Tee ball is almost every future Big Leaguer’s first foray into the game of baseball.
For parents, it’s likely the first time that they’ve entered their son or daughter into the world of organized baseball or softball, which means it is also the first time they’ve been expected to buy a baseball bat, in this case, a tee ball bat.
With all of the different products on the market, reading tee ball bat reviews and understanding what the best tee ball bat for your son or daughter is can be a challenge.
The purpose of this buying guide is to answer all of the questions that a parent with a child entering tee ball might have about
After this introductory buying guide, we’ll list some of the top tee ball bat models, including a review of each one. Not only will this familiarize you with some of the brands and product lines available, but it will also get your mind thinking about which tee ball bat is the right choice for your son or daughter. At the conclusion of the reviews, we’ll award a few of the bats that we feel are best in show for a variety of categories (best overall, best affordable tee ball bat, best tee ball bat for girls, best tee ball bat for 4 year-old, 5-year-old and so on).
Quick Look: Top 5 Picks
Best of the Best
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What is Tee Ball?
Tee ball is the lowest (in terms of age / skill level) form of baseball and softball there is. Unlike the traditional versions of these games, where the ball is pitched or tossed by a player or coach to be hit by the batter, tee ball players hit from a tee. A tee is an adjustable stand, typically made from plastic and rubber, that is meant to hold the ball in place at about level with the batter’s waist. Thus, it is much easier to hit the ball because it is stationary, rather than in motion. The purpose of organized tee ball is to teach the basics of baseball and softball to young children.
The game is designed to acclimate young players with the simple mechanics of the game, so that they can graduate to Youth-level leagues with the right skills and knowledge to play well. Because there’s no pitching, there are no strikeouts or walks, which means every batter makes contact. Not only does this help learn the foundation of hitting mechanics, but it also lets the opposing team field more balls and thereby learn more about catching and throwing as well. This also helps eliminate the competitive edge of the game, so more attention can be spent on learning instead of winning or losing.
What Age does Tee Ball Start?
Typically, the common age range for organized tee ball is between the ages of 4 and 6. However, your local league may have slightly different age rules than this, so it is best to check ahead of time. Some leagues start players even younger, at 3-years-of-age. Other organizations may only offer tee ball for one year and then supplement it with “coach toss” baseball or softball. Because of these loose age ranges, it may difficult, for example, to know what size tee ball bat for a 3-year-old, because many leagues don’t permit players this young.
Choosing the Right Tee Ball Bat for Your Son or Daughter
In this section, we’ll cover some of the common questions that come up when shopping for a tee ball bat. So, when it is time to buy, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make the right choice that your wallet and your child will both love.
Is It Better to Buy Tee Ball Bats Online or in a Store?
Both types of retailers have their advantages. Buying online means you can shop around for lower prices and find an overall better selection than if you visited a sporting goods store to find tee ball bats for sale. The downside, however, is that you can’t have your son or daughter hold the bat and see how it feels to swing. As we’ll discuss shortly, the size (length and weight) of the bat, even at the tee ball level, is important. This means it is often better to buy the bat in store, where you can make absolute certain that the bat is appropriate for your young player, than it is to shop online.
When is the Best Time to Buy Tee Ball Bats?
If you have the foresight in the fall or winter to know that your child is going to play tee ball in the coming spring, these are the best times to buy because baseball is out of season, which means bats and other equipment are marked down. It’s also the time when new models are usually being released, which makes the previous year’s model discounted. The one downside to buying at this time is that your selection may be slim, as some sports equipment retailers will shrink their spring and summer sports sections down to make room for winter gear.
What Type of Tee Ball Bat is Best? (Materials)
Baseball and softball bats are generally divided into two categories: wood and metal, but within each of those categories are subcategories, like the type of wood used or how a metal bat is constructed. Wooden bats in tee ball are pretty rare. So, we aren’t going to focus much attention to the different properties of each type of wood. That said, there are some wooden tee ball bats out there, if you really want your son or daughter to have that authentic wood feel and sound.
