In the days of yore, when baseball first began, the only piece of equipment catchers would have was a mitt. Not a catcher’s mitt, mind you, but just a regular old mitt like any fielder or baseman. In those times, it was unheard of for catchers behind the plate to wear protective equipment. As you can probably tell, this leads to a lot of catchers getting injured. It wasn’t until Roger Bresnahan came to the scene when baseball first saw a catcher wearing padding. At first, he was ridiculed for wearing this kind of equipment as it was considered unmanly.
Playing catcher is inviting yourself into playing one of the most challenging positions in baseball. Scratch that thought; playing catcher is asking yourself to play one of the most difficult positions in any sport, period. You have to have the hand-eye coordination to catch whatever the pitcher throws at you. You have to watch out for errant batters and bat swings. You need to keep your eyes open for any runners trying to steal bases. You got to be iron-willed and steady to stop anyone from sliding into home base. And all of this while having to stay steady as a rock while carrying a ton of equipment on top of all that. Thus, the need for the best catchers gear to help you out.
There’s no doubt that that’s a ton of physical abuse to take, and you’ll have to take every chance you can get to improve your catching performance. These days, wearing the right kind of equipment is going to save you from a headache (and a bunch of bruising)!
Now let’s talk about the finer points of picking the right piece of equipment for you.
However, once people started to realize the benefits of wearing protective equipment, they slowly followed suit. Teams began fielding catchers with equipment. Nowadays, we have protective padding, helmets, and armor to help catchers face fastballs, metal cleats, and sliding players with no fear.
What To Look For In Catcher’s Sets
One of the first things you have to consider is the size of the equipment you’re going to buy. Too many customers have carelessly hit the buy button only to find out that they bought a size too small or too large for the person they bought it for. Let’s not repeat the same mistake they made.
In general terms, there are about three sizes of catcher’s equipment to choose from. There are youth sets for players under 10 years old, intermediate sets for players 10-15 years old, and finally adult sets for players 16 years old and above.
The next thing to take note of is that you have to answer the question: does my team already have catcher’s equipment?
While it seems like a simple question to ask, this is essential to ask, especially if you’re trying to save money. In most cases, little leagues have uniforms and equipment ready for all their players. However, it might be prudent to buy your own piece of equipment. However, the equipment that they field might not be the quality you’re looking for, and you may want to buy your own set for hygienic purposes. Most catcher’s sets are shared between players, and we know how smelly that can be.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the quality of the set and how easy it is to take off and put on. In the middle of the game, catchers may have to switch positions or head up to bat quickly, which means getting a set that’s easy to remove and put on is key. Rushing around is an added level of stress that, frankly, young players don’t need, so look for a set with that in mind.
League Rules And Approval
One of the most important things to note about catcher’s equipment is NOCSAE certification. NOCSAE stands for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment and is responsible for checking the safety and setting the standards for different kinds of protective equipment. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has recently added to their regulations by stating that they require chest protectors to be NOCSAE certified. They also require that catcher’s helmets be NOCSAE certified, which has been a requirement for years.
To cut a long story short, if you want your catcher’s equipment to see use for years to come, you’ll need to buy equipment that has the NOCSAE seal of approval before you hit that purchase button.
The Benefits Of Purchasing Fulls Sets Of Gear
You might be wondering: why not simply buy different sets of gear? I can just pick the pieces I want and use them as-is.
We’re here to show you why in buying a complete set of gear, you’ll be reaping the benefits of your purchase for seasons in and seasons out. So, let’s get to talking about the benefits of getting a full set of catcher’s gear!
- Savings – Buying a whole set is simply more economical to do. You don’t have to worry about where each piece of the set is coming from, and overall, you’ll be saving on shipping costs by just getting one bundle.
