Top 3 USA Baseball Bats Under $100

To compliment our best USA Baseball bats article, we add this useful insight for the budget conscience buyer. After much testing, hitting and measuring we think the best cheap USA Bat on the market today is the Rawlings Prodigy. Our testers loved the barrel and the fact it is a drop 11 and  useful for most younger players.

Rawlings USA Bat Reviews

But, most of all, they loved the reasonable price for a bat that is not embarrassing—and believe us, we found plenty of embarrassing cheap USA bats. We think this sub $70 bat swings as well as a number of bats three times its price.

If you are wiling to spend a  little more, we think the 518 Omaha from Slugger worth it. With a sub $100 price point we think this drop 10 worth the barrel size and upgraded grip.

Best Cheap USA BAts

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Best Cheap USA Baseball Bats Ratings

We rate the top 3 cheap USAbats based on price, barrel size, player feedback and performance. To be included in the runnings for best cheap bat the bat needed a sub $100 price point. Our testing for each bat included comparing it to expensive models, using the bat for live pitching among several different hitters. We found the Rawlings Machine, Easton S650 and Slugger 518 stand out among all the sub $100 bats we could find.

Bat

Price

Rating

Rawlings USA Bat Reviews

Rawlings Prodigy

$

4/5

Cheap USA BAts

Slugger 518

$$

4/5

Best Cheap USA Baseball Bat

Easton S650

$

3.8/5

Best Place to Buy

The Rawlings Machine bat is a Target exclusive bat and it is the only place we could find it for sale. As such, that also makes it the best place too.

The Easton S650 can be found in multiple places including Amazon and the Slugger 518 in a USABat is also ubiquitous.

Cheap vs Expensive USA Baseball Bat

Top 3 Cheap USA Bat Options

We consider the best cheap USA Baseball bats to be worthy of any serious rec player or, even, the BP or Cold weather bat of any serious travel player. Although these bats’ sweet spot and sting dampening may lack compared to bats on the top shelf of the space, we think every player will appreciate them in some at least some way. And each of their parents will appriciate them in terms of their price.

1. Rawlings Machine Drop 8

Best Cheap USA Baseball Bat

The Rawlings Machine is a drop 8 found at Target (which you can buy online and have shipped to you). We tested the machine up against bats 5 to 6 times its price and, despite some occasional hand ring on mishits, the bat received great feedback from every player that tried it. Rarely was the bat a player’s favorite, but it never found itself in the bottom 50% of individual rankings.

Do note that the bat swings a bit heavy and is appropriately categorized as a drop 8. Those looking for an ultra light swing will be disspointed they don’t make a Machine in their size. But, the added weight is useful to help remove some hand sting as well increase durability. And the 2 5/8 barrel is a good size compared to some of the other ridiculously undersized value bats in the USA Baseball space.

If you were looking for an inexpensive cold weather bat in the USAbat space or a legit BP bat then we recommend the Rawlings Machine which, last we checked, you can get for under $50.

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2. Slugger 518 Omaha

Cheap USA BAts

Louisville Slugger makes a USA Bat in a more performance series of bat. This is a single piece aluminum bat with a drop 10 swing weight. The drop 10, you should know, is the numerical difference between the length of the bat in inches and the weight of the bat in ounces. Slugger’s 516 Omaha sits right under the $100 threshold.

See our 2018 518 Omaha Review

Performance was not any different than the Rawlings Machine. However, we note emphatically, the Omaha does swing lighter. And a lighter bat almost always means more control and, ultimately, more contact.

We recommend the 518 Omaha as a value option for the true drop 10 player in the USA Baseball bat space. The main reason it sits behind the Rawlings Machine on this is that the Machine is half the price.

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3. Easton S650

Best Cheap USA Baseball Bat

Easton’s S650 is another legit, albeit more expensive, 2 5/8 economy bat with a large barrel, decent swing weight and sub $100 price point. There are frills on this bat so don’t expect any special consideration for your hands on mishits or any ultra-light swing options. This is a drop 9 and swings really close to the Machine Rawlings above.

Last we looked this bat was $99 across the board. We find no reason to buy this bat if you can find the Machine at Target. But if, for whatever reason, you want a value purchase on an Easton USA Baseball bat then the S650 will treat you well.

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4. Rawlings Prodigy

Rawlings USA Bat Reviews

 

The Rawlings Prodigy is another sub $100 bat. It is a poor man’s version of the 5150 (which is also pretty inexpensvie). We like the Prodigy for what it is: a straight forward single piece aluminum bat. We like the larger barrel and the light swing weight (drop 11). See our full Rawlings Prodigy USA drop 11 Review.

