USA is a specific specification required by certain leagues. They claim that the USA standard makes a bat perform like wood with the theory being you get a similar performance without cutting down all the trees.
USA specifications say that a bat must have a barrel 2 5/8″ or smaller. There are actually USA bats approved with a barrel that is as small as 2″.
While USA standards are similar to BBCOR standards, you’ll find that USA bats don’t have a -3 group. USA bats are generally between -5 and -12.
If you’re unsure about whether or not your bat is approved, the easiest option is to look for a USA Baseball stamp near the handle. It should be just above the grip tape.
How we picked our favorites?
We’ve developed a community of players and coaches that we work with. Our primary method of evaluating these players is to try to get our hands on the bats that we’re reviewing.
When possible, we go out to the fields and test the bats ourselves. We also like to meet up with players so that we can get their input. We’ll offer some live batting practice to local players and coaches and learn from their insight. We really enjoy getting their perspective on a bat.
Aside from going to the field, we comb through the internet. We’re in regular discussion on forums and we constantly look at reviews from customers on different sites.
We want a well-rounded outlook to be sure that we’re not recommending a bat that has shown durability issues.
These are the best youth USA bats for 2022:
- 2022 DeMarini CF
- 2022 Louisville Slugger Solo
- 2022 Easton ADV 360
- 2022 Axe Elite One
- 2022 Rawlings Velo ACP
- 2022 Easton Maxum Ultra
- 2022 Marucci F5
2022 DeMarini CF
DeMarini keeps popping up in our reviews. They’re quickly becoming one of the best baseball bat companies in the world.
When taking performance, quality, durability, comfort, and price into account, DeMarini’s CF is the best USA baseball bat that you’ll find.
The CF is a two-piece composite bat that is only made as a -10 model. While we’d love to see a bit more flexibility (models that come in different weights), it’s difficult to really fault DeMarini given the premium performance.
Intelligently, DeMarini didn’t make many adjustments to the CF. It was arguably the best drop 10 bat last year, so why make significant alterations?
The CF is a balanced bat that blends barrel control with bat speed really well. Combining DeMarini’s Paraflex Plus Composite with its 3Fusion connection allows the bat to provide a large sweet spot and plenty of pop.
The composite material helps to make the CF one of the best little league bats on the market.
Players will find that the connection collar works flawlessly with the composite material to make the vibration disappear. That’s a key component.
While adults may understand the trade-off between performance and comfort, most younger players won’t fully get it.
In searching for serious flaws with the CF, we struggle to complain about anything. $350 is a bit pricey, but it’s competitive with the other elite bats on the market.
As mentioned previously, we’d like to see a bit more variety. A -10 model isn’t the best idea for all players. However, if you’re in the market for a -10 bat, this is the best USA bat that you can buy.
2022 Louisville Slugger Solo
The Louisville Slugger Solo is the best one-piece alloy USA bat on the market in 2022.
Being a one-piece alloy model also comes with the perk of offering a huge discount compared to the composite models.
Much like the CF, this bat only comes in one weight class. You can only find it in a drop 11 model. I guess there’s something to be said for focusing on one model because this is the best drop 11 USA bat on the market.
The Solo is the lightest swinging USA bat on the market. Science shows that it is incredibly balanced and has a low MOI. This also makes it the best USA bat for small hitters.
One of the key features to help with that swing weight is a new SBC (Speed Ballistic Composite) end cap. The other factor is the SL Hyper alloy that is considered extremely light and very thin.
The Solo features LS Pro Comfort grip tape that provides additional cushion in a hitter’s hands.
Their website claims that the tape also reduces vibrations on bad hits, but we’re not fully sold on that theory. The Solo has more vibration than something like the Voodoo One.
The biggest complaint that we’ve heard from players is that the Solo has a relatively small sweet spot. That means that hitters aren’t getting the same pop on a consistent basis. It also means that they’re struggling with vibration on mishits.
Let’s be honest, younger players aren’t going to square the ball up every time. That means that the bat’s biggest downfall is something that is going to happen on a consistent basis.
