Aluminum and composite are the 2 most used materials to make fastpitch softball bat. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages which have strong effect on performance of players. Therefore, a comparison between these 2 types would be a useful reference for people who are looking for a good bat.
Most of softball players use wooden bats before aluminum bats were introduced in 1970s. Later then, in 1990s, manufacturers started to use aluminum alloy for bat and tried to enhance aluminum bat’s performance using new techniques. As a result, aluminum bats with better performance and lighter weight started to outperform traditional wooden bats.
Surprisingly, composite bat came into the market only 1 decade after aluminum bat. However, its performance didn’t reach expectation and was too weak to replace aluminum bats at that time. Only until 2000s when new technologies were applied to help increase composite bats ‘performance and durability, it got attention and became more and more popular. Nowadays, composite fastpitch softball bats are the most used around the world.
Aluminum bat is obviously more durable than wooden one. However, because its main material is aluminum, dents start to occur in the bat after long-time using. On the other hand, composite bat has better durability. Besides, new advanced technologies allow manufacturer to enhance its durability with new generation of composite or adding more materials.
Price is an advantage of aluminum bat compared to composite type. Due to the huge amount of money poured into research, developing and manufacturing better composite, this type of bats has quite high price: from 200$ to 400$ averagely. Although some high-end aluminum bats can reach 400$ in price, it’s not difficult to find a 100$ one.
Of course, performance is the most important factor to decide which type of bat is better. The differences in performance of these 2 types are result of different material used. Aluminum is known to be stronger material compared to composite. Therefore, it lacks of flexibility and produces higher level of vibration. In addition, researches have proved that swing speed doesn’t depend on weight of the bat, but on weight distribution along the bat. Players have found it easier to control the swing weightof composite bats because composite material is much lighter than aluminum. As a result, ball batted by composite bats could reach farther distance. There are some highly detailed measurements which show that composite fastpitch softball bats have outperformed aluminum types in many other aspects. However, composite bats’ performance considerably decreases under low temperature (under 550F – 12.70C). This is the most significant weakness of composite bat.
Both types of fastpitching softball bats have own strength and drawbacks but overall, composite bats are more preferred not only by players but also experts. Hence, composite bats are the most used ones in the world of softball sport. Recently, in order to combine benefits of two above mentioned types of bat, hybrid bats which have composite handle and aluminum alloy barrel are introduced to the market.