It’s long been said by many a person that hitting a baseball is the hardest single thing to do in sports. Baseball might not require the utmost in athleticism, but the task of hitting a ball being hurled at you from a relatively close distance is no easy feat. While natural talent is a big aid in this endeavor, a lot of work is still needed in order to become a great hitter.
In a game where failure 70% of the time makes you an all-time great, it still takes a ton of time and repetitions to get good. At each level, the speed of the ball gets faster and the movement gets harsher. It takes timing and patience, and the only way to get that is repetition.
The most effective way for many is to get their own batting cage. With this tool, you can practice year round and develop into the hitter you’ve always wanted to be. Today, our buying guide will be taking a look at batting cages, their ins and outs and we’ll be looking into the most popular ones on the market. So, let’s get to it!
Top Batting Cages Comparison Chart
|Image||Name||Pros||Feature||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Heater Sports PowerAlley Net and Frame||Small and easy to handle||Increases reaction time greatly||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|2. Fortress Ultimate Baseball Batting Cage||Easy to take down and set up||Netting is excellent||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|3. Galileo Batting Cage||Easy to setup||Budget friendly item||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|4. Fortress Trapezoid Baseball Batting Cage||Easy to set up and take down||No holes made in the ground||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|5. Wheelhouse '50 Batting Cage With L-Screen||Very portable and can be used in multiple places||Has L-screen included||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|6. Pelican Sports Softball and Baseball Batting Net||Good for both sports||Withstands even the hardest hitters||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|7. Heater Sports Xtender 30 Home Batting Cage||Foam protects the frame||Great for reaction times and small yards||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Batting Cages Buying Guide
Some Very Simple Tips and Hints to Start Out
There is a lot of information to digest regarding batting cages, but there is some overarching themes that will be seen throughout that should be discussed right off the bat. First and foremost, there is a certain type of material that you should be avoiding at all costs.
That material is PVC. PVC is great for a lot of things. You can use it for soccer goals, at least on the sides, but it makes a horrible batting cage. Once you get a good height, PVC gets very fragile and has a tendency to break. On top of that, it’s quite easy to crack when facing bad weather. This leads us into the discussion about cheap cages. PVC is a cheap material, and it’s good for a lot of things. But cheap isn’t the best sort of thing with batting cages.
Some products in sports can be just as good as their more expensive counterparts, but cheap batting cages are cheap because they simply don’t hold up very well. There are a lot of things that companies can do in order to cut corners and make products cheaper. By doing this, though, they end up hurting you and your end up hurting yourself in the process. So just keep that in mind when you go to consider products made with PVC or similar materials. With that said, you can count on bigger being better in general terms. Remember when computers used to be big enough to fill up entire rooms? Those weren’t very helpful to the average person.
Batting cages, though, are the exact opposite. The bigger the poles are, the better, at least in terms of it staying put and lasting. Installing and uninstalling can be harder, however, as this happens due to the added weight, so there is going to be such a thing as too big. A couple of things that will help make your batting cage’s life longer will be to use concrete and to take down the nets when you can. Concrete will help lock in the cage, and without it, you will find that it will move around eventually.
With the net, you have a very fragile part of the puzzle, perhaps the most fragile of the entire thing. Nets are a lot more expensive to replace than you think, and it’ll be just plumb annoying and self-defeating to have to go run down balls because of it. By taking down the net when it’s going to rain, or be super windy, etc, you can help it last so much longer than it otherwise would have.
No matter what a net might claim, it’s eventually going to start to erode. It’s mere fiber, it’s not a solid substance, so just be aware of that and take measures to ensure your success. Lastly, if you are unsure of what to do because of a budget issue or just doubting what you want, then just pick a cage with a heavy, strong, sturdy net and a shorter cage.
It’s important the thing hold up well, even if the pitches are coming from in closer. You never see major leaguers having 100 mph fastballs slung at them in batting practice, so you shouldn’t be so eager to have that happen, either!
Why a Batting Cage and How?
A batting cage allows a player to practice just about year around. The hitter, as long as he or she can handle the elements, can go out and see pitches constantly whenever they please. This allows them to keep their eyes trained even during the off season, which is crucial if you’re trying to stay on top of your game. Even the best players in the world practice during the winter in order to maintain the edge they have on the competition. Once you lose your swing, and more importantly your eye, your time as a big leaguer will come to a swift end.
Another reason you’ll want to go with a personal batting care is due to access. There are some around, for sure, but they are usually at recreational departments or at fun parks. The former isn’t that big of a deal, assuming you can get permission. But you have to drive there and get everything out, and then you never know who might harass you while you’re doing so. The latter is a problem because it’s going to cost you a lot of money to use. In the long run, it’s cheaper to just do it yourself.
