In the world of baseball today, you have to admit that there are way more bats and bat materials than there were in its inception. Wood is no longer the only material that bats come in, and with the advent of metal bats came the beginning of the wood vs. metal bat debate. While that raged on, a new player stepped onto the stage: the composite bat. Nowadays, the discussion has shifted – composite bats vs aluminum bats? While we may never know the answer to that, we do have a few tidbits of knowledge to help you pick the right bat for you.
The Difference of Composite Bats Vs Aluminum Bats
Composite bats are bats made with layers of materials, ranging from a mix of fiberglass, carbon fibers, and graphite. These materials are more easily distributed throughout the bat than other materials, and this means composite fiber bats can be made with varying weights ranging from light, balanced, and even end-loaded bats if that’s what you’re looking into getting.
Because of the layered build of the composite bat, it has a higher trampoline-like effect and dampening rate than most other bats. One of the biggest pros of the composite bat is that because of their build and the fact that they are usually of two-piece construction, which reduces the sting in your hands if you mishit the ball. However, mishits with composite bats are less likely to happen as the “sweet spot” of composite bats is more generous than that of other bats owed to their more balanced weight. Composite bats are known for their lightness and barrel length, resulting in faster, more accurate swings and greater control
For the reasons mentioned above, these bats see high use in minor league, high school, and collegiate levels of play. The more prominent sweet spot means players can focus more on their hand-eye coordination. All of this leads to greater confidence when stepping up to bat. The dampened sting of mishit balls is also a plus for younger players, making it easier for them to handle.
However, it’s not all a bed of roses for composite bats. Unlike aluminum bats that dent after hitting balls extensively, composite bats tend to crack, which drastically reduces the bat’s lifespan. Safety-wise as well, composite bats tend to shatter like wooden bats when breaking, so if your composite bat shows signs of structural failure like cracks or breaks, you may want to consider buying a new one.
Cold weather is another enemy of composite bats. Because of the nature of the materials that go into making composite bats, cold temperatures (ranging from temperatures less than 70o – 55o Fahrenheit) can make your composite bat more brittle. What this means is that they’re more prone to failure and breakage in the cold. They also need a “break in” period to get all the benefits and increase durability, which is usually around 150-200 hits with varying power. Lastly, composite bats are made from relatively newer technology than other bats and are more expensive on average than your alloy bats.
PROS Of Composite Bats
– Variety of weight distributions that allow them to be light, balanced, or end-loaded, which caters to all kinds of hitters
– Construction of the bat allows for less sting when hitting balls
– The “sweet-spot” of composite bats is larger than other bats of the same shape and size, allowing for better ball hits on average
– Greater barrel length with no increased weight makes for better strike zones with no loss in swing speed or strength
CONS Of Composite Bats
– Has a greater tendency to break than an aluminum bat
– Once there’s signs of structural failure on the bat, it’s dead, and you should probably buy a new one. Otherwise, you run the risk of the bat shattering.
– Becomes more brittle under colder weather
– Requires a “breaking in” period for the bat to reach its full potential (unlike aluminum bats, which can be used as-is)
– A bit more expensive than other bats of the same quality
An aluminum bat is a bat made from an alloy of aluminum and some other metal. There’s usually no layering, and aluminum bats are generally a single piece of metal in the form of a bat. Unlike composite bats, the alloy cannot be drawn out over a large portion of the bat without compromising weight. Most aluminum bats are end-loaded with smaller barrels and a relatively smaller “sweet spot” than a similar composite bat.
Aluminum bats have their advantages, and one of those is the durability of the said bat. Aluminum bats have a longer life than other bats because of their solid construction and materials. In contrast, composite bats tend to crack and break after many mishits, aluminum bats dent. Dented bats are still usable and feature the same hitting quality that you expect from a regular bat (unless, of course, in the case of a significant dent that would render the bat unusable).
Cold weather is also no problem for the aluminum bat as it does not have the critical flaw of becoming brittle under cold weather.
Because of their relatively simple construction, aluminum bats are also less expensive than most other bats, which helps choose a good-quality bat without breaking the bank. Another key feature of aluminum bats is that they do not require “breaking in” to perform at their full potential. You can start swinging for the fences as soon as you get your bat.
Given the advantages of the aluminum bat, it also has its drawbacks. One of the most common drawbacks is the construction of the aluminum bat in that it does not have the varied balances that composite bats have – they are end-loaded, and that’s about it. Because of their rigidity as well, it does a poor job at shock-absorbing. This means that mishit balls are going to sting and sting much more than a composite bat.
As previously mentioned, the sweet spot of aluminum bats is smaller than that of composite bats, so if you are not proficient at getting hits at that sweet spot, your hands will be sure to sting. It’s possible to remedy this by adding more padding to the bat’s handle and wearing thicker gloves.
PROS Of Aluminum Bats
– It Is the less expensive option for bats with the same build and quality.
– Durability to the nines, with use that can stretch up to 2 years even with regular play.
– Does not become brittle under cold weather
– Does not require a “break-in” period for the bat to function as needed – all you have to do is take it out of the wrapper and start swinging!
CONS Of Aluminum Bats
– Aluminum bats are more rigid than composite bats, meaning they will sting more when getting mishits
– The smaller “sweet spot” might turn players away, especially since mishits means more stinging
– The lack of variety in balance that composite bats have makes players who want lighter or balanced bats may look elsewhere
Given the information that we have, we hope that you’ll be able to pick the right bat for you. There is no way to say what bat is ultimately the best. Both have their pros and cons in the durability, balance, and striking departments. The question is, instead, what kind of bat are you looking for? If you are looking for a balanced type of bat with a large sweet spot so you can focus more on hitting those balls, chances are a composite bat is what you’re looking for. If you’re someone looking for durability and an end-loaded bat so you can hit those balls out of the park, then the aluminum bat is the bat for you