“Can I use a softball bat for baseball?” This is one of the questions I am getting asked most often. I never really understood why you would want to do so, but nevertheless I hear this question all the time.

Apparently some explaining has to be done here, so I decided to write this short post to show you the differences between softball and baseball bats and answer the question once and for all.

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Types of softball bats

Let’s first take a look at the types of softball bats there are. I think it is not necessary to also take a look at the types of baseball bats there are, but in case you want to refresh your memory, make sure to read my ultime baseball bat guide again.

There are two different kinds of softball.

One is called fastpitch and the other one slowpitch. It should come as no surprise, that the main difference between these two variations lies in the speed of the pitch.

In fastpitch softball, the pitcher spins his arm multiple times to increase the velocity and speed of the pitch.

In slowpitch softball, exactly this is forbidden. The pitcher is not allowed to spin his arm to increase the speed of the pitch. This results in a far slower speed.

These two different kinds of pitches also present different challenges for the bats and the players. This is why there are two different kinds of softball bats available. There are also some other differences between fastpitch softball and slowpitch softball, but they do not really have any impact on the bats.

Fastpitch softball bats: These bats are light in order to make them easy to maneuver. They are moreover streamlined and there is no real barrel. High-end fastpitch bats are much more expensive than their slowpitch counterparts, as they use different and really advanced materials. This is done in order to improve the weight-performance ratio. The bats are supposed to be light, but at the same time have a lot of power.

Slowpitch softball bats: These bats have a significant barrel to increase to probability of a successful hit. In order to hit the ball far, these bats are quite heavy. The weight increases the power, which is needed to hit a slow ball far.

How are softball and baseball bats different?

There are a few differences between softball and baseball bats. Check the points below, to learn more about them.

Length and weight: Softball bats are longer than normal baseball bats. They range from 32” to 34”, while baseball bats are usually around 32”, although there are also some baseball bats measuring 34”.

The bigger factor is definitely the weight. Even slowpitch softball bats are considerably lighter than a usual baseball bat. On average there is a difference of two ounces in weight between slowpitch and baseball bats.

Fastpitch softball bats are even lighter, as I already highlighted above.  

Barrel Diameter: I already mentioned that fastpitch bats are streamlined and do not really have a barrel. So it should not come as a surprise that the barrel is massively smaller in diameter than the barrel of a baseball bat. Baseball bats come in at 2⅝”, while softball bats mostly have a barrel diameter of 2¼”.

The Trampoline Effect: You have probably already heard of this term. In the end it is a less sciency term for the stiffness of the barrel. The stiffer the barrel, the less of a trampoline effect you have and the less power the bat has. On the other hand side, a less stiff barrel has a bigger trampoline effect and more power.

The barrel of a high performance baseball bat is in general massively stiffer than the barrel of a softball bat.

Can I use a softball bat for baseball?

The question is when do you want to use the softball bat? If you want to use it during a regular match, you cannot do so, as these bats are not BBCOR certified. They have a different drop weight as well. So you are not allowed to use them in official matches.

If you want to use a softball bat for baseball in other situations, nobody will stop you. But to be honest it does not make sense at all. Why would you use equipment that is not manufactured for the sport you play?

It is better to invest into a good baseball bat than use a softball bat for baseball.

Get home safe,