One thing to be aware of is that a batting cage is going to need to be discussed between you and your city or homeowner’s association. Erecting any sort of building at all is going to be of interest to you, and before you decide to either build your own or buy one, you will need to make sure you can do so. Failure to do that, could see any number of consequences occur and will just lead to wasted time and possibly wasted money a well. You might even want to ask nearby neighbors just to show courtesy, assuming they are fairly close by.
Let’s just get this out of the way here and now. A batting cage, at least a good one, is not going to be the cheapest thing you will ever come across. This is a very serious piece of equipment that you are going to be taking a look at. If you are looking at buying one, you’re already a serious player or coach, so you should know that it’s not going to be super cheap.
You’ll be needing things like a pitching machine or a live arm to make it work, too, so it’s already going to require some other equipment. This is just a section to tell you that you don’t need to skimp and save here. There are going to be some choices that are more expensive than others. And the cheaper ones will do a fine job, no doubt. But you can’t expect to pay dirt cheap prices and get the most out of your experience. This is simply not the area or sport where that is going to happen.
The size of your batting cage is going to play a major role in the whole picture. You have to decide for yourself based on your own wants, needs, and also the space you have available. If you have little space, you’re obviously not going to be able to put a huge cage in the backyard. But if you have a lot of space, then it definitely opens up your options. If you want to have a massive cage that has some growing room built in, then one that is 70 foot is going to be your best bet.
At 70 feet, you are going to be able to have pitchers work from a full mound size and then some. That gives you some additional room just in case you need it. A big league pitching mound is going to be 60 feet away, so you could just about squeeze yourself in with 60 feet or so. A little league pitching mound is usually about 55 feet. A softball pitching mound is 43 feet maximum.
So if you are a softball player, you won’t need as much room at all. Cages can go all the way down to as little as 30 feet, so if you have just a small space then that will do you well. You can adjust the pitching machine accordingly if needed in the event of that. The width of the cage is also something to be considering. It’s just going to depend on how cramped you want it to be or how spacious you care for it being.
Height is another factor. You don’t want anything that is too low because it could cause some bad ricochets to come back and hit you, but you also don’t want it to be way too high as it’s just going to cost extra money and be ultra difficult to fix in the event of maintenance being needed.
The frame of the batting cage is the most crucial element involved. Sure, you need to have the right size and you also need a net to catch the ball, otherwise it would be pointless, but if the net isn’t standing, it doesn’t matter how big it is. It’s going to be useless. The frame’s effectiveness is going to be determined by the poles and the corner fittings, too.
The frame itself is always going to be bigger than the net. This should be obvious, but it is worth pointing out. In order for a frame to withstand harsh climates and hard hits by the ball, it is going to have to be built to last. The best sort of material for this is going to be galvanized steel. This is the most durable material that can be found for the frame. Remember, PVC is your enemy here!
An important aside here is that the way batting cages are shipped are different. Some of them will come with all of the parts and pieces you need, while others will not have everything. This is because it can be very heavy and thus expensive for them to ship to you. This means that sometimes, the poles needed, the connectors, and the bolts might not be included. If this is the case with any of our items in the reviews, we will point it out to you. You will be needing to make a trip to the hardware store if this is the case for those materials that you need to finish the job with.
More About Nets
A net isn’t going to do you a lick of good without an adequate frame, no, but the net is still a part of the puzzle that can’t be forgotten or overlooked. An issue that is closely related to the frame is that of ricochets. This is a dangerous happening that can occur if the net is not installed properly to the frame. Where a lot of people get into trouble is putting the net on the outside of the frame. The reason this has caused some issues is because they haven’t gotten enough additional netting to make it a looser fit.
Now, you don’t want a net that is drooping too much, but a net that is just barely wrapped around is akin to a wall. You are just asking for the ball to come careening back at you when this is the case. You can mitigate this by either allowing a two foot clearance all the way around the structure if you choose to install the net on the outside of the frame, or you can instead install the net on the inside of it. This is recommended because it greatly cuts down on the likelihood of the batter being hit with a ball, and it also reduces overall wear and tear.
Where you are putting your cage is going to also impact your decision making on nets. Indoor and outdoor cages are both available to you, and it’s going to be this that you have to keep your mind on. Indoor cages don’t need a net that is as sturdy as outdoor cages. This is because there aren’t really very many elements to deal with. You just have to worry about a small humidity factor, maybe, and that’s it. Outside, though, you’ve got rain, cold weather, wind, and all sorts of problems. Because of this, nets have a simple rule you can follow.