However, you should check with your league rules before purchasing. Some leagues may prohibit wooden tee ball bats.
Metal bats, on the other hand, are very common. There are three styles of metal bats: alloy, composite and hybrid. Alloy bats are one, solid piece of metal (typically aluminium, but sometimes a specially engineered blend of aluminum and other lightweight metals). The advantage of alloy bats is that the walls of their barrel (the end of the bat where you make contact) can be made thinner, which adds more pop to batted balls. Composite tee ball bats are made from a mixture of different types of materials. The most common one used is carbon fiber, but sometimes materials like fiberglass, graphite and even Kevlar are used. Composite bats make some of the lightest tee ball bats, which is ideal for some hitters, but they take some time to break in. Hybrid bats are a combination of composite and alloy. Typically, the barrel is alloy (to take advantage of the extra pop) and the handle is composite (to reduce weight and create a faster swing). These two-piece bats can be expensive.
How do Determine Tee Ball Bat Size? (Appropriate Length and Weight)
One of the most important steps in picking the right bat is making sure it is the right size for your son or daughter. Whether you are shopping from an online retail or at a sporting goods store, they should have a picture of a sizing chart for you to refer to. This uses your child’s height and weight as a way to determine the appropriate bat length. This means it is less about asking the age level of each bat (for example, ‘what size tee ball bat for a 5-year-old?’) and instead looking at the specific height and weight of an individual player. If you can’t find a tee ball bat size chart, there are some easy ways to eyeball the length:
For example, have you son or daughter stand next to the bat, with the barrel touching the floor.
If the knob of the bat reaches the middle of their palm, it’s a good length.
Another method is to have your child stretch their arms out to either side and measure the bat from the center of their chest to their palm.
Again, it should reach about the middle of the hand.
Some parents like to buy sporting equipment that their son or daughter can grow into, which helps save money because kids grow out of gear faster than it takes to get them ready for bed. This reduces the risk of having to buy all new equipment at the start of each season. However, the danger of this, when choosing the best tee ball for your child, is that a too-heavy bat is going to be difficult to swing. Not only could this cause the player to injure themselves more easily, but it will also damage their confidence.
Thus, if you want to ensure that your child signs up for tee ball or Youth ball the following season, you should buy a bat that is the perfect size and allows them to swing freely.
Plus, they may only play tee ball for 1-2 seasons, so there isn’t much advantage to hoping they grow into a bat.
Can I Use a Youth Baseball or Softball Bat for Tee Ball?
This is a common question, especially for parents that don’t want to shell out for a tee ball bat for only one season and would rather have their child grow into something they can use the following season. As just described, there is a risk involved with this that can physically injure the player and cause them to lose confidence in their hitting ability. That said, this question is more legitimate if your son or daughter is particularly strong for their young age and a tee ball bat is just way, way too light. The first potential issue with using a youth bat in organized tee ball is that it may not be permitted by the league’s rules. So, you’d have to make sure it is allowed. If youth bats are legal in your tee ball league, the second issue is the way each bat is designed. Tee ball bats are made to hit a stationary ball, while youth bats are designed to hit a ball with velocity behind it (even if that velocity is a slow, underhanded pitch by a coach). The type of ball also matters, as tee balls are usually softer than normal baseballs or softballs. When you use a bat outside of its designed purpose, there’s a higher potential for the bat to be cracked or dented (yes, metal bats can break). So, you may find yourself having to replace the bat by the time your son or daughter actually starts Youth-level play.
How Long Do Tee Ball Bats Last?
Because tee ball is only played for a short number of years, most of the time you don’t have to worry about the bat breaking. It should outlive the duration that your son or daughter spends playing. However, if you plan to do a lot of batting practice outside of their games, you may want to pick up an extra bat, as this added stress might be enough to hurt the durability of the bat.
