USSSA vs USA Baseball Bats: 6 Key Differences

Over the years, many different organizations have come up in baseball for all divisions of players. Whether it’s the amateur leagues or the little leagues, you will likely find different organizations dictating the terms of play. And in addition to the terms, the bodies also determine the types of gears that are allowed to be used.

USA Baseball and USSSA Baseball are two such governing bodies that determine the type and specification of bats that you can use in youth and amateur baseball. And if you play in a team and like to partake in competitive games, it’s important to know the prerequisites of each organization.

I mean, if you thought you could use just about any baseball bat in any competitive games, you’re wrong. And even if you have a USA-approved baseball bat, in USSSA games, you can’t use it unless it’s also certified by the organization responsible for your specific games.

Now, if we are talking about USSSA vs USA Baseball Bats, there are some significant differences between USSSA-certified bats and USA-certified bats, but not many players take the time to figure it out. And since you’re here, I can already tell that you are not one of them. Well, you’ve already taken the first step.

Let me help you go the rest of the way by giving you a thorough comparison between USA and USSSA baseball bats to eliminate any confusion. So, let’s get started.

USSSA vs USA Baseball Bats (Quick Chart)

USSSA vs USA Baseball Bats

Here’s an overview to help you get a basic understanding of the differences between a USA and a USSSA bat.

Barrel Diameter2⅝ inches2¾ inches
Bat Performance StandardsWooden bat feel1.1.5 BPF
Age groupMostly 8-14 yearsAll age groups
Drop Weight-11 max-12 max
Governing BodyUSAUSSSA

Key Differences Between USA and USSSA Baseball Bats

I know this might seem out of the blue for those who don’t know much about these organizations, but I’ll get to that later. For now, I would like to start off with some of the key differences you will find between the bats that are approved by USSSA and USA Baseball.

USSSA Baseball Bats

If you want to know more about the organization, you can skip this section for now and come back to it once you have read the rest of the article. But since many players already have a decent idea about them, let me explore the differences.

USA Baseball Bat

· Governing Body:

Well, the first difference is the most obvious one – they are under two different governing bodies. USA baseball bats are approved for leagues that use USA standards, while USSSA baseball bats are required for leagues that follow the USSSA(United States Specialty Sports Association) standards.

· Barrel Diameter

USA bats have a maximum barrel diameter of 2⅝ inches. You can, of course, go with a smaller barrel, but going above the size is not allowed.

Barrel Diameter

On the other hand, USSSA bats limit you to a strict barrel size of 2¾ inches. As a result, typically, USSSA bats deliver greater power since they have a larger sweet spot.

· Bat Performance Standards

One of the main prerequisites of a USA-approved baseball bat is that the bat must feel like a wooden bat. However, USSSA bats are designed to perform better than wood bats giving you a BPF of 1.15. I’ll talk more about BPF later.

Just know that this is considered the staple of many high-end baseball bats.

· Age Groups

USA Baseball generally works with youth and amateur leagues, while USSSA Baseball deals with travel baseball and tournament games. So naturally, this would affect their standards for a baseball bat.

Typically, USA baseball bats are picked up by younger players between 8 to 14 years of age. On the other hand, USSSA baseball bats are approved for players of all age groups.

· Stamp


You can generally tell whether you have a USA-approved bat or a USSSA-approved bat by looking at the stamp at the barrel end of your baseball bat. The stamps should give you an idea of whether the bat you are using is suitable for the league you are playing in. And needless to say, the stamps look different.

· Drop Weight

The drop weight in a baseball bat refers to the difference between the length of the bat and its weight. The greater the drop weight, the lighter the bat.

With USA baseball bats, you can only go up to -11 drop weight. On the other hand, USSSA bats let you go with a -12 drop weight which means you will be able to use a lighter bat that’s easier to swing.

What is USA Baseball?

USA Baseball is the main governing body that oversees amateur baseball in the United States. Established in 1978, the organization represents the country in the World Baseball Softball Confederation, which governs the World Baseball Classic. In addition, this organization also represents baseball on the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

Nearly every major national amateur baseball organization in the United States is part of the USA Baseball organization. In fact, if you visit their website, you will see this info proudly presented right in front of you. A quick math tells you that the organization oversees over 15 million amateur ballplayers at the same time.

The main goal of USA Baseball is to help develop the game and promote it both nationally and in an international capacity.

Requirements for USA Certification

There are a couple of conditions that a bat needs to meet before it can get approval from USA Baseball. Now amateur players in the States mostly use metal baseball bats. However, the metal bats that are certified by USA Baseball feel closer to a wooden bat instead of metal.

You see since Major League Baseball still strictly sticks to wooden baseball bats, the organization believes that ensuring the bats that have their certification feel close to what the pros use will preserve the integrity of the sport. That’s why you’ll notice that all USA baseball bats share close similarities to a wooden bat.

Now making wooden bats a strict requirement to get USA approval is a bit too much to ask. Since wooden bats break easily, it’s difficult for amateur players to keep up with the cost of replacing their bats every other game. That’s why metal or composite bats that perform like wood bats are accepted in USA Baseball.