An indoor net can be used only indoors. An outdoor net can be used for both. A good material for an indoor net is nylon. Nylon is expensive, sure, but it’s really great because it is durable and is also quite strong. A good outdoor net can be made out of nylon, polyethylene, or a material called KVX2000. There are different grades of nylon, so just because you see that does not automatically mean it will be good for outdoor use, so just be aware of that fact. Nylon, though, isn’t preferred outside because it soaks up water too much. Unlike Nylon, polyethylene will not absorb water and it is also cheaper than the other two materials mentioned.
The biggest advantage of KVX2000 is that it has properties built in to make it stand up to the sun. The sun is very powerful and it can break down the fiber of a net quickly. Nylon is way more expensive than any of the others, but it’s just not the best when put under pressure by the sun and the wet, so it should be used indoors only, preferably. You may encounter some numbers online that indicate strength of the nets.
For cages that are bought commercially, you usually will see them with a #30 on them. For most players, though a #21 will work just fine. However, if you are a very big, hard hitter, you might wan to go up a little bit. Remember, nylon holds the best, so if price is no object and you could replace the net an unlimited amount of times, then that would be your choice. Unfortunately, we are not all in that situation.
Above Or In Ground
This is yet another central issue in this whole experience. If you want the best batting cage, assuming you are outside, you’re going to want something that anchors into the ground, in most cases. Unless you want something that is temporary for a big time team that travels around a lot, you’re going to want to have a unit that is set firmly into the ground and will not go anywhere. The best way to make sure of that is with an in ground unit. It does cost more in nearly all cases, but you are for sure going to have something that is anchored in and won’t budge.
That, however, is not to say that all above ground batting cages are bad. There are some out there that can be taken up and down in short amounts of time and won’t budge. These are ideal if you travel a lot, or if you don’t always have the space. You might also be a prime candidate for this type if you want to spend a little bit less, or possibly if you are coaching or playing on a team that is very serious and travels quite a bit. This is another factor that you should keep in mind as you make your ultimate decision.
Above ground cages are going to be affected by the wind much more than those that are in the ground are. So if you are in an area with little wind, it won’t be of that much consequence. That’s another thing to keep an eye on and when deciding it all.
Best Batting Cages Reviews
Heater Sports PowerAlley Net and Frame
Don’t have a lot of space and have a fairly limited budget? No problem with the PowerAlley. This batting cage is only 22 feet long and 12 feet wide, but it is perfect for any age player despite all of that. Sporting heavy duty stakes and fiberglass rods, as well as nylon netting, this is super easy to use and put up. It has a harness built in to make using a pitching machine very easy. The biggest thing you get from this cage is increased reaction time.
A 50 MPH pitch is going to translate to 104 at that distance, so it’s going to be a big time upgrade for you if you can stick with it. It can be set up and taken down in just minutes, and it’s super light and easy to carry, making it an ideal tool for any number of players.
Because of the nylon, it’s super sturdy but just remember it shouldn’t be left outside for extended periods of time or it will suffer as a result. It’s worth noting also that you won’t be able to get more than one person in it safely, so you will not have the option of a live arm pitching to you in this cage.
- Quite budget friendly
- Small and easy to handle
- Increases reaction time greatly
- Can’t get more than one person in it safely
- Not the best to be left outside
Fortress Ultimate Baseball Batting Cage
If you are looking for something a little bit more permanent, then the ultimate from Fortress is a good choice to make. Coming in four different sizes, you can make it fit your yard, whether you want to be full length or just a fraction of that. That does affect the pricing, so the bigger you get the higher it will be. Even the smallest is relatively high, so keep that in mind.
But the positive side of this cage is that it has stabilized netting that will not rot in the sunlight. This makes it last a lot longer than most and it means you can leave it up outside. The net is reinforced with mesh to make double sure it stays together and that ricochets don’t occur. Because of all of the choices, it’s very versatile, meaning either a little leaguer or even a big leaguer can use it and be very happy with it.
The frame is great, with galvanized poles, so you will not have to worry about that coming undone and ruining your fun and training time. On top of that, it’s super easy to take down, taking people as little as two minutes, so you can take it down when awful weather is on the way, a real bonus. There is no door, so you walk in by lifting the net and then dropping it back down.
- Easy to take down and set up
- Netting is excellent
- Various sizes to choose from
- A little pricey
- No traditional sort of door
Galileo Batting Cage
Also coming in three different sizes, all ranging in the small space range, the Galileo is perfect for those that don’t have or need a lot of space and want a good budget friendly offering. This unit is lightweight and incredibly easy to assemble, which is never going to deter folks from wanting it. They use steel pipes to make the cage more reliable.