Cheap Bats To Avoid

Swings and Misses

2018 Easton Beast X USA Bat Review

The Rawlings VELO in a drop 10 or 11 this year, we believe, really missed the mark. Not only is the price point $100 more than it should be (these run at $199) but the bats seem small barreled and overweighted. The drop 10 should be a drop 8 and the drop 11 should be a drop 10. At $99 most should probably still pass on the Velo. But at closer to $200? Uh, no.

Don’t get us wrong, we think the VELO in the BBCOR and Big barrel are fantastic bats. they have been for years. And we fully expect Rawlings to get a better product for USA in the VELO come 2019. (As well, we really like the Rawlings Quatro in the performance USABat space). But, if there were any bat we were to avoid in the 2018 $200 USABat space, it would be the VELO.

2 1/4 Barrels

Best Cheap USA Baseball Bat

2 1/4 USA Baseball bats make zero sense and you should avoid buying them. Bat companies struggled to make good bats with 2 5/8 barrels (the USABat limit) within a certain weight class. To lower the swing weight, in the drop 12 categories especially, they removed volume from the barrel by making the barrel smaller.

This creates issues as smaller players really need a bat that swings light. And, turns out, there are no drop 12 bats in the space whose barrel is larger than a 2 1/4.

Despite that drawback, we would do everything we could to avoid a 2 1/4 barrel in the USA Baseball bat space. Consider dropping down an inch or two in a 2 5/8 518 Omaha, for example, before buying a 2 1/4 USABat.

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Posted by Just Bat Reviews

Dedicated to the notion that it is possible to wade through the minutia of industry hype and vendor bias to determine your best bat.

  1. Thanks for the good insight. Would you liken the Rawlings Machine down towards their Raptor or up to the 5150? I’m asking in terms of construction, swingweight, grip, power? My almost 12 yo is coming off a Mako XL 30/-10 (weighs at -8). Just dipping a toe into this USA spec, so looking for a stiff, 1-piece BP bat to get started with.

  2. Thanks for this article. We are in the market for bats around $100 for our kids (average in ability), but are in need of something as light as possible because our kids are skinny for their age (10 and 55lbs, 51 inches, and 8 and 49lbs and 49 inches). I am looking at a Rawlings 5150, as it seems to be the only 2 5/8 bat with a -11. This puts it equal or lighter in weight to the 2 1/4 bats of the same length (minus the lightest Easton, which is getting terrible reviews). Was planning on a 29 length for our 10 year old.

    Reviews on it are equal or better than other bats in the price range and drop. Any thoughts on this model?

    I am concerned mostly about the small hitting zone. I suppose with the weight, manufacturers are shrinking the barrel. It just seems too small, especially put next to an Easton Ghost. Do these smaller hitting zones make hitting more difficult? Or is the sweet spot essentially the same size? At least visually it seems like the Ghost would be more forgiving.

    Also, I am considering the same bat for my 8 year old in a 27 inch. It is the same weight or 1oz lighter than the 2 1/4 bats. Is there any disadvantage to getting the 2 5/8 bat? I’m mostly looking again at the barrel. It is at least 3 inches longer in the 2 1/4 barrel bat I’m considering (again…a budget choice with the Rawlings Raptor but getting good reviews at that price point).

    Also, a bat rep told me for the 9-10 year old range to not bother with a bat over $100. The reason is that pitch speeds are not fast enough to get the benefit out of the $300 bats. Until they are in the 12-13 age range the extra cost will not be worth it. Do you agree?

    Any thoughts or other recommendations? I’ve seen the Rawlings Machine (available locally brand new at our Play it Again Sports) but it’s just too heavy for our kids.

  3. Erin, Great questions. I’ll try and be short but also helpful.

    1) If they kids aren’t playing highly competitive leagues then I think a +100 bat at 9/10 is probably a bit overzealous. I am sure some need it, but it’s a stretch.

    2) I would do all I could to not get a 2 1/4 bat in the USA Space. Find something with a bigger barrel. Problem is, as you are finding, the drop 12s are all 2 1/4 barrels. And small kids need lights wings.

    3) Based on what you’ve said I’d take a look at the drop 10 518 Omaha. Its under 100, swings light and comes in sizes as low as a 27. (If you wanted to spend more then take a look at the 618 Solo, but those are hard to find these days as everyone has the same thought.