Best Tee Ball Bats: Reviews
Now that we’ve discussed the different types of bats and where and when to buy them, the next part of this tee ball bat buying guide will be reviewing different models. This list is in no particular order and is designed to encompass bats of various price ranges and materials, so that every hitter’s personal preference (and budget) is covered. At the conclusion of these tee ball bat reviews, we’ll choose the best tee ball bats for various categories.
Easton MAKO BEAST Tee Ball Bat
Tee ball is all about learning and building confidence, especially at the plate. Without confidence, your son or daughter isn’t going to want to pursue the game into the higher levels. The appropriately named 2017 Easton MAKO BEAST is all about instilling confidence and unleashing the beast. Thanks to a -13.5 drop and one-piece alloy design, this bat is not only lightweight, but powerful.
This means that any future slugger can swing fast and make hard hits. For a little added comfort, the bat handle is cushioned. The MAKO BEAST is the most expensive bat on this list, which may unnerve a potential buyer on a small budget. While its light swing weight is nice for younger players, older and stronger players may find it a little too light.
- Fast swing means hard hit balls for more confidence
- Looks identical to the adult models of the MAKO Beast, which makes any young player feel like a Big Leaguer
- High price point
- May be too light for older and stronger batters
Louisville Slugger Prime 917 Tee Ball Bat
Similar to the MAKO BEAST, the Prime 917 looks exactly like the adult model, which helps make a young player feel like a pro.
The other good news is it is a fraction of the price of the adult model (which can run you as much as $400), for a pretty low price compared to other tee ball bats.
It is a one-piece aluminium bat, that uses Louisville Slugger’s specially engineered “Performance” alloy for better pop and, well, performance. The synthetic grip helps reduce bat sting upon contact and has a cool faded appearance. The bat is only available with a -12.5 drop. While a typical -12.5 drop bat may be a little too heavy for a younger player, the Performance alloy used is pretty lightweight, which means the bat feels more like a -13.
- Very lightweight, despite its drop measurement
- Looks like the one the pros use
- Low price
- Only available as a -12.5 drop
Combat 2019 MAXUM
With a drop of -14, the Combat Maxum is the lightest bat on the list, which makes it ideal for younger players.
Despite its light swing, this bat packs a wallop upon contact. It achieves this through its Single Wall Barrel Design, which allowed the Combat development team to fine-tune the compression of the bat’s barrel at the moment of contact. This creates more impressive, explosive hits.
Additionally, this tee ball bat has an expanded “sweet spot.” The sweet spot, in baseball and softball, is the optimal location on the bat to make contact. From a learning perspective, this enlarged power zone will help young players interpret where the best place on their bat to make contact is. The bat is not only affordable, but it has a 12-month warranty. It’s worth mentioning that the 2016 Combat Maxum has all of the same features, same price, but a different color pattern. Thus, this bat actually has two style options, which gives your son or daughter more options to choose from.
- Two style/color options
- Much larger sweet spot than competing bats
- Not suitable for older, stronger players
2016 Combat PG4 Tee Ball Bat
An alternative to the Combat Maxum is the 2016 Combat PG4. It has the same affordable price and even some of the same features, like the Single Wall Barrel Design (which optimizes the barrel’s compression for more confidence-creating hits).
Unfortunately, the bat lacks the larger sweet spot that the Maxum grants.
That said, the bat does have a heavier drop weight, which means it already packs a punch, even without this feature. If your future all-star outgrows their Maxum, then the Combat PG4 is a good, logical next-step that will give them a lot of the same power, look and performance that they are used to.
- Single Wall Barrel Design creates better hits
- May be too heavy for younger players
- Doesn’t have the larger sweet spot of the Combat Maxum
2017 Mizuno Covert Tee Ball Bat
When it comes to features, the two-piece, hybrid Mizuno Covert has them all. For performance, the CORTECH barrel has optimized thickness (similar to the Combat Maxum and PG4) and the Hot Metal Aluminium alloy. This alloy not only creates more pop, but has a great, confidence-boosting sound.
