Below we rank the most popular bats available on the market in the categories of slow pitch softball, fast pitch softball, collegiate baseball, and non-collegiate baseball (which includes youth, senior league and big barrel). Our hope is to update this often as the bats change. Each “most popular bat” is determined according to its category and can be read about in detail within each section.
We do not intend, it should be noted, to find you the bat with the most sales over any period of time. Searches like these on amazon or justbats.com can find you that information well enough. Instead, we attempt to literally tell you which bats currently in use are the most popular in relation to their peers for any given league. The answers may be predictable, but we offer some evidence below as to their popularity.
Additionally, just because it is the most popular, doesn’t mean we also think you should get it. That is a topic for an entirely different thread.
Many collegiate teams—especially good ones—have their bat brand determined for them. Meaning, a particular brand has an agreement with a college, so all attending players must swing bats from that brand either exclusively or for a specific amount of the time. These bat suppliers often fork over a ton of money to keep their brand in the hands of the best teams.
To that end, determining the most popular baseball bat for collegiate players is as simple as learning what bat brand has the most contracts and then deciding what bat within that brand is more preferred by collegiate players. Turns out such an approach is pretty simple: DeMarini has the most collegiate bat contracts and the mots popular bat within that brand among collegiate players is the DeMarini Voodoo.
Why is the Voodoo the most popular among college players? First, Stronger players prefer bats with an end load—which is exactly what the Voodoo has. Second, the DeMarini Voodoo uses an aluminum barrel for hot out of the wrapper performance—no work in period for collegiate players to go through before the bat is at peak performance.
You can see our longer review on the 2016 Voodoo Raw here.
From a nationwide scale in the US, the most popular high school, senior league, big barrel and youth barrel bat is the Easton MAKO. By several estimates, search interest in the Easton brand of bats is nearly twice as high as the next most competitive bat brand. Within that brand, the Easton MAKO is clearly the flagship and most popular bat in baseball—and it has been since 2014.
Note, we are not suggesting this should be the case. Simply pointing out the fact that it is.
Such a choice isn’t ultimately surprising considering high school players tend to prefer lighter swinging bats, have the time to work in a bat’s composite barrel and also need as much opportunity to square up a ball with as over-sized a barrel as possible. The MAKO thrives in these regards—and it’s helpful Easton’s distribution to the shelves of major outlets is second to none.
However, finding the most popular baseball bat for non-collegiate players gets at least a bit more interesting when you consider geography. Some of our site metrics prove this point. We can categorize state interest in a particular brand among our site over the last 12 months and compare it to others. We learn from this what we could have guessed: the most popular bats depend on where you live.
Notice, among other things, how popular Easton is in California compared to Texas and how Rawlings is more popular in Texas than in California. Slugger has near equal interest in California and Texas while DeMarini does well in Tennessee and Oregon, respectively. (Oregon, you may know, is where a good portion of DeMarini operates. And the picture below may hold the clue as to why Vol country tends toward DeMarini).
Another note about bat popularity in a statewide sense: more regional bat companies fair better by their headquarters. Dirty South, based out of Atlanta, Georgia has found more interest in their home state then the entire state of California. And, it would appear, not a single soul in Vermont, Montana or the Dakotas has yet to hear of the bat.
Anderson, on the other hand, has at least a couple fans in those states but its stronghold is so firmly rooted in California you’d think the company was based there. Turns out, it is.
Rude American Bats does well in Nevada relative to other search densities—as you’d expect since they are based there—but still has yet to find one of Wyoming’s near 500,000 residents to be interested enough to search the internet for the bat. (We realize access to the internet may be the real problem). Rude American Bats also, like the Dirty South Bats above, lacks attention from the state of Vermont where, from what we can gather, they don’t play baseball. Residents of the Maple Syrup capital of the United States only find themselves on this site by grossly misspelling the phrase ‘Best Hockey Sticks’.
And so it is. We find geography playing a serious part in what bat is the most popular.
There aren’t nearly as many performance fastpitch softball bats as there are baseball. So determining what bat is the most popular is at least a little easier. When we combine the data from amazon’s best seller list and scrub it against those at homerunmonkey.com and justbats.com we quickly find that Louisville Slugger’s LXT Plus Composite is the most popular fastpitch softball bat on the planet. No surprise there, the bat is a smoking hot two piece composite with a monster barrel and swing weight drop options for all types of hitters. The LXT Plus’ omnipresence even rears its head often on YouTube fastpitch bat tricks.
