Why Are Softball Bats So Expensive? (9 Reasons Why)
If you are anything like me, your head will start to spin when you are looking for softball bats. Why are they so expensive? Well, there is more than one thing that affects the price. To really understand why they can be so expensive, you need to look below the surface.
In short, softball bats are expensive because of materials, intended use such as slow or fastpitch softball, and the league it is meant, construction method including one or two-piece bats, manufacturing process, supply and demand, marketing and advertising, logistics, brand, and the profit margin.
I know; it’s a lot to digest. But hey, if you want to dig deeper, stick with me, and I’ll explain all about it!
- 9 Reasons Why Softball Bats are Expensive
- Do Softball Bats Really Make a Difference?
- How Much Does a Good Softball Bat Cost?
- My Favorite Softball Equipment
9 Reasons Why Softball Bats are Expensive
In essence, there are nine main reasons why softball bats are expensive. Some of the reasons have a huge effect on the price, whereas others have only friction. Be that as it may, every single reason listed affects the final price of the softball bat. Also, many of these things are true with baseball bats as well.
Keep in mind that bats that have different features such as intended use, material, and construction design can have a price difference of hundreds of dollars.
1. Materials used
There are three types of materials that softball bats are made of. Depending on which material the bat is made of, it will vary in performance, durability, feel, and price. Take a closer look at the materials individually.
- Wood – The first material that bats were made and the generally the cheapest nowadays, even though you can find great wooden bats with big price tags. Wood is the least popular material in softball bats as the sweet spot is much smaller, and the bat is heavier. However, many people use wooden bats in practice as it requires more skill to swing well, which makes you true to yourself.
- Aluminum – Aluminum bats, also called alloy bats, are the first alternative to wooden bats. These bats are often found in the hands of people that love power, as many aluminum bats have weight at the end of the barrel, making it possible to transfer more power on the ball. Aluminum bats are generally cheaper than composite bats; they can better withstand cold temperatures and won’t require a ”break-in period”.
- Composite – Composite bats are the newest model and typically made from layered carbon fiber materials and are considered equal with aluminum bats, depending on what you are looking for. Composite bats are lighter and more durable than aluminum or wooden bats, so many pro players use composite bats. However, they are often more expensive, can’t withstand cold weather, and require a ”breaking in period”.
- Hybrid – Finally, there are the hybrid bats. These bats are a mixture of aluminum (alloy) and composite. Generally, hybrid bats are less expensive than composite bats and more expensive than aluminum ones. The most common construction way of a hybrid bat is a composite handle and an aluminum barrel. This makes the handle lighter and the barrel to be constructed longer than in traditional aluminum bats.
Depending on which material you choose or are thinning about has a drastic effect on why softball and even baseball bats are expensive.
2. Intended use
There are two different usage categories that both include two different choices. These are the game speed and league. I’ll start with the game speed first.
First off, there are two kinds of softball; slowpitch and fastpitch. The difference between the two is that in slowpitch, the pitching speed is far lesser than in fastpitch. On average, a slowpitch toss is 10-25mph (15-40kph), and a fastpitch toss is 75-105mph (120-170kph)
That being said, it’s only natural that these two different softball types require different bats, which will drastically impact the price.
So, how are slowpitch and fastpitch bats different?
- Slowpitch softball – Slowpitch softball bats are made to hit the ball with slow speed. In addition, the bat is designed to make the ball go slower.
- Fastpitch softball – Fastpitch softball bats are made for excessive speed. Also, the bats are designed for fast speed and light weight.
Depending on which type of softball you play, the price will vary, and as you might suspect, fastpitch bats are more expensive.
Then, of course, there is the difference of league. These are the USAS (USA Softball), formerly called ASA (Amateur Softball Association), and USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) leagues.
In short, USSSA is pro-level, and USAS is an amateur-level, and a USSSA bat will be better than a USAS bat.
