Difference Between Softball And Baseball Bats

Not only do we Americans create our favorite sport that almost no one else plays, but we also had to make two different versions of that game. Yes, I’m talking about baseball and softball. Many of you may wonder what’s the difference between a baseball bat and a softball bat.

I mean they look so similar, don’t they? I’ll explain the differences between baseball bats and softball bats and why they are different. However, the best baseball gloves aren’t that different from softball.

Lenght33 inches34 inches34 inches
Weight-3 Rule28 lbs max30 lbs max
Key Differences

Difference between softball and baseball bats: Length

Here is a shocker for you readers. Baseball bats are shorter than softball bats! Surprisingly the difference between the two bats is about an inch. An average baseball bat length, from knob to base, at about 33 inches. At the same time, an average softball bat will be a full inch longer at 34 inches. 

Difference between Softball and Baseball Bats
Difference between Softball and Baseball Bats

Due to softball batters having less time to process a throw, a longer bat is necessary. In fact, the extra inch will provide additional plate protection since the softball pitcher is on the same level as the batter. Also, softball pitchers stand much closer to the batter. 

A shorter and weightier bat in baseball will help make solid contact in the strike zone. However, as a side note, the bats don’t differ at the youth level. 

On the other hand, little league baseball and softball have no difference between these bats. Both sports use 30-inch bats since kids their age will have the same strength regardless of gender. 

For an easier idea, here is the standard length difference between softball and baseball bats in 2022:

  • Little League: 29″ to 32″
  • Adult Slow-Pitch Softball: 33″ to 34″
  • Adult Fast-Pitch Softball: 32″ to 34″
  • Adult Baseball: 31″ to 34″

Difference between softball and baseball bats: Weight

Short means heavy, or is it the other way around!? Due to the shorter length of the baseball bats, the bats have a heavier weight than their counterpart softball bats. The weight range is evident throughout the fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball to the fast-pitch baseball leagues. 

The average bat weight in the adult slow-pitch softball league is around 28 ounces. In contrast, the older generation of adult slow-pitch softball bats needed to be heavier for better hits. Players had to achieve power through strength, speed, and ball contact. 

In the fast-pitch softball leagues, the bats are lighter to compensate for slower reflexes. The reflexes are generally slower at the recreational levels; thus, more lightweight bats help balance it out. The faster swings at higher levels mean better chances of contact since the pitchers are closer. 

At the fast pitch, baseball leagues’ rules dictate that the weight and length of the bat need to be -3. The -3 indicates the drop in weight. For a better understanding, let’s look at an example. 

For example, say that a baseball batter is getting a new bat for the 2022 MLB season. The new bat is 33 inches, so with the drop weight ratio in mind, the bat needs to weigh 29 ounces. Did you get it? The -3 means the bat’s weight needs to be three less than the length. 

For an easier idea, here is the weight difference between softball and baseball bats:

  • Little League: 14oz to 27oz
  • Adult Slow-Pitch Softball: 26oz to 30oz
  • Adult Fast-Pitch Softball: 23oz to 28oz
  • Adult Baseball: Length(“) – 3 (MLB rules)

Difference between softball and baseball bats: Barrel

It is easy to see the barrel difference between the two sports bats. In particular, baseball bats of most leagues tend to be thicker than softball bats. 

By law, in 2022, a baseball bat is around 2.5-2.625 inches thick at the experienced(high school to adult) level, while the softball bats in the same league are at most 2.25 inches wide. The youth players for baseball also use 2.25 inches wide bats.

The thickness difference is due to how bats make contact with the ball. 

The ball size is smaller for baseball than for softball, so bats have to be different. It is much easier to contact a smaller ball with a thicker bat, as seen in baseball. On the other hand, with a larger ball, a longer, thinner bat can make do. 

Also, softball bats with much lighter weights make it easier to hit the ball out of the park.

Difference between softball and baseball bats: Handle

Why do baseball bats break so often when they hit those long shots? It’s the cause of the handles on baseball bats. While baseball and softball bats may look to have similar handles, in reality, they are different.

Baseball bats have longer and thicker handles compared to softball bats. The logic behind the difference in handle structure is due to the ball size and how the bat contacts the ball between the two sports. 

According to MLB rules, a baseball bat handle will be less than 18 inches long. For softball bats, the bat handle length for the slow-pitch is 16 inches, and the fast-pitch is 12 inches.

Additionally, in baseball’s case, gender plays a role. The hands of males are larger, and therefore, they require a more oversized handle to grip the bat properly.

On the other hand, softball bats are all about how quickly the bat moves from the shoulder and hits the ball. The bat needs to move as effortlessly as possible to do so. Each bat component is for this specific reason. 

Using wooden bats in either sport will help swing and hit the target. In fact, recently, we have found that wooden bats are the key to bringing out the full potential of players of various levels.  

Difference between softball and baseball: Stiffness

It’s true that there aren’t that much differnce between softball and baseball bats but there are some.

Softball bats tend to be less stiff compared to baseball bats. This is primarily because the ball used in softball is larger and softer, and the pitching style involves an underhand motion with a slower pitch speed. The reduced stiffness allows softball players to generate more flex and whip through the hitting zone, maximizing bat speed and power.

Baseball bats are generally stiffer compared to softball bats. This is due to the smaller and harder baseball, as well as the faster pitch speeds in baseball. The increased stiffness in baseball bats helps transfer energy efficiently from the swing to the ball, allowing players to achieve greater distance and velocity on hits.

The difference in stiffness between softball and baseball bats is a result of the distinct characteristics of each sport. Softball prioritizes bat speed and control, while baseball emphasizes power and distance. It’s important for players to choose a bat that suits the specific requirements of their chosen sport to optimize their performance at the plate.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Can You Use a Baseball Bat for Softball?

To put it in simple terms, yes. However, remember about the shorter length and heavier weight while playing softball.
But that is only for practice and recreation. No proper league will allow for baseball bats in softball matches.

What is the baseball bat hitting profiles?

Baseball bats have a total of four profiles. The profiles are 110, 271, I-13, and 243. Each of which has its own pros and cons.

What type of bats are legal in softball leagues?

According to sfsoftball.com, all composite bats are illegal, while u0022half and halfu0022 bats (composite handle, metal barrel) are acceptable.

Final Thoughts

Figuring out which type of bat matches you in 2022 can be a difficult choice. First, you need to answer your level and what kind of hitter you want to be. Depending on the answers, you can narrow down your choices. For more information on how to pick a bat that is the best fit for you, please check out our blog on “The Best Wood Baseball Bats.”

The choice is hard with all the difference between baseball and softball bats. Know how to get the bat that will help hit those grand slams. On the other hand, we are all about wooden bats if you want to know. Along with the best wooden bat, you should get a baseball glove that may be under 100.

Sometimes not knowing the differences lead to girls playing softball, not baseball, so don’t make the same mistake. 

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