    Anyways, hope that helps!

  4. We actually liked the Machine MORE than the 5150. I know that sounds crazy. But we think the added weight in the Machine (a drop 8) gives it a better feel than the 5150.

    If you wanted something cheap and to the point then the Machine is a good choice. We got our as Target, as you saw in the video above. If you wanted to spend a bit more and wanted something more stiff then we’ve had good success with 618 Solo, but those have been difficult to find these days.

  5. Good stuff…thanks. I did reach out to Rawlings cust serv with a similar question. Their response leads me to believe that the Raptor and Machine are essentially the same bat. The nod still goes to the Machine due to its upgraded grip – the same found on Rawling’s premium bats. For the absolute value shopper, Dick’s has what looks to be the same -8 bat with the RX4 model…now on sale for $39.

    I do feel like we are somewhat more likely to find success with this -8 vs the younger players needing lighter bats. I expect to have some results with the Machine this coming week and will update our experience on this post. For the record, we may also be looking for a premium bat as our USA Bat experience develops.

  6. Thanks for the reply. I actually already have an Omaha on order, but I’m concerned because reviews say it is 2-3 ounces over the stated weight. I know this is true of a lot of the bats, but if the one we receive is that overweight I doubt it will work for us.

    I discovered the Demarini Uprising recently too. With a 2 1/2 barrel and -10 it seems like a good choice, but then it seems to be for coach pitch only for 8u. Which makes NO sense considering it comes in sizes up to 32 inches. I don’t know anyone age 8 using a 32 inch bat in coach pitch. But, if I can stomach the cost for my 8 year old, I may take the risk on it for my 8yo in machine pitch. Reviews indicate its stated weight is accurate and if true, that’s a good selling point. The Raptor (the -10 2 1/4 barrel) has good reviews so far, comes in much cheaper, but was heavy for her so I’m guessing it is more than 1oz over it’s stated weight. I think lighter is best, so with the Uprising having a bigger barrel, and potentially being slightly lighter, I think that will be the best choice for her. If I could make it work for my 10yo it may be a good choice as well, but I’m not sure what to think of the “8 and under” recommendation.

    How is the Rawlings Machine for coming in at its stated weight? I wish we could make that work. If we’re using a 29 -10 and it’s really coming in at 21-22oz, and a 29 -8 that comes in at close to its stated weight, then the weights may be close to even.

    For anyone else interested, it appears the Machine is only available in 30 inch at Target. Our Play it Again Sports had all sizes, from 27inch up available, but at $10 more ($59 total).

    Thank you again for the help!

  7. Why don’t you recommend 2 1/4″ USA bats, especially for younger kids? Have you tested any showing negative results? My son played for Babe Ruth league and is switching to Little League. He is 7 years old but small for his age. He is really good at connecting and hitting with his older drop 12 Slugger bats which were required to be 2 1/4″. Now with this new bat standard he hates the loaded end feel on all the 2 5/8″ bats. His swing is not the same. Is your reasoning is that bigger barrel bats have a better chance at connecting or hitting the sweet spot? I don’t know that .375″ would make a huge difference. I feel that being able to properly swing the bat over barrel size would increase connection. My son is at a bad age when it comes to USA standard. They are all too heavy for him in the 2 5/8″ space and most start at 28″ when he needs a 27″ at most. I am praying for Slugger to make a good light bat in 27″. Have you tried out or do you have any data on 2 1/4″ USA bats? Thank you.

  8. 2 1/4 bats have too much sting and 0 power. Try the drop 11 618 in a 2 5/8. Industry has been making drop 11 and drop 12 bats in a 2 5/8 for years in USSSA—-no reason they shouldn’t be able to do so in USA. And – 20% reduction in Barrel diameter is a big deal, we thInk.

  9. Looks Like you’re on the right track. Remember too that stated weight is NOT Swing wieght and the two are not well correlated. Weighing a bat is not a good indication for how easily it swings. Check our USA swing weight page to get a better feel for how easily it swings (-‘d see that bat weight and MOI are not well correlated). Thanks for reading and good luck! Let us know how it goes.

  10. That is an interesting article. Will you be testing any of the less expensive bats for swing weight? I definitely have crossed certain bats off my list because of weight, but the alternative is having to try so many bats. For us, that means ordering 10 bats and returning 9 of them since we don’t really have good local sporting goods stores where we live. That’s not very appealing either.