To reduce the unpleasant bat sting that can occur upon contact, the Mizuno Covert features 2-PC Link Construction, which resides at the connection point between handle and barrel, and helps damped these painful shockwaves.
Despite these many features it has an average, midrange price.
The bat’s -13 drop is a median weight for tee ball bats, which means it suits players of all age and is a good tee ball stick for multiple seasons.
- Tons of performance-enhancing features to boost confidence
- Almost zero bat sting
- Potential to last multiple seasons
2016 Mizuno Jennie Finch Tee Ball Softball Bat
This is an interesting tee ball bat. Not only is it one of the only softball-specific tee ball bats, but it’s also somewhere in between a tee ball bat and a youth fastpitch softball bat. Typically, this would be an issue because tee ball bats can crack more easily when facing live pitching with harder balls, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Multiple consumer reviews suggest that this bat is durable enough to bridge the gap between these two levels of play. The one issue is that the bat does not have the words “tee ball” anywhere on it, which may make it hard to prove its legitimacy as a tee ball bat. Aside from that, the bat is a one-piece alloy and has a -13 drop. The alloy used is Mizuno’s MZ 1300 Alloy, which helps reduce the swing weight, while creating better performance. The grip is cushioned for comfort.
- Great for softball
- Can be used after tee ball
- Terrific performance and swing thanks to the MZ 1300 Alloy
- Only the box says “tee ball”
- May be too light for an older girl, might just be better to buy a youth fastpitch bat
The Mizuno Jennie Finch Tee Ball Softball Bat is interesting because it can be used as a tee ball bat OR a youth fastpitch bat, but you may run into some problems with proving it is a legitimate tee ball bat.
Rawlings Storm Tee Ball Bat
If the Mizuno Jennie Finch bat didn’t quite do it for your young softball player, the Rawlings Storm may be a proper alternative.
With a cushiony, hot pink grip and magenta barrel, this bat screams girl power. And, thanks to its durable, one-piece alloy, it hits for power pretty well too.
The Storm is one of the cheapest bats on this list, so if you are a softball parent on a budget, that may be a nice relief on your budget. It also has a one-year warranty. There are some drawbacks, however, to this tee ball bat. While its -12 drop packs a punch, it may be a little heavy for some girls. And secondly, the bat comes in only one size (25 inches and 13 ounces), which means it is only going to be a good fit for a small number of players.
- Very affordable
- Bright pink color scheme
- Durable alloy and one-year warranty guarantees season-long success
- Only available as a -12 drop
- Only available in one size
2017 DeMarini Voodoo Tee Ball Bat
DeMarini is one of the premier bat manufacturers on the market.
While the Voodoo Tee Ball Bat lacks some of the performance-enhancing features and customizable appearance of its adult-sized counterpart, it is still an impressive bat that will be a nice introduction to your son or daughter into the world of hitting.
The bat does maintain a solid level of performance, even without many of the typical Voodoo features.
The X12 alloy used in the barrel creates a nice sound and good carry on the ball for longer hits that will put a smile on your slugger.
While DeMarini bats are usually on the high end of the price spectrum, the Voodoo Tee Ball Bat is actually very affordable compared to other tee ball bats.
Its only issue is in sizing; it is only available as a -12 drop and can only be found with a 25-inch or 26-inch length.
- DeMarini quality at a low, low price
- Balls carry farther
- Lack of sizing options may limit which players can use it
The Voodoo Tee Ball Bat has the same look and sound of an adult DeMarini bat, without the huge price tag. Although, it lacks a lot of sizing options.
2016 Marucci Cat 6 Tee Ball Bat
The Cat 6’s minimalist design appearance suggests a bat that doesn’t have a lot going for it, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
With an elongated barrel, this tee ball bat has a larger sweet spot for more consistently strong hits.
