After testing, here are the Best Fastpitch Softball Bats our players and parents found.
By Brian May 20, 2020 10:08 pm
After lots of testing, measuring and feedback, our hitters liked the exit speeds and feel of the 2020 DeMarini CF best. The 2020 DeMarini CF is the best fastpitch softball bat for 2020. It's a crazy smooth smash with a big barrel, light swing and fantastic performance from swing one.Amazon
Although a massive swing, the 2020 Easton Ghost Double Barrel for fastpitch is a remarkable bat. It clobbers balls, gets fantastic ratings, and our power high school hitters thought it the best fastpitch softball bat for 2020.Amazon
While supplies last for 2019 bats, our hitters picked the Slugger Xeno as their favorite overall bat. They user ratings bear this out too. It comes with a great feel, long barrel, big-time performance, and a price point measurably below other bats in its class.Amazon
Update May 20, 2020: After hours of hitting, measuring and testing we think DeMarini’s 2020 CF stands out among the best fastpitch softball bats. There are many good options from the 11 performance softball bats we extensively tested for 2020. We report here much of that data and insight we gained from real independent players.
|CF||Ghost Double Barrel||Xeno||Power Carbon||FS400||Ghost Double Barrel||LXT||CF||F20 PWR CRBN1|
|Light, Super Hot Out the Wrapper||End Loaded, HOT||Stiff, Great Performance, Fantastic Price||Great Exit Speeds, Good Balance||Inexpensive, Great Ratings, Perfect Value Buy||Heavy Swing, Huge Barrel, Great Pop||Light Swing, Tons of Sizing Options, Great Performance, Perfect Feel||Light, Huge Barrel||Stiff, Big Hits, Great Price|
We took three high school players and every 2020 fastpitch bat we could find (which was all of them). In truth, all fastpitch bats performed well. Taking everything into consideration, we think DeMarini’s CF is the best fastpitch bat for 2020. Still though, you’ll notice in our video the two hitters we featured like bats that are NOT the DeMarini CF. Instead, they liked the Prism and the Easton Ghost as the best fastpitch softball bats. Good choices. As are several other 2020 fastpitch bats. The parity between high-end bats is close, closer than we’ve ever measured it in 2017, 2018 and 2019 fastpitch bats. It’s hard to go wrong.
Overall, our hitters loved the feel of the 2020 DeMarini CF. The barrel size is substantial; the swing weight fits right where most players want it. We also found the exit speeds, among all three hitters, as the best. To boot, the bat comes in a drop 10 and 11 in what feels like every inch size available. The distribution of DeMarini is vast, so expect this bat everywhere.
The only real disadvantage is the bat's price and the fact it didn't change that much from last year. If you can find the 2019 version for cheaper, than go for it. Otherwise, the 2020 CF in fastpitch stands a perfect blend of balance, feel, barrel size, and rocket type power out of the wrapper. Every hitter of ours had the best exit speeds with the CF compared to every other performance bat on the market for 2020.
See More: 2020 DeMarini CF Review
In terms of popularity in the elite fastpitch bat space, no bat does better than the 2020 Easton Ghost Double Barrel. It is Easton's third iteration of the bat and comes with what many feel like is an unrivaled punch. Our data shows the bat swings quite heavy---like 20% heavier than the DeMarini CF. Although the stated weights are the same between the two bats, the swing Easton Ghost Double Barrel for 2020 puts more of its mass towards the end cap. It explains why many feel like it has the pop it does.
Still, despite its massive swing, big and small players love it alike and the price of the 2019 version has stayed well above what other fastpitch bats do in the offseason. If you're willing to spend the money, are okay swinging a bat that runs with heavy swing weight, then be prepared to destroy some fastpitch balls this spring with the best 2020 fastpitch softball bat.