One thing you’ll like about the cage is that it has an arch shape to it, meaning that you can spray balls around a little bit better than you would in a normal square looking cage. Another major plus in their corner is the fact that they offer a return and refund within 60 days and will replace all parts for a ‘lifetime.’ This is a very major deal, and it shows they are serious about working for and with you.
The size might not be all that great, and it won’t allow for pitchers or for anyone else to get in it, but it’s still conducive to players of all ages despite all of that. One of the problems with this cage is that the durability is not the best, so you should also keep this in mind. Holes in the net have formed for some, so it might not be worth the risk for you to take.
- Budget friendly item
- Easy to setup
- Excellent customer service that works with you
- Can’t use a real pitcher inside of it
- Durability is not the best
Fortress Trapezoid Baseball Batting Cage
This one looks a little funky, but it’s one of the top cages out there for a reason. With the trapezoid design, this cage isn’t going to be going anywhere. Using a weatherproof and rot free net, this cage is going to last you a lot longer. It also gives you the choice to safely use the net on the inside or the outside of the frame, which is not always a given, as discussed previously.
There is no anchoring into the ground needed with this thanks to all of the galvanized steel poles that are used. This means you won’t have to worry about making your yard or the field a mess with all of those holes. Coming in three sizes, you can tailor it to what you need. One thing has to be said, and that is that this is by far the most expensive offer on the list. As the size goes up so, too, does the price, so keep that in mind and judge accordingly.
You’d think just by looking at it, that is would be very tough to put up, but that’s not the case at all. It’s easy to get up and down, with the majority of the time coming in unpacking all of the packaging! One other possible pit fall is the net, which will need a little bit of stretching. So that is something to keep in mind if you don’t want any hassles and just want to get in and rip some balls into deep center field.
- No holes made in the ground
- Easy to set up and take down
- Three sizes to pick from
- Net is a little ‘small’ to begin with
- Hefty price to pay
Wheelhouse ’50 Batting Cage With L-Screen
Everyone wants to hit a ball that’s right in their wheelhouse, and with this cage, you’ll be hitting a lot more of them than ever before. This is a fairly big cage at 50 feet, but it’s still small enough to fit into your yard if you just can’t quite fit a full size one in. It’s incredibly easy to get around, and that portable nature means that it can be used both indoors and outdoors.
The price is a little bit high, it must be said, but it’s still a strong design that has its own L screen included, which is not always the case. There are some issues, though, that have to be pointed out. For starters, this cage does not come with the poles. This fact means that you will have to buy them yourself, and that it could be a little harder. It could, though, end up being cheaper.
It has no real door to get in and it, and the L-screen needs to be secured to the bottom or it will leave the pitcher exposed to ground balls nailed back in their direction. The netting is also loose, so it looks like you will have to nail it down to keep it where it needs to be at all times.
- Big cage but not too big
- Has L-screen included
- Very portable and can be used in multiple places
- Pretty big price to pay
- Netting is loose and has to be tied down well
- No poles included so not a complete ‘package’
Pelican Sports Softball and Baseball Batting Net
Pelican Sports does a good job with a wide array of products in various sports, and they have done another good job with this NET. Note that this is just a net, and is not the cage. It’s pretty long at 55 feet, meaning it is great for regulation softball use and also is effective for baseball as well, especially when it comes to reaction training.
It uses nylon, so it is not going to be quite as good for outdoor use, if you do decide to leave the net on for extended periods. There is stitching present on all of the borders of the rope, which just reinforces the whole thing. Further reinforcement comes from having a ‘rib’ line down the middle of it to give more support and leave it up.
The biggest negative, of course, to this is one is that it is just a net. But it will last you a long time if you use it correctly, so it is well worth a look if you are in need of a replacement or if you are looking into constructing your own cage. The price is a little high for just a net, so that’s another downer for some.
- Good for both sports
- Withstands even the hardest hitters
- Reinforced in multiple areas
- Just a net
- Pretty pricey for just a net
Heater Sports Xtender 30 Home Batting Cage
Much like the first item on our list, this Heater is very good for those with cramped spaces that still want to work on their swings. The biggest difference, though, is that this one is quite a bit longer and will thus give you a little bit more options for working with it. Even with that said, though, you aren’t going to want to squeeze a live arm into it, or at least if you want to do so safely.
With foam padding used around the frames, you will not have to worry about lining a ball of it and then seeing damage begin to form. Using steel stakes in the ground and polypropylene netting, it’s going to be great if you have to leave it up outside. It won’t take on water like nylon would and it will do better in the sun than the other material, too.