The knob of the bat is specially designed to eliminate vibrations cause upon contact.
Thus, your child can feel confident to swing away, instead of worrying about painful bat sting every time they get to the plate.
These features make the Cat 6 a powerful instrument in the hands of a hitter capable of swinging its -12 drop.
- Very little, if any, bat sting caused
- Extended barrel means larger sweet spot
- Appearance is a little boring, especially for a kids bat
- Only available at a – 12 drop
For the young slugger that doesn’t mind the look and weight of the Cat 6, it has a lot of power and confidence to give.
Louisville Slugger Wood T-Ball Bat
As mentioned in the above buying guide, wooden tee ball bats are rare. This is one of the only ones on the market.
It is also important to check ahead of time that your tee ball league allows wood bats to be used.
It is made from ash wood, which has a lot of properties that are ideal for hitting.
Ash has a more porous structure than other, harder types of wood. This helps negate unpleasant feedback felt in the bat’s handle.
The drawbacks to using this bat is its only available as a 26-inch length. The drop is unlisted, but wood bats are often on the heavy side, so it is likely that it is at least a -12.
- You can’t beat the way a wood bat feels and sounds
- Looks just like what the Major League Baseball stars use
- Ash wood helps defeat bat sting
- Drop and weight are unknown
- Only available with 26-inch length
- Not every tee ball league permits wood bats
This bat is an important inclusion to the list because it is the only wood bat. For young players, wood bats can help build confidence because it looks exactly what the game’s top athletes use.
Best Tee Ball Bats on the Market
Of these reviews, here are some of the standout winners.
Overall Best Bat for Tee Ball
We have to give this award to the Rawlings 2021 5150 USA Baseball Tball Bat Series . Not only does it have lots of performance-enhancing features, but its -13 drop means it is a comfortable weight for most tee ballers.
Most Affordable Tee Ball Bat
If we were talking strictly price, the Louisville Slugger Wooden Bat is the cheapest. However, this award goes to the Rawlings Ash Wood T-Ball Bat/Ball Combo. Compared to the majority of bats, it’s still very affordable and has a ton of features that make it much better than the wooden offering.
Best Tee Ball Bat for 4-Year-Old
Because of its low price and light drop, the best bat for the youngest of tee ball players is the Rawlings Raptor & Remix Youth USA Tball Bat Series. If money is no issue, the 2017 Easton MAKO BEAST makes a strong case as a runner up.
Best Tee Ball Bat for 5-Year-Old
Once again, the Easton FUZE Tee Ball Bat strikes gold. With its average drop and midrange price, it’s the perfect bat for the player in the middle of the tee ball age bracket. Plus, it performs great.
Best Tee Ball Bat for 6-Year-Old
A -12 drop tee ball bat size for a 6-year-old is ideal. While it may look a little dull, the extended sweet spot of the Franklin Sports Teeball Bats not only makes for better performance and confidence building, but it also helps a young player get a fuller understanding of where that sweet spot is, which will serve them better as they graduate to higher levels of play.
Best Girls Tee Ball Bats
Between the Rawlings Storm and the Mizuno Jennie Finch tee ball bats, the Mizuno just offers more options, in terms of sizing. It may also have a little more power behind its swings.
In many ways, your son or daughter’s success in organized tee ball will ultimately determine their interest in the sport for seasons to come. Thus, you want to be sure that they have all the tools and right equipment that they need to succeed in learning the game and building confidence in the field and at the plate. Now that you have finished this guide, you should have a deep understanding of tee ball bats, including what is the right size bat for tee ball, what materials are used, how to measure tee ball bat length and weight, where and when to buy and more. Thanks to the tee ball bat reviews, you also know some of the best products currently on the market. Hopefully, these options have helped you narrow down your decision and gotten you on the way towards buying your son or daughter’s very first baseball or softball bat.