Finding the right wood bat for baseball can be tough. There are so many intricate variations to each model. The market has maple, ash, and birch wood types along with a multitude of different turn models, each of which provides a different profile to suit a different style of hitter. All of which can lead to an overload of anxiety when shopping for a wood bat. But we have good news. It doesn’t have to be this difficult. Allow us to show you our picks for the best wood bats in 2021 and break down a few of the most important wood bat questions along the way.
Most Popular Wood Bat Turn Models
The first order of business you will need to settle before selecting a wood bat is which turn model you are looking for. The turn model of the bat will tell you the overall profile along with the expected swing weight. The following are the three most common turn models for wood baseball bats.
- 110 Turn: This turn model will be the easiest for players transitioning away from metal bats. They are as balanced as a wood bat can be because of their thicker handle and a longer barrel. Of the more experienced wood bat players, typically only contact hitters will prefer 110 turn models. 110 turn models will have a 2 ½” barrel diameter.
- 243 Turn: Wood bats with a 243 turn will have a thinner handle and a longer barrel profile. As a result, the 243 turn model showcases an end-loaded swing weight built for power hitters. This is not a style of bat recommended for inexperienced or smaller hitters as it can be difficult to swing and often results in late swings and pop-outs.
- 271 Turn: If you’re looking for a nice in-between of the 110s and the 243s, then you should definitely look at the 271 turn model. Similar to the 110, the 271 has a long barrel design but a thinner handle. As a result, the 271 turn model has a slightly end-loaded swing weight and is suitable for any style of hitter.
Best Maple Wood Bats for 2021
The most popular type of wood used to make a baseball bat is maple. Maple wood bats are very dense and thus extremely durable compared to other wood used to construct bats. They make for terrific practice or “cage” bats as they typically provide the longest lifespan.
As one of the only new wood bats released for 2021, the Axe 243 Pro carries the banner as the top maple wood bat in 2021. The innovative Axe handle delivers better bat control, increased bat speed, improved comfort at the plate, and even increased hand safety. Expect an end-loaded swing weight. This bat was specifically made to be swung by more experienced players looking to drive the ball deep into the outfield. Younger players and contact hitters steer clear.
Axe 243 Pro Hard Maple Features:
- 243 Turn Model
- Made from Hard Pro Maple Wood
- Pro Ink Dot Certification
- Proprietary Premium Finish
- Axe Knob
The best wood bat for a contact hitter is the Maple Master from Brett Bros. You don’t have to think long about the top hitters in the history of our sport before the name George Brett (career .305 hitter w/ 3,000+ hits) comes to mind. So when he and his brothers decided to start making bats, everyone listened. What makes the Maple Master so special is the incredible durability created by the BOA fiberglass reinforced handle. Because there’s nothing worse than breaking your brand-new wood bat. It also sports an uncupped barrel (uncommon) for the ultimate barrel integrity. This is a great bat for any young player to use during the 2021 baseball season.
Brett Bros. Maple Master Features:
- 110 Turn Model
- Conventional Knob
- Extended Solid Maple Barrel
- Thick 15/16” Handle Diameter
- JustBats Exclusive Wood Bat
The biggest barrel in wood bats comes straight from the Old Hickory Bat Company. Designed for Cardinals’ star first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt, the PG44 has an extremely long barrel design and massive sweet spot. The 2 9/16” barrel is as big as they come, so be sure to hit the weight room if you’re looking to swing this power wood bat against any sort of velocity. It may not be recommended for smaller players, but anyone that can comfortably swing it definitely should.
Old Hickory PG44 Features:
- 491B Turn Model - Long Barrel, Long Taper, Thin Handle
- Hard Rock Maple
- Flared Knob
- Pro Cupped End
- End Loaded Feel
Best Ash Wood Bats for 2021
By far the most flexible and forgiving wood bats, ash models allow players to “feel” the ball on contact. The major downfall of an ash wood bat is that the lightweight nature of the wood causes the models to break down over time. Notable names that have swung ash bats include Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Joe Dimaggio. While many of the present-day players have switched to either maple or birch bats, San Francisco Giants’ third baseman Evan Longoria still swings an ash model.
