Are Aluminum or Composite Slow Pitch Softball Bats Better

These days in slow pitch softball, pretty much all softball bats are made from either aluminum metal or composite materials.  Due to restrictions imposed by leagues, the performances of metal and composite bats are pretty equal.  Essentially, the technology improved to the point that players could get hurt because the batted ball speed was too hot for fielders to handle.

Nowadays, composite bats are probably the most common on the field.  However, the metal bats still have their place at the softball fields.  Deciding which type is best for you will come down to evaluating the pros and cons of each type of softball bat to determine which one best fits your needs.  Let’s look at them a little more closely.

Composite Bats
Let’s start with the composite bats since they are the more popular choice these days.  Composite softball bats are made with graphite and carbon which are constructed in layers and then held firmly together with strong resins.

Pros:
Composite bats tend to improve over time with usage.
Composite bats perform the same in cold weather as they do in warmer weather which great for players in cooler regions.

Cons:
Composite bats generally cost more than aluminum bats because of manufacturing cost.
Composite bats can crack when playing in very cold weather (although the performance of the composite bat tends to remain the same*).
Composite bats require a break-in period.

* Note: Players will note that in colder weather the composite bats tend to not perform as well as warm weather although this is more likely the fact that a softball does not travel as easily through colder dense air as it can in warmer less dense air.  It is the air itself that is impacting the flight of the ball, not necessarily the bat performance.


Metal Bats
Metal bats are usually made with aluminum or metal alloys. Typically metal bats are either single-wall or double-walled.  The double-walled bats are intended to perform better than the single-wall bats when the batter hits a ball hard enough to flex both walls of the bat for maximum reflex or pop off the bat. 

Metal bats are either continuous metal or are two-piece bats, wherein the barrel and handle are formed separately but connected.  The two-piece bats are intended to provide some minor additional whip in the batting motion as the bat connects with the ball and flexes at the joint instantaneously and then spring back to provide more pop.  In true play, there may not be a noticeable difference in the two-piece bats.

Metal bats can also come as a hybrid two-piece bat, where the barrel is metal and the handle is composite.  Again, the theory is for more pop or different reasons like vibration reduction.

Pros:
Metal bats require no break-in time and perform well right out of the wrapper.
Metal bats are often less expensive than the more popular composite bats.

Cons:
The performance of a metal bat tends to drop over time/usage.
Metal bats do not perform as well in cold weather when compared to use in warm weather.
Metal bats tend to dent and deform easily when used in cold weather.