In the world of baseball, the “war” between players who prefer wooden bats and those who prefer aluminum bats rages on. The good news is, both aluminum and wooden bats offer many advantages that all types of players love, but if you’re curious about who wins the aluminum Vs. wood bats war, keep in mind that even though aluminum bats are lighter and let you swing faster, it is still essentially the preferences of the player that determines which bat they should get in the end.
Aluminum Vs Wooden Bat: What’s the Difference?
Unless you’re a pro player and you’re basically being told what type of bat you are to use, choosing either an aluminum or a wooden bat starts with knowing the pros and cons of each of them.
In reality, both aluminum and wooden bats are well-made, high-quality bats, and they each serve an important purpose. But when it comes to how they’re made, their speed, and some safety issues, there are some important differences.
First, let’s consider why aluminum bats came on the scene in the first place. They were a response to wooden bats that kept on breaking, and of course, aluminum bats solved this problem.
The main difference in how the bats are made is that aluminum bats are hollow, while wooden bats are solid. As a result, aluminum bats proved to have both more power and a wider sweet spot, which of course players love.
Because of these things, aluminum bats tend to result in a much better overall performance. This is perhaps the biggest reason why so many players love aluminum bats.
Having said this, many players – including some professional players – never got used to aluminum bats and therefore refuse to use them while playing. It is because of reasons such as this that both aluminum and wooden bats are still used in both amateur and professional baseball games today.
Although aluminum bats are illegal in Major League Baseball games, they are still used in many high schools and colleges. Aluminum bats have been around since the early 1970s and for people who use them exclusively, there is simply no other type of bat to consider.
Proponents claim that aluminum bats are faster and more powerful than bats made out of wood, and several studies have confirmed that finding.
Overall, there haven’t been a lot of scientific studies to prove or disprove this assumption, but in 1977, a paper came out that concluded that the batted ball speed associated with an aluminum bat was roughly 3.85 MPH faster than a wooden bat.
On the other hand, a study in 1989 claimed the opposite – that using wood bats resulted in faster-batted ball speeds. A third study in the early 1990s came up with the same conclusion, negating the study from 1977 that claimed aluminum bats could hit a baseball much faster.
Having said all this, if you ask most coaches, players, and league officials this question, most of them will insist that aluminum bats are better than wood bats. There is still a lot of controversy over the subject today.
The Ability to Swing Faster
Aluminum bats are hollow and not solid like wood bats, which affects the center of mass, or CM. CM is essentially the balance point, and the closer the CM is to the handle of the bat, the easier it is to swing that bat. This is partly due to the fact that the closer the CM is to the handle of the bat, the lower the moment of inertia (MOI) is, which results in the ability to swing the bat much faster.
When compared to a wooden bat, an aluminum bat that weighs the same as a wood bat will still have an MOI that is much lower, meaning an aluminum bat is going to result in a faster way to swing the bat and therefore, a faster-batted ball speed.
Aluminum bats also tend to have a “trampoline” effect, which essentially says that it is easy for the ball to simply “bounce” off of an aluminum bat at high speeds and with a lot of force. If you look at the physics of the trampoline effect, it can be a little on the complicated side, but this definition sums it up and gives you an idea of what it involves.
You can also look at it like this: In a solid bat, that is, a wood bat, up to 75% of the ball’s initial energy can be lost when it hits the bat because it compresses to nearly half of its diameter. On the other hand, when a hollow bat, that is, an aluminum bat hits the ball, the ball compresses much less, almost like a spring. Because of this, the ball will seemingly bounce off of the bat and result in much higher speeds.
A Few Other Advantages
There are also two other reasons why aluminum bats are better at hitting the ball and making it go fast than wood bats. First of all, there is a wider sweet spot on an aluminum bat than there is on a wood bat. This results in a much better chance of hitting the ball correctly so that it can experience a fast speed. Second, aluminum bats never break.
Even when it comes to maple bats, which rarely break nowadays thanks to the way they are made, they will still occasionally break when you hit the ball. Aluminum bats, on the other hand, never break, and in fact, they rarely even dent or crack. This not only makes them more reliable but also means that your follow-through will be more successful, allowing for a faster ball in the end.
Since a player using an aluminum bat usually hits a ball 8 MPH faster than one using a wood ball, this translates to the ball traveling both faster and farther, and in baseball, this is what you want to happen.
Types of Aluminum Bats
Most aluminum bats are an aluminum alloy, and there are two basic types of them: single-walled and double-walled barrels. They are usually made in one piece and are not always as balanced as composite bats that may use other types of metal.
They also tend to have an end-loaded swing weight that can make them feel unbalanced or even heavy, and they can be made out of a variety of alloys.
The density of the alloy and the length of the bat will affect the price of the bat more than anything else. That means that an expensive aluminum bat isn’t always the best, and an inexpensive aluminum bat isn’t always junk. You’ll need to check it out further to make sure it’s the right one for you.
If you’re a power-hitter, an aluminum bat is perfect for you.
Pros and Cons
As far as the advantages of aluminum bats go, here are a few of them:
- You do not have to “break them in.”
- They are extremely durable, even though they do occasionally dent.
- They are usually less expensive than wooden bats.
The cons include:
- They aren’t usually recommended when the temperature falls below a certain number.
- They don’t always provide the power that heavy wooden bats do.
If you’ve decided that a wood bat is for you, the good news is that there are many different types of wood used in the making of these bats. More often than not, wood bats are made out of maple, ash, birch, bamboo, and even composite wood.
Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the most commonly used type is maple, with roughly 70% of all Major League Baseball players using a maple bat.
One of the main benefits of using a wood bat is its sweet spot. With a wood bat, you can learn exactly where to hit the ball and get the best results to get really good at it.
Wooden bats also make it easy to hear and feel the difference between a bad hit and a good hit. With aluminum bats, the feel and sound are quite different, and it’s just plain harder to know for sure when your hits are improving.
Wood bats help you hone your batting skills. With wood bats, you can more easily learn and sharpen your skills because in essence, these bats will tell you how you’re progressing with the way they feel and sound.
Whether you’re playing with a bunch of friends at the park or you’re interested in going pro one day, a wooden bat is more apt to help you learn and improve the skills you need to accomplish your goals.
Benefits of Wood Bats
Wood bats provide a lot of advantages most people are unaware of. First of all, even though aluminum bats tend to be lighter and minimize the vibration to a player’s hands, wood bats immediately provide the batter with some feedback into how good the hit was. In turn, batters can develop their skills and improve in the areas that need improvement, all because of the bat they’re using.
Second, wood bats let players improve their strength. Why? When wood bats are manufactured, the company that makes them concentrates mostly on making sure the bats are weighted properly. When a bat is properly weighted, it is more balanced and as a result, it allows batters to hit the ball in the right way. This is different from aluminum bats, which are always much lighter than wood bats and which produce almost golf-like swings from the hitters. It is just easier to improve your strength when you’re using a wood bat.
Finally, when you use wood bats, you are always going to be a lot safer than you are with aluminum bats. This is because the velocity of the ball is increased greatly when you use an aluminum bat, and this increases the chance that infielders, pitchers, and even the fans will be hit and hurt by that ball. This is the main reason that aluminum bats are banned in Major League Baseball.
Some people think that wood bats are more dangerous than aluminum bats because they can break and shatter and therefore hurt someone nearby. But the truth is that the odds of a ball hit with an aluminum bat hurting someone on the field or in the stands are much greater than the odds of being hurt by a wood bat as it is being broken.
Wood Bats Never Lie
Learning discipline at the plate and strengthening your swing movements are both important skills to have, and wood bats let you know how you’re doing every time you practice.
If you’re swinging at an inside pitch and your swing is off, a wood bat will let you know this either with a broken-bat or with a stinging feeling to your hands. You don’t get those advantages with an aluminum bat and therefore, wood bats help you know what you’re doing wrong so you can correct your mistakes.
This is one of the reasons why many experts recommend that people who play baseball should get used to wooden bats first before they switch to aluminum if they ever do. Learning where the sweet spot is and where the right side of the bat is can help you learn quicker, but this is almost impossible to do with an aluminum bat. Wood bats help you become a better player faster – plain and simple.
Quite simply, there are few similarities between wood and aluminum bats, and while each has its own advantages and disadvantages, it’s good to know these things so that you can decide for yourself which bat to use. All of this is made much easier when you do your due diligence and learn more about all types of baseball bats.
Pros and Cons
Here are some of the advantages of using a wooden bat:
- They are heavy and dense.
- The grain makes them a very attractive option.
- It is super easy to transition from aluminum to wood bats.
Some of the cons include:
- They can break if you hit the ball with too much force.
- They can be on the pricy side.
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Both aluminum and wooden bats have their advantages and disadvantages and in fact, the only way to decide for certain which one is right for you is to review those pros and cons so that you can make the right decision in the end. It also depends on whether you’re playing professionally or just for fun, but the good news is that you can easily make the right decision if you research both of these bats first.
If you’re interested in learning about some of the best aluminum and wooden bats on the market, here are a few you can start with.
(Best Aluminum Bat) DeMarini 2019 Uprising USA Baseball Bat (-11)
This alloy aluminum adult-sized bat is available in sizes that range from 27 inches to 32 inches, and thanks to its balanced swing barrel design, you can enjoy the ultimate in both durability and performance.
DeMarini comes in an attractive red, gray, and black design that is eye-catching, and the one-piece design makes it perfect for younger players who need a bat that is perfectly balanced and easy to swing.
The bat has a 2.5-inch barrel size and is USA-certified for use by Little League teams. The “pop” is something most players love about this bat, and its price of around $85 makes it affordable for everyone. This is also a great bat for both newbies and more experienced players, and it will allow you to enjoy using it for many years to come. When you need high quality at a price that won’t break the bank, this is the baseball bat for you.
- High-quality alloy aluminum construction.
- Very affordable.
- Balanced and easy to swing.
(Beest Wood Bat) SZYT 25-Inch Lightweight Wood Baseball Bat
This 25-inch yellow wood baseball bat is perfect for both playing softball or using it as a home protection device. It weighs just a tad over one pound and can easily accommodate both beginners and more advanced players, which means you can use it at the batting cage or for your next competitive game. It is truly able to accommodate everyone regardless of their experience level, gender, or age, making this a very versatile baseball bat.
This is also a very attractive bat because of its natural look that isn’t cluttered with too many decals or painted in odd colors. It is two inches in diameter at the largest part of the bat, and its $20 price means it is affordable for everyone. If you’re looking for a versatile baseball bat that is comfortable to use, can be used by people with all experience levels, and doesn’t cost you a fortune, this is the baseball bat you need.
- Very versatile and easy to use.
- Affordable for everyone.
- Both attractive and functional.