Built from MLB-grade ash wood, the Louisville Slugger Prime Quanta C271 lets you swing like a pro. The 271 turn model gives it a slightly end-loaded swing weight, which is perfect for any high school or college-aged baseball player. One of the major benefits it offers hitters in 2021 is the bone-rubbed finish. This compressed the ash grains to create a tighter, more durable barrel. The Prime Quanta is quite simply one of the best ash wood bats in 2021.
Louisville Slugger Prime Quanta Features:
- C271 Turn Model
- MLB Grade Ash Wood
- Standard Handle for Better Control
- Standard Knob
- 30-Day Warranty When Purchased from JustBats
If you’re a fan of the game, you’re a fan of Mike Trout. The Angels’ superstar centerfielder can seemingly do it all on the diamond. While Trout swings a maple version of this bat in the game, this particular ash version is still cut to the make specs but is less harsh on more inexperienced players because of the ash wood used in the construction. It offers a pro cupped end, a slightly flared knob, and a more balanced swing weight to give control back to the hitter.
Old Hickory Bat Co. Mike Trout Features:
- MT27 Turn Model - Large Barrel, Still Balanced
- Northern White Ash Wood
- 2 ½” Barrel Diameter
- Slightly Flared Knob
Best Birch Wood Bats for 2021
For players looking for the best blend of both ash and maple wood, try a birch wood baseball bat. Birch wood bats are harder than ash but softer than maple. They give a nice feel on contact while also delivering a loud crack! Recent notable pros that have swung birch bats include sluggers Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.
Victus has quickly become a name to know in the wood bat game. Their Pro Reserve MH17 birch bat is very durable and even comes with a 45-day manufacturer’s warranty to back it. The end-loaded swing weight is the direct result of a long, thick barrel and a thin handle. Don’t pick this up if you are a contact hitter. Power hitters on the other hand, this may just be your ticket to wood bat glory.
Victus Pro Reserve MH17 Features:
- Mitch Haniger’s Game Model Bat
- Bone Rubbed Finish
- Pro Cupped End
- Flared Kob
- Thin Handle, Large Barrel
Since USA Baseball began in 2018, there has been a rise in the popularity of youth wood baseball bats. It’s a tricky concept to do correctly. Unlike metal bats, there isn’t any technology you can add to make a wood bat lighter. If you want to make a wood bat lighter, you have to shave wood from the bats. As a result, most youth wood baseball bats are incredibly prone to breaking, or they are too heavy to be effectively swung by younger players.
With all of that said, the Viper Ultralight (VYUL) is the best youth wood bat for 2021. It comes with a 30-day manufacturer’s warranty to protect from any unfortunate breakage. The Ultralight also has a very hitter-friendly (approximate -10 to -7) drop weight to allow hitters to swing under full control of the bat. And it even has a large 2.40” barrel diameter to give each hitter a sizable sweet spot to make effective contact. If you are in the market for a youth wood bat that is approved for USA Baseball, then you have to check out the Viper Ultralight birch wood baseball bat in 2021.
Viper Ultralight (VYUL) Features:
- Approved for All USA Baseball Leagues
- 271 Turn Model
- Mahogany Handle / Black Barrel Finish
- Slightly Flared Knob
Best Wood Bat Tips
- Always hit with the label of a wood bat facing direction up or directly down to ensure the tightest grains of the bat make contact with the ball.
- Avoid knocking your cleats with your bat as this can cause microfractures to form, compromising the integrity of your bat’s structure.
- Use a steel pipe or old dried out dog bone to compress the wood grains of your bat and improve the durability.
- Apply pine tar, a lizard skin bat grip, or athletic tape to the handle of your bat to maximize the control of your swing.
- The “ink-dot” above your handle is not a cosmetic blemish, but rather a really good thing! This certifies that the wood grains are tight enough on your wood bat to be used at the Major League level.
We wish you the best of luck throughout your 2021 baseball season and hope this list of the top wood bats was helpful.
Still need help shopping for a wood bat? Our Bat Experts are available to help you. Feel free to contact us with all your wood bat questions via phone call at 866-321-2287, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or our live chat service. If you’re just looking for some guidance, you can always try our Bat Coach. It’s just another way that we’re with you from Click to Hit!