Given how well the Louisville Slugger Solo performs, it’s one of the best value USA bats that you can find. The top of the market sits at $350 while this one-piece weapon is only $200.
The cost savings there is significant; especially when you consider younger USA bats are typically for younger players who won’t gain as much from a premium bat as someone who is playing in high school or college.
2022 Easton ADV 360
The Easton ADV 360 is one of the best youth baseball bats on the market. It is a two-piece composite bat that can be found in a -5, -8, -10, or -11 weight class. The ADV features a 2 5/8″ barrel.
The bat was designed to increase exit velocity. It was created with lightweight composite material and an ultra-lite carbon fiber.
In watching batting practice and talking to players, we could see that the ADV consistently performs. We watched as young players added distance when they picked up this bat.
Exit velocity testing showed more of the same – this is the USA bat with the most pop, by a large margin at that.
The ADV 360 was also built for comfort. Easton features a Flow-Tack grip that provides a bit more tack so a young hitter can swing knowing that they won’t lose the bat.
The carbon handle pairs well with the iSo 2-piece CXN system to reduce vibration. The connection system’s Nitrocell foam is a key in that aspect.
Players tell us there is almost no negative feedback at all. Easton also features a “Soft Knob” which really reduces the friction on a player’s lower hander.
Overall, the ADV 360 is rated as our top-performing bat in the USA field for 2022. Where it really falls down our list is in its durability.
There have been a number of review and discussion forum posts talking about how the bat has broken on players. This ranges from just cracking to “breaking in half”.
We did see one bat that showed more wear and tear than we’d like, but it didn’t show any decrease in performance.
The ADV 360 is $350 which sits at the top of the market (tied with four other bats). Given its price point and the number of durability concerns we’ve seen, we had to knock it down a few points.
If you’re someone willing to take a risk on a bat breaking in the name of high-end performance, this is a great option for you. If you’d rather know that a bat will last a full season, you need to look elsewhere.
2022 Axe Elite One
The Axe Elite One is a fantastic bat. If you’ve followed our reviews over the years, you know that we’re a big fan of the axe handle.
The Elite One is a one-piece alloy model that features a 2 5/8″ barrel. There seems to be a trend with companies only making bats in one weight class. For the Elite One, it’s -10.
The axe handle provides two unique points for the Elite One (and all of the Axe bats). The handle itself is designed to improve bat control, bat speed, and comfort (which reduces injuries).
Because the bat is set to be held in a specific way, Axe is able to focus the best material in one area because the bat isn’t being rotated. That means that the Axe has a designated sweet spot on one side of the bat.
The handle itself is designed with an Endogrid technology to help decrease vibration on bat hits.
The Elite One is a balanced bat that offers a surprising amount of flex for a one-piece model. That means that the bat creates a bit of a trampoline effect which increases the pop players see.
The bat is reinforced with variable wall thickness which allows the bat to have the most support where the bat is making contact. The MX8 alloy is heat-treated to ensure durability.
Overall, this is an outstanding bat. However, you may want to try to get a few practice swings in before making a purchase. Young players are just learning the game and a significant change from what they’re used to can make things more difficult.
The axe handle is a love it or hate it type of model. There don’t seem to be many players who are “in the middle” or “on the fence” with this bat.
If you opt to purchase this bat, it will run about $200 which makes it reasonably priced. The bat lands a few spots behind the LS Solo so we can’t fault Axe for trying to offer a similar price point.
2022 Rawlings Velo ACP
The Rawlings Velo ACP is a one-piece hybrid model that features a 2 5/8″ barrel. You can find it in a -5 and -10 model.
Rawlings did everything they could to ensure that this bat provides premium durability without losing any performance. It’s the best hybrid USA bat on the market.
The Velo is built with Ai909 alloy which is one of the strongest types metal used in any USA bat.
Hybrid simply means that it combines alloy (the handle and barrel) with a composite end cap. The composite end cap is approximately two inches long, so it reaches further down the barrel than most end caps.
The Velo ACP also features Precision Laser pOp 2.0 technology which increases the flexibility of the bat. This technology uses a laser to create grooves that run through the sweet spot.