If you do choose to take it down, it won’t be that tough because the cage is easy to take down and isn’t so massive that it is hard to deal with. The thing people might not like is the price, which is a little high compared to others. It’s not exorbitant, but it’s not a full size cage, so many would rather just go smaller if they won’t be getting a bigger one anyway.
- Foam protects the frame
- Net holds up in harsh weather
- Great for reaction times and small yards
- Touch bit pricey for some
- Not gonna allow a live arm to throw
Conclusion And Final Batting Cages recommendations
With so many choices online, it is easy to get overwhelmed. You are just looking for the best possible option for either you or your child, but it’s hard to come up with a solution when there is just so much going on and too many choices to pick from. This is a common problem that the internet, as great as it is has created. But today, through all of this information, you can make a much better decision on what to purchase.
Whether you want to get something that is full size and state-of-the-art or just want a tiny sliver of a cage that will fit in the backyard and allow you to work all year on your mechanics, you have choices. If you have any further questions, look below in our FAQ’s. Here’s to you making the Hall of Fame!
Frequently Asked Questions About Batting Cages
Q: What Other Accessories Will I Need?
There are a number of things that can help add and improve your overall experience in your batting cages. If you don’t have a live pitcher to throw to you, or even if you do, you will need a pitching machine. Those can be found online as well, and there are all sorts of different models to pick from. Even if you have someone to throw to you, you might not have them always, so it’s a good idea to have a backup plan to call in from the bullpen.
With a pitcher, they will need an L-screen. This will protect them from getting hit with the ball when you connect and it comes back up the middle toward them. A tee is also a good, underrated accessory. Believe it or not, but major leaguers also use the tee to hit off of and train with, and it would be an awesome time to break it out while you are in the cage. It’s a really nice way to break down your swing and figure out how to hit to the opposite field.
Q: It Is Best to Get A Kit or a Complete Cage?
This is really just up to you and how inclined you are to working with your hands. If you find that you are good at putting things together, then a kit is the smart idea. You can get the plans and then go out and buy the materials yourself. It could be cheaper this way.
However, if you’re not so good at that kind of thing, then a complete cage is your best bet. You’ve still got a job on your hands to put it together, no doubt, but you will have instructions and everything you need there. You’ll just need some tools and you’ll be ready to get going. Shipping determines a lot of the price, so just keep that in mind. Nothing is life is free, so this is why a kit can end up actually being cheaper, despite what you might perceive about the situation!
Q: Does Price Matter With Batting Cages?
Price always matters, no matter what the product is. A super cheap item is usually not going to last as long as a more expensive one when you take both and treat them the same exact way. With that said, though, you can still get a lot of mileage out of a cheaper batting cage, provided you are using it in certain ways. If you realize the fact that it won’t hold up as long as others, then you’ll be just fine.
Also, if you have a kid, for example, that is just learning, a cheap cage can be just perfect. They won’t be as likely to put it under tremendous strain like a big hitting adult, and it won’t cost way too much for when they decide they just don’t really want to play baseball anymore. It will give you time to play out in the yard with them. So if you have some of the reasons in mind, a cheaper cage can do the trick.
Just realize that they are cheap for a reason. You’re not going to find a Rolls Royce for the price of a Ford Pinto. It’s just not going to happen. If something claims to be that, it’s going to stink and you should run right away because it’s just not what is claims to be. Simple as that.
Q: Will A Net and Pitching Machine Help Improve Youth Hitters?
Absolutely, it will. It’s not just going to be a magic pill that works, however. It will take time and effort, and consistently at that, in order for the results to set in. But they will come if the player is committed to it. Learning the fundamentals is easy in baseball, it’s mastering them that takes time and lots of patience. Even the very best players have to constantly practice those skills, whether it is fielding, hitting, or pitching.
This fact means that you can see a lot of very real results in short time, if and only if, you are sticking to the plan and getting practice time on a very consistent basis. It beats hitting a ball and then shagging it time and time again, too. It’s little things that add up over time that make the biggest difference, just like when you are in the batter’s box against an extremely talented pitcher.
Q: What Is the Ideal Distance For Hitters in a Batting Cage?
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not actually full length. Very rarely do you see a big leaguer, or even college or high school players hitting in a cage with the pitches coming from full length distance. What does this mean, then? It means the ideal distance isn’t specified. In fact, closer could be better. If you practice throwing a weighted ball, you’ll develop unmentioned power. In the same vein, if you practice hitting an 80 mph pitch from up close, then it’d be no problem when it’s far away.