The road to being a hitter is never easy. It might be the flashiest spot on the diamond, but anybody who thinks becoming a pro-level hitter is easy is in for a rude awakening. You need to burn endless hours standing inside a batting cage, hitting baseballs one after another.
Unless you build a strong foundation from an early age, you will have a hard time keeping up with the competition. If you have a batting tee at home, you will be able to train at your own pace even when you are not playing under a coach. As a coach myself, I think this is the best equipment a hitter can own.
But batting tees, like any other baseball gear, can cost quite a lot. For any decent batting tee, you need to be prepared to spend at least over fifty dollars. But what if I told you there were two options that you could get for less money? Yes, it turns out, Franklin of all brands has a couple of fantastic choices for under 50 dollars. For those that don’t know, Franklin is a very popular name in the sports industry with strong partnerships with organizations such as the MLB, NHL, NFL, etc. This is not some riff-raff brand that comes up with weird products.
To make it easier for you – I will give you a quick review of two budget-friendly Franklin batting tees, the Flexpro, and the Flex Top, both of which can make a great starter tee for aspiring hitters. By the end, you will have enough information on both of them to decide which one you would rather have in your arsenal.
1. Franklin MLB Flex Top Batting Tee
The Franklin MLB Flex Top comes at a slightly higher price than the Franklin FlexPro Batting Tee. However, similar to the Flex Pro, this one too is aimed mostly at beginners. You can, of course, use it for more skilled players, but you will find it quite lacking at the hands of a decent hitter. As a beginner’s choice, however, this batting tee is amazing. It comes at under 30 dollars which is surprising as you cannot find many batting tees in this range with similar quality. At this price tag, you typically only find children’s toys only. But this one is quite capable of teaching youth the basics of hitting.
The post is made using thick PVC that can handle the impact from missed bat swings without too many complaints. Sure, if you keep hitting it, it will break off eventually. But when used with care, it should last you a pretty long time. The thing that makes this unit special is the top design. It comes with a flexible top that bounces back as you hit the ball. And since the ball is perched high atop the topper, you will be able to see it clearly and hit it with perfection.
As for height adjustment, the range is pretty decent, allowing you to go from 22 inches to as high as 31 inches. The range is a lot better with this model compared to the FlexPro and allows you to work with taller and older players. But still, for teenagers and adults, the height might not be enough. Most of the quality of a batting tee depends on the base. And the best part of the Flex Top is honestly its base. It has a respectable weight to it to prevent any tee walk issues. You can, of course, add extra weights if you find it wobbling, but the chance of that happening is quite low.
It is also quite portable and disassembles easily for quick transport. Overall, the quality of the Flex Top trumps that of the FlexPro, albeit at a slightly higher price.
2. Franklin Flexpro Batting Tee
The Franklin Flexpro is one of the most affordable batting tees you can find on the market. You can often find it for under 15 dollars which is a steal considering the level of performance it offers. As an entry-level batting tee, it comes with everything I could hope for. This unit features a professional-grade Fibertech post that feels pretty sturdy and should hold its own against a couple of missed hits. It has a good amount of flex to it so that it can bend easily as the bat hits the ball.
The height adjustment option in this batting tee ranges from 20 to 28 inches which frankly is a bit of a letdown. However, if you are working it, youth players who are simply looking to get the basics down should serve just fine. Though you will not get full strike zone coverage, it is good enough for teaching basic stance.
The top of the batting tee, on the other hand, is quite amazing and attaches as an extension to the post. Once installed, you will get high visibility of the ball when placed on top. This means you will be able to hit the ball and expect the best bat-to-ball contact.
As for the base, it is a very basic one. It is not that heavy, but to securely anchor it, you get two ground stakes included with your purchase. As long as you use the stakes, you will not have to worry about any tee walk issues.
To be honest, this is not the choice if you are working with a skilled hitter who has a good grip on the basics. This batting tee is better suited for beginners working on improving their hand-to-eye coordination and learning some basic sewing techniques.
Since it comes at such an affordable price, it also makes a fantastic starter tee for kids under eight years old. It is durable and will not break off on you anytime soon. It is, however, quite easy to disassemble, meaning you will be able to take it with you just about anywhere.
Flex Top vs FlexPro Which One is Better?
Frankly speaking, neither of these options made the cut in my list of Top batting tees because there are better options out there. What makes these two tees viable is their price tag. Compared to most of the other tees out there, the price of both the Flex Top and the FlexPro is almost laughable. So, if budget is the only determinant factor here, I would recommend going with the cheaper of the MLB Flex Top Batting Tee or expanding your budget slightly and getting a better batting tee altogether.
Then again, I understand if you are still set on going with one of these two options. In that case, my in-depth analysis of the two batting tees should come in handy. Good luck!