  11. Erin,

    In time we hope to review every 2018 bat. But, sadly, we have a hard time ever getting to the less expensive ones. We find they all seem very similar are really just a function of brand name and paint job at that level. All of them are some type of basic alloy. But, if you have any particular bat in mind let us know and we can see what we know about. Might even have one laying around. Thanks!

  12. Saying nobody should hit 2 1/4 bats is ridiculous, hitting with a smaller barrel develops better hitters. You guys seem to be upset that your 12U boys aren’t going to get HRs when they should’ve popped out with their oversized loaded bats on 40/60 diamonds anymore. S450 performs well, take it from kids that play ball, not a website dedicated to driving expensive bat sales.

  13. Oh Frank. Your comment really doesn’t deserve a response because it’s seems like your trying to attack people. Not sure what we ever did to you.

    We’ve traveled the country playing baseball at the Youth Level for a half dozen years in no less than 50 different top end tournaments and have NEVER seen a serious baseball player using the S450. No good coach is intentionally giving their kid a disadvantage at the plate. It is a set up for excuse making.

  14. Thank you again for the help! I have a couple bats on order. I’ve eliminated the Machine unfortunately. We swung one and it was just too heavy for him. Hoping, as you said, that the Omaha will swing lighter. My last main bat I’m considering are the Axe bats. Does their design, in your opinion, make it lighter to swing? The Origin 29 -8 would be an option if it swings light. I know they’ve got a -10 coming and that would probably be ideal. But given its release date (and price) still isn’t available, I’m probably not comfortable waiting on it with the season right around the corner.

    The Easton 750 is also $100 right now. But the reviews on the Easton bats have been less than stellar, and the bats seem to be swinging very heavy. Have you tried this bat?

  15. Great site. Really look forward to your feedback on these bats.
    Have you guys put 1,ooo hits on any of these usa composite bats yet? I was wondering if they will open up a bit more with extensive usage. Maybe why the alloy bats are getting faster exit speeds out of the gate? I know you said you put 250 swings on composites before testing but was wondering if they need in the 500 range to really opened a bit due to thicker walls

  16. We haven’t done 1000 yet. I fear it isn’t a work-in thing but, instead, the bats just sort of suck. We will see. We’ll keep you folks updated. Thanks for reading.

  17. Hello So I recently purchased two bats hoping my recently 8 year old could make up his mind on swing, though it seems to be with color. I purchased a Easton S450 29inch, 17 ounce, 2 1/4, and a Rawlings Machine 28/20, 2 5/8. He can swing both, but I need more advice. The older two do travel so these new bats are just confusing!!
    Thanks!!

  18. I’ll defend the S450 for a moment. Assuming that most of the USA bats are “dead” in terms of ball striking (which they are), I’ve come to emphasize bat speed, which is to say emphasize as much length as my son can swing with as little weight as possible. I’ve found that there just aren’t a lot of options in the -12 drop category, so the S450 fills a nice niche, particularly for the price.

    For me, bat speed is far more important than a bigger barrel, and I found with my son that he was able to make much more contact with the lighter bat even though the barrel was smaller. The truth is that the extra 3/16″ on either side of where he actually strikes the ball with the bat means very little in terms of overall hitting performance if he can’t get the bat to the ball to begin with.

  19. I purchased a 31″ Machine for my son and a 29″ Machine for players on his team to also use. We’re about 2 weeks from the start of games and both are bent quite impressively and will need to be returned to Rawlings for warranty claim. I’ve also been reading on the Dicks Sporting Goods reviews that the RX4 has the same problem. Mind you, these are sub 12 year old players, no adults were hitting and they were never used in commercial batting cages (with the dimple or heavy balls). It really sucks to have to warranty claim two $50 bats, I have never had to do this before and have no idea on how long we’ll be without the bats. I’ll have to go buy another bat or two for the team to cover for these being out of commission. Buyer beware on the Machine.

  20. Can we get this updated with newer released USA bats Threat, Made 1p, made 2p, ECT. I would like to see how they fit into the scope of things.
    Bought my son 6Yo 8U player a Threat 28/-12 and Vapor 28/-9 he also has Birch, Mable and Ash woodys to practice with. The Threat is very light swinging (17.5oz actual) but it’s Pop isn’t there yet hopefully he gets it broke in soon.

  21. Thanks. This list is up to date. We do like the bats above even considering the Threat and the Vapor, etc. We have a full review up on the threat you can find on the site. It swings VERY light. And is probably better considered a drop 13 then a drop 12. We tend to like it.

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