You’ve probably come across the words “End Loaded” or “Balanced” when shopping for the right bat. Why would a person swing an end loaded vs balanced bat? What’s right for you? Let’s find out!
End Loaded vs Balanced Bats – TL;DR
Balanced bats have their weight evenly distributed throughout the bat’s length, and are the preferred bat of choice for contact/line drive hitters looking for control to poke the ball where they want it to go, with fewer mis-hits.
End loaded bats, on the other hand, have extra weight toward the end of the bat, and are the bat of choice for players who are looking to put weight behind their swing for more power on hits. End-loaded bats are common in slow pitch softball, where most hitters have big builds and more powerful swings.
In the end, we can’t advocate for the use of either balanced or end loaded bats, as they both bring different elements to a player’s swing. It’s all about what feels comfortable to you and what works best to get you consistent hits.
Moment of Inertia
Before we dive into the end loaded vs balanced bat debate, let’s cover Moment of Inertia (MOI), the standard for measuring a bat’s swing weight that determines how heavy a bat feels in your hands, and how easy or difficult it is to swing.
MOI is a figure used to calculate how much force a player needs to use to swing a bat.
The effort needed, and what distinguishes a light swinging bat from a heavy one, depends on the handle (the pivot point), and the bat’s weight distribution.
A balanced bat that has its balance point closer to the handle (low MOI) and is easier to swing, while end loaded bats have the balance point farther away (high MOI) and are harder to swing.
End Loaded vs Balanced Bats
Balanced bats have their weight distributed evenly throughout the length of the bat. This weight distribution makes for light swing speed, suitable for any player looking to generate quicker swing speeds.
In regards to MOI we looked at earlier, balanced bats have a lower moment of inertia or balance point closer to your hands.
Unlike end loaded bats, balanced bats aren’t top heavy, feel more true to weight, and give you more control over your swing.
For this reason, they are typically seen in the hands of high average hitters who’ll usually bat 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 in the batting order since they are perfectly balanced, and can be swung fast enough to generate the bat speed needed to get distance on hits.
However, while these characteristics help generate speed to hit harder and farther, mass/weight of the bat is essential. For instance, you can swing a wiffle ball bat really fast, but you probably won’t hit a regulation baseball too far.
End Loaded Bats
End loaded bats are top-heavy, with their center of mass located towards the end of the barrel, closer to the end cap.
Their construction makes them harder to swing, and for this reason, are preferred by stronger players (players that hit typically 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the batting order) who can generate enough momentum to turn the barrel, in spite of the additional weight.
More weight towards the barrel end of the barrel gives players more pop, power, and distance, but sacrifices consistent contact.
Most grip it and rip it power hitters that are unafraid to swing and miss, won’t care though, since they’re able to swing the bat fast enough.