Baseball vs. Softball bat: All the differences

Do you play either of these games and are wondering if you can use the same bats in both games? Though softball and baseball have some similarities, they don’t use the same bats.

Learning the difference between the types of bats that should be used in each game is critical. Despite this, few people fail to understand the science behind the types of bats used in each game.

Our discussion entails everything you should know regarding the difference between a baseball and softball bat. Read on to find out more!

Is it right to use a baseball bat to play softball?

At the youth level, there is no significant difference when it comes to the type of bat used in softball and baseball.

This is, however, different at the adult level since particular bats are designated for either baseball or softball. If you use a baseball bat to play softball, you may not enjoy the best performance.

Baseball bats are made to be shorter than those used in softball. They are also heavier and harder to hit.

The only way you can get the same performance when using a baseball bat to play softball is if you learn how to adjust to the difference.

Otherwise, you should only use a softball bat to play softball and a baseball bat to play baseball.

What is the difference between a baseball bat and a softball bat?

As we have mentioned before, certain factors make these two bats different and ideal for each game. The differences between the two bats include the following:

  • The length and weight of a bat

Just by looking at a baseball bat and a softball bat, you can tell that the difference in their dimensions. A baseball bat is made to be shorter than a softball bat.

Both fast pitch and slow pitch softball bats are longer than a baseball bat. A slow-pitch softball bat can measure between 33-34″ while a fast-pitch softball bat measures between 32 and 34″.

A baseball bat, on the other hand, is 31-34″ long. This means that you may not get the same effect while playing softball with a baseball bat.

Though the manufacturers of both softball and baseball bats try to offer a variety in lengths, there is the standard length meant for each bat.

The weight is also not the same. The weight of a bat plays a significant role in regards to the speed in which you can swing the bat.

A bat swing depends on the moment of inertia which is directly correlated to its speed, length, and weight of a bat.

Youth bats are known to be the lightest and are made from aluminum. They weigh less than wood bats made for adults to make it easy for young ones to use them.

In the past, manufacturers of slow pitch softball bats used to make them heavier than what we have today. One could weigh as much as 38 0z.

Fast-pitch softball bats are lighter compared to slow pitch bats for softball. Most of the baseball bats, on the other hand, weigh between 30 and 33 oz.

League players make use of bats that weigh 34 ounces to boost their performance. Professional players only use wood bats in baseball.

You should not choose a very heavy bat for the game. Ensure you confirm that the handle of the bat you wish to purchase is not too thin so that it does not break as you play.

  • Barrel diameter

The barrel diameter also distinguishes softball bats from baseball bats. Baseball bats often come with fatter barrels compared to softball bats.

NCCA College and high schools use baseball bats that have barrels of 2-5/8″. In the 90s, baseball bats came with a barrel diameter of 2-3/4″.

If you choose a wood softball bat, you will realize that the handle’s diameter is thicker since you have to hit a larger diameter ball. Adult softball bats come with a barrel diameter of 2-1/4″.

When playing baseball, you should choose a handle that comes with a small diameter, as well as a fast transition from its barrel to the handle for enhanced bat speed.

Though the difference in the barrel diameter of the two bats may be minimal, it is still a significant difference that you should understand.

Apart from the diameter, length, and weight of these bats, you should also take into account the elastic stiffness of the bat’s barrel.

This factor has a lot to do with the elastic properties of softballs and hardballs. The balls differ when it comes to their elastic properties and how they are constructed.

Unlike in the past, modern softballs are designed to be harder than baseballs. The COR of a baseball is 0.55.

This means that if you throw the ball on a hard surface, it should bounce back with more than at least half of the original speed. The COR value of a softball is, however, different as it ranges between 0.44 – 0.47.

In baseball, the speed of the ball is above 89mph at the professional level. In slow pitch softball, the speed can drop up to 25 mph. In fast-pitch softball, the speed is not very different from that of baseball.

The difference in speeds and the ball’s elastic properties determine how a ball interacts with the bat.

When a barrel hits a softball, the interaction can make a hollow barrel squish. This is what is known as the trampoline effect.

The elastic properties of a bat determine the effectiveness of the collision and the trampoline effect.

Since softballs and baseballs have differing elastic properties, it means that the elastic properties of softball bats and that of baseball bats should also not be the same.


From our discussion, you can see that baseball bats are different from softball bats in terms of their weight, length, barrel diameter, and trampoline effect.

You should, therefore, choose the right bat for softball or baseball for you to enjoy your game.


Don Mattingly

My name is Don Mattingly (not the famous one) - CEO Founder MattinglyBaseball. I dedicated my whole life into baseball, I have gathered a lot of experience through all my years. I hope my blog will be useful to some people.