When it comes to baseball, equipment is a vital part of your setup.
After all, it both needs to stand up to whatever punishment the pitch can through at it, as well as be used over and over again, without showing much sign of wear and tear.
And, of all the pieces of equipment that you’ll be using, few are probably as important as the baseball bat itself.
However, when you get around to finding a bat for yourself, you might find that there are more options than you bargained for, especially when discussing the material.
While classic wooden bats are still made and used at the professional level, increasingly dominating the amateur and lower leagues are bats made from new materials.
More specifically, aluminum and composite bats are becoming increasingly popular today.
But why is this the case? What goes into making these bats, and what are the reasons?
And, perhaps most importantly, which one, if either, is better for you as a baseball player?
Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss here1
In his guide, we are going to explain what exactly composite and aluminum baseball bats are, what they have in common, and what makes them different from each other, as well as show you which one is the superior bat to purchase.
Examining These Bats
Before we start discussing the finer details of these bats and trying to declare which one is superior, it will be helpful to first explain what these bats are in the first place, as well as what they are made of.
First off, we have one of the most popular bats used at college baseball matches, the aluminum baseball bat.
Aluminum bats were first developed as an alternative to the classic wooden baseball bats, and have performed admirably since they were first introduced.
Although this variety of baseball bat is often called ‘aluminum’, these types are usually made from an alloy that is composed of a variety of metals.
There are many different varieties of alloys that can be used in baseball bats, with all of them having their distinct effect on the overall performance of their bats, with the density of the alloy affecting both the length of the bat and the long-term durability of it too.
One of the first things that people often notice when handling an aluminum bat is the sounds it makes.
Generally speaking, instead of the crack that most people associate with wooden baseball bats, aluminum bats will let out a noticeable ‘ping’ noise when they make contact.
Generally speaking, aluminum bats are noticeably more durable than most wooden varieties, and usually offer better performance too.
Thanks to these factors, plus their more comfortable grip, and quicker bat speed overall, this made it very popular in youth baseball games.
Within the variety of aluminum bats on offer, there are two varieties that people can pick from single-walled and double-walled bats.
- Double-walled bats tend to be more durable than the single-walled version, and can also hit balls back much harder.
- Single-walled, while not quite as strong as their double-walled counterparts, are considerably lighter, and are generally considered easier to handle, and, by extension, they are also safer to use.
Now, we are moving on to the second featured type of bat in this list, the composite bat.
Like aluminum bats, composite bats tend to be made from a variety of different mixes of materials.
However, whereas aluminum bats are made from metal compounds, composite bats tend to be made primarily from carbon fiber.
The different carbon fibers that go into composite bats can affect these bats in many different ways, from giving them a wider sweet spot to hits balls with, while others can make them more durable.
As we’ve just mentioned, the massive range of compounds that go into composite bats gives them a massive range of performance boosts over wooden bats.
Durability is a great bonus that many cheaper non-wooden bats can suffer with.
Plus, the ability to create a larger sweet spot to hit with makes this bat a great tool to start learning and playing baseball with, especially for younger players.
However, one of the things that composite bats do very well is altering the trampoline effect of the bat
For those unaware of what this means, the trampolining effect happens when the ball makes contact with a swinging bat, and the ball begins moving or ‘jumping away.
In softer material bats, the trampoline effect causes the ball to move further and faster, thanks to the energy that the pitcher threw with the ball not being completely dissipated when it hit the bat.
As such, it is noticeably easier to hit a baseball faster and further with a composite bat.
Plus, composite bats tend to have a better weight balance than many metal alloy versions, making them hit baseball even further.
Not only that, but composite bats help reduce the sting that batsmen can get when they make contact with a baseball, unlike wooden bats.
Although there are no varieties of composite bats per se, many different manufacturers have released different compounds in bats that can give subtle differences between these bats, affecting swing weight, thickness, and many other aspects of a bat.
Aluminum Vs. Composite – Which Is Better?
So, now that we have outlined these individual bats, we can start to directly compare these two types of these bats with each other.
When it comes to the speed of swinging, there is a pretty clear difference between these two.
While aluminum bats do tend to perform better than traditional wooden bats, composite bats almost always outperform both of these options, too.
However, you should remember that the highest-performance composite bats are not eligible for normal baseball matches, so keep that in mind.
The stings that you get when squaring a baseball in the bat’s sweet spot can be very painful for players to deal with.
Composite bats are shown to be much better at dealing with these stresses, dampening them better than their metal counterparts.
Not only that but the vibrations that a batsman will receive with a composite bat last shorter than with aluminum bats, too.
However, all this extra performance also comes with a higher price tag, even for the cheapest composite bat.
Aluminum bats have been around for decades, so it isn’t difficult to find a cheaper model of them pretty much anywhere.
Overall, both of these bat types have plenty to offer in terms of performance and balance, and would both be welcome additions to any batsman’s toolkit.
If you are on a budget and are looking for a good bat to use, you will find that aluminum bats offer plenty of great performance for your buck.
However, if you have the extra cash for them, composite bats offer noticeably better performance numbers, as well as plenty of extra customization than aluminum bats can compete with.
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