Over the last several years players have been becoming more and more aware of the advantages of using end-loaded bats. So, bat companies like Miken and Worth have been trying to jump on the bandwagon and produce versions of their bats with different names like “Maxload” and “Midload”. Some softball players are still confused as to what these terms mean exactly, and some are just flat out distrusting of bat companies. After all, they can put whatever they want on the outside of the barrel, but where’s the accountability for what they are putting inside? The only real way to find out is to take the caps off several different bats and compare them. We contacted World’s Hottest Bats to ask their opinion, and this is what they had to say on the issues:
Maxload vs Balanced Bats
“Maxload is supposed to mean that the bat will have more end cap weight than a non-Maxload version of the same bat in the same weight. For example, a 27 oz Maxload version of the Miken NXT should have more endload than a regular 27 oz NXT. Unfortunately, sometimes the bat companies are pulling one over on players. We noticed this a few years ago when Miken produced the Vicious bats for ASA. These were all “normal” bats, as no Maxload versions were created. Sure enough, when we pulled the caps off, they had normal sized end caps with no additional weight. However, when Miken released the Chaos as a Maxload bat (it was known as an “endloaded Vicious”), we noticed a discrepancy. When we took the caps off the Maxload Chaos bats, the caps had the exact same amount of weight in the endload. So, a 28oz Vicious would have the exact same endload as 28oz Maxload Chaos.
Now, Miken hasn’t deceived players with every bat they’ve made. Starting with the FX700 and NXT bats, the Maxload versions actually had more endload than the regular versions of the same bat. The difference is around half an ounce, which is just enough to make it noticeable. Another aspect to consider is weight. 26 oz ASA NXT Maxloads have the exact same endload as regular versions of the NXT (between 26 and 28oz), because Miken can only add so much before the weight of the bat far exceeds the advertised sticker weight. Likewise, heavy versions (30 oz) of non-Maxload bats will often have added endload, but also more handle weight in order to keep the balanced feel.
One reason Miken can only add so much endload to ASA bats is because the ASA standards have become more strict. Because endload contributes to overall velocity and distance, only so much can be added before the bat exceeds the 98 mph standard for ASA. With USSSA, the standards are much more loose, therefore more endload can be added on Maxload versions. Other bat companies add more endload to their USSSA bats too, they just don’t always advertise it or create different versions of each bat. For example, all Easton USSSA Salvo’s have much more endload than the ASA versions.”
“The whole Midload thing is, to be curt, a load of crap. It really doesn’t mean anything whatsoever, other than “balanced.” Balanced is what the regular versions of bats are supposed to be. There are really only two options when creating a bat: making it balanced or making it endloaded. Anything else is marketing jargon.”
Is Endload Really that Beneficial?
“Yes, for those who are looking for that deep home-run power, endload is the way to go. We’ve seen a rising number of customers asking for endload in their bats here at World’s Hottest Bats. Some customers don’t even get their bats shaved- they just have us add endload. When it comes to endload, more is usually better, but only up to a certain point. Endload does make a bat feel much heavier than it actually is. For example, a 28oz endloaded bat will feel much heavier than a 280z balanced bat. Because of this, getting used to an endloaded bat can take some time. Obviously, players with greater arm strength and swing speed will benefit more from endload because they will be able to wield a much more endloaded bat than other players. If you’re looking for a home-run derby bat, you will definitely want some end-load added to it.”
Well, there you have it folks, straight from the source.