- Convenience – There’s nothing that beats the convenience of getting a set all ready for use. After all, you’ll be getting the set in one place, and that beats having to shop around and compare prices for each item to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
- Better Rewards – Equipment companies often give incentives for you to buy their equipment sets to make them more appealing to buyers. Why not take full advantage and reap those benefits?
- Matching sets – Admittedly, this has more of a personal benefit, but each set usually comes in a single color scheme so that they match. If you were to buy individual pieces of equipment, you might be stuck with a Frankenstein-esque mishmash of different colors. Not to mention, if you have a team color, there is most likely a catching set to help you match that. Objectively speaking, though, complete gear sets are made to fit with each other. This means that a full set is more likely to cover all the important spots on the body than a set from different manufacturers.
Ten Catcher’s Gear For The 2021 Season (Best Catchers Gear)
One of the most popular sets around, the Wilson Youth EZ Gear Catcher’s Kit, might be the kit you’re looking for. At just above $100, this is easily one of the cheaper sets, but still of relatively high quality as they don’t cut corners on the make. This Wilson Catcher’s Gear also comes in four colors (red, navy blue, royal blue, and black), so you can most likely find a color that fits your team best.
One caveat is that you shouldn’t expect this piece of equipment to last season after season because of this price range. Customers of this product have noted that the Velcro straps on the chest protector and the shin guards wear down after usage, so you may want to invest in athletic tape to help keep it on after a while.
- Good Quality
- Four colors (Red, Navy Blue, Royal Blue, Black)
- Velcro wears out over time
Another set with good ratings, The Rawlings Renegade Series, is a set that comes recommended by loads of customers. The Renegade Series set has proprietary Coolflo technology to ensure that your players stay cool on the field. They also have relatively good shock-absorbing mechanisms to help your catchers remain protected.
However, like the Wilson EZ Gear, the Renegade series equipment has Velcro straps for fastening it to your player, so be sure to invest in some athletic tape if you’re planning on using this equipment for years to come. Some customers have also noted that the sets may be a little too large for the age they bought them for, so keep that in mind while purchasing
- Good price range for quality
- Proprietary cooling and shock-absorbing mechanism
- Four colors (Black, Navy Blue, Royal Blue, and Scarlet)
- Sizes are a bit larger than advertised for age ranges
- Velcro straps that wear out over time
The Under Armor Victory Catcher’s set is one of those sets designed after youth players. It comes with adjustable shoulder pads and even comes with complete upper body protection. Extra foam padding is found in the shoulder, sternum, and throat areas to provide additional protection for these vulnerable areas. The adjustable nature also gives your athletes a more custom fit.
The Victory set Boasts an AEGIS microbe shield to protect against moisture and bacterial build-up – this, in turn, keeps your catcher’s gear fresh for longer. The helmet also features an ABS shell for added impact protection and an I-BAR Vision mask for increased field of view and greater peripheral vision than other masks. This also is officially NOCSAE certified! Overall, this is a good lightweight, mobile, and affordable set. It comes in red and navy blue colors
- Adjustable shoulder pads for a custom fit
- Extra foam padding in the neck, shoulder, sternum, and throat
- NOCSAE certified
- Anti-microbial action
The Rawlings Velo 2.0 Catching Set is a fantastic piece of equipment designed to fit nearly anyone within its age range. It has four adjustable shoulder straps and a back strap to fit players of all shapes and sizes. Its chest guard boasts proprietary Arc Reactor Core technology to lower any impact.
The helmet of the Velo comes with moisture-wicking technology and air circulation to help make sure that your platers stay cool. The helmet also features a recessed design, giving your players more confidence to step up to the plate. The Velo comes in six different colors, so you definitely won’t have a problem finding a match for your team
- Adjustable shoulder, back straps, and helmet back armor
- Arc Reactor Core padding technology
- Shock-absorbing helmets with recessed designed
- Six different colors (Black, Green, Navy Blue, Royal Blue, Red, and White)
- NOCSAE certified
The Easton Intermediate Gametime Catcher’s Set gives you one of the best deals of quality and price. It comes with a double back adjustment located on the chest protect that fits youth players. This negates the annoying problem of having loose gear flapping around and, in turn, help your players with greater mobility
Both the chest plate and the helmet are lined with sufficient foam padding to help disperse any impacts that the player might suffer. The ventilation system also works well – essential for days where you’re playing under the heat of the sun.
