BBCOR vs USA Bat – What Are The Differences?

When choosing a bat, baseball players face a plethora of available options.

Each feature of the bat, including length, weight, and what are they made of, can influence the batter’s performance on the field.

So, picking the bat should be approached with careful consideration.

Otherwise, you’ll spend money on the bat that doesn’t suit your style of play.

More importantly, you may end up with a bat that is not even allowed at the level of baseball you’re involved in.

If you’re new to baseball, you may not know that you can’t just use any bat in any league.

The governing bodies of baseball prescribe standards that determine the legal equipment for every level of competition.

This may sound a bit confusing, and it often is.

To clear things up a bit, I’ll compare BBCOR vs USA Bat, the two most widely used standards, and explaining what each of them entails.

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What Does BBCOR Mean on a Bat?

Baseball player hitting a ball with a bbcor bat.

BBCOR stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution.

It’s a standard controlling the „trampoline effect” of the bat and its influence on the exit speed of the ball.

To put it in different terms, BBCOR’s value measures how much energy is lost when the bat hits the ball.

BBCOR’s value is expressed in BPF (Bat Performance Factor) which measures how much faster the ball is after being hit with the bat compared to it bouncing off a solid wall.

The BBCOR has been in use in collegiate and high schools baseball since 2011 when it replaced the former BESR standard.

The reason for introducing the new standard was to level the playing field by having the modern bats perform similar to the wooden bats.

At the moment, bats adhering to the BBCOR standard are mandatory in all competitions under the jurisdiction of the NFS (National Federation of State High School Associations) and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).

The maximum BBCOR value set by these bodies is 0.50 and every bat must have a “BBCOR Certified .50” mark on it.

BBCOR bats also must not exceed the length of 36 inches and a maximum barrel diameter of 2 ⅝ inches. In addition, the drop value can’t exceed -3.

What Does USA Mean on a Bat?

Kid with usa baseball bat.

USA Bat is a standard adopted by the national baseball governing body, USA Baseball, in 2018.

It’s a new method for measuring bat performance when testing bats for youth leagues.

The standard was introduced to allow younger players in these leagues to use modern lightweight bats that would still have a “wood-like” performance.

This should provide a more level playing field and secure the integrity of the game in the long term.

The implementation of the USA Bat standard requires that every bat used in youth leagues has a USA Bat certification sign.

To be considered compliant with the USA Bat standard, every non-wood bat must undergo lab testing.

This ensures that the bats used by young players have better weight balance, are easier to handle, and are more durable.

With the introduction of the USA Bat standard, the BPF is no longer in effect in youth baseball leagues.

Additionally, under this standard, 2⅝ inches big barrel bats are allowed for all ages while the drop weight limit does not apply.

BBCOR Bats vs USA Bats – What are the Differences?

Both certifications serve to help bats imitate the wooden bat flex, so they are very much alike.

Also, both standards were introduced to create a safer playing environment and reduce the ball velocity.

However, with a closer look at BBCOR vs USA Bat standards, there are some differences.

The main difference is that, in most cases, a BBCOR bat will hit the ball farther and with greater speed.

This is because compared to USA-certified bats, a BBCOR bat has a higher swing weight.

The higher swing weight comes as a consequence of the greater mass of BBCOR bats as they’re required to have a drop weight of -3 while USA bats are commonly not that heavy.

The two standards also feature different ways of testing the bats.

BBCOR measures the flexibility of the barrel and how it influences the compression of the ball. In short, it measures the “trampoline effect“.

As both the ball and the bat compress at the point of impact, the BBCOR requires the bat compression to be equal to that of a ball.

The USA Bat test is somewhat similar, but, instead of compression, it measures the exit speed of the ball.

Who Should Use a BBCOR Bat?

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As they are built with a maximum -3 drop weight, BBCOR bats are a bit heavier and intended for somewhat older players.

Right now, the use is mainly mandatory in collegiate and high-school leagues.

Junior League players between the ages of 12 and 14 have to comply with BBCOR standard if they use composite bats.

In Senior Leagues, ages 13-16, the BBCOR bats are allowed.

The Big Leagues use BBCOR bats in the 15-18 age group, with the maximum allowed bat length of 36 inches.

Who Should Use a USA Bat?

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The USA Bat standard mostly affects kids under 14 years of age.

Little League baseball players have to use USA-certified bats if playing in Tee Ball, Minor Division, or Major Division.

Players in Intermediate (50/70) Baseball and Junior League Baseball Divisions can use USA or BBCOR bats.

Besides the Little League, several other organizations require USA Bat certifications. These include:

  • American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC)
  • Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball
  • Dixie Youth Baseball
  • PONY Baseball


Both of these standards were introduced for the same reason. To improve safety and provide equal opportunity for all the players on the field.

BBCOR and USA Bat came as the governing bodies recognized that alloy and composite bats are more suitable for young players.

Still, these standards ensure that these modern bats will perform as close as possible to the traditional wooden bats.

When buying a new bat, make sure the check the certificate requirements of your competition.

The organizations are rather strict in implementing these standards and you likely won’t be able to play if you show up to the game with an uncertified bat.

Paul Hall
Paul Hall

Hello, I’m Paul, a 45 year old passionate baseball fan and the owner of this website. I hope my article could help to answer your questions.

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