After a lot of research, in game and cage testing, we think the Maple Sam Bat CD1 is the best youth wood bat. Players liked the solid feel and pro type custom options. Parents liked the reasonable price point for a bat that is just like the ones the pros use save, of course, the size.
With that said, the creation of a single piece of maple lathed into a wood bat is not unique to Sam Bats (or Marucci, Slugger, and so on). There are a number of small wood bat companies that do a decent job designing beautiful single piece maple bats. As long as the billet is high quality it will likely be a really fun hit. See our list of small wood bat companies to get some options.
Wood Bat Youth Size
For exact and scientific suggestions take a look at our bat size chart.
You will find, though, wood bats rarely come in a light enough size for the average youth player. Most good wood youth bats are a drop 6 or 5. Some you can find in a drop 7.
In other words:
Wood bats are hard to size correctly for youth. This is due to the fact that wood bats don’t possess the ability to control swing weight with a hollow barrel like composite and aluminum bats. It is impossible, for example, to find a 20 ounce bat. Which is one of the more popular weights.
What is the drop?
(The drop, you should know, is the numerical difference between the weight of the bat in ounces and the length of the bat in inches. For example, a 30/20 is a drop 10. Most youth wood bats will come, for example, in a 30/25. A full 5 ounces, or 25%, heavier than the player is accustomed.)
And, it turns out, we carry over much of the same reasoning as to why one bat should be better than another. After using over 20 different youth wood bats, and discussing their processes with professionals and amateurs alike, we keep reverting back to the Sam Bat CD1 as our favorite youth baseball bat. But, make no mistake, there are other fantastic options too. Much feel very smilar. We discuss below.
Best Youth Wood Bat
1. Sam CD1 Bat
We like the Sam Bat as the best youth baseball bat for its flawless maple design. Few bullet points to consider:
- The bat is a smooth sailing single piece of maple made from straight from Canada.
- This CD1 is cut from the same trees and made in the same factory as the bats of Barry Bonds, GianCarlos Stanton and Miguel Caberra.
- They are durable as far as a wood bat goes. Maple does really well here as it is exceptionally hard.
- In terms of performance, you won’t beat a single piece maple in the wood bat space.
If there is any negative feedback, it is the lack of durability with a wood bat. But, welcome to the world of real Maple wood bats. There is just no way around it and Sam Bats make as durable a real wood maple bat that you can find.
2. Marucci JB19 Youth Wood Bat
For the same reason we think the Marucci line is the best wood bat for adults, we think the JB19 or CU26 from Marucci are the best wood bat for kids. Both have a smaller barrel profile and, much like the CD1, is a light swing—as far as wood bats go.
It does not suffer from the end load that a bat like the AP5 might. Instead, this bat is made for the contact hitter.
Like the CD1 from Sam Bat above, both the JB19 and the CU26 come in a pure maple option. You can also personalize and customize these bats too, but you need to do it directly on Marucci’s site.
That usually ads a few bucks.
But, if this is for a birthday or holiday present, then we suggest it. Two years ago these are what we gave to each our sons on Christmas and they absolutely loved it. Highly recommended.
3. Youth BamBooBat
If you want a wood-like experience, but are concerned about durability and hand sting, then go with a youth BamBooBat.
Yes, this is a bat made out of Bamboo.
Bamboo is, technically, a grass and not a wood. So, it stands as a bit of a misnomer on this article for the best youth wood bats.
But, here are some major benefits for a Bamboo youth wood bat instead of a traditional single piece maple or birch.
- Very durable compared to other “wood” bats.
- Serious cost savings when compared to traditional wood bats.
- Bamboo bats have a much softer feel on contact.
Are Wood Bats Legal in Little League?
Single piece wood bats are legal as a USA Bat.
Anything else must get the approval stamp. This means that Bamboo bats (which are not technically wood) as well as composite wood bats (bats made of multiple parts of wood) need specific approval by USA baseball to be legal.
USSSA has a less defined standard and simply says: “Must Be a Wood Bat”. Some might argue that a Bamboo bat is NOT a wood bat and others might argue a composite wood bat is also NOT a wood bat. But, we have never seen USSSA enforce that stringent of a definition.
Why Buy a Youth Wood Bat?
There are several good reasons to buy a youth wood baseball bat. None of which, by the way, are because you think it performs as well as a good aluminum or composite wood bat. But, there are some legitimate reasons. Let us list at least a few of them.
- They force players to hit in the middle of the barrel. It is said that better players can close the gap between good and bad bats.
- A wood bat, and its accompanying small sweet spot, make a good player really focus on hitting the ball in the right spot of the bat.
- Youth wood bats help increase strength. The sole reason for this is because wood bats have much higher swing weights.
- They are cool and really fun to hit. And, if you can learn to hit well with a wood bat you can learn to hit well with anything.