For example, with USSSA bats, you can hit the ball with more power as they are heavier, they have a bigger sweet spot, and the overall quality is much better. Therefore, a USSSA bat will be much more expensive than a USAS bat, even though there is more demand for USAS bats as there are many more players in those levels.
As you can imagine, a fastpitch USSSA bat will probably cost hundreds of dollars more than a slowpitch USAS bat.
3. Construction design
If you didn’t have much knowledge about softball bats before getting this far, the chances are that you are already overwhelmed. Still, there is more to tell, so keep up, and you will be a softball bat expert!
In general, there are two ways a softball bat can be constructed. I mean by this is whether the bat is made from one piece of material or that the handle and barrier are made separately. Take a closer look at what this means.
- One-piece softball bats – One-piece bats are very stiff and have virtually no flex when hitting the ball. This means that because there is no flexing or bending of any kind, no energy is lost, and the ball will strike with a higher power. Generally, one-piece bats are favored by strong athletes with fast swing speed. Hybrid bats aren’t either possible with one-piece softball bats but are with a two-piece.
- Two-piece softball bats – Two-piece bats are more flexible and less stiff than one-piece bats. Also, the construction creates an effect that makes it easier and faster to swing the bat. For this reason, two-piece bats are favored by athletes with lower strength as usual because they can swing the bat faster, resulting in more power. Sting dampening is also much better in two-piece bats, meaning that when you mishit a ball, the vibrations that can hurt are lesser.
When it comes to the price, two-piece softball bats are generally more expensive, but there are a lot of variations between the two depending on the other factors on the bat.
4. Manufacturing process
The manufacturing process is always a high cost on the bat. This is because manufacturing is one of the highest costs that a manufacturer has, which will increase the overall price as the manufacturers are businesses. Businesses always need to get the manufacturing costs back before adding in the profit margin.
Various things are included in the whole manufacturing process, but some of the biggest costs are
- Overseeing the process
- Equipment & appliances
- Running costs such as electricity
As you can see, there are a lot of things that cost a lot of money involved, so manufacturing fees are reflected in the price of the softball bat.
Below you can see a fascinating video about how aluminum baseball bats are made. The process is almost identical to softball bats.
5. Supply and demand
Supply and demand are always a big price determination, no matter what the product is. In history, it has been salt, pepper, and you name it. In today’s world, it can be nearly whatever as everything is acceptable for most people.
This includes softball bats. As a rule of thumb, the more people want it and the less there are of it, the more expensive it is. On the contrary, if there is a lot of something, but no one wants it, it’s will be practically free.
Now, this rule applies to certain softball bats as well. For example, if a new model comes on the market from a well-respected brand such as Easton, Rawlings, or Wilson, it will be in high demand. That’s why the sellers can ask for a higher price from it.
Always, when a new comes to the market, the older model will be decreased in price over time because there is now lesser demand for it.
Therefore, keep in mind that the newer the bat model and the more popular it is, the more expensive it will be.
The brand often makes a softball bat more expensive than it should be, sometimes by a long shot. This means that you need to be careful when looking for a new bat because some bats sell for much higher prices than their features will give you.
In most cases, though, the more expensive a bat is, the better it is. The reason why certain brands have more expensive bats than others and why every noticeable brand has higher prices than a brand no one is ever heard about is trust.
For example, when I’m in the market for a new bat, I always look exclusively at brands I trust and like. The reason is that I feel and know that the bat I’m getting will be what promised, not something entirely else. This is the case for most people that are purchasing anything from a brand.
Think about iPhone or Samsung, the leading mobile companies in the world. Yes, they sell excellent products, but a lot of their price comes from recognition and trust.
So, one reason why softball bats are expensive is the brand.
7. Marketing & Advertising
How did you get to know about the new expensive bat on the market? Well, it’s because of marketing and advertising.