See More: 2020 Easton Ghost Double Barrel Review
Just because the 2019 Louisville Slugger Xeno hasn't been updated in a few years doesn't mean it isn't fantastic and well worth every penny. The industry hasn't learned anything groundbreaking for several years so its very reasonable to think a 2019 bat can be better than any 2020 bat. Or, for that matter, a 2015 or 2016 bat being better than any 2020 version. The problem, though, is supply. Bats run their course and manufactures only make so many.
The 2019 Louisville Slugger XENO. Although a few were close, we liked the Xeno’s wide range of options, great feel, more reasonable price point, and straight jack like performance.
The most common sentiment towards the 2019 Xeno fastpitch bat, and in no small measure why it was ranked #1, was it’s feel. The feel is stiffer than most other high-end performance bats. As such, you may feel more in the hands. But the added stiffness also translated more exit velocity. Our hitters, on average, preferred this.
Nothing sounds quite like the Xeno. For years this glass cracking sound turns heads. Many players equate that music with big hits, and they are usually right. The crack sound, by the way, is made by the barrel compressing into an inner-barrel ring inside the Xeno.
Our exit speed tests, as well as the direct player feedback, thought the Xeno was the best performing (or thereabouts) 2019 fastpitch bat. We measured the exit speeds on hundreds of hits, and of this much, we are sure: The 2019 Xeno Can Rake.
Because not much has happened with Xeno in a few years (it really is the same as last year’s bat with an end cap upgrade) the Xeno doesn’t drive as high a price. But, our experience has been the bat still rakes as well as any ‘new and improved’ bat out there. Better yet, even out of the gate, the 2019 Xeno is a reasonable $50 less than other top-end bats. In the end, this is why we gave the 2019 Xeno the best fastpitch bat prize over other similarly rated bats.
See More: 2019 Slugger Xeno Review
If you want an off the radar pick for the best softball bat check out Mizuno's 2019 Power Carbon. For 2019 it rated out as the best exit speed producer within all three of our hitters. That said, throughout the year, the reports on durability didn't come back so high. Our bat lasted plenty, but there was enough buzz to give a lot of folks pause.
Still, though, Mizuno’s Power Carbon did remarkably well in our rankings and user feedback. Exit speeds were top shelf, we loved the feel, and the swing weight sat right in line with the XENO. For a bat, we had barely heard of the Mizuno Power Carbon was massive, welcome, surprise.
See More: 2019 Mizuno Power Carbon Review
If you are still tepid about your long term commitment in the competitive fastpitch space, every player we had hit with the LXT had between good and great things to say about the bat. Performance, feel and sound were on the top of most lists. The history of Slugger’s LXT success in the fastpitch space is compelling too.
There's a reason we rank the Easton Ghost as the best 2020 fastpitch bat---despite the fact it has a real massive swing. The thing drops bombs, swings heavy, and any heavy hitter in the fastpitch space loves it. Of all the best awards in this article, ranking Easton's 2020 Ghost Double Barrel as the best fastpitch softball bat for power hitters is the most natural choice.
See More: 2020 Easton Ghost Double Barrel Review
If you want the best girls softball bat (and by girls, we think you mean younger players---not so much advanced high school gals), then our testing shows the 2020 LXT is almost always a great fit. The bat swings light and comes in several sizes (as small a 16-ounce, 28 inches up to a 26-ounce, 34-inch).
Better yet, the bats feel on hits and mishits is a thing of beauty. No matter where you hit the ball on the barrel it feels great. More advanced hitters tend to not like that feature---because they want more feedback as where the ball flies. But, most younger softball girls looking for their first serious bat in fastpitch think its a great feature. It also encourages faster swings and more attacks on the ball. If you're looking for the best softball bat for girls, then, if you're willing to spend the money, the 2020 LXT X20 is the bat for you.
See More: 2020 Louisville Slugger LXT Review
We think our best overall fastpitch bat is also the best fastpitch bat for slappers. DeMarini's 2020 CF is a light swing with a massive barrel explicitly built for the slapper type player. Sure, it also works well for the player looking to get base hits. But, the lighter versions of the bat take what they learned from the DeMarini Slapper of years gone by and put it into the 2020 DeMarini CF.
