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).
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.
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.
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.
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 2017 Mizuno Covert Tee Ball Bat. 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 2017 Prime 917 Tee Ball Bat. 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 2017 Combat Maxum. 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 2017 Mizuno Covert 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 Cat 6 Tee Ball Bat 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
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.