Today, we’re going to look at some of the best swing trainers and swing aids in the game.
We want to make sure that you understand the difference between the two. A swing trainer is something that is specifically designed to help you with your swing mechanics. Generally, it forces you to swing in a certain way. A swing aid is something that will improve a part of your swing. This could be something that offers training or something that builds your muscles to improve your swing.
For the purposes of this article, we’ve blended the two types of equipment together. It’s getting harder and harder to find a true swing trainer today.
1. Louisville Slugger Instructo Swing
The best true swing trainer
The Instructo Swing is the best true swing trainer on the market in 2021. It’s a batting tee that has bars designed to teach you the proper swing path. For newer hitters, this may become a bit frustrating, but the tee forces you to swing properly. If your swing path doesn’t line up, you’ll hit the plastic rails rather than reaching the baseball.
The model is reversible so that you can use with hitters who are left-handed or right-handed. This type of tool has been a staple of our practice regiment for years. 25 years ago, the popular model was the Ken Griffey Jr. Instructo Swing 1000. The name attached to the product may change, but the swing trainer remains the same.
You may be able to find the same equipment from other companies, but we trust the Louisville Slugger brand and can speak to the durability of this model.
2. CamWood Training Bat
The best swing aid for bat speed
Our favorite swing aid designed to build bat speed is the CamWood Training Bat. It’s part of a larger program, but as a piece of training equipment, it’s perfect. Looking at the bat, you may think the bat looks pretty awkward. We can assure you, it has an intentional design.
The bat is designed to build up forearm strength and help hitters stay inside the ball. The weight is intentionally in the handle so that it won’t hurt your normal swing path.
CamWood’s philosophy with this bat is that the classic “donut” that players use actually forces them to make their swing longer, causing them to struggle on inside pitches. The design of this bat will build your forearms up and help you get the bat through the zone faster so that you can still reach those inside pitches.
This training bat is a great piece of training equipment that will help develop better bat speed and allow you to “turn and burn” on inside pitches.
3. Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker
The best bat aid technology
The coolest piece of equipment that we’re going to look at is the Diamond Kinetic SwingTracker. It’s a small piece of equipment that you can place on the handle of any bat. After downloading an app, you’ll be able to analyze your swing in a variety of ways.
The SwingTracker allows you to see a 3D model of your swing path on your mobile device. It can also analyze your swing path and tell you what part of the strike zone you will struggle with. That is to say, it can see that you have a “long” swing, then tell you that you’ll struggle with inside pitches.
We really like the app as a training tool. In addition to actually analyzing your swing, Diamond Kinetic has created games on the app that will make it more fun for young players to use.
You can set up a home run derby using the app. You can do some tee work, hitting the ball into a net and the app will tell you how far the ball would go. You can set it up so that it follows traditional homerun derby rules and it will measure whether the swing you just took is an out or a homerun. Diamond Kinetics also provides videos to enhance training.
We truly believe the SwingTracker is the best baseball training aid on the market in 2021. It’s only $99, but gives you the ability to analyze your swing like a pro. It is worth noting that there may be a subscription fee to use some of the features.
4. SKLZ Hit-A-Way
The best solo swing trainer/aid
SKLZ is becoming one of the premier names on the market. They’ve got a simple piece of equipment that allows a player to take batting practice all day long without needing anyone else to help them. It also eliminates the need for you to chase a ball that you just hit. You’ll also find that you can move the ball up and down the rope to adjust where the ball is moving. That is supposed to simulate inside, outside, higher, and lower pitches.
The joy of this piece of equipment is in its simplicity. It’s literally a ball that has a piece of elastic rope running through it. It has a cuff at each end with Velcro to hold it in place. You simply need to wrap the cuff around something (a tree, a street sign, etc.) and use the Velcro to secure it in place.
You can stay in one spot and train all day long. SKLZ does make another model that comes with its own stand. While that’s a great addition, we think it’s unnecessary. The stand model is about $140 while the Velcro/rope model is only about $20.
Overall, we really like the swing-a-way because its light weight, easy to bring with you, and very reasonably priced. We believe this is the most mobile hitting trainer on the market.