In the collegiate fast pitch world, popularity ranks suffer from the same bias as NCAA baseball—certain teams are required to swing certain brands—but even at that level the LXT Plus is wildly popular among the best in the business. In part due to Louisville Slugger’s utter dominance in the bat contract space: Slugger has three times the number of bat contracts with collegiate teams than the next closest competitor (Easton). This clearly biases the popularity of the LXT Plus by contract—but the relationship between how popular a bat is among players and the willingness of that player’s athletic department to enter into binding agreements shouldn’t be considered uncorrelated.
While search volume isn’t robust enough for google to track specific fastpitch bat interest across state lines, it can at least show us where fastpitch bats are most searched in the US relative to other search interest in the state. Apparently, the folks in Alabama can’t get enough fastpitch softball.Albeit a tangent to this conversation on bat popularity, we wondered how regionally interested individuals were in fastpitch and how that compared to the regional interest in another sport like women’s soccer. We came up with this simple map chart below. While not overtly helpful in determining what is the most popular fastpitch bat, it at least shows that fastpitch interest appears to be more regionally based when compared to women’s soccer. No surprise there. Maybe just some further proof that bat popularity, and brand popularity, is in large measure a geographical conversation.
Lousiville Slugger dominates the collegiate and search scenes for fastpitch softball bats. And the LXT Plus composite from Slugger therefore takes the cake as the most popular fastpitch softball bat. (We review the LXT Plus at length here).
Taking on the task of determining the most popular slow pitch softball bat is a terrible idea. We’ve learned this the hard way, trust us. There are many reasons. For starters, there are a tremendous amount of associations that govern the type of slow pitch bat that can be used in any particular league. Senior Softball, USSSA, NSA, ISA are just a some of them. Hence, finding the most popular softball bat would only make sense if it were by particular league and, unlike the Easton MAKO in the non-collegiate baseball space, no single company or brand dominates the slow pitch softball plate across the board.
Additionally, in no other ball hitting type sport is a bat more unique to the type of player swinging the stick. Slow pitch softball is renown for gorilla shaped men with more back hair than a Woolly Mammoth as well as darters and divers with ultra quick muscle fibers created by God himself so humans could play center-field and get infield singles. This is to say nothing of the massive gap in talent found between a local church group trying to get some exercise and the die hard athletes who become the best in the amateur game.
We also can’t look to the popularity of any particular brand by leveraging the success of collegiate programs because, well, there aren’t any. Sure, groups like Combat, DeMarini, Worth and Louisville Slugger sponsor serious players and serious slow pitch teams, but we can’t quite capture the essence of the bat’s popularity based on a few tournaments where prodigious behemoths send a softball further than a civil war cannon could.
In essence, the most popular bat in slow pitch softball is a mirage. There are simply too many iterations, too many types of players and too many leagues to claim one is the most popular. Yet, even after all that, we feel rather obligated to give the reader at least something. As such, in our near endless research to determine the most popular softball bat we can say we’ve seen at least one bat as often as all the others. That bat: Louisville Slugger’s Z4000 series. This is due, at least in part, to the fact the Z4000 comes in a number of different iterations for nearly every type of hitter. Its two piece composite design and stiff transition is top notch stuff.
I’ve yet to even publish this article and I can hear the groans from serious softball players around the country who have their Worth 220, DeMarini The One and Miken SuperMax snuggled up in their bed with them. To them I apologize. (See our extended Z4000 reviews here).
What Bat Is the Most Popular?
We’ve attempted, and in some cases close to failed, in answering the question as to what bat is the most popular. In the end, bat popularity is often a regional issue and clearly highly hitter preference dependent as well. We’ve learned other things too: bat companies with the most retailer shelf space as well as collegiate bat contracts go a serious way in shaping bat popularity; baseball bat popularity is much more clearly defined when compared to slow pitch softball; women’s soccer has nothing to do with this conversation, but appears to be more evenly interesting around the country when compared to fastpitch softball; and finally, Vermont has yet to hear of any baseball bat companies in Georgia.