- Adjustable back straps
- Better mobility
- Three available colors (Red, Black, and Blue)
- ABS helmet design
- NOCSAE certified
While there are many catching gears present in the market today, not many pieces of equipment are designed with the female body in mind. The Easton Fundamentals by Jen Schro is there to remedy that. The chest plate can fit the body shapes of girls and women of all sizes while also preserving mobility and protection. The helmet is streamlined with a durable plastic ABS shell and includes double-density foam for added safety and comfort.
The shin guards are made to hug your legs and conform to knee shape while still providing good mobility, whether blocking with the feet or throwing from your knees
- Specially made for females
- Adjustable back strap
- Good mobility
- ABS Helmet Design
- Available in five colors (Black, Navy Blue, Royal Blue, Red, and White)
The Mizuno Samurai Catchers Gear is one of the top-rated and well-reviewed sets that you can find in the market today. While a little on the pricier side, it’s well worth the money to be paid as Mizuno throws all the bells and whistles that it could fit onto this piece of equipment
They have given this set several proprietary technologies such as a strategic ventilation system, 3-layered EVA foam, and Drylite inner liner for the helmet. The chest piece has low rebound technology to ensure that balls don’t bounce off the body and keep it close. You get a quality youth catcher’s set that your players can use for seasons to come by purchasing this piece of equipment.
- Durable design
- Adjustable back straps
- Low-rebound chest protector
- 3 Layered EVA foam helmet
- Triple knee cup design for added protection
- Color Choice of up to ten colors
The Rawlings Youth Mark of the Pro Catcher set is one of the best pieces of equipment that you can get on the market today for youths 9-12 years old. The helmet has an impact-resistant cage, while the chest protector can absorb blow after blow to ensure ultimate ball control. The set features a triple knee guard that gives you the flexibility you need for a full range of movement. The chest protector also has a Dynamic Fit system to adjust for any player
The set isn’t too pricy, and Rawlings’ quality is still one of the best in the business, so you can’t go wrong in investing in this set. This also has NOCSAE approval, so you don’t have to worry about it being banned for play.
- Dynamic Fit System to adjust to any player
- Coolflo vent technology and moisture-wicking materials.
- NOCSAE certified
The Easton Gametime Catchers set is equipped with the essentials of a top-line catcher. The helmet of this set is equipped with a streamlined profile that has a sturdy construction that allows for a snug, locked in fit. The helmet is also NOCSAE certified for all levels of play. The leg guards of this set also have a triple-knee design that helps protect your knees in and out of the squatting position. You don’t have to worry about being too warm in this thing either, as the chest protector has strategically placed ventilation for maximum comfort and maximum protection.
- Decently priced for the quality
- Snug helmet fit
- Strategic chest protector ventilation
- Three available colors (Red, Black, Blue)
The All-Star System 7 Pro Catcher’s set is another one of the best catcher’s sets to date. Though it may come with a premium price tag, you get what you pay for with this set. It has a NOCSAE approved hockey-style catcher’s mask with an I-BAR VISION steel cage that allows for better vision and peripheral view. The ergonomic design and lightweight nature of this set prevent fatigue through longer games.
This set is the same gear worn by MLB players and other professional players. The ergonomic knee protectors, lightweight construction of the chest plate, multiple protection plates for the collarbone, sternum, and throat make this piece of equipment a good investment.
- I-BAR VISION steel cage helmet
- Great construction quality
- Used by professionals
- NOCSAE approved
- Three Colors (Navy Blue, Red, Royal Blue)