

Within our testing, four common themes arose from players discussing what they did and did not like of any particular bat. They are (1) the barrel size, (2) the balance point and (3) the feel of the bat at contact and (4) the bat grands’ reputation.. All preferred a larger barrel. Most preferred a balance point in the middle of the bat instead of toward the end. And nearly all preferred a relatively smooth hit on contact. These four factors weigh heavily in our decision to determine the best fastpitch softball bat.

Features & Construction of the LXT

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

The LXT Plus is a double walled, light swinging, two piece composite performance bat with stiff transition. Here we break down those features.

The 2016 LXT Plus from Slugger is a double walled composite bat. (You can read more about this on our 2016 and 2017 LXT reviews). The double walled design is made by forming both an outer and inner shell on the barrel. The outer shell is a thinner composite which allows for hot out of the wrapper performance. The inner shell serves to increase durability, lengthen the barrel and keep the bat from overstepping the allowable trampoline effects.

The bat’s handle is made of similar composite material. This composite helps both dampen sting and keeps the swing weight of the bat low. The LXT has a remarkably low swing weight and gives ‘oh so much’ barrel for such an easy swing. Slugger has been using this same composite handle design for years—and it works.

The transition piece of the bat, that is the piece which holds together the handle and barrel, is stiffer than the others on the market. This stiffer transition gives hitters quick and unmistakable feedback and helps increase power transfer to the ball at impact.

Areas of Concern

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

It’s an admitted stretch to claim we’ve found the best fastpitch softball bat. Not that we can’t test and measure things scientifically, but hitting, at its core, is much more an art than it is a science. What bat is best for you specifically can not be decided by some metrics and hitting data we’ve gathered.

As such, we disavow any claim here that the LXT Plus is the BEST bat for everyone. Instead, we claim this fastpitch bat is the best for more people than any other. As well, we’d be comfortable stating, nearly every player would have good success with this bat. If it is indeed the particular ‘best’ for your hitting and type and needs is a question we simply can’t answer.

How We Tested & Picked

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

To make our decision we’ve spent over 200 hours testing, reviewing, reading and writing reviews on every performance fastpitch softball bat in the market. This includes nearly 40 fastpitch models with a nearly innumerable sizing options.

Most of our testing happened in cage work. Much of the rest on the field among different hitters. Almost always the hitter had multiple fastpitch bats at their disposal. The hitter would often change between one particular bat and another in a matter of just a minutes.

Further, we’d spend considerable time hashing out particulars of many of the bats we used with those who used it and those who manufactured it. Many of these converstaions, with both players and engineers, were long and helpful.

Additionally, we found to our surprise, writing our own fastpitch softball bat reviews, which were to be vetted our readers, kept us on our toes. Our data needed to be both accurate and helpful. Some days a very tall task when considering bats in the performance fast pitch space are so very similar.

Those processes above have led us, over the course of the years, to conclude which bat generally fits the most amount of players. This isn’t to say we’d hesitate to recommend other bats—as there are a handful of good ones. But the 2016 Louisville Slugger Drop 10 LXT Plus consistently rises to the top any way we slice the data.

Should You Buy Used Fastpitch Bats?

Best Fastpitch Softball Bat

Ebay searches for the 2016 LXT Plus from Slugger are plentiful. Many of those searches turn up used bats—the history of which is often questionable. There are some circumstances in which we’d suggest buying a used LXT Plus.

In particular, we are more willing to purchase an LXT plus that is a few months old instead of a few days old. There is a higher probability a composite bat has defects when it’s yet to really be used. The fact the hitter never had a good enough experience with the bat to keep it suggest something may be wrong. This reality keeps us away from ‘used’ bats that are only a few weeks old.

On the other hand, bats with a season or so of good use prove the hitter had good success with the bat but really just outgrew it. Composite tends to get more productive over time so a bat with a year of use likely performs better than one out of the wrapper. As such, we look for a dirty handle and scuffed up barrel as a good thing in the used market.[/ezcol_1half_end]

Article Updates

Tuesday May 2nd, 2017

Updated with new results for 2017 bats. That includes the LXT Hyper. Also changed some structural issues.

Tuesday, December 22, 2016

After reviewing several dozen fastpitch softball bats on justbatreviews.com, we decided to collect all our data and put them into this single page. Here we discuss the best fastpitch softball bat as a summary of our findings. You can read additional and individual reviews on our fastpitch review page. This page will be updated regularly as our opinion on the best fastpitch softball bat adapts.

Saturday, July 16, 2016 Update

Updated links to best pricing and some content structure. Added links to updated reviews the 2017 LXT Hyper