Guide To Choosing Between a Composite and An Aluminum Bats

Baseball and softball bats are constructed in a number of different materials. They first started with wood and have now moved over to aluminum and composites. Although the major leagues use strictly wooden bats, a combination of composite and aluminum are used extensively in high school and college matches. So how exactly do you determine between the composite vs aluminum bats? Both these bats are in great demand and the process of choosing between the two will depend on what works best for a particular player or a match. This article discusses the composite vs aluminum bats in full detail.

History

While aluminum bats surpassed the wooden bats in popularity as early as the 1970s, the composite bats only came out much later, which is during the 1980s. In the beginning, the aluminum bats were constructed in the same design as wooden bats. However, after the manufacturers started using more advanced designs, they started to outperform the wooden bats in a very significant manner.

When the composite bats first came out, they were favored mainly because they didn’t give the “ping” sound that comes with aluminum and wooden bats. However, they were not as capable as the aluminum bats in terms of performance. Hence, they disappeared as rapidly as they came. However, in the early 2000s, manufacturers started making composite bats with a graphite fiber material that were then coated with epoxy resin. This brought them back in popularity. Currently, there is a tough competition between the composite vs aluminum bats both in terms of performance and durability.

Composite vs Aluminum Bats – Types

Aluminum Bats

Aluminum Bats

As the name suggests, aluminum bats are made out of aluminum. However, sometimes, they are also made out of alloys containing aluminum mixed with some other elements to increase the strength and durability.

The bats may differ from one another, depending on the type of alloy that is being used in the construction. They may be cheaper as compared to other bats used in baseball. However, in some cases, the quality of aluminum that is being used can increase the prices drastically as compared to the regular bats.

The alloys are created by mixing aluminum with several other elements and it is the quality of the alloy that determines the price of the bat. These are sold bats and till date, a two-piece alloy bat has never been manufactured.

Composite Bats

Composite Bats

Composite bats are made out of augmented carbon fiber polymer. These bats offer the performance of a wooden bat and the toughness of an aluminum bat. Due to the material that is used in the construction, these bats tend to be much lighter than regular bats. The main constituents are graphite and glass fiber, both of which allow the weight to be distributed more evenly in the bat.

Sometimes, the bats tend to be so lightweight that metal rods have to be constructed on the inside of the handles to make them heavier. This helps to make an impact while striking a ball. Players opting for a composite bat will have the option of choosing from a two-piece or a single bat.

Composite vs. Aluminum Bats – Cost

When it comes to the price tags carried by composite vs aluminum bats, the ones made out of aluminum tend to be way cheaper. The composite bats carry a greater price. However, the improved performance offered by these bats is unmatchable. Therefore, instead of going for the cost efficiency, it would be more advisable to consider the quality of the equipment and how long it is going to last.

Say you buy a bat at $20. This may seem cheap at first. However, if you have to buy 6 or 7 pieces a year owing to the poor quality of the bats, it may not be really profitable for you. Instead, it would do good to invest in a higher quality bat that can last for a period of about 4 to 5 years.

Composite vs. Aluminum Bats – Comparison to Wood

Aluminum bats offer the same stiffness as that of a wooden bat. However, when it comes to the weight, aluminum bats tend to be way heavier. Composite bats, on the other hand, are lighter than wood. They also offer a sturdier and a lighter height of swing.

What about the swing offered by composite vs aluminum bats? Well, they both offer a lighter swing when compared to wood. This is mainly possible due to their construct which is regulated for the “trampoline effect” that comes with a wooden bat.

Composite vs Aluminum Bats – Performance

The performance of a player is not entirely dependent on his playing skills. More than often, the equipment that is being used has a vital role to play while determining the overall performance. Hence, there has always been a great demand for high performing bats. Owing to these, the baseball and softball bats have gone through a great deal of evolution through the years. Presently, these bats are available in a number of different features and designs.

Composite vs Aluminum Bats Performance

The players choose their bats according to their respective play styles. For example, the aluminum bats are compact and also weigh much less than the composite bats. Due to these virtues, these bats offer a great deal of power and speed while making the swings. These bats help to create a trampoline effect, allowing the balls to travel at a much faster pace.

The composite bats normally have a very small weight. This allows the players to acquire greater distances while hitting the ball. Even if the players miss the hit, these bats do not give that typical sting which comes with aluminum and wood bats. In order to optimize the performance of a composite bat, it is essential to warm it up for some time before using it for the match.

The composite bats normally have a very small weight. This allows the players to acquire greater distances while hitting the ball. Even if the players miss the hit, these bats do not give that typical sting which comes with aluminum and wood bats. In order to optimize the performance of a composite bat, it is essential to warm it up for some time before using it for the match.

Composite vs Aluminum Bats – Durability

Although both the composite and aluminum bats have their own advantages, they have their own set of drawbacks too. Aluminum bats may be highly durable. However, with time, they start denting, thereby affecting the performance of the players. On the other hand, composite bats only perform well in temperatures above 65 degrees. Below this, they give a dismal performance. As for the warming up, aluminum bats do not require any. They can be used almost instantly. However, composite bats require a minimum of 150 to 200 hits before they used in the field matches.

In the midst of so many options, it is important to know how to choose between the right type of composite vs aluminum bats that can help in enhancing your play style. Given below are the key features of each type.

Aluminum Bats

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    Offers a great ball speed
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    Lightweight
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    Excellent trampoline effect
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    Larger sweet spot as compared to a wooden bat
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    Great for beginners

Composite Bats

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    More durable than wooden and aluminum bats
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    Do not produce the “ping” sound
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    More popular among the softball players
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    More expensive as compared to aluminum bats
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    Offers a good ball speed
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    Needs to broken in before playing
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    Enhanced trampoline effect

Conclusion

For high school matches, both the composite and the aluminum bats are used equally. It is always more advisable to opt for a certified bat. College players usually prefer aluminum bats. Little leagues, on the other hand, have more budgets. Hence, a high-quality composite bat would be advisable. With all this knowledge regarding the various aspects of composite vs aluminum bats, you will definitely be able to make a more decided choice.

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