The difference between marketing and advertising is that in marketing, the brand is using their websites, social media channels, email marketing, and you name it to get the information about the new bat without cost (other than labor, etc).
However, advertising is when the brand has paid to get the product for people to see. Advertising can be seen in the top results on google when you search something, billboards, newspapers, social media advertisements, and many more.
Both of these things cost money ion one way or the other, which is naturally reflected in the final price of the bat!
Logistics is a part of most businesses. In essence, this means transportation and storage.
Think about it, when a manufacturer has produced hundreds if not thousands of softball bats, they need to be stored many times between the manufacturer and destination and shipped all over the place.
As you can imagine, this is far from free, and it is shown in the product’s final price as the businesses must get at least and more than the invested time, money, and effort on the product.
If you are interested in how much does it cost to ship a softball bat, I suggest that you take a look at my article about it. The article can be very helpful if you need to ship your old bat for a new owner after a sale, for example.
9. Profit margin
Last but not least, there is the profit margin. Naturally, businesses need to take a profit margin to pay themselves, their employees and to grow.
The profit margins can vary significantly depending on the manufacturer, brand, and middle hands from the raw material to the customer.
Optimally, the profit margin would be as high as possible from the business’s point of view. However, as there is competition, they need to remain decent as a business can’t sell softball bats for $200 more than their competitors, or they would be out of business.
In conclusion, part of why softball bats are expensive is the profit margin.
Do Softball Bats Really Make a Difference?
Now, you might be thinking about whether all of this makes a difference to the quality and performance of the softball bat?
There are significant differences between softball bats. Whether the bat is meant for slow or fastpitch softball, for youngsters or professionals, or whether the bat is made from wood or aluminum will greatly affect how the bat will perform in terms of quality, durability, feel, and power.
So how can you decide on a bat for yourself? Well, there are many things to consider, but the most crucial ones are as follows.
- Do you play slowpitch or fastpitch softball?
- Do you play recreationally or seriously?
- What features do you want your bat to have?
These are the three core questions that you should think about, and you will find a great softball bat for yourself, in addition to your budget, brand, and other things that affect the decision.
How Much Does a Good Softball Bat Cost?
The question I hear a lot is how much does a good softball bat cost? This is tough to answer as ”good softball bat” is as relative as it gets. But still, there is a price range I would recommend.
In general, you can find a good softball bat above the $200 price range. This is because bats costing $50 or $100 won’t have the required performance and durability standards that a good bat needs. Of course, this depends on what you consider good, the type of softball, and the league you play in.
For example, the Mizuno F20-CRBN 1 Fastpitch Softball bat is a great example of an amazing bat the doesen’t break your bank. Some of its features are composite material that guarantees lightweight and a long lifespan. Also, its smart design provides the bat with a huge sweet spot, and the two-piece construction drastically lowers the vibrations from a missed shot.
So, don’t think that there are only expensive good softball bats as with a little research you can find great deals out there!
My Favorite Softball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here are my top softball equipment recommendations that I think will take your game to the next level.
- Bat: My favorite certified fastpitch softball bat is the Easton Ghost. This bat has a double-barrel construction which is incredible if you are looking for a great feel and are a fan of satisfying pop and sound. The handle is a great bonus as it’s great to hold on to and very thin. The technology used for this bat provides great durability and flexibility. This bat comes in various styles and sizes.
- Softball: The best softballs, in my opinion, are the Franklin Sports Official Softballs. These affordable yet official featured balls are perfect for practice if you want to train with a similar ball as in a real game. These balls have the official 12-inch circumference and weight. The yellow color makes it easy to spot, and the flat seams enable minimal air resistance so that they will fly consistently and far.
- Glove: Rawlings Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Glove should be introduced to every softball player. The 12.5″ size makes it a breeze to catch and secure softballs. The glove is very comfortable as it’s made from full-grain leather, and the pull-staps will perfect the fit. The design is breathtaking as well. Be prepared for a little break-in time tho.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.