Although not cheap, we think it the best fastpitch slapper bat on the market. That said, we also believe Sluggers LXT, DeMarini's Prism, and Mizuno's Carbon and Axe's AvengeLite make a legit case too. Those bats all swing light and would work quite well for slapping.
See More: 2020 DeMarini CF Review
If you want a bat virtually no one has heard of, but want to get the most bang for your buck, so to speak, then go with Mizuno's 2020 CRBN1. (That stands for Carbon 1). Note, this is not the PWR CRBN2. The CRBN1 is the white and teal one pictured. This value fastpitch bat is a single-piece composite with a nice balanced swing weight, colossal barrel, and surprisingly great feel on hits and mishits (single piece bats can rarely do both). To boot, the CRBN1 can destroy balls. For all our hitters, the 2020 Mizuno CRBN1 led, or nearly led, the pack when it comes to top-end exit speeds.
Did we mention its also about $100 less than any of the other so-called performance bats on this list? If your looking for a great value buy in the 2020 fastpitch space, then make a bet on the Mizuno CRBN1.
In truth, ASA and USSSA fastpitch bats perform well across a lot of companies. You’ll notice, even in our video, the two hitters we featured chose bats that were NOT the DeMarini CF. Instead, they liked the Prism and the Easton Ghost. Good choices. As are several other 2020 fastpitch bats.
|Best Fastpitch Bat 2019||2019 Slugger XENO|
|Best Runner Up Fastpitch Bat 2019||2019 Mizuno Power Carbon|
|Best Budget Fastpitch Bat 2019||Easton FS400|
|Best Cold Weather Fastpitch Bat||Anderson Rocketech|
|Lightest Fastpitch Bat||DeMarini Bustos|
|Best Power Hitter’s Fastpitch Bat||2019 Slugger XENO Drop 8|
|Best Fastpitch Bat for 8-Year-Old||DeMarini Bustos|
|Best Fastpitch Bat for 9-Year-Old||Danielle Lawrie Axe Drop 12|
|Best Fastpitch Bat for 11-Year-Old||2019 Slugger LXT X19|
|Best Fastpitch Bat for 12-Year-Old||2019 Slugger LXT X19|
|Best Drop 12 Fastpitch Bat||2019 Axe Element Fastpitch|
|Best Drop 10 Fastpitch Bat||DeMarini CF Zen | Xeno | Power Carbon|
|Best Drop 8 Fastpitch Bat||2019 Slugger Xeno Drop 8|
|Best Home Run Fastpitch Bat||2019 Slugger Xeno Drop 8|
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 we’ve swung every baseball, softball and fastpitch bat in the performance space since the middle of 2013. With that said, we’ve reviewed hundreds of bats.
Within that process, we not only swing the bats extensively, 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 word 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 have no incentive one way or another to push a particular brand or bat type. No doubt, we do have incentives. Our motivations 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).
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 if you prefer a particular brand of bat that we review. In the end, we are parents and players who love the game and think it useful 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.
Within our testing, four common themes arose from players discussing what they did and did not like 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 brands’ 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.
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 individually can not be decided by some metrics and hitting data we’ve gathered. As such, we disclaim 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, and nearly every player would have success with this bat. If it is indeed the particular ‘best’ for your hitting and type and needs is a question, we can’t answer.
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 effort also includes nearly 40 fastpitch models with roughly 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 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 conversations, with both players and engineers, were long and helpful. Additionally, we found, to our surprise, writing our fastpitch softball bat reviews, which are vetted by 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 fastpitch space are so very similar. Those processes above have led us, over the years, to conclude which bat generally fits the most amount of players.
None of this is 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.
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 the problems of a composite bat will rear its head when it’s new. The fact the hitter never had a good enough experience with the bat to keep it suggests 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 success with the bat but 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 a barrel as a good thing in the used market.