What’s the Difference? Retail vs Custom Wood Bats

Published by Phoenix bats on Sep 18th 2019

When it comes time to find a new wood bat, whether it’s for you or your favorite All-Star, you don’t want to be left scratching your head trying to figure it all out. Did you realize how many different kinds of wood bats are out there? Do you even know where to begin to find the right one? You have to get the right wood, the right length and weight, the right color. Everything has to be right. Oh man, what if you pick the wrong one? Fear not! We’ve been there many times before, and we’re here to make things easier for you.

One of the biggest questions we get is how our wood bats are different from the bats you’ll find at your local sporting goods store. You might think that answering this would get tiresome after a while, but we actually love getting this question. It gives us the opportunity to tell you all about how our bats are worlds better than any bat you can buy from a brick-and-mortar store. Like we said, we’re here to help.

First, let’s talk about retail bats

Before we extol the virtues of Phoenix bats, we’ll go over what makes store-bought bats less than ideal. We’ve said before that it all starts with the wood, and we can’t emphasize that enough.

With retail bats—even those coming from big-name brands—you might have noticed that they’re often less expensive than custom bats. The same work goes into every bat, retail or custom. Each bat has to be cut, sanded and finished. So why are retail bats cheaper? It’s mostly because they’re made from cheap, subpar wood.

Cheap wood has all kinds of issues. A good wood bat will have straight, evenly distributed grain, no knotholes or pin knots, and a uniform color with no dark spots. A retail bat is far more likely to contain these flaws than a custom bat, which means they’re more likely to under-perform or break.

The other big difference is the precision of the measurements when it comes to lathing the billet—the block of wood that a bat is borne from. These mass-produced bats are simply not as accurately cut as custom bats. Inexact measurements, from the length and width of the handle and the barrel to the weight of the bat, will cause inconsistencies from bat to bat.

All this is to say that when you buy a retail bat, you’re buying inferior wood and craftsmanship.

The Phoenix Difference

Now it’s our turn! When we go to the mills to pick out wood, we’ve been told we’re the pickiest manufacturer around. We reject wood that other high-end bat makers will happily use—let alone the cheap retail stuff. Whether it’s rock maple, yellow birch or northern white ash, we only buy the best of the best of the best. We’re a pain to deal with, so our mills tell us.

We also have everyone beat with our industry-leading lathe. It’s actually the best one in existence, and it belongs to us and only us. It sands each billet to the exact specifications of the order, and it’s precise to within the width of a human hair. It’s kind of crazy, really.

We’re also meticulous when it comes to the finishing process. We have several different stains and colors, and each of them is not only beautiful, but they seal the pores of the wood and provide a hard, smooth surface with added strength.

No matter which way you slice it, we maintain that our bats are the best in the business. With the very best wood available and the most precise lathe imaginable, there’s not much up for debate (though we welcome you to try).

No matter the age or skill level, every ball player can benefit from a quality wood bat, and we’re always here to make sure you get exactly what you need—and we do mean exactly. Check out our bat selector tool to find your perfect fit, or chat with our bat experts to get personalized help. Step up to the plate and see the Phoenix Bats difference.

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