5. PowerChute Swing Trainer
The best resistance batting aid
The PowerChute Swing Trainer was created by Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. It’s a modern take on the old-school donut that many of us grew up using. As we mentioned earlier, there is more and more research showing that the donut isn’t the best option because it can mess with swing mechanics.
The theory here is that the PowerChute doesn’t change the weight of a bat in your hand. It’s long enough that it can spread resistance out across the entire barrel. This leads to you maintaining the same swing path.
While keeping your swing path, the PowerChute catches air which makes it significantly harder for you to swing. As a result, when you take the PowerChute off of the bat, your muscles will respond in the same way that they always have with a donut.
We love the PowerChute Swing Trainer as a practice tool and as a warm up tool. Because you know this isn’t going to mess with your swing mechanics, you can comfortably use it while on deck and trust that you’re not going to lose your typical balance.
The best lightweight swing trainer
We love the Swingrail because of how easy it is to use. It’s a simple cuff that goes around your bicep. There is also a clip that you attach to your bat. To train, you simply get into your batting stance and attach the clip on the bat to the cuff on your arm.
The cuff is elastic, but it’s strong enough that it will force you into a positive stance before you swing. Along with that, when you swing, the clip and band will help guide you through a proper swing path.
While it’s possible to still take bad swings with the Swingrail on, you’ll find it hard to do. The resistance from the elastic cuff will naturally pull your muscles into alignment. The Swingrail is a great practice tool that should be incorporated into a larger training program.
7. SKLZ Hurricane Category 4
The most realistic batting trainer
The Hurricane Category 4 is a fantastic swing training aid. It’s able to give you live feedback on your swings. The Hurricane Category 4 combines a tee with a hitting stick. It’s a piece of equipment that holds the ball out for you to hit. Much like with a hitting tee, when you make contact, you can immediately see what direction the ball would go if you were facing live pitching.
The Hurricane Category 4 also has built in resistance bands that can help improve your power game. If you add more resistance, you’ll have to have a stronger follow through to make the ball travel. The equipment rotates after you hit it, so you’re also able to measure how hard you hit the ball each time.
We love the Hurricane Category 4 as a piece of training equipment. It’s easy to use, gives you reps, and builds strength. We’re always a fan of training equipment that doesn’t force you to have a partner. When you’re able to practice on your own, there’s nothing holding you back.
8. QuickPlay Swing Target Stick
The hitting stick seems to be as old as time. It’s simply a metal pole with a ball that’s attached to the end. A coach holds the handle and holds the ball in front of the hitter. From there, the stick functions similarly to the Hurricane Category 4. You get live feedback on how the ball would travel. See in on Amazon
9. GoSports Batting Net
A net really isn’t a swing trainer or a swing aid, but it’s a vital part of your program. When you consider the practice equipment that you’re going to buy, consider a net so that you won’t be chasing balls down all day. Having to run through the field to grab every ball you hit off a tee really cuts into your time to focus on improving your swing. See it on Amazon
10. VPX Harness
This is another example of something that isn’t going to address your swing, but it will improve your hitting. The VPX Harness is a great swing aid because it’s easy to use. The harness attaches to your legs and allows you to increase resistance while going through a normal practice. You can use it during live BP, tee drills, or even while you’re pitching. This product is used by several major league teams. One beauty of the harness is that it works for all ages. See it on Amazon
11. Crown Rubber Tee
Finally, a swing training article wouldn’t be complete without the classic standard. If you’re content to use something without the bells and whistles, using a standard, rubber tee is always a great option. You can find a tee that has a basic set up or a model that can me moved around and rotated to put the ball in a different place.
We generally go with the generic model. As a practice tool, all you’re looking for is to have a tee that holds the ball. Rather than paying significantly more money, you can simply move the tee if you want to practice with an inside pitch or an outside pitch. See it on Amazon
Without any doubt we can tell you that every swing aid and swing trainer on this list will improve your game significantly if you use it on a regular basis. If you really want to see significant results, consider combining multiple practice tools that we mentioned.
Consider a training program where you use the CamWood Training Bat and the PowerChute Swing Trainer once or twice a week to build your bat speed and power. Then every two weeks, you can use Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker to actually measure how much your speed has improved.