In this article, we’re going to offer a review of the best wood bats on the market in 2021. You’ll find a variety of models that will offer ideal swing weight and composition to help your player perform at his best. Our favorite wood bats for 2021 are a mix of maple, ash, birch, and even bamboo.
1. Louisville Slugger MLB Prime Maple C271
Louisville Slugger’s Maple C271 is one of the most popular models that you’ll find. It takes the number one spot as the best wood bat on the market. It is obviously a 271 turn which means it is in the sweet spot of being able to offer durability and flexibility.
Louisville boasts that they use “MLB grade wood” which is the top 3% of the maple harvested. This speaks to the C271’s durability. Louisville has also bone rubbed the bat to make its pores tighter and make the bat denser.
The C271 is a great model for youth wood bat leagues and high school wood bat leagues alike.
2. Marucci AP5
The AP5 is named after Albert Pujols. While he has seen better days, his name sake is still a bat that we trust to offer premium quality. The AP5 is another 271 turn model. Marucci is known for using premium quality wood.
The AP5 is hand-carved and offers a large sweet spot. Its only downfall is that it has a fairly heavy swing weight. While it’s designed to be balanced, players tell us that it is a bit end-loaded. That makes this one of the best wood bats for power hitters on the market.
In researching all of the bats that we recommend, we analyze the market at the major league level. After all, major league players literally make their living based on how well they hit. In 2019 and 2020, Marucci was the most used bat among major league baseball players. If a major league player can trust Marucci, you can too.
3. Old Hickory MT27
Anyone who is a fan of baseball knows who Mike Trout is. He’s one of the best players in the game. In creating the MT27, Old Hickory pays homage with the best wood bats on the market. Despite falling just outside the usual specifications, the MT27 is a 243 model.
Old Hickory offers a surprising level of customization. They give you the ability to change the colors, logos, and wood material used. Because these are hand-crafted OH is able to offer a level of detail that most other companies don’t.
You’ll be happy with the quality of the bat as soon as you take it out of the package. If you’re going to customize your bat, you’ll run into one issue. That is shipping can take some time. It’s the unfortunate drawback to having your bad uniquely made and handcrafted according to exactly what you want.
4. Rawlings Velo 110RBV
The Rawlings Velo is a 110 profile that offers the perfect transition to wooden bats. It is one of the best wood bats for 13-year-olds as it is designed to make the transition a bit easier. It’s -3 weight and the shape of the bat are almost perfect mirrors of the aluminum bats that players are using in their high school games.
This bat is designed with contact hitters in mind. This bat will not improve your exit velocities or increase your homerun distance. Its balanced swing-weight and birch material are not designed for power. Birch is a softer wood that offers some flexibility.
5. Marucci CU26
The CU26 is a great bat offered by Marucci. It’s named after Chase Utley, so it’s been around for quite a while. It’s a trusted maple bat that players come back to time and time again. The CU26 comes in an adult and youth model.
We’ve talked to players who have used the same bat for multiple seasons without any issue. Some players have said that it is a bit more end loaded than they’d like. It offers a large sweet spot that will really send the ball flying.
6. BamBooBat Baseball Bat
This bat is lacking a fancy name, but still offers great quality. It’s the only bamboo model that we have on our list. As mentioned before, bamboo offers great durability without an unnecessary increase in weight.
It’s worth noting that BamBooBat has a number of models that are, essentially, the same. One thing that we’re impressed by is the fact that a 100% bamboo model and a bamboo/maple composite bat come in at the same price point. We also really like that the youth model is the same bat with a shorter length and lighter weight.
We prefer the bamboo model slightly, but you really can’t go wrong with either option. Players say this bat offers more pop than they expected.
Bamboo doesn’t get the same spin that other woods have managed. So, BBB seals their bat with a matte finish to increase the durability. The matte also has grit added that helps create a backspin on the ball. That backspin will help to increase how far the ball travels.
Bamboo is a much more affordable material than some of the alternatives. BamBooBat passes the savings along to you. You’ll find that this model is one of the best cheap wood bats on the market.
7. Axe Pro Hard Maple L118
Axe was a bit of a controversial company when they started out. Their unique handle is designed to look like an axe handle. With all of that, they’ve managed to break into the big leagues in a major way with guys like Kris Bryant using their product. The first major player to use an axe handle bat was Dustin Pedroia.
The L118 is a 271 turn bat made from maple. The short taper and deep cupping at the end gives it a balanced swing weight. The unique handle design helps a hitter generate more bat speed which, in turn, increases power.
While we love the L118, we have to point out its major flaw. Because of the axe-handle design, the bat only has one hitting surface. That is, you should always be hitting the bat with same “face” of the bat. Because you’re hitting the ball in the same spot every time, the bat is more likely to break down.
8. Axe MB50
Axe is known for their aluminum bats. Rather than diving into the wood arena on their own, the partnered with Victus who is the best wood bat company that no one is talking about. They offer great quality and are much more popular than you might realize. Axe is growing in popularity.
Their unique handle helps to improve bat control and swing speed. Players in the metal arena love it. Now you’re seeing players buy in at the major league level.
This bat is a maple bat built with a balanced swing weight. Betts himself has said that this model allows him to focus on barrel control and swing speed. While the swing weight provides great performance, you’ll find that the maple offers elite durability.
The materials are, obviously, significantly different. There are a variety of materials used in wood bats. The most common options are maple, ash, and birch. Maple is a dense wood which makes the for the most durable wood bats. It also offers the stiffest swing.
Ash bats are much softer and offer more flexibility. Players like the lightweight feel of an ash bat. That lighter swing weight comes at the cost of durability. Finally, birch bats are a good “in between”. Birch is a bit more light weight than maple but still offers more durability than ash.
It is worth noting that there are several other materials being used in wood. There are composite wooden bats. Bamboo is becoming more popular because it’s almost as hard as maple but still significantly lighter. The market is always changing. So you should never stop doing your research.
In wooden bats, you have to focus on the swing profile or the classification of the bat. This is typically referred to as the turn.
The 110 turn is the best option for players new to wood bats. A 110 turn is the most the best option when looking for balanced wood bats. The handle is a bit thicker and the barrel is longer than other options.
The 243 turn has a thinner handle and a longer barrel. This makes the 243 a great model for power hitters. The 243 profile is more end loaded making it the profile for wood bats with the most pop.
The 271 is the middle-ground when looking at bat profiles. The barrel is similar to the 110 turn but it has a shorter taper. That gives it a longer barrel which still offers an end-loaded swing weight.
In summary, someone who is new to the wood bat game should consider a 110 turn. Someone who is a true power hitter may want to look at the 243 turn. Someone who is in between or looking for something that isn’t fully at the end of either spectrum should consider the 271 turns.