In addition, a USA-certified baseball bat cannot have a barrel that’s bigger than 2⅝ inches in diameter. However, a smaller diameter barrel is allowed. The drop weight of the bat also can’t be more than -11.

As for the barrel length of the bat, for under 12, the size of the bat cannot exceed 32 inches. However, for those under 13 or above, you can go with a maximum of 34 inches in barrel length.

Here is a quick recap of USA Baseball bat requirements:

  • Alloy or composite baseball bats are allowed, but they must have a wood-like feel.
  • The maximum barrel diameter cannot exceed 2⅝ inches
  • Barrel length shouldn’t exceed 32 inches for under 12 leagues and 34 inches for above.

Which Leagues Use USA Baseball Bat as Standard?

There are many amateur youth baseball leagues that require you to use a baseball bat that has the USA certification. Here are the most notable ones.

  • AABC
  • Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball
  • Dixie Boys Baseball
  • PONY Baseball
  • NABF
  • Dizzy Dean Baseball
  • Dixie Youth Baseball
  • Little League Baseball

You can check out the USA Baseball Website for a more comprehensive list of leagues and divisions that follow the USA Baseball bat standards.

What Is USSSA Baseball?

The term USSSA refers to the United States Specialty Sports Association, and it works with a wide variety of sports. The USSSA Baseball is the branch that solely deals with baseball, more specifically, youth baseball leagues all over the country. Compared to USA Baseball, USSSA Baseball is much smaller.

The main goal of USSSA Baseball is to develop programs that let teams of different skill levels compete against each other and help grow the community. This organization mostly works with youth teams of different skill levels and has classifications like the A, AA, AAA, and Major divisions.

What gives USSSA Baseball the biggest credibility is that hundreds of MLB players were once part of different USSSA teams, and they grew up playing in their leagues.

Requirements for USSSA Certification

The requirements for USSSA certification are a bit trickier than USA Baseball. Firstly, all approved USSSA bats need to have a Bat Performance Factor, otherwise known as BPF, of 1.15. Alternatively, USSSA Baseball also allows BBCOR-certified bats though they have a BPF value of .50 which is a lot lower than the accepted level.

Now, what are BPF and BBCOR? Well, BPF or Bat Performance Factor refers to the speed at which a baseball will rebound off of a bat compared to a solid surface such as a wall. For instance, if the BPF of a certain bat is 1.15, it will rebound off of a bat 15 percent quicker compared to a solid wall.

The BBCOR, on the other hand, means the Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution. BBCOR bats generally have a reduced trampoline effect which in turn makes aluminum bats safer to use in organized sports. A BBCOR bat is 2⅝ inches in barrel diameter and has a drop weight of -3.

Going back to the top of USSSA Baseball bats – the barrel diameter in these bats cannot exceed 2¾ inches in diameter. In addition, USSSA-certified bats require a drop weight of -12, -10, -8, or -5, with the exception of BBCOR bats that come with a drop weight of -3.

Which Leagues Use USSSA Baseball Bat as Standard

USSSA Baseball typically deals with travel baseball and tournament games. The notable travel matches that use USSSA bats as standard are:

  • The Elite World Series
  • The USSSA World Series
  • The Global Sports World Series
  • The All American Games

Are USSSA Baseball Bats Better than USA Bats?

The common consensus is that USSSA Baseball bats, whether it’s made of alloy or composite, are almost always better than USA Baseball bats. And I must admit – I agree completely.

You see, there are some advantages that you get by going with a USSSA baseball bat. Firstly, USSSA baseball bats are typically lighter and built to perform the same, if not better, than a wood baseball bat that MLB players use.

Are USSSA Baseball Bats Better than USA Bats

You have a lot of flexibility in choosing the drop weight of the bat, and you can even use it in USA-level games without any trouble. Research shows that USSSA-certified bats can hit the ball about five to ten percent harder than a USA-approved baseball bat. Put that in the context of a real game, and it’s a pretty significant performance improvement.

Can you Use a USSSA Baseball Bat in USA Tournaments?

In most cases, the answer would be yes. You see, USSSA bats, as long as they meet the necessary performance standards, are allowed for USA Baseball leagues and tournaments without any issues.

Since USSSA bats are made with a single wall construction and generally fall within the requirements of USA baseball, they are well-suited for just about any player. And since they offer better performance compared to any USA bats out there, getting a USSSA-approved bat can be a fantastic investment on your end.

The Bottom Line

I’ll admit when I first started learning about the different baseball organizations, I felt like a fish out of water. So, I get it – it can get pretty overwhelming. But it’s also important to learn whatever you can about them so that you can get a bat that’s perfect for every situation.

Now there are plenty of differences between USSSA and USA baseball bats, as you can see from my discussion. But if you ask me, I would always recommend going with a USSSA-approved bat. It’s the safer choice of the two, and you can also be sure that you are getting a bat that will give you a good performance.

I hope my comparison between USA and USSSA baseball bats could help you understand the key differences between them. Good luck!

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