The increase in flexibility leads to an increase in the trampoline effect which is where most of the pop comes from.
Rawlings redesigned the barrel of the Velo ACP to make it longer. They also altered the tapper so that the handle is thinner in a hitter’s hands.
Adding the light weight to a thinner handle is where players are able to develop such high bat speeds.
The key issue that has come up is vibration. It’s not terrible, but the negative feedback on mishits is definitely there. It’s expected to happen with a one-piece model.
Because this bat is, essentially, all-alloy, there is no break-in period like you’ll find with the composite bats. You can take this out of the box with confidence that it’s ready for peak performance.
Overall, we’re a big fan of the Rawlings Velo ACP. It comes in at approximately $280 which mean it isn’t the best value USA bat on the market, but the pricing isn’t unreasonable.
2022 Easton Maxum Ultra
The Maxum Ultra is a one-piece all-composite model that features a 2 5/8″ barrel. You can find the Maxum Ultra in -10 and -12 models.
Each model is great, but we believe the Maxum Ultra may be the best drop 12 USA bat on the market.
One of the key features that have players raving about the Maxum Ultra is the XXL barrel. It’s the biggest barrel contour of any one-piece model in the game today. Simply put, the barrel is longer which makes it easier to make good contact.
To go along with an enormous barrel, the carbon construction provides a large sweet spot that provides plenty of pop.
On first contact, you’ll notice that the Maxum Ultra has a stiff feel like an original one-piece alloy model. It’s a great feature that improves exit velocity and hit distances.
As soon as you pick up the bat, you’ll notice that it features a Flow-Tack grip. That’s Easton’s high-end grip that is somewhat similar to Lizard Skins.
It provides additional cushioning to make the bat a bit more comfortable in a hitter’s hands. It also adds just a bit of tackiness to allow the hitter to be confident in his grip.
In general, customers offer overwhelmingly positive feedback on the Maxum Ultra, but there is one issue that keeps popping up. Despite its composite construction the Maxum allows a ton of vibration to enter a hitter’s hands.
We were surprised that it really isn’t any more effective at reducing vibration than a typical one-piece alloy. If a player can manage to get past that, this is an incredible bat.
The bat is priced at about $300 which puts it pretty squarely in the middle of this list. It’s still a bit high-end for our liking, but it’s tolerable.
The Maxum Ultra fits a niche – it’s cheaper than most of the true composite models but more expensive than all of the other one-piece models.
Overall, it’s an outstanding bat. We’re confident that you’ll be happy with its performance.
2022 Marucci F5
The Marucci F5 is another one-piece alloy model that features a 2 5/8″ barrel diameter. You’ll only find this as a -10 model.
Marucci put a lot of time and effort into upgrading this year’s model. The F5 features a multi-variable wall design. The upgrade for 2022 made the sweet spot larger.
Additionally, Marucci added a ring-free barrel construction that eliminated the dead spots on the bat. Overall, this creates a more powerful bat that will consistently put the ball in play.
The upgrades also improved swing weight and, thus, should improve bat speed as well. The new wall design made the walls thinner where possible so the bat is lighter.
The ring-free barrel increased the flex in the bat which will allow for better trampoline action. This, simply put, should increase the pop of the bat significantly.
With all of the changes, Marucci was able to maintain a balanced swing weight which means that this is a great option for anyone. You’ll find that this bat is able to increase bat speed and confidence for young players.
It may not have the barrel size that you’ll find on the Easton Maxum Ultra, but it does everything you need it to do at a fraction of the price.
The F5 also features a micro-perforated soft-touch grip that should help make the hitter more comfortable. The additional padding allows for comfort and decreases the risk of blisters when hitting BP.
While this bat isn’t going to compete for the top spot on our list, we’re happy with its performance. This is easily the best USA bat under $100. Because of that, we believe it’s the best value USA bat on the market.
As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. We absolutely love the CF and the Solo, but maybe you’ve had a different experience. Maybe you haven’t had any durability issues with the ADV